Verdan Incognita II – Places of Legend

English: The mighty river featured in this ima...

So where is the treasure buried?

Verdan has a long tradition of semi-mythical lands, from the drifting dream-realms of the Dreaming Thunder across the Ginnungagap to the endless underground chasms of Thule. The actual existence of most of these locations is subject to dispute…

The Dreaming Thunder is popularly located “beyond the vault of heaven”, in a realm where Lux dominates instead of matter, and grand ethereal palaces may be crafted from a handful of drifting motes. There a variety of spirits build, contend, and – occasionally – depart for the still higher and greater realms beyond. While there is a fair amount of testimony as to the existence of the Dreaming Thunder, it’s all from ghosts and other spirits – and they often contradict each other on key points.

Thule is supposedly an underground realm, inhabited by the descendants of a progenitor race – although reports vary as to whether or not it simply occupies a series of underground caverns and passages at considerable depths or as to whether Verdan is hollow. Regardless of the details, the people of Thule supposedly rely on the magic of the depths to grow plants, creating underground ecologies. As the lux-reserves of an area wane, they presumably either tunnel deeper or move on.

Tales of Thule gained some popularity recently with the discovery of the remains of a group that was apparently trapped deep underground by a massive cave-in millenia past, and seemingly survived for at least a generation. Objectors note that the evidence of long-term inhabitation may simply have meant that the group considered the trek down to live in what was then probably a safe and secure higher-magic area well worth it, and that they probably died relatively soon after the collapse.

Mu is primarily known through dream-reports. While those are far more credible on Verdan – where dreamers and prophets are sometimes surprisingly accurate – than Earth, there’s still room for a lot of interpretation and doubt. That’s especially true when the distance is so great and the number of individuals reporting results is so small. In any case, reports of Mu usually involve strangely-dressed individuals, bizarre crystalline devices, and inhabited caverns where they carry out strange rituals in the service of unknown powers. The location is variously described as beneath the sea, in an area of uncharted ocean (the most commonly described location is fairly near to Earth’s New Zealand), and “on the astral plane”.

Lemuria has, in contrast to Mu, been fairly reliably sighted off the eastern coast of southern Africa on several occasions. It appears to be a sizeable island or subcontinent, and what little information is available suggests that it is inhabited by some quite belligerent natives. While no one has ever seen the natives, the one recorded expedition that attempted a landing was greeted by a shower of darts tipped with a variety of curious – and rather lethal – poisons. The landing party was annihilated, and the main expedition only escaped by dumping all possible weight – including the main engines – and using wind-spells to slowly blow themselves back to civilization. (For the geographically-challenged this is probably Madagascar).

Yarlung Tsangpo is, according to tales from the distant east, a sacred realm, one of the gates of the underworld and the realm of ghosts, and is a place guarded by strange and terrible creatures. Unlike most of the “lost realm” tales of Europe however, the Yarlung is concealed only by distance and the Himalayas, rather than by oceanic reaches. Unfortunately, the development of the Zeppelin has done relatively little to render the inward reaches of the Himalayas accessible; the altitude, weather, and local conditions are quite enough to make air travel in the area relatively useless.

Other Worlds are – perhaps – the ultimate places of legend. While only the most optimistic see signs of life on the Moon (despite it’s presumably vast, untouched, Lux reserves), reports of signs of life on Mars are far more hopeful. While current telescopes, even with enhancing spells, are unable to resolve the finer details of the Martian surface, reports of odd flashes of light, seasonal color changes, and oddly-straight dark structures, have raised hopes in scientific circles that Verdan may have inhabited celestial neighbors. Most speculation – inspired by those straight line structures which (if artificial) represent engineering on an unheard-of scale – centers on the “elder civilization” theory, while the (numerous) detractors of such theories tend to focus on why – if Mars is indeed inhabited by an “elder race” – they haven’t come to call. Of course, they will have very little lux to work with; the inflow from the sun will be greatly reduced at that range.

Venus, shining like some fabulous pearl, is one of the brightest and most mysterious of worlds – a world cloaked by impenetrable clouds, and with an albedo so high that many dare to hope that it reflects enough sunlight to render it’s surface inhabitable. While skeptics tend to dash such hopes, it’s undeniable that any creatures that did live on Venus would have a great deal of Lux to work with – and so might well be capable of working wonders quite unknown to Verdan.

One Response

  1. […] Verdan Incognita II – Lands and Worlds of legend beyond the edge of the known world […]

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