This magical island has deep ties with supernatural creatures, so it has never been conquered by outsiders. The land is both profoundly primal and otherworldly, thick with nature spirits and the eldritch fey. The people of this island embrace its powers, rather than struggling to dominate them or destroy them. While this alliance makes a potent national defense, it also seems to make the people alien to their own kind.
Not-Ireland. The power of story and the power of fate are tied together; changing the story of a thing may change the thing itself. Reality is flexible under the influence of powerful supernatural forces. The island is riddled with portals to the fey realm of the Ardenwald, the Dreamlands, the Wailing Labyrinth of restless dead, and other places that are neither the World Above or the World Below. The land is impossibly green and vibrant with life. To enter the island is to enter a story, and anything can happen.
The Chief of Clan Glasslin rules from Glasslin City. This appears to be the equivalent of a king, but in truth, the clan was given the heavy responsibility of managing relations with outsiders. They are admired for doing this job well, but they are not the human rulers of the isle. Each of the 14 clans has their own chieftain and druid hierophant. Few indeed are the leaders who would suggest humans are the rulers of the Shae Isle; they consider themselves more tenants who are tolerated by the island’s masters.
Shaelin have red hair, pale skin, green eyes, and freckles. They are slender and stealthy, with beautiful singing voices (because their lives sometimes depend on it when they confront the supernatural seeking amusement.) They have rude tools and shabby houses, their only real city is more of a town, and they are backwards superstitious rural folk. They rely on weird fairies deals and woodland spirits instead of human ingenuity and tools. They can curse you if they want to, because they’re not fully human. Most of them don’t realize there’s a world outside their little island, and wouldn’t care if they did.
Amazing alcohol called “moonshine,” henna and tattoo traditions, shamen with fey lore, pagan expertise.
Glasslin. Ruled by the Clan Glasslin, this large town is the focal point of dealing with the world beyond the island. It has walls, and a large market, a shipyard, and services to handle trade and visitors. Beyond that, there are villages and small fortresses…
The Verdant Tower. This tower atop Thorn Mountain seldom roams. Those seeking audience with the eladrian have a good chance of finding them there, if the fey warriors allow it. They also impart fey abilities to some, for their own strange reasons. Both the Seelie and Unseelie courts have representatives in the tower. While the outside of the tower is in the real world, the inside is in the Ardenwald.
Pagan Gods. No speculation is necessary about whether these gods exist or affect humanity. On certain nights you can see them. The Forest Who Walks, the Lamenting Mother, and the Crooked Moon are the greatest of these gods. Druids manage the worship and maintain the tradition. The gods must be honored through life and through death, with blood sex magic and time-honored ritual. These gods are not human and do not think as humans do, they are unfathomable. These gods have survived since the Cosmic Event, the Death Muster and its energies did not flow this far to poison the land. Maybe this is what the whole world could have been like. Here, primordial energies endure. Their surging energies create forms of life in the woods that allow it to defend itself, and sometimes druids can borrow those powers.
The Fey. Forces from the Ardenwald hold court in the wilds of the Shae Isle. The Seelie Court and Unseelie Court both have elements that meet in the World Between. Their agents, the eladrian, have eldritch towers that roam the Shae Isle, and into Scarabae and sometimes Ulverland. No one really knows what they want. They make deals with mortals, from time to time. The bargains are not clearly fair or unfair; clever humans always get the sense they don’t have the whole picture. The fey give gifts, strange gifts that bring sorrow and joy but affect the humanity of all who touch them. Sometimes, they take people—but why? Time moves differently in the Ardenwald, and the fey can copy people (or possess them.) Those who study the fey for any length of time risk madness. Some conclude this is all a game to them, a game with inscrutable rules that may not be possible to win or lose.
The Witches. Some desperate and power-hungry people go to pagan gods or to forces of the World Below and beg for supernatural might and assistance. They are given familiars, conduits for supernatural energies and abilities. Now slaves to the entity that empowers them, they act individually or in groups to pursue the will of their alien master. Even so, witches in contact with proper demons are rare in the Isle, and they are often hunted and killed by the other supernatural forces here. This is the least demon-haunted corner of the World Between.