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The Road Atlas

A coworker posed the following question to me about 8 days ago: “How did people get around and take trips before gps?” I should have smiled sweetly and said:

“The legends tell us that in ancient times, there was a sacred relic known as The Road Atlas and many battles were fought to attain this vessel of power. It is written that those who held The Atlas but once could foretell the future.

Cults of Cartography arose around those priests who had received The Gift of The Atlas, and people of every class would seek their wisdom, which the Cults would gladly ransom for a handsome price. One of the more widely known of these cults was known only as The Cult of Three A’s. Another was Rand and the Sons of Nally.

Those of lesser means could only afford crudely marked sheets of wadded paper, known as maps. The landed gentry could commission custom divinations made anew for each trip by the Prophets, and cunningly bound by the Cults’ Craftsmen. The Cults eventually found a lucrative market for a transcription of the complete Atlas, but since these were not imbued with the sacred and mystical properties of the original, it was necessary to provide Revised Editions once per annum.

The rise of technomancy has greatly devalued the true Gift of The Atlas. The Cults have waned or adapted to the lower demand for the prescience of the Prophets. The Cult of Three A’s now offers assistance to travelers whose steeds are exhausted or require new shoes, while the Sons of Nally have embraced technomancy and now offer their wisdom through the web that is worldwide, known as the Internet of Things and Unthings.”

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