Archive for history

The Countdown is On

Posted in Shows, Unicorn City with tags , , , on September 30, 2010 by Greg Landgraf

After more than a year, we’re finally on the verge of opening Unicorn City. (Two weeks and two days left, if you’re counting.)

There’s a fair amount of new stuff on the site that I’ll be highlighting over the next few days. And the first one is the new Glorious History of Aathenaar page. It contains all of the parts of the bard’s tale (story, not old computer game) that have been posted so far (13 out of 18), all in order and conveniently arranged on a single page. If you haven’t been following, I hope you’ll take a look; you’ll meet several of the characters from Unicorn City, and gain some insight on the town and how it got to be the way that it is. You’ll also get a bunch of propaganda—it is written at the baron’s behest, after all—but I’m sure you can work it out. (Or at the very least, learn about the Salty Shemork or the horrors of Pinge.)

Enjoy!

The Glorious History of Aathenaar, Part Thirteen: The Carnival Comes to Town

Posted in Shows, Unicorn City with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by Greg Landgraf

While the day-to-day life of Aathenaar consists of much hard work, as all building of the future does, even this industrious town can take time for the occasional entertainment. Just such an entertainment occurred scarcely a score of years ago.

It began in mundane enough a manner. A small band of travelers, looking something like a caravan of traveling merchants, stopped in the town seeking rooms to let, or failing that, a barn in which they might spend the evening in relative safety and comfort. But this was a bit of clever subterfuge, for once the town went to sleep, they went to work.

In the morning, the town of Aathenaar awoke to the sound of a mirthful fife to discover itself bedecked in colorful silks. The carnival had come to town!

Baron Brange, recognizing the value of recreational activity, immediately declared a town-wide holiday so that everyone could attend the carnival. And he provided an example for his people to follow, winning a colorful seashell at one of the game booths by using a live mouse to knock a ridiculous-looking oversized hat from the head of a very fat woman. In such a jubilant mood was he that when she persisted in declaring that she was not part of the game booth he simply laughed, rather than have her executed.

There were, in any event, several other executions that provided much entertainment to the town. (The carnival, perhaps knowing the law-abiding nature of Aathenaar, brought its own condemned prisoners for the event.) There was also, of course, a feast of roasted meats and freshly-prepared sweets such as few could remember, as well as performers of feats of acrobatic skill and raw strength, and a delightful bonfire in the evening where the town gathered to talk and sing and generally bask in the glory of springtime.

But as wondrous as all of these attractions were, the most popular one must have been a surprise to the travelers who brought the carnival to town. In the afternoon, a cry could be heard from the outskirts of the carnival, drawing a crowd to a latrine and refuse pile where no one would normally gather. The cause of this cry was something that could be seen in the pile of garbage: A newborn baby.

“Who would do this to a child?” someone asked.

“Certainly not I!” declared the fat carnival worker immediately, who had now tied her absurd hat around her waist, making her look a bit like an archery range. Many others agreed that it was terrible that someone would abandon a baby like this.

But then, someone made a very different sound: the cooing of one witnessing something adorable.

A large rat had approached the baby, interested in the parsnip peel upon which the infant was resting. But as the rodent approached, the child—whether by intention, or instinct, or mere spasm—kicked his leg, and the rat went flying.

The crowd rewarded the lad with its loudest cheers yet.

Baron Brange pushed himself to the front of the refuse pile and signaled to his men to retrieve the child. “My heart has been touched by this brave baby boy,” he declared. “I shall take him in, that he never need fear abandonment again.”

It was in extraordinarily high spirits that the town of Aathenaar made its way to bed that night. So great was the euphoria that certain material goods became misplaced, and in fact never found again. But the gains in spirit more than made up for whatever grains or tools or buildings may have been lost.

