See the original sketch by John Sjogren!
Unlike Seelie palaces which were built around courtyards that allowed the halls to be flooded with light, Unseelie castles interiors were purposefully kept dark, especially in the upper floors were the nobility lived.
The tower was not all that tall above ground, but it went a long way down into the ground. It was never a good idea for the Unseelie folk to march across great stretches of land in the daylight, their eyes were meant for darkness. So when they were forced to cross this expanse, they'd had captive Seelie slaves build the Tower and its tunnel system. It had been a boon for their sorties into Seelie land. Jack had once told him that when the Border Lords had become a part of their armies, the Unseelie Court had an over-ground as well as an underground troop.
The Water Gate was a a small, guarded dock on a subterranean river that the Unseelie rarely used except in times of war or for secret messengers to come and go. Since the Unseelie folk were mostly uncomfortable around running water, they usually stuck to the ground roads. When forced to it, the dark forces were ferried across a river by the skeletal Sticksman, but few of the Unseelie could swim, except for the mer. And the mermen were untrustworthy allies, loyal only to themselves.
They exited the dark corridors and found themselves by the Great Midden Heap. It steamed into the morning, curlicues of stench and smoke intertwined. Nearby were long, thin patches of furrowed gardens with giant vegetables overflowing the rows.
The smell, Aspen thought, is indescribable. And unbearable.
He tapped the stick on the sand map's Unseelie lands and then the Seelie lands. "The lands held by the two courts are well known and well controlled. We can travel through them freely and easily." He thought about their narrow escape from the Border Lords and the Mer and coughed nervously. "Well, maybe not easily if one is trying to escape. But at least we did not get lost. However, the unmastered lands in between have a wild magic all their own and tend to…"
"Tend to what?"
"Well, they tend to move around a bit."
The seat of the Seelie court had been built to be impressive when seen from any angle, but approaching from the main road was especially inspiring. Where the Unseelie capital fortress was frightening in its sheer martial hugeness, Astaeri Palace inspired with sweeping arches and sky-thrust towers. Its walls were bone white, its windows mirrored, its roofs tiled in blue and green. There were golden gutters called eaves-troughs and bronze gargoyle rainspouts long gone green. From the tops of the many towers, with their bronze top hats, also greened over, brightly-colored banners fluttered halfway to the horizon. In the gardens were decorative fountains shooting sprays of water high into the air to water the huge topiaries of creatures both real and imagined.
Snail eyed the palace critically. "It's a bit much, don't you think?"
She stumbled and began to fall, the open gravesite yawning before her.
"I've got it!" he said, and he spoke rapidly lest he forget it again. "The elevation of the spot times the number of the season squared gives us the L property that mostly governs the movement factor of forested lands." He smiled at Snail, proud to have remembered such a complex equation. "If we had landed in the plains the calculation is much more complicated." He scrawled some numbers in the sand and then bit his thumb. "I believe we are—"
"You are in the Hunting Grounds," the Sticksman said. He was right behind Aspen, looking down at the map.
"I would have figured that out," Aspen grumbled. "Eventually."