The Island of
The story of Kesmai, as I remember it told by the mighty Toshin
Kesmai is a wee island located in the far western part of the Archipelago of Mu. Many eons ago the island was used as the last sanctuary of the persecuted Brotherhood of Yasnac. The Yasnaki were once highly respected among magicians all over the lands, but when their leaders yielded to the temptation to experiment with foul and blasphemous sorceries, they were banished from Mu by the Grand Order of Thaumaturges. The Brotherhood fled from imminent destruction and took refuge on the isolated, mysterious Island of Kesmai, where only pirates and other fugitives dared go.
The Brotherhood bargained with the pirates who were using the island as a base and port. In return for sorcerous aid, the pirates yielded the center of the island to the Brotherhood, where they built a small settlement. The Brotherhood excavated a shelter deep beneath the city, partly to hide and protect the Brothers from attack, and partly to provide the unending darkness required for their worst experiments. The underground shelter was slowly enlarged into a series of catacombs. Driven both by pressure from the outside world and by their own increasing craving for the Dark, the Brotherhood, after a time, moved completely below ground. A small fishing village was maintained to provide cover for the comings and goings of the underground city.
Evildoers came eagerly to the hidden headquarters, where opportunities for advancement in the Black Arts abounded. As the power and wealth of the Brotherhood grew, they were able to concentrate a great deal of time and energy on bizarre experiments in genetics, often using unwitting visitors to the Island as starting material. This dark magic combined with the putrid mists emanating from the swamps to produce a myriad of peculiar species. Many of the higher life forms created in this manner developed extraordinarily assertive survival traits. The Brotherhood had a brazen arrogance, and occasionally entertained emissaries from other evil organizations, giving tours, and sometimes making gifts of the horrific creatures they had created. At the peak of their power, the Sorcerers of the Brotherhood were known and feared all over the civilized world. Eventually the Inner Circle of the Brotherhood launched several especially ambitious and perilous experiments.
The Brotherhood hotly desired revenge on the Grand Order of Thaumaturges for masterminding the expulsion from Mu, but for many years none of the suggested plans were dire enough to win general approval. Finally the Lord Emperor of Kesmai perfected the means to obtain the vengeance they longed for. The Emperor, strongest of all the Brotherhood in the Black Arts, devised a way to combine his power with the Brothers of the Inner Circle, and summon one of the dreaded Dragons of Droon. Timing would be critical since the Dragon would appear in the temple with the Brothers for an instant before it was teleported into the gardens of the Imperial palace of Mu. The plan was accepted by the Brotherhood and the horrible ritual begun. When the Dragon appeared right on cue just before the last incantation, the power unleashed burst the coronary arteries of the weakest member of the Inner Circle. Without the missing Brother, the last incantation could not be completed, leaving the Yasnaki with an unwelcome guest.
The Dragon showed little gratitude for the release from its imprisoning sleep. Breaking free of what feeble control the Brotherhood exercised, it crushed the Lord Emperor with one unanticipated sweep of its claw. The Dragon then flew into the laboratories, where the latest bizarre mutants were kept, and ate most of the ongoing experiments, apparently finding the mutants tastier than members of the Brotherhood. A few fell creatures escaped, rampaging through the halls in search of their previous masters. Much bloodshed ensued, and many unfortunate Brothers were most cruelly slain (although not as cruelly as they deserved).
After gorging itself on mutants and Brothers, the Dragon returned to the temple in the depths of the dungeon and took up what appeared to be permanent residence. It was a Dark-Dragon, and thus much attracted to the smell of evil that filled the temple. The presence of a Dragon in the highest sanctuary prevented the Brotherhood from performing their most solemn rites so they undertook to dislodge the creature and regain access to their most powerful talismans and charms, upon which the Dragon was now resting. This they were unable to do, since the Dragon slew all those who dared disturb its rest, including several mighty Demons conjured up for the occasion. During its occasional foraging, the Dragon eventually cleared the region around the temple, and destroyed everything entering its diminutive domain.
The strange mutants freed by the Dragon's rampage continued to roam the dark corridors, most of which had to be abandoned by the Brothers. In the ruins of the dungeon, the dark forces and ghastly chemistry went unchecked, producing vast numbers of creatures. As the population of monsters grew in the deeper recesses, the Brotherhood was forced to move ever closer to the surface. In time, the creatures from the depths overwhelmed the meager remnants of the Yasnaki, with the exception of a few who developed an uneasy truce with the monsters, and lived among them. After the downfall of the Brotherhood, no visitors came to the Island. The inhabitants of the town eventually migrated to greener pastures, leaving the town to be overgrown by the forest, and overrun by various wild things.
Voyagers rediscovered Kesmai during the early years of the Age of Exploration. The first few colonizing expeditions to the island of Kesmai were decimated by the exotic indigenous life, but in time the surface was cleared, and the village was rebuilt. When Zod the Mighty collected a number of scrolls (and quite a bit of treasure) from monsters he slaughtered, the story of the Dragon's coming was pieced together and the great quest begun. Zod's sister, AseLaind the Conqueror has come to Kesmai in fairly recent times to explore and map out the system of portals set up by the Ancients. Her brief messages give hint of many lands forested, frigid and fiery. One is the frozen land of Axe Glacier, named for its dominant landmark. She discovered a dangerous country of desert plains and cliffs known to the inhabitants as Leng. Her travels then led her to Oakvael an land of Forests and pits with a treetop town. Her latest message tells of her journey to cold Praetoseba, known as the Underworld where she is quested for a return to the surface lands and life.
Many brave and powerful warriors have followed AseLaind and Zod into deep dungeons and distant lands, only to be brutally slain by the monsters living there. In the dungeons of Kesmai, the Dragon's hoard, already large from the appropriated wealth of the Yasnaki, is said to contain enchanted items and rumors hint of a special gem the Dragon carries on her body that is required for Knighthood.
The commercialization of Kesmai in recent years (including the recent formation of a Chamber of Commerce in the town of Kesmai) has greatly increased the number of would-be heroes coming to the island. Although life is dangerous everywhere, the Island of Kesmai provides an unusual number of opportunities for advancement, hence adventurers flock to Kesmai and the other unexplored lands, from all over the civilized world, to visit strange places, to challenge exotic beings, and to kill them.