Extant information on F’chmelch can be found in S7S, p. 78.
The name of this island is pronounced “fishmilk.”
What F’chmelch Is Like
A small cloud-island, low in the Dome and close to the Sky of Fire, F’chmelch appears to be a bowl of grey rock covered in threads of blue and green. While no plants other than a few mosses and lichens speckle its land, the banks and beds of its system of creeks, rivers, and small lakes are bursting with vegetal life. Watercresses, ferns, lillies (including the famed blood-lily), several varieties of rice (including wild rice), cattails, water chestnuts, and algaes in all colors of the rainbow, as well as some small patches of interesting breeds of kelp (originally brought from Barathi, but extremely divergent due to genetic drift and mystical experimentation).
Many types of small aquatic animals live in the waterways of F’chmelch: frogs, crayfish, salamanders, newts, several types of mollusk, and a dazzling array of species of fish.
(Do not forget that several types of horrors — whether deliberately designed or the random emergence of such from alchemical accidents — are a concern.)
F'chmelch is also one of the main sources of duzha crystals used in alchemy and kolduncraft.
The closest thing to a city on F’chmelch is Moot, a small valley near The Lake of Stars, on the island's edge, and the only harbor for skyships. When the koldun Fraternity meets, it meets at Moot. Since there is no wood readily available for the building of structures, most F’chmelchkior buildings are of stone, cloth, woven rushes, or some combination of these. A daily market sits on the southern edge of the Lake of Stars, where F’chmelchkior products can be purchased or bartered for by visiting travellers.
Moot has a native population of roughly a hundred people, the majority of them alchemists, Gifted, or koldun. Its transient population fluctuates greatly, but is usually another hundred people. A few koldun (and their apprentices) live in small compounds scattered across the "backcountry."
F’chmelchkior History in Brief
F’chmelch was first discovered by the archkoldun Murgen, immediately after he stole the Granite Skull from the Kroyu during the First Barathi-Kroyu War. In his flight from his Barathi superiors and Kroyu enemies, he discovered this island. For decades, he used F'chmelch as a training center for his apprentices. His former apprentices, now fully koldun, did the same.
Soon, a viable population appeared, strangely inured to the flashes of mystic power that erupted daily.
After Murgen vanished, rule of F’chmelch became contentious among his apprentices. After long and bloody mystical struggles, the apprentices decided to abdicate all responsibililty for the F’chmelchkior.
However, the usually argumentative koldun regularly unite to keep F’chmelch from falling under the sway of other, larger islands. This has led to F’chmelch being the de facto home of the koldun Fraternity.
How F’chmelch Is Ruled
The F’chmelchkior and the Ilwuzi have very similar systems of government — that is, not much. (Indeed, it is said that the F’chmelchkior are the ones who inspired a great deal of the rules of the Ilwuzi Congress.)
When necessary, a Moot is held (at Moot, of course) to make communal decisions. Any koldun present can serve as the Mootmaster, provided no one else objects too much. Or tries to destroy them with mystical power.
Everyone present votes in Moot, under the following scheme (all votes are additive):
- Is the person at the Moot? = 1 vote.
- Is the person Gifted? = +1 vote.
- Is the person a koldun? = +2 votes.
- Is the person an archkoldun? = +4 votes.
- Is the person a F'chmelchkior native? = +1 vote.
For example, a visiting archkoldun has 7 votes (at the Moot, a koldun, and an archkoldun).
More information on the Ilwuzi Congress can be found in S7S, p. 67.
What the F’chmelchkior Are Like
Despite their inherent desire for (personal) power, the F'chmelchkoir are generally contemplative, philosophical sorts. After all, having many highly-dangerous and idiosyncratic koldun wandering around encourages a sort of relaxed, transcendent outlook. It's just safer. (Still, some F’chmelchkior attempt to impose their power on others… usually with catastrophic results.)
However, one area where the typical F'chmelchkior's reserved mien falls away is in their appreciation of the musical arts. When a F'chmelchkoir speaks anything regarding "wine, women, and song" the emphasis is defintely on song.
F’chmelch & the Church
An ancient sign is posted at the skyship harbor of Moot, with the following written in all the known scripts and tongues of the World, living or dead:
- Clergy may not disembark from their skyships here. The "devout" should keep their mouths shut on matters of belief. Violators of this edict become fair game to any punishment a F'chmelchkior can devise. Thank you.
Extant information on Murgen can be found in S7S, p. 90.
F’chmelch & the Mystical
This is the place to be for those interested in the mystical. Period.
(Postscript: Be prepared for a lot of light-shows.)
Opinions of the Other Nations Regarding F’chmelchkior
All of the nations of the World, save one, have learned to basically ignore F'chmelch as a matter of policy.
The exception? The Zultanate, who tend to see F'chmelch as a hotbed of sin and heresy. (It's possible that at least a tenth of the transient population is made up of undercover Sandmen.)
What’s Happening Now On F’chmelch?
A recent conflict between rival koldun factions — arguing over the proper way to prepare the oil of the Lamp Mushroom — has left a disturbing legacy: the very stone of the center of the island is on fire.
The archkoldun styled Indigo is now seeking apprentices that can stand up to his rigorous requirements.
Travelers' Comments on F’chmelch
Stay away. Trust me.
— Captain Froederik Wiki
A glorious place to visit… if you are Gifted or a koldun. A hundred wonders for the eye, a thousand for the mind.
— Red Lizabek of the Songs
Complex place. Much to learn, if you keep your nose clean.
— Sigur Stormeye
If your nose gets "dirty", run for the edge. And even if no skyship will take you on, dive off of the island. I am serious. You have a better chance versus the Skies and the Blue than you have versus a passel of F’chmelchkior koldun.
— The Blue Skull