Island of Maos

The following is an excerpt from the writing of Mendryll Belarod (also called Mendryll the Halfelven), a bard who wrote extensively about the Moonsea area a century ago.

While the Moonsea itself has no islands of its own, there is talk of a mysterious island called Maos. The mariners say it rises to the surface of the purple waves of the Moonsea once every four years, on Shieldmeet at dusk. The island supposedly appears when the last rays of the setting sun fade, and stays on the surface for a set period of time. However, no one agrees on how long it remains. The guesses are:

  • • The island sinks once it has claimed a certain number of victims.
  • • The island sinks when the first rays of the next rising sun strike its slimy,
    blackish-green towers.
  • • The island sinks when a certain amount of treasure is taken from its vaults.
  • • The island sinks when priests of specific good-aligned deities set foot on its
    tainted ground.

Whatever the reason, the island is nevertheless known as a place of fabulous wealth. There is talk of vast treasure vaults deep within the island’s structures, ancient libraries containing long-forgotten spells, and storehouses with ancient artifacts and sentient swords.

I was unable to find any information about what Maos is or was. Some sages claim that it was an ancient city of learning, but they have no proof. Many of them suggest that it was the home of an ancient human kingdom that predated the elves. Elminster of Shadowdale’s only words on the matter were, “Why seek knowledge about dead, sunken cities when there are so many living, dry cities with just as much to do in them?” A big help he was!

Mariners also claim that the island is guarded by numerous sea-creatures, including the animated bodies of past victims. There is also supposed to be some great curse on the island, known only as “The Curse of Godly Silence.” I found no one who could —or would —tell me more about this. The only thing known with certainty about Maos is that it rises fast and sinks fast. Many old salts’ tales are told of it dragging with it hapless ships that mistakenly sail too close to its deadly perimeter.

Island of Maos

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