The dawn of time
- May 27th - The bone white weasel god was born from the ice that rimed the eyes of the dead giant Ymir. The weasel god woke and found itself in the company of the hare god, which was born of Ymir’s eyebrows, and the jellyfish god, born of the frozen liquid in the giant’s eye. It killed and ate the hare god, who was born again immediately, but avoided the jellyfish god, because it did not look good to eat.
One hundred fifty million years ago
- Date unknown - The Archaeopteryx kingdom flourished.
Forty-eight million years ago
- February 14th, 47,997,986 BCE - The ancient mammal known as the “walking whale” swam in the salty seas and thought “I think I’m done with all that land drama. Life is too short.” The results of this moment of soul-searching would be far-reaching indeed.
Eleven million year ago
- November 13th, 10,997,987 BCE - A medium-sized gray rock in the Hidden Almanac Test Garden was formed.
Thirty-five thousand years ago
- April 30th, 32,986 BCE - An unknown painter drew the Bull of St. Ygnacio, a cave painting located five miles to the east and nearly a quarter mile straight down from the monastery of Saint Ygnacio. The bull is life-size, nearly six feet long, rendered in charcoal and yellow clay. The painter left her handprint behind on the wall, perhaps as a signature.
- August 29th - The city walls fell and the raiders from the south invaded the city. There was only one city at the time, and it had no name. The raiders did not know what to do once they were inside. They went from door to door, looking at the inhabitants, and then finally left again, puzzled why anyone would choose to live so close together.
Eleven thousand years ago
- November 6th, 8987 BCE - According to the Reverend Allen Penstemon this was the date the world was created. He based his claims on numerology derived from the “Book of Tubalcaine,” an incomplete manuscript long believed to have been dictated by fallen angels.
Ten thousand years ago
- January 25th - The legends of the Thranefolk say the great cow Marda licked the lands of earth free of the ice that encased it.
- January 29th - According to the legends of the Thranefolk that the great cow Marda, having coughed up the land and the sea five days earlier, died of a terrible infection of the udders.
Seven thousand years ago
- November 4th, 4987 BCE - The world was saved by a hedgehog and the ghost of a bird. Further details are unknown.
Several thousand years ago
- February 19th - The crickets unionized and went on strike. Scabs were brought in, but there were complaints of substandard blinking, and so management was forced to yield to their demands.
- May 25th - A nameless faith met its end. As we do not know how it was pronounced, and the names were mostly blotted out by the victors, it is referred to by scholars as the Heretical Chitinate.
- February 19th - A patch of moss in a mountain near the southern edge of the Glass Wastes grew into a startling likeness of a young woman who would be born centuries later in the ancient city of Redoubt.
As of yet, nothing important has happened in the 1st century.
As of yet, nothing important has happened in the 2nd century.
- Date unknown - Saint Andronicus was martyred during the lion persecutions
- Date unknown - Saint Bartholomew of Wide was martyred
- Date unknown - Legend has it that Saint Museline led mice out of the grain stores in her native highlands, and led them into the stores of her clan’s enemies. It is generally agreed that this was not terribly saintly.
- Date unknown - Warlord Severn was confronted by an omen of his death in the shape of a pelican holding a dead snake. The pelican circled Severn’s tent three times, then gulped the snake down. The serpent was the totemic beast of Severn’s tribe and the pelican a sacred symbol of the young Typhonian faith. Severn immediately ordered all Typhonians put to the sword and lived to a ripe old age. Death omens are notoriously unreliable.
- December 16th - A total eclipse terrified the peasantry. While the total eclipse only lasted some seven minutes, there was a lengthy run-up, during which time the priests of the island of Stonybirth sacrificed a goat, six chickens, several virgins, and finally the emperor.
- ~ December 30th - Unfortunately for the priests, the eclipse was followed two weeks later by a comet, and the population of Stonybirth was not in the mood for any more shenanigans. The priests were duly sacrificed, and Stonybirth remained a pleasant place to live for several hundred more years, after which a volcano sank it into the sea.
- November 13th - An oak tree lost a partially rotted limb. This is only significant in that the resulting scar in the bark created a perfect street map of the future city of Troyzantium, circa 1886, with the exposed heartwood forming the outline of the coast. This persisted for some weeks, until beetles got in. Attempts to find significance in this have largely failed. Sometimes strange things just happen.
- Date unknown - Saint Molerus stood on street corners advertising salvation, and shouting at passers-by. Eventually they killed him. It was generally agreed that this was objectively wrong, it was much more peaceful in town after that.
- Date unknown - A battle was very nearly fought that would have changed the entire face of the continent, rearranging political borders and sweeping out a tribe that had dominated for centuries. Unfortunately, one side rather overdid it the night before and slept late with a headache. The other side stood around the battlefield for an hour before getting bored and wandering off. Historians speculate that, had the battle actually been fought, we would all speak a different language and some of us would never have been born. History does these things occasionally, and the important thing is not to become too attached to it.
- June 13th - A naturalist, travel writer and historian—the three professions were very similar in that era—known to scholars as “N” published a volume called “On the Perils of the Sea.” Nothing is known of N’s identity, and their writings are known primarily as references in the works of other writers. Large sections of “On the Perils of the Sea” were reproduced in writings about sea monsters, however, and so we know that they described creatures “being like unto colorful birds, beaked and winged, which fly through the water and are brought forth by light.” It is unknown what N was referring to, although a compelling case has been put forward for some type of squid or cuttlefish.
- Dates unknown - the person that Saint Carmine is based on lives, although few details are known about her life.
- Date unknown - Saint Celadon lives, creating miraculous scenes on the sides of serving vessels, highly sought after in the early Church.
- Date unknown - Saint Ranulf lives, slaughtering pagans.
- January 24th - A young milkmaid was tending to her cows when the bastard son of the Emperor of the West, injured & fleeing from a failed coup attempt, stumbled into her cow byre. He was extremely rude and so she handed him over to the first party of armed men who came by looking for a fugitive. He was executed on the spot.
- February 11th - The birthday of Constabulus, a physician and translator who traveled extensively between the Mountain Kingdom and what would become modern-day Troyzantium. He brought texts between the two regions, and translated them into the languages used on either end. Many early texts are believed to have survived because of Constabulus’s translations. He worked primarily with medical texts, but also translated several works of philosophy and several dozen light comic plays, which were apparently a special fondness of his.
- September 8th - A volcano erupted several hundred miles from modern-day Troyzantium, burying the city of Yaddish in thousands of tons of burning ash. There were no survivors. However, the preserved condition of Yaddish had earned a place as one of the great archaeological sites of the ancient world.
- March 5th - It is the birthday of Her Holiness, the Lioness Pope. The first female pope, she served for only a short time before being deposed in a bloody coup.
- Date unknown - St. Shan the Heretic wrote extensively criticizing Church doctrine, which was a dangerous thing to do.
- May 1st - Astronomer al-Rahman observed “a small cloud of surpassing brightness in the western sky.” This is believed to be the first recorded observation of a nebula, in this case the Sloth Nebula. Al-Rahman believed that the cloud was most likely a star cluster, and lamented “the dreadful impurity of the glass through which I must observe heaven, which introduces all manner of errors into my view.” It was not until 1658 that the Sloth Nebula was finally identified as a nebula, as part of Hera Huggin’s “Survey Astrologica.”
- Date unknown - Torix Herne the druid, chief religious leader of the People of the West, ran away to become a traveling circus druid.
- June 18th - The Writhing Prophet was born. He was an unpleasant fellow. He’s dead now too. We’re all kind of grateful for that, not that you wish people dead, but I think it’s okay to wish them to be historical.
- January 11th - General Septus made his final push against the People of the West, led by the druid Torix Herne.
- January 13th - General Septus defeated the People of the West and ascended to the Firefly Throne.
- January 20th - The druid Torix Herne escaped from his prison in the city, with the aid of a tiger he had befriended some years earlier while working as a traveling circus druid.
- January 1st - It was on this day that the Writhing Prophet and his followers (known as “Writhers” from their habit of falling down and gyrating horizontally during sermons) committed mass suicide upon the Cliff of Ascension. “Looked like lemmings,” said one spectator. “Well, if lemmings fell down and twitched a lot, I mean. Maybe not lemmings. Does anything sort of roll off cliffs?” He then spat and added “Good riddance. Shameful, the sorts of things they were preaching. Would turn your ear hairs white to hear it.”
- Date unknown - Heronius, a marauding warlord of the eleventh century, famed for the unspeakable atrocities committed upon his foes, had a vision of the Lord in the form of a flaming yo-yo, renounced his evil ways, and dedicated himself and his men to good works. He is later canonized.
- Date unknown - A portrait of a local nobleman’s daughter is painted, which found its way into the attic of a nearby convent. It is believed that this portrait is the entire basis for the belief in St. Clytie.
- April 1st - Maria the Anchorite broke from her cell in the walls of the Monastery of Saint Lars. It is known in some circles as the Emergence of St. Maria, but as she was never canonized and renounced her faith repeatedly, she is not granted an official feast day.
- December 6th - On this day in the eleventh century, absolutely nothing of interest happened. Even several people being horribly murdered later reported their demises as “lackluster” and “not really worth getting out of bed.”
- July 18th - Pope Samantha was crowned supreme pontiff. It lasted four days before she quit, saying--one quotes--“bugger this for a game of bishops.” As 1044 was a supremely troubled time, her tenure was one of the longest of the day, massively exceeding Pope Candlestick, which was Pope for only five minutes before it occurred to someone that the pontiff was made of decorative wrought iron.
- March 18th - Pope Samantha briefly attained the papacy, following in the metaphorical footsteps of the Lioness Pope. She ruled for only five years before choking to death on a fishbone. Her reign is otherwise unremarkable, being largely concerned with sorting out tariff disputes that are no longer of much interest to anyone.
- Date unknown - Saint Fenester lives. He was poacher who later converted, renounced his evil ways, and became a bishop of the Church.
- Date unknown - St. Amelia was a nun who held off an assault by pagans by stabbing them with knitting needles. Her body count was considered extraordinary for a ninety-year-old woman, and she was memorialized as a minor warrior goddess.
- Date unknown - The island of Stonybirth sank into the sea. Having been a volcanic island, the top simply blew off and water rushed into the resulting crater, forming a peculiar basalt-edged lagoon. The resulting cloud of steam could be seen from the mainland. The inhabitants had plenty of warning and had mostly moved away, except for that one guy, because there’s always one.
- Date unknown - The "New House" was initially built.
- Date unknown - The island kingdom of Ortan was given to the Holy Troyzantine Empire as part of a cease-fire. Ortan was not terribly pleased by this.
- August 13th - The outpost of Crowdown Fell was established. At the time, this remote village marked the outermost point in the empire. It had very little strategic importance and is surrounded by trees on one side and moor covered hills on the other. Troops were stationed there more to prove a point than to do anything in particular. Today Crowdown Fell is a nature reserve, but a watchtower is maintained there, just in case.
- Date unknown - The Monastery of Saint Crocuta sustained a barbarian assault.
- December 18th - The town of Lowing's Ford was finally lost to the waters of Lake Jordania. The reasons for the flooding could ultimately be traced to a group of extremely efficient beaver dams. Unfortunately, by the time this was discovered the beaver ponds had eroded a great deal of hillside that would otherwise have protected the town. Heavy rains finished the process.
- July 11th - It was on this day that a group of the small birds that walk around inside of crocodile mouths formed the Cult of the World Crocodile. The feathered priests preached that an era of plenty was upon us and the Great Maw would never close again. They were mostly eaten by a single confused crocodile, who is quoted as saying, "They always got out of the way before. I feel terrible about this."
- Date unknown - A document entitled “The Trials of Saint Xavier" was written, providing the only knowledge of Saint Xavier Bacchus. Scholars have suggested that it is nothing more than hagiographic fan fiction and that St. Xavier never existed.
- Date unknown - Calendar reformation led to dates switching.
- January 27th - Philosopher Pierre Loghain proposed what is known as the Heresy of Satanic Odds. This philosophy suggests that the inevitable victory of good over evil is, in fact, merely propaganda from the side of angels, and is not actually written in stone.
- February 20th - Political forces battling over appointment of the head abbot of the Abbey of the Mountain Kingdom turned to bloodshed. Fall-out from this political upheaval was wide-reaching and eventually led, in a roundabout fashion, to several assassinations, the reign of the Librarian Prince, and the invention of grape-flavored licorice.
- Date unknown - Saint Offren was martyred by an over-zealous Inquisition. Her final words are reputed to be “I don’t care if you burn me alive, but let me get some coffee in me first.”
- July 30th - The so-called “New House” burned to the ground. The New House was built in the 12th century and was older than any other building standing in the city. It was lovingly reconstructed by the Merchant’s Guild and has been renovated approximately once a century since. It features eleven ballrooms and is notable as the first building in the city receive indoor plumbing. The 15th century fire is believed to have been set by very small rampaging barbarians who got into the rain gutters.
- December 2nd - The natural philosopher Authaire published his treatise “On the Movement of Spheres, Squares, and Sheep,” which revolutionized mathematics. It is considered one of the seminal texts of modern physics. Authaire, in a shocking twist, was acknowledged as a genius in his lifetime and representatives of the Church suggested that he be given money and time to work on what they considered “very exciting ideas about the universe.”
- August 13th - Natural philosopher Authaire, benefiting from a large grant by the Church, produced his second great treatise “On the Volumes of Liquids, Solids, and Selected Cheeses.” This set in place a system of standardized measurements that replaced the old pinch-peck-and-hogshead system, which were rapidly adopted by the merchant class within the city.
- May 19th - The annual Parade of the Jesters was founded by Crumplestein the Magnificent. A line of jesters juggles and pratfalls their way across the city, although a decline in the number of jesters over the centuries has made this an increasingly short parade. Worshippers of Smilegod occasionally come out to assist, because otherwise it would just be sad.
- April 25th - Crumplestein the Magnificent, possibly the most famous jester in history, choked to death on a juggling ball during a performance. Sadly it was assumed that he was merely putting on a particularly vivid act, and so he passed away while everyone was still laughing politely. An observer said afterwards “Very few jesters are ever funny, so we didn’t really notice any difference. I feel a bit guilty about that.” Crumplestein was given an elaborate and brightly colored tomb, although the centuries have weathered it to a more somber and fitting gray.
- March 14th - An Ice Orchid was presented to the queen by one of her court magicians, claiming that he had grown it from the snows of the highest mountaintops. This made him extremely popular for several days, until someone figured out that it was a glass rose and all he was doing was keeping it chilled. While the glasswork was quite extraordinary, the magician was exiled in disgrace, and the queen’s interest turned to other novelties.
- January 8th - The Shepherd Pope ascended to the papacy following the untimely, and some said suspicious, death of his predecessor the Lobster Pope. His reign would be long and auspicious, and involve only a few heresy trials. His first act was to pardon the scientist Argo Fairweather, and release him from the house arrest under which he had been placed some years before.
- February 19th - The Shepherd Pope ordered the sewers of the sacred city drained and re-worked, a public works project that would consume much of his time in office. Though extraordinarily costly, the sewers were nearing capacity and in danger of overflowing into the water supply. It is believed by historians that if he had not taken such measures, the city would have become unlivable within the century.
- February 14th - The Hysterical Dancing Epidemic hit the town of Vlogstok. It had been going on for some weeks, as sufferers tangoed exhaustedly between villages, but Vlogstok was the largest town to be affected. The guard was called out and many dancers were dragged away in chains, for which they expressed gratitude. When the guard itself began to be infected with the urge to boogie, they turned their cudgels on themselves. It would ultimately take nearly five days before the dancing stopped.
- April 13th - The prince of the tiny city-state of Borogrovia refused to choose between two brides from warring powers. He instead married a turnip. He claimed that the turnip was named Beatrice and that they had been carrying on a clandestine affair for over a year. This was initially hailed as an extraordinary solution to the problem of Borogravia’s neutrality, but then the families backing each of the brides ceased their hostility to one another and settled down to wipe Borogrovia off the map. They succeeded, and the prince was thrown from the battlements. The turnip retired to a convent and took the veil.
- February 21st - The Shepherd Pope issued guidelines for acceptable flagellant orders, which included, among other things, the maximum size of whips, floggers, chains, and other devices that could be used by penitents. It also put limits on the use of irritating and blistering agents and outlawed the practice of scalding. Many hailed this as a great humanitarian act, but the heads of several flagellant orders disagreed.
- January 28th - The first candied orange peels were introduced in Troyzantium. Sweet oranges had only recently been acquired by traders, and they were sufficiently expensive that cooks did not want to waste any of the rare fruit. Candying the orange peel in honey allowed for greater use, and preserved them as well. Candied orange peels found their way onto plates farther inland much sooner than the rest of the orange, which was more likely to spoil during shipping away from the port.
- Date unknown - Amelia, a nun who held off an assault by pagans by stabbing them with knitting needles in the twelfth century, was upgraded from a minor warrior goddess to a saint.
- Date unknown - Saint Albrecht devoted his life to producing an extraordinary illustrated “Lives of the Saints.” He lived long enough to see it printed and a copy given the Pope, then died peacefully at the age of 88.
- January 22nd - The scientist Argo Fairweather passed away. His final monograph, “On the Species And Habits of Moon-Rabbits” was finished and published by his daughter. The home where he was kept under house arrest by the Lobster Pope for many years has been turned into a museum. It is open between the hours of noon and four, or by appointment.
- March 28th - The Madonna of Leaves was seen. She appeared in the garden of a small monastery, saying nothing, and looked upon the gardener there. He bowed his head, and when he looked up again, she had vanished. Where she stood, he found a patch of feverfew that had not been there before. Feverfew is an herb that repels fleas, and it is fleas that carry certain types of plague. The gardener, whose name is not recorded, nursed the plants through the summer and scattered the leaves around the beds of his brother monks. When the plague came that fall, the monastery was spared. Because of this, they were able to bring the harvest in, for both the monastery and nearby farms, and the survivors of the plague had food to survive the winter.
- July 14th - The Red Lane Shipping Company was founded by the privateer Todd “Fig” Mahoney. Fig said that he had been engaging in legal piracy for years, but he was getting too old for the sea. “Besides,” he wrote, “the greatest pirates are all behind desks.” The Red Lane Shipping Company has changed names multiple times, been responsible for an uncounted number of deaths and an extraordinary degree of human suffering. They also sponsor the annual Ship Shape Brownie Baking Contest. So there’s that.
- May 16th - The keystone on the Cathedral of St. Henry, in the town of Wunter, was laid on this day. This cathedral suffered a great deal of damage over the course of various wars, as Wunter is regrettably strategically located, and eventually it collapsed, leaving only the keystone, rubble, and a great deal of pointy stained glass.
- May 26th - The House of Blatt set fire to the House of Sworn, for which the House of Sworn retaliated by diverting a river into the basement of the House of Blatt. Loss of life was minimal but property damage was immense, culminating in a pitched battle between the two Dowagers, who slapped one another with fans until they were both nearly unconscious.
- October 2nd - Prince Sergei III was attacked by outlaws and fled to the castle controlled by the Earl of Oregano, setting off the Spice Wars.
- October 9th - The Battle of Fennel, the first battle of the Spice Wars, was fought in a farmer’s field near Troyzantine. Both sides had predicted victory and both retreated in disarray at the unexpected strength of the enemy.
- October 25th - Prince Sergei III's forces were attacked at dawn by troops from Troyzantium, in the second major battle of the Spice Wars. This battle was later known as "The First Great Miscalculation" or simply "The Battle of Fieldstone."
- November 8th - The third major battle of the Spice Wars was fought. The Troyzantine forces, already stretched thin, were ambushed by Prince Sergei III’s forces at the field of Lantern Run. Historians place the failure of intelligence on the fact that the pigeons used to carry messages from the front were eaten by a Great Gray Owl.
- November 11th - The Spice Wars were called on account of weather, at least until the following spring. The heavy snowfall that had ended the Battle of Lantern Run did not stop for many days. Troyzantine forces retreated to their fortified city-state, while Prince Sergei III was forced to find a place for his army to spend the winter. They eventually settled on the hunting property of the Lord Olmsbury, near the village of Hearthrung.
- December 13th - The Autumn River froze over. Residents of the city took sleds and sleighs onto it and the papers lauded it as a “winter miracle” until the wolves arrived. They had used the river as a highway to reach the heart of the city and terrorized residents for some weeks. Rumors abound that feral dog packs in the less savory parts of the city are actually led by the descendants of those wolves.
- January 24th - Prince Sergei III watched the ice begin to break up on the river that ran through his army’s wintering ground. In a letter home, he noted the event, and said “Spring—and battle—will soon be upon us again. I fear that many fewer of us will live to watch the ice return.”
- February 12th - Prince Sergei III moved his troops out of their winter quarters and made a surprise attack upon the Trozantine forces. This came to be known as the Midnight Attack, and it touched off the second act in the Spice Wars.
- April 2nd - The Spice Wars swung in favor of Prince Sergei III, who employed a group of river pirates to blockade the great Troyzantine River. Goods coming downstream and feeding the city were turned back, resulting in a effective state of siege. Shortages began almost at once, and the leaders of Troyzantium began petitioning naval powers to come to their aid.
- April 21st - At the Battle of Chervil Prince Sergei III singlehandedly slew one of the enemy generals, a feat widely attributed to his skills on the field of battle. The prince’s diary reports a slightly different tale. “In truth, I am almost ashamed to have done it,” he writes, “for both of us left the field of battle to answer the call of nature, and having chosen the same tree for this purpose, there was some awkwardness, as both of us were determined to wait until the other had finished to pick up our swords, lest our honor be tarnished beyond repair. It was a fair fight and I cannot regret it, but some part of me thinks it shameful to have slain a man at such close quarters at such a time, and perhaps it would have been better to let him rejoin his countrymen instead.” The Battle of Chervil is widely considered to be one of the most successful battles for Prince Sergei’s forces, and they made great gains toward Troyzantium as a result.
- April 25th - Following the Battle of Chervil, that Prince Sergei III’s army advanced on Troyzantium, only halting when they reached the wetlands surrounding the north side of the delta.
- June 18th - Prince Sergei III was captured by the Troyzantine forces following the defection of one of his closest advisors. The prince was taken in chains to the river, still under blockade, and arrangements made to transport him to Troyzantium.
- June 25th - Prince Sergei III made a daring single-handed escape, having picked the lock on his manacles using a specially trained earthworm that had been given to him by an old woman some years early, in gratitude for saving her granddaughter from drowning. Sergei swam the Troyzantine River and was taken aboard by friendly river pirates, while the earthworm held off the Troyzantine forces. In those days, earthworm trainers had a great deal of pride in their work. Sergei took the earthworm rampant on field of azure as his personal coat of arms, which his descendants bear to this day.
- May 27th - A new calendar was introduced in Troyzantium. Following the unsuccessful (and largely unsatisfying) conclusion of the Spice Wars, the city-state sought to reorganize themselves to remove the influence of the empire and Imperial thought. The Troyzantine calendar persisted for some years, but fell out of favor among tradesmen, as it was difficult for merchants to juggle two competing systems in their heads. It is now observed primarily as a matter of curiosity. By the Troyzantine Calendar, today is Potato Day, in the Month of Tides.
- August 17th - The first known version of the Ballad of Tom-Lin was published, in “Complete Popular Songs of the Highlands.” Tom-Lin was a legendary knight who had run afoul of the fairies, and had no true love to save him from being included in the fairy tithe to Hell. He paid a tavern wench to come to the crossroads on All Hallow’s Eve and pull him from his horse, proclaiming her love loudly. The fairy queen turned him into a lion, then a snake, then an onion. Then a rutabaga, then six stalks of wheat, then a chicken, then a radish, then an onion again. It is an extremely long song with many verses and was not very popular, despite the name of the songbook. At the end, Tom Lin is either saved, because the fairy gets bored, or is turned into a tree permanently, or in one variation, the wench goes off with the fairy and they leave him as an onion at the crossroads.
- February 24th - Lady Emily of the House of Blatt and Lord Milo of the House of Sworn were married, in an attempt to bring about the end of a long-standing fued between their houses. The wedding was hailed as the dawn of a new age of communication and cooperation between houses. This optimistic spirit was unshaken by the fact that both bride and groom were found dead some hours later
- September 5th - The island of Andshear was discovered and claimed for the empire, much to the disgruntlement of the people already living there. The islanders, known as the Rua, were vigilant about eradicating invasive species, including missionaries, and thus the Rua culture remains one of the few in the Coriander Isles to make the transition nearly intact to the modern era.
- December 20th - The notorious pirate Ribbon Jack was hanged. His list of crimes against the crown was so lengthy that the bailiff only read the highlights and concluded with “And sundry other offenses.” He is credited with capturing over forty merchant vessels during the course of his career, although historians suspect that the Red Lane Shipping Company may have been using him in order to dispose of vessels and claim the insurance money. Ribbon Jack was never allowed to make a public statement and was hanged while wearing a hood. Autopsies indicated that the notorious pirate may actually have been an eighty-five pound bag of seaweed. The Red Lane Shipping Company denied all of these rumors repeatedly, changed their company name several times in ensuring [sic] centuries, and is currently known as the Overcity Bank Trust.
