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The Sunless Depths are located beneath the town of Lomaa in Ossium. Custodianship of the Sunless Depths grants an Imperial title; a seat on the Imperial Bourse; and a seasonal bounty of valuable mithril. They were originally called the Crawling Depths, and some locals still refer to them as such, but the Imperial Senate mandated a change to their name to the Vale of the Sunless Depths during the Winter Solstice 384YE. The name has not really caught on outside of civil service paperwork, with the argument being that a mine underneath a town is not a vale. Most people refer to it only as the Sunless Depths.

The Resource

The Sunless Caves were seized during the joint Dawn and Varushka conquest of the Druj territory of Ossium in Autumn 382YE. It is a vast mithril mine that lies below the crudely defended town of Lomaa, a testament to Druj cruelty and their embrace of fear and misery. At first commanders assumed the local name - the Crawling Depths - was just typical Druj melodramatics, but they soon discovered that the name was very literal. This was not a mine in the sense that any Imperial citizen would understand, and no Imperial miner would deign to work it.

Rather than take the time to cut out wide shafts, supported by thick timbers, the Druj had cut hundreds of twisting passages deep underground that stretch for miles in some cases, but are rarely tall enough for a person to rise from their hands and knees. There are long stretches where the passages are so narrow that it is impossible to turn around. Only where the mithril deposits are found was any serious excavation attempted - and then only enough to get the precious metal. There was little attempt to shore up workings, and safety was clearly not a consideration for anyone. The skilled miners of Moresvah who examined the mines were deeply unimpressed with the crude Druj approach. "You can only carry out mining like this if you have absolutely no concern of any kind for the well being of those who work here," as Vitalia Camorovic Pravin put it.

Tragically the mines were not just a way to work mithril, but also served as a prison for those forced to toil here. The earliest galleries - long since played out - had been been converted into rough living quarters. Behind the thick iron bars placed over the passageways that lead to them the Empire discovered some five hundred slaves permanently penned there. The Druj forced them to work with a crude system of incentives - any slave could leave the pens at any time - to be allowed to crawl into the depths. They could remain there as long as they chose; when they returned they would be returned to the pens with the others but given food dependent on the amount of mithril they handed over. Incredibly none of these slaves had ever seen the light of day - they were born in the mines - and none ever possessed the slightest hope that they would ever leave.

With the occupants of the mine freed, the skilled engineers of Moresvah were able to take a proper look at the Sunless Depths and it was clear that it had huge potential. They estimated that it could produce 28 wains of mithril a season - but only if it was completely overhauled. Representatives of the the Malinov, the Sloev and the Pravin families of Moresvah accompanying the Golden Axe are keen to offer their assistance in working the newly captured mithril mine, so it can begin producing immediately, albeit at the lower rate. The enthusiastic Varushkan miners are engaged in negotiations with many of the former slaves, dealing with those few prepared to work the mine in return for Imperial wages, as well as recruiting workers from back home prepared to endure the dreadful conditions in return for premium pay. At the very least, the Moresvah miners are slowly shoring up the tunnels to reduce the chances of a costly collapse.

Rather than overhaul the mine, in Spring 384YE the Senate chose to allow the new boyars of Ossium to claim those parts of the mine that were not currently being exploited. With the aid of the Moresvah families, the boyars of Ossium set their own people to upgrade the mines, in exchange for being able to claim the mithril they mine from the depths. This did not change the production of the Sunless Depths as an Imperial bourse seat, but every vale in Ossium benefits from the arrangement.

Prior to the start of 385YE, the Sunless Depths produced only 14 wains of mithril each season. With the completion of the Iron Roads in Ossium, however, improved access meant they were capable of producing 16 wains each season.

The Bourse Seat


The Seat has no particular responsibilities; they simply receive a bounty of mithril which is theirs to do with as they will. If the Sunless Depths were to be threatened in any way, it would be the responsibility of the Seat to deal with those threats. Likewise, if any particular opportunity were to arise related to the Sunless Depths, the Seat would expect to be consulted as to how that opportunity might be resolved.


Seat on the Bourse

Custodianship of the Sunless Depths comes with a seat on the Imperial Bourse. For the most part, this Seat comes with no additional responsibilities. It is an Imperial title that grants the right to participate on the rare occasion when the Imperial Bourse as a body is required to make a decision.

Bounty of mithril

The Seat has control of a source of mithril and receives Bourse certificates to represent that control. They can dispense this resource as they choose. Production is 16 Imperial wains of mithril every season.


As with all mithril Bourse seats, the holder of the title is determined during the Autumn Equinox. As an Imperial seat, any Imperial citizen may participate in the auction and hold the title.

Custodianship of the Sunless Depths is retained for a year, or until the citizen holding the seat dies, or steps down. An Imperial Bourse seat cannot be revoked by the Imperial Synod.


In addition to the bounty of mithril claimed by the Bourse Seat, an additional amount of mithril is produced that is distributed to the boyars of Ossium. This has generated significant good will - and as a consequence the cost to the Senate to maintain the Sunless Caves is halved from 10 Thrones each season to 5 Thrones.

Autumn Equinox 385YEVarushkaMoraža290 thrones
Autumn Equinox 384YEVarushkaMoraža255 thrones
Autumn Equinox 383YEVarushkaVasiliy Krenyenkov Valeskai Strascovich257 thrones
Winter Solstice 382YEWintermarkBron Mordssen164 thrones

Recent Elections

This title is currently held by Moraža; it will be reelected at Autumn Equinox 386YE. The table to the right shows the citizens who have been elected to hold this title in the years since Empress Britta died.

Further Reading

  • Blood makes noise - the Spring 384YE Wind of Fortune that details the opportunity to share the wealth of Lomaa with the vales of Ossium.