The Oasis Ordaros (or-dare-ose)
Kadaran’s Journal: A Travel Narrative Through Argethen — Part I
“My name is Kadaran Olma, and I’ve begun traveling south through Kortenka for several months. My original plan, my journey of life, only planned to take me through to Turgathka, and is already half over. I find myself wondering if I have enough left in me to continue on afterwords. Staying here in Argonel, one of the most celebrated monasteries in the entire Hargatt Archipelago, has led me to reflect on my life and what all I’ve done over the years in such unique ways! In fact, this journal is the product of their advice. The unfortunate side of the matter is that I’ve neglected such precise documentation until now. Alas, as they say, now I’ve only my memory to serve me. I will try to date my recollections properly, and remember my impressions of places and their peoples in detail. Perhaps, while returning home, I shall revisit those places with wider eyes than before. Although, perhaps I will never go back, and continue experiencing the world, traveling where whim takes me. Argethen, you are vast, and your untold secrets innumerable! How I now yearn to uncover and devour them!
I should write about my home, Ordaros, before I begin my entries proper. The Hargattian monks have amazed me numerous times, but nothing else has impressed me more than their self-reflective knowledge. Each understands and can relate the story of his or her life in such intimate detail, that to speak with one feels as though their memories are becoming your own. I cannot yet describe the feeling. Such things are more than just memories. They are a person, and I now know that, beyond familiar grounds, beyond national pride, or home, or family, beyond even where one’s whole life may be spent, where people spend their earliest years of childhood are a critical function of who they become. Whether you accept or refute that, I can no longer deny–I am of Ordaros, and in exploring the world, I shall learn the most about myself from my beginnings. I am Kadaran, and after half a century of learning from tomes and elders, I shall learn from, myself. “At once: as I am, as I was. I will always be.
Ordaros is an orderly city-state that could be roughly described as a system of concentric rings. The Oasis, commonly called Oasis Ordaros, is a place quite pleasing to the eye, of the likes I’ve yet to see elsewhere. I used to be arrogant enough to claim that no place could be as beautiful as my home, but such is childhood bias. The land is a deep, full green, speckled with a baffling menagerie of colors. Our gardens are kept at a prime the whole year round, thanks to our arcane groundskeepers. Ah, yes, I should mention that Ordarans are quite adept at drawing energy directly from the Welkin. Doing this can be dangerous, and the general term for such practitioners is ‘arcanist.’ Unique to Ordaros, I believe, are the ways which our groundskeepers use the Welkin. Arcane energy fluctuates through everything in Argethen, though it doesn’t necessarily give everything life. If divine powers gave our world life–as I and all gods-fearing men believe–the Welkin’s arcane energy was used to give our world shape. We Ordarans have learned to manipulate small sections of the Welkin’s fluctuations, and transform the plants, animals, and, in the rarest, most-delicate of situations, even people, in ways minuscule to extravagant. Those who would paint as the gods, we call arkin sages, and they are our greatest artisans. Only the greatest groundskeepers may earn the title.
Oasis Ordaros maintains a strict order within its walls, as one might expect from its name. It was founded on ideals laid down by our Prime–our leader, Shadran Mathas, who has lived for centuries within the Obelisk. Within our walls, you will find a most-beautiful example of civilization. The surrounding lands, though we claim them as our country, have always been dangerous prowling grounds for supernatural misfortunes and wild energies. It has only gotten worse over the years, and we are partly to blame. So many times have we attempted to control the violent energies this area possesses, and every time they have absorbed our influence–grown more fierce and bewildering. Any wayward traveler who survives the unexpected nightmares of the Ordaran wilds would agree, that no description of the Devil’s Ring, the Demon’s Run or the Dark Corner would never do justice to the terror one might experience first-hand. Only the Tongues, the rocky beaches to our east, and the Land of the Foreign Dead, have horrors we can name. The ocean separating Ordaros from Osertania, which we call Lashers’ End, and Osers call the Great Blue Fiend, is home to many great, tentacled things–like squids, but monstrously proportioned. When the ships stay in, and food runs scarce in the depths, they comb our shores for food instead. Where we slew the Kaian invaders, their spirits still march, forgetting the battle is over, and the war was lost. It is safer to travel through the mountains, than those ghastly plains. The night is late, though, and I must rest what I can.”