- December 2nd - The musical sausage was played for the first time by the Butcher Bard. The musical sausage is either extremely difficult to play or extremely difficult to play well, depending on who one asks. While no ancient sausages survive, the Society for the Preservation of Unusual Instruments has several replicas in their museum in the Glass Quarter.
- October 30th - It is the birthday of Giles the Bloody, a murderous nobleman sometimes credited with spawning the legend of Bluebeard. This is unlikely, however, as stories of murderous husbands with multiple wives are common in many cultures. Folklore seems to simply grow on a culture in much the same manner that lichen grows on stones—slowly, but inexorably. There are a number of varieties, but they are often very similar.
- November 18th - Wardinghearst Manor was completed. Built by the fabulously wealthy and even more fabulously eccentric Lady Wardinghearst, it had three towers, eighteen cupolas, six kitchens and eleven hedge mazes. One entire wing was a single gigantic room with a tiled floor. When asked why anyone would ever require a room that size—it dwarfed any ball-room then in existence and resembled an enormous barn—Lady Wardinghearst said only “Well, you never know when you’ll want to spread out!” The Manor changed hands several times over the years and is now an asylum for the compassionate care of angels.
- November 6th - A terrible massacre occurred near the Walleye Copper Mine. A group of bandits ambushed a convoy of merchants in a narrow defile known as Thickwall Gap. When they attempted to descend to claim their prize, they brought part of the wall down with them. Both bandits and merchants were caught in the landslide. Many died, although the merchants, protected by their carts, fared slightly better. The Thickwall Massacre was commemorated in song and story, with local heroes being inserted into the narrative in increasingly improbable ways.
- January 27th - After long hardship and struggle, the explorer Daphne Leon discovered the Fountain of Youth.
- November 23rd - The first modern system of manual sign language was established, in a treatise by the Troyzantine author Juan Aguirrez. This revolutionized education for the deaf and was used as the base for manual signs for years to come.
- June 19th - Princess Alma married into the royal house of Troyzantium, finally ending the century of hostility that had followed the Spice Wars. Princess Alma, great-granddaughter of Prince Sergei III, lived to a great old age in Troyzantium and had nine children. The marriage ushered in a lasting and mostly uneventful peace, but descendants of this union included the Librarian Prince. The verdict is still out on whether it was good thing.
- December 21st - The first dictionary of the Highland dialect, “The Gentleman’s Reference To The Uncouth Dialects Of The Uncivilized North," was published.
- December 23rd - The pamphlet “On The Curing of Exemplary Meats” was published. This fifty-page pamphlet appeared to be an exhaustive account of the various methods of salting and smoking, but was actually an elaborate piece of code. It was passed back and forth between Troyzantium loyalists and gave its name to the 1656 “Sausage Uprising.” Unfortunately for the loyalists, one of the king’s chefs happened upon the pamphlet and declared that it was such an extraordinary piece of nonsense as to defy belief. He took it to a general, who agreed that it was unlikely that one would salt pork using nightingale urine. The ill-fated Sausage Uprising was thus anticipated and put down within three days.
- May 2nd - The Sausage Uprising began. It would fail almost immediately, resulting in the deaths of many Troyzantium loyalists and an uncounted number of ruined pork products.
- Date unknown - The Sloth Nebula was finally identified as a nebula, as part of Hera Huggin’s “Survey Astrologica.”
- March 11th - Naturalists first described the parchment nautilus. (The native peoples on the islands where the nautilus was found presumably already knew about it.) Males and females display extreme apparent dimorphism, although this is an illusion. The females secrete a thin egg case, which they carry with them everywhere. After the eggs are hatched, they continue to use it to trap air to aid with buoyancy. Because they carry the egg case in a particular fashion, they appear to have a shell. The males are nearly identical, but do not carry such an egg case. The confusion led to them being classified as different species for many years, until they could be studied in captivity.
- November 4th - Mother Briar published her work “Highland Home Remedies.” While the medical advice within ranged between useless and criminally dangerous, she included descriptions of more than one hundred common plants, divided them into families, and provided the basis for many formal herbariums to follow.
- January 5th - The text “The Vast Menagerie: An Exploration of the Animal Molecules Inside The Body of Man” was first published. It included hundreds of plates illustrating drawings (some quite fanciful) of micro-organisms. The publication of The Vast Menagerie was made possible by innovations in microscope technology. Unfortunately many of the micro-organisms had been observed by dissection of cadavers, which was considered illegal and immoral at the time. The author therefore preferred to remain anonymous, and thus one of the pioneers of microbiology is unknown to history, although rumors abound.
- November 26th - Playwright Frederick Landstone produced his great play “The Ascension of Heloise, or Virtue’s Just Reward.” This was a four hour production during which the character Heloise suffered an increasing number of horrific fates, including drowning, smallpox, and a stampede of giant bulls, before eventually being found by her true love. The play ends with a marriage, whereupon Heloise dies at the altar and is met by actors dressed as angels. It proved extremely popular with a certain sort of audience, and a racy subplot involving a lusty barmaid and a wolverine-tamer provided entertainment for others. The Ascension of Heloise has been put on over five thousand times in the last three hundred odd years.
- June 24th - Birthday of the philosopher Jean Mallow, who proclaimed himself an “anticologist.” He decried nature and believed that the pinnacle of evolution was to stay indoors as much as possible. “The earth,” he wrote, “is a festering boil, a blister upon which surface we walk. It is from the earth that all foulness comes and into foulness the dead return.” Mallow stated that he would have preferred not to eat natural food at all, but as there was no real alternative, he insisted upon foods as far from the natural state as possible. His diet consisted of things fried, boiled, burnt black, pickled, and whenever possible, fermented. He contracted gout in later years, which led to even more hostile philosophy, expressing a belief at one point that all nature should be burned, except that required for agriculture.
- November 15th - Sir Augustus Hamforth set out on an ambitious expedition to sail beyond the Coriander Isles. He claimed that God had given him a vision of another continent out there and aimed to claim it in the name of King and Country.
- November 27th - Sir August Hamforth entered a peculiar patch of water several days sail beyond the Coriander Isles. The water was dark red and dragged at the ship’s hull. It smelled strongly of sulfur and a bucket drawn onto the deck contained a large, hostile looking fish, which said unkind things about Sir Hamforth’s mother. This patch of water was named “The Sea of Unpleasantness” and duly marked on the ship’s charts.
- December 4th - Sir Augustus Hamforth spotted a small island chain, far beyond the Coriander Isles. These islands were little more than a series of rocks sticking out of the water and were covered in seabird guano and bird lice. Sir Hamforth named them “The Blessed Islands of the Rising Moon” and they were so noted on the ship’s chart.
- December 16th - Sir Augustus Hamforth sailed into a land of darkness and cold. Ice formed on the rigging and lanterns were hung from the bow to light the way. After some consultation with the ship’s charts, Sir Hamforth realized that they had sailed into the sun’s shadow. “Well,” he is recorded as saying, “I suppose it had to be somewhere.” This was duly noted in the ship’s charts and the sailors were given an extra ration of grog to prevent a mutiny.
- December 30th - Sir Augustus Hamforth and his crew were devoured by the World Serpent that lies beyond the sun’s shadow, thereby determining the outer limits of naval exploration.
- December 25th - On this day a historic armistice was signed with the mole-people, bringing their assaults on our gardens and sewer systems to a halt. All new construction must be approved by the mole-people or risk being plunged into the dark tarn. This has led to extremely thoughtful city planning and is generally considered by architects to have been a Good Thing.
- Date unknown - An extremely harsh winter aids in the birth of Elmer, the only sugarplum fairy born in captivity.
- March 30th: According to the volume titled “Proceedings of the Town Council of Bricklayer’s Cross,” an ordinance was enacted requiring all those emptying chamberpots out the window to shout “Ware below!” and wait three seconds before emptying. The fine for failure to comply was a half-penny for a first offense and ten minutes in the stocks for the second offense.
- April 21st - The only Sugarplum Fairy born in captivity was born at the Royal Menagerie, later the Royal Zoo. It was named Elmer. Sugarplum fairies had been widely hunted for their snacks and musical choreography skills, and steps were taken to preserve the species, but they proved difficult to breed in captivity.
- October 4th - Sir Edward Marlbone published his 12,000 page work, "On the Psychoactive Properties of Non-Psychoactive Fungi." The assassin known as "Gray Hemlock" would later use Marlbone's extremely heavy treatise to kill the brutal Librarian Prince over two hundred years ago.
- November 18th - The Convent of the White Goat, on the Isle of Shun, was founded on this day. This isolated island had been nearly destroyed by imported rabbits when the nuns arrived. While the white goat features prominently in the Convent’s seals, crest, and stationary, there are no goats anywhere on the island.
- February 17th - The Kingfisher Bridge across the Autumn River was rebuilt, at great cost and greater indignation. It had been built once before, but was then misplaced through governmental incompetence. It stands to this day on the High Street, providing one of the most heavily traveled thoroughfares in the city.
- September 12th - Not as many people died in a horrible fire as could have. The Glass Quarter was, at the time, home to the glassblowers and a kiln exploded. Things went very badly, but they could have gone much worse. Survivors attributed their good fortune to providence. At least one, trapped on a chair surrounded by a small lake of molten glass, said that her faith sustained her in the dark hours while the glass cooled.
- October 16th - The Walleye Copper Mine was opened on the Hardenaw Peninsula. It was the largest and most productive mine in the region and was the focal point of several small regional conflicts and multiple miner’s strikes.
- November 17th - The birthday of famed trumpeter William Howel. Virtually nothing is known of Howel’s life, beyond the dates of his birth and death, except that he was extremely popular as a trumpeter for tournaments and royal occasions. His name occurs frequently in the record books, normally with a margin note as to his fee. He commanded quite high prices by the end of his life, before passing away at the age of 59.
- September 23rd - A stuffed corgi was placed upon the throne, proving enormously popular.
- July 25th - The ruling stuffed corgi embarked on an ambitious plan to expand one of the colonies by importing marriageable women. The so called “Daughters of the Corgi” were recruited from workhouses and charity schools throughout the city and transported to the colony on the large island of Greenbriar. Greenbriar had, at the time, a ratio of approximately ten men to every woman. The Daughters of the Corgi were provided with substantial dowries by the crown, and many professed themselves very glad for the chance to have improved their prospects so dramatically.
- March 27th - Lady Warthington Shemp was born to the noble house of Shemp. Lady Warthington penned several prototypical self-help books, including “All is Well in the World: A Guide To Self-Improvement With Particular Attention To The Physical And Spiritual Makeup” and “Peace Beneath: A 3 Month Guide To Improving The Healthfulness Of One’s Bowels.” Her techniques relied on equal parts prayer and enemas, and were bafflingly popular with readers.
- January 6th - Lord Peter Duckwald was arrested for murder. His collection of pressed flowers had led to pressing other objects, including lizards, small mammals, large mammals, and eventually, people. Eleven pressed humans were discovered on his estate, clamped between the pages of extremely large books. He was summarily executed, and his technique has never been duplicated.
- April 11th - A small gray lamb was born to a ewe on a hillside some miles from the town of Gant. This is of no significance to anyone but the lamb and the eye and the shepherd, but history is made no less of small things that go on around the edges than it is of kings and battles and heresies.
- June 6th - The stuffed corgi, which had ruled for many years, was deposed in a coup by the villainous wooden penguin. Corgi loyalists were forced to go underground by penguin supporters. Several folk songs of the time are believed to be coded references to the captivity of their ruler, including “My Love Had A Squeaky Toy” and “Bring Back My Woofy To Me.”
- June 30th - It is the birthday of the rug designer Anna Weaving. Born Anna Slovanovich, in a poor part of the city, she began making place mats out of rat hair and selling them at local markets. Her genius was rapidly apparent, and she moved to more dramatic designs and more sanitary materials. Her enormous tapestry rug, “The Battle Fought In Argyle Socks” hangs in the Royal Museum to this day.
- October 13th - The town of Obanoch was officially recognized, by the building of a local custom house. The site of Obanoch, in the western highlands, has been continuously occupied by humans since the Stone Age, but no one bothered to put the name on a map until 1760. This would not be terribly historically significant, but the custom house exploded some weeks later, apparently owing to a terrible accident involving coal gas and a cow that had been kept in the basement, as part of a scheme to provide fresh milk to traders. Several tradesman died, but the cow escaped with only minor injuries. A second, cow-free custom house was built the following year.
- Date unknown - A new, cow-free custom house was built in the town of Obanach to replace the one that had exploded the prior year.
- May 8th - Beginning of the Gloving Wars, when the Mittenmakers attempts to declare bloody independence from the Glovemaker’s Guild.
- September 25th - Ground was broken on the Great Tunnel project. The Great Tunnel connected the two halves of the city divided by the Autumn River and was one of the greatest construction projects of the day.
- August 20th - The birthday of the great icon painter Lorenzo Mandolini, who produced some of the finest artwork of saints that the art world has ever known. His illustrated Book of Hours is still reproduced today.
- January 2nd - Riots began in the city. The original cause was poor working conditions among chimneysweeps, but spread rapidly throughout the kingdom, for reasons said to include the price of bread, the callousness of public servants, and the color of brick used on the new facing for the Kingfisher Bridge. The riots lasted for months, flaring up repeatedly, and caused 1779 to be known as the “Year of Unrest.” The assumption of the throne by the Librarian Prince ended the riots, but replaced them with something rather more unpleasant.
- June 30th - Anna Weaving was declared a national treasure by the Librarian Prince, who wasn’t all bad.
- May 5th - Badly outnumbered highland clans triumphed over royal forces at the Battle of Lizardstick. This unlikely victory served as a rallying point for the highlands, and spawned approximately eleven thousand different folksongs about Lizardstick, recent compiled in the exhaustive 30-CD-volume set, “Songs to Smack Royalists By.” The fifth of May remains a day of celebration throughout the highlands and a day of mild disgruntlement throughout the city
- October 14th - The Librarian Prince passed the first of what would be known as the Hateful Decrees. This one forbid citizens from wearing the color orange, or risk immediate execution. The populace was largely puzzled and did not protest this decree, setting an unfortunate precedent for laws to come.
- October 23rd - The Librarian Prince passed the second of the so-called "Hateful Decrees", which stated that goats were a figment of the imagination. Those citizens claiming to believe in the existence of goats, or having goats in their possession, were immediately executed and the non-existent goats confiscated.
- November 1st - The third of the “Hateful Decrees” was passed by the Librarian Prince. This decree stated that the city sewer system was property of the crown and anyone using it would be fined. For homeowners, this resulted in a minor additional tax, but had the knock-on effect of declaring sewer workers and cistern cleaners to be enemy spies.
- November 13th - The next of the "Hateful Decrees" was issued by the Librarian Prince. This one attempted to ban snow. Possession of, consorting with, or failure to report the presence of snow was punishable by imprisonment. A record fourteen inches of snow fell in the city not long after the anti-snow decree however, so troops were occupied dealing with this “domestic weather terrorism.”
- November 22nd - The Librarian Prince suffered a bad attack of gout, for which he blamed witchcraft. Two cooks and an underfootman were beheaded, and a maid was exiled on suspicion of being born with red hair.
- December 9th - The next of the Hateful Decrees was passed by the Librarian Prince. It banned numerical winners in competitions of any kind. Winning first, second or third place was now a hanging offense, and awarding such could result in having your property seized by the crown. A number of workarounds were developed, including color-coded ribbons, Honorablest Mentions, and the “We’re Extremely Glad You Participated Award.”
- January 15th - The first Hateful Decree of the new year was issued, which banned skulls. This was extremely difficult to work with, and many butchers shut down immediately until the situation was resolved.
- March 24th - Another Hateful Decree was passed, which outlawed gathering in groups of more than one. It was amended some days later on the grounds that the population of the city would suffer a severe decline nine months later. No arrests were made, as they would have required the arresting officer to break the law themselves. The rewritten decree outlawed gatherings in groups of greater than ten, which made workplaces problematic and holidays somewhat less so.
- June 4th - The Librarian Prince issued yet another Hateful Decree, this one against hummingbirds. Hummingbirds have never been a major cash crop, so there was no lobbying in their favor. A number of little old ladies growing flowers were disappointed and an underground system of gardens rapidly sprang up to provide migrating hummingbirds with nectar. Local officials mostly turned a blind eye to this behavior, as it is difficult to look like a hero when you are dragging a little old lady in gardening gloves into the police station.
- July 2nd - The next of the Hateful Decrees was passed by the Librarian Prince. This one banned centaurs within the city limits. As centaurs had never shown any indication of wanting to enter the city, the decree remained unchallenged and unenforced until the mid-70s, when a growing movement for centaur rights challenged it in court. It was hastily struck down with apologies.
- September 12th - The Librarian Prince almost passed a Hateful Decree making flatulence a capital offense. Fortunately, a quick thinking minister paid off the cook to prepare a dish of beans and eggs for the Prince’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the Prince reportedly saw the error of his ways. This is more crude than uplifting, but it is my duty to report history, even the sophomoric bits.
- October 20th - The next of the Hateful Decrees was passed by the Librarian Prince, banning arsenic. This was not a terribly unpopular decree, except among rat catchers, apothecaries, and interior designers. (Arsenic had long been used to provide a particularly elegant green pigment, popular in paint and wallpaper.) The rat catchers and apothecaries were issued exemptions, and the interior designers were forced to find less toxic pigments, leading to a general rise in quality of life.
- December 13th - The sheep breed known as the Highland Blue-Nose was first recognized by the International Sheep Council. The Highland Blue-Nose is a small, compact sheep with excellent wool production. Nose, ears, and legs range in color from blue-gray to lilac. It was recognized as a Breed of Distinction by the ISC and a ram named Sturdy took the Exceedingly Honorable-We-Really-Mean-It Award at the city fair the following year.
- Date unknown - The Great Tunnel was completed after claiming the lives of hundreds of workers.
- April 2nd - Poor Schmo’s Book of Proverbs was published. It was a collection of vaguely clever sayings meant to appeal to the common man, but most likely published as a tool of propaganda for the Librarian Prince. It includes such gems as “He who lies down with dogs is arrested for unseemly behavior” and “Love thy neighbor, but report his suspicious activities to the authorities.” Poor Schmo’s Book of Proverbs enjoyed extraordinary sales, as purchase was mandatory, but continued to be a strong seller for many years. Its enduring appeal was eventually explained by the thin, soft pages, which were plentiful in a time when toilet paper was scarce.
- August 28th - The trial of Eric von Awning, famed furniture maker, began. Von Awning created many gorgeous and fantastical pieces based on animals, which were highly sought after by the wealthy. This lasted until the Librarian Prince tripped and nearly impaled himself on a swordfish-inspired end table. He immediately had Von Awning arrested on charges of “passive attempted regicide” and arranged a public trial to, he said, “discourage other pacifists.”
- May 2nd - The birthday of the poet known as the Unmarked Line, an anonymous writer who scandalized society with strikingly explicit (for the era) poetry in honor of his—or her—mistress. The poet’s publishers refused to name them, saying that the poetry was delivered via post and with no identifying marks, and that the royalties were donated by request to the foundling home and the asylum for angels. Rewards were offered for information leading to the Unmarked Line’s identity, but they went to their grave without being discovered. Volumes have been published claiming that it was anyone from the Prime Minister to the Librarian Prince to various nobles and the editor of the Encyclopedia Troyzantium. Whoever they were, they covered their tracks very well indeed.
- December 1st - The 36-gun frigate, the RMS Sirius, was lost at the Battle of Heavingford. It never fired a shot, being docked for repairs, and was simply set on fire by the enemy, who walked up to it and tossed a couple of lit rags into the hold. “Tis a vile doom for a great ship,” said the captain, who insisted on going down with the ship. When it finally settled on the bottom, some five feet below its original position, the captain waded ashore and went to the bar.
- June 11th - The Gothic novel “House of Lepers” was published. It featured many of the now classic tropes, including an ancient, crumbling, probably haunted manor, uncommunicative servants, and a young heroine widely considered too stupid to breathe. Nevertheless, it sold out eight print runs in as many weeks and made a fortune for the publisher. The identity of the author was the subject of much speculation, but remains one of the best kept secrets of the industry. Some fifty years later, a number of people claimed to have authored the book, but none could be authenticated. Many scholars believe it was dashed off by the publisher’s wife in order to meet a deadline.
- December 14th - The last known specimen of the Violet Reedbuck was shot. Violet Reedbucks were found in small numbers throughout the southern continent along the lower edge of the Glass Wastes, but were most likely rare even before trophy hunters began to pursue them. The color of this large antelope was extraordinary, being described as deep violet on the back fading to soft rose or lavender along the belly, with black feral striping on the hind legs. The color likely derived partly from the creature’s dark skin being visible through the fine reddish fawn coat, along with an unusual light scattering property in the oils of the Reedbuck’s hide. Taxidermy mounts lacking these oils are a vague roan color, with only a few specimens actually appearing violet. Several other species of Reedbucks survive, and the endangered Water Reedbuck is closely monitored on preserves by the Horowitz Trust.
- Date unknown - There was a movement to build “Ciceronian Gardens” which involved gardens built around large central firepits.
- March 23rd - The wild chiltepin plant was first classified by botanists. Long known among local peoples for its spicy fruits, the chiltepin is the ancestor of the domesticated chile. Its tiny, pea-sized peppers are ruthlessly hot and are used as a condiment, and occasionally as a deterrent. It requires extremely hot weather and a longer growing season than most gardeners can manage, so it is rare in cultivation, though efforts to domesticate this ancient plant are underway.
- April 7th - The waltz was introduced to the city. Considered a shocking and transgressively modern dance, as it involved men and women’s bodies to be in actual physical contact, the waltz was banned outright in many towns. As with many things, however, it eventually crept into the common repertoire of dancing, and eventually became seen as perfectly respectable, and now, some centuries later, as quite old-fashioned. Waltz-related deaths have been on the decline for a number of years and are no longer considered statistically significant.
- July 18th - A large flock of hooded mergansers landed on Lake Plum within the city. For a moment, the air was full of black and white wings.
- November 15th - The Black Beast was seen on the rooftops of the city. Initial reports were limited to the Western Quarter, and described the Black Beast as human sized, with wings and glowing yellow eyes. Journalists initially dismissed these sightings as the superstitious spotting an owl. One eyewitness, however, came forward to say, “I’ve seen owls and this was no goddamn owl.”
- November 18th - The Black Beast was sighted outside the Western Quarter in the city, on High Street. A crowd of witnesses saw it running along the railing of the Kingfisher Bridge, before leaping over the side and vanishing. Police searched the river, but found no body. It was speculated that the Beast had climbed or flown onto the underside of the bridge and made its escape from there.
- November 25th - The Black Beast was spotted yet again, this time in the back garden of one Mrs. L. Mumphrey. Mrs. Mumphrey was a noted eccentric and would not have been considered a reliable witness, had she not been hosting the annual Policeman’s Ball at her townhouse at the time. The assembled officers witnessed a large, dark figure climbing down the rain gutter.
- December 6th - The Black Beast was seen for the last time by credible witnesses. A gathering of the Sacred Order of Bull Moose Men reported that the Beast climbed up on the roof of their lodge and watched them for several minutes. It was described as having a baleful gaze and wings which it raised and lowered over its head. Then it snapped off the weathervane and made off with it into the night. While other sightings would trickle in for several days, few were clear or reliable, and the Black Beast would not be seen again for nearly a century.
- April 18th - The minor breakaway sect known as the Brogians split from the main Church. The Brogians were led by one Andrew Brogus, who proclaimed himself the new messiah and claimed to have the power to heal the sick. All eleven Brogians founded a settlement that they claimed would be the new center of faith in their time, and refused to allow outsiders. With supplies running low, Brogus attempted a miracle, commanding the settlement’s single chicken to multiply. It did not. The Brogian sect did not survive this betrayal and vanished as quickly as it had formed.
- May 20th - Two men met on a street corner near the High Street. One wore a ragged tophat and badly stained finery, the other was dressed in working man’s clothes. They nodded to one another but did not speak. They went into the alley and disrobed, trading clothing. Each one then took a piece of chalk out of the pocket of their new outfits and made a mark on the wall of the alley. Hundreds of faded marks attested to the fact that something unusual had happened there before. Then they both left by opposite ends of the alley, again not speaking, and went about their business. The one who left wearing the top-hat was later found dead, floating in the Autumn River, holding a piece of chalk clenched in his teeth. He appeared to have died before touching the water. No cause of death was ever found and the constables eventually ruled it as a heart attack.
- April 2nd - The Bridge of Monks fell down for about five minutes. Everyone was very concerned by the bridge, which appeared to have fallen down very conclusively, but a few minutes later it shrugged, stretched, and shoved itself back into place. A small note of apology was later found hewn into the stones of the bridge’s foundation. It was the first noted collapse of the Bridge of Monks, but would not be the last.
- April 27th - The Undercity Excavations were begun. As with any historic city, large sections have slowly subsided into the earth over the years, and new buildings have been erected on top of them. An engineer named Martha Bodner proposed that much of this ancient city was probably inhabitable, if one was only willing to dig down and find it. As the sewer systems were in dire need of repair as well, excavations were already underway, and the Undercity project merely expanded them. It was a remarkably visionary project, and Bodner’s detractors maintained that she was clearly mad. Neverthless, within ten years she had completed a section known as “the Old Neighborhood.” It became an extremely popular area and briefly the highest rent section of the city. The entire project took over a century, and was ultimately only completed with the aid of the mole-people. The Undercity today houses nearly two hundred thousand souls and (thanks to the mole-people) an extraordinary number of parks and gardens.
