Jirix, City of Ice
In the middle of Terrag mountain, runs the Chasm of Ice. It runs the entire length of the mountain, and travels so deep, that in some places you can only see the white sun Poreh when it is directly above you in the sky.
In this place, the temperature is freezing, but the lack of wind keeps the temperature managable. The floor of the great Chasm, is a great river, or would be, if it wasn't perpetually frozen all year round. Walking on the chasm floor is like walking on glass. You can see down into the abys as if you were walking on a glass bridge.
Jirix (technically: Jir Ix), or "City of Ice" as it is directly translated from gnomish, is a small but robust city. It is located directly under Girand's Pass, a massive, natural bridge made from ice and rock that crosses the chasm. This bridge blocks out Poreh, the white sun, even at high noon. Because of Girand's Pass, there is never a point in the day where direct sunlight shines on the Jirix.
The city is one of the 23 wonders of the world. It is not immense in size, or wonderous in craftsmanship, but it is made entirely from ice. This ice never melts. Buildings are made from large blocks of the ice, and in such a fashion that the ice remains transparent. Large, decorative tapestries are used to cover the insides of buildings to allow for privacy, and as such, this city is extremely brightly colored.
A large lighthouse is the focalpoint of Jirix. Placed at the center of the city, it's magical light shines all year round, with a reflective dish over top to act as a spotlight if needed. It is also here where political decisions are made, due in part to it's communal origins. Unlike many cities, Jirix is, by itself, a sovereign nation. It would be difficult to capture, strategically worthless to hold, and would only result in a disruption of trade. It was originally founded by a group of gnomes without nation. It is a commune, and members of the city spend at least one year in ten as a member of the city council.
Over half the city is gnomish, and as such, it is well equiped with innovative inventions, like the air-pressure elevator that goes from the valley floor, to the top of the mountain, or the large mining track that leads out of the Ice mines. The artistry is truly magnificent. The entire city is a work of art.
Although hunters do gather food at the top of the chasm during the summer, Jirix also has to trade for many kinds of food not found in the area to maintain a steady diet. The same holds true for many kinds dyes and spices.
The ice itself is a phenomenon, and not one artificially produced. Unlike normal ice, it is not usually cold to the touch. Unlike normal ice, it will not melt, but when it comes under heat, it turns black. However, when in direct sunlight, or large amounts of ambient sunlight (like a bright sunny day under a tree) it becomes like normal ice, cold to the touch, and able to melt normally.
This unique property makes the ice extremely useful and durable. It is the chief export for Jirix, exported in two ways. In it's first, it is sold in large blocks. These blocks are most often used as an air conditioning system. As long as they stay covered, they will endure long trips to hotter climates, where they can be uncovered, and become a very effective coolant and refrigerator.
Also, they work as great heat tempered components to kilns, forges, and other high temperature environments, remaining black but solid at all times. Gnomes find particular use for this ice in some of their gadgets, like their famed zepplins, and as storage for fireworks, as well as critical components in the forging process for high end, composite metals.
Additionally, the ice is a perfect insulator. There is literally no heat transfer from touch, so it is ground and used as a layer in extreme temperature suits, and left unground for extreme temperature vessels.
Gnomish sculptors use a specific sculpting tool required to mold the ice. The tool is a small, bendable rod that fits snugly in the hand. Protruding from the rod is a thin wire, with an endcap. When activated, the rod produces fire and daylight that runs along the wire, unto the endcap. The light and fire are unable to extend past the proxemity of the rod's width.
This creates a shapeable sculpting tool, specifically designed to craft the ice into anything that is needed, from an alchemy lab, to a forge. These rods are made in a variety of sizes, allowing for the crafting of extraordinarily large or small items.
Millenia ago, Ulanoth, Bringer of the Abyss, assaulted the heavens. One of the primordial elementals, his assault wraught destruction across Celestia. He was eventually vanquished, and expelled from the heavens, where he fell to earth, landing on Terrag Mountain. His power waning, Ulanoth searched for respite from the light, which was his antithesis, and found a valley carved into the mountain where a powerful river ran.
Carving an abyss into the ground where the river flowed, he descended the freshly made lake, hiding from the light. He succeeded, and his power slowly restored. But as his power grew, so too did the effects of his presence, sapping heat and light from his surroundings.
The waters around him froze, and within a chasm of ice, Ulanoth was trapped. Now, Ulanoth's power restored, he awaits his release.
Jirix is a free city. It has stayed so for several reasons.
First, Jirix is somewhat hard to get to. It is up a mountain. And this particular mountain gets a lot colder than others. That may not seem like much of a deterrant, but it is. First, you have to keep the army supplied and fed. That is impossible to do in a valley made of ice, and if you try to enter the city from above, where the food is, you have to either take the elevator, or you have to brave the mountain path down the cliff-side, which is made of ice. However, in the case of an invasion, Jirix just disable's the elevator, and melts the cliffside path with a powerful sunlight spell from the tower (nicknamed the sun cannon), so that an army can't proceed down. If the army tries to scale the walls with rope, the sunlight cannon can be modified fora more focused heat, which is capable of burning through rope in long sweeps across.
So an invading army has to bring all of it's food with it, and find a way to keep it cooking, without lumber, while they literally scale a mountain.
In case an army does manage to travel to Jirix in the valley, the Sun Cannon is capable of melting wide amounts of ice on the valley floor, literally sticking an army to the ground shortly after the rapid refreezing. When they need to get more lethal, they can fire out large numbers of arrows. These arrows are not carved, but casted, as are the crossbows that fire them. Both are fast to produce, and the arrows are SO fast to produce, that it is nearly impossible to run out of arrows, even in the middle of a battle.
All of this would have to be fought over a city that is tactically worthless, and not much more economically lucrative than the one that already trades with them. Few kingdomes have thought it worthwhile.
Ulanoth is one of the Titans, a primordial elemental responsible for the creation of the universe. Ulanoth has no percievable form. It can be described as a massive cloud of cold and darkness. As a Titan, it has no actual gender, although it is usually percieved as male. Also, being a titan, Ulanoth is more a force of nature than a sentient being. It has awareness, and intelligence, but it's motivation is more of an elemental pull towards imbalance. Wherever there is the least abyss, there Ulanoth will try to consume. Wherever there is the most abyss, there Ulanoth will try to rest.
Ulanoth can be communicated with, but it is difficult to barter with, since it's desires are fairly simplistic. Ulanoth only speaks in his own unique language. In order to communicate with it, you must have some sort of translation spell active. Attempting telepathic communication will cause mental feedback that will probably be fatal. Ulanoth's mind is both foreign and overwhelming, and cannot be comprehended by most who seek to.
As a titan, Ulanoth cannot actually be destroyed, although it can be imprisoned. If there was a force that could destroy Ulanoth, all abyss everywhere would cease to exist. What that actually results in is difficult to say. It isn't good, and it is impossible to describe. It would probably result in the universe collapsing in on itself, in a sort of reverse big bang.
In any case, Ulanoth is weakest against light, and most weak against light that covers the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Even with enough light, it is nearly impossible for non-divine beings to actually hurt Ulanoth, however, it can be done.