Heart District of Grimthorn

The Heart is named for Kāalva's sword, Heart-Seeker. Heart is the smallest of the Fortified Districts. There are rumors that the District was once much larger, encompassing Battle, Pennant, and King Kirād's Hill to the east. The missing fortifications that would have encompassed those areas do not support these ideas. Fissurists believe that the walls existed up until recently, when they were wiped from the world and collective memory. The hypothesis does not account for the closing of the existing walls where the District would have been cropped. It also doesn't account for other area in Grimthorn, i.e., Academy Hill, where the rewriting seems to be absent.

The Heart is accessible by two bridges: Bleeding Bridge (to Grimthorn) and the Bridge of Crows (to Char). There is evidence of market tunnels to Bellmourn, but those were bricked-up centuries ago. The only other entrances are secrets kept by the Guild of Masons (of Final) and the Plumbers's Guild (of Storm).


Dougal Hall

The Heart is dominated by one structure, the imposing Dougal Hall atop Temple Hill. The triangular keep is home to the ruler of the District, the decrepit witch queen Valgura the Old. The hall is guarded by a cohort of tall armored sentinels that stand watchfully at positions throughout the building. Each guardian holds a polearm in its gauntleted grips, ready to act, but forever rooted to their posts. Only their heads seem to move, swiveling from side to side as strangers pass. Even when invaders came to excise pieces from the old witch's body, the sentinels remained inactive. Stories of their indifference surely emboldened others to commit similar crimes.

Dougal Hall is a window into another time. The halls are lined with cobwebbed candelabra and heavy tapestries faded beyond inspection. Paintings hang askew across the walls, the portraits' eyes chewed or burned from the darkened canvases. The chambers are packed like warehouses with brittle furniture, collapsed into mouldering heaps. The ceilings, lined with flaking gilt and smoke blackened shadows above each cluster of candles, retain something of the place's former glory. Beautiful ceiling murals display circling clouds, rising suns, colorful birds in the thousands, and reposing figures looking down upon each corridor and chamber with shock and disapproval.

Like Kanēvar's Tower, Dougal Hall is believed to have been built for a wizard named the Black Dougal. Not much is known of the man except for the full-length, eyeless portrait at the end of the Hall of Mirrors. In the painting he appears to be an older man, still in possession of some of his youthful vigor, holding a long gnarled staff with a jeweled headpiece. An ornate silver pectoral stands out against his otherwise somber attire, bearing a circle of arcane symbols inscribed around an inverted jawless skull. He was obviously someone of great importance and wealth, but he appears no where within the Heralds' House (in Soul) peerages. The name has been uttered before the witch queen, but like everything else, it elicits no response.

Hill of Wheels

There are a number of reasons why the other Pentarchs are reluctant to move against Old Valgura, but perhaps the most sinister is the Hill of Wheels. From a distance, an adjacent hilltop appears to bristle with slender quills like the back of an alarmed porcupine. A long walk to the hilltop however reveals that these are sky-wheels. Somehow, enemies of Old Valgura have their limbs broken, their tongues and eyes removed, are bound to wooden wheels, and hoisted toward the sky to slowly spin in the wind until dead. Cruel punishments are nothing new among the Pentarchs, the Parapet Gallows of Char being a prime example. The frightening aspect of the Hill of Wheels is not the torture, it's the question of who is sky-wheeling these people and how are they acquired. The Queen and her guardians never move from Dougal Hall, and she maintains no staff or army.

Temple Hill

The walls of the Heart were built upon the slopes of Temple Hill. Historians claim that the District was constructed on the foundation of a prehistoric temple, that lay in ruins in the time of Kāalva Swordweaver. There are no records suggesting who the temple was dedicated to or whether any artifacts were recovered, such are the legacies of preliterate men. Despite this divine anonymity, the site was long sought by practitioners of the Divine traditions for the energies that welled within the rocky mound. Many have conjectured that it is no coincidence that Dougal Hall was erected at the very center of this Divine phenomenon, though whether it was meant to harness or dam the magical spring is unknown.

Vault of Heart-Seeker

The sword vault of the Heart has not been found, though it is believed to lay in the northern limits of the District.

The Legend of Kāalva holds that her son placed the sword Heart-Seeker into the vault for safekeeping, until it was again needed in the defense of Grimthorn.