Our Bridges Don't Burn
Shortly after the First Blackfyre Rebellion, Theon Baybridge settled the Ebonwood Isles with the help of the Baratheon family, who had taken residence at Storm’s End, the seat of the Stormlands. Stone was shipped from Storm’s End and King’s Landing to construct Ebonwood Castle, as well as to aid in construction of the massive bridge that would stretch between the two central Ebonwood Islands. Theon was named Lord of Ebonwood, and Lord Baybridge brought in fine ships from throughout the Stormlands to aid in constructing the bridge, a great feat of ingenuity. Theon had designed an elaborate wheel-and-pulley system for the bridge, so that it could actually be lowered into the waters of Shipbreaker Bay, forming a makeshift port between the two large islands, as well as providing a blockade against any force that might try to invade. This ingenuity was, again, praised by King Daeron II Targaryen.
Ebonwood Castle itself was built on the same island on which the first Lord Baybridge had found the ebon wood grove. The builders had been instructed to clear the forest as much as necessary, but not to cut into the ebon wood at the center. As a result, Ebonwood Castle is built around a small forested grove, not dissimilar to a Godswood commonly found in the North.
Adding to the likeness of the Godswood is the strange obsidian-like fish statue that stands in the middle of the ebon wood grove. The fish stands nearly ten feet tall (though two feet of it remains buried below ground) and is shaped as a fish emerging from the sea. Grand Maester Kaeth claimed that the statue’s origins may extend further back than even the reign of Aegon the Conqueror, and that it could be the strange material from which the statue was made that gave the incredibly rare ebon wood trees their ability to grow here. Not wanting to lose the primary means of his house’s income, Lord Baybridge kept the statue in tact in the midst of the grove. Incidentally or not, House Baybridge has been unable to successfully grow the ebon wood trees outside of this grove.
Theon’s builders grew the castle as much as their island habitat would allow, erecting a modest sized castle over the course of the next nine years. The Great Hall, itself, was made of the same ebon wood that the castle was built around. The Ebon Throne sat in the back of the Great Hall, also made of ebon wood. The Great Hall was built to seat 80 dinner guests, though it has been expanded over the decades to accommodate upwards of 120. The Lord’s table sits directly in front the Ebon Throne, allowing the Lord of the house to seamlessly step down from his throne to the head of his table.
The castle keep is a large circular tower the connects to the Great Hall through a short stone archway. This tower houses the Lord’s solar, as well as rooms for all members of House Baybridge, including the maester. The top opens up to a small rookery, where ravens can be sent and received.
The castle is surrounded by ten foot high stone walls, each wall connected by a twelve foot tower that offers a full view of the castle yards, as well as archer support against any hostile ships sailing to the island. A great ebon wood double door sits in the wall facing the Ebon Bridge, to allow guests from the port island.
Though there is a small outcropping of homes outside the castle walls, one would have to cross the Ebon Bridge to see Ebonwood Village, which sits on the smaller of Ebonwood’s two main islands. At the base of the island is a port large enough to harbor House Baybridge’s fleet of ships. Up from the port, rising up an inlaid set of stone steps, is the pathway leading to Ebonwood Village, a small town with a population of approximately 800 residents at any given time. The village is surrounded on two sides by forests, allowing for fairly profitable trades of lumbering and ship building. Being so close to the Narrow Sea, fishermen may also find fortune at Ebonwood. Though sea faring pirates from Ebonwood aren’t entirely unheard of, House Baybridge typically keeps that sort of lawlessness in line with swift and swift punishments for piracy.
There are a number of smaller islands surrounding the two principal Ebonwood Isles, which have been used for various purposes over the years. As Ebonwood’s needs for various services have fluctuated, these islands have been used for anything from forresting to additional housing.