Long ago, when the stars shone in greater number than any could hope to count, the seasons came in sequence, and the sea was tame, the people of Spéir divided the earth into things called nations. Vast collections of cities that gave fealty to a few powerful rulers. Nations used the seas to make trade and war. They spread their power across Spéir to places no one has seen in a hundred years.
Then the stars fell, the seasons went feral, and the sea turned foul.
There are none alive today who remember the world before the fall, but we tell the stories of those who heard stories from those who did.
They say there is an island that makes its home in any place a sailor can no longer see land. It is made not form the bones of Spéir, the rocks and soil you and I call home. It is built from the bones of ships and dead men.
It calls to sailors, lost, hungry and homesick. It offers them the promise of firm ground, green grasses, and dry air. Some say it calls with songs. Whatever temptation a sailor needs to abandon their senses and change course from the Starwatcher’s chart. Most who see the island are drawn to crash upon its shores and rot away to join the rest of the bones that make up that foul place.
Those clever few who escape The Island’s call bear The Mariner’s Mark. A black spot upon their palm. Those foolish enough to return to sea after seeing The Island never return.
It was upon this cruel mockery of the land that The Mariner was born. It walks and talks like a creature of the land but do not be fooled The Mariner comes from the sea. Its blood is bryne, its flesh is foam, and its bones are the flotsam of 10,000 ships that met their end on that hateful island.
The Mariner is a prophet of dark revels. Calling men from the land to the waves. Today those who bear The Mariner’s Mark hear call. The lucky ones end their lives trying to drown out the voice. The rest slip into the sea. They join the legion of half-men who sail the endless sea and devour all the water can touch.
There are none alive that know what The Mariner wants. We know it hates the land. We know it hates the sky. So when we see sails on the water, we close the gates, we bar the doors, and kiss the dirt that it might stay beneath our feet another day.