Bureau of Forgotten Knowledge

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The Bureau of Forgotten Knowledge was founded by Supetupheraraphes in -98 EC to investigate all forms of Ghyllore including lost animals, undeciphered prose and poesy, fallen lands, and the mysterious sock vortex that afflicts so many households.

History

The first twenty years of its existence were hampered by Supetupheraraphes's Paradox which states that "once Forgotten Knowledge is uncovered by a researcher, it is no longer Forgotten and hence cannot be written down." This wouldn't have been a problem were it not for the incompetence in resolving it: so many solutions were proposed that The Bureau's supreme council couldn't choose between them.

The problem was solved eventually by decree of Meldersen, the second president of The Bureau, under his executive privilege. It was decided that there should be a subdivision called the Bureau of Regained Knowledge, and started the ceremonious annual tradition of declaring all information found in the following year to be instantly handed over to the BORK. Though the decision was unpopular at the time, it proved to be an excellent solution.

The first great discovery of The Bureau was also under Meldersen's presidency: in conjunction with the Council for Quezlarian Research, The Bureau discovered the origins for Ghyll's unit of currency, the Quezlarian Ooo. Perhaps somewhat startlingly at the time, the research confirmed the traditional legend that our currency is named after the initial remark of Quezlar 6 upon discovering the first stone of dazzlingly beautiful Oooite. As a gesture of thankfulness, the Council for Quezlarian Research presented The Bureau with an Oooite stone said to be from the personal collection of Quezlar 6.

But the history of The Bureau hasn't all been plain sailing. On -25/4/1 EC the Housewives And Nannies' Debatory Banter Association of Ghyll, Folktown Chapter, petitioned The Bureau to investigate the lost knowledge of anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays both religious and secular missing from their husbands. The predominantly male Bureau declined to comment.

The Bureau suffered further embarrassment in -17 EC when its undeciphered Ternary Script motto, chosen for its aesthetic quality and forgotten meaning, was finally deciphered and found to say "Swallow it all and be thankful, for a Quezloo I've paid and a Quezloo's worth I'll be having!" A new motto was promptly chosen.

The complete list of all five of the presidents, past and present, is as follows:

From (EC)To (EC)President Name
-98-77Supetupheraraphes
-77-56Meldersen
-56-32Rancticirchiretic
-32-11Awal
-11nowBlivingdel

Whereabouts and Organisation

Each member of the The Bureau is also a member of its subdivision, the BORK. Though this causes some confusion as to which organisation the members are working for at any given time, it also means that they get two pay packets.

The Bureau's main building is affectionately known as the Cake, since it appears from a distance to be a giant Saundian Ringcake. It is situated by the hamlet of Odlucia on the opposite side of the valley from the Odlucian Library—with which it has great rapport and maintains a constant link—and consists of seven extremely long circular, concentric halls. The primary halls are more internal to the structure, dealing with the most difficult and obscure fields of Forgotten Knowledge, and hosting important conferences and local visiting dignitaries. The outer rings are more open—with the outermost ring indeed sometimes open to the public—and the bulk of the general research staff is located there.

The whole structure is reported to be light and airy, with plants and water features forming a suitable working environment for its researchers. The spacious circular courtyard in the middle (called the "Cakehole") is used for games of Doofball between The Bureau's staff. The Doofball league is comprised of each of the main halls of the building. The outer rings, having the advantage of both number and youth, tend to win more often, though it's an increasing tendency for the best Doofball players to be promoted by appointment to more prestigious positions, evening up the league table.

Whereas the organisation is not secretive in nature, some of its more prominent members are often ex-members of the Council for Quezlarian Research, and tend towards being extremely secretive about their activites. For example, in the process of researching this lexicon entry, we interviewed the Vice Chairman of The Bureau's Steering Committee, Monty Thabot:

Sean: Viceman Thabot, we've heard that work is being taken up to improve some of the facilities of the innermost ring, at the expense of the eighth revision of the Encyclopaedia of Lost Lore which we understand will be coming out next spring. Could you possibly comment on the state of the facilities, and the rationale for diverting funds to its improvement?
Monty: You're not really talking about me... are you ?
Sean: Pardon, sir? I can assure you that no nefariousness on your behalf, or that of your collegues, is implied by that question.
Monty: Perhaps in your fantasies we can assure each other.
Sean: Er... quite. Moving on then, what features do you have planned for the Encyclopaedia of Lost Lore? Will the new much-rumoured section on Anaximancy be making an appearance?
Monty: Why do you ask ?
Sean: Our readers would be most interested to know—we recently covered Anaximancy in a lexicon entry.
Monty: Do you feel strongly about discussing such things ?
Sean: No sir—it's not an article whose production I was involved in. So you decline to comment on its possible appearance?
Monty: Fearsome bouncy Lycrosoft!
Sean: Thanks sir, you've been a great help.
Monty: Onomastics's bullshit baby mice was foreskin's short movements...

