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The Shadow Citadel was the ironic name given to a ruined keep in the Shadow Swamp in the Plane of Shadow. It was the shadow counterpart of the ruined keep known as the Lost Refuge in the Vast Swamp, Cormyr, in the Material Plane.[2][1]

LocationEdit

The Shadow Citadel lay on an islet in the swamp, in the midst of dense stands of black cypress and moss-shrouded blueleafs. It was encircled by channels of lazily flowing water and equally ponderous bayous, around 10 feet (3 meters) deep; the water was cold and dark and thick with peat and debris. Between the open water and firmer land were bogs of increasing depth the further one went out.[2][3][4]

A trail meandering around the swamp from the Shadowscale Warren to the south-east arrived at the Shadow Citadel from the north. The trail joined the islet via a ramshackle wooden footbridge over a 10-foot-wide (3 meters) creek.[2][3][4][5]

To the south of the islet, a shaky dock allowed boat access via the Whispermere, the waters running through the Shadow Swamp. The Necreme would dock here.[3]

StructureEdit

By and large, the keep was constructed of mortared stone, with walls 1 foot (0.3 meters) thick and exterior and supporting walls 5 feet (1.5 meters) thick. It had sturdy wooden doors, but many got stuck in the damp. Ceilings were generally 15 feet (4.6 meters) high.[1] Some areas, inside and out, were lit with wooden rods bearing continual flames, but their light was muted by the Plane of Shadow. There were placed in existing lantern holders in the Great Hall and hung from the trees outside.[1][3]

As the dark reflection of the already ruined Lost Refuge, the Shadow Citadel was even more decrepit and decayed, with the roof gone and whole walls tumbled down. The defensive outer walls were completely erased. The stone walls and statues were cracked and crumbling, the doors peeling.[2][1]

InteriorEdit

The Great Hall was the main, central part of the keep, some 70 feet (21 meters) long and 50 feet (15 meters) wide. It was once quite grand, with elegant columns supporting a beautifully arching ceiling; however these had collapsed over time, leaving rubble across the floor and holes in the roof. Two walls were lined with four alcoves holding statues of Cormyrean royalty, with one more statue in the corner.[1][6]

Like the Lost Refuge, the Shadow Citadel housed a good collection of 13th-century Cormyrean royal statuary, albeit damaged by conflict and defacement. There were statues of King Galaghard III, one of the King Bryntarths (it was undetermined which), King Boldovar the Mad, and King Palaghard I in the alcoves of the Great Hall; and King Dhalmass (who'd reigned and died the year the keep was built) stood on a platform in the corner. Oddly, the statue of Queen Jhalass, as well as the secret passage it concealed, was missing from the Shadow Citadel.[1][6]

The most significant thing in the Great Hall, however, was the Dusk Lord's Passage. Appearing as a large bright orb, it was a portal to the Material Plane, leading to the matching point in the Lost Refuge.[1]

The entry rooms at the southern end of the keep were almost completely destroyed, leaving just a few walls and heaps of rubble. Their doors opened onto the open night.[1]

Jherremor

Jherremor welcomes visitors to his pantry.

Only the Great Tower stood, strangely intact amidst the ruins. Octagonal in shape, it stood 30 feet (9 meters) high so it looked over the outer walls, with high shuttered windows (whereas the real tower was grimly windowless) on the upper level, which could be opened by pulling on chains. The upper room had walls adorned with carvings of a dark, starry sky, resembling some kind of observatory or astrolabe—a strange thing to find in a plane of eternal starless night. Here stood the mysterious Dusk Lord's throne. The floor was in danger of falling in. The two levels were linked by a decaying spiral staircase. The lower level was claimed by the ghirrash Jherremor as his lair and kitchen, with dismembered corpses of men and beasts hanging from hooks and chains and lying on slabs, making for a horrific scene. Adjoining rooms led to disused quarters.[7][8]

Only a few walls remained of southeastern gatehouse. It had been crudely patched up with wooden planks erected into a lean-to. This place served as a holding area for prisoners, with a ramshackle cage and post for tying captives to.[3][9]

HistoryEdit

In the early 1370s DR, as a key part of the plans of Esvele Graycastle, the black dragon Despayr sought to dominate much of the Vast Swamp. Their goal was to tear a hole in the Weave of magic and so form a dead-magic zone over all the Vast Swamp. It was to be a powerbase for the followers of Shar and an earthly homeland for their shadar-kai allies.[10][11] In the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR, at Despayr's behest, the Shadowscale tribe warred against the other tribes of the Vast Swamp, when he discovered the Dusk Lord's Passage in the Lost Refuge. Sent by Esvele, the shadar-kai kithlord Thieraven arrived with the secret of opening the portal, which he did with Despayr's aid. The Sharrans made their base at the Lost Refuge and the Shadow Citadel, and Despayr moved his lair into the Plane of Shadow.[10] The Lost Refuge and the Shadow Citadel became a waystation for the cult's activities in Cormyr, for clerics traveling to and from the Plane of Shadow,[10] for the kidnapping operation at the false Temple of Mystra in Wheloon,[12] and for lizardfolk captives to add to the undead Shadowscales' numbers.[13]

The church of Shar knew of the Dusk Lord's throne and its power when they came to the Shadow Citadel. However, they did not know how to use it without disturbing its guardians, and an acolyte was killed attempting to sit in the throne. Bestra Mornscroll ordered that be left untouched until she had the chance to destroy the guardians.[3] The Shadowscales looted some treasures they found in the Shadow Citadel and carried them away to their Warren.[14]

Finally, in early Eleint, a group of adventurers in service to Mystra investigating the false temple and Sharrans' activities came through the Dusk Lord's Passage and cleared the Shadow Citadel of its defenders. They eventually returned through the Shadow Citadel and the Dusk Lord's Passage.[2][1].[3][10]

ActivitiesEdit

The Shadow Citadel lay on the other side of the Dusk Lord's Passage, a key route in the cultists' plans, but was much too derelict for them to do much there. Thus, they based themselves in the Lost Refuge and kept some sentries on duty on the other side of the portal. These sentries' duty to discourage non-allied inhabitants and monstrous creatures of the Shadow Swamp from interfering in their operations or seizing their captives.[2] These guards included three Shadowscales, who minded lizardfolk prisoners at the former gatehouse;[3][9] and the deadly ghirrash Jherremor, to handle the most dangerous threats. Jherremor patrolled the islet and hunted in the swamps around.[2][7]

The main purpose of the Shadow Citadel was to serve as a handover point for captives and kidnap victims. The mentally dominated petitioners from the Temple of Mystra in Wheloon were led through the Dusk Lord's Passage to the dock and made to board the Necreme. The ferrymaster Sithierel then transported them along the Whispermere to the Monastery of the Ebon Dome.[2] Meanwhile, captive lizardfolk were caged and tied to posts in the wrecked gatehouse, for later forced march to the Shadowscale Warren.[3][9]

TreasuresEdit

The Shadow Citadel once held a number of treasures of vintage Cormyrean design, but these had been removed by the Shadowscales and stored within the chief's den in the Shadowscale Warren, its provenance now uncertain.[14]

AppendixEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 75. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 72–74. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 76–77. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 79. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  5. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 80. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 55–56. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 75–76, 90, 91. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  8. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 56–57, 68–71. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 92–93. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 50, 56, 89, 112, 158. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  11. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 119. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  12. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 19–21. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  13. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 38–41. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 83. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
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