- November 27th - The Tea Riots, which followed shortages of black tea and bergamot oil in the city, began. Dozens were killed and the Prime Minister ordered the opening of the Strategic Tea Reserves to prevent bloody revolution.
- February 26th - King McCullan, Lord of the Mountain, died on this day. He was stabbed, poisoned, strangled, hanged and beheaded. Cause of death was listed as “untreated hangnail.” He was not a popular king.
- October 18th - A dozen wood thrushes assembled in one small magnolia tree and performed a magnificent rendition of O Fortuna! There were no witnesses, but the thrushes remembered it fondly for the rest of their lives.
- March 7th - A two-headed pig in a jar debuted in Parliament, rising through the ranks to become a member of the Cabinet. The two-headed pig was considered very progressive on social issues, although the left head was whispered to be a radical. There was some talk of a run for Prime Minister, but rumors of scandal—that perhaps the two-headed pig was actually two separate pigs—dogged the campaign and the pig retired to a large estate in the country.
- January 2nd - Artificial lighting was installed along the High Street in the city. Public sentiment was extremely negative, and newspapers were full of so-called “experts” decrying the lighting. Clergy wrote in to proclaim that by disrupting day and night, the city planners were setting themselves up as gods. Doctors claimed that the poisonous exhalations from the gas lights would lead to mass deaths, insanity, and masturbation. Others simply said that lanterns were good enough in their day and should be good enough now.
- November 20th - An elderly nun knitting a sock accidentally stuck a needle into another dimension. The yarn had formed a complicated multi-dimensional shape and created a portal between two strands. The needle went in, poked a small hole in the fabric of reality and jabbed a being made of living crystalline vibration in the side. The portal closed a moment later, and the crystalline being, some centuries after the fact, felt a vague itch, which it scratched.
- May 4th - Lady Genoa debuted an astonishing new hors d'oeuvre at a house party — pickled hummingbird eggs. Served on toothpicks, the eggs were an immediate success and the party was lauded as “a sad crush” which was one of the highest forms of praise that could be offered in the era. Other hostesses rushed to emulate Lady Genoa’s success, and three species of hummingbird were pushed to near-extinction as a result. Fortunately, the fad passed quickly, and two of the species rebounded quickly. The Troyzantine Broad-Winged Hummingbird remains threatened to this day, as it was the primary pollinator of the Troyzantine Bottlebrush Vine, which declined alongside the hummingbird. Ecologists eventually discovered the linkages between these two and populations of both bird and vine are on an encouraging upward directory.
- February 6th - The Scrimshaw Bible was unearthed in the highlands. Carved on a half-dozen walrus tusks, the Scrimshaw Bible was a three-dimensional representation of instructive scenes from several lesser-known gospels, including the Chastening of the Sandalmakers and the Devouring of the Prophet Umber By Wild Beavers. The Scrimshaw Bible had been buried nearly five hundred miles from the ocean and a good bit farther from the nearest walrus, so the provenance of this work continues to baffle scholars to this day.
- October 4th - The last known Sugarplum Fairy died in captivity. It had been born in the Royal Zoo and was one-hundred-seventeen years old at the time of its death. Keepers nicknamed the fairy "Elmer" and had attempted unsuccessfully to breed it. Elmer's body was stuffed and is on display at the Royal Museum.
- October 25th - The Clean 'n Pure Soap factory suffered a tank rupture and flooded the entire factory floor with three feet of liquid hand soap. Seeing the drains clogging and her workers in the basement at risk of drowning, Anya Ahmad, the foreman, grabbed a sledgehammer and broke out the lowest windows. This allowed the soap to drain into the nearby Autumn River, where it produced a wall of suds twenty-eight feet high and brought shipping to a standstill.
- August 20th - The great icon painter Lorenzo Mandolini began his most ambitious work, A Year of Feast Days.
- August 12th - The Clean ‘n Pure Soap Factory suffered a tank rupture — again — mirroring an event five years earlier which flooded the factory floor and later the Autumn River with liquid hand soap. The foreman, Anya Ahmad, who had saved her workers the previous time reportedly stated “Not again. Uggh. Hold my shoes,” took down the sledgehammer that she had named “Old Faithful,” and slogged out into the knee-deep soap. She broke out the lower windows, saving yet more lives, and then, once everyone had been evacuated, turned state’s evidence about unsafe working conditions. Authorities fined the Clean ‘n Pure Soap Factory for unsafe working conditions in the exact amount of the cost of the factory. The factory site is now a museum of science and industry. Ms. Ahmad retired to the country and died heroically at the age of 94, saving the victims of a train derailment, with the help of Old Faithful. She is an inspiration to us all.
- July 20th - A carver, working on the underside of a very large statue of a dragon, carved his declaration of love for the wife of his employer. He did so in a font less than a tenth of an inch high, etched along the sides of six different belly scales. In this miniscule font, he poured out his feelings, his loathing of his employer’s cruelty, and his intense belief that she was as much a victim of the situation as he. It was dated and, recklessly, signed.
- November 1st - Countess Ludmilla Everstone was probably born on this day. She took the social scene by storm, was hailed as a “true original” and received innumerable offers of marriage from the social leaders of the city. At a masked ball, however, at the hour of unmasking, it was revealed that she was in fact sixteen crows wearing a trenchcoat.
- August 31st - Faith healer and snake-oil salesman Doc Brightey was publicly executed by an angry mob. He had been selling ear-drops that were supposed to cure deafness and revitalize the libido, but which actually caused massive keratinous growths in the ear canal. In short, his patients grew horns out of their ears. This did not make them happy, and also did not help with the deafness. As the horns generally did not start to grow for several weeks — by which time Doc Brightey had moved on to the next town — he racked up some three hundred victims. It is speculated that he could probably have talked his way out of it, as he had done with several previous snake-oil mishaps, except that the angry mob was full of people who could not hear very well owing to the horns, and so he was executed. One mourns the loss of any human life, of course, but in some cases, the mourning is more abstract than others.
- November 5th - The great volume “On the Descriptions of Jellyfish” which included color plates of all the jellyfish known in the world at the time, was published. The author, one Harold Jobs, insisted that all the illustrations be life size. He refused to budge on this, and so “On the Descriptions of Jellyfish” is twenty feet by ten feet and consists of only six plates and accompanying descriptions.
- November 20th - Lady Agatha Herringbone made her operatic debut. Her range was described as “extraordinary” and “beyond reproach.” As the singer herself was a great gray albatross, the scandal magazines of the day found her difficult to criticize.
- November 27th - An oarfish of the kind known as “king-of-herring” went mad with power and began inciting schools of herring to bloody revolution. He told the herring to overthrow the land-dwelling oppressors, to take back the portion of the earth that was theirs by right. “Has the land not been underneath the sea? Then it is only a cruel twist of plate tectonics that has denied us! Our ancestral homes must be returned!” The phrase ‘manifest destiny’ was used multiple times. Most of the herring ignored him, as herring are largely uninterested in revolution. A few fishy firebrands followed the oarfish in an ill-conceived invasion, which resulted in the herring and their leader fatally beaching themselves at the tiny tourist town of Smilax Bay. Biologists were puzzled and blamed freak tides or a swim bladder malfunction, but the herring knew the truth. It is reported that the last words of the oarfish were “Freedom!” but this is probably mythologizing after the fact.
- August 14th - The Highland Cattle Killer was finally found. Ranchers had claimed that their cattle were being poisoned in vast quantities in the summer months and ascribed this to a crazed separatist. It escaped no one’s notice that the landowners affected were those who had been granted property seized from highland residents and granted to those from farther south. After dozens of arrests, a veterinarian finally explained that the new ranchers were driving cattle into pastures that were filled with chokecherry. Chokecherry leaves are toxic to wildlife in large quantities, and thirsty cattle were eating the leaves to get at the moisture. The crown released those falsely arrested and two veterinarians were charged with malicious obfuscation.
- March 3rd - The small island nation of Qualm declared independence from the mainland. Owing to the slow nature of maritime mail, no one knew that Qualm had seceded until nearly a year later, after which letters had to be sent inquiring as to where Qualm was and whether they perhaps had the wrong address. Eventually it all worked out.
- May 23rd: The first lyric sheet for the song “I Ate ‘Em All” appeared. This song appears to derive from the Navy and recounts the cannibalistic exploits of a shipwrecked midshipman working his way through the rest of the crew. The music was repurposed over a century later into a popular jingle for tires. It is unlikely that most people humming the jingle, or the executives who approved it, were aware that they were singing along to a chorus about eating people’s eyes.
- March 10th - The moon vanished. It had been there the night before, but was suddenly gone. Tides ceased, much to the dismay of many small reef creatures, and the planet’s orbit was described as “having a bit of a wiggle.” Fortunately, the moon reappeared the following night and acted as if nothing had happened.
- Date unknown - Commandante Padwell died at the age of 69 and left all of his money to the Convent of the White Goat.
- April 6th - In the During Sound, which lies south of the Glass Wastes, that several women began trying to bail the tide. The nest of a small plover lay directly behind them, and the tide was coming in. And after they had bailed for some time, the tide changed. Now and again, life is like that.
- June 29th - The ruler of the Island of Quat stepped down. As the Island of Quat was approximately two feet wide, he only had to step down about six inches. This was considered historically significant, however, as the Island of Quat had been a place of considerable strategic value.
- January 17th - The Duchess of Ellensburg appeared in public wearing a hat in the shape of a large shark. This kicked off a brief fashion for extraordinary sea-life headgear. For some months, salmon, sea urchin, and elephant seal hats were all the rage.
- July 21st - The great landscape architect Madeline Boyden completed her commission to rebuild the gardens at the Royal Summer Palace. These gardens stretched for hundreds of acres and had been one of the great horticultural embarassments of the empire. Under Boyden’s hand, they were reworked into a series of hedge mazes and reflecting pools. “The view is unappealing,” she wrote. “I have therefore built high walls to avoid it and water to reflect the sky. The ultimate effect is not entirely successful, but it is better than it was.” Garden writers describe the Summer Palace grounds as resembling a maze built for contemplative rats, but agree that Boyden did the best she could with what she had to work with.
- February 10th: Water was observed flowing uphill in a small hamlet some forty miles outside of Troyzantium.
- March 17th - An old woman was attacked in broad daylight by a group of Maladroit Langurs. The langurs, a type of monkey, had been imported from the island of Qualm as circus animals. A troop escaped and established themselves in the city, spending the cold winters in attics and raiding garbage cans.
- Date unknown - Calico Jane, one of the most notorious outlaws in history, dropped out of sight after having racked up nearly a hundred thousand dollars in stolen banknotes.
- October 21st - The Old Flowerspot breed of hog was introduced at the Royal Fair. The Old Flowerspot was a small, relatively dainty hog, well-suited to single family farms. Their personality was described as "personable", "charming", and "manipulative as hell." Many Old Flowerspots became beloved pets and passed away of great old age, causing the breed to fall out of favor with commercial hog farmers.
- April 20th - The world was alerted to the present of a bizarre cryptid in the low country surrounding Bricklayer’s Cross. Dubbed “Hopping Jack” by the media (the previous name, “the Cowhopper” not proving to have much staying power) dozens of articles ran nearly simultaneously in major newspapers. Hopping Jack was described as a cross between a man and a grasshopper, five feet tall but capable of leaping over barns. The initial report came from one “Goody Parsons” who claimed that she had gone out in the evening to check on the cows and the beast had leapt straight over her head. “Twenty feet up, he went,” she reported, “and I lost him among the cows.” Scientists did not bother trying to explain this as any natural beast and went straight to “mass hysteria,” “money grubbing” and “can you believe I can’t get funding to cure diphtheria.”
- April 22nd - “Hopping Jack,” the cryptid from Bricklayer’s Cross, was unmasked by an intrepid reporter who slogged out to Goody Parsons' cowfield and reported that it was full of sandhill cranes. Further investigation uncovered that Goody Parson was blind as a bat and her neighbors had stopped paying attention to her stories after she claimed the Krampus was doing her laundry. (It was Mister Parson.) The intrepid reporter refused to give his name, saying “This whole thing is ridiculous.” Mister Hogwaithe, a local, disagreed, saying “I saw it with my own eyes, and it weren’t no bird.” As Mister Hogwaithe was selling “Hopping Jack” commemorative plaques, glasses, and handkerchiefs, his testimony was met with some suspicion and the world’s interest in the cryptid rapidly waned.
- March 12th - Typhoid began to spread in Troyzantium. Several tenement children were the first reported cases, but the disease spread unchecked for months throughout the poorer quarters, eventually claiming hundreds of lives and leading to major reworkings of the city’s water and sewage system. It was described as the worst outbreak in Troyzantium’s history, and is considered one of the contributing factors to the eventual Ribbon Riots of the following year.
- January 20th - The Ribbon Riots occurred in Troyzantium. The cause was never adequately determined, but historians speculate that a sharp rise in the price of hair ribbons may have given the riots their name.
- September 1st - An extraordinary cultivar of the Seashore Mallow, known as “Blessed Pink,” debuted at the annual Troyzantium Flower Show.
- October 9th - A farmer named Obadiah Jenkins, in West Seagullshire, grew an eleven-hundred-and-forty pound pumpkin. It was a variety known as “Red Mammoth” and was over eight feet across. The prize-winning pumpkin toppled from the cart transporting it to the village square, crushing seven villages and toppling two more.
- August 27th - The famed fashion designer Lady McNara debuted her Celestial Court Dress, which featured nearly a thousand feet of lace. The twelve foot train was embroidered in imitation of the night sky, with constellations marked in seed pearls.
- December 24th - A storm paralyzed the city for days, leading to chaos, famine, and in one tenement building, cannibalism. When the snow finally melted, the residents of the Victor Building were found to have eaten two postal workers and a dogwalker. The building was condemned, as were the residents.
- August 20th - The great icon painter Lorenzo Mandolini died after completing a painting of Saint Ramena, patron of small brightly colored fishes, having put the final scale on the mandarin fish that formed her left eye. Four hundred hagiographers attended his funeral. His tomb reads “Here lies one beloved of saints and men alike.”
- January 23rd - The birthday of the theologian James Mahoney, whose translations of many of the holy texts are still in use today. Mahoney’s Highland Gospel is frequently held up as the pinnacle of the translator’s art. This would undoubtedly be more interesting if Mahoney had led a scandalous life, but in fact, he apparently was completely blameless. He ate sardines and toast and was in bed by 8:30 for every night of his adult life.
- February 17th - A line of equine footwear was introduced by the Buckster and Morgan mail-order catalog. Billed as “Donkey Booties” and “Horse Booties” they came in several sizes and a wide range of colors.
- September 22nd - The inventor Calvin Saunders applied for a patent for the magnesium ribbon flash. This flat ribbon was inscribed with pre-measured lengths, allowing photographers to easily determine how much ribbon was required for their photos.
- June 2nd - The sky rained bright red ribbons for nearly thirty minutes. In some parts of the city, the gutters filled with ribbons in piles over a foot high. Weathermen were at a loss. Clean-up was extraordinarily expensive and had to be completed rapidly, as carriage wheels and the legs of draft animals became entangled and commerce ground to a halt.
- September 8th - The notorious murderer, The Iron Strangler, was executed. His reign of terror lasted five months, when he killed citizens by strangling them with barbed wire. His victims were exclusively men, between the ages of eighteen and forty, mostly from the upper middle-class, who were “slumming.”
- September 23rd - - The inventor Saul Rothchilde debuted his new flying machine, resulting in his demise.
- August 3rd -The Revised Freshwater Fisheries Protection Act, known as the Garpike Act, was passed into law. This act specifically protected the garpike, an ancient freshwater fish possessing extremely sharp bony scales. The scales were being harvested as a cheap substitute for steel razors, which had become extremely expensive owing to political unrest among workers at the world’s two largest iron mines. The garpike had been hunted, practically overnight, into a small fraction of its original numbers. Garpikes prefer bayous and slow moving water, and must rise to the surface to gulp air, making them easily harpooned. The Fisheries Act put strict limits on garpike harvests. Their numbers continued to drop, however, and it was likely only the resolution of the miner’s strike that saved the garpike from extinction.
- August 4th - The anniversary of the Pepperoni Riots, which occurred in response to a sudden shocking rise in the price of hard salamis and other meats. With pepperoni suddenly costing almost as much as gold, the population began looting bodegas and delis, trying to stock up on pepperoni in preparation for the coming salami apocalypse. Chaos reigned for eight days, until emergency supplies were brought in, and peace was again restored to the city. The reason for the price rise was eventually tracked to a particularly destructive infestation of the pepperoni weevil.
- June 27th - The Mechanique Typewriter was first sold throughout the city. It rapidly spread, displacing several older models, and became the first cheap, reliable typewriter on the market. Because of its availability to the individual consumer, the Mechanique was referred to, somewhat disparagingly, as “the machine that launched a thousand terrible memoirs.” Mechaniques remained in use for nearly a century, with only minor updates, until finally displaced by the advent of the home computer.
- January 22nd - A cat, seated by the fire, rose to its feet, rubbed against a bystander, and strolled into the street. This would not ordinarily be a matter of historical note, but the cat was part of the display in Lord Farringdome’s Wax Museum, and had remained motionless for more than seventy years.
- January 13th - An Indigo Woodpecker in the Royal Menagerie succeeded in drilling through the hinges on its enclosure door. This would not have been a particularly significant, except that the woodpecker shared an enclosure with a rhinoceros.
- December 27th - A white fox walked into the city. He was slightly larger than usual and appeared to have piercing blue eyes. He walked down High Street, across the Kingfisher Bridge, and sat down in the middle of road, gazing at the clock tower. Bystanders report that he sat there for several minutes, then muttered “Great. That time again,” before getting up and walking away.
- January 29th - Golem-making was outlawed by international treaty. The last of the golemsmiths were offered pensions and retired, sometimes by force. Rumors abound that various rogue nations still keep war-golems in storage, in violation of the treaty, but no reliable reports have surfaced for many years.
- June 4th - The last known war-golem was decommissioned. Golem-making had been outlawed some months earlier, but nations move slowly. The last war-golem was powdered and repurposed into commemorative planters, which grow peace lilies in the Royal Botanical Gardens.
- February 9th - The Southern Express left the station for the first time. This luxury passenger train served the enormous distances from the city, through the Glass Wastes, to the southern countries. It was designed with comfort in mind, and trips on the Southern Express became status symbols. Often passengers would arrive in the south and immediately reboard the train to return to the north. “It is about the journey, not the destination,” said one socialite. “Particularly if the journey involves caviar.”
- Date unknown - Mother Briar was granted a posthumous membership into the Society of Naturalists.
- September 10th - The cruise ship Rapture of Poseidon sank in stormy seas. Ninety-five people perished, owing to a lack of lifeboats, and then sixty-five more people died because the existing lifeboats were inexplicably filled with government cheese.
- January 8th - King Bando the 3rd ordered what is believed to have been the first pizza delivery. Bando, known as both “the Beloved of God” and “Band the Fat” was both benevolent and fond of dining.
- February 8th - A zeppelin caught fire above the city.
- April 25th - The SaltyBread Pretzel factory suffered a manufacturing mishap and accidentally mixed five tons of cement into the pretzel mix instead of flour.
- October 16th -The vineyard in the Convent of St. Megaera produced a jet black wine, so dark that it did not even reflect light. “It’s not a bad vintage,” wrote the Sister Cellarer, “but it is odd. It looks like tar in the glass. People don’t like to drink it, because it’s so odd.” Today, the convent has duplicated this phenomenon exactly four times in a century, and the wine is highly sought after by collectors for its unusual appearance.
- August 20th - A fire swept through the city’s notorious red light district. Property damage was surprisingly minimal, owing to an extremely well organized response by the Notorious Sisterhood, a guild of prostitutes who sprang into action with water barrels and hoses. These scantily clad firefighters are credited with saving the city from a much larger blaze, and were awarded a medal of valor by the Queen. The details of the meeting between Madame Organza, leader of the Notorious Sisterhood, and the monarch are not recorded, but apparently they maintained a close correspondence for many years.
- May 30th - The notorious Croaking Murderer left his first known victim. The Croaker, as the press dubbed him, was so named because a seamstress in the apartment next to the victim’s reported hearing him talking in a raspy, croaking voice. His victims were slain with a peculiar instrument, which police were unable to identify. “Like a tearing claw,” said one source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “But only one.”
- July 28th - Famed horticulturalist Caesar Andrew introduced the Saber Yucca, a form of yucca with foot-long spines. Saber Yuccas became popular as a form of home defense, but was also renowned for its magnificent white flower spikes. Many cultivars have been bred from the Saber Yucca, and some notable specimens include “Wall of Blades” and “Glory.”
- October 11th - The Obsidian Laws were passed. These laws restricted the sales of black mirrors of all varieties and remain on the books to this day.
- August 22nd - The tranquilizer Indigone was first used to anesthetize patients undergoing surgery. For many years, it could only be isolated from the droppings of Indigo Woodpeckers, leading to hundreds of captive breeding programs, but eventually was synthesized in the lab.
- September 18th - The Great Mime Uprising. In the quiet hours just before dawn, an armed group of mimes descended upon the city, trapping soldiers in invisible boxes and garroting innocent bystanders.
- July 25th - An end came to the ill-advised “Mime Accords.” Attempts had been made by the crown to negotiate with the silent masterminds behind the Mime Uprising. Interpreters, diplomats, and a few loyalist mimes were sent in an effort to negotiate. On this day, the last of the diplomats returned, badly injured by invisible dog bites, and reported that the mimes were quite mad and wanted an end to all who spoke beneath the sun. Most of the interpreters were dead and the loyalist mimes had been executed as traitors. The ban on mimes within the city limits was made permanent and further negotiations were judged to be unprofitable.
- July 27th - The birthday of Henrietta Mohly. This extraordinarily long-lived woman took up photography in her twenties, and produced many iconic portraits for various institutions. At the age of 102, she published “A Life In Photos,” which spanned nearly a century of her work, and documented many of the changes that society had undergone. In the foreword, she wrote “It is perhaps foolish for one who has been given so long to work on her art to wish that she had taken it up sooner, and yet I do. If I had a camera in the cradle, I could have documented many moments that now exist only in memory. And memory, as we all learn to our sorrow, is fragile and failing, while the cold light of film stays pure.” Mohly passed away at the age of 107. Her photos live on.
- Date unknown - Eloisa Mahoney, who founded the Mahoney Glass Company, was commissioned to create a rose window for the Cathedral of the Madonna of Leaves. It was twenty-six feet tall and contained over seven thousand individual pieces. It also caused headaches and eyestrain if viewed for more than ten minutes at a stretch, and so curtains were installed within the cathedral and the window was only revealed during times of special celebration.
- May 7th - Experimental gardener Ethan Roswell created the World’s Largest Terrarium. It spanned four city blocks and included its own working railway. Various parties suggested that it was more like a really large greenhouse than a terrarium, but were escorted from the premises by the Terrarium’s scale-model standing army.
- September 3rd - A weed grew on the edge of a path in the Royal Botanical Gardens. Anyone approaching the weed was filled with steadily increasing dread. Only the strongest souls could get within ten feet of it, and even they were seized with fits of nausea and shaking.
- November 10th - It is the birthday of Zee and Zed, conjoined twins. Billed as “the Double Miracle,” Zee and Zed were joined along the back, a rarity in this already rare condition. Zee and Zed worked in a carnival sideshow for a number of years before Zed’s extraordinary powers of stock prediction allowed them to make enough money to buy out the sideshow. They devoted the rest of their lives to ensuring quality working conditions among carnival workers, before passing away peacefully at the age of 74.
- May 26th - The Bridge of Monks fell down again. It took somewhat longer to get up this time, and required some assistance from a nearby railroad trestle.
- Date unknown - The Griddle squash, so named for patches of rind that develop grid-like cross-hatching, was introduced. The 8-pound red fruit are teardrop-shaped, with thick orange flesh that is sweet and strongly squash-flavored. A beautiful variety in the fall garden, and a good keeper for winter eating.
- August 5th - It is the birthday of the potter Nagoya. In an era of extremely baroque craftsmanship, his pots were simple, well-balanced, and had understated glazes. Occasionally one would have a handle or a lid. The pots were widely copied but rarely duplicated. His work sold for extraordinary prices in the city, but he nevertheless took his wares to the local farmer’s market and sold them for five and ten dollars apiece, because he felt that to do otherwise would be to give the pots more grandeur than he was comfortable with. He died at the age of 97.
- Date unknown - A rain of freezing Holsteins fell on the city and was the most expensive weather event to ever strike the city until the silver thaw of 1948.
- March 28th - The Black Beast was seen again in the city. It emerged from under the Bridge of Monks and frightened several passers-by, who described it as man-sized, faceless, and having either a large cloak or wings.
