To be clear though, It wasn't me talking only to myself about those places. It one of the other mes, Bleys, with an E. I'm Blaze, like a raging inferno. When I left Amber behind I took the name Blake and since I spent my first couple years recovering from Patternfall in a world called Racsir that prized fish and drink I took the surname Fisher. Its a common name in the world that can best be described as inhabited by distracted people. I've been called worse then Blake Fisher.
Bleys with an E got four of us together the first time many years ago, by accident as it happened. Since then we have kept in touch. Who else but one of ourselves could understand the troubles we have? We spoke of our situations, our plans, our treasons, and even our passions, but mostly we stayed out of each others lives. That is until Patternfall which trashed the four of us pretty good. One of the things all of us share is a legacy of treason and failure. We each managed it differently. Bleys with an E drank and joined the theater. I drank and went fishing.
Here is what happened in my Amber when the crown was up for grabs and my cabal made its play. Corwin and I fought our way up Kolvir and I went falling arse over tackle box off of it. Corwin tossing me his trumps may have been ill-conceived at the time from his point of view but it was a blessing to me. I grabbed the first place trump I could and focused on it hard, smashing into the ground near the stairs of Faiella-Bionin . Still in Amber, I was far enough from battle to make my way to the sea lanes and escape. I went to the land of fisherman I will tell you about in a bit. Once there I used the trumps to lightly keep track of people. I had my contact in the family, which its alright to admit now was Garret. But even he started refusing my calls in time.
In time I traveled shadow and raised a mighty army preparing it to strike and seize the kingdom from my mad red brother Eric. Then when I was just about ready Benedict rode into my camp on that stripped horse of his. When I saw my camp guards leading him in I knew I was screwed, blued, and tattooed. He told me his army was a shadow away, fighting its way down the black road. Corwin had barely saved Eric's bacon as well as his arse, though he was hospitalized, and both stepped aside when Obirin reappeared. Ben said he had a pardon signed by Obirin for me. He told me I could accept the pardon and join my army to his or I could take the field against him and see how my army fared.
Let me tell you my friends and foemen; I was ready to stick a sword in Eric, the self-righteous prig, wounded or hale, but I would never raise a blade against Benedict when he came to me ready. And I had no war plans while Obirin sat the throne. There was just no percentage in either. Besides, I had a fair idea where the Black Road came from, my part in opening that way, and what forces followed it east. So I tucked the pardon in my pocket, marched to the abyss beside my kin and joined in the Battle of Patternfall.
When all was said and done Obirin's mostly dead corpse was ferried across the Abyss to parts unknown. Brand died in the Abyss with Kain's arrow in his eye and Deirdre's dagger in his nutsack. The choice of the king was given to the Unicorn and she gave it to friggin' Julian. Almost everyone swore to him, including, to my surprise, myself, despite never liking him much. Friggin' Unicorn...
So who didn't swear?
Eric had disappeared from his hospital bed and was loose, with a good claim as the king in exile and a historic amount of narcissism. Corwin and Deirdre went off to his new pattern and took his glowing white Chaosian son along as well. Fiona swore but later asked if my contacts in Chaos were still in place? Osric had showed up out of legend with a force of giants on dragon back but had stood by unwilling to kneel to the Unicorn's choice claiming his fealty with Finndo remained in place and he would not be released by anyone less then Obirin or Dwirkin, who it turns out was our grandfather. Thanks for telling us, Dad. Dalwin and Sandrine had come out of their isolation and made themselves heroes on the field slaying a Logrus Lord named Suehe but they also refused to kneel claiming Dalwin had been crowned Co-King by Obirin centuries ago just in case he fell in battle against Weirmonken . And while Random swore he also started taking bets on the new king's lifespan and who his successor would be.
When they went to meet the family in Chaos I decided I was done. Let Julian rule the kingdom for a few centuries and lets see how it all shakes out. I had a fresh pardon, a clean slate, and the prospect of new round of cabals and treasons was more then I could stomach.
I'd had my fill of conspiracies.
