Conflict That Is Not Happening

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If everything that has been written about the Conflict That Is Not Happening is true, it is certainly the oldest, most complex, and most difficult-to-understand social institution in the whole of Ghyll history, or prehistory for that matter. Indeed, some scholars have traced it as far back as the ancient Battle of Barnum Stones, though others hold that extending the Conflict before about -250 EC is illegitimate, or at any rate of doubtful validity.

The name usually given to the Conflict, when it is referred to at all, clearly represents a transparent attempt to deny its continued existence. As Rancticirchiretic famously said, "It is far more comfortable for the chattering classes of Ghyll to suppose that [the Conflict] is a mere matter of legend, or at most of dead-and-gone history." The Tarkherk Corps, however, is an all-too-visible, indeed notorious, institution, which has clearly been a major participant in the Conflict, albeit perhaps on both sides. Indeed, the whole notion of "sides" is not particularly perspicuous, given the ever-shifting alliances and counter-alliances. So the notion that the Conflict does not exist, or no longer exists, can be confidently rejected.



For the last fifty years, the most visible manifestation of the Conflict is probably the trade war (which occasionally involves weapons) between the Iganeftan producers of Altoxian Bulbs, and the northern Evesque Valley manufacturers of Andelphracian Lights, conducted on Berellian and neo-Berellian principles.

From -97 to -94 EC a cadet branch of the Carsokians fought a lengthy war of mines and countermines with the Endlessly Rising Staircase Movement over the droit d'exploitation of the Pziqq trees that grow in the upper slopes of the Sarfelogian Mountains. As often happens during the more violent phases of the Conflict, the ending was inconclusive, as Pziqq trees have deep taproots and can no longer grow in the disturbed soil. The ecology of the area is expected to recover by approximately +100 EC.

Before that, the Extraordinarily Bloodless Revolution, since brought to a not entirely successful conclusion, was the best-known aspect of the Conflict. This included a battle for the Palace of Lost Souls, which out of respect for the famous fresco by Alarius was fought entirely with fungo bats, sock puppets, and poison gas.

Scholars disagree about whether the Raking can properly be considered part of the Conflict. However, there is no question that some of its consequences deeply affected later participants in the Conflict, to the point where it must certainly be accounted a secondary cause of the Conflict's later phases.

For further information, students of the Conflict should consider consulting the Odlucian Library, including particularly the archives of the Unquisition, and also back issues of Quester and Phorrus.

Aelfants and the Conflict

In the year -37 EC, a short, sharp battle was held on the Plain of Brahang between two mercenary squadrons allegedly employed by Bysted Timperton and Baron Smallwood over the possession of a precious Aelfant coprolith, or petrified dung-ball. During a hand-to-hand struggle between the opposing merc captains, the coprolith unfortunately fractured, making possession of it moot. The battle was abandoned in mutual disgust; lawsuits over the contingency fees are still pending in the courts of Folktown.

The Amphitheatre Aristocracy and the Conflict

Very few members of the Amphitheatre aristocracy are themselves involved as combatants in the conflict, with such well-known exceptions as Bobby Shwarmph. (I entirely discredit the claim that it is his brother Edward rather than he himself who is a (former?) member of the infamous Corps.) However, the group has a well-established practice of speculating financially on the ongoing Altoxian/Andelphracian trade war, which makes them at least peripheral participants in the Conflict's current phase.

Arariax and the Conflict

There is a more or less permanent legend or rumor that the poet Arariax met his end during a war of assassins, which was the form in which the Conflict was predominantly being manifested during his lifetime. The legend does not tell, unfortunately, whether Arariax was himself an assassin or one of the assassinated; a prudent position, adopted by the scholar Gassalasca Jape among others, is that of believing both theories.

Anaximancers and the Conflict

Absolutely no credible evidence has come to light hitherto suggesting that anaximancers have ever been employed by either side.

Bavarian Creame and the Conflict

This section has been redacted in its entirety to avoid conflict with the libel laws. Note to scholars: the mere act of scattering a text with such terms as "alleged", or of attributing opinions to others, does not constitute an affirmative defense against libel suits in the Folktown courts. The Tarkherk Corps can defend itself, of course.

Nor is there any need, by applying such unnecessarily loaded terms as "slut" and "dark-side whingelist", to drastically reduce the reputation this Encyclopedia will so justly acquire among the scholarly community of Ghyll. Courtesy is never incompatible with truth. All participating scholars are warned. --The Copy Editor

Bute University and the Conflict

An earnest and bitter logomachy is underway at Bute University which can be seen as an extension of the Conflict, since it concerns the propriety of the possibility of the utilization of the last known surviving Avazian Box against any unduly successful combatant forces, should the Conflict lead to general military violence once again. Although Bute is not itself in possession of the Box, this does not prevent the scholars there from taking sides, and quite vehemently too.

The anti-Box forces are seen as implicitly favoring the stronger side since non-use of the Box would tend to favor the status quo, or to put it another way, the facts on the ground; by the same token, the pro-Box forces as implicitly favoring the weaker side. Exactly which side is the stronger and which the weaker at the present time is itself unfortunately a matter of dispute at Bute.

What the views of King Harandraff the Great (honored -- in the breach -- as the founder of Bute) would have been in this issue is not known.

The Heh-blammo Balance and the Conflict

The more violent phases of the Conflict have been a major source of heh-blammo imbalance during certain periods of Ghyll's history, essentially resulting from the excess of blammos over hehs that seems to be inevitable during periods of open warfare. The Brothers of the Lantern are said to have worked very hard during these intervals to produce and distribute sufficient hehs throughout Ghyll to prevent universal chaos. The Brothers themselves, as usual, neither confirm nor deny this story, and the scholar Qwentyth Pyre is on record as not believing it.

The Nitenmangrey and the Conflict

The foolish notion of Rancticirchiretic that the Conflict began as a competition between rival claimants to the Paramount Queenship of the Nitenmangrey, based on their respective styles of aquentravalkeration, has been universally -- and justly -- scorned. The Conflict, whatever it is or is not, cannot be validly projected nine centuries into the past; that would reduce the distinction between history and mythology to a patent absurdity.

Theoalchemy and the Conflict

One of the best known but least understood features of the Conflict is that appeals to divine intervention have never been effective in determining either short-term or long-term outcomes. Attempts to apply theoalchemy to either the study of the Conflict, or to the conflict itself, have been completely useless. The Conflict remains a stubbornly secular affair.

Citations: Bavarian Creame, Oblibestircus, Rancticirchiretic.

--John Cowan 23:10, 24 Sep 2004 (EDT)

As part of my current study, I add here that rumors abound that the "accidental" death of Oregano Amber in -31 EC was the result of a 9 year campaign by members of either the Altoxian Bulb contingent or the Andelphracian Light contingent of the trade wars; or at least that someone from the trade wars had kept an eye on him for said duration. I have even heard that the "odd sounds" the poor man heard for months prior to his death was part of a plan to drive him mad. --Nikos of Ant 19:45, 28 Aug 2005 (EDT)

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