Skull & Shackles
The capital of Tempest Cay is a dangerous place. Newcomers can hope for no more than surly tolerance, and are far more likely to encounter bloodier attitudes if they fail to exercise extreme caution. Seedy taverns, warehouses, and ramshackle private dwellings cling to the rocky shoreline of the port town like barnacles on the hull of an ill-kept vessel. Many arriving sailors make a beeline for the Drowned Dwarf—this sturdy, two-story tavern is famed across the Shackles for two things: the alarming murder rate in its common room, and its sinfully delicious (and potent) black kelp beer. The recipe for the coveted brew is guarded with an obstinacy usually reserved for political secrets and the location of buried treasure. The current proprietors are Dagrun and Narrika Lelkhammer, blond-haired sisters who formerly sailed with the famed Redbeard Sewk on Gozreh’s Knuckles. They were remarkable stewards of their loot over the years (an extraordinarily rare quality in pirates) and bought the Drowned Dwarf from their elderly cousin Peffen Stonebreaker some 2 years ago. The price, reputed to comprise entire chests of bounty, also bought the precious beer recipe.
Drenchport also has the largest concentration of followers of the youngest faith of the Shackles, the Cult of the Eye. This dark and weird religion centers its worship on the permanent hurricane that appeared following the death of Aroden more than a century ago. Its practices and doctrines are carefully guarded from the uninitiated, but outsiders have gleaned a few things from its itinerant clerics. First, followers believe the Eye to be the birth pangs of a new deity (sometimes called the Deluged God), who will eventually emerge from the storms to inundate all the landmasses of Golarion with a devastating flood. Sacrifices to this gestating power are intended to persuade it to spare some few places (the Shackles themselves, of course), along with the faithful, and prepare the world for life on the global oceans-to-be. Every worshiper is expected to make at least one pilgrimage to the Isle of Consummations to the northwest of Tempest Cay as proof of devotion. Rumor has it that not just the blood of animals is spilled on the god’s altars, and some speculate that the cult is behind the mysterious disappearances of the city’s lonely beggars and local drunks. There are at least seven shrines to the Deluged God in the shady districts of Drenchport, and its priests sail in small crafts around the Shackles, engaged in wildeyed, apocalyptic evangelism, led by their mysterious high priest, Father Chessadarde, who claims to have received his divine visions from the Deluged God after sailing into the heart of Ancient Azlant to the west. Thus far the cult’s priests have won few converts outside Tempest Cay, but the temples to Besmara and Gozreh on the island keep close watch on the new faith, deeply concerned about its ultimate intentions, while the Master of the Gales has for the most part kept out of the matter completely.