THE ISLANDS OF THE Yerasol Archipelago were perhaps the most verdant, beautiful battleground in history. During two centuries of intermittent warfare, untold thousands of soldiers from Risur and Danor died among the windblown rainforests and flowered beaches of those isles, trying to protect their homelands’ exceedingly prosperous plantations.
Hundreds of years ago, the region was dominated by the bloodthirsty reavers, a race of pirates and raiders infamous for their cruelty. They were an effective deterrent against colonization and exploitation of the islands’ resources by the mainland nations until fairly recently, and tales of the reavers’ depravity fill volumes of lurid, “pulp” novelettes still in circulation today. As shipbuilding and sailing techniques began to advance on the mainland in the years following the Great Malice, the reavers were forced to adopt a philosophy of logic and self-control to avoid being exterminated. Now called the maenads, the former reavers are an inexorable fixture in the seaports and fishing villages of the Archipelago, unconcerned whether it is Risur or Danor laying claim to their ancestral lands.
Today, seven years after the last shot was fired in the Forth Yerasol War, the islands are near evenly divided between both major nations. Aside from the plantations that Risur and Danor depend upon for food, spices, and luxury consumables; the islands contain fishing colonies, factories, refineries, and military bases. Naval vessels from both nations police the islands to defend their interests from pirates and the occasional monster spawned in the shores of the Malice Lands. The Risur and Danor navies likewise attempt to control an increasingly tumultuous tide of looters—checking those with legal permits and halting those who don’t.
Competition for the Archipelago’s riches are fierce and draws treasure hunters from all over Lanjyr. Before recorded history, the Archipelago was part of the now sunken continent of Aventus, but few of its ruins and artifacts have survived the millennia. The tropical environment is merciless and thorough in its absorption of man-made works, but any relic of the ancient world not ground to sand and soil causes an eruption of excitement amongst academicians in the field of archeology. Amateur looters and reputable archeologists alike brave the poorly-mapped jungle interiors of the islands—and the prehistoric animals that dwell within—for the slim chance to win fame and fortune. Below the crashing waves lies a graveyard of ships and ruins, many still containing booty. The potential to recover a king’s ransom in plunder lures deep-diving salvagers courageous enough to risk running afoul of naval patrols, aventi platoons, or the horrendous beasts that arise from the lightless depths.