Maledictus University of the Arcane Arts is an ancient structure that is sat atop the Northern mountains of Windhill, between Lake Sidna and Zerule on the side facing Windhill.
It's current Master is the Necromancer: Xala Svoboda. Alongside a gaggle of adventurers, Xala claimed the castle once he slaughtered the ancient wizard who once lived there. Now, the small region that surrounds the castle on its mountain-side is under the magical influence of Xala and the converted, ancient spirits that have resided there for many years. It is a place open to the public that Xala likes to view as a sort of Academy for magic, with plenty of resources to learn the craft without the stifling restrictions against the Dark Arts, and instead a practiced example of the Dark Arts done right - the owner himself. Throughout the castle, skeletons run and maintain most things, especially in the library, where Skeletal Mages and their Zombie Mage Superiors keep everything afloat.
Exterior and Surroundings:
The Castle's exterior is an expanse of territory that is as entrenched in dark arcana and necrotic entities. Within the forests of this dense, dark land, lies a host of skeletal minions that are controlled by Xala Svoboda. The perimeter is 30 Square Kilometers (11.58 Square Miles), indicated by bone charms that are empowered with the souls of those lost in the fight for the Castle. These charms prevent cosmic entities from seeing the Castle or its Grounds, alerts Xala of any intruders or invaders, and wards off long-distance magical attacks. Atop the mountain ridge, skeleton sentries sit and watch out for areal attacks and or flying objects/animals/peoples/things.
Old Road Up To Maledictus Castle:
The Road up to Maledictus Castle is the only walkable way to the castle, since the opposite side of the mountain that harbors the castle is a steep, treacherous zone full of crags that overlook Queenstead. This road is protected by wards and fences and trees, so to not allow Xala's undead from attacking those who use it. Those who travel this path are always watched and anticipated, and not many can travel through it at once.
The trek is about an 8 mile hike uphill and side-winds along the crags.
The castle boasts 46 defensive towers around its oblong circular base, as it rises above the rough, spiky rocks of the mountainside. From the highest point to the bottom of the castle, Maledictus Castle boasts a height of 666 feet (202.99 meters) tall with a measurement of 6,500 square feet (603.86 square meters). It is constructed to be akin to a Keep, however it is Concentric Castle, with one outer wall and one inner wall. However, these walls are connected by a series of bridges and room-areas where people can traverse.
The entrance to the castle is a massive gateway that could fit three large elephants, however the entrance to the inner keep is a smaller gateway suitable for one elephant. The area around the entrance gate is a massive graveyard full of spikes and a small ecosystem for extremely deadly scorpions that are extremely territorial and stick to this small little moat. They also cannot climb its banks.
Courtyards and Greenhouses:
Along the Bailey of the Castle, between the outer wall and the inner Keep, are a host of Courtyards and Greenhouses that defy the outside of the castle in absolutely bizarre, absurd ways. Plants full of alchemical properties, fungi of many kinds, and blossoming trees, flowers, and vines flow across the lands as natural mountain-springs gush water out into the man-made streams.
The entirety of this area is maintained by Xala and his undead, as the most clean, peaceful looking undead patrol this area with protective gloves and such, to keep their necrotic flesh from touching the vital roots and leaves and petals. (Would their flesh kill the plant life? No, but Xala does not enjoy dead flesh sprinkled on his flowers.)
The Entrance Hall:
Through the Keep Gates, guests will enter into a new world of luxurious marble, blackened maple wood, statues of long-dead practitioners of vile magic, chandeliers of glistening crystals, with accents of rouge red draped across the realm. This room is a room full of subtle, glorious enchantment. It is meant to create a feeling of darkness that soothes the soul, mends the eyes from the blazing of the sun, and has an ever-cool atmosphere that is neither too hot nor too cold - akin to the rest of the palace.
The Main Floor (Dining Rooms, Living Spaces, Banquet Halls, Meeting Rooms):
Once past the Entrance Hall, guests will be opened up to more luxury that had been built by the initial occupant, but had to be restored by Xala and his legion of undead.
The Main Hall consists of many rooms, but the ones that take up the most space are Grand Ballrooms, Dining Halls, and Places of Council - War Rooms and such. These rooms are coupled with smaller versions and or places where guests may rest, find privacy, or enjoy one another's company behind hidden walls and rooms behind shelves and banners.
The undead make themselves scarce in these floors, opting for the hidden tunnels behind many'a'secret doors.
Upper Floors (Libraries, Testing Rooms):
What is a wizard without a crippling obsession for Books?
In Xala's case, he takes this to the extreme, as he fills countless bookshelves that have two sides, sometimes three shelves that can unfold to reveal three more with a grimoire in the center with endless books and journals. These books are full of histories from other worlds, dimensions, and magical principles that he had stored away in pocket realms via a long-term collector's-obsession. In fact, many of the things in Xala's castle are imported from centuries of traveling universes.
The Testing Rooms of the Upper Floor are full of sites where scrying, astral projection, and simple training rooms are found. These rooms are kept close to rooms full of magical books, in case a young wizard finds themselves too excited to try out a spell, and accidentally uses it too soon. Hence, this way, they can quickly scramble to a nearby room to try something out. These testing rooms are protected from the outside world via Tessar and Mirror-Dimension principles. Anything cast within these rooms are negated by the Tessar AND a sort of mirror-realm-spirit-dimension that keeps whatever gets cast inside it from breaking through to the outside world. The anti-magic alongside this mirror-dimension is possible by having the mirror-dimension in sections in between the metals, and is upkept by the spirit of the Ancient Sorcerer, Mortius Declaar.
