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The Thanegioth Archipelago

by James Mishler

Since the fall of the Milenian Empire over 1000 years ago, the Southern Continent has been little more than a myth to the people of Brun; the only real trade to the southern regions has been between Ochalea and the Pearl Islands via the route hugging the coast of the Isle of Dawn; thus, except for myth and legend, the Thanegioth Archipelago and Davania have been little known. Modern exploration of the Sea of Dread and beyond began in the late 600's, when the Kingdom of Ierendi and the Minrothad Guilds began competing in earnest (until this time, the Guilds had pretty much an exclusive on trade throughout the Sea of Dread; new opportunities in Sind and the development of the Ierendian Royal Navy helped fan the competition). The hold the Guilds held on eastern trade was quite firm, but trade to the west was another matter, and competition there was fierce (it is believed by some that the destruction of the Sindhi "Navy" in Jaibul in 726 AC was the combined effort of agents from Ierendi and the Guilds, though there is little proof). The end result is that trade to the west eventually became the domain of merchants from Ierendi, and trade to the east remained in the hands of the Guilds. The south, however, became a hotbed of competition, with the discovery (through contacts in Sind, Tanakumba and Ochalea) of the existence of advanced city states on the southern continent (long though to be at best only a land of savages and monsters). In 735 AC, Donatello "The Black" Matrongle, last legitimate member of the Matrongle line, disappeared on an expedition to Davania; many others followed, until the trade between the north and south once again became a steady trickle. In the process of exploration, Guildsmen found a path between the Abyss (the deepest, nastiest section of the Sea of Dread) and the Sargosso Sea (a section of "dead sea" in which current keeps ships from leaving; north and west of Ochalea, midday between that isle and Thyatis). Called the Strait of Dread, passing along the route was very dangerous; one false step and you'd be lost, possibly forever... one expedition that found it's way back after trailing off the west of the Strait returned with reports of a chain of islands, rich in ivory, gold and gems, but riddled with strange monsters and savage natives (this was in the 850's). While the use of the Strait stepped up trade with the south on the part of the Guilds, it also opened up possibilities for the Thyatians, as well. Emperor Gabronius IV "The Conqueror" Tatriokanitas sponsored a number of expeditions to the Southern Continent, as well as several small colonies. His successor, Gabrionus V "The Erudite" did little to support these colonies; support they received came from private interests. Thincol I Torion, seeing potential in these lands, began an official Imperial Colonisation Program in 988 AC. The Thanegioth Archipelago, still mostly unexplored, became a point to gather water and food; little exploration or settlement would be done, especially on the easternmost isle, as the natives and monsters were too powerful and the gains too little for the effort required to conquer the isles...