Today's installment: how to get to/into the Citadel.
In my first post I indicated that there were three main (and only one good) routes to approach the Citadel of the Edge--however, it turns out that it is surprisingly easy to enter the Citadel as long as you do it in the proper manner. The Gray Council has not managed to survive in its present location for over 900 years through construction of an impregnable fortress--instead, they have chosen the much stabler (and safer) route of appearing to be something they are not.
The defense of the Citadel hinges on the widespread acceptance in the Southern territories of the College of the Arcane as defenders against unstable or dangerous magics. Those manning the Citadel thus present the Soul Forge and the surrounding defenses as a mechanism by which the destructive energy of the Rift of Xerys can be held in check and researched, protecting the rest of the world until such a time as a permanent means of closing the rift might be found.
This generally works because the remoteness of the Citadel ensures that for the most part only two types of visitors arrive there: first, wanderers who have made their way to the Citadel unwittingly; and second, those who have some exposure to the College of the Arcane and its dealings and know at least in part what to expect. It is the second group that is potentially the most dangerous, if they are somehow opposed to the College's aims or if they suspect something is amiss. Usually a traveler's reception is the same for both groups, but the hosts pay careful attention to the visitor(s) to determine the extent of his or her knowledge and to discern what brings them to the Citadel.
Given these circumstances, it is a breeze for any visitor to the Citadel, either a lone traveler or a small group, to gain entrance to the structure proper, providing they do not come with obviously hostile intentions. They will be offered remarkably comfortable accommodations in the Main Hall and even be given a "tour" of the facilities so that they can see first-hand the important and dangerous work with which the College is engaged. Once they are rested and their curiosity satisfied, the Council will send them on their way.
If the Council's investigation determines that a more antagonistic or dangerous motive has brought the visitor to the Citadel, however, things can turn out quite differently once they are safely inside...