Almondsey


The Royal Castles of Central Estalia

Site contents: Ting, Grollshec, Pardolot't, Flogis-m'Lott, and Berig-Thud

The Royal Castles of Estalia all date back to the days of full independence, when Estalia had a king rather than an archduke. Estalia Castle, the principal royal castle, has its own web page.

Ting Castle is one of the oldest sites in the country. It is built within the walls and ditches of an Iron Age fortress, which had dry-stone walls, but the outer surfaces were mortared in later years. This castle, sited on an eminence on the east side of Ting Island, commands the two rivers that are outlets to Lake Jatta, R Ye and R Throm. The Barbican (17th Century) occupies the site of the original outer rampart, and has a stairway down to a landing pier. The gatehouse (16th Century) is reached by a wooden bridge, but the modified original entrance to the fort still exists as a sallyport just south of it. This gatehouse, five stories tall, also serves as a keep, although the west tower is the royal residential stronghold. The south side of the interior ward is taken up by the Great Hall complex (including kitchen); the north side has the retainers' quarters; the castellan's tower is on the east side. Outside the barbican is an outer ward area enclosed by Iron Age earthen ramparts. Here are all the wooden buildings housing stables, servants, barns, etc. This castle has not been modernized since the Almondese gained suzerainty, but is still garrisoned, and is the official home of the Warden of the Lake (Baron Ting), and in fact his family owns and farms the whole island. His manor house can be seen by clicking here.
Grollshec Castle is in fact a 19th-Century manor house built in the Gothic mode as a summer refuge for the Archduke's family. It overlooks Loch Mugg and is within The Royal Reserve, but is mainly accessed via a back road north of Hanssolu. It was primarily built as a hunting lodge, since there is extensive grouse-shooting in the adjoining hills. The building is a simple quadrangular structure with round towers at the corners. On the northern side is the service wing, to the east the garrison, and on the south and west the private quarters. There are only two stories (plus garret chambers) in the main section, although the towers have four floors. The towers were originally capped with French-style conical roofs, but they were replaced by octagonal master bedrooms, giving the castle an unusual looking profile.
Pardolot't Castle is the official residence of the heir or crown prince (known as the Earl of Pardolot't). It also has ancient origins dating back to the 1200's as a 'shell keep'. Hexagonal flanking towers were added in the 15th Century, and the old medieval internal buildings were torn down in the mid-18th Century to build the current mansion house. The heirs are traditionally (though not always) rather decadent, so the house is fitted up with areas for card-playing, billiards, drinking, and various forms of debauchery.

Flogis-m'Lott Castle is located in a remote and well-protected area in the Lignapp Hills south of Loch Mugg. It originally was built in the 1400's to protect the southern flank of the Royal Precinct, but in 1745 was taken over by the then Dowager Duchess (Lara-minyon den-m'Lott) who was a formidable old lady who lived to a great age (103). She was a devout worshipper of the goddess Lott, and after the death of her husband became a high priestess. This castle, ever since, has been a 'nunnery' for the women who serve Lott. The only men allowed residence in the castle are eunuch priests of Lott, although there is a fairly large supporting community just outside the outer ward with functional families. The garrison consists entirely of women warriors.

It is a small but strong fortress, having two large round towers on the north side, two smaller ones to the south overlooking a precipitous cliff, and a barbican / gatehouse combination. To the west is Flogis Burn, with its waterfall over the cliffs. The outer ward, however, is a simple courtyard concentric with the north and east sides of the castle and only contains lean-to buildings -- the main offices and storage areas are contained in the village outside the barbican. The Great Hall is the principal communal area for the priestesses, and is notable for a minstrels' gallery and a triforium arcade. The dowager (or whowever is the current high priestess) lives in the southwest tower. The northern towers are devoted to the nunnery.

Northwest Tower contains a two-story temple devoted to the goddess, with living quarters above it. Northeast Tower holds the Nonagon Room, equivalent of what would have been called the Chapter House in a Christian monastery.

Note: the Outer Ward is patrolled by vicious wolfhounds, loose at all times to run about, who are trained to attack any male human being.

Berig-Thud Castle is dedicated to the god Thud. This castle is built to the north of Lake Jatta, off the road to Alkol and the Archduke's summer palace. It was the Archduke's private retreat (Frenaldo VII, who made it his home in the mid-19th Century, was very reclusive and studious.
It was a much older castle (about 1480) that had fallen into ruin, but he took his inspiration from Burges's Castell Coch in Wales, built for the Marquess of Bute -- a compact neo-gothic masterwork in the Victorian gothic style. It consists of three conical-roofed round towers in the French chateau manner, a rounded courtyard, a gatehouse, and connecting buildings. Primarily, it is a family, not a public, place, although it is a prominent mark on the skyline north of the lake (it also has incredible views over southern Estalia). Note that the Castellan has elaborate quarters in the south tower -- these were set up for Frenaldo's crony, Chancellor Tarquin Yard-Boush, who was noted for being the most famous Estalian historian and antiquary of his day.

Estalia