|Notable Wildlife:||Kaxat Goats, Dire Galagos, Giant Owls, misc. Veth wildlife|
|Notable Settlements:||Sildreki, Minkdreki, Mantapeska, Golfrinth|
|Inhabitants:||Mostly human, Demi-human minority|
|Common Languages:||Arangothek, Common|
|Population:||8,000 - 8,500|
Goat Island is a relatively new island on the geological timescale, which erupted from the sea due to tectonic and volcanic forces millennia ago, and as such has no native ancestral population since it formed separately from the mainland continents. Its inhabitants are the descendants of mostly Arangothian stock that migrated there, however, many can also trace their lineage back to immigrants from various nations in the surrounding seas, such as Aslar and Rondis from back when its kingdom stretched to the edge of the Southern Sea.
Over the centuries the powers that held sway over the island changed hands, with no singular force leaving its mark on the land and its inhabitants, enjoying its distance from those attempting to shape the borders on the mainland continents. While Arangoth itself held claim over it, it waxed and waned hand in hand of the Kingdoms own rise and fall from prominence, its control being tenuous at best. It wasn't until the Year 473 that the island was steadfastly solidified as Arangothian soil as the new Sithire of Southern Arangoth appointed Branth ul-Rexanit Silrath as steward of Goat Island.
Under Silrath's watch the island became as reasonably peaceful and prosperous by any account, until the appearance of Drogyoldiiv the Terrifying in the Year 484. Goat Island abruptly found itself cut off from the mainland, both figuratively and literally as the wyrm laid siege to the region. Unlike Drache, the island did not have the benefit of a plethora of adventurers to come to its aid, and with Southern Arangoth's falling out with the Northern Crownlands, the island was essentially forgotten and left to fend for itself and its own fate. Silrath, perhaps assuming that the Crown would eventually come to its aid, put up as much resistance as it could muster, which resulted in the destruction and razing of the old port of Minkdreki almost in its entirety before it had no choice but to submit to the wyrm's demands and bled the island of its resources. Silrath, financially ruined, committed suicide a year and a half before adventurers liberated Drache from Drogyoldiiv in the Year 486, leaving the island devoid of any singular leadership through til the end of Southern Arangoth's Civil War and the formation of the Duchy of Transdariania in the Year 487.
It wasn't until the following Year of 488 that Floxod Uzzo Salksilek (Now currently Arangire Uzzo Salksilek and Thron ul-Bain ul-Silbranth) was awarded stewardship of Goat Island by the Sithire of Transdariania, Isabelle Auxerre, that the island finally had any measure of leadership reestablished under the Transdarianian banner. It has since become a thriving economic province and now fields one of the most dangerous naval forces in the region under the banner of the Southern Margrave.
Due South from the Transdarianian mainland in the South Sea, immediately South of the port city of Drache, directly west of Hell's Eye, and north/northwest of the Reef of Tears.
Behind the Name
Goat Island earned its moniker by the eponymous and voracious herds of feral goats that wreaked havoc on both its ecology and economy in its past, originally introduced from foreign stocks by traders and merchants with disastrous consequences. (See Notable Wildlife entry for more on Kaxat Goats). The shape of the island also vaguely resembles a goat's head, though chances are this detail is just a superficial attempt to gloss over a poorly planned and executed man made disaster.
Silekhorna (Maritime Fortress)
This naval stronghold, whose construction was finished late in the Year 488, is manned and operated by the Navy of Transdariania and is under the direct command of the Lord Admiral of the Navy. The establishment of the stronghold itself and its construction is being undertaken by the new steward as part of the deal concerning the exchange of the island's territory. The stronghold, and a small portion of the land and water in its immediate surroundings, are the sole property of the navy, and are technically the only parts of the island not considered under territorial claim by the island's steward. Its function is to serve as an outpost from which the navy can project its force further into the Southern Sea, as well as allowing navy vessels a port in which to undertake maintenance, repairs and restock supplies without relying on Drache proper. The stronghold itself overlooks the harbour of Sildreki, offering it a superior position from which not only to defend itself, but the port beyond.
