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For centuries, the native tribes of Vodeo have told of spirits and otherworldly beings roaming the lands of Vodeo. Early Ulethan settlers scoffed at such notions, but it didn’t take them long to realise that something wasn’t right with their new home. In the more than 400 years since colonisation began, there have been reports of strange goings-on across the country, from haunted buildings to ghostly apparitions, and even a forest where it is said something so unspeakably evil resides that even wild beasts and birds dare not enter. There are those who say that Vodeo’s position on the equator acts as a portal to another world; others think it’s all superstitious nonsense. This month we will examine a number of places around Vodeo with unusual and unsettling stories to recount. Reader beware, you’re in for a scare!

Living History

Our trip through Vodeo begins this week in the Welcome Islands, just off the coast of Brynderwyn. The Welcome Islands are perhaps the best-known of all of Vodeo's offshore islands, owing to their history and beauty. Some 300 years ago, the islands were one of the major ports of call for pirates and sailors of all kinds. The sugar industry that had been established by the Rhysiogans at the turn of the 17th century had matured nicely by the early 18th century, and the rum produced across the water in Brynderwyn was regarded as the best in the world. While Ingerland didn't look too kindly upon piracy, the colonial authorities recognised the wealth that the port towns were generating, and as a result, were reluctant to do anything that would stop the money coming in. A sort of understanding was reached between the pirates and the authorities - if the pirates paid their way and didn't cause trouble, the authorities would let them be. This arrangement worked, and even though Port Elizabeth was nicknamed "the hellhole of the Uthyra", the good times on the island rolled gently on. Some of the world's most famous pirates passed through (and usually, out) here, and "Red" Rachel Montgomery, Vodeo's most famous pirate, made her home in Port Elizabeth, and today her house serves as the Welcome Islands Museum.

Port Elizabeth is nothing but a horrendous Wretch of a Town, where every Sin and Vice flourishes with wicked abandon, and nary is there to be seen a Person of Sober and God-fearing Habits.
— James Williams, a missionary from Brynderwyn, 1707

The Welcome Islands have deservedly become internationally famous for their piratical past, but in recent years they've also become famous for a more unusual reason - it seems that history is coming back to life. Local tribes called the islands Zaioturai, or "where the spirits live", and believed that they were inhabited by ethereal beings. Stories were told of young warriors who embarked for the islands as a show of bravery, but upon returning swore never to go back. Certainly, this wasn't going to stop Rhysiogan and Ingerish settlers from cultivating the islands for sugar cane, much to the horror of the tribes, who warned that disturbing the spirits was a foolish endeavour. Outbreaks of fire and disease through the 17th century might have given weight to the theory, but by the time of the Ingerish Civil War, these tales had largely been forgotten.

As war enveloped the Mother Country, much of the colonial forces were recalled to Ingerland, sparking fears of a Castellanese or Florescentan invasion. Local pirates, who had grown quite attached to their new home, offered their services to help defend the colonies, in return for the governors looking the other way. The governors accepted, and the pirate crews set sail to patrol the coast, fighting and sinking many ships along the way. One great battle was fought in 1721 off the coast from the Welcome Islands between the Ingerish and pirates on one side, and the Castellanese on the other. The Ingerish and pirates prevailed but at a high cost, and many sailors made their way to Davy Jones' Locker. After Cambria and St Austell declared independence, most of the pirates went on to form the backbone of the nations' navies, making Vodeo perhaps the only country in the world whose navy originated from piracy.

While piracy has long since vanished from the Sea of Uthyra, it's still going strong on the Islands. Publicans at the Three Sails Hotel in Port Elizabeth have reported seeing the ghostly figures of pirates and wenches as they clean up after closing, and in other parts of the town there have been sightings of people in full 18th century clothing striding happily through the town; this on its own is not a strange sight, until they were witnessed vanishing into brick walls. Late at nights in the museum, staff have caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure moving through the house - they say it's "Red" Rachel keeping a watchful eye over her house and making sure all is well. In Gibbons Bay it is said that on quiet, still nights, you can hear the stretching of rope and a disembodied gurgling sound emanating from the town common on Great Street; the locals believe this to be the spirit of a hanged pirate, condemned to relive his fate over and over for all eternity.

Yet perhaps the eeriest of all are the famous ghost ships which are said to ply the waters around these parts. For hundreds of years there have been sightings of strange old ships that move silently through the waters between the hours of sunset and sunrise. Sailors have told of seeing tall ships with their sails billowing cutting through the water and festooned with the flickering light of lamps on deck. Nothing seems to deter the salty sea-dogs, who fade into the night whenever another ship gets too close. Countless people have attempted to capture the ghost ships on film, but when they review the footage, all they see is the sea and the stars...

