Valley Gale Keep
Valley Gale Keep is an imposing fortress situated on a promontory of rock in the middle of Stormreaver Valley. It is surrounded by the city of Arindell, the capitol of the Alliance. The city and Keep were established by Eieber at the beginning of the Golden Age, to create a highly defensible seat of central power for the Alliance.
Though the city and castle were not completed in his lifetime, his grandiose plan was eventually made real.
Original Design and Structure
The Stormreaver Valley is bisected by the Mourn River, which makes a loop around an impressive prominatory of solid stone. This high stone point, surrounded on three sides by water, was deemed a "highly defensible" position, and selected by Eieber as the location for his fortress. At the heart of this mountain lies a megalithic structure called The Enclave, which houses the Slayer Dragons.
The original Keep was a primarily functional structure, with battlements and store rooms. It had a few grand audience chambers and meeting halls, but its main function was as a fortress. As time passed, the site was added on to and expanded, until the original prominatory was completely obscured. The Keep had morphed slowly from a fortress into a grand palace, a training ground, and a school.
By the mid Golden Age, Valley Gale Keep had begun to resemble the form it would hold for much of the Alliance era. This was of a megadstructure, a stepped ediface of terraces and hanging gardens above massive halls open to the air.
Little about the exterior structure was changed over the Ages of the Alliance. The modernization of the Keep was a serious challenge. While it had plumbing from the first, and light in interior spaces was largely provided by Everbright Crystals, attempts to add electricity and central heating were challenging at best.
Numerous statues were added to the exterior, along with staircases and access routes. Fire safety was a huge concern in the Second Age, but it was quickly realized that most of the structure was stone, and the most obvious source of ignition, light sources, were a non-issue.
During the early Fourth Age, the first serious attempt was made to modernize the structure. Most of the government services it had been designed to house had long ago outgrown the spaces reserved for them, and moved to structures outside the walls. The first part of the restoration involved moving everything else out, then performing an exhaustive survey of the site.
Herbet Patric Galactis, even then writing the Accepted Histories, was a consultant on the project. It gave him the opportunity to enter many long-sealed spaces and otherwise non-public areas, and he later recounted it was one of the greatest experiences of his life. The entire survey took over ten years to complete.
Arindell sits in a region not prone to earthquakes, but they do happen. During the Fourth Age survey, major effort was given towards checking the structural soundness of the building. At that point, the nearly three-millennia-old structure was found to be "incredibly sound" with engineering principles thought not to exist at the time of construction. Only a few of the later additions, pieces added between the mid Golden Age and the Second Age, were found to be problematic, though most of these could be reconstructed or reinforced, despite millennia of water damage and several trees having grown and died inside.
The Fourth Age modernization added electricity, improved the plumbing, and added the first data and phone lines. A lot of thought was given at the time to how the revitalized structure could continue to be upgraded and maintained. Heating was still a huge issue.
At the end of the Age of the Dragon, the building was razed along with the rest of the city. Several large structures nearby were deliberately collapsed against it in order to make the fortress proper more difficult to access.
During the Long Night, the remnants of Arindell along with the Keep were slowly buried by wind-blown dirt.
In the New Day, the Keep and most of the city were rediscovered.