The Glorious History of Aathenaar, Part Ten: The Magnificent Baron Brange

Posted in After, Life, Shows with tags , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2010 by Greg Landgraf

Aathenaar’s Modern Era began nearly seventeen years ago. On a windy, cold early spring day, a horrified cry arose from within the domicile of Baron Bindek. Bindek’s servants, showing loyalty if not good sense, rushed to their master’s side to discover a horrifying sight.

Bindek was dead, and gushing with blood. At least, most of him was; his head was roughly separated from the torso and sat across the room, glaring at that one uneven brick in the hearth that had caused him so much consternation for so many years. That brick was the least of his problems, though, as a bloody axe head had managed to lodge itself in some of the hearth’s ancient mortar, and that was clearly causing structural as well as cosmetic damage.

Bindek’s body was not alone. The servants arrived to discover Brange, his younger and kinder brother, covered in blood.

“Woe betide Aathenaar on this day of great tragedy!” wailed Brange, overcome by grief at the loss of his beloved sibling. “I was just arriving for a lovely visit with my elder brother when I discovered him in this terrible state. Naturally, I went to embrace him, in hopes of somehow preventing his life force from escaping forever, but alas! I was too late!”

Out of respect for his late brother, Brange waited a full two hours before ascending to the position of Baron of Aathenaar. And what a wondrous ceremony it was! Townspeople marched through the town, shouting slogans of love and pride for their village. Many carried signs as well, although many who did lacked the ability to write and so the slogans those signs bore cannot be considered representative of the humor of the people. The towns bakers produced mountains of pastries and breads as if they had been preparing for weeks. Even a double rainbow could be seen in the air above Brange’s head as he swore the Oath of Baronship. (For this reason, the baron’s first official speech in his office was: “Oh wow, aaaaahhhh! Double rainbow all across the sky! Oh my Harvey it’s so bright and vivid!”)

And so did Aathenaar continue and thrive. From ashes always come new growth, and from the ashes of the tragedy of Baron Bindek grew an era of prosperity and development such as Aathenaar has never seen before.

The Glorious History of Aathenaar, Part Two: The Birth of All Things

Posted in Shows, Unicorn City with tags , , , , , on August 22, 2010 by Greg Landgraf

The land was dark, a brown mass, devoid of life apart from Alatia. But she grew hungry, and as she had no other option, she tasted the dirt.

But the dirt’s flavor was painfully bright, and Alatia was forced to sneeze it out, and each piece flew into the heavens, forming the suns and moons and stars.

One of these stars grew dim, and it teetered and flickered in the sky before falling lifeless to Alatia’s breast. Alatia wept for the dead star, and she continued for a thousand days and nights, and when she finally stopped she discovered that the world was now possessed of rivers and lakes and streams and oceans.

Exhausted though she was from her tearful ordeal, Alatia felt she must do something for this fallen star still clinging to her bosom. And so she ran throughout the world, kicking dirt into mountains and valleys as she went, until she found a stream whose gentle burbling reminded her of all the songs yet to be written. It was here that she dug a shallow grave for the star, and buried it, and finally collapsed from exhaustion.

When Alatia woke, the world was covered in all of the plants of the world: tall grasses made the land bright, and tiny algae gave the oceans breath, and the flowering shrubs painted the world with joy, and trees–the mightiest of which grew from the spot where the star had been buried, provided it with strength.

Ravenous with hunger, Alatia feasted on the grains and fruits and vegetables and tubers and legumes until she was quite rotund with satisfaction. she rested against the star tree, pregnant with joy.

Within a few moments, her stomach began to rumble, and the contractions of labor began. She had turned one of the beans into a tiny lizard, which she delivered without pain. It coughed wisps of flame as it scurried toward a mountain to build its lair.

Alatia was still engorged with life, however. A sprig of garlic had grown into a fisherbird that sped out of her left earlobe. A pear became a baby rhinoceros that grew in her femur and charged out from between her toes. A lion roared out from her stomach, and a trout flopped out of her forehead, and a clam emerged from the small of her back. In this way, over the next several hours, were the animals of the world born–save one.

