Frivolous Lives: Being the Foremost Catalogue of Humanoid Kings by the Baccata Yewtarch, Volume I

This record draws upon the notes and accounts of the constituents of the Consortium of Phyta, hearsay from those who observed the futile lives of the humanoid kings, and personal anecdotes of the kings themselves, who in their struggles to remain relevant beyond their seedling-like lifespans managed to record some useful data.

As a matter of convention, I date the reigns of the humanoid kings according to their chronological distance from an event of paramount historical significance, namely the publication of these volumes. Accordingly, take my suffixal notation rendered after the parenthetical dates to signify their occurrence “prior [to] publication”.

The Scattered Age (??? – 100? PP)

During this period of humanoid prehistory the greater Girsh entities roamed Outer Qud and humanoid communities were largely isolated. Consortium records predate the end of the Scattered Age, however they are disparate in their assertions and ultimately unreliable; the period’s dearth of scholarship is likely a result of traditions derived from Hegelrut’s contempt of writing implements.

Abram I, (100? – 97? PP)

The first humanoid to successfully unite the farmsteads of western Qud was Abram, called the Sower. According to the lore of Abram’s descendants (of which the Consortium has chosen not to disabuse them), Abram’s call to arms rallied his kinsmen and under his sovereignty they drove the greater Girsh entities beneath the surface to the depths of Inner Qud at which they now roost. To follow were two or three decades of jubilation and prosperity that lasted until the day Abram, disillusioned by the growing tumult among his sons on the question of succession, famously beat his sword into a ploughshare and dissolved his kingdom.

No Reign, (97? – 96? PP)

The years that followed Abram’s dissolution were marked by fear, turmoil, and bloodshed. His sons fought fiercely for control of the farmsteads while water barons conspired against them and in some cases staked their own claims. At last, sometime between 970 and 960 PP, Abram acknowledged the futility of the prospect of peace without his providence and returned to the throne with his sword in hand.

Abram I, (96? – 954 PP)

Unfortunately for the reluctant king, his second reign proved to be much less auspicious than his first. The jealously among his sons never died, and what little record remains of the period indicates Abram spent the remaining years of his life in anguish over what his rulership had wreaked.

Cairo I, Edom, Emir, Own I (954 – 946 PP)

Having never publicly named an heir, Abram left his kingdom to the devices of his scheming sons. No consensus was reached among them, and for eight years the brothers warred until Cairo I was able to consolidate power and wrest his father’s kingdom from the grips of his brothers’ lifeless hands.

Cairo I (946 – 925 PP)

For all his disinterest in brotherly love, Cairo I was an able statesman and an effectual leader. During the course of his twenty-one year reign, he repelled the mountaineering barbarians who raided Qud from the north, established trade relations with Chavvah, the Tree of Life at Eyn Roj, and renovated two of southern Qud’s shimmering archways. He died of old age in 925 PP and bestowed the throne to his son Cairo II.

Cairo II (925 – 919 PP)

Cairo II proved to be nothing like his prodigious father. In the course of six short years he despoiled his grandfather’s kingdom. Ignoring the advice of his counselors, he insisted on levying harsh taxes on a young Barathrum and his disciple tinkers, and in short order the urshiib severed their ties with the Kingdom of Qud and left Cairo with no access to the artifacts he needed to protect his people. Furthermore, he was a notorious wastrel; he spent the entire year of 922 PP in a freshwater bath which he ordered his servants to continuously refill. Lastly and most egregiously, he incurred the disfavor of the Consortium by humiliating two of their dignitaries who were visitors of his court by commanding they pose still for several hours while he hosted his autumnal feast. Mercifully, he was assassinated in 919 PP.

No Reign (919 – 889 PP)

Following the disaster of Cairo II’s reign, Qud plunged into one of several dark periods of disjointed rule. From what little data of the period survives, we note that life proceeded much as it had in the days before Abram; moisture farmers sucked the land dry, landlords protected their serfs, and madcaps hunted their fortunes in the innumerable chrome corridors of Inner Qud.

K4K5, (889 – 873 PP)

Given the circumstances of Cairo II’s reign and the decades of tribulation that followed, we are able to form some understanding of why the humanoid denizens of Qud would rally behind a robot king. Little is known of K4K5’s life prior to his regal ascension, but it is believed to have emerged from the cavern called Siloam sometime during the dark age. In its humanoid subjects we suppose it found a purpose to its theretofore capricious life, and in it his subjects found a kind and affable ruler who unified farmsteads and mining settlements that had been estranged for thirty years. In the end, though, even K4K5 could not escape mortality, and in 873 PP it succumbed to a severe bout of flash rusting. Before it perished, however, it named its pupil, Mehmet of the Hills, as its heir. Mehmet’s first order of business upon taking the throne was to honor his predecessor with the commission of a monumental statue that still stands today in the northeastern jungles near the Mount of Olives.

