The Grey Tower
The Grey Tower is, in fact, neither grey nor a tower, but the other five Towers weren’t too concerned with what their smallest neighbor wanted to call itself. Built of iron-laced red stone, the Tower is housed in a compound of nearly forty buildings, none of which are any kind of tower. The lands it controls, however, are rather grey and dreary places, and so the name has stuck.
The Grey Tower is a democracy; or at least, it attempts to be. Nonetheless, it has a Lord, after a fashion, in Councilor Kiriss, a woman whose efforts to convince people to come up with their own ideas instead of relying on her have met major psychological stumbling blocks. The Grey Tower has relatively few people, and while on the outside they seem to be divided into arguing political factions, most of their arguments are quite trivial; on most major questions, they look to Kiriss for answers. The Grey Tower is nearest to the Veshadiin ruins, and many humans suspect they still survive because of stolen technology. This is only partially true; while the Veshadiin technology has allowed them to keep pace with their more innovative opponents, their true advantage is in allies they borrowed from the same source.
The Nightfist Caves
So named for the last ruling clan of the Veshadiin, these caves are home to the last remnants of their power: the shatterstone spiders. The size of a large horse at birth, the largest of these spiders can lift Remeran Men’o’war in their jaws, and they have kept the Grey Tower safe from the other elves for much of the two and half millennia since the Fall. The shatterstone spiders take their name from the ability to shatter rock faces without actually applying a great deal of force – though even mid-sized ones are capable of doing by brute strength as well. This is one of their primary methods of harvesting food: The spiders are lithovores, although they have also been known to devour trees when stone is unavailable.
The spiders have thick fur covering them, and the fur patterns to match the stone in the caverns they are hatched in. For this reason, the spider will usually try to hatch their young in caverns with veins of colored stone or metallic ores; the oldest spiders have even been known to alter stone to the desired type through powerful magic. The discovery of this alteration ability has allowed the Grey Tower access to enormous quantities of valuable stone and metal that its resource-poor lands would otherwise be unable to provide.
The spiders are also Councilor Kiriss’ last hope for true democracy. After extensive study she has found that prolonged exposure to and conversation with the spiders seems to substantially increase the Grey elves tendencies towards independent thinking. She is not yet sure why; the spiders are, themselves, community and family oriented, though they are known to work towards more efficient solutions wherever possible. Nonetheless, the red-coated Miners and the green-and-gold coated Spiderkin factions are the only political groups in the Grey Tower that occasionally speak up against her ideas and plans, and she has begun trying to maneuver them into power in the hopes that their current agenda – requiring all elves to spend some time assisting the shatterstone spiders – might just turn her people into free-thinkers.