City of Dusk
“The next wonder the drow wiseman showed to me was a magnificent waterfall, which fell from the cliffs of the jungles above down into an abyss a hundred miles deep. V’ezral called it ‘Vatu Matal,’ a name from a language I did not recognize. When I inquired as to the source of the phrase, V’ezral lifted his arm and pointed towards the top of the falls. ‘Up there, where the water comes to the cliff, is a crumbling temple, built by people that lived here long before you and I were ever born. It bestrides the river, and towers over the jungle basin below. At the top of the temple is an octagonal slab, and on the slab is written a single phrase in perfect common: ’Here, where the water of life falls into the shadow of death, is where we build our gateway to Pollo ven Destu, and we name it Vatu Matal.’ Rather than answer my questions, his answer only made me more curious… but V’ezral could tell me little more about the mysterious ruin or its enigmatic inscription.”
- from Wisdom of the Dark Elves by Blake Morresson.
Vatu Matal is a city within the Preserve and is home to the Gatekeeper Tribe. Like all the cities of the Salastese that dwell in the Preserve, the city is made up of a stonegarden — a cluster of several buildings, including temples, palaces, and the workshops of skilled artisans — and the homesteads that house the bulk of the city’s population. The homesteads are spread sparsely throughout the jungle surrounding the stonegarden, usually in clearings that allow for subsidence farming.
Vatu Matal means “City of Gates” in the Old Gods’ tongue. The most distinctive feature of the area is the waterfall at the north side of the valley. The palace of the Philosopher King bridges the river that feeds the falls, and the waterfall itself drops into a massive pit, the bottom of which can only be seen when the sun is directly above it.