Friday, April 22, 2016

The Motley Isles


The Motley Isles lie but a few miles from the coast of the Country of Yanth in the Boundless Sea. The islands are known as a haven of pirates who value their freedom above all else, except perhaps the plunder they take from hapless ships.  Vessels that call the Motley Isles their home often fly a distinctive flag: a skull and crossbones emblazoned on a crazy-quilt pattern.

The only settlement of note on the isles is Polychrome. The authorities in Yanth and the Land of Azurth in general paint Polychrome (and the Isles in general) as a place without law, but this is not entirely correct. Polychrome has few codified laws, its true (other than those governing apportioning of shares of loot and the sanctity of property) but disputes between between individuals or groups of folk are settled in a prescribed manner. In the town hall of Polychrome there is an ancient, oracular device: a black sphere marked with a skull and crossbones.

The origins of the device are obscure, but it is doubtful that it was made the Land of Azurth. It is operated by shaking it and reading its pronouncement in a window on the underside. The answers it provides requires some interpretation, and that is provided by the officiants who perform the ritual. Such is the aversion of the pirates to anything that smacks of governmental service, they rely on press gangs to force citizens into service.

4 comments:

Chris C. said...

Q: Is this a good system for settling disputes?
A: Reply hazy, try again.

Jim Heath said...

I love it - a novelty magic eight-ball that's slipped through the cracks in reality used to settle desputes in an pirate-anarchist-utopia.

But could one threaten or bribe the pressganged into "interpreting" in their favour?

Trey said...

I suspect that does happen not infrequently, though the last minute draft nature of the interpreters doesn't give a lot of time to apply pressure or make plans

Trey said...

I suspect that does happen not infrequently, though the last minute draft nature of the interpreters doesn't give a lot of time to apply pressure or make plans