The Scattersand Shoals are a small archipelago south-southwest of the Sarvonian continent and is considered the southernmost point of this landmass. Ever since the rise of the Stratanian Kingdom it has been considered a strategical position, but only a few times military forces from major powers occupied it. The Scattersand Shoals are infamous for its treacherous reefs and undeep shallows around the whole group of isles, and was at one point nicknamed "Reaver’s Reefs". The place is a long time favourite haven for all kinds of refugees to hide from their respective enemies, be they law, life or lover.
Picture description. View on the sandy beaches of Istia. Image drawn by Seeker.
are places in Caelereth that visitors mark as divine: when you’re there, you
almost feel the presence of the Twelve around you. The Scattersand Shoals were marked as divine by early
Shendar explorers. Though the
ventured far off the coasts, they did reach these isles and were enchanted by
them. They were sure that Baveras, Goddess of the
Sea, lived there. Not wanting
to disturb her peace, they never settled at these tropical isles.
The archipelago consists of thirteen larger isles and many more smaller banks. Together they form the tops of an undersea mountain range located about a hundred and fifty strals south west of Cape Strata. The core of each isle is therefore hard and rocky, but this is only visible at the reefs offshore and in the rocky hills of Aiden, the large northwest island. Layers of sand have covered the rock surface of each isle, making room for plants and trees to grow. The structure of the ground is very similar to Cape Strata. In fact, some scholars believe that Cape Strata is the northenmost point of the mountain range forming the fundaments of the Shoals.
From afar the golden beaches, the sand grains and shells reflecting the Injèrá’s light a thousand times, beckon you to come near. If you are lucky enough to reach the beaches of the isles, it means you’ve passed the many reefs dotted across the coasts of the archipelago. The pointy rock formations sometimes pertruding a ped out of the water, sometimes hiding viciously beneath the surface, are like the sentinels of this paradise: you have to pass their spears and shields before reaching a safe haven. The shallow water you pass near the shores is of a deep blue hue sometimes compared to Uderza blue, often contrasted by the presence of the karikrimson flyer crabs, preying on water insects. Arriving upon the shores of the isles, you’re greeted by bombox palm trees waving in the tropical wind. Of the thirteen larger isles, only six have vegetation worth speaking of besides the palm trees and beach grasses. The seven smaller ones only consist of a few strals of golden sands with palm trees.
Key Locations. The 13 isles which can be found at the Scattersand Shoals are: Aiden, Manat, Rufi, Midis, Triam, Zandiria, Honduraia, Istia, Odesma, Alfia, Lesmir, Sapphiria and Sylffia. To give you a little more insight in the area, here follow descriptions of the six larger isles of the group.
The entrance from the south to Aiden’s Bay and Queen’s Harbour is guarded by Manat. It is barely a sixth in size of Aiden but a lot rockier. The isle is mainly inhabited by Sarvonian gulls, who prey on the abundant fish that gather in the small sea arm between Aiden and Manat. The entrance of the sea arm was the location of various naval battles for control of Aiden’s Bay. Groups of Parpalms mix with bombox palms, but the green patches never reach the rich beauty of the forests of Aiden.
Rufi is a little larger than Manat and has a richer flora. Perhaps because it is shielded by the other islands, perhaps because of the thickly gathered reefs around the isle, but its beaches are small. They almost immediately turn into dunes covered in grass which in turn quickly turn into sandy plains covered with occasional groups of trees and larger forest areas. Birds like the forests to nest, though the gulls prefer the rocks of Manat to the forests of Rufi.
Triam is the last of the outer Star isles and the most extreme in its landscape. Steep cliffs make the northern shores almost impenetrable, while the beaches around the southwest coast are among the most beautiful of all the Scattersands. The cliffs continue alongside the sea arm opposite of Aiden and are the highest among the isles, their peeks reaching up well over two dashes above the Burning Sea. They can be seen all over the isle, from the beaches in the southwest, to the forests that cover the eastern corner of the isle. The climb up to the Teeth, as the citizens of Queen’s Harbour call the cliffs, isn’t to be taken lightly, but well worth the view over the nearby isles.
The first isle that was discovered was Zandiria. It’s the northernmost isle of the Scattersands and the first of the Moon Isles, the seven isles that form the outer rim of the archipelago, from the north to the east and the south. It’s a long stretched land which takes the heaviest blows if storms come from the north. The isle's beaches cover most of the land and are very windy. Only the very central part of the isle has some bombox and parpalm trees to hide from the elements. It is the best location to find flyer crabs, as the isle has the perfect conditions for them to live in. In fact, Zandiria’s crabs are considered to taste the best of all and Queen’s Harbour features an inn that is said to provide only Flyer Crabs caught on the beaches of Zandiria. The rocks central on the isle hold some ancient writings which are believed to be one of the first signs of the Lost People civilisation.
