Two years ago, Lucy was asked to write an introduction for a friend’s book. The night before the deadline, this introduction arrived via post at the offices of Gugli Balladadda, historian and researcher…
When my colleague Gugli Balladadda got in touch and asked me to write the introduction to his book, my first reaction was “really? Me?” Gugli and I go way back. We studied at Knowledge Institute together, where I got my certification in evocation with a secondary specialization in illusory work. Gugli was always different. Gugli spent hours in the underground vault of the library, poring over history texts, talking interminably about all the fantastic sights to see across the Hegemony. Blah blah blah. I was doing cool magic.
But we graduated, and went our separate ways – and Gugli walked the walk. Gugli Balladadda is one of the best-traveled, most well-informed researchers of our day. And now Gugli is generously, munificently inviting us to share in his research in a truly helpful way.
I read the draft of this manuscript, and offered my thoughts. Too many words, I said. I still think it’s too long. A masterpiece, but too long. The Hegemony’s pretty simple, to be honest. Gugli is a master of prose and has much wisdom to share, but let me go ahead and short-circuit this book a little by telling you what Gugli is going to share.
Geographically, the Hegemony spans a wide range of land. On its north, it is bordered by the Serpent Mountains and the North Sea. To the south, several cities sit on the warm Bridger Sea. The western frontier-lands are wilderness, with plain and forest alike; the eastern border rubs up against the ancient forests of Adanac. The Hegemony, massive as it is, encompasses two major river systems: the Allappattas River and the Uldurr River. The Uldurr Delta is a rich, fertile land; the Allappattas is a major north-south trade artery.
We all know the Hegemony was founded 376 years ago by Gahaladon the Great. Gugli will refer to the classic work “Lineage of Vine and Leaf,” by the esteemed Junnuppus Mord to describe what the Hegemony owes to the ancient tree-kingdoms of Adanac in the east, and he is right to do so. The first three cities in the Hegemony were Elfhame (later renamed Gahaladon, after the founder), Elfstone Rush, and Eldar’s Mount. They formed the Last Triumvirate in the year 29 BF (Before the Founding), and then performed a series of fantastic deeds: saving the city of Sohorrisk from a demonic corsair army, seducing and undermining the leadership of Clearspring, and booting yet more demonic corsairs out of the ruins of the city of Beechloft. There’s a little more to it than that, but that’s pretty much the highlights.
About 25 years pass. The city of Kaendell offers to join this fledgling Hegemony, which at that time was an alliance of the aforementioned cities. The city of Lone Tower fell to the Hegemony as well, after a period of strife with the mountain orcs and northern barbarians. Last of all, the city of Dwarroway, led by the twin sisters Ydia and Noll Terlethian, surrendered to the inevitable and joined the Hegemony. With the addition of Dwarroway, we became the Hegemony of the Nine Stars, and the Hegemony was considered complete.
We are governed, of course, by the High Council, an assemblage of representatives, one per city. Representatives serve twenty-year terms, in deference to the elven lifespan.
Now, this is all foofaraw; necessary background to understand Gugli’s book. I have done my part in providing the background, and some establishment of Gugli’s impeccable qualifications. Leave it to Gugli to give you the juicy details: the dangerous shortcut from Lone Tower to Kaendell, the best dive bar in Gahaladon (it’s not the one you think!), what time of year to visit Beechloft (spoiler alert: it’s nice all the time). More importantly, Gugli will provide you the necessary political context to understand why our world is the way it is. This was his gift at the Knowledge Institute, and it is his gift now. You lucky bitches get to read this book. Take that seriously.
Independent Research Wizard
C.M. in Evocation
S.S. in Illusory Work