We are so excited to announce that Vulcan Forged, the leading blockchain gaming and ecosystem, has revealed the next part of the VulcanVerse lore. After the Mountains of Boreas, we are going to witness the Gardens of Arcadia and its beautiful land of forests and fields!
The Gardens of Arcadia were different in times of old. An age of heroes, from where many of today’s legends originate, the home of the gods Hermes and Pan, and a land of many mythical creatures. Today, the human inhabitants that Vulcan has invited to his digital VulcanVerse are busy building on their land, but Arcadia didn’t always look this way.
“Arcadia. The garden of the gods of Olympus. Once they walked its sylvan paths, sipping ambrosia, drinking the wines of Dionysus, and filling the arboreal groves with their laughter. Satyrs and centaurs gambolled in the sunlit groves, sprites and dryads tended to the trees and flowers. Even mortals, those chosen of the gods, enjoyed the revels. Everywhere life blossomed with joyous abandon. But Pan plays his pipes no more, Artemis hunts not in the deep forests-green, dryads and nymphs dance no longer in dappled moonlit glades to the music of the spheres. Silence reigns over the weed-infested garden walkways. Ancient trees, long untended, clog the forest trails, roots rise up from the ground to topple the statues, fountains and sundials, cracking open the conservatories and summer houses. The great rivers, babbling brooks and simple streams have long since dried up, nothing sleeps in their beds now but desiccated earth and bleached bones. Yet what is to be done? The gods sleep, so it must be the mortals, feeble though they are, pitiful even, to whom the task must fall. Who can restore the wild woods to their glorious, arboreal splendour? Who can rebuild Arcadia and wake the sleeping gods? Who but you..”
The Wild Woods
Forging A New Olympus
Many stories are handed down about the Arcadia of the past — many of these stories can be explored in ancient tomes if you can find them (hint — the gamebooks!). The template for Vulcan’s new Olympus, VulcanVerse itself, existed in the deep past, in times of myth and mystery. In creating the digital blockchain VulcanVerse, Vulcan, in all his godly genius, took the best of the VulcanVerse of old, that of the map we know so well, and recreated it, opening the gates for today’s mortals to enter. This new VulcanVerse is smaller than the ancient place, and the Gardens of Arcadia, whilst familiar to the hypothetical traveler existing in both times, held many ancient secrets…
With the arrival of mortal man, Vulcan removed many of the forests and rolling hills, creating a large, flat plain. It was as though much of the old terrain was never there to begin with, except where Vulcan did wipe clean, he allowed the strange power of the former sacred places — the shrines, the temples, the farmlands to remain. With the arrival of humans and the use of their crude tongues, these special places have been named “buff zones”. Many mortals have clambered for ownership of these areas, where they or their Vulcanite would wield increased power. Vulcan may have wiped much of the land — but the most important places remain, albeit in some cases, in forms a little removed from their ancient shape. These are what the modern mortal residents of VulcanVerse call “landmarks,” and these places remain areas of great power and, in many ways, places of ethereal mystery.
To understand this land of eternal summer, we must look to the past and the information that has been handed down to us…
The Lore of the Gardens of Arcadia
The Gardens of Arcadia of old was a different place to that which we know today — larger and wilder, much more dangerous for the traveler. The map we have access to is an accurate representation of the place of old, though lacks detail relating to the smaller places.
The Sacred Way
The Sacred Way is a route that circumnavigates VulcanVerse, a little like a coastal path — it also forms, straddling each quadrant, routes that head from the coast to the central Vulcan City. We arrive in Arcadia from the Mountains of Boreas close to Arcadia’s most north-westerly point, below the steep cliffs and mountainous terrain denoting the border between these two great quadrants. A cursory glance backward and a visitor’s eyes would rise towards the snow-topped peaks towering up towards the sky. At this junction, the Sacred Way bordered the Deep Forest with dense trees, bushes, and undergrowth almost wall-like to the south and east. The Sacred Way running south disappears quickly as it picks its way between trees and the foot of the nearest mountain cliff face. The Way was paved, and though broken down in many places, it was passable but a far cry from its ancient use as a thoroughfare fit for the chariots of gods and heroes. Following the route east from here, to the north, hills stretch toward the coast, with the Deep Forest bordering the route for quite a distance to the south.
