The Heathen's Reef is a
natural, arcing formation of jagged rocks forming a barrier across the entryway
into the Vardưnn province by sea. The Reef acts as a
funnel for ships wishing to enter Vardưnn from the
north, and access to Port Sparrowclaw,
Brightborough and onwards to Voldar.
There exists a causeway threading through the rocks, close to the shore under
Heathen's Henge, that experienced or foolhardy pilots can navigate to shorten
the passage and make direct for Port Sparrowclaw.
This opening cuts the travel time of the intrepid pilot greatly, but there
exists dangers. Subermeged pinnacles can tear strong hulls to ribbons, and in
the narrow parts, strong cross-currents can lead the ships directly into the
larger islands. During bad weather the unpredictability of the wind will deter
almost any captain from sailing through the channel, lest his vessel be torn
Heathen's Reef consists of roughly 3000 granite spires and boulders thrust up
from the seabed in an arcing shape. Closer to the shore, the rocks grow larger
and some sport spare vegetation. They stretch some 20
leagues across the opening,
ending in smaller submerged rocks for a further two leagues, that can play
havoc on the lesser experienced captains who believe themselves clear of
During the summer, the rocks burst with vibrant colour as a particular seasonal
grass takes root in their shallow soil. The jubilant
mulbargrass, indigenous to the
milder seasides of Sarvonia, sprouts in late spring
as a short, wiry grass of pale green, before maturing over the summer months
into a lovely, incredibly bright purple colour. While the grass is rare, the
Peninsula enjoys particularly warm winds during the summer that enable its
growth. Serendipitously, the gulls that make these islands their home have
coated them with centuries of excrement;
mulbargrass is a resilient plant that can often survive digestion from
various birds, including the gull.
The result is a magnificent cap of amaranthine hues crowning the larger stacks,
rooting in the thin layer of soil on top.
Location. Heathen's Reef
lies on the the north-eastern part of the Peninsula of Paragonj, in the
Vardưnn province of Santharia.
Flora. The resilient
mulbargrass grows with wild abandon
across the greater pinnacles, painting them with its purple mantle and
attracting romantics and artists seeking worldly inspiration. While hardy, it
doesn't last long, and the blades soon die as winter draws near. On the largest
islands small shrubs grow sometimes, but mostly they tend to be solid and
barren, with little in the way of soil for plants to grow.
Fauna. Colonies of the
Sarvonian gull perch on the larger
rocks, nesting there. Often, during the calmer seasons, the rocks are stained a
mottled grey/white as the gull
guano builds up, creating a depiction of some snowcapped mountain. When the
winter winds bring the waves, however, and
the gulls migrate across the river
onto the larger rocky walls of the eastern bank, the rocks are scrubbed clean
by the water.
treacherous waters along the tip of the
Reef, and the winding causeway closer to shore, have caused many shipwrecks
over the years. There is an abundance of sunken booty at its bottom, ready to
be harvested by intrepid divers as the sea floor here is not too deep. Treasure
often ends up being sold in local markets over in
Heathen's Reef shares a name with the nearby Heathen's Henge, a ritual site
constructed by the indigenous people of the island. It bared some religious
importance, but little is known of their traditions, as Paragon Peninsula was
originally inhabited by strange communities that were ousted during its
settling. The formation itself likely has no real religious significance and is
rather named as such as it is the dominant feature from the shore as viewed
from Heathen's Henge.
While the rocks are fairly well mapped, there have been a few shipwrecks here,
especially during the stormy seasons, where ships are at danger of being dashed
against the jagged teeth. One famous example was the Merrywick galleon, a
Varcopasian vessel sailing from Korwendale, carrying
a full cargo of expensive Korweynite
wine, as well as a load of silver ingots. A freak storm sent the ship off
course, directly for the rocks, on which it tore its hull and spilled its goods
across the waters. The ensuing purple swirls of the Merrywick wreck created a
beautiful spectacle, as Korweynite
wine is faintly iridescent. Succeeding the storm was a strong risen
sun, and so the
waters flared to life with glittering light.
Many nearby inhabitants gathered on the waves to admire it, although
inadvertently ignoring any survivors from the Merrywick. When it came to light
that the ship was also carrying silver, however, there was a rush of divers and
activity across the Reef as they scrambled to collect the booty.
22nd Awakening Earth
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