Tamarang had always been ripe for invasion from its surrounding neighbors, especially the people of the wilds. Throughout its history it had developed a number of defenses against invaders. The palace itself was kept heavily guarded, both to keep invaders out and to keep traitors in. The roads to Tamarang in the south were full of inverted forks, to confuse invaders from the wilds. Because of the lay of the land and the heavy woods, it was hard to see the roads cross over each other and switch their direction. Because of the thick trees, it was also hard to tell where the sun was or which direction one was going. It was meant to slow the invaders down a little and give the defenders time to retreat and regroup if they needed to, then to fall on the attackers again.
During the time of Darken Rahl, many refugees from the surrounding towns, villages, and cities traveled to Tamarang, seeking shelter and safety from the marauding forces supposedly sweeping in from Westland, but who were actually from D'Hara. The city couldn't hold all the people who wanted to come in. Tents and shacks had sprung up on the bare ground outside the city walls into an impromptu market quarter.
As of 40 ACB, Tamarang was ruled by a monarch named Queen Milena. Queen Milena came into possession of one of the Boxes of Orden as a reward for doing favors for a corrupt Council of the Midlands and hired the wizard Giller to protect it while she made negotiations with Darken Rahl to transfer it to his possession. This transfer involved an Alliance between Tamarang and D'Hara, as well as a switch in social structure of the nation to one of the "common good". This involved re-distribution of goods and services throughout the nation, most of which went to feed the People's Peace Army of D'Hara, as well as the nobles in the palace, and led to starvation among the poorest of the population, who were often beaten and sentenced to death for disputing these new laws.
During the reign of Darken Rahl, the palace of Tamarang was the home of Queen Milena, Princess Violet, and their servants, as well as the location of the last Box of Orden in the queen's jewel room. There were two gates into the palace. The outer wall of the formal gardens contained a gate leading to the surrounding countryside. The front gates of the palace led to the town of Tamarang, where most of the shops and people resided. Beyond the town was farmland, and then the woods. The castle proper sat at the top of a high hill, within its own walls.
Palace defenses Edit
The palace itself was heavily guarded. Palace guards wore shiny armor breastplates and carried swords and pikes and kept watch over all the entrances (and exits) to the palace. Outside, in the gardens, more guards patrolled the cobblestone walkways as well as the high walks on the walls. The queen's guards watched over the outer gate, standing stiffly in their armor. They wore fancy uniforms over their armor, sleeveless red tunics with the Queen's mark, a black wolf's head, emblazoned in the center. The squeaky outer gate was kept locked by a heavy iron bar. The heavy guard in the palace and the outer wall garden gate had, in the past, kept even determined armies out, and traitors in. Outside the garden gate was a bridge where hundreds of foes had died in battle, yet failed to gain, and then large fields that led to the surrounding forest.
Front walk Edit
Some of the terraces along the road leading up to the castle proper held stone urns that march off to either side, some of them holding greenery or flowers even in the winter that were brought out daily from greenhouses. Broad flat areas displayed hedges trimmed in intricate patterns, even mazes. Closer to the castle walls, hedges were larger, cut to mimic objects, or animals. They extended off to the sides as far as the eye could see. The walls of the castle soared into the air with complicated stonework that left many awestruck. Towers, turrets, walls, ramps, balconies and niches, all rose high into the air above the people.
Main entrance Edit
The main entrance to the palace led to an immense room. A gleaming sea of black and white marble tiles sweeped through it. Polished stone columns fluted with spiraling, carved roping and so large it would take ten people holding hands to reach around each, rise in a line to both sides of the room, supporting row upon row of arches at the edge of the ribbed, vaulted center ceiling, causing those inside to feel as small as a bug. Huge tapestries depicted heroic scenes of vast battles on the side walls. A grand stairway lay on the far side of the room, its central landing larger than Richard's cabin home in Westland, with room to spare.
The dungeon was located in the lowest levels of the palace. The walls, far below ground, leaked water and were covered in places with slime. A heavy door with an iron ring and strap hinges that creaked led into the dungeon. Torchlight lit the way down a narrow stone corridor with a short ceiling that many had to stoop under to avoid hitting their head. Straw covered the wet floor, and smelt of decay. Near the end of the corridor was an iron door with a grille in it that led through a little room with a table, manned by one guard, and down another dark hall to another iron door. Past this door was another room, manned by two guards, with torches set in iron stanchions that led down a short hall and through a third iron door that was too short to walk through upright and into a room with cross-hatched, flat iron bars where the prisoners were kept.
The kitchens were in the lower level of the palace and were almost always steamy and smoky and filled with noise. Helpers scurried around carrying heavy sacks, big pots, or hot trays, all trying not to bump into one another. There was a constant rapping of spoons mixing and whipping food, and sharp hisses of oils and garlic and butter and onions and spices in hot pans, as well as people all yelling at the same time.
Jewelry room Edit
The jewelry room was located in the upper levels of the castle, a long way from the kitchens and servants quarters. Many of the hallways were long and empty, with rugs on the floors and paintings on the walls, separated by great, tall iron doors and cold stone stairs. Spread throughout the palace were many large rooms with tall windows hung with gold and red drapery, chairs of red velvet with gold legs, long carpets with pictures of men fighting on horseback, and guards who stood still as stone at some of the large, embellished doors, or marched in twos. Servants rushed everywhere carrying linens, trays, brooms, rags, or buckets of soapy water.