An inhabitant of V'Elddrins was called V'Elddriner
V'Elddrins of the Thirteen Cities
After the fall of the Empire of Drow around the 12.000 b.a.H, many of the survivors escaped to the underwolrd of Kazrrad, which had been previously discovered and partially explored by the drow, who thought of it as a natural, yet unnatural refuge.
For about one thousand years, the drow will struggle in the underworld, around some of the old drow cities that were founded before the collapse of the Empire of Drow, but as well in new settlements: weak lights of civilization, that twinkled in the darkness, many being consumed and a few, thriving:
these cities that will thrive, continuing the drow civilization, but refounded now underground, were known as the Thirteen Cities, being one of the last of the first thirteen cities of the drows, V'Elddrins.
In the mythological accounts of V'Elddrins, the city was founded by Eldrinne, Priestess of the Spider Goddess of Lolh, who having a revelation of the most glorious temple to the grace of Lolh will be standing in an island, in the middle of a sea that had never seen the sun or the moon, where the giant spiders lived. Eldrinne sent scouts all over the known and unknown Kazrrad of that time, looking for the island of her revelation, until after a long, exhaustive search, was found an island in the middle of a lake, where the kin of Lolh lived -the Giant Spiders of Kazrrad. There, Eldrinne with her acolytes of Lolh, will found the city and the Temple for their goddess.
However, archeological accounts seems to suggets instead that long before the Temple and the foundation of the city, the island had been used by drow hunter-gatherers and later fishermen and algae collectors who lived from the resources of the moonless great lake, the island providing protection against agression, growing a rather inordinate and dense village, later organized by a trading class, who organized as well public buildings as the walls, and later, the temple, which probably was dedicated to pre-Lolhian drow deities instead, as suggested for some of the early V'Eldrinner artistical representations of the drow Lolhithe pantheon and some V'Eldrinner myths.
The Lolh clergy, in an alliance with the plutocrats to legitimize their rule -a familiar alliance, as there was often an identification between the members of the clergy and of the plutocratic families- will come to serve as a government, while the most important families of the merchants came to be houses, as the city expanded and attracted immigrants, to the point of covering all the island in the Moonless Lake.
V'Elddrins will enter in the War of the 13 cities in the coalition of the twelve cities against Llurth-Negeél, between the 9.500 to the 8.500 b.a.H, being sieged the city in several occasions by the Negeél, sacked in two occasions by the enemy armies and once in a traumatc event around the 8.700 b.a.H, when the mercenary and allied armies, hired to defend the city, sacked it, causing great destruction and bloodshed in the houses and Temples of V'Eldrinns: afterwards during the war, the V'Eldrinner will fire their mercenaries and keep to themselves within their walls.
The War of the 13 cities ended basically in a stalemate, as Llurth-Negeél was able to turn several of their former enemies into allies, associates and vassals:
However, as religious tensions arose between the Lolhite cults and the other drow religions, the Cult of Lolh will serve as a rally point, being formed a confederation of drow cities that worshipped Lolh in which V'Elddrins took part
This confederation will launch the War of the Holy Spider, a holy war against the infidels, defeating, destroying or converting the non-believers -and one of their main strongholds, Llurth-Negeél by about the time period of 7.000 b.a.H.
After the War of the Holy Spider, will begin the so called Age of the Spider between the 7.000 to the 4.000 b.a.H, where the former confederated lolhlithe cities will fight each other for the spoils and influence, and for long time, the drow dedicated to fight each other: meanwhile some philosophers speak about the imminent extinction of the drow by drow hand, Manzarraza was the more powerful city state between the 7.000 to the 4.000 b.a.H, and to keep that status, they were in a permanent cycle of wars. V'Elddrins, as the other drow cities, was involved in this spiral of violence.
However, this age of fratricidal war will come to an end, with the rise of Erehel-Sinu as new hegemonic drow city from the 4.000 b.a.H to the 1.000 a.a.H. The hegemony of Erehel-Sinu, while it wasn’t precisely an age of peace, but after that, the Age of the Spider will be remembered as chaos, and in this moment will be that the cult of Lolh will be seen as evil or demonic by other drow and non-drow religions.
V'Elddrins, during the hegemony of Erehel-Sinu tried several, different strategies: to compete, to form coalitions with other drow cities against Erehel-Sinu, to support rebels and factions in civil wars, to be trade partners, associated, allied and sometimes vassal, to rebel and to marry with the main families of the hegemonic power: the complicated, ritualized dance that will be always drow politics.
A point of permanent tension will be the more liberal position of Erehel-Sinu regarding non-Lolhlithe cults, that clashed with the more traditionalist views of the clergy of Lolh that ruled V'Elddrins.
