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Places of Kalandar:

Wherdann Castle

There is a road, little more than a path between brushwood, which leaves the main road to Ghastal and climbs up to Mount Dhann the highest of the uncovered Manarai.

Few follow that road and even less reach its end because the road leads to the ruins of Wherdann Castle.

The castle rises on a hill that overlooks the valley of Ghastal below but the castle itself is dominated by mount Dhann's bulk. It is partially in ruin and of the enormous complex it is thought it had been only the two story central building and two of the lookout towers still remain intact. Other surrounding structures (towers, halls, and courts) that once belonged to the same complex are partially standing or have been buried.

Wherdann has had a bad reputation in Kalandar since the days of the Old Republic. It was this settlement together with a few others in the region that increased the belief that the Sith were somehow involved with the origin of Kalandar. In fact between the ruins of the castle many findings have been uncovered and even some amulets that are clearly of Sith make. The Jedi Knights that supervised Kalandar declared it inaccessible to anyone until a more in-depth research was done, especially in the castle's dungeons that seem to extend into the earth's depths for many levels. Unfortunately it is impossible to know if the Jedi ever did finish their research and what were their findings if they did and what steps they took, since both many of the recordings regarding the Jedi Knight's activities and many of the chronicles of Kalandar have been destroyed by the Empire.

The fact is that the bad reputation that permeated Wherdann castle remains and with the passing of the centuries it grew even more. Even nowadays refugees and the clandestine dwellers of the region avoid the castle. The most superstitious call it a cursed place, others more "modern" just say that up there "there are bad vibes" and that it's not the case to go looking for more trouble. The fact that in archaic language the castle's name means "dark destiny" only helps increase the bad reputation that hovers over the ruins.

There is though those who does not pay heed to old legends and sayings and who, in recent times, has made of Wherdann Castle their headquarters. Hidden from preying eyes and unknown to most of the population of Kalandar, Gothar Palpatine lives in Wherdann Castle. No one exactly knows when this former Imperial dignitary claimed for himself the ruins of the castle and what he has installed inside but it is almost certain that Gothar decided to hide at Wherdann soon after being expelled from the Imperial court.

The halls of the castle have been promptly and hastily re-adapted into an operation's base and much has been done to transform it - with not much luck - in modern living quarters. Energy generators and partial thermal insulators were brought in but it was impossible to put up a computer line in Wherdann without arousing suspicions, and therefore those who live in the castle have to use Ghastal's info center or other means to have access to a computer network. A rudimental voice and hologram com plant has been installed that occasionally can be clandestinely hooked to the Imperial network to send or intercept transmissions, but due to the high risk of getting discovered it is used only in case of necessity.

Paranoiac and constantly worried about secrecy and circumspection to be kept around his person and his living quarters, Palpatine was careful in installing around his castle an automatic surveillance and security system to keep intruders away, but with little success. The surveillance system cannot cover all the surrounding area that has to be protected and to expand it would require generators so visible that secrecy would be lost. And as it is the security system goes on so often because of Womp Rats and other creatures that come down from the Manarai Mounts to the ruins that it is virtually impossible to determine eventual real intrusions.

The castle's central body is made up of three surface levels and one underground, even if it is quite clear that there are galleries and crypts that reach deeper than the first level. All the necessary equipment for sustenance of the outpost have been installed on the ground floor (level 2). The rooms on this level are base and operations center for Palpatine's sinister and twisted plans. Along with the aforementioned surveillance and communication systems in the ancient stone halls there are warehouses with provisions and technical materials, a small armory and even a cell, always in brickwork, to be used as a prison. Upon Mark Todd's insistence a small room was set up as a physical training room and gym even if Todd finds it better to train himself in the surrounding woods and mountains. In the superior floor (level 1) are the private rooms of the castle's residents. Gothar Palpatine is the only permanent resident and for him a room with a high ceiling and narrow stone windows that face north to the mount Manarai was arranged. The other renegades more or less usually live in the castle if they are not out busy in some mission on account of their treacherous planner or, more likely, for themselves. Mark Todd lives in even a more incomplete room on the southeast side that does not even have thermal insulation. Nag Skarr has a room in the south west corner (in which it's conditions, buried as it is with empty liquor bottles, dirty clothes, used containers and a mountain of useless gadgets, make it even more pleasant than the disgraceful conditions of the surrounding ruins). And Delya Correen who has just arrived at the castle has a room to the east, the only one without windows and not protected by an armored door with security code.

The castle's roof (level 0) can be reached by a flight of stairs that also lead to the glacis of the two turrets. The ramparts, precarious and faltering, are not treadable and almost nobody goes there unless it is absolutely necessary to place a weather signaler or fix a communications repeater. Anyhow Palpatine goes there often, especially during stormy nights, to contemplate the valley of Ghastal below and meditate on his next plan.

But what surfaces in Wherdann though seems to be just a minor part of the complex. A rough estimate of the structures in brickwork and a summary scansion leave to believe that crypts, galleries and tunnels extend considerably in the underground. The renegades that now live in the castle have cleared out the debris of the first underground floor (lever 3) but they are far from coming close to the intricate structure that is under the castle. Not only are the underground galleries insecure and dangerous, but it seems that they are also infested by unfriendly creatures. Todd and Skarr have killed several mutated Womp Rats to clean out the level, but traces different to those of a Womp Rat have been found in the furthermost tunnels. For precaution reasons an armored door and a small energy barrier have been placed to isolate the underground levels starting from level 2 even if, with all the tunnels and crevasses that spread out from the castle it is impossible to tell if there are other entrances.

And while he awaits to have time and means to continue the exploration and consolidation of the underground galleries, Palpatine uses the rooms that have been cleared out on the first underground level as a crypt to hold those archaic and prohibited findings related to the study of the Force and to the history of the Jedi that he either found or robbed.

Considering the rumors on the origins and fame of the castle, along with the sinister similarities that a careful observer would note between the findings in the crypts and the architecture of the underground themselves, it would perhaps be wise not to fill up with Jedi artefacts and findings a room that contains many alarming references to the Sith culture. Unfortunately prudence has never been a major quality of the present owner.

Back to Chapter 2: Places of Kalandar

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