Shine Cycle Setting: Sea Shield Isle

The Sea Shield Isle is a large island many miles to the east of the Sunshine Kingdom. It is an important port for the limited trade between the two continents and the world to the east, the site of a small mages’ academy, and the setting of some important (planned) scenes in Universe. Today’s post is a look at its geography, its population, and the reasons for its importance to the events of the books in which it appears.

The island is fairly large, about 500 miles long and 300 miles wide at its wide end. It is vaguely triangular in shape, like a billowed triangular sail. The two shorter sides of the island, the longer of the two an arc bulging slightly out into the sea and the shorter a scallop into the island, rise fairly sharply into a mountain ridge, from which the other side runs down more gradually until it meets the sea on the longest side of the island, a concave arc, in a series of beaches.

As a ship comes closer to the island, it can see the mountain at either end of the second-longest side of the island carved and built into a statue (one is a dragon, the other a woman bearing a torch), and at night lights from windows stretching from one statue to the other. The other side of the island, where a ship is expected to put in, has lighthouses at the end of the stone piers.

The main reason all the leaders of the two continents agree that the Sea Shield Isle is of critical strategic importance is that it houses a large collection of machines designed by mages to control the weather, which guarantee safety from storms for all trade and other shipping in the Eastern Ocean.

Because of this machinery, the island also contains the Schola Tempestatum, a small mages’ academy specializing in the weather and related issues. Many of the Empire’s foremost mages have visited it and studied there for at least a term, and Windstorm and Celia, perhaps the two most notable weather-mages, have each both studied and taught there for several terms.

The first inhabitants of the island—other than birds, goats, rabbits, moles, and so on—were dwarves, who came through a brief portal in caves deep in the mountains. They hollowed out the mountains to build their cities, and their mages were the first to discover the island’s affinity for workings affecting the weather.

The bulk of the population of the island, after colonization from the mainland, is human. But there is a single pair of giants, whose task is to maintain pieces of the machinery that are awkward for a human or dwarf to deal with.

Because giants need a great deal of food, the island’s second major industry is fishing. Most of the human population—other than mages in the Schola—is involved in some way in the fisheries.

The weather-machinery was originally built in a series of low stone buildings along the coast. At the beginning of the First Inter-Universal War, these buildings were damaged by sabotage, and then once the machines were no longer operating, weather-mages under the control of the Dragon Empire stirred up a series of many fierce storms, which they sent to batter this island and the eastern coast of the Shine Continent. Hurricanes and tsunamis left essentially nothing of the machines to repair—which is why the long coast that had housed the machinery became known as “Tsunami Cove.”

As a stopgap measure, mages hacked together temporary machines to stop the worst of the storms, to make it possible for the Imperial navy to safely take to sea again. But after the war, the machines were rebuilt deep in the mountains, with small pieces high on mountainsides and along the coasts. And, just in case, the mages developed workings and metaphysical machinery to additionally protect the island from earthquakes and volcanic activity.

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