The Tower of Raven is the name given to the largest tower of Castle Daggerfall that is also its centrepiece. For most foreigners, 'the Towers of Raven' is synonymous with the entire castle, given that it is comprised mostly of a plethora of various towers; the people of Daggerfall themselves, however, rarely if ever refer to it thusly.
The Tower of Raven is massive; said by some to be lesser only than the legendary Adamantine Tower of Balfiera, it is certainly one of the tallest towers in the entirety of High Rock, if not all of Tamriel. Such is its size that it is often claimed that the Tower alone is larger than the royal residences of northern High Rock. It is almost certainly older than all of them - being that it is most often attributed to the arcane skills of Raven Direnni, which would put its construction at around 1E 480, and possibly even earlier.
There is something to be said for the manner of its construction, which seems to leave its considerable ancestry in no doubt. Made of a dark, rough stone that seems not to yield to age or the elements, the blocks used are so enormous that it may appear that the whole tower is simply sheer stone at first glance. There is nothing graceful about the craftsmanship; instead, this is an imposing structure that clearly sticks out from the later towers surrounding it and seems to loom over the entirety of the city of Daggerfall.
Given that it is at the centre of the royal castle, the Tower of Raven is surrounded by dozens of other towers. Some are very tall, others far shorter; some are massive and blocky, others lithe and graceful. All of them seem to be of undoubtedly more recent construction than the Tower itself, however, giving it the appearance of something that was dropped upon the castle from the sky above - or rather, something that was pulled out from the very bedrock beneath it. Of this mess of towers, some are connected to the Tower of Raven by various passages - some secret, and some known to most, - while yet others are not, and must be accessed through other parts of the castle.
A veritable maze of narrow, dimly lit corridors stalked by ghosts of the yesteryear (sometimes, quite literally) that are broken up by sweeping halls and winding staircases, those few foreigners who are afforded the privilege of glimpsing the home of the Kings and Queens of Daggerfall are invariably left impressed - and perplexed. To stray from the tall arches of the Throne Room is to risk getting lost; amidst the miracles of the ancient past, a person is all too easily forgotten. In this, the Tower of Raven mirrors its people perfectly.
Guarded with all the jealousy Daggerfallians can be expected to display when relics from the deepest reaches of their kingdom's history are at stake, most foreign visitors are restricted to the royal hall that houses the Dragon Thrones of Daggerfall - "for reasons of safety", as stewards beyond counting have snidely informed many a guest over the years; to violate this rule is to risk the wrath of the Knights of the Dragon, chevaliers from the first of the Crown's banners looming threateningly on every which corner of the Tower.
In spite of this exclusivity (or maybe, precisely because of it), however, rumours about the wonders that lie within the Tower of Raven have spread far and wide - cultivated mostly by the very same stewards who preside over them. This is so with good reason; as any visitor lucky enough to have scratched their surface may readily attest, they are indeed a sight to be seen.
Throne Room and the Dragon Thrones Edit
The only part that dignitaries from foreign lands are typically allowed to access, the Throne Room of the Thagors is a massive affair. Said to occupy the greater part of one whole floor of the Tower's all by itself (though no one can really be sure, as the plans to the Tower have been lost for ages - presumably buried somewhere in the Vault of Ledgers, as all too many things are), it is, naturally, the largest of the great halls that the Tower of Raven is famed for; and how could it be otherwise, when the rulers of Daggerfall are supposed to while away most of their lives in this very room?
Accessed usually through the vast doors at the northern end of the room (which are by no means the only point of entry, as there are no less than a dozen various secret passages connected to the hall - all of which the Knights of the Dragon claim to know), first time visitors are bound to be rather taken aback by the abrupt transition between the (relatively; you could still park a pair of warhorses on them and have room for their chevaliers to mount) narrow stairs leading to the Throne Room, and the vast space that dwells straight past the door. Lined by tall, thick pillars that form a path pointed towards the (where else?) Twin Thrones of Daggerfall, this end of the room is wide enough for the entire court of the realm - numerous enough to be mistaken for a small army - to fit into, mingling amongst themselves in the open, or in the thick shadows of the corners, trying to catch their sovereigns' eyes and (hopefully) favour.
