Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
Heliogabalus - Palace Hill
The former king’s castle perches on the highest hill of Heliogabalus, atop a terraced earthen mound with steeply angled sides, towering over the land below. The lowest terrace is lined with homes and estates for diplomats and ambassadors, close enough to be summoned by the King, but not close enough to create a security threat. The next terrace has the Low Palace (which houses a Throne Room and chambers for the various ministers and court of the King), the King’s Garrison and military stables. The uppermost terrace contains the King’s Castle, surrounded by 15-foot-tall walls. After proceeding through the Outer Bailey, which housed the King’s Guard, one finally reached the High Palace, home of the royal family. Each Terrace was raised about 15-20 feet above the previous one, with steep, nearly vertical, inclines. Ramps were built for the road leading up to the High Palace.
The stronghold is not considered a part of any ward or district. It has a number of large structures within its walls, as described below.
Population: During the day, about 1,500 people work on Palace Hill, most returning to their homes at night. Since the Baron moved in, many of the Ambassadors have left to avoid slighting King Garath. Baron Ree’s guard and garrison is a fraction of King Virdin’s old guard, leaving most of the buildings on Palace Hill seeming understaffed and empty.
Baron Dimian Ree rules Palace Hill and has staffed most of the offices here with his own people.
Former kings of Damara designated this area as the dwellings of official ambassadors to Damara and built lavish estates for the ambassadors. At this point, few ambassadors choose to stay here so as not to be seen as slighting the named king of Damara, King Garath Dragonsbane, a situation which infuriates Baroon Ree. Guard patrols are common, and most ambassadors once had their own retainers for additional protection.
The Low Palace
The actual ruling of Damara once took place in this building. The king and queen once received visitors here (a smaller, private throne room lies in the High Palace). The ministers had their central and subordinate offices here as well. Petitioners came to the Low Palace and all decrees were issued from here. It was, in effect, the nerve center of the kingdom and the heart of the bureaucracy.
Baron Ree rules the Barony of Morov from the Low Palace, putting on the airs of a King. Yet some say that this is a bitter reminder that the kingdom is being run from Bloodstone City, and it’s not his head which wears the crown – yet.
Located on the same terrace and across the road from the Lower Palace are the garrison buildings and military stables. The westernmost of these sprawling, single-story buildings housed the king’s armies, while the eastern one houses the armory and stables.
Many silos were built on Palace Hill to store grains, dried meats, and other foods against the possibility of a siege.
The “Gardeners’ Palace,” the small building in the southeast, is where the gardeners live and store all their tools, seed, and equipment. Military plans are made and visiting captains are billeted in the Administration building, located opposite the Gardeners’ Palace.
The ruin of the old palace sprawls between the High and Low Palaces, abandoned for a hundred years. The crumbling stone dwelling has been emptied and leveled, but its foundation still peeks out among the gardens, and some of its old walls have been used for trellises. It is rumored that there were lower levels to the old castle, and that these still may be reached by secret passages from either palace or from some site in the Bricktop or Hill districts.
The High Palace
The baron, his family, his servants, and their families all live here. The High Palace is the highest point of Palace Hill, and its walls command a breathtaking view of Heliogabalus, Lake Mogodor, and the surrounding countryside. The large building shown on the map is the palace proper, a three-story dwelling. The family’s quarters are here. The smaller buildings are the family’s personal stables and servant’s quarters.
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