Sildreki (Eastern Port)
The new main port of Goat Island. Settlement numbers have swelled significantly, which consists heavily of refugees from Minkdreki that migrated to the area during its seige and subsequent destruction. The port infrastructure fared far better than its western counterpart, having survived the wyrm's siege relatively intact, although it wasn't on par with the extensive system that thrived under the endorsement of the island's previous steward. Its newest steward, however, has settled on this call of port as its new port of prominence for trader and naval presence, both of its own private maritime holdings and the Transdariania naval stronghold slated for construction in defense of its harbour. While Silekhorna acts in defense of the harbour, Transdarianian assets and territorial waters, the privately operated Port Authority and any measures of defense of the island and its territorial waters as a whole also falls under the steward's purview.
The Undertower, as suggested by its name, is a settlement nestled in the shadows of the Cold Towers. Originally founded as a trading post for the various mining and lumbering operations, taking advantage of its location sandwiched between the The Cold Towers and The Green Sea. Its numbers swelled over its tenure, partly due to increased activity in the aforementioned fields, but also due to the "complimentary" business practices that go hand in with isolated trading hubs, which labourers with pockets laiden with wages are apt to seek out for purposes of entertainment. Stories of miners striking it big on a rich vein, only to find themselves without two rixtle to rub together after a particularly hard bender aren't exactly uncommon in these parts. Various artisans can also be found here, taking advantage of the bounty of the mountains and forest as well, which includes carpenters and woodworkers, but particularly when it comes to ceramics and pottery due to the plentiful supplies of various high quality clays. Best described as a bit on the "Rough and Tumble" side of societal norms, though perhaps it's more accurate to say it's exactly what one should expect from the mixture of community fixtures and labour force.
Mantapeska (Cauldron Lake)
This settlement is less of a single cohesive village and more of a collection of habitations focused around the vicinity of the lake from which it takes its name, Cauldron Lake, the largest fresh water source on the island, which also holds the distinction as the deepest body of water on the island as well. The vast majority of those settled in the region are farmers or herders, utilizing the large expanse of relatively flat, fertile land in the western reaches of the island, while fishing hamlets are a common sight around the edge of the Cauldron Lake proper.
Minkdreki (Western Port)
The old capital port of Goat Island. Drache did not suffer alone under the machinations of Drogyoldiiv the Terrifying, and amongst the settlements upon the island the old port suffered the heaviest of damages, with a good portion of its infrastructure having been razed over the course of the dragon's seige as it found itself cut off from support from the mainland. Ultimately most of its population fled away from the coast, dispersing amongst inland communities and abadoning the port as a practical ghost town. The old stone fort that overlooks the harbour sits in ruins, the same as much of its remaining infrastructure, serving as both a relic of the old port as well as scars of Drogyoldiiv's wrath. Even after the wyrm was slain, reconstruction efforts have been relatively minimal and slowed by the lack of a centralized leadership after the ancient wyrms defeat, though some of the former inhabitants that have fled and not taken up root in Sildreki have slowly returned . Under the new steward's tenure these reconstruction efforts were picked up, and Minkdreki now serves as a fortified port of military designation under the stewards banner. The island's Port Authority and navy keeps the port and its surrounding territorial waters secure from any unsavoury activity, which are supported by guards stationed on-land to keep the peace and safe from any threats, both foreign and domestic.
Most Noted Geographical Features
The footprint of the island itself is roughly eighty (80) square miles in total, while its territorial waters stretch further beyond its shores.
Siren Song Bay
Quite possibly one of the most dangerous maritime locations on the entire island, a namesake that it lives up to, not due to any supernatural reasons or even creatures known from which it takes its name, but rather due to the underlying dangers from which it earned its reference. From a simple glance this protected inlet feeds into a larger bay beyond, and to any passing sailor or seafarer has the appearance of an ideal location for a harbour or to moor a vessel safely from the swells of the ocean beyond. However, just below its seemingly serene waterline hides an untold number of shifting shoals and rocky outcroppings, which would spell disaster for even the most nimble and experienced of vessels regardless of size. Many a seafarer lured in by its appearance has fallen victim to the "Siren's Call" offered by its calm waters, only to find themselves run aground and stranded upon a sand bar, or their hulls dashed split open upon the rocks before quickly joining those that came before them at the bottom of the bay. It becomes readily apparent why this location in particular, despite its appearances, had not been developed into a port by the natives after having experienced its dangers first hand. One of the newest settlements on the island has staked its ground here, under the auspice and support of the steward's wife, Gudrun Salksilek, and consists of selkie refugees from the South Ice Sea along with nearby inland hamlets.
