Hidden from all eyes.
An old-growth forest nestled within the mountains between the Midway to the South and Yung-An to the North. Magic and storms go hand-in-hand with the place, and stories of warning and strange occurrences flow from it like the rain. It is said this forest can protect itself from outside invaders and consumers, filled with spirits and too-intelligent animals which give any grown Man unsettling dreams.
Somewhere that War can't follow.
Neutral ground in an undisclosed location, built just beneath the surface by the Guild and their best engineering dwarves. Cool showers, beds, and plenty of food in times of need. To step inside is to keep the peace and tend one's wounds.
Home of the Valsharess.
Location of the Court games, primarily Nobles visiting, long or short, from their Houses on a mission to garner favor and make deals. Also the location of the worship ball and other public functions, by invitation and arrangement of the Valsharess and her retaining staff.
There exist also separate meetings rooms, lavish and secure quarters given to favored Drow, and at least two audience chambers for the queen to see and be seen, depending on the size of the audience.
The Palace connects with the Sanctuary, and the dungeon below contains most of the queen's prisoners.
~Because there is only one City of Dark Elves, didn't you know?
Located in an enormous cavern deep below the Surface in the Underdark, The City is the Valsharess seat of power ruled by the queen, Her Priestesses of the Spider Queen, and Her Red Sisterhood.
There are currently twenty-four Noble Houses with ranking and status, who run "plantations" farther out from the center, each involved with resource production and trade with select other races of the Underdark. The central part of the City contains mostly the "common" merchant and artisan classes who act as the "middle-women" between the Noble Matrons and the other races, with the Palace and the Sanctuary looming above them, but it slides into a black market slum quickly enough.
Slave labor is common and necessary for what has been built, and even though there are many situations in which the "service" of a male Drow or a non-Noble female Drow may as well be slavery, all Drow are considered "free" citizens, while the non-Drow are slaves without question. A common male Drow would have some standing over a captured gnome, though he may endure more varied demands of his body than any true slave.
Not Rebels if none recall the Rebellion.
The second-largest settlement of Dark Elves in the Underdark, headed by the Council of Eight totalling fifteen Houses. In theory the Valsharess knows of its existence if not its exact location, though it is highly questionable whether anyone besides the Red Sister Prime may be aware as well. There is no direct contact between these two far-apart cities. For centuries Vuthra'tern has lived in fear of being found by the Driders and Priestesses of the City, and are highly aggressive in maintaining their sovereignty apart from the City of the Valsharess.
Bodies that dream.
The long-lost jewel city of the Dark Elves, fallen in war and abandonment and buried beneath mountains of sand. Stories of a soul-stealing dagger and other sorcerous relics have faded, the flow of magic slowly stilled, to where the red sands claim many fewer lives in search of these as they used to.
Harsh and bright, stable and ever-shifting at the same time, it has become a place where some of the most powerful of Miurag like to speak in private.
Twin to the Red Sands of V'Gedra.
The city of Vintern Hjem still exists, which is more than can be said for V'Gedra long buried in sand. It is simply not a purely Elven city anymore. Every so often major relics and architecture tease would-be adventures to venture near Ice Heart, but like the red sands, it is too often a place to become lost to extreme exposure.
If you want it, we can get it.
A metropolis sprawl of four cities which grew together over time on the edge of the Great Lake. The three oldest settlements of Alran, Bor, and Niss have been around for about one thousand years, and have a moderately peaceful agreement with its northern farming neighbor, Taiding, a mixed-race city with the largest known population of dwarves outside of the mountains and hill country.
The fourth and youngest settlement first came about three hundred years ago as Augran fishing ships first met up with Yungian trade ships. As trading commenced, many Yungian merchant and fishing families immigrated to the prosperous port, setting up their own enclave, Yong-wen, as "tolerated outsiders."
Augran as a whole has become the home base for the Guild, sometimes called the Eastern Taskers, an organization with widespread influence and knowledge of any significant Human power on the south side of the Great Lake, as far west as Furton and Three Rivers and as far east as Taiding and the edge of Kurgan territory. Since the arrival of the Yungians in Augran, that influence has also extended north to Yong-ch'hai. The only major competition they have is in Manalar, their closest neighbor to the south.
Come in to the parlor...
Located within the eastern chain of mountains lining the Midway, a fair distance northeast of Three Rivers (the city that buys most of their lumber floated downriver) and almost due north of the much larger logging community of Fris. The Inn is the center of influence for this small Human logging settlement barely forty years in existence.
