The Keep itself
Metamor Keep itself is located ridge that runs from south the north and is roughly twelve miles south the of northern end of the valley.
The ridge itself rises at a shallow angle with the highest point being on the north end. On that high point is located the Dukes palace and the lower Keep. There is a large curtain wall about fifty yards up the slope that runs around the perimeter of the top of the ridge. It encloses not only the Dukes palace and Lower Keep but Outer Ward and the Killing ground as well. I’ll describe them in more detail later. The slopes below the curtain wall are very steep and almost impossible to climb with a rope. Also nothing is allowed to grow any higher then ankle height. Any higher and it would provide concealment for would be attackers.
Before discussing Metamor Keep physically we have to discuss Kyia. Kyia is not a place but a person. She is the Keep – LITERALLY. Kyia is the spirit of the Keep. Exactly what she is no one knows but her. But the Daedra – the Gods of the Followers treat her as an equal! Her power over the Keep is absolute. She controls every aspect of the Keep and its variable geometry. Only rarely seen by the average population of Metamor Keep Kyia usually looks like a thin, wispy young woman.
Metamor Keep is divided into several different courtyards or wards by cross walls that run completely across from east to west. Each wall has only one gate it in restricting the flow of traffic and making it that much harder for an attacker.
The Outer Gate: This is the one gate in the curtain wall and the only known public entrance to the entire castle. There is at least one secret tunnel out of the keep (doesn’t every self respecting castle have a secret tunnel?) and perhaps others that are still unknown.
Two massive towers flank an equally massive gatehouse with countless doors, portcullis’s all strongly built and well protected. This place was meant to withstand a long and bitter struggle and would be tough for any army to reduce.
The Killing ground: After passing through the Outer Gate a traveler finds themselves in a small courtyard. This area is bare of everything except the flag stones underfoot. This is deliberate as this area was meant to be a killing zone. A place where any enemy making past the outer gate would fine themselves out in the open with no place to hide. That would make them easy targets for the soldiers in the Middle gate and the curtain wall it’s in. This is not a friendly place and most people hustle through it as fast as possible.
The middle Gate and the Middle Curtain wall: This wall and gate located higher on the ridge then the outer gate over looks the Killing ground and the other gate. The middle Gate is just as massive and well protected as the Outer gate.
The Outer Ward: Sometimes called the Town ward or just the town. This ward is jam packed with buildings and really is a small town unto itself. In here you will find countless homes and shops. Some of the more important places are:
The town square: Not really square in shape never the less this still called the square. Always a busy place even in the worst of weather. In good weather there are many venders selling things here. And anyone wanting to enter the inner ward The Keep stop here to be inspected before being allowed entrance. There is a well located here (one of several in the ward) and a small fountain that provides drinking water to many.
The Bakery run by Gregor A full bakery where the bread, pastries and other baked goods that the Keeps inhabitants eat is made.
The Jewelry shop of Will Hardy. A two story post and timber building. Over the door is a sign that reads “Will Hardy Jeweler to the Duke.” Will Hardy and his daughter Caroline live here.
The mill. The only mill in the town is located here and is used to grind grain and corn grown by the local farmers.
A granary. There is at least one such building in the ward and is used to store grain for long periods of time. The Duke always keeps this place full in case of another attack by Nasoj. It is kept locked and closely guarded at all times.
The Greenhouses. Metamor has something very rare in this world – greenhouses. These glass structures are tucked into several different corners of the ward. They are kept heated in winter and used to grow a variety of plants that usually don’t survive the valleys harsh winters very well. Built at great expense by a previous duke who love plants they have since become an integral part of the Keep and are open to the public.
The Inner Gate: If the Outer and Middle gates were impressive to a visitor this gate would inspire awe. Lager, taller and even more massive then the other two this structure was meant to be as close to invincible as possible.
The Inner Ward: This area hold The Keep. But there are a lot of other things located here as well. They include a very large and lavish garden that surrounds the Dukes Palace, stables, a parade/drilling ground and an archer range.
The Lower Keep: This place holds such things as the Armory tower, barracks, and several mess-halls. It is a collection of towers, halls and buildings, all connected in one great, grand, brooding, rambling mass. For a good idea of what this place looks like imagine ant one of the countless dark and creepy castles that featured in many movies.
There are three main gates in this structure and these figured prominently in the Battle of the Three Gates. Each gate must have an individual name but that has not been set into a story yet. Each one is associated with one part of the three part curse (TG, AR and animal). It was these gates that were being attacked when the great curse was cast on the Keep. There are numerous smaller doors in the lower keep but those are not as well known as those three. All can be barred against assault.
