Uth Necros and the Valley of the Dead
Uth Necros, the City of the Dead, lies in the salt-poisoned deserts of the Valley of the Dead. It is said that the city, fashioned of obsidian, onyx and polished granite like a tomb, lies half-concealed in the bone-white sands like the remains of a poorly buried corpse. No living being has beheld it and survived for longer than memory can tell. This ancient, sinister place is built in the same Cyclopaen manner as the feared Ziggurat of Uth Nagor and the dreaded House of Dusk, home of the despised Liche King Bel-Sharoth and the whispered-of Towers of Art. All of these places date back at the very least to the Age of Dust and as far as records show none has ever been populated by the living.
Uth Necros is a necropolis where only the dead walk freely. Across the deathly still desert that spans the rest of the entire valley floor not a single living creature moves. No animals, not even the lowliest insect, will set foot or fly near it. Even dragons give the valley a wide berth.
The only beings foolhardy enough to dare enter this sacred place of the dead have been the so-called ‘civilised’ races of elves and of men. Geographically, the Forbidden Valley is the only easy passage from the northern lands through to the kingdom of Nerat; all other routes involve perilous journeys across the icy passes of the Witch Mountains to the west and the titanous Dragon Mountains to the east or the dangerous pirate and monster-infested coastal route by ship. Hence armies have attempted to cleanse the valley of the undead to forge a road through it. In the most successful attempt, made by elves before their race was shattered into three, they actually fought their way into Uth Necros. From then on the stories vary, some say they entered the vast black temple there and angered Ra-Sep-Re-Tay so much that the Lord of the Spirit World appeared himself and destroyed them. Other tales say that when the temple doors were opened the Elven general found himself face-to-face with the Necrophage Ymmu who unsealed the Death Gate, the gateway to the Spirit World within the temple so that almost the entire army was drawn through to their doom. The few survivors, who had run at the first sign of vengeance from beyond the Veil, were found completely mad and so the reports were pieced together from their insane ramblings. None of them lived very long after.
As mentioned above, at the heart of the city lies a temple. It is the entrance to a labyrinth filled with lethal traps and guarded by summoned daemons. At the end of the labyrinth stand an enormous set of doors formed of solid platinum and guarded with the most dreadful of magical wards. Beyond these is a vast cavern, lit by the strange aura of an underground lake, its blue waters crystal clear and possessing the ability to heal and rumoured even to bring the dead back to life. In the centre of the lake is an island upon which sits a temple of pure diamond that contains an enormous staircase leading down. Legend conflicts greatly over where this leads: some say into hell, others say into a place of wonders the gods wanted to protect so badly they put the entrance in this terrible place but one thing they all concur is that the staircase is guarded by an ancient dracoliche by the name of Apollyon, an evil beyond which none have journeyed..