It started with a castle (as these things often do) that needed an interesting setting to show it off. It quickly became a project in its own right, that needs to be finished before I can continue designing the castle. Here's the map with some background information.
Twin Falls Island lies in the middle of the Dioscuri River about three miles to the east of the Lesser Divide, a 200 foot tall glacial escarpment that marks the boundry of the Western Lowlands from the Eastern Highlands. Over the millenia, the river has carved a gorge deep into the bedrock, ending at the falls about 200 feet east of the island's western tip. The fast moving Dioscuri has served for centuries as a natural border between the lands to the North and South, with the island providing a convenient trade and invasion route. After the last Great War (about 200 years ago) the nations on both sides of the river decided to promote a lasting peace by making the island largely independent of either government, to be ruled by a local lord with strong family ties on both sides. While legally the island is split between the two nations, in practical terms it serves as neutral territory and considerred a duty-free zone (goods purchased for local consumption are exempt from all customs duties, regardless of the nation of origin). The island's main sources of income are bridge tolls and a portion of all customs duties collected for each nation.
The Twin Falls the island is named for have their own official names (Kastor and Polydeuces) but are most commonly referred to as The North and The South. West of the falls is the 150 foot deep Dioscuri Gorge, home to the Lower Dioscuri Rapids which are not navigable for up to a mile due to currents and rocky debris. Erosion has caused some landslides along the walls of the gorge, narrowing the waterway in places to two-thirds its nominal width. A century ago a minor earthquake caused a temporary 50 foot dam to form about a mile downriver, creating a major flash flood when it finally burst. This led to the building of Twin Falls Castle on the western tip of the island, with a six story tall observation tower at its center to keep a watch down the gorge for further slides.
Seperating the castle from the rest of the island is the Castle Ditch; a nominal moat dug from the North Shore past the front of the castle under the drawbridge to empty over the edge of the island past the South Falls. (The Ditch also feeds the Castle Pond, which is a favorite of local waterfowl and has been stocked with a few fish for the lord's pleasure.) The island is connected to mainland by 200 foot long bridges to the north and south, each capped on both ends by gatehouses for customs inspections, toll collection and access control. The roads are;
EW roads from North to South: North Bank, North Shore, Castle, South Shore and South Bank. Note that North and South Shore Roads connect directly at the east end of Castle Road.
NS roads from West to East: Castle Ditch (connecting North and South Shore roads), South Bridge (running south from North Shore) and North Bridge (running north from South Shore).
I'm planning on adding some houses, a church and an inn (catering to honeymooners perhaps?) to the island, with perhaps a warehouse or two for transhipping goods. Maybe some buildings on the North and South Banks. Any comments or suggestions?
Dalton "who won't put a revolving restaurant in the castle tower" Spence