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Origins of Kitar Island:
In 1796, a Boston merchant named Raymond Yarn and his wife gave birth to their third child, a son. As the son grew up, even his parents noticed something was strange about him; something was strange about his face, and his joints bent unnaturally. His skin grew wrinkled before he was ten, and Mrs. Yarn especially was ashamed. In 1811, Raymond moved his three children and his wife to California, to do business there, away from the social elite. The family grew wealthier trading to the California natives and the Spanish and Mexicans, and Raymond was intrigued when he heard of a large island up north of the main settlements. The Indians hadn't colonized it, and Raymond and his family vacationed there. They enjoyed themselves, and Raymond laid claim to the land, developing a rather mad idea as he did so, to start a colony of people who weren't exactly normal. He wasn't met with any success early on. In 1814, he met a clan of wandering sorcerers on Kitar Island. The sorcerers spoke a rather outdated form of English, and were interested to learn about the "newcomers," as they called them. For his part, Raymond was fascinated with magic, and he and his family took up residence on the island, which they dubbed Kitar Island, after misunderstanding the sorcerers' name for it.
In 1820, Raymond brought an assayer to the island on a hunch, and quite a bit of gold was found, along with other precious metals, and some jewels. Raymond instantly laid claim to the island, sending messages to the United States and Mexico, promising to pay each a sum for ownership of the land. When the Mexicans in California heard of this, they were instantly suspicious, and Raymond feared for his own safety, as well as his claimed island. He enlisted the sorcerers to make a magic opaque blue barrier surrounding the island, about 30 yards in the water from the shoreline, leaving a small opening for entry and exit. The sorcerers then used a great deal of energy to make a pink glowing Gate facing the mainland. The Gate is a glowing pink mist that seems to judge entrants on whatever criteria necessary. A sorcerer still tends to it to this very day.
Once the island was protected, Raymond felt confident enough to encourage people to come to his island again, promising wealth to all people with extraordinary powers who came. More unusual children were being born, and an adventurous couple, Madeline and Charles Pine, came to the island via the land route, seeking knowledge. Each of them had powers--Madeline had to hide her long lavender hair from view at all times--and they quickly realized how wonderful it would be to live in a place where they didn't have to hide who they were. They aggressively promoted the island all throughout the United States, setting up some of their trusted friends as governors and deputies to keep the order in the gold camps. The camps grew disorderly anyway, but Raymond didn't seem to care much. After his wife's passing, he went slightly mad, deciding to set up his three children and their families as kings and queens of different provinces of the island. The Pine couple hired men to keep order in the camps and to guard the island itself, and then built barriers around the various known gold camps, only letting people they trusted work the mines. Meanwhile, in an attempt to draw more "freaks" to the island, they enacted a stipend system, wherein every person with powers who registered on the island would get a modest amount of gold each month, as well as free housing and health care. They set up wagon trains to cross the country and import farmers as well as freaks.
The new residents of Kitar Island helped America fight the Mexicans, and the island was made into something like a territory, though to this day it remains relatively free of United States government influence.
By the time of the Civil War, there were a fair number of freaks on Kitar Island, and the farmers kept the land self-sufficient. Raymond's children were little better than he was, and each hired numerous guards to protect their new castles. Order was kept in the land, and when the Transcontinental Railroad was completed, more and more people came to the island.
While Raymond Yarn had a vision of a land kept rustic, Gate Town, near the Gate, and other cities embraced technology nearly as quickly as other small towns in the West. By the 1920s, even small towns had water purification, and by the early 1930s, there was a hydroelectric power plant northwest of Gate Town, and a radio tower whose frequencies reached much of the island. Just when it looked like the island would become thoroughly modern, however, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and, soon thereafter, the lighted city of Marquis, not that far from Gate Town itself. Rather than impose blackouts, the eccentric government took this as a sign to banish technology, and they got back to Raymond Yarn's ideals after all. They maintained their water purification systems, but other electrical devices were instantly banned, and still are, to this very day.
The Towns and Landmarks of Kitar Island:
Arcadia: (D3) Lu Dessey was raised on a farm outside this small town.
Bluewater: (G11) Today Bluewater has excellent medical facilities, powered by a small generator put there in the late 1930s and maintained ever since. Some people think more than the doctor's office may be electrified, but no one's been able to prove it.
Central Government Territory: (throughout the map) Even Raymond Yarn knew that Kitar Island was too large to be ruled effectively by three monarchs, and he left the rest of the land to the "Central Government," to be ruled by the main government in Gate Town. In effect, people living in this area are only governed by "federal" laws that affect the whole island, though in reality, the government can be arbitrary in declaring and enforcing these laws, and many of the laws go too far for the average person, who might like to see a movie or smoke a cigarette in peace.
Compton: (I4) A mile outside this ordinary town, there is a flophouse frequented by criminals and mercenaries traveling between the eastern towns in the Central Government Territory and the province of Yarnia.