Dibefrinth (Cold Towers) Mountain Range
"The Cold Towers" are a line of mountain ranges that divide the northern end of the island in two, and also hold the distinction of being the highest points of elevation on the island. Habitation is relatively sparse due to the rugged terrain and altitude, but there are several groups that call these heights home, either tending to herds of- or hunting the populations of feral Kaxat Goats. Rumours of Dire specimens have been whispered, however, these remain speculation. Giant Tannis Owls are a fairly common sight in the skies overhead, as the region is utilized by "The Barn" to train owls and their riders, as well as take advantage of the plentiful feral herds of Kaxat goats to keep these giant avians well fed. Both northern and southern wyverns, along with hybrids bred from the two species have also been growing in numbers here to serve as aerial security for the territory, while The Barn itself has expanded and taken on more of an inland fortress appearance as its construction continues and grows.
Peralsil (The Green Sea)
As its name might suggest, this veritable sea of extremely thick forested area surrounds most of The Cold Towers mountain range, even swallowing the lower elevations of its slopes. As one might suspect lumbering operations and hunting are the staple of operations within, however its expanses are littered with sparse and generally isolated settlements. Its eastern edge is home to quite a number of small farming and herding communes to take advantage of the bounty of the forest without contending with the rigors of life within it. Numerous species of live oak, long-leaf and red pine, boxwood, acacia and ash can be found here, along with all manner of miscellaneous flora and fauna that call The Green Sea home. There are whispered rumours of rare herbs and plants with strange qualities to be found here, though information concerning them and their properties has yet to be substatiated. Due to the expansive collection of oak trees, oak galls are commonly gathered to be sold to market for ink production, along with gum arabic harvested from acacia trees.
As one might expect from its namesake, the island exports ample quantities of quality goatskin and kidskin products along with goatskin hides and pelts thanks to its sizable herding populations of Kaxat Goats. While goat milk is a local staple, its short shelf life means exported dairy products are limited to an array of goat cheeses and "Zigri" milk, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented goats milk originally from Aslar as indicated by its namesake, which translates to "Strong Milk". As with any island, fish and seafood are also staple foodstuffs, though it also means very little of it sees foreign markets due to the issue of transportation, so most if not all of these are exported as salted or brined products, though the islands position deeper into the Southern Sea also avails them a wide array of non-coastal and non-continental shelf species to bring to market and take advantage of certain niches within the markets.
From the Dibefrinth mountain ranges flows a steady supply of copper, tin, lead and silver veins and ores. Adamant ore mining, while not entirely uncommon in the mountains to an extent, suffers from a lack of large veins, and is instead interspersed heavily and in small pockets, so steady supply and extraction rates suffer due to the constant need to locate new sources. Bitumen deposits are plentiful in some portions of the range, a pitch that's very valuable in ship building circles for its waterproofing capabilities as ship caulking, as well as an additive in construction mortars. A rather unique method of slowly boiling bitumen to rid it of the higher fractions is utilized by local artisans, which when layered upon objects becomes hardened and extremely durable, far moreso than lacquering, which can be used to cover items that require waterproofing (and aesthetic purposes due to its glossy black sheen) such as scabbards and other items. This substance is also used in moulds to cast statuettes and other pieces of artwork. From the mountains come a variety of clays, which are used to produce brick, as well as ceramics and pottery whose art is reminiscent of the native tradesmen's Rondissian origins, but distinct enough to be considered their own seperate styles and techniques. Woodworking products and lumber is also one of the mainstays that flows out of the Green Sea, utilizing its plentiful supply of various species of trees. Oaks galls are also collected from the Green Sea and sold to market for the production of ink, along with gum arabic harvested from acacia trees.
