Aminfarances is said to be the founder (or foundress) of the Institute of Science and Technomancy which bears his (or her) name and which shall be here after referred as AIST or simply Institute. This enigmatic figure belongs to the dark past, to the fog-shrouded yesteryear, to the Time before Now; exactly how long before the Now is not quite known and a subject of strenuous debate amongst those that care.
Aminfarances was born to the southwest of the Dagger Seas (per the 2’Xzia Parchment, currently on loan to Bute University, which speaks of a journey northwards to an unknown sea of which the nearest is the Daggers), some time before -400 EC. This is derived from an analysis of various materials such as the Tradition sung by the AIST which states that the School went underground during the reign of King Harandraff the Great (circa -400 EC). The Letter to the Stingy Wilh is also of benefit as it refers to both Aminfarances as well as a rite of canoralist batting involving a short stocky stick, a jar of honey, and a pre-wed maiden’s bum. Though undated, the superstitious nature of the ritual obviously points to its antiquity.
As to how far before -400 EC, that is inconclusive. The belief of the Institute, according to its sung saga, brings the birth to sometime in the –8th century EC. But members of the Bureau of Forgotten Knowledge and the Bureau of Recovered Knowledge have mutterered that members of the AIST tend to drink too much elhenberry beer while singing songs. Suffice it to say, we just don’t know.
How odd it may also seem that we do not know even the gender of this famed person. Nor do we know the color of his (or her) eyes, the shape of his (or her) head, not even his (or her) favorite color. Some say this is because such details were unimportant in “those days” (as if they knew what the splak they were talking about!); others say Aminfarances was a neurotic overly worried about a rather large mole on the side of his (or her) left cheek and so forbid anyone to write any descriptor regarding his (or her) person even unto personal pronouns! The AIST venemously reject this as a bunch of undocumented tripe.
As the Tradition is sung, Aminfarances settled in a land ruled by "the Rhrhs." Once settled, he (or she) gathered a group of students – the Institute says ten, the Academy (below) eight. Of this original group, called the First, only one name survives the ages: Qib of Nifhar. Though the location of Nifhar is unknown, the location of the first school may be discerned by the name of the land’s rulers: Rhrhs. Although the language of today's Tradition is obviously Modern Standard Ghyllian, it has been handed down from Early Somewhat Irregular Ghyllian, and before that Way Early Inconcise Ghyllian, and also contains words and phrases that are decidedly non-Ghyllian. Suffice it to say, the "h" in "Rhrhs" is an accepted guttural stop-breath, and some suspect that the "r" labial-shifted over time to become the modern "l". If this is so, the Rhrhs may actually be some unknown natives called the Lulus, but many scholars are coming to believe that this, in fact, is the native name for the people we call today the Looliers.
With the formation of the first school, called an Ihk in the pre-Modern language of Aitch, Aminfarances also began a most daring venture: a Sdhim or fund-raising consortium. Never before seen, this consisted of small bands of individuals canvassing the countryside and knocking on doors asking for free money! The traveling was so exhaustive that the money-raisers took to baking cookies for their meals, and some even gave these away as incentive for getting the free money. Alas, some money-raisers (also called money-grabbers) neither baked cookies nor asked, but rather just took what they could from those foolish enough to open their doors at night; some say this is the true origin of the Wadjidir. The Sdhim came to an end when they were run out of one particularly powerful town by an angry mob.
Aminfarances then relocated with most of his (or her) students. This second location is also unknown, but the membership of the Institute believes it to have been in the Sejfeld area. This second school saw difficulties at the hands of its own: within one generation of the founding of the School of Aminfarances (before being renamed to the Institute), the community was nearly destroyed by an upheaval of differing opinions on such topics as the nature of seeing things rightly, the dilemma of whether a mechanic should serve a mercenary, and the ethereal "what is pure research?" (as well as some scuffle over limited quantities of liquor). The man at the center was Herve Spe’Lhex (a student brought in by Qib of Nifhar) and when the brewhaha was over, he left and took a full third of the student body. He quickly formed his own school which he called the Akadem Aeld Amnifaren in honor, so he said, of the "true teachings of Aminfarances". This "Ancient Academy of Aminfarances" (translated to Modern Standard Ghyllian) lasted until –54 EC. Aminfarances lived the next decades researching and engineering within the structure of his (or her) own school while the Academy flourished by using Aminfarances’ name to the best of their advantage. The Institute Tradition sings of this with open disdain, but the Academy Tradition sings of quiet approval by Aminfarances. Go figure.