For in all of these deliveries, not once was Alatia delivered of a person.

She failed to weep at this sadness, which was more profound than tears could express. But the wise and true unicorn, the last of the animals she had born, understood. It trotted to Alatia, lowered its horn, and touched her stomach, and she was pregnant once again, this time with the twelve men and women who would found all of civilization.

Alatia smiled at the unicorn as it trotted into the forest, knowing she would not see this highest of creatures again, but also that its spirit would reside in all people forevermore.

The Glorious History of Aathenar, Part 1: Of Creators and Dreams

Posted in Shows, Unicorn City with tags , , , , , on August 19, 2010 by Greg Landgraf

by Repatia of Rookwood Falls, high bard designate to Baron Brange Aathenaar

Translated by Greg Landgraf

Translator’s note: Unicorn City takes place in a small village known as Aathenaar, on a world known as Coventra. We have discovered and translated this work, commissioned by Baron Brange of Aathenaar shortly before the events related in the play. Three Legged Race offers it here, in 18 parts, in hopes that those who attend the show will find it of interest to learn how the town came to be. The history should be valuable to scholars due to its wide scope–covering a period of time from the creation of the world to modernity–but the reader should keep in mind that as it was commissioned by a significant player in some of its events, certain stories may be less reliable than they would be if told by a truly independent historian.

One might, if he or she desired to dabble in abstraction, visualize the Universe as a great expanse of stone or brick or wood, stretching in all four directions to dimensions only limited by the mind’s conception. And perhaps one could stand–mentally, if not physically–in the center of this expanse, and wonder at its bigness, but one would not.

For this expanse is dotted by holes, some tiny and some massive, and it is the indelible nature of all persons to notice such holes, and to wonder what can and must be done to fill them. And in such way are all works, great and tiny, created, from the mother preparing a bowl of stew with love for her brood of children and pets, to the construction of mighty cathedrals, to the recording of great Histories.

If mere mortals may find these gaps in the Universe and do what they must to fill them, then why would we expect the Gods to be any different? The answer is simple: We must not, for we are Created in their image, and They in ours, and our minds are therefore intertwined like a black-and-redfruit tree and its slinkervine.

Our Gods, beloved Letitia and stalwart Harvey, conceived of our world Coventra in sadness. They lived for tens of thousands of years amongst others of their kind on a massive spinning dirt square known as Earth. Harvey had a deeply industrious nature, while Letitia was more light-hearted, so Harvey fed Letitia’s body, and Letitia fed Harvey’s soul, but Earth provided for both needs in abundance, and both knew joy.

But one day a God was found dead, and they all gathered in one tiny field to discuss this unprecedented event. The only agreement they could reach was that they must discover the perpetrator of this act, but none knew who it was.

The discussion lasted for sixty-seven hours, until one of the Gods named Ralph decided to speak. “I believe I know who did this to us all,” he declared. He pointed directly at Harvey’s eyes. “It was him, and let any contradict me who have better evidence!”

But none did, and the Gods immediately agreed that Harvey must have been the actor. Only Letitia kept any faith in her friend, but her cries were drowned by the roar of the rest of the Gods.

The Gods immediately decided that Harvey must be removed from Earth, and in an instant, he was. All was blackness and cold, and Harvey wept tears that did not fall and were not wet.

And then a tiny light appeared, and it grew and became blindingly bright, and from it burst beloved Letitia, for Paradise without Love is not Paradise, and so her choice was simple.

The light exploded with dirt, and our Gods spent many days assembling each grain into the World that we know. They created but one bit of life, however: The first person, Alatia, was the last of their works that we know of, and as they breathed life into her they disappeared into heavens of which we cannot conceive. But we know that Harvey and Letitia are still working, for they promised Alatia that one day they would bring her, and all of her children to Earth with them, where they could revel in all of its Four Corners.

And it is that which drives all of our actions today.