The tail of the Curse of Devil’s Elbow, or Virashi’s Curse, begins around 70 years ago. When disenfranchised explorers and settlers began drifting into the region in great numbers, dissatisfied with the way Magnimar was growing causing several settlements to spring up along the shores.
The island itself was originally known primarily by local Varisians and goblin tribes of nearby mountains as the lair of a cruel and capricious siren named Virashi, but that would change as an exiled Chelish merchant named Yaris Neraken attempted to create a settlement on Devil’s Elbow.
While scouting location for a suitable settlement site, Yaris’s ship wrecked on the reefs surrounding Devil’s Elbow. Yaris, the only survivor, found himself in the care of a strange and enthralling creature with the body of a bird and the face of a beautiful woman – the siren Virashi. He spent many months as her plaything, but in time the two fell in love and Virashi released Yaris from the enthrallment. Though yaris stayed with the siren for many more weeks, he pined for the comforts of civilization and eventually convinced Virashi that if he could establish a community on the island above, not only would he be able to enjoy soft beds and fireplaces but with the money he brought in he could drape the siren in riches.
Returning to Magnimar, Yaris managed to convince several investors that the rumors of Virashi were just rumors, and that he would be able to build a thriving settlement on the island. Arriving on the island, he chose a site at the center of the island that overlooked the Varisian Gulf to serve as his new village’s foundation (Witchlight) and commissioned the creation of several watchtowers and lighthouses to warn what he hoped would be a steady influx of merchants away from the dangerous reefs.
As the construction of Witchlight and the watchtowers continued, it became appartent that Yaris’s dream was unraveling. What was intended as a self-sustaining settlement became more and more reliant on supplies form Riddleport. Dissent increased among his people as Riddleport was eager to gouge every copper they could, and Yaris’s bad luck just seemed to grow.
The western watchtower burned partially to the ground only a week after it’s completion, killing nearly a dozen laborers. A ship bearing a huge shipment of grain ran afoul of the reefs surrounding the island, and the giant centipedes that infested the ship made it ashore and quickly became one of the island’s most obnoxious (and dangerous) pests. This string of luck gave rise to the whispers of “Virashi’s curse”, and more and more of the locals began to speak of seeing a ghostly woman-faced bird in the forests or on the rocky shores. Yaris railed against the rumors, but was unable to offer proof that Virashi wasn’t behind the “curse” without revealing his own secret.
The final blow was struck when, at the onset of winter during a violent storm, a shipment of diseased cattle, brought in to augment the meager food stores, saw an outbreak of the deadly disease anthrakitis that killed off a third of Witchlight’s population.
Distraught over seeing his dream fall apart, Yaris went to seek comfort with Virashi – but was followed by a suspicious priest who believed Yaris had made a deal with a devil that had gone sour. The priest’s fears were confirmed when he witnessed Yaris and Virashi embrace. Returning to Witchlight, the priest roused a mob, and under the protection of a silence spell, led the mob down to Virashi’s cave the next morning and slew the siren as she slept.
Yaris woke the next day to see the body of his lover hanging from a pole above a fire in the middle of Witchlight. Overcome with grief and shock, Yaris threw himself from the eastern watchtower onto the rocks and surf below. Without Yaris to provide encouragement, the remaining citizens left Devil’s Elbow for easier lives in Riddleport, Magnimar, or beyond.
For the past several decades, Devil’s Elbow has remained uninhabited. Travelers on ships passing close to the island sometimes claims to see lights burning the island’s watchtowers. The rumors are given more weight by adventureers who sail out in search of Virashi’s hidden treasure, many not returning and those that do return with tales of monstrous centipedes, strange noises, and mysterious lights in the woods.