The Islands of Maraalika
Maraalika is an archipelago stretching across more than two thousand miles of tropical and subtropical ocean. The islands range in size from tiny coral atolls a stone’s throw across to three larger islands each about five hundred miles at its longest. The coral reefs provide a perfect habitat for the rich diversity of sea life found here. Several species of sea drake spawn in the warm waters, and the juveniles hunt the reefs until they are large enough to survive the open ocean.
Life on the islands is as diverse as life in the surrounding sea, and many of the species that live here are found nowhere else. They are prized for their unique qualities in taste, texture, color, and medicinal and magical properties. The brightest of cloth dyes are made here, or with materials from the islands, including royal purple, bright yellow, and cerulean blue. Consequently, the islanders are the most colorfully dressed people in the hemisphere.
The port cities of Maraalika are like riotous flowers growing on the coasts of the islands, full of color, sound, and vibrant life. The islanders are a raucous bunch, even the scarce dwarves and gnomes. The people as a whole are quick to anger, but just as quick to calm down. They live hard, and play harder, and will take any excuse for a party.
Maraalika is ruled, loosely speaking, by a trio of sisters who are constantly squabbling over who has dominion over a given bit of rock poking up from the water. They frequently change residencies as one sister will decide she prefers that island to this. Their scuffles sometimes spill over into the lives of their people, damaging ships, docks, buildings, even whole towns. The islanders react to this with the same aplomb they show after hurricanes and other tropical storms. To them, the Sisters are just another force of nature. You pick up, fix what’s broken, bury your dead, and go on with life.
This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
The beautiful photograph is by Kevin Phillips. http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=147290&picture=tropical-beach