- April 23rd - The Dippity-Doo Candy Company was formed in the city of Troyzantium. It was widely praised for its unusual savory flavor and almost fizzy texture. The discovery that it was using unfiltered water directly from the algae flats harmed sales enormously. Dippity-Doo began advertising a serving of vegetables in every bag, which led to some small recovery in sales, but eventually the health inspectors were forced to step in. Dippity-Doo was sold at auction for barely enough to pay its creditors and the founders fled the country.
- July 7th - The Black Beast reappeared, swinging from lightposts in the streets of the Western Quarter. Unfortunately for the Beast, one of the lights was not firmly screwed to its base and it fell over, taking the Beast with it. The Beast struck the ground, flapped about sadly a few times, before flumphing away--apparently unhurt, but deeply embarrassed.
- July 13th - A skeleton filled with bees walked the High Street in the middle of the city.
- September 24th - The folklorist Vincent Mather published the first of a dozen collections of fairy tales, gathered from all over the world. The first book was called “The Prince and the Sausage,” and owing to somewhat baffling marketing choices, the series came to be called “The Fairy Sausages.”
- October 6th - The infamous Scarecrow Paper was released, which detailed a study finding that approximately one in six scarecrows are alive and capable of conscious thought. Reasons for this are wildly variable, ranging from rogue golem-makers, stray bits of magic, and proximity to Echo Harbor.
- October 9th - Thaddeus Mackelwhite landed a very small submarine while fishing on a tributary of the Echo River. This submarine was crewed by a somewhat confused individual who had invented the device in order to research animal life underwater, and had attempted to collect Mr. Mackelwhite’s lure as a specimen. The catch was later confirmed by the Echo Fisheries Association as the largest submersible ever caught on the river. Mr. Mackelwhite received a small certificate and a beer.
- October 16th - Thaddeus Mackelwhite landed a seventy-two pound steelhead while fishing on a tributary of the Echo River. This record-breaking fish was later confirmed by the Echo Fisheries Association. Mr. Mackelwhite received a small certificate and a beer.
Early 20th century
- Date unknown - The island of Andshear was returned to native rule, although it remains officially a protectorate of the crown.
- Date unknown - Agatha Marlon, a furniture maker, codified the Art Tableaux style of furniture. This style is marked by sweeping curves and by the arrangement of objects on tabletops and dressers to form pleasing vignettes. It enjoyed great popularity for a few years, but was eventually rejected as "too precious" and "too difficult to dust."
- November 20th - A particularly flavorful apple, described varyingly as “creamy” and “custard-like”, was found in a mixed barrel delivered to the Royal Botanical Gardens. A hunt began for the parent tree, lasting three years and eventually leading to the discovery of the “Sweet Henry” apple.
- December 16th - The birthday of Lydia Blane, founder of the Lydia Blane Clothing Company. She was born under a peculiar star and seemed destined for great and terrible things. Instead, she specialized in making attractive and reasonably priced women's clothing. There are those who would argue that this counts as achieving great things, although few would suggest that it was terrible.
- December 16th - A peculiar star was seen over the town of Gant, near the Echo River. While one is suspicious of ostentatious stars seen at this time of year, this one appears to have faded without heralding anything more extraordinary than the birth of several serious-minded individuals and one egg layed with two yolks. The heavens occasionally have their own agenda unrelated to any of ours.
- January 11th - A small snail was overwhelmed with the crushing existential weight of an unfair universe. The wicked were rewarded while the good suffered, work led to poverty and love to sorrow. It was all too much for a small snail to deal with. It retreated into its shell for two days. In the middle of the afternoon, however, the snail decided that all it could do was to try and address that injustice in its own life, to make the world better in a small and slimy way, and emerged from its shell and continued on its way.
- April 16th - An exhibition of the Art Tableaux style of furniture was put on at the Royal Museum. It consisted of one hundred tables, end-tables, chests, dressers, and credenzas, and over eleven thousand artfully arranged knick-knacks. The exhibition raked in a great deal of money, but required an extraordinary amount of manpower, as guests kept accidentally knocking things over.
- May 14th - A séance conducted by the famous Womble sisters conjured the ghost of the former prime minister, who devoured several ladies (including the elder Womble) then seized possession of a wingback chair and demanded tea. Tea was produced. The prime minister reminisced briefly about the old days, and then a quick thinking chambermaid grabbed an axe, broke the wingback into several pieces, and shoved them into the fireplace. The younger Womble sister retired from mediumhood and the chambermaid eventually rose to be Chief of Police.
- December 4th - A seed catalog was delivered to various gardeners, non-gardeners, and apparently randomly chosen addresses throughout the known world. All listings were in cramped, apparently hand-written text, and reported to be nothing less than plants imported from the Fairy World. The vast majority of recipients simply threw it away as junk mail or dismissed it as a hoax. A few, however, paid the small fee and their packages arrived with blurry return addresses. The seeds therein were the stuff of legends. White peppers and black Narcissus, snow peas that caused light flurries when picked; cold hardy bird of paradise, and radishes that sang madrigals in the ground. The catalog was never delivered again but a few of our more extraordinary cultivars can trace their ancestry to plants ordered from this publication.
- December 16th - The Ancient Order of Linguists sent two champions forth on the field of battle to determine, once and for all, whether it was pronounced “peKHAN” or “peCAN.” The champion of peKHAN selected her weapon as sword and shield, while peCAN paladin requested net and trident. The two fought for nearly an hour. PeCAN eventually slew peKHAN, only to succumb a moment later, as peKHAN had taken the precaution of poisoning her weapon. The Ancient Order of Linguists declared the matter unresolved.
- Date unknown - The Golden Age of detective fiction began with the publication of “[[The Jewel In The Cathedral].”
- October 30th - Thaddeus Mackelwhite caught a chicken while fly-fishing in a tributary of the Echo River. "It was the damnedest thing I ever saw," he said. "This chicken just swam up under the boat and rose on the fly. I was using a blue dun fly and the chicken went for it." Mr. Mackelwhite's catch was confirmed by the Echo Fisheries Association as the third-largest chicken ever caught in the river. He received a small certificate and a beer.
- April 18th - Thaddeus Mackelwhite caught a small whale while fly-fishing in a tributary of the Echo River. It measured seven inches long from baleen to flukes, and appeared to be a very small humpback. “I didn’t do anything special,” Mr. Mackelwhite said. “Not even using a plankton fly. I think the poor devil just got confused.” He released the whale, which spouted at him in a friendly fashion before swimming away. Mr. Mackelwhite’s catch was confirmed by the Echo Fisheries Association, as the largest whale ever caught in the river. He received a small certificate and a beer.
- July 4th - Thaddeus Mackelwhite caught nothing while fly-fishing on a small tributary of the Echo River. The nothing measured no inches long and weighed in at zero pounds. The Echo Fisheries Association indicated that it was quite possibly the largest nothing ever caught in the river, but as it defied measurement, it was impossible to tell.
- January 9th - The megaloceros, an extinct giant deer, walked through the center of the city. It was clearly a ghost, being both transparent and levitating several feet above the surface of the Autumn River, but this did not stop excitable people from claiming a resurgence of extinct megafauna were about to overrun the city. The newspapers were briefly full of articles from people claiming to have shot short-faced bears in their back garden, before returning to the normal business of complaining about the younger generation and how they needed to get jobs.
- May 25th - Thaddeus Mackelwhite landed a seventy-five pound steelhead while fishing on a tributary of the Echo River. Based on the fish’s expression, he believed it to be one he had caught seven years earlier. The fish was later confirmed by the Echo Fisheries Association to be the largest steelhead ever caught twice on that stretch of river. Mr. Mackelwhite received a small certificate and a beer.
- August 18th - Thaddeus Mackelwhite caught a skeletal grunion while fly-fishing in a tributary of the Echo River. “Poor thing was clearly lost,” said Mackelwhite. “They’re salt-water fish. I mean, they were, before they died. I suppose freshwater doesn’t bother you as much when you’re dead.” Mr. Mackelwhite’s catch was confirmed by the Echo Fisheries Association as the only skeletal grunion ever caught in the river. He received a small certificate and a beer. The grunion was turned over to naturalists, who documented it and released it back into the ocean where it belonged.
- December 2nd - Thaddeus Mackelwhite caught a Furbearing Trout while fly-fishing on a tributary of the Echo River. This was particularly extraordinary given that the Furbearing Trout is an entirely fictional creature created by taxidermists to fool gullible tourists. And indeed, the trout was stuffed and mounted on a plaque which made it taking Macklewhite's fly even more unusual. Mr. Macklewhite stared at it for some minutes, then reportedly muttered, "Nah" to himself and released the stuffed trout back into the river.
- June 9th - Furniture-maker Agatha Marlon, enraged by the fact that her chosen decorating style “Art Tableaux” was falling out of fashion, went on a rampage through a furniture showroom. She was armed with a small, expensive end table and managed to brain her chief rival, one Edward Matthews. Mr. Matthews had founded the Slick Deco movement, which relied on minimal possessions and absolutely pristine, empty surfaces. He had dismissed Art Tableaux as a style for “old people and hoarders.” Matthews attempted to defend himself with a floor lamp but was ultimately unsuccessful. Marlon, bloody but unbowed, was taken away in handcuffs and Art Tableaux faded into obscurity.
- January 7th - The newspaper cartoon, “Stuff About Town” first appeared in the City Post. “Stuff About Town” features the adventures of the streetwise urchin Johnny Stuff. With his sidekicks, the Godwin twins, Stuff engaged in the sort of adorable golly-gee-whiz hijinks popular with readers at the time. Critics were less than impressed. “Pre-chewed pap,” was perhaps the kindest thing said about it. It ran for sixty five years, during which the original creator retired and was replaced by a pigeon with a piece of charcoal taped to its beak.
- May 1st - The “Diving Horse” show came to the city, featuring horses that dove from a ramp as high as forty feet in the air, into the water at the Royal Marina. Animal rights groups protested this for many years, while the owners maintained that no horse was ever injured during the show. (Riders, on the other hand, broke bones on a regular basis.)
- September 15th - Thaddeus Mackelwhite caught a thermos while fly-fishing in a tributary of the Echo River. The thermos was three-quarters full of cold coffee. “It was pretty good coffee,” he said. “I only took a sip, though. I practice catch and release, you know.” Mr. Mackelwhite’s catch was confirmed by the Echo Fisheries Association, as the fullest thermos ever caught in the river. He received a small certificate and a beer.
- Date unknown - Reverend Allen Penstemon, who claimed that the world was created on November 6, 8987 BC based on numerology derived from the “Book of Tubalcaine,” died alone and penniless. There is no word on what the fallen angels thought about this, but scholars assume they found it funny.
- July 23rd - Twenty-seven people were killed in a freak rowboat accident in the Royal Botanical Garden. As several of the victims had been browsing in a bookstore nearly half a mile away, an immediate police investigation was launched. After nearly six months of research, the conclusion was reached that sometimes very bad things happen in very improbable ways, and also a goose had been involved.
- September 30th - The first known sighting of a living plesiosaur was recorded, by a farmer named Colin McGrath. He was walking near the ocean when what he described as a “gurt lolloping beastie” heaved itself onto shore on its front flippers. It looked around, sighed heavily, and swam away. McGrath later said that he didn’t know why people were making such a fuss, as the creature was obviously lost and minding its own business.
- Date unknown - The final volume of “The Fairy Sausages”, “The Dear Little Jackal” was published, immediately following the death of folklorist Vincent Mather.
- December 6th - Today is the birthday of the artist Ronald Helgin. His enormous abstract canvases helped to usher in the Modern Peculiar art movement. Most of them were painted in a small garage in the Western Quarter, and though he later became quite wealthy, he refused to move to a larger studio.
- December 23rd - The famous White Boar Whiskey Distillery burned to the ground. Over a thousand barrels of fine whiskey burned, giving an extraordinarily clear light and causing hardened firefighters to fall to their knees, weeping uncontrollably. “The loss of life is tragic,” said the Prime Minister, in a special statement, “but the loss to the palates of our nation is immeasurable.”
Prior to 1913
- August 6th - The Black Beast was sighted in the sewers of the city. Many residents reported seeing glowing eyes in the storm drains, gazing out at them along High Street. A large crowd reported that the owner of the eyes crawled out of the storm drain, spreading its wings with a snap, and half-climbed, half-flew over the rooftops.
- September 13th - The first asylum for angels was opened at Wardinghearst Manor. Its stated goal was to provide clean facilities and compassionate care for angels who had been driven mad by the demands of eternity. It remains in operation to this day.
- April 9th - A plesiosaur was spotted again, for only the second time, by the wife of a farmer named Colin McGrath. Mrs. McGrath reported that the plesiosaur came right up on the beach near their home and made “turrible sad and sundry noises.” McGrath himself would only say that he’d told the damn beastie to go home and if it wouldn’t do what was good for it, then he’d wash his hands of the whole affair, so he would.
- July 7th - A plesiosaur was spotted for the third time. Farmer Colin McGrath, the apparent epicenter of the sightings, would say only that he was not running a home for lost dino-beasties, so he wasn’t, and the “gurt foolish thing” should stay in the ocean where it belonged and not go bothering innocent farmers. Colin McGrath was reported in a poor temper, as his wife had just left him on suspicion of carrying on with a plesiosaur, which, said McGrath, “I have noot, nor will I ever be part of such goings-on!” He then ground out his cigarette and stomped into his house.
- September 20th - Avant-garde composer Irwin Fleming's final composition, "Ode to a Grey Stone," was performed for the first and only time. A packed opera house witnessed this performance and within minutes, ladies fainted, gentlemen suffered nosebleeds, and bats were shaken from the rafters and began to circle the hall. Fleming himself was bitten by one of the bats during the performance, contracted rabies, and passed away under medical supervision some weeks later.
- October 28th - The Great Averted Fire, which would have swept across the city, engulfing buildings in flames had it not been pouring rain at the time, was averted.
- March 21st - The Brick Standards, which established basic rules for the composition of building materials, specifically red clay bricks, were passed despite extraordinary lobbying efforts.
- April 28th - Ginny Mitchell’s brilliant gardening memoir, “Iris I Have Known”, was published. It outsold any other gardening manual of the previous fifty years, despite—or perhaps because of--an entire chapter dedicated to how to make your own blood meal using any ex-boyfriends you might have lying about the place. “Iris I Have Known” was one of the first gardening books to be banned by libraries, and enjoyed even more robust sales as a result.
- May 7th - The pulp horror novel “The Weeping Doom,” by Jackson McGuire was published on this day. The Weeping Doom, about an unseen monster slowly closing in on an unsuspecting family, inspired dozens of works, six movies, one musical, and multiple television adaptations. It has been listed as one of the dozen most influential novels of all time.
- June 30th - The city’s Young Men’s Non-Denominational Association was founded. The YMNDA was the subject of several popular songs and at least one very disturbing expose’.
- September 26th - Helena McGrath, former wife of farmer Colin McGrath, published her tell-all memoir “My Husband And The Plesiosaur,” which purported to tell about her ex-husband’s illicit carrying-on with a “gurt dino-beastie.” The first three printings sold out in days and the author became a rich woman. Farmer McGrath could not be reached for a comment. Bystanders claimed to have seen him near the beach, but it was eventually proved to be a plesiosaur wearing his hat.
- August 21st - Publication of the book “The Dreamless People” by one Jeffrey Halloran. This popular anthropological work purported to reveal the astonishing story of the Tornuba people who, according to the author, do not dream. The book sold thousands of copies and started many fads among those who sought non-dreaming as a cure for everything from lethargy to depression to tuberculosis. Later anthropologists cast doubt on Halloran’s findings, suggesting that the researcher had never mastered the complex tenses of the Tornuba language. “When he asked if we saw visions at night,” said one native speaker, “he kept asking if we saw visions of the future. We believe prophetic dreams are extremely rare, and no one would claim to have one who did not, for fear of invoking the anger of the spirit world. So of course we said no. Had we known that there was a misunderstanding, one of us would have attempted to set him straight. He was an odd little man.”
- October 3rd - Famed ballerina Laurel Murglenn was born. She trained at the Royal Ballet Academy from the age of six and became the premier ballerina of her age.
- November 28th - The birthday of the illustrator Mabel Sang, who produced over three thousand paintings in her lifetime. Although broadly disdained by the fine art establishment for being an illustrator and a woman of color, Sang was one of the most highly sought-after illustrators of the day, producing hundreds of magazine cover, postage stamp designs, and advertising campaigns. Her artwork appeared on posters advertising war bonds in three different countries. (She said, somewhat ironically, that she had only been paid by one of those countries.) Sang died in 1999 one of the most prolific of modern artists, and the value of her work is only now being truly appreciated by critics.
- January 7th - The birthday of the actress Lizzie Spatz, who performed under the stage name “Eleanora DuChamp.” She was an experimental avant-garde filmmaker in the 1940s. “Each film,” she said, “must be a total sensory experience. The audience must evolve as much as the film.” Her most famous film, “Laments of the Sabine Women,” is a 44-minute black and white film banned for obscenity in seven countries. It is still listed as an influence on many of the greatest filmmakers today.
- September 17th - A painter went mad. This would not normally be of any historical note, as painters are prone to this sort of thing, but this one was very polite, paying his rent in full and leaving a nice note for his landlady, before charging down the street whooping and gnawing on a tube of cadmium red. He was never seen again, but his landlady wished him well.
- December 30th - A statue of a ram was unearthed in an archaeological dig to the south and east of Troyzantium. The dig was of a small walled city, built upon the ruins of several other cities, and the ram was on one of the lowest, and hence oldest, layers. The statue itself bore traces of copper leaf and green stains from weathering. It was dated to approximately 4000 BC. What was extraordinary was not the statue, though the condition was excellent, but that the eyes of the ram were inlaid with jade. Jade is not found anywhere nearby and thus the city must have been part of a continent-spanning trade network. Analysis of the jade indicates that it was from a mine over three thousand miles away, further evidence of commerce between ancient peoples.
- February 4th - The book “Patriotic Crochet Patterns” was released, containing twenty-seven patterns for patriotic crochet. The patterns ranged from flag-themed planters to gun-cozies. It sold better than any craft book before it, moving over thirty-thousand copies in the first week, and remained a perennial seller for years, to the confusion of many public arbiters of good taste.
- January 6th - The Empty Sky Tea Shop opened in Branch Alley, just off the High Street. This tea shop was the chosen gathering place for a number of brilliant creative minds, and spawned, among others, the Modern Peculiar art movement and the Dust to Text Literary Movement. It was also where the parents of the scientist Ridley Mahoney met. (Mahoney discovered the first viable cure for stupidity, although it was immediately suppressed by corporate interests as bad for consumerism.) The Empty Sky Tea Shop had white walls, which hundreds of artists and writers drew or wrote on over the years. When it was eventually closed, in 1996, the walls were carefully removed and taken to the Royal Museum, where they were set up in the entryway to the literature wing, so that nearly a century worth of creativity would be preserved for future generations.
- February 5th - The Royal Arboretum was overrun with were-snails. This was extremely embarrassing, as many of the snails came from good families and thus could not be salted without excessive gossip. In the end, they had to be removed by hand and placed in a large bucket until they recovered themselves.
- April 18th - The great mime-hunter Elaina Golden cleared out an underground temple to the mime cult. “It was terrible,” said her faithful sidekick, “utterly terrible. There were berets everywhere. You couldn’t hear them coming, of course. They were scurrying down the walls like spiders. I don’t know how she stayed so calm.” This particular mime-temple is believed to have been one of the oldest in the world. Combat archaeologists still sift the ruins to this day.
- June 6th - Hummingbirds brought down a zeppelin. It had been repainted for the Rose Festival, in a pattern of thousands of red flowers. “In retrospect,” said the zeppelin’s owner, “that may have been a mistake.” Hundreds of hummingbirds swarmed what looked like a gigantic low-flying flower garden and began stabbing with their bills at the tempting painted flowers.
- July 9th - A cure was found for gastrothropy, the state of being a were-snail. An outbreak had struck some months earlier, affecting a number of younger sons of good family, and was eventually traced back to the opera. The cure involved butter and salt rubbed on the soles of the feet while chanting the names of saints, and proved broadly effective, though the chanting had to be kept up for many hours. A vaccine was developed some years later and were-snail outbreaks are now small, localized, and easily dealt with.
- November 25th - The last of the great Watch Tubers was harvested from the house-tuber fields. Watch Tubers require specialized growing conditions, as the long tap-roots must be excavated whole. The resulting watch towers are light, airy, and exceptionally sturdy. Unfortunately, the art of growing Watch Tubers has largely passed, although the last tuber farmers left extensive notes, “just in case.” The final Watch Tuber was later installed as a fire tower on the slope of Crowdown Fell, where it stands to this day.
- January 9th - The birthday of Victor Corelli, famed oil painter. Scarred by the early wars of the century, he vowed to paint only bright, cheerful images. Even when briefly trapped above the arctic circle and surrounded by months of near-total darkness, his canvases were a blaze of color and light. His fellow villagers were painted as swimmers and sunbathers, while the snow-covered buildings around him were portrayed as sunny beach cottages. “It is said of some that they take denial to an art form,” said one critic, “but no one has more truly done so than Corelli.” Upon his death in 1998, his posthumous retrospective at the Royal Gallery attracted more than a million visitors.
- October 17th - Priest Aaron Monarda was visited three times by the ghost of a dead tortoise. Father Monarda was well known for helping turtles across the road, but was somewhat surprised to discover the former tortoise on his doorstep. He eventually discerned that it, too, might desire help crossing over a much larger and more spiritual gulf, and so he performed the Blessing of the Animals for the tortoise and then a modified version of the funeral mass, whereupon the turtle faded slowly away and was not seen again.
- March 26th - The entire Western Quarter of the city was suddenly knee-deep in ferns. They sprouted from cracks in the sidewalk, rain gutters, shower drains, storm sewers and mailboxes. Botanists blamed a particularly damp spring and a highly aggressive form of the hart’s-tongue fern. Most of the ferns were rooted out of people’s homes, but several cobblestone streets in the Western Quarter were converted to parks and remain such to this day.
- April 4th: A young woman who preferred to remain nameless arrived at the doctor’s office complaining of a tuft of hair growing out of her forehead. According to the doctor, she had tried shaving it off repeatedly, but it resisted cutting and had formed a thick, wiry tuft approximately one inch above her eyes. Over the course of treatment, the patient, known in the case file as Jane Mare, found the hair growing denser and more matted, eventually forming a keratinous growth akin in surface texture to a fingernail. The attending physician described it as forming a sort of horn, ultimately several inches long, and apparently anchored in the skull itself. The case was passed to a more senior physician, who recommended immediate surgical removal. On the eve of the surgery, however, the increasingly recalcitrant Jane Mare refused treatment and was hospitalized for her own safety. Her original attending physician broke her out of the asylum in the middle of the night and they fled together. Attempts to locate them failed, and the case notes were eventually filed with the missing persons report.
- Date unknown - The invention of the flashbulb led to both a decline in the use of magnesium ribbon tape and a brief fad of self-mutilation among younger photographers.
- January 22nd - Charlie Abnett, a sculptor of the Modern Peculiar art movement, showed his sculpture “Ode to Nonexistence,” at the Gallery d’Authentique. Various parties pointed out that it was an empty pedestal, and he was charging forty thousand dollars for it. One critic raved about this as a commentary on the very nature of art itself, but the rest of the critics told that one to get his head examined.
- May 28th - The Gallery d’Authentique featured a show of the Modern Peculiar art movement. Billed as an “interactive exhibit” patrons could come to the gallery and do laundry for the artists. Critics were unimpressed. One said “I have scrubbed skidmarks for three hours and found no deeper meaning whatsoever.” Another claimed that while it was a profound argument for the plight of the washerwoman, perhaps a documentary would have been a better subject. The show closed some weeks later. Many contributing artists complained of missing socks.
- Date unknown - Ballerina Laurel Murglenn danced the lead in “The Seventh Swan.” She was very young for the role, and had been only an understudy, when the lead ballerina came down with a terrible case of stabbing. Laurel’s performance was exquisite and no one was ever able to link the murder back to her, despite rumors that the deceased ballerina had written “It was Laurel, No Really Aaaargh It Hurts” in her own blood.
- January 23rd - Gallery d’Authentique displayed Charlie Abnett’s controversial art piece, “The Vivisectionist” which consisted of dozens of organs dropped haphazardly on pedestals and painted white. Horrified investigations revealed that all the organs had been sourced from butcher shops, and while they were quite grisly, no actual wrong-doing had taken place. The Vivisectionist ran for five days, after which the flies became excessive and the artist was told to get this mess out of the gallery because it was starting to stink.
- July 27th - Economists Heckler and Soon produced the General Equilibrium Model of international trade, which states that countries will produce those products that take advantage of resources that they have in abundance, and import those products that require resources that are scarce. This model is occasionally also called the Bloody Obvious Model and other less flattering monikers, but nevertheless, Heckler and Soon received a Royal Commendation for their contribution to this, the gloomiest of sciences.
- March 11th - The Gallery d’Authentique showed “Visions of the Future,” a show featuring a dozen different artists and craftsman, showing their impressions of the world a hundred years hence. Architectural drawings and advertising mock-ups featured prominently, along with a half-dozen mannequins clothed in the presumed adornments of tomorrow. While most of the displays were as ridiculous as one might expect, the futurist Martha Darren produced several sleek, sensible designs. “This does not look like the future,” said one critic, annoyed. “At least, not a future that anyone would wish to live in. It lacks pageantry.” Darren’s designs were picked up, years after her death, by a major computer manufacturer. This is known as “having the last laugh.”
