from The Essential Paradise, series sourcebook
Doc. 7.91.12. Edit
The island, smallest of the three islets included with the Camelot estate, is about 240 m wide and 110 m deep, being roughly a half-circle in shape, and comprises about 1.83 hectares (4.52 acres). The island is very hilly, not conducive to residential or even recreational development, such as for an independent private estate. Its highest elevation is over 75 metres, however; and no flat or buildable area, above the beach, of more than 100 square metres in area, has been discerned
Before the cableway was constructed, the only approach could be by boat, requiring a rather rough landing on the calmest shore, in the rough currents of windblown Starfish Channel from which visitors would have to hike round or through a steep wooded hillside to wherever a structure might be built.
The north-shore beach, though adequate with white sand, is plagued with very rough water, often making for exciting but potentially dangerous surfing. Farther to the west, the conditions abate somewhat; and, out of the open-ocean wind, the west end is perhaps the most pleasant sunbathing beach on the island.
The cottage Edit
Since the initial planning of the estate as a whole, Starfish was meant to be the exclusive retreat of Lord and Lady Paradise. Jonathan Cavaliere (now Lord Paradise) designed a house, only one room deep but over 35 m wide, to ramble just below the crest of a rocky ridge, supported by poured-in-place concrete caissons, to face only the open beach directly north and to have almost no exposure in any other direction. Only the cylindrical 4-metre tower that rises two storeys above the main level and provides a circular stairway down about 6 m to the beach is visible over the ridge or through the trees to the south and east. The base of the tower, being 11 m below the sitting-room floor, stands about 25 m back from the high-tide level of the beach.
The whole house is built of steel-reinforced, poured-in-place concrete, as it is simpler to land the raw materials needed, and to use local sand and water for the casting, than to convey the finished blocks to the island by boat and to lift them to the site. The foundation has inclined walls, wider at the base and narrowing towards the floor, and is filled with sand and concrete mix left to harden in residual moisture and regular humidity.
General arrangement Edit
In a wing to the west lie are two bedrooms, separated by their respective dressing-room-and-bathroom facilities, the chamber at the far west end being the grander of the two and so used by Lord and Lady Paradise. In the central part of the house is a high-ceilinged parlour and, three risers down and closer to the beach, a lower, cosier library with bookshelves and a television-theatre system. The dining room is located immediately east of the tower and has a narrow sun deck cantilevered out over, and meant in part to provide shade for, the spa rooms one floor below. An adjacent kitchen is serviced by a dumbwaiter to the cableway landing and a private stairway to the quarters for two household staff, having exposure only to the east, directly below.
Cableway approach Edit
The cableway terminates at an exterior landing beside the upper level of the tower, directly above a skylight in the foyer one flight down. The tower’s stairway circles about a cylindrical lift; both connect the cableway landing level with the main level, the lower level, on which are quarters for household staff, and the beach entrance at the base of the tower. At the top of the tower (up fifteen risers from the cableway landing) is an observation room with a passive exhaust fan within its conical roof.
Waterine approach Edit
A snaky, hilly path, featuring many short flights of steps, leads down through the trees to the boat landing. Furniture and bulky supplies are typically brought up to the cottage by way of a motorised cable pull along a ramp, at times much too steep to be ascended by foot. The supplies are typically received at a service door and via a passage leading through the island’s crest to storage rooms and pantries under the kitchen.
A small basement crypt, evident on the construction drawings, is accessible only through a hidden door, the location of which, allegedly, Lord Paradise has not made known to others. The room is meant to house important family artifacts, weapons, a horde of cash, or emergency provisions, according to whoever is surmising. A gun locker on the main floor is more widely known-about; it is opened by a hidden switch across the room which releases the catch on a disguised panel of wall. Lord Paradise keeps a few small-calibre rifles and small-bore shotguns here, merely for casual target shooting and practice.
Starfish Cay is frequented by Camelot Palace household staff who change linens and clean, restock food and supplies, and maintain the cottage as circumstances warrant. Staff almost always reach the cottages via the cableway from the railway stop at Swashbuckler village.
Family pursuits Edit
Lord Paradise likes to amuse himself and ‘keep in practice’, as he says, whenever he goes sailing, by bringing a boat in for a landing at the perpetually-moving pontoon in Starfish Channel. As of 1995 son Lord Jonathan has taken up the challenge of gaining the same proficiency.
According to family rumour Lady Paradise is fond of stealing away to Starfish Cay to indulge in nude sunbathing; though none of her children (and, thankfully, no tourists) have reported having seen her at it.
Appearances in stories Edit
In The Seduction of Susie, Lady Susie and Terri Peale arrive nude at Starfish Cay, encounter Gretel the housemaid resupplying groceries in advance of the return of Lord and Lady Paradise, and swipe two bananas with which they indulge themselves at the far-western beach.
The island is frequently desired, though much less availed-of, as a secure or secret base of operations during Strategy-game operations.
During the 1995 Festival-season Schnarksefuddle game at Camelot, one of the challenges involves a cableway ride to, and scavenger-hunt-type search and discovery on, Starfish Cay. This one assignment is considered by participating family and guests to be the most challenging and most eagerly-anticipated of the whole list.
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