The Westin Cliffs are a formation at the edge of the Gamerstein Plateau, famous for having been created artificially by Ander Scoville, a powerful Madrigal who lived in the region and needed a good barrier to keep out the nomadic warriors of the Summer Lowlands.
The cliffs were first created probably around 2400 B.G.A.. Throughout the Mage Wars, they served as an important barrier between the two regions, allowing numerous powers to gain control of either side. A series of Mage Towers were built along the top, along with artificial reservoirs and a well-defined trade route. Though the border changed hands many times, armies were always forced to fight around it.
Since the cliffs were artificial in origin, geologists had long ignored the region, believing that "no useful scientific data could gathered there". Prospecting and mining activities at the base had long proceeded, and the miners guessed what geologists only later concluded: the formation was made by dragging the stones straight out of the ground. This meant miners working the base of the cliff had access to mineral deposits originally laid a thousand feet deep, while scientists were gifted with an amazing thousand-foot core sample.
The race was soon on to gather as much data about the formation as possible before modern mining techniques destroyed anything of value. Early miners had worked fast, excavating small cavities or short tunnels. Modern efforts built scaffolding, sometimes as much as ten stories high. More ambitious mining crews built large gantries along the top of the cliff, and lowered massive, three-story-high structures down the sides, in which miners quickly excavated whatever easy to extract minerals they found. The area was rich in both gold and silver, with traces of platinum and other valuable materials.
By the mid Golden Age, heavy-mining techniques were in full-swing. Instead of simply grabbing whatever lay close to the surface, miners excavated tunnels to the far side, using deposits found along the cliff face to guide them. This shifted the bulk of the industry to the slope-side, leaving the cliff-base communities without a source of revenue.
One town, desperate to keep its livelihood, used old mining ledges as a base for a road up the cliff face. At each corner, they used large galleries left over from mining activities as turn-around points. The road linked to a new mining settlement at the top. The original goal was for the town's residents to use the road to commute, but this proved uneconomical. Most of the miners ended up simply re-locating to the new settlement. However, the road itself became a major tourist attraction.
Borrowing from this example, many towns along the base and at the top began constructing similar machinations. Open-air staircases, cable cars, and even a thousand-foot sky-scraper with a bridge cropped up. As the mines slowly played out, tourism and cattle ranching replaced them.
In the early second age, wealthy industrialist Bertrum Racor began quietly buying up all the old cattle ranches and now-abandoned mines along the base. His activities were largely ignored until he attempted to make a purchase on the mineral rights of one of the major tourist sites, wishing to mine underneath while leaving the attractions in place. The widespread publicity led many to speculate what Bertrum had earlier concluded: every mineral deposit along the cliff had a corresponding deposit deep underground beside the base.
By the time this was reasoned out, Bertrum had already