A wide variety of agriculture products can be found growing here, with staples such as cereal grains, and sources of flax and hemp for textiles. The largest crop product in comparison is corn, which is used locally and exported as animal feed, corn flours, and used heavily in alcohol production for "Sallat Kisarx", which in Arangothek translates to "Bottled Lightning", which is a very apt namesake for it due to the distilled liquor's extremely high alcohol content, though locals just refer to it as "Kisarx" (Lightning). Due to the steward's special dispensation, vast plantations and fields of poppy have cropped up around the island, along with the economic implications it brings to its export market.
Kaxat Goats (Foreign Goats)
This breed is relatively small and are uncommonly fine-boned and deer-like. While coats can vary in colour and pattern, the black-and-brown "buckskin" pattern is by far the most common and dominates the spectrum. Both males and females are horned, and contrary to their namesake, lengthy isolation eventually developed them into a genetically distinct breed from their foreign ancestors. Initially introduced to Goat Island by aspiring merchants, herders and hunters due to a lack of any large native mammals, intending on utilizing them for their meat, dairy and hides to fill this niche. However, this also meant that there were no natural predators suited to contending with the species, and ultimately, the scenario played out in a manner anyone with an ounce of wisdom and foresight could have predicted. Poorly mismanaged herds exploded in population and wreaked havoc, resulting in a large feral population displacing and rendering extinct several native island species of flora and fauna in the process. Through joint efforts these feral populations have been scoured from the island, though several pockets still exist in the mountain ranges of the Cold Towers. Domesticated herds are still quite prevalent, however, punitive laws and fines were inevitably instituted, and anyone willfully (or unwillfully) releasing them into the wilds faces very unsavoury consequences.
This non-native species inadvertantly escaped from a merchant vessel on layover in port, which was en route to Drache with a supply of exotic animals from Mwayambi. Most were recaptured, however, a breeding population took up residence within the Green Sea, where they've proliferated and adapted to their new home quite swiftly. Perhaps due to having less natural predators than they had to contend within Mwayambi, or some confluence of environmental and other outside factors, this species of Galago has taken on the dire moniker, which has resulted in them growing to the size of large house cats, which is indeed a dire size in comparison to their ancestors. Despite being nocturnal, these small primates have large eyes that avail them good vision in both daylight and at night. Strong hind limbs and long tails to help balance make them incredibly agile and capable of jumping long distances between trees and branches while traversing the forest they call home. Their acute hearing is thanks to their large bat-like ears, which are folded back to protect these delicate instruments as they move through thickets. Their diets consist mostly of insects, but also include fruits, tree gums and even other small animals. Culling efforts are generally minimal, partly because they're extremely difficult to actually trap or hunt, and partly due to how adorable these creatures are, which is compounded further by being viewed as omens of good luck. The latter is due to the creatures having eradicated a species of wood weevil on the island that was decimating several species of trees the that the local foresters livelihoods depend upon, so most island denizens were raised to have a soft spot for the furry little critters.
Giant Tannis Owl
While not a native species, these specimens have been introduced as aerial security to the island by its newest steward, which are being bred and trained along with their riders from 'The Barn' west of Sildreki. This giant species of owl have base colors ranging from grayish, brownish, or reddish-brown (rufous). The upper parts of its body and wings are flecked with white, while the breast and belly are paler with dark, spidery streaks. Their facial discs are generally pale gray in colour, outlined with dark arcs and distinct long ear tufts, or "horns", that typically point straight up like exclamation marks. Despite their size, their bodies are adapted for silent flight and precision hunting. Flight feathers with fringed edges and downy surfaces mute the sound of the Giant Tannis Owl’s passage through air. Aside from the impressive vision their massive pale ochre eyes offer them, even moreso during their natural nocturnal hours, they possess incredible hearing due to their asymmetrically placed ear openings and large, sound-catching facial disks. Mature adults are generally 10' in length (though they seem relatively shorter while standing, perched or roosting, their feathers giving them a squat, fat appearance), and adults can have wingspans between 25' and 35', allowing them to carry two average human passengers (or one lightly armed and armoured passenger) with relative ease.
