Scientists generally agree that humanity did not evolve on the planet of The Ancient City. Where then did the human inhabitants come from? Ancient legends may offer clues.
Most languages of that world translate its name as "Daughter World". According to folklore, the first people came there from some other world called "Mother World".
The oldest surviving tales within a particular language group are fairly consistent, even though different from those of other language groups. This leads to the theory that humans arrived not once, but several times, each arrival independent of the others. Other evidence indicates that all such arrivals came from the same Mother World.
The probable route was an inter-world portal, similar to those created by the Wizards, but opening and closing spontaneously for reasons still unknown to us. In almost all the tales some adventurer in Mother World finds a hole or doorway of some sort and goes through to find himself or herself in Daughter World.
Sometimes the person falls through what seems to be a hidden hole in the ground, similar to a pit camouflaged to trap animals. Or people may be walking along a familiar trail and suddenly find themselves in strange territory. Swimmers and boaters fall through holes in the water. And in a few versions a great wind blows someone through a hole in the sky.
In most cases the person cannot find the hole again afterwards, and thus cannot return to the Mother World. In the best-known version the first person to fall through wanders aimlessly for a while, living off the land, until he finds some ruins and takes shelter in them. Over the next few months other men and women follow. As the group grows it becomes easier to find, and attracts even more lost adventurers. The group adopts the ruins as its permanent home, thus founding The Ancient City.
In another tale a ship carrying a cargo of male and female slaves finds itself in unfamiliar waters studded with uncharted islands. With the crew demoralized and confused the slaves manage to escape to one of the islands. Their descendants become the Western Sea People.
In a few cases the portal remains open as a two-way street. Then some sort of misfit, rejected or persecuted by his fellows, makes the transition by accident but does manage to find his way back. He gathers others like himself, or sometimes a forbidden lover, and they decide to go through together to start their own tribe.
In some versions the people they leave behind send occasional raiding parties, and in others peaceful trade is established, but in all the tales the way between the two worlds eventually closes. The new group is on its own as memories of the old world begin to fade. These are the tales told on the shores of lakes in the Southern Grasslands, in the igloos of the icy Northern Wastes, and in the Western Jungles.
In both forms, the simple story of someone falling through a hole and not being able to climb back, or the more complex and dramatic tale of a couple or group breaking away from their tribe or nation, the actual transition appears consistent with some sort of inter-world portal that opens for a while and then closes.
Although such spontaneous portals are rare, they have been known to appear from time to time. It is from the study of these that the Magicians have learned to open their own portals into what appear to be other worlds. Is one of them the long-lost Mother World? Nobody knows.
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