The Deaf Mule. This is the only pub in the Keep itself. There are a few in Euper and the town ward but this is the only one in the Inner ward. It is not actually a part of The Keep but is a large wooden building attached to an outer wall.
Mess Hall. There are several in the Lower keep and the Dukes palace. Each is different and varies in size and shape but all have the same function – feeding people. They consist of a kitchen and storage area where the food is prepared and a large dining room. The smaller ones might close after the evening meal but most are open all the time feeding the Keeps large population.
The Arsenal tower. There are a few small storerooms scattered through The Keep but this is the main arsenal for the entire castle. When a character talks about the arsenal it’s usually this one they are talking about. The arsenal itself is two floors in height and holds enough weapons and armor to equip an army – literally! The number of swords, spears and bows here number in the thousands. You can find an example of almost every weapon, armor or shield ever designed or made here. Also in the tower or close to it are the workshops of weapon smiths, armor makers, bowyers, fletchers who are needed to make or repairs the contents of the armory. If you cannot find a weapon or armor in the armory it can be quickly made for you.
The Baths. The Keep houses a large public bath reminiscent of those built by the Romans. It has a large central bath used by the general public which is crowded with people at all hours. There are also smaller ones that are divided by gender and for those who don’t like to be naked in front of the entire population of the keep. This is a place for people to bath (surprised?) and get clean but it’s also a place to relax and be with friends. Besides the bathing pools there is a sauna, a gymnasium and several locker rooms. Also there are usually several venders wandering about selling things food and drinks. For an idea of what this place looks like think of the Roman baths put up by Caracala in Rome or of Grand Central Station in New York city. Of all the places in Metamor this one still holds the most reminders of the days when the Seuliman empire ruled this part of the world.
Long House. Not actually a separate structure but a self contained complex of rooms with The Keep itself. It has only one very well guarded entrance door. It contains a large and ornate hall called Long Hall that is the central hub of the complex. There are also countless storerooms, pantries, barracks, kitchens, dining rooms scattered about. There is even a small bath house, an armory, training room and even a small archery range! Every member of the Long scouts has an apartment here including Matthias even though he now lives in Glen Avery. There are also several rooms devoted solely to Sondecki training and once used my Matthias. This unusual complex was discovered by Matthias and Misha about a year ago and seemed ready made for the Longs and has been used by them ever since.
The armory located in Long house is small but surprisingly well equipped even by Metamor’s standards. It does have a very large collection of odd and unusual weapons and armor not seen anywhere else. No one knows exactly why this is but Misha believes it’s a sort of museum that Kyia has created to house items she wants to preserve.
Attached to Long hall is a small room that Misha uses as the official offices of the long Scouts that has an impressive array of maps.
The Dukes Palace: Located about 20' higher than the Lower Keep is the Duke's Castle. This is made up of a number of spires surrounding a central spire (the Dukes own spire). The towers are connected by bridges and promenades (both covered and open) some high in the air. The image that comes to mind is of the castles built by Mad Ludwig of Bavaria. The castle at Disney World was inspired by it. Both give you a good idea of what this part of The Keep feels like.
Important locations here are:
Duke's Apartments. This area contains a bedroom, a study/office, private bath and a small room called a solarium that the duke uses as a den. Surprisingly modestly decorated for a Duke these rooms are Thomas’s private space and only close friends are invited here.
The dukes audience chamber. Actually a small conference room with wooden tables and chairs that could hold ten people. The dukes uses this room for private meetings.
The dukes throne room. This room is used for official state business and holds a throne and is lavishly decorated with mosaics, tapestries and carpeting.
Stewart Thalberg’s apartment - No details are given but it can be safely assumed to be close to the dukes apartments and the throne room.
The Dungeons - No self-respecting castle would be complete without dungeons and secret tunnels! Running under the castle are uncounted miles of cellars, dungeons, tunnels, and caves. The long forgotten parts of Metamor’s past are also down here. Layers of the Keeps past long ago buried and forgotten. There is even a throne room that is believed to have been built by the elves in the distant past when they once lived in Metamor. Also there is at least one tunnel that actually runs outside the castle and exits in the valley miles away.
Technically not really part of the castle but worth mentioning anyway. This large town is located at the base of the southern end of the ridge that the castle rests upon. The road leading to the castle and the Outer gate runs through Euper.
This town has a large marketplace and several inns. This is the place where most visitors and traders wind up who won't or can't get into the castle. The Keep marketplace is here. Wandering merchants aren't usually trusted enough to be allowed into the castle so they trade here. And most visitors to Metamor stay here too frightened of the curse to get any closer to The Keep.
