Independent. Defiant. Secret. Virginia Isle flies above North America as an untrackable floating island that defies Provincial Authority. It is part of the Magimundi when it suits it to be, and its alliance or support is capricious, though constantly sought, given the prestige and wealth that the Isle commands. Raised into the air by secret means, allegedly by Virginia Dare herself, Virginia Isle did not officially announce its existence, and independence, to the Magimundi until July 5th, 1699, much to the consternation of both Destiny and Solaris Provinces. Marshals have no jurisdictional authority to enforce the laws of the Provinces on Virginia Isle.
The Isle is considered to be an economic powerhouse, and is rumored to have a Leeuwendaalder budget that would embarrass at least two Provinces. Breaking Virginia Isle’s laws is typically punished by defenestration from the Island to the earth below, and is usually fatal. (see: Virginia Isle Law) The fact that the Isle can not be stopped or brought under the control of the Magimundi remains an embarrassment to the Justices. Opinions among the Magimundi of Isle residents vary from abject jealousy for their wealth and prestige to utter disdain for their perceived lawlessness and isolationism.
For the most part, the denizens of Virginia Isle pride themselves on maintaining the strictest decorum and utmost manners and fashion. The Elite of the Elite live here, and if you are going to court the movers and shakers of the Magimundi, then you will need to hold court with the Isle families. Some of the finest wizard shopping can be found on the Isle, and twice per year selected shoppers are allowed limited entry to visit the Penumbra, the ring of exclusive stores and artisans catering to the elite. At these twice-yearly Conclaves, gathered elites sample the latest in fashion, food, artificery, and performance art. Those ideas blessed by the Isle Traders tend to go on to wild success, while those rejected fall into ignominy. The original shop of Cheshire & Chance, the finest traditional robemakers, can be found in the Penumbra, with personal tailors and couturiers still fastidiously attending to their customers who select the finest fabrics and furs. Wands from Delaney & Devereux, haberdashery from Hildeberth Holmwood, millinery by Mildred Milford, and curiosities from Fitzroy & Hathaway are among the most prestigious items to own and flaunt. A new fashion trend is unveiled each year by prominent contemporary designer Nigel Peacock, with knock-offs quick to follow in lesser shops on the Continent. Despite these trends, fashion on the Isle is slow to change, with traditionalists still sporting 18th Century British attire. However, at the heart of the Isle is a modern district that is a bastion of experimentation, artistry, and deviance. A robust Bohemian counterculture also exists, and an annual festival draws wanderlusting wizards to spend a hedonistic week on the Isle, though they generally do not remember the event once returning to the Provinces.
In 1872, the Burke family hosted their annual Yuletide party, inviting every influential family on the Isle to attend, however due to high tensions with the Samson family, the party quickly turned sour (and some even say, violent). The party, normally a prestigious and sought-after invite, was considered ruined for that year.
The following year, the Burkes hosted their annual Yuletide party and decided not to invite the Samsons, so as to avoid a repeat of the previous year (on account that nobody was entirely certain that the bad blood from the prior was entirely dissipated). The Samson family, enraged at this blatant Social insult, called a meeting of the 5 families to discuss the matter. The other four families didn’t see this as a huge issue, causing the Samson’s to levy a punitive tax on the island unless this was dealt with. Eventually, the Samson Concession was signed by the 5 families wherein it is custom on Virginia Isle (and highly recommended) that if a social gathering of note is being held, the host family is obligated to send an invite to each family on the island.
Visitors to Virginia Isle are sworn to keep certain secrets. This oath is not enforced by magic, but merely by the fact that visitors who break this oath will not be welcomed on the Isle again. Among the secrets are its usual routes, size, standing militia, and details of its layout. In spite of this, certain information has eventually become public knowledge. The Isle is almost entirely urban, with a high population density. Isle neighborhoods include Georgian and Edwardian structures as well as modern feats of magical engineering unseen elsewhere. Greenery is almost exclusively through rooftop parks and gardens. The isle also appears to be growing in size as the years pass, at least based the comparison of anecdotal information. Because of the lack of green space, Virginia Isle has many food supplying trading partners. Many of these are members of the Provinces, but there also appears to be quite a few ocean-traveling magical communities who have no allegiances but to themselves and their trading relationship to Virginia Isle. Mercantile ships that have disappeared off the shoals of Mundane North Carolina, or in the area of the Bermuda Triangle may be the result of encounters with these magical communities. It is also rumored that the Isle regularly trades with Morts-Vivants, the vampire city on Hispaniola. All told, a robust underground economy outside the control of the Provinces exists for those who are able to access it.
