So here’s a thing I’m working on. This is made in Sketchup, using the sandbox tools. The mountains are part of the Snakeback Mountains, which is the leading edge of the Monot Rise. Shard City is in that divot in the right under the cliffs. I still have a ton to do, obviously, but progress!
Here’s the map drawing I’m working from. From the right, the Applefloat River feeds Shard Lake. Tradegate River exits to the left. Down the center Rookwax River runs down Rookwax valley and feeds into Shard Lake. Shard City is mostly along the lake between the Applefloat and Rookwax rivers. Running along Rookwax is the old Timber Road. The modern 72 freeway comes down from the right, crosses Rookwax, and continues more or less parallel to Tradegate. The 72 replaced the old highway which ran closer to the river.
The Bluffs rise about 300 feet above the lake and continue at varying levels and steepnesses for like a hundred miles or something. The tallest peak is Lightning Strike Mountain, at the top of the drawing, with Gilroy Mountain and Saint Lila Mountain in the same range. This is all part of the Snakeback Mountain National Park, which features hiking, skiing, camping and other activities. Lining the cliffs are ghost oaks, pale and twisted oak trees. Also native to the mountains are shadow elms (which aren’t elms) whose dark bark and leaves make for eery groves.
Shard Lake is a tectonic rift lake formed millions of years ago. It’s named for the shard of rock that make up its beaches. It undercuts the bluffs and rockfalls into the water are common.
Shard City is named after the lake. It was first built where the Rookwax River met the lake and the old town is still called The Spokes for the rising sun like city plan. Shard City has about 220,000 people in about 40 square miles, and sits about 45,000 feet above sea level.
The Warehouse district runs along the Old Highway and Timber Road. Before the new highway was built, those roads and the Rookwax River were used to bring goods into Shard City. With the new highway, and the airport, the Warehouse District has gone to seed.
Nearby the Delta is a popular area for houseboaters and other water enthusiasts, with safe swimming areas for kids and many scenic paths along the rivers and lake. Another popular area are the Falls were the Applefloat River descends into Shard Lake through a series of rapids and short waterfalls. Shard Lake also has a number of small islands, about which sordid legends are told of smugglers, pirates, and ghosts. They’re a popular destination for birdwatchers as the thick foliage protects the native wildlife.