It is an important enough place to have it’s own curtain walls which connect to the castles curtain wall. Euper is an independent town with it’s own mayor and militia unlike the town ward which is considered just a part of the castle itself.
Places with no set location within the Keep
There are some places in the castle whose locations have not really been pinned down very clearly. Here they are in no particular order:
Gardens – Besides the gardens in the inner ward and the Dukes Palace there are many small gardens and parks scattered throughout the town ward and Euper.
Library – this place contains lots of books, scrolls and other writings(surprised?). It is one of the worlds biggest and best equipped libraries. Also it is unique in the Metamor world that it is open to the general public who can come in and read and even borrow books. Almost all books are available to anyone. Only a small number of books that are considered ‘dangerous’ are restricted. The restricted library holds mostly magical books or scrolls and does contain some truly powerful tomes. Some are both powerful and VERY evil. All are trapped and warded in some fashion and can be literally deadly to the touch. Dangerous in this case means just that – dangerous.
No book is restricted simply because it’s contents offend someone or supports an idea the Duke doesn’t like. A visitor could find a book on Followers sitting on a shelf next to one about Lightbringers. The library is also the home of Fox Cutter the Keep librarian.
Lightbringer's temple This is the main place of worship for the people of the Keep who practice Lightbringer faith. It has a small entry hall with storage chambers adjoining it. The main Temple with an altar has chambers for Raven and the acolytes of the Lightbringer order on either side. Below are several floors of a very large library which contains all manner of books and items. Considered to be the most complete religious library on the entire continent. It contains some powerful items and books and is perhaps the most heavily warded and protected place in the entire castle. Location: third or forth story of The Keep with windows facing north.
Postern Gate - Located in one of the curtain wall towers on the north end is a postern. This door is very well hidden and heavily guarded. It allows a person to exit the Inner ward and the castle entirely without going through the town and outer gate. The door is very small, barely large enough for a human to pass through. It's location is known to only a few people.
Cathedral - A beautiful cathedral complete with stained glass windows and is of an impressive size. This is the house of worship for those at the Keep who practice the Follower religion. For an idea of what it looks like think of one of the cathedrals of Europe. Father Hough presides here. Not location set other then it is in the Keep itself, probably the Dukes palace but that is just a guess.
Pascal's Apartments – These two rooms are home to Pascal – the Keep alchemist. The female porcupine. The apartment consists of a small bedroom with a window and a large, well equipped laboratory. No other details know.
Toilets - Scattered through the castle are numerous toilets equipped with running water.
Cisterns - Used to store water in case of a siege. Countless cisterns are present throughout the whole castle.
Parade Ground/ training area - Used for marching, and training. There are several in the castle. The killing zone and the courtyard of the lower keep are used the most.
Oren's Tower - Not located in the castle but very close by in the valley. It looks like a lighthouse and it even has a room at the top that houses a beacon. It was built by Oren shortly after his arrival and is home to a small community. It has it’s own assembly hall – called a Fellowship hall and a small armory. Most of the residents here are refugees from Hippocc who came here after that town was destroyed.
The Keep and its strange properties - The Keep itself and particularly The Dukes Palace and The Lower Keep are special and unique and bear some more explanation.
What is The Keep and what is Metamor Castle? And how do I tell the difference? Everything enclosed within the curtain wall on the ridge is part of Metamor Castle. But only The Dukes Palace and The Lower Keep are THE Metamor Keep. I have described them separately but they are less than 20 feet apart and are interconnected by countless walls, bridges, promenades, corridors and rooms. They are one structure and both have the variable geometry that features in so many MK stories. A person can pass from one to the other and not realize it until they find a door or window and look out. They are two parts of one building.
The whole castle is generically called Metamor Keep but the truly magical part of the castle are The Dukes Palace and The Lower Keep- those are called The Keep or just Metamor. Confused? Don’t be. When a person talks about Metamor Keep or the Keep they usually mean The Dukes Palace and The Lower Keep. A good clue is that most characters seem to inhabit The Keep itself but a few do live in the Outer Ward. Misha lives in the Lower keep which is The Keep but Will Hardy and his daughter live in the lower ward which is Metamor Castle.
The Keep itself is an amazing and incredible place. The entire structure has what some call variable geometry. What does that mean? The interior of the Keep is an ever changing place with the walls, floors, corridors and staircases moving about seemingly at random. And the exterior walls are no limit to the size of the interior. The interior of the Keep is vastly larger then the outside is. It is bigger inside then outside.
