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"After the War -- or after folks like me stopped fighting in it, make it about '69 or so -- well, I had to do something with myself besides collecting wine labels and Closet Dimensions to store them in. Older brother Abraham had inherited the title, praise the Author, but that meant I just had a healthy stipend and plenty of time on my hands.

"Someone said something in a governmental line might be my style, but I got a bit turned around in Government House and instead of finding the Imaginary Diplomatic Corps, I found myself being dragooned by the Ilerian Taxation Board.

"It was there, of course, that some say I achieved my greatest fame (I'm partial to the incident with the rubber bands, the Fengaks, and how those Wild Oolacs? got into Grayson Dawes solarium, but I digress). See, the Taxation Board was facing increasing problems with actually attaining a decent revenue stream. Between people being slaughtered pretty much wholesale in the War and people being turned into Zombeys or Vampyrii or other Undead -- well, the tax collectors were sort of all dressed up with nowhere to take any hapless orphans' or widows' or farmers' last copper pieces. Intolerable, at least with the Senior Management.

"Well, never let it be said that Lady Honoria's little boy couldn't find a loophole in an exception in a footnote in an errata in an addendum, don'tcha know. Careful perusal of the proper regulations (which, thank Woldecott, was only in volume 12 of 47 of the Unified Ilerian Tax Code in Precis, 347th Edition. There it noted that for the guiding mission statement of the Board was that was, in fact, nothing unavoidable save death and taxes, and by cross-referencing to Quinn's Metaphysica Resplendica and Dresden's Sympathetic Magic for Dummies, we were able to make an application to the courts that death and taxation were, therefore, the same thing.

"Which meant, of course, that the living shouldn't be taxed at all, only the dead -- at least those which could be accessed by the representatives of the Ilerian Taxation Board.

"The results were manifold:

  1. In most of the realms subject to the Board (that is, all of them), peace immediately broke out. Since soldiers were considered the chattel of their governments, their goverments had to pay for any dead soldiers the Board could get to, which greatly dampened the politicians' interests in grand and glorious battles.
  2. Similarly, public health projects suddenly leapt from the drawing boards into reality. Couldn't have all those serfs you owned dying of some nasty disease and thus becoming a tax liability, don'tcha know.
  3. Crypts, burial slabs, and tombs with huge rocks rolled in front of them became exceedingly popular, since while it might a worthwhile use of a tax collector's time to exhume a body from a normal grave, breaking through stone walls was usually too lengthy an affair to interest them.
  4. Necropoli also became popular -- in particular, deep and intricate underground cavern complexes, usually protected by traps and ecologically inappropriate gatherings of deadly flora and fauna, became a craze among the wealthy and powerful. While some tax collectors made delving into such dungeons a hobby, most were willing to subcontract with more mercenary adventurers.
  5. Since so many of the accessible (that is, unburied) dead were, in fact, the living dead1 (for example, the denizens of Alumzembobway), the Board's field agents turned from being a team of rather mousey-looking accountant types to being a corps of some of the greatest monster-hunters the realms have ever known.

"Well, needless to say, after that breakthrough (and the ten percent "Quality Improvement Bonus Share" yours truly received for coming up with it), I retired from the Board. Far too much work and, honestly, felt a bit guilty about all my mates from the War being poked up on my say-so, if you know what I mean. Besides, with no longer having taxing bits affecting me any more (and, let me say, for all the people who found the departure of dear Uncle Frim to be still more tragic once the tax man cameth, there were many times as many who were more than happy to not have to worry about ponying up on an annual, monthly, fortnightly, or other locally-determined basis.

"I still stay in touch with some of the old crowd, though, the ones still in the business. And I get the company newsletter by post each quarter. Curious thing, though -- there seems to be some excitement about some impending event that will (and I quote from the Mignolberry '74 issue) "knock our socks of in terms of increased revenue opportunity. Keep your eyes on the Xtant Mountains -- and note Executive Memo #479/A-35: all Paid Time Off will be subject to cancellation when 'the balloon goes up.'"

"Whatever that means."

-- Aetherioscope Interview with Lord Braden Polz, OCD, A Scandalous Life (2984 AP) (out takes)

1The Board eschews the use of the term "undead," as it calls into question their jurisdiction.

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Page last modified on October 24, 2008, at 05:07 PM by DoyceTesterman

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