Herd Location – The Shattered Isles
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Main Herd Area
The majority of Mirroweld live on the main island of Shattered. Phae are scattered from Nué’s Mirror down to the Temple of Odes. Many phae choose to live near the capitol of Illumina, the Temple of Odes, or the Traveler’s Trove, but many smaller settlements exist all over the Shattered Isles.
The Lake of Mirrors aka Nué’s Mirror
The Lake of Mirrors is named after the beautiful red, gold, and orange hues that paint the lake in the evenings. A lot of herd members enjoy spending the evening there and see it as the goddess Nué leading them all to slumber, feeling at peace and comforted by the warmth of the atmospheric surroundings. For this reason, it is also named for the beloved goddess of dreams.
The Forest of Hymns
The forest surrounding Nué’s Mirror north of Illumina. This forest stretches across the main isle and the northwestern isle. In the springtime, groves of cherry blossoms will bloom and drop their petals in the river.
Isle of Atonement
This isle off the eastern shore is home to phae convicted of crimes and sentenced to isolation in order to reform their minds and reflect on their misdeeds. Justiciar are responsible for watching over these phae and ensuring they do not escape their sentences. Herd members are not permitted to visit this island, and only sentries may travel freely between it and the mainland.
Illumina is the capital city of the Shattered Isles. It houses the herd’s leaders and many scholars.
Halls of Illumination
The halls are the place where many of the scholars and mages of the island can often be found slaving over scrolls or following lessons from mentors. It is both an archive, a library, and a place of learning and everyone is welcome to the public sections of the hall as long as they respect its rules. There are closed sections of the halls only accessible to senior ranks like the Arch Magister, Grand Masters, High Sages, Archivists and Inquisitors due to the nature of the precious or protected knowledge they would rather go missing or ruined.
A popular travel destination as it has a lovely fine sandy beach surrounded by trees and hills. Because it is so contained, the waters here are calm and peaceful. It is a perfect place for meditation and admiration of nature’s beauty, though fawns love to play in the sand and shallow waters.
Cove of Communion
The cave system leading to the Sanctum. This cove is a series of winding paths and caves that can often feel like a winding labyrinth. There are very few who know the exact layout of the cove and many paths still lie undiscovered. Many report feeling a sense of panic and unease when spending too much time traversing the confusing and dark routes, barely lit by bioluminescent moss.
Sanctum of Requiem
Izmir’s and Nué’s Temple. Said to be Izmir’s favored place of meditation when he still walked the isles. It is said he and his wife wove their spirit and soul into the air of the place. In the cove there is a lake with bioluminescent fish (koi, beta, angelfish, fancy sea slugs, Siamese fighting fish, manta rays sometimes, seahorses, and ribbon eels) and bioluminescent algae. At the center of the lake is a small island with a cherry blossom tree that is lit by moonlight through a small hole in the roof of the cave.
Cape of Tranquility
This cape overlooks the expansive ocean between Shattered and the other isles of the Elaphaea Archipelago. Because of its remote location it is an ideal location for the Wake of Stillness.
The harbor and trading markets on the southeast leg of the main island. There is a very informal atmosphere in the trove, with many inns, taverns, and shops. Whilst the cultural influence of the shattered is predominant, there is also a blend of influence of different herds to make outsiders feel somewhat at home.
This forest surrounds Izmir’s Eye and the Temple of Odes. It extends across the main island as well as the bottom section of the southwestern island.
The lake where they hold the overture every year by sending out floating wood planks with an item representing each god and a small flame in a stone bowl. Phae typically line the shores of this large lake and it is considered a sacred and neutral place that should be respected. Phae who worship other deities can also come here to pray if they don’t want to go to the temple of odes.
Temple Of Odes
A temple built and dedicated to all the gods of the Elaphaea pantheon as a place to pray to the gods outside of the herd’s own. The temple is located south of the main island near the traveler’s trove to bid welcome to others from outside the Island. It also serves to remind the island dwellers they are not asked or expected to worship the same deities to be allowed to reside among the herd.
The six outermost points of the Shattered Isles have sentries stationed to oversee incoming travelers, keep an eye out for incoming ships, and generally watch out for danger. The outposts on the west of the islands mostly keep an eye on the seas, watching for any dangerous weather.
The Shrouded Peaks
To the south of the territory of the Shattered Isles lies a sky-scraping mountain range, footed by subtly rolling, rocky grassland at its base to the east. These mountains and surrounding area are usually dry and cold, but subject to intense snowfall in the winter. There is a well-worn path through the mountains that leads up to the only settlement on the island.
The Orphic Archives
Nestled within the Shrouded Peaks lies the Orphic Archives– a library of written history for as long as Phae have inhabited the lands. Rumor has it that this temple has stood for as long as the islands have, and no one’s quite sure who originally built it. It is a sacred place, but one welcoming to those looking for knowledge. It is generally tended to by the most seasoned Archivists.