Note that the Steering Committee is the colloquial name for the supreme council of The Bureau, and not a separate department. Its name originates, counter to the obvious expectation, from the fact that so many of the appointees to the original committee set up by Supetupheraraphes were learnèd ox handlers from the farmsteads surrounding Odlucia. The term soon spread from the jocular corridor-talk of the outer rings and into common usage. Indeed, the Steering Committee has since -53 EC used three oxen in its motif.

Research and Findings

The Bureau doesn't tend to publish results until they're not only internally sure of their findings but also have the approval of a select academic committee, comprised of the heads of several prime academic institutions, some of which are very radicalist in their nature. Therefore, The Bureau's findings are amongst the most incontrovertible of all Ghyll studies.

One of the greatest sets of research that The Bureau carried out was on the origins of Andelphracia. They proved convincingly through a complex series of literary comparisons to astronomical data that she was born on or around the Lhios of -330 EC, on one of the shores of the seven lakes of the Evesque Valley.

The Bureau tends to keep to matters historical. Another example of one of its great discoveries is the deciphering of one of the best poetic works of Alarius, the son of the great poet Arariax. It was known that Alarius kept up the family tradition by publishing poesy, but many of his works contained strange blocks of text that were thought to be highly interwoven and encrypted poems. The Bureau were particularly interested in the following block, named "QL" after its first two characters for brevity:
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=

They managed, after decades of careful research, to prove the common thinking behind the blocks correct, and revealed QL to be a poem entitled "Stepping Stones". Consisting of the traditional Arariaxian Metre of five sets of dual iambic pentameter couplets, it was penned in core script around -150 EC. Though it is still not known why Alarius chose to obfuscate the poem, the decryption attempt showed the tremendous skill of both The Bureau and Alarius himself. Indeed, it is now regarded as one of his greatest poetic works.

The poem will be appearing soon in the eighth revision to the Encyclopaedia of Lost Lore, yet we reprint it here with the most gracious permission of the office of Blivingdel:

Once late upon a lonely lumb'ring night
I went to door with Andelphracian Light
And beckoned for my dog to come to heel
As into twilight air we both did steal

We came soon to a sweet unlaboured stream
Footed its stepping stones as if in dream
And into forest presently did stroll
Under that canopy of darkest coal

As burnflies spat their carnal juice at us
We watched bright unclad nature at its fuss
And Aelfants afar distinctly heard
Perhaps just one or two—perhaps a herd

We walked until the moons were due to set
Until the trees had lost their silhouette
And through the Evesque Valley ventured back
Along our Andelphracian lighted track

Now back at home by fireplace we laze
And for this poem recall thoughts in daze
The evanescent fumes o'er cottage lift
Their patterns soon as traceless as their drift

This poem is also of prime significance, of course, due to the fact that it contains the earliest known use of the phrase "Andelphracian Light".

The use of dove calling patterns to determine the future and lost memories of the past is one of the most recent arts studied on which an official monograph has been published. Quester and Phorrus ran an article on the practice from The Bureau entitled "A Retrospective on Doveination." Though it was well received, its controversial findings almost caused a coup in the academic community.

Current research is said to focus primarily on the religious practices of the Nitenmangrey culture. A major economic boost has been provided to the local farming communities, for example, in the process of determining the significance of the Aquentravalkeration practice as The Bureau's researchers require several shipments of bull's pizzles per week.

Summary

In the hundred years or so since its inception, The Bureau has grown to become one of, if not the, greatest of all the academic institutions in Ghyll. Its growing dominance is offset by its remarkably open approach and dedication to its research, such that we can be thankful for its existence. The Bureau is a vibrant and forward-thinking organisation that will hopefully be around for as long as socks and knowledge are missing.

Footnotes

† The declaration—which must be given by the current president of The Bureau at the Folktown Town Square in front of an assemblage of current employees, the mayor of Folktown, and the general public—has turned into an annual fête, with stands, bunting, games, and fun galore. Here is an excerpt of the speech:

Great chefs of our Esteemed Bureau, Ghyllore as your ingredients: know that thy works in our great academic kitchen shall not suffer lack of swiftness any longer. You could carry on being labouring at not being able writing your researches; slowly, slowly finding strange perilous methods to leak them out to the community like so much treacle. Heed instead my solution! Alternatively, Speedish Chefs: BORK, BORK, BORK!

Citations: Alarius, Council for Quezlarian Research, Supetupheraraphes.

--Sean B. Palmer 23:59, 11 Sep 2004 (EDT)

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