|Dragon Prince Locations|
|Trade||politics, seat of the Desert|
Stronghold is the royal seat of the Desert from which the Prince's Fire always lights the land. It was the home of Rohan and his Sunrunner wife, Sioned, and from 704 to 737 it also acted as the seat of the High Prince. This Keep was once just a strong, imposing monstrosity said to have been carved by Dragons, built in a hollow through rocky cliffs, but Princess Milar, Zehava's wife and Rohan's mother, turned the fortress into a home. She added a beautiful garden with roses and running water, and also dressed the Keep with rich tapestries. Beneath the Keep lies a labyrinth of secret passages and tunnels. Only the royal family knows the secrets of the tunnels here and the tunnels of the other Desert Keeps. Mydral, Prince Zehava's rumored half-sister, held the secret of Stronghold's tunnels.
Stronghold was said to have never fallen before the Vellanti attack. After Rohan's death, Sioned set the Keep ablaze with Sunrunner's Fire. The Keep burned, making it impossible for the Vellant'im High Warlord to use the Keep as his base of operations. During the war, while Mydral lay dying, she told Chayla, Hollis, Tobren, and Betheyn the secrets of the Desert's tunnels, enabling the remaining Desert people to retreat to safety. After the war Pol used this knowledge and the memories of his grandmother's roses to start rebuilding Stronghold. He promised to rebuild the Keep and to burn his Fire in the Flametower as a beacon for his people and as the start of their new future.
Stronghold is a massive military Keep on the foot of the Vere Hills. The main entrance to the Keep is through a narrow valley, about four horse across, and is easily defended. The walls and Keep itself are made of thick stone. The Keep is five stories tall, has another level below ground, then the Flametower, which rises above the Keep to blaze the Fire of the Prince of the Desert for all to see. Some days the Flametower can be seen from the Sunrise Waters to the east.
There are a number of political chambers within Stronghold to accommodate Princes. A large, formal chamber off the main foyer is dedicated to assemblies and meetings with the High Prince. The chairs in this room were uncushioned, the floor bare, and a tapestry of Stronghold emphasizes its rulers' strength. The Great Hall is filled and decorated with items from each of the princedoms. The tapestries and banners of resident Prince and Lords also hang there as appropriate. The Summer Room, so named by Lady Sionell of Remagev, is reserved for private audiences. The floor is carpeted, the chairs plump, bookcases line the walls, as do tapestries depicting the Desert in spring and summer, and a tapestry of the Continent and all the princedoms' borders.
The living quarters of the Keep are decorated in blues and greens. Tiles line the bathroom floors, surrounding a white, iron tub on a carved, wooden frame. The beds were large, carved wood, and covered in blue and green silk sheets. The windows of the keep were open, letting in as many breezes as they possibly could, with thin, silken drapes.
The garden Princess Milar planted contained a grotto, where trees surrounded a small pool. A waterfall filled the pool, running down from the Hills. Mosses and ferns grew around the pool, soaking in the rare wealth of water.
The tallest tower of Stronghold, which blazes with the Fire of the Prince of the Desert. This Fire is a beacon of strength and leadership for the people. Each Prince must light his own Fire after the previous one died and the tower room had been cleansed of the last Prince's ash and soot. The tower has pointed, arching windows, each open to the wind, and above each window is the carving of a dragon. It was in this tower that Rohan first saw Sioned's face in the Fire.