Erid Isles

  /  Erid Isles

The primary city of the Erid Isles is the Crystal Spire, a gigantic, hollowed out crystal rising over a hundred feet above the island’s surface and an unknown depth underneath it. The Crystal Spire is the center of Erid culture, administration, military, commerce, and is integral to the belief structure of the Erid. The levels of the spire above the ground are relegated to the needs of running the Isles, mostly administrative in nature. The areas below the surface are where the Keepers of the Preserved practice their arts, maintain the stasis of thousands of heroes, and conduct rituals to determine if those brought before them are worthy of joining the ranks of the Preserved.


The Erid Isles are ruled by seven noble houses. It is said these houses are the families that guided the Erid through the darkness to arrive on Sylvaris. Most Erid still believe that these families guided them during that most desperate of times and, as such, have continued to support them as the established houses guide the Erid on Sylvaris.


The islands are watched over by the Celestial Guard, the Erid military. The Celestial Guard is divided into two branches: The Star Guard and the Moon Guard. They can be identified by the tabards they openly wear. The Star Guard wear black tabards with seven white stars in a circle on the front, while the Moon Guard wear white tabards with seven black stars in a circle on the front. It is very rare to see one branch of the Celestial Guard without representation from the other; they are almost always found in squads with equal numbers from each branch. It is rumored that the Star Guard are more martially inclined, while the Moon Guard are more magically inclined, although many a criminal has found themselves in an Erid prison for assuming that inclination meant singular focus.


Banana, coconut, orange, and pineapple farms are very common on the island, as is the practice of raising a domesticated version of the wild boar which roam the islands. Along with the farming and raising of pigs, fishing is another very common livelihood for the Erid. Not only do they gather fish and other forms of sustenance from the oceans, but the oyster and pearl trade is very profitable for the Isles. Exotic flowers flourish while wild animals, beasts, and creatures roam the islands without influence or intervention from society.


While most of the islands in the area have been cultivated and settled by the Erid, several of them have deliberately been left untamed by request of the Celestial Guard. Each of these islands has a moderate sized guard post to keep watch over it and ensure no enemies of the Isles or criminals utilize them. Aside from that, the islands are left mostly untouched, allowing nature to run its course.


The untamed islands hold many secrets that have yet to be discovered and, if the Erid have their way, will continue to do so forever. The Erid believe that should these islands be tamed or cultivated, they would lose the evolutionary discoveries from which their society benefits. 


Every five years, the Celestial Guard will open the untamed islands to seven small groups of explorers, each one sponsored by a noble house. These explorers are permitted one month to explore, catalog, and discover what they can on these islands while causing as little disruption as possible. At the end of the month, any explorers that are still alive are magically recalled to the spire. There has never been an exploration that resulted in all seven of the groups returning and never has a group returned with all of its members. Those that have returned often bring with them new knowledge, exotic plants, and information that the noble houses utilize to help advance Erid culture and society. Oftentimes, those who survive are considered worthy to join the ranks of the Preserved. 


Erid culture has a strong focus upon the phases of the moon and the stars. The moon controls the tides which influence the bounty that can be harvested from the waters, it is also believed to be a strong source of the Erid’s magic and affinity with spirits. Most Erid celebrate two special holidays, the night of the full moon, known as the Night of Revelation, and the night of the new moon, known as the Night of Remembrance.


The Night of Remembrance is an evening of fasting, meditation, and remembrance. It is an evening to ensure the Erid never forget the darkness they came from before arriving on Sylvaris. It is an evening spent remembering why they honor their heroes and why they strive to enhance the ranks of the Preserved. On the Night of Remembrance, only simple bread, water, and broth is to be consumed, even the local taverns follow this tradition to the dismay of many travelers. On occasion, when a tavern decided to ignore this practice, they found themselves lacking patrons for the next month until they either had no choice but to close down or they began adopting the expected practices. The Night of Remembrance is also a time to honor the spirits of those who came before: Relatives, family members, friends and loved ones who have passed. There is no specific way in which they are honored, some feel that honoring the solemnity and fasting is enough. Others burn incense, some plant specific flowers or leave offerings of dried fruit and nuts on the edge of the jungle. No matter the specific practice, it is a night of solemn remembrance upon the Isles.


As quiet and peaceful as the Night of Remembrance is, the Night of Revelation is quite the opposite. Happening on the night of the full moon, the Night of Revelation is a giant celebration to honor the Erids’ arrival on Sylvaris and deliverance from the darkness from whence they came. Each of the noble houses takes turns sponsoring the Night of Revelation festivities and it is considered a great honor and sign of prosperity for them to be able to host such an event. Many boar are roasted over open spits. Kegs of ale and wine are brought forth and enjoyed. Fresh baked sweet breads and fruit cocktails are abundant and passed between friends, family and strangers. Bards and performers ply their trade and, for one night a month, the Erid Isles are filled with wonder and merriment as they celebrate their arrival on Sylvaris.


Thus it is that the Erid honor both life and death, nature and nurture, where they came from and where they are now. The duality of the Erid is seen in many facets of their culture and is a central point that binds them together as a people.