Twenty years ago, there was a regular trading route through the east-side forest, along the mountains and north to settlements dotting the coast of the Great Lake, since disrupted by a cult of cannibals attacking anyone who dared travel the road.
The Innkeeper, Brom, tends the bar, hosts travelers, and keeps loyal men on retainer.
A recluse's dream home.
Located deep within the western chain of mountains lining the Midway, northwest of Furton. The Ley Tower was formerly the aboveground watchtower of a Dwarven under-mountain settlement, abandoned for reasons unknown. The Tower is now inhabited by the necromancer Sarilis. It rests on an intersection of Ley Lines, making it a coveted location for any mage who dislikes neighbors poking into his or her business.
The Barracks of the Red Sisters, the queen's enforcers.
Located outside the City center and away from any one Noble House, this is the base of operations, training and initiation center, and the living quarters for the Sisterhood. It includes a stable of riding lizards.
The Cloister is built down into the cavern layer and is not visible to those traveling through the Drow territory. Wards and spells keep all others from trying to claim it or build on top of it; this part of the cavern is universally ignored.
The Cloister also contains interrogation rooms and a rarely-used "solitary" cells; any prisoner to show up there has vanished from the public eye, usually for a specific reason, and are never seen again.
The home and office of the Priestesses of Lolth.
Many secret meeting rooms, spying networks, and ritual altars both private and open to the public for ceremonies.
The Consorts are raised and trained within the Sanctuary and do not leave unless they are gifted to a Noble House by the Valsharess and Priestesses in a "worship ball," about once every ten to twenty years.
Alongside the "virgin" Consorts are raised various Drow children who are claimed by either the Valsharess or Priestesses for one reason or another. Any offspring of the Red Sisters would be among them.
The Sanctuary also contains (and imprisons) the half-demon Draegloth, all first and only sons of the Priestesses.
Singularity is against the Great Work
The closest "nest" of mindflayers to the City of the Valsharess is relatively recent but growing quickly. The Elder Mind remains One with all its children and thralls, seeking to explore and expand its territory. Unbeknownst to its greatest enemies, this nest has clashed with both cities of the Dark Elves. It has studied them thoroughly, intently, wishing to Understand only enough to determine whether this obstacles should become part of the Great Work, or simply be eradicated.
Keeping fighting children apart.
There is a very long cycle of awareness for what appears to be the only Dragon living in the Underdark. While he Sleeps, the races manage their own affairs and after enough births and deaths, many can forget about him or believe past tales once spoken by individuals who claimed to have met him must have been partly insane.
When he Awakens, however, the Oldest Stories swiftly resurface and remind all living beneath the Surface they are not alone.
In exile and grief.
A lone garden and hovel resting on a Ley Line within a mountainous forest. Its sole inhabitant keeps companions with wildlife and defends by using the plants themselves.
Holy Witch Hunters!
Currently the seat of power for Human Mage-Priests of Musanlo, the Sun God. Their city and temple also lies on a Ley Line, though not an intersection like Sarilis's Tower, and all magically-gifted sons become Priests to the temple.
Manalar is a highly religious monoculture intolerant of any who do not worship Musanlo. The Priestly powers have been in a constant struggle for dominance of the trade region with the more varied and secular metropolis, Augran, and its long-time dwarven-heavy ally,Taiding, for almost three hundred years.
Adding to that currently is the threat and near arrival of the Ma'ab forces from the northeast. The Ma'ab army is being watched as it risks cutting through the steppes of the giant, nomadic Kurgans, baffling strategists as they avoid the riches of Taiding and Augran (for the time being) and seem to be heading straight for Manalar.
The full story of what has sparked this conflict is not known, but many factions are quite aware of it. The outcome of either side winning cannot be good for them.
City of the Dragon Spirit
The original merchant families of Yong-ch'hai still wield great power to this day within their local community. They named and run this mini-society in memory of their homeland, and have very strong ties to the Guild of Augran. They do not tend to share information readily with those neither of Yong-wen or part of the Guild.
A scholarly prison for all male Drow of significant magical ability.
The Tower is located roughly halfway between the Cloister and the Palace/Sanctuary. It is constructed within a gigantic natural formation of a stalagmite and stalactite meeting and fusing together, refined and reinforced with magic.
There are many levels within the Tower, including libraries, dormitories, and practical work space. They are reachable only by magical transport circles; there are no stairs. Non-magical Drow would have difficulty entering any level without escort or invitation.
The Tower is run and defended by Headmaster Phaelous, both the oldest and most favored male wizard in the City.