The Devil's Eye

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The Devil's Eye is a phenomenal area of sea between the northern continent of the Green Pillar and the central land of the Red Pillar, occupying nearly the whole width of the straight between them at points. It occurs in different specific places within a range approximately 200 miles in diameter. Its name is derived from its tendency to suddenly and undesirably change conditions in a seemingly antagonistic manner. Thus it was also known anciently as the 'Sea of Spite'. It is quite inhospitable to vessels, and almost certain death to a seaman overboard.

History

Though the oldest recorded mention of the Eye is found in Kobold history, and attributed to the Kobold epic hero Zornzin, it is highly likely that its exaggerated characteristics (and possibly the bulk of the epic 'Journey' itself) were introduced to the Kobold from another culture at a later time. Indeed, the oldest physical record of the tale purportedly dates to the middle of the second age, while the story itself is thought to be older. The introduction to, and subsequent adaptation by, the Kobold is highly unusual, given their long history of accurate scholarly record-keeping and strict cultural expectation to keep records 'pure'.

Due to aggrandizement of its characteristics during transmission between races and cultures, many civilizations came to view the Eye as something of a supernatural phenomenon before the third age. In fact it is nothing of the sort, caused only by the very strong currents, unpredictable tides, and dangerous submarine formations in the area. These can lead to sudden and very rapid currents which tend to push vessels onto the sharp rocks. The extreme rapidity and seeming hostility with which these currents can come about has led mariners throughout the ages to anthropomorphize the Eye, often attributing confrontational, hyper-masculine, or even infernal characteristics to it.

In Legend

In the ancient Kobold legends housed at Chandan Nath, there is an epic myth of a Kobold explorer Zornzin Orop. In the epic, known in Common as 'Journey', Zornzin and his companion Ipdoo travel far beyond the horizon, as no Kobold had before, in search of magic comparable to the great Gredik. They visited great lands of fire, and of ice. They circled the Great Lakes, and sailed the length of the meandering rivers. The myth's primitive prose describe the companions' travels through lands and seas, yet curiously make no mention of other civilizations. One of the last accounts in the narrative is that of the 'Sea of Spite', or 'Devil's Eye', as it has come to be more widely known. This treacherous area very nearly took Zornzin's life.

From the Common translation of the epic 'Journey', chapter 75, 'Sea of Spite':

This sea shall have me!
'Tis not alike any
't roars as a beast
which yearns to feast
taking all under level
great frothing Devil
And we, 'twixt tongue and tooth!
't knows not of truth
nor reason, nor drive,
nor of life, nor to die.
Thus out roaring mouth
through jaw, maw and snout
blustered of the cold breath
escaped we our doomed death
Seaman, Sailor, Traveler
Take care what lies thereafter
Hold fast to life and limb
N'er approach the roaring rim!
Take note, and surely go wide
of this the great Devil's Eye

Modern use

Though navigation of the Devil's Eye is quite hazardous, highly skilled mariners such as the Nerid are known to have established trade routes around its outskirts, and operate throughout them with only moderate losses. With proper navigational charts, a nimble vessel, well trained crew, and careful timing, it is presumed navigable, though very few are willing to take the risk.