A Zahir keep acquired from the Lomasas to settle a gambling debt, Darkwater Keep thrives due to its position at the rivers' crossing. Its location along river trade routes combined with the proximity of the Shadow District makes it an ideal position at which to defend shipping against the predation of Shadow District brigands. For over a century the Keep has been profitable in this way, a balancing force in the fold of Zahir power. Set on a high shrubby bluff overlooking the river junction, it attracts mercenaries and outcasts of all sorts. Retired and rogue Blades, Nobles and Freelanders fleeing unpleasant arranged marriages, orphans, bastard children, unhoused Ducal Guards and "reformed" criminals are just a few of the characters populating the Keep.
Its Lords have always had a reputation for accepting anyone willing to swear loyalty - and uphold that oath on pain of death - as a member of the Keep; and, for those too young to work, as wards until such time as they are.
The small navy which gives the Lord of Darkwater his power is crewed by the various and sundry roughs and rowdies who work their way up the chain of command. They are called Deepers; for, as the saying goes, cross the Lord of Darkwater and one may find themselves sinking deeper (underwater, that is).
Coat of ArmsEdit
The coat of arms announcing the Lord of Darkwater is a black raven on a field of violet, perched atop crossed rapiers. In the lower left quadrant is a patch of midnight blue, symbolic of the water which brings Darkwater its livelihood.
Deepers: Obsidian ringmail armor, and their weapon of choice. The trademark of a Deeper is his (or her) full-length, midnight black cloak bearing the Darkwater crest. Captains wear violet cloaks.
Agents: Leather armor, a weapon of choice, and a black cloak bearing the Darkwater crest.
At the junction of the Fastheld and Lightholder rivers, Darkwater Keep has no roads leading to or from it on the mainland; however, an enterprising explorer could encounter it by following near the coastline of the Fastheld River east from Aegisport or west from East Leg and its environs.
Sun's Keep to the north through forest and plains (no direct road), Aegisport to the far west along the Fastheld River, Hawk's Aerie very nearby to the east along the Fastheld, the Shadow District very nearby to the southwest along the Lightholder River, and Lightholder Crossroads not too distant, also down the Lightholder.
About a dozen fully crewed boats, each with a Captain; a full servant staff; a small fleet of fishermen generating the Keep's own commerce and food supply; and a cadre of a half-dozen of the Lord of Darkwater's personal guards. What gives Darkwater leverage is that its boats are rigged especially for maritime combat, complete with boarding planks, tethers, reinforced hulls and fast shallow keels. Darkwater's flagship is the aptly named Pride of Darkwater.
Originally built nearly two hundred years ago by Duke Galken Lomasa, this keep sits on a shrubby bluff overlooking the northwestern shore of the watery fork where the Fastheld and Lightholder Rivers instersect: Darkwater Junction, which gives this castle its name.
The spacious gray stone-walled estate remained property of House Lomasa among the woodlands northwest of Hawk's Aerie for one hundred and fifteen years, until it was under the stewardship of Duke Nemmek Lomasa, who had a weak spot for gambling and the poor luck of gambling too often in Shadow District dens run by Duke Zelon Zahir, whose grandson Zolor now controls many vice-related operations in that turf. Nemmek Lomasa bankrupted his family and lost his ancestral estate to House Zahir.
Darkwater Keep is passed down to the males of the line holding its ownership.
~441 ATA: Duke Galken Lomasa
510 ATA: Bequeathed to Duke Kemmal Lomasa
554 ATA: Inherited by Duke Nemmek Lomasa
556 ATA: Forfeited to Duke Zelon Zahir
560 ATA: Bequeathed to Count Dolmor Zahir
580 ATA: Inherited by Viscount Moldor Zahir; Moldor Zahir is elevated to the rank of Count by assuming control of the powerful Keep.
623 ATA: Inherited by Viscount Thayndor Zahir; Thayndor Zahir claims the rank of Count in assuming control of Darkwater; although later entitled to (then stripped of once more) the rank Marquis, he announces himself as Count.
It was the flagship Pride of Darkwater which lead the second expedition to Crown's Refuge; the Lord of Darkwater has been on both such expeditions. With the present instability of the realm, military powers large and small alike are being carefully examined. A Zahir Keep, Darkwater's allegiance is assumed to rest with the Emperor, but no official statements have been made. Darkwater is also the only waterborne force of note, although the Mikins retain a smaller group of craft for river enforcement.
Please see the main article Darkwater Deepers.