Main Tower (Enchanting Chambers, Studies, Orrery, Observatory):
Within the tallest tower of Maledictus Castle lies some of Xala's personal engineering of magical constructs, studies full of his personal journals and tomes, and rooms totally dedicated to the enchantment of artifacts, corpses, and things. The majority of this tower is taken up by the enchanting chambers and study-rooms, but the largest rooms are the Orrery and the Observatory.
With the Orrery, Xala is able to pin-point cosmic fluctuation of energy to allow him to sense a whole host of things. If one gets close enough to the planets orbiting within this structure, they would be able to see the magical pulses and energetic movements that spark alarm across the worlds. For example, if a massive spell had been cast on any given planet, it would show up as a green dot on the orrery's structure.
The Observatory is at the very top of the tower and holds a telescope that can observe a whole manner of far away celestial bodies. However, while it may be a powerful telescope, its primary, focal use is to spot cosmic entities. For anything else that has to do with space-magic, it is practically pointless.
Secondary Tower (Alchemical Rooms, Labs, Master Bedroom):
Now, every good wizard has a place to do some alchemy! But to have your Bedroom right below stuff that can blow up at any moment? Xala would not have it any other way.
To enter the Secondary Tower, one must gain verification from Xala so that the Blood Golems that guard the entrance do not immediately attack anything trying to enter it. On every windowsill that a thief could crawl into, lies a humanoid skeleton that is pretending to be a gargoyle.
On the inside, it is a wonderland for scientists and alchemists alike. Here, hosts of herbs and ingredients are grown in pots and preserved in glass shelves with enchantments of preservation, rooms full of test tubes, tables where corpses lie for experimentation, and chambers full of liquid that harbor experimental undead that had to be put under careful observation. Every room is a place where nightmare could occur, and thus, almost every room is protected with walls of Tessar - but not Mirror-Dimensional fragments, because spells are not being cast within the tower unless if they are small things that could cause big reactions.
Tertiary Tower (Lounge, Guest-Dorm Bedrooms, Scenic Balconies):
In the Tertiary Tower, there are all sorts of rooms dedicated to rest and relaxation. On one level, there is a mini-casino-bar combo, and on another there is a meditation chamber available for any guest. Throughout the tower, there are guest bedrooms, lounge areas, and balconies that overlook the castle and its grounds. From the balconies, one can spot as far as the eye can see, and on the top-most balcony, perhaps one could spot the sea on a good, clear day.
Additional Rooms (Defense Towers, Supply Closets, Hidden Tunnels, Strange Rooms):
Amidst the castle, there is a whole manner of various rooms full of weaponry, armor, foodstuffs, and random, ruined books. Some are even full of artwork made out of bones and kryssid-bodies. Most of these rooms are harmless, but some were indeed enchanted by the mad wizard who once roamed the castle. Once he died, the occult power used for these rooms remained, and caused some rooms to be entrances into other worlds, full of paradisal pleasure, where the wizard would retreat into. He did this to escape the endless voices swarming around his head. These rooms persist in their doorways to other worlds, but such rooms are constantly changing, never found in the same place once within a decade-period.
Sometimes, it can be incredibly annoying, when a closet gets randomly displaced by a doorway into a realm full of fresh fruit that disappears from the stomach once you walk out of it.
Lower Levels (Catacombs, Undeath Quarters, Dungeons) :
Come now, did you really think a Necromancer would want to claim a castle if he did not believe it to have a dark underbelly? Ripe with dark magic and the potential to be exploited for his own gain? The Catacombs is made of all the workers and adventurers who had turned up missing over the years in the initial construction for the castle. Corpses as far as tunnels would go lead into massive, subterranean chasms held by stone, metal, and the occasional giant's carcass. Of course, what does a Necromancer do with dungeons? He leaves a few open while turning the rest into chambers where his undead rest and recharge their necrotic wills. The dungeons are full of undead blacksmiths, armorers, tailors, and workers ready to get a move-on anytime their master needs something rebuilt, made, or killed.
Over the centuries, people gave up trying to defeat the immortal wizard, and the castle was lost amidst the clouds, and slowly, its entire existence became a forgotten memory.
In the beginning, before the castle was constructed, the crags it was built upon used to be an ancient ritual site where powerful, out casted conjurers gathered to perform human sacrifices and studied the art of Necromancy and Soul-Manipulation. Early on, this group chained their souls to this area, and when rival, holy mages came down upon them, a battle for the ages was fought that left every Dark Conjurer a pool of smitten blood. Their souls went on, however, and cursed the land itself.
As this ancient site was forgotten, a young, entrepreneurial wizard named Mortius Declaar used his vast wealth to construct a massive castle in his name. However, upon reaching the crags where he planned to build, the cursed ground spoke to him, and told him to build a castle in their name – a Cathedral to the Long Dead Conjurers. Thus, he carried out their wishes and oversaw every single construction plan to meet their desires. He remained there day and night, abandoning his company while his automatic payments went straight into funding the castle.
Once the castle was finished after two *whole* centuries of work, where workers were routinely killed to fuel the wizard’s growing immortality, he sealed the gates shut as he studied the art of his dark whisperers. They taught him many things, but he only ever managed to get good at arts concerning the summoning and manipulation of Kryssids. With his growing army of kryssids, he dominated the nearby Windhill region with endless attacks, until his mind deteriorated after his third century of life, after he had ingested the cursed heart of a newborn – a ritual gone wrong.
His forces were pulled back, and ever since, he has been hunted, left alone, and eventually forgotten to the tides of time, alongside his foul temple. Its condition has mimicked its owner over the years.