Cradled between the larger landmasses of Greyshore and Anakhatha lies the archipelago of the Blackwell Isles. These isolated islands, once a refuge for monks seeking hermitage, have since grown to provide shelter and support for traders, fishermen, even the occasional pirate.
The larger of the two, a muddy stone hump rising out of the depths of the sound, is Crowns Rock – so named for an ancient and powerful artifact of Nodensian worship, found there a few hundred years past. The walled city that grew there around the Cathedral to Nodens and Brauggine Abbey is a melting pot of all of the cultures of the Knowne World, while lonely Havensport sits to the south, a sodden fishing village on a swampy rise.
The islands of the Blackwell Archipelago
Crowns Rock was founded centuries ago by the Brauggine monks of Skypass as a monastery in isolation. However, after a notable artifact of the goddess Demma, Daughter of the Wild, was discovered on the island, a large cathedral to Nodens and Animae was constructed, and the walled city surrounding it has grown into a city in its own right. Despite the deep religious roots, Crowns Rock now boasts a rich and diverse community, known for arts and performance in addition to acting as a stopover port for traders plying the Blackwell sound, and a pilgrimage destination for the faithful.
Ever in the shadow of the larger and more popular Crowns Rock, Havensport is little more than a fishing village, home to a small fleet of boats and little else. However, among its assets is a harbor where errant captains have sheltered from unexpected storms, and a dry dock which, despite the quaint, insular atmosphere, is used by sea captains looking to discreetly seek repairs that cannot be made elsewhere. Many believe that this “shadow trade” keeps Havensport alive, but others have darker theories…
The Waters of the Blackwell Sound
Many see the Blackwell Sound as calm, “safe” waters, the well-traveled highways of the sea between the surviving centers of population. And, indeed, these waters have been sailed from the early days of the Synod, but as the saying goes, “familiarity breeds contempt.” Many foolhardy travelers have met their end in the dark waters of the Blackwell, their contempt dying on bluing lips as they sink slowly to the unfathomable deeps.
Those sailors who ply the waters regularly have a healthy respect for its dangers and, for the cost of a flagon at a portside inn, most are willing to tell tales of such hazards. From the simple dangers of unpredictable currents, to sudden storms blowing in from the east, each such tale is rife with death and danger. Of all tales told of the dark waters of the Sound, though, the most chilling are those that whisper of what lies beneath, waiting.
Though few will speak of them aloud, most that ply these waters for long come to believe that they share the sound with the Trinity of the Sea, and pay humble respect lest they set to sea and ne’er return. Landlubbers chalk such talk up to simple sailors’ superstition, but even the histories tell tales of gaping maws and whirling vortices scouring the Blackwell to drag the unsuspecting into the inky abyss.