Excerpt from ‘The history of Coerthas, from refuge to Holy See’ by Archon Niniri Niri.
Records from before the Seventh Umbral Calamity testify to the Stone Vigil’s role as one of four grand watchtowers belonging to Ishgard, apparently mostly under the authority of House Haillenarte, the eminent engineers and smiths of the city-state. The Stone Vigil was twinned with the Steel Vigil, and together the watchtowers braced Ishgard against attack from the Sea of Clouds. Sadly, when the Calamity struck even the mighty edifices of Ishgard were unable to defend against the catastrophe, and the Vigil’s defenses were shattered, allowing the Dravanian Horde that the Holy See had been at war with to sweep in and seize the structure. House Durendaire, a group famed for its brave knights and prescient astrologians (at least by Eorzean standards) was tasked with retaking the Vigil, but it required the intervention of foreign adventurers to do so, perhaps because of internal strife resulting from the Durendaire heir’s disappearance a few years ago.
Although the Stone Vigil was in extremely poor condition by the time the research team managed to gain permission to access the structure after it was cleansed, it nonetheless remained an impressive building. Vaulted stone ceilings and large, reinforced walls and doors were little diminished in grandeur by collapses and the growing snowdrifts. The military nature of the barracks was recognizable in its structure, consisting of an easily defended complex of rooms branching off of a large corridor built around a central room. These ancillary rooms seem to have been storerooms and armories, while the central chamber is much larger and material evidence suggested it was used as a mess hall and mustering chamber for the Vigil’s garrison. A raised platform stood, undisturbed, at the far side of the chamber, and was likely used to address the assembled troops from.
Decorated with the Ishgardian national flag and possessed of four reinforced gates standing at the cardinal directions, each also decorated with the Ishgardian coat of arms, the Barbican was clearly intended as a testament to the majesty and power of Ishgard. This is not surprising, as a barbican is a common term for a key component of the outer defenses of a fortification, typically a tower. In this case, it was a fortified and easily reinforced courtyard barring entry to the Vigil’s inner keep.
The Vigil was, first and foremost, a watchtower. This is evidenced by the windowed walkways that make up the majority of the structure, allowing for a view across Coerthas around the Vigil. These walkways are in poor repair, but seen to have connected to a number of auxiliary rooms used in the functioning of the fortress. Ishgard itself can seen from the windows, as well as a shattered stone curtain wall that surrounded the Vigil, presumably to prevent assault from terrestrial-bound dragons as well as the Coerthan heretics that served the Dravanian Horde. It was unclear whether the wall was broken by the Horde or the Calamity, or both.
The brattices are a pair of protrusions from the side of the Vigil, occupied by cannons of clearly Ishgardian manufacture. The cannons on the left brattice were destroyed by the time the research team arrived, while some of those on the right brattice seem to have survived the Dravanian occupation. Brattices are of course constructions on walls or fortresses that allow flanking fire, which these structures certainly fit the criteria of.
The Security Command Room
Deep within the Vigil is the center of its defensive apparatuses, the security command room. The commanders of the Vigil would’ve assembled here, around the somewhat abstracted map of Coerthas and Dravania, still complete with models to represent Vigils and Horde forces and a tool for moving them across the map. A large desk occupied one side of the room, presumably once belonging to the commander of the Vigil, though the missives and books that littered it lay covered in rime and unused by the time the team arrived. A frankly impressively large bear belt adorned the chamber’s floor.
The strongroom in the Vigil was constructed by Ishgard in order to store the airships built for them by Garlond Ironworks to take the battle to the Dravanians in the sky prior to the Calamity. Twin cannons framed the room, presumably for defense purposes, although between the Calamity and the Horde’s attack they hadn’t even been moved from their resting positions. Rumor says that the famed Enterprise, personal ship of Cid Garlond and ferrier of the legendary Scions of the Seventh Dawn, was stored here until relatively recently.