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    Literature in the Flanaess: Travels in the Near West
    Posted on Thu, May 12, 2005 by Dongul
    gvdammerung writes "The Baklunish States of the Near West are something of a mystery to the rest of the Flanaess. The first glimpses of the Baklunish likely to be had by many may be found in the accounts of the few travelogues that meaningfully recount something of the life and thought of the people who brought the Suel Imperium low. In these accounts, one gains a first entre to the larger world of the Near West. Herein, a journey into colorful cultures and starkly desolate lands begins. May fate smile upon you.

    Literature in the Flanaess: Travels in the Near West
    By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Just as there is a literature and literary culture in the Eastern Flanaess, that land east of the Yatils, Crystalmists and subsidiary ranges, there is a Near Western literature and literary culture. The lands of Zeif, Ekbir, Tusmit, Ket and Ull have produced a literature every bit as vital as that of their neighbors in the Flanaess and altogether much, much older. The literature of the Near West will be discussed separately from that of the Eastern Flanaess but there are some works that straddle the cultural divide between the Baklunish lands and points East.

    Travelogues recounting contacts with the Near West are comparatively rare. Why this should be is not certain. Contacts between east and the Near West are of long standing. Ket is a literal crossroads of cultures. The fact remains that travelogues recounting travels in the Near West are unusual.

    The two travelogues discussed below are perhaps not the richest in detail but each provides more than a merely factual account. Each describes something of the cultural mores of the Baklunish states that set them apart from easy comparison to eastern nations. This is the central distinction between the histories of the east and the Near West. It is necessary to have some understanding of the unique aspects of Baklunish thought to be able to put strictly historic events in a context meaningful to the subject matter beyond merely a surface comprehension.

    Journey to Iram
    by Constantia Pederin (2 Volumes)
    1st Edition - 310 CY

    Note - The author, the daughter of a Perrenland merchant, was captured by a raiding party of Tiger Nomads and sold into ultimate slavery in Zeif. She later became a noted mercenary captain among the Paynims after escaping her captors. In late life, she published her memoirs, whose comparatively graphic nature was thought shocking at the time, at least in the City of Greyhawk.

    Journey to Iram chronicles the author’s travails among the Tiger Nomads and within Ekbir and Zeif in one volume, concluding with her escape from slavery. Volume two picks up the narrative, as the author becomes a feared mercenary captain among the Paynims, by turns politicking and murdering her way to a position of leadership. In the course of her adventures, the author becomes something of a mystic, seeking but never finding Iram, the holy city of the Paynims.

    Long shunned by scholars because of the author’s sex and perceived lack of morals, Journey to Iram is now regarded, as it should be, as a ground breaking work that provides one of the earliest glimpses of the states of the Near West. Hardly a travel guide but more than a mere yarn, Journey to Iram is a historic milestone that captures the Baklunish states at an early point before the clash of East and West.

    The Lonely Steppes
    by Otak Heralk
    1st Edition - 290 CY
    Note - Printed originally in Ket, no copies of the 1st edition are know to survive.

    Otak Heralk was a lame, illiterate Tusmit hillman. The Lonely Steppes is the account of his journey by caravan to Tovag Baragu to be healed, which he was. During his travels, he is accompanied by a sage, also traveling with the caravan. The sage tutors Otak, who leans to both read and write. His subsequent narrative is simple and pious. It is also remarkably affecting, transporting the reader to the Dry Steppes in the mind’s eye.

    The desolate character of the Dry Steppes comes through clearly in Otak’s narrative. In his own sparse philosophy and from accounts of his discussions with other travelers, one gains an insight into the mind of the Westerner otherwise unavailable. The stereotypical view of the Baklunish is shattered. In its place, one comes to see a multitude of attitudes and perceptions, although the concept of fate hangs over everything. Not truly a history nor exactly a travelogue, The Lonely Steppes is more and less than either. It explains something of the reasons behind the history of the Near West in relating uniquely Western thoughts on honor, trust, piety, devotion and duty.

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