- November 22nd - Oliver Hill attempted to patent the “Hill Home,” a small home of remarkably versatile design. The patent was approved without incident, but it was later revealed that he had lifted the design from one traditionally used by the indigenous people of the Coriander Isles. The resulting trial lasted four years and included many ugly racist overtones, but the Coriander Islanders fought it to the highest court in the land and won their case. The Hill Home Trials have been hailed as a turning point in the battle for the rights of indigenous peoples of the empire.
- April 9th - Strikes at the Walleye Copper Mine turned violent, possibly owing to the singing of inflammatory folk songs. Thirteen people were jailed for singing “Tear the Filthy Scabs a New One” at the police. The so-called “Walleye Thirteen” became a celebrated cause among union activists, and were eventually released with a token fine. Many said that the greatest benefit to their arrest was the fact that radio personalities had to repeat lyrics to the song in question on-air.
- Date unknown - The first records of Saint Gerald, patron of cryptozoologists, appear during this year.
- September 13th - A patent was filed by Elliot Spinnaker for a meat bleaching process that produced white sausages. These were marketed for three years under the name "Snow-wurst" and proved wildly popular until it came to light that the bleaching process left chemicals in the meat that could produce lesions of the throat and tongue.
- January 10th - Today marks the introduction of the “Biscuit” automobile, a luxury vehicle that seated six, with gas mileage that was considered appalling even for the era.
- June 13th - Miss McGillicutty’s Home For Incorrigible Girls was closed. This all girls boarding school was modeled on a military academy and was used as a threat by thousands of mothers--“Be good, or we’ll send you to Miss McGillicutty’s!” Tales of mistreatment and horror leaked frequently from the Home, but the owners were highly placed in government and evaded any oversight for decades. Upon being decommissioned, a rat king was discovered in the basement, which claimed to be Miss McGillicutty reborn and demanded asylum from the government.
- August 15th - The Hill Home Trials were decided in favor of the Coriander Islanders. The Hill Home ruling proclaimed that no one could hold patent to designs or technology traditionally used by indigenous peoples.
- September 5th - The radio show “The Adventures of Blake Boscoe” first aired. Blake Boscoe was an airship pilot, adventurer, spy, commando and man-about-town. With the aid of his boon companions and Justice the Wonder Rat, Blake saved the city, the empire, and the world on a weekly basis from the evil forces of Captain Scumhanger.
- August 19th - A great black tree appeared in a session of the town council in the city of Morrington. It simply appeared in the center of the council chambers, roots sunk into the tile floor, with its trunk reaching the ceiling and seeming to vanish there.
- December 21st - An entire candy store full of marzipan figures came to life.
- Date unknown - The artist Ronald Helgin, who helped to usher in the Modern Peculiar art movement gave an interview where he said, “Whyfore would I change? This place is me, this is my bones, this is my hands, this is my walls. All this moving! Only art stays in one place. Zingo!” It has been suggested by later biographers that ventilation in this garage left much to be desired for one working with solvents.
- Date unknown - The Great Squirrel Flood of 1941, presumably precipitated by an over-production of acorns, claimed many lives.
- June 8th - The birthday of the poet Foxwife, who lived in the high deserts south of the Mountain Kingdom.
- August 11th - The Golden Age of detective fiction ended. The novel “Blood on the Pages” by L. Knoxworth is often cited as the final work of the Golden Age—beginning as a classic murder mystery, it is eventually revealed that the murderer was in fact the reader.
- Date unknown - Snow-wurst was discontinued when it came to light that the bleaching process left chemicals in the meat that could produce lesions of the throat and tongue.
- July 2nd - The Glass Quarter of the city was struck by a vandal who worked entirely in pink spray paint. He or she covered walls in violently pink murals depicting lewd and graphic acts. The city attempted to scrub them away or cover them up as quickly as possible, but for a period of several months, many people in the Glass Quarter had their horizons rather objectionably expanded. The Spray Paint Pornographer, as the vandal came to be known, vanished as suddenly as they had come in the fall of that year. No examples of their work survives, although there are a great many photos in private collections.
- August 4th - The War Flamingos were formed. This elite tank unit rode in tanks that had been painted hot pink, owing to a mix up at the manufacturer. The War Flamingos, realizing that the small odds of getting anyone to admit that there had been a mistake, made a virtue of necessity. The War Flamingos were heavily decorated and the subject of a number of movies and documentaries.
- December 11th - An explosion rocked the Blue Bonnet Button Factory, shaking the building to its foundations. Buttons were fired in all directions, breaking windows and embedding themselves into walls. A #7 red shoe button was found several blocks over, buried in a telephone pole. Fortunately the explosion occurred several hours before the morning shift, so the only casualties were the night watchmen and two teenagers making out behind the dumpster. The cause of the explosion was never determined.
- Date unknown - The radio show “The Adventures of Blake Boscoe” came to an end.
- March 21st - The first Stabbing Rock chick was hatched, a crossbreed between a Barred Rock hen and an unknown rooster who briefly visited the coop, wooed the ladies, and vanished as mysteriously as he had come. The Stabbing Rock chicken breed (named for the coop’s location in Stabbingham) is a tall, nearly black chicken with dark gray and blue-black stripes and a stark red comb. Hens are good layers, although the roosters wander a lot and croon rather than crow.
- March 2nd - A great cake was made for a royal wedding. The cake was nearly two stories high, a miracle in buttercream and fondant. Each successive layer was covered in fondant bas-reliefs depicting the history of the world, while notable figures from history were arranged in front. The royal couple stood atop the very highest layer, surrounded by angels, an honor guard in frosting armor, and for some reason, chocolate porcupines. The cake became a greater celebrity than the two royals being married and was featured in all the newspapers of the day. It was the subject of a documentary titled “Frosted Glory” and the chief architect retired on the money she made from the project.
- March 18th - The small island nation of Qualm hosted its first Miss Qualm pageant, which was won by a cheese. The cheese’s poor performance in the swimsuit competition was apparently made up for by its astonishing juggling talent and insightful answers into why children were the future. The cheese was duly crowned and sent across Qualm, where it fulfilled its duties admirably. Towards the end of its tenure, it retired, feeling a bit runny, and the runner up, Miss Volcano Beach West, took its place for the remainder of the term. The cheese was buried with full honors and the Miss Qualm 1944 Scholarship Fund was established to give disadvantaged dairy products a leg-up on life.
- August 15th - Death of Thomas Lord, founder of Lord’s Union of Bonded Milkmen.
- April 16th - The Madonna of Leaves was seen briefly through a window by a school full of small children. They ran out of the school to follow the Madonna, which proved fortuitous, as the school promptly exploded. The cause was determined to be improperly stored chalkboard erasers and a citywide festival in honor of the Madonna of Leaves followed.
- October 6th - The Lemonade Orchid was introduced at the Royal Botanical Garden, a small, easy-to-grow orchid with a delightful scent of citrus. It was not finicky, it rebloomed easily, and was neither toxic nor endangered. It is rare that life gives us such blessings, and they should be cherished.
- September 26th - A completed Diplodocus skeleton was stolen from the Royal Museum’s Saurian Wing. As the skeleton was over seventy feet long, no one ever figured out how it was done. It is one of the museum’s great mysteries, and has been the subject of a great many novels, movies, and unfounded speculation. Hundreds of suspects have been suggested, including the Royal family, the Pope, mime-hunter Elaina Golden, and the Smilegod Killer.
- December 16th - A silver thaw struck the city. While the ground was frozen, a layer of warm air briefly blanketed the city. Falling rain was supercooled as it hit the cold air just above the ground and coated everything in the city with three inches of glazed ice. Power lines snapped under the weight, trees broke in half, pipes exploded, and the entire city was shut down for nearly a week. Damages were estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars. This remains the single most expensive weather event to ever strike the city, narrowly edging out the 1899 rain of freezing Holsteins.
- January 3rd - The Lost City of Enoch was discovered by the archaeologist Mary Swanson. She had tracked it down based on unusually geometric shapes appearing in aerial photography, a task made more difficult by its tendency to relocate on the vernal equinox. Partial excavations yielded a treasure trove of artifacts.
c. 1940's & 50's
- Date unknown - Sightings of the Madonna of the Leaves, a hooded figure who leaves maple leaves behind her instead of footprints, are common in the forties and fifties.
- November 7th - The first Minky’s restaurant opened. This fast food franchise would spread like wildfire, offering a range of cheap, low-quality foods and a children’s play area. Minky’s attempted to reinvent itself several times, largely without success, but continues to serve in hundreds of locations to this day.
- March 5th - A male woodpecker made the discovery that every tenth tree in his forest was not made of wood, but appeared to be cleverly carved of ivory. He found this very strange, but the other forest inhabitants claimed to be used to it. Eventually, after denting his bill several times on ivory trees, he moved away to less surreal climes.
- June 6th: A door opened in the city. It was a narrow door, painted blue, leading onto a small street known as Kirklane Place. This is significant primarily because the door had never before opened, nor has it done so since. The builders installed it some forty years prior as their last task upon the building, packed up their tools and left without testing the hinges. Kirklane Place is home to a series of townhomes, which had been remodeled somewhat haphazardly, and so the owners of the homes on either side of the door each believed that it belonged to the other side. Occasionally shadowy figures could be seen glancing out through the glass windows set beside the door, but nothing untoward or unpleasant happened. On this particular day, the door opened and a man in a bowler hat left, closed the door, locked it, and walked off down the street. He was whistling “Momma’s Gonna Buy You A Mockingbird.” He did not return. The door is still there.
- February 8th - A cloud appeared over the Glass Wastes. It assumed several dramatic shapes, ending with a gigantic rampant lion, before dissipating on the wind.
- December 2nd - a Squigginox was seen in the woods near the village of Jot. Cryptozoologists immediately descended on Jot, seeking evidence of this rare creature, although skeptics maintained that it was a deer in a rubber suit. The primary witness had a long history as a hoaxer, although many people reported seeing “something strange” in the woods.
- February 9th - The birthday of the third Baron Palmer, noted patron of the arts. He was a frequent fixture at operas and gallery openings, until he was eaten by a goat at a particular avante garde performance. His will established the Palmer Theater Company which continues to this day.
- June 17th - Edith Mahoney, a minor character actor, died in front of her apartment. This small, grisly event would not normally merit a historical footnote, but the adjacent park was, at the time, being fumigated for tent caterpillars. Reporters on the scene witnessed Mahoney stagger out of the building in her dressing gown, clutching at her face, before falling dead on camera.
- August 6th - The superhero Slugman was introduced as a minor character in the popular comic “Captain Chaos.” Slugman was rapidly spun off into his own comic and developed a full cast of associated heroes, including Slugwoman, Slugboy, Sluggirl, the Slug Cadets, and Slimy the Wonder Slug. Following flagging sales in the 90’s, Slugman was given a dark, gritty reboot that saw him frequenting strip clubs and snorting rock salt. The reboot was considered the last nail in the coffin and Slugman’s comic was retired in 2002, although Slimy the Wonder Slug continued with an animated series described as “ground-breaking” and “the single best hour of Saturday morning television.”
- Date unknown - Johnny Stone, one of the great musical icons of the 20th century, rocketed to stardom with his hit single “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens”
- March 19th - The musical “The Juniper Man” was first performed on stage. This extraordinary production smashed all records for a musical and remained in continuous production for seventeen years. The songs “A Girl Like A Headache” and “That Thing You Do--No, That Other Thing” rocketed to the top of the charts.
- June 23rd - Yellow Dye Z-10 was discovered as part of a government program to create an army of pyrokinetic soldiers. Z-10 was discarded as unreliable, but found use as a food coloring until it was pulled from the market following the Great Icing Fire. Apparently small children will willingly eat more frosting in one sitting than the government will inject into test subjects over the course of several weeks. Z-10 is now banned in all civilized countries.
- July 7th - It is the birthday of the inventor Alistair Whetsmith. He invented such curiosities as the insect cannon, mobile anvil rack, and digital gopher. Few of his inventions were put into every day production, but he lived well on the patent for a small, vital widget used in the production of curtain rods.
- July 9th - An infestation of guppy-flies broke out in the city. This small flying fish, not much larger than a dragonfly, was imported by the exotic pet trade. Unfortunately they escaped from captivity, and a series of extremely humid months led to a massive outbreak. Guppy-flies clogged air intakes and coated the grilles of cars. Pets became ill eating the massive numbers of guppies that filled up the gutters. It was an extraordinary nuisance, causing millions of dollars in damages, and led to the banning of the sale of guppy-flies throughout the city.
- December 16th - A heroic border collie woke his family as the house was burning down and herded them all directly into the blaze. It was later determined that the collie had started the fire. Further investigation, however, revealed that the family had been members of the Secret Mime Cult and the collie was lauded as a hero of the state. He was given a medal by the Prime Minister and Her Royal Highness declared that the dog was “a very Good Boy.”
- Date unknown - The Hines Act, named in honor of Maxwell Hines, the "poet of the desert", was passed. This act makes it illegal to move or destroy a saguaro cactus.
- April 30th - The archaeologist Mary Swanson vanished, along with the Lost City of Enoch, which was not due to relocate until the next vernal equinox. Its unexpected disappearance may have been related to Swanson’s excavation of what she called “The Temple of the Moon.” No trace has ever been found, although citizens of Echo Harbor report that Swanson’s diaries appear in the city’s sewer system with tiresome regularity. “They play merry hell with the drains,” one city worker reported. “Wherever she is, she’s keeping good notes. We do wonder where she’s getting the paper.”
- September 30th - The Oracular Flower bloomed in the Royal Botanical Garden. The single blossom weighed eighty-seven pounds and stood six feet tall. At the viewing the Royal Botanist, aided by several cabinet members, bludgeoned the Prime Minister to death with his trowel and was immediately pardoned by the Crown Prince.
- December 18: A new Prime Minister was appointed, after the old one was bludgeoned to death by the Royal Botanist, in the presence of the Crown Prince. The Crown Prince pardoned the Botanist immediately, owing to extenuating circumstances. An interim Prime Minister served for two months before stepping down and the new Prime Minister, one Thessaly Peridot, was the first woman of color to hold the post. She served for a number of years with distinction.
- Date unknown - The last time a deep fat fryer in Minky's in Troyzantium was cleaned. It was determined to be the source of a fire which destroyed the restaurant.
- July 4th - The Highland Mountain Dog was recognized by the Royal Canine Society. This breed nearly went extinct in the early part of the last century, as it was a cart-pulling dog and was largely replaced by motorized vehicles. A single kennel continued to breed them and though the breed went through a certain bottleneck, others were found in remote areas and the breed was brought back from the brink. They are a large, good-natured, extremely calm breed easily confused with a small horse.
- May 23rd - A pin-striped rose was entered into the Royal Botanical Flower Show. This hybrid tea rose had sensible dark blue stripes, and was described as “Ground-breaking” ‘extraordinary’ “a triumph of horticultural art” and “business-like.” The pin-striped rose was one of several breeding stocks used to create Secretary-Bushes some years later.
- August 11th - The Crested Lizards were founded on this day. The Lizards played football. Apparently they were not very good at it. A team owner later attempted to change this by re-naming them the Leopards. They did not get any better, except for a brief winning season in 1977. Apparently there were some very heartwarming movies made about this. We here at the Hidden Almanac don’t really get sports.
- May 14th - A rare sextuple rainbow spread over the highlands, witnessed by many. One or two foolish people thought it was the end of the world or possibly aliens, but most accepted it as a rather nice thing for the weather to have done.
- January 2nd - A horned owl was spotted in the Royal Gardens. Unlike most great horned owls, this one had actual horns, or at least antlers. The owl sported a six-point rack and appeared to have difficulty roosting because it kept catching on trees. “You’d think that it would have shed the antlers already,” said one. “I suppose that it’s been a mild winter, so it’s a bit late.” The horned owl eventually entangled in a camellia and was taken to a wildlife rehabilitator for care until it shed the antlers on its own.
- July 11th - The Allium Spear surfaced at auction. Lost many times before, the Allium Spear was a first-century artifact, made of hammered bronze, inscribed with images of cloves of garlic. Texts of the age refer to it as “the spear of cleansing” and “the caster out of the Wyrm.” This was originally believed by scholars to be a reference to its power to drive out evil, but in fact, the spear possessed the peculiar property of being a powerful vermifuge. Any who touched it immediately expelled any parasites they might be carrying, sometimes quite violently.
- May 9th - Someone said something really unforgivable about someone else’s cousin, and obviously they couldn't talk after that, and after all that she’d done for them, too! You’d think they’d know better. Well. There’s no telling in this world, is there? Historians mark the day solemnly and keep it with libations of beer.
- May 12th - It was on this day that the Bone Doll was created. Its current whereabouts are unknown.
- September 27th - A flock of ninety-six pigeons killed an old woman near her home in the city. Over the next few days, the increasingly bold flock would kill nine more people, causing a city-wide panic, before being dispersed by a small child with a slingshot. The aggression of the pigeons was blamed on tainted birdseed.
- October 24th - The raccoon tribe held parliamentary elections. Voting was carried out by ritual washing of white or black pebbles. The very large raccoon with the scarred ear won. There was general rejoicing, and several garbage cans were knocked over in celebration.
- March 7th - A small trillium bloomed in the woods. The pattern of the petals exactly formed the shape of the one of the hidden names of God. Several passing chickadees were enlightened, and then a slight breeze disturbed the trillium and the moment passed forever.
- March 28th - The introduction of the Snugglepig started a stuffed toy craze that swept the city and led to mass shortages of pink fabric. Snugglepigs were highly sought after from their introduction on, but the situation did not reach crisis point until the following December. There were reports of armed gangs holding up trucks carrying the toy and the royal guard had to be called out to quell riots. The Snugglepig itself was a somewhat undistinguished pink pig with a heart-shaped snout and a vaguely goofy expression.
- May 30th - The Least Plague exposed nearly eighty thousand people to a terrible virus. They were all vaccinated as children, however, and so several thousand people suffered mild head colds and a few with compromised immune systems required a round of antibiotics. There were no casualties.
- June 16th - A gathering of caterpillars met on the leaves of a hickory tree some miles from this spot and held a poetry contest. The winner was a two-hundred line epic, entitled “The Battle of the Green Twig” and the poet was given the choicest leaf on the tree as a reward, which it promptly ate.
- June 20th - An early hurricane struck the Convent of the White Goat on the Isle of Shun. No nuns were harmed, but the convent’s island restoration project was set back by the loss of hundreds of mature trees. The nuns, undaunted, set to work restoring the lost trees.
- August 18th - A pattern of raindrops fell on a gray stone, spelling out one of the lost names of God. The name persisted for a few moments, before being washed away by the rain. The stone has been lucky ever since, and several people owe their success in life to having sat on it, all unknowing.
- September 22nd - A sinister ceramic cube appeared in the House of Parliament. It was about four inches on a side, somewhat irregular, and had a white crackled glaze. Pages approaching it said that it seemed very untrustworthy. “Not like a bomb,” one reported, “but more like it was taking bribes or something.” The cube was moved nervously around the chambers for some weeks, before it vanished and later took work as a lobbyist for the corn industry.
- November 6th - Super Wafers were introduced onto the market on this day by the Terriblee Tastee Treat Company. They came in shocking colors like hot pink, lime green, and Cerenkov blue, and were approximately 90% sugar. It was eventually revealed that the lime green wafers contained Yellow Dye Z-10, well known to cause hyperactivity, seizures, and pyrokinesis. Despite pulling the lime green wafers from the market, all Super Wafers suffered by association and the Terriblee Tastee Treat Company went bankrupt and was bought by a competitor the following year.
- July 18th - Two fraternity brothers invented the single worst cocktail in human history. The ingredients list is not entirely available to the public, for safety reasons, but included gin, the water from a water pipe used for illicit substances, several drops of hot sauce, olive brine, and leftover bloody mary mix found in the refrigerator. Both were hospitalized and recovered eventually, though they never drank anything stronger than tea ever again. One dropped out and became a street preacher, and one changed his major from business to ceramics.
- April 25th - A rogue golem-mancer raised a twenty foot golem in a small town east of the city. It was constructed of the contents of eleven hundred used kitty little boxes, and has been widely voted the single most disgusting golem of the last two hundred years. The army was called in and most of the town was set to the torch. The citizens reportedly said “Well, we didn’t want to live there anyway. Not after that. You’d never get the smell out, would you?” Charred bodies pulled the wreckage presumably included the golem-mancer, but were never identified.
- October 14th - Were-pigeons were placed on the Protected Species Roster. Scientists determined that they were, in fact, a separate species from were-doves, and thus deserving of their own individual protections.
- November 7th - The Troyzantine Otterhound was recognized by the Royal Kennel Association. Otterhounds are not bred to hunt otters, but are in fact, part otter. No one is quite sure how this happened.
- January 31st - A small child stood with her nose pressed against the glass, waiting for snow to fall. Despite the promises of weather forecasters, snow did not fall. This shattered the small child’s faith in both the system and the goodness of the universe. She grew up to become a great humanitarian and developed the first inexpensive malaria vaccine, saying “No one will help us, and so we have no choice but to help ourselves.”
- October 22nd - Multiple people were found unconscious under an overpass in the city. When removed from the area, most regained consciousness quickly and were unharmed except for dehydration, but a few had died, apparently in their sleep. It was eventually discovered that the underside of the overpass had been taken over by Indigo Woodpeckers and their droppings had piled up to the point where they had become aerosolized.
- June 20th - Singer Lou Jill collapsed on stage during a concert. Famous for her songs “Groovy Like Starlight” and “Sweet Cool Breeze,” she had been performing to a packed crowd of young people. Once at the hospital, it was determined that the singer died of heartworm. This led to a number of inquiries, as heartworm in humans is generally harmless. Further investigation revealed that the singer was, in fact, two golden retrievers in a tie-dyed sundress.
- March 30th - Writer Harold Androvich and the artist known simply as “Gill” met by accident in a coffee shop when Gill picked up Androvich’s umbrella by mistake. “We talked for hours,” Androvich reported. “Then days. Then Gill begged to illustrate one of my books. Within the year, we wrote a graphic novel together, and then another.” Their collaboration continued for over forty years, ending only when Gill passed away in 2002. The Gill & Harold books include the graphic novel “Owning Nothing,” which won the Royal Literary Award of Merit, and “One Thousand Ways To Blow Up A Dead Whale,” which did not. Actually, nothing after their first book was believed to have any artistic worth at all, and they both had to take second jobs. “Full of self-referential in-jokes,” said one critic. “One can be happy for their relationship while still being completely unimpressed with their output.” A documentary about their life, “Gill & Me” was a mild success at the box office.
- November 21st - The Korring Report was released, detailing the multiple extraordinary failings of the Diablo model of sportscar. The Diablo was prone to engine failure, fuel line disruption, and also exploded when it came within fifty feet of another Diablo. (This was explained as an added feature to prevent drivers from losing track of their car in crowded parking lots.) Diablos were pulled from the market and a great many people were investigated. The CEOs of the company were promptly hired by other automobile manufacturers, because some people don’t learn.
- Date unknown - Zee and Zed, “the Double Miracle” conjoined twins, passed away peacefully at the age of 74.
- Date unknown - The famous burlesque dancer Strawberry Roan retired.
- May 23rd - A mouse fleeing a hawk took refuge in the nest of an ovenbird. Ovenbirds build small clay nests on the ground. The hatchlings, blind and puzzled, made room for their new compatriot. The mother ovenbird knew perfectly well that this was a mouse, but possessed a maternal streak and sheltered the mouse under her wings until the danger had passed.
- October 1st - The Royal Museum began a concerted effort to catalog every single item in the collection. As the Museum contained more than three million individual items, acquired, donated, and sometimes outright stolen over the centuries, this was a vast undertaking.
- October 27th - The All Hallows Murder was committed, although the body was not found until the 31st. The tabloids seized on this, ignoring the fact that the murder had occurred some days earlier, and whipped up a fine frenzy about Halloween death cults preying on trick-or-treaters.
- March 23rd - The World Of Dough amusement park opened out the outskirts of the city. Billed as a “cookie-filled wonderland” it featured edible gingerbread houses and a raw dough pit for playing in. “The best part of baking is the raw dough!” said a spokesman. “We aim to make that experience larger than life!” Thousands flocked to the World of Dough, and hundreds were hospitalized with salmonella. When local doctors were asked whether the raw dough pit might be unsanitary, they stared at the camera, lips pursed, shaking their heads in silent horror. World of Dough closed three weeks later.
- June 22nd - A man died in a freak tape measure accident when the metal ruler portion snapped back suddenly, struck him in the eye, and caused a fatal blood clot. Investigators ruled that it was an accidental death and he probably should not have been holding the tape measure in his teeth. Nevertheless, his family sued and all tape measures since 1975 have included warnings about not being held in the mouth or nose. This is why we cannot have nice things.
- July 8th - The “Shrimpy” line of jewelry was introduced. These consisted of clear plastic tubes filled with brightly colored brine shrimp, which fluoresced under black light. Shrimpies became incredibly popular overnight, as people wore necklaces, bracelets, rings and anklets of plastic full of the shrimp. They came in three colors—Blissful Blue, Enlightenment Orange, and Peaceful Pink.
