Isles of Refuge
Out of all the places in the world that I have seen in my travels never have I seen a place that lacks order and decency. For this place doesn't seem to want any of it and live in an age of barbarism and depravity. - Legate Horatio Bernan
With the many islands that make up, Isles can be difficult to figure out which island one is trying to find. Especially when with the tropical environment of dense jungles that make it difficult to identify the area. Due to this problem, a simpler solution was created in the long run by having the island groups divided into different sets of isles based on geography, politics, and hazards that are located in them.
Savage Isles: A unforgiving place to walk in as the law of the jungle rules here with only a few places that are deemed safe to settle in. But it is by far one of the more exotic places to explore due to the unique wildlife. Along with ancient ruins of Eluku kingdoms that are found there. With their Jungle Elf descendants living off the land and fighting over one another over the remains of their legacy and anyone who tries to steal from them.
Lawless Isles: Never has been a more disgusting place of violence and villainy where pirates, smugglers, and thieves rest from their days of the crime. There is no law but the ones created by them as they carve out territory to continue their illegal actions. When they are not killing each other though they are working with each other to better profit from their crimes.
Forsaken Isles: It is a place that only is spoken in whispers and around the fire. It was said that long ago that a curse was placed upon it for reasons long forgotten. Whatever the case may be only the foolish and mad ever go there now. With tales of monsters and foul dark magic that has enveloped it. You always know that you are close to it when an eerie fog and jagged rock covered in unholy symbols and wreaks of ships that dare enter it.
Divided Isles: War is commonplace as those who flee from it and have gain nothing put misfortune. They declare a stake on the land they land on and are fighting just to survive. Hundreds of groups live on these islands from refugees to mercenaries all trying to gain a life in this place. Peace is all put a dream as at any moment the balance of power can easily be changed creating power vacuums in its place.
Green Isles: The Green Isles are some of the more peaceful places of isles that exist in the region as communities have put aside their differences to protect their interests by forming alliances and beneficial trade from any foreign threats. Though they follow their own customs and traditions, along with refusing to form larger forms of government. Making their military forces nothing more than militia groups that are disorganized and under-equipped.
Adak Sula: The last true bastion of the Jungle Elves call home. They have managed to protect their homes from the Humans that have spread across the isles. With many tribes uniting under their new kingdom known as Tel Shidar. They are hostile to uninvited guests and often isolate themselves from the rest of the isles.
Aleste Island: The largest Island in all the isles and one of the most mysterious due to the ruins that are found across it. With the Great Pillars being the largest of them. Many seeking treasures often go there due to the ruins often being unexplored, mostly due to the wildlife and the ancient traps and magics that were left behind to punish those who trespass.
Duo Islands: Two islands isolated from the rest isles that at as a neutral zone to all of the denizens of Isles. They are places of trade and information. Along with many other nations having a foothold in the Isles to ensure that their assets are protected.
Fire Rock Island: Everyone knows to stay clear of this place at all times due to the massive volcano known as the Burning Mountain that is on it. It forever spews a cloud of ash and once in a while, the very earth shakes when it stirs.
Places of Interest
Fort Aldan: A fort built by the Vatian Empire use to defend their trade routes and act as a deterrent to scare of anyone foolish enough to attack them.
The Pillars: Massive structures around the island of Alestes. The origins of their purpose and who built them have all been forgotten.
Shipwreck Harbor: A place where pirates and other criminals come to rest and conspire with one another. Only those who are bold enough to tread there can survive as death happen quite easily there.
The Burning Mountain: A volcano of an epic size that forever continues to spew lava and block out the sky with ash as far as the eye can see.
Arga Nuzuk: A great temple found in Adak Sula and is said to be one of the last great structures of the Eluka kingdoms to commune with their gods.
Heldorn: The only city in all the isles, it is a place of neutrality and trade where all can enter as long as they can behave themselves.
White Coast: A large lengths of dunes that are built up across areas of the lawless isles that act as a means of travel and defense.
Bone Cliffs: One of the only place you can see clearly without going towards the Forsaken Isles, It is a series of cliffs that are said to have thousands of bones that are said to be covering it as if to be an offering or a message to stay away.
