Skull & Shackles
The Holy Isle
Devout Besmaran worshipers seeking to make their Voyage to Besmara’s Throne know that in order to complete their quest, they must seek out the mythical Holy Isle, said to stand at the center of the Cove of the Queen. Upon passing through the Queen’s Processional into the quiet cove, the mists that cover much of the island suddenly vanish. Nearly a dozen watercrafts sail the cove, moving to and from the horseshoe-shaped Holy Isle, where Besmara’s enormous chief temple lies, half of it submerged in the islet’s tiny bay. Priests and acolytes in black silk constantly go about their duties, performing ceremonies and bidding hearty greetings to those who have reached the goddess’s most holy place. The high priest is always within the temple; the current holder of this title is Laharra Seaspray (CN female old human cleric of Besmara 11).
Upon arriving at the isle, pilgrims are escorted to the high priest, who hears the tale of their Voyage, evaluates their devotion to the goddess, and then communes with Besmara herself to determine the pilgrim’s Holy Labors—tasks meant to earn the blessing of the goddess. These deeds vary in number and nature from pilgrim to pilgrim, and not all survive their ordeals. All of these tasks occur within and around the Throne, which hosts remarkably diverse wildlife and myriad Ghol-Gan ruins. Those who do succeed in their tasks are granted a brief blessing as well as a coveted Besmaran pearl. These inscribed pinkish pearls are magical boons of varying potency attuned only to the supplicants to whom they were gifted, and they reflect the supplicants’ own natures as well as the unpredictable will of the Pirate Queen herself. The effects of the pearls are as varied as the pilgrims who earn them, and veterans of the Voyage recognize each other by these pearls and thus know to respect one another.