Wapsipinicon of Aghquabamticook
Lord Wapsipinicon of Aghquabamticook is a name not much remembered but by a few in Iganefta and Iganefta-on-the-Sea. He was the second Lord-Mayor of Iganefta, installed under the revised constitution of –252 EC. He served thirteen years as Lord-Mayor and was buried in his ancestral plot.
-260 EC: That Tumultuous Year
Born on the outskirts of the City of Settlements in –272 EC as Earl Wapsipin, second son of Theophane Rok Wapsipin and Barb Sipin, his was an idyllic world. Being the son of a Theophane allowed him access to some education (comprised mostly of fighting skills, spitting contests, and the two degrees of counting – important for land-owners at that time) as well as afforded moments of leisure. His world was bound by his family estates and the City of Settlements to which it was attached, most especially to the nearby Settlement of Aghquabamticook.
His early years are undocumented. His history begins in the year –260 EC when the First Iganeftan Mercenary Company was established by Paul Glosford. This resulted in momentous changes in the life of the City of Settlements, most importantly being that the majority of tween gangs were wiped out, a great number of yuet gangs were absorbed, and Glosford became the biggest local "bigman" in the heart of the City of Settlements, so big in fact, that he changed his name to Glosfordshier and took control of the Iganeftan Council.
Now, at this time, the City of Settlements was comprised of thirteen Settlements and they were ruled over by the Iganeftan Council. This Council was comprised of Theophanes, Sub-Theophanes, and Counters who came from each of the Settlements. There were also the Rejahs, but they did not bother with the Council for their purview was not the whole of the City but only their own Settlement. These Rejahs were elected, as per normative custom, by the adult women of each Settlement (as well as two-thirds of eligible men), and their duties were simply to settle disputes brought before him or her. Whether by coincidence or cosmic confluence, one of the Rejahs within the City of Settlements in –260 EC was none other than Odgar IV.
Even though the presence of Rejah Odgar did have some effect on the peoples of his jurisdiction, it did not preclude nor hinder the criminal activities in the remaining Settlements. Tween-gangs such as the Dead Crabbits and the Ungrateful We’re Still Living Posse were known and feared during the –270s and –260s. The inability of the Rejahs to affect said gangs and the ineptitude of the Iganeftan Council to get rid of them led to the take-over by Glosford. The take-over, in turn, led many of the noble families to reconsider their position in this society.
During the two decades before the usurpation, life at the Waksipin Manor flowed normally, with puking, spitting, fielding, and manageering (activities that were the norm for the aristocratic families of that age). Indeed, Theophane Rok and his son Brat had managed to increase their lands by multiple fuffles (a local unit) while keeping the assemblage of their manor guards content with sugar-water and ample opportunity to "defend" their range. With the take-over, however, the Family Wapsipin, along with the Families Chub, Tooke, Baugh, and Icon saw themselves as a moral voice (as well as seeing their lands in dire jeopardy of being confiscated) and protested the autocratic seizure, but as Glosford now had his Mercenary Company and had rallied the bands of local soldiers from each of the Settlements under the banner of the Furious Apple, these protests proved ineffective.
Even as Paul Glosford, now naming himself Lord Frederick Paul Glosfordshier, took the title of Lord-Mayor of Iganefta, the most famous of the rejahs, Odgar IV remained unconcerned and distant. There have been proffered numerous possibilities as to why he did nothing to stay the tide of Glosford’s dictatorship, but what is known for certain is that, within three years, the number of troubles discussed by Odgar’s local people increasingly involved the Lord-Mayor and his Mercenaries. In –257 EC, however, Glosfordshier, accompanied by his Mercenaries, politely petitioned the Rejah to keep his Court opinions to matters that did not involve him or his Mercenaries – the Rejah politely and litigiously accepted the petition.
Eight Years of Resistance
Glosford ruled the City of Settlements from –260 EC to –252 EC when an ad hoc Committee of Public Safety assassinated him. During these eight years the Wapsipin Family did all it could to keep their lands out of the hands of Glosford, as well as to rally the other Families of the City of Settlements to the cause of reducing the dictator’s powers. This effort proved mostly fruitless in the direct, but it did create the atmosphere which allowed for the ultimate demise of said despot.
In –258 EC, Rok’s son Earl Wapsipin married the lovely Nadia Icon and, as was the custom, he took her name to his own becoming Earl Wapsipinicon. Earl’s elder brother Chuk would have married her but for the fact that he was dead – a casualty of a "misunderstanding" between Chuk and about thirteen Mercenaries one rainy night. The death of Chuk broke the spirit of the Family Patriarch, Rok. It was his wife, the Matriarch Barb, who filled the void of leadership and catapulted her son Earl into the fore of defending their way of life.