A Strange Place to Fish
I went wandering and came to a place called Racsir Isle. Since Bleys with an E is setting the tone for these missives I think I'll tell you about the place.
I had come here a few times over the centuries. Once with Obirin himself. I remember a wonderful time here when Random and I decided to walk in shadow together to find a good place to fish that was far enough from Amber to give us some time and not so far away that the fish would be unrecognizable. That I decided to shadow-walk with Random of all people tells you how strange things were getting at home. Obirin was still around then but his pitting of Eric and Corwin and I against each other in his endless search for squabbles had gotten on everyone's nerves, mine most of all. Racsir has a reputation as having some of the best fighting fish around and for that reputation to span shadow and effect Amberites is saying something. Whatever other flaws Amber may have as a kingdom, it has spectacular fishing in the oceans, rivers, and harbors of the central realm.
Racsir's fishing is better but then we know of it because that's what we looked for to find it; a strange place to fish.
To start off with this place is wet. Its mostly islands and the soggyist people you ever saw air side of Rebma. It rains a lot. The seas are mostly calm with strange tides and generally low surf and the people have learned to live with it. The people here have made forgetfulness a virtue. I'm not sure they can help it really. There is something incomplete about them.
That happens sometimes when one has a narrow desire in mind when one shadow-walks. Some of the places you find just don't entirely make sense or they are lacking in details leaving them incomplete. A full set of Infinite Shadows will include a heap of incomplete places and incomplete people and this is a place you can find both. The missing parts can be frustrating to adapt to for outsiders like us.
Physically the world is separated into four sections; the North Polar Sea, the Isles, the Big Island, and the Driesia or the Dead Water. The sun is almost completely in the northern hemisphere so the southern hemisphere is dusky to dark year round. There are two moons, both small. One is white, called Moon. One is red, called Iron. They circle the world nearly perfectly balanced off angle from each other. Moon flies above the equator. Iron flies north to south crossing both poles. Freaky.
The Northern Polar Sea is hot. It has a water temperature 100º to 150º all the time. The air temperature can get as high 180º. There are some very hardy people who live in the upper parts of the world and they have adapted to those conditions. Mostly they remain in the water. One thing about the Northern Racir peoples is that they are not scalded when boiling water is thrown on them. Try oil.
The Isles are where nearly all the people live. Think of an archipelago of your choice and what do you usually have? A collection of islands clustered together reasonably far from anything else. The islands are usually close enough to see each other and be a short boat ride to visit. If you figure you need to be about 5 miles or so away at sea level to not see an island with a smallish hill over the horizon and you can see how fast these archipelagos can lose each other. There are a thousand archipelagos just over the horizon to each other.
One thing about these islands is that some are very close to each other. As you probably already know an island is a mountain with the top above water. The northern hemisphere of this world, if the water was removed, would look like a spiked mace with thousands and thousands of thin spikes. This means that the mountain are sometimes surrounded by deep waters with little or no sand around them. The archipelagos that are made from spiked mountains are often close enough to be connected by bridges. It is not unusual to find an island chain with forty islands, reasonably close to each other, connected by collections of bridges; some narrow and precarious built of rope and driftwood, some wide and strong with dwellings of their own on them. These bridges will often be filled with people fishing. Fishing after all is why we are talking about this strange world.
In general the people here do not go in for mighty sea voyages. Circumnavigating the globe, while straightforward from an outsider's point of view, never really occurs to them and if they do it, its done rarely, or by accident. They know which other island chains are in which direction, and they know the Big Island is so far in the south that it is impossible to find. The Big Island is something of a myth to them, even to those who have been there. That the Big Island is a myth to people who have been there and know how to get there tells you something about them.
