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Castle Everstand

From PathfinderWiki
Castle Everstand
(City)
Nation Lastwall
Size Small town
Population 220
Demographics Soldiers
Government Military
Ruler Captain Thaum Gauntwood
Leader Father Lodmor Osther, priest of Iomedae
Lady Eldia Vesan, priestess of Gorum

Source: Castles of the Inner Sea, pg(s). 5

Castle Everstand is a large permanent fortification in Lastwall, located just west of the northern reach of the Fangwood. It was created by Sergeant Strom Gauntwood as a point of defense to hold against the orc hordes from the Hold of Belkzen after Lastwall's Hordeline crumbled in 4517 AR,[1] and command has passed from Gauntwood to Gauntwood, with his descendant Captain Thaum Gauntwood now in charge.[2]

History

When the Hordeline fell in 4517 AR, Watcher-Lord Rader-Seve abandoned the line and draw a new one not far west of the Kestrel River and Ghostlight Marsh. On the evening of 17 Arodus, at the point where the Voulge Bridge crosses the Kestrel River, 400 orc berserkers under the command of Haskodar Warpriest Tulkuk-Thruul were ready to descend upon Sergeant Strom and 40 of his soldiers the following morning. In the night, Strom and his soldiers using their only hope, a deck of many things, luckily drew cards that allowed a solid stone keep to rise out of the rocky bluff adjacent to the bridge. Strom and his soldiers fought and held their position long enough for the Lastwall's heavy cavalry to arrive. Sergeant Strom went on to the War College of Vigil where his bravery earned him praise, admiration, and a larger command. Strom's daughter Hale Gauntwood was appointed commander of the Everstand Keep‎, as it was originally known, in 4533 AR. Command of the castle has granted to the Gauntwood lineage ever since.[2]

Description

Legend claims that the Castle Everstand's original core was not built, but rather wished into being by the castle's founder, Sergeant Strom, following the drawing of a Moon card from a deck of many things.[3][4]

The original keep, the impressive Iron Tower magically summoned almost two centuries ago, still stands in the center of the primary bailey atop a rocky bluff overlooking the Kestrel River. The castle has been expanded three times in its history with additional wings and outer walls.[4]

The first major expansion of Castle Everstand was a curtain wall off the keep along the surrounding bluff in 4603 AR. Its second major expansion added a second outer wall with heavily fortified towers, this one at the base of the bluff, in 4640 AR. The last expansion was completed under Captain Arald Gauntwood's supervision in 4701 AR, when the workers rebuilt the Voulge Bridge and constructed the Northwatch, a large keep with three towers on the northern side of the river. This important accomplishment made Castle Everstand a single fortification that straddles the Kestrel River.[5]

Barracks, training grounds, stables, and workshops are situated inside the outer wall on the river's south side, while the village of Squirestone has grown to 50 buildings that house crafters, artisans, and farmers outside the castle's southeastern gate.[5]

Inhabitants

Uskara Olym, a woman in her mid-thirties born and raised in the castle, is the castle's master blacksmith and directs its other blacksmiths, carpenters, armorsmiths, weaponsmiths, and apprentices. She is respected by the castle's knights because of her wisdom and bravery.[6]

The half-elf Basril is castle's houndmaster, training nearly 30 Hagarn war hounds thanks to a breeding program started by Captain Arald Gauntwood.[5] The current castle custodian is Heinrich Fairstone, who guides visitors to their correct destinations from a small stone building just inside the main gate.[7]

Military

Captain Thaum Gauntwood commands the castle's garrison of 220 soldiers, comprised of archers, foot soldiers, mounted knights, battle clerics and more specialized combatants.[6]

In recent years, the talk of "defense" and "walls" has been replaced with "conquest" and "cavalry" among lieutenants and soldiers tired of waiting for the orcs to come to them. Thaum is often seen atop the Iron Tower gazing far to the west in deep thought, and a growing gulf seems to exist between the commander and Lastwall's leaders in Vigil,[2] as Thaum suspects Lastwall's leaders have lost their drive to push back invading hordes.[8]

Religion

Worship of Gorum is particularly strong in Castle Everstand.[4][9] On Sundays, Lady Eldia Vesan preaches the word of Our Lord in Iron to a congregation that includes almost every man and woman in Castle Everstand. Those who frequent Gorum's chapel believe the answer to the Belkzen threat is to go on the offensive, rather than to fortify their defenses.

Father Lodmor Osther, an aging priest of Iomedae who holds frequent gatherings at the castle's church, worries that his teachings are falling on deaf ears as more devotees seek enlightenment at the adjacent temple of Gorum. Osther and his allies fear that Vesan's rousing speeches may incite a premature, foolish course of action, but he refrains to speak of his qualms in order to maintain the cordial relations between the two churches. He shares his fears with his trusted acolyte Kelbie.[10][6]

References

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