The Crabs and the Heron


After a series of high-profile shipwrecks in the Ma'apua Straight, merchants become suspicious of crabs, the servants of Kuapua'a, and turn to the crabs natural predator, the blue heron, for protection.

Historical Basis

During Keoland's last golden age, roughly 200 years ago, a large number of ships caring valuable dwarven goods sunk while traversing the Ma'apua Straight. After one particularly disastrous shipwreck involving the loss of many lives and valuable tributes to other kingdom leaders, one of the shipwreck survivors described a trail of blue crabs carrying cargo from the coastal wreckage down into the ocean depths. While the trading community found this report to be unreliable and difficult to believe, ships that employed magical barriers against crabs saw a noticeable decrease in ship wrecks and lost goods.   @Humuhumunukunukuapua’a is the guardian of the water elemental plane and crabs are her eyes and ears on the prime material plane. She is often accused of being jealous of material goods, which she drags down to her lair in violent storms.

Variations & Mutation

Initial anti-crab measure included magically preventing crabs from coming within a 40 foot radius from the ship. These measure were expensive, and many merchants preferred to capture and train blue herons to hunt down nearby crabs. Over the past hundred years this has evolved from caring for live birds to etching heron onto the sides of ships or placing a stone statue of a heron deck. They are also a common feature on Keoland figureheads. If a crab is found on deck during a voyage it is a sign of bad luck. After such a sighting, superstitious captains will often double the number of people on watch, looking for signs of approaching storms, and other signs of bad fortune.   Crews preparing for a long trade voyage will avoid eating crab the night before setting sail. After a profitable trade voyage, tradition holds that captains treat their crew to a crab boil. The crew member able to eat the most crab in one sitting is awarded the blue flag. This emblem, hung above the recipients hammock, is rumored to protect the recipient on sea, but is usually used as bragging rights and and as a way to get a free mug of ale at the dock tavern.

In Art

Merchants depicted during the Keoland golden age were often depicted near a blue heron or with the spirit of heron flying nearby.


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