"Furious Faction Fighting" 
First published in Tales of the Reaching Moon issue #4

Copyright © 1990 by Michael O'Brien & Trevor Ackerly


A report by Theodopolous Pandarus, initiate of Lhankor Mhy and Temple Collator, on the scandalous faction-fighting at the Lhankor Mhy temple of Nochet City, with specific reference to the hoarding of knowledge and its deleterious effect upon the temple library, examined in context with the depilation of knowledge caused by the recent conflagration and pillage; and incorporating a brief dissertation on the growing reliance placed upon verbal descriptions.


There is a lot of faction-fighting at this temple[1].

Having commenced thus I am uncertain how to continue...

[Translators' Note: There follows many pages of drivel upon the direction good writing should follow, eg. "The Sages of the West love to start a story in the middle and finish there as well. They jump about the story-line with no respect for continuity. The Lunars, on the other hand, love to tell a story in true Imperial style, beginning at the start and finishing at the end, never deviating from a direct linear path. I myself prefer a middle road...."]

At the Lhankor Mhy library in Nochet great disarray prevails. The collection of scrolls and tablets referred to as "the library" is a motley assortment of documents written in every tongue known (and some unknown) to man. Each faction head or notable has therefore resorted to keeping a personal library pertaining to his own interests, written in whatever tongue he has mastered. Access to these private collections is reserved for members of the faction, and even then one must know the correct language to have any hope of reading a particular document. However, by appeasing the writer it may be possible for him to translate it for you: thus it is often necessary to espouse the "Round Earth" theory[2] or similar rubbish to gain access to a vital text.

Many documents are available in the common library, and some copyists laboriously reproduce them for general use. They are invariably in some foreign tongue however, and therefore of no use to anybody. Furthermore, the apprentices assigned to sorting and cataloging often spy upon the doings of other scholars, then report their information back to their factional superiors. It is not at all uncommon for certain crucial documents to be translated overnight by some priest into a language unknown to the researcher's faction, or simply disappear into a factional hoard.

The root cause of this evil is the incumbent High Priest's policy of "publish or perish", by which is demanded that all Sages and initiates must produce a given quota of written material each season.

In the mayhem that followed Greymane's sack of the city four years back (1618), a great fire consumed part of the library wing of the temple (upon the site of which you will today see the temple corral). Furthermore, much of what was saved was later sequestered by rapacious Lunar scholars after the Empire's capture of the city last year ( including, sadly, the only extant copy of the Golden Books of Elephantis, the most copious encyclopeadia of pornography ever assembled). I must begrudgingly acknowledge the fact while the damage to the collection from these twin disasters was tragic, even greater would have been the loss had not much of the collection been stored away from the library in factional caches. To reverse this catastrophe, it is current policy that all should do their utmost to set to written account all they can accurately recall from their studies in the old library. By order of High Priest, strict quotas have been applied, so that reconstruction can proceed with the utmost speed. This order has resulted in even the most reputable sages churning out the most inaccurate, prolix and banal reports, merely to met their quota.

The present drought has also caused a grave shortage of flax for paper making.

As a result, paper too has become another focus of factional struggle. Much vital information cannot be set down due to the limited supply, and is retained only in the memories of the elder priests (who for their part are unwilling to divulge what they recall anyway, because of the increased prestige it has given them). This state of affairs is cause of many errors, especially as many of the older sages are senile.

As Temple Collator, in charge of the great Collectanea, that great fount of wisdom collected and assembled down the ages by sages numerous and wise, I call upon all in this temple to cast aside their petty factional differences and strive to build up the present thirtieth volume of the work. A ready supply of the freshest parchment awaits those who would endeavour to recall the knowledge that was lost when Greymane's mob ruled the city. By doing so, we can restore all that perished in the flames, or was taken in the sack afterwards. Come bearded brothers! Still your venomous tongues and instead take up the stylus and pen so as to glorify Lhankor Mhy, Mouth of Wisdom!

[1] Factions in the Nochet temple are centered around dominant personalities in the temple hierarchy rather than nationalities, unlike the New Pavis Lhankor Mhy (see Cults of Prax, p.72.) Thus cliques are formed around the High Priest, the Chief of Loremasters and so on. Potentially one of the most powerful members of the temple organization is in fact the Provost of Apprentices, who has dozens of apprentices to serve and spy for him. In reality, many of these junior sages are seduced and swayed by other factional leaders, with promises of preferment and obligation. Sometimes great philosophical controversies rage through the temple, with each faction taking opposing views. The High Priest has long since given up staging debates in the chapter house to resolve these divisions, as most used to end up in undignified brawls. The general lack of cooperation in the temple has enabled the Irripi Ontor cult to insinuate itself effectively into the temple administration. Let it be said that there are some scholars at the temple who disdain to enter the fray of factional politics, but they are few.

[2] Theo P. writes of the Round Earthists: "This ridiculous theory, devised by the sage Columbus Mercator, claims that the world is actually spherical, rather than the quarish, bulging lozenge of legend. Such is typical of the speculative frippery one must expect from the quill of our Chief Priest and his cronies."

From the Notes From Nochet files... 

My initial impressions of notable members of this temple, made in haste by Capybarus the Thinker, lately arrived in Nochet and here to root out and understand the chaotics in our midst.

[22-14.b] Mutiog, high priest: A sheep in sheep's clothing.

[22-14.c] Anias, deputy chief librarian: He has but one interest, that of self-interest.

[22-14.d] Columbus Mercator, chief of loremasters: He has a brilliant mind - until it is made up.

[22-14.e] Lucien, temple diviner: He has not a single redeeming defect.

[22-14.f] Eudoxus, assistant deputy chief librarian: A modest little man with much to be modest about.

[22-14.g] Phlogiston, temple alchemist: A lewd vegetarian.

[22-14.h] Procopius, chief priest: He not only overflows with learning, he stands in the slop.

[22-14.i] Festus Rustbeard, deputy provost of apprentices: He has delusions of adequacy.

[22-14.j] Thredbo the Traveller, wild sage and erstwhile temple cartographer: He is apparently suffering from mental saddle-sores.

[22-14.k] Asmodea, assistant chief priest: She has made her conscience not her guide, but her accomplice.

[22-14.l] Narses Leadbeater, temple auditor: A dessicated calculating machine.

[22-14.m] Theodopolus Pandarus, temple collator: A sage of absolutely no consequence.

[22-14.n] Telgonius the Jurist, law-master: [entry deleted on legal grounds]

Supplemental Note by Theodopolus Panderas: I can only add the following summation of Capybarus's character, to complement his list:
Capybarus the Thinker, sage: A curious mix of geniality and venom. Theo. P.

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