Pathfinder: The Fall of the Empire
legends of castle wraith
At the very eastern tip of the Drozian Mountains lays an alcove. Perched five-hundred feet up built into the cliff-side are the towers, spires, walkways and high walls of Castle Wraith. It is a city few have entered, even among the privileged.
Winding up like a serpent and shrouded in magical mist is the thirty foot wide road, perched on the very edges of the cliff, pock marked only by an occasional outpost, those that climb it do not know that they have reached the mithryl, forty foot doors that lead to the inside until they are right upon it. Those who enter seldom talk of what they see beyond.
The walls are fifty feet tall and run right into the wall of the mountain. At its base and up over 25 feet are shrouded in mist as well. During day Castle Wraith seems a ghostlike form; mist vapors move across it like a mirage. At night the shapes are black with endless ghost like lights that seem to twinkle in and out of existence.
At night, those bellow, can hear what sounds like the chained rages of a tortured bugbear. The castle dwellers’ magic is as powerful as their ancient rulers. It is whispered that its denizens practice the necromantic arts and often endow their servants and slaves with its dark powers.
Bellow, the Serpent Path the trade market has winked into existence over the last 500 years. It is from this rabble that the Hosts that guard the Drozian Pass are conscripted and it is here that goods are bought and sold for the masters perched above on the Drozian cliffs.
Here the settlement has grown to an enormous size. Nearly a city of itself, the Wraith Market Dwellers have never managed to create any permanent constructions. It is a place where merchants of all sorts come expecting heavy profits. Here only the strong, quick, clever or powerful survive.
The patrols here are operated by Castle slaves, marked only with the Black Rook on the backs of their necks and lead by their masters of the half-bred elven stock. Those that assault the guard are dealt swift justice. The Rook Guard only care for its own and seldom interfere with the brutal nature of the Wraith Market. Slums and trade go hand and hand and laws are marked by the Lord Magistrates that hold the strongest manpower answering only to the Rook Guard.
The Wraith Market is an un-walled sprawl that spreads over a 5 mile radius. Some places are cramped alley ways covered with stalls and pitched tents with mud bases. Others are public forums, circular and pillared. Some are as ancient as 500 years, when the market first originated, yet others come to life one week and go to dust the next. The bars and inns can be pitched tents, vast and large or mud caverns dug into the ground or planks on stilts and covered with mud walls. The eastern weather permits few rains and there is little need of a roof if you are poor.
Some long time ago, the rulers of the Empire had a dispute. The dispute was over the diluted blood of the Nobility and the privileged classes. In the old days those that had the funds were able to arm, armor and educate them selves to go to war. War being the primary method of getting rich and elevating your status. Casters marched with phalanxes and mounted units as aid and the elven Hosts were unbeatable and unbreakable.
As the times changed, so did the rights of these classes. The Nobles had split into two factions; the Purists and the Elysians. The Purists had insisted that the non-elven races were lower than the elves. After all, they lived less, cared about their offspring less and had, over all, less opportunity to enlighten themselves due to their short lifespan. In addition, with the exception of the dwarfs, they bread like dung beetles and they created even more of their uneducated dung masses.
The Elysians did not dispute the lower place of the non-elves but had said that it was possible to enlighten these creature and help fuel their war machines and their bureaucracy. To allow them privileges to Imperial posts would grant them access to the necessary education and training.
Giving non elves nearly equal rights had created the great break of the Eternal Empire.
The Hosts of Castle Wraith rarely leave the perimeter of the castle. The Hosts are mostly elven and drow and are fearsome and fearless. They are obligated to provide a militia on the Purple Sea and the Drozian Pass but that is comprised of slaves, half-elves, and half-drow.
They are obligated to patrol their Dutchy and do so to the minimal possible extend. Groups ranging from 15 to 100 half-elven guard lead by up to 3 elves or drow. They are exceptionally trained. Most are trained better than the typical Masters of the Horse and are not to be trifled with.
The Castle is ruled by Duke Fledraemish Goth ash’Yaresh and his wife Duchess Urga von Roshairan, a drow princess. Both are ancient.