Home island of John Fighter.
Quba is a mid-sized island of obvious volcanic origin. Vaguely squarish/circular, most of the exterior is thick, low-land tropical forest, but the elevation climbs and the temperature drops as one ventures further into the interior. The highest peaks are snow-capped, although the not-infrequent release of volcanic steam causes considerable snow melt year-round.
There is one city on Quba, also called Quba, that supports itself mostly through fishing, farming, and trade with the many pirates that see the town as a safe-haven. While the southern waters in this part of the world tend to be popular for pirates, Quba enjoys a protection of sorts as the mutual friendship provides benefit to all. Several smaller towns dot Quba’s southern coastline, and again fishing is the main trade. Quba’s northern coastline is lined with tall cliffs, and are not as well-inhabited.
The interior of the island is untamed, as thickly forested hills rise to jagged peaks, but it is still fairly well-settled. One particularly well-known family is the Fighters, and John calls this island home. The Fighter settlement is in a valley at the base of the mountains.
One peaceful night aboard the Lady Jane, John regaled the party and crew with tales of his family and homeland. How much of it was true remains to be seen.
“Quba is largely a wilderness island with a settled exterior, its population mainly human fishing villages along the coastline, with a single port-town (fairly large and busy, almost
a proper city) also named Quba, nestled around a large natural harbor facing the south.
The climate is fairly tropical, the people are generally friendly and
sincere, the fishing is plentiful, and although the waters around the
island are swarming with pirates, they rarely bother the citizens of
Quba, prefering to use the place as a safe and friendly harbor to
exchange plunder for highly-valued tradestuffs (booze, food, and
medical supplies). There’s even a pirate guild in Quba-town, and most
pirates there are on their best pirate-behavior (swaggering and
violence to a minimum).
On the edge of the town and fishing villages are smaller settlements
of farming communities and the occasional plantation (sugar-cane
mostly, and cotton). The chief exports of Quba are mainly unrefined
sugar and rum, as well as spices, limes, and dyed cloth. Overall Quba
is a peaceful, tropical island, its inhabitants interested in trade
and light gossip, rarely traveling, and mainly ignored by the Fey.
Then there’s the interior.
The interior of the island is filled with mountains, rising higher and
higher into the sky. It is a wild, savage place, populated by dour
and gruff frontiersmen and their familes. Each dwelling is built for
defense rather than comfort, log-cabin fortresses scattered far and
wide across the area. These mountain-folk are hunters and trappers
mostly, depending on their skills with the bow, the spear, and the net
to replenish their foodstocks; though they also raise vegetables and
livestock in sheltered farms or gardens.
Trade is simple throughout the interior, and gold is largely ignored
in deference to the barter system (“You’ve got a nice fur hat thar,
fella, how-’bout I give you a piglet fer it?”). Residents living on
the outskirts of the interior tend to link trade between their
less-civilized neighbors inwards with their money-using neighbors
closer to the coast. It’s not a perfect system, but it seems to
satisfy everyone involved, as exotic furs and smoked meats are
gradually moved towards the coastline while manufactured goods are
eventually traded back towards the center. It does, however, tend to
keep the residents of the interior separate from the fishermen and
“cityfolk” of the coast. Which means that while your average resident
of Quba-town has a dim view of world events and geography—at
best—furthermore the residents of the interior (with a few notable
exceptions) have practically no knowledge (no practical knowledge at
any rate) of the outside world.
As the interior of the island rises in altitude, the climate changes
also, turning from tropical to sub-tropical, to temperate, and finally
to the highest peaks themselves, which are perpetually bathed in snow.
This constant cap of ice on the island creates a lot of flowing
fresh-water, which tends to translate into cold rivers, both
above-ground and in underground cavern systems (and if you think the
people ABOVE-ground are wierd…). Thus also, the bottoms of valleys
nestled in the mountains tend to be filled with clear lakes at the
higher altitudes, and with dense and secretive swamps at the lower.
The flora and fauna of the island, of course, become astronomically
more dangerous and exotic the closer that one travels to the center of
the island, and the inhabitants of the interior in turn become
progressively more gruff and scattered. However gruff they become,
they share a common trait with most people of Quba: they are friendly
and helpful towards one another, even to the point of risking their
lives for their neighbors, as survival in wild Quba is hard enough
without sticking together. If a man’s house is burned down by
fireclaws (a type of lizard) and he and his family chased away by
giant ants (a type of insect), then they can be assured that
practically any neighbor of theirs would be willing to house them
until they “get back on their feet”, as they say.
