THE HEATHEN'S REEF

DESCRIPTION - KEY LOCATIONS - LOCATION
FLORA - FAUNA - RESOURCES - MYTH/LORE

The Heathen's Reef is a natural, arcing formation of jagged rocks forming a barrier across the entryway into the Vardưnn province by sea. The Reef acts as a funnel for ships wishing to enter Vardưnn from the north, and access to Port Sparrowclaw, Brightborough and onwards to Voldar.

There exists a causeway threading through the rocks, close to the shore under Heathen's Henge, that experienced or foolhardy pilots can navigate to shorten the passage and make direct for Port Sparrowclaw. This opening cuts the travel time of the intrepid pilot greatly, but there exists dangers. Subermeged pinnacles can tear strong hulls to ribbons, and in the narrow parts, strong cross-currents can lead the ships directly into the larger islands. During bad weather the unpredictability of the wind will deter almost any captain from sailing through the channel, lest his vessel be torn asunder.


Description. Heathen's Reef consists of roughly 3000 granite spires and boulders thrust up from the seabed in an arcing shape. Closer to the shore, the rocks grow larger and some sport spare vegetation. They stretch some 20 leagues across the opening, ending in smaller submerged rocks for a further two leagues, that can play havoc on the lesser experienced captains who believe themselves clear of danger.

During the summer, the rocks burst with vibrant colour as a particular seasonal grass takes root in their shallow soil. The jubilant mulbargrass, indigenous to the milder seasides of Sarvonia, sprouts in late spring as a short, wiry grass of pale green, before maturing over the summer months into a lovely, incredibly bright purple colour. While the grass is rare, the Peninsula enjoys particularly warm winds during the summer that enable its growth. Serendipitously, the gulls that make these islands their home have coated them with centuries of excrement; mulbargrass is a resilient plant that can often survive digestion from various birds, including the gull. The result is a magnificent cap of amaranthine hues crowning the larger stacks, rooting in the thin layer of soil on top. Return to the top


Location. Heathen's Reef lies on the the north-eastern part of the Peninsula of Paragonj, in the Vardưnn province of Santharia. Return to the top

Flora. The resilient mulbargrass grows with wild abandon across the greater pinnacles, painting them with its purple mantle and attracting romantics and artists seeking worldly inspiration. While hardy, it doesn't last long, and the blades soon die as winter draws near. On the largest islands small shrubs grow sometimes, but mostly they tend to be solid and barren, with little in the way of soil for plants to grow. Return to the top

Fauna. Colonies of the Sarvonian gull perch on the larger rocks, nesting there. Often, during the calmer seasons, the rocks are stained a mottled grey/white as the gull guano builds up, creating a depiction of some snowcapped mountain. When the winter winds bring the waves, however, and the gulls migrate across the river onto the larger rocky walls of the eastern bank, the rocks are scrubbed clean by the water. Return to the top

Resources. The treacherous waters along the tip of the Reef, and the winding causeway closer to shore, have caused many shipwrecks over the years. There is an abundance of sunken booty at its bottom, ready to be harvested by intrepid divers as the sea floor here is not too deep. Treasure often ends up being sold in local markets over in Port Sparrowclaw. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. The Heathen's Reef shares a name with the nearby Heathen's Henge, a ritual site constructed by the indigenous people of the island. It bared some religious importance, but little is known of their traditions, as Paragon Peninsula was originally inhabited by strange communities that were ousted during its settling. The formation itself likely has no real religious significance and is rather named as such as it is the dominant feature from the shore as viewed from Heathen's Henge.

While the rocks are fairly well mapped, there have been a few shipwrecks here, especially during the stormy seasons, where ships are at danger of being dashed against the jagged teeth. One famous example was the Merrywick galleon, a Varcopasian vessel sailing from Korwendale, carrying a full cargo of expensive Korweynite wine, as well as a load of silver ingots. A freak storm sent the ship off course, directly for the rocks, on which it tore its hull and spilled its goods across the waters. The ensuing purple swirls of the Merrywick wreck created a beautiful spectacle, as Korweynite wine is faintly iridescent. Succeeding the storm was a strong risen sun, and so the waters flared to life with glittering light. Many nearby inhabitants gathered on the waves to admire it, although inadvertently ignoring any survivors from the Merrywick. When it came to light that the ship was also carrying silver, however, there was a rush of divers and activity across the Reef as they scrambled to collect the booty. Return to the top

 Date of last edit 22nd Awakening Earth 1674 a.S.

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