The bulk of the history of Iganefta is found within a mishmash of written and oral fact, rumor and tale. The "known" life of Lord Earl Wapsipinicon is an unruly mess and this here scholar refuses to print hogwash and antpuke. So here follows an outline of the most reliable of the information:
- -272 EC: Earl Wapsipin born.
- -258 EC: Earl Wapsipin marries Nadia Icon, changes name to Earl Wapsipinicon.
- -257 EC: Earl Wapsipinicon takes on authority of Theophane when his father steps down; Earl is 15.
- From between –257 and –252 EC: Theophane Earl Wapsipinicon, with his mother and wife, attempt to organize the fractured nobility against the absolutist power of Glosford. This results in varied successes and many failures as the nobility was not unified nor did they possess, for the most part, the courage necessary for the endeavors suggested.
- -253 EC: The so-called Battle of Little Puk occurs in which "a score of Mercenaries were beaten by Theophane Wapsipinicon" but in truth these "Mercenaries" were only a bewildered contingent of Skwyres (premolt Mercenaries-in-training); regardless, Theophane Wapsipinicon is hailed a hero.
- -252 EC: The Committee of Canons writes a revised Constitution.
- -251 EC: The Constitution of the Settlement Peoples was accepted by the nobility and merchants.
- -251 EC: Earl Wapsipinicon is elected as the new Lord-Mayor.
The Constitutionalist Year
In –252 EC, with the Dictator dead, what remained of the nobility coalesced to retake their power. They were met, however, by the group of merchants who comprised the ad hoc Committee of Public Safety. The merchants were in no hurry to relinquish their authority and they were the ones to whom the populace now looked up to in awe. At this time, Rejah Odgar IV attempted to intervene with, as he called it, his "words of wisdom," but he was rebuffed by both merchants and nobility. To resolve this confrontation, they formed a Committee of Canons comprised of one-half merchant and nobility alike. They chose the name Canons for its Olkuul play on the concept of "weapon" and of "law" and among the members of this Committee was the Matriarch Wapsipin.
The Committee worked for over six months to create a viable Constitution; the most renowned of these Constitutionalists were the Matriarch Wapsipin, Sub-Theophane Kraft, and the men who came to be called the Three Wise Rejahs: Jeffers, Franklyn, and Madson. By –251 EC a new and revised Constitution of the Settlement Peoples was drafted and accepted. It did not abolish all the changes which Glosford had instituted when he became the first Lord-Mayor, but it did modify and reduce the power that said Lord-Mayor would control.
The New Lord-Mayor
The first Decree of the new body politic was to elect Theophane Earl Wapsipinicon to the post of Lord-Mayor of the City of Settlements. The second Decree was to dismember the now stinking corpse of Glosford and display large pieces of it in the Thirteen Settlements as well as place his head in the Council Hall as an omen to any would-be dictator.
This same year, –251 EC, Odgar IV, who had been ignored by the Constitutionalists, the nobility and the merchants, introduced to his Settlement Court the Board of the Wise. Whether his plan was to woo the people and the rulers back to him is not known for certain, but if it was, it backfired. Odgar IV staffed the Board mostly with transplanted Folktowners (the folk to whom he had grown to love) and the elite of Iganefta saw no need to acknowledge this "foreign" Board while the locals had a hard time even understanding the Folktown dialect.
Within his first year as Lord-Mayor, Earl Wapsipinicon devoted his time straightening up the mess that had been left behind by years of bribery, threats, and murder by Glosford. This was not easy to accomplish as many in the guild-world were now accustomed to certain "practices." To make matters worse, a number of Theophanes and Sub-Theophanes were causing trouble as they wished a return to the pre-Lord days. The Rejahs mostly went on, as they always had, settling disputes – but Odgar IV continued changing the way he conducted business – he began instituting "reforms" as he called them, and this was having an effect on some of the other Rejahs as well as certain of the Theophanes and merchants.