Ruins of Jucura: the largest ruins in the Savage Isles and it is said to have been one of the capitals of the Eluku Kingdoms. It is said that treasures can still be found there as long as you can survive that is.
White Shore: A large port controlled by the Vatian Empire that is used as a place to dock most of its fleet in the region and to build more ships as well. It is heavily fortified and very rarely ever been attacked.
Tropical Storms: The region itself has a common occurrence of tropical storms that often come through during certain times of the season. But these storms can be very violent and can destroy settlements if powerful enough. But in some cases Þrumandi reiði at time from the north to hit the isles. Volcanic Eruption : Though it happens less often than it does than it usually does, the Burning Mountian despite spew lava often, is still considered inactive. The last time the mountain erupted it smoke covered most of the
Fauna & Flora
The jungles have never been fully explored so there is no telling what is actually in there and if you want to ask the jungle elves you might as well let put your head on a stick while you at it. The plant life is easier to study, but much is either poisonous or can eat you. The study of trees and flowers is a better option since their fruits and ingredients for medicine and potions can be taken from them. But you have to watch your step since you can often fall into a Pit Maw, a carnivorous plant that hides under the ground until prey comes along and uses its vine to drag them into the ground to eat. Then theirs the animal, which is mostly birds, too many birds if might ask. They mostly eat bugs and flower nectar. But with Deraki, you might not be your type of bird to sing you a song since their claws are poisonous and can kill you in a few hours. Then there are the rest of the killers on the jungle, several dozen types of poisonous reptiles, jungle cats the size of dogs that can tear you to pieces. Being in the water isn't safe either since you have the alligators and sharks and they are the small ones, the larger ones are in deeper parts of the sea. Those are the real monster that can swallow galleons whole and will even attack you on land at times.
The fruit is easy to come by with it often being found on trees and if you want you can eat whatever animal you want since there are so many, you just have to make sure they don't get you first. As for other resources, it's hard to say because of the terrain. A mine is difficult to keep open when your workers get eaten or die from the disease. Many people think that there are large amounts of gold for some reason, it could be possible but for now, it's nothing more than a story told by madmen.
A Brief HistoryThe Isles of Refuge is a place that only the desperate and criminals seem to be attracted to it. The isles were original inhabited by Elves that fled Kineth during the Beastmen invasion of the western lands. These Elves would later become Jungle Elves later on and inhabit most of the islands. Then Humans would soon arrive over different lengths of time, with those of the city-states coming first to find new lands to colonizes. Then refugees from the western lands would later arrive in the regions all of which would be from different peoples over the centuries. It soon became a beacon to other less fortunate across the lands of men believing that better life would await them there. Most of them were driven from their homes by war along with criminals who would come along as well with many of them becoming smugglers and pirates to adapt to their new surroundings making the isles their bases of operations for centuries. Allowing so many different parties to so close together caused them to wage war on one another over the islands and resources. As time passed these islands would become chaotic lands that no one had control over and they prefer it that way. No one has ever tried to conquer the isles, not even the Vatian Empire, since they are more of a hassle to keep in check with and does not have that many valuable resources of strategic value either. It's nothing more than are war-torn region filled with pirates, exiled peoples, and savage tribes now. But it's also a hard life at that as well if the plants and wildlife don't kill you first.
Arasha LucarqaArasha Lucarqa or the "Great Cleansing" was a crusade committed by the Jungle Elves to reclaim the isles from the Humans that had invaded their lands centuries ago and had led them to the brink of extinction. This was all started by a priest that went by the name of the Prophet of Reckoning as he claimed he would lead the people to a promised land where they would be safe from those who sought to kill them all. But the catch was they had to kill as many Humans as possible to achieve this paradise. Many believed him and would go on a warpath across the entire archipelago kill everyone they got their hands on. This massive army of Jungle Elves would be known as the Feta Ru or " True Blooded" as they killed many with their knowledge of the environment and their sheer number to overwhelm the smaller settlement. But rather the leading all-out war to kill every Human possible despite being outnumbered in great numbers they decided to just wipe out apart if the isles to claim themselves. The isles that would be targeted would be the Isles of Ruin as they were the least populated out of all of them. It is uncertain how many people were killed during the time of the Arasha Lucarqa, but it was believed that tens of thousands were killed with the Isles of Ruin being Human free and remained Adak Sula, the " Sacred Lands" where the Jungle Elves have made a home for themselves away from persecution and death. No one has bothered them since then and both sides decided to stay clear of one another lands to maintain the peace.
