Skirting The Dodgy Path
The Sunset Isles
Freeport and the Sunset Islands is the newest barony within the Kingdom of the Isles. It is ruled by an appointed governor, and operates as a tax & tariff free zone with regard to trade import and export. It is also a haven for those seeking to expunge their criminal record, and start a new life.
The Sunset Isles mark the eastern end of a vast archipelago that extends westward across the Endless Sea. Beyond the Sunset Isles are another dozen large islands and hundreds of tiny ones. All are a part of a long series of islands that stretch to the far west, ending in an even greater archipelago with islands numbering in the thousands. Many of these islands are huge, perhaps a hundred miles across, while others are no more than sandbars. The inhabitants of most are unknown although some, such as the cannibalistic inhabitants of the Skashakan, are infamous.
The only island among the Sunset Isles with a harbor deep enough for a large, deep-sea faring vessel is the island of Freeport. Freeport owes its excellent harbor to the extinct volcano which is the island’s foundation. The harbor, almost a half-mile across, is formed by a wide oval of coral-bound beaches and the steeply rising volcanic peak close behind. The mountain rises in an almost perfect protective circle around the town of Freeport which rings the water and is built upon every available patch of land.
About the time that the conDoins were establishing the Western Realm, remnants of a Keshian garrison began raiding, using the Sunset Isles as their haven. It is uncertain whether the Keshian soldiers had revolted and killed their officers or if the officers led them, but a growing enclave of cutthroats began to plague the waters of the Endless Sea between the Sunset Isles and Triagia and into the Bitter Sea. Attempts by both the Keshian Empire and the Kingdom to defeat the pirates were frustrated by the swiftness and maneuverability of the their favored light vessels, the labyrinthine nature of the archipelago, and the tenacity of these cutthroats who would hide out until safe and then rebuild.
In the years before the sacking of the Far Coast by Render’s brigands, the pirates of Freeport had begun to exchange their historical raiding practices for safer, and more lucrative, trading endeavors … all the while skirting the trade laws, tariffs, and customs of the established kingdoms. To maintain stability, the Kingdom has retained this “duty-free” status.
The Kingdom saw a growing frontier along the Far Coast and in the Sunset Islands and encouraged many to seek their fortune in these lands. When the islands became a part of the Kingdom a law was established guaranteeing that if a man could live for a year and a day committing no crime, he would be pardoned for whatever he had done before coming to the Isles. The harbor at Freeport would eventually become a strategic base for the Kingdom fleet.