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Raveran is a land close to the surface with many exits out into the strange lands of the light elves and the goblinoid races. Beings from many races, both from the surface and from the underworld, can be found in this region.
The main city in the region is also its namesake. Raveran, or Val'Raveran as it is often called, is a city with about ten thousand inhabitants. Because the city is a trade hub, with traders coming both from the surface and the underworld, most citizens, regardless of their race, are free people.
The Val'Illhar'dro are the main clan of the city, and provide the majority of its policing forces. There are two local clans as well, the Vir'reska and the Qin'dalasque. Yurun'hiir, a Sarghress subhouse, also hold an outpost in the city, which serves as a waystation for the Highland Raiders. Until recently, the Vloz'ress held an outpost near the city, named Vloz'Raveran, but it was destroyed in a deadly retaliation by Kyorl'solenurn forces. The Kyorl'solenurn hold an outpost in the region as well, which they call Inlulk'lar.
Relic hunters, mercenaries, traders and all other types of buisnessowners who can make a profit from the flourishing trade with the surface are present within the city. Currently the city is ruled by the queen Visaria Lin'Allenia Val'Illhar'dro, and there is a council made up of the leaders of the five clans in the city. The Yurun'hiir are rarely present, as they spend most of their time travelling, and the Kyorl'solenurn have only recently been granted a seat on the council, since they have taken a more active interest in the city itself.
Every known entrance to the city is currently guarded by both Illhar'dro and Kyorl'solenurn forces. The city is closed to the tainted.
A demonic attack, thought to be unleashed by the Vloz'ress, devastated Raveran at the beginning of last month. A two-pronged attack; one group unleashed demons into the marketplace, in an uncanny simulation of the Nidraa'chal tactics used back in Chel'el'Sussoloth fifteen years before, and creating a massive panic among the commoners. The other group attacked the Kyorl'solenurn outpost of Inlulk'lar, and the Judicator in charge of the outpost made some decisions in the heat of the battle which caused a massive outrage as the death toll increased. She was eventually deposed and is awaiting her fate in a cell somewhere in the depths of the outpost.
The Illhar'dro defense was successful, however, both in preventing a massive slaughter happening in their own front yard, and in calming the panicked masses. Unfortunately for the city itself, the panic and the fighting within the city caused a destruction the likes of which Raveran has never seen. It took them more than a week just to clear the market place of bodies. And a month on, buildings are still being rebuilt, and trade is only just beginning to recover, as caravans come in.
After Inlulk'lar was secure, and the former Judicator Rath'alza deposed, the surviving Kyorl'solenurn split into three groups , one going into the city to cleanse it, and the two others heading for Vloz'Raveran intent on a bloody revenge, one group lead by warden Kyori and her templar, Tar'lyn. Together, the two groups slaughtered the Vloz'ress and their hangers-on, but the mines collapsed, trapping some kyorls and many of the Vloz'ress workers and demons within. The Kyorl'solenurn regrouped, having taken losses on their own, and cleansed the ruins. After they had demolished what was left of Vloz'Raveran, they made their way back, although some couldn't help but look over their shoulders and wonder what could be going on in the darkness beyond the collapsed mine entrance.
Because the city was hit badly by the demonic attack, and because the Kyorl'solenurn and Illhar'dro of Raveran have grown much closer after this ordeal, tainted are now considered outlaws in the city of Raveran, and there are control posts at all entrances to the city, manned by Illhar'dro and Kyorl'solenurn both. Whether this is for the long term, or the two clans' cooperation will fade once life settles back to normal, is unknown. The Kyorl'solenurn have been running patrols throughout the city, going as far as breaking and entering into people's houses to kill any tainted they might find. Outcries against this practice have been few after the more radical Kyorl'solenurn started killing those they deemed "corrupt" as well as the tainted.
Despite all this, most citizens seem happy to be alive, and with the number of tainted in the city approaching zero there have been fewer unfortunate episodes with the Kyorl'solenurn extremists. Overall, the effect is a major population loss, and increased control of the city by the clans present, in particular the Kyorl'solenurn and Illhar'dro. The two local clans, Vir'reska and Qin'dalasque, have remained vigilant in the defense of their homelands, but not so much the city itself. The Sarghress, represented by the Yurun'hiir house, have kept tight control of their own section, and are currently wary of the Kyorl'solenurn, to whom it seems balance is shifting. The Illhar'dro remain in control for the time being.
