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[White Elephant for KymmetheSeventh] Gateway Isle

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  • [White Elephant for KymmetheSeventh] Gateway Isle

    Kymme asked for an island with an interesting history. This idea struck me while I was mulling the idea over early in the morning, trying to think about some aspects of the West that intrigue me the most. I hope the result is worthwhile (if a bit unpolished in the writing).

    It has often been said that the West is the least stable of nations. The shifting waters and large open stretches at the edge makes it trivial for the Wyld and its denizens to seep in, and the lack of surplus population means that there is neither the patterning nor the martial force to ward them off. This is the scene in which one finds an insignificant little island marked on secret Guild charts as “Gateway”.

    Gateway Isle is to be found some seven hundred miles to the west of the Neck. It’s a lonely island, with nothing of any significant size to be found for more than a hundred miles away from it, and is small enough to be easily crossed on foot in only a couple of days. Although it is quite verdant and surrounding waters are abundant with fish, its disadvantageous position has historically prevented it from being a viable spot for human habitation. It has, however, been a popular staging point for expeditions or trade missions by the more adventurous of the western Guild’s merchant princes and factors for the past couple of centuries. In recent decades, one particularly ambitious factor has decided to use it as the staging grounds for a grand experiment. After a long and illustrious career, Bela Katrin decided to invest much of her considerable fortune into developing a more long-term settlement on the island (with the greatest expense being securing exclusive rights to the use of it) for purposes of trade and occult research.

    Today, the island is home to two major habitations to lay the groundwork of Katrin’s ambitions. On the coast, a ramshackle town inhabited by settlers gathered from some of the more desperate quarters of the West, overseen by a small number of Guild officials to maintain continuous relations and trade with neighbouring Fair Folk and Undersea peoples, and at the top of the isle’s central mountain a lavish observatory for the purpose of conducting research into the encroaching Wyld.

    The project on Gateway Isle has become the heart of Katrin’s operations, with considerable expenditure for the sake of maintaining its population and transportation of its goods. The extended presence has even started to uncover secrets of the hitherto unremarkable island itself, and she is determined to capitalise on these as well. It remains to be seen what kind of long-term viability the experiment might have.

    The Town
    The Guild outpost on the Isle (as yet unnamed in its own right) is still a small community, only about five hundred people gathered in rough, but solidly built, wooden houses enclosed in a palisade. Just outside of the town walls the sizable warehouse for the storage of trade goods; it is given minimal security, on the logic that nothing within is of much use to frontier settlers, and they have nowhere to go with it. While Katrin ultimately plans to inhabit the town with trained merchants to conduct regular traffic with the local clientele, with hopes of establishing a school to train second- and later generation inhabitants for it, the current crop is employed primarily for haulage when the ships come in to drop off and collect, and spend the rest of the year farming. Although one of the draws of Gateway Isle for the Guild has always been the lack of Wyld incursion, the Guild ships always carry physicians tasked with observing the settlers closely for any signs of mutation; Katrin takes no chances with the possibility of her nascent settlement being compromised. Three Guild personnel manage their stake in its affairs: Treo Darag is a former merchant prince who was assigned here after a run of bad luck led to the loss of several caravans, and is responsible for keeping the town in good order and running the warehouse; Breta Stern is an eager young priest drawn by the prospect of adventure, and acts as the community’s go between with the island’s secretive gods (as well as performing double duty as an all-purpose medic, and is expected to be the first one to observe any sign of mutation); Kal Seafoam is an Exigent who has been brought on to provide the town with protection, and to carry away some of the irreplaceable valuables in the event that it gets hit by anything too big for him to fight off.

    Life in the town would be dull, but for the fact that to most of the settlers it represents a significant improvement over their prospects before. Even the threat of possible Wyld incursions causes little distress, if only because so many of them are themselves intimidated by Kal. The only excitement thus far has been the realisation that the isle is home to some strange phenomena. It’s been discovered that a few things are off in minor ways around the place; people following lines in the topography will wind up in spots that don’t seem connected to them, things may be closer or further away than they appear to be to observers, sounds can seem to come from unusual angles, and leafy plants are sometimes found to be strangely proportioned. None of the settlers find this to be anything other than a curiosity, as it has not thus far represented a danger to them or disruption of their lives, but Katrin and her minions find them unnerving and have commissioned a team of savants to try and determine the cause.

