2 years ago ::
Oct 13, 2011 - 10:02AM
Jul 23, 2008
Highcourt Castle is an imposing tower-keep located in the Highcourt District of Caerwall. Though considered a royal casle, the king and the royal family rarely visit the castle. Rather, the fortified structure is used primarily as a minor military garrison housing roughly 60 men-at-arms. The castle is a prominent symbol more than anything else and a continual reminder to the city council of the power and authority of the king.
Highcourt Castle is located along the river quay occupying a plot 70 feet by 70 feet. The tower rises 68 feet high and consists of four levels on three floors. Constable Aelan (Good male human, Ftr 11) commands the tower in the king's name assisted by Lieutenant Saelfen Widdlesbin (Unaligned male human, Ftr 9) and the warmage Saecester (Unaligned male human, Sorcerer 9).
Highcourt Castle is built from sturdy Peredurian gray stone quarried from northern sites on the island and carried by caraven to the capital. Entrance into the tower is actually one level above ground floor on the 1st floor which was customary for fortified structures built at that time. A wide stone stair begins on the west side of the tower and turns around the northwest corner before passing under a small sentry tower before leading up to the entrance through a forebuilding. At least one watchman is posted atop the sentry tower and a 2nd one at the main door in the forebuilding at all times. Each is armed with longsword and wears chainmail armor. The guard atop the sentry tower carries a crossbow while the guard at the door carries a longspear.
Just before reaching the forebuilding, one must cross a heavy oak drawbridge that spans a shallow "pit" of sorts. The drawbridge can be raised in the event of an attack to cover the main entrance while also exposing the pit which is 8 feet long and 10 feet deep.
Visitors with business in Highcourt Castle are lead through an antechamber (#7) into the Mustering Hall (#5). An iron portcullis can be dropped down from a space between the floors to barricade the doorway between this antechamber and the mustering hall. The winch operating the portcullis is located in a tiny alcove in the chapel above (#11). The antechamber is rather sparse in terms of furnishings. A brazier of charcoals is kept here in the winter to provide heat. A cot is also placed here in the evenings as this room serves as the sleeping quarters for the porter. The drawbridge is always raised at night and the door closed and bolted. Tiny arrow slits pierce the walls allowing archers to fire through the openings at attackers outside.
The mustering hall serves as the gathering room for the garrison. The room serves as a meeting space, dining hall, armory and duty room. A number of smaller chambers are built into the thick walls to the west and east while the tower in the northeast contains a spiral stairwell that connects to all floors of the castle, including the ground floor below. During the day, 6-8 privates (Ftr 1 or Ftr 2), 1-2 corporals (Ftr 4) and a sergeant (Ftr 5) will be found in this room either just going on duty or coming off duty. During the evenings, the room will generally be vacant. Trestle tables are neatly arranged in rows in the center of the room. A fireplace built into the north wall provides ample heat and light. The walls are decorated with various flags and coat of arms. Two suits of plate mail are arranged on stands along the west wall to both sides of a latrine.
Interior spaces follow the same general layout: a large square shaped space divided in the center by a stone wall forming two main chambers on each floor. A hollow space in the center of this dividing wall allows water to drawn from the well in the ground level via a bucket on a rope connected to a pulley. This water can be drawn up all 3 floors. Because the exterior walls are so thick, small chambers can be found built into the walls along with latrines, fireplaces and storerooms. Each of the two main rooms on each floor contains a large stone fireplace built right into the wall with smoke escaping through a narrow hole built into the wall.
As this is primarily a military garrison, one of the sergeants serves as the company cook. He is assisted by two corporals with 2-4 privates pulling KP duty on a rotating basis. The garrison kitchen is found on the ground floor at #3. The kitchen is typical in appearance with a massive stone hearth along the north wall. Roasted meat can be seen rotating on a spit at the fine along with numerous heavy iron kettles resting on tripods. The kettles contain various sauces, soups and stews. A sink is located in the west wall for the scullery. The center of the room is filled with long wooden tables used for prep work. An industrial size shelving system lines the middle wall on both sides of the water well. The shelves contain pewter mugs, saucers, and ceramic bowls, mugs and pitchers of various sizes and shapes. Unprepared food is stored in the larder at #2 which contains mainly salted meat and fish, dried flat breads, sacks of grain, barrels of water and a number of cheese wheels. Personal utensils like knives and forks are likewise kept in a wooden chest in this room. The space south of the kitchen at #4 is used as a storage room. This room contains tools, linens, planks of wood, a number of ladders, barrels, boxes, crates, ropes, etc. This space is keep cold and dark.
Up on the 1st floor, south of the mustering hall, is the garrison chamber #6. This is main barracks for the men-at-arms serving at the castle. Numerous cots are evenly spaced along the center of the room each with its own footlocker. A fireplace in the southwall provides heat and light and two latrines are located in the south wall. The southwest tower contains a spiral stair that leads up to the 2nd and 3rd floor. A small chamber built into the east wall serves as a private sleeping room for the Lieutenant of the garrison while the warmage sleeps in a similar alcove off the mustering hall.