Men of Stone: The Redtower
The land opens before you as you descend from the pass into Glenrua - the largest of the Great Glens of Nolvagne. The red river from the iron hills to the south that gives the glen it's name meanders down the valley, cattle grazing the uplands while men work the fields. From the small villages that dot every sheltered position, often beneath ancient hillforts, the sound of children playing and dogs barking reaches your ears.
This is a less intensive agriculture than you saw on your trip through the Crownlands, or even in the lower valleys of Nolvagne - for here, it is what fighting men, not coin, that a lord supports that has always counted. Old burial cairns dot the heights, while ahead, Dunderg, the Redtower, stands atop the ancient dwarf-crag. The town below huddles behind a thick wall, dotted with squat circular redoubts, as travellers move steadily through the two gates over the moat and river.
But it is the dwarf-crag itself that draws your eye - a stout tower of rock several stories high, streaked with red sediment, a fortress rising hewn from within the rock itself. Behind the crag and town the waters cascade by. This is the Redtower: won in a wager (so they say) by House Redlance from one of the stunted folk at the dawn of human history. Home first to chiefs; then to kings; and now to the dukes of Nolvagne.
Whether it's origin is fact or fantasy, the rock has been inhabited by na Faolchloinn
for centuries. Banners old and new rise from the walls and brochs atop the rock's summit, spears glinting in the sun. By late afternoon, you arrive at the great doors on the rock-face. Into the darkness of Dunderg's crag you are ushered in by plaided guards with an easy laugh but harder eyes.
Eventually you ascend through a long tunnel to a great hall, fire roaring in the long hearth. There are many here, drinking and feasting on the benches below - some dressed in the coat of arms of various noble lords, others clearly Clawborne in heavy patterned cloaks, their wolfhounds fighting for discarded bones. You are left before the fire, the smell of meat, sweat, and alcohol in your nostrils, before being approached by a man dressed in robes of the devout."His Lordship is otherwise engaged at the moment attending to the Observatory, but should be along shortly. I am Brother Talryn, and shall convey any message to him with the relevant haste. Pray tell, what might your errand be, traveller?"