Serial Settings 1: Ubiquity ~ Week 25

The sixth month of this year’s Serial Setting for Ubiquity is looking at unusual residents and locations scattered around the mysterious Windlet Islands. The Serial Settings series of posts is intended to provide usable setting material for busy GMs. Series 1 is for those looking to run Daring Tales of Adventure or Hollow Earth Expedition in a tropical setting where the mystical merges with the mundane.

25) Leeward Cavern, West Beach, Hansel and Gretel Islets

Residents are well aware that at one time in the distant past the two small, verdant islands that are spoken of like brother and sister, were in fact a single island. A massive eruption blew the isle’s volcano apart, allowing the greedy pacific to rush in and fill the crater. Eventually, once the upheaval subsided a narrow channel remained through the center of the island, running East to West. Even in calm weather the narrowness of this straight presents choppy water and hidden dangers in the form of rocks and lesser known dangers. Locals do not pass between the two islands, saying cryptically that a person should never come between family members.

Around the isles are the same beautiful sandy beaches found about the others in the Windlet Island chain, and the same dense, hothouse of jungle coverage. Lava flows and the remnants of volcanic bombs twist and distort the landscape with curious shapes frozen in spattered stone, but overall lies the thick carpet of jungle. Too small to sustain the large communities found on Lysette Isle and Greater Windlet, Hansel and Gretel are vital parts of the community as they are maintained as orchards and local fishermen claim that the sea has blessed the waters around the isles with an abundance of fish willing to leap out of the depths and on to your plate. Many fisherman often come back with tales of sighting a fish that no one has ever seen before. These mystery fish almost always escape but from time to time the community will gather around an unusual treasure from the deeps. To date, however, no mermaid has ever been captured.

One of many dramatic views on the isles is to be found on the Western shore of Hansel, just at the tide line of a glittering black beach alternately referred to as West Beach or Leeward Beach. Massive stones known as Breadcrumbs to the locals spread out Westward in the brilliant blue surf off the twin coasts of the isles each with a more impossible shape than its neighbor. The beach itself is composed mainly of shattered volcanic glass and makes the simple act of walking a hazard, but taking the risk is worth it as it leads to a massive cavern clearly visible from the water which descends deep into the cracked stone walls of the mountainside and down into the earth. The mouth of the cavern is a wavering split in the stone which resembles a flame or the razor tooth of a shark. It is 5m wide at the base and runs up the side of the volcano for approximately 15m. No one has charted all the different passages within, mostly because they are too small or require extended periods of crawling. As the cavern floods at high tide, the prevailing belief of the locals is that this is a highly effective way to drown and not much else. One route that is very popular, however, is a steep descent filled with glittering cave walls and unusual twists and turns, that passes under the channel, deep under the ocean floor, and lets out in a cavern just above the sandy white North Beach of Gretel which holds a small grotto with clear warm water, and walls streaked with crystal. Not visible from the beach or the air, this hidden grotto is a popular spot for weddings and promises of love, and a source of madness and frustration for aspiring artists trying to render it in paint, on film, or in sculpture. The very nature of the place defies description and as such – it goes unnamed.

Usual Suspects: Vernon Murphy

Vernon Murphy travels to Leeward beach every day. He rises early, packs a lunch, gets in his small boat, and makes the trip west from Greater Windlet Island alone. He returns almost everyday, usually well after sunset, exhausted and dirty. He seems exceedingly disinterested in human contact, but can be polite when cornered.

He is a tall man, stoop-shouldered with receding blonde hair, heavy-framed glasses, and frequently sports a bad sunburn. He keeps his clothing and equipment in good repair, and seems in decent enough health, but is becoming known as a figure of obsession around the docks.

Rumours: heard primarily among the dock workers and fisher folk of the islands

  • He used to stay at the Three Brothers’ and later at some well-known guest houses, but now rents his own dwelling
  • A maid at the Three Brothers’ claimed he keeps nothing in his room but a large metal steamer trunk and a radio
  • He always pays his bills on time, in cash, with no complaint, no attempt to negotiate and no conversation
  • He has a brutal regimen of physical exercise and is thought to be in better shape than a lot of younger men
  • He eats the same thing every day!
  • He once, or maybe more than once, has brought back large, smooth, spheroid objects he doesn’t want anyone to see
  • His accent places him as an American, but no one but Reynard knows from where in the States he hails
  • He has a powerful radio, but never uses it to communicate or receive messages

Truths:

Soon!

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