Skull & Shackles
The picturesque port of Ngozu sits on the long cove that gave the island its name. While the port coolly tolerates non-Mwangi ships, their crews had best behave themselves while in town. Ngozu’s rules are strict for nonnatives, whom the locals refer to as ben kudu (“lost ones”). Most infractions of the laws involve a “blood price”—punishment that demands the shedding of the offender’s blood. Ben kudu leaving the docks and entering the town proper travel a boardwalk lined with wooden posts, from which jut the right hands of outsiders (some skeletal, some rotting, and some distressingly fresh) who broke a rule for ben kudu. Perhaps the most disconcerting thing for visitors is the fact that rules for non-Mwangi don’t seem to be posted anywhere in Ngozu, and it is only through hearsay that visitors know exactly which manners are appropriate and which are deemed utterly irreparable while within the port town.
Residents of Ngozu are loyal devotees of the ancient Mwangi faith of juju, a religion committed to congress with the spirit world of the wendo, a vast pantheon of spirit beings who seek contact with the inhabitants of the Material Plane. Ajuoga Baas acts as the chief wendifa ( juju oracle) and putative ruler of the settlement. She is dedicated primarily to the greater wendo spirit Mfuello the Journeyer and has two subordinates: Mosi One-Knife, a priest known for his kindness and service to the greater wendo spirit Sister Liiza; and Xabasu, a wild-eyed, beautiful Zenj woman known for her caprice and cruelty who is devoted to Lo Lulu the Night Lord. One of the three wendifa conducts communal juju rituals each night and ben kudu caught witnessing a ceremony (an act strictly forbidden) soon learn how to perform routine tasks with their left hands.
Most activity in Mgange centers on Ngozu and the cove, though the rest of the island boasts numerous sites of interest as well. The western end of the island is a verdant jungle, known for its fresh water and succulent fruits, along with tall, straight trees perfect for replacing a damaged mast. Game such as boars, deer, and rhinoceroses call the western forests home, as well as giant geckos and venomous snakes in the northern reaches of the isle. Of course, the natives of Mgange consider taking any of these resources without express permission a gross offense, though such prohibitions don’t necessarily stop the more daring and irreverent pirates from neighboring Firegrass Isle.