Gentaknepse (Burnt Serpent)
These innovative ships take design cues from both the carrack and caravel, the combination of which distinguishes itself by its combined sails, mostly featuring four masts with a configuration of three lanteen sails and a fore-mast with two square sails. The hull design is proportionally narrower in width and longer than the caravel, distinguished also by the sterncastle, which is elongated and projected further backwards, and more complex with its minimum of two-deck castle-like gun decks on diagonal gradation in length. Another feature that distinguishes it from the caravel is the existence of a lower forecastle and a long beak, which projects forward from the bow below the level of the forecastle. The result is a vessel with a narrower and more elongated hull than ships of larger size that bears resemblance to the galleass, with lower lines, aftercastle and forecastle. Their length-to-width ratio between 3:1 and 4:1 and narrow, ellipsoidal frames (unlike the carrack and caravel) results in a very fast and maneuverable vessel that has heavily sacrificed cargo capacity, which is emphasized further by their innovative inner hull structures shared amongst all classes, a cross section of which would appear as an almost wishbone-like interior. Vertical live oak framing (between 8-18" thick) is sandwiched between horizontal white oak exterior planking (ranging 4-8" thick) and longleaf pine interior horizontal planking of the same thickness. The result is a thick, armoured bulwark that only the heaviest of cannons stand a chance of penetrating, the lesser of which will quite literally bounce off, while the impact is absorbed and displaced to significantly reduce any chance of interior splintering, the leading cause of injury and death during ship to ship assaults. As such, these vessels require comparatively much more lumber to construct to such specifications.
These vessels are designed and purpose-built solely to serve as ships of conflict, specifically as short-range interdiction vessels, their impressive speed and maneuverability coupled with heavy armaments, capable of traversing the coastal shallows and the open sea with equal ease and capability. Due to their largely reduced cargo capabilities these vessels require accompanying supply ships for extended oceanic jaunts, which is often a role filled by contemporary carracks or other support ships. Typical armaments range from twenty guns up to eighty on larger variants, adhering to a standard of quality over quantity by fielding only high poundage cannon. All of these vessels regardless of size field an aft bombard style mortar as well as some manner of forward basilisk, impressive ten-to-thirty foot long cast bronze cannons designed to fire a munition ranging from 32lbs to 160lbs respectively, its namesake is aptly taken from the beast of the same name that can 'kill a man from a glance alone'.
The namesake of these vessels, The Gentaknepse, or The Burnt Serpents in Common tongue, is due in part to the slender, elongated appearance of their hulls, as well as their unpainted, black and grey hued alligator skin-like texture patterns resulting from a closely guarded wood preservation and treatment process accomplished by exposure to flame and sealed with an alchemical solution. The end result makes the lumber highly waterproof, and more impressively, highly fire resistant. A similar process is utilized on their sails, giving them their distinct cloudy grey colouration, however their resistance to fire is inferior in comparison for obvious reasons.
The Gentaknepse are seperated into four classes:
The smallest of these is the Elaphe, which features three-masts with lanteen sails on the mizzenmast and mainmast, with a square-rigged sail and large trapeziodal topsail on the foremast . The Elaphe's are the swiftest and most plentiful vessels in the fleet, and as such are common sights in the northeastern South Sea region as they patrol in pairs. They are heavily armed for their size, and due to their design they're capable of tangling with and harassing larger vessels.
- Length: 65'
- Beam: 18'
- 20x broadside guns, additional heavy portable culverins
- 8x Thirty-two pounders
- 6x Twenty-four pounders
- 6x Eighteen pounders
- 1x 10' 24-pounder basilisk bow chasing cannon
- 1x aft mortar
The Cottonmouth features four-masts with lanteen sails on the mizzenmast, mainmast and jigger mast, with a square-rigged sail and large trapeziodal topsail on the foremast. The Cottonmouth's are very swift and maneuverable ships for their size, which along with their heavy armaments means they're capable of standing their ground with vessels easily twice their size in a fight. If one spots an Elaphe, there's often a Cottonmouth lurking in the area nearby to render assistance.
