Terra Incognita

Terra Incognita


Before the collective mind of humanity measured out the earth and fixed it in its present shape our world was a far less certain place. Beyond the relatively stable boundaries of civilization distance and even direction were much more fluid concepts than they are now. The shapes of the seas and what lay beyond really were changeable. Here, there might really have been dragons, as the early attempts to depict the territories beyond the Borderlands inform us. The sable laws of another civilization found across the sea might not have matched those found at one’s home port. A powerful island nation which existed to the west from time out of mind could suddenly disappear without a trace, seemingly at the whim of the beings of elder chaos whose bailiwick those territories are.

Now those places where the territories of primal Chaos abut our mundane world exist mostly in small, isolated, often forgotten parts of the world. The Borderlands themselves tend to be geographically limited areas of weirdness which largely resemble the more sane and stable area which encompasses them. A secluded country road will likely still appear a little trafficked lane likewise an abandoned house will show itself still a decrepit domicile. It is usually possible, if one is not hampered by the unusual nature of the place or its inhabitants, to cross from one side of such a pocket to the other and arrive at, roughly, the expected time and place.

Yet, they are called Borderlands for a reason, there are turns one can take, doors which an ill-prepared traveller might walk through which lead to the territories beyond, to other worlds than ours.

The territories beyond the Borderlands still retain their primordial fluidity. Little as pertains to time or space is fixed. While it is possible to cross the territories from one border with our word to another, it can take weeks of hard travel there to cover a few city blocks distance here. Conversely, entire continents in our world can be crossed in a pleasant hour’s stroll there. The relationship between the two worlds, when it can be grasped at all, seems far more thematic than spatial and it still may be possible to wander beyond even those territories into a stable world not our own.

Although little can be said about the geography of the territories beyond the Borderlands, and no sane being would attempt to map them, there are a few things that can be stated with some certainty;

  • There is a great forest.
  • There is a massive desert
  • There is a mist shrouded sea.

hard by that sea there is a city and in that city stands the primal tower with its great beacon whose beam calls to the lost. For it is not a city built by the strange native denizens of that place, nor by the those beings of elder chaos which seem to rule as gods there, but by the lost of our own world and by their descendants. It is the one fixed place of relative order in that place. A lonely island of  stability that somehow, for good or ill, failed to become part of that greater order which the mind of humanity eventually established. Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the heart of the tower.  

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