"Corcoran’s fantasy debut is equal parts thrilling and ridiculous. [...] Readers will look forward to the sequel."

January 17, 2018

World of Recast Light: The Wastes

 The western half of the country of Styx is simply known as The Wastes, a desolate region of red earth, jagged black rocks, and mounds of trash. Bordered on the west by the ocean, the north by the Rodomontade Mountains, the east by the Forest of Infinite Horrors, and the south by the Empire, it’s about as out-of-the-way of a place as one could find.
Though flocks of dodos and pigeons populate the area, and the ocean provides plenty of fish, Styxians never consumed these beasts because they (the beasts, not the Styxians) feed off of nothing but garbage. The reason for this is that the early Styxians were forest dwellers, preferring to live high up in trees rather than low down (as all good goblins should). The Wastes were so dreadfully flat, and were rife with Styx-hating goblins using the place as a thoroughfare on their way to wreak havoc in the human countries, and were just generally not conducive to hunting, or living, or building a castle, all of which the early Styxians had set their mind on doing. They were perfect, however, for dumping trash, something which Styxians had loads of. Thus, over the centuries, the hills of garbage grew into mighty mountains, some of which are large enough to be seen from over the borders. They’re a bit of an eyesore, but most everyone inside the country of Styx lives on the other side of the forest of Infinite Horrors, where the trees block the view. The trash doesn’t bother them one bit.
As with any desolate location, weird legends concerning the place have cropped up over time. Some say that goblin ghosts haunt the garbage piles, still attached to those items they once cherished in life. Others claim to have seen spectral entities in the fog that evaporate into thin air when you get too close. Many people report a distinct feeling of being watched.
Peculiar tales are not limited to the flat expanse that comprises most of The Wastes, either. One goblin was traveling from Bombast when he lost his footing on a mountain trail, fell, and lost consciousness. When he finally came to, he was disoriented, but wandered through the crags at the base of the mountain, hoping to find some help. At daybreak, he stumbled upon a perfectly cultivated fruit orchard, ripe with the fall harvest. Beneath the trees, rings of succulent mushrooms and rows of plump vegetables grew. He had never seen such a display in his life, and certainly not in the barren Rodomontades. Stuffing his pockets with food, he started his journey once more, careful to mark the way back to this garden paradise by chiseling his initials into the rocks along the way.
When he finally made it to Styx Town, however, no one believed him. He insisted it was true and said he could prove it, so the next morning, he and his doubters set out towards the mountains. They saw his initials, just as he had claimed, but saw that they did not make a straight path but instead covered almost every rock on the mountain. He swore it wasn’t his doing, pointing out that these new marks looked to have been made by some tool he was unfamiliar with, and insisted that he could tell the difference. Now leading an increasingly skeptical band, he continued on, checking each set of initials, trying to spot which were his and which had appeared suddenly in the night. They continued like this for hours, even coming across a grove of trees at one point, though there was not one piece of fruit on their branches, nor any mushrooms or vegetables on the ground. The traveler had to concede that it would have taken over a hundred goblins to harvest an area this size in one night, and everyone else concluded that his original hallucination must have been due to his hitting his head in the fall. The group made their way home, taking many accidental wrong turns, but the traveler continued to look over his shoulder, hoping for some sign of the secretly bountiful Wastes.


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