- Length: 85'
- Beam: 32'
- 20x broadside guns, additional heavy portable culverins
- 12x Thirty-two pounders
- 12x Twenty-four pounders
- 12x Eighteen pounders
- 1x 10' 32-pounder basilisk bow chasing cannon
- 1x aft mortar
The Kingsnake features four-masts with lanteen sails on the mizzenmast, mainmast and jigger mast, with a square sail and large trapeziodal topsail on the foremast with an additional square bow spirit sail. Kingsnake's are very heavily armed for their size, but retain the speed and maneverability one would expect from comparable vessels. If a combination of Elaphe and Cottonmouth's aren't capable of dealing with a threat, the aptly named Kingsnake's venom will bring a swift death to its enemies when it brings its armaments into a fight.
- Length: 150'
- Beam: 42'
- 60 guns, additional heavy portable culverins
- 16x Sixty-four pounders
- 14x Thirty-two pounders
- 14x Twenty-four pounders
- 16x Eighteen-pounders
- 2x 20' Sixty-four pounder basilisk bow chasing cannons
- 2x Thirty-six bow chasing cannons
- 1x aft mortar
The largest of the Gentaknepse are the Ophidian class, which features four-masts with lanteen sails on the mizzenmast, mainmast and jigger mast, with a square sail and large trapeziodal sail on the foremast with an additional square bow spirit sail. Apart from being the largest of the Burnt Serpents, the Ophidian's bulwark, framing and masts are crafted from Thymvraan Oak as opposed to live oak. Ophidian's are ship killers, there's no two ways about it, rarely do they make appearances outside of war time or emergency operations, but when these juggernauts show up to a fight a single Ophidian can turn the tide of a battle with ease. Swifter than other vessels her size, she can take an absurd amount of damage from enemy guns and batteries and continue fighting unimpeded, which is assisted by her large assortment of heavy cannons it brings to bear. Its one-hundred-and-sixty pounder basilisk is capable of cutting a ship its own size in half with a single shot, with over-the-horizon range capabilities that means they can engage before they're ever seen.
- Length: 200'
- Beam: 50'
- 80x guns, additional heavy portable culverins
- 24x Sixty-four pounders
- 28x Thirty-six pounders
- 28x Twenty-four pounders
- 1x 30' One-hundred-and-sixty pounder basilisk bow chasing cannon
- 2x Sixty-four pounder bow chasing cannons
- 2x aft mortars
Each of these vessels sports a compliment heavy portable culverins on the upper decks, which are supported by swivel mountings and feature back-loading sabots to facilitate reloading ease and speeds.
The Black Marche
The origins of The Black Marche is based on the vessel dragged from the depths of the South Sea by Uzzo Salksilek, which was originally registered, reconstructed and then re-christened as The Black Belle, which was then gifted by Uzzo Salksilek and his wife Gudrun Salksilek to the Sithire of Transdariania to serve as the duchy's new flagship. The second Black Marche was recreated based on the design of The Black Belle, which was to serve as its sister flagship of the Goat Island fleet once Arangire Salksilek was made the Southern Margrave. The origins of the third Black Marche are, at best, a bit muddled. While it bears the namesake and design of the vessel in question, it wasn't constructed and instead simply drifted into the bay of Minkdreki shortly after the newly appointed steward took up residence on the island. The latter of the vessels appears empty and desloate of armaments, with seemingly no crew nor compliment aboard, while its sails are old and weathered, giving it a distinctly derelict appearance as it if simply washed into the harbour after being adrift in the seas for years. The ship itself is massive, measuring from bow to stern the amount of two-hundred feet, boasting three gun decks with four masts, with lanteen sails on the mizzenmast and the mainmast, while the jigger mast and foremast sport square sails with large trapeziodal topsails, as well as an additional square bow spirit sail.
- Length: 200'
- Beam: 55'
- 120x guns, additional heavy portable culverins
- 40x Sixty-four pounders
- 40x Thirty-six pounders
- 40x Twenty-four pounders