Green Rivers

Green Rivers

Location Quick Facts

Type: Castle
Master: Sir Connor Darry
Keep: Stone
Motte: Separated from Bailey
Motte Curtain Wall: Stone, 30’ high by 10’ thick
Motte Towers: Main gatehouse, two auxiliary gatehouses, and four round towers
Moat: Wet, plus natural river course
Bailey Curtain Wall: Stone, 40’ high by 15’ thick
Bailey Towers: Main gatehouse, auxiliary gatehouse, and six round towers
Capacity: ~1800

Description

Green Rivers is an important castle belonging to House Darry. It is situated in the fork of the Wishbone River, 83 miles to the southeast of Orkhold. Green Rivers is near the southeastern edge of the territory that House Darry holds directly, and is thus a shield against possible rebellions by the neighboring Houses Daroline and Vener. The Wishbone also facilitates travel and commerce among towns across a wide area, and Green Rivers secures this fertile area for House Darry.

Motte

Green Rivers’ motte is situated on a natural island in Wishbone Lake, which is formed by the conjunction of the river’s northern and western tributaries before they flow to the sea. A stone bridge 250 feet long connects the motte to the coast. A square tower in the center of the span serves as both structural support and a fortified gate.

At the center of the motte is a miniature castle, with stout curtain walls that encompass three quarters of an acre of land. This castle is often referred to as “the motte,” though that term technically only describes the artificially graded mound that the castle sits upon. The Green Rivers motte serves as a private retreat for the master of the castle and his family, both literally and figuratively.

Fortifications

Green Rivers’ motte is stoutly defended by a high square curtain wall whose corners are reinforced by round towers. Each tower has three stories: the first used for storage, the second to house stone-throwing torsion catapults, and the third to house smaller bolt-throwing catapults. The catapults’ elevation gives them enough range to reach a significant distance into Wishbone Lake, providing a formidable defense against those who would try to storm the motte by boat. They can also sweep the bridge and even the bridge tower itself, should the tower fall to an attacker. These catapults are an unusual feature for a Novan castle, especially complicated spells that must be assiduously maintained. Green Rivers has long had a resident artillerist whose sole duty is the care of these ancient spells, the rituals for which are passed down from father to son.

The motte’s primary gatehouse wards the main gate, constructed of stout oak reinforced with adamantium. The passage through the gatehouse is narrow and twisty, passing under four iron portcullises before emerging into the yard. The passage is deliberately slightly wider than necessary to allow a single man to fight, encouraging invaders to hamper each other by attempting to advance two abreast. The stone passage through the gatehouse is riven with loopholes to let guardsmen attack those in the passage with spears or crossbows, and murder-holes in the ceiling follow its passage as well. The gatehouse’s second and third stories house additional catapults. Though the gatehouse is not wide enough to permit carts into the motte, it does provide a strong defense. Secondary gatehouses ward the motte’s east and west gates. These gates are smaller than the main, north gate. Their defenses are also smaller than the main gatehouse, though constructed along the same lines. No roads lead to the east or west gate, but they do provide easy access to the castle for boats in time of peace and make it harder to trap the castle’s family in the motte in time of war.

The third stories of the gatehouses and towers house modest living facilities for a garrison of up to 30 men. In addition to saving space in the main keep, these quarters allow the guardsmen to sleep at their posts in the event of a siege. The tops of the towers are even with the tops of the curtain wall, so the motte’s battlements form a single continuous fighting top along the circuit of the walls. The motte battlements are machicolated to deny an attacker shelter at the foot of the walls.

Yard

The motte’s yard contains small but serviceable facilities necessary to permit the castle’s family to live in comfort. In the northeast corner of the yard is a small shrine with handsome koa-wood pews, stained glass windows, and a marble altar. In the northwest corner is a storage shed. The kitchens are in the southwest, along with a deep well that draws from the waters of the lake. In the southeast is a stable with stalls for four horses. The stable is a three-story structure, with a small mews above the hayloft. A small privy empties directly into the lake via a blowhole, allowing the motte’s guests and residents to relieve themselves in private and also allowing for the disposal of slop without exiting the motte. All of the yard’s buildings are roofed in slate to shed any incendiary missiles that may be lofted over the walls.

Keep

Green Rivers’ keep proper is a 2,000 square foot rectangular tower with three floors and two basements. The ground floor houses a foyer with plush velvet chairs dominated by a bronze statue of Ashleus Darry, founder of the House. Here guests to the keep can shed their mantles and mingle before proceeding into the great hall. The great hall occupies the majority of the first floor. A marble dais at the western end of the hall is reserved for the castle family and their honored guests, while other guests and the servants eat at tables below. Two multipurpose rooms that can serve as both buttery and storage complete the first story.

The keep’s second story houses two bedrooms, currently empty, intended for use by the castle family’s children. The second story also houses a spacious solar, which opens onto a balcony. The solar can be used as a drawing room, to which guests may retire after a meal to socialize. It also provides an open area where the family may relax, and is high enough to sometimes feel the breeze off the river.

