Finger Isles
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Heraldry for House Finger Isles
HOUSE INFORMATION
House: Finger Isles
Kingdom: Finger Isles
Seat: Sevit Island (Currently)
Fortification: 5 castles, one on each island.
Motto: In Water Memory!
Colors: Silver, Red, Black
Liege: One of the 5 Major Houses, currently House Rendann
Vassals: The other 4 Houses in rotation.
LEADERSHIP
Rank: Kingdom
Head of House: Lucan Rendann
Predecessor: Finn Rendann
Heir: Brice Rendann


Overview

History

A more wretched hive of scum and villainy… or at least that is how many view the Finger Isles. The Finger Isles is viewed as filled with nothing but pirates, but that is not entirely the truth. The Finger Isles have their own ruling structure complete with noble houses. It is rumoured that the Isles were initially populated by people who escaped Laniveer due to persecution, though another story is that the Finger Isles started as a prison for criminals of Laniveer. Whatever the truth is it has been lost to history, though given the cutthroat nature of the Isles many lean towards the criminal idea.

Each of the five islands that make up the Finger Isles is ruled by a House; the equivalent of their own separate Duchy. There is House Rendann on Sevit Island, House Acirassi on Siopp Island, House Unoseth on Defas Island, House Dohi on Noxu Island, and House Pilfal on Pentwist Island. To many outside the islands the system of government for the Islands is strange as the Houses take turns who rules these islands. The current ruler of the Islands is Lucan Rendann, Head of House Rendann.

In the early history of the Islands they were rife with strife, with each house battling for supremacy. Assassinations amongst the houses were more common than marriages. The outside world was largely ignored (except as a source of income for attacking ships) as each house jockeyed to get their man on the throne to rule the islands.

Anahyta

Shortly after the start of the Second Era, roughly year 8 2E, Sherard Pilfal, Head of House Pilfal, made his bid for the throne by attacking the ship rumoured to be carrying Arlis Dohi, Head of House Dohi. The move was considered both a hit and a miss for Sherard, as while Arlis was killed in the battle to leave behind only a 12 year old son to take over his house, Sherard's ship was destroyed as well. Sherard was presumed to be dead for weeks until he wandered onto a beach with a fantastic tale. He claimed that he had been saved by the goddess Anahyta, who rescued him from a watery grave and had a message for the people of the Finger Isles. The goddess told him that if things continued the way they were going that the people would destroy themselves and the islands would go up in flames.

Sherard posed a compromise for the islands, that each house would rule for 50 years at a time beginning, of course, with House Pilfal. In 50 years House Pilfal would yield the throne to House Dohi, then it would move to Acirassi, then Unoseth, then Rendann, before starting the cycle over again. Not only would the Houses shift rule every 50 years but the ruler's council would be made up by a representative from the remaining 4 houses.

While the others were not necessarily impressed with Sherard's words, they agreed not to kill him and to think about the proposition. Sherard impressed upon them that time was of the essence and if they did not come up with an answer in 7 days that the islands would receive the wrath of the goddess. No one quite believed him until the tsunami hit the islands 7 days later, causing untold death and destruction across all 5 of the islands. It is said the only buildings remaining undamaged were the temples to the goddess. Whether it was coincidence or the goddess actually acting, no one wanted to test. So it was the Houses came to an agreement and the current rule of the Finger Isles, switching out every 50 years, fell into place.

The people, the nobility in general, are indeed cutthroat. Many tell of the reign of Acirassi, when Averill Acirassi took the throne 2 years into the Acirassi reign. Averill was born the 5th of 7 sons. By the time his father died of a slow wasting sickness when he was 22, he was the oldest of the sons. By the time his first child, his son Edsel, was born, he was an only child. He ruled the islands with an Iron fist and died at the ripe old age of 71, just months after yielding the throne to House Unoseth.

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While backstabbing and treachery may be common in the Isles, they still have laws. While other nations may look down on those who commit crimes and get away with it, the Finger Isles seem to revere them. Many are positive that Averill Acirassi killed, or arranged the deaths of, his 6 siblings and his father, no one could ever prove it. The deaths were all ruled natural or accidental. As such Averill was almost venerated as one of the greatest rulers the Finger Isles has had, and few have been said to have lived up to his brilliance. Before Averill's death many people were lobbying to change the current rule to allow him to continue his reign, but alas he died before anything came to fruition. Sadly for many the death was entirely natural with no sense of foul play suspected.

The current rule of House Rendann has seen little controversy unlike the rule of Acirassi. Lucan came by his position by virtue of being the first born. His father's death in 224 was ruled natural and no one had any cause to question it as he had been sick for months before his death. Recently Laniveer has attempted to curry the favor of the Finger Isles for additional ships. Rumour has it that the representative of Laniveer was rejected, the Finger Isles choosing to remain out of the conflict - for now.

Culture

The common people of the Finger Isles are a colorful flamboyant lot. Bright colors abound on the islands and both men and women are known to wear jewelry. Gambling is rampant, and women of the night are legal (and taxed). The nobility believe that if the baser instincts of the common man are catered to then they will have no reason to try and usurp leadership.

