Friday, March 31, 2023

A Tale of Two Paradises


It is possible for the determined traveler who has been shown the hidden paths to walk from the Elysian Fields to another planar realm. The primaeval forests and unworked fields of wildflowers give way to pastures, farmland, and finally, quaint villages. There, they will be greeted by the local inhabitants and perhaps invited in for a meal. The traveler has come to the Twin Paradises.

The Paradises represent the rejection of the universal contentment of Elysium as unearned. Also, not for its souls is the selfless dedication required to scale the Heavenly Mountain. Those who come to stay in the Twin Paradises find contentment in industriousness and a life well-lived--or afterlife well lived. 

The denizens of the Paradise reachable from Elysium are small folk like gnomes. They live in villages governed by democratic councils and send representatives to the over-councils that govern the smaller the interactions of the smaller ones. All the citizens work for the common good, and all who contribute partake of the communities' supplies according to their need. The Paradises are not Elysium; the land, though pleasant, is not free from the caprice of nature. The people, though similar in outlook, are individuals and not immune to petty disagreements and misunderstandings. It is overcoming these obstacles that make the pleasantness of life in the Twin Paradises deserved.

At the far edge of the first Paradise, there is a great, mist-filled chasm. One sturdy bridge spans it. On the far side, the land begins to become more rugged and more thickly wooded, though it is still beautiful and bountiful. Here the habitations are more isolated, and the people place a greater value on self-sufficiency. They are more willing to teach a newcomer than to provide what they view as charity. The people still work together on tasks of common need, but they do so as individuals and of their own volition. 

The Holy Mountain is visible from this land on clear days. Even these hardworking folk occasionally take a moment to stare at it from time to time. They are perhaps comforted to know it exists, but they have little desire to see its heights.

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