Echoes of Eternity
Crashing waves and jagged rocks off the darkened Coast are the first sights new arrivals to the Colony experience, an unwelcome greeting to an unwelcome land. Along the Coast, treacherous reefs make landings by ships nearly impossible in all but a few sheltered coves – and even there only experienced sailors dare make the journey.
The dark basalt stone which makes up the colonial Bedrock has been eroded into jagged organic protrusions and beaches of black sand.
Locals have found the Oceans to be teeming with aquatic life, though the common fish and crustaceans are interspersed with stranger slippery things, uncategorized by modern zoology.
Southwest of the Colony is an overgrown morass of thorns and branches known locally simply as “The Forest.” Attempts to tame it have met with almost uniform failure, a decade of dedicated logging making barely a dent in the thick tangle, though it has revealed odd stately ruins of some previous lost colony; pillars and cut stone blocks lost amid the plant life.
Animals in the forest are savage and primal creatures, displaying none of the skittishness that would be expected of wild beasts, yet retaining their savagery. Disappearances are common in and around The Forest, with only a lucky few families ever finding the gnawed-on remains of their loved-ones.
A constant looming shadow on the western horizon, dusk comes more quickly to the colony than many new arrivals would otherwise expect, the setting sun blocked by its jagged range. They are nearly impassable to even experienced mountaineers who have braved attempting to scale its peaks.
The towering cliffs are pierced intermittently by deep unexplored clefts, and geologists of the Court have reported that the deeper mountains are likely Volcanic in nature, finding no other explanation for the strange geography.
Buried in the mountains, unnaturally geometric blocks of stone give the impression of gargantuan ruins, cut or grown from the mountainsides by gods in some age undreamed of. Explorers who have made camp around these structures have complained of recurring headaches and indescribable nightmares.
Where the Forest meets the Coast is a stiflingly humid patch of fetid swampland. Though the Twitching Antiquarian insists there is ample evidence the first Crown Colony was settled in or near the swamp, no sane governor would seek to establish a permanent settlement in such a place. Salt water brought in by tidal currents mixes with water from the mountain rivers to create an ecosystem that seems inimical to all life except for the countless insects and squirming things which feed on such rot and decay.
LOCATIONS OF INTEREST
Location: The Mountains
A recent craze for antiquities among the wealthy of the Court sponsored this archaeological dig. It seeks to uncover and study the remains of numerous ruined colonies from past nations, all lost and abandoned, in order to ship their relics home at a healthy profit.
The Antiquarian oversees the dig, a neurotic woman with a passion for the ancient and unknown, who is neurotically insistent that every artifact be treated with utmost delicacy. Turnover at the dig is high, as few workmen can live up to her exacting standards of precision and care.
Location: The Forest
Seated inside the very edge of the dark and tangled forest near the Colony, the Retreat is a sanitarium by any other name. It cultivates a distinguished clientele of madmen and artists who, banished from polite society, find their way to the colony to escape. Luxurious accommodations await those with money, while dingy cells and confining garments find those less fortunate souls.
Regardless, the owner is an oddly cheery gentleman who is rarely seen outside of The Retreat itself except by those who he has come to collect.
THE LOGGING CAMP
Location: The Forest
Surrounded by a fragile palisade, the Logging Camp was established by a hardy group of settlers from a Tributary Nation, seeking to escape the reaching grasp of the Court and retain some semblance of national pride. They are a fiercely independent lot, and many whisper that they shelter the bandits who prey on travelers and isolated farmsteads of the Colony.
A surly Lumberjack named Geoffry Holzfaller leads the small population of the Logging Camp with a fierceness that borders on savagery.
THE FISHING HAMLET
Location: The Coast
Even the occupants of the Fishing Hamlet seem to have forgotten its name, but this small cluster of crumbling stone and thatch hovels on the bleak and savage shore is all that remains of an earlier attempt at colonization by a fallen kingdom centuries ago. Nobody knows what happened to reduce it to its current sorry state, but economic isolation brought by the conquest of its parent State by the Crown is considered the most likely cause. Indeed, that the settlers held on at all without supply deliveries was considered miraculous by the first governor of the Colony, who expected to find the lands entirely abandoned.
Location: The Swamp
Count in Exile
The Chateau is the original seat of the Colony governor, from the first colonization attempts by the Crown a century ago. Though initially successful, the first Colony suffered an unknown disaster, being found by annual supply ships utterly abandoned without a soul surviving.
Recently, a gentleman of noble bearing established himself in the long-abandoned and crumbling Chateau. Claiming to be the heir to the estate, he titled himself Count Tomas Le Faim and settled into the grounds. Though hardly less overgrown, his retinue of companions have recently begun to hold decadent feasts in this ruin overlooking the swamp. Visiting dignitaries and nobles-in-exile have found their way to The Chateau as guests in a decaying mirror of the courtly intrigues of the Crown Holdings.
Location: The Swamp
Description: The grounds of the Chateau and surrounding farms serve as a buffer between the Colony proper and the crumbling palace occupied by the Count in Exile. A scattered confederation of peasants make up the community of the Holdings, offering taxes and obeisance to the Chateau in lieu of central Gubernatorial authority.