Almondsey


The Province of South Estalia -- North Central Sector

South Estalia is the main province of the three provinces of Estalia, but the largest both in size and population and places of interest. It is therefore (for convenience) being presented on the web in five sections. This is the north central section, consisting of a portion of the county of Centralia, and most of the county of Cowlip. Topographically, this is highland area, with the highest portions of the Lignapp Hills, the northerly spur called the Poggit Hills, and the Great Swamp and Ballon Forest along the River Lin, which borders Almondsey. The region is almost uninhabited except for some farmland along the River Ramat and in the north (shown on the West Estalia web page. The highlands and forests are devoted to the Royal Hunting Preserve: deer, grouse, trout, etc. and to the raising of sheep.

North Estalia Southwest Estalia Central Estalia Linzonia
North Central Sector of South Estalia

As this area is primarily highland hunting grounds, there is little of interest here, so most details will be contained on this web page and on the West Estalia web page. There is a large and well-preserved Plimbo-mim (Hash-kay) at the market town of Alkol, which is on the northern edge of the Lake Jatta basin, and is incorporated into the large manor of the Margrave of Pulse-withal (now the Dowager estate) -- also see below. And there are two very small towns, Ramat-Ford, a sheep market village (with a Palbo-mim in a fair state of preservation), covering the bridge crossing to Yiggle in Pagota county, and Fulgis in the Ramat estuary. Castle Clobb, home of the heir apparent (see below) protects the valley where the River Ambul runs into the Ramat, and is really more of an estate than a castle. There is, however, a strong castle (Drim) protecting the pass leading from Alkol to Ballon Forest.

The corner of Centralia shown here consists of Ambul Common, which is public sheep-grazing land, and two major palaces: The Hierophant's and the Archduke's Summer Palace. Ballon Forest is a dense, pristine woodland populated by foxes, boars, even some bear, and is totally reserved for the aristocracy and priesthood as a hunting preserve. The high Lignapp Hills are full of deer and grouse, also reserved. For protection, there are several game warden compounds, a typical one described below. The upper part of Cowlip county is shown on another web page, even though there is not much to say about it.

Dead Man's Island is actually part of neither Almondsey nor Estalia, and nobody dares venture there -- it is reputedly 'haunted' by a species of flying leeches, which for some reason do not often venture away from this place. The 17th Century necromancer Arthbold built his tower retreat there (see below).



Ramatford
Clobb Castle is the traditional estate of the Deputy Archduke of Estalia (usually the eldest son and heir apparent). There is a fairly large estate attached to this domain; most of the buildings shown on the plan relate to that -- it is a 'working estate', i.e., agriculture and sheep herding. The castle is therefore no major fortress, but it has the usual Estalian keep tower, which is a tall plain structure of four stories (the garret floor, with the parapet, is not shown here -- it is the servants' quarters).

Inside the tower, the layout is very comfortable, apart from the tiny kitchen. The single entrance opens into both the cellar and a stairway to the vaulted garrison hall, then on to the spiral staircase to the upper floors. On the first story is the lofty great hall, also vaulted. The upper levels are divided into a parlor and withdrawing room -- remodelled in Victorian style -- and two large bedrooms with attached bathrooms. At the parlor level, the spiral stair switches to the other side, a common defensive strategy often seen in Scottish tower houses. But this is not a strong fortress, no machicolations, and only a 'shooting gallery' at great hall level that also serves as a pantry.

Game Warden Compounds. There are some 13 of these structures scattered over the Preserves of Cowlip. They are not all as elaborate as this (which is the one nearest to the Summer Palace), but are pretty much the same: a walled yard, a small living quarters, some facilities for veterinary and gamekeeping purposes, and a watch tower (lower left). The top floor of this tower is the watch room, not shown on this plan, but is equipped with telescopes, etc. for monitoring both against poaching and fires. In most cases the warden is also a vet or an experienced gamekeeper -- they take very good care of their animals here, apart from killing them in season.
Alkol is a market town north of Lake Jatta, site of one of the first Plimbo-mims (built by the grandfather of the Margrave of Pulse-withal, and technically called Hash-kay). The complex was soon 'disestablished' from its original religious / administrative purpose and converted into the Margrave's palace, which eventually became the northern seat of the Dowagers of Estalia (see also Zyrly Castle). The town itself is basically a market place, although there is also a spa, built in the late 18th Century.
Here is a floor plan of the Palace. Note that the old Plimbo-mim is 'mirrored' in the courtyard by the grand kitchen tower. All of the main palatial buildings are on the east side facing the town market square. The service wing contains bakehouse, brewery, laundry, etc. To the north are extensive vegetable gardens and orchards, to the south the stables and pasturage, and to the west the landscaped grounds of the estate.
Arthbold Tower is located on the Estalian side of Dead Man's Island ("Lof 'mer Tollin" in Estalian). It was built around 1688 by Arthbold, the most famous necromancer of his time and also very influential in court circles. In later life, he decided to build this retreat in order to further his studies; he chose the most dangerous and remote location he could find. It required a battalion of troops to protect the workers while this project was in the process of construction. Even so, two workmen were killed, one maimed for life, and several badly injured by the island leeches (which were never seen, by the way).

The 'castle' is a simple, small, L-shaped tower-house with a vaulted cellar, a vaulted dining room ('great hall'), and two floors above that, the topmost being the necromancer's study. The wing contains a kitchen and bedrooms, including the 'Igor Room' -- every mad scientist has a Igor. The upper bedroom was Arthbold's and the one below it his assistant's. Note the bartizans, two round, two square, at four of the five corners of the building. Archbold's Hold is sited in woods on the western side of the island, about 100 yards from the River Lin. There is a small landing -- the only one on the island -- along the river bank.

The tower is now semi-ruinous. The last time it was visited, by a party of game wardens, it was reported that the roof had collapsed, and the walls were covered with vines.

Estalia