"It is an offense to civilization to call
those wretches islands civilized."
- Innarus Poel, Chaddamarian Priestess
|Proper Name||The Fire Isles|
|Demographics||Human 97%, Other 3%|
|Languages||Temegaru 99% Other 1%|
|National Colors||No formal colors or standards|
|Year Founded||No formal founding.|
|Currency||Trade and barter|
|Natural Resources||Seafood, fish, sea shells, upine fruit, sandstone, quartz, pigs, bananas, pineapples, oranges, mangos, herbs, spices, kivodal, cork trees|
|Manufactured Goods and Major Exports||Foodstuffs, fruit, sandstone blocks, salted pork, herbs and spices, kivodal and cork.|
|Government Type||Provincial (Tribal)|
|Enemies||Aswanar Wildlands, Eshtari|
|Approximate Land Area||480,000 square kilometers|
|Terrain||Tropical Islands, Jungle|
The Fire Isles refer to a group of volcanic tropical islands that litter the sea between Aggradar and Qeshir. They are the home of thirteen primitive human tribes of hunter/gatherers. These tribes constantly war with each other. Collectively, the various peoples of the Fire Isles are known as the alakubu and this term is used by scholars who discuss the Fire Isles. The Fire Isles are the source of vague legends, stories of cannibals. Rare spices and exotic plants and animals are brought from the isles to far corners of the world.
The Fire Isles are a string of volcanic islands. There are at least three dozen volcanoes in this string of islands. Many of them are active. The largest island of Akaliwai has a volcano which is very active - a bubbling cauldron of lava which never quiets down. It erupts in spectacular pyrotechnic displays at least once a week. It's constantly glowing red top can be seen for over a hundred kilometers at night. It is used as a navigational beacon by most of the seafaring races in that region of the sea. This volcano, known as Mount Umbatwai (which means "devil home" in the Alakubu language) is considered holy ground by the tribes and it is taboo to go there. This region receives heavy rains and severe seasonal storms which beat the islands each spring and fall.
These shining emerald jewels are home to many tropical animals and plants found only here. No where else in all the world is such a diverse spectrum of plant and animal life found in such a small area. Monkeys, wild boars, parrots, snakes, leopards, gorillas, komodo dragon lizards, wild dogs, scythe lizards, apes, tree slugs and much more are all found here. The local plant life includes oranges, mangos, bananas, pineapples, cloves, nuts, upine, figs and other citrus fruits. Both bamboo and upine tree grows in abundance on the eastern islands. A particularly hardy black berry grows in clusters in the rocky slopes of the mountains. A number of roots, tubers and herbs are found. Kivodal, pujaran, mallosh, tarska and other tropical herbs are all found here in abundance. Cork trees are common and is used by the natives and traded with other nations.
According to historical texts and maps, the Fire Isles did not exist prior to the Sundering or the cataclysmic World Storm the followed. In fact, the Fire Isles developed through violent volcanic activity beginning with the World Storm and continuing through the first century. The isles remained unknown to the world until a far ranging whaling ship, the Storm Breake, discovered the islands in the eleventh century. The captain of that ship, a man named Jorund the Grim, made contact with the local indigenous tribes there. Over the centuries, ships began bringing back tales from the isles. To this day, the Fire Isles are little more than myth and legend for most commoners. However, ships will visit the isles from time to time, bringing back trinkets, and the occasional slave, to civilization.
The Fire Isles is not a formal nation and has no central government. The Fire Isles is home to at least thirty different primitive tribes. The exact number is not known and no one has done a thorough study of their culture or tribal interaction.
There is no national legal system. Within a single tribe, all laws are created and judged by the elders or chieftain. This varies from tribe to tribe somewhat.
As the Fire Isles is not a formal nation, there is no central government military force. However, each tribe can muster a force of fighting men equal to about 10% of the total size of the tribe.
Most tribes conduct basic trade and barter. This is true within a tribe and also between tribes. This system is supplemented by a primitive form of currency based on seashells. Different kinds of shells have different monetary values. Most tribes honor this currency.
There are a handful of ships that have regular runs between Aggradar and Qeshir and make frequent stops at the Fire Isles to trade with the natives. Of course, some tribes are more friendly than others.