Isle CampaignOnly one attempt was ever made to conquer the isles under one banner and it would be carried out by the Vatian Empire over two centuries ago. It was lead by Legate Horatio Bernan in an attempt to control trade in the region rather than and rid the region of piracy that harassed imperial ships in the area. At first, the campaign was going quite smoothly as they occupied the Duo Islands and a few of the out islands in the region. Resistance was not all that strong as the natives were disorganized and divided and stood no chance against the Imperial Legions and the Imperial Navy. But as soon as enter deeper into the isles resistance increased and the environment began to take its toll on them. The Legionaries of the empire had little training when dealing with jungle terrain as they spent most of their time in the Western Lands causing exhaustion from the heat and outbreaks of disease claiming many despite having well equipped medical staff with them. Wildlife was also a concern as it often at some of the men along with their travel. The locals were also causing quite the hassle, as well as their numbers, were never-ending and they knew the terrain better than anyone else and later a coalition would be formed to the coalition to drive the imperial forces out. The Human natives were easier to handle, the Jungle Elves on the other hand were something else entirely. The empire had never had conflicts with Elves since the failed Dageth campaign six hundred years ago and despite them not be equipped to face them, their speed and ferocity was some that Legionaries had difficulty with despite their training. The navy did not fare any better as the pirates in the region use the seas and their numbers to their advantage to sink many imperial ships to get them out of their water. Horatio himself would also meet a grizzly fate as he was eaten by a giant snake and with his death, his remaining forces fled back to the Duo islands and fortified themselves there. Abandoning all other territories they had captured to save themselves. Though a large force was created to drive out the imperial entirely, the imperial were dug too deep to be fully rid them from the region and locals gave up and went home. The Duo Islands and a few other islands were the only territories that were conquered after a six-year-long campaign and thousands were killed on both sides. The empire seeing the trouble of maintaining this region cut its losses and just made a foothold for themselves. Later creating the city of Heldorn, fort Alden and White shore to solidify their claim to these areas and creating trade within the region. The empire nor any other nation would attempt to conquer the isles as they were considered too difficult to actually control and occupy due to the many elements that came with the region.
There are only a few people that decide to come to this place, merchants, treasure hunters, and explorers. Merchants often stick to the more civilized areas of the isles seeking exotic goods to buy and bring back home. As for treasure hunters and explorers, they often go and explore the more dangerous areas of the isles in search of fame and riches.
Endless ConflictNo matter if peace is achieved in certain areas of the isles, there is fighting somewhere by someone for some reason to gain power or to simply survive. It is not uncommon to find yourself in a territorial dispute or a battle even if you had no part in it.
Crowed TogetherThere is a total of six hundred groups that exist in all the isles and there is not enough for everyone to go all around making it all the more reason to kill each other for your belongings.
Life as Human
Why have the gods have punished us by making us live in a shit hole like this. - Drunken PirateTo be a Human here is to be nothing more than survival as thousands of Humans are crowded into the most habitable areas. This means a shortage of resources and space meaning you are trying to be honest and work to make a living here or your a criminal kill and steal which most of them do. There is no law here and the only law is the one you make up. Along with actually dealing with nations with laws that have footholds in the region and will run you through if you cross them.
Life as an Elf
These lands belong to us and blood willed spilled to keep it that way! - Hostile ElfThe Jungle Elves have lost much since the arrivals of Humans, their lands taken and their people slaughter they are trying to retain their way of life and their civilization, well what left of it. They are always fighting to protect their land and trust very few outsiders. They often try to rebuild with what they have and will often march to war in a vain attempt to with back land.
Life as an Half Elf
I really don’t understand why any of us alive if everyone hates us? - Depressed Half ElfHalf-Elves are the product of a forbidden relationship between Humans and Elves. Neither side accepts them and just tolerates them. They are often allowed to live within both races but they are often ridiculed for their birth. This is why some of them decided to create their own settlements just for themselves. They often have to do whatever they need to survive as very few ever treat them with respect.