The Valley of the Black Ones Geographic Location in The True Dark Ages | World Anvil

The Valley of the Black Ones

To the south between Salzburg and Eschbach is a valley. This valley has the name Valley of the Black Ones, a cursed place where the Underdark inhabitants have made a name for themselves.


This dismal valley lies in the northern Alps and is wide enough for three men to walk down abreast. Steep sides keep the best and worst of the weather from penetrating down in. Constantly in twilight during the day and slightly darker during the night. It was carved out by a thin glacier in millennia past with a river below it at one stage. Gone now, the valley is quite dry.


Little plant life except the hardiest of plants live there, and the odd vermin & wandering animals appear here. There are traces of water constantly due to mist / fog getting in, or water running off the mountains. There is a Black Elf community of about 30 individuals here, mostly small families.   Lichens, mushrooms and the hardier fruits make up the diet of many here, along with the odd goat or sheep that wanders in. Insects are especially common and there is an abundance of spiders due to the Black Elves. Birds are common due to how sheer the sides are

Ecosystem Cycles

Running the full gamut of the four season, it has to be said that the valley has a constant cool atmosphere. Winds blow down it ranging from frigid to lukewarm, and with the sun barely reaching the bottom it stays that temperature all year long.

Localized Phenomena

Winds are common, and slight flooding occur regularly. The majority of the lower level of the valley is constantly in shadows to greater or lesser degree. There is a slight magical feel to this and it's hinted that the locals are partially responsible for all the phenomena.


The climate is described as cool & slightly damp all year round with slight warm spots here and there.

Fauna & Flora

The odd fir tree, some grasses, lichen & moss are very common here up and down the sides of the valley walls where they can get a foothold, and are relatively unharmed by animals or rockfalls. Goats and the odd stray sheep are found either deep in the valley or has victims of falling in. It is said that the Black Elves know 101 dishes or ways to prepare these animals for their dinner.   Birds such as crows, hawks, ravens, and the odd gull, all make their nests high in the walls but deep enough not to be disturbed by anything than the odd persistent hunter. The odd bear wanders in at times usually at either end, as well as the odd fox & small pack of wolves. Rarer still is the mythical Yeti, though none has been seen in and around here in a number of years.   Vermin are common though at least at the bottom of the valley. Annelids (earthworms especially), along with flies, some rats, mice and other annoying insects are found here. Saying this there is one type of vermin the Black Elves  always welcome here, and have even introduced some of their own kind, and that is spiders. Many different kinds have been found in & around here, and some are big enough to be rode like a mount. The Black Elves do their best to keep them from escaping though the odd one makes it out causing havoc in surrounding areas.

Natural Resources

The spiders are main resource found in the valley. Along with these, any item produced by Black Elf society will appear at some stage for barter from them, usually at extortionate prices. Stone, spider silk & spider poison, metal ore & gems, are all retrieved and bought & sold at the merchant halls that are built into the valley's ends.


The valley of the Black Ones has been in existence for millennia. Originally carved out of the northern Alps by the movement of a glacier and a stream / small river below it, it eventually dried out when the planet started heating up again. Down at the bottom, plants that could tolerate lower light levels eventually sprung up dotting it here and there, and animals started to make their way in. Some though fell in over time rotting down and adding to the soil.   Eventually people came. Not humans but the Black Elves, tunnelling up from the Underdark, they chanced upon caves that dot the inside of the valley. Most were not that bothered with the valley as nothing much of interest were to be found there so the majority left back to the Underdark. A few remained with their families who still act as a rearguard in the eventuality that others would try to use this to access the Black Elf territory. Over time quite a large contingent remains though deeper into the rock than actually in the valley itself. Those that remain are usually cut off and classed as troublemakers by the hierarchy, and a few are sent there as a form of minor punishment while still able to remain part of Black Elf society.   Over time others came to the region, the Gnomes and the Halflings first, who generally ignored the valley as there was little to interest these peoples. Then humans came, and the Black Elves started to take interest. It came to a head when the Celtic peoples passed through and brought their enemies with them, especially the Orcs. Fearing they may be attacked, the Black Elves reached out with a potential bargain, one the local peoples agreed to. Any enemy of the local tribes & clans could be handed over to the Black Elves, who would take them as slaves in place of the locals. This is still in place today even if the peoples have changed. The Germanic tribes have learned of this and follow the same procedures where possible, as the Romans & Celts before them, and the Dwarves that have arrived, avoid mining in the region around the valley.    The Black Elves themselves keep to the valley and will happily kill any who show up in the valley without permission, carrying out a barter or payment system to both slavers & merchants at the ends of the valley. They have a tradition of hiring themselves & their spiders out as mercenaries to nearby peoples as long as they get to take a few slaves willingly or not, and a share of the loot & essentials like food & equipment. They also import many food items along with exporting spider silk & spider poisons too to anyone interested, and no questions asked. At present they also have connections to the Assassins Guild of Frankia and a good few of their number has served in this organisation over the years.
"Been there the once Kulug. Dangerous place indeed, and you might need a few favours called in to watch your back. Though saying that, if you go through myself or one of the merchants that go there, you might pick up some rather potent poison. The spiders those Black Elves 'milk' for that can be dangerous. Some as big as either one of us, some so small they can barely be seen, but all deadly. And those Black Elves, even more mercurial than the High Elves or Wood Elves, and that's saying something.    Strange crowd but better not provoke them. last thing we need is them spilling out there and acting as buffer between east & west of the Empire. I know they have their own problems with elements in their own 'camp' trying to grab power but it wouldn't take much for them to unite and attack us surface dwellers. Just hope they will deal with you and not size you up for a slave or worse."   Merchant Aldric Richmond of Wien talking to Kulug Jocki in the city of Wien.
Location under
Ruling/Owning Rank
Owning Organization

Cover image: by Colonel 101


Please Login in order to comment!