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The Pale (or Pale Hold; named for both its pallid tundra and the pigmentation of its Nord inhabitants) is one of the four oldest Holds in Skyrim. The harsh environment here makes life a chore rather than a joy, and the shape of the Hold has led some to refer to it as “the old boot.”:454 It stretches from the center of Skyrim all the way to its Northern Coast.:55 Dominated by ice fields and glacial deposits, especially along its northern shore, some scattered ragged peaks, snow-covered ground, and little sunshine means most of the Nords congregate at the city of Dawnstar, a popular port and mining town.:454 The Pale lacks waterways, save for Lake Yorgrim, located in the southeastern corner of the Hold. The aptly named Yorgrim Forest is a pine forest found around the lake, in between the central mountains and the Shearpoint range. A small part of the White River Valley encompassing Heljarchen is also within the borders of the hold.:454
Possessing fewer roads and pathways than most other Holds, there is still a reasonable road connecting the Pale to Hjaalmarch, which continues past Fort Dunstad and eventually heads east into Eastmarch and Windhelm or south below the snow line into Whiterun Hold. This Hold's perimeters are dominated by mountains that run north to south along the western edge, and the Sea of Ghosts runs along the northern coast. The Hold's distinctive boot shape is due to it curving around the Anthor mountain range which forms its border with Winterhold, following the perimeter south and then east, to the partially frozen Lake Yorgrim. The River Yorgrim begins from here, merging with the mighty White River to the east. The rest of the dwarven ruins, barrows, and windswept catacombs are nestled between crags and the jutting, unforgiving mountains.:454
- For game specific information, see the Skyrim article.