The Founding of Ul-Solaria
A Brief History of Ul-Solaria: The City of Towers
(excerpted from Brenjan Mol’s History of the Redoubt Cities)
Many who have seen our wondrous city, its mile-high towers glimmering in the sun and visible for miles across the surrounding plains, wonder at how such a marvel could be created by the so-called ‘lesser races’ who inhabit the lands of the 5th Age. In many respects, it is only because of the magics used by the First Ones that make this feat of engineering possible, although the Aelfin and even the Dhakaani certainly play their part. In fact, Ul-Solaria has been built and destroyed many times over the centuries and each race that has inhabited have left their mark upon it, even if it is deep in the earth in shattered ruins covered by layers of later construction.
The history of our fair city begins with the First Ones who for reasons known only to them decided to create a miles-wide volcano on the coast of the Southern Sea. Using their long-forgotten magics they then sealed this boiling cauldron of molten rock in a cap of magically strengthened black basalt and created the same tunnels and chambers through it that are still in use today. In fact, the entire crater rim is made of this rock and no known method of burrowing through it still exists. They also created the strange brass-and-gold machines which still provide us with our water and power the forges we use to this day to fight the surrounding mists. The fact that these strange magical engines are functioning after tens of thousands of years is testament to the might and knowledge of the First Ones, and one of the very few examples of their magical prowess that still work. In addition, air magics seem strangely empowered in the area so that magical flight of all types is easier here than elsewhere in Umbraelis, a fact which is doubly useful when constructing a city of huge towers. Whatever settlement or fortress the First Ones created on top of this mountain was destroyed during the Doom with energies so powerful that they cracked the entire top of the volcano into the various plateaus that we still see today. Little remains of the original settlement (not even its name) although it surely must have been very large and important to merit the amount of work that was obviously put in to it.
The next people to inhabit this area were the Aelfin, or more precisely the Aelfin matriarchy of ap Sinaviel who created their glass fortress-city atop the central plateau. The city-state of Sinaviel-Vex lasted thousands of years until a huge force of Hi-Gorreki and Ogrus besieged it for over a decade during the First War. These fierce warriors methodically destroyed the defenses of Sinaviel-Vex until naught remained but shattered glass, and then they stormed the city and slew all within. You can still see the flame-scarred remnants of the Aelfin city in the various blocks of glassy blue-black stone that is used in some of the older constructions of the city; obviously these have been scavenged from ruins found far below the current city, well within the Shattered Levels.
After their victory over the Aelfin and their former allies amongst the Servant Races, the Hi-Gorreki built their infamous brass-and-obsidian city of Dhar’Ghuul on top of the ruins of Sinaviel-Vex and in fact the strongly built walls of this citadel form the foundations of most of the towers which you see today. The dwarven miner-clans and human berserker tribes which eventually took and burnt the city, which had been much diminished by over thirty sieges and various slave revolts over the years until it was only a ruined shadow of its former glory, promptly realized the benefits of settling in the area and began building the city you see today. Ul-Solaria means ‘Victory of the Sun Folk’ in ancient Magrannik—the language of the main tribe of humans which settled the ruins after the overthrow of the Dhakaani Imperium.
The Great Devouring had surprisingly little impact on Ul-Solaria, possibly because of the protection afforded to it by `its magical foundations and the great lake of fire on which it rests, although the Warding Wall was constructed around the perimeter of the caldera to enclose the city and prevent the Changed Ones from infiltrating the towers. If anything, the mists have caused Ul-Solaria to soar ever upwards as the Warding Wall constricts the city to a set, protected area so any new construction must be skywards as there is no more room on the ground. The towers of Ul-Solaria, thanks the magical construction techniques perfected by the local gnomish and dwarvish clans, now reach almost a mile into the air and show no signs of stopping (although the pace has slowed somewhat from the frantic building that characterized the decades after the Great Devouring). The history of Ul-Solaria is rich in both victory and defeat, and we would be well advised to remember that the foundations of our shining towers rest on the bones of the previous cities that make up the Shattered Levels.