The Big Island is a huge continental chunk of dark frigid rock covering the south pole but it isn't really much of a place with the exception of a few oddities I'll mention later. It is a bitterly cold, dry, desert covered in dirt devoid of nearly all plant life. It is dark except for the rim which manages a twilight sky that varies in duration depending on the season. A verdant ring surrounds the interior of the place like belt. This belt near the water's edge is a reasonably habitable land in the 50º to 70º range with a resilient population that seems only a tiny bit different from the northerners, or what they call, the Fish People. They call themselves the Land People. So maybe they are not too different after all. Natives with a few generations on the Big Island can see in the dark as if it was daylight and do poorly if they sail north till they are beneath the real sun. Freaky.
The last region is the Driesia or the Dead Water. Anyone familiar with sea travel knows to be wary of regions like the Doldrums, the Flat Wave, the Long Lakes, or the Calms. Diega has a Calm that only magic can cross. This world though, has no magic to speak of. What it has is a region that stretches from 10° north of the equator down to 35° south of the equator that winds flatly avoid. Ocean currents drastically separate north and south and do not cross the Dead Water. So if you want to cross it, you have to row.
The Dead Water is crossed by rowing following the passage of the moon Iron as it crosses north to south. Despite the difficulty of following Iron across the Dead Water there is a lot of trade between the Fish People and the Land People. The Fish people have fish, fruits, grains, and wood. The Land People have glass, gems, stone, and metals. The adventurous sailors who cross the Dead Water have learned to navigate and manage their crafts through extraordinarily difficult conditions. Considering how bad these people are at trade its a miracle they bother at all.
For fans of trade here is one more tidbit and it really tells you something about these people. Islanders trade east and west and much of the trade ends up in the archipelagos on the passage of Iron across the equator because it is there they can trade Isles goods for Big Island goods. There is considerable merchant shipping up and down the archipelagos on the passage of Iron and the Fish People in those islands have a better grip on the nature of the word then most other people in the Isles. A few hundred miles east or west the people of the Isles start believing less and less in the existence of the Big Island. Freaky.
There are a few physical anomalies on this world that are worth noting at this point. One is that its rich wet atmosphere is only 12,000 feet thick. A scientist might figure out why the atmosphere clings to the land and water of this world but why bother? We shadow-walkers understand some places have weird rules that only make sense there. Freaky.
The narrow atmosphere doesn't matter to the surface dwellers, of course; nothing on this planet is more then 8000' above sea-level except for two freaky surface features. These are the Handle and the Southern Spire.
The Handle is a single solid rock sticking straight out of the equator about two miles in diameter. It reaches up 14,000'. For about a mile around the Handle, is a constructed city made of sea craft and driftwood. Any ship lost in the Dead Water eventually floats to the Handle though it might take a decade for the negligible currents to bring it there. These ships are then bridged and tied onto the exiting structure and people move in. Many of the sailors retire here. Its a port of call to be sure but while its on the equator its 90º off the orbit of Iron, so its about as far as it can be from the north-south shipping lanes and solidly in the Dead Water. To get to it one rows following Iron to the equator then one waits till Moon rise and follows the moon to the Handle. Freaky.
The Southern Spire is a single piece of unbreakable crystal rising out of the South Pole like a needle. 6000' in diameter at the base it rises straight and evenly up to the dizzying height of 30,000' with needle tip. For a couple weeks each year the sun in the north is at such an angle that it casts light on the tip of the Spire causing the whole thing to glow. The natives go to the frigid south to view the glow with something like worshipful devotion but they don't have a religion to give it meaning. The Land People believe that once a person has seen the Glowing Spire a person is a Land Person. That is the full extent of the dogma of their religion and the final say on their immigration policy for people going from being Fish People to Land People. Freaky.
There are stars in the sky but if one pilots a star ship through shadow to this realm there would be little reason to go anywhere else. I know because I have done so. The stars are glowing chunks of crystal glass thousand of miles from the planet hovering around it while it spins. Freaky.
All you need is a stick, a thread, and a hook. Since the Isles are where most the people are, I'll get back to them.
They have a saying in Racsir. "All you need is a stick, a thread, and a hook." It expresses their belief that life is easy and you only need three things.
The Stick is all material goods. The Thread is the people. The Hook is the fish. First, lets talk about the Stick and the Thread.
