The Red Tower

The Red Tower is not truly one tower, though it is named for its tallest construction. Hammerwatch Island is an isle of the coast of Agatea, and is home of the Red Magisters. The Red Magisters are an ancient order of scholars, one of the oldest, and are the only scholarly organisation to be founded before the University of Arelon besides the scholars of the Temples. The vaults beneath the Red Tower are said to be vast, with ancient knowledge of forbidden magic, sinister poisons and strange concoctions that have been locked away for centuries. Even above the vaults, however, there are great libraries. In addition to mundane knowledge, they possess much in the way of ancient and forgotten lore that may be found nowhere else, and a Red Magister is held in high repute throughout the world. Many come to visit the Red Tower, but its standards are exacting. It takes on students, to train them in scholarly and arcane arts, though the sums that must be paid for such are immense. The tests for Magistership in a given subject are exacting, and many find themselves novices for years. A Red Magister is always incumbent to the Tower, as well; the name is almost as important as the knowledge gained, and the name of Magister may be stripped by the Tower at any time. The Tower never accepts students above the age of 8, and during their training loyalty to the Tower is drummed into them, as well as military training with the Fortress if they so choose, though it is never forced upon novices. Novices are fobidden to leave the island before they have become full Magisters; those who try escape become acquainted with its dungeons, and those who resist may find themselves put to the sword at the hands of the Order of Tempus.

Those too old to be students may treat with the Tower, but it is a very political organisation; it is rare to receive help on a matter that has no benefit to the Tower, although the donation of some trinket, relic or tome can easily improve one's favour with the Magisters. Though confined to Hammerwatch Island, the Red Tower is a powerful political force throughout Leng.

The Red Tower is also a potent military force in its own way, though its members never take up arms except in its defense. The Crimson Fortress is built upon Hammerwatch Island as well, and is the home of the Order of Tempus, the god of war. Under their sponsorship, the Vingtors of Tempus are trained, and they also sponsor warriors from around the world for coin. From knights of Vingaard to the swift bladesingers of Breivis, every tradition of battle is honored. Any warrior may come and find a bed and board at the Crimson Fortress; in exchange, they need only participate and better themselves, and defend the fortress in times of need. In time, many of them find themselves following the Order of Tempus, and those who do not still aid the temple by honing the strength of their battlepriests. It here that many of the true Masters of weapons and styles can be found. Many of those that train with the Fortress are students training to be Magisters; it makes no matter to the Vingtors just who hones the blades of their acolytes.

In the shadow of the Crimson Fortress lies Redwatch, a small port town that lies on the coast of the island. It is a small settlement whose main function is to function as a place for sailors passing through to stop and sell their wares, as the island lies directly along the trade routes from Agatea to Breivis and Dorn. It is a town of many inns and merchants, small in number and well-policed by the Vingtors of Tempus. Redwatch also contains temples to many gods worshipped around the world, so that training at the Tower does not mean forsaking one's religion. The Tower itself is the home of the priesthood of Azuth, the god of magic and scholarship. What houses there are in Redwatch are often lived in by the families of Magisters or those training, and many inns serve the same purpose on a shorter term. Hammerwatch Island is set up such that any wishing to pass to the Tower from Redwatch must pass through the Crimson Fortress, and the steep and craggy cliffs of the isle make landing elsewhere nearly impossible.

While Hammerwatch Island is a small isle, what little land there that is not taken up by the existing habitation contains plantations, which provide food and mead for the Tower, herbs to be made into ink and flax, which is made into linen for clothes and - more importantly - for paper by the many bookbinders and paper factories that ply their trade in Redwatch. A common punishment for novices is to copy out old crumbling texts into fresh new books for the libraries, or to help the Tower's servants and slaves in the fields. Despite this source of essentials, the Tower is heavily reliant on its position directly along the trade routes from Agatea to Breivis and Dorn in order to bring merchants, students and magisters in and out of the island.

Novices of the Red Tower wear simple brown robes, while Magisters are given robes of crimson. A Magister who becomes accredited in 9 subjects is an Archmagister, and wears a crimson robe with a slash of white on the hem. They are given greater freedom within the Tower and their words hold more weight. They often teach novices and command many of the leading positions within the Tower, and are paid for their work as well as being able to request funding for their research. Normal Magisters can and do often request funding, but for Archmagisters most requests will be granted, so long as they are not too costly. Each subject is presided over by a High Magister, whose robes bear the rune in the arcane tongue that describes their profession. There can only be one High Magister of a subject, and they may only be chosen from amongst the Archmagisters. They are extremely learned in the subject, considered to be the authority on the subject and manage all affairs to do with research, teaching and accounting for that field.