The tribes of the Fire Isles each of their own individual culture, but they also share many common cultural traits. The following is true of all tribes:
|Collectively, the various peoples of the Fire Isles are known as the Alakubu. An ancient term that can be applied to all tribes.|
|Many of the tribes wrap their food in pytul leaves. The leaves are edible and serve as convenient wrappers for food. Typical meal involves meat and rice mashed and wrapped in leaves. These meals are often flavored with fruit pulp.|
Several of the tribes are patriarchal and swap wives regularly. It is a common practice between chieftains, warriors and others. Visitors to the islands might be expected to hand over their women, etc.
Several of the tribes use the byssus (black silky threads) of a variety of local giant oyster for all sewing needs. This black, glossy thread is very strong and is used in clothing, hammocks, tents, tools and fishing nets.
Warriors of most tribes chew tarska - a native root which enhances strength and causes a kind of fevered, incoherent battle lust. Extensive use of this root stains the teeth, lips and chin red, giving the user a fiercesome "bloody" look.
Most of the tribe have shamans that are capable of magic. The smaller tribes may have only a few while the larger tribes may have one in every village and several serving the chieftain. Shamans hold a position of great respect within alakubu culture. They are revered by warrior and chieftain alike. Alakubu shamans practice a type of "nature magic" which often focuses on plants, animals and weather.
The Fire Isles is home to thirteen major tribes. Most of the thirteen main tribes are between 20,000 and 40,000 strong. They are divided into many villages, each ruled by a village elder. The villages pay homage to the tribe chieftain who rules over the largest village. In addition to these thirteen major tribes, there are a few minor tribes that are usually splinter factions that split off from the tribe as part of a coupe. Usually a charismatic warrior will lead his followers to form a new tribe. These lesser tribes are usually quite small, only a few hundred strong. There are also a miscellaney of outcasts, hermits and lone hunters.
|Anoba||Nao||Mejah||A forest dwelling tribe with great skills in herbalism and natural healing.|
|Asilir||Relaus||Ith||The smallest and weakest of the tribes, having lost a tribal war. Fled to the isle of Ith where they plot revenge and unearthed long buried secrets.|
|Bira||Shaya||Tathai||A tribe with a complex system of honor and etiquette. A matriarchal tribe ruled by a warrior queen.|
|Draed||Gilakoth||Soqwai||A tribe of hunters who worship predators and paint themselves in the likeness of animals.|
|Edo||Lokar||Akalwai||A small but powerful tribe ruled by a witch-king who wields vast magical power.|
|Firotha||Chenajani||Soqwai||The firatha are notable in that each village is entirely housed within a single "village hall".|
|Greth||Bodwu||Imat||This tribe lives on the coast and fishes the seas. They are excellent sailors and boat builders.|
|Krythe||Oljhar||Soqwai||The most civilized. The only tribe to build with stone. They also use roads, chariots and written records.|
|Kuloth||Kraiyor||Halakii||The Kuloth are a tribe of warriors and are considered the most warlike of all the tribes.|
|Niracki||Iebus||Waneki||A tribe of expert weavers that have adapted to an island with difficult living conditions.|
|Umir||Chagon||Jaebus||The Umir inhabit an island of volcanic ash and fire. Their warriors coat themselves in ash for battle and they build their homes of volcanic glass.|
|Yamonari||Choelath||Akaliwai||The Yamonari are the largest and most powerful tribe at over 70,000 strong. The Yamonari are cannibalistic and worship a demon.|
|Yomada||Goamosh||Halakii||The second largest tribe at almost 60,000 strong. Ruled by a council of 45 tribal elders which, in turn, serve the Grand Chieftain Goamosh.|
The Fire Isles are home to the Alakubu tribes. The tribes have dozens of small fishing villages on the coasts of all the islands. It's difficult to map out specific distance and travel times because there are dozens of possible starting and ending points and hundreds of possible routes.
A journey from one island to a neighboring island can take as little as 8 hours or as much as 3 days, depending on the distance, assuming two islands adjacent to each other. Generally speaking, most islands in this chain are roughly 1 to 2 days sail time apart. However, travelling between distant islands takes much longer. Travelling from the weatern shore of the island of Soqwai to the eastern shore of the island of Jaebu takes a full two weeks in good weather and can be as much as four weeks if the weather is not favorable.
There are no roads on the islands, only narrow footpaths. The terrain is rugged and uneven and broken up by cliffs and ravines. The islands are also covered in dense jungle and rainforest. All of these factors make travel through the interior of the islands surprisingly slow.
For more information, see the Travel and Distance page.
This website was last updated October 5, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.