When it comes to making fishing poles the stick they mean is usually bamboo. There are hundreds of varieties and its so common that nearly everyone in the north of this world could make you a rod in a few minutes. And if you ask, they will, I shit you not. "T'is a pleasure." they say about so many things.
In general the islands are metal poor but they are rich in fast growing woods. Some really fast. They have a variety of quick growing trees similar to palms, bananas, and coconuts. Along with rattans and bamboos these are mostly the kinds of wood used for furniture, decoration, and general construction as well as food and cooking fuel. Further north are several stringy types of fruit trees that provide similar uses as well as several interesting types of citrus and stone fruits.
There are a wide range of vine type plants that grow at the base and up into these trees. Vines provide food, building materials, ropes, and smoking herbs.
Many vines produce fruit similar to melons, strawberries, and grapes as well as other vine growths. They have a thick, tough ground vine called Acsala, that provides stability on sandy turf but also produces long thin tubers that are eaten like potatoes but taste something like boiled socks. There is a plant like the pea that grows everywhere and plays a major part in their diet. The produce from it varies in color depending on the local nutrients but the natives don't much care about the differences.
One vine called Groussa has bulb-like growths that are filled with a sickeningly sweet sap that is rendered down to sugar and used in many ways. It creates a base alcohol that is infused in many ways.
Grestra is a common vine that has rich and plentiful puffs of grayish green that is harvested and used to make fabric with textures similar to cotton. A blackish variety is somewhat oily and is used to weave a fabric that once cured can hold or repel water. The Trabblen vine has wide leaves and grows equally well on land or in kelp-like masses in the water. Harvested and dried the leaves can be smoked making a very pleasant tasting tobacco and Trabblen Cigars are a common trade good. The vine makes extremely strong rope so Trabblen Rope is another common trade good.
There are some native grains that grow fast and wild as well as being tended in personal gardens. Breads are common with unleavened and vegetable breads easily found. Tortillas or pita style breads are found in every dwelling. A rich sweet fish & vegetable bread is greatly adored by these people but made me gag for the first few years. Now I love the stuff.
However, and here comes another weirdness, a major source of structural wood around the islands is the Ragdat Tree. These are massive ocean-bound plants sticking to the ground hundreds of feet below the waterline. Extremely fast growing, they have long tendrils branching off the wide trunk that produce a kelp-like leaf that is a common ingredient in their food. The leaves sheer themselves off and wash up on the beaches to be readily gathered. The tree is a single stalk that grows very wide with a shallow root system holding them in place below the water. This main stalk might be as much as 10' in diameter and grow to 30' with bristling tendrils from an inch to a couple feet in diameter. It waves like a mass of wet noodles in the ocean tides such as they are.
As they grow they start developing burls up and down the stalk and roots and thick bulbs that cover the stalks. The bulbs contain a very lightly flavored naturally alcoholic liquid and a lighter then air gas which is highly euphoric and is a mild aphrodisiac.
Eventually the burls on the root system overtake the subterranean portions of the plant, choking off the roots holding the trees in place. Around the same time the bulbs containing the lighter then air gas start getting large enough to pull the trees loose from the soil.
The end result is plants the size of houses popping up to the surface like leaping whales. Forests of these trees are tended by local divers who have an uncanny skill of judging which trees are ready "to Leap". When these trees leap, they usually do so in groups of 20 or more because once one pops the others get so shaken or agitated they must join in.
The Ragdat Trees play a big part in a common social event called a "Tapping". While wood tenders do the work of growing and tending the trees underwater and cutting the trees once dry, they are too few to prepare the wood for drying and to harvest all the burls and bulbs. So they invite the family down and everyone pitches in. Once the trees start leaping everyone stops whatever they are doing and comes down to watch, eat, drink, and fish. They gather for a large picnic with food and drink and song. These are a lusty life-loving people to be sure.
