Castle Everstand

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Castle Everstand

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

Castle Everstand is a large, abandoned fortification in the Gravelands, 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 Command was passed from Gauntwood to Gauntwood all the way to Captain Thaum Gauntwood,2 the fort's final commander when it was abandoned following Tar-Baphon's invasion of Lastwall in 4719 AR.34


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.2

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 was granted to the Gauntwood lineage2 until Castle Everstand was abandoned following Tar-Baphon's devastating destruction of Vigil in 4719 AR. This decision was reached after Thaum Gauntwood realized his fort could no longer count on supplies and replacements from the capital.4 Thaum subsequently went missing, and his whereabouts were unknown as of 4722 AR.5


Castle Everstand's original core was not built, but rather wished into being by Sergeant Strom, following the drawing of a Moon card from a deck of many things.67

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.7

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.8

Barracks, training grounds, stables, and workshops are situated inside the outer wall on the river's south side, while the village of Squirestone once contained 50 buildings that housed crafters, artisans, and farmers outside the castle's southeastern gate.8


Under Lastwall

Inhabitants before Tar-Baphon's invasion included:

  • Uskara Olym, a woman in her mid-thirties born and raised in the castle, was the castle's master blacksmith and directed its other blacksmiths, carpenters, armorsmiths, weaponsmiths, and apprentices. She was respected by the castle's knights for her wisdom and bravery.9
  • The aiuvarin Basril was the castle's houndmaster and trained nearly 30 Hagarn war hounds thanks to a breeding program started by Captain Arald Gauntwood.8
  • Heinrich Fairstone was the castle's custodian and guideed visitors to their correct destinations from a small stone building just inside the main gate.10


Captain Thaum Gauntwood commanded the castle's garrison of 220 archers, foot soldiers, mounted knights, battle clerics, and more specialized combatants.9

In the years leading to 4713 AR, lieutenants and soldiers tired of waiting for the orcs to come to them began pushing for its forces to go on the offensive instead of waiting to defend the keep from an orc assault. Thaum was often seen atop the Iron Tower gazing far to the west in deep thought, and a growing gulf seemed to exist between the commander and Lastwall's leaders in Vigil2 as Thaum suspected that Lastwall's leaders had lost their drive to push back the orcs.11


Worship of Gorum was particularly strong in Castle Everstand.77 On Sundays, Lady Eldia Vesan preached the word of Our Lord in Iron to a congregation that included almost every man and woman in Castle Everstand. Those who frequented Gorum's chapel believed the answer to the Belkzen threat was to go on the offensive, rather than to fortify their defenses.

Father Lodmor Osther, an aging priest of Iomedae held frequent gatherings at the castle's church, and worried that his teachings fell on deaf ears as more devotees sought enlightenment at the adjacent temple of Gorum. Osther and his allies feared that Vesan's rousing speeches would incite a premature, foolish course of action, but he refrained from speaking of his qualms in order to maintain the cordial relations between the two churches. He shared his fears with his trusted acolyte Kelbie.129

Since abandonment

Castle Everstand remains overrun by undead, though a cult of Gorumites still worships nearby and seeks to reclaim holy relics of Gorum still within its walls. A ghoul cleric of Urgathoa named Nhurina is researching the site on behalf of Tar-Baphon in the hopes of reversing and reusing the wish magic that formed the keep.13


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

  1. Paizo confirmed 4517 AR, two years after its construction in 4515 AR, as the year of the fall of the Hordeline despite the print and initial PDF releases of Belkzen, Hold of the Orc Hordes stating otherwise. See Talk:Hordeline/Conflicts.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Tim Hitchcock & Alyssa Faden. Castle Everstand” in Castles of the Inner Sea, 5. Paizo Inc., 2013
  3. Tanya DePass, et al. “Overview” in World Guide, 9. Paizo Inc., 2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 Tanya DePass, et al. Eye of Dread” in World Guide, 41. Paizo Inc., 2019
  5. Jessica Catalan, et al. “Chapter 4: Knights of Lastwall Efforts” in Knights of Lastwall, 103–104. Paizo Inc., 2022
  6. Michael Kortes. Deck of Many Things” in Classic Treasures Revisited, 20. Paizo Inc., 2010
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Gareth Hanrahan, et al. Knights of Ozem” in Knights of the Inner Sea, 10. Paizo Inc., 2012
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Tim Hitchcock & Alyssa Faden. Castle Everstand” in Castles of the Inner Sea, 7. Paizo Inc., 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Tim Hitchcock & Alyssa Faden. Castle Everstand” in Castles of the Inner Sea, 9. Paizo Inc., 2013
  10. Tim Hitchcock & Alyssa Faden. Castle Everstand” in Castles of the Inner Sea, 10. Paizo Inc., 2013
  11. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 99. Paizo Inc., 2011
  12. Tim Hitchcock & Alyssa Faden. Castle Everstand” in Castles of the Inner Sea, 8. Paizo Inc., 2013
  13. Jessica Catalan, et al. “Chapter 4: Knights of Lastwall Efforts” in Knights of Lastwall, 108. Paizo Inc., 2022