|The Bloomenwald Isles|
|Realm||The Jewelled Cities|
|Resources||Grape Lotus, Thundersheet Plants|
The Bloomenwald islands are a chain of well worn islands linked with coral reefs and atolls. Short beaches of white sand surround each island. The remainder of the islands are covered with massive growths of vines and flowering plants of an immense variety. Trees, almost exclusively fast-growing bamboo, are prominent as well. This is attributable to the massive ocean currents which keep the islands from getting too warm or too cold. The islands are home to numerous species of hummingbird, butterfly, and other nectar and fruit eating birds and insects. The atolls and reefs are full of colorful fish. Oddly, predators seem largely absent on land and sea, with exception of deep-water species. The elevated hills that comprise the central portion of each island are tall enough to form a wind break, providing ample rain to the area. Most islands have thermal pools heated from deep in the earth as well. There are only three main features:
Seal Island is the eastern and southern most island in the chain. It juts out into a deep dropoff, making it ideal for schooling fish. Vast colonies of seals live along its rock-strewn beaches, and large sharks and killer whales prowl the depths. Numerous small settlements of bamboo huts dot the island, home to the people when they are not enthralled by the blooms. The Grand Springs are a series of interconnected hot springs that take up several square miles of one of the central islands. It holds the largest concentration of grape-lotus in the chain. The air is always thick with the pollen from the floating plants. The very ground is stained a deep red. At any time, a full twenty percent of the islands population can be found enthralled here, changed to little more than mindless pollinators.
The Brown Volcano is the largest of the islands, and generally the most north west. A large mud volcano occupies the center of the island. It appears to be a tall, regularly shaped, 4 sided pyramid. Yet it is of such a scale that it is impossible for it to be a crafted structure. It regularly spews hot mud and dirt into the air from its caldera. This dirt is carried downwind, bringing nutrient rich powder to the other islands and feeding the massive blooms. It is also responsible for the noxious ammonia smell. Anyone attempting to explore the slope of the volcano is likely to die from ammonia poisoning.
The natives, if they can be called that, are largely Sterkelv or Caercian stock, with light brown skin, dark hair and thin eyes. They are very thinly muscled, more wiry than strong. Their hair is worn long, and men sport long beards. They are a primitive group, subsisting on seal and fish when aware, and feasting on the numerous nutritious blooms and fruits of the island when enthralled. They live in bamboo and vine huts where they choose to settle. Some tanning of seal and shark hide is accomplished, but they have little true industry.
They are anarchic, possessing no government. Those capable of considered thought admit that the islands themselves are in control of their lives. They are merely thralls to the various pollinting seasons of the flowers. As the winds carry the pollen or the thundersheet plants vibrate to the sound of the pollinating birds, the people are affected terribly. They lose their will and move into the island chain, following the scent trails. For days, or months, or years, they live as little more than animals moving from plant to plant, spreading seeds and pollen as the psychotropics demand. Often, they manage to break free for a few hours or days at a time and attempt to travel back to Seal Island and their nominal home. But then another scent, or another fruit will enthrall them again for a time.
The islands posses uncountable numbers of plants whose stems, leaves, flowers, or fruits hold potential value as a commodity. Two in particular hold promise for export. First is the Thundersheet plant. It is a high climbing vine with thin gray/green leaves The leaves have fine hair-like extensions on one side, and deeply grooved thick edge on the other. It enhances sounds made nearby and broadcasts it. Naturally occurring around other flowering plants, it feeds off of hummingbird droppings. Its sound enhancing abilities call the birds to the flowering plants from miles away. Round pieces of leaf stuffed into bamboo will amplify the human voice considerably.
The second is the Grape Lotus. A flowering lotus that floats on warm, sulfur laden water, it has a spongy middle with a thick syrup inside. It is a highly addictive narcotic that reduces the mental capacity of the consumer. The lotus eater will move about, covered in the thick syrupy pollen, spreading it from plant to plant. In small doses, it can be a potent painkiller.
Beyond these two, there are hundreds of others awaiting exploitation. The sap of a tendrilla vine is a potent antiseptic and wound salve. Several species of fruit have enough nutrition that one piece could sustain a man for a full day. Another plant seems to render the skin impervious to sunburn. Each, however, comes with a cost. The benefit serves the plant’s reproductive cycle first and foremost in some fashion. Being thralls to the plants, their clothing suffers terribly. Most does not survive more than a month or two. Most of the population of thralls wander about largely naked. As such, any type of clothing is welcome.
They have no organized religion. Each person practices whatever they believed when they came to the islands. However, there is a strong reverence for the Sun here. While under the influence of the plants’ psychotropics, a person’s head is the most lucid when they first wake up in the morning. Seeing the sun, they often move towards it for a time until they succumb again. “Follow Yellow” is a simple mantra quickly learned and easy to remember. It is what allows so many of the lost to find their way back to the far eastern islands, where they can become lucid again for a time.
First Person Accounts of the Bloomenwald Edit
Preliminary report from Captain Norma Spineraider, Captain of the "Child of Fortune
My ship uncovered a string of low islands to the southeast of the Sea of Glass. The Pono al a Ono were correct in their guesses. They really understand ocean currents better than anyone land dweller.
I have dubbed the region the Bloomenvald Islands for they are covered in flowery blooms from shore to shore. We sailed about them for several days, mapping the lands and reefs. No boats nor shore settlements were visible.
I lead a landing party ashore to determine if there were native peoples. One of our first discoveries were a high climbing vine with thin gray/green leaves The leaves have fine hair-like extensions on one side, and deeply grooved thick edge on the other. Some species of hummingbird buzzed past, and the sound of its wings were made louder. It sounded like distant thunder. I have named the plant a "Thundersheet Vine" and included several samples.
Hummingbirds and flowers are everywhere in this vast garden. The air is cloyingly sweet to the point of faintness and nausea. I ordered only short journeys into the verdance. We spent several days making short trips on multiple islands. We did not encounter any any natives, but collected many samples. However, several of my crew failed to return and I grew concerned for their safety. The flower forest was so thick, tracking proved impossible.
It was almost a week after our first expedition that we discovered why our men disappeared, and where the natives were. We came across a large thermal pool. It was fresh water tinged with sulfur from the thermal vent heating it. Across the water floated a species of giant lotus, deep red in color and nearly a foot across in bloom. We dubbed it Grape Lotus Around the shore lay several dozen humans, including one of our crew, in a stupor. Their lips, faces, hands and arms were smeared with the purplish nectar. The sweet smell made us dizzy, and we dragged our compatriot out of there and back to the boat.
Over the next 24 hours, the man exhibited the most unusual behavior. When he was lucid, he begged, pleaded, and fought to go back to the island. We had to physically restrain him and even then he fought his bonds to the point of injury. When he wasn’t lucid, he was gripped with shakes, sweats, and fevers. The Lotus appears to be a highly addictive narcotic of some sort. I issued orders to leave the islands immediately, lest I lose more crew.