Estalia Summer Palace

Almondsey mysteriously vanished a few years ago, apparently sunk beneath the north Atlantic, but it is suspected in some quarters that it fell into some sort of time warp engineered by their evil arch-enemies the Norwegians. There have been trickles of communication from Almondsey Radio/Telegraph -- apparently legitimate from its call signs and station ID (and nobody but an Estalian could ever spell this out in Morse code):


which was in fact the official broadcasting company of Almondsey; however, those who have received these messages (obviously) have been interviewed, but seem exclusively, when not proven cranks, to have been drunk on a combination of Aquavit and single malt Scots whisky from Skye (Arisaig mainland brew only). This is being researched. In the meantime, the following information, obviously from a pre-inundation guide book, was transferred, perhaps as a test of communications devices. Luckily, it was transmitted in English.

The Summer Palace of Archduke Hrarlfladenulel (Honeydew)


  • I. Description of the Building
  • II. History of the Summer Palace
  • III. History of the Archdukes of Estalia


The ground floor is taken up on the west and south sides by 'services' (larder, kitchen, servery, scullery, servants' hall in the SW tower, and the estate offices. There are three entrances -- a slype leading to the promenade called the Bulwark, a porch stairway up to the Great Hall, and a vaulted passage (with the porter's lodge and a guardroom in the SE tower). The east side consists of a bar and a large game room, for billiards, cards, etc., leading up to the Keep tower, which at this level contains the library and a study; there is a 'moat', actually a goldfish-pond, around the base of the keep. The northern wing consists of private lodgings, including the children's nursery. In the interior of the building there is a grassy courtyard surrounded by a cloister. Note the four spiral stairs at the corners, two serving the towers for their full height, two the lodgings; the keep has its own separate staircase.

The first floor has another set of lodgings on the north, the main withdrawing room on the west, a private dining room in the SW tower, and the Great Hall along the south side. At the dais end (over the entrance vault) is a door leading to the butler's quarters in the SE tower. The east wing contains a trophy room and the lord's sitting room. This floor of the keep has the lord's audience chamber and a chapel. Along the northern side of the cloister is the Long Gallery, with many paintings. Note that the cloister passages on the east and west sides are not continued at this level. Main entry to the Great Hall is from the staircase to the outside of the building, but it is also accessible to the kitchen by way of the small dining room and an arcade into the cloister passage via a servery area (with a dumbwaiter) into the withdrawing room; in addition there is a staircase to the lower cloister passage leading down from the dais directly to the service wing.

The southern towers are occupied at this level by the housekeeper and the castellan, respectively. Between the two, apart from small turret closets, stretches the roof of the Great Hall (which room is the equivalent of two stories tall). The northern and southern cloister walks at this stage are roofed over to form a kind of parapet walk overlooking the Garth. A long room on the west side is a dormitory for housemaids with a linen closet/sewing room at the north end (male servants, apart from personages such as the butler and the castellan live elsewhere on the grounds of the estate, over the stables and in the Outer Gate). The lodging wing, as usual, contains a suite (two bedrooms and a sitting room) at the west, and two bedrooms at the east. North of the castellan's room is the armoury, or gun room. «PBeyond are His Lordship's Living quarters in the east wing and keep.

At garret level there are two comfortable bedrooms in the towers (SE being for the use of the guards, SW assigned to important guests who don't mind slogging up spiral stairs). Note the Scottish-style pepperpot turrets. The top floor of the keep is the lord's bedroom suite, also with two turrets. There is also a private terrace next to the stair tower. The roofs have crow-stepped gables and tall chimney stacks. There is no parapet, as there would be in a fully castellated building, the defenses, such as they are, being the towers and the precinct walls of the entire estate (see ground map below). But there is a gunport at ground level in the porter's lodge at the center of the facade; this contains a nice 17th-century grapeshot cannon.

Miscellaneous: (a) The cellars are in the SW side of the building where the stony bedrock slopes and makes it practicable for such. They are in three sections, each with a separate staircase access. Under the kitchen is the main provision cellar and the well room (the well is some 150 feet deep, carved out of nearly solid rock). Under the great hall are the wine cellars and the game store. These two sections are connected by an L-shaped passage under the cloister that also is lighted by sunken windows. The basement of the tower is called the dungeon, although it is actually used as His Lordship's 'play room'. (b) Tower tops -- each of the flanking towers has a cap house over the spiral stairs and a parapeted terrace over the bathrooms, accessed by ladder and hatchway. (c) The top floor of the keep is the lord's study over the smaller of the two wings.

The Grounds of the Estate: The Ambul River runs along the west side of the promontory on which the precinct stands; the steep rocky cliffs are about 100 feet tall. Romula Riveret is the small stream that flows across the estate, feeding the lake and the moat, via sluice gates, then plunging into the river through the moat dam in a small cascade called the Romullin Gill. Across the river is an uninhabited lowland swamp-forest called the Poshmarsh. The grounds themselves (about 18 acres) are enclosed by a precinct wall 13 feet tall in places, with two gate-houses and three defensive towers, which are lived in by ex-military groundskeepers. On the north and inner ward side are the private grounds, which include (clockwise) a croquet pitch, two tennis courts and a pavilion, a bowling green, the 'Temple', the 'Mildlymirk' wooded area (gnarly oaks), the Woodiwose Tower (home of some very troll-like foresters), Forest Gate, Pondulac artificial lake (with its faked sandy beach bay for nude bathing), the Mummy Maze, and the Formal (The Rose and Cherry and Spice and Miscellaneous Lovely Flowers) Garden. On the other side of the inner ward wall is a gravelled pathway beside an apple orchard along the banks of the Romula Riveret. By the Forest Gate, where live his assistants, there is the gamekeeper's house and the estate kennels, where they breed a very nasty combination of a wolfhound and a pit-bull terrier, with strains of Doberman, Alsatian, and Labrador Retriever -- this breed, the Honeydew Mastiff Shorthair, has not yet been recognized by the official dog-breeders' associations in any country, mainly because they are untrainable to normal discipline, although they are very fond of old women -- have never been known to bite or mangle any woman of post-menapausal age even under provocation or being commanded 'Kill'.

The Outer Ward: This section of the precinct contains the stables and other adjunc~~ åndluspissen ma-lúbniken. Schlä pöøssenmä. Auss gløpfingelul des mlumpöø pa làm grösse~~ the stables are very dirtyrt shrdlu shrdlu lazy groomshrdlu~~ yecth målettøothulel poileau avant garde les avec couch~~

[Sorry, we lost the rest of this message through transmission garbling. Also the lower fine details of the diagram of the estate. Actually, Hans spilled his coffee on the control panel. No, I didn't. Yes, you did -- it all went pfffzizzzz! Cheap Japanese equipment, Igor, not my fault it's not waterproof. Well, what about the rest of that message from Almondsey? Message, schmessage, that was all Greek to me. ....


Igor, turn that fucking thing off, will you? That's Waco, Texas.]