The Sun Never Rises
Dominating the northern reaches of the city is an expansive stone stairway that ascends to the plateau of Tier Breche within a side cavern that overlooks the city. Any who dare approach the stairway must face deadly traps, an honor guard of two Melee-Magthere upperclassmen, and two 15-foot tall jade spiders that animate to protect the location.
Built upon the plateau of Tier Breche is the Academy, the center of learning and source of drow justice in the City of Spiders. The Academy both serves and controls the matron mothers of the great houses. Young noble drow are sent there for training in one of its three branches: Arach-Tinilith for the priestesses of Lolth, Melee-Magthere for the warriors, and Sorcere for the wizards. Students in the Academy work and study year-round. Training is intense, and those who complete it are prepared for the cruel, cutthroat society of Menzoberranzan.
In theory, all drow, whether common or noble, are required to attend the Academy. It is possible for a house to keep one of its children out of the Academy, but such an act is rate and draws the attention of Church of Lolth. Commoners who seek to avoid the Academy have a much easier time, since the church pays little attention to such insignificant drow.
Students’ length of education is dependent on their gender and occupation. Warriors (who are mostly male) spend ten years at the Academy, wizards spend thirty years learning the ways of magic, and female priestesses spend fifty years learning the rites and prayers of Lolth. The cast majority of a student’s time is spent within a specific school; however, each student spends a portion of his or her last year at each of the other schools, gaining a basic understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of those attending the other institutions.