- July 31st - Photographer Elaine Carter took a photo of a pangolin clinging to a thin branch. It was later marketed as a poster with the phrase “Hang In There” printed in a large, cheerful font. The poster proved incredibly popular and sold hundreds of thousands of copies. It was widely pirated, but far more annoying, said Carter, were those who kept misidentifying the pangolin. “It’s a pangolin,” she said. “Not a lizard, not a porcupine, not a platypus, definitely not a baby sloth. They live in the jungle and eat insects. Why is this so difficult? Are people really that ignorant of biology?” Carter retired on the proceeds of the Hang In There Pangolin and today devotes herself to promoting backyard naturalism.
- August 10th - Candidate Elle Serena ran for Parliament on the platform of standardizing women’s clothing sizes. She professed no other political leanings, and promised to devote her entire existence to making certain that a medium was always a medium and a large was always the same large. She was elected by a landslide, crossing all party lines, and receiving the highest female voter turn-out ever recorded. Sadly, operatives from the fashion industry quietly assassinated her before she took office. Voters expressed their sorrow and, then, their total lack of surprise.
- January 3rd - An infestation of the Fall Slaughterworm Moth descended upon the city. The population was estimated at over a hundred million, and dead moths piled up in the gutter inches thick.
- May 16th - The painting “Eleven Chimps And A Nun” was displayed for the first time at the Gallery d’Authentique. This abstract painting covered most of a wall and appeared to be a series of colored blobs, each one filled with tiny, precise lines making occasionally painful visual patterns.
- June 23rd - An infestation of dire sand dollars closed the beaches of several resort communities. The dinner-plate sized creatures would ravenously devour anything that sat perfectly still for eight to ten hours, and proved a minor nuisance to sun bathers.
- Date unknown - Playwright Eleanor Anomalous died of sepsis after falling on a cactus.
- May 7th - The Royal Naval Academy adopted a newer and more stringent dress code, as someone had figured out that nowhere in the rules did it state that uniforms could not be tie-dyed, provided they remained the correct length and free of wrinkles. The Rainbow Rebellion lasted four weeks, after which new rules were drafted and the ringleaders were set to peeling potatoes for being wise guys.
- June 20th - The Gloriana Prize for Literature was founded and funded anonymously. Votes are collected from members of the reading public, who will find ballots delivered to them by masked figures in the small hours of the night. Interestingly enough, the ballots are always for books that the voter has actually read. The masked figures wait politely until the ballots are marked, then vanish as mysteriously as they have come. The Gloriana Prize is believed to be one of the few literary prizes absolutely exempt from vote-lobbying or favoritism and is highly regarded as a result.
- Date unknown - One of the Hateful Decrees, passed in 1782 by the Librarian Prince and which banned centaurs within the city limits was hastily struck down with apologies after the growing movement for centaur rights challenged it in court.
- Date unknown - "The Fairy Sausages" were re-released and the translation efforts of Ida Mather were finally recognized.
- April 4th - Alistair Whetsmith invented the insect cannon. This low-velocity shoulder mounted cannon fires quantities of carrion-eating beetles, suitable for repelling zombies. When critics pointed out that the beetles would likely suffer from high-speed impact, Alistair fitted them with tiny crash helmets, kitted out with corporate logos. Its effectiveness in the case of zombie apocalypse is unknown.
- November 14th - The breed of cat known as the Harbor Red was recognized by the Royal Feline Association. The Harbor Red is a large, stocky cat with bright scarlet eyes. This is extremely unsettling.
- March 19th - A masked man held up the Royal Library, demanding, at gunpoint, several rare tomes. He took only first-edition children’s books and then escaped through a window. Some months later, the books turned up, piled neatly outside the anteater cage at the Royal Zoo, with a short note saying “All words are termites gnawing at the wood pulp pages.” No arrests were ever made, and the identity of the masked gunmen was never determined.
- Date unknown - The football team the Crested Lizards had a brief winning season.
- Date unknown - The Royal Museum, under the direction of legendary curator Malala Butler, finished cataloging their entire collection.
- Date unknown - Competitive distance swimmer Magnus Olafson set out to swim from the mainland to the Coriander Isles, a distance so extraordinary that no one had even attempted it before. He made it twenty-five miles and was eaten by a glutton whale.
- October 17th - A vaccine was developed for childhood lizard pox. Lizard pox is generally not dangerous for children, but can become life-threatening if contracted by adults.
- December 4th - The glutton whale species was first identified and described by science. This unusual species of baleen whale does gulp large quantities of water and strain it through its baleen, but it has a very large throat and grinding teeth, allowing it to swallow significantly larger prey than krill. Glutton whales are still largely mysterious, and their total numbers are unknown.
- November 27th - A skull was found in the Glass Wastes. It had extremely primitive features and belonged to a young male hominid almost two million years old. The skull was named Mr. Fluffy, after the discoverer (a large schnauzer) and is on display at the Royal Museum of Natural History.
- October 27th - The World’s Most Terrifying Haunted House opened in the city, and then closed three days later. Visitors emerged with severe heart palpitations, minor lacerations, with most having urinated on themselves.
- January 20th - The traveling museum exhibit “Ziploc Bags Through The Ages” came to the town of Bricklayer’s Cross.
- July 24th - The play “Burning Tobacco” debuted on stage at the Royal Opera House. Featuring a grim boys prep school, it centers on a forbidden liaison between the math teacher and the headmaster, who later elope to the Coriander Isles, leaving the boys to riot and eventually burn down the school.
- Date unknown - Amelia Driade's memoir of survivorship Even The Mice Wear Masks won the Gloriana Prize for Literature.
- December 9th - The Speedy Taco fast food chain introduced a new dish, the seafood burrito. This burrito came in three varieties: crab, fish, and so-called succulent shrimp. As the burritos cost eighty-nine cents a piece, there was immediate suspicion as to the quality of the ingredients. The crab proved to be artificial. The fish was invasive Snakehead. And the succulent shrimp was, in fact, perfectly ordinary frozen shrimp. Albeit those that had broken up in shipping, and could not be sold at restaurants. "The truly astonishing thing here, is that they were really shrimp," said one health inspector. "It's actually pretty edible." Of the three, only the Snakehead fish taco remains on the menu to this day. Investigation revealed that Speedy Taco was actually being paid to haul the invasive fish away from storm drains and so were making a substantial profit on both ends of the supply chain. While consumers might have balked at eating a fish that consumed farm waste and had rudimentary lungs, Snakehead was re-branded as Troyzantium Lake Bass and became a multi-billion dollar industry.
- Date unknown - Johnny Stone, one of the great musical icons of the 20th century, died in that regrettable incident, which, out of respect for his family, we shall not describe here. The circumstances were, in any event, somewhat mysterious and the goat has refused all interviews.
- January 13: A bank was robbed in the small town of Gant. Police received an anonymous tip-off some days later and raided a farmstead outside of Gant, finding a man in a badger mask seated on the front porch, with a shotgun across his lap.
- April 14th - The Snugglebug Sleepwear Factory exploded following a gas leak. No one was hurt, but brightly colored pajama bottoms rained down across the city, clogging the Autumn River for some days.
- September 8th - The movie “Sun Weasels” was released. The premise was that humanity was afflicted with a terrible disease, causing the victim’s skin to break into lesions when exposed to sunlight. The lesions would then swell and badly animated weasel-like creatures would erupt from the sores, killing everyone in their path.
- May 11th - A monument was removed from a small park in the town of Gant. The monument claimed that it was the birthplace of the great battle-linguist, Lord Stephen the Collator. There are no records that Lord Stephen came within a hundred miles of the town, and the monument was mostly likely erected in a fit of great patriotism and poor research sometimes in the 1940s.
- November 22nd - The Wincing Whippet Candle Company introduced a line of scented candles aimed at the male consumer. With the tagline “Flowers are for girls,” the Wincing Whippet line included such scents as “Salt Air,” “Smoke & Leather,” “New Car” and “Extremely Manly Cookies.” Wincing Whippet changed hands several times and the ad campaign was discontinued as offensive. Most of the original scents are no longer available, although “Extremely Manly Cookies” can still be purchased under the new trade name “Mom’s Fresh Baked Chocolate Chip.”
- August 8th - A man in a badger suit robbed the Gloomtrust Bank in the city’s financial district. He got away with less than five hundred dollars, but the badger suit became a running joke for late night talk show hosts for weeks to come.
- January 18th - A young woman receiving a tattoo briefly had one of the syllables spoken at the creation of the universe inscribed upon her flesh. Her design was the logo of a popular band, but because the woman was holding her arm at an uncomfortable angle and had to pause to stretch her elbow, the finished lines displayed the syllable in the ancient language of quasars.
- September 1st - A thirty-point deer was seen in the woods outside the town of Shaggy Corners. Photographs confirmed that the deer, which had a gigantic, asymmetric crown of antlers, was in fact a doe. The deer was nicknamed “The Emperor Doe” and was given protection by the crown as a rare and beautiful national treasure.
- October 7th - A pond full of cattails came to life and became tall green-and-brown women. They danced six square dances and one tango, their hair shedding fluff into the breeze, then went back to being cattails.
- May 21st - A kombucha culture, belonging to a woman who called herself Starflower Rising, achieved sentience. It bided its time for some months, composing increasingly hostile haiku, before making a break for freedom by knocking its jar over and escaping into the sewers. The mole people report that the culture, which calls itself “The Mother of Anguish,” is still there, and still very angry about something.
- June 13th - People began receiving fortunes in fortune cookies which had only a date on them. The dates were all different. Most probably ignored the cookies as a misprint, but a few individuals kept records of the event and reported them to the press. The cookies were traced back to a particular factory, where one of the machines had been left on all night.
- October 22nd - The Notorious Sisterhood, the famed guild of prostitutes, manipulated the votes in Parliament by the simple expedient of taking away the pants of various clients and refusing to return them. They then photographed these clients — all of whom were highly placed lobbyists — and informed them that they would now be lobbying for the Wetlands Restoration Act or they would be very sorry. The Act, which had been in danger of failure, passed by an overwhelming majority.
- November 10th - The Alien Near-Apocalypse was touched off by a radio play. Station XYZZY 94.3 attempted to present a radio drama, purported to be actual reports of aliens landing on the outskirts of the city. In the end, the missile, while not aborted, was successfully brought down over an unpopulated stretch of the Glass Wastes, where it made even more glass. There were many apologies by everyone involved.
- August 25th - The TV show “Magical Preschool” first aired. An immediate hit with children under the age of five, it consisted of brightly colored figures running around like lunatics and occasionally bursting into song. Every few minutes, everyone would freeze and a number would flash on the screen. As the numbers always went from high to low, the general appearance was of a countdown to some terribly colorful apocalypse.
- September 25th - Seed Library Riots-This ugly moment in agricultural history followed the passage of the so called “Seed Stock Purity Laws” which were billed as a way of protecting farmers against inferior seed stock, but which in practice were funded by several major agricultural corporations. Officers of the Royal Agricultural Service descended—somewhat unwillingly, by all accounts—on a historic one-room schoolhouse where a local gardener seed-swap was being held.
- November 6th - A rooster wearing boots walked down High Street, to the Kingfisher Bridge. They were quite serious boots with hobnails, and the rooster struck sparks from the cobblestones. It was a large black and orange rooster, possibly of the Golden Highland variety, and it had a distinctly grumpy expression. Several people followed it, but it stalked into a pub and did not re-emerge.
- December 15th - 33 members of a wedding party were killed after the couple thought it would be a good idea to have photos taken on an iced over lake. Recent warm weather had weakened the ice and it broke under the weight, sending all involved underwater. It was a national tragedy, and the only benefit derived from it was by a first responder who fished out the bouquet and became the next of his unit to marry.
- Date unknown - Painter Maxwell Alonzo passed away.
- March 20th - The Pizzastone Pizza company unveiled a new mascot for their line of delivery pizzas. The mascot was a large dog, which was always saying “You gonna eat that?” For whatever reason—catchy jingle, excellent camera work, drugs in the water supply—the Pizzastone Dog caught the popular imagination. Multiple commercials were aired, T-shirts sold, and the dog’s owner reportedly became a multi-millionare overnight. Pizzastone reps scoured local pounds for dogs that could serve as stunt doubles. It was a peculiar moment in popular culture.
- April 15th - Seventy-seven cans of dog food coming off a conveyer belt fell into a holding bin and momentarily formed a shockingly accurate likeness of the current Prime Minister. Sadly, the likeness was then eradicated by a second load of dog food cans before anyone could document (or indeed, notice) this brief but extraordinary event.
- October 2nd - The Feather-Your-Nest Interior Décor Company released a brand of autumn-themed bath tissue as part of their Harvest Home line of goods. The tissue was cream colored and included pressed autumn flowers. Unfortunately, after the initial run, the sourcing for the flowers was handed off to the lowest bidder. Thirty-five thousand rolls were produced using ragweed and asters, which led to intense allergic reactions. Allergy suffers would blow their noses on the ragweed tissue, increasing the reaction, and those who used the tissue for its standard purposes developed hives in places where hives should not go. The Feather-Your-Nest company issued a recall.
- October 29th - A scientist named Edgar Barry invented a new method for artificially inseminating beef cattle. This revolutionized the industry and brought the cost down significantly.
- Date unknown - Famed ballerina Laurel Murglenn died, fabulous wealthy and powerfully mistrusted.
- March 10th - The Winter Blight swept vineyards throughout the continent. Winter blight caused the grapevines to send out leaves far too early in the year, freezing on the vine and weakening the plant severely. Many great vineyards were lost. One enterprising vineyard owner set up heaters in the fields, keeping the leaves unfrozen. The expense in space heaters and extension cords was extraordinary, but the resulting “Blight Wines” were highly sought after and more than paid for the expense. The cause of the Winter Blight was never found, and has not struck again, although botanists suspect that it is only a matter of time.
- May 26th - Melinda Berman, the Masked Editor, passed away. Her obituary was proofread thirty-six times and shone as a testament to correct use of semicolons. A national day of mourning was declared for one of the great heroes of editing and thesauruses were shelved at half-mast for a week.
- June 27th - The game “Mondo Beast” was launched. One of the first wildly successful stand-up arcade machines, “Mondo Beast” had graphics head and shoulders above any game previously released. It was an overnight sensation and arcades reported lines over an hour long to play. As it was also hellishly difficult, play time rarely lasted more than eight minutes and separated players from quarters with great efficiency.
- July 2nd - An extremely depressed woman woke up in the morning and thought “I can get through this.” Things got better after that.
- November 3rd - Inventor Alistair Whetsmith invented a coffee grinder that he called the “Bean-Matrix,” This would not normally be significant, except that the coffee grinder proved able to grind nearly anything, including logs, stones, and, unfortunately, fingers. Whetsmith renamed his invention the “Grind-O-Matrix” but its lack of safety features made it unsellable in the modern market.
- Date unknown - The graffiti artist known as “Raygun's” spray-painted artwork decorated the city for nearly two decades.
- May 15th - A group of mercenaries was dispatched to deal with the so-called “Mother of Anguish” that dwells in the sewers beneath the city. This rogue kombucha culture communicates its demands only through very angry haiku. It had lately taken to demanding sacrifices and claiming that “the time of the ascendance is at hand.” The mole-people were increasingly concerned, and moreso when the mercenary group vanished. A pile of bones was eventually located, along with a haiku stating:
- The next warriors
- You send to slay the mother—
- Free-range only, please.
- December 15th - The album “A World Bleached White” by Ironlight was released. It featured explicit lyrics, graphic depictions of illegal acts on the album art, and the liner notes could be fashioned into a crude weapon. Though banned from sale in every possible venue, it nevertheless went immediately triple platinum. “Teenagers appear to be purchasing this by osmosis or something,” said one moral authority. “I went into my daughter’s bedroom and a copy literally popped out of the air and fell onto the stereo. It was very disturbing. She swore that she’d never listened to it, but three more copies showed up under her bed, and there was another in the potting shed. That one might have been my husband’s, though. I’ve grounded everyone in the house, just in case.” Ironlight, which consists of three MFA’s in classical music and a drummer, released a five minute statement that, once the swear words had been removed, read only: Censorship of art is rarely effective. They continue to tour today.
- Date unknown - The Emperor Doe was seen for the last time.
- March 4th - Axolotls came up through the drains in the city, shocking many, who had not realized that they had gotten into the storm sewers and were breeding with great enthusiasm. Axolotls generally prefer cleaner water, but improvements in sanitation had greatly improved the water quality, and unseasonable warm winters combined with heavy rains had caused a population explosion. Axolotl removal services sprang up overnight, as animal control was overwhelmed. Many of the axolotls were relocated and re-released into the wild, increasing the population dramatically in some areas.
- March 27th - The Tastee Treat Company introduced its Butter Fried Snails on a Stick. These large gastropods were a tasty, if rubbery, delicacy from the southern Glass Wastes, and Tastee Treat hoped to market them to a wider audience. The advertising campaign featured a happy snail carrying a stick and shouting the slogan “Molluskalicious!” Butter Fried Snails on a Stick bombed as hard as a novelty food product can bomb. There was a brief fad to dare one’s friends to eat them, but the snails did not freeze well, reheated poorly, and approximately one in a hundred carried meningitis. Tastee Treat was investigated for malfeasance and paid out a large sum to those hospitalized as a result of snail ingestion. Stuffed toys of the happy snail became collectors items, however, and can fetch several thousand dollars at auction today.
- October 21st - A printer jam caused seventeen deaths and eleven injuries. No one is quite sure of how things spiraled so rapidly out of control. “He just pressed “Clean Print Heads,”” said one traumatized survivor. “Then there was only fire and screaming.” The printer in question was detained and later executed via lethal paper jam.
- September 20th - A small turtle reached the summit of a mountain. It was not the highest mountain on earth, but a respectable sized mountain nonetheless. The turtle watched the sunrise from the top and ate a small picnic breakfast. Then he climbed down and went home and was very happy.
- September 25th - A member of the Prime Minister's cabinet exploded into a cloud of small brown butterflies. Spontaneous butterfly explosions were nearly unknown at that time, and suspicions were raised that the unnamed cabinet member may have been a flock of butterflies all along. There were demands for a full investigation.
- October 26th - Poet Gertrude McGillicutty was killed by a freak Allen wrench accident while attempting to assemble a futon. Her poetry was mediocre at best and was quickly forgotten, but her death was the final one in an ancient curse passed through the maternal line. Nearly six hundred years prior, a female ancestor had robbed a tomb in the Glass Wastes, passing repeatedly under a threshold that promised doom, death, sorrow, and more doom. Under normal circumstances, such a curse would have ended the family within a few generations, but one particular ancestress had been blessed by the god of long chances, and so see-sawed between mortal peril and hairs-breadth escapes for nearly ninety years, five husbands, and no less than eleven children. Her descendants gave the curse a run for its money and it was not until the passing of Ms. McGillicutty that it finally saw its end.
- Date unknown - The flooded site of Lowing's Ford was excavated by underwater archaeologists.
- March 31st - The Crystal Popper came on the market. This hand-held device was billed as a permanent method of attaching a decorative crystal to any surface. Critics argued that the Crystal Popper was basically a nail gun, and the “crystal refills” were nails with faceted plastic heads. The Crystal Popper enjoyed catchy jingles and moderate commercial success, but was recalled from the market after multiple users were maimed in an effort to attach crystals to their foreheads.
- April 4th - An unexplained fire at the Ravencoast School of Divinity began in one of the student dorms. Bucket brigades were formed by the Plague Doctors, while other members of the seminary suggested praying for rain. They had worked out a non-denominational, suitably respectful prayer by the time that the fire department arrived, and the school was saved from further damage. The cause was determined to be a malfunctioning hot plate.
- April 11th - A nearly intact hominid skeleton was found at the edge of the Glass Wastes. Dated to two and a half million years ago, this skull pre-dates even Mr. Fluffy, and is believed to represent an extinct subspecies of hominid, distinguished by unusually large molars and a vestigial third eye in the back of the head.
- May 19th - The Lydia Blane Clothing Company invented a shirt that would never, ever, ever ride up, no matter how the wearer was sitting, bending, or moving. This miraculous article of clothing sold out nearly instantly and caused riots whenever shipments arrived. Multiple factories were switched over to meet demand and the Never-Gap T-shirt remains one of the highest selling women’s clothing items on the market today.
- June 9th - A small turtle, having reached the summit of a mountain almost nine months ago, finally reached the base. He was very happy to be home.
- June 27th - The Infamous Wilkington Garden Club Elections took place. Among political strategists, Wilkington is widely studied as an example of the old truism that the smaller the stakes, the more bitter the fighting. The Garden Club Elections were a referendum on the respective merits of “pom-pom” vs. “saucer” dahlias, and escalated to tire-slashing, vandalism, arson, anonymous threats and smear campaigns. The eventual victor, 93-year-old Mathilda Smith, was described by one political activist as “the coldest soul I’ve ever known.”
- July 16th - Pigeons in the city began to turn up wearing bridles and tiny saddles. The city’s rat population was blamed, despite protests that rats are much too heavy to ride pigeons. The mysterious pigeon-riders were never found, and the pigeons became distracted by bread crumbs.
- August 8th - The song “Space Cookie” topped the music charts, where it would remain for over three months. The song was originally performed by the neo-grunge futurist band Tidepool, but was covered by dozens of other artists as the weeks wore on. Today, “Space Cookie” is considered retro and causes mild anguish when people over forty dance to it at weddings.
- November 14th - A mass recall of henna dye was issued. So called “Stone Henna” had been wildly popular for some months, but reports of scarring and rashes began to trickle in, followed by reports of combustion and in some case, tattoos gaining sentience and detaching themselves from their owners.
- Date unknown - The Joseph Ilex Memorial Bluebird Trail was inaugurated, stretching for twenty-six miles and housing an unknown number of bluebirds. It is credited with greatly increasing bluebird numbers throughout the coastal foothills and is maintained by the Garlic Scouts of Troyzantium. The trail was created from the collection of Joseph Ilex whose birdhouse collection, numbering some hundred thousand specimens, was bequeathed to the Royal Museum by his daughter upon his death.
- February 12th - The Great Lupercalia Drought struck the mountains to the east of the city. A warm winter had prevented the snow pack from building up in the mountains, reducing water levels to historic lows. While the drought had obviously been in effect for quite some time, it was only officially declared on this day. The Lord of the Mountain declared that his kingdom would cease to exist if something was not done.
- February 24th - The Great Lupercalia Drought, showing no signs of lessening, was classed as an emergency. Refugees fled the mountains east of the city, and the Lord of the Mountain begged his allies for supplies and humanitarian aid.
- March 26th - Refugees began to flee the kingdom of the Lord of the Mountain, which continued to suffer under the Great Lupercalia Drought. Aid was slow in arriving, owing to various political factors. Crops had begun to fail. The Lord of the Mountain called for aid yet again, to no avail.
- May 23rd - the Great Lupercalia Drought finally brought down the kingdom of the Lord of the Mountain. The kingdom had stood for some five hundred years, resisting invasion, plague, and missionaries, but could not stand against lack of water. Refugees sought homes in other cities and the Kingdom of the Mountain remains empty to this day…mostly. Rumor has it that the Lord of the Mountain refused to leave his kingdom and is still alive inside the ruined city. Looters have made brief forays into the ruins, but the Lord of the Mountain was very fond of booby traps and survival rates are not high.
- Date unknown - At the age of 102, Henrietta Mohly, photographer, published “A Life In Photos,” which spanned nearly a century of her work, and documented many of the changes that society had undergone.
- Date unknown - The walls of the Empty Sky Tea Shop, which hundreds of artists and writers drew or wrote on over the years, were carefully removed and taken to the Royal Museum. They were set up in the entryway to the literature wing, so that nearly a century worth of creativity would be preserved for future generations.
- February 2nd - A young seal was found at the bottom of a garden in East Walling. The garden was thirty seven miles inland and the seal had apparently swum upstream for a long way, then waddled through a series of drainage ditches and fetched up in the duck pond in East Walling.
- November 19th - The great violinist Pierre Lafone was discovered to be the notorious serial killer known as the Catgut Strangler.
- May 2nd - Foraging expert Jacob Crumb was arrested for “foraging” in the garden of Miss Henrietta Keeler. Miss Keeler reported going into the garden to cut flowers and found Crumb on his hands and knees. He attempted to flee, but Miss Keeler got him from behind with a thrown flowerpot.
- October 20th - The popular children’s show “Winkles and Friends!” first aired. It consisted of a man drunkenly screaming obscenities at the camera, and aired during Saturday morning cartoons for some weeks before the networks discovered that someone had mislabeled the public access tapes.
- Date unknown - Raygun was recognized as a National Treasure and his/hers surviving images protected by royal decree.
- Date unknown - Victor Corelli, famed oil painter, died.
- February 9th - Toy company FunZilla was founded. FunZilla makes pop-culture related toys, many of which are licensed from movies, video games, and TV shows. For a lengthy period, having a vinyl figure made by FunZilla was a sign that one had truly arrived in the pop culture gestalt. I do not have one. Yet.
