Arborghast is the name of a manor house located about six hours’ ride to the north of Shard in The Brandywine Plains. The manor and surrounding land is owned by the Cadwaller family, the last remaining member of which is the madman Sir Evan Cadwallader, currently confined in the Madhouse of Gilliam after his involuntary commital about a decade ago.
The manor was built at the height of the Cadwaller family’s fortunes about two centuries ago. A Cadwaller sat on the Council of Eight, and the family was one of the richest in the Plains. The manor house was a two-story monument to the greatness of the Cadwaller clan, and the gardens and fountains surrounding it were the envy of the patricians of Shard. However, the building of Arborghast marked the zenith of the Cadwaller family. The previous two centuries have seen the power of the Cadwallers wane as a series of poor and occasionally inexplicable business and political decisions eroded their power base. By current times, Sir Evan was the last of the direct line of the Cadwallers and the final remaining heir to its heavily depleted fortune.
Following the involuntary commitment of Sir Evan and the death of his parents not long after, Arborghast has been utterly neglected. The roof of the manor house has caved in and the second floor is waist-high with debris. The once-famed gardens have been overgrown with weeds and the fountains that were the amazement of the nobility have long been dry. The fence around the house has rusted and fell apart. Stories of the nearby villagers say that Arborghast is haunted as a result of the horrible crimes committed by Sir Evan but no proof of a haunting has been produced. Even still, not even the most fool-hearted young person enters the foreboding manor house, for reasons that even they cannot fully explain.
Following a recent ground tremor – unusual in the Plains – it appears that the foundation of Arborghast finally gave way. The manor house collapsed into the former wine cellar and is nothing more than a pile of broken stone and timber. The reports of an earthquake are being heavily debated at the University of Shard. Some faculty believe that there is no reason to believe an earthquake would hit the plains, and the tremors reported by villagers and even felt in Shard by the ringing of bells were actually just the impact of the manor house’s collapse. Others feel that is an insufficent explanation, as the reports of villagers suggested the rumbling occured for several minutes and grew stronger until the vibrations finally came to a sudden stop. Whatever the case may be, Arborghast is no more.
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