Events of Solitude
The Events of Solitude are perhaps the greatest media stunt in the life of Ghyll, certainly in recent history. They have thousands of devout believers proclaiming that Ghyll ended on the day prophesied, and everything thereafter is in fact just a mass hallucination. Personally, this scholar believes that everything before them was just an illusion, so he doesn’t really see the difference.
The tale of the Events of Solitude begins, as with many stories, with the poems of Arariax. Or if you'd rather, they begin with the thoughts of an idiot, another way a lot of stories begin. Either way, the tale is the same and starts around -171 EC. A scholar by the name of Rattallan, known far and wide for his complete and total lack of sense, declared that he had combined all of the works of the great poet into one massive manuscript which foretold the end of the world on the 12th of Jole, -100 EC (a date now synonymous with the Day of Champions). On that day, everything would go silent for three nights, after which the world would stop, orthogonalities would separate, dead gods would awake and generally be annoyed at those living upon them, and random mayhem would occur. Now, crackpots come out every once in a while declaring the end of the world, so the populace ignored him. His prediction quickly forgotten, the world moved on. Rattallan himself also moved on, declaring in two months that he had definite proof that Aelfants were going to take over the world in 10 EC. His earlier prediction forgotten, the world again moved on.
Re-emerging into Public Consciousness
The prophecy of the foolish scholar lay forgotten until -101 EC. A poor graduate student at Bute University, forced to catalog the manuscripts his professor had collected in his travels, came across the Prediction of Rattallan, combined with the work done to prove it. The poor student burst out laughing at the so-called proof, which consisted of picking out a word at random from every poem of Arariax, and several from Artiax, the much less gifted poet often confused with Arariax (much to his joy). Rattallan had assembled these into a complete mishmash of words out of which he had somehow divined his prophecy.
Given that there were several copies (including one that appeared to have been used as insulation) the student procured a copy, took it to the University Pub, and proceeded to share a good laugh with his friends at the expense of the long dead scholar. They left the copy as payment for their drinks after realizing they had no money. The documents changed hands several times that night, eventually ending up in the pouch of an Iganeftan noble who was riding through. Wondering how it had gotten there, he read it once he got home and immediately panicked. Since the methods of Rattallan were as inscrutable of those of any other scholar, he gave it due respect as the immutable truth.
Panicking further, he ran to the Lord proclaiming his find. The Lord, rather grumpy at being awoken in the middle of the night, refused to listen. Unfazed, the noble immediately ran to the street corner where in the general populace of Ghyll he found a more receptive audience. Word spread quickly, and if not many believed, almost all at least heard. Certainly, Ghyllians had been through this kind of thing before, and many of them were not about to worry until they had some proof. Unfortunately, they got it.
The Events Themselves
Three days before the 12th of Jole, -101 EC, Ghyll suddenly went silent. Nobody, it seemed, could hear anything. The only places unaffected were those that rarely, if ever, saw visitors and were thus isolated from the rest of Ghyll at large. Of course, these places could not inform others of their auditory status. A few Ghyllians were immune to the effect, but due to the fact that the ones affected couldn’t hear them, it really didn’t matter.
Riots proceeded, mayhem happened, and religious orders found themselves full of applicants. This generally destructive state of affairs continued until about three hours before the midnight on the 11th, just as Perky began to set. Suddenly, all of Ghyll could hear again. (Well, not all. Those that couldn’t hear before still couldn’t hear, but they never really had understood what all the fuss was about anyway. A few others never regained their hearing, but that’s life.) The populace unanimously shrugged and went off to enjoy their day.
What Really Happened
Everything related above is true. However, there are a couple of facts missing. First of all, how did word of the imminent destruction permeate the world so quickly and thoroughly? It has been shown that unofficial Bindlet Ball teams (many years before the formation of the League), wishing to create a populace more attached to the sport, carefully orchestrated all of the happenings. Regularly travelling long distances to reach remote fields, it gave them the perfect opportunity to cause all of Ghyll to, at least, hear the predictions. But why did everyone lose their hearing? The answer to this question is hotly debated and no definitive conclusion has been reached. The only thing everyone seems sure of is that it is the Bindlet Ball teams' fault.
Regardless, the outcome was a complete and utter success. Bindlet Ball became even more popular then it was and no one was willing to do anything to the teams needed to play the game. Several smaller stunts have since been pulled by various other organizations, and events of this type are the subject of one of my favorite lectures: "Why Graduate Students Shouldn’t Steal From Their Professors". An excellent moral, don’t you agree?
--Kalen Firth 18:29, 17 Jun 2005 (EDT)