Beneath the rolling sands of the east, lie the underground cities of Sandfell and Stoneholm. Home to the Asharaum people, Sandfell and Stoneholm are sprawling cities hewn from sand and stone. Full of life and lit brightly by torch and bioluminescent flora and fauna grown naturally in their homes and farms. Their cultures mostly stay to themselves, prefering to be solitary and out of sight.
Stoneholm is the younger and larger of the two cities, spreading it's deep seated roots south.
The Twin Elder council rules over the city of Stoneholm, creating and enforcing the laws as they see fit. Each council has 3 leaders in it, One is a bishop, one is a merchant or craftsman, and one is a soldier. Both councils meet separately daily and convene together once a month to discuss both cities and their needs. In Stoneholm the Merchant leads the council.
Being built underground, with 4ft thick walls, they are arguably the most safe of all the settlements in the world. Though of the two, Stoneholm is arguably better defended, with walls and carefully constructed arrow slits, well stocked guard posts, and hallways no greater than one cart's thickness, it is a variable stronghold.
The Asharaum of Stoneholm are master smiths, known throughout the more recent ages as crafters of the mightiest weapons, armors, and tools of the recent age. Their city is built atop an ancient lava tube that was once filled with water, with ores abounding, those who do not create masterpieces hunt for the fuel and material to create those masterpieces as miners.
The cities are built in nearly vertical tiers that are serviced by a series of elevator systems that move people and cargo from "Merchant's alley and Arnor's square" to "Darkdeep"