Sapphiria is the southern most point of land belonging to the Scattersands. It’s closest to the Void and considered cursed by sailors because of the treacherous waters that surround it. The Ethereal Void is held responsible for this by the sailors. Researchers have frowned upon this silly superstition, saying this phenomena is too distant to cause any effects, but the tales are hard to repress. Those who’ve been to the isle will tell you that nothing looks very cursed. It’s a rich and fertile tropical location, mostly covered in beachgrass, especially around the bay in the west. The eastern part of the isle is more hilly, with rocks here and there protruding through the sand and small sources of sweet water that form tiny streams between the hills. Windsong might be the only thing haunted about the isle, as the plant is found around the sandy brooks in abundance, bringing forth melodies as the tropical wind plays on its pipes.
Picture description. The location of the Scattersand Shoals, southwest of Cape Strata. Map by Artimidor.
Location. The Scattersand Shoals are an archipelago three days sailing south-west of Cape Strata. The archipelago lies in the Burning Sea, almost parallel with the Norong Sorno Volcano. The northernmost isle, Zandiria, is roughly a hundred strals away from the Beauty of the South, while the easternmost isle Odesma lies more than five hundred strals west of the coast of Aeruillin. Together they form the southernmost landmasses that are considered part of the Sarvonian continent. Because of this location, it has been considered a vitally important strategical location for the trade powers in the area.
People. The tropical
isles of the Shoals are not reknown for the people living there but for the
beautiful nature and strategical location. The denizens of the Shoals can be
considered as part of the Stratanian
or Shendar tribes, as most of them
originate from these regions. There are but a few families whose family tree
dates more than four generations back living on the isle. Most families come and
go. It's maybe best characterized by the mixed societies of the large
Truban cities like Varcopas
and Strata, where the original population is also a
melting pot of the original population complemented by strangers from all over
Caelereth. No strong ties exist among the different
families, as a person or whole family may leave suddenly when their past catches
up with them. People tend to be kind, but not open, talkative but not gossiping.
As the build-up of the population is constantly subject to change, cities like
Queen's Harbour reflect this way of life. There are always empty buildings
available for new immigrants and the prices for renting property are among the
lowest of the United Kingdom.
Climate. The Scattersand Shoals are a rare example of subtropical climate in Southern Sarvonia. Their location in the midst of the Burning Sea and close to the daily course of Injèrá give them this unique feature. The temperature on the isles is on average high, but not very extreme. For example, the desert in Aeruillin lying no further north than Zandiria features far higher and lower temperatures than the Shoals. The nearby sea provides for humid air and seasonal rainfall, giving the whole place an agreeable if warmer than normal climate.
Flora. The flora is perhaps the most popular feature of the Scattersand Shoals. Windy beaches with the occasional bombox and parpalms, larger forests of for example Aiden and Rufi with cinnabark trees and species of evergreen oaks, pools with bloodweed are all part of the archipelago’s flora. The research on the flora is still limited and the tropical jungles are believed to hold some secrets still. But as long as pirates still visit the isles, researchers stay away, preferring the safety of a warm fireplace to the dangers of vagabond-haunted tropical forests.
Fauna. Because of the variety in landscape and flora, the Shoals are also home to a large assortment of animal life. The nearby seas are home to a large number of fish, most notably the dolpholk, a species associated with Baveras, Goddess of the Seas. The beaches are the domain of flyer crabs, especially Zandiria is reknown for this crab species. Gulls, especially the Sarvonian gull, populate the skies above the beaches, flocking together on rocky perches. The forests of the isles are home to various animals, probably not all discovered yet. The call of the cuuloo bird may echo through the forests of Aiden, while stealthy cats hunt in the jungle and even pray on crabs and turtles on the beach. Quite similar to shingar, but barely larger than a large dog, they are the natural predators of the isles, called shinui. Flittermice inhabit caves and shadowy areas, while gentle varcosparrows happily chatter in treetops, bathing in the tropical sun.
Resources. Natural resources on the Shoals are the weather conditions that are in general fair and the abundance of flora and fauna. This gives the locals the chance to live without having to import many goods: most of the food can be gained from gathering, hunting and of course fishing, while the forests on the populated isles provide them with wood. The occasional rock is used from the core of the isle to fortify certain structures. All in all, only clothes and non-standard goods like typical breweries have to be imported. Recent import of sawis sheep has started a small industry of local clothes, but is also damaging the tropical forests. The ultimate results of this move by some former farmer bringing his cattle along may show only in a few decades.
