Tuesday, April 2, 2013

More News from the Cantons

I have noticed a persistent—and highly annoying—paradox in my writing pace since kicking off this blog, namely the busier with real life I am the more I am motivated to write. Even more aggravatingly the obverse holds true too.

This is campaign season for me and by that I mean real world grassroots electioneering. Predictably I have been writing up a storm and one place that I seemed to be spinning out heaping torrents of words has been in writing the weekly campaign news blotter.
Hail the Sun Lord, We have a New Decade-King. 
For those of you not following the Hill Cantons page on Google Plus here are some recent highlights:
Sweet Succoring Sun Lord, it's a red banner day here in Kezmarok today as watchers of the Supernal College of Successors note the smoke and bellows of the albino catoblepas immolating on its gilded pyre [How oddly parallel that this news thread started months before this world's papal conclave] signifying the anointment of the new Decade King. Bizarrely the candidate field was narrowed down in the final days to twin “dark hippogriff” candidate-brothers,Uloysa and Vdelko. While Aloysa was the one who ultimately triumphed, some observers believe that the twins have been trading places throughout the ordeal—mystifying and greatly troubling the differing factions backing them. At any rate, our next Golden Excravtor, the Decade-King Uloysalik IX will be coronated with much pomp and circumstance in ten days time as per custom.

The Serene Guild of Seers, Augurs, Runescasters and Wainwrights has issued new rates for its oracular pronouncements. For 4000 suns answers are given in clear, parseable language. 1000 suns will buy answers in cant with an occasional admit of ambiguity. 500 suns will buy you a parable based on the life and work of our dear Sun Lord to be interpreted as you will and 100 suns will buy you babble in an unknown tongue. (Tune in to the G+ page if you are curious how this bit of naked Vancian plagarism turned out.)

The legend of the self-styled northern heroes of last season, the Nefarious Nine, grows with the telling. After routing the dreaded dragon Smok one of their number was clearly seen carrying Fauxbringer, a black-enameled, tipless illegitimate (bastard is such an ugly word) sword carried by Cirl the Petulant, a half-Eld anti-paladin whose extreme maudlin behavior and taste for poetry led him to be cast out of the "Summer Country". Fauxbringer was his only companion in that time and it is said that if the blade is reunited with its tip that it would exhibit powers "less sucky." 

Of the many family-dominated usury guilds to escape the collapse of last decade, the Frazas were among the most infamous in deftly transferring their massive debts back to the public treasuries of the cantonal councils. But long before this, they had accrued notoriety far and wide for another feat: the weaving of the Tapestry of Xvikz. A full two centuries ago, then Frazas family head, Franzoht Fair-Breeched, called on his dark powers to summon and bind the Xvikz, a demon from the darkest, deepest hell of high finance.

A great lover of petty humiliation Franzoht tormented the creature by refusing to put the dreaded demon's powers to appropriate use instead compelling him to weave a great commemorative tapestry from the velvety firmament of the domed heavens. That the required scene was both cloying and derivative only added to the sulk of the demon who plodded away needle point in hand. Years stretched into decades as the demon passively-aggressively refused to finish in a timely manner—and each successive generation of bull-headed Frazas refusing to release the demon in turn led to impasse.

Inexplicably fourteen years ago, Xvikz declared his last stitch sewn. Though the resulting tapestry was horrifically underwhelming, its unveiling was heralded as a major cultural achievement in Overkingdom aesthete circles and became a much-sought fixture of upper crust soirees in the borderlands. The tapestry will be on display this month in Marlankh at the three-day opening gala of the Frazas branch-house.

Now this week quiet word has been spread through underworld circles of a shadowy patron offering a magnificent bounty of 15,000 gold suns for an unimaginably daring crime: stealing the Tapestry of Xvikz out from under the noses of this haughty family.