The Reins of Canon

To my fellow members of the Royal Homeland Constabulary,

The world has at least three major factions vying for how the stars align, and consequently, the laws that govern our native plane.

  • The Obscurati, obviously, as we plainly witnessed at their meeting beyond the Bleak Gate; the one that Gradiax was also in attendance for. They enacted their plans, though they seem to have gone awry.
  • Another faction, which neither ourselves nor Nicodemus seem aligned with, though I can't speak for the other members of the Obscurati. It really shouldn't be too hard to figure out, but I want to vex Nicodemus' prying eyes if he ever sees this missive.
  • Us. Risur. The last bastion against the now united coalition that the Obscurati have assembled on the world stage.

One major problem I've noticed is that the first two have clear objectives. We do not, or at least we have not addressed it directly. We only exist in opposition to the other two factions, deeming those possibilities as unacceptable, but I believe that defining a solid stance on how the world should be when it's all said and done is imperative.

It would be possible to merely fight for the status quo, and return the stars to their original configuration. If we cannot agree on a different course of action, that may be an acceptable default. However, it is not my personal stance, and I find it a waste compared to what we *could* do.

The unnamed faction's aim is merely nihilism and nonexistence. Forming a counterargument to that is trivial. I assume we all want the world to continue existing in some form, even after we pass.

The trouble comes in distinguishing my proposal from that of the Obscurati's, and from that of the status quo. The trouble comes in interpreting any of my rhetoric as sincere when theirs has, on the surface, been nearly identical. The Obscurati uses populist rhetoric to give their regime the veneer of legitimacy. The Age of Reason is merely gilded in their talk of opposition to the tyranny of the Clergy. Nicodemus' problem wasn't the Clergy's hypocrisy, but the power they held that he did not. After the transition this plane has undergone, we can see that the balance of power has shifted, but we have merely exchanged one tyranny for another. Any sort of movement of those that are actually downtrodden and oppressed, of the factory workers and dockers of Risur, of the genuine and sincere believers in Crisillyr, as humble as Triegenes himself once was, of the citizens of Ber underneath the dragons' heels, of Risur paying tribute to the Fey Titans and navigating the politics of the Court — any grievance that truly had merit, he co-opted and weaponized to form this new Age of Reason.

This new age of reason, where there is no room for ambiguity or debate, no ability for us to imagine or dream or aspire or hold differing opinions, we must all fall sway to some single source of truth and canon — Nicodemus' mouth. Gone are the days of shrouding the truth in myth and ambiguity, of choosing what to believe, but here are the days of fiat passed down by his decree, of your beliefs being handed to you, of the world and the stars working as a machine in his design (flawed and sunless as it is, much to his chagrin, thanks to that other faction). (What other purpose could the inclusion of the star of Perlocus serve in the heavens' new arrangement? A star whose influence gives the right of way to the speech of one person? I'm sure you've all witnessed me utilize this power many times by now, vocally commanding objects that have no will to act, infusing them with my own.)

And so I write before that all-encompassing Nicodemus' Truth swallows me as well, to point a way out of this predicament, to at the very least shake the hold he has on the rest of the civilized world.

My plan is not truly my plan. I am incapable of crafting another arrangement without further consultation. Nicodemus decided to enlist the help of "enlightened" elites — few of which who had the interest of the common people truly at heart. Too few to make any meaningful difference, as any ghosts soon fell into lockstep with Nicodemus' gestalt, and his power grew with their deaths. (Again, his modus operandi — paint the veneer of populism onto despotism. Many voices, but only one will to control them.)

I cannot, by definition, present a list of planes and pros and cons of the arrangement and call it good enough. Even if all six of us had consensus, it would not be good enough. Even if we were on good terms with the Obscurati and sent in a ninth proposal that we all agreed on, it would not be good enough. Any such cadre is insufficiently large and not representative enough.

I truly wish to lend credence to the voices left out of the Obscurati's clandestine backroom meetings. When we truly have the opportunity to rearrange the heavens, when all other threats are gone, here is how I propose we make our decision:

  • Garrett consults the genius loci at a global level; the collective spirit of the city and nation that Garrett has been able to tap into, both prior to his coronation and after. Many voices, but more importantly, just as many wills.
  • My knowledge of the stars (and any help from skyseers) helps us determine a new arrangement. Ours is merely an executive role, and we are not to exercise any judgment extraneous to the decisions of the genius loci. (Even better, we list every permutation and have Garrett query the genius loci for what they perceive as the best one; we only provide knowledge and cannot insert our individual choices in the matter.)
  • If the current starscape is lacking for choices that does not align with the world's desires as Garrett perceives, we enlist Ernst to assist in forming a new star with the desired properties; a wildcard to help us truly craft our desired world and not be beholden to a limited selection.
  • Zane, Chandra, Gerald, I ask that you three scrutinize me in every manner that you can. If you sense my motives are somehow suspect, that this is all a similarly gilded ruse, my life is forfeit in your hands. But please trust that I simply want the best ending for this scenario, as written in the exhortations of Vlendam Heid. Zane, for his ties to the old world and status quo; Chandra, for his near-immunity to my magical specialties, and Gerald, for his beginnings as one of the common people. (And anyone else, of course, by virtue of the genius loci.)

I don't think this proposal is perfect yet, either, and we still need to consider if the masses at large are truly capable of determining the course of the true new age after this liminal period. Similarly, we need to be on the guard for any situation where the tyranny of the majority can trod on the rights of some unjustly persecuted group — it will not do to, say, let the rest of the world bully kobolds or some other scapegoat. We must create a truly equitable society. Finally, I am not sure if this leaves us vulnerable to the will of the genius loci being hijacked by a bad actor; e.g. someone in control of a gestalt, violating the 'many voices, just as many wills' stipulation. Unlike the Obscurati, I plan on actually addressing those issues at some point, and not leaving it to the mere wishful thinking that got their attempt HIJACKED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

(The ink blots heavier and heavier on the last few letters. Phyllis' quill seems to have scratched and left a hole in the parchment around the 'E' in 'PLACE.')

In the meantime, I at least wished to make my intentions nakedly transparent, and only act on them if we have consensus.

— Phyllis Lenz

˙ǝuɐZ 'uʍop ǝpᴉsdn ƃuᴉpɐǝɹ ǝɹ,no⅄

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