"Tapping" consists of dragging the extraordinarily heavy fresh limp trees up onto the beach causing all the limbs to gather like stacks of wet spaghetti surrounding the thick main stalk. As this is done pockets of the gas and liquid that fills the bulbs is released with expected results of getting everyone a lot drunk and a little bit horny.
Once the trees are beached and stretched out the bulbs are removed. The bulbs are hung and allowed to dry for couple hours. The top of the bulb is "Tapped" to release the interior gas which if left inside will spoil the liquid. The gas is nearly impossible to store, fading quickly, losing its potency. So these people make use of it while they can. "Taking the Heat" they call it.
After the bulbs dry the liquid is poured off and used in many ways. The most common is to refine it into an extremely strong, pleasant, light tasting alcohol called "Racswater." the empty bulbs dry into watertight bags that are fitted with nozzles for drinking.
The dry trees are cut into logs, and prepared for use. They range from thin dowels to thick main logs. Logs are cut into board, and planks. Sawdust is mixed with wax for fire-starters among other uses. The thinner strands are sometimes cut and laid out in forms to dry in particular shapes. Furniture and decorative architecture use a lot of these form shaped dowels.
The Burls are removed and allowed to dry separately. The Burls are prized for their many decorative uses. Wood carving is a everyday activity for many of the people in the Isles. I carry a Racsir Burlwood pipe on me most of the time. Lovely thing. Ask someone to make you a burl wood pipe and they will say, "T'is a pleasure". Freaky.
Now to the thread; the people of the world.
The best way to describe them is "incomplete but short and functionally direct". They are a generous people, open, with few taboos and few needs unmet by their environment. I've heard them described as Polynesian in temperament. And they really know how to build their boats. As an Amberite I appreciated their seamanship despite their not have an interest in great voyages. Ask them to make you a canoe and they will say, "T'is a pleasure". Freaky.
They have large gap in their culture that can only be explained as an effect of shadow. While there are exceptions from the norm, of course. in general they don't tend to concentrate. They don't tend to plan ahead. Anything more then a week's menu away they get foggy on them. Ask one to go fishing with you they will drop everything, except their children, and they will grab their pole and go.
They are not literate and they don't miss it. They keep some financial records for commerce's sake but tend to think in terms of what they have in their pocket. T heir's is a barter culture. They keep record by looking at what they have and trading it for what they and their people want. If you are inclined you can cheat them outrageously but having done so I hope you feel bad about it. If you don't, that says something about you now, doesn't it?
They like seeing large collection of things and are distracted by them in the way some people are distracted by shiny objects. Groups of fish, piles of melons, stacks of cut wood, racks of dowels, fields of Ragdat leaves on the water's surface.
It gets a bit difficult to be around them if you are used to people having ulterior motives or finishing conversations. There are few sneaky racsirians. Even the ones who do manage to run businesses and plan ahead are fairly clear of dark motives.
This does not mean a Racsirian won't stick a knife in you. Just that he won't spend a life time planning it. They are direct and determined once they set their mind to do something, at least for a few weeks.
They have loving families that are a bit cloying if not demonstrative. People fornicate casually and without a particular concern about gender or proximity of others. Couples pair bond and sex plays little part in the reasons for it. If the couple bonds along gender lines that allow child bearing, they do so. If they don't, they look for foundlings or orphans to take in. Couples, triads, quads, all usually group for life. These become the nucleus of small extended families or communities but when a community reaches a certain size some instinct makes a portion break off, peacefully, and seek new islands or new places. They rarely strain the local supply of food, both plant and animal.
Children are raised communally and if they do not gather into the community at some point they take to the sea and find other communities to join when they reach a certain maturity. Child rearing is important but if a child decides to move on they often don't keep in touch and while the parents may miss them but they rarely talk about it. If the kids drop by for a visit its cause for a celebration but they don't nag them about coming by more often.
There are no holidays that would encourage relatives to visit even if they are not inclined to. Strange for me coming from the nightmare of family ties I did, to deal with a people devoid of familial angst.
