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GREAT HALL Viksted Hall is one of the largest greathalls in Norland, built by Urveld Trollslayer's predecessor 50 years ago and expanded over the last four decades. Standing on the highest ground in the hold, it overlooks the town and offers a grand view of the coast and the endless blue expanse of the Sea of Storms. Its foundation is native gray flagstone, raising the floor four feet above the ground. Broad uneven steps lead up to the Great Doors of the Hall (each 5 feet wide and 10 feet tall) of thick oak bound with bronze. The walls are constructed of massive ashwood columns and stacked pine timbers, oil-stained dark to preserve them and repel water. The high-peaked roof is cured pine shingles over oaken beams. The Hall rises three stories along its main length and four stories in the center, where the main living quarters are above the ground floor. Inside, the smoke-stained columns are elaborately carved with the likenesses of dragons, sea creatures and heroes from Norlandic legend, rising to lofty spaces crisscrossed by thick interconnecting roof beams. Wide wooden staircases curve up from the Main Hall, each elaborately crafted and carved. Wheels of flaming braziers hang from sea chains and deep firepits blaze, filling the Hall with light and heat. Warriors' Hall at the building's front is where councils and formal audiences are held. Outside the Hall, graveled paths lead to the storehouse, kitchens and slaves' quarters. Behind it are the chieftain's stable and the barracks for his warriors ... In addition to Urveld, his daughters and their personal servants, Wulfgar, the chief's champion, and at least twenty house warriors reside in Viksted Hall. Banquets are held in the main hall and at any time of the day no less than a score of visiting warriors and other guests can be found there.

INN AND MEADHALL This massive circular lodge is the public drinking house and hostel. Its high-peaked slat roof rises three stories, providing a second floor of sleeping and storage chambers above the earth-floored common room. The Meadhall hosts nightly carousals, with mead, ale, roast mutton and fish aplenty. Brawls and blood-challenges are daily events; longship crews and warrior bands are the regular clientele, while the local fishermen and herdsmen prefer the far less rowdy (and more segregated) environment of Sheepherders' Hall.

PALISADE Viksted's wooden wall completely encloses the town, except on the seaward side. It is ten feet high, constructed of vertical pinewood logs driven into the ground and anchored with horizontal cross timbers on the inside. There are four 30-foot tall timber watch towers and two more flanking the palisade gate, which is wide enough for three wagons to pass through abreast. Watchmen man the towers and can mount the palisade by way of ladders and a narrow walkway in order to repel attackers. The palisade is constantly under repair to reinforce it and replace timbers that have rotted or been washed loose by rain and snowmelt.

SHEEPHERDERS' HALL This large roundhouse lodge outside the walls of Viksted is the gathering place for the Storm Islander herdsfolk of Kinnor who live under Norlander rule. Its steep thatched roof rises against the heath-covered hills to the west of town. The interior is rustic and plain, with an earthen floor and rough timber columns supporting the high roof. Tables and benches cluster about a huge central firepit and the air is always dim and smoky, ripe with the smells of cooking and unwashed bodies. Mutton, roast bird, fish, cheese, course bread, ale and local spirits are served. There are no rooms; folk are invited to bed down along the walls if they wish ... Norlanders rarely visit the Hall. They are not barred from the place, of course, but the Islanders prefer it as a refuge away from their northern overlords and Norlanders consider it beneath their dignity. Father Orwen resides here and conducts regular services for the few converts to the New Faith.

TEMPLE HALL The temple to the Old Gods is a lofty timber and stone hall. Its entrance, facing the market, is reached by stone steps flanked by great iron-sconced torches that are kept burning day and night (weather permitting). The timber doors are massive (5 feet by 10 feet) and each decorated in bronze - the right one with the crossed lightning bolts of Valkan Stormlord, the left with the twin moon symbol of Fraya. Inside, the vast open hall is flanked by carved ashwood columns rising to bare roofbeams high overhead. A single, long firepit dominates the stone-flagged floor, filled with glowing coals which pour aromatic smoke into the air. At the hall's far end loom statues of the Stormlord and the Horned Goddess, both carved of granite and ten feet tall ... Olek is High Priest here, as he has been for over fifty years, presiding over the rituals and serving as adviser to Viksted's chief. He is served by a half-dozen acolytes and a score of mailed warriors dedicated to serving the gods. Anyone may enter Temple Hall at almost any time to pay homage or seek guidance or protection. Exceptions are votaries of the New Faith, of course, who are forbidden from desecrating the Gods' hall by their very presence.

UMO'S SHRINE A fifteen-foot tall statue of the Sea-King looks out over Viksted's harbor. The shrine is of gray granite, weathered by centuries of wind and wave, and depicts a giant sounding a great curved horn. Sea birds perch on the statue and splatter its worn surface with droppings. Seafarers and fishermen pray there, imploring Umo's mercy against the perils of the ocean.


POWER GROUPS

GODS OF MYTHANDAR


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