It’s always amazing when I come across an image that makes me realize that some of the places in my head are actual places in the world. While browsing /r/castles, I discovered the wonder that is Lichtenstein Castle in Germany:
Not only is this a marvelous piece of architecture and scenery, but this is almost exactly what I had in mind for Battarack Keep, an iconic location to come into play in the fourth book of the main Aryneth series. Check out this link for some more amazing photographs one redditor took from an aerial perspective.
The following description contains SPOILERS for the Aryneth series, the first book of which is probably four years away from publication, so proceed only if you don’t mind being spoiled for a book you might be reading in about a decade from now, lol.
Battarack Keep was built on the edge of a cliff, looming over the mighty river that splits the land of Kyano into two parts, from which the elaborate system of rivers branches off to snake its way through the continent. The castle grounds slope into a private garden system, while the village is settled down below. The ancestral home of the Battarack family, it was overtaken by the Han family after the gods were seals from the world and the dynasties of the Second Asyentai had fallen. As per the prophecies, the Battaracks returned to the kingdom, pulling the Valley of the Swallow back into a time of prosperity under Locke Mandrake Battarack, and stayed in tact as a leading faction in the world well into the Age of Apocalypse. The height of the castle made it nearly impossible to overtake, a valuable asset in the war-torn Kyano.
I’ve had so many vivid thoughts of the Battarack children playing in the castle and on the sloping grounds of the mountaintop, of Locke peering out over the edge of the cliff in contemplation as he struggled with his quick rise from poverty to power, of Launce Battarack sneaking out from his high-towered prison to lead a revolution against the supposed tyranny of his father, so it’s incredibly awesome to have a visual reference for it, too. Lichtenstein Castle is the perfect Battarack Keep, and I just wanted to take a moment to share that with you all.