"The dark northern sea is the location of a rocky series of islands and shards of rock, like the quills of a porcupine, jutting up from the water. Needless to say boy, this is a dangerous area to navigate. You see, for every dagger like rock shard you see above the waters, there are a thousand of them under the waves, just waiting to tear the bottom right out of yer boat.
If you manage to navigate past the spines, a feat not recommended I add, you may find one of the larger ringed formations around a volcanic island. The ring of rocks is not thick but it is completely surrounding the island, so you will have to pull your boat across the rocks or swim the cold stretch of water between the ring and the island itself. Presuming you find a way past the jagged ring, you will have a short distance of a few hundred feet until the island of Irkalla.
Irkalla is dark, black and glassy. The rocks are created by the violent volcano that rises in the middle of the mass. Although there is little vegetation on the land, you may will find a few trees. What makes this desolate island interesting is beneath. You see there is a series of caves in the mountainous areas that leads to an extensive network of tunnels. These tunnels are home to many creatures which I believe come from the Dark World.
I was on an expedition through the Irkallan caves. We were lost for thirty-two days in those blasted caves. Luckily we had rations to survive, but it was not easy. One of our men returned from scouting ahead to tell us of a small village of people living in the the caves. He brought one of the natives back with him, name of Shango. He was a bit of a simple fish, but from what we understood his people believed themselves protected by the island volcano god. Deep in the caves, he said, were passages to other lands.
We searched for Shango’s village and met another man who walked upon us, apparently lost. He was clearly a New Arrival, knowing nothing of Alluvium. Following him back we discovered a swirling pool in one tunnel. I sent the cabin boy Marvin into the waters and he disappeared! Shango told us that there were many of these way-pools. He called them waterways to the land of the dead. From what he described, they had visitors come from all over the world. His people would often sacrifice them to pacify the volcano god.
It was then that I decided to make maps of this Irkalla cave and report back to the Admiral. I was to have my own fleet! Imagine a map of way-pools to places all over Alluvium! It was apparent that these pools would lead to the Shade Realm as well… maybe even the way back to the “old world” from whence we all came! Or at least it would have been if crew hadn’t taken the opportunity to mutiny. Yes, the volcano started erupting… and we had to flee through whatever pool we could find. Some of my crew have been found… and punished. Others have never been heard from again. It is a dangerous place that Irkalla, but if you ever go that way you take me with you… ya hear!"
~Earnest Bigelow - Midshipman