After walking east along the Sacred Way, an adventurer would spot the formation of perfectly round hills topped with small standing stones marking the entrance to a headland to the north, known as the Udder Hills. Just beyond here was a town called Galanthropos, a place of legend and — if you believe the stories, at one time overrun by a serpentine monster.
The Deep Forest
The Deep Forest was a prominent location in the Gardens of Arcadia, not least because of its size, stretching from the Sacred Way near the northern ocean all the way south to the impressive walls of Vulcan City. The outskirts of the forest where it met the old route to the north was an ancient place, seemingly primordial in nature, brooding with a dislike of mankind. A traveler heading deeper into the forest would notice how the dense canopy above, the further in they ventured, darkened the forest floor below — but the shade didn’t provide respite from the almost stifling humidity.
The air here was filled with interesting fragrances, herbs, and strange spices. If a visitor was alert enough, they may have noticed the rustle of a nearby bramble as some small animal or another darted across their path. The Deep Forest was said to be, in its deepest parts, strangely quiet but for the sounds of unseen birds flitting about the treetops above.
There were many creatures in the forest, the majority benign and non-threatening, but an adventurer would have been unwise to enter the forest without means of defense. Wolves, the sons, and daughters of King Lykaon, called this place home. Somewhere, in the deepest parts of the forest, was the throne of King Lykaon. He and his kin were said to be werewolves — and humans entering the forest were ritual prey.
In the north-central area of the Deep Forest, a statue of Artemis is believed to have existed, acting as both a place of pilgrimage and a shrine — to those who could find it.
The Arcady Trail
To the southeast of the Deep Forest, a traveler could find the Arcady Trail, a well-worn pathway that wound past woodland and coppice through central Arcadia. Heading a short distance east along the trail, the Treycross Market could be found at a crossroads.
Here, all manner of food, drink, weapons, and assorted items could be purchased, such as the popular delicacy Strix Stew (a flying monster from the Underworld of Hades, not unlike pterosaurs) and Pomegranate Wine. Stalls and tents sat alongside small huts housing fortune tellers, a truly busy place frequented by humans, satyrs, centaurs, and the like.
To the southwest of the Arcady Trail was the Dales of Leaf and Stream, a beautiful place — a ‘picture postcard’ location where flowers grew alongside a babbling brook, and bees and dragonflies flew around in abundance. An area of deeper woodland here concealed a small lake, though, as with many of the seemingly innocent locations in VulcanVerse, travelers have been lost when seeking out this supposed tranquil location.
Heading north from Treycross Market following the Arcady Trail would take a traveler into a deep valley flanked by tall cliffs to both east and west. In the near center of Arcadia here could be found the Summer Palace.
The Summer Palace
In ancient times, the Summer Palace was said to be where the gods stayed when in Arcadia. Histories of the Gardens of Arcadia tell that the palace was later in various ruinous states, windows shuttered, layers of dust on dust on every surface and the once ornamental gardens filled with weeds and creepers.
A pillared portico stood at the entrance to the palace, covered in vines, and inside, faded murals depicting Arcadian scenes adorned the walls. A large marble table which, in better times, would have seen feasting and splendorous parties, was central to the room. Here, the Kings of Arcadia, such as Nyctimus, would have held court.
Directly to the north of the Summer Palace was the Great Lake, or Ladon’s Lake as it was known. The lake was the source of the river Ladon and legend tells of a time when the lake was unable to supply water to the river Ladon as the river god himself was imprisoned.
In our next article, we travel east to take in the Wineries, the Druid Shrine, and more on the route.
VulcanVerse is a flagship metaverse and an MMORPG game of the Vulcan Forged ecosystem where players can create their own quests and adventures, battle against other Vulcanites, forage for NFTs, and truly own their digital assets in the form of NFTs.