Stronghold Trifle Contest - 1st Place
The Stronghold Trifle was a three stage contest. The winning map from each stage moved on to the next stage for the contestants to build upon.
Stage One: Landscape Design - winner, merrill_t_j
Stage Two: Castle Design - winner, leaveyou
Stage Three: Story/Scenario Scripting - winner, Arn de Gothia
This is the First Place map from Stage Three: Stenstorps Fortress, by Arn de Gothia
Its stunning location surrounded by moody grey mountains on a lonely road, a rocky path twists alongside a precarious pathway that brings you to the rocky spur on which the rugged ruins of the castle stand dappled in strange twisting.
The castle was begun in 1074 and over the years ownership switched between the Swedish princes and the Danish adversaries before apparently being abandoned in around 1471.
Stentorps fästning (Stenstorps fortress) lies in a mountainous region of mid Sweden in the southern border of Skaraborgs län , at the foot of mount Billingen, and at the shore of lake Vänern. Although in ruins now, it was, for a long while, an outstanding example of a Swedish stronghold. Unlike those built by the Danish invaders in Sweden, Stenstorps fortress was built by a native Swedish prince as a home and stronghold. Castles built by Danes were simpler structures than Swedish castles being built at the time, mainly due to bad economy.
In 1034 A.D. King Gustav Erik II took control over a piece of the Danish king Christian I’s land in southern Skaraborg, and started to build his castle. He chose to build it on a flat plateau of rock close to a fertile river valley. This new castle had strong stone walls and two strong square towers made of white limestone.
In the war of 1123-8 it was besieged by a Danish army under the lead of King Christian IV. It fell on 25th April 1126 and a small garrison was left there by King Christian. The castle was recaptured during King Gustav Wasa's revolt in 1294.
When the king’s son prince Johan III arrived in Stenstorp after his father’s glorious victory it was a decayed and by war badly damaged Stenstorps fortress that met you, he walked in to the command tent to meet his father. In the command tent his father and all the high generals were sitting and considering what to do now.
(General Bo Johnsson Grip) - I congratulate you for your glorious victory today your Majesty, but there are some things that needs to be discussed urgently.
(The King) - I'm listening to you.
(General Grip) - Before we had the time to block off the whole castle some enemy men managed to escape to the south, so they will reach Jönköping and the Danes before nightfall.
(The King) - So what do you think we should do??
(General Grip) - First of all I want you to have it clear that we now have a full scale war upon us. The Danes will send probably send a small negotiation party tomorrow, and if the negotiations don't go well, then God help us.
So I suggest that we leave only a small force here and that our main force will be hidden in the woods to the west of the castle. So, we leave a small force under the lead by some general to strengthen up the castle and if the negotiations don't go well a message will be sent to the main force that will come to the aid of those in the castle. That means the negotiators will only see a very small part of our full force.
(The King) - So the Danes will attack a castle they think is defended by 20 knights instead there might be 500 knights in it. Good idea.
(General Herr Långarm) - And how do we know that king Christian IV don’t send his full force directly??
(General Grip) - We don't
(The King) - But that’s a risk I am willing to take. So be it, I will leave my son here at the castle, to strengthen it and negotiate with the Danes.
(Herr Långarm) - But prince Johan is yet very young, I think we should leave one of the more experienced captains, We don’t after all know what will face them tomorrow, a small negotiation party, or a siege with one thousand Danish swordsmen.
(The King) - But I think we should leave the prince. And so be it. Dismissed!
After the war in 1123 there seems to be no further mention of Stenstorps fortress. The conclusion is that it was abandoned when Sweden’s border with Denmark was mowed further south. It has since then been known as one of the most spoken about haunted castles in Europe.
It is said that some nights as the sun sets over the surrounding hills there is a solitary figure that stands motionless on the ruined ramparts of this once mighty fortress. As though watching and waiting for some long forgotten reason until the last rays of daylight sink behind the mountains he slowly melts away as the night descends across this lonely countryside. A high place of sheer rock dappled in shadow a grey spur top fortress dappled in shadow. As twilight creeps over the surrounding rugged mountains a lone figure had been seen silhouetted by the sinking sun gazing nonchalantly across the area, an ethereal guardian keeping a ghostly watch until as the last rays of the day sink beyond the mountain he melts slowly away.
Today there is very little of the castle left and it is hard to work out the original layout, but the stunning scenery of the surrounding area means that it is still visited today.
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