Undivaggen

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Undivaggen is the ancestral home of the aristocratic Wallinger family, situated in the village of Marsh Gibbon. The long-abandoned core of the building, according to archaeological investigations, dates back to at least -500 EC, although the Wallingers do not appear in the Marsh Gibbon records as being in possession of it until at least a century later. The meaning of the name is not known, although scholarly conjecture is not lacking (as can be seen below).

The architectural style of the building is unique. In addition to the core, which formerly comprised about twelve rooms, the building consists of three wings or tentacles, usually called the Northeast, the Northwest, and the South wings based on the point at which they attach to the core. Each wing, however, has developed by adding new rooms in a clockwise spiral chain; as a result, the fifteenth room of the Northeast wing, counting from the core (to pick an example at random), actually stands in a southerly direction from the core. As of 0 EC, there were 353 rooms in the Northeast wing, 422 rooms in the Northwest wing, and only 294 (comparatively large) rooms in the South wing.

The family now uses only the outermost twenty or so rooms in the South wing, which provide more than sufficient facilities for the extended family during the annual Wallinger/Vallinger/Vallian/Yekhoto reunions. These rooms were lovingly restored, after a long period of neglect, by Bavarian Creame and her younger sisters, Jack Juffers and Madam Calvian of Folktown.

The remaining rooms, which are amazing exemplars of the various periods of interior design and decoration in Ghyll history and prehistory, have been long out of use, of course, due to the difficulties of getting access to them, since each room is reachable only from its outward neighbor. Indeed, the main reason for building new rooms over the centuries is that various Wallingers have found it cheaper and simpler to add rooms than to provide the access required to perform necessary upkeep on older rooms. In addition, the open ground between the wings has become a giant compost heap due to the habits of earlier and less civilized Wallingers of tossing their garbage out the windows. The rooms themselves have been spared the depredations of vermin, both sentient and not, due to a judicious application of theoalchemy.

A major source of income for the Wallingers in these degenerate days is the user fees collected from tourist parties who wish to explore the outer (or in the case of the highly motivated, the inner) windings of Undivaggen, as well as the sale of bottled water, G.O.R.P., walking sticks, booby-trap detectors, and other useful materiel to such above-ground spelunkers. A short connective passage that provides access from the Northeast to the South wing, about twenty-five rooms inward, has made essentially the whole of the uninhabited parts of Undivaggen accessible to visitors. It is most certainly a sight not to be missed for those traveling to the capital city of Ghyll.

Citations: Bavarian Creame, Madam Calvian, Vemish.

--John Cowan 13:41, 15 Mar 2005 (EST)


The name of Undivaggen is indeed a curious one, especially if one remembers that the house didn't originally belong to the Wallingers. I have recently come to the conclusion, after deciphering some ancient manuscripts at the Bureau of Forgotten Knowledge, that the place was built by a tribe of vicious and hitherto unknown pygmies. The name derives from their proto-language, and consists of the phrase "Undig", which translates as "He Who Belongs Beneath a Huge Pile of Splak", and "Vaggenn" which means "We Really Need a Bigger Bedroom". My theory states that the mansion was built after the wife of the chief pygmy wanted to impress the neighbors, and that the whole thing kinda got out of control after that. Nobody knows how the tribe perished, and I myself am of the belief that they're still living in there somewhere, waiting to be discovered by some unfortunate explorers. --Lankin the Mad Mage 20:20, 2 May 2005 (EDT)

I believe, my fellow scholar, that your translation of "Vaggenn" is somewhat misinformed, shall I say? The word to which you are referring, which means "We Really Need a Bigger Bedroom" is "Vaggemm". I can see how the two words can get confused since they are of similar spelling. From my studies, "Vaggenn" is always translated as "One Who Owns the Splak". Thus, Undivaggen would roughly translate to "He Who Belongs Beneath a Huge Pile of His Own Splak". Again, that's a rough translation. I'm sure the ancient Pygmies had a more appropriate meaning for it. Possibly "Where is the toilet again?" or "How the Splak are you?" It's all up to the individual doing the translating, I'm afraid. --Trousle Undrhil 23:20, 2 May 2005 (EDT)
Though you might be correct in pointing out that I have confused the two words, I am most grieved to state that your own translation of the word "Vagenn" is quite erroneous. Perhaps even pathetically wrong, as anyone can see that the relevant pictogram is clearly holding a fish and not a rock. It would therefore not mean "His Own Splak", but "His Own Richness of Being", which I would believe implies the wealth the dwelling itself symbolized to the pygmies. One can therefore assume that they lived beneath it, since the name would then translate as "He Who Lives Beneath His Own Obscene Amount Of Wealth." Perhaps future explorers should try finding caves beneath the floors in the central building? --Lankin the Mad Mage 17:40, 3 May 2005 (EDT)
Well, of course "Vagenn" means "His Own Richness of Being". I was speaking of "Vaggenn". Again, I can understand the misunderstanding. You are, of course, correct about the pictogram. I can concede that this is probably a mistranslation but only by complete examination of the source material can anyone be certain. --Trousle Undrhil 00:05, 4 May 2005 (EDT)
Damn my lack of spelling, for I must now concede that you have bested me in the scholarly arts my good sir. I bow down to your superior research. --Lankin the Mad Mage 08:47, 4 May 2005 (EDT)

