Thursday, November 10, 2011

Beneath Rock Candy Mountain


It’s imparted by the sagacious urban druids that contemplate on street corners and rumored by stoned hobogoblins that pass canned heat ‘round campfires that there is an earthly paradise hidden in the great mountains of the West. The wondrous land’s fame has even spread to the world we know, where balladeers longingly recount the virtues of the Rock Candy Mountain or the Hobo’s Paradise.

The hidden mountain valley (so the tales claim) sits in the benevolent shadow of a mountain of candy (or at least with the appearance of such) and boasts trees which grow cigarettes, whiskey running in streams, and ponds of hearty stew. The inhabitants of the valley comport themselves like those in small towns elsewhere, but they are unfailingly friendly, even deferential, to the lowliest of visitors—perhaps especially the lowliest. No crimes against property are prosecuted; in fact, everything is given freely.

Adventurers, notorious hard cases (or thinking of themselves as such), scoff at those yarns. Calloused to eldritch horrors and exotic treasures alike, they’re disinclined to get misty over vagrants’ fairy tales of a hobotopia. Still, a few have caught the fever and gone looking over the years. As far as is known, none have returned.

Even in the tales, the way to the Hobo’s Paradise isn’t easy. Though the trail’s exact location is unknown, it’s believed to run treacherously through the cold heights of the Stoney Mountains. Mine slavers and road agents haunt the lower parts of the trail, while apemen guard the more remote passes.

These may not be the only dangers. Certain heterodox urban druids believe that this Paradise may not be what it appears from a distance. The air that should be fresh and sweet is instead choked with the stench of an abattoir. The whiskey streams are spiked with methanol and cause blindness, delirium, and death. And the smiling, wooden-legged constables and comic railyard bulls, aren’t benevolent—and aren’t even human behind their skin masks.

Could be that more than teeth rot in the shadow of the Rock Candy Mountain.

For the Garrisons at the Old School Heretic family of blogs.

9 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

Pessimists the lot of them, nirvana is what I heard.

Rev Rosey said...

Oh, I like this very much. Great combination of likelihood, optimism and menace.

Eric said...

I love Bluegrass...

Eric!

Fabian said...

I hear the bulldogs all have rubber teeth.

JimShelley said...

There's a snake in that paradise for sure. Still, it sounds enticing for an adventure!

Needles said...

Might be a good location to rerun a version of the Slavers trilogy modified for the Weird Adventures world! Very cool stuff!

Justin S. Davis said...

Some say that the way is marked by hidden glyphs scrawled in Transients' Cant on trees, rocks, and farmhouses...

http://www.worldpath.net/~minstrel/hobosign.htm

...but those of a mystical bent insist that the symbols take on more arcane--and, perhaps even demonic--significance the closer one gets to the fabled site....

Trey said...

@Needles - Good idea!

@Justin - Of course. :)

Aos said...

I want to eat some pond stew!