The four mountains bracketing Sacred Valley are known to the locals as the “holy peaks,” locations of myth and mystery. The four largest schools in the region have each claimed a peak as their home, and the secrets found within have given these organizations strong roots.
To the north, Yoma Mountain is carpeted in purple orus trees for most of the year. The Fallen Leaf School processes the fruits of these trees into products to be sold, as well as secret elixirs to strengthen their own students. They also possess the largest and most obvious entrance into the labyrinth that forms the foundation of the entire Sacred Valley, an entrance they call the Nethergate. The door stands thirty meters high, and is carved with the image of a Dreadgod. Every ten years, it opens, and the Fallen Leaf elders are able to retrieve some treasures from the shallowest levels of the labyrinth within.
To the west, Mount Venture shows off its distinct mineral composition with rust-red cliffs. It is the shortest of the four peaks, and most of the mining in Sacred Valley takes place here. This is the home of the Kazan clan and the territory of the Golden Sword School, and the profits of the mine are split between them. Goldsteel and halfsilver are the primary output of these mines, though a further report can be requested on especially rare or trivially mundane materials.
To the south, the mountain called Greatfather is broken, its peak shattered into a shape resembling the mouth of a bottle. Water pools up there, cascading down the cliffs in a stream known as the Dragon River. Fueled by the water aura at the top of the mountain, storms wrack these slopes year-round, and the Holy Wind School maintains shelters for unlucky travelers caught outside. Favored Holy Wind elders can bathe in the pool known as Greatfather’s Tears, regenerating their vitality of body and spirit.
To the east, Mount Samara rises as the tallest of the four holy peaks. It is blanketed in snow, and crowned in a ring of pale white light, called Samara's Halo, that circles the summit. The halo appears at sundown and disappears at sunrise, so that no one in Sacred Valley has ever experienced a dark night. Samara’s halo is a construction of light aura bound into form by an expert centuries past, and it is the reason why so many sacred artists in the valley practice light-aspect arts. The Heaven’s Glory School has claimed this peak, using the power of Samara’s ring to gather light aura even on a moonless night.
The people of Sacred Valley have isolated themselves in their valley and have lost much basic knowledge of Madra and history. As such are simple and weak compared to the rest of the Blackflame Empire. They believe that Jade is the highest Rank and few of their members ever achieve it. To them the rank of Gold is mythical.
They also think that each user of Madra is limited at birth to be either an Enforcer, a Ruler, a Striker, or a Forger, and that it is impossible for an individual to learn techniques outside their own category.
It is now confirmed (Uncrowned and Wintersteel) that Sacred Valley has a massive script formation running beneath, which drains the madra from the area, and which both restricts the locals from advancing past Jade and reduces outsiders to Jade over a short time. This even affects those of the Lord stage, as it drained the madra and soulfire of the Sage of the Endless Sword, leaving him incredibly weak and vulnerable. It also hides the exact location of Subject One and the location of the entrances to the Labyrinth.
It is unknown if it affects monarchs, but there is no reason to think that it doesn't.
The labyrinth that stretches under much of the rest of the world also extends to Sacred Valley. The labyrinth in Sacred Valley holds Subject One, the progenitor of the four dreadgods, and the script formation which drains from the valley was created to keep it suppressed. Subject One is the source of the Hunger Madra found in the Labyrinth, which also helped weaken the Sage of the Endless Sword and leave him vulnerable. This hunger madra also forms the basis of the bindings found in Lindon's remnant arm, as well as the Ancestor's Spear wielded by the Jai clan.
Every six months the clans of the Sacred Valley hold a Spiritual Origin test. Untested children of ages six, seven, or eight come wearing formal clothing and, one by one, place a hand into a bowl full of liquid Madra. The reaction of the Madra reveals "the nature of their spirit" as determined by the heavens.
- If it sticks to their hand, they are an Enforcer.
- If it flees from their hand, they are a Striker.
- If it rises, they are a Ruler.
- If it freezes, they are a Forger.
- If it does nothing, they are Unsouled, empty, shamed by the heavens. They have failed the test and will take it again at the next opportunity.
Wei Shi Lindon took the test seventeen times and was Unsouled every time.
It is later revealed by Yerin that this test merely reveals a persons innate talents. Thus, if the "Spiritual Origin test" determins you to be a Ruler or an Enforcer this indicates a natural disposition towards that field instead of, as the people of Sacred Valley believe, a solid predetermination of a persons path.