Though we have become so familiar with Dereth over our many years on this world, it is not the sole island in the vicinity. Aerlinthe Island, the Singularity Caul, Dark Isle–all of these landmasses have been sites of great importance in the history of Auberean, and all of them were, until recent years, unknown to us. Among these exists another island of significance that was for the longest time hidden, an island with a colorful history and that, in just a few years that it has been known and explored by Isparian, has been the scene for important events in our own history. This island is Marae Lassel.

Of Marae’s very ancient past, we know little. However, what we do know is that at some point in time, it was one of the many territories in possession of the Yalaini Seaborne Empire. In that time the island, named “Sheltering Isle” in the Yalain tongue, was used as a nature preserve. There, countless rare and unique species of flora and fauna were allowed to thrive, free from the threat of both predator and civilization. But even the greatest empires meet their own conqueror. Eventually, the Yalain came upon the Olthoi, and the insect menace was unleashed upon the world. In an attempt to prevent the Olthoi from spreading even faster, the Yalain collapsed the network of portals crisscrossing the world. Dereth was cut off from the rest of the Empire, while Marae was isolated from the outside world altogether. To further protect these untainted lands, Asheron, last of the Yalain, erected a mystical barrier shielding Dereth and the surrounding seas from Olthoi senses, and for a time, Marae Lassel sat silently, so near to its neighbors but so utterly alone.

In time, of course, this solitude would end. The Olthoi eventually broke through the barrier and established hives on both Dereth and Marae Lassel. Some time later, disruptions in portalspace caused portions of the old Yalaini portal network to awaken, reopening portals to worlds the had once visited. It is through this path that the Aun and Hea tribes of Tonk entered the world. Through the portals that had opened upon their world, the Tonk heard the cries of a world besieged by the Olthoi, a world they believed to be Palenqual, the sacred land of their legends. Not wishing to see their holy land desecrated in such a way, they came through to Marae Lassel and began a long struggle with the hive that controlled the island. Using a combination of their drumming and the Menhir stones atop the Marescent Plateau, they were able to drive the Olthoi from the surface of the island, and after a great battle that cost many lives, the Tonk stormed the main hive and slew the Marae Queen. They had won their freedom from the alien plague as well as a new home–at least, for a time.

Some years later, the altered human known as Candeth Martine became aware of Marae Lassel’s existence, as well as the presence of the Tonk, Virindi, and a new Olthoi Queen. Seeking to solve several problems in one stroke, he opened new portals to the island, allowing Isparians to journey to the strange new land for the first time. There adventurers discovered the many species of native wildlife that managed to survive the years of Olthoi domination and engaged in battle with both Virindi and the altered beasts at their command. In time, Isparians were even able to slay the second Olthoi Queen, once again freeing the island from the threat of her dark majesty, and Marae Lassel came to be an important settlement in our nascent society.

Since the opening of the way to Marae Lassel, even more has transpired upon its shores. An obscure cult established a small foothold on the plateau, gaining strength and growing into the Order of the Raven Hand. The Olthoi reasserted themselves after the emergence of the Ancient Olthoi Queen and sought to once again overrun the island. And armies loyal to New Viamont have conquered the Isparian towns of Marae, though even now a strong resistance movement lurks in the shadows, planning the downfall of these invaders. Like many of the lands we have come across over the years, Marae Lassel’s geographical size is belied by its historical importance. That a place so significant to both our and Yalain’s cultures stood within reach of us for so long but remained unknown and undetected leads one to ask the question: Just what other strange, magnificent lands lay hidden just off Dereth’s shores, and just what wonders–and horrors–await those that will one day discover them?

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