The Drowned Isle
The Drowned Isle
A special consideration in any discussion of Clockwork Cove is the Drowned Isle. The officials in Areals, and most anyone in a position of authority anywhere you ask, will not include the Isle among the Cove’s communities. The rest of Crystalia—and, indeed, most Clockworkers, if asked—considers the Drowned Isle this realm’s unpleasant underbelly. The Isle is constructed on a vast reef, which appeared on no charts until after the Dark Consul’s war. Over the years, a number of ships had wrecked on its razor-sharp, stone-hard coral, and mariners could use them chart the edges of the hazard zone.
Or so they thought. Detailed notes on the reef’s size and shape are rare and contradictory, for the reef seems to have both expanded and contracted over the centuries. While possibly a natural phenomena, this variable size has never coincided with tides or other natural sea conditions. Some have speculated that the ebb and flow of magical power through the reef, or the work of a malign intelligence, is responsible. None have proven anything, however.
As the centuries passed and more ships caught on the coral, enterprising sailors began making use of the wrecks. Caches of food, fresh water, medicine, and ill-gotten treasures came first, but within a few years, several captains had established permanent bases and clearly delineated territories on the expanding network of dead ships. Simple matters of survival, and the natural desire to expand areas of influence, led to constructing platforms between the ships and gangways connecting the various areas. Eventually, a few ambitious captains commissioned the construction of wildly impractical craft specifically with the intention of catching them in the reef. Within a century, imported soil had created small green fields, multi-story structures precariously leaned into each other, and even landlubbers had begun referring to the strange community as the Drowned Isle.
The Isle is nothing like safe, even setting aside the pirates. The shifting nature of the reef rarely unseats vessels that make up the Isle’s core, but more distant or less well-supported craft have a nasty habit of coming unmoored and drifting away or sinking, often rapidly. The reef occasionally breaks up some ships, causing the supports for platforms and numerous bridges to collapse with little warning. Entire organizations are dedicated to the constant repair, maintenance, and expansion of the structures that make up the Isle. Indeed, the only thing resembling a universal “tax” (that is, funds collected by the various factions) on the Isle is specifically for preserving the food-growing areas and maintaining the town’s structure.
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