The Isle typically moves north above Destiny Province in the warm season, and south towards Solaris in the cold season. In addition to its citizen militia, it’s protected by a horde of flying magical creatures, Wyverns chief among them. There are rumors that Pixiu, Cockatrice, and European Dragons also frequent the Isle, with unconfirmed stories of breeding taking place in secret off-Isle locations, by legendary dragon tamers and handlers.
The Oxendine, Burgess, Locklear, Berry, Samson families are considered to have ownership of the Isle. These families have a gentle but absolute authority over Virginia Isle’s governance, with the Samson family, who never miss an opportunity to remind others of their direct lineage to Virginia Dare, being first among them. Residents who are not connected by family bonds are considered to be contractual tenants and risk expulsion or defenestration at any time.
Young mages of Virginia Isle either attend Magnolia Sun or are home-schooled. Teaching or tutoring the heirs of the five families is a lucrative and exclusive position that some covet as a way to gain acceptance and residency on the isle. The Winborne family has a legacy of being tutors to the Isle elite, with seven generations of Winborne pedagogues tutoring Samson and Oxendine children in the magical arts, including a certain amount of maleficium and magical practices that are frowned upon on the continent. Neither the Winborne family nor the Oxendine family formally acknowledge Josiah Winborne or Alisdair Oxendine after the incident known as the Black Blizzard of 1934. The conjured malevolent storm cloud of dirt and dust barreled across the Great Plains and traveled more than 1500 miles through Mishipeshu and Destiny provinces to the Atlantic Ocean. It is believed that the storm obscured other dubious magical practices, and that Virginia Isle traders may have directly benefited from the resulting loss of crops, livestock, and a plummeting Leeuwendaalder caused by the aftermath.
It remains continually controversial that Virginia Isle is outside of the control of the Magimundi government. This might not have been as much of a concern when Virginia Isle was first raised into the air and the official Magimundi government consisted of a loose confederation between Destiny and Solaris provinces, but in the modern era there is significant debate about what some say is an off-shore tax shelter, others say is a lawless black hole where evidence can disappear. Without a doubt, Virginia Isle has an influence on the Magimundi economy, and the rich there keep getting richer, while the Magimundi social coffers continue to struggle to meet infrastructural needs to maintain safety, secrecy, and a basic quality of life for all Magimundi citizens. Isle residents tout their philanthropic efforts, which admittedly number in the millions of Leeuwendaalders, but detractors note that those L$ only go to the preferred organizations and individuals, and not to the greater good. Efforts to convince Virginia Isle to join the Magimundi or to pay any sort of tariff, tax or fee have been laughed at by Isle officials, but it appears that there may be an upswell in Provincial interest in attempting to rein in the Isle’s privilege.
The Isle may only be approached by flying. No magical teleportation is permitted for access. There is a healthy paranoia, that’s not entirely unjustified, that any lapse in the island’s diligent defense would be too tempting a target for the Provinces of Destiny or Solaris to resist the chance to bring the rogue island under the heel of the Provincial Authority. These efforts have been redoubled since the failed coup by the Brayboy and Chavis families in 1961. Allegedly operating under the direction of a Magimundi Arch Justice, these lower-ranking Isle families attempted to take control of Virginia Isle and deliver it to one of the Provinces. The coup’s leaders Bocephus Brayboy and Red Chavis attempted to hex the wyvern and pixiu surrounding the island, and to motivate members of the Island underbelly to rebel against the ruling families. Wearing black berets, hugag leather motorcycle jackets, and sparse mustaches, Brayboy and Chavis were betrayed by their Bohemian allies before the coup could really begin. Subdued and handed over to Isle authorities, they were both defenestrated. A posse of Marshals coincidentally approaching the isle by air merely claimed to have received intelligence regarding the coup, and sought to offer protection and support of their beloved neighbor Virginia Isle. The posse was denied permission to alight on the sovereign city-state.