You step into the dim throne room, once used by King Thorendor himself. Candlestone members don’t spend much time here, given their hate for the traditions of kings. But Master Arasemis insists on keeping an oil lamp burning in memory of the ancient King Thorendor. You see the king’s portrait is there on the wall to your left. There are also paintings of other great people, events, and places in Candlestone’s history, as well as some ancient myths.
You see two framed paintings in this corner.
This king ruled the small territory of Aberynbane long ago, which later became part of the Kingdom of Donovan. This castle was his capital. Master Arasemis said the official histories describe King Thorendor as an ignorant, brutish tyrant who warred often with his neighbors until he was killed, paving the way for his lands to be absorbed into the ascendant Donovan.
But Arasemis said Thorendor welcomed Candlestone here, after the Order was forced to flee from its southern haven of Aggarwal. King Thorendor may have welcomed them in an attempt to protect himself, it’s true. But, after Thorendor died, Candlestone named this castle after him. And it has been Candlestone’s secret capital ever since. You remember that somewhere in Arasemis’s library there is the Uoricke Book of Aberynbane that has more information.
This is the great fire that consumed a vast, primeval forest inhabited by the Gallerlanders. You remember that Rildning and Enildir wrote about what happened: the conquest of the Brintilian Empire into the interior of the New World, where the natives built great cities up in the branches of the giant trees. You notice that over in the corner there are paintings of Nalembalen before and after the fire.
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You see two paintings in this corner.
This is the treetop capital of the Gallerlanders, before its destruction at the hands of Brintilian colonists. You remember that the high kings of the Gallerlanders resided in Nalembalen, including Gratgofa, whose portrait is over near the fireplace.
The dwellings of Nalembalen were varied, depending on where they were up in the trees. Some were like seed pods, others were like ships sailing the thick branches, while others carved out parts of the trees, as shown in this painting. Rope bridges were strung between the trees, and root tunnels stored provisions, weapons, and holy electrum in the earth below. The whole place would be lit by torches, which must have seemed like a starry sky at night when viewed from the forest floor far below.
You remember how, when Master Arasemis talks of this ancient place, that his eyes seem distant and longing, as if he can see the tree city in his mind’s eye, perhaps even clearer than this painting. It must have been a sight to see, and certainly inspired Rildning.
This is what Nalembalen was called by the Brintilian colonists after the fire consumed the forest. Only the charred stumps of the giant trees remained amid lakes of black mud.
The disaster sparked the collapse of the Gallerlander society, opening the door for the empire to systematically crush the remaining large but disorganized subtribes across western Pemonia.
It was ages before the forest of giant trees grew back, but it remained largely unsettled by the descendants of the Brintilian colonists. They believed it to be cursed by Gallerlander ghosts, a superstition that continues even today. Master Arasemis says this helps keep Thorendor Castle hidden from prying eyes.
Although the trees eventually returned, the native Gallerlanders were, of course, long gone. You stare at the painting, wondering what kind of victory the colonists saw in that destruction.
You approach a pedestal in the middle of the room. An old oil lamp glows atop it.
Master Arasemis said his grandfather, Erwold, spoke of a Candlestone tradition of lighting an oil lamp here in King Thorendor’s old throne room. It was lit, not to honor him as a king, but to memorialize his support to the Order.
ou recall that it was a vulnerable time for Candlestone, when they were forced to flee from their southern haven. It was also a dangerous time for King Thorendor himself. Arasemis insists the lamp should always be lit. Usually the task falls to one of his servants, Yorand or Adalane.
You see four paintings along this wall.
You recall, from one of Master Arasemis’s many lessons, that the name of this tree can also be translated from the original native Gali language as Earthpillar.
According to Gallerlander religious traditions, the Tree of the World was tended by their god, Wurumnak. The tree grew at the center of a white forest in heaven, Nawurihar, of which there is a painting near the fireplace. Hidden inside the tree was the sword of Wurumnak, made from green-golden electrum. You remember this is why the Gallerlanders considered electrum to be a holy metal, because all of it was needed to contribute to the sword for the final battle between good and evil.
This was a great Candlestone victory over a colonial army in the port city of Vadeel, as viewed from the fertile farmlands inland from the harbor. You have been to Vadeel, which is now in the territory of Aggarwal in modern Calbria, but it was originally an important colonial port.
No one in Vadeel today believes Candlestone still exists, and they’ve all but forgotten this battle.
Unfortunately, you recall that this victory led to a difficult period for the Order. Candlestone’s destruction of the harbor and colonial ships, along with the death of their nemesis, Marshal Hilsingor, prompted the colonial leaders to systematically hunt down members of Candlestone, which led to the Order’s evacuation from Aggarwal. Master Arasemis said that Candlestone hid relics before leaving the area. Arasemis found one of them, Rildning’s journal, but others seem to be lost.
Hilsingor was the most famous knight and commander of the Frontier Corps. He led the Brintilian colonial armies into the interior of the New World of Pemonia, and was responsible for killing more natives than anyone in history.
Master Arasemis said the official colonial records say that Hilsingor was killed under mysterious circumstances, not far from where Arasemis dug up Rildning’s journal years ago. When your fellow students asked whether Candlestone assassinated him, Arasemis replied that his students were not ready for that part of their training.
Still, Hilsingor’s death in Aggarwal is celebrated by Candlestone and you feel pride when looking at the painting, though it was many centuries ago.