Things are constantly moving about the Keep and distance between places is no limit to travel time. A person can open a door in the Lower Keep and actually step into a room in the Dukes palace. Walking down a corridor a person could turn around and find the corridor gone, replaced by a blank, stone wall or a doorway leading to the Library. Sometimes that walk can be long and involve going up and down stairs or could be as easy as opening a door in the Library and stepping through into the Dukes throne room. What exactly happens depends on Kyia the Spirit of the Keep and what she wants. She is the only thing that can control the Keep and the movements of all its parts.
All of this could make traveling about the Keep rather difficult but in reality moving it’s easy. As a person walks the corridors and rooms shift about to get the person where they want to go. They don’t have to consciously think about what turns to take or whether to go up or down. They just need to think about where they want to go. Of course this might takes a new arrival sometime to figure out and could lead to considerable wandering. And Kyia does seems to enjoy playing the occasional prank on new comers.
Also if Kyia doesn’t want someone to get to a particular place, no amount of walking or persistence will get them there. That person could wander the halls of the Keep endlessly until she decides otherwise. Also if she wants someone to go to a particular place they WILL wind up there where they want to or not.
There is only two exception to those rules. The first is Long house. There is only 1 entrance into or out of Long House. No amount of desire on a persons part can get them into Long House without getting past that door and the guards and spells protecting it. Only one person knows why this is and that is Kyia and she has never revealed why. What most people believe is that Long house is meant to protect something of great value and that the Long scouts are merely the guards. There is a very old legend at Metamor that says that God himself created Metamor to protect something from the Daedra and other evils and that Long house is where that thing rests. As to what ‘it’ is no one knows. But Misha and many of the Long Scouts take this legend seriously. One odd confirmation of that idea came during the recent Winter Assault. The attacking Lutins ignored several other important targets and concentrated on trying to take Long House.
The second exception to the rules is a key. This key was given to Kee by Kyia herself. He used the Key for a long time before passing it along to Raven who keeps it safe in the Lightbringer temple. The key allows the users to mentally control where they go and what happens around them. If they wanted to go to the baths they could simply hold the key and imagine a doorway that leads to the baths. A door would then suddenly appear in the wall next to them. If there was no wall next to them then a wall would appear with a door in it. Opening the door that person would find that it leads directly to the baths.
Why the two parts of The Keep you might be asking? (Go ahead! Ask! I won’t mind!) The main cause was the already published stories described two different types of Keep, one massive and brooding, and the other light and airy. I resolved those differences as best I could. Another reason was feedback. After talking to several people the layout seemed to just evolve. Another (personal) reason is the contrast between the two different elements sounds great. It gives the Keep a unique feeling. Besides I think it’s cool!!!
What's the difference between the town in the castle and the town outside the keep called Euper? The castle is involved with the castles upkeep. The keep bakery, the Dukes Jeweler, the Mill, the blacksmith are all located here. Also many of the Dukes married soldiers live here. Euper is an independent town (with a mayor) that grew up around the marketplace. Life here is a lot less controlled than in the castle, but at a cost; protection. To get to the Keep an attacker has to go through Euper. And being on level ground it doesn’t have the defensive advantages that the castle has. This town was almost completely leveled during the siege leading up to the battle of the Three Gates. It wasn’t the first time that had happened. The present town of Euper was built upon the ruins of the Seuliman town of Elupertius which was built on the ruins of Coritani town of Cavsennae. Both of which had been completely destroyed in the past.
Metamor Keep is many things, a town, the seat of the Dukes power, a place of great magic and perhaps the resting place of something of immense power. But Metamor is first and foremost a castle, a fortified, military installation.
The castle has a long history of being attacked in various ways. Defending the castle from attack and infiltration is a difficult task. One that is ongoing and never easy. The walls, towers, corridors and streets of the castle are constantly patrolled and in each tower are archers and infantry.
Ditch The castles first line of defense is located at the base of the ridge running all the way around it. This ditch is 50' deep and 30' wide and has been cut into the rock of the ridge itself. The walls and bottom have been polished smooth to make climbing difficult, if not impossible.
The ridge The ridge itself presents the next line of defense. At most places it is very steep making climbing difficult. The area between the ditch and the curtain wall has been cut and shaped smooth like the ditch walls making it even harder to scale the ridge.
The curtain wall The curtain wall is located on the top of the ridge which is roughly some fifty feet above the ditch at the ridges lowest point and over two hundred feet at the highest. The wall itself is fifty feet high and is interspersed at intervals with towers that are seventy feet tall.
Communication and time keeping
The great bell is used to mark the changing of the guard, breakfast lunch and dinner being served, and important events. It's also used to sound the alarm in times of emergency. Its tolling can be heard almost everywhere in the castle. The emergency alarm (continuous ringing) is guaranteed to bring everybody running.