Long, long ago, when humans were just beginning to form into tribes and learning to hunt and live together, there was a land far, soooo far to the west across the Unending Sea, where there lived a people who espoused peace and the well-being of all peoples.
Their land was called Leroqand and the Leroqandi people were known for their mediation during disputes of all kinds.
The Leroqandi did not believe in fighting if there might be another way to solve a problem, but when it became necessary, they were fierce and extremely protective of those they fought for and beside. Such was their ferocity then that many an enemy quailed and ran away from them.
Somehow, in the times before written records became commonplace, they faded into the distant depths of memory and history.
One thing that stands out from that time, though, is the brief notation etched into a weatherworn stone leaning against a wall in an old cave:
"The nine high ladies of lost Leroqand shall come again when the world has need of them, aye, when this world faces total extermination."
Well, that was what the young man with an extensive knowledge of runic languages surmised was written on that formerly half-buried rock. He had oh so carefully brushed away the dirt that had been on it, then studied the characters inscribed thereon for longs weeks and months.
He nodded, then went to report to his boss, the lead archeologist for this dig deep in the wilds of modern day Montana.
"Pardon me, Dr. Andio, but I think you need to see what I've found in the cave up the hill, sir," Simpson hated interrupting people, but there was something about that strange and cryptic message that made it imperative that he show it to the good doctor immediately, not later.
Dr. Andio had been talking with the younger archeologist on his team, Dr. Samantha Patrice, a recent university graduate. He apologized to Samantha and stated that he would return to talk to her shortly, if she would kindly permit him to go see what young Simpson wanted.
Samantha smiled, saying, "It must be important if Simpson here cannot wait to show it to you. I'll be in the work tent, looking at items there." The pretty young woman smiled again as she turned and walked along the edge of several small cordoned off areas, then into a large tent.
Simpson thanked Dr. Andio, then led him up the low hill and into the cave, slowly making his way back to the old, time-worn inscribed rock. The older man knelt in the dirt by the old stone, then stared at it for several long minutes before he looked up at Simpson.
"Well, boy, why do you think that this is so important?" he enquired of the younger man kneeling a few feet away, out of the direct line of light.
"It's important, Dr. Andio, "Simpson replied, "Because the runes on this rock name the lost land of Leroqand. In all of North America, there have only been five other inscriptions found that refer to that long lost land, this would be the sixth, Doctor. Thus it is extremely important.
"But there is more, Doctor, this rock says the 'nine high ladies shall return', then goes on to say it will happen in a time of great peril to all."
Dr. Andio whistled in surprise. "If you are correct, Simpson, that would make this place the most important of all the Leroqandi sites."
Simpson nodded as he replied, "That was my thought also, Doctor. I can't be certain, but I think this may be where they return to the world."
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