Ponce (pronounced poansee) Gardening is a rather obtuse hobby as it is neither a true form of gardening nor does it revolve around the nonexistent "ponce." Rather, Ponce Gardening is an activity of gathering thingies from the sea. The term "ponce" is a degenerative of the additive Poen and Sea. Where is the Poen Sea, you ask? In the same spot as the Dagger Seas. You see, the Poen is another name of the Dagger, one used almost exclusively by the peoples of Trighonomehntri (more on this below).
Though Ponce Gardening is most commonly known as a study of Speedish Chefery, this "knowledge" is one found mainly amongst those of the larger towns and cities; the folk of the numerous townships, hamlets, villages, and weinerschnitzles either have never heard of Ponce Gardening or think of it as something of which dirt farmers partake (or the rich & famous). It is the people of Iganefta and Iganefta-on-the-Sea who have the most knowledge and practice of it, indeed, in these two urbanesque areas the fame of the Iganefta Speedish Institute is most highly regarded. And it is common knowledge that the arte of Speedish Chefery is conveyed through years of rigorous study and practice involving such things as Archaic Languages, Half-Remembered Tables, Oft-Forgotten Measures and, of course, Ponce Gardening.
Oh Poen Mar, mi Poen Sea, --vhere nicht your lone tee --dist Stiffle bee great --but th' wavens be mightee --th' wallens vere great --but th' wavens be angree
--Shepenor song about a tidal wave off the Poen Sea, circa -290 EC
Though the ancient history of the Daggers is fraught with battle, commerce and surfing, its recent history is much less entertaining. "Recent History" is said to begin in the decades which saw the mainland entwined in the huffing and puffing which led to the Conflict That Is Not Happening (reckoned to have been between -450 EC and -275 EC depending on which historian you ask). During this time, life along the coasts experienced a much-enjoyed sigh of relief in relation to what was happening in places such as Folktown.
To know the history of Ponce Gardening one must know the history of the hamlets No, Gno, and Kno. Though the time of the settling of these tiny habitations is unknown, their placement is known (though not much cared about by most folks but for the residents themselves). These three villages lie some thirteen leles north of Shepenor (following the coastline) and sit midway along the tooth that bites into the Tertius and Segundus. Far from the northern side, the hamlets huddle on the southern edge of the tooth and dig deep into the watery silt of the Tertius.
These three hamlets are so close in distance from each other that long ago they came to be ruled by one and the same: the Contessi l’Kyrch. The first Contessi l’Kyrch was the woman named Quizzette and she not only united these three villages and created a unified defense against such threats as the Empire of the Guys who Set Out to Explore Exotic Places but generally just Kill and Enslave Everybody when They get There, but she also unified the spiritual belief of all the inhabitants. The Faith of the Contessi, and consequently of the People. is the Faith of Rithmatetics, and the Faith is led by the Contessi whose very title means "the one who counts." In uniting these three habitations, a later Contessi came to call her domain Trighonomehntritaticianomen. Over time this name, which means something like "the three places with many good things to count", was shortened to simply Trighonomehntri.
It was during the time of Contessi l’Kyrch Wangeline in roughly -331 EC (if the oral tradition of Trighonomehntri is to be trusted) that the people began collecting, counting, and sorting thingies from the sea. Mind you, people here and people there had been doing this (more than likely) for eons, but what this leader accomplished was something far greater than creating a structured hobby – she formed a community event with numerological consequence!
The Faith of Rithmatetics is based on numbers and on the practice of numbers. They teach that insanity is based on numberlessness and that pinketites and perkofiles are a result of not being able to count beyond the number two. Obviously with their own sanity at stake, the peoples of Trighonomehntri took to collecting thingies and sharing them and dividing them and (some) even stealing them! This stealing caused a great moral confusion among the faithful until Contessi Omara explained the usefulness of "forced sharing" and the foolishness of "not protecting your most holy things." Over time, this religious practice became known as Gardening the Poen Sea and this became corrupted into the Ponce Gardening we know today, but it did take time, as well as the jealousy of a township.
In -260 EC, Thungerbarg saw the coming of those from Iganefta. Without going into the story of the creation of Iganefta-on-the-Sea, we must say that by -247 EC Poen Sea Gardening was taking place there. We must also say that within 30 years the men and women who had learned to "garden the Poen Sea" from the Rithmateticites up north had ceased to use the name Poen as the name of the sea and had begun using the word Ponce as a pejorative.
Dager Martie ser Poen Sea; gathring tingees by th’ wavens ist such goot tresure. Nort issen countettes of mind crazee; we justly see Poen nicht but Dager iyes – solo let us namen true title – Dager Sea: mit Martie aund Firstus, Sekondus, Tirdus
--Thungerbarg proclamation entitling the nearby Sea as the "Dagger", circa -232 EC
Ponce Gardening is all about gathering, gathering thingies, gathering thingies that come from out of the sea. Ponce Gardening is all about numbers, collections, additions, multiplications, subtractions and divisions, it is all about the rithmatic. It all occurs along and within the Gulf and the Daggers which flow into it. Because of the mechanaut-powered ironclads which prowl the waters looking for fish, minerals and crawlies, most practitioners of Ponce Gardening travel to the out-of-the-way places along the coast. Because of the difficulty of such ventures, many ponce gardeners have created their own sea fairs, though none admit of cavorting with darkshipmen. Though the ecology of the waters, once home to a multitude of sea spiders, sea cucumbers, and sea saws, has been collapsing for the last hundred years or so, there still remain some gems of the sea. It is the vocation of the Ponce Gardener to find these gems, to collect them, bring them home and make mathematical arrangments for all to enjoy. Yes, the Ponce Gardener is yet one more cause to the degradation of the original ecosystem of the Daggers, but this here Scholar says: out with the old, in with the new!
--Nikos of Ant 23:47, 8 Sep 2005 (EDT)