It was in –250 EC that Odgar IV hit upon his so-far biggest idea to make both his stature in the world and hopefully his status in Iganefta more great: the Iganefta-to-Folktown Causeway. At first this was received as a marvelous idea by one and all, but within one year it turned sour for the Iganeftans. Lord-Mayor Wapsipinicon tried in vain to control Odgar and his "reforms" which were in the most part pro-Folktown. He attempted to organize the merchants and the guilds as a unified force, but their own avarice was too much to funnel. In the end, most of the causeway work was contracted out to Folktown guilds – the Ditch-Diggers Guild, the Stone-Masonrics Guild, the Pound-Sand Guild, etc. Though construction began on the outskirts of the City of Settlements, once the Folktown guildsmen realized how far the work was from their homes, how unwieldy was the terrain near the City (compared to the lands roundabout Folktown) and how ignorant and money-hungry were the Iganeftan peoples (at least in the eyes of the Folktowners), they ceased their work here and concentrated on Folktown. Within a short time, the Iganefta-to-Folktown Causeway became known as the Folktown-to-Iganefta Causeway and Odgar IV was discredited yet again in his own backyard. By this time, however, Odgar IV may not have cared, for – since he was summarily ignored during the process of re-constituting the politics of Iganefta - he took it upon himself to re-charter the Court and Parliament of Folktown.
Lord-Mayor Wapsipinicon was still having trouble with the nobility and the merchants, but he was now also having trouble with the soldiery of the Settlements. Since the death of Glosford the soldiers were kept from mindlessly harassing the local folk and they were getting restless. Luckily, or by divine intervention, in –249 EC, the Extraordinarily Bloodless Revolution broke out. Wapsipinicon saw this as a way to allow the antsy soldiers to vent their unspent aggression. They "went to war" as was wont to say under the banner of the Furious Apple, which had now become the symbol of the sitting Royal Family of Iganefta – i.e. Lord-Mayor Wapsipinicon. During this conflict, these men, with their hammer-topped pikes and badges, came to have the name of Pickers. Though some historians believe that it was the enemy that came first to be called "apple-pickers" (as men who picked off and kicked, bit, spit upon, and otherwise embarrassed the "Apple-men of Iganefta"), mainstream scholars say this was not so. It must be noted that although the Dictator Glosford had been dead for three years and his power diffused amongst the remaining nobility and merchants, the soldiers themselves had little sense of this. They marched under the Furious Apple as homage to the dead Lord-Mayor Frederick Paul Glosfordshier and sang the despot songs, while Wapsipinicon simply shrugged his shoulders and let them march and fight.
In –247 EC, the Causeway was completed with a ribbon-tying event at both ends (a grand feast that commenced in Folktown while in Iganefta a few bums, idlers, and vagrants pissed on the new cobblestones of the entryway). Lord-Mayor Wapsipinicon was still dealing with the strains of administration. His mother had been helping him since day one and she urged him to take a break. He did so and left on holiday to Glosford’s old summer palace in Thungerbarg. The Lord and his Lady went together and when they returned to Iganefta, she was with seed.
The Matriarch & the Rejah
In his absence, the Matriarch took the reigns, and she soon earned a name which has stuck to her memory like honey to a suckle: the Barb of Iganefta. Her most public enemy was Odgar IV, though she never referred to him as such. By this time, he was completely comfortable in his Folktown-centric mentality and he used his new institutions (the majority of which were working themselves out quite nicely in Folktown but were imperceptable in Iganefta) to further his aims. It was while her son was in Thungerbarg that Odgar made his historic claim. Citing the Grand Declaration, he said that the source of his authority was the Court and Parliament of Folktown; he also said that he personally could wield the post of Field Marshall of the Folktown Militia for life. The Matriarch and the nobility of the Iganeftan Council began to wonder a great deal more of the intentions of this arrogant, odd, and rude rejah. Luckily nothing like an uprising of Folktown against Iganefta ever happened from –247 EC to –239 EC when Odgar IV died.
On the day of Odgar’s death we know that he had had a visit by "that roving minstrel" and that they had a private audience together. To this day it is unknown what occurred but shouting was heard and when the Court attendants broke into the room, the minstrel was gone and Odgar was dead. The minstrel was never found and many say that the Iganeftan nobility spirited him away – some say that the Matriarch Wapsipin paid the minstrel to assassinate Odgar, others say that she and the other nobility only took advantage of his death and thanked the minstrel by getting him away safely.
Regardless, after the death (which cause is decreed "Murder" in Folktown records and "Unknown" in Iganeftan records), Folktown took up the reigns of its own governing and officially "re-positioned" the Court of Odgar IV by dedicating a local music hall as its new location within Folktown, while the Iganeftan Council dismantled the actual House of Settling Faults (i.e. Odgar's Court) and elected to quash the post of rejah from that Settlement altogether. The homes, alleys, and outhouses of this Settlement were subsequently partitioned among its neighboring Settlements and its name was stricken from the Roll (hence its "nameless" status to this day).
