The following missive was recovered among loose papers in Ebril Estate when Tienarth’s Raiders spent a night there early in the month of Bear in the year 5545. Written in elvish from a time when the city thrived, it seems to assume context about current events that obscure the precise meaning of the author.
Let it be known: the hysteria around unseen crowns atop the heads of our countrymen is the product of dwarven malevolence. No such crowns exist. Our own sages have fallen under external forces who view our people as a natural resource to be exploited and discarded.
Fhaornik Inarel, the king’s regent appointed to investigate the supposed spreading malady of the invisible crowns, announced in the week past that the enchantment had changed again, a fourth time. Again I say, there can be no new edition of the enchantment, for the enchantment never did exist. Since this madness descended upon us two years ago, I have proved countless times of its imaginary nature.
Against my warnings, the king and his many counselors continue to perpetuate the hoax, urging our people to take of the holy communion of Haderax. They spin a tale of intensifying danger from the pockets of our city where steady-minded individuals have refused the profane rituals. Those untouched by the death god encourage the enchantment to transform itself, incubating into new variations, each more deathly than the last. And even those who have accepted the blessings of Haderax, they say, are vulnerable to appearance of an invisible crown that soon drives them into madness and decline.
Every secret plot to manipulate an unwary populace begins with a goal. Like a seed, this goal is embedded in the filthy soil of a plan. It is watered by the ill-gotten wealth. Then the seed emerges to bloom into an enchanting story, one where every event is described as a natural consequence rather than the result of conscious manipulation.
Into the ear of the king whispers his adviser, “when resistance mounts, we will announce a twisting of the enchantment that will drive the peasants into the cathedral for more blessings.” “Yes,” he will reply, “and they must rush to us, for the changes only make the enchantment stronger.”
There are two cities now, they claim. One half of Tosasth bows to the distant power of Haderax. The other half stubbornly rebels. Amongst the rebels, the invisible crowns spread and twist into new shapes, leaping onto the pates of those who felt safe. They declare it intolerable.
Very well. Let our districts alone. Let the people know that we discount the phony tales about invisible crowns. Let is live separately. Ah, but this cannot be allowed. They will not be satisfied until all are subjugated to their madness, just as the dwarves subjugate us all. Shrieking, they point to those of the estates, those with better wisdom than the commoner. We have led the poor farmers and shepherds astray.
The words now huddled upon their forked tongues are: “you poor dim-witted folks, you unfortunates, we must save you for you have chosen not to save yourselves. We never wanted this, but now we must force you away from the lies of the golden ones.” When these words finally escape, the people will be driven by whips up the hill to the great chapel where they will be made to pass through that unholy stench of emitted by Haderax.
The sages possess a term of art for this methodology: feces.
All through countless millennia, leaders have called for unity. It is their most basic deception. Free discourse and polite disagreement are an afterthought, a intoxicant. Our king’s true intent is disunity.
“We know what is true,” he has declared, “so we have no patience for debate. It is useless. It wastes time. More than distracting, it harms.”
Devotees stream in an out of Nimue’s tower, their minds more child-like than when they entered. No sense of reason blesses their waking hours, yet they burn with a desire to promote their experiences there. They vainly attempt to quench this fire with demands that everyone think as they do.
“Tradition provided the right to disagree,” they explain in bleating tones, “but those days are past. Now we know the truth.”
The story that Fhaornik and Nimue tell was planned all along. They practice the ancient arts of deception, tricking us into seeing each careful event as a logical response to an unforeseen public reaction. And this plan was but a smear on a handkerchief. It has played out because Tosasth is a city of simpletons.Invisible Crowns Are Mere Figments – Sir Ebril