Initial one-line pitch:
4: Tanglestone (Gormenghast-like dungeon/city that stretches for miles, mostly abandoned, and the people who grew up there)
Expanded pitch for the semi-finals:
— Tanglestone: Long and winding corridors of stone. Immense empty galleries, labyrinthine districts, a Gormenghast city that spans for miles both above and below the surface. Echoes of unseen workers and footfalls in the shadows. Huge stone sentinels. Clans grown up around districts of the city — the orchard, the library, the forges. A population one-tenth, perhaps one-twentieth of what the city was built to support. Barrier mountains where the harpies lair. Strange old mysteries behind doors that haven’t been opened in centuries. Dusty relics that move again. Automata and homunculi.
Mood-setting final description:
Tanglestone is a rambling city that fills a mountain valley. The mountains are steep, more akin to the Alps or Andes than the Appalachians (though not quite Himalayas). The valley containing Tanglestone proper sits fairly low, with the cliff walls rising hundreds of feet on all sides. From the Spires, one can see the city spread out to the south before the valley starts to bend out to the southwest and the cliffs conceal the other end. The valley runs for miles, and although there are several open-air plazas, rooftop orchards and arched walkways open to the sun, it’s possible to get from one end to the other without passing under the skies. Everywhere there are rooms below, and tunnels below them. Most lesser buildings in Tanglestone tend to be three-to-five-story affairs, and the grand buildings that host major guild-clans are even larger: the Library has 13 tall stories within it, for instance, and the Foundry is a large city block’s worth of smoke-billowing forges. While the sun shines on Tanglestone, the valley does cut north-to-south, which means it gets reasonably limited sunlight; there are hours between dawn and the sun actually cresting the east cliff wall, and likewise hours between the sun vanishing and the city growing dark. Most people do the bulk of their work in indirect light at best, and many guilders never leave their host buildings during sunlit hours.
The Library and the massive temple complex sit on the north side of the valley, butting up against the northern wall. The giant-blooded Dewlian Spinepuller hails from the Library, of course. The temple vaults are immense, capped by the Spires above (the highest structures in Tanglestone, unless there’s something in the obscured southwest portion of the valley) and with the darkened vaults of the Shadow Cloisters below. The nearest sections of the city are the Orchards, a market plaza where the guild-clans meet on market days, the Kitchens and the Forges. Beyond that is a massive palace grounds, home to the isolated noble households that has strangely little influence over or contact with the rest of the city, flanked by a great military fortress and an elaborate maze-park of gardens. A few towers reach exceptionally high above the skyline: the Clock Tower with its massive clock faces and elaborate mechanisms; the Mews, ever-surrounded by a cloud of birds from songbirds to raptors; and the Lighthouse, a guttering beacon that rotates at night.
Most guild-clans are not quite isolationist, but they keep to their own. Guilders mingle at markets, where the various representatives come out to trade: fruits from the Orchards, eggs and small game from the Mews, metal goods from the Foundry, and so on. Depending on your concept, you might or might not have visited these previously; the Night Sweepers don’t tend to show up, for instance. The Sweepers offer no material goods, only services, for which they are paid by the guild-clans leaving bundles of goods on their doorsteps overnight.