Myth/Lore. The Scattersand Shoals are known well from both history and mythology. According to the Shendar, the original population of Stratania and the most logical discoverers of the archipelago, these islands were a bathing place for the Goddess Baveras. Therefore, they referred to the islands as Baveras’ Garden, the place where the goddess enjoyed her time alone with animals. She was, as the legend tells us, often accompagnied by Silffin, the mighty white swordwhale. In the shallow waters, circulated by the isles and protected from any storm or wave, she played with her pets and bathed.
Mainly known as a hide-out, the archipelago has also inspired a number of folk sayings. For example, "I think I'll ship to the Shoals tomorrow", means something along the lines of "I can't handle all my trouble anymore". The same sentence is also used by youngsters who threaten their parents to leave home soon, announcing their imminent departure into the wide world. If someone threatens to follow you till the end of Caelereth, he might say something along the lines of "not even the Shoals will save you from me". Of course, the first expression is more common than the second. Saying that an action is like "trying to sail to Zardinia" is also referring to the Shoals, although not in a direct way. The treacherous reefs around Zandiria (note the spelling) have conjured the image of the impossibility task to reach the isle. The aforementioned saying is based on this fact, but over time, the name was mixed up. As few people know the names of the Shoals, only the more educated will realise the error in the saying.
History. The Shendar never settled on the islands and it’s very likely they only came near, for reaching the beaches of this archipelago can be rather tricky as it is surrounded by reefs and shoals. The islands are only mentioned briefly in their history and never played an important role. The predecessors of the Shendar, the Lost People, are held responsible for some of the ancient stone carvings found on the isles, but it's difficult to verify these claims.
This changed when the Voldarian refugees reached Cape Strata and founded the city of Strata. They made better and larger ships than the Shendar had ever done and the first exploring ships soon discovered the islands which were just out of sight from the Stratanian beaches. They named them the Scattersand Shoals, because of the shallows surrounding the group of many islands scattered all over the area.
When trade grew and a growing connection was established with Shan’Thai, many
sailors passed the islands and they became infamous because of the many ships
that sunk there in storms. But the name of the island was common knowledge to
the population, and there was a group within the population that could use such
islands very well. Thus it’s not unexpected that one day in about 850 b.S. a few
small ships disembarked in the Vagabond’s Hideout and headed southwest to the
Shoals. When they reached the islands and two of the four ships indeed reached
the beaches, this group of scum established themselves as sole rulers of the
islands. Their leader was Topan Marvil, later known as Topan Blackblade. They
used the natural resources and wildlife to feed and shelter themselves and when
they were firmly settled they started small raids on bypassing ships. After
several successful attempts the group led by a reaver with black scimitar the
pirates became dreaded and ships started arming themselves against the small
ships, but still many fell prey to Topan and his men and women. After a year,
the islands were nicknamed the Reaver’s Reefs by the
Stratanian population and
Stratanian government started to
worry about the growing presence and malice this vermin caused.
Still it lasted three more years until the Stratanian government finally decided to free the Burning Sea (and their tradeships sailing over it in particular) from the annoying guerilla attacks. They equipped a group of their elite soldiers and headed for the archipelago. At the main island they located the pirate base and attacked it succesfully. The complete population was wiped out, men, women and children alike. The small village built by the pirates was reinforced and turned into a Stratanian outpost. A harbour for small ships was constructed in the following years. This firmly established Strata as dominating power over the Burning Sea. A few decades later the Stratanian government contradicted its own previous pirate hunt when they installed a pirate fleet of their own. Tehmen Rut also established a small and secret hideout on the Shoals, but the existence was never confirmed and did not appear in the official Milkengradian records of those days.
When the Golden Age of Strata ended and the city started to decay, the outpost at the island was abandoned and fell into ruin. The islands now again served the function as hideout, but never it was so richly populated as during Topa Blackblade’s time.
When Stratanian patriots started their rebellion against the government in Thalambath (474 b.S.) some of them fled as well to the Shoals. It maybe served as base of operation for a few rebels, but was not used in the same way, the rebels were never found in large numbers on the island, especially after a few search expeditions of the Thalambath army. When Strata finally recovered from centuries of poverty and chaos, in the end the outpost was re-established and the Stratanian banner proudly waved upon the winds above the Scattersand Shoals, as it does till today, along with the Santharian flag.
"The Scattersand Shoals", composed and performed by
Format: MP3, Length: 4:19, Original Title: "Buccaneer's Unity" from the album "Elsidox: Volume One". Piece was especially remixed for Santharian use.
Click here to download the song, use right-click and "Save as..." (3.94 MB).
to Zandiria", lyrics
written and sung by
Format: MP3, Length: 3:17. Original Santharian Work.
Click here to download the song, use right-click and "Save as..." (3.0 MB).