It is believed that no one in Ga'leah can recall the origin of the Sanctuary, though the Gods and the Fae of Allutheria remember it well enough. To the other denizens of Ga'leah, however, it is simply a magical island within the Maritanis that has existed for as long as any living human can remember. A magical island on which all acts of violence, physical or magical are barred by very strong enchantments indeed. Because of the peaceful nature of the Sanctuary, for a long time, it was the only location in which humans could interact with the Merkind regularly.
The Sanctuary was the location of ancient treaties held between Merkind and humans, allowing the humans access to fish and shellfish, as well as markets which allowed the Merkind to trade their goods with land dwellers. Rampant mistrust between the Merkind and the humans increased over the centuries after its creation until the Sanctuary was seldom used.
Although many believe that no one knows the origin of the Sanctuary, the gods and goddess of Ga'leah know the terrible story which accompanies its existence.
The goddess of mercy and compassion, Adora the Bleeding Heart, was distraught by the disharmony in the oceans. She wished to see the Pirates and Merkind put aside their jealousy of each other and live in peace. Although rules had been placed over the Pantheon to prevent the gods from meddling in each others domains, Adora created the Sanctuary in the Coming Tide's ocean as a place of magical peace and tranquility. No act of violence, magical or physical, could be enacted upon the Sanctuary. It was to be a place where humans and Merkind could interact without fear.
But the Coming Tide was furious by the intrusion and sought recompense from the Pantheon. Adora was found guilty of trespassing against her sister and was sentenced to be stripped of her powers and killed. All memory of Adora was wiped from the minds of the population of Ga'leah as well, so that only the fae in Allutheria and the Pantheon themselves even knew of her existence.
The Sanctuary itself was left untouched to stand as a warning to the rest of the Pantheon never to trespass against the domain of another god or goddess lest they suffer the same fate as Adora.
Although for centuries the Sanctuary was utilized by the Merkind and humanity for the purpose for which it was created, jealousy and mistrust between Pirates and Merkind eventually drove many of the Merpeople away from the Sanctuary.
Although something about the magic of the Sanctuary protected it from the creatures of the Blight, that protection wore away gradually until the Blight began an assault on the island. Although the High King, Arthur Pendragon, and his wife Gwenhwyfar were on a short holiday on the island at the time of the assault, they were unable to drive back the creatures of the Blight and forced to flee.
With the onset of 'the Black Water', it is believed that the Sanctuary has fallen to the Blight. As yet, no one has been brave enough to investigate the island since the death of Lyrielle the Coming Tide.
The Sanctuary is a highly irregular island. Because of the nearly 400 miles of coastline provided by a plethora of inlets and bays, it is difficult to measure the exact length or width of the island. The heavily indented coastline is littered with sea arches, caves, and waterfalls. The land itself rises in a slow grade from the lowest areas in the south to the more beautiful cliffs on the northern edges of the island. Much of the Sanctuary is home to an array of plantlife, but there are no animals (of land or the air) that are native to or spend time on the Sanctuary. Strangely enough, the birds seem to go out of their way to avoid it. Whether this is because of the enchantment that preserves the peace there or not is anyone's guess.
To the east lies the remains of the island's true purpose as a meeting place for Merkind and human alike. In this area, the water is extremely deep with an intricate network of floating and anchored docks set into the beach itself that extend far out in the water of the bay. The docks are constructed so as to allow the Merkind and Humans to display, sell, and trade a variety of goods in an amphibious environment that was comfortable for both species.
Further out, there are a few structures beneath the oceans, places for the visiting Merkind to sleep and perhaps even celebrate. Futher on the land near to the marketplace, lies empty housing structures as well to provide Human visitors the same luxuries. These structures were still used occasionally before the Blight took the oceans, even after the Sanctuary itself had ceased to fulfill its primary functions. Fishermen, and even pirates, would sometimes use the houses on the Sanctuary as a waystation on their aquatic travels, spending several nights or even weeks there before moving on. However, there were never year round residents on the Sanctuary.
The weather on the Sanctuary is generally warm and somewhat tropical. It is prone to the same storms as the coasts of Ga'leah but has a nearly perpetual summerlike feel which also made it a prime location for holidays for those with the means to travel there.