Argon Castle, North Estalia

The eastern side of Tato Bay is a wind-swept waste, with the Argon Mountains rising to the area of the Lin Gorge and continuing to the north into Almondsey until dropping down into the northern tundra. The only anchorage here is provided by the Argon Brook, which flows into the bay where a rocky tor juts out as a headland. Here is where the Dukes of Craglin built their great keep, starting in the Seventeenth Century.

Ground Plan of Argon Castle

This castle is situated on a rocky granite headland that rises some 60 feet above sea level. On its west is Tato Bay, on the east a small estuarial harbor, and to the north, the polar ice cap! The original building was the large tower-house/keep, built around 1684, shortly to be followed by the curtain wall and gatehouse demarking the square courtyard and the two western round towers. In the 18th Century were built the barracks block and barbican on the south side, also the outer ward. The gun batteries were added toward the end of the century (the northern ward, the western wall-walk battery, and the 'Boomer'. A vaulted powder magazine was dug into the rock in the northern ward. The boat landing dates back to the original castle (note the small beacon at the base of the rock). The gatehouse contains a portcullis, and the barbican has two cannon batteries overlooking the town, which is in the outer ward of the castle. The bridge was intended to be a drawbridge, but these plans were abandoned as unnecessary.

It is apparant that the keep was meant to be a major residence for the Dukes of Craglin, since it is the largest such building in northern Estalia.

Although largely unused, with most of the best of the furnishings gone (to Craglin Castle), the building is well-maintained still, kept ready by the Warden of the North for re-garrisoning if ever needed should war break out with Almondsey.

The Dukes of Craglin were known for their interest in 'natural philosophy' (science). The 4th Duke, of Craglin Castle fame, was a necromancer, but the 6th, who finished the tower-house, was one of the first true scientists. The top of the keep contained his 'museum' in the great gallery, and his labs were in the two wings.

Section through keep

The following diagram shows the upper floors of the castle. The great keep, or tower house, is a grandiose building with a two-story vaulted great hall and a large vaulted floor above it containing bed chambers and a large 'solar' gallery, originally planned as a ducal suite but now used as an armory and storage garrett. The northwest, or Castellan's, tower contains a bath house ('Turkish') with three private bedrooms above it; northeast has guard rooms and served as a watch tower overlooking the entrance to the harbor; southeast covered the beach and dock; and the southwest, Captain's, tower was the officers' quarters and still houses the commandant. 'Boomer' is the nickname of the large cannon that covers the harbor; note also the gun battery on the western curtain wall -- both of these features were added in the 18th Century. The full complement of garrison occupied quarters on the south side of the castle.

Floor Plans

Town and Castle

This is the northernmost village in Estalia, very near the border of Almondsey; the Argon province of Almondsey is very undeveloped, as is Upper March County of Estalia, and its sparse population is made up almost entirely of native Estalians, and beyond the hills to the north is sub-arctic tundra, inhabited by Innuits. The village and associated farmland, devoted mainly to sheep and turnips, itself has a population of less than 250 (including the garrison). There is some fishing, and minor trade with the Argonese to the north and the few inhabitants of the North Moors to the south and west. The Argon Brook is unnavigable not far above the wooden bridge, but does lead into the mountains around Talibar. A narrow road runs north to the Almondese border and south along the east shore of Tato Bay to the village of Ploybart, with its Plimbo-mim. The village is enclosed to west and south by a curtain wall, with a gatehouse and two flanking towers; the area serves as the outer ward of the castle, which is separated from it by a rock-cut ditch and drawbridge. Inside the town are a small temple, a fishing dock, a market and fish hall, and the inevitable inn/public house (The Herring Bone), plus about 20 small houses. A jetty protecting the harbor from the north wind is constructed of shingle and sand from the low-lying beach along the coast going to the north.