The elderly tend to be given tasks suitable to their declining skills, even to the point of gathering in elderly to manage such tasks as if they were orphan children. They are treasured in a way that's endearing. Yet when they pass they are sunk into the sea with almost no ceremony. People are remembered for their handiwork, not their mere existence. There is almost no portraiture art, per se, but crafts and artwork are common and the creators are remembered for them. If someone makes you a burlwood pipe, their descendants will recognize their work or their mark. Freaky.
The Racsirians develop an ability as they get older to end their own life at a time of their choice. Its somehow hard wired into their brains to end themselves when they have outlived themselves. Its common for a person in extreme old age to pack a nice lunch, take their pole, go out for a swim and never come back. Freaky.
There are few loners in this world. The people who have no family, lose them, or are cast out, find some group that will take them in. "More hands make less work" is the motto of the urge to be part of a group, even a group of outcasts.
Personally I think "Find a Group you get along with" is one of the conditions of shadow that Obirin was using when he originally found this place and introduced us to it. "I want to find a place where the people like to find groups and fish a lot" might be all he had in mind. But that's just my guess knowing that Obirin could be both tricky and dense.
Random and I had both been brought here by Obirin when we were younger. Fishing is one of the things Obirin shared at some point with all his children. Some of us took to it, others didn't. The Flora in my family hates fishing. The one in Bleys with an E's family loves it. Freaky.
There are some large cities on this planet to be sure.
There are a couple on the Big Island mostly near the places that Iron crosses and the seaman of the world come south. Crasatans is a good example of the cities there. It has nearly a hundred thousand people and deals with a lot of the mining and metal communities outside the ring around the big island. The collection of connected derelict ships around the Handle could be considered a city as long as one is not picky about a city being efficient. Zadalaz is probably the biggest city in the islands but its so sprawling its not easy to figure out how to get around in it. And people are as likely to get lost there and take up with people they meet till they find their family again. They don't go in for big government here.
Now the Hook.
Well, I did say it had great fighting fish. There is something about this world that makes it have plentiful sea life. The ocean is far richer with life then the scattered lands. Both plant and animal life are rich with diversity and to describe them all would be the work of volumes so I'll just point out a couple of things.
The geography of this world is very sharp in places causing needle-like mountains nearby each other to have the winds erode the tops poking from the oceans to make islands. So some archipelagos might be the top of one mountain that erosion has cleared enough off to the waterline to create groups of islands with shallow waters and lagoons between them that one could walk through without getting one's shirt wet. Good canoe lagoons. Others are step rocky needles where the distance between shores might be forty or fifty meters but the depth a kilometer or more. Freaky.
So depending on the geography of particular islands one could stand on a beach and cast a line to catch bass or halibut or perch or any number of small to medium sized coastal fish. Or on a lazy morning you could cast a line and find yourself fighting for your life with some 300 kilo blue-fin tuna or a 1000 kilo great white shark.
I could go off on the details of rods, reels, lines, and tackle but who has the time? Racsir is a technology light world where generally the most complicated land machinery are olive oil presses, fishing reels, and sawmills. Once you bring the water into play the sophistication goes way up. Fishing reels are surprisingly ingenious devices considering the general technology of the world. Most are quite simple, even elegant, while others are deigned to catch the big monsters. I've shown Raksir wooden reels to experts on high tech worlds and had them say they would never have thought to do it that way but its a great solution.
Their sailing ships are marvels of wood and rope technology and these people have figured out tricks that I know Obirin, Garret, and Kain have emulated and included in the Navy of Amber.
While poles are the most common weapon against the local sea life the Raksir have made great net-making an art form. Knotwork is a common art in this world and it decorates nearly everything in representational art as well as practical decoration. Knotwork for nets, traps, and construction of all kind is learned in the cradle and practiced till they toss the dead into to the sea. However, net repair and assembly of traps is often the work of the elderly as it does not require a lot of heavy lifting and needs a skilled hand.
