Skull & Shackles
Cauldrons of Calm Calamity
The road known as the Wise Artery is made of crushed seashells, and it wends its circuitous way from Plumetown to a cathedral-like series of caves at the foot of Mount Keeba called the Cauldrons of Calm and Calamity. Within these caves live three otherworldly soothsayers known as Keeba’s Eyes: Cenabal, Raeke, and Zhaegog. No one knows the nature of their true forms, but the Eyes are renowned far and wide for their wisdom and oracular prowess. The caves and their chief supernatural denizens are served by mute, owl-maskwearing women called the Caretakers, clad in simple tunics of rough-spun cloth tied with brightly colored sashes. Petitioners seeking answers arrive in Plumetown and are informed by the residents that a Caretaker will seek them out when one of the Eyes is willing to give an audience, a wait that might span anywhere from hours to years.
When a Caretaker does come to Plumetown with a summons, the silent figure escorts those invited for their journey on the long paved road to the foot of the mountain. Upon arrival, they are guided to one of Keeba’s Eyes, who hears each petitioner’s question and names the nonnegotiable price for its answer.
Cenabal the Crone appears as an impossibly ancient human woman clad in dark rags, her long white hair a hopeless tangle with the fine bones of small reptiles woven throughout. Her skin is parchment-thin and wrinkled, her mouth is toothless, and her eyes are the milky white of quartz. Her price is often the retrieval of specific items that make little sense to the petitioner.
Raeke appears in the form of an elf child with long golden braids, perfect pale skin, delicate features, slender limbs, and eyes the color of amethyst. She inhabits a large cavern whose ceiling is pierced above so that sunlight cascades down on a pool fed by a waterfall. Her price is always some task that ranges from an insignificant matter to one of enormous import. Vile Zhaegog appears as a lumbering cyclops, her sickly pale flesh covered by intricate scars and tattoos of vaguely disturbing design. Her price is the most unpredictable of the three, but it is always extraordinarily dangerous, cruel, or both.