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. This place doesn't seem to want any of it and lives in an age of barbarism and depravity. - Legate Horatio Bernan
With the many islands that make up, Isles can be difficult to determine which island one is trying to find. It is challenging to identify the area, especially when in the tropical environment of dense jungles. Due to this problem, a more straightforward solution was created in the long run by having the island groups divided into different sets of isles based on geography, politics, and hazards 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 safe to settle in. But it is by far one of the more exotic places to explore due to the unique wildlife and ancient ruins of the Eluku kingdoms. Their Jungle Elf descendants live off the land and fight over the remains of their ancestor's 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 they created 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. Long ago, a witch cast a curse on it for long-forgotten reasons. 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 are 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 gained nothing but misfortune. They declare a stake in the land they land on and are fighting 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 the balance of power can easily be changed at any moment, 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. However, they follow their customs and traditions and refuse 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 united 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 found across it. With the Great Pillars being the largest of them. Many seeking treasures often go there because of the unexplored ruins, mostly due to the wildlife and the ancient traps and magics left used to punish trespassers.
Duo Islands: Two islands isolated from the rest isles that act as a neutral zone to all of the residents of the Isles. They are places of trade and information. Many other nations have 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 became lost to time.
Shipwreck Harbor: A place where pirates and other criminals come to rest and conspire with one another. Only those bold enough to tread there can survive, as death happens quite easily.
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 length of dunes built up across areas of the lawless isles that act as a means of travel and defense.
Bone Cliffs: One of the only places 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. Explorers can still find treasures there, as long as they can survive.
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 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 usually does, the Burning Mountian, despite spew lava, is still considered inactive. The last time the mountain erupted, smoke covered most of the
Fauna & Flora
Explorers never completely charted the jungles, 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. Studying trees and flowers is a better option since apothecaries can use the fruits and herbs for medicine and potions. 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 primarily birds, too many birds, if you might ask. They mainly eat bugs and flower nectar. But with Deraki, you might not be the 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 in 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, 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, as they are in trees, and if you want, you can eat whatever animal you want. Since there are so many, you 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 where only the desperate and criminals seem to be attracted. The isles were initially inhabited by Elves that fled Kineth during the Beastmen's invasion of the western lands. These Elves would 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 colonize. 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 and criminals who would also come along. Many of them became smugglers and pirates to adapt to their new surroundings, making the isles their bases of operations for centuries. Allowing so many different parties to be 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 preferred 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 a war-torn region filled with pirates, exiled peoples, and savage tribes. 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. It 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 and 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 settlements. But rather the leading an all-out war to kill every Human possible despite being outnumbered in great numbers, they decided to wipe out apart if the isles to claim themselves. The isles targeted would be the Isles of Ruin, as they were the least populated out of all of them. It is uncertain how many died during the Arasha Lucarqa. 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 to conquer the isles was made, and it would be carried out by the Vatian Empire over two centuries ago. Legate Horatio Bernan led it in an attempt to control trade in the region rather than rid the area 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 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 they enter deeper into the isles, resistance increases, and the environment begins 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 the. 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. Later, locals would form a 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 being equipped to face them, their speed and ferocity were some that Legionaries had difficulty with despite their training. The navy did not fare any better as the pirates in the region used the seas to sink many imperial ships and get them out of their way. Horatio himself would also meet a grizzly fate as a giant snake ate him, and with his death, his remaining forces fled back to the Duo islands and fortified themselves there. They abandoned all other territories they had captured to save themselves. Though the natives created a large force to drive out the imperials entirely, the imperials were dug too deep to be fully rid of the region, and locals gave up and went home. After a six-year-long campaign, the Duo Islands and a few other islands were the only territories conquered, and thousands died on both sides. Seeing the trouble caused by this, the empire cut its losses and just made a foothold for itself. Later creating the city of Heldorn, fort Alden and White shore to solidify their claim to these areas and create trade within the region. No one ever tried, for they were too difficult to try and hold.
Only a few people 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 home. Treasure hunters and explorers often explore the more dangerous areas of the islands in search of fame and riches.
Endless ConflictNo matter if peace exists in some regions of the isles, there is fighting somewhere by someone for some reason to gain power or 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 are six hundred groups 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 punished us by making us live in a shit hole like this. - Drunken PirateTo be a Human here is nothing more than survival, with thousands crammed into the most habitable areas. Resulting in a shortage of resources and space, Meaning you are trying to be honest and work to make a living here, or you a criminal killing and stealing, which most of them do. There is no law here, and the only rule is the one you make up and 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 slaughtered. They are trying to retain their way of life and their civilization, well, what's left of it. They are constantly fighting to protect their land and trust very few outsiders. They often try to rebuild with what they have and march to war in a vain attempt to with background.
Life as an Half Elf
I don't understand why we are 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 tolerates them. They are often allowed to live with both races but are segregated at birth. It is why some of them decided to create their settlement. They often have to do whatever they need to survive as very few ever treat them with respect.