Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April A-Z: Isthmus Island

Isthmus Island

In the hot and humid south, Isthmus Island dangles like an uvula off the shore of Cape Smuge. It got its name from the narrow strip of land that connects it to the Cape, but is surrounded by high seas and strong currents that submerged the land bridge for much of the year.

A lone watchtower stands at the edge of the Cape and is manned at all times by a small squadron of Imperial Legionaries. Being sent to the tower is considered punishment duty by most of the army, but those that serve a full year are often given significant promotions or honourable discharges with a hefty purse for their service. The soldier’s sole duties include sending a runner to Cleopolis whenever the land bridge is exposed, and preventing anyone, or anything, from crossing back from the island.

The soldiers have no orders to stop anyone to crossing to the island and without fail each time the bridge is exposed, a group of six figures dressed in green robes appears. Each leads a llama laden down with a large (and sometimes squirming) black sack and goods of every description. Without a word to the soldiers they cross over to the island. They do not return.

The island is heavily wooded with bamboo forests, palm groves and semi-tropical woodlands and rumoured to be riddled with sinkholes and limestone caves that can be flooded by the raging sea at any time. From time to time, soldiers on the watchtower claim they can see the something large moving through the trees, though what it exactly it might be is obscured by the thick canopy. At the far end of the island is a grey, half ruined castle surrounded by thick walls. At night, strange, ill-coloured smoke can be seen rising from the chimneys.

Some of the soldiers claim they have seen an evil hunchback in white who climes to the top of the highest battlement of the castle and points towards the sky. They say he rings a bell and yells, though even with their enhanced hearing, the elves cannot make out what he is saying.

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