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The Castle Ward is the heart and mind of Waterdeep, if not its soul. It houses the city’s military forces, courts, government, and the Market — the largest market square of any city in the North. It encompasses the City Navy’s docks in the Great Harbor and all of Mount Waterdeep, and it is home to six walking statues, numerous temples, and many other landmarks.

Castle Waterdeep stands above the city on a great bluff that extends out from the mountain, its towers soaring hundreds of feet into the sky. It surprises many to learn that this isn’t where Waterdeep’s rulers reside, nor from where the city is governed. The castle was and is a redoubt of last defense should the city be attacked, but for well over a century, the ruler of Waterdeep has occupied the Palace of Waterdeep — also known as Piergeiron’s Palace, and still called that by elderly and long-lived citizens (including many elves).

Though not quite as large as the castle, the palace is far more comfortable and lavishly decorated, with many halls used by government officials, guildmasters, and nobles for meetings and court proceedings. If you have reason to be invited (not compelled, I should hope!) to meet with the Masked Lords or the Open Lord of Waterdeep, it will likely take place in the audience chamber of the palace. There, you can witness the ancient and humble throne that Ahghairon first sat upon so long ago.

Many other buildings in the ward are given over to city business, including several courts for magisters and the barracks of the City Guard. So many of the ward’s structures are offices and meeting halls for business owners, solicitors, publishers, and the like that the Castle Ward has the smallest resident population of all the wards.

Many landmarks of interest are found in this ward aside from the six walking statues. You could hardly see them all in a day, but the following are highly recommended.

Blackstaff Tower is a squat black blot in the otherwise pretty ward. Humble though the edifice might be, looking at the place for too long can give you a queasy feeling and the sense that you are being watched — almost as if the tower itself has turned an unseen and wrathful eye upon you. Perhaps you think this fanciful. Well, go and try it yourself! On the opposite end of the mountain, close to the Naval Harbor, stands Mirt’s Mansion. Once a fortress-like and glowering tower, it has been upgraded with more delicate fashions of architecture since the return of its long-absent owner.

Mirt has quite a history with Durnan, the proprietor of The Yawning Portal. Together they descended into “the Well,” as the entrance to Undermountain was known in olden days. Waterdeep used to throw criminals in the Well, leaving them to die horribly in Undermountain’s dungeons. Durnan and Mirt entered the dungeons of their own free will — and not only that, but returned laden with treasures. Both used magic to extend their lives, but they eventually parted ways. Mirt kept on with a life of adventure, while Durnan built the tavern called the Yawning Portal over the Well and now, almost two centuries later, charges coin to descend into it. Not a bad way to part fools from their money!

The glorious Spires of the Morning, dedicated to Lathander, is one of Waterdeep’s most beautiful temples. But it is rivaled in this ward by the Temple of the Seldarine, dedicated to all the elf gods. The journey through Mount Melody Walk, a tunnel cut through Mount Waterdeep, to New Olamn’s academy of music and other arts is a wondrous daytime excursion. The Market offers a wild array of sights, smells, and sounds in which folk might lose themselves for a tenday. The Font of Knowledge is a temple to Oghma, yes, but also the city’s largest public library. Titles written throughout the ages can be viewed here — under the watchful eyes of the temple’s priests. In short, the Castle Ward offers far too many splendors to list them all here.

The Castle Ward’s colors are blue and purple, and its mascot is a griffon, typically depicted in gold. These borrow colors from the city’s flag and reference the Griffon Cavalry, of course. Champions for the ward often come from among the ranks of the Guard, the Navy, or the Cavalry. Although such competitors have often have the advantage in races and competitions, their crowds of rabidly cheering fans are naturally much smaller than those of other wards.

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Page last modified on August 13, 2019, at 06:36 PM