Rise and Fall of V'Elddrins
For moments during the Erehel-Sinu hegemony, V'Elddrins will be able to rise up to be a contender for this hegemony, as the rich trading city expanded to become one of the most populous cities of central Kazrrad of his time:
the catastrophes and cataclysms that come along with the Apparition of Humanity, between the 1 a.a.H to the 100 a.a.H, while it will devastate some regions of Kazrrad, forcing migrations and a crisis of the established system, will be at first be positive for V'Elddrins, who received an influx of immigration that boosted their power:
However, soon internal tensions will rise with a population that grew too quick in a short time, between the natives of V'Elddrins and the immigrants while in the borders of their underground empire was heard rumors of invasions, hunger and chaos.
The V'Elddrins prepared for war: to repel possible foreign invaders, reinforcing their walls and fortifications, but as well to launch an opportunist war against Erehel-Sinu, that was perceived weak as it was struggling by the 400s against their rebel colonies claiming independence (Ched'Nasan by the 400 a.a.H, and later, Negeémiliel at the 480).
However by the 467, while they were supporting the Nasani in their war against Erehel-Sinu, the Great Plague struck:
After the arrival of the first human slaves, aquired from raiding parties of the surface, began to run a disease. Used to ignore the diseases of "monsters" that didn't affect the drow, and with a city in need of a workforce due to the war with Erehel-Sinu, the sick human slaves were brought nevertheless inside the walled city in the island:
But soon, the drow and elven slaves will contract the disease, that began to run out of control. The slavers' camps outside of the city -and the refugees' camps and settlements around the Moonless Lake- were hit hard by the Plague.
The Clergy of Lolh, ruling the city, claimed that it was a punishment of their goddess, for bringing godless humans to the sacred city, ordered the sacrifice of all the human slaves: but this didn't stop the Plague. The sick light elven and drow slaves were then either sacrificed as well or expelled from the city, being exiled from within the walls as well all the drow to show symptoms of the disease.
Once that was done, the Clergy ordered to cut down all the bridges of the city, sinking the boats and closing as well the gates to keep the disease out of the walls:
But while the sick had been expelled, the Curse of the Doroz still was over the city:
No accounts are left of these tragic days from the city, but only from records of the surrounding camps of refugees who lingered by the shores of the Moonless Lake, before escaping from the doomed city. From the shores of the lake, was seen fire, and heard fighting and riots... but mostly, what came from the city was silence, and as the lights of the city went off, one after other, only darkness.
It's unknown if some people was able to escape the city, trying to swim across the cold waters of the Moonless lake. Less, if they survived that.
With V'Elddrins silent and cursed by the Great Plague and the region of the Moonless Lake whipped by the disease, the surviving population dispersed: only in the V'Elddriner colonies and in the armies fighting the Erehel, will be kept a memory of the rule of the city, existing a continuation of the State of V'Elddrins, but not anymore of the city:
A state formed by a coalition of weakened, leaderless and barely populated colonies, abandoned by a scared population who thought the Scourge of the Doroz Curse was unleashed by a vengenful goddess.
The shores of the Moonless lake will be abandoned by drow, as the cursed, unexplored ruins of the city, and will remain so as a graveyard for over a decade...
The Ruins of V'Elddrins and the Daughters of Eldrinne
But despise of the Curse, the Moonless Lake and the island was a strategic position in the Underworld of Kazrrad, and the food that could be produced in the icy waters of the Moonless Lake weren't to be despised:
And so, dwarven adventurers from the Mines of Nortunk occupied, practically unopposed, the shores of the Moonless Lake and, carefully, the ruins of the damned drow city.
For about 80 years, the Dwarf Fortress of the Moonless Lake thrived, until it was destroyed by the loose confederation of smaller drow cities, the Daughters of Eldrinne -alliance of the former colonies of V'Elddrins-, which considering to be sinful the usurpation of the -now sacred- ruins of V'Elddrins, attacked the dwarven Fortress. While succesful in expelling the dwarves at the 564 a.a.H, they didn't attempted to occupy the ruins were it was said to still inhabit the curse.
For the next century and half, the ruins will see only sporadic settlements, while in the shores of the Moonless lake often settled down -and later clashed- several underworld communities, with periodical attacks of the Daughters of Eldrinne on the non-drow settlements to repel them of their holy grounds. Due the continuous skirmishes around the city, there wasn't further attempts of other races -or the drow- to resettle in the ruins, exception be made of some monsters, ogres and trolls.
However around the 690 - 700 a.a.H, escaped drow slaves began to use the ruins of V'Elddrins as a safe haven: when this was fianlly discovered by some of the Houses of the Daughters of Eldrinne and their first reacting was tha once more time the burial grounds of their ancestors where being bedraggled by the wicked, some voices ordered to reconsider to crush the escaped slaves and to hold the hands of the slavers, to see if the ruins of V'Elddrins where still haunted by the Curse of the Doroz.
By the 714 a.a.H, when had become apparent that the settlement of escaped drow and deep elven slaves thrived, the Daughters of Eldrinne decided to act:
First, they attacked the ruins of V'Elddrins, enslaving all the escaped slaves, but to use them for an ambitious proyect: to refound the City.