The third story of the keep is entirely devoted to the master bedroom. As Green Rivers’ entire motte essentially serves as a keep in the sense of a final refuge from peril, the master bedroom has the luxury of relatively large shuttered windows that provide a cooling cross breeze. Rich carpets decorate the floor, and the master and mistress’ furniture has ample room for arrangement. The master bedroom is dominated by an enormous four-poster mahogany canopy bed. Heirloom quilts of Felicin silk in deep green adorn the mattress, and the mahogany glows with generations of polish. The bed’s posts are carved with leaping dolphins, while the side boards are carved with idyllic scenes of river life.

The keep’s first basement is used to house servants in small bedrooms. The keep is intended to house no more than sixteen servants at a time, although additional staff can be housed in the Great Hall. The servants’ quarters are small, but well appointed with a bed, table, and bureau.

The keep’s second basement, separated from the servants’ quarters by two iron-barred doors, is the dungeon. The dungeon houses torture equipment, ten regular cells measuring five by ten, and
four “pits” that can enclose a prisoner in a five by five cube beneath the level of the floor.

Bailey

Green Rivers has a large bailey on the northern bank of Wishbone Lake. The bailey contains Rivers House, a 30,000 square foot multistory structure that combines the castle’s functions of residence, social entertainment, and administration. In addition to Rivers House, the bailey encloses just over an acre of open yard.

Fortifications

Green Rivers’ bailey’s fortifications are extremely formidable. The Wishbone is diverted to form a moat 40 feet deep just 60 feet away from the curtain walls. The walls themselves are 15 feet thick and 40 feet high, with machicolated battlements. Six round towers reinforce the curtain wall, each one twenty feet higher than the wall battlements. In the event that the walls are stormed, the towers and gatehouses can shut their doors, trapping an enemy on the walls while defenders on the battlements above cut them down.

The two bailey gatehouses, like those of the motte, serve as barracks as well as defensive strongpoints. The second through fourth floors of the gatehouses are given over entirely to living space, while the fifth and sixth floors are habitually left clear save for the gatehouse armory. In peacetime, this allows soldiers of the garrison on duty ample quarters, even for their families, while keeping the most commanding floors of the gatehouse clear for immediate defense. When Green Rivers is besieged, the lower floors of the gatehouses need only be cleared of furniture. The basement of each gatehouse is an ample storage area, which can allow each strongpoint to hold out for a week ot more, depending on how large its garrison is, even if cut off from the rest of the castle.

Each of the bailey’s six round towers follows the general plan of the gatehouses. Though designed for defense with ample arrow loops and well-protected central staircases, the first four floors of each tower are kept furnished for residential use. The southwest and southeast towers are permanently occupied by castle staff, while the others are typically used to house guests. The northeast tower, or
Fawkes Tower, is the most lavishly appointed of the six, reserved for guests of especial importance. Like the gatehouses, the top two floors of each tower are kept clear, and each tower basement can house substantial supplies.

Rivers House

The principal building of the Green Rivers bailey, Rivers House is not intended as part of its fortifications. The mansion has grown piecemeal over several generations of builders, which has given it a certain rambling charm even as it grew larger than some castles. Its highest point is ten feet lower than the curtain walls, to prevent it being targeted by enemy siege engines, and its glass-paned windows are many and spacious. In the event that the bailey is breached, Rivers House is not intended as a strongpoint to fall back to.

The first floor of Rivers House is devoted to social and administrative functions. Its great hall is more than twice as large as that of the keep, and more richly furnished. The floor is pale green marble. Tapestries decorate the walls, alternating with towering stained glass windows showing the Emperor and His saints battling daemons during the Age of Brass. From the rafters of the vaulted ceiling hang pennants showing the arms of previous masters of Green Rivers. Though the great hall may serve many functions, as do all great halls, the Rivers House great hall is mainly reserved for formal court occasions.

More intimate yet still formal is the west drawing room, directly to the west of the great hall. Here the masters of Green Rivers can mingle with guests and vassals in a setting that still impresses upon the mind the power of the castle and its knight. Sumptuous couches surround low tables of teak, so small parties may recline in their own conversational circles. Tapestries on the walls show scenes of knights hunting in panoplied splendor or boating upon the Wishbone on luxurious barges.

West of the west drawing room is the Rivers House buttery. Here dishes can be staged for service to the dining room above or the great hall. The buttery gives a staging area for servants and dishes to be organized away from the heat and bustle of the kitchens. Pages and other servants use the buttery to organize their service, and to retire from the stress of the great hall. A torchlit hallway runs the length of the great hall, with concealed doors in the paneling of the south wall. This allows servants access to their masters wherever they may be seated, without an endless line of menials disrupting the atmosphere of the room.