This was painted by an artist of unusual style. You recall Master Arasemis teaching that cave willows grow only in the caverns beneath the Gilgalem Mountains and a few other caves in the south of what was once Gallerlandia. Gilgalem was the last refuge of the Gallerlander tribe, and the home of their wisest omen watcher, simply known as the Sage.
Cave willows live for hundreds or thousands of years without sunlight. Moonwood harvested from these trees produces white flames when burned, and the raw wood is immediately corrosive to most metals. It was rarely used by the Gallerlanders but some trees were harvested by Brintilian colonists.
The first throne of Delavon Kingdom used moonwood that was later thickly varnished to protect from its corrosive effects. Marshal Hilsingor, the first to sit on the raw wood throne, had his sword, belt, and armor damaged by it. Some said the cause was the “revenge disease” of the Gallerlanders for the colonists’ looting of Gilgalem.
You see two paintings, one on either side of the fireplace.
This was the last high king of the Gallerlander tribe, you remember that Master Arasemis explained that the high kings were elected by a council of clan chiefs. These chiefs normally elevated one of the lower kings of Gallerlandia when a high king died or lost the confidence of his people.
You recall that Arasemis is very much inspired by how these ancient natives governed themselves, which he called an electoral monarchy. You thought it was interesting that the Gallerlanders marked time by the generations of the high kings, not by years or seasons. You feel that this painting shows Gratgofa exactly as Rildning described him in his journal.
You remember this name means Great White Forest in the ancient Gali language. Rildning wrote that the Gallerlanders believed the souls of the virtuous dwelled in this heavenly forest, led by twelve Thuraniparin, or spirit kings. These were the greatest Gallerlander rulers and warriors during their natural lives. After death, they were chosen by their god, Wurumnak, to defend the white forest, the place of the final battle between good and evil, from the devilish Ominchar.
You recall that Ominchar was destined to transform into a giant black serpent with fangs of flame, intending to consume Haldembalir, the Tree of the World, to birth a wicked world anew. You remember seeing a painting of the serpent up on the second floor.
You know this story is a Gallerlander myth, but you wonder if what happened to Nalembalen was the myth playing out in the world back then. And you wonder if Rildning thought the same, and whether his followers created Candlestone long ago to return balance to the world. But as you think about it, you know Candlestone works to cause upheaval against kings, not balance. You push these confusing, independent notions out of your mind, just as Master Arasemis has taught you to do.
You see the two original thrones of King Thorendor and his queen, later used by other rulers. You remember Master Arasemis speaking of his own family coming into possession of this castle. His grandfather, Erwold, found the discarded thrones in a storage room and restored them to the dais in this room. And here they have remained, unused.
The thrones are torn and caked with decades of dust and mold. Were it not for the oily vapor of the memorial lamp, this room would be saturated with the smell of decay. Arasemis has forbidden anyone from siting on the thrones, saying no king has entered the castle since then, and never will. The only break in the cake of dust is Fetzer’s handprint, when he severely tested the patience of Arasemis.
You think it is peculiar of Arasemis to be so sentimental about old King Thorendor, while he plots the overthrow of every crowned head on the continent.
You see five paintings behind and to the side of the thrones.
You recall Arasemis saying this was the closest the castle ever came to being overrun and captured. Candlestone defended it with weapons that Arasemis has declined to describe in detail, saying only that the topic is related to machina arcana, and that none of his students are ready for it. Marlan, the senior pupil, has told you privately that Arasemis is uncertain of the details himself, despite years of research in the library. But you suspect there are always new things to discover in this castle.
This is one of the three regions of ancient Gallerlandia, located in what is now the northern and central regions of the Kingdom of Donovan. You recognize the mountain in this drawing as Mt. Elmbrel, which the colonials referred to as the gateway to the deep interior of the New World.
During Rildning’s time, Goynland was ruled by a Gallerlander king named Odon. You don’t remember much about him, only that he fought bravely against the Brintilian Empire before surrendering to save his people, who were among the first to face the brutality of the colonial armies.
This is the second of the three regions of ancient Gallerlandia, located in what is now the eastern region of the Kingdom of Donovan. You remember reading Rildning’s writings about the leader of Umbyrland, Erambrin, as a brave warrior who initially believed Rildning to be a colonial infiltrator. Erambrin survived the burning of Nalembalen and helped lead Gallerlander counterattacks against the Brintilian Empire. The Umbyrland forests that survived the colonial fire and axes still grow tall and are known for the vine roses that creep along the forest floor and up into the giant trees.
This is the third of the three regions of ancient Gallerlandia, located in what is now the modern nations of Austveeden and Calbria. Aggarwal, where Candlestone once enjoyed a refuge, is located in what was once southern Vaynland. The king of Vaynland, Tirgranir, was a fierce adversary of Rildning, as many chieftains were. Unlike other parts of Gallerlandia, Vaynland is more known for its extensive rivers and lakes than for forests.
This is the remainder of what was once the largest trees of the earth. Master Arasemis said the oldest tales describe this forest as having been felled by the ancient Agnesci people, which predate the Gallerlanders. They used the wood to build ships for the first journey to the northern continent. Arasemis suspects they also built airships, but is cautious about sharing much about his research. Sometimes he spends days holed away in his study up on the fifth floor.
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