Places of interest
The marketplace, heart of the city. A whole cavern has been reserved for this purpose, a market too large for the city itself. Within the cavern the main sights are tents, shop buildings, huge storage halls with attached shops and street hawkers trying to pass off their goods on every corner. A main street leads through the cavern from the eastern to the western living district of Val'Raveran. The storage halls line this street, filled with goods that are going from the underworld to the surface, or from the surface to the underworld. Other than this main street, which is a straight line, all other roads twist and turn, having arisen through the almost organic growth of the market - some sections of the market place can change from day to day. It is easy to get lost if one goes off the main street.
In this cavern one can find everything a drow might desire. Highlights of the available sortiment include exotic and strange goods from the surface, and exotic slaves. Illhar'dro patrols keep the peace within this section, enforcing the strict ban on fighting in the market cavern. The only exception to the ban is if one acts in self defense, and even a common bar brawl might land one in a cell of the Illhar'dro fortress.
The White Lion
Formerly known as the Silent Strider tavern, this five-floor building houses Raveran's popular Whitestone Arena, as well as one of its more popular brothels, known only as "the Harem". At the Harem, shapely males and lovely females tend to a guest's every need, and it is not uncommon to encounter both drow and surfacers under the influence of any one or several drugs, alcohol, or a combination thereof. The Harem occupies most of the White Lion's basement, and access is restricted, as the stairway leading towards this carpeted, cushion-decorated area is guarded by eagle-eyed soldiers and faerns both.
The White Lion lies along the main travel route from the Underworld to the Surface, close to the Sarghress outpost and the market district. The tavern boasts affordable lodgings for the poorest of travellers, as well as luxurious apartments for those of wealth, catering to anyone and everyone. In its stables you'll find anything from riding lizards to surfacer mounts, "horses".
Until the general chaos that surrounded the demonic attack, the tavern was run by a human. After the dust settled, he was dead, and the tavern is currently run by a light elf who calls herself Redstar.
The Vir'reska fortress
The only thing most see of this fortress is the great gate covered with glowing glyphs, near the eastern living districts. The gate is guarded at at all times by a number of guards dressed in grey and black. If one has business with the clan, one must approach the embassy, as the clan admits noone within their walls.
Embassy of the Vir'reska
A shapely stone building at the center of the Bazaar, this is the only point of contact most ever have with the Vir'reska clan. A fresh-faced new ambassador has taken over this little outpost as the previous was killed in the riots, and a few more guards watch over the building than did before. If one has business with the Vir'reska, Ambassador Raye'listral Vir'reska is the woman to talk to.
The Illhar'dro Fortress
The most prominant clan within the city of Val'Raveran, the Illhar'dro have established a base of operations within the city that rivals its Chel'el'sussoloth branch in terms of both proportion and beauty, while its close proximity to the surface affords it a few luxuries that are lacking within the great drow city further into the underworld.
The outer walls of the compound are richly decorated in silver and blue shades and rise high enough to be easily defensible from outside threats, in case one might originate from the surface, or from a rival drow clan. Heavy steel gates serve as the sole governor of traffic to and from the compound, the gates themselves controlled by an elaborate clockwork mechanism responsible for working the prolific doors.
The transition between the rough streets of Raveran and the carefully tended cobblestone walkways of the Illhar'dro compound occurs at the base of the huge gates, and the even surface persists throughout the compound, the walkways and paths themselves divided into an aesthetically pleasant, symmetrical design that leads to the buildings within the area.
In the centre of the compound, following the path straight forward from the entrance, rests the living symbol of the Illhar'dro clan; a prolific tree with a huge, silvery moon disk behind it. The tree is maintained constantly by Faerns of the house talented with light creation, as well as a slew of dedicated gardeners responsible for keeping the tree in perfect health. The tree was planted as the foundation of the compound was being laid, and has flourished with the clan and the city.
Surrounding the tree in pleasing symmetry are three buildings of immense importance to the Illhar'dro clan. Constructed to the left of the tree, the living quarters provide housing for everyone from the lowliest guardsman to Raveran's appointed Mistress of the Song, who answers directly to the Illharess in Chel'el'sussoloth. Beyond the great tree, the Illhar'dro Concert Hall awaits with a yawning auditorium for performances, as well as a number of classrooms and dance halls for teaching, practice and celebration. To the right of the great tree is the Illhar'dro trade hub, where all incoming and outgoing trade ventures are processed, be they from Chel'el'sussoloth, the drider city, or kingdoms upon the surface.
The Yurun'Hiir Outpost
The influence of the Sarghress clan in this city is represented by the house Yurun'Hiir.