After five years of dealing with the corrupted guilds, shady merchants, some near-hostile nobility, and the soldeirs, the Lord-Mayor came back from holiday in a delightful mood. For the next eight years, he spent his energies consolidating the power of the Iganeftan Council, in promoting far-off missions for the Iganeftan Pickers, and in reorganizing the workings of the City of Settlements within the accords of the new Constitution.
The one reform which was instituted and has lasted was the creation of the Office of Councilman, a reform gained only after protracted debate. But to understand this development one must see first the inter-settlement road project that Wapsipinicon inaugerated and the construction of new and grander Settlement Houses within each of the Thirteen Settlements (but for that of Odgar IV who wanted nothing to do with change unless it came from himself). The roads stemming from the Settlement of Iganefta, where the Council Hall was located, were enlarged and straightened to some degree. These inter-settlement roads, today called the Interoads, led to and through each Settlement. As these were being completed, the Rejahs were given the news that their Houses of Settling Faults were going to be replaced by new Settlement Houses (equal to the Court Houses of most other civilized towns). These Settlement Houses, today given the vernacular of Settlehouse, were built on the periphery of each Settlement, closest to the Iganefta-side boundary. This resulted in all the Rejahs (but for Odgar) being closer than before to Iganefta proper. Within each Settlehouse there was a guestroom made especially for the Councilman, newly created by the Iganeftan Council under the push of the Lord-Mayor. The Councilman was chosen by the Lord-Mayor from among the class of non-noble freemen (as opposed to the non-noble permanent-indentured fieldsman) and most were fanatically loyal to the Lord-Mayor for this honor. The duty of the Councilmen was to "collect the profitable wisdom of the Rejahs for the benefit of the Council," but invariably these Councilmen were used as the Lord-Mayor's personal spies.
The road project and emphasis on the Rejahs was initially greeted with great fanfare and enthusiasm; only later did it seem onerous to some and dangerous to others but, in the end, the institution has remained almost in its original form - and more importantly, it resulted in a change far greater than Lord-Mayor Wapsipinicon could have imagined. With the construction of strong and beautiful Settlehouses, many guildsmen and merchants desired their shoppes and trades to be conducted nearby too. This began a building boom around the Settlehouses and so nearer the "center" of the City of Settlements. After the years in which the so-called Settle Project of Lord-Mayor Wapsipinicon took place, the concentration of power of the Settlements actually moved physically closer to the Iganefta Settlement, and over time this allowed for the psychological move of power to the center as well, one which resulted in the old name of City of Settlements to be lost to the new name of Iganefta; all for the work of the second Lord-Mayor and those who came afterwards.
One other conribution of Wapsipinicon to Iganeftan culture is the practice of warcraft. In such turbulent times as was his, the majority of peoples even unto the permanently-indentured (whose rights consisted only of a tree above their head, a blanket for the night, and two chits a day to eat), the Lord-Mayor saw how agitated everyone was. He had already dealt with the soldiery and as a benefit they came back home with a new nickmane; but the merchants, guilds and nobles were a different bunch, altogether. Knowing their propensity to use violence, Wapsipinicon afforded them what he called the "Arte o' the Warkraftin." He explained that he had found an ancient tool, kept hidden by Glosford, and which he had used against the Iganeftan Council. This tool consisted of wrapping cloth about a vegetable husk and engraving the likeness of one's enemy thereon. After a series of dance rituals (that vaguely resembled a dirge to the god Hopdurg) the Lord-Mayor said that such a doll would then become hexed, making it a similacrum of the person depicted. He then said that if they made war against said doll they would indeed be making war against their enemy. The majority of men and women, nobles, merchants and freeborn laughed in his face. In a fit of backwards logic, however, he dared them all to disbelieve him to their own peril, and then walked away. Who believed, who doubted, it is impossible to know - but from that moment on the number of noble-born brawls actually decreased and a strained sense of politeness pervaded the Iganeftan Council. Though the practice (as a political tool of aggression) has come in and out of favor over the last two hundred years, it is responsible for the short-lived "dolly craze" of the -20s in Cranee.
As to his own demise, in –238 EC, Lord-Mayor Earl Wapsipinicon was again in Thungerbarg on holiday. While there he suffered an unfortunate and fatal accident, the official record being due to Poen Sea Gardening. The populace of Iganefta was so despondent that they spontaneously elected his wife Nadia to the post of Lord-Mayor (although many believe that the Matriarch Wapsipin had something to do with that "spontaneous" election). For the next five years she would serve as leader to Iganefta furthering her husband’s name and was known as the Widow Lord-Mayor.
--Nikos of Ant 18:12, 22 October 2005 (EDT)