Serial Settings 1: Ubiquity ~ Week 26

The sixth month of this year’s Serial Setting for Ubiquity is looking at unusual residents or 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.

26) Dragon Spine, East Beach, Gretel Islets

The northern twin of the two small, verdant islands called Hansel and Gretel by the locals is the comparatively more beautiful of the two. Although once one island, a massive eruption blew the isle’s volcano apart, allowing the ocean in and dividing what was once one, into two, unequal parts. Tradition holds that locals do not pass between the two islands, on the grounds that a person should never come between family members.

The two islands are of course remarkably similar, although in the grand scheme of things the terrain of Hansel is notably the rougher of the two, with a hotter, more stifling atmosphere, as though Gretel were hoarding all the cool breezes and refreshing wind. As a result, more travel to Gretel to enjoy unspoiled natural vistas, and bask in the quiet and beauty. One of the breathtaking sights only to be found on Gretel is called Dragon Spine, and it resembles the spiky, curved spine of a mythological dragon so closely, one could almost believe, in the heat of a summer’s doze at least, that a dragon were frozen in stone just above the beach, forever denied access to the soothing blue waters of the Pacific; trapped just beyond the reach of the pure white sand.

From the brilliant sands of the eastern beach, looking up at the remains of the volcano, swathed in lush green, a snaking line of glittering black rock curves and recurves above the crests of the trees like a river of black through a plain of verdant foliage. Although the illusion fades if one takes the risk of penetrating the jungle to inspect the rock formation up close, from the water’s edge, the human eye will soon discern scales, spikes, and the semblance of life frozen in stone as if by a master sculptor. Braving the snakes, and other predators on Gretel to reach the rocks, reveals only volcanic stone, cracks descending deep into the Earth, and the grasping claws of the jungle, seeking to cover all in its path to the sea and sky.

Not so Usual a Suspect:  Gil Cavanaugh

Gil came to the Windlet Islands on a tramp steamer of ill-repute and worse luck literally and all-at-once by jumping ship and plunging into the sea. Hounded at first by the unsavory Captain and crew, he eventually managed to earn his freedom and – as the tale-spinners tell it – just one day after that ship left port bound for Hawaii, Gil traded a small, but precious gemstone for a small sailboat, and set a course for Hansel and Gretel with nothing but fresh water, a notebook, a pencil, a lantern, and a compass.

He was never seen again.

The boat was found beached on Gretel, but no sign of Gil Cavanaugh was ever found.

Some nights, under the new moon, fishermen swear they see a man with a lantern slowly picking his way down Dragon Spine, but if they have the courage to go ashore and search the jungle in the darkness, they find no trace of anyone.

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