Moimain

The Isle of the Sacred Mountain, on first impression, appears to be nothing but a great wall of cliffs rising to the sky with no apparent means of scaling it. The visitor is soon met, however, by a pair of "greeters" of the Winged Ones race.

The Winged Ones are the inhabitants of the Isle of the Sacred Mountain. Towering to a height of six to seven feet, the Winged Ones are by far the most impressive creatures I have ever seen. Each one of them, male and female alike, is surpassingly beautiful. Their bodies are muscled and athletic and gleaming with health. From their broad backs mighty wings emerge like secondary limbs, strong and webbed, and covered with large white feathers. And when they spread those massive wings...oh!...it is as if the sun itself is eclipsed.

Two of these creatures, the greeters, meet visitors at the base of the cliffs and so was I met. Gently, they took my arms and flew me upwards. Has there been a man who has not dreamed of Hying? Are we all not Icarus in our heart of hearts? Imagine then, the thrill of that flight and the glory of the beings who rule die very air around us!

But, as the old saw warns, "Beauty is only skin deep." I was flown to the Winged Ones' city, a strange and haunting place whose architecture combines the two overriding elements of this culture: aviation and the classical. The city seems built to exclude those poor creatures whose lot it is to crawl like insects upon the ground, for each edifice towers into the sky widi 110 connection to the next or to the ground itself save by flight.

Thus completely dependent on the greeters to travel about the city or even leave, the visitor is humbled and loath to do much exploration. This appeared to me to be rather the intention, for the culture of the Winged Ones is a private one. On the Isle of Wonder I always felt welcome, despite the sometimes gruff nature of the inhabitants. They had a certain simplicity, an honesty about them. By contrast, although my reception with the Winged Ones was on the surface extremely polite, the formal words of welcome did not ring true. I sensed, in die eyes of that beauteous race, a disdain of common humanity, a haughtiness that made them suddenly lose some of their golden perfection in the eyes of this humble observer.

Despite this innate sense of superiority, the Winged Ones are valuable members of the kingdom and provide many important skills. Incredibly intelligent, die Winged Ones are master logicians and mathematicians, precise architects and planners. They dis-

A This symbol represents harmony, the cat, the color sienna, and earth.

B This symbol represents sorrow, the albatross, the color charcoal-gray, and onyx.

C This symbol represents hope, the dove, the color pearl-gray, and opals.

D This symbol represents tranquility, the mouse, the color sable, and granite.

E This symbol represents irony, the whale, the color ochre, and paper.

F This symbol represents humility, the grasshopper, the color olive, and plants.

G This symbol represents purity, the unicorn, the color white, and air.

H This symbol represents rage, the shark, the color red, and fire.

I This symbol represents cowardice, the sheep, the color orange, and coal.

J This symbol represents honesty, the parrot, the color green, and emeralds.

K This symbol represents wisdom, the owl, die color brown, and wood.

L This symbol represents loneliness, the cricket, the color beige, and clay.

M This symbol represents romantic love, the swan, the color gold and the element gold.

N This symbol represents hate, the crab, the color black, and ebony.

O This symbol represents joy, the dolphin, the color azure, and sapphires.

P This symbol represents fear, the rabbit, the color violet, and rubies.

Q This symbol represents faith, the caterpillar, the color turquoise, and the stone turquoise.

R This symbol represents grief, the jackal, the color silver, and the element silver.

S This symbol represents happiness, the dog, the color pink, and marble.

T This symbol represents perseverance, the tortoise, the color sea-green, and water.

U This symbol represents intuition, the serpent, the color royal-blue, and rain.

V This symbol represents foolishness, the monkey, the color yellow, and ivory.

W This symbol represents familial love, the horse, the color hazel, and leather.

X This symbol represents bravery, the lion, the color purple, and diamonds.

Y This symbol represents patience, the cow, the color amber, and pearls.

Z This symbol represents desire, die warihog, the color burgundy, and garnets.

symbols and had a complex theology which seemed to worship all things aerial, though only fragments of their belief system are understood today. The Ancient Ones gave meaning to every creature, every color, every element and mineral. In addition, diey studied the emotional states of being. Every emotion, like every creature, color, and element, ranked high or low on their theological scale—the lowest being "base" or "primitive," the highest being "pure." At the top of this scale were the Sacred Four; die emotion "tranquility," the color "azure," the creature "caterpillar," and the element "air." The color azure and the element air are obvious allusions to the sky. Similarly, tranquility is reminiscent of the heavens above. The caterpillar is the one surprise. In their reasoning, however, it makes perfect sense. After all, there are birds aplenty in the skies, but what glory is it to fly when one is born with wings? Is it not more glorious still to be born to crawl upon the ground and build one's own wings?

It is a matter of much debate whether or not the Ancient Ones themselves possessed the power of flight. Despite their theology, the remains of the Ancient Ones do not bear the wings that distinguish the Isle of the Sacred Mountain's current inhabitants. The Winged Ones firmly believe that the Ancient Ones flew without wings, thus proving themselves superior even to the Winged Ones themselves. Some scholars 011 the Isle of the Crown, however, believe that the Ancient Ones could not fly, and that their obsessive interest in flight and their secret knowledge enabled them to create a winged race, the descendants of whom are the Winged Ones. Ah, but such things we will never know for certain, for true understanding was buried along with the last of that long-dead race.

I spent some time studying the language and culture of the Ancient Ones, and, in the interest of antiquity, I set forth here as much as is understood of their works.

The A\( ii:m Ones' Alphabet

The alphabet of the Ancient Ones consists of graphic symbols. It is clear diat dieir language and ours has the same root, for their writings are directly translatable by simply replacing the appropriate letter of our alphabet for its corresponding symbol in dieirs. It is probable that the Ancient Ones spoke in our language and used diese symbols in dieir writings as a code for secrecy or for dieir ceremonial beauty. Or, perhaps, our own "letters" for die spoken language evolved as short-hand notations for the complex symbols used by the Ancient Ones. In any case, there are twenty-six primary symbols in their alphabet. There are other minor symbols, but diose were used only for accent and as representations of complex philosophical ideals and are not included here.

In addition to their alphabetical functions, each symbol also represents an emotion, a color, a creature, and a natural or metaphysical element.

The catacombs are illustrative of the Ancient Ones' obsessive interest in death. Indeed, it seems to be in the air in this part of die world, for the modern-day Green Islanders also have elaborate death traditions, as I will describe later.

The catacombs were obviously a place of high reverence for the Ancient Ones, as a message on an ancient tablet that once adorned the doors to the catacombs shows:

Three roses laid upon the bower, A scythe for he who cuts the flower, A crown, a dove, most noble race! Thy bones make sacred this dread place.

So concludes my records on the Land of the Green Isles. I have been well-treated here and have become rich in friends, in knowledge, and in countless other blessings. Though I have found my spirit forlorn at times with my inability to travel on, I must admit that my feet have itched less here than anywhere else in this wide world. Still, on occasion, I find my mind roving back to the green hills of Daventry. Perhaps, if my spirit, at least, is allowed to roam free I've yet to see them soon.

To those who may someday follow in my footsteps, I say this:

Be kind to this gentle land, be open-hearted to her whimsy, and protect her, if you can, from the harsh winds which might wish to blow in from the sea to steal her soul. She is unlike any place I have ever seen, and she has stolen my heart.

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