Mehmet I (873 – 844 PP)

Possessed of the indefatigable patience of his mentor and a singular yearning to improve the lives of his subjects, Mehmet I successfully preserved order in Qud for nearly thirty years. He benefited from an auspicious lull in the reproductive activities of the Girsh entities, and he wasted none of the time fate had given him. From the years of 871 to 866 PPhe dispatched envoys into the great salt desert Moghra’yi. Hundreds of Qudians perished at the hands of the nomadic tribes, expired to heat exhaustion, or met fates worse still, until in 866 PP an unnamed emissary made contact with the dromad merchants. The dromads, who had believed the inhabitants of Qud too barbaric for trade and had dismissed the region for centuries, began at last to include Qud in their world-spanning treks (These visits stopped abruptly when Mehmet’s successor Uutut the Boorish slaughtered the first dromad caravan to arrive after the onset of his reign,but the precedent for trade relations was established nonetheless).

Domestically, Mehmet I set out to construct the first Library of Qud in the far southern jungles, but his efforts were cut short by the barbarian invasions of 550 PP. The peaceable king spent the remaining six years of his life repelling the incursions of the barbarians over the Mount of Olives, but he was not skilled in the arts of war, and in 844 PP the barbarian king Uutut sacked Morshershire, beheaded Mehmet, and seized the throne.

Uutut the Boorish (845 – 838 PP)

Following the regicide of Mehmet I, Qud inherited its first foreign-born ruler. It is the belief of some that nurture is the mother of nicety, and that endowed with the proper tutelage anyone may come to cultivate the self-possession of a rightful gentleman. In Uutut the Boorish we observe this hypothesis disproved. Upon settling in to his recently-razed capital of Morshershire, Uutut installed several local aristocrats to positions of power in his court. By year’s end, he had slaughtered them all. At every turn in the labyrinth of diplomacy in which Uutut had found himself, he chose instead to smash through the walls. This doctrine of carnage actually served Uutut well for several years; the blue-blooded water barons were terrified of him, the kings of his rival barbarian clans were satisfied with pillaging the outskirts of Qud, and even the Sons of Man kept to themselves in their stronghold at Oudin. For all the boorish king’s might, however, he was not immune to poisonous gas. It was with this knowledge that Wysterwort DCXLVIII was able to win the throne and inaugurate the first (and only) plant dynasty in Qud’s history.

Wysterwort DCXLVIII (838 – 833 PP)

Upon hearing the news of the king’s death, Uutut’s political adversaries cheered Wysterwort as a hero. They were soon disabused. Whereas Uutut was known to vanquish anyone who opposed him, Wysterwort did not bother to reckon that distinction. For those that did survive the plant-king’s fickle expulsions of lethal gas, they found themselves subjects to rather odd rules of law. For instance, in 837 PP, Wysterwort mandated that humanoid babes were to be nursed with wine instead of their mothers’ milk. In the following year, he commissioned a minstrel to author a musical play. The plant-king was so delighted with the result that he commanded all of his subjects to learn the various roles of the play and to alternate performing it nightly in their respective villages. For the five years of his reign, Wysterwort’s eccentricities were humored amidst a backdrop of famine, disease, and poisonous gas. In the winter of 833 PP and for reasons undocumented, the accomplished weed fell into a deep depression, and before the winter solstice had passed he strangled himself. He was survived by his heir Wysterwort DCXLIX.

Wysterwort averred that history would judge him kindly, and it has. While it is true that more people perished under his reign than any of his predecessors’ and that he accomplished very little of lasting historical value, one can only fathom how unpleasant it must be to live in such close proximity to so many humanoids for so long. Indeed, it is a wonder the poor king did not take his own life sooner.

Wysterwort DCXLIX (833 – 833 PP)

Wysterwort DCXLIX possessed no interest in ruling over a humanoid kingdom, and he abdicated mere hours after inheriting the throne.

No Reign (833 – 787 PP)

This sixty year period of anarchy was particularly arduous for the denizens of the rust caves. The wake of the Wysterwort dynasty had left no humanoid fit for rule, Qud was plagued for decades with torrential glass storms fed by the westerly winds out of Moghra’yi, and girshlings poured forth in enormous numbers from the lairs of their mothers. It wasn’t until Abram II, like his namesake before him, roused his countrymen and set out to rebuff the girshling throng in 787 PP that Qud was reunited as one. With the story of that ill-fated king does the second volume of my chronicle begin.