The French ship Sentinelle first charted the island and found it ringed with coral reefs that prevented approach. They named it Guardian Island after these structures and abandoned any attempt to land there. They were merely the latest in a long line of explorers to seek, and fail, to make contact with the people of the isle. Those reefs, plus Guardian Island’s isolated location in its archipelago, allowed it to escape the notice of Mughal emperors, British traders, Japanese invaders, and Indian unionists alike.

When the technology for surmounting the reefs became available, the Guardianese violently rejected all contact, repelling any landing with spears and arrows. They are, near as anyone can tell, the last completely uncontacted indigenous people in the world, direct descendants of the first modern humans to emerge out of Africa who have occupied their island home continuously for over 50,000 years. For this reason, India has abandoned attempts to contact them, reasoning that to do so could wipe the entire population out through disease.

The only extant source on the Guardianese are their neighbors, the Awaraj, who are of the same stock but inhabited larger islands and were therefore contacted. The last full-blooded Awaraj died in 1922, though many islanders share some Awaraj ancestry; the last surviving family was interviewed before succumbing to typhoid. They claimed that the Guardianese rejected contact for religious reasons, believing that their gods had descended from the skies in the time before time in tiny suns and given them an item to guard.

When asked what that item might be, the Awaraj simply laughed and said that the Guardianese had refused to describe it.