Sevrin is the name of an archipelago of seven islands, as well as the name of the largest island. Each island is ruled by a member of the Council of Adepts, a group of powerful alchemists who joined forces twenty years ago to defeat Sevrin’s previous ruler. After restoring peace and prosperity, the adepts increasingly left the ruling of Severin to seneschals and returned to the practice of alchemy. Though they are not in open competition with each other, they are wary and protective of their secrets. No words could express their attitude more accurately than a single glance at their strongholds.
Rhendish Manor is a city within a city, a walled community crowning the top of Sevrin’s tallest mountain. The eastern side of the mountain is densely settled. Rhendish directs the work of master alchemists, journeymen, and apprentices, most of whom live within the Manor’s outer walls. Alchemists, particularly those who also design clockwork creations, require a vast array of services. The East Wall is also home to a wide variety of artisans–coopers, leather workers, glass smiths, metal smiths, herbalists–as well as tradesmen, servants, city militia, and the adept’s personal guard.
At the top of the mountain lie the workshops and warehouses needed for the production of clockwork goods for which Sevrin is famous. This busy area is highly traveled. Tradesmen, apprentices, servants, merchants, and alchemists come and go, all of them under the watchful eye of Rhendish’s guards.
The adept’s personal quarters are surrounded by yet another wall. The actual dwelling is a surprisingly modest home of white stone, surrounded by a garden filled with flower-lined walkways and shaded by trees that grow nowhere else on the island.
The west side of the mountain is a rocky drop into the valley below. A few goats browse the lower slopes, but the island’s inhabitants avoid the wall, which is considered too unstable and treacherous to climb. Those few who attempt it invariably die in rock slides. Some people wonder, quietly and behind closed doors, if alchemical mysteries or well-placed arrows were the real cause of these deaths.
A notable feature of the West Wall is the Mule, a system of ropes and pulleys and clockwork machinery that carry wooden carriages up the steep slope. Carts carry goods up the winding streets of the East Wall, but the Mule is popular with people wish to avoid the climb, as well as those who enjoy the novelty of riding in a carriage that soars high above the rocky slope.
There are rumors of other paths into Rhendish’s stronghold, most of them based on old tales of a lost dwarven civilization. Other than a few tunnels for street runoff, some excellent wells, and an underground cistern, Rhendish has found no evidence of this supposed network.
Sevrin’s inhabitants known the area as Crystal Mountain, not because of the mineral content of the mountain but in reference to Rhendish’s fascination for crystals and their properties. From time to time the locals wonder what use Rhendish might make of the exotic gems and crystals he collects, but for the most part they are too pleased with their comfortable, prosperous lives to ask many questions.