The “Duchy” of Malfi is really little more than a large, particularly well placed pirate stronghold. After many years of raiding Florintian and Genovian ships in the warrens of the Islands, several pirate captains pooled their resources and took over the old abandoned fortress atop the rock in the middle of the bay. By the time any of the local governments discovered what had happened, they were too strong to be routed out. Rumors state that the government of Florin occasionally pays the pirates to attack Genovian ships, but no proof has ever surfaced. There are also many rumors about the fortress itself, which has a history that dates back almost a thousand years. Many armies have occupied the stronghold, each leaving its mark, in the form of new towers above or secret passages in the rock beneath.
Ruled by the cruel and capricious “Duchess of Malfi”, as she insists on being called, the island is a buccaneer’s den, and is not safe for honest folk. But the treasures bought and sold here draw many adventurers from far an wide, some of whom end up with the proverbial (or even physical) knife in the back.