The Great Lakes are five interconnected bodies of water in the north-east of the North American continent. The Iron Masters call them the Western Sea and the Plainfolk refer to them as the Great River.
From west to east the lakes are Superior, Huron, Michigan (Mi-shiga), Erie (Iri) and Ontario (Ona-taryo). The Iron Masters hold the territory east of the lakes, whilst the Plainfolk control territory to the south, west and north-west. A little-known race referred to as the Fog People hold territory to the north-east.
Ne-Issan's borders run down the eastern shores of Lake Erie and Ontario. The Yama-Shita domain borders Lake Ontario, whilst their allies, the Ko-Nikka, hold the shores of Lake Erie to a point not far west of Kari-faran (navref Cleveland, Ohio).
West of the Iron Masters' borders lies Plainfolk territory, with a number of clans holding turf bordering the lakes. As part of a new Yama-Shita initiative, five trading boats were permanantly moored in this region at navrefs Detroit, Cheboygan and Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron, and Lundington and Benton Harbour on Lake Michigan. After the destruction of the boat at Benton Harbour in battle with the Clan Kojak in early 2991, and with the subsequent outbreak of civil war within Ne-Issan, it is likely that the other trading posts were withdrawn.
Prior to the mooring of the Saginaw Bay vessel, the same site (Bei-sita) was one of two trading posts established for the purposes of an annual trading exchange with the Plainfolk clans. The other, larger post was located at Du-aruta (navref Duluth, Minnesota, although the post itself is located closer to navref Superior, Wisconsin). In May 2991, at the Battle of the Trading Post, Mr Snow summoned a vast tidal wave to destroy five Yama-Shita vessels and their D'Troit allies on the lakeshore. The trading post was destroyed and, further trade with the Iron Masters was thus abandoned.
Although the Plainfolk as a whole have a distrust and fear of water, lakeside clans such as the Kojak have mastered the rudimentrary arts of offshore fishing using primitive boats, knowledge of which has been disseminated to other Mute clans via the Plainfolk Council as part of their efforts to unite the clans against the threats of the Amtrak Federation and the Iron Masters.