Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Island With Two Kings

The Island With Two Kings:
  • Virtue: Fertility - Growth
  • Fault: The King, Reversed - Tyranny
  • Fate: War - Great Effort vs. Misspent Effort

The Island With Two Kings was founded by the Axe Folk, the enigmatic invaders who were the scourge of the River Kingdoms to the South. The invaders sailed northwards from the River Kingdoms until they saw a long, thin beautiful island before them. When the Axe Folk came ashore discovered great forests, volcanic hills, and rich fertile plains.

The island was already inhabited by graceful, athletic farmers and fishermen. The Axe Folk quickly conquered them, established their cult of the God of Might and Storms, and built a vast sea fleet of warships and trading vessels. Within a few centuries, the Island With Two Kings became a great sea power of fearsome seaborne warriors and mighty traders. The Kingdom's double headed axe became the feared symbol of its power in the numerous Tribute Islands in the Middle Sea.
Bronze Axe from Messara, Crete
The island's power and wealth has grown with each generation. Each successive Sea King has built onto the kingdom's Royal Palace. The complex sprawls over many acres now, and hides an enormous labyrinth below. Every year, many beautiful young men and women are lowered into this labyrinth as sacrifices to the Bull King who rules the great labyrinth below the palace. The King Below is said to guard a gate to another world, a gate which only the King Above can open.
And that Day of Opening may come soon. Whispers among the courtiers in the Royal Palace say this gate was created as an escape route for the first Sea King, should his subjects rebel. The current Sea King for his part acts as if he suspects a rebellion is imminent. And it may be. There is discontent among the Admiralty with the ceaseless wars of conquest, which are unpopular with the masses and a hindrance to the accumulation of private wealth.

And the King's drive for wealth to fund his war efforts is relentless. Ever-increasing taxes on trade and the peasantry have led parents to sell their children into slavery to settle debts to the state. Large slave agriculture estates new compete with peasant producers, creating ever more economic pressure on the peasant folk. And in more distant lands, Tribute Islands that fail to make their annual sacrificial tribute of youthful servitors and gold are dealt with ruthlessly. The King's spies are everywhere, and more and more people find themselves accused of disloyalty and hurled down into the labyrinth of the Bull King.

Meanwhile the Sea King has announced an ambitious new project to increase land in cultivation by building dams that will lower the level of the Middle Sea. Still more slaves from the Rimlands to the Far West have been harnessed for this great project. Is the Sea King insane? Many wonder, and the Sea King's Admirals are debating the merits of a coup...

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