Part Two: Junction

“The weather’s wonderful. Wish I was here!”
“Guys and Drows! The Musical!”
Lyrics by Buddy “Skip!” Brambleburr

The ancient historian, Primmian – in his best known work, The Fairelands on 75 Lindens A Day  – writes thus:

“If a Fairelander were to say to me, ‘Oh! I know Junction! I’ve been there many times! It is thus and it is so and ever has it been!‘ then I should know without question that the being before me was very great. Either a very great liar, or a very great fool. For no matter how many times one comes to Junction’s shores one can never truly say one has been there before. Ever changing is she, and though our need for her be great, she changes not to suit our whims but to an end that few can see.”

Most modern Faireland universities have long since removed Primmian from their required reading lists. But none can deny that of that wondrous island he spoke about as well as any can.

The first known mention of Junction occurs in a much older work: The Historia Fairelandia, by Ulrikson, Son of Narg. No one knows how it came to be that the Son of Narg was named Ulrikson but that is either because no one ever thought to ask or because he was better known as the Butcher of Zindra and had a well documented fondness for taking a war-hammer to anyone who annoyed him in the slightest.

“I saw an island faire, “ Ulrikson writes, “and ‘pon her shores such sights as no Mainlander’s eyes had ever beheld.”

He goes on to describe in detail the precise nature of those sights and his own interaction with them, but as these accounts involve a couple of pixies, a satyr and a shocking amount of mead it is perhaps best to omit them from this present report.

But Ulrikson’s account would only be the first of many by countless writers, rogues, ruffians, vagabonds, troubadours and travel bloggers alike seeking to express in words something true, something pure about the miracle, mercurial island called Junction.

It was long known that it was Junction which once a year drew together different realms, bending the fabric of space/time so that for a short while they would form the temporary chain of lands which we now call the Faire. But why Junction did this at all, why she chose the specific lands she did from year to year, and what she was trying to communicate remained mysteries for ages uncounted.

Clearly, this was an intelligence at work. Just as clear, that intelligence was endowed with compassion and conviction. Beyond these rather obvious conclusions, clarity was clubbed over the head with a mallet and thrown out a window at which point – as is always the case – scholars rushed in with a host of competing explanations none of which individually stood up very well given a broad enough data set.

Their notions could be generally divided into three schools of thought:

  • The Celebratory Hypothesis. Theories of Junction’s intent which fall under this classification have as their unifying theme the idea that whimsy and caprice are at the heart of her choice between this realm and that.
  • The Remembrance Hypothesis. There are numerous subsets of this category but at their core is a belief that in selecting specific lands each year, Junction is acting out of a need to honor, to pay tribute to some inscrutable values, memories or dreams. And,
  • The Resistance Hypothesis. Simply put, in her choices of Fairelands, Junction is fighting back against an implacable foe.

But again, look at enough Faireland realms, from year to year stretching back as far as Faireland memory may reach, and none of these three theories seems adequate on its own. The wisest of the wise held that the truth must surely be a dynamic intersection of all three, ever changing to meet needs which Junction could no more convey than even the most careful of examinations could reveal.

Junction was speaking but none could comprehend her language.

None at least until – as is so often the case in stories like these – a hero appeared.

 

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