Wednesday, October 29, 2014

the Crown of the world

There is a mountain range along the northern edge of the world that no one in living memory has crossed. The Crown blots out the sky to the north, and few have climbed through it's peaks to return and spin tales of what lies beyond. The Crown can be seen along the northern horizon like a tear across the land separating it from the sky. The only evidence that the living once crossed the Crown are the dams and aqueducts that still supply fresh water to thriving populations south of the mountains, marvelous and magical technology which no sage or scholar is able to explain. Each was designed, perhaps, by the same people. These people were short folk, though the Dwarves nor the Masadhi or even the Oukek have any stories to tell of their ancestors' toils to the north.

The memories of what lies beyond the Crown are all faded and gone, but the rumors and stories persist. A mountain made of gold, a cursed place where none may take from and return home alive. A crystal peak that glimmers in starlight and makes men weep though they know not why. Three-armed giants with obsidian skin, ripping apart any plants or animals they cross paths with. A four-eyed hellhound that breathes blue flame and hunts those who dare not pray to the dead gods that birthed it.

A few brave sailors have tried to circumnavigate the continent to find what lies to the north of the Crown, but they return exhausted with tales of treacherous waters inhabited by hostile marine life and harried by cruel mermen. Or they don't return at all. No ship has navigated the northern seas successfully, and even the Chiryo avoid the icy waters when they cross the ocean to trade with Bellhaven.

They say that even the wind hates the living north of the Crown.