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Tuesday 5 December 2023

The White Tower

(I)              Readily available and observable information

(II)            Requires closer observance or aid (eg: light)

(III)           Can only be observed with the Third Eye


-        Acts of Sedition

1.     Rob the tower.

2.     Rescue a prisoner.

3.     Calm the tower’s ghost.

4.     Send a message by raven.

5.     Extinguish the light.

6.     Take over the tower.


(I) Also called Smocklehythe Tower, The Lord’s Prick, Serpent’s Tooth. A lighthouse and gaol for those awaiting execution by the House, its foundations are an island in the middle of the river.

Separated from the rest of Smocklehythe by a short boat ride, the pale edifice looms over South Lanton, twenty-one yards tall from the point of its spired roof to the cold waters below.


(II) Stone steps emerge from the water and alight at the only entrance, a door of black iron bars in the tower’s south face where a guard keeps watch.


The top of the tower is open on all sides, its spired roof held up by pillars. A guard keeps watch and, by night, a great fire is kept burning.


There are four windows in the east wall, one on each floor, about four yards apart. A third guard can sometimes be seen passing the upper of the middle two windows by night and the lower by day.

All three guard wear gaoler’s uniforms. Shifts change at sunrise and sunset, with reinforcements arriving by boat.


-        Roof
(I) The top of the tower is a flat platform from which four pillars hold aloft a canopy spire. It is a sixteen-yard drop to the water below.

In the centre is a huge brazier of black iron laden with firewood, lit and tended by a guard from sunset to sunrise. The day shift replacement merely watches the surrounding river.

Guard. Official truncheon (?), hot pork pasty (2d), vial of oil (6d), tinderbox (10d).

A spiral staircase alights here. The cawing and flapping of several large birds can be heard below.

-        Rookery
(I) The floor is lined with feathers and guano, the air thick with smell and noise. Seven messenger ravens are kept here, tethered to their perches by silver chains (£1 each).

On the floor is a pouch of bird seed (2d) and a sturdy black cage (£1).

From upstairs comes the sound of wind, and by night a roaring fire’s red glow. The staircase leads both up and down.

(II) The ravens’ chains and the window in the east wall are locked. The guard in the guardhouse has the keys.

-        Gaol

o   Stairwell
(I) Enclosed by stone walls. A heavy wood door leads to the guardhouse.

The noise of the rookery echoes faintly from above. By day the sounds of a busy kitchen can be heard downstairs, by night silence.

(II) At night the guard can be heard snoring by anyone eavesdropping at the guardhouse door, lantern light barely visible through the cracks.

o   Guardhouse
(I) Empty by day, the night shift guard catches forty winks in an old wooden rocking-chair (£1&1d).

Guard. Official truncheon (?), ring of keys (?), hooded lantern (£1), deck of cards (10d).

Black iron bars divide this room from the cell, the gate locked. A wooden door adjoins the stairwell. There is a window in the east wall.

(II) After dusk the guard arrives and lights a hooded lantern, and can be seen through the window.

The four keys on the ring open the cell on this floor, the shackles within and the chains and window in the rookery. Each resembles the lock it opens.

(III) Soft wailing drifts from the cell on an otherworldly breeze.

o   Cell
(I) The gaol proper, separated from the guardhouse by a locked gate.

Prisoners are kept in shackles chained to a heavy iron ball (£2). The guard in the guardhouse has the key.

There is a spectral presence here, felt first as a chill, unnatural wind and then in terrifying visions of death.

(II) A thorough search unearths a metal file (6d) hidden away behind a loose stone along with a rat skull.

(III) The ghost of a woman killed here long ago moans inconsolably, searching for her lost head. If reunited with the skull in the whalesbourne, she passes on.

-        Kitchen

o   Stairwell
(I) Enclosed by stone walls. By day, sounds of the cookhouse through a wooden door. By night, only the wind and water from the gatehouse downstairs.

o   Cookhouse
(I) A large pot (3d) atop a simple wood-burning stove, set into the wall below the window.

The day shift guard makes gruel here, steam filling the room. After sunset, the fire is put out and the room goes silent.

Guard. Official truncheon (?), wooden spoon (2d), vial of oil (6d), pouch of black pepper (6d).

Two doors connect to the stairwell and pantry.

o   Pantry
(I) A large barrel of clean water, a stack of dirty wooden bowls (1d each), two heavy sacks of oats (2d each), a chamberpot (2d), several rotting turnips and an unopened vial of black treacle (6d). Roll a die to see how many rats are about.

There is a door to the cookhouse.

-        Gatehouse

o   Doorstep
(I) Entry to the stairwell is barred by a sturdy gate of black iron. A guard stands watch outside atop a short flight of stone steps that descend into the water, where a post is used to moor boats.

Guard. Official truncheon (?), hooded lantern (£1).

o   Stairwell
(I) A spiralling stone staircase begins here and continues up to the roof, alighting at every floor in-between.

To the side is a wooden door labelled records.

o   Records
(I) A desk with paper (1d/sheaf), quill pen (10d) and two vials of black and red ink (6d apiece).

There is a window overlooking the water outside, as well as a door to the stairwell, and another labelled store.

(II) Searching the desk uncovers ledgers detailing the names and crimes of prisoners kept at the tower through its history, beginning after the occupation of the House.

o   Store
(I) Several empty barrels, six yards of rope (2d/yard), a hooded lantern (£1), a vial of glue (6d), and a small pouch of gunpowder (£6).

(II) Beneath some of the goods is a trap door leading down to the whalesbourne.

-        Whalesbourne
(I) A cell beneath the store for troublesome prisoners. Pitch dark and heavy with mould. A metal grate in the middle of the floor is all but rusted away.

Laying discarded on the floor are a human skull and a blunt and corroded sword. Roll a die to see how many rats are about.

(II) Light reveals scratches in the wall reading WATCHED FROM BELOW and the glint of something large and pale from the crypt beneath the grate.

-        Crypt
(II) Built into the foundations of the tower. Strangely peaceful, utterly dark. There is a rusty grate in the ceiling adjoining the whalesbourne above.

A giant skull sits in the centre of a square symbol carved into the stone floor. There is a solid gold coin within the hollow of its eye, worth £3.

(III) The spirit of this skull is ancient. It is not seen so much as sensed, a being long faded from this world.

It offers those marked with the Third Eye a gift of one of its teeth. Brannwn’s Blessing, a fist-sized lump of dull ivory, allows its bearer to temporarily expel their spirit from their own body and into that of a raven.