To the east of the great hall is the ballroom, a 5,400 square foot space where the masters of Green Rivers can host formal balls. Leaded glass windows with fanciful filigreed panes adorn the north and east walls, while gay tapestries brighten the south and west walls. Light is provided by three great chandeliers, each of which may have the light of up to 100 candles reflected by hanging crystals. The ballroom can comfortably host 100 people, and at need can fit as many as 300 dancers. On the ballroom’s east wall, a grand staircase leads up to the east drawing room.

East of the ballroom is the counting house, which, while part of the Rivers House structure, can only be accessed from the outside. The counting house is the only part of Rivers House with an iron door. Here, craftsmen and merchants who service the castle can settle their accounts. The counting house also serves as a money changing booth during market days. A vault at the rear of the counting house secures Rivers House’s store of coin.

The second floor of Rivers House is more residential in function than the first. The center of the second floor is empty, given over to the high ceilings of the great hall. A gallery overlooks the great hall, and connects the east and west wings of the second floor. The gallery is not open to the public, but can provide family members or servants with a discreet vantage point from which to view the proceedings in the great hall.

The east wing of the second floor contains a large general-purpose storage area, the state bedroom, and the east drawing room. The east drawing room is often called the Blue Room, after the deep shag carpet of Rhinish wool that covers the floor. The Blue Room sits atop the ballroom and is often used as a luxurious retreat for tired dancers. The Blue Room is the most intimate, and the most luxurious, of the “formal” spaces in Rivers House.

The Rivers House state bedroom is normally reserved for the master of the castle, though it is also used for sufficiently important guests. Half again as large as the master bedroom at the keep, the state bedroom features polished wood floors and large windows that overlook the bailey yard. An enormous feather bed sits behind silk curtains. The bed is carved like a stylized sailing ship, with the prow at the foot, and the posts of its canopy shaped as masts. The rest of the room has ample room for the mahogany bureaus and clothes presses and a bronze bathtub large enough to immerse two people.

The west wing of the second floor houses the dining room and solar. The dining room is usually used only by the family. Feasts and other social dinners are usually held in the main hall. The dining room sits directly above the west drawing room, permitting servants easy access from the buttery. The family dining room is richly appointed, with silver torch sconces and candelabras, a mahogany dining table, and gold-leafed leaded window panes.

West of the dining room is the solar. The solar is used as a drawing room, a place to retire and relax after the day’s business is done or after a meal. Unlike the east and west drawing rooms, however, the Rivers House solar is a casual family space. The furniture here is expensive and well made but comfortably used. The windows are wide but unadorned, with practical cotton curtains. The solar houses a hodgepodge of furniture, with tables for playing board games, bookshelves to hold reading material, and well-padded chairs for sewing.

The third floor of Rivers House is the smallest in extent, creating two towers at the west and east ends of the building. The west tower is used as a storage attic. The east tower is given over to Sir Connor‘s library. The library is used not only to store but also to display Connor’s collection of books, and features many windows to show the works off at their best. A smaller, windowless storage room attached to the east tower is used to store the most delicate works, which might be damaged by sunlight.

The Rivers House basement contains several large storage rooms, cisterns to hold water reserves in case of siege, and four bedrooms. These are currently occupied by the castle master’s squire, the castle mistress’ ladies in waiting, the castle steward, and the castle seneschal.

Yard

The spacious bailey yard is covered with soft green grass broken by the ruts worn by wagon wheels to the most popular destinations: the counting house and the areas of the yard occupied by merchants’ stalls during market days. The merchants’ tracks form a rough oval around the perimeter of the yard, which often doubles as a boundary in games played by castle children.

In addition to the space left open for market days (or, less happily, refugees), the bailey yard houses large stables, kennels, and mews, a smithy, kitchens, as well as a combination building for the castle bowyer/fletcher and leather worker. These yard buildings are built in stone and roofed in slate, though visiting craftsmen may erect less permanent structures alongside them.

Beyond the Walls

Green Rivers includes three other significant structures besides its motte and bailey. On the north tributary of the Wishbone, east of the bailey, is a water-powered mill, the largest in the region. The mill provides an extra source of revenue for the castle, as well as a valuable service for the community at large. Northwest of the bailey are the castle gardens, which combine fruit-bearing orchards and decorative plants over 50 acres of picturesque flowers and hedges. Finally, to the west of the bailey on the banks of Wishbone Lake are the Green Rivers docks. Smaller docks on the motte service leisure craft, while the main castle docks service river traffic up and down the Wishbone as well as the war galley Pax Adamant, the dominant naval power on the Wishbone.

Court, Residents, and Staff

Court
Staff, travelling to Darhel
  • Vhetin Cooper, a woman of twenty-two years, Philippa’s maidservant
  • Timeon Cooper, a man of twenty-three years, second assistant hostler
  • Jaing Smithers, a man of twenty-eight years, Connor’s valet
  • Cook
  • Groom
  • Captain of the Guard
  • 1-4 Guards
  • Herald
  • Scribe
Staff, still at Green Rivers

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Green Rivers

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