The Depths of Arak, or Dahl'Arak
The "Depths of Arak" is an ironic name, as it Is probably the highest point to the Negeémiliel empire and Kazrrad itself, if it is a true part of Kazrrad. It is a community and set of mines that exists within the cone of an extinct volcano. The name of Dahl'Arak means "Port of Arak", meaning that it is a trading town. "Dahl'Arak is also the name of a very powerful and wealthy family of the City State of Negeémiliel.
It is sometimes called the "haunted mountain" by surface dwellers who live nearby, for plumes of smoke from the peak, or sounds of metal that might be carried on the wind.
The Depths of Arak lies in the Southern Nohalion mountain range, and indeed, lies within one of those mountains, an extinct volcano. Unlike most subterranean communities of kazrrad that are far underground, the community of Arak, lies above the surrounding surface land that would be considered habitable. The community is underground within the mountain, but has direct contact with the outside atmosphere. Arak is perched over a broad shaft extending far down, deep into Kazrrad, perhaps several thousand meters down. It is possible that the shaft is natural, but may be the artifact of the mysterious world builders who constructed Kazrrad?
Speculation: It might be that this volcano is a means to ventilate air into Kazrrad?
Otherwise, the drow and slaves who operate in this community mine, smelt, and forge metals here. Many mined shafts and cut galleries extend deep into the dead volcano for the valuable items that can be found. Arak is valuable in large part because it has an ample air supply, with uplifting air pulling smoke out, and heavy goods bought here may be lowered down into appropriate trading routes to go where needed, as opposed to raising such heavy items as iron ingots up from levels below, and fighting gravity. It is lack of air and ventilation that makes smelting and forging difficult in most parts of kazrrad where metal ores are often found in abundance, and it is extremely inefficient to haul ores up to a forge where most of the material must be carried for smelting. Great potential wealth lies in Kazrrad But most of it is too difficult to utilize.
So the Depths of Arak is an extremely valuable place, as it has both resources, and perhaps more importantly, has the means to process ores.
People and EconomyEdit
Very little has been revealed of the Depths of Arak. Given the power and importance of the family that bears its name, it would be reasonable to suppose that it is at least 'colony' sized, with at least 500 individuals, and quite probably into the thousands. Limiting its size is that it is within a mountain, up above the normal ecosystems of kazrrad, so that food might be more precious there? On the other hand, like Animadelia, it might have access to ample surface foods from the surface. The difference being, that Animadelia lies in a valley more at the foot of the Nohalion Mountains, rather than being near a mountain peak within those mountains.
Speculation: As this is thematically more of a dwarven niche, one might speculate if Arak was originally a dwarven settlement that was conquered by the drow at some point in the past? Additionally, there might be questions regarding the origins of House Dahl'Arak. For example: did Negeémiliel conquer this outpost or set it up themselves? Did the Dahl'Arak family deliberately name themselves after the colony that they administrated? Were their forbears 'nameless' soldiers in the beginning? Were the Dahl'Araks originally drow foreign to Negeémiliel who became part of the acolyte class when the Negeémi State annexed Arak?
As it is known that Arak is a trading town with metal forging as the occupation, it would be reasonable to maintain that much of the settlement includes a district and stalls for merchants and traveling traders. Given the heavy industry, slaves might well be very common in Arak, quite possibly large numbers of dwarves and the draconic race of Draak Harg, both races have produced skilled metal workers, making excellent weapons and armor. As Danieh'le Dahl'Arak seems quite well versed on the quality of armor and weapons, and in the skill of dwarven and draak harg artisans, she might have such familiarity from the artisans working at her home? So much forging and finishing of finely crafted steel armor and weapons likely gets produced and sold in the Depths of Arak.
Another resource that might be called upon due to its location is that of timber. Wood is much more valuable in Kazrrad than on the surface. Finely finished wood furnishings and art are sought after displays of wealth, so harvesting of timber on the surface of the mountains about the Depths of Arak is one of the occupations of the drow living there. The deep shaft makes the lumber more easily transportable down into the subterranean underworld.
Water is to be more freely available than in many places in Kazrrad, via redirected surface runoff, possibly water stored in cisterns for dry periods and for selling fresh water. If some geothermal heat remains, large, commercial baths might exist? Also, the town might survive by production of mushrooms on a large scale? If cave fish could be farmed at such an altitude is unknown.
The low atmospheric pressure of the high altitude, and the long tube of the depths makes it likely that a constant breeze flows up from the depths in a mournful howl. One can imagine that being out on the surface, or being near the depths, or even breeze through the carved galleries of Arak might make hair blow.
Speculation: Perhaps the people have a policy for tying hair for that reason? Perhaps that might be the origin of the black Dahl'Arak headband?
Possible Races of the InhabitantsEdit
- Draak Harg
- other Goblinoids, like Hobgoblins, Trolls
- Mountain Elves
Possible occupations for inhabitantsEdit
- Timber Cutters
- Lumber Workers
- Mushroom Farmers
- Fish Farmers
- Miner Engineers
- Heavy Porters
- Metal Smiths
- Metal Artisans
- Local Merchants
- Traveling Merchants
Most of these roles could either be fulfilled by slaves or free persons. It would be most likely that miners and porters are likely to be slaves. Quite likely goblins would work in tight quarters as miners, also enslaved dwarves. Conversely, free workers might be expected to work with timber cutting and working with lumber?
Speculation: The prominence of House Dahl'Arak and the presence of the Dahl'Arak Mercenaries, suggests that the Depths of Arak has a large slave population, and is less able to attempt to rely on a militia of free drow. There may be relatively few free drow present as opposed to other settlements? Also, the importance of protecting the valuable site may well increase the need for more professional grade soldiers?
Having a private army is officially illegal in Negeémiliel. It is unknown if that stricture applies to the entire hegemony or only to the city itself? In any case, the law seems to get shorted, as mercenaries are both common and freely available in Negeémiliel. Professional companies of mercenaries like the Black Widows are a common source of auxiliaries for acolyte troops, indeed, they might be expected to be used along with the acolytes, and are almost as numerous as the acolytes. Even inferior mercenaries such as the Light Blue Ribbons are often hired by wealthy commoners who require some 'muscle'.
The Depths of Arak have a corps of mercenaries on hand that are devoted to House Dahl'Arak. Whether they are legally bound to remain in the environs of Arak or if there is any limitations placed on their use is unknown. It is unknown if they are a professional mercenary company that can take many contracts with the Dahl'Arak family as principal shareholders, or if they are guards bound to the town they are based at. Given the importance of the Depths of Arak, it would stand to reason that a professional military force would stand to protect it beyond mere militia from the inhabitants. A family like House Dahl'Arak that will protect the colony out of their own pocket might well give the State an incentive to turn a blind eye to the Dahl'Arak mercenaries?
It is known that the Negeémi State awards certain acolyte houses with important real estate in a quasi nobility way that helps such a house become a great house. House Dahl'Arak would seem to have been given the Depths of Arak as their seat. The town does represent their origin as a great house, and is the original source of their great wealth.