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Castle Kronquist

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Castle Kronquist is a haunted Ustalavic fortress that is home to one of the Whispering Tyrant's most dreaded vampire minions, the vampire lord Malyas. The castle is located amid the fog-wisped woods of northern Odranto. Its infamous fanged gates have remained closed since the fall of the Whispering Tyrant, centuries ago. Tangled vines climb its walls and overgrown thickets and brambles cover the surroundings, but the castle has not deteriorated such as an ancient site should have. Each month on the night of the new moon, its great iron-horned clock tower rings. Rumors persist that something lurks within, and the rumors are supported by sightings of swiftly moving shadows and strange lights flickering from the castle's lonely towers.[1][2]

Description

Castle Kronquist is a masterpiece of early Age of Enthronement-era Ustalavic architecture. Twelve narrow square towers rise higher than the castle walls that surround three large buildings, a number of smaller buildings and baileys. The walls are supported by row upon row of pointed arches vertical to the wall. The roofs of the twelve towers are trimmed with rows of spiked cresting forged from hard-hammered iron. A great number of hideous winged gargoyles arch from the perimeter. The stone ornament of the windows forms stepped layers that protect them from storms. Broad windows on the ground floor, nearly 12 feet tall, are topped by arched windows with strange patterns of red and purple stained glass.[3]

Castle Kronquist's interior is equally magnificent. During the day, the castle lingers in eternal gloom and, at night, the moon limbs it in silvery light. Rows of arches line the high-vaulted ceilings of the castle's long corridors. The ceilings in most chambers rise to 20 feet.[3]

Castle Kronquist is a castle constructed by the dead, for the dead. There are no kitchens, no latrines, no bedrooms and no places for rest. Moreover, the castle is permanently under magical effects, the most fearsome of which originates from the spirits of numerous bodiless undead. One of these magical effects is that the castle heals itself every minute the sun does not shine upon its spires. Another effect is that any creature that dies within the castle returns to life at midnight as a wight.[3]

Fang Gate
The Fang Gate of Castle Kronquist consists of an immense barbican flanked by a pair of three-storey towers. A pair of massive iron gates are made of barbed prongs and interlock like a set of enormous gruesome fangs when closed. A set of gargoyles arch above the gate.[3]
Midnight Spire
Over 100 feet in diameter and 200 feet tall, Midnight Spire is a tower that consists of five floors. The top floor provides an excellent view of all of Castle Kronquist and the surrounding area.[3]
The Clock Tower
The infamous Clock Tower of Castle Kronquist looms over the castle from the center of its main bailey, always ticking like a huge heart.[3]
The Blood Basilica
This circular diabolical tower of dark, reddish marble at the southwestern part of Castle Kronquist is topped with a huge copper dome. The tower's diameter is over 120 feet. A narrow projection encircles each of the three floors of the basilica and a ring of gruesome gargoyles hangs from each one. On top of the dome is an iron tourelle in the form of a winged, dreadful gargoyle.[4]
Kronquist Hall
Kronquist Hall is a two-storey granite building almost 100 feet in length and 60 feet in width, inside the western part of the castle, just north of the Blood Basilica. A 20-foot-wide, open air walkway surrounds the entire building.[4]

History

The Whispering Tyrant had entrusted the conquest of northern Ustalav to the viciously powerful Kellid vampire lord Malyas. North of the Senir River, Malyas and his band of deathless raiders scourged the land. Countless thousands fell in his army's relentless march, whole towns were scoured and burned to ashes and every burial place fueled the undead war machine. Malyas subdued the north and then raised a black fortress at the loneliest edge of Keldenwood, which he named Kronquist. The meaning was "Crown of the Forest" in an archaic Kellid dialect. From this nightmare castle, the dead subjugated the realm's living survivors while terrorizing nearby countries.[1][2]

The lich-king granted Malyas dominance over all vampires in his realm, but many of these arrogant undead refused to bow to him. In 3220 AR,[5] Malyas waged a shadow war against the vampires and their spawn who refused to acknowledge him as the vampire-king in a series of massacres remembered by vampire-kind as the Blood Drought. Among those who defied him was the vampire patriarch Luvick Siervage who still rules the vampires in the city of Caliphas today. Malyas was en route to Caliphas to confront Siervage when the Shining Crusade conquered Vauntil. Had Malyas been at Kronquist, the Shining Crusade might not have been able to hold Vauntil. As it was, the crusaders entrenched and reinforced Vauntil before the Whispering Tyrant's most fearsome army could take the field. In the years that followed—and despite Malyas murdering two Shining Crusade generals sent against him: the Taldan Sir Omorry Cheveith; and the paladin Aenlyn Devvers—his forces were ultimately cut off from the Tyrant's western armies. When Gallowspire fell, in 3827 AR,[6], Malyas was forced to retreat to Castle Kronquist. For nearly a year, the soldiers of the Shining Crusade besieged the castle, against a faceless enemy but they failed to breach its invulnerable walls. For a time, a garrison was kept outside Kronquist but, after more than a century, the rulers of Ustalav judged that Malyas had somehow escaped and decided that the garrison was not worth the soldiers and the castle was left to rot together with whatever survived within.[1]

References

Paizo published a significant article about Castle Kronquist in Castles of the Inner Sea.