Solomon Lancaster/Ravensword Keep
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
The night encloses around you, making it seem as if there is nothing in the whole of existence beyond the torchlit path upon which you are currently walking.
As you continue , the darkness on the path ahead of you seems to part, revealing an ancient stone gate, its iron portcullis raised and inviting. As you draw nearer, you see the keystone above the gate. It bears an intricate inscription of a Roman centurion, his shield borne against the encroaching darkness. Above, on the centurion’s shoulder perches a large raven. Below, the stone bears the inscription, Numquam timere nocte: Never to fear the night.
Welcome to Ravensword Keep.
Ravensword Keep exists in its own dimension, out of step with space and time, and is accessible only to the keep’s Steward and those he or she chooses. The current Steward of the Keep is the Archmage Solomon Lancaster.
No one, not even past stewards have been able to determine exactly when the keep came into existence. The early annals are vague and incomplete at best, though they do seem to infer the keep was created pre-Dark Ages by a wizard powerful enough to will his own reality into being and make it largely self sustaining.
At its very essence, the Keep is a place of pure magical energies. It is a ley line and node unto itself. The Keep reacts to the will of the Steward, taking whatever form he chooses and is able to alter itself according to his needs. At the stewards behest, the keep can act as a tool for those practicing magic, or act as an anti-magic hindrance.
Though by no means complete, the Keep’s annals are as a lineage of the various denizens of the keep over the years, as well as a litany of their trials and deeds. At first, the annals were vague and sporadic. Later, the Steward during the Renaissance realized that a living history of the place and its people would provide not only a wealth of information to those who would be her successors, but also provide insight to the nature of the very keep itself.
The keep may exist in its own pocket dimension, but in order for the Steward to maintain adequate control over it, it must have geographical anchors to the Steward’s native plane of existence. Currently, t here are two: The Sigil Trading House in Paragon, and a small antiquities dealer residing in the Arcadia Grove Apartments, Rogue Isles.
There are various spirits and entities that call the Keep home, and act as NPCs. They are as follows:
The Watchman:Forever vigilant upon the battlements of Ravensword Keep is The Watchman. He is clad in the armor of a roman centurion, black with trim of bronze. He is silent, never speaking a word, even to the Steward of the Keep.
The Maiden, The Matron, The Widow: According to the Keep's Annals, it is uncertain whether these are three seperate spirits, or simply the same spirit in different guises. In times of joy and celebration, The Maiden appears as a young woman in her late teens or early twenties, clad in a flowing gown of virginal white. Her songs are those of valorous heroes and their deeds, rousing the spirits of those near her. In times of trouble, The Matron appears. She takes the form middle aged woman, motherly and comforting. She often appears near the bedside of those within the keep who are ill or injured. Her song is one of comfort and solace. Finally, the Widow appears only after the passing of one of the keep's residents. She appears as an older woman, clad in a funeral dress, her face veiled. Hers is a sorrowful and mourning song, uplifting yet bittersweet, generally in praise of the fallen.
Guardians of the Keep: Though well defended, Ravensword Keep is not impregnable. When directly threatened, the Keep's rarest and least known spirits appear. They are the Guardians of the Keep. These ghostly soldiers take the form of past residents of the keep who have fallen in battle. They are relentless, and fight until vanquished or victorious.