Crystal River Dam: (K3) The Crystal River Dam was completed in late 1929, with the stated intention of keeping a reservoir of fresh water for the use of Gate Town. However, a few engineers teamed up with an enterprising young mayor and turned the dam into a hydroelectric dam, providing light to the residents of the small town of Marquis. In 1942 electricity was banned from the island, except for medical purposes. So, in the present day, the occasional electric light or other piece of equipment can be viewed in public, but most people have to resort to batteries if they want electrical devices.
Dentam: (F3) A gold mining town founded in 1914, Dentam was never much of a civilized town, lacking a formal school or a church throughout its existence. It was strictly for miners until the early 1930s, when a few men started to bring their wives and children in. The town was attacked by a mixed pack of wild animals in 1933, and about half the townspeople were killed. The remaining townspeople abandoned the town, and it wasn't until the 1950s that the veins of Dentam were mined again, though the miners settled several miles away from the former site of Dentam. The vein played out by the mid-1970s, and the lands around Dentam are abandoned once again.
Everettburg: (E5) In 1975, a strange girl named Sylvie came from there.
Gate Town: (M4) Gate Town gets its name from the huge, glowing pink gate that stands between it and the mainland. The entire island was surrounded by an opaque blue barrier in 1847, and since then, this gate has been more or less the only place to get into, or out of, the island. Since the town was named, Gate Town has been the largest city on Kitar Island, and since 1884, it's housed the main government of all the island. It has always had the biggest variety of food and clothing, and the closest to city life one can achieve on Kitar Island, though that's not saying all that much. Most of its buildings are wooden, one-or-two stories. To someone coming in for the first time, it looks like a bizarre cross between an Old West town and a Renaissance Festival. It's also the place where all non-native-born variants register to receive a monthly stipend for living on the island. After the terrorist attack against a lab in Rellins, Gate Town was also turned into a screening area, and no one who wasn't a proven variant, a native to the island, or a relative to a variant, was allowed past Gate Town.
Highgrove: (H2) Highgrove was a very small farming village founded in the early 1920s. By the late 1990s, it had grown in size, enough to threaten the Shuhuh (catpeople) who lived there, though it never became a tourist destination.
Hollowburgh: (J2) A farming town with very little of note. The townspeople of Saxton sought refuge there when their town was destroyed, and about a third of these refugees took jobs farming or married men from Hollowburgh and were accepted. A murder took place in Hollowburgh shortly after the refugees took shelter there.
Kane's Pack's Territory: (see I9) This is an area inhabited by people who are always accompanied by what they call Souls--a visible, animal that embodies all they are. The land they consider theirs likely encompasses some land the province of Peria claims as its own, but since no citizens of Peria populate the land, no trouble has come up yet.
Kenston: (L4) Never wired for electricity, Kenston is a small farming town not that far from Gate Town. All of its land was formerly owned by a wealthy man who set up a mansion in the town and leased the land out to tenant farmers. Upon his death, he left much of the land to his tenants, and his mansion to the undertaker, Ezra Alden, in exchange for his services. The undertaker lived there until 1928, when he donated the house to be an orphanage and moved away. Some of the townspeople left, too, afraid the orphans might steal from them. However, the children in question are generally well-behaved and kind-hearted. Some of the workers at the orphanage encouraged them to write letters to Mr. Alden to tell them about their lives and thank him for his contribution. In the 1960s, due to a decreased number of parentless children, the orphanage became a private residence once again.
McRardon: (L7) A small town. In the year 2002, a blind variant named Dallas had heard his mother was there, and went to find her.
Marquette: (J6) Marquette was considered one of the most modern towns on Kitar Island until the Crystal River Dam was completed. They never got electricity. The town is sustained by farming and a college that started with 15 students in 1909, which increased to 1200 in the 1930s, despite the Depression, and, by the year 2000, over 3500. The detective Guy Stowe solved a murder here in 1931.
Marquis: (L4) Until 1930, Marquis was a miniscule town. Even travelers who didn't know which way they were going would usually continue on past Marquis if they came to the town, sure they could find some place better down the road. But in 1928, a man became mayor in an uncontested race, and he determined to improve the town. He knew of the Crystal River Dam being built northwest of his town, and convinced the engineers, and the government of Kitar Island, to let the power lines be run to Marquis before extending them to Gate Town. The move paid off handsomely, as tourists who had never left the island came to see the marvels of electricity, and many people moved there, lured by the promise of automatic clothes washers and ovens that didn't require coal or wood. The town quickly grew, and since almost every building was built new, it soon looked as modern as any American small town. The mayor also convinced the authorities to allow a radio tower to be set up in Marquis, and eventually he hired a variant with healing powers to live in the town and heal anyone who comes for free. Even people from the mainland came to visit Marquis for this healing, and the town prospered greatly, growing to be one of the most populous towns on the island.
