A Rookeri Supplement
The Ridge, Luban’s Hemming
From Raselstad to Citadel Lecheni, Luban to Rothi, Eshe’s journey, west to east. But our journey takes us in the opposite direction, from the first risings of the Ridge in the east to its abrupt conclusion at the western Abysses.
Formed primarily of the limestone and sandstone of the Lubanthan Plateau, the Ridge was anciently lifted and folded by tectonic forces when the Central or Daab plate collided with the Northern or Rothi, plate. The Luant is all that remains of the sea that once flowed between them, its profile much softened by erosion and the accretion of silt.
Here at the eastern end the mountains gradually emerge from the Rothi Plain. Yet to their south they descend more steeply. This is most dramatically seen seventy miles west of Chendani Pass where wind-blown sand has carved the sheer cliffs into fanciful wave-forms.
The famous Byhen Cliff forms almost a tube. The rocks here present a magical sight: at sunset glowing intensely red, at dawn changed to an unlikely green, at twilight on a wet day glittering like diamonds in gold, while beneath the moons’ paler lights the rocks eerily shimmer in yellow. But at midday, no matter the weather, the rocks are a dull boring grey.
This entire stretch of the Ridge is a favourite with climbers, the sheer faces offering challenging conditions. Yet away from the Ridge the land falls in a gentle slope that continues beyond the Lubanthan Plateau, far into the Daab.
Moving westward, the Lubanthan Plateau abruptly widens as the Ridge sweeps northward. Volcanoes now pepper the range. None have been historically active though the area does experience frequent earthquakes. The sedimentary rocks now punctuated by the igneous and metamorphic results in a region rich in metals and minerals – the gemstones harvested include rare opals. Of note here is the semi-mythic ‘Voice of Farhana’, an orchard of gems – if one dares venture there. It is reputed the haunt of necromancers.
The widening of the Plateau between Ridge and Luant is known as the Ghats. Here the Ridge sends out row after row of rippling low hills. The hills abound in fast-rushing streams. The streams abound in native metals, silver and gold. The earth here is stained red from its wide scatter of iron ores.
Beyond the Ghats the Ridge rises into the Tartarine Heights. With a maximum height of 10,000 feet the range is permanently glacier-bound.
West of the Tartarines is Poner-Luban, named for the Poner Range that rises beyond it. Higher even than the Tartarines, with no known passes through them, no one yet has ventured west of the Poners. Tucked into a the tight space between Ridge and Poners are the Abysses: a labyrinth of sheer-sided chasms of unknown depth formed, it is said, at the birth of the Ridge. There is a pass through them but only the fair-folk in annual cycle between Rothi and Luban resort to it. Other travellers more wisely use the three passes to west of the Tartarines.
Poner-Luban was the first region to be settled yet it is not the most fertile. Sheep and goats grow better here than fruit and grain. Warmed in the winter by the Poneroos (a south-westerly wind), yet the land remains dry. Two causes have been identified: 1) the drying effect of winds from the Daab (winds from the Poner Range, too, being cold, are not helpful) and 2) the Ridge here drains exclusively northward making this SW corner of Rothi a veritable swamp and an amphib paradise.
It was to this same western corner of Luban that the Founders brought their families out of the searing heat of the Daab. Here they divided, one half to turn eastward, the other to continue north, through the Ridge Passes, to the Rothi Plain. Yet there is no mention of Poner-Luban in their stories. How could there be when the Founders arrived in a boat, and here is no water.
The Foundation Myth
The Magnificent Maker made humankind.
And humankind multiplied
They became as the flies in summer.
The Magnificent Maker said, ‘Here are too many.’
And he sent a flood to reduce their number.
He saved only a few folk.
The Saved Folk soon became Many again.
And those Many were miserable.
They had roofs over their heads
They had food in their bellies
They had clothes on their backs
They had use of their hands
They had spouses and children
They had birds to sing sweetly
They had fragrant flowers
Yet they were not happy.
It was the Murky Techno-Curse.
Because of Murky’s Techno-Curse,
Ever and always the Saved Folk cried ’More.’
They wanted whatever their neighbours had
Died and made the sweet earth sour.
The Forty-First Avatar saw how it was.
He saw how it would be in the end
He saw the death and destruction,
He saw the annihilation
He saw all of Creation gone.
The Forty-First Avatar in his compassion
Called upon the One Thousand Chosen
Gods of the one thousand families who knew no desire
The Forty-First Avatar said, ‘War has come.
‘All that is will soon be destroyed
‘Because of the Saved Folk’s Accursed desires.
‘But you and your families, these I will save.’
And the Forty-First Avatar gave them instructions
He gave them plans so they could build
A massive boat for the 1000 families
of the One Thousand Chosen
And in it they laden their spouses and children
Their elderly parents, their beloved cousins
They laden it with grains and seeds
With roots and with beans
And a whole host of domesticates.
And when all was loaded t
The Forty-First Avatar set them adrift
On the Sea Between Worlds.
All upon that boat slept.
Until they washed up by the shores of the Luant.
In this new land they made anew their Curse-free lives
The telling of this Myth invariably calls forth disputes and objections.
Lubanthan Talks . . .
“Pah! Are we so young and naive as to believe that the Avatar’s boat sailed between worlds?”
The Holy Men generally support this denial. They say the ‘worlds’ in this myth refer to ‘other’ states of consciousness. But that only earns them an impatient flick of the hand.
“No, I’ll tell you what. The Founders sailed across that Yemure Sea, that to the east where our Luant flows. Those Accursed Folk still are there, across that sea, in the Old World.”
Luban scholars, joining the argument, refer to the Good Book. They point to the entry for ‘Geography’. “Here, you see, it says Earth. And where do we live if not on Earth. Thus we did not sail between the stars. We did no more than to sail round the one sea.”
Besides: “I’ve searched the Book and there is not a word for a boat that sky-sails.“
Inevitably such talk leads to the same conclusion. They’ll acquire a sea-going boat and make a return journey across the Yemure. That, once and for all, will prove it.
But then how are they to acquire the boat?
“The Rothi folk have them.”
“Yea, for a price.”
“Hey, that’s Murky-talk.”
“So is wanting to return there. The Avatar didn’t bring us here just for us to return. And for what? To settle an argument. I’d call that Murky-talk, too.”
. . . While Rothi Fears
Rothi scholars have had similar thoughts. From study of the language families and foreign borrowings in the Holy Book they have constructed a map of the Old World.
The Rothi scholars believe – though for fear of the Curse they only whisper it – that if mariners were to set out from Rothi, across the Yemure Sea, then they would encounter the Varlet’s Holy Land of Rome – which might explain the fear endemic amongst them.
How long before the Accursed Cult of the Varlet Verth reaches them there?