Skull & Shackles
Mist-Veiled Island of the Pirate Queen
Notable Settlements: Queen Bes (1,115)
Dominant Denizens: Humans
Other Denizens: Cecaelia, other humanoids, sea drakes
Resources: Besmaran pearls, safe harbor
A thick veil of mist shrouds the base of the great cliffs surrounding the island known as Besmara’s Throne. The sheer rock faces stand between 50 and 120 feet tall, pitted with crevasses and caves, and many are inhabited by carnivorous winged reptiles and birds. Those who have risked a closer approach to the sacred isle are harassed by these flying predators, and when they reach the fog, they find rocky spines lurking just below the water, eager to tear gaping holes in wooden hulls. Most sailors of the Shackles stay well away from the Throne, knowing that it is the province of the capricious and often harsh Pirate Queen.
Clerics of Besmara (and to a lesser extent, all worshipers) are expected to make at least one pilgrimage to the Throne in their lifetime, a journey known as the Voyage. A Voyage supplicant is usually brought to within sight of the Throne by a larger ship and sets off for the island alone in a launch. Of course, more orthodox adherents believe that this practice is a cheat; after all, any brute can row a dinghy a mile or two. Those truly devoted to the goddess should start their Voyage in a small sailboat hundreds of miles away, demonstrating the skills necessary to navigate and survive a real journey on the sea alone. The cliffs of the wide inlet just west of the northern curve of the Throne are pockmarked with dozens of perches and tiny caves, each voluntarily inhabited by penitent adherents of Besmara, who shout down challenges, insults, and warnings to any sailing by. The height of the cliffs slowly but steadily decreases the farther one follows the inlet to the southeast, until one passes the second narrowing and emerges gloriously into the beautiful Cove of the Queen.
The Holy Isle