Reactions towards total strangers are less positive, but most
residents are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt until they
can prove themselves friend or foe. Word travels surprisingly fast
among the core interior residents (carrier pigeons, and talking
parrots), and as a hostile encounter is likely to be considered
newsworthy, marauding strangers could reliably expect retaliatory
ambushes (and beatings) within a few hours.
Unlike their coast-hugging countrymen, the folk of the interior are
used to a tough and warlike life, and some of them have become almost
superhumanly strong in order to survive in their environment. One
such family, pretty close to the central peak itself, is the Fighters."
John pauses here for effect, and seems to puff out his chest a little.
“The Fighter family lives in an old stone compound in a deep valley set
near the base of the central peak. This isolated valley is almost a
perpetually autumn climate with the air being just perhaps a bit
warmer during the day, and not-quite-frost at night. The leaves on
the trees (mainly tall oak and maple) are scarlet, gold, and indigo,
bathing the place with an autumn feel. The Fighters maintain an old
mill within sight of their compound, at the base of a (majestic)
waterfall, which they use to grind any grains that they have traded
for (not growing any of their own) as well as for grinding walnuts and
hickory nuts, from which they make a kind of flour. ((Trees in the
area constantly produce new fruit, nuts, and leaves, which means that
leaves can fall from the trees in an autumn-style without leaving the
There is a pond at the base of the waterfall as well, which flows off
into a decent-sized stream past the Fighter compound. The Fighters
fish in it from time to time, and catch decent-sized catfish, trout,
and crawling horrors from the depths of the mountain, which they cook
up to supplement their diet.
The Fighters also “keep” a flock of “sheep”—giant wool-bearing dire
monstrosities—which roam the central mountain, bear as little
resemblance to actual sheep as a sabertooth tiger does to a ribboned
basket full of kittens, and have grown to loathe the sight of bipeds,
especially Fighters. Quite intelligent in their own right, these
“sheep” have their own language and a decent semi-nomadic lifestyle,
and fight the Fighters tooth-and-nail (well, horn-and-hoof) whenever
they appear. Yet no matter how many traps they may set or how devious
their newest battle strategy may turn out to be, they are perennially
outflanked and carried off by the Fighters down the mountain, to be
sheared and petted and have their tummies rubbed, and eventually
released—much lighter and deeply ashamed—back up the mountain.
(Their former herd-leader, a fierce black-coated ram by the name
(roughly translated) of Thunderfury, was a brilliant tactical genius
in his own day, who led his flock through victory after
victory—causing no casualties, but losing none to captivity in turn.
Alas for the herd, however, he was tragically bewitched by a young
Clementine Fighter (a second cousin of John’s) who dyed him pink,
braided ribbons in his hair, and rides him around the Fighter compound
when she isn’t attending tea parties of her own devising with stuffed
dolls (Clementine is six). Thunderfury follows her everywhere,
adoringly, and is deaf to the plight of his people. Alas!)
The Fighters also keep “cows” in a mountain cave sealed by a giant
boulder at its entrance. God only knows what THOSE things look like.
The Fighters are a ridiculously strong family.
Let me give you an example: when the Fighters need a fence repaired,
they don’t repair it with wood. They just ask “one of the boys” to
take care of it, and shortly thereafter the gap in the fence is filled
with a chunk of living rock torn bare-handed from the mountainside.
When a Fighter is feeling hot after a long day of working in the sun,
he cools down by climbing the great peak and ripping apart ice
elementals (then he keeps going.. there’s an incredible man at the top
who lives in a shining tower of pure gold. He sells ice cream.)
When a Fighter wants to travel to see a friend, he asks a relative to
give him a lift… and moments later, crashes down in a well-worn
crater not too far from his friend’s place.
When a Fighter wants a cookie… well, you get the idea.
Many young Fighters, upon reaching a certain age, embark as I have, out into the
wilderness to seek their fortunes. Most eventually reach the coast
and leave the island soon afterwards, returning months or even years
later with hard-earned fortunes and tales of adventure. Many find
work in distant lands as warriors, bodyguards, pirates and thieves.
Most that survive the dangers of the greater world (and many do)
eventually return to their native island—with spouses or children in
tow—and are welcomed back into the homestead. I hope to do the same someday."