The Castle of Mist
The castle is located high in the Mountains of Mist, in the southern region of the mountain range (where Ghealdan once was). It is located, specifically, on a bluff and though there are more mountains above and below it, there is no way to get to that specific bluff on foot. The bluff has tall trees along its perimeter, giving it the appearance of nothing more than part of the mountain’s forest from a distance. No one would suspect what lies on that bluff, much less be inclined to try to get to it.
Above it—leagues above it—is an Ogier stedding (there are six Ogier stedding in the Mountains of Mist; this is merely one of them). From above, at the stedding (which is the nearest spot to the bluff from that direction) all one can see is trees and thick mist. Approximately half a league below the bluff is yet another bluff, albeit a small one. That bluff is completely wooded and extremely small. It could hold, perhaps, twenty people if they were standing shoulder to shoulder. From there, it is possible to climb the sharp, jagged rocks to get to the bluff where the castle is located, though doing so would take a great deal of time, strength, and stamina. Yet the only way to get to that specific bluff (the one below) is by gateway or by flying there.
As stated above, the bluff appears to be nothing more than a thickly wooded forest from the only two spots from which it is visible (aerial view and view from the edge of the stedding above). However, though the outside portion of the bluff is thickly wooded the interior portion is mainly a grassy plain. The land is fertile, and the trees surrounding it produce various berries and nuts that can be used for food. In addition there are two freshwater lakes that supply water to the area and are replenished by rainfall.
There are three visible buildings on the grounds, all forged from cuendillar-enforced stone and are virtually indestructible. They are built right where the trees begin and form a perfect triangle across the grounds. The buildings are mid-sized, able to hold a substantial amount of equipment or supplies. Although these are the only buildings one can see, there is actually plenty of living space outside of the castle. Finding that space, however, is something of a chore.
The larger trees that surround the area have platforms built in and around them, giving anyone who occupies the platform a bird’s eye view of the entire bluff. Five of the trees, upon much closer inspection, are not what they appear. Those trees are actually hollow, and once one enters the ‘doors’ that lead inside (the doors can only be opened from the inside or from the platforms high in each tree ‘entrance’), they would find stairways that lead underground.
There is, for all practical purposes, a small town far beneath the ground inside the mountain. The walls, much like the walls of the outbuildings above ground, are made of cuendillar-enforced steel. Inside, there are no windows but the walls of the hallways glow as though they are lit by candlelight. There are five wings in the underground area, none of which are interconnected (there is a common entrance to them where each section can be sealed off and each of the five trees outside provide an exterior entrance to each of the wings): one section, the largest, is nothing but bedchambers, enough to house a fair-sized army; the second contains a kitchen, dining rooms, and more bedchambers behind the kitchen; the third leads to a fairly large water supply, perhaps an underground well; the fourth area is dedicated to recreation and has a great many tables and chairs, various games, books, cards, and dice; the final area leads to an enormous suite, the back of which has an entrance to what appears to be some caves.
Every room in the underground are is decorated with paintings, comfortable furniture, beautiful oil lamps, and very intricately woven throw rugs. The place is, surprisingly, homey despite there being no windows.
The castle itself is invisible to almost everyone who approaches it. The entrance, nestled between two old oak trees, is impenetrable unless one can see the big black cuendillar doors or if the doors are opened from the inside.
Built around a stone that closely resembles a portal stone, the castle exists between worlds. The stone is not an actual portal stone, however, and cannot be used to Travel. Nothing is known about the stone itself (yet) but it only has two symbols on it now. It only had one before Faia found it in Tel’aran’rhiod and channeled a simple weave of Spirit into it.
To see the castle, one must ‘bond’ the stone (or be a wolf…wolves, for reasons thus far unknown, are able to see the castle). The weave used is actually a simple weave of Spirit, the same one Faia used in Tel’aran’rhiod when she found it. The stone is trapped, however, so if anyone tries to channel into it without assistance from Faia or someone else who can channel and is bonded to it, it will cause very bad things to happen to the one who tries it. However, there are certain people who could bond themselves to the stone without consequence…we just haven’t learned of it yet.
Although the castle cannot be seen from the outside unless one is a wolf or is ‘bonded’ to the Stone, inside the castle, everything appears normal. There are, however, a few problems. Since the castle is located between worlds, people inside often see things out of the corners of their eyes that seem to disappear as soon as they turn to look. They hear voices that belong to no other person there. In effect, the castle seems to be haunted by ghosts of the past, some of whom seem vaguely familiar. Anyone with particular Talents—Foretelling, Dreaming, and the like—will find those Talents a bit quirky when inside the castle and they might end up seeing things that have already occurred as though they have never happened.
Still, there is one quality of the castle that makes the bad qualities pale in comparison: the castle is a safe haven. Nothing evil, be it Mashadar, Shadowspawn, or Machin Shin, can enter the castle much less see it or touch it. Attacking or destroying the castle itself is not possible since it does not fully exist in any world. So, as long as one remains inside he or she is safe from outside threats. Unfortunately, like any safe haven, if it is inhabited by an enemy it could quickly become dangerous. Still, there are a few safeguards that were apparently built into the castle itself. Specifically:
Gateways: No gateways can be opened into or out of the castle. One can not Travel from one section of the castle to another. That includes ‘shadow’ traveling, like Dom uses (Dom is, oddly, the only one other than Faia who initially sees the castle, indicating that he was already bonded to the stone inside…we do not yet know the story behind that, however). The only way to get into a room is to walk through the doorway. The same goes for leaving.
Eavesdropping: The walls are completely soundproof, which makes eavesdropping on conversations from outside of a room quite difficult, if not impossible. In addition, eavesdropping weaves do not work inside the castle either, almost as though the castle is warded against such methods.
Mask of Mirrors/Mirror of Mists/Folded Light/Illusion: These weaves do not function within the castle, whether used to make one invisible or merely change one’s appearance. Additionally, anyone with the natural ability to make himself or herself unseen is not able to do so inside the castle. Again, it seems the castle is somehow warded against such things.
Compulsion: This is another weave that functions incorrectly within the walls of the castle. Although the weave forms correctly, it does not work. People inside the castle seem to have a natural resistance to Compulsion and the like.
Reversing/Inverting weaves: Does not work.
A final note about the castle: unlike the underground portion of the bluff, the castle does indeed have windows which seem to emit light. This is a bit odd considering the castle is between worlds and is, apparently built inside of the mountain itself. Like the underground area, the castle is very homey. It is a bit more intricately and expensively decorated, however, and the rooms inside are very large and comfortable.