Skull & Shackles
Aristocracy of the Shackles
Notable Settlements: Little Oppara (1,365)
Dominant Denizens: Humans (primarily of Taldan ethnicity)
Other Denizens: Peacocks, red deer, wild pigs
Resources: Art, cloth, fresh water, gems, safe harbor
Danziul Maxeme was a minor noble of Taldor, tasked by his proconsul with eliminating piracy in the Inner Sea so as to further establish both Maxeme and his lord as powerful and vital members of the Empire’s convoluted royalty. Maxeme was apparently quite successful in executing this charter until his well-managed flotilla captured a pirate galleon called the Singing Duchess, which was commanded by Ianetra Chareoth, a beautiful Free Captain of Taldan descent who utterly captivated the noble. Losing sight of his original mission, Maxeme swore to her that he would give her anything she asked if only she would be his wife. Chareoth asked that he win her an island, and Maxeme did just that, sailing to the Shackles with his fleet and wrenching a picturesque isle from a minor pirate lord southwest of Motaku. He renamed the isle Taldas and its only settlement Little Oppara, remaking it to mirror the opulence of far-off Taldor so that his new wife might live like a pampered noblewoman. And they lived happily ever after—or so the story goes.
The events in question occurred only 56 years ago, but many doubt the veracity of the tale. Danziul Maxeme did indeed conquer the island now known as Taldas, but some believe the true story is far less romantic: Maxeme was smitten not by a woman, but by the plentiful gold he found aboard the pirate vessels he captured, and so he decided to go rogue himself. He married a Free Captain in the process, and his two oldest grandchildren, Iolandra and Petrina
Maxeme, now rule Taldas as joint pirate lords.
Petrina is without a doubt the workhorse of the pair, overseeing Little Oppara and their tiny kingdom while Iolandra spends most of her time as captain of her own frigate, Lion’s Reach. Iolandra is a gifted summoner, her eidolon resembling a blue-feathered serpent with the wings of a bat, and her prowess as a pirate lord has struck fear in the hearts of many rival captains, who know to fear the blue-green flag of her ship. The sisters quarrel quite publicly about Iolandra’s recklessness and the fact that bold exploits seem more important to her than actual plunder, so much so that the small bureaucracy that oversees most of the island’s governance has had to cut costs in recent times, and Taldas Isle can only afford to import a scant dozen royal, gold-maned ponies from Taldor every year, much to the dismay of Petrina, whose skill at riding has earned her minor fame throughout the archipelago. Ugly gossip even suggests that Petrina the workhorse might be ready to throw her rider, so to speak, and is presently seeking the means to do so despite Iolandra’s vast popularity with the other captains of the isle.
Taldas Isle does feel very much like that decadent kingdom a continent away, with the exception that for the most part the “aristocracy” here comprises the descendents of the common Taldan sailors who crewed Danziul’s original fleet. Many have adopted grandiose but meaningless titles for themselves, so one is certain to meet a number of dukes, barons, and viscounts of dubious pedigree while in port.
Though Little Oppara feels very much like a tiny district of the metropolis it is named after, the rest of Taldas Isle is largely wilderness made up of sprawling plains occasionally interrupted by rough thickets and small forests. Whoever previously ruled the island did little to establish any sort of society on the land, much of it still populated by beasts and wild monsters. Skittish red deer and wild pigs roam the rolling hills throughout central Taldas, and several families of peacocks make their home in the northwestern corner of the island.