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The Crown of Krratin

A scar in the sky

Time and tide will mountains doom / But still the Ebon Tower looms.
— Excerpt from "Ebontide", traditional folk song.

Purpose / Function

The Crown has long vexed Frithitt sages and historians trying to discern the purpose of its construction. Such questions are ultimately entangled with those of the tower's creation, which also have yet to be firmly resolved. What is certain is that, overlooking the Vale of Krratin as it did, the tower must have made for a precipitous vantage point overlooking the surrounding country. It was often speculated among the common folk of the region to have anciently been the abode and sanctuary of a powerful sorcerer. Others alleged that it was only the sole remnant of a once far greater citadel which sat upon the bluff, but physical evidence of this was never substantiated.

Architecture

Rising to over 130 meters from its base to its pinnacle, the Crown was positioned high atop a grassy bluff overlooking the canyons of the Vale of Krratin. Built in rectangular tiers, stacked atop one another, the tower staggered inward on itself six times before reaching its narrow summit. At the corners of the ledges formed by these crenellations, odd effigies of animals known to have been long extinct were perched, their aspects in profile rendering the building a jagged appearance from afar. It was stone, of the deepest black. Thought by some scholars to have been constructed of obsidian, surveys of the area continually failed to ascertain whether this was true, or whether some ancient cement of obsidian and other minerals was responsible for its unnerving coloration. Whereas obsidian reflects light, the Crown appeared always to be unnaturally dark, even on the brightest of days, its silhouette described by many as a scar in the sky.   Despite its impossible antiquity, the tower was unmarred, undamaged by acid rain, dust, or geological cataclysm. On both its interior and exterior, there could be found nary a trace of the passage of time, even under the closest microscopic analysis, beyond the necessary progression of atomic decay.   Past a vaulted entryway began its infamous halls, unlit, as dark as the walls of its outside but without the light of the sun to avail prospective visitors. Such was the difficulty of navigating these shadowy halls and stairways, without any markings to lead the way, that local folk legends told that the tower was bigger within than without. This obviously was never corroborated by any firm scientific evidence, but even the most experienced surveying parties were often thwarted by their attempts to map the tower's interior.   Just the same, all ornamentation, relics, and furniture were long since stripped bare by decay and pillagers, leaving only a monument bereft of any sign that anything once lived inside, and a singular historical curiosity.

History

Since before recorded history began in the Vale of Krratin, there have been accounts of the existence of the Crown of Krratin, called the Ebon Tower by the bluff-dwelling Kettket Frithitt and usually the Old Spire by the native Krratin Frithitt who dwelt in the valleys below. For almost as long, there have been questions about how the tower was constructed, who created it, and what its original purpose was. In most cases, the slant of the legends pertaining to the Crown depended greatly on which of the Vale's two chief ethnic groups happened to be telling the story. To hear the Kettket, one would come away with a dire impression indeed. In the bluff-dwellers' tales from the time of their arrival in the Vale, which archaeologists estimated to have been around 90,000 years before the present, the tower was a place of ill portent. They claimed it to have been built and ruled by the cruel Saaf Salahan, a wizard from the Underdark who constructed the dark pillar in a bid to unseat the sun. The more superstitious Kettket always regarded the tower, in any case, as having been built by the Krratin in a show of defiance against the Eternal Sun and Her light.   This is contradicted, however, by the accounts of the Krratin themselves, who always contended that the tower had existed since before their own arrival in the Vale. Archaeological evidence shows that the first modern Frithitt in the region, the ancestors of the Krratin, made it there by at least 300,000 years before the present. In their legends, this ancient structure had been a holy shrine to the old gods of the land, whose names were forgotten by modern times. If this account is true, then it would make the Crown of Krratin the oldest known structure built by Frithitt hands. Most scholars, however, suspected that the tower was probably no older than 100,000 years.   Within the historical record, the Crown was on several occasions occupied as a temporary guard tower or fortress. Most notably, it was the site of a number of sieges during the great Krratin-Kettket wars of the late bronze age; and in the late pre-unification days of the planet, during the scouring of the Vale by the Empire of Flame (approx. 1,200 years before present), it served as a barracks for imperial soldiers.   After the unification of Frith, it stood forever more as a historical monument, and played no further role in the world's story except to vex historians. It was considered one of the many "Wonders of Krratin", and the mightiest of those wonders which were made by Frithitt claws.
RUINED STRUCTURE
Est. 80,000 — 300,000 years before the destruction of Frith
Alternative Names
The Ebon Tower; Tower of World's Ending; The Old Spire
Type
Tower, Mage

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