We came down and just like that…there they were- the airborne arthropods with gossamer wings, the butterflies- or gossamers as they were called in these parts. They fluttered and whizzed by like tiny leaves blown about unseen currents of force, flapping their multi-colored wings against the winds.
As soon as we had crossed the boundary of the Mountain, there they were. Though, there was no physical barrier, no tangible reason for them to not traverse the nations, minus the rule of thumb… magic- there they stayed in the country known to the world as The Gossamer Commonwealth. In reality, no magic held them inside the nation they were named after. They stayed because Gossamer was the one place with absolutely perfect conditions for them to thrive in.
Not many places were left for them to grow in after The Destruction. The wars that almost annihilated the human race took with them many species of beauty. So much was lost after that dark day. The day fire flew from the sky and even the rains became toxic, washing the skin and meat off your bones as if it were a muddied layer of dirt.
Those days are long past now. Though, in some nations the acid rains still come, even now. Yet, when all that was said and done, mankind had never quite fully recovered even after rebuilding a civilization- but how does one recover from that level of destruction? How do you become uncontaminated when everything else around and inside of you is tainted?
That was the toxic rain that started it all, the one inside mankind, beating in their chests like war drums. Still, despite the devastation the delicate gossamers lived. Even when everything else was turning to ash, they heard life calling and followed its bellows.
The-Powers-That-Be knew the gossamers would need a place and called to them- the Papilionidae, to each family, genus, and species they called. So amid the poisoned atmospheres, the Butterflies were drawn in search of a land where they could flourish. By clusters of millions and billions they flew and died. They braved the acid rains, the fire torrents of hell, and flew for life.
Though the carnage was great, the remaining species finally found the promised land and came to rest here: where the grasses run tall, the food plenty; where the sun is bright, and a fixture of cool mornings abide. Not many of their predators made it this far into wild country. Some, but just enough that the butterflies could multiply and their presence never could diminish.
This place, this magical looking land was once called Nadir, like the lowest point of an arc, and the opposite of Zennith in Astronomy- The Nadir Commonwealth. This land was Nadir because it was the exact opposite of what mankind held as beautiful, as the pinnacle of advancement and civilization. It was backward.
As the remaining humans left the poisoned places of earth in search of their own Eden, they found Nadir and settled amid the gossamers. The beauty of it and the vast volume of butterflies that inhabited the place led to many stories among the Nations, legends even. In the stories it was always called the place of the Gossamers. Well, in time the name stuck…and the rest is history, as it is said.
Though it’s a beauty, a place of wonder and lushness, do not mistake it for a soft place. It’s a wild place, where only the most fierce can survive, gossamer and human alike. And that is why we’ve come. Gossamer is the vastest nation on the continent but also one of the most uninhabited. So we’ve come to test ourselves. We’ve come to see how the inhabitants of Zennith Nation can get on in the abandoned places of earth where no wires, no lights, no communication happens except the kind that is achieved by hand and foot and mind.
Zennith Nation, the peak of human achievement complete with flying clunks of metal, machines on wheels zooming by at light speeds, phones in hand that do everything for us human beings so we don’t have to lift a finger. Everywhere you turn there are wires galore, wires to make communication, power, and everything in between possible. The Zennith where wires are a way of life and life is, itself, as synthetic as they are.
But in Gossamer there are no wires. There are no lights, save the distant evening fires of the neighbors miles off. Here, in the quiet recesses of the wild no man-made noise protruds.
We came, a product of our nation, high tech, in our Rover- the four-wheeled metal Beast that could outrun any beasts of the field. We stopped at the bottom of Lion Mountain and took in the sights. We took in the grandeur of Gossamer and watched mesmerized as the butterflies traversed the open spaces in front of us. One or two, perhaps in clusters of three, they passed every few seconds, and then large sheets of them in multi-colored swaths every few minutes. Every color and kind were there. They lived and flew together.
And so we went. Into the unknown wilds, we went, to find adventure and our courage. As it is said in the old stories, courage is only found in the unknown where the unfamiliar grows. So hand in hand we traveled through dangers and beauties alike until we returned to Zennith and were never the same for we, too, had heard The-Powers-That-Be whisper in the wind and try as we might, we always yearned to hear them again, always drawn to return to that place once more, like the gossamers to open flames.