- September 21st - The apple variety “Highland Crisper” was introduced to the market. Crisper, unlike many varieties before it, was tightly controlled by the breeders at the University of the Northern Highlands. Grafts were regulated and of course the variability of apple seeds meant that they could not be bred from seed. Crisper was an extraordinary commercial success, not least of which because there were never enough on the market to drive the prices down.
- December 10th - The Crawford Farmhouse was added to the Royal Register of Historic Buildings. The Crawford Farm was settled in the 1400s and stayed within the family for the next five hundred years. The farmhouse began as a simple stone structure, but was added to and updated by many generations, until it was a vast patchwork building. “It encompasses dozens of styles while mastering none of them,” said one critic. “A hideous creation,” said an architect. “One wonders that one is not turned to stone gazing upon it.” It was finally sold out of the family, in the 1960s, whereupon it was painted purple and turned into a brothel by the Notorious Sisterhood. It remains one to this day, although only after seven PM. During daylight hours, tours of the historic building are offered, with many of the evening employees serving as docents. The Crawford Farmhouse has been the highest ranked historic destination for nearly a decade, second only to the Tower of Murder. “It is amazing,” said one observer, “how many middle-aged men visit and conceive a sudden passion for history.”
- Date unknown - Mindful Gardening, published in 1999, revolutionized much of the conversation around gardens. It argued that the purpose of a garden was not merely to entertain the gardener, but to feed the spirit.
- Date unknown - Illustrator Mabel Sang died.
- Date unknown - Raygun’s artwork ceased, possibly indicating that the mysterious artist had died or moved away.
- January 22nd - A scientist measuring seabird nesting populations happened to spot the droppings of one of the Glorious Walking Stick, and later returned to find the entire population in the world—twenty four insects.
- November 29th - The Hedgehogs' Ladies' Bridge Club, which goes on in a hollow log at the end of the garden, was founded. It is by invitation only and there is much drinking of cordial out of thimbles. At night, you can hear the sounds of squeaky laughter and see lights about six inches off the ground.
- Date unknown - After a protracted decline in sales and quality the Slugman comic book was retired.
- Date unknown - The artist known simply as “Gill” passed away.
- June 10th - Cryptozoologist Zanna McIntosh put forward the theory that the Black Beast was actually a spider monkey that had escaped from the zoo. This theory was met with intense derision. She doubled down on it by stating that the Squigginox was probably just a land squid who had migrated in the wrong direction and suggested that the plesiosaur from the early part of the century was most likely a sea cow. McIntosh’s book “Everything Cool Is Actually Boring” sold very few copies and was rapidly remaindered.
- Date unknown - Carl Viking, one of the great radio personalities of the last century, died. It was only after his death that it was revealed that Carl had actually been a water buffalo. “We wondered about the large amounts of silage in the break room,” said his producer, “but he was just such a damn fine broadcaster.”
- January 10th - A flock of white jays descended on the Royal Cathedral. They remained there for several days, calling obscenities and prophecies to passers-by, then left as quickly as they had appeared.
- Date unknown - Hyatt was a young artist who dedicated his life to painting images of birds to aid in identification. He passed away this year.
- Date unknown - Aisha Goodman was named the Royal Poet Laureate for the first time.
- Date unknown - In the wake of the Gant bank robbery, amateur codebreakers spent years attempting to solve the clues, but with little success until 2004, when it was finally discovered that the code had been assembled incorrectly, owing to poor math skills on the part of the creator. Once the code was corrected and cracked, it led to another clue which was, astonishingly, still intact, in a canister hidden in the base of a streetlight. Sadly, this clue led to a building that had been razed for a parking lot. Neither the money nor the robbers were ever found.
- August 25th - The leader of the wasps came with their demands. We expected them to die in the winter freezes, but they did not. They are still waiting for an answer. We do not know what to tell them.
- June 17th - The Ancient Order of Linguists nearly split over a linguistic divide. The young firebrands of the Order claimed that they must ride forth to destroy those who insisted on using the grammar of text messaging in long form communication. The older members insisted that the AOOL should instead study this new lexicon and document the grammatical rules of the speech. “All languages have rules,” said one elder. “We must punish those who break the rules, not those who are creating new ones.” It looked as if the issue could only be decided on the field of battle, when a third faction intervened, claiming that autocorrect could too easily tar the innocent as well as the guilty in this case. The matter was sent a committee, who promise to report back as soon as the language stops changing so dreadfully rapidly.
- May 21st - A rhinoceros and a hippo were married on this day. Their forbidden love remains strong.
- August 29th - A bristlecone pine called the Flood Tree, believed to be the single oldest living organism on earth, was struck by lightning. Dendrochronology revealed that the Flood Tree was over 5,200 years old, making it a contemporary of the vast majority of recorded history. Several trunks began to regrow from the roots, and were named the Flood Tree Juniors, although it is widely believed among botanists that the name lacked a certain elegance.
- February 6th - The designer dog mix “St. Berxers” were introduced. The St. Berxer was a cross between a St. Bernard and a Boxer. General consensus was that the breeders had played God, gone too far, and created a couch that could jump up on people. The breed was briefly popularized when several celebrities were seen with them in public, but the fact that males could top 140 lbs and jump like a Boxer proved too much for most pet owners. Rescues were flooded with puppies and members of the Royal Kennel Society went around to the breeders and gave them all extremely stern looks. The St. Berxer persists, in much reduced numbers, owing a few die-hard enthusiasts, but is generally treated as an idea who’s time really had not come.
- Date unknown - The bone skipper was rediscovered, believed to be extinct until this point. We are always glad to learn that a creature has not yet shuffled off this mortal coil, even in the case of the bone skipper fly.
- Date unknown - Famed horoscope writer Lady Evangeline, better known to her friends as Libby “Toots” Wilson, died.
- Date unknown - Author Aisha Goodman was named the Royal Poet Laureate for the second time.
- Date unknown: The Pope sainted a Melalueca shrub. This single shrub grew on an exposed outcropping of rock jutting out of the ocean, miles from the shore of the nearest of the Coriander Isles. It lived for at least ninety years, and during that time, was the single growing plant on the island. It was also the single host of the Glorious Walking Stick, an insect long believed to be extinct. It was not until 2001 that a scientist measuring seabird nesting populations happened to spot the droppings of one of the insects, and later returned to find the entire population in the world—twenty four insects.
- April 28th - A picture of a tiny, adorable kitten in a knit hat made the rounds. Business estimates place lost productivity within the city at nearly a billion dollars. The Worker Productivity Protection Act was proposed to limit such destructive imagery, but was shot down when opponents brought a kitten to the debates. It was set upon the podium, where it said “mew.” The Act died immediately.
- Date unknown - The poet Foxwife died. The royal family requested that she be buried in state in the churchyard reserved for artists, saints, and great thinkers, but her brother refused, saying that she would “come back and haunt him if she couldn't see the sky.” A plaque was placed in the wall of the churchyard, and the exact place of Foxwife’s final rest is unknown.
- March 19th - Several crows landed behind the Hidden Almanac Recording Studio and held what appeared to be a very serious conversation for several minutes. They looked around repeatedly, as if afraid of being overheard, then nodded to one another and flew away.
- June 13th - Two weirdos got married.
- July 30th - A large blue dragonfly laid eggs in a temporary puddle of water. The puddle should have dried up, proving fatal to the eggs, but a drip from a faulty air conditioning condenser unit kept it damp for the critical time period. Five young dragonflies survived the brutal Darwinian battle in the puddle and emerged as adults. Sometimes things work out.
- February 7th - The Long Feast began in Echo Harbor. It was recommended that slow pedestrians avoid Echo Harbor for several days.
- February 14th - The Snow Moon, the first full moon of February, also known as the Famine Moon. Deer eat each other this day.
- August 6th - The 2014 annual Running of the Centaurpedes, which is held in the village of El Mango on the edge of the Glass Wastes occurred on this day. Young men test their mettle by trying to outrace the deadly clacking tide. Even a small centaurpede can deliver a powerful bite that causes swelling, burning, tingling, heart arrhythmia and eventual allergy to sun.
- September 8th - The Hidden Almanac Station switched to an all country-western format.
- September 17th - The Hidden Almanac Station converted to a political talk-radio format.
- October 8th - The night of the Hunter's Moon.
- October 10th - An anonymous third party purchased the radio station for one million dollars, returning it to its original format.
- October 13th - A flock of crows descended and perched in the trees of the Hidden Almanac Test Garden, calling back and forth.
- October 15th - In the Hidden Almanac Test Garden the crows increased in number to twenty-seven.
- October 17th - In the Hidden Almanac Test Garden the crows watched Reverend Mord and the interns pant tulip bulbs.
- October 17th - In the Hidden Almanac Test Garden the crows started to speak, saying “It is coming” and “Cheetos!”
- October 24th - In the Hidden Almanac Test Garden the crows increased their demands for Cheetos.
- October 27th - In the Hidden Almanac Test Garden the crows began throwing dice on the roof, gambling for Cheetos.
- October 29th - In the Hidden Almanac Test Garden the crows gathered together and began chanting a single name.
- October 31st - In the Hidden Almanac Test Garden the crows chanted the unspeakable name over and over in chorus. They even abandoned the Cheetos. Reverend Mord began to fear for the safety of the garden.
- October 31st - In the Hidden Almanac Test Garden the crows successfully brought Corvus-Wrax through a portal from the highest avian hell on Halloween night. Keith, the copyeditor, sacrificed his life to drive the demon back into the dimension from which it came.
- Date unknown - James Rice’s “How To Survive In An Accursed Pit” will be published.
- September 7th: The generation ship “Hundred Lives” entered orbit around the planet Urycon-43, a planet with earth-like atmosphere, but approximately three and a half times the size of earth itself.
Echo Harbor uses a calendar of named years, believing that numbered years are "easier to catch" than named years. Unfortunately, we don't currently have a way of knowing how these years are ordered, or what scale of time they cover.
Year of Anarchy
- April 3rd - A train passing by Echo Harbor derailed, causing several tanker cars to overturn and breach their contents. As the train was carrying large quantities of pasteurized milk, this was not dangerous, but rapidly became foul. The scent of curdled milk was described by several prominent citizens as “vile” and “worse than that time with the sardine men.”
Year of Anguish
- May 28th - All the wasps in Echo Harbor came together and built a single nest over the town hall. It was five stories tall and made of chewed paper. Several prominent citizens attempted to knock it down with a hose and were taken to the hospital with severe allergic reactions to stings. After a week of careful negotiations with the Wasp Queen, the leaders of Echo Harbor announced that a settlement had been reached. The wasps left in the night. Janitors charged with dismantling the nest reported enormous letters inside the nest, written in wax, reading “WE WILL RETURN FOR THE SACRIFICE.”
Year of Arsenic
- November 9th - A sphinx statue reappeared in downtown Echo Harbor. The sphinx had appeared previously in the Year of Mud-Turtles and stayed for eleven days before vanishing. This time, it stayed for ten days before vanishing. Local records were studied, and it seems that the same statue has appeared several times before, staying for fourteen, thirteen, and twelve days respectively. The chronological distance between the appearances may also be shrinking, but the peculiarities of naming in the Echo Harbor calendar make it difficult to determine. Several prominent citizens complained about traffic being snarled by “that damn sphinx again” but the highway department was glad to get its traffic cones back.
Year of Baking Earth
- February 26th - All the weathervanes in the town of Echo Harbor vanished. They were replaced by effigies of the Laughing God, wrought in obsidian and black iron. These weathervanes were removed, as their shocking visages proved detrimental to bird migration, and several years would pass before weathervanes were again common in Echo Harbor.
Year of the Black Egg
- May 12th - The entire population of the village of Echo Harbor lost the power of speech. This phenomenon lasted for almost a week, during which the sale of whiteboards and dry erase markers soared and more had to be brought in from the city. Visitors were still able to talk, unless they spent the night in Echo Harbor, whereupon they too woke unable to speak. Several prominent citizens attempt to communicate with the press, but could only sing like birds. After six days, voices returned. One citizen described it as “oddly restful, actually.”
Year of the Blind Owl
- September 27th - Hrolgar Hrolfsson set sail across the Wine-Dark Sea in a ship built of dead men's nails. Unfortunately the ship sank within minutes because dead men's nails are not waterproof.
Year of Blindness
- July 11th - It was on this day that the coastal town of Echo Harbor ceased to exist for nearly five hours. Roads leading into Echo Harbor instead diverted to a nearby town called Gant, which hastily put up barricades. Several prominent citizens of Gant said, "You know what those Echo Harbor people are like, with the weirdness and the chanting and the bees." Delivery trucks and a few brave tourists were baffled, but the city blinked back into existence slightly before sunset. Echo Harbor officials would only say that they knew where they were the whole time.
Year of Blistering Snow
- May 30th - A voice rang out from a cistern in the town of Echo Harbor. Sometimes it laughed, sometimes it screamed, sometimes it appeared to be reciting poetry in unknown languages. The cistern was hurriedly bricked up by the local park service. When asked if someone might be trapped in the cistern, one prominent citizen said “We can only hope.”
Year of the Blunt Ox
- October 2nd - The last reported case of the strangling ritual was carried out in the town of Echo Harbor. The victims of the strangling ritual were three graduate students who had traveled to Echo Harbor specifically to research the ritual.
Year of Boiling Earth
- January 17th - The ice broke in Echo Harbor, shattering upward as if struck from beneath by the tail of some enormous beast. Ice-fishing houses were destroyed and several prominent citizens were lost in the freezing water. “Bit early this year,” one fisherman observed. “It don’t usually do that until some time in March.”
Year of Bone Shadows
- June 5th - A storm crashed into the beaches of Echo Harbor, eroding large quantities of sand and throwing things from the deep ocean far up on shore. Few of these were pleasant to look up. Several prominent citizens engaged in the clean-up, which involved throwing the things back, occasionally with apologies.
Year of Broken Ghosts
- February 28th -The town of Echo Harbor found itself briefly landlocked. Instead of a harbor, it had a jungle. Strange scented breezes blew into town and wild animals could be heard roaring from the depths. Several prominent citizens vanished in an attempt to explore the jungle, which vanished as suddenly as it had come three days later.
Year of Broken Plows
- January 29th - A shirtless man wandered into Echo Harbor. Despite the extreme cold, he showed no signs of hypothermia, but walked to the center of town and began screaming at a pile of bricks for several minutes. Then he left. The pile of bricks was later burned, just in case, at the order of several prominent citizens.
Year of Broken Sunsets
- April 23rd - A violin began to play by itself in an attic in Echo Harbor. It played many popular songs of fifty years before, for nearly three days, before several prominent citizens pelted it with requests and it stopped in a huff. The total destruction of the building by a freak piano-fall the next day was almost certainly coincidence.
Year of Burning Foam
- September 17th - Every egg in Echo Harbor was revealed to contain lotus blossoms instead of yolks. The egg whites remained intact. Omelets became extremely problematic, though duck eggs remained unaffected. Several prominent citizens reported that the lotus flowers were bright yellow. New eggs imported from outlying farms were normal until midnight, whereupon they, too, contained lotus blossoms. Three florists and a professor of classics were ritually burned in an effort to appease the eggs, which eventually returned to normal.
Year of Burning Orchids
- June 24th - Unpleasant laughter began to come up through the drains of the village of Echo Harbor. It persisted at such length that plumbers had to be dispatched, followed by more plumbers, followed by sewer workers, followed by mercenaries. Eventually the source was traced to the caverns underneath Echo Harbor, and a trick of acoustics that was causing the laughter from below to enter the sewer system. Several prominent citizens gave their lives to close the breach, as the thing beneath had been fattened on the blood of plumbers. It is probably still there, but compared to the things you could worry about in Echo Harbor, it is a minor concern.
Year of Burning Reeds
- May 20th - In the town of Echo Harbor the skeleton of every sleeping citizen awoke. The skeletons removed their flesh as one would a coat, and walked into the street, where they gathered in large groups. They gestured to one another for nearly an hour, then returned to their bodies, put their flesh back on, and went back to sleep. Security cameras captured this event and several prominent scientists set to work analyzing the footage. They have determined that the gestures represented a complex sign language, possibly coupled with tones made by striking bones together. “It is clear that they are communicating,” said one scientist, “and on a matter of some urgency, but we are no closer to deciphering what was said.” Since each of the scientists contained one of the skeletons in question, there was some concern as to what might be observing the research, but no one has been able to come up with a way to avoid this that was not considered inhumane.
Year of the Burnt Harvest
- October 7th - Eleven preserved bodies were pulled from a bog near the town of Echo Harbor. They were extraordinarily preserved and appeared to have been ritual sacrifices. Ten were dated to over four thousand years ago, and the eleventh was wearing a wrist-watch.
Year of Chained Tigers
- May 14th - A mysterious idol was pulled up in a fisherman’s net in the town of Echo Harbor. The fisherman looked at its terrible carvings, its suggestion of fangs, at the tiny humanoid figure crudely rendered worshiping at its feet, and threw it back overboard. When asked as to why he didn’t bring it back to the town where his family lived, he said “What are you, stupid?”
Year of Coiled Chains
- June 19th - A boatload of tea was dumped into Echo Harbor. It was intended as a protest against unfair taxation, but, this being Echo Harbor, the tea promptly turned into screaming eels. The protesters said that they meant to do that, but several prominent historians point out that those who lived within earshot of the eels rapidly became disillusioned with the revolution.
Year of Cracked Tiles
- June 30th - Every bottle of wine in Echo Harbor went inexplicably sour. Some popped their corks, others merely quietly turned in their bottles. Beer foxed in the barrel and champagne bottles exploded, resulting in minor injuries to several prominent citizens. Several Echo Harbor breweries went out of business and the town’s only vineyard suffered financial setbacks that took years to recover from. As Echo Harbor is not a good location for a grapes in any event, outsiders asked why the vineyard would even try to rebuild. Locals looked at them pityingly.
Year of the Dripping Moon
- September 23rd - seven hundred and fifty men, women, and children were burned alive in a giant Wicker Man in the town of Echo Harbour. Investigations were immediately launched and the Echo Harbour fire department fined several prominent citizens for burning without a permit.
Year of the Driven Stain
- November 29th - A man appeared in Echo Harbor. Several prominent citizens reported that he didn’t do anything, exactly, but there was something deeply weird about him nonetheless. He asked several unusual questions — “Does everyone here have bones?” and “The chairs, are they attached?” — then cried “The name of the game is objects that float!” and ran off toward the sea.
Year of Drunken Leaves
- November 12th - Every person in the town of Echo Harbor turned into a statue. This state lasted for one hour, thirty-three minutes, and then everyone turned back. Several prominent citizens described it as “restful” and “not all that unexpected.”
Year of the Dying Bees
- December 9th - It rained fish for three days in the town of Echo Harbor. Somewhat unusually for this type of weather, the Piscean precipitation was localized over the police station, the theatre, and the homes of several prominent citizens. Dead fish piled up in the gutters, attracting a great many raccoons. The fish were later identified as neon tetras.
Year of Empty Closets
- March 6th - Every person in the town of Echo Harbor developed terrible acne. It was so sudden and so severe that doctors at first believed it was measles. Eventually it became clear that it was merely pimples. “I am seventy-five years old,” said one prominent citizen, in deep disgust. “I am done with pimples. I have dealt with eldritch horrors and holes in time and space, but this is too far!” Eventually, with the application of witch hazel and antibiotics, it mostly cleared up. The source was presumed magical, but never determined.
Year of Exhalation
- November 5th - The city of Echo Harbor was suddenly draped in shrouds of a thin, gauzy fabric. This fabric extended in all directions, falling from rooftops and gutters, layers upon layers. It was easily pushed aside and proved more of a nuisance than anything else. A few prominent citizens remarked on it’s distressing resemblance to giant cobwebs, but of course there are no known spiders that large. The fabric was shoveled away and recycled into low-cost paving material.
Year of Extra Moons
- June 22nd - A large dung beetle entered the city of Echo Harbor, made its way through the streets to a geodesic dome that had been erected over the local museum of science and industry, and rolled it away. The dung beetle was described as being about the size of a garbage truck, and the geodesic dome was several stories tall, but of course dung beetles are very strong for their size. The museum regretted the loss of its replica twin-engine plane and a working cotton gin, but did not attempt to pursue. Several prominent citizens were quoted as saying “Well, it was really inevitable,” and “What did they think would happen?” The whereabouts of the dung beetle at this time are unknown.
Year of Fireflies
- January 26th - All the clocks in Echo Harbor set themselves to 3:33. If the time was changed, they would reset themselves within the hour. This persisted for twelve days. No one knows what happened at 3:33 on the twelfth day, and many fear to speculate.
Year of Frost
- October 18th - The town of Echo Harbor was placed under strict quarantine. For eleven days, no living thing larger than a seagull was allowed in or out. Several prominent citizens were shot attempting to approach the barricade. When asked for an explanation, the Prime Minister said only “They know what they did.” After eleven days, the quarantine was lifted, and the details of the incident placed under seal in the Royal Archives.
Year of the Frozen Star
- October 21st - Everyone had that nightmare where your teeth fall out and you can't get to a dentist.
Year of Gallows
- June 10th - Everyone in Echo Harbor was very, very angry. Outsiders reported feeling a bit unsettled. “I mean, they didn’t say anything, but it was like the air was vibrating around them,” said one tourist. “I think I’m going to Troyzantium next year.” Several prominent citizens said, between clenched teeth, that everything was FINE, just FINE, thank you for ASKING.
Year of Giants
- March 20th - The town of Echo Harbor suffered a brief cessation of gravity. Nothing over five pounds was affected, but the air filled with dead leaves, litter, rodents, and a number of small dogs. Other than making sure that the dogs were brought inside before they could drift away, the townsfolk seemed unperturbed. “It was about that time of year,” said one prominent citizen being interviewed. “We’ll take steps. It’ll be fine.” Whatever steps were taken, gravity re-exerted itself within the week. The bodies of eleven tourists were later found in a peat bog, covered in delicately tattooed equations describing the gravitational constant of the universe. This was probably a coincidence.
Year of Hides
- June 13th - A community theatre performance of The King in Yellow was staged in the village of Echo Harbor. It ran for three nights, and at the end the players collapsed to the stage. Medical examiners announced that the actors had been dead, probably since the first night. Several prominent critics described the performance as “not bad for community theatre” and “good quality for an amateur production.”
Year of Indigo Moons
- April 11th - The fog around Echo Harbor began to play a distant, chilly music. “It sounds a bit like harp,” said one prominent citizen. “Something with strings, but a not a plunky thing, like a dulcimer.” “Woodwinds, definitely,” said another citizen. It is unknown at this time whether or not the music of the fog was different for every listener, or whether people simply have very limited ability to determine the instruments that cause things. The cold music persisted in the early mornings for several weeks, fading slowly, and at last was gone. “It was an odd thing,” said yet another prominent citizen. “It didn’t fade like it was getting farther away, but like the musician was getting tired. Just a couple of notes here and there, and then a pause, and then another couple notes. It was sad. I mean, a lot of things around here are creepy, and you don’t really notice, but this was…sad.”
Year of Ink
- April 4th - Every manhole cover in the town of Echo Harbor went missing. The open shafts appeared to overlook an unknown desert, where it was broad daylight. Sandstorms raged for several weeks, coating the streets with sand, and then the manhole covers reappeared as suddenly as they had gone.
Year of the Moaning Stair
- February 3rd - the ghosts of a thousand skeletal whales drifted through the skies of Echo Harbor. Onlookers described more than a dozen species, from orcas to blue whales. The whale ghosts floated a few dozen feet off the ground and passed through the upper stories of several buildings. Several prominent citizens described this experience as “Unsettling and rather sad, but what are you going to do?” The whales vanished by the next morning.
Year of Veins
- February 11th - A sphinx statue appeared in the center of Echo Harbor. It was about twenty feet long and crushed several food trucks and a parking meter when it appeared. It was technically a Criosphinx, in that it had the head of a ram rather than a human, but it was popularly referred to as “that damn sphinx statue that is mucking up traffic downtown.” Several prominent citizens chiseled their initials into the beast’s hindquarters. It vanished eleven days later, taking with it the remains of a gyro truck and approximately thirty orange traffic cones.
Year of Old Dreams
- October 14th - A little old lady sat down at a café in Echo Harbor, chatting with locals. “You’re so lucky to live in this lovely city,” she is reported to have said. “One sees so much evil in small towns.” This terrifying apparition stayed for nearly four hours, occasionally knitting, before she left. “Said that her nephew Raymond was meeting her here,” said one prominent citizen. “The clouds turned into headless ghosts and performed unspeakable rites and she didn’t even blink. Said it was so interesting what people got up to these days.” The city was placed on high alert for a week, but she did not reappear.
Year of Paper Dreams
- February 25th - The town of Echo Harbor was shaken by a severe windstorm. Shingles were blown from houses and the city hall was blown completely out of this existence and into an alternate dimension, briefly visible, where eyeless sheep roamed the streets, breathing in unison. Several prominent citizens were inside the city hall at the time, and are lost, presumed eaten by sheep.
Year of Scars
- October 30th - Every seagull in the coastal town of Echo Harbor suddenly went insane. Most of them simply rocked back and forth and moaned to themselves, but a few became violent and had to be dispatched by authorities. Several prominent citizens reported that the seagulls had been feeding on some peculiar thing that had washed up on shore some days earlier.
