According to legend and ancient tradition, the Isle of Aeretzvy is the original homeland of the Saint Montaigne delta’s first settlers. There is no indication in the oldest sources as to why the first Montaigneans made the migration, but the common belief of later times has considered them either exiles from an earthly paradise or refugees from a monster of their own creation.
The Isle of Aeretzvy is said to be located 121 miles due south of the Great Mouth of the Saint Montaigne. According to the ancients the current of the Saint Montaigne continues to flow through the ocean, leading the diligent sailor directly to the island. A fragment of Eglaeus provides our earliest attestation of this tradition:
“Alas! Alas! Eleven’s century
Of miles upon the Mother’s stream
Southward must sail to touch our native soil!”
As is the custom of our most ancient poets, Eglaeus uses the word “century” (Old Montaignean kanther) for the square of numbers between 11 and 20 (100 being simply “the century,” i kanther). Likewise it is a testament to the authenticity of this fragment and Eglaeus’ own sublime and primitive style that he refers to the Saint Montaigne as simply “the Mother” (ie Yamye) instead of the more classical “Our Mother” (ie Yamyera).
Because of the significance of the number eleven in archaic religion (a significance which persists in much superstition, popular and otherwise, in our own day) it is difficult to say how literally the earliest sources understood the distance of 121 miles. In recorded history and even in our own day many noble men (and many more fools) have attempted the navigation to Aeretzvy by following the traditional “coordinates.” None of them have reached their destination and precious few have returned at all. Nonetheless, accounts of voyages to Aeretzvy have remained popular throughout the delta’s history, firing the imaginations of inventors, prophets, and despots. This strange and delightful body of literature includes both works of obvious fiction and documents claiming to have come down from furthest antiquity.