Ships fishing particularly good lanes for schools bring in hauls of herrings cod, tuna, flounders, sardines, and frigging anchovies just to name a few. Trap fishing is common as well but if not done at sea is often managed my the young in the coastal regions. Lobsters, crabs, and a huge variety of colorful crustaceans find their way to local tables. Clams, scallop, abalone, conch, and more are commonly harvested.
The scallop is a common art motif and conch shells are ubiquitous as well. The sound of conch horns is the music of Rakir.
The deep waters have some of the best fishing for challenging catches to be found in shadow. There is a balance of bragging rights over how big a thing you caught on how small a line in how small a craft that plays in to many of the fireside tales and the songs of these soggy fish loving people.
Two last things about the Hook.
I could go on for days on this fishing of this world but I am getting hungry. While fishing is the most common enterprise and sea-life the most common food there are many birds and no small number of mammals on this world. Suffice to say they end up on the grill as well. Seabirds tend to be plentiful and the people are not bashful about using their rods to bash a few to the ground to put fowl on the table. There are flightless birds like chicken and turkey as well as water birds like ducks, geese and swans. There are flamingos of many different colors but for some reason the Raksirians frown on eating them and consider them pets. That doesn't mean they don't get eaten but they feel bad about it afterwards.
There are pigs, rats, mice, rabbits, lizards, snakes, and a number of other small animal all of which end up on the table. Cats and dogs are common pets but get eaten occasionally too. There do not seem to be any large mammals on this world with llamas being about the biggest. Dogs and llamas are common beast of burden as well. Cats are found on nearly every ailing vessel big enough for rodent stowaways. Freaky.
Lastly, animals beach themselves here a lot. Whales, sharks, tuna, grunions, and goldfish are among the sea life that occasionally just throw themselves up on the land. Garret once told me it reminded him of the instinct these people have to just pick up and go off to die with little or no fan fare. He might be right.
==Marauders, Salitors, and Monstrous Fish==. I know I have gone on and on about plants and fish and people but this world while rich with people and pleasures is light on violence with three exception; the Marauders, the Salitors, and the monstrous fish.
Marauders: This is a friendly world top to bottom and there seems to be little interest in conquest or other activities that boil down to taking away other people's stuff against their will.
However there is a type of madness that occurs occasionally in people that causes them to become violent. Once these psychotic breaks occur the person tends to have a few incidents then they simply pick up and leave their groups to wander on their own. This tendency to pick up and leave with little or no fanfare, leaving family and friends behind without a backwards glance occurs in many of the people of this world as a function of interest, population density, and pure randomness. It is expressed here as a psychotic change in a person. In time they run into other wandering psychotics and they bond together in the family way others do here. In time these wandering groups get large and begin to engage in theft, vandalism, robbery, piracy, assault and murder.
To say this is disturbing is an understatement but having little military experience on this world they have trouble dealing with marauder bands. As an outsider I found the marauders equally inept at being violent wackadoos. Its just not in their nature and having gone violently crazy they really prove how bad they are at it. Marauders are often caught and inefficiently killed and doing so is seen as an act of mercy. They do not seem to recover from this madness once it takes place.
There are a couple very large Marauder bands that sail the seas as fairly disorganized pirates. These groups developed as marauder pairs and trios ran in to other pairs and trios and eventually became too large for local family groups to put them down. In time these groups become too large for their area, and being crazy, don't get involved in growing things and so they take to the sea to find places with stuff for them to steal. When I arrived this world after Patternfall the area I was visiting in was raided by a large marauder force much to their woe. Being inefficient killers they had little hope against such an efficient killer as me.
Salitors: The second group are the Salitors. These killers are more to my liking and I may have to look into their origins closer someday. The Salitors are shadow traveling pirates. They occur occasionally sailing in from a nearby shadow to raid an archipelago, stay for a few months, ravage the place, disrupt family life, steal about half of the produce and products, enslave a few people, then sail off after a wicked residency.
Once they sail off they don't go to the next archipelago to repeat there barbarities. They sail off into shadow rarely to return. Other Salitors turn but particular criminals can never be found and people stolen never return.
