Postfest VII: The Eye of the Kraken
Date: Thu, May 17, 2007
Topic: Arcana of Oerth
From the far southwest comes an artifact of potent power, born from the dark abysses of the Pearl Sea from bloody oaths and a marriage that founded a nation – the Eye of the Kraken.
The Eye of the Kraken
The coastal Keoish have long been known for being skilled if unimaginative mariners, so it came as a surprise to quite a few in 464 CY when they defeated the Sea Princes in a naval engagement at the Battle of Jetsom Island. Up to that point the lumbering galleys of the Keoish, with their banks of oars, had an advantage in light winds, but the area around the trio of large islands controlled by the Sea Princes are known for their favorable winds from the southeast.
In naval battles and skirmishes between the two forces it was the swift caravels of the Sea Princes, choosing when and where to engage, who usually held the advantage. What is not widely known is that the Keoish victory at Jetsom Island is attributable less to superior tactics and sea power than to the unlikely intervention of a traitorous captain among the Sea princes by his delivery of, to the Duke of Gradsul, a mysterious artifact from foreign lands to the southeast.
That item, a huge blue-green pearl known as the Eye of the Kraken, gives its possessor the ability to control wind, weather and water. Once in possession of the Eye the Keoish were able to lure the Sea Princes into a battle that appeared to be to the advantage of the latter, until the powers of the Eye were brought to bear. Finding themselves trapped in irons(1) by wildly shifting winds the caravels of the Sea Princes were rendered immobile and easily cut to pieces by the Keoish galleys. Subsequently the Sea Princes were forced to sue for peace and engage in more legitimate trades.
Origins: According to Gobrel Redbeard, the traitorous pirate captain who delivered it into the hands of the Keoish, the Eye of the Kraken comes from an island nation to the far southwest, beyond the Amedio Jungle, in the Pearl Sea (2).
His story, as recorded by Elfin Weulered, chief scribe to the Duke of Gradsul of the time, tells that a king of the sea devils, a race called the sahuagin by some, had four daughters who were born abominations to that race – fair of form and beautiful, where the sea devils are ugly and foul as their black, twisted souls (3). The king swore to his foul devil god that when they were fully grown he would sacrifice them. This did not happen however, for the cleverest of the daughters led her sisters to swim down into the deep, black abyss near the sea devil city where lived the Grandmother of Krakens. There she begged that ancient creature for a way to escape their grim fate.
The Grandmother of Krakens sat in thought for awhile and then spoke, saying that she would save the daughters if they pledged to dedicate themselves and their descendants to worship her. This they all swore with blood and oath and the old kraken sent them back home and turned her thoughts to how she might fulfill her promise. Now it so happened that a mighty and valiant prince of the land people was passing in the sea overhead, so the kraken raised up a storm that sank his ship, sucking him down to the dark, crushing depths. Before he could drown she laid a spell on the prince so that he could breath water. In return for saving his life she extracted an oath that he would do as she asked, the oath being that he would slay the king of the sea devils and rescue the four fair daughters. After many adventures too numerous to recount here the prince accomplished his task and returned to the Grandmother of Krakens.
She guided him to an unknown island in the middle of the sea where once again came up onto the land and married the four daughters. On that island he founded a mighty nation of mariners and warriors that to this day worship the Grandmother of Krakens as their patron deity. As a wedding gift, for each daughter the old kraken gave the prince a dowry. One of these was the Eye of the Kraken.
The Eye is said to have later been stolen by a prince of the island nation who engaged in rebellion against his older brother, the rightful king, and was exiled. He later lost it thought the tale does not tell where. How exactly it came into the possession of Gobrel is not recorded as the pirate captain seems to have been somewhat evasive on the matter.
After the Battle of Jetsom Island, the artifact was placed in a vault beneath the palace of the Duke of Gradsul. It was believed to still be there until a recent inventory revealed that it was missing. Who stole it is unknown although suspicion has fallen on the so-called Countess of Sybarate Isle(4), a mistress of Duke Luschan VIII. After she mysteriously disappeared from the court, rumor says she was revealed to be a charlatan of common birth from the Hold of the Sea Princes. Other rumors have since placed the Eye in various places in the Flanaess but none have been proven to be true.
Appearance & Powers: The Eye of the Kraken is a flawless, unbreakable pearl of unusual size (8 inches in diameter and weighing 10 pounds) and a deep blue-green color. Its possessor is granted the ability to breathe water as long as the pearl is in her possession. In addition the possessor may swim through water at her normal movement rate and incurs no penalties normally associated with being in that environment. Finally, the possessor may cast each of the following spells once per day as a 20th level spell user while within visual range of any large body of water(5) – Control Water, Control Weather, and Control Winds.
1) A sailing term meaning that a ship is “head to wind” and unable to move.
2) This might be Nippon, described by Heward in a letter to Mordenkainen (“Beyond the Flanaess” by Skip Williams, Dragon Annual # 1), or the islands of the Hydranian Chain, described by Savant Iquander.of Nellix in his “The Bounds of Oerik: Western and Southern Regions Observed” (“Bounds of Oerik” by Erik Mona, compiled by Theocrat Issak from posts on the Greyhawk AOL boards – http://www.greyhawkonline.com/canonfire/GH_LOG_14_Bounds_of_Oerik.txt). Or it could be some other realm altogether.
3) The description of the sahuagin king's daughters refers to Malenti, which are sahuagin mutants that look exactly like aquatic elves.
4) An island off the southern coast of Fairwind Isle in the Hold of the Sea Princes.
5) I deliberately left “large body of water” ambiguous so individual DM’s can play with it and/or screw with their players.