    The Observatory
    On an outcropping from the isle’s central mountain, the isle’s observatory is a lavish construction in stark contrast to the town below, built of fine marble and blue jade, and of ornate design. Built by the labour of earth elementals and housing sophisticated instruments imported from across Creation, it is intended to form a workspace in which a team of savants may make observations of the neighbouring Wyld. The motions of distant stars, speculated to be not of the world, are recorded, channels and currents flowing into and out of the Wyld are mapped, and measurements of subtle energy flows are taken. Thus far, this has been the limit of the team’s work, but their ultimate purpose will be to construct mathematical models that might predict the onset of the Wyld, and even devise methods by which it can be warded off, or possibly repelled.

    The savants themselves are a new addition, as the construction and furnishing of the observatory took quite some time. While all are voluntary and enthusiastic, the necessary changes in lifestyle have been an adjustment, and those inhabitants of the town who have been present for more than a decade are wary of them. While the observatory is quite capable of housing its entire complement, they are required to live in their own quarter of the town by order of Katrin; she would be wary of leaving a group tasked with Wyld research to their own devices in any case, and has access to more than enough Guild records to know that leaving research teams in extended isolation rarely end well.

    The Mountain
    The mountain that dominates the island is apparently a sacred place; at least, Breta Stern has reported that the local gods give it a wide berth, although he's not yet sure if this is out of fear or respect. Even the observatory was built on an outcropping rather than the main body, just in case constructing on it constituted an ill omen. Despite this, the settlers have had few concerns with moving around the mountain to easily cross the island or collect the fruits that grow on it, although thus far they have avoided any cultivation. Mostly, they just find the place to be comforting; it seems to lack the odd spatial phenomena found across the rest of the island.

    ​Of greater interest to the Guild backers is the mountain's base. A few years ago, one of the settlers stumbled upon a path leading through the crags surrounding the mountain up to a passage carved into its side, its edges decorated with the heavily weathered remains of what were surely once ornate carvings. This represented the first evidence that Gateway had ever been inhabited, and Katrin is very interested in any potential insight that might offer into its unusual properties, and her desire to harness it against the Wyld. Gathering savants and explorers with spelunking experience has been difficult, and transporting them that far west even more so, so only a few expeditions of short duration have been managed. Thus far, they've determined that the passage leads into a network of tunnels, with the initial man-(or other) made tunnels branching off into natural volcanic vents. Some of the surveyors who have journeyed into the deepest passages discovered have reported hearing the sounds of a distant rumbling; there is hopeful speculation that this may indicate the presence of some manner of ancient engine churning away in the depths of the island.

    I have approximate knowledge of many things.
    Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

  • #2
    Oh. By the name, I was expecting a Yu-Gi-Oh “Duel Monsters Island”, but for the game of Gateway.

    Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

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    • #3
      Thank you! I really like the imagery and remoteness of this location, along with the exotic observatory. I have no doubts that my party would find a place like this exiting and interesting, especially since they plan on exploring into the Wyld.

      Thank you very much, Isator.


      • #4
        Very cool place. A minor nit pick though. Five hundred people is a decently sized village not a small community.

        What god Exalted Kal?



        • #5
          Originally posted by KymmetheSeventh View Post
          Thank you very much, Isator.

          Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
          Very cool place. A minor nit pick though. Five hundred people is a decently sized village not a small community.
          ​Relatively speaking. Relative to what Katrin plans for the place.

          ​Although it might still be a bit much. Dilute to taste.

          Originally posted by BrilliantRain
          What god Exalted Kal?
          ​Oh, some sea god I'm sure. He doesn't really talk about them.

          ​Like, in character it's not some kind of grand mystery or anything. More like, if Strawmaiden Janest went to Nexus to seek her fortune, she probably wouldn't find anybody who had ever heard of Ten Sheaves.

          ​All Katrin is concerned with is that he seems well suited to fighting off threats that might roll in from the ocean, and that he'd be able to leap off into it dragging a net stuffed with valuables and swim away if he needed to.

          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
          Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.