Sivaraus is the Davrin Elf city ruled by the Valsharess and claims the entirety of the largest known open space in the Deepearth called the Great Cavern. It is well-defended with only 2 main gates of large size, though there are smaller tunnels both naturally formed and created. Cave-ins and sabatoge altering access to the Great Cavern are regular occurrences.
Geology and Resources
The Great Cavern containing Sivaraus is a massive open space with a ceiling high enough to be invisible to its inhabitants. Its footprint forms a perimeter that would take eight cycles to walk on foot without stopping, and four cycles to walk the diameter. Stalactites and stalagmites are commonly used for wayfinding along the roads, which vary from being smooth and maintained to rough and rocky trails.
Water springs exist within the rock beneath the Great Cavern and around the entire perimeter. The Fringe and Palace-Sanctuary areas both have ubiquitous sources of water, while the centering Houses need to find and defend wells and self-feeding pools. There is a widely varied mix of barren stone and "hills" formed from rockfalls long ago and soil/silt build-up over flat areas that allow forms of underground farming and pastures for keeping livestock, though they are not as productive as similar-sized plots on the Surface.
On a "bird's eye" map of Sivaraus, the wealthiest area takes up the eastern third of the Great Cavern. Easily recognized are the Palace-Sanctuary complex surrounded by the well-maintained city market, top five Houses, and a spread of farmland that specifically feeds them. Nearby is the Wizard's Tower (a massive stalactite and stalagmite which formed together to create a solid column of stone from floor to ceiling), and the hidden Red Sister's Cloister.
The poorest area is on the opposite western end of the Cavern, known vaguely and largely as The Fringe. House plantations collapse and reform more frequently than the Palace center, the roads are in rougher shape, with the largest attention and source of work going toward defending Fringe Gate, one of two main entrance/exits to Sivaraus. Fringe Gate leads toward a more hostile wilderness area frequently contested with the Tragar and is considered more a liability than a resource, since exploration has not gone beyond the Tragar Stronghold.
The Cavern's center is a mix of rough patches and cultured plantations, with somewhat better roads and a feeling of privacy more than desolation. To the north is a quiet area with little trouble seen (near Cloister) and to the south is Mid Wall, the well-protected, near-impenetrable stopgap between them and the activities of Low Gate, the city's main gate where "Deep Traders" largely move in and out of Sivaraus. Low Gate leads to more resourceful locations and races either willing to trade, pay tribute to the Valsharess, or provide opportunities to capture slaves.
Through Low Gate and heading into the Deep tunnels, the Davrin are in competition with the nearest Elder Mind of thefor thralls. There are also tales of the den of the Black Dragon in this direction as well as other whispers of legend. Explorations have gone far in this direction but records beyond hearsay or direct experiences of the Deep Traders are not available to the public.
History & Culture
Davrin Nobility, headed by one Matron of each House, has a relative status that is directly linked to the frequency of mageborn Elves and the amount of wealth and resource the House can provide to the Palace and Sanctuary. Currently, there are twenty-four recognized House names.
The top five Houses obtained the earliest favor developing magical tools and maintaining the order of the city merchant center. They are given preference in many aspects of those resources, be it more choice in how their mages are trained and used, and how beneficial their trade and political agreements are, particularly with Deep Trade and Queen-granted fruits of the Sanctuary and Wizard's Tower. This is a self-feeding cycle for the top Houses, which have rarely changed their position in the last two thousand years. The gender roles are strictly enforced, with no male Davrin being allowed a position of power, with the exception of the Headmaster of the Wizard's Tower, chosen by the Valsharess.
The "middling" Houses bear fewer mages but hold dominion over the central physical resources of the Cavern itself. They compete largely with each other and shift positions regularly, but never by more than a few slots. They are largely responsible for organizing the food supply by any and many means. The gender roles are frequently enforced, although there have been times a Matron has filled an important position with a male Davrin capable of doing the job.
The lowest Houses have neither the mages nor the physical resources of the higher Houses and are largely responsible for providing a fighting force for the Great Cavern. The Valsharess's Army is dead-center between the Fringe and Low Gate, and the most common livelihood for this sector would be a soldier or a Deep Trader. The gender roles break down more frequently among these Houses, where a shrewd and effective Davrin could gain influence regardless of sex. However, a male would never be invited to Court or allowed to make much headway with a Matron or Noble outside of their circle.