Phylactery of the Bleeding Heart
A vast mountain range that arcs down from the frozen north, the White Mountains block passage to all but the most tenacious adventurer. To the north (perhaps two week’s ride from Estlewild), they are home to orcs, half-orcs, and nomadic tribes of humans and elves.
The largest ancestral Dwarven kingdom lies in the southern range, on the side facing the sea, while Gnomes inhabit the storied eastern side of the range.
Few roads exist allowing passage over the White Mountains, and none of them are kept up — too fraught with danger. At best, someone wanting to cross a mountain pass would have to follow game trails. Dwarven and Gnomish kingdoms have ways through under the mountains, also dangerous (to say nothing of the bureaucracy).
Most who venture to or from the other side of the White Mountains do not return. The journey is so long and arduous that it is considered by many to be a once-in-a-lifetime ordeal.