We of the Heavenly Valley of Dor welcome you upon this last and greatest
Pilgrimage of your long and eternal life. At the conclusion of this
journey you will be met and serve at the right hand of our most noble Goddess,
Issus. But first you must attain the Valley and this may be done
only by those of exceptional purity. Fortunately, the River Iss has
been formed by the Goddess Issus to purify even the darkest of souls for
fear not, as you travel her waters, all sin and desire shall be washed
free until you reach Heaven, clean in spirit, mind and body.
The Goddess Issus and one of her Thern Priests -- by
© 1952 by Edgar Rice Burroughs Incorporated
We realize that a certain apostate who in his cowardice has turned away
from the Goddess seek to spread lies about Dor and Her Divinity Herself.
To him we say, "Ye shall be judged in due time". To those who still
retain the purity of the soul given to you by the Goddess Herself, we say,
"Only you can prevent Heresy" and the Goddess needs you to assist Her and
to prove your devotion to our ancient religion.
For now, back to your Glorious Pilgrimage.
The River Iss was formed as the seas dried up and the perfect races
of the past cast away their peaceful ways and interbred with each other
to create the mongrelized Red Race. It is the three perfect races of White,
Black and Yellow that war within each Red Man which causes modern mankind
to sin and war with each other. Before the creation of the Red Race,
all went to Heaven but now, sadly, we must work hard to purify ourselves
of these violent urges and so was the River Iss formed as a means to this
As you approach Dor, you will once again wash away the sins of the mongrol
races and in fact most who arrive in Dor find that they have returned to
the purity of one of the ancestral races. Yet, fear not for all are
welcome within the bosom of the Glorious Issus.
The snow-clad Artolian Hills are swept by winds that bring
this snow to the southeast and deposit it along the Phundahl Hills and
the Mound of Amhor where it flows into the ancient Bay of Toonol where
it replenishes the current Toonolian Marshes.
From there, the overflow leaves the Marshes to the east then follows
the ancient coastline where The Iss branches. The western fork must
be ignored for that is the one that leads to the Koalian Marsh which, though
not as impressive as the Toonolian, is every bit as dangerous and this
fork will eventually leave this marsh to the southwest where it flows into
one smaller valley marsh and then ends at a crater-lake. These marsh
and lakes were formed by ancient meteor impacts and are the homes of apostates
who, denying Issus, have been turned aside to live their worthless lives
in a Hell-on-Barsoom. Mighty Issus pleads with you to remember your
souls and take the left-hand fork to the south which will eventually lead
you to her embrace.
Valley Dor ~ Frank Blisard Art from Memoirs of Mars
Please take the time to admire the ancient cliffs to the west, or river-right
as we say, for these were formed as the Iss eroded the ancient shoreline
and the sedimentary layers revealed are well worth the look. Be careful
though to remain on the left-hand bank for the cliffs often have caves
and within these live White Apes, Arboks, Darseen and even Silians, all
of which prey upon the faithful. Those who ignore this advice shall
spend eternity within the bellies of these denizens of the cliffs for here
you meet your first test of purity. The creatures placed in these
caves were done so by Issus Herself as a means of removing those who are
so evil in their souls that they would contaminate the purity of the pilgrims.
Rejoice! For after some 800 haads of travel you will reach the
Koal Forest which survives only because of the Mighty Iss. The mighty
River Iss enters this depression and nurtures the trees and grasses and
other flora that exist here. Also within this forest lies the city of Koal
and her tributary cities. Although Koal normally welcomes Pilgrims
and aids them along their path, there have been in recent centuries the
occasional evil Jeddak, who turned by the evils of the false god Tur and
his minions from Phundahl, has betrayed the True Goddess Issus and imprisoned
the Holy. Thus the Noble Pilgrim may wish to hide in the forest
and follow the Issus past Koal at night.
While in the Forest of Koal, please observe proper fire safety for as
the Forest goes east, it rises to the former shoreline to the Mighty Throxeus.
Thus the western Koal Forest is lowland marsh, the central forest is perfect
(and what else could you expect the benevolent Issus to create for Her
travelers?) and the eastern part is hilly forest and so dry. Please
avoid burning this forest with a careless campfire.
The Koal Forest is home to many creatures that have become extinct elsewhere
including the Forest Banth and the Sith, a huge insect that seeks to drag
dishonorable Pilgrims from their rightful path and deposit them upon the
Nearer Moon where they can only see but not partake of Heaven. Take
care to avoid these dangers knowing that they are placed in your path only
to tempt the unholy.