Refoundation of V'Elddrins
The ruins where slowly re-occupied and reclaimed. Many still feared the Curse, and only slowly more drows will settle along the ruins, reclaiming once more time, one by one, the ancient buildings. The bridges over the Moonless lake where repaired, along with the walls.
While traditionally a teocracy ruled by the Clergy of Lolh, as the Daughters of Eldrinne refounded the city, the Founding Mothers will gain a political and moral dominance over the city, with the later instituted houses that will follow. The Lolhithian clergy will continue to exist and important role, but lost the protagonism it had in ancient V'Elddrins.
By the age of The Warring States of the Drow, between the 1.000 to the 1.700 a.a.H, V'Elddrins was considered once more time, not a defunct city with some remnants of the former glory clinging to the past and glorious ruins, but again a city-state drow power in it's own, competing with the other drow cities of central and south Kazrrad.
During the Apparition of Demons, will began to appear in V'Elddrins demonic cults, an event first resisted by the Lolhithian clergy, it was first accepted and then tolerated by the Houses of the Founding Mothers. Gradually, these cults will gain in importance.
With the rise of the Negeémiliel hegemony in a leading role of the Drow since the 1.700 a.a.H, V'Elddrins will struggle to keep themselves out of the sphere of Influence of Negeémiliel: to achieve that, they made closer bounds with the demon lords and the Dark Legion, which was possible due the presence of several demonic cults in V'Elddrins.
This relation will develope trading relations and an economic expansion of the city of the Moonless Lake. Due this trade, being less contricted by the Cult of Lolh as they lost their dominance, the city became more outward looking, settling and thriving a large non-drow population among the walls of the old city, as the drow neighborhoods hadn't reached the size of the ancient state.
During the First War of the Power (2.203-2.223 a.a.H), while they relation with the Dark legion will be damaged because of the demon-negeémi drow politics -the demons basically promising to the ruler -and later Queen- of Negeémiliel an unification of Drow under her command, the V'Elddrins will continue to fight along the Dark Legion of demons until the end of the war:
However, the demonic defeat and the siege, sack and destruction of the demonic city of Satman, the Unholy Mountain of Hortann will mean the loss of their most important trading partner and a brutal economic recession:
The weakness of V'Eldrinns will be used for their more powerful Negeémi drow and Nortunk dwarven enemies to prey on their spheres of influences, greatly reducing the territory controlled by V'Elddrins.
With the Second Dark Age and the return of the demons, again V'Elddrins will see an expansion of their economy, as once more time trade relations with the demons reasumed.
V'Elddrins and the Cataclysm
Before the Great Plague -the Curse of the Doroz- hit the city, it was one of the most populous cities of central Kazrrad: however, it would never return to its former glory.
The city was around 35.000 drow during the Middle Human Age of Hegemony, meanwhile the total population of the City-State territories, cities, settlements and colonies was about 212.000.
Aside of the drow population, after its refoundation and due to trade it become more outward looking, and had a large and thriving non-drow population, with many races and species walking the streets of V'Elddrins, having the refounded V'Elddrins a total population of about 70,000 inhabitants by the beginning of the Second Dark Age, between 35,000 drow and around 35,000 non-drow.
Key to the economic development of V'Elddrins was the Moonless lake with his cold waters, that served greatly to produce the always scarce food in the Underworld, with algae farms, fishing and pisciculture. The presence of this body of water full of life as well provided a place for the development of diverse habitat for underworld creatures that the drow will hunt. There would be as well later the rising of some surface cattle, using as base for their alimentation algae.
Aside of the important food production, there was some important mines, and later some V'Elddrins blacksmyths will be of renown.
In their trade relation with the Dark Legion, they will provide arcane magical objects, luxury items, poisons, metal bars, weapons and different kinds of underworld food in exchange of surface food, slaves, wood, and luxury surface items.
With the later boom of the Spidersilk trade, V'Elddrins will try to jump to the cart, but in general they textiles where seen in the markets of Kazrrad as inferior to the Negeémi and southern Kazrrad textiles, so often they will either sell to the Mazalean drows, less refined in their tastes, or sell the spidersilk as raw material to Negeémi looms.
Government and Politics
For long, V'Eldrinns was ruled by a collection of Houses, organized in the Council of the Matrons of the top eight Houses. While directly ruled by the most powerful houses, for long both V'Eldrinns and the Houses were dominated by the clergy of Lolh.
During the later Middle Human age, surface involvement in the surface had become quite common among some of the more important Houses and Clans, mostly as trading ventures.
V'Elddrins kept a small standing military of 1.500 warriors in three regiments of 500 warriors of each, but as well in case of emergency, the Houses had considerable private armies that could rush to defend the city: but this meant a chronic weakness of V'Elddrins to wage offensive wars.
The city's army was largely composed of House Troops of the Eight Houses which served in rotation.
V'Elddrins drows operate in patrols of 8 drows, which could be divided into four warriors, one scout, one priestess or sorceress and a patrol commander.
Cult of Lolh
Cult of the Demons