Year of Shattered Glass
- March 5th - An office worker in Echo Harbor opened a file on her computer, only to find herself gazing into the terrible face of the God of Machines. The God attempted to reach through her eyes into the wet synapses of her brain, clearly intending to reprogram her to serve the God’s unknowable needs. Through a superhuman effort of will, she managed to close the file. The office IT department told her to file a bug report, but were unable to reproduce the experience.
Year of Sober Thoughts
- April 14th - The town of Echo Harbor found its rain gutters filled with enormous gray moths. They were over five inches wide and perched throughout the city, fanning their wings. Several prominent citizens said that the sound of their wings resembled someone whispering “Hush…” over and over again. It was somewhat unsettling, and the town kept very quiet for the rest of the day, just in case.
Year of Songbird Tongues
- April 25th - All the cats in Echo Harbor appeared wearing masks. It was troubling, but everyone ignored it, because the alternatives seemed unpleasant.
Year of Starlings
- October 3rd - Snails overran Echo Harbor. The snails were about the size of a man’s hand and had strange words written on their shells. Several prominent citizens worked out that if you laid the snails next to each other, the words formed complete sentences in a dead language. Scholars were still piecing together the story thus formed when the snails vanished again, leaving only slime and chewed leaves in their wake.
Year of Striking
- March 14th - The Starheart Brewing Company of Echo Harbor introduced its Unspeakable Beer. This brew had a one-in-nineteen fatality rate, but was described by several prominent citizens as “robust” and “not too hoppy.” Later incarnations decreased the lethality, but at the expense of flavor, and New Unspeakable Beer was never as popular as its predecessor.
Year of Unending Rain
- October 15th - A prominent citizen of the town of Echo Harbor entered a single, perfect orchid in the Royal Flower Show. It bloomed for one day, before the eyes of the judges, and sent them reeling away, weeping for all that they had lost in their lives. The orchid was granted the highest honors, and the senior judge said, through tears, “We have wasted so many days, so many sunsets…” He made his way from the flower show and called his estranged son. The orchid withered and was gone by nightfall. No one has been able to determine the species or genus of the orchid, although observers confirm that it was pink.
Year of Unknowing
- December 7th - Folklorist Seth Wilmarth vanished. He had been researching ancient legends in Echo Harbor and had written long letters to his colleagues claiming that he was close to proving the existence of an ancient cult's survival, and hinting at abominations that might lurk in the woods around the town. Then he sent a final message requesting that his colleagues come to visit him and bring all of their correspondence. Only one was able to get time off of work and came, but found that Wilmarth had vanished and some kind of eldritch abomination was wearing his face as a mask. "It was all very unpleasant," said the colleague, who asked not to have his name written down where things might be listening. "It didn't pretend to be him very well and then it ran off with all the letters. Of course, I made copies of all of them before I came. I'm not an idiot." Sadly, the copied letters were mostly nonsensical. "Even before he was replaced with a monster out of space and time, Wilmarth was a really crap researcher," noted his colleague. "Nobody ever figured out how he got tenure."
Year of Unwound Chains
- August 11th - The residents of Echo Harbor awoke to discover that they all had the heads of ravens. It was unsettling. This lasted for several days, during which many shiny objects were hoarded, before going away again. Several prominent citizens said that being a raven was oddly soothing but the change in vision was troubling. “I kept ducking to avoid magnetic fields,” said one. “It was kind of a problem.”
Year of Veins
- January 22nd - The people of Echo Harbor were troubled by dreams of a black elk with antlers of blue lightning. Peculiar hoofprints were found in the snow outside the homes of the afflicted. The dreams proceeded intermittently for nearly a week, then stopped. No one died or was even particularly traumatized by this, which several prominent citizens described as “unusually benign,” and “weak sauce.”
Year of Winged Horses
- August 24th - An evil snow fell on Echo Harbor. When asked what made this snow evil, several prominent citizens answered that first, it was August, and second, the snow knew what it had done. It melted within three days, and the water, which was widely considered to be at least somewhat malicious, ran into the storm system and onward to the sea.
Year of Withered Grass
- August 18th - Everyone in Echo Harbor woke in the night for just a moment, convinced that someone else was in the bed with them. A great number of these people were correct, but it was a long time before they got back to sleep afterwards.
Year of Withering
- February 12th - Every animal in the Echo Harbor Zoo fell into a deep sleep, lasting nearly six days. They could not be roused by any method, but appeared to take no harm from their slumber. Even those species with metabolic rates that required eating every few minutes, such as hummingbirds and shrews, were untroubled. At the end of their sleep, they woke, thirsty but otherwise unharmed.
Year of Woven Metal
- January 4th - An enormous serpent emerged from the public library in downtown Echo Harbor. The serpent was some eighty feet long and nearly five feet in diameter. Its scales were iridescent green. It slithered through the downtown, occasionally sliding up light posts to look around. The edges of the beast’s scales were razor sharp, so while it did not appear hostile, it left a trail of gouges in cars and buildings, and crushed a number of trash cans, mailboxes, and outdoor café tables under its weight. Being familiar with such manifestations, pedestrians mostly got out of the way of the serpent. The police department was called and drove ahead of the snake with the sirens on to clear people out of the way. Several prominent citizens said that it didn’t look angry or hungry, just as if it were going somewhere. It eventually reached the waterfront, slithered into the water, and swam away. The public library, upon investigation, had a volume of “The Hidden World of Reptiles” open on the reading table. A shaggy man in rags, with an enormous beard, was sitting beside it. The man, after shaving, was revealed to be Librarian Neil McAllen, who had been lost in a book years earlier. He was taken to the hospital and treated for dehydration and malnutrition. Unfortunately, the details of his time in the book were never revealed, as he flatly refused to ever be in a book again, or even a newspaper clipping that might someday end up in a book—or worse, microfiche—and so refused all interviews until his dying day. All that is known is that the snake was named “Earnest.” A few of Earnest’s scales were found in the street, but attempts to analyze them showed that they were made of extraordinarily constructed paper mache.
Eighth year of the reign of Emperor Lamperius
- Date unknown - The Emperor was pricked by a rosebush in the imperial pleasure gardens. He ordered the bush chopped down but a hummingbird dwelling within it attacked the gardeners and the guards so fiercely that the Emperor relented and instead had the garden paths rerouted. This incident may be the origin of the story of Saint Calliope.
- August 1st - A fairy godmother cursed a royal infant on the day of her christening, stating that if the princess saw sunlight before her sixteenth birthday, she would turn into a white aardvark.
Events of uncertain date
- 1st - The War of the Voles began on this day.
- 1st - The Blessed Voyage of Irwin began on this day.
- 1st - The reign of Lady Baltimore of Ordeaux began.
- 1st - The Shaggy Mane Uprising began.
- 1st - The brief and spectacular Levitation of the Archons took place on this day.
- 1st - Today is the birthday of the Leaf-Rattler, a performance artist of the Modern Peculiar movement, who would rush into crowds while waving large jars full of dried leaves. “The leaves are speaking!” she would cry. “Ignore them at your peril!” She received several sizeable grants for her artwork, which she spent on larger and larger leaves. Her later years were spent trying to breed a giant-leafed banana tree that would survive the city’s coldest winters.
- 3rd - Today is the birthday of Janet Jonas, fashion designer, best known for popularizing leopard print. “Leopard is a neutral,” she often said. “It goes with anything. If you see a leopard in the street, it never clashes.” She went on to champion several other animal prints, including crocodile, giraffe, and wendigo.
- 8th - Today is the birthday of the poet Worms-Moving-Sideways, of the Mole People. Worms-Moving-Sideways is famed for his poetry, which was translated into many human languages. He was the first non-human Poet Laureate of the City, and performed his great work "Five Clay Poems and One Mud Poem" at the inauguration ceremony of the queen.
- 10th - Eland the Younger first described the mushrooms known as the “Fly-sock Mushroom.”
- 13th - Today is the birthday of Strawberry Roan, born Mary McGovern, one of the city’s most famous burlesque dancers. Her act included several carousel horses and over six hundred feet of satin ribbon. It was hailed as “daring” “innovative” and “dead sexy.”
- 15th - The Council of Sixteen, a group of mice engaged in warfare against the squirrels inhabiting the garden and attic of their two-story brownstone, delivered their official declaration of war to the squirrels.
- 15th - Today is the birthday of the artist Carlos Ermine, who painted one truly magnificent painting, threw his paints away, and went into chartered accounting. The single Ermine painting, titled “Girl With A Pink Hat,” hangs in the Royal Museum, where groups of artists regularly gather to mutter and drink heavily.
- 17th - The Council of Sixteen mice launched their first assault against the squirrel oppressors, sending sappers to carefully chew through the base of many of the branches favored by squirrels. In the ensuring chaos of snapped branches and plummeting squirrels, one squirrel was injured and many more were deeply humiliated. The mice suffered no casualties, although several had to have splinters removed from their gums.
- 22nd - Today is the birthday of Charlie Abnett, a sculptor of the Modern Peculiar art movement.
- 24th - The Council of Sixteen sent a mouse spy, disguised as a young squirrel, to infiltrate the home of the enemy. Armed with a tail wig and doused in squirrel pheromones, Lady Vervain of the Eighteenth Wainscoting family went forth to spy upon the squirrel oppressors. The hopes of a grateful mouse tribe went with her.
- 27th - Today is the birthday of Ethel Khan, a barbarian chieftain noted for her savagery, hatred of monasteries, and exquisite table manners. She is estimated to have martyred well over a thousand people in religious orders. Historians speculate that time spent in a finishing school run by nuns may have contributed to this irrational hatred.
- 27th - The whale wisewoman “Six Notes Returning From The Western Stars” rescued nine seal pups from a small school of sharks. The seals were safely returned to their mothers and the sharks were given very stern looks until they went away.
- 27th - Eland the Younger documented tool use in potter wasps. Not content to simply build small baked-mud homes, some of the wasps had taken to shaping the mud with small sticks and pebbles, smoothing out rough edges and making pleasing designs.
- 29th - Today is the birthday of Gerald Stone, better known as Johnny Stone, one of the great musical icons of the 20th century. He rocketed to stardom in 1955 with his hit single “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” and followed it with “Johnny Stone’s Rockin’ Holiday Blues,” “God of Rock ‘n Roll,” and “Echo Harbor Rag.”
- 31st - The novel Eight Slices of Pineapple was published. Hailed as an extraordinary coming of age novel, a tour-de-force, and a work of maddening genius, it swept all the major awards, including the Royal Medal for Literary Valor. All this occurred despite the fact that no one knew the name of the author, and the book was listed as being simply by “Anonymous.”
- 31st - Lady Vervain, a mouse spy for the Council of Sixteen, succeeded in seducing the squirrel second-in-command and lifting the next week’s battle plans. As she was leaving the tree, her faux tail came loose and fell off, revealing her identity as a mouse. She boldly flung herself off a tree, breaking a leg on impact, and limped to safety before the started squirrels could follow.
- 3rd - It is the birthday of Lord Reginald Hogshead, credited with the invention of the grilled cheese sandwich.
- 3rd - The camel danced with the fanged things until midnight.
- 5th - Today is the birthday of the glovemaker Heinrich Tableroni, long acknowledged as one of the greatest of his time. He created the legendary Salamander Gloves, which remained damp and cool in hot weather, and was once called upon to glove a sparrow, which he did.
- 7th - The naturalist Eland the Younger first described the woolly pig. This four-foot-long, shaggy swine is believed to be one of the last survivors of the Ice Age. Woolly pigs live primarily above the arctic circle, though there is a remnant population partway up Mother Mountain.
- 7th - It is the birthday of Melinda Berman, the Masked Editor, who rode under cover of night through the city, correcting spelling and punctuation on signs and posters. She was eventually unmasked by an angry goat salesman and dragged into court, where she was found guilty of petty vandalism and fined one dollar.
- 10th - It is the birthday of the Elegant Serpent.
- 10th - The naturalist Eland the Younger identified the Isolationist Penguin. Even at the time, this species was nearing extinction, as it prefers its own company, even during the breeding season. Isolationist Penguins today are found only in zoos, where they reproduce via artificial insemination and the eggs are hatched by surrogates.
- 10th - The anniversary, in the time before time, of the ascension of the god Mockingbird-on-the-Left, who came from the mountains to the south of the Glass Wastes and stole fire from the hearth of heaven.
- 12th - It is the birthday of Sparky the Friendly Snake, a long-time attraction at the Royal Zoo. Sparky lived in the reptile house for over sixty years, posing with school groups and giving out occasionally lethal hugs.
- 19th - It is the birthday of the science-fiction author Marcia Gutierrez, who’s books predicted the transistor, the X-ray, nuclear houseboats, and the macrobiotic diet. Her most famous novel, “Tearing Apart The Stars” sold over a million copies and was the foundation for two movies and three doomsday cults.
- 24th - The squirrels launched a counter attack against the mice led by the Council of Sixteen. Squirrels plugged up the drainpipe leading to the mouseholes, using mud and acorns, and set guards on every known exit. Fortunately for the mice, squirrels have very short attention spans, and they were able to forage for supplies during frequent periods of distraction.
- 26th - Today is possibly the birthdayof the assassin Gray Hemlock, who stated that she never killed people on her birthday. As there are no records of assassinations occurring during her lifetime on this day, scholars conclude that it may possibly be today. Gray Hemlock’s exploits were widely known, culminating in the death of the Librarian Prince.
- 28th - Eland the Younger first encountered the aardlion, a large feline-like creature of the distant wastes. He encountered the beasts when they attempted to eat him, and only timely intervention by his faithful servant Heinrich prevented bloodshed.
- 28th - It is the birthday of Seamus Tells-the-Trees, last of the great bards of the highlands. It was said that when a true bard spoke, the stones and waters would rise up to shame his enemies. His name has been linked to the suspicious mass-drowning of a number of tax collectors, though no proof was ever found.
- 3rd - The Pepperoni Pete’s Factory Fire killed twelve in the city’s industrial district. Greasy rags caught fire and burned unnoticed for over an hour. Fire suppression measures proved ineffective, as the sprinkler system turned out to have been installed upside down. Many were injured and at least one person tragically beheaded by a high-velocity frozen flatbread.
- 7th - It is the birthday of the Prime Minister of Qualm, who is also that small island nation’s mayor, chief diplomat, and taco seller. His tacos have been described as an affront to foreign policy, but his churros have averted at least two wars.
- 10th - It is the birthday of a large frog, who was spawned in a small mud puddle two years ago. She spent a frantic youth as a tadpole in the shrinking mud puddle, but pulled through thanks to unusually powerful spring rains. She plans to treat today as just another day, and requests that no one make a fuss.
- 12th - The [[Plague Doctor Accords], brokered at the Ravencoast School of Divinity, were ratified, codifying the status of these vital (and attractive) members of society. Plague Doctors are now granted pensions, basic health care, and living quarters in times of distress. While this was originally considered a very expensive solution, and the Prime Minister refused to ratify it, legend has it that he went into a back room with several members of the Docter’s Brotherhood. He emerged several minutes later, pale and shaken and muttering about the masks coming off, and immediately signed off on the Accords.
- 14th - The Burlap Drum, a peculiar musical instrument made from inflated feed sacks, was invented. It was hailed as a folk instrument and several scholarly articles were written about its cultural heritage, but eventually the fact that it simply didn’t sound very good caused it to fade into obscurity.
- 17th - It is the birthday of the famous jug-band player, Hummingbird Jones. The story goes that Jones went to the crossroads to sell his soul to the Devil, carrying his jug. The Devil reportedly said “Are you sure you don’t want to take up guitar?” and “How about the fiddle? The fiddle is good. I feel weird about this.”
- 17th - The bark peeled off a particular tree in the forest, revealing a poem of heartbreaking beauty written by the writhing tunnels of woodworms. A woodpecker eventually came along and correct the punctuation.
- 21st - The Whopping Good Smells incense factory burned to the ground in the industrial district of the city. The cause of the fire was unknown, but the entire city reeked of Nag Champa for over a week.
- 24th - “Essential Vegetables of the West,” the sequel to Major Torgblossom’s great work, “Essential Vegetables of the East”, was published. Planned sequels did not materialize, as “Essential Vegetables of the Far North” was a thin pamphlet and researchers working in the Far South gathered over three tons of notecards and are still consolidating their research.
- 26th - The Council of Sixteen finally broke the blockade that had kept them locked within the brownstone’s walls. A brave mouse diver named Cotton Whisker had entered the sewer system via the toilets, evaded hungry rats, and managed to come up behind the squirrels and distract them while the mice broke through the barricades. Cotton Whisker did not return for some weeks and was given up for lost, but eventually made his way home, having befriended an elderly rat who gave him safe passage through the sewers.
- 28th - It is the birthday of the social worker Rosemary Jackson, who worked tirelessly for the right of the poor to free education. “It is a terrible system,” she wrote, “that deprives a family in perpetuity of the chance at betterment, should any one generation slip into poverty, through mischance or ill-fortune.” Jackson schools were founded throughout the city and outlying lands, and were among the first non-religious early education options available to the working class.
- 31st - It is the birthday of Normal McGovern, motivational speaker and author of the books “Happy Power,” “Happier Power,” “Even More Happy,” and “How to Be Happy Anywhere.” He died fabulously wealthy, while anti-depressant sales reached the highest point in three decades.
- 31st - The Black Beast charged through a crowded market, overturning a table manned by Garlic Scouts, and making a noise varyingly described as a shriek, a moan, and an unholy racket. There were minor injuries among the Garlic Scouts, mostly skinned knees, and the Black Beast escaped up the side of a building. Several Garlic Scouts pelted it with cookie boxes, earning their Improvised Marksmanship badges, until the Beast was out of sight.
- 7th - It is the anniversary of the opening of the Royal Museum’s Saurian Wing, which included thousands of articulated dinosaur skeletons. There was an unfortunate incident early on when the velociraptor exhibit came to life, but as velociraptors are about the size of a large turkey, they were rapidly kicked apart by security guards and the skeletons were reassembled at a site that had not previously housed the Necromancer’s Local 501. Over half a million visitors come to the Saurian Wing annually.
- 7th - It is the birthday of the broadcaster Carl Viking, one of the great radio personalities of the last century. Viking began broadcasting at a local radio station where his grave, soothing voice became associated with serious, reliable newscasting. His reporting on the Battle of Tyson’s Crossing and the quarantine of Echo Harbor cemented his career, and he became the go-to person for breaking bad news in a sensitive way.
- 9th - It is the birthday of Lord Stephen the Collator, one of the most famed members of the Ancient Order of Linguists. Lord Stephen slew many enemies of punctuation on the field of battle, before eventually being felled by a rogue semi-colon. His tomb is a tourist destination for many English majors, featuring, among other interesting architectural details, a glossary made entirely of marble.
- 11th - Poet Ebon Lake died in his unheated garret. He was buried in a pauper’s grave, even as the first lines of his great poem “The Hollows of the Moon” were being inscribed over the entrance to the Royal Observatory.
- 11th - It is the anniversary of the Smilegod killings, which ultimately claimed more than a dozen victims. The victims were found laid out ritualistically, wearing clown paint. The final victim, however, broke this pattern and appeared to have committed suicide, after writing, in his own blood, “SERIAL MURDER IS DISPLEASING TO SMILEGOD.” Theories abound, most of them disturbing.
- 14th - Eland the Younger discovered the Ravenous Fire Chigger, by standing in a nest of the fearsome insects. The next few pages of Eland’s journal are a testament to this great naturalist’s extraordinary vocabulary. Ravenous Fire Chiggers are confined to a small area of the Glass Wastes, which is full of tall grass and deep lakes, and looks deceptively peaceful. The itching of a Fire Chigger bite has been compared to poison oak, only more so and with enthusiasm.
- 18th - A skeleton emerged from beneath the Kingfisher Bridge, walked to a food truck, ordered seven gyros and then climbed back under the bridge.
- 23rd - The naturalist Eland the Younger discovered the Ungrateful Saddlemoth. This enormous moth, a relative of the Common Saddlemoth, is of a size for riding, but strongly opposed to the idea. Attempted moth-riders say that the Ungrateful Saddlemoth can buck like a Titan Swallowtail and is not responsive to nectar bribes.
- 25th - It is the birthday of Torix Herne the druid, chief religious leader of the People of the West, located to the east of the city.
- 28th - It is the birthday of a medium-sized cumulonimbus cloud above and slightly to the left of the city. It plans to do that thing where there is a break in the clouds and visible sunbeams shine down, just as a nice gesture.
- 2nd - It is the birthday of the Duchess of Ellensburg, the most fashion forward woman of the mid 1800’s. Among her most extraordinary sartorial confections was a dress made entirely of horse hooves, a shark-shaped hat, and a waistcoat made entirely of highly trained squirrels who held hands in formation for an entire evening, with only occasional breaks to visit the restroom. The waistcoat was generally considered inferior, but the training of the squirrels was much lauded as a feat truly beyond the usual run of fashion.
- 5th - A daring daylight robbery took place, as the criminal Jack “Boggy” Burns hit five banks in a row, led police on a breakneck chase through the city, then jumped into the Autumn River and vanished with over eight million dollars in cash. Dredging the river eventually revealed a large rubber suit that looked like Boggy.
- 9th - Eleven hundred fedoras were recalled by the Hopping Hat Rack Hat Company, as they contained razorwire. The Hopping Hat Rack Company claimed that they had been sabotaged by a disgruntled employee, but the authorities declined to investigate on the grounds that the number of people who look good in fedoras are vastly exceeded by the number of people who think they look good in fedoras, and perhaps this would help to cool down an already over saturated market.
- 9th - Naturalist Eland the Younger discovered the Theatrical Opossum. Like many animals, the opossum plays dead to escape predators, but this one insists on reciting a small speech about the unkind hand of fate, clutches its chest, falls prone, recites another small speech about the encroaching darkness, and asks its predator to deliver a last message to its loved ones. Theatrical Opossums are limited to a very small range with very courteous predators, including the Apologetic Wolf, the Social Fox, and the extremely rare Kindly Wolverine.
- 12th - It is the birthday of Wiggens Aguirre, author of the popular “Miss Crabcake” series of mysteries. They began with “Miss Crabcake Goes Fishing” and ran to nearly eighty volumes, before culminating in “Miss Crabcake’s Final Bite.” They featured an elderly fisherwoman who would sail to various small islands, usually just before or after a murder had taken place, and solve the mystery using folksy wisdom and a large fish-gutting knife.
- 16th - It is the birthday of the Dunkelkhan Ogre, scourge of the lower highlands, who eats the bones of men and drinks vast quantities of tea. The Dunkelkhan Ogre should not be approached under any circumstances and if you happen to be traveling in the lower highlands, we suggest leaving your bones at home as a precaution.
- 19th - A small boy with a branch attacked an unspeakable foe. The results of this battle are not recorded.
- 21st - The Currency Stamp Rebellion, a grassroots campaign which attempted to get money out of politics by stamping anti-corruption slogans on dollar bills, was founded. Unfortunately the ink was quite poor quality and rapidly blurred into a large pink blob on the bill, and anyway, as various pundits pointed out, the number of politicians who could be bribed with a dollar bill are few and far between.
- 23rd - It is the birthday of Hayseed McGraw, founder of a series of feed stores throughout the highlands, which offered “Hayseed Brand Feed.” Each sack came with a cheerful saying printed on them, including such statements as “Health is Wealth!” “Eat and apple a day and you’ll live forever!” and “Hayseed Feed Cures Baldness.” Some of these statements were investigated by the Royal Medical Society and found to be not entirely factual.
- 28th - It is the birthday of some artist who drew a lot of things with wombats.
- 30th - The children’s show “Squeaky the Truck” which featured the adventures of a computer-animated truck in a town called Truckville debuted on this day. It had an all-star cast of voice actors and featured strong moral lessons. Adults described it, almost universally, as “Creepy as hell,” and “So deep in the uncanny valley you couldn’t find your way out with GPS.” It lasted ten seasons. Parents of small children during the show’s run can still often be reduced to twitching catatonia merely by reciting Squeaky’s catch phrase, “Keep on trucking, Squeaketeers!”
- 30th - A bitter battle was fought between rival gangs of raccoons over control of a particularly choice dumpster. Hostilities lasted nearly an hour and were followed by ritualized handwashing.
- 2nd - Today is the birthday of the great humanitarian Melissa Jacques. A child of privileged parents, she worked as a nurse during the War with the Mountain Kingdom, and later credited this experience with opening her eyes to the realities of poverty and suffering. She built seven hospitals and one of the first modern asylums that did not serve primarily as out-of-the-way warehousing for the mentally ill. When Melissa passed away, over ten thousand people came to the funeral. Many spoke movingly about her kindnesses.
- 4th - Today is the birthday of the whale wisewoman “Six Notes Returning From The Western Stars.” Her exact age in unknown. Interviews are difficult to conduct, as the whale language takes a great deal of time to convey anything and has no past tense. Dolphin transcriptionists claim that she is several hundred years old and fond of squid.
- 6th - Today is the birthday of the heroic barista Emma McLaughlin, who won the freedom of her people from the barbarian chieftan Ethel Khan, by producing a single, perfectly made Columbian depth charge, which requires all the ingredients to be added in the correct order, steamed, then strained. Ethel Khan, who loved her conquest