Sevrinspire is the largest city on Heartstone, which in turn is the largest island in the Sevrin archipelago.  Although Sevrinspire is built along the coast, it has no deep-water ports and therefore trade is dependant upon a system of small boats and overland routes. The primary road leading south into Sevrinspire is guarded by an ancient, sprawling castle know as The Captain’s Keep, or, to the folks who live in the village and the nearby city, simply the Keep.

This is the abode of Volgo, captain of the adept Rhendish’s guard. Since Rhendish rules the island and is the foremost member of the Council of Adepts, Volgo’s position is extremely powerful. In addition to holding the northern approach to the city, he oversees the collection of trade tolls and is responsible for training future members of the guard. A select group of talented young warriors is housed and trained in the keep.

The Keep is set on a mountain pass just beyond the city. The village of Keepside is a collection of small workshops and homes lining the trade road. In addition to the castle servants and guards, the village houses tradesmen, crofters, and woodsmen who supply the Keep with goods ranging from tallow candles to horseshoes to fresh game.

Despite its air of mystery, the Keep holds no secrets from the villagers–or so they believe. It’s widely accepted that no secret could possibly be safe from Cinthara, the mistress of the Keep. Volgo’s wife is a plump, cheery, chatty soul who likes nothing better than sharing a cup of mead and a gallon of gossip. Everyone is fond of transparent and open-hearted Cinthara, including Volgo, who is nonetheless shrewd enough to realize her value not only as a good-will ambassador, but also as an effective smoke screen.

There is a powerful spell on the threshold of the Keep’s residence that blocks certain realities from Cinthara’s memory. So when she goes to the market or tavern, she’ll regale the villagers with merry anecdotes and small scandals, and speak no word of her husband’s hidden sorcery, or the magic-users he trains in the Keep’s ancient, secret places.

************************************

The image accompanying this post is the Castle of Bouillon in Belgium. More information about the castle can be found on www.visitbelgium.com.