The Finger Isles don't really have a Navy per se, but the whole culture is built around ships. Piracy abounds and they do not care who they attack. The Finger Isles don't ally themselves with any other nations. There are still times when the ships of one House from the Isles will attack the ships of another. Just because the rule is shared does not mean everyone gets along. The Finger Isles is also said to have some of the greatest ship builders anywhere. They have learned the best woods and planting techniques for trees to keep the industry going. Practically everything about the culture revolves around the sea and the travel of it. Anything they can not cultivate on the islands, they have no problem stealing.

Islanders who follow a goddess, the people of the Finger Isles have a different view of women on ships then the rest of the world. While women are not Captains nor hold major positions on ships, women are not seen as bad luck on board, so it is possible if rare for them to claim higher ranks. Women often travel between the Isles and the only way to do so is by ship.

Women may also own property on the Finger Isles, though largely you only see this when a woman is widowed or unmarried. If she is married it is still her husband who makes decisions. So far no woman has ever ruled one of the major 5 houses, but the idea is not inconceivable.

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Customs & Religion

The religion of the Finger Isles is the worship of the goddess Anahyta who is depicted as part woman and part sea monster. Like most women she is believed to be mercurial in nature; One moment she may love you and the next seek to destroy you. Many say the sea is the same so it is a toss up as to whether the nature is entirely feminine or just connected with the water she rules. Most tend to be quite devoted to trying to keep her as happy as possible. Every sea voyage calls for the blessing of Anahyta for smooth seas. The goddess neither condones nor condemns piracy as long as she receives her tribute.

At the start of every sea voyage a drink is taken to the goddess and an offered cup is poured over the side of the ship for Anahyta. Many of the ships of the Finger Isles have carved representations of the goddess on them. On land temples to the goddess collect tribute, which can be in any form as long as it is tribute. Anyone not willing to drink the tribute before setting sail is to be thrown off ship.

The religion of Anahyta is not complicated and there aren’t many priests or priestesses. Since Anahyta does not really speak to the morality of the people there isn’t much to preach. Those who enter the service of the goddess mainly bless new ships as they come out of the shipyards.

Funerals are merely burials at sea. If someone dies on a ship then his or her body is wrapped up and dumped over the side. If someone dies on land then his or her body is placed on a floating vessel and an arrow is fired from the shore to set the vessel on fire. After death it is believed that the people return to the sea and the goddess they served. They also believe in the concept of ghosts. Ghosts are the souls of those who are rejected by the goddess. They are not welcomed below the waves and are doomed to wander until they repent for offences they made to Anahyta.

Marriages on the Finger Isles are always done aboard ship, though the ship can be docked for the wedding. It is believed performing the ceremony on ship (and the ceremony can be done by a Captain as well as a priest or priestess) then Anahyta will be able to attend and bless the union. Just like at the start of any voyage the start of a marriage begins with a toast to the goddess, with a cup poured for her and offered over the side of the ship. The official marrying age can be as young as 15.

When children are born on the Islands they are offered to the goddess. Either the family patriarch, or a priest or priestess of Anahyta, will take a child within the the first month of the child’s birth (the earlier the better) and bring the child to the water. Whoever is making the offering will wade into the water with the child, offer his or her life to Anahyta and then dunk the child briefly in the water, thus binding the child’s soul to the goddess.

Fortification & Sustenance

Each of the inhabited islands has a house seat. This house seat is usually located at the highest point of the island and is well defended from both land and sea. Each generally has a well fortified passage leading from the castle to the harbour and waiting ships.

Given that the islands are limited in space agriculture must be handled carefully. The people of the Isles have learned to rotate crops whether for food or timber management. Three popular crops are grapes, sugar cane, and coffee. The three major drinks of the Finger Isles are Wine, Rum, and coffee.

The fishing industry is critical on the Islands. Shellfish to sharks, if it can be harvested from the waters and usable, it is valuable. Fishermen tend to be the most devoted followers of the Goddess since their livelihood depends on the sea. Otherwise most revenue and 'trade' is generated through piracy.

Political Relations

The Finger Isles tends to stay out of the politics of other nations. They are currently aligned with no one, and they like it that way. Since a large portion of the Islands’ income comes from piracy it doesn’t make sense to align themselves with anyone if they don't have to. To date they have not presented a big enough threat for any nation to try and attack them in mass, despite the fact that the islands are overrun with pirates. Any attack on one island will likely bring the others in to retaliate. There may be infighting between the houses themselves, but threats from outside will find the houses banding together to meet the threat with a united front.

The Finger Isles are also not necessarily seen as the best of allies. Despite having many armed ships at their disposal they have no real standing military. Many also see them as lacking in a sense of morality and therefore untrustworthy. Each of the houses have flag ships and men to arm them, which they can call upon for protection, but it’s not enough to be considered an organized Navy.

Current Members

Avi Rendann - Ambassador to the Finger Isles.

Wanted

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