Haldemar's Journal Entry
An excerpt from Haldemar's log follows...
From the Journals of
Prince Haldemar of Haaken
Lord Admiral of the Mightiest Empire
Captain of the Ever-Victorious Princess Ark
Imperial Explorer, Etc., Etc.
Nyxmir 11, 1964 AY:
I am astounded by the complete lack of interest in geographical matters on the part of Alphatia's younger mages. Worse, it has been found that the geographical teachings offered at Eriadna High are based on the fallacies of a Thyatian lowlife! This general - without a doubt a failure in the Thyatian legions - retired after a shabby campaign in Thothia. There he stole an ancient map of this world from a pillaged temple. The map was but a simple continental outline with a few words here and there. Upon his return, this lowlife invented kingdoms and empires, then placed them on the map and wrote tome upon tome about them. His knowledge of ancient Thothian and his interest in the truth being what they were, nothing good came out of this ignorant barbarian's overactive imagination. He made a fortune selling his books, and many took them as the final authority on the world.
His errors were legion. Ridiculous assumptions were made about the size of the Thyatian Empire. The map shows the limits of that empire stretching beyond the Wendarian Reaches, north of the Principalities of Glantri. Poppycock! There are at least a half-dozen countries between Thyatis and Glantri having nothing to do with Thyatis.
You can forget about these absurd borders, too. These were in fact various creases in the original crumpled map which that Thyatian dimwit mistook for actual borders. The 'Empire of the Great Khan', east of our province of Esterhold, is another fantasy. There are indeed large steppes there, but no Great Khan - we'd know about it by now!
And, yes, about this Dorfin Empire: It was the joke of a certain gnomish king, the inventor of wondrous but totally useless contraptions, who went by the name of King Dorfin IV. His kingdom is, in truth, merely the workshop of a few hundred gnomes in the hills of Traladara. One of Dorfin's favourite pastimes was to send loyal followers beyond the Sind Desert. There they would pose as plenipotentiaries of the imaginary 'Empire of Dorfin IV', then hire local people to carry a sealed message back to the real King Dorfin. These strange messengers, obviously from a distant place, seemed to make quite an impression on local Traladaran barons when they brought the gnomish king those phony and pompous greetings from his 'imperial cousin to the west.' These messages hinted at the outrageous size of this bogus empire, alleged to be twice the size of Alphatia! What nonsense! And the barons believed it, the fools. I shall skip the details on other equally false kingdoms such as 'Vulcania' (that was the Thyatian general's wife's name), 'Cestia' (his mistress), 'Brasol' (his dog), 'Tangor' (a type of cheap beer found in the streets of Newkirk) or 'Zyxl' (a deceased gladiatorial hero whom the general claimed was also a fallen queen of that same nation). For all this, I find that I grudgingly admire such a bold and irreverent joker. After all, everyone fell for his fake encyclopedias.
I propose that, in the name of grand buffoonery, we keep these place names, since they are now the ones with which laymen are most familiar, but we should use them in a purely geographic sense. For example, let's do away with the nation of Nentsun (an Ethengarian word for a Heldanner's armpit) and simply call that land the Nentsun Peninsula. Similarly, we'll forget about the state of Izonda (Hin for 'fruitcake' - it figures), renaming that area the Desert of Izonda, since this is what is really there.
So be it! It is time to see for myself if this old Thothian map has any truth to it. I today obtained permission from Her Imperial Majesty for the Princess Ark to be recommissioned for a last but glorious mission of exploration in the name of Our Illustrious Empire ...
Alphamir 15, 1965:
Finally, she is airworthy again! It took no less than 35 master crafters and 300 slaves to refit the beautiful skyship. Her five masts stand majestically over her black hull, bearing the sails that will trap the magical wind. One can almost feel a strange life emanating from her as she gently pulls on her mooring lines in her desire to cast off and head into the sky.
Sulamir 10, 1965
Days have come and gone since our departure from Sundsvall. After leaving the capital, I ordered a southerly course. Our Princess Ark sailed well into the clouds above Edairo, Caerdwicca and Beitung.
Soon we reached the barbaric coast that lies south of Ochalea and the Pearl Islands. Some people refer to the region as 'The Coast', or the Four Kingdoms. The Four Kingdoms no more exist here than water exists in our bilge. As far as 'The Coast' goes, we in Alphatia prefer calling it the Jungle Coast, because that's what it is: a forsaken, endless jungle of tropical growth. It is always hot and humid here, and torrential rains from the Bellisarian Sea drench the place every day. If the boredom doesn't kill you, then the savages, diseases and monsters will.
It is no wonder the stiff-necked Thyatians have not wasted their time in conquering this foul region. The white sandybeaches are idyllic, but no pleasures can be found here. Immediately beyond the beaches stretch hundreds of miles of rolling hills. Dark jungles blanket the highest terrain and repugnant swamps corrupt the lowlands.
Sulamir 25, 1965:
The savages who live on the eastern Jungle Coast are quite different from their neighbours to the west - the Hinterlands as the Thyatians have started calling them. The latter are believed to be descendents of slaves brought from regions that were colonies of the Thothian's mother culture and are now known as Ostland and Vestland. The Thothian's ancestors carved out a southern domain from the jungle for their priests. Then three tribes of slaves rebelled and escaped north, seeking their fatherland. Instead, these ruffians found (and founded) what would later become Thyatis. A century later, the Thothians suffered their strange period of great internal unrest. The unruly slaves who stayed south obliterated whatever remained of their origins; in a few centuries, all was lost to the jungle. These hardy, blond 'Hinterlanders' survived and became savage jungle warriors who were capable of fighting the original natives on equal footing.
Sudmir 3, 1965:
Terrible, those natives. We came close to a large town deep in the rain forest. Smoke from their fires could be seen from miles away. Thousands of huts sprawled across a clearing in the forest, with several stone buildings placed near the clearing's centre. We spotted what seemed to be a temple of some sort. Upon our descent, it was observed that the natives were of a much smaller build than the Hinterlanders. Tattoos covered their copper skin, and most of them had long black hair tied in the back. The natives immediately attacked our vessel, using poison needles and blowguns against our exposed crewmen when we came within range. The grey substance on the needles was deadly and we lost two men. Magic from their barbaric sorcerers cracked and thundered but the Princess Ark withstood the crude spell-strikes. As we sailed away, we spotted some of their shamans - or so we assumed those monstrosities to be, as they all had various snakelike features. Alas, we did not remain to study this culture any further. We will return at a later time to deal with these natives in a more fitting way. I sent an invisible messenger back to Her Imperial Majesty with our last position, then ordered the Princess Ark farther east along the Jungle Coast.
Sudmir 25, 1965:
This morning I watched one of the nicest sunrises just as we steered eastward toward the Pass of Cestia. There we reached an unknown cape on the continental coast. I named it Cape Eriadna, in honour of Her Imperial Majesty. The place seems deserted. Despite the hot and rainy weather of this area, no rain forest grows here; instead savannah spreads out as far as we can see, with occasional clusters of trees dotting the land. Unlike the dominant northeasterly winds of the Jungle Coast, the winds here usually blow to the southeast.
Sudmir 26, 1965:
Talasar, my second in command, is in charge of replenishing the Princess Ark's food and water supplies. The magic from his Immortal patron is powerful, but some of the supplies are now reported to be spoiled. This is quite unlike Talasar; he is a dedicated priest. This will be investigated at a later time. I am sending an away team to gather food and samples of the local vegetation.
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