The Shadow and the Flame
Power sensitivities – Umbra and Eidelon are in balance upon the World, Sorcery works if a little harder than normal, Invocation is remarkably easy, Wrighting works as normal.
Access – Through the six doors. In a dusty old landing made of grey stone and flagged floors there are six doors on one side of the Stair. Each are identical on initial viewing, simple stone work forming a level lintel and jambs. The doors themselves are old oak bound in long rusted iron, the latch a simple snap release. Then as you get closer you see the lightest of scratchings on every lintel and jamb, thousands of tiny marks. Personal markings all slightly different, all variants of each other. Each of the marks are made by those of the Order. On being released onto the Stair having left The Cell they take their mark and then make their mark on each of the doors. Placing false but very similar marks on the five false doors. Only on the true door do the members of the Order place their correct mark. Where the other five doors lead to none of the Order know. It is assumed nowhere good. Upon opening the correct door, the threshold opens out in to a dark cell.
There are always members of the Order on duty in the cell, lit by shuttered candlelight and behind barricades. Crossbows are to hand but not cranked as are spears and similar. The alarm bell is a simple pull rope which will send alarms throughout the Caer above.
(Note that there are curtain walls but this gives you an idea)
The Order is located on Prydain in Caer Dolbadarn a large and imposing circular tower with curtain wall defences. The whole built on a projection of rock overlooking a mountain lake – so pretty much like Dolbadarn itself but bigger. The Caer houses the entire Order although there are outlying barns and bothies for the Order’s members to stay in during harvest time and when there is a need to tend the animals. The nearest settlement is some hundred miles away and this is a small town of perhaps 2000 inhabitants. There are a series of small villages radiating out from the Caer as it forms a hub of trade and activity between Prydain and the rest of the Gossamer worlds.
Within the curtain walls of the castle are the majority of the dwellings and storage areas for the Order. Perhaps a third of the total space is in use with many sections now fallen through and overgrown. The faded glory is clear to see, vines and shrubs grow merrily across sections of the wall and in the unused dwellings. The dwellings of someone cared to note are layed out to form an annular defence around the great keep. The original intent being to be able to manage an organised defence back to the keep should the walls be breached. The dwellings are a mixture of single celled quarters, the majority in use today to three or four room dwellings which must have been for families.
Within the last perimeter and outside the keep itself are various storage depots holding grain and preserved meat. Some of the other areas have been converted over to use as emergency holding pens for animals in the winter. There are four wells dotted amongst the outer areas which must have been dug down through the rocky outcrop the Caer sits upon.
The Keep itself is imposing and in good condition, it stands perhaps four storeys high with watch towers on the top and shuttered windows and arrow slits around its outer surface. Access is through a winding stair that enters at the first floor and narrows as it winds a quarter way around the keep. This allows for a bottle necking of attacking forces making defence easier. Unsurprisingly there are a considerable number of murder holes and false bricks along this route which would cause an attack to stall and become far bloodier than it normally should. The Doorway to the Keep is portcullised and barred from within, again murder holes can be seen from above. The stone walls of the keep are around sixteen feet deep and well packed.
Entry is onto the first floor which is a large open hall where most of the business of the keep goes on. Three great fireplaces are spaced equally around the walls with their chimneys enclosed within the walls of the keep. The floors are wooden boards scattered with sawdust and straw. Long tables and chairs are pushed out as needed. Towards the back there is a great trapdoor which leads downwards to the cells, main kitchen and pantry. The fire furthest from the door has a series of small ovens next to as well as one of the two internal wells of the keep and has over the years become the de facto kitchen except when all are in attendance. The ceiling is some twenty feet from the floor and careful inspection will show three doorways within them. Access is via calling down ladders to the next floor.
The second floor is split in three sections: firstly the armoury; secondly the barracks for those on watch and finally a series of small rooms now turned over to administration. The outer walls of this floor are marked with arrow slits behind shutters. Access to the third floor is through the barracks via the same ladder and trapdoor mechanism from above.
The third floor is the Library. The walls bulge slightly here as if the stone is reinforced somehow. Vellum and parchment are everywhere stacked and collated on shelves and desks. and the oldest and most significant works are stored here. No naked flames are allowed within the library and dozens of hurricane lamps are stored and ready for use. In the centre of this floor is the access hatch to the fourth floor.
The fourth floor , the Master’s rooms. Ten doorways radiate out from the trapdoor. Each leading to the personal quarter of one the Order’s Masters. The trapdoor leads on the roof which has a watchtower which is always manned.
The ground floor – access through the great trapdoor on the first floor. The walls flare out at the base and this vast kitchen and storage area is in some disuse. There is a well within and then a trapdoor into the cells.
Cells, carved deep within the granite of the Keep. Few enter this area other than to exit through the doorway onto the stair. Many of the doors are sealed up with brickwork and it is always damp and cold down here, oil lamps sputter to illuminate the route to the Stair Door.