Orithia- Skull & Shackles
Lashed more days than not by relentless storms thrown off by the Eye of Aaqa, the island of Tempest Cay is an unlikely place for any kind of permanent settlement, let alone a major town boasting a population of nearly 8,000 souls. And yet the dank and dour city of Drenchport has one of the busiest and most chaotic harbors in all the Shackles, serving as the first real respite for mariners skirting the western extremes of the Eye or travelers’ last stop before heading north for Salamon or Dun-E-Dor. The town was built in a haphazard fashion over the years from the ample driftwood and flotsam that washes ashore—the remains of unfortunate ships captained by sailors lacking the requisite skill or luck necessary to survive these treacherous waters.
Tempest Cay has inexplicably proven to be a magnet for pirates of Northlander ethnicity, and Fjolnorsk can be heard in conversation as often as Ealdine or Tiranno. A number of tengu communities also call the various ports home. Visitors seeking a functioning government will be hard-pressed to locate any officials; those who dock at Tempest Cay are more or less on their own, though the prominent and ubiquitous temples of Obad-Hai are known to offer shelter and aid occasionally. Every business owner on the island is prepared to meet trouble with his own blade or cudgel, though neighbors will sometimes come to one another’s aid, if for no other reason than the likelihood that sooner than later the shoe will be on the other foot.
The enigmatic leader of Tempest Cay is the Master of the Gales, a powerful druid who spends 10 or 11 months a year at sea in his hardy black xebec Kraken. He comes back to the island a few days at a time each month, spending most of that time in sea caves a half-mile north of Drenchport that are only accessible at low tide. Few ask aloud what he is doing in those watery places, though many speculate in hushed conversations. Is he counting the bounty of his raids, conducting strange rituals known only to ocean-going druids, or engaged in unnatural congress with foul denizens of the deep? No one has ventured into the caves to find out, and not a single pirate complains about the Master of the Gales’ vague leadership or the tax each pays him as their putative lord. Rumor has it that those who have questioned the druid’s right to authority have only days later washed ashore, dead, bloated, and with a second smile carved from ear to ear below the chin.