The Castles of the Line…
Anyone with any question about how tenuous the peace is between to the two great powers of Eretsu need only look at the Line, the mighty fortifications that they have erected across the plain of Paranami between the Zailata and Ul-Napur Mountains. These rich farmlands are now spotted with mighty castles designed to forestall any sudden aggression from the other side. Wherever one power erected a castle, the other built a corresponding structure to counter the enemy’s influence.
Now seven Gudanna fortresses watch the edge of the border while eight Durani watch those seven. The eighth Durani castle, Tel Carusara, is situated up on a high plain in the shoulders of the Zailata Mountains. Colloquially it is called The Lonely Place, set on a high plateau devoid of other settlements, the garrison of Tel Carusara can spend their entire assignment without seeing a single other living soul, save for the Grave Birds that haunt the skies whenever some beast has died out on the plain.
Of the remaining fourteen castles Tel Zarkara, whose foundations were built in the Second Age, is the mightiest. Guarding the gates of the ancient trade city of Venipur, its formidable defenses are covered in delicate sculptures illustrating the five great virtues. There is a mighty stone tower for each virtue and each is connected by stout bridges high enough off the ground that Titan may cross underneath easily.
For the Gudanna the most notable castle is Val Locana. The tallest of the Castles of the Line, Val Locana is little more than a spire of stone that rises up out of the desert to open onto a wide platform. Reckoned one of the softer regions in the Gudanna Defenses, Val Locana commands the surrounding dunes, offering the Gudanna time to marshal forces.
Each Castle of the Line, however, has its own unique history as well as its own unique defensive strengths and weaknesses. Both powers watch the other, noting changing commands and the strength of each garrison, probing for soft spots in the defense of their realms.
Illustration by: Joel DuQue