Expedition to Nol Vornos
The Sutergan island cluster adorns the turbulent Sea of Wyn southwest of Gemet. Making up the cluster are nine islands, five of which are settled enough to be considered inhabited. The other three are largely uninhabited by people, and instead are home to all manner of exotic bird and beast. The five chief islands are:
Each island is dominated by a different clan consisting of the descendants and loyal subjects of one of five demons for which the islands are named. The islands have been at war with one another since long before the Blight of Corvala. In fact, so lethal is the general population of the isles that most of the other states have simply left them alone to develop as they please. And since they have no desire themselves to conquer other lands, they have been largely uninvolved in regional politics. They have, however, had very minimal contact with Southern Gemet for trading of goods.
Type of Government: Oligarchy
It is said that the name Sutergan came from a type of deep red pearl that was found only in the Isles region in the time before humans arrived. During the early years of harmony between the islands, before the Dark Visitation, all of the known Sutergan pearls were gathered and fashioned into a necklace of immense magic and beauty and given to a beloved boy prince as a symbol of his right to rule.
During his coronation ceremony in the wake of his father’s death, he donned the necklace and in so doing, accidentally amplified his own inherent magic, opening a door to an infernal realm inhabited by demons. Five demons managed to escape into the prime material plane before the portal was shut. Sensing its power, the demons immediately began fighting over the necklace. However, they could not touch the boy. He was invulnerable; invincible and immortal. The necklace’s energies purified the young prince’s body, mind and spirit, generating an impenetrable field around him. The prince then retreated to an uninhabited island to the north where he remains to this day, waiting for the one who can break what can not be broken and recover the necklace.
The demons were infuriated and vowed to recover the necklace at any cost. Each demon retreated to a separate island in order to plot. Over years untold, each demon attempted to get the necklace. They failed each time. This process created loyal subjects and separate social orders for each island. Eventually, the demons became bored and found a way to return to their own realm. But before leaving, they imbued five humans, one from each island, with their own essence, to enhance them in the hopes that they would one day achieve the ancient goal.
When the recipients died, the demonic energies passed to the next generation and so on. It is called the Dark Visitation. It continues to this day. Once a chieftain is chosen to receive the Visitation, he or she takes the name of the island as his or her own. From that day on, he or she is consumed with thoughts of the necklace.
Besides obsessing over the Sutergan Necklace, chieftains are also concerned with their internal struggles, becoming polarized to the point that islanders kill islanders from other islands on site. The necklace has slipped into legend and there are few besides the five chieftains who still believe it even exists. Each chieftain rules their island according to the qualities that the original demon imbued them with. Only in the most grave of regional emergencies do the chieftains entertain each others company to decide on a course of action.
Religion and Beliefs:
The only current religion truly allowed is the acknowledgment of the chief as a demigod. Absolute fealty and obedience is expected on pain of death. Those who are deemed apostate are relieved of their limbs and thrown into the sea. However, the history of the isles is deep.
The symbolism of the flying fish is revered here in the isles, even though the Naedran religion is considered false. The flying fish is often depicted in pictures and symbolism involving the Red Pearl. There have been legends involving sightings of a giant flying fish looming on high over the isles as long ago as five thousand years. The island of Eod is the only island where a flying fish is not portrayed on the official island banner.
The people of the Sutergan Isles are efficient and given to routine. Everything they do they do better than just about any other state in Sundhelm. Their cuisine is exquisite, their clothing is tailored perfectly and their ceremonies are never ignored. They are trained from early childhood in the warring arts.
Every member of this society is an uncommonly good fighter, with and without weapons. They are loyal to the chief, their families and their islands. Family ties are sacrosanct and the breaking of vows is forbidden. Also forbidden is seeking the necklace. That is only for chieftains to pursue. There is a great respect for acts of service and devotion in the way of chivalry. Honor is life.