On a rocky mountaintop overlooking the village of Santia and the Dusksea, Owen looms grey and foreboding. Visitors to the tower, however, will find it quite hospitable and accommodating, provided that they show an appropriate amount of respect for the monks and scholars who have sequestered themselves here in pursuit of knowledge and maintain decorum and polite quietude in areas of study.
Originally a monastery dedicated to a Pre-Cirsovan god of knowledge, Owen is one of the few remaining links to the heartland’s former culture. If ‘magic’ ever existed in Cirsova, save in the fermented dreams of Shuul users and ancient Northerners, it may have been practiced in Owen. There is still something of a reverent fear in the town of Santia below, though none will say why and no written accounts exist (unless kept under lock and key of the tower itself) of the different rites and rituals performed on the grounds or the efficacy thereof. While both Santia and Owen are in the province of Cirsova and, thus, the Empire, there is an uneasy autonomy which is never brought up in polite conversation within the halls of authority.
Owen boasts the Empire’s foremost library and collection of ancient texts and pre-Cirsovan writings. All original copies of texts found in Northern ruins reside in the archives here, under protective lock and key, including the only known extant copy of the Romance of Tyurani and Velina, which is in the midst of a modern translation into Common Cirsovan. Early on, there were fears that Gaciall, or whatever elders rule Polaris, might demand the scholars of Owen surrender some of the Northern text; to the contrary, the White Lady sent both her written blessing and a large body of Polaran works, including some of her own writings, to be added to the illustrious collection of Owen. As of yet, very few of these works have undergone translation, and those that have are not currently available to any outside of the monastery. There are rumors, however, that the Emperor was given a translated codex of some of Gaciall’s writing that is a personal favorite of his.
Though printed books are coming into fashion througout the Empire, the hand copied illuminated works produced by the scholars are highly sought after works, made all the more expensive by Owen’s isolation. The lack of roads leading to or from Santia discourage most overland trade, though occassionally small bands of pilgrims, knowledge seekers or rare book-hunters make their way from Sotune or Peliora accross the plains. Most seeking to visit Owen arrive by sea via the small port in Santia, coming from either from Syflanis to the north in Gatlia or from Corineaus, which lies to the southwest in Karkuras, across the Gulf of Cirsova. The latest major works from Owen to find their way into the public eye have been a translation of ‘Jorgora’ and an annotated look at ‘The Ice Shall Take Us’, both of which were written by Garick Hellos.
Perhaps the best kept secret of Owen is the monastery’s brewery. While it has never been made commercially available, beer brewed by the monks is freely given to visitors, provided they consume what they are given on the spot and within view of the monks. Those who have tasted it declare it to be beyond compare or description (it is known to be fairly stout nut-brown ale, best served slightly cooler than room temperature). Each year, in lieu of gold or crops, Owen sends a single 12 gallon barrel of the beer to the Emperor in Gatia. Protecting this tribute is used as a final rite of passage for those wishing to become one of the scholars of Owen.