The Stillwatch Academy

High in the mountains to the north lies an exclusive institution for the performing arts known as the Stillwatch Academy. It is a very large old building which looks much like a castle, and it juts from the natural rock. High towers with conical roofs sit on either side of the main structure, and from Rockroot, the City of Inns, nestled at the base of the mountain, lights and other by-products of magic can often be seen. The people in the city have very little interaction with members of the Stillwatch, save for when they first arrive and finally depart. Those who are invited to attend and study at the Academy are expected to live there for however long it takes to learn what they have to offer, and special, temporary guests are rare indeed. Once inducted into the Academy, a student remains a student until their studies are deemed complete by their teachers, which has resulted in some attendees leaving after a brief 4 year span, while others have not appeared to have ever left.

The City of Inns came about because of the renown of the artists who attend the Stillwatch, and it is a popular vacation spot for lovers of music, drama, and literature. The city is made up of three kinds of buildings; residential homes for the locals (which comprise the fewest of the building types), inns and taverns (which comprise the most by far), and historical sites. In the earliest decades of the Stillwatch’s beginning, some graduates would reside in homes at the base of the mountains to begin their artistic work For vacationers, these old homes are a must-see, a piece of history. Locals do not live in the homes, and they are simply maintained by donations from the various inn owners who appreciate the tourists they bring.

Having attended the Stillwatch Academy is an almost certain path to fame and fortune. Any common folk could name an artist who has attended, but their secrets are so perfectly guarded that in their several hundred years of existence, no student has ever leaked the details of what they did or learned inside. As the building is completely protected from any form of divination, or teleportation, entry is limited to a single stone bridge, two carriage spans wide, crossing a deep mountain chasm. At the end of this bridge is a large stone archway fashioned to look like a group of gargoyles struggling to climb over each other to reach a closed book at the apex of the arch. The magic of this passage is so powerful that it has never been breached, and none may pass through it without being in the presence of a current student or teacher of the Academy. As teachers and students do not leave but to retrieve a new student on the bridge, no one has found a way to enter this mysterious place.

The church of the gods of knowledge have been confounded by the Stillwatch Academy from the first time they found it existed. Members of the church, including the secretive agents they employ for dangerous tasks, have made many attempts to gain entrance. Ancient magics from several lost societies have been employed on the archway to no avail. Stone carving manuals of the dwarves, deep gnomes, and even the dark elves have been poured over for secrets that may contain clues on entering tightly defended mountainous strongholds. Infiltration through deception has come the closest to success, when a member of the church was polymorphed into a White-Throated Needletail, the birds used to send messages to and from the Academy. The infiltrator is believed to have successfully entered the Academy, though this cannot be confirmed, and she was not heard from again. Members of these faiths are not welcome in the city of Rockroot either, as any perceived enemies of the Stillwatch are enemies of theirs.

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