I beg to differ, my fine if somewhat befuddled colleagues. First and foremost, if one is to understand the true meaning of "Undivaggen" one must not forget its origin: "Undivaggen" is derived from an application of Modern Ghyllian upon the Early Irregular Ghyllian that was prevalent amongst scholars prior to as recently as circa -60 EC. Of course misconceptions from misspellings will be (and are) abundant in our times but I, however, have taken this into account. "Undig" whose current meaning is incontestably "He Who Belongs Beneath a Huge Pile of Splak" is also a modern transliteration of the more ancient and less common "Uhtig" which means "They Who Take Home Huge Piles of Splak"; it is very important in archaeolinguistic studies to take into account the synonyms of pre-modern terms! As to the problem of "vaggenn," "vagenn," and "vaggemm," this is all moot as it is only modern squabbling - the pictograph, as translated in Way Early Inconcise Ghyllian stemming from some three hundred years ago is: "faghenn" (notice the subtle labiamutation which has occurred over the last three centuries); this term is understood to mean "Disobedient & Slippery Child." Therefore, Undivaggen stems truly from "uhtigfaghenn" which means assuredly "They who Take Home Huge Piles of Splak for their Disobedient & Slippery Child." --Nikos of Ant 19:54, 4 May 2005 (EDT)

My dear scholar, Nikos... I commend you on your etymological skills. I had overlooked the Earlier translations. I will consider this for future review. --Trousle Undrhil 09:23, 5 May 2005 (EDT)
Nikos, though both I and the esteemed Scholar Undrhill both agree that you have pointed out facts that we had not yet considered in our always vigilant search for the truth (the warping through the earlier forms of our own language), I am sad to say point out that you have yourself forgotten the final step. You see, even though the original spelling in Way Early Inconcise Ghyllian is indeed, as you have revealed to us, uhtigfaghenn, this is itself a translation from the actual pictograms of the original tribe into that early version of our own tongue. As such it is just as prone to an etymological corruption in regards to its actual meaning, as is always a danger when translating from one language to another. We must always remember that the original text, written by the pygmies, probably had quite different context. I personally believe that the first four images (which were translated as 'faghenn') has a marginally different meaning. The symbols are (in order of appearance): 1) A man with stick standing beside a triangle; 2) A figure with a smaller figure inside, with three lines highlighting the one inside; 3) A man strangling an inverted triangle; 4) A winged fish with a bottle. --Lankin the Mad Mage 14:57, 5 May 2005 (EDT)
The scholar who originally translated this into Way Early Inconcise Ghyllian interpreted this as small (man beside mountain) + child (figure inside mother) which is slippery (the bottle is clearly a lubricating oil of some sort, to keep the wings of the fish smooth underwater) and also disobedient (the figure committing deitycide upon the god-symbol of the upside-down mountain). This is in itself a flawed translation, as anyone can see that the first figure is merely a man who is going for a fishing trip in the mountains. The second pictogram is also wrongly interpreted, as it merely stands for a female carrying a whelp. The whole word would then end up as 'He Who Goes Hunting to Get Slippery Substance for his Impregnated Wife'. If we then assume that the rest of the translation is correct (a risky business to say the least) the word 'uthigfaghenn' would in reality be 'The one who belongs under a huge pile of Splak for going away fishing while his wife needs him'. But it could just as easily be 'The huge pile of Splak gathered together for the missus while the guy is off fishing.' It all depends on the context and nuances, none of which we have available today. --Lankin the Mad Mage 14:57, 5 May 2005 (EDT)
Hmmm, point well taken... I do believe that this deserves an expedition, yes! Let us set off as in the days of old, let us go within that behemoth of the Wallinger mansion, and let us not see if we can't find ourselves some hitherto unknown pygmies (or at least we can send in our research students to take the brunt of the possible pygmy attac- um, historical findings)! --Nikos of Ant 16:31, 5 May 2005 (EDT)
Indeed my fine fellow, we should immediately begin the long and arduous process of planning such an expedition. Packing alone should take about a year, and we will need to prepare thoroughly for the dangers along the way. Recruiting suitably stupi, er, brave students to be our scouting troupe will also require lots and lots of effort. I propose that we should try to reach the central building, since this is the original place where the pygmies must have lived. Our goal for the most dangerous expedition should be to discover more of their writings (and as few traps as possible, since we can only bring a limited supply of students), and if they still exist somewhere in there we should try to establish friendly contact with them. Remember to bring glass beads. --Lankin the Mad Mage 19:46, 5 May 2005 (EDT)
I would offer my services in said expedition, unfortunately, I shall be unable to attend. I do wish you luck in your endeavors and good speed to your vessels and mounts. And be sure to pat the pygmies on the head for me (for luck) should you find any. --Trousle Undrhil 03:24, 8 May 2005 (EDT)
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