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Legend of a Land Unknown
This is a story I had heard from an old adventurer some time ago. Some thought that this was all a bunch of gibberish written by a dying man, while others thought it was a sad tale of an old man regrets, about an opportunity lost, of a fantastical adventure. Anyway, what difference does it make whether the story is true or not. What I do, as a storyteller, is record this story and share the mystique of this experience with readers like you.
At the time, I was only twenty years old, practically still a child.
And so I had no appreciation for the idea of going on a trip to a faraway land.
In all honesty, there is probably no place on the Uladh continent where I hadn't been.
I've fought bears in the deepest forests of Uladh and met the water fairy on the deserted island off the Sen Mag lake.
But after all those years, I still felt that I wanted more.
"I need something a bit more stimulating!", I would say. In fact, that was the voice that kept taunting me.
That's when it all happened. My colleagues started asking me whether I'd be interested in crossing the ocean to discover new lands.
I had no reason to refuse. I was so excited by the thought of finally setting out on a brand new adventure!
Needless to say, I had no idea that that would be the last adventure I would ever embark on with my colleagues.
Perhaps we were just in really bad luck. We couldn't afford boarding the expensive ships, so we took a cheaper cargo ship with an experienced captain and first officer who had each spent most of their lives in the ocean. Aside from the fact that they liked drinking just a bit too much, they were really the ideal team to be commanding the ship.
I won't bother going into the details of the intensity of the storm that hit us at sea. Unfortunately, I was the only survivor from that ship. When I opened my eyes, my nose was buried inside the sand on a beach. Not even a single trace of the ship that I was on could be found anywhere nearby, save for the single wooden piece of wreckage I'd held onto and the soaking backpack on my back.
I know that most people would have turned to depression in that situation, forgetting all about the excitement of the adventure.
But that wasn't the case for me. Listen to me now, carefully.
I'd realized that the place I had arrived at was truly a newfound, as yet unknown, land. From the moment that I opened my eyes in the sand, I was so overcome with excitement that I did not have a single moment to think about the misfortunes that had come my way.
Have you seen them? Trees with leaves the size of giant fans? The trees almost looked like giant corn stalks, only bigger. Plus the huge mountains faraway! The mountains there weren't the clean, sharp-edged mountains like those in Uladh. In fact, they reminded me of a completely unfettered woman's hair, flowing freely as if so much is going on in the midst of the woods... Yes, it did remind me of images of jungles that I had seen as a child in my nursery books!
So I ran all around looking for a town. I thought there would surely be some people around. And sure enough, I did find a town, although the town that I found was a lot different than the ones that I was accustomed to being around.
There were people who looked just like us. I could even communicate freely with them. But their lifestyles were something I could hardly understand. They had these houses with earthen walls, and windows covered with leaves, not to mention that all the men and women decorated themselves in fruits and berries all over...
This is definitely a bit difficult to describe because I had never seen anything like it before. All in all, to my fortune, they were very kind to me. And one of the things that they told me was that they had been seeing more and more people dressed like me appearing on their land.
They were very understanding of the fact that I had lost everything in the storm. And although it would take a while, they promised to help me meet others from my homeland to help me return home.
But then, I thought to my self. "What, am I crazy? I'm an adventurer! Just because I lost my colleagues doesn't mean I should give up on everything myself! I mean, doing so would, in essence, be betraying them and all they stood for, wouldn't it?" I could not let their death be in vain. So rather than staying in the town, I decided to explore the land.
Some time passed since then, months, or perhaps years. I used the town as my headquarters and explored the surrounding land. Sometimes, my adventures would keep me away for just a few days, while at other times, I'd spend weeks away at a time. Seeing amazing views I had never seen back home, I felt myself practically going mad about exploring the sights.
The desert, the jungle, the strangely-shaped mountains and caves... certainly were strange and new, but the plants and animals growing there were just as unique and interesting. There were never-before-seen herbivores and animals, beasts...
Do you want to know what the strangest thing was about this place? It was that there were no Fomors there. Oh, don't get me wrong. There were tons of other monsters, similar to the Fomors, especially the kinds that appear and then disappear out of nowhere in the desert and live in dungeons.
And strangely enough, people there didn't seem to know of the Fomors at all. All the while we in Uladh had such a bloody history against them! And then, guess what they said to me? They said,"Other ethnic groups may be people of different origins, but they are hardly worth hating and fighting against!"... You can imagine how I must have felt~ I was completely mortified.
So I asked them, what do you think you are talking about. Then, they responded with something even Aton Cimeni would be shocked to hear! They said that there's actually another ethnic group that lives on this land, that is neither human nor Fomors.
Apparently, they are a very wary people who tend not to show their true colors, but are known to have met up with human adventurers and had some exchanges with them in the past. Amongst them, they say, they have met with certain ethnic groups that are apparently pretty attractive, more slender than humans and have pointy ears. They say they have also met others who are essentially are giants, with physiques as big as a house.
You're asking if they had mistaken a spirit or perhaps an ogre for these ethnicities? Don't you think I would have asked them about that? Of course I asked them about that- that was in fact one of the first questions I'd asked. But they kept saying that they weren't. They kept insisting that they know the difference between a spirit and an ethnic group.
In the end, I could not just take what they said for granted, and decided to get to the bottom of this myself. So I went on a mission to locate these other ethnic groups that are supposedly in existence!
However, unfortunately, that was as much as I got from my informant. The old man got much too excited, and fell into a seizure, falling to the ground.
His family hovered over him, trying to revive him, and we had no choice but to stand back. The old informant, however, held onto my sleeve, and said the following:
"Please, promise me that you will tell this story. I did not intend for my adventures to end like this.
If only I hadn't been met with the disaster in the desert... If only I hadn't run into the group of peddlers there... A moment's miscalculation forced me to return home, but if only I hadn't...
Ahhhh, Iria! If only I could go back there, I would give anything. Please let everyone know. It doesn't matter who you tell. If anyone, anyone at all, could help me get back there, just one more time. Or if anything, please, if anyone would just prove that Iria does actually exist..."
After saying that, my informant fell over, and was carried out by his family members. His other colleagues who were listening to the old man with me didn't seem to take any of his babblings seriously. According to them, if there actually were people who were going back and forth that way, there is no way people would have been able to keep it all under such wraps all this time.
But this is what I think. In spite of all of our doubts, it is very likely that there actually is an unknown, undiscovered land out there. The only questionable thing is why those who have been there and back have kept their experiences to themselves all this time. Perhaps it was to monopolize on the goods and treasures they'd found for themselves?
All this may be nothing more than a figment of my own imagination, of course. But where would you ever come across such a detailed legend without a kernel of truth lying somewhere in it? And although I may have not been the one to actually go on these professed adventures, I am fulfilling my purpose by telling this story. My dear reader, if you are an adventurer, will you please go find the mysterious land of Iria, for the sake of this sad old adventurer?
If even one person would step forth to follow in his footsteps, I feel I would have achieved what I needed to do. I pray that this book will be found in the hands of an adventurer full of hope and dreams, and great courage.