Serial Setting 1: Week 17 ~ Ubiquity

This is the 17th installment of this year’s Serial Setting project, adding to my island setting in the South Pacific intended for use with Hollow Earth Expedition or Daring Tales of Adventure. Ostensibly a corporate holding off the usual shipping lanes, known to savvier career sailors in the region as a possible refuge between Pitcairn and French Polynesia, the Windlet Isles strangely represent both peaceful community living in an island paradise, and secrets perhaps best left unexplored. The next series of entries will reveal some of the landmarks on the islands, and continue fleshing out the many mysteries to be found in the interior.

17) Sullivan’s Fall / Sullivan’s Folly, Interior, Greater Windlet Island

In the days before the construction of the protective fence had been completed, more than a few adventurous souls would make the challenging journey to the breathtaking site originally known as Spear Head Falls. Although as dangerous then as now, few who thought of themselves as ‘men’ on the islands could bear the thought of not gazing on this magnificent water fall with their own eyes. Now that the fence has been erected, fewer and fewer are making the trek, but people still talk about it, and remember it. In particular, they remember the attraction’s most famous visitor – the one for whom it was renamed.

The falls themselves defy geological description at least so far as they spring from an unknown source somewhere higher and seemingly from within Mount Cairn; the water from which source is frigid. Although certainly not the tallest, nor largest falls in the world, the pool into which the waters plummet, and the sluice-like wall of rock down which the water torpedoes work together to make the falls roar deafeningly like a dragon, while wreathing the whole area in a fine mist. The area is often shrouded in clouds of fog due to the extreme temperature differentials, giving it an otherworldly quality. Sometimes, when the sun is able to burn off the fog, the whole area erupts in a coruscation of rainbows in all directions.

It is said that the pool is bottomless, and indeed does appear to open into a vast underground network of caves which glitter from crystal deposits that descend deeper than any diver has yet gone and lived to describe.

Usual Characters: Pat Sullivan, local legend

Pat Sullivan was once an overweight, lovable drunkard who was barely able to keep a laborer’s job at the docks. Despite the myriad threats of the interior, and despite having lost many companions over his years on the island, Sullivan, once fully lathered and lubricated, would invariably seek to goad others into making the trek to the falls to watch the sunrise over the mountain and through the mist.

“No sight on Earth can bring a man closer to God than that!” he’d sigh.

On one such foolish drunken expedition under a massive full moon, Sullivan got ahead of the other blessed fools in his party, and the one sober gunman who went along hoping to protect them all. Sullivan, arriving at the Falls before the others, disappeared, with only his cry of, “Blessed Light!” to alert the others and spur them into shambling runs into the clearing around the pool.

No sign of Sullivan was left, and it was eventually assumed he’d tumbled into the pool, been caught by some current, and drowned.  Five years passed, the first version of the Fence was constructed, and people began to forget their lost friend Pat Sullivan. Sullivan, however, did not forget them, and one night Fence guards caught site of a man running as though all the hounds of hell were chasing him through the jungle. Concentrating their fire, they bought him enough time to make it to their security tower to be pulled to safety.  

It was the same old Pat, but one with clear eyes, tanned skin, tattered clothes, and absolutely no desire to explain where he had been for a period of time which he clearly refused to believe until shown his gravestone and Reverend Conklin swore it was true. Pat initially sank into his old ways, drinking himself into a stupor at the Tart Banana, but just as sudden as his disappearance and reappearance, he cleaned himself up, got a job with the Company, and started a new life as a Fence Rider. Although old, and suffering numerous health problems from his decades as a drunkard, Pat never misses a day of work, and is known to his coworkers as an exemplary member of the team.

Pat’s hair has gone white from its former black, but his bleary brown eyes have grown sharp and focused. His frame still carries too much weight on its rounded shoulders, but under the sagging belly and loose skin lie hard, knotted muscles and a determination to survive. A first meeting, or chance encounter suggests a haunted look about him, but he can dispel it with a quick joke or comment on the beauty of the day.

Rumours: potentially heard in the Tart Banana or the Three Brothers’

  • Sullivan spent almost 5 years trapped in underground caves living on fungus and foul things, trying to find his way out
  • Sullivan slipped off the island to escape debts and returned once he’d earned enough to repay them
  • He was an opium addict as well as a drunk and went away to clear his head, his return is a relapse
  • Sullivan lived alone in the interior for the 5 years he was gone, making him the island’s preeminent hunter
  • Sullivan was summoned before the Administrator after his return. Their 2 day talk changed his life more than his 5 year absence
  • Sullivan treats the Fence Riders as a holy mission and their job as a crusade
  • He staunchly opposes the idea of people venturing into the interior
  • Sullivan is doing his best to master primitive weapons: construction and use of bows, stone axes, and spears

Truths:

 On their way!

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