Herein lies the account of my travels in
that mysterious kingdom known as the Land of the Green Isles. Lest this record be
put down to the fevered imagination of a madman or the fiction of a notorious liar, let
me assure you, Dear Reader, that the Land of the Green Isles does indeed exist. One
can hear the name of the Land whispered in roadside inns off dusty roads from the hills of
Daventry to the sea of Tamir -- especially on night when the wind howls and the rain plays
havoc on the window panes. The story-tellers inevitably take on that same tone of
voice they use when speaking of the Fairy Kingdom. I cannot vouch for the Fairy
Kingdom since I have yet to get a leprechaun in a position of compromise, yet the Land of
the Green Isles ... Ah! ... that is a place where the feet of a man can find solid ground
and his eyes feast on such wonders!
My tale begins with a broken compass. I had taken passage on a ship bound east
from Llewdor. Our destination was Serenia, yet in the second week out we encountered
a terrible electrical storm. Waves crashed upon the deck of our little ship, the
Round About, and lightning struck the sea all around her. At one point it even struck
our secondary mast and we were saved from a fiery death only by the lashing rain which
quickly put out the fire. We felt sure that we were all dead men, yet on we bailed
and strove throughout the night. After long hours of the terrifying labour, we
found ourselves still afloat on the other side of the storm. At first light, the
damage seemed minimal despite the lightning that had struck the ship, but by sunset the
Captain was forced to announce that the instruments of navigation had been magnetised by
the storm -- the compass spoke east, yet the sun sank low over the right of our prow.
The Captain did his best to sail by older methods, by the sun and the stars. He
assured the voyagers that there was nothing to fear. Yet we seemed cursed, for a
dense cloud cover settled over the sky far into the horizon -- and stayed. The
Round About sailed like a blind man groping in a vast, unfamiliar room.
After a week, the Captain had to admit that we had missed our destination. There
was no land to be seen anywhere. It was as if the storm had caused another flood
that had wiped civilisation from the face of the Earth. With naught else to do, we
sailed on, by now so lost that turning around seemed futile. Who was to say that we
were not turned around already?
A month later, I lay in a fitful sleep on my bunk -- throat parched and skin stretched
from the scant provisions allotted all hands from the near-empty hold below -- when I
heard the cry on deck, "Land Ho!" Startled from my sleep and exhilarated with hope, I
sprang to the deck. The sky had cleared and its blue seemed a hue I had never
seen. A sailor was wildly pointing off the prow where the bright green of a small
body of land was dimly visible. The Round About responded as though leaping from the
sea toward that remote shore.
Yet within the hour, the curse upon our ship took its final vengeance. As though
enranged to see us within view of escape, the sea came alive and swirled around
us. Currents and whirlpools materialized and sucked at the beaten planks of the
ship -- turning her first one way and then another! I was thrown against the deck
and rolled uncontrollably against the cables and the lifeboats. The last thing I
heard before my head struck and blackness descended was the mate screaming, "She's going
Who can judge providence? I am not a hero, I am a wanderer -- neither as strong
nor as brave as the Captain of that good ship. Yet with no effort on my part -- none
greater, in any event, than the skill of getting myself knocked on the head -- I awoke the
following morning, not among the bones at the bottom of the sea, but on a beach. Of
the crew and passengers of the good ship, there was not a trace.
Perhaps I was chosen for some destiny here. Perhaps the sea simply found me too
sour an old dog for the swallowing. In any case, that is the tale of how I found the
Land of the Green Isles -- or should I say, how it found me. Being but a poor
traveller with feet that itch and a spirit that cannot rest, I have naught to leave this
world but a record of the things these eyes have seen. Being not nearly as clever as
a balladeer, I set this down in humble prose.
May this account someday find its way back to the land of my youth, though I fear I
myself shall die on this distant shore.
The Land of the Green Isles is an ancient kingdom ruled by a royal family designated
simply as the "Crown". Its location so far from the rest of the known world, combined
with the dangers of the surrounding sea, have effectively isolated it from the influence
of other lands. This small kingdom might as well exist on a distant star as on the
other side of an inhospitable sea.
Because of this isolation, the citizens of the kingdom have a unique culture and a
quaint naivete. If one asks about the history of the Land, they are eager to
speak. Yet of true answers, little can be found. They can recite the names of
the holders of the Crown spanning back hundreds of years, can speak of each dwelling's
origin, of practically every citizen's lineage, yet when I asked how the kingdom began,
bewilderment is the response. "The kingdom has always been," they say, "There has
always been a royal family." It is as if this place has existed, unaltered since the
dawn of time.
But there is some basis for a different picture: that these islands have actually held
a succession of kingdoms, each bleeding into the next, new civilisations building on
ruins scarcely cold. I base this opinion on the traces and legends of an ancient
civilisation to be found on one of the islands -- but more of that later.
The kingdom as it stands today, has remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of
years. Four islands make up the bulk of the Land. The Isle of the Crown is the
centre of the kingdom. There on a magnificent rise stands the Castle of the Crown,
the seat of the royal family of the kingdom and the heart of the Land. A village and
docks comprise the rest of the island and run most of the kingdom's daily commerce, such
as it is.
Across a short distance is the Isle of Wonder, an aptly-named place of sheer delight
ruled by a pair of rival queens who are, despite their own internal strife, unalterably
loyal to the Crown.
The Isle of the Beast is the least hospitable of the islands. Seemingly deserted,
I did not see much of the place since obstacles made it impossible to travel far
inland. Nevertheless, the place has its own history and is listed among the
The fourth island is the Isle of the Sacred Mountain, so called for the soaring peak
that rises from the base of the island into the clouds, and around which that
community -- both literally and philosophically -- is built. The Isle of the Sacred
Mountain has its own rulers who are also subservient to the Crown.
A more dissimilar set of cultures can scarce be imagined than those on these four
islands, yet they seem to exist in harmony and function as a whole. The uniting
factor is the Crown, which maintains loyalty both by means of its undisputed heritage as
the seat of all government, and by the grace of its goodly royal family.
Peace has reigned for centuries in this idyllic kingdom and seems likely to
continue. That is, as long as the Land remains hidden from the evil that we know
exists in the world. Though I am a stranger here, I hope not to influence this
place overly much. Who would wish to change such a paradise?
Explore the islands a little closer ...