As one approaches the Dragon Thrones of Daggerfall's rulers, the Throne Room appears to become narrower and narrower, as if it were focusing in on those most ancient of all royal seats; likewise, the floor, too, becomes more elevated the closer to the monarchs you are. Anyone who wishes to stand in their presence will first have their power underlined to them subtly by those several short, wide flights of steps that break up the otherwise smooth floor of the hall.
Finally, at the very southern tip of the Throne Room, raised above all else, there sit the Twin Dragon Thrones of the Kings and Queens of Daggerfall. Masterworks of wood, gold, silver and ivory, they are high-backed and joined at the armrest, representing the unity that the royal couple is expected to display before their court. As ancient as everything about the kingdom, no expense was evidently spared at the time of their construction. Scenes mythological and historical are carved into every part of these lavish seats that could hold them, and elaborate golden dragon heads stare out from the ends of the armrests, rubies for eyes. A final touch on Daggerfall's glory, the thrones are flanked on three sides by the enigmatic Old Faces, mumbling what may, in these surroundings, be all too easily misheard as praises to the ancient, unwavering power of the kingdom.
The Vault of Ledgers Edit
A people obsessed with the past, it should not come as much of a surprise that the Daggerfallian royal residence is home to what may well be the single largest repository of historical documents in the entirety of High Rock. Located on the lowest levels of the Tower of Raven (the determination to preserve every little piece of history they could - even if it means digging into the Tower's very foundations - being the main motivation behind this choice), the Vault of Ledgers, as its official name goes, is, in fact, neither a mere vault, nor home to just ledgers.
Winding corridors, twisting and branching off into yet new passages in much the same way as they do elsewhere in the Tower, connect many a hall and room - the walls of each lined with stacks of every kind of document imaginable, from Imperial census data to the day-to-day minutiae of the court. Piles upon piles of scrolls rise to the very (oftentimes impressively tall) ceilings of the rooms they are stored in; ancient shelves creak under the weight of books thick enough to build walls from. Even the layers of dust that cling to everything seem to breathe antiquity, some having gone undisturbed for whole generations on end.
No one rightly knows how far the records kept in the Vault of Ledgers go. Some claim they reach back to the days of King Thagore himself, others - that they were begun by the scribes of Raven Direnni, that famed enchantress who is said to have discovered the secret of binding souls to objects before even the Psijics of Artaeum (her notes on the subject being one of the most famous of the Vault's residents - or they might be, if anyone could actually find them to confirm they are still there). Whatever the case may be, these documents are a treasure trove with few equals to any historian, and one of the reasons for Daggerfall's continued dominance in the field of historical study (the other being, of course, their borderline fetishistic obsession with it).
The value of the Vault as a source of information is only slightly lessened by the fact that nobody - not even its numerous keepers - can really say where, precisely, are most of the documents purportedly down there located. Several attempts made over the ages to organize so vast an amount of information have only served to add to the confusion, one Chief Historian's designs clashing with those of another who lived centuries afterwards, overlapping and creating such senseless chaos that only a true Daggerfallian could appreciate.
Rookery of a Thousand Ravens Edit
Located at the very top of the Tower of Raven, it is a sure sign of its importance that a good few people (erroneously) believe the Rookery of a Thousand Ravens to be the reason for the whole structure's name. And while the eponymous Raven Direnni did not, in fact, have anything to do with either the Rookery or the messenger birds themselves, that does not in the slightest detract from the fame enjoyed by this part of the royal residence.
Reliable means of conveying a message over considerable distances as they are, ravens can be found in many noble households all over Daggerfall, housed in lavish spaces designed to highlight the family's influence and importance to the realm; and the Thagors could not call themselves kings if they did not outdo all of their vassals in so grand a fashion that there is nothing left for anyone else to do but look on in wonder and disbelief. As the name suggests, the entire uppermost level of the Tower is nothing more than a vast rookery, housing what may indeed be a thousand ravens - no one has really bothered to count them all.
Though the messenger ravens trained to carry letters to most any realm along the Iliac and deeper into High Rock are impressive in and of themselves, it is not they that are the Rookery's main claim to fame. Instead, those are the ravens of the Crown's vassals - each and every house sworn to the throne having its very own allotted messenger bird, something that, in typical Daggerfallian style, serves to highlight both the prestige of the bloodlines owing fealty directly to the Crown, and the power of that very Crown that lies in its multitudes of vassals. There may be more convenient means of arcane communication readily available - but nothing that could quite rival the theatricality of a flurry of messenger birds, descending from the tower's heights.