I view Sir Ethilrist as a guy who climbed up the greasy pole and lost himself on the way. Although in his case, it is that he fell so far he has no idea where he started from any more. He was lost in the Realm of the Dead, made pacts with Darkness Demons, sacrificed his beliefs, causes, friends and family in order to survive and gain power. Each betrayal could be justified with a half-truth but after so many stacked up, the only thing that could justify this is the Destiny of a Hero. It was not his decision to enslave his followers to the Hell Horses as part of a Dark pact – that was Destiny. It was not his decision to bind the Hound into submission or make the bargain with the Goblins. All this was was what “needed” to be done to fulfill his destiny or whatever. It is only Keener Than that reminds him that this is a lie – Ethilrist decided to do these things.
And so Ethilrist spends a lot of time quietly observing his private collection of treasures, hoping that might assuage his uneasy heart.
His 2600 Black Horse Troopers and 2000 Auxiliaries were given this vale circa 1567. This by the way greatly alienated the Feathered Horse Queen who later married Prince Tarkalor. Ethilrist dutifully served the Red Emperor and fought at the Battle of Grizzly Peak. But in 1597, his 30 years of service expired without a renewal, and the next day he offered his services to the Feathered Horse Queen. Together they sacked Dunstop and halted Lunar expansion until 1602.
Ethilrist claimed a valley that already had peasant farmers in it, followers of Ernalda and Barntar. Ethilrist had NO INTEREST AT ALL in having them stop being good Earth worshipers. All he asks is that they are all lay members of his cult. And given that Ethilrist would be a tough fight for the entire Grazelander forces, the Feathered Horse Queen acquiesced to his land grab.
There is a caravanserai at the entrance to his valley, called the Red Gryphon Inn. This is where most trading takes place, and his agents buy goods from caravans. It serves as a shrine to Issaries, and also is famed for its selection of beverages and exotic tastes. Beyond the Red Gryphon Inn, you need formal permission to enter the Count’s lands, although for those visiting Muse Roost, such permission is normally granted.
I imagine Muse Roost to look like a cross between one of those huge Alpine monasteries like:
and something like Mehrangarh Fort:
It is an absurd place, with 2500 Black Horse Troopers, 2600 black horse demons, goblins, and the Hound. It should be something that makes no sense – the castle of a fairy tale villain. Built by dwarfs who owed Ethilrist a favor (or were paid handsomely with knowledge only he might have.). I doubt it even has servants outside of the Black Horse Troop. In fact, I think only initiates of the Black Horse Troop and guests of Ethilrist are permitted within the walls. Maybe the goblins do most of the labor?
Source Wikimedia commons.
Goblins are relatively tall and lanky, with long torsos and wide, bowed legs, and splayed feet and hands. Their joints are swollen and their eyes are prone to catching any light and glowing. Hairless, their ears are small and located atop their heads, much like those of a cat or bat. They wear little clothing, favoring fur mantles or cloaks (description by Greg Stafford).