And Yet They Walk
Castle Arkynmath is a ruin of stone atop the volcanic dome alternately referred to a Mount Arkynmath, Tommyknocker Hill, or just The Hill. The Hill’s exterior is jagged, difficult terrain in which little or nothing grows, explaining both why the Arkenmaths chose it as their defensible site, and why the current inhabitants shun it for more domestic pursuits.
Beneath the dome lies an apparently huge expanse of caverns and cold lava tubes left behind from its creation. These have grown in modern times to house a pair of tenants as reclusive as they are unlikely: Schloss Weissbrau of the Gnomish Weissbrau Canton, and a kobold clan calling itself the Royal Ssavak-Thass Dragonborn.
Tales say the tunnels beneath Arkynmath reach far below sea level, a claim validated by the twin outflows of salt water streaming from low on The Hill. Tale-spinners claim the tunnels go to depths of the Underdark beneath the very sea itself, while the suspicious claim they run beneath the surface of the entire island, with secret exits into Windbreak Town cellars, Tillwood Estate crypts, and maybe even the meditation chambers of The Temple of Serene Contemplation of the Perfect Sunrise. Neither story seems to have much basis in fact, but it is the latter that causes householders to attribute midnight rattles and creaks to the two clans and has led to their collective nickname on Driftcrag Island: the Tommyknockers.
Neither group will talk about the sophisticated, allegedly magic machinery that keeps the lower levels of their caverns dry, but both are quick to point out that it is the Dragonborn effluent that flows from Weissbrau territory and vice versa. Apparently, after sealing off underground accesses between their two realms as effectively as possible, both groups took to pouring their salt outflow through the remaining holes into one another’s territory. Any water exceecing the system’s capacity to recirculate back to the rival was drained to the ocean by an elaborate system of sluices. This arrangement evolved so long ago that it is now accepted as a matter of course by both sides.
Though apparently self-sufficient enclaves, both groups visit Windbreak Town to trade minerals and masterwork tinkering for wines, rare foods, and off-island luxuries. Neither group is seen to talk to the other, even when undercutting one another’s prices, except for the occasional exchange of insults. On rare occasions they will retain a human in the Windbreak market to mediate a transaction between them. They are widely regarded as the island’s best metal artisans; many a captain dreams of being able to buy a Weissbrau compass and Dragonborn fittings for his nets.
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