I traveled around a thousand nearby shadows or so and found these salitors well traveled but could not find there home world. The other groups I found had no experience with Racsir but also could not remember a homeworld. Something is incomplete about them as well. There is something tricky about them and one of the reasons I am writing about them now is to enlist the aide of the other mes, especially the extraordinarily violent and resentful Brandy Amberton. I am also visiting my own kin, and since I am technically in fealty and have a clean slate as far as the pardon from Obirin can allow maybe Garret, Kain, Random, or even Benedict will take time out of their busy conspiracies to come do some fishing with me and put these Salitors to the sword.
Monstrous Fish:You knew in a watery world like this that there would be sea monsters, right? Well, there are. Giant sea serpents, kraken, massive tuna, wickedly huge crabs and lobsters, schools of piranha, and a variety of nasty creatures that must have followed the Salitors in from other shadows.
While these people may not have a military instinct they have a well-developed sense of survival. When these monsters occur to endanger land settlements everyone drops what they are doing to run down to the shore and fish these bastards to death. I watched a family haul in a 5,000 pound tuna. I helped a community take on a dozen idiotically huge crabs. Ships at sea have been destroyed of course but some have sunk hooks into a monster and been towed for weeks till the beast dies, dives, or turns on them. When these things are hauled in its a bonanza for the locals of course. Crab steak 2' across grilled in lemon and butter. Freaky, but delicious.
Game Concepts and Notes
World: Raksir. Tech level: 1700's Polynesian in the Isles. 1800's Persia for the Big Island Population: Roughly a billion over all. System: One sun, one planet with two moons. A massive cluster of glowing crystal that simulate stars from the planets surface. Magics: While High and Low order magics work here the natives have no tradition of using them. If there are magic users in evidence they came from somewhere else. Time Ratio: 20 in Racsir to 1 in Amber Main Cities: Big Island: Crasatans. A more industrial city of over 100,000 people living semi-nomadic lives involved in industry producing metal items, glass,and pottery. Dead Water: The Handle. A collection of sailing ships tied together around the gigantic Handle's circumference. Mostly a retirement settlement. The Isles: Zadalaz. A sprawling disorganized collection of island people on a collection of unusually tightly packed islands. A casual observer might think it a giant island with many rives and inlets but the fact is that it is a collection of islands spanned by bridges, rope walkways, and interconnected ships tied together and turned into walkways. Northern Sea: Husho. Only barely a city but in the north its large. Over 20,000 people living in the blazing heat of the air and the waters. The city is dug into earth under waves.
Races: Predominantly humanoid of diverse coloration and descriptions. Those raised in the north are able to survive incredible heat, and many breath water like Rebmans. There are a variety of racial anomalies that might be explained by inbreeding with Salitors traveling in from other shadows. The Northern Sea people almost certainly have off world heritages. The Big Island natives can see in the dark which suggests off world inbreeding as well.
Marauders: The instinct to psychotic behavior could be investigated. A marauder group of different sizes could be encountered. Salitors: Salitors are pirates. Hunting them down would be quite an adventure. Finding out where the Salitors come from and how they shadow-walk would be interesting to discover. Players might join the Salitors, voluntarily or involuntarily. Monstrous Fish: Fishing for giant tuna could be challenge to an Amberite angler. Defending people from a swarm of giant crabs could be dangerous. It might be interesting to find out why some things suddenly become gigantic? Perhaps there is something magical in the depth of the ocean. Norther Polar Sea: There are no surface cities and maybe players would seek out the underwater cities in the hot waters of the North Pole. Isles: Players might find living among the people calming or relaxing. The Handle: The Handle has a huge community around it that might have many hidden secrets. Marauders often are found at the Handle. The Salitors have been known to dock her as well. Big Island: A trip to see the Southern Spire might prove revealing. It might be a magical experience. The desert has many secrets as well. Magical Effects: The people and animals here are fairly distracted and forgetful. Players might investigate what causes the people here to be incomplete and find some dark Chosian artifact someplace.