The caravan grows as they trudge along. With the new arrivals, they bring interesting tales of the land they inhabit, and to the land that they are now heading.
As one of the intellectuals of this journey, I am entitled to certain comforts that are otherwise unavailable to the majority of the population. Where most people have to care for their own belongings and well-being, mine is always cared for. But, as such entitlements have it benefits, it gives my mind free reign to wander, to reminisce and recollect things that I’d much rather forget. For in the darkest hours of our lives, the mind often turns to despair.
I’ve seen this happen before, driven to suicide by the self-destructive forces of the underbelly of our consciousness.
To avoid such an outcome, I have volunteered to participate in the emissary missions and extend an invitation to our grand exodus. Though these encounters are immensely interesting, and above all, time-consuming, I’ve learned that these people are not only ignorant but also superstitious.
Deeper into the forest and closer to the mountains, the natives refer to the land as the land of the dead. The land where the souls of the regretful live, haunted by ghosts and wraiths that wander aimlessly and destroys anyone alive, for they are envious of the living.
Despite the horror stories engraved in them since birth, little convincing needed to be applied, for it was clear that they had no choice but to brave such superstition and hope that their tales were untrue. For the true land of the dead now lies behind us, millions upon millions that are dead and will never see their remains attended — to forever haunt the wastelands of their former homelands.
To keep my mind occupied, I’ve made it routine to speak with the new arrivals. Their stories intrigue me, I have to admit. And even though the easterners are a rather uncouth race — making conversations with them less than a pleasurable — I learned that their stories vary significantly depending on which village they came from; and sometimes they vary between families. Their mushy accent of the common tongue did not help to piece this together either, but I managed to find a red line in all their stories:
Once upon a time this land was once ruled by a mighty kingdom. Castles and cities littered the mountain range, creating a wall that protected this world from the next, sealing the vengeful souls of the dead to the other side of the mountain. But, somewhere along the line, the kingdom declined and the vengeful souls swarmed over the mountain, killing anyone in its path. However, with one last heroic act by an unknown hero, they managed to prevent the scourge from pressing further, preventing it from engulfing the rest of the world.
Why, and how this happened, is when the stories begin to vary and I choose not to study them further. But even though these stories are clearly fictional, I’ve learned that legends are often based in truth — although loosely.
I will keep my eyes peeled as we trudge along. Maybe I can find some evidence of ruins in the undergrowth.