Far out in the Western seas, all but forgotten by the Realm and the majority of Creation, lie many vast chains of islands, archipelagos stretching from horizon to horizon and beyond. The societies that survive on these islands are simple ones made up of simple people – the majority of the population get by just fine knowing that the most exciting things they might ever have to deal with are the threat of the occasional storm or the appeasal of the local spirits.
Of course, in each generation there are always those whose horizons are broader, and if trading between nearby islands fail to stimulate their interests they often sail further afield, beyond the only horizons that the people here know. Their names are remembered, because it is a rare adventurer indeed who ever returns.
Twin Smoke Island is impressive amongst the local island chain, for it features not one but two volcanic cones. Now both dormant, they are far removed from their fiery birth that spawned this archipelago – but yet, their spirit lives on. The inhabitants of the island believe the volcano spirit to be their patron and guardian, and their prayers and offerings are regular. They are a proud people, believing their virtual self-sufficiency and obvious blessing from heaven of having two volcanoes marks them out for great things.
The giant stone ruins that litter the east side of the mountains hint at a deeper and more exciting past. Sections of wall in excess of twenty feet high jut out of the landscape at irregular intervals, their surface distorted by time but nevertheless identifiable as having been hewn from one single huge slab of rock. It is rumoured that there was once a vast fortress here, and the name of the eastern village, 'Breach' may pay homage to the day in the distant past on which the walls of the place were smashed open. If this is indeed what happened, the attackers and the ravages of time both did their bit to ensure that very little of the castle remains above ground. As for below ground, there are a number of caverns and passageways leading deep into the mountains, although as the islanders believe these to be the volcano spirit's domain they never venture far into them except when making offerings.
The village of Breach is blessed with the island's only river, and wide fertile plains on which they farm crops. Its companion on the sheltered western side is the village of Shorehaven, from which most of the fishing fleet depart each morning. The westerly side of the island also harbours a small expanse of jungle, just enough to supply the community with the little wood they require and very small numbers of huntable animals.
Between the two villages, along the path that runs between the two peaks, lie the island's open mines. The rock that the majority of Breach and Shorehaven's buildings are made from is extracted here, as are the meagre supplies of coal and iron ore that Breach's blacksmith requires.
The villages co-operate on almost every occasion, as their differing resources make it essential to their survival. Most families are spread across both, and as they are only four or so hours' walk apart the generally fit population of the island does not find this difficult.
This is the community you were all born into. The kind of place where everyone knows everyone else, and outsiders are rare. The island's customs are instinctive to you – it would be unthinkable not to help out other islanders, it would be unthinkable not to pray to the Spirit each time you crossed the mountains, and the sheer idea of the miners not leaving fish and grain in the mines at the end of every day for the Spirit to eat would just be silly.
Welcome to Twin Smoke Island, a tiny jewel in the great necklace that circles the unending seas.