Thursday, January 14, 2016

Locales: Dragonwood Keep

The ruling seat of the petty kingdom of Dakon-Bar, Dragonwood Keep is a castle of great antiquity. In the first Age, it was a wooden hall with a palisade about it, sitting on the crest of the hill known as Sigurt's Knock, situated on the southern side of the mid-portion of Dragonwood forest. Dragonwood Keep was established in the first Age by King Sigurt I, the hero who was an avatar of the Storm Lord himself. The hall of his father, Eru the Bold, was initially known as Heirot.

Heirot hall was a large hall in the style of the communal halls of the pre-migration era Kordid. Heirot was said to have a hall large enough that three men could ride their horses into the building with out difficulty. It was a place of much feasting and gaiety in the years before the Great War. Heirot had a roof that was hammered copper, according to legend, that shone like a keen blade in the afternoon sun. The hall's door were massive things carved of black oak. Depicted in the engraving upon these doors was the scene of Sigurt's victory over Morguthu when Roen was rescued. Among the images about this scene were depictions of the famed deeds of Eru's ancestors. These doors were, strangely, among the few things that survived the burning of Heirot during the Great War.

The hall was large enough to seat all of Eru's band and their kinsmen. It was not, however, the primary home of his men. Eru, his wife, her brother, and their servants lived within the hall. It was, however, a place that once daily, all of Eru's band came together to conduct business. Heirot was a famed place where the elfin king Freyr Greenwood came and gave homage to king Sigurt I and asked for and received his blessing. Heirot still stood when Sigurt I assumed his father's place as a young man. For Eru died from a wound gained while hunting. Some say he was gored by a stag, others say it was a boar. When Eru joined the ancestral heroes in the green fields beyond death's passage, Sigurt I rose to kingship at the age of sixteen summers.

The burning of Heirot was a traumatic thing for the sons of men. The deamonic horde lead by Atrionac, Morguthu's eldest and favored son, fell upon Heirot when Sigurt was away consulting Freyr Greenwood's sorceress bride Gerda on how to best oppose Atrionac. Sigurt returned to Heirot and found that his bride, the sorceress Roen (who was also an avatar of the goddess of the same name), had been ravaged by Atrionac and blinded. The queen listened helplessly to the slaughter of her people even as Atrionac visited violence upon her person. She was left laying at the gates of the palisade on the edge of death for Sigurt to find.

Sigurt's anger was a terrible thing to behold. He swore that the hall of his fathers would be rebuilt and never suffer from flame's touch. The stone hall was built by the stone masons who were educated by Agrimonn's craftsmen, who lived beneath the hills. The stone hall was wide enough to seat a hundred men in comfort. It was fitted with benches of black oak wood and trundle tables of the same. The throne of Sigurt was carved from a lightning struck red oak and was placed at the head of the hall. Behind the throne was the private chamber of the king and his family, a wooden wall blocking them from the rest of the hall and accessible by a door with a finely wrought lock that bore three jewels.

About the hall was a wall of stone and then a palisade of wood. At the bottom of the hill, a stream ran and made a natural barrier for foes as well. As the descendants of Sigurt grew and the holdings of Sigurt's line increased until they ruled over the whole of Dakon-Bar, the palisade of wood was replaced by a wall of stone. Within the inner walls, a garrison was built. The village that once was within the walls moved outside of them to beyond the stream. Towers were built shortly after the second stone wall about the stone hall. They were built so that a person could move between the walls and as places where important figures would remain.

At the southern tower, since the first stone was laid, the Lord High General had his quarters. This person is no longer a permanent resident of Dragonwood Keep, for many generations. These quarters, however, have been kept in the spartan conditions he preferred. With King Askemb's assumption of power, this chamber is now where his spiritual adviser, Osgoth the White, resides. The eastern tower was once a place that visiting dignitaries were housed. It is now a cold chamber where Askemb keeps his prisoners of importance. The irony of this choice is lost upon the king but the servants of Dragonwood Keep and the thralls are not unaware. The northern tower was once known as the Queen's tower and was the place where the unfaithful queen of Sigurt III was imprisoned until she took the vows of the Order of the Twilight Rose and left to die in obscurity somewhere in the eastern lands. At the base of the Queen's tower is the entrance into the dungeons of Dragonwood keep, which were formed of laid stone and earth beneath the garrison along the inner western wall. The western tower is known as the Guard's tower. Here, the Marshal and the captain of the King's Guard have their residence. It is also where the armory of the castle is located.

During the reign of King Erian, his queen, the sorceress Asriel, used her magic to make Dragonwood keep larger. Stories say that when she became impatient with the builders, her magic set the great stones of the walls dancing into their new places. With these developments, a granary was built in the inner court yard of the keep. The great temple to the gods was built in the first Age and when Dragonwood keep was changed, glass windows were placed in it, beginning as gemstones and then transforming by way of Asriel's magic into larger windows of colored glass. Asriel's magic also worked to make the temple larger and in the fashion of the great temples in Tor Caldri.

The walls of the inner keep were transformed into larger spaces. Within them, there were passages hidden and secret rooms. The stone hall at the heart of the castle had two larger halls added to either side and joined to it. The hall on the western side held a chamber for the royal servants of the king and queen. It also holds the kitchens and laundry. The hall on the eastern side of the chamber held the queen's apartments, the king's study, the king's bedchamber, and the royal nursery. The hall on the eastern side has two stories. The hall on the western has one.

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