The Yurun'Hiir outpost is more military barracks than real fortress. It is located in the eastern cavern of the city, beyond a great wall with a black steel gate that isolates the Yurun'Hiir outpost from the rest of the city. Behind these walls are several barracks for travelling Sarghress members, who are headed to or from Chel'el'Sussoloth. The outpost is the headquarter of Qill'Yate Yurun'Hiir and the Highland Raiders use it as a base for their raids up on the surface. The main yard is huge and hosts several stables for the clan's riding wolves, as well as a few storage halls for the riches and goods acquired through ruin exploration, raids and trade.
The main building of the outpost is the most fortress-like building, with small windows and slits for crossbows to fire through. The building sports thick walls that are protected and warded against influence of magic. The sparse light of torches and braziers fill the rather narrow corridors of the building. The whole fortress could be mistaken for either a military bastion or a prison for the worst of all criminals, with each and every door made of metal and reinforced several times.
The rooms in the outpost are kept relative simple compared to the rooms of the other fortresses, and in a very martial design, often using shields and different types of weapons for decoration. The guards are heavily armored and equipped with large shields. Each passway each door and each wall seems like reinforced and each bigger wall reminds itself like the wall of a major fortress. While the Yurun'Hiir are present in the fortress the whole place is brimming with life, much like a bee hive, with soldiers everywhere. If the Yurun'Hiir are on an expedition to the surface only a small part of their forces remain in the fortress and the place seems all but deserted.
Not as glorious as the Illhar'dro fortress, yet still among Raveran's more beautiful buildings, the Sullisin'rune fortress lies in a cavern above the upper level of the bazaar. A long broad road chiseled out of the stone and laid out with white marble the last few hundred meters lead to a large gate that seals the cavern from the city. Several Sullisin'rune soldiers stand their guard near the gate. The gate itself seems to be made of steel, yet shines as if covered by a layer of silver. The clan insignia is embedded into the gate, in a mosaic of different crystals. On each side of the gate rests a large statue shaped like a griffon. Emeralds the size of a drowolath's fist shine with a predatorial gleam, giving the impression that the statues are somehow alive.
Beyond the gate is a large plaza for riding beasts and carts, as the outpost serves as an internal trading and shipment hub, and thus hosts stables for all kinds of animals, including mounts from the surface. Across the plaza lies the outpost itself, built of marble and decorated with gold and ivory. The main chambers are as luxurious as one would expect from the Sullisin'rune.
Originally a hub for drowussu pilgrims, this smaller version of the Kyorl'solenurn fortress has grown into a proper settlement, as some drowussu took up missions to convert other races to their faith. This in turn has caused Inlulk'lar to become somewhat of a multiracial settlement, although it pales in comparison with Raveran in that aspect.
Like it's Chel'el'sussoloth counterpart, Inlulk'lar is sectioned off from the city of Raveran. While not as impressive, as large, or as impregnatable as its other, Inlulk'lar still carries the same functions: A large crude gate guarded by two templars, bleached stone walls too high to see over, and tight security.
Inlulk'lar is a small town with busy streets, where the common drowussu outnumber the nobles, and where anyone who worships Sharess is welcome, to a certain extent. The compound is dominated by the Light of Inlulk'lar temple, a modest stalagmite temple decorated with the Kyorl'solenurn holy eye. The building - which has no door, just an open standing lounge - serves both as temple and as residence for those Kyorl'solenurn stationed there. There are also living quarters for visiting clan members. Commoners have their permanent residences in the buildings of the aptly named Residential Area.
Outside Raveran proper
Once a peaceful mining outpost, then for a short while an architecturial monstrosity of typical Vloz'ress design, the structure now lies in ruin, blocking the only known entrance to the mines below. Occasionally strange sounds can be heard coming from the mines, and noone knows what might be left down there. The Kyorl'solenurn are responsible for razing the fortress, and the only structure left standing is a small altar commemorating those drowussu lost to them beneath the tons of stone.
Shi'lithian ice caves
A network of tunnels bore through what must be a giant mountain of ice, east of Raveran. Sometimes the tunnels are of rock, sometimes of pure ice. The temperature stays below freezing, and nothing grows here. Few creatures call this place home, and those who do are hunters who can roam quite far to find prey. It is said that the body of a huge black dragon rests deep within these frozen lands.
South of Raveran, not far from the road leading to Chel'el'Sussoloth, lies the lava lake Phoenix' Eye. The caves around the lake are dangerous, as the lake often floods, and to the eyes of a Drow the area is much like a real-life version of hell. Rumour has it something lives within the molten rock, but these rumours have never been substantiated.
A great cave leading to the surface, not far from Raveran itself. During day time, light shines in from the exit, making the transition into darkness for surface traders more gradual than it would else have been. Illhar'dro soldiers can be found patrolling these caves at any time.
This article reflects events up to Chapter 39.