Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #247
September 5th, 2023
Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Cerdmouth in Noldrune – Part 2
Location: North coast of Noldrune along Staplefish Bay
Population (approx.): 152 (Harbwater Castle)
Brief: Harbwater Castle rises over the southern half of Harbwater Isle, providing a clear and wondrous view of Cerdmouth Harbor, the river, beaches and the bay beyond. The original foundations of the central keep were built when the site was originally settled and one of the knights sought a site for her manor house. When the two manors were merged into one, the keep was converted and expanded into a castle to protect the harbor from coastal raiders. The Lord Mayor of the now combined settlements moved to a new manor on a rise south of the Cerd river. Harbwater Castle was usually home to the local military contingent and their commander until about 150 years ago when the young, at the time, Hasslewaith the Viscount of Dorch visited Cerdmouth and, like Emperor Gregorus Trixtus before him, decided to stay for a while. That “while” has turned the castle into the permanent residence of the Viscount. The noble is a gregarious sort, known for his love of spectacles and amusements. Thus, Viscount Dorch has recently opened the ancient catacombs under the castle to visitors, who are in for a surprise.
Bernar Stonechain, 140, male Duergar (Underdark Dwarf), is a dungeon organizer for Viscount Dorch, 203, male Drow (Night Elf). Bernar is short and has a bit of a gut and a peg leg. He has no hair on his head or a beard, which is quite unusual for a Duergar. His bright blue eyes sparkle with mischief, and he enjoys practical jokes. Bernar wears leather pants and colorful jerkins. He occasionally wears a hat with feathers on the side. He carries a pair of axes held to his back by a bandolier.
Bernar's job is to populate the dungeon of Viscount Dorch under Harbwater Keep with tamed but intimidating creatures that would provide people with a mild scare. The dungeon is below the fortress (location 3 below) and has a separate entrance. Many people enjoy visiting the dungeon, and Bernar takes great pleasure in creating interesting traps and a small amount of treasure for each person who gets through his work.
Bernar lives with the other Duergar in a part of the dungeon set aside for their use. He is married to Katmura, 135, Duergar, and they have three children: Tornia, 15, Lesthiel, 11, and Emnick,8. Katmura stays home with the children and has an active social life. She sometimes works for the Viscount if he requires extra people in the fortress. Bernar likes to carve little stone animals out of spare bits he finds when he works. His children adore them.
Geography: The northern half of Harbwater Isle slopes gently toward Staplefish Bay. The southern half features sharper rises and cliffs along the coastline. The highest point is about 500 feet above the water, just south of the island’s center. Harbwater Castle is perched on the cliffs overlooking Cerdmouth Harbor. It is connected to the mainland by a combined bridge and causeway crossing the tidal flats and the narrow channel from the harbor to the east to the narrow tidal lagoon between the barrier beaches and the coast on the western side. Centuries ago, builders discovered a natural source of limestone on Harbwater Isle. Stone quarried from the source was used to build Harbwater Castle, the causeway bridge, most of the harbor and many buildings in Cerdmouth. The castle features a central keep with four corner towers, surrounded by a curtain wall with six additional towers, the main gate between the front two. The entrance to the “dungeon” can be found on the east side below the outer walls, above a staircase leading up to the outer courtyard and down to the harbor below.