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Fastness of Girwyllan
About 250 years ago in the rich province of Bremen in Aquila lived Count Clowss III. A witch told of the coming of the two children and all were happy. Lady Cleme had two beautiful twin daughters, Bridget and Rebecca. Both of the children studied magic under the careful eye of the family mage. Later their mother taught them all they needed to know to charm and entertain at court. Both of the children grew into beautiful young ladies. Both traveled in their youth at court for a short time and were happy.
At court they were introduced to all of the peerage. Most of the young men at court were nice but dull. That was until the day Master Sith Franburg of Bowcourt arrived. Both sisters were impressed by the foreign young man at first glance. He too immediately was interested in Rebecca. The two sisters had words over the young man, and Bridget returned home, never to be seen at court again. Their father at first was angered by his two daughters strong wills and stubbornness. He decided that no man would come between them. He traveled to court to put an end to the folly. But as fate would have it the Count liked the young man, and encouraged the suit.
Months later when Bridget heard news that her own father was encouraging the suit she was unhappy. She decided to travel to the old family winter fortress with only a few servants. She was very unhappy and the keeper of the fortress, an old man, tried to encourage her to put her time to good use. It didn't work at first. He was sad for the young lady and a bit taken aback by her beauty. She swore that she would practice her magic until she was more youthful and beautiful than her sister. After some time she finally gained the key from the keeper and opened the old library and found many great works hidden inside. Some of the great tomes found there we do not speak of today. The Count stayed at court and early the following year in late spring oversaw the marriage of his first daughter Rebecca to Sith. He had spent well over a year at court and decided to return home. On his way home he was killed by one of the neighbor’s sons at a small ford crossing. The family was outraged over the death. Lady Rebecca and the new Count Sith decided that the death called for revenge. After three short but bloody years the Duke stopped the war. Lady Bridget learnt of her father's death and the marriage and war all at once - the following winter. The surviving servants that returned from the Winter Fortress said that she was struck by such grief that she let dark warriors leave her dreams at night and kill people. Within one week of the news of her father's death all but Bridget had left the Winter Fortress.
In the following years Count Sith and Countess Rebecca ruled wisely over the land and they and the people were happy. The harvests were good and the weather fine for the most part. Many years went by with the only news of Bridget that left the Winter Fortress was with the return of the servants to the Family home each new year.
They spoke only to Rebecca about her sister. In time Sith and Rebecca had children of their own. On the 25th year wedding anniversary of Sith and Rebecca, Lady Bridget returned home. This was much to the surprise of all the family. She was the spitting image of the day she left, not a day older. Her mother knew she had been dealing in the dark arts but before she could act, Rebecca had cast a spell over Girwyllan - the oldest of Sith's sons and left the castle under cover of darkness.
No one is clear about what happened over the next few days. Some say it was the magic of the local witches, others say it was the working of the Duke's Wizard, but Bridget, asleep in a box, was returned to the family. The family was in uproar over the return of Bridget and the curse she placed on Girwyllan the Count's son.
Life in the castle returned to normal over the following year, apart from the ailment that inflicted young Girwyllan. Before he turned fifteen Rebecca, in a fit of grief, declared that her own son knew no love, apart from that for Bridget. In time Girwyllan grew into a man and traveled to the winter fortress to study the great tomes of magic under the watchful eye of the Duke's Court Wizard - Malcor. For years they studied and only took time out to attend the funeral of Girwyllan's grandmother. It was at this point that he learnt that Bridget was a vampire. Once this was known Girwyllan and Malcor started on a plan that would take them another 200 years to complete.
The Dukes Wizard Malcor, The Countess Rebecca and her son Master Girwyllan employed a ranger called Swithan to find a valley area that was north facing (with great sea views - optional) and high in magic. After two years he returned to Aquila with news of the Fastness of Girwyllan. And so our story starts;
Shaping the land
At that time the Fastness of Girwyllan was in the wilds. The main thing going for the Fastness was that is was a high mana area. None of the farms or villages or towns that are part of Carzala were settled at this point. Girwyllan and Malcor used the last of the family's elixirs of youth to give them the time needed to shape and craft the powerful magic's and rituals into the hills and lands. Many of the short cuts were created at this time.
The Shaper gained his name from the Dwarves he hired from the Superstition Mountains. They built a underground clan Holding for the 300 workers within the valley, south of the Standing Stones, in the grass lands. The construction took 30 years. The Holding had plenty of homes, temples, store rooms and stores. It even had a great drinking hall and almost all that the Dwarves needed. They also built a larger fortress for their families on the same site as the modern town of Gugnir's Hope outside the valley to the east.
The work the great clans did for the Shaper involved building countless circles of standing stones throughout the hills and valley. Special homes were built for the strange and magical creatures that the Shaper needed in the future. They also built temples halfway down cliffs, underground tunnels running for miles, large caverns and words carved into the side of cliffs, tunnels for rivers to pass through under hills and large bits of land that would turn to face the sun all day long. They also built the main underground city that the Shaper and his servants and follower would live in. The city was not of this world and could only be entered by special means. These were only some of the works that the Dwarves built, and all of the time all of the Dwarves were sworn to secrecy. As the Dwarves were building the city for the Shaper, he had started work on the great magic's that were to be given to the Dwarves as payment for their work. He also paid in gold. He used a magical forge to shape the Named weapons for the clans in the small camp that is now known as Candlestone Farm. From time to time as needed the Shaper would sleep for years and rest from the magic's.
The Local Lands of the Dead
The first people knew of the death of Swithan the Ranger was when his ghost started walking Swithan's Roughlands in the north. He was only able to return from the Local Lands of the Dead to help those lost in the wastes. He brought news that the magic's the Shaper was creating had started to work and people that died in the hills were not leaving the area and traveling on to the real Lands of the Dead. Instead they were all gathering in a local area much like the real world but smaller and located between the real world and the real Lands of the Dead. Swithan helped carry messages between the Shaper and the dead, and the speed of work increased. The tunnel to the Local Lands of the Dead was completed, the huge stone, jade and iron gates put in place. All that they needed to do now was shape the magic in the real world to help with the simultaneous resurrection of the dead who perished locally.
The Elemental Points
This meant that the hills and area around the underground city would need more work. The elements would need to be shaped in the direction of the six compass points.
- In the North is the element of Water. A small clan of giant Beavers guard and use the orb that the Mana and water from the elemental plane comes from.
- Earth. Some of the creatures in the Fastness say that Braegon the adventurer is the Master of Earth.
- Above the valley is a place of Air Magic power. There is a large 120 foot high wooden tower built by the first of the Green Water Goblins tribe members. The element of Air was opened and the Shaper summoned and bound a large elemental called Bellow to the tower and the hills. Many magic's involving air within the hills happen with his knowledge. As a talent magic Bellow knows about all flying creatures within the Fastness at once with complete clarity. He attacks flying creatures that have not performed the ritual of Safe Flight by bring a wooden bowl of air to the top of the tower and asking permission for flight. Some of the creatures in the Fastness say that Clementine the adventure is the Master of Air.
The six Elementals would be needed to be bound to the area to allow the resurrection.