Almondsey


Soliva Castle, Estalia


Plan of the Town and Castle

Soliva is a seaport on the Atlantic coast of West Estalia, and is the county seat of Palmania. The castle, built in the 15th Century, is the home of Baron Mockmoor of Palmania. This is a very sparsely populated county with a terrible climate, but the moors have extensive deposits of tin and lead produced by the extinct volcano Mt. Caliban in the north, hence the Baron is rather rich. (The Plimbo of Hamm-Bosch is the mining center.)

His castle on the banks of the River Sol at the west side of the town consists of four circular towers (the largest being the keep) and a D-shaped garrison tower; the south side contains the great hall and residential range, with vaulted cellars underneath. The western towers accommodate the servants and there is a kitchen with servants' hall over between them. The southest tower and the solar block is four stories tall. It was remodelled in the 17th Century to be the Baron's residence.

In the middle of the river wall is the Castellan's Tower with a two-story barracks between it and the keep. The latter is rather unusual in that it serves two functions: the lower two floors are part of the garrison, the upper two are part of the Baron's quarters (his chapel and private chambers) -- the two sections having separate non-communicating stairways. All of the towers have French-style conical roofs, which gives the castle its impressive profile. The gatehouse is rather simple, with a vaulted gate passage, a portcullis room, and a small caphouse chamber connected to the Baron's quarters.

The Great Hall rises the height of two floors above the cellar. There is a porch and a screens passage (with buttery and pantry, servery, and entry to the kitchen), over which is a minstrels' gallery and a music room. A unique feature is the projecting internal balcony above the oriel window, entered from the drawing room on the second floor; it is called the 'pulpit' and was used by the Baron to address his subjects without being present on the floor of the hall. Above the Great Hall and Solar oriel windows is a balcony that serves the same purpose in relation to the courtyard. The wall-walk on the north, west, and south sides is contiguous with the garrison quarters; the separate east wall-walk is under the strict control of the Baron. In troublous times there was always a threat of mutiny.

The town is very small in size, but is an important port for shipping ore by lugger (the river Sol is navigable to barges as far as Hamm-Bosch, the mining Plimbo). It is surrounded on the land side by a low wall protected by two gatehouses and the customs tower by the river. The most prominent feature is the temple in the market square and the warehouse by the dock. There is a large inn by the main gate. Several farms surround the town to the south and east, mainly raising pigs and turnips.


Estalia