Mirrored from Sythyry.
The loss of so much of their population left the Vepri cities in a bit of a quandary. I give an over-simplified form of course. The actual situation was far more nuanced, An appropriately nuanced version, showing the sensible arguments on all sides, and admitting that many Vepri (and many non-guildsmen) are called ‘Guildsmen’ here, would be much more useful and correct, and so I shan’t do it. One side is called ‘Guildsmen’ because it was the Association of the Owners of Small Shops of Iluc who actually had the war.
Vepri: “Our scluds are gone! Our glates are gone!”
Guildsmen: “Our laborers are gone! Our employees are gone!”
Vepri: “Rejoice! Those who cheat you and shoplift from you are here no longer!”
Guildsmen: “Yet somehow, more shoplifting is occurring.”
Some Vepri: “Any shoplifting we perform is due entirely to our natural impatience, due to the excessive slowness of service. We are important people! We must be elsewhere soon! We cannot wait and wait to be waited upon!”
Guildsmen: “Perhaps this is because we do not have enough people to mind our shops.”
Vepri: “Well, hire some more!”
Guildsmen: “We have done so, when possible.”
Vepri: “Your service remains abominable, yet now your prices are extraordinarily high!”
Guildsmen: “We must pay a fortune to entice a few people from neighboring regions. And those who come here are generally Orren vagrants, and are not the most suitable.”
Vepri: “We orthodoxically determine that they are glates, and punish them for it, and pass harsh laws to control them!”
Guildsmen: “Most of them have now left.”
Vepri: “Yet somehow the service has become worse, and the prices higher!”
Guildsmen: “We despairingly explain basic economics to you.”
Vepri: “We pass laws contradicting those of basic economics! Prices must be controlled! Shops must be open their traditional hours! Service must be satisfactory! Failure to follow these laws invites generational investigation!”
Some Guildsmen: “We decamp in the night and move our stock to Kismirth, which is conveniently closer than even the neighboring city, and has offered us substantial inducements.”
Vepri: “What scluddery is this!? The shops are closed?! We pass further laws!”
Remaining Guildsmen: “In obedience to these laws, we attempt to ignore the laws of economics. Unfortunately the laws of economics can only be defied for so long. We use our remaining political influence to have the laws repealed.”
Some Vepri: “You are scluds!”
Other Vepri: “We have learned that it is not effective to simply call everyone scluds. But you are attempting to be traitors!”
Remaining Guildsmen: “We are attempting to be businesscreatures!”
Vepri: “You must consent to suitable regulations or be reclassified as scluds!”
Remaining Guildsmen: [of whom fewer remain every month] “A small amount of compromise on minor issues is possible.”
Vepri: “A large amount of obedience on major issues is obligatory!”
Which lead to the Battle of Iluc: a grand duel (five on a side) of Vepri against Guildsmen. When the guildsmen are fighting the aristocracy, a city is in a bad way.
Not that we simply let them have a honest grand duel. The traditional heroes of Iluc were Vepri. (Of course! Why would the Vepri declare a sclud anyone with that much personal power and wealth?) The guildsmen made to hire mercenary adventurers to duel for them. Now, as it happens, we have some very skilled and very well-equipped heroes of our own. All five of the guildsmen’s hired heroes were hired from Kismirth, including Yerenthax and Jyondre, and were heartily supplied from our armory. I even made an amusingly devastating bracelet for Jyondre using some of Flokin’s grace.
I daresay our five duelists will never have to buy drinks in Kismirth again, this century or the next.
I daresay that Iluc won’t have an economy, this century or the next. Or a society or culture or much of anything else. Half the remaining population of the city was gone within the month after the duel.
Verhump: “Despite our performance in the duel-war, we triumph! We vanquish! We are supreme! For behold — Not a single sclud remains within Iluc! We have purified the city — as we shall purify all of the Trough of Kreischan!”
Audience: [attempts to applaud thunderously, but fails, for they are too few to thunder.]
Which brings us to today. Kismirth is turning into the exile-place of the Trough of Kreischan. I have no idea how many people moved to Kismirth, or moved through Kismirth, in the month since the duel-war. I’m sure we’re larger than Vheshrame now.
It’s a very strange city now, full of people who I don’t recognize, with Kreischan accents. They don’t care very much about transaffection or about living in all available harmony with monsters — they’re here despite that, not because of that. We, who built Kismirth, are a bit worried about Kismirth keeping the things that we built it for. I’m not sure I’d like to defeat the Vepri at the cost of everything I’ve worked for these last decades.
I suppose I could do it again, though. It’s a bit tempting even. There are plenty of things I did wrong the first time… I could make new mistakes, different and more exciting than the first set! Wondrous and vast vistas of calamities are almost within reach!
But for now I think I’m going to stay here, and see what can be done to keep Kismirth kissy and/or mirthful.
And that, I’m afraid, is all for now. I’m sure I’ll get back to diary-keeping sooner or later — I always do — but not this month, and not the next.
Fare well ’til then!