Nordstrom: (M7) Nordstrom has been the largest city in Peria for a hundred years, though some of its mines closed during the Depression, and Marquette came to almost rival it in size. It's seen as the most cultured city on the island, though perhaps not the most comfortable place to live, since many of its houses are rather old and drafty.
Peria's Castle: (L6) Like Yarnia, Peria is a province on Kitar Island. The first monarch of Peria was not a variant, however, and, perhaps because of that fact, there's few variants in this kingdom, aside from near the borders (notably the college town of Marquette). Of all the provinces on Kitar Island, Peria is the most like a traditional monarchy, and its line of beautiful princesses and queens can be traced back to its founding.
Pine: (L4) No data available.
Redberry: (J5) A small farming town with no inn in 1932. Lu Dessey was married, and died, in Redberry.
Rellins: (O4) Rellins is located about midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, on the coast of California. It was a minor port town ever since the 1800s, ferrying people and goods to and from Kitar Island. In the 1920s, it grew substantially, as bootleggers bought beer from Kitar Island (which, under federal law, was technically dry, but there was no enforcement) and imported wine and other forms of alcohol that wasn't manufactured there, as well as goods prohibited on the island. In 1972, the New Hope laboratories, known for their tests on human genetic material, built a facility in Rellins, in the hopes of perhaps capturing variants visiting the mainland. This laboratory was destroyed in an apparent and terrifying terrorist attack around the year 2000.
Renburg: (F3) Renburg is a small farming town that never really prospered from the mines nearby. The town still exists today, and still has a combination post office/general store as its main gathering place.
Saxton: (J1) Saxton was a small fishing village founded in the late 1800s. By the early 1930s, it had about fifty houses. As in most fishing villages, Saxton's people were generally poor and very hard-working. Life-sucking, corpse-like monsters lived in the forest outside Saxton throughout its existence, and the townspeople feared to get rid of them, for a prophecy said the town would be destroyed if they did so. When a few people finally ended the life of the lead monster, the wall near Saxton shattered, flooding the low-lying village. The townspeople made it safely to the higher ground near the graveyard. When the waters finally receded a few years later, a few villagers returned to the town to try to make a living fishing again, but they were met with little success, and the town was abandoned again by the 1950s.
Seinegald: (E10) The modern-day town of Seinegald is a few miles east of the old Seinegald castle. In the 1940s, the king of Seinegald died, leaving no heir, and the province is now ruled by a complicated system of representatives from the various towns. The current town of Seinegald is much smaller, not even a capital city. In the 1990s, a criminal group effectively took over the town with a combination of force and magic, threatening anyone who interfered.
Shuhuh Territory: (H1-I2) Though most people on Kitar Island are unfamiliar with them, the very first people on Kitar Island were giant cats, capable of speech, thought, and even walking on two legs. About fifty years after Raymond Yarn came to Kitar Island, these catpeople, who call themselves the Shuhuh, confronted the island's settlers. The Shuhuh were bought off with food and the promise that they'd always have their ancestral lands, no matter how many humans came to the island. In the 1920s and 30s, the Shuhuh came upon hard times when a wave of sickness overtook their people. In February, 1932, an area of the forcefield surrounding Kitar Island broke, bringing floods of water onto the northern shores of the island, and submerging more than half of the Shuhuh's lands. Half of the Shuhuh were drowned, but their people slowly recovered, and when the wall was repaired and the waters eventually receded, their numbers grew. Around the year 2000, the town of Highgrove grew and its people started to encroach on the Shuhuh's land. The Shuhuh had a civil war trying to decide how best to deal with the situation. Eventually, a wall not unlike the one surrounding Kitar Island was formed to separate their land from the humans.
Stromberg: (L5) A small town not that far from Gate Town. Roads here branch out towards both Redberry and Marquette.
Winesburg: (F6) Winesburg is a good-sized town near the border of the province of Yarnia. In the mid-1930s, Aria, Kane, and Aleta moved here, and started their families on the outskirts of town. Around the year 2000, many strange events happened here. It's currently home to the Import Kitchen and Shop, a place to sample or purchase many unusual goods that originate on the mainland, goods that are often heavily taxed (and, if you ask correctly, you might be able to buy something illegal, like batteries).
Wolf Creek: (C7) A scenic town, very pretty on the surface, but with a thriving criminal underground. An excellent place to find mercenaries, and also known for hosting art shows and sales several times a year.
Yarnia's Castle: (D6) A grand castle dating back from the founding of Kitar Island itself. Raymond Yarn set up his three children to be monarchs of kingdoms. His son was a variant, so the province of Yarnia is traditionally the home of variants; well over half the people who live there have some sort of power. The castle fell in the late 1990s due to an earthquake, and the king tried to abdicate, so Yarnia may eventually become a democracy, though there's another castle a bit northeast of the first, that still stands to this day.
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