Guess I’ll go ahead and kick things off since there doesn’t seem to be much talk about it. There seems to be a growing tension surrounding the subject, to the extent that there’s pretty much an Orwellian set of edicts and protocols regarding its discussion, which seems to reach even to Treehollow, despite how isolated it is from the main continent of Silver Sage. Literally, unsanctioned discussion of the nature surrounding Abroad is grounds enough for someone to get sent there, and I have a feeling that Jen’ will either already be sent there or be in the process of sentencing by the time we return to Treehollow. At the same time, while it seems to be incredibly feared by name alone, it seems to be the only source of health care and technological advancement, and the only transport allowed appears to be for trade if my recollection is right.
Let’s peel back to one of the most notable examples of this seeming xeno(esque)phobia. A trading envoy comes into town from Follybrook, a pair of corgis for which the crowd parts out of fear, mentioning that they need to wash their fur, leave, and otherwise make excuses to not be in the same area. This seems to be a hint that they are ‘Tainted’, going off of the comic’s terminology. And with the start of Chapter Four’s map not containing any hint of Follybrook being part of the continent (as far as can be seen so far), this reinforces the likelihood that trading envoy hails from Abroad paired with Milo’s (and other’s) hesitance to even address the corgis directly. And what little ‘recollection’ there is, published to paper, seems to be boiled down to a Grimm tale slathered with propaganda, which appears to be little more than fear mongering based off of a second-hand telling in fictional context, no less.
So we already know that Abroad is something that Silver Sage fears with a nigh religious passion…and yet, there’s an enormous benefit to copy technology from or receiving care in Abroad. So…what exactly is it? Why do people fear it? For the most part, its true nature is shrouded in misinformation, paranoia and ignorance, even with the admitted perks of having people and prisoners over there for export. My theory so far is that it’s a continent built from the remnants of human civilization. Going off of the background details in the previous chapter’s festival, the history of the anthro-ilk starts from a jerry can of gas and a match in what was likely an animal testing facility. Chances are, aside from Tamberlane and a small number of others (ranging in the hundreds, maaaybe thousands), this world takes place in a largely post-human era of civilization.
In fact, the hate for humanity and how they ruled over the original kin may run so deep that they no longer recognize the source of their hate and fear which I believe is the crux of Abroad. Honestly, this is the best I can come up with, given what little knowledge is present and implicated. It’s also quite interesting that human beliefs/expletives still live on regardless (Christianity being the main one referenced to), along with Russian surviving along with the English language. The continent itself doesn’t strike my mind as familiar, so despite the modern references to religion or language as we know it, this is likely a parallel world of some form or fashion.
Anyhoo, think I dumped all of the thoughts crawling in my brain. Y’all feel free to add as you like, I just love this comic and the big stuff it’s foreshadowing! I can’t wait to read more of it!