The Blackspire Mountains
To the southeast of the Shattered Isles lies a dark mountain range that is frequently lightly dusted in ash, even at its foothills. The ground is rocky and somewhat treacherous, and though there are paths through the peaks, there isn’t much here. It seems to be a place of ill omen, but the areas near the coast on their foothills are fairly well traveled, one of the main thoroughfares to and from the Desert.
While not the tallest peak in the Blackspire range, it is the most active. Feeding a large caldera near the south of the chain, only a small portion of the mountain sticks out above the many flows and channels surrounding it. It acts as a chimney, funneling black smoke high into the sky and generating frequent volcanic thunder and lightning. It is possible to get near it, but it’s really only there for the spectacle and thrill of it. The trek to and from is perilous at best and only the most seasoned adventurer should consider going.
The Shattered Isles border only the Desert Isle, and they have generally acceptable relations with their neighbors. Because many isles exist between the two territories, border skirmishes are a foreign concept, and true fighting has not happened for centuries.
Routes to Other Herds
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While the Shattered Isles only shares a direct border with the Desert Isle, there is also a route leading northeast towards the Mountain Isle. Straight to the east is another route leading to the Desert Isle. These paths between larger islands are best taken in steps, and the sandbars are safer to travel at low tide. The route between Shattered and the Blackspire Mountains is potentially the most hazardous due to volcanic activity.
The Shattered Isles also have many paths between the broken pieces of land that make up this territory. These are well explored, though it is also best and easiest to travel them when the tide is low.
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The majority of the Shattered Isles are safe for even young phae to explore. Predators are rarely brave enough to come close to the main center of herd activity and tend to have larger populations on the outer isles. Tigers are the most dangerous predator on these islands and will opportunistically hunt young fawns or elderly phae; occasionally they will attack more able-bodied phae, but this is rare. Clouded leopards may also occasionally pick off weak young fawns or elders, but these are the rarest attacks.
In Frosthold, the snow capped heights of the Shrouded Peaks can be perilous and traveling anywhere off of the marked path can be deadly. Snow leopards hunt in these mountains and when hunger drives them, they won’t hesitate to pick off a phae or two.
The Blackspire Mountains are dangerous year-round due to the frequent eruptions of Ruinfell and other smaller volcanoes in the range. While there are some paths leading through the rocky heights, they are all treacherous. Little lives in these peaks, so there are no large predators to watch out for.
Crossing any body of water (even those with sandbars) can be dangerous if the tide is high. Currents between the islands have been known to sweep away more than one phae who chose to cross on foot at the wrong time. Boats are always the safest option when traveling between the isles.
Flora & Fauna
The Shattered Isles are home to a great abundance of both flora and fauna. They are perhaps most notable for their beautiful and delicate flowers, as well as their wide variety of edible fruits! Fruit trees are planted both decoratively and in orchards to provide sustenance for the herd and for bartering.
Popular fruit trees include (but are not limited to: ) Peach, Apple, Plum, Pear, Apricot, Cherry, Citrus (orange, lemon, lime, etc.)
Other popular fruits include (but are not limited to: ) Blackberries, Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Currants, Melons (water, honeydew, cantaloupe, etc)
Popular vegetables include: Carrots, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Cabbage (in all its forms) Radishes, Soy beans, Onions, and Peas
Popular spices include (but are not limited to: ) Ginseng, Ginger, Garlic, Curry Leaves, Chives, Lemongrass, Basil, Bay Leaves, Star Anise, Coriander, Cumin, Turmeric, Cardamom.
Other flora includes (but is not limited to: ) Lotus (frequently gardened) Bamboo, Ginkgo, Lilies, Rhododendrons, Hydrangea, Maple, Ferns, Irises, Peonies, Azaleas, Lily of the Valley, Ash, Elm, Cypress, Juniper, Pine, Jasmine and Wisteria
As well as its great natural abundance of plant life, there are many other animals that live on the isles other than phae, although phae are the largest herbivores.
Foxes, Raccoon dogs, Civets, Binturong, and Clouded Leopards are a problem for fawns, but generally not an issue for grown phae. More peaceful wildlife includes peacocks, pheasants, mongooses (though they can be mean,) geese, cranes, red pandas, and in some places in the Shrouded Peaks, maquaces who like to live around the thermal pools.
Dolphins can sometimes be spotted in the rivers where they run deepest, and in some of the more remote bamboo groves, if one is curious enough, they may even run into a panda bear. The farther reaches of the territory is slightly more dangerous, however, as tigers have been known to prowl less inhabited isles. Though they are their own genetically separate species, they greatly resemble Sumatran tigers in appearance and size, and are lethal if encountered alone.
The snow leopards living in the Shrouded Peaks are generally content to leave well enough alone, and they know where the Orphic Archives are and tend to stay away. Still, if an injured, elderly, or sickly phae wanders up the path, they will opportunistically pick them off.
A good general rule of thumb is if it lives in eastern or south eastern Asia, it likely can live in the Shattered Isles, both flora and fauna.