Roughly in the middle of the ocean separating Menechit and Aergyre sits an archipelago called Bevia by the native population, who find it very amusing that everyone else calls their land the Bevia Islands, since ‘Bevia’ means ‘islands’ in their native language, Dekna. The archipelago is comprised of one hundred and sixty-seven islands varying in size from a few square kilometers to a few hundred. Some of them are so distant that no other islands can be seen from their shores and some are so close that one can leap from one island to the other.
The archipelago is subequatorial in the north and equatorial in the south, and is covered predominantly in rainforests called Alleli (which means ‘rainforest’), understood to be all one rainforest that just happens to be spread across multiple islands, which was caused by the Split, a mythological aetiology for the multiplicity of the islands. They are believed to have been one large island at some point in the mythological past, before an earthquake caused by a primordial sea serpent’s wrath shattered them.
The total population of Bevia is about ninety thousand, with roughly half of that concentrated on five of the bigger islands in the archipelago. The largest settlement is on the island of Revi and houses about seven thousand people, but there are several islands on the archipelago with populations consisting of only one or two families, as well as several that are uninhabited. Moving between the islands is very common and in fact is encouraged when people are old enough to leave home, which preserves the genetic diversity of the population for the most part.
Bevia has no centralized government or ruler. Leaders from individual islands, who may be selected as representatives or inherit the position, are all invited to attend a yearly meeting on Revi in the summer, during which trading between the islands can be negotiated and any disputes arbitrated. As well, during times when a threat is perceived to the archipelago as a whole, this congress may make decisions about how to deal with the crisis, the most common of which being a natural disaster.
Despite proximity to continental Aergyre, the empire has never tried to formally colonize Bevia. They have recently constructed an outpost there, but the islands are not considered worth the time to properly colonize, as proximity to Menechit might draw unwanted ire from the eastern continent at a time when the empire is not prepared to deal with that—especially not when there are several uninhabited islands away from Bevia that they can use as staging areas instead.
Bevia is home to clan Harkyn, a sorcerer clan that mostly keeps to itself and does strange rituals involving the depths of the sea the Bevians call Ikk (Ikk means ‘sea’) that nobody understands. It is also home to the Orange Witch Clan, which is known for specializing in barriers and sealing spells. In the absence of any natural barriers, they have taken on the role of protectors of the islands, performing spells to ensure that dangerous storms don’t cause too much damage and that invaders, if they come, struggle to find purchase on the land, as well as making sure that the natural ecosystem of the islands remains in harmony.
The islands are home to a stunning variety of fruits and vegetables not found anywhere else, though very little in the way of recognizable farmland. Aside from fish, very little meat is eaten on the islands because very few livestock animals are suited to the dense biome of the Alleli, though most settlements will have a community chicken coop. Local wildlife includes a great deal of birds not found anywhere else, including the Boral peacock (Boral means ‘peacock’) as well as many reptiles and insects, including the most venomous species of snake on the planet, the Trest serpent (Trest means ‘venomous serpent’) and a few large predators including Koall tigers (Koall means ‘artichoke’), which are the most dangerous predator on Bevia.
The people of Bevia are well aware that other people exist in the world, but they’re not really all that worried about them. As far as they’re concerned, they live in the only part of the world that matters and as long as nobody bothers them they’re happy not to bother anyone else either. The islands give them everything they want and need, so they have no reason to go anywhere else.
From “The Definitive Atlas of the World, Vol. 1: Lands and Locations,” by Pascal Tiberius Naoton Quimbell Haeverine anNatalie, published in White Cape in DN 1997.
4 thoughts on “Friday Lore Post: The Bevia Islands”
Honestly, the Islands Islands fit in perfectly well with plenty of place-names on Earth, like the River River (Avon and Nile), the Desert Desert (Sahara, Gobi, Kalahari), and Lake Lake (Chad, Ontario, Michigan).
To say nothing of all the times cartographers clearly pointed at something, asked “what’s that?” and wrote down whatever the natives said next. Like the I Don’t Understand You Peninsula (Yucatán) or the city of I See A Hill (Montevideo).
Yes, that’s the exact vibe I was going for with this! People come in and ask “what do you call this ocean?” And get told “We call it Ikk” and think “The Ikk Ocean, makes sense!” And so on and so forth with just about everything on the islands. 😀
Except for the artichoke tigers.
“The forest of Skund was indeed enchanted, which was nothing unusual on the Disc, and was also the only forest in the whole universe to be called — in the local language — Your Finger You Fool, which was the literal meaning of the word Skund.
The reason for this is regrettably all too common. When the first explorers from the warm lands around the Circle Sea travelled into the chilly hinterland they filled in the blank spaces on their maps by grabbing the nearest native, pointing at some distant landmark, speaking very clearly in a loud voice, and writing down whatever the bemused man told them. Thus were immortalised in generations of atlases such geographical oddities as Just A Mountain, I Don’t Know, What? and, of course, Your Finger You Fool.
Rainclouds clustered around the bald heights of Mt. Oolskunrahod (‘Who is this Fool who does Not Know what a Mountain is’) and the Luggage settled itself more comfortably under a dripping tree, which tried unsuccessfully to strike up a conversation.”
GNU Terry Pratchett.
Terry Pratchett is a legend for a reason, what can I say?