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Square in the centre of the northern bailey of Helmer’s Walls squats the Darnstall Palace. For most of the year it lies empty and barren, silent witness to the drilling of the garrison troops during the spring and fall and to the quiet vicissitudes of winter. In the heart of summer the mostly open-air structure comes to life as Prince Elston spends a month here holding court and dealing with those cases the regional courts felt were above their pay grade.

As the prince’s arrival becomes imminent, the statues are dusted off, the floors washed and polished, the walls cleaned, and the outside white washed for optimal appearance. While the prince is in attendance courtesans rush to and fro, silks flutter in the breeze, and guards man their stations in fine parade gear watched over by the prince’s personal troops.

And then with the changing of the seasons the prince travels on just before the apples ripen in the trees and then the leaves begin to change, the guards return to their garrison duties, and the days begin to shorten.

Temple / Palace / Church

Temple / Palace

The Sanctuary of Vames is a temple dedicated to the god of war in his manifestation as the peacekeeper – where the threat of violence and the eternal dedication to defense brings peace and prosperity to those who live behind the shield of readiness. Saint Vames is said to have been a paladin of the order who fought in countless wars and then acted as a diplomat and emissary in later years until he was eventually martyred by the elves who quartered him and ate him, but still did not attack the lands the church defended because they saw him hold strong even in his final minutes.

The Sanctuary of Vames is made of dark grey granite with red-brown streaks of rust from the ironworks on the roof as well as the massive decorative iron swords mounted to the exterior walls. Within are statues of both Saint Vames and of the peacekeeper in several guises. Of key note is the reliquary (the 20 x 55 foot “hall” accessed by double doors on the northeast side of the map). The far wall of the reliquary has a tapestry of the martyring of Saint Vames and a display case containing three wickedly curved knives supposedly crafted from the ribs of the slain Saint. These are said to have been the weapons of an elvish assassin made from Vames’ corpse after his consumption and then recovered after the war.

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Two different places, one map. I just couldn’t make up my mind as I was drawing the place, so decided to detail both ideas I had. For the Palace, replace the altar with a throne (or assume that the culture in question doesn’t use thrones, and the prince stands behind an ornate jade and ivory desk from whence he holds court)


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