Symzonia

Nature: Hidden realm / aspect of the South Pole
First Encountered: P1.3 "Secret of the Second Sphinx"

History: In the 19th century the U.S. Army Captain John Cleves Symmes announced that immense holes at each pole, 4'000 miles in diameter, led to an inner world that he oh so humbly named after himself: Symzonia. He convinced the journalist Jeremiah Reynolds of this, and in turn Jeremiah's ceaseless lectures and lobbying then convinced President John Quincy Adams to send an expedition to Antarctica n search of the South Polar hole in 1829. It also convinced ad least three Atlantis-seeking cabals to do the same.

The U.s. Naval expedition turned back at Chile, while two of the cabals returend from points further south with interesting samples and at least one new and previously unknown Forces rote, but no reports of a polar hole. The third cabal, The Brotherhood of Catamounts, never came back. Or, more accurately, no official reports of their return were ever made.

In May of 1933 the investigations of the Condiments revealed that a single surviving member of that final expedition somehow showed up in England, but the experience had driven him so insane that the authorities never managed to identify him. He died shortly thereafter in the insane asylum he was committed to, killed by an incurable disease he'd picked up along the way, with his last breath raving mad things like «Sphinx is the key! She's so beautiful! Sphinx leads the way! She holds all the answers!». The equipment and belongings he was found with were never claimed by any next of kin or organization, and so were donated to the British Museum, where they spent several decades forgotten in the basement until someone had the time to study and catalog them. When the Condiments finally did so they found the maps and directions they needed to reach Symzonia.

Description: While the region is indeed found on the Antarctic continent it's not as "easy" to reach as simply traveling south, as it requires a voyage with a very specific route and navigation in order to reach the exotic shores of Symzonia, akin to fairytale bearings such as ''east of the sun and west of the moon''. When followed these directions will lead to a place physically identical to the South Pole as known by Sleeper studies yet with supernatural traits and inhabitants wholly different. It is, as it were, one of the few surviving places of magical wilderness remaining in the world, perhaps comparable to the Iron Forest of central Europe or the Lost Valley of dinosaurs in Africa.

The first indication that these lands are not mundane are the flocks of flying penguins that meet any vessel approaching land, and is followed by such creatures as the Nanuq, were-polar bears, or the electromagnetic monster bound to the ancient relics found at the actual pole. Doubtlessly this unexplored land holds many more strange and wondrous vistas and beings, but its inaccessibility and inhospitable climate has ensured that it remains mostly a white area of the map even to this day. It was within the land of Symzonia that the second Sphinx was found, before it was summarily destroyed.

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