Culture and Politics
Little has been shown of the culture of the Val'Nabhan'veaka, though it is known that they were renowned for their talents in mining and earth sorcery, as well as their skill in crafting foci. They appear to have been highly ambitious and quite progressive for their time, gathering many of the era's greatest minds together in a collective effort to recolonize the surface.
Politically, they were superb diplomats, fostering a nearly unparalleled level of cooperation amongst the great clans. As such, they can be presumed to have had a greatly stabilizing effect on Chel's political climate. This supposition is greatly reinforced by the massive chaos and political strife ensuring in the immediate aftermath of their clan's destruction.
Skyhole Colonization Project
The history of the Val'Nabhan'veaka prior to the Skyhole Project is largely unknown. However, by the end of the millennium, the Val'Nabhan'veaka had organized the largest engineering project undertaken since the dawn of the Moonless Age. On the border of their clan's territory, within a central region of Chel known as the First Landing gate, they had spent several years excavating a truly massive earthen shaft leading to the surface. Within the resulting pit, they had begun to build a number of extremely large elevators and platforms intended to allow access to the surface within mere hours, rather than weeks. This engineering marvel was known as the Skyhole, and its creation was directly or indirectly supported by nearly every major clan then in existence. Most notably, the Val'Sarghress were hired by the Val'Illhar'dro to employ their Highland Raiders in providing scouting and security for the project's surface site.
Skyhole Disaster & Destruction
Unfortunately, the Nabhan'veaka engineers and their peers failed to adequately assess the unfamiliar dangers posed by the surface's weather; most critically, that posed by rain and flooding. Already contending with difficulties shaping and excavating at the surface due to limited ambient mana, they did not prepare sufficient measures to contain flooding from the especially intense rainfall occuring during the spring of 972 MA. As a result, the flooding triggered a sudden and catastrophic earthslide. In moments, nearly every living member of the Val'Nabhan'veaka was crushed and swept away, along with many of the underworld's leading architectural and engineering minds. It took nearly a week for the dust to settle, leaving behind a damp ruin of mud and debris.
As devastating as the disaster was directly, the resultant indirect political impact was far more severe. In addition to setting recolonization efforts back centuries, the sudden and total loss of the great clan most responsible for the era's relative peace created a massive political void. More immediately, the disaster left approximately half of the Sarghress' military forces separated on the surface. Sensing an opportunity to crush her rival clan, Empress Diva'ratrika commanded Sarv'swati to lead the Vel'Sharen in an assault upon Quain'tana's remaining forces in Chel. While Quain'tana's army was able to hold off long enough for the rest of her clan to return to Chel, she was rendered barren by Sarv'swati in one of the intervening battles. This conflict significantly intensified tensions and hostilities between the two clans, contributing to the initiation of the District War a century later.
In addition, the power vacuum created by the Val'Nabhan'veaka's destruction created an opening for the Jaal'darya to surge into prominence, allowing the previously-obscure clan to claim the fallen Nabhan'veaka's position as one of the nine Great Clans just eight years later.
Prior to their destruction, the Val'Nabhan'veaka laid territorial claim to a small area of Chel located within the central districts along the sourthern border of the Val'Beldrobbaen clan. They excavated the Well of Light on the northeastern border of this territory. Following the disaster, their territory was largely absorbed by the Sharen and their Illhar'dro allies. Years later, as the Sarghress conquered great swaths of Chel over the course of the District War, they sent a contingent of forces to investigate the ruins of the Skyhole for possible salvage and asses the possibility of repurposing the site.
The Well of Light is enormous earthen shaft leading to the surface, carved into the rock near the First Landing gate as part of the failed Skyhole Project.
This article reflects events up to Chapter 56.