It was some time after this upheaval that Aminfarances departed. The oral sagas and various written documents use differing words to describe this "departure" and none of them are precise. As members of the Institute do not openly discuss the Departure, we are left with linguistic puzzling and the time-honored MSU method of the Bureau of Forgotten Knowledge. As to what's out there: some say that he (or she) became a demi-god(dess); others that he (or she) died of a bizarre gardening accident; still a few state that he (or she) became one with the Cosmos. Take your pick.
As to why anyone should care about Aminfarances, the proof is in the pudding. Aminfarances founded the (now) Aminfarances Institute of Science and Technomancy, spawned the Ancient Academy of Aminfarances, brought together the two fields of observation and experimentation within a framework of organized synthesis and a hierarchy of tenure, and introduced to the world the concept of fundraising (though it did take a number of centuries to catch on). Though the roles of the AIST are not public knowledge, various breakthroughs (and a goodly number of explosions) have also been brought about; it has even been said in some circles that the creation of the mechanaut is an indirect result of AIST research.
How and Why
Most of our knowledge regarding Aminfarances comes mostly from the Tradition of the AIST. This Tradition may most certainly be tainted by prejudices and politics; it may even be (and is!) contradicted by other sources (including the parallel Tradition from the now-defunct Academy), yet it is the Tradition that is being handed down to the Ghyllians of this present age, and who am I to make waves against that!?!
As to the sources at our disposal, we have the A-Source (the Tradition from the AIST), the 3A-Source (the Tradition from the AAA) and the O-Source (materials from Other sources). The A-S has been sung (by their admission) for over seven centuries, while the 3A-S is a parallel Tradition stemming from the Akadem Aeld Amnifaren. O-S is comprised of various parchments, letters and tomes not related to Aminfarances but that refer to him (or her), such as the P-26 Letter dated to -364 EC and currently held in the Odlucian Library or the previously mentioned 2’Xzia Parchment at Bute University.
For the uninitiated, the modern written record is scribed in Modern Standard Ghyllian, a mode of writing in existence since only -90 EC and made extant since about -65 EC. The majority of records referring to Aminfarances are in various dialects of Early Somewhat Irregular Ghyllian and Way Early Inconcise Ghyllian, and various foreign languages such as Untch, Olkuull, Aitch, and Khem. Due to the studies of the occultologists and the part-time efforts of philanthropists such as Baron Claude Lloyd Albert Smallwood, previously uninterpreted parchments and letters have shed some light on our topic.
As a tangent to this linguistic plethora, it should be noted that the name of this enigmatic historical figure, Aminfarances, is also a Modern Standard Ghyllian transliteration of his (or her) actual name. The common pronunciation is "am-in-far-EN-sis", though the switch-mages of the south speak it "am-IN-far-en-sis". This modern rendering stems from the more ancient Aminforenses (Early) which seems to be based upon Amni’forense (Way Early). We also have Ahmnih’ Fharen (Oktuull) and Mnih Fhrns (Aitch). Though Aitch looks strange to us, it must be remembered that this dead language is void of all vowels save for "i".
--Nikos of Ant 12:59, 14 May 2005 (EDT)
I would like to point out that this article, complete as it is, omits the controversial Secondary A Source as part of the written record. I know that I always refer to the ASS when it comes to matters of Traditions in the Institute. --Dr. H. L. Ackroyd 11:53, 26 May 2005 (EDT)
- Ah, my good Doctor, how can I explain my lack of reference to the ASS? Perhaps it was the cup of cannabisium tea I was sipping at the time of my writing... whatever the case, my gratitude to you for bringing this to our collective attention. --Nikos of Ant 15:35, 27 May 2005 (EDT)
- In regards to the ASS, I believe that it is safe to say that we have only scratched the surface. --Dodaka 13:14, 29 May 2005 (EDT)
- I know I have pulled many an intriguing fact out of my ASS. --Dr. H. L. Ackroyd 15:42, 29 May 2005 (EDT)