The Iss winds through the Koal Forest and her banks are decorated by
Gloriesta and many other brilliant flowers and fruit trees. Please
take a few moments to meditate on the majesty of Issus who created this
Forest for your pleasure. And when done, please fill your satchels
with the fruit provided for once leaving the Forest you will enter the
Great Desert where food is rare and conditions harsh, for once leaving
this Forest, the Iss narrows to but a fraction of her mighty flow.
This third part of your journey after leaving the Forest of Koal is,
of necessity, harsh. Some 2300 haads of desert will greet you after
leaving the Forest. This desert borders the entire Iss for more than
10,000 haads so please try to remain upon the bosom of the Iss for drifting
dunes of red sand lie but haads from the shores of the Iss, and within
these dunes you will find neither water nor food nor safety.
Rejoice! For in Her eternal Love, Issus has placed at intervals
along the Iss not only canoes to make your journey easier but the occasional
safe-house within which you may rest and meditate as the sand-storms scream
Thoats and banths and even calot packs hunt the shores of the Iss so
please take advantage of the canoes provided, eating the fish in the River
and burning the dried Thoat-Dung for cooking. Please also take care
to burn only the thoat dung for neither banth nor calot dung is suitable
for campfires, neither containing enough undigested moss to sustain combustion.
At the end of this 2300 haad journey, Issus has placed another series
of wetland marshes. These are small and isolated and contain smaller
versions of the normal arbok, darseen and silian. They are also home
to the occasional bandit who, realizing that they are too evil for even
the Iss to purify, ceased their Pilgrimage and so hide in these marshes
and safe-houses to prey upon the holy. Yet, Noble Issus has directed
Her Holy Thern Priests to regularly scour the River of these evil men.
So if you occasionally spy a white-skinned warrior with blonde hair, give
thanks to Mighty Issus who has sent them to protect you and obey without
question their desires, strange though they may be to the mundane.
Although these smaller wetland marshes and woods are separated by haads
or hundreds of haads of river, they do wind through the Great Desert and
here the greatest danger lies with the sandstorms that often obscure the
sky for days and weeks at a time. Mighty Issus begs you to watch
your step and test the ground where you walk for the red-algae that grows
upon the water often dries as it is covered with the sands deposited by
the winds. As this sand absorbs water then dries, it resembles the
ground but is rarely more than a tenth of a sof thick so walking upon this
will result in your breaking through and drowning, and Noble Issus would
mourn your passing were this to happen.
Eventually, the Iss River will pass through the Great Desert and enter
the Otz Mountains. From here on, beaches are rare although there
are the occasional impact lake where you may refresh yourself and prepare
for meeting the Most Majestic Issus. Thus, please try to enter the
Otz Mountains in one of the many canoes the Holy Therns place along the
River for your use. For as you enter the Mountains, you may travel
a thousand haads with nothing but the beauty of the cliffs to contain the
River. This will be a long swim indeed were any Red man capable of
this lost art.
Once past the first mountain lake and hundreds of haads before you reach
the next, on river left you will see a gigantic cavern from which flows
the underground Ghasta River. Please avoid exploring this cavern
and river for here are placed the most evil of all apostates. Mighty
Iss has taken the last of the evil, those who even She cannot purify and
hidden them in the Valley Hohr and placed giant spiders along the river
to contain these Unholy creatures that masquerade as men. Neither
Issus nor the Holy Therns are responsible for any death or injury that
occur to any pilgrim who disregards this advice.
Finally, your journey is near its completion and you shall soon be embraced
by the Glories of Iss Herself. Only a few more tests to separate
the holy from the unholy.
After leaving the last series of connected lakes, the Iss widens into
a river that is matched only by the majesty of the headwaters. Here
you may rejoice for this is a sign that you are almost in Heaven.
But beware for at this point the final test for Mighty Issus in Her infinite
wisdom has decreed that those lacking the courage should turn away and
be imprisoned in the Valley of Lost Souls for an eternity of suffering.
Speak not to these for they shall drag your souls down with them.
Rejoice! For your journey is ended. You have encountered
many perils, passed many tests and suffered much but all has been to purify
your souls for once at the Lost Sea of Korus, you will be met by our welcoming
committee of former Pilgrims who shall happily transport your souls to
Blessed Be the Great Issus who has given you Her undying protection
on this, your most noble and glorious pilgrimage down the River Iss to
the Valley Dor. And have a nice eternity.