On the other of the Albine mountains lies the great Northern Steppe, that goes from the Albine Mountains to the Great Lakes to the west. This is a dangerous, lawless region, full of monsters, ghost and worst of all, nomads (according to the sedentary peoples to the East and the South).
A bit of historyThe Northern Steppe hasn't always been as dangerous or thought as a cursed land by some. And it hasn't always been an steppe all the time either. During much of its history, this land was a green fertile land with many rivers. A little paradise compared to the regions to the north. This was once the home of the Yavana civilization, the ancestors of the Oronai and Ikarians. The entire landscape of this area was populated by hillforts built in the promontories near the rivers. But as the climate began to change, the area became more arid, some rivers dried up, other changed their course drastically, forcing the Yavana peoples to migrate to the East and the South. This land then remained unclaimed. Both Oronai and Crorai sent expeditions to that place but they were futile as it wasn't enough farming areas. Eventually this land became the winter residence of the nomads from the Odaerian Khanate because of the the plentiful pastures and the increase in the flow of rivers in winter. This was the perfect place for their cattle and also from where they could direct raiding parties both to the kingdom of the Crorai, the the Ikarian Empire and the Kingdom of Oronia (before the creation of the Oronai gates). It is true that the Crorai had claimed this area as part of their kingdom but they don't control it effectively and now that they've allied with Oaderian nomads, the settlement of the nomads during winter continues.
A misterious civilizationAside from the Yavanas, some stories suggest that both Tieflings and dwarves once lived and thrived north of the Steppe, near the mountains. The Great tumuli of the Albine mountains were once thought to be related to the Tieflings but today many scholars think they're the vestige of the Yavana Culture's hillforts and palaces. The dwarves on the other hand are a mistery. They once lived in their cave settlements but they haven't been seen in millenia. Some nomads affirm that they have seen and even trade with them. They also say that they don't go out very often because their cave settlements have more water and resources in their caves than in the outside world in the steppe. This could be a sign that legends are true and dwarves survived the Great Elven expansion inside the most inaccesible mountains.
Dangers found in the SteppeThe Steppe is often considered as a dangerous place for civilized men. Its the home of the nomads, renowned slave traders who capture every man or woman foolish enough to cross the mountains into the steppe (mostly looking for treasures believed to be buried by the old Yavana Kings). Giant Dragon Birds also roam the area hunting cows or horses from the nomads or heards of buffalo, a common animal found in this area. The ruins in the eastern regions of the Steppe are also believed to be inhabited by the spirits of the old Yavana and Tiefling kings who will curse everyone that dares to enter the ruins with intentions of stealing their treasures.