Par's notes

I've been wanting to tell the story of the Welcome Islands for well over a year now, but haven't wanted to showcase the islands until I considered them ready to be presented. However, the idea of showing off pirate islands with pirate ghosts was too good to pass up. I've always loved the stories of pirates, and although I've talked about them in previous entries about Brynderwyn and Avington, I really wanted somewhere that dials the story up to 11. The Welcome Islands themselves are based off a number of islands in the Caribbean, as well as the Bay of Islands in New Zealand; Russell, one such town in the latter, is the town depicted in the article for Port Elizabeth.

"Ah," you scoff, "that wasn't scary at all! Give us something really unsettling!" Well, dear reader, I have just the thing for you. Meet me in Holme one week from today, and we'll see who's still feeling brave afterwards.

By order of the Lands Spooky Department,
ParAvion (talk) 23:26, 2 October 2018 (CEST)

Comments go down here

Please affix your signature and timestamp. Avast ye swabs, lest ye find yerself in Davy Jones' locker!

I'm picturing one of those sea-side towns filled with galleries, bric-a-brac, arts and crafts, and sculptures; all of which are filled with items that cost the same amount as an Arthurian-style house on Castle Hill. --Turnsole80 (talk) 01:31, 3 October 2018 (CEST)

Not a bad idea, I can see Port Elizabeth and Gibbons Bay being full of those sorts of stores. Might as well fleece the tourists for all they're worth. — ParAvion (talk) 11:13, 3 October 2018 (CEST)

Piracy still happens on the islands… Hmm. Like stealing credit card numbers and selling cracked conch shells for £5? That would be an interesting welcome to international tourists. — Alessa (talk) 04:56, 3 October 2018 (CEST)

I think that's the real scary story. That, and the fact that you could be wandering around at night in Port Elizabeth, and the only shop open... is a Verona Coffee. Would you choose ghosts over THAT?! FictiveJ (talk) 05:01, 3 October 2018 (CEST)
The locals tell of a strange cafe at the end of town that stays open all through the night. Nobody dares set foot inside, and even the town's spirits keep a wide berth. Where did the cafe come from? Nobody knows. Some say it appeared overnight, others whisper in hushed tones of a Drabantian conspiracy. Whatever the truth is, it's just one more mystery woven into the fabric of these peculiar isles.
In all honesty, a night walk around Port Elizabeth after the town's gone to sleep sounds both spine-tinglingly scary and just plain awesome at the same time. Add in wet streets and a cool breeze, and you're set for a night to remember. — ParAvion (talk) 11:13, 3 October 2018 (CEST)

Me: I love literature
Someone: Oh cool so who's your favorite author
Me: User:ParAvion
Them: Use promo code RIJEN18 to get 25% off any drink from the current seasonal offer. --Eklas (talk) 07:13, 3 October 2018 (CEST)

Let me guess, pumpkin spice, right? — ParAvion (talk) 11:13, 3 October 2018 (CEST)
It's October, so obviously. FictiveJ (talk) 13:57, 3 October 2018 (CEST)
Basic and also Wrong, it's actually a variety of fruit punches, hot chocolate and gingerbread latte. --Eklas (talk) 20:24, 3 October 2018 (CEST)
2017 February 26: An Introduction by the Lands Survey Department March 5: Noticing North Harbour March 23: Coffee and Relations April 18: Of Late I Think of Crafers April 30: Why is Roger So Jolly Today? May 4: Listen While I Play My Green Tahorine May 11: Of Motorways and Men June 21: Oh Helensvale! July 3: Parliamentary Conduct July 9: Diplomatic Insanity July 16: A Better Saviso Bradford July 21: Go Where the Rhodes Take You August 8: Get to the Point September 11: When Real Life Writes the Script September 24: Mapping Politics October 15: Breaking the Gridlock October 26: 390 Not Out December 12: Good Cheer and Googie December 31: That Was the Year That Was
2018 January 26: Do These Suburbs Make My City Look Big? February 7: Carry On Doctor March 15: Bordering on Madness May 1: Putting On the Pounds June 1: Further Adventures in Finance June 30: We'll Have a Gay Old Time July 20: Aving Fun in Avington August 15: The Country Members September 26: RADern October 3: Living History October 10: The Hauntings of Holme October 17: Is There Anybody Out There? October 24: If You Go Down to the Woods Today... October 31: The Evil That Men Do November 16: Crawl Out Through the Fallout December 22: There's No Place Like Holme for the Holidays December 31: Looking Backward, Moving Forward
2019 January 30: The South Tonight February 20: Jeez Gerrise March 31: The Angles of Aslington April 30: All the Rivers Run June 23: Consolidation and Crafers July 22: The Pirate Kingdom September 9: Every Which Way but Loose October 3: Tender Loving Care October 10: Mystery in the Mountains October 17: Blood, Sweat, and Tears October 24: Highway to Hell October 31: Supernatural Saviso December 31: 2020 Vision
2020 February 3: This Old Holme