"It was a dare! An attempt -- ill-advised, I might add -- at applied... Xpletives
, for lack of a more accurate term. 'Gooey underlining of the Universe' and all that. If I'd had the slightest inkling what would happen as a result... Listen, I liked
Littlesmithick; had friends in the area, a summer cottage. We all did. We had no idea."
To fully comprehend the tragic loss that the creation of Un-Littlesmithick represented (and represents, even to this day), one must first remember what Littlesmithick was.
The Town, the Retreat
Once a small fishing village, Littlesmithick, in the center of the otherwise unconcerned lands of Eastward, came into its own in the generations following the naming of the first Grand Duke who, as a native of the area, made a habit of returning to Littlesmithick during the longer summer months (when both Bodea-Lotnikk's streets and rivers become less navigable and far more pungent). This practice continued even after his appointment, which in turn required that the machinery of the Administration followed after him1 (albeit in much leaner, more mobile form).
By the time the first Grand Duke retired, the bureaucracy had adapted the GD's habits into Method, which quickly became Custom, and so it was that with each summer season, the Grand Duke left the confines of Bodea behind and conducted the business of the Duchy from a fishing village.
The Seat of Diplomacy
Littlesmithick thus achieved by accident what many humble burgs aspire to -- affluence, influence and wealth. Courtiers are nothing without a Court, after all, and while the Grand Dukes have often been able to foist the most sycophantic off on the current Duke, that could not deter those more determined (or perceptive). As a result, Littlesmithick grew to support the (often ridiculous) needs of the Court, while the Court learned to live without the most ridiculous of its desires. The result is remembered as something of a paradise -- the "perfect mix of the sophisticate and rustic, the ideal blend of refined and roughshod", in the words of one poet.
Indeed, it became the habit of many Grand Dukes to meet visiting diplomats and heads of state in Littlesmithick, rather than the capitol city, as the environs were more pleasant, more charming, and less likely to inadvertently offend (either the diplomat or the senses).
This was the Littlesmithick of the past. However, during the infamous four-hour traverse of the Jugular Way, something irreversible happened to the town2. Some refer to it as "being swamped by a metaphysical wake" or more simply "having the fabric of the world pulled out from under you." These are two of the dozens of ways in which the Event was described, each of which is - a best - slightly less than a half-truth.
Poetic license aside, the simplest description of the after effects of the Traverse is this: Littlesmithick, caught in a kind of riptide, was swapped with a mirror-negative of itself -- an Un-Littlesmithick that, perhaps most unbelievably, continues to persist in this reality.
Gone are the earnest Bodean courtiers and the turbaned diplomats of Cribara; in their place are Vampyres3 and Zombeys4 (more accurately, Zom-Beys). Every inhabitant of Littlesmithick gone, replaced by strange beings that should never have been brought to this world and, once here, should never have been able to survive.
Beings which are by all accounts not only surviving, but multiplying.
- In several cases, literally.
- Some researchers believe something similar might have also happened in the Xtant Mountains, though most believe that the situation in the central portion of the mountains far predates the Traversal.
- Vampyres are rarely confused with the more-familiar Vampires, as the former do not consume blood (directly), and the latter do not (willingly) set themselves on fire.
- Again, there is little chance that one will confuse a proper, shambling, tax-paying member of the walking dead, with a be-turbaned, tulwar-wielding 'lord of the unseen'.5
- At least, there is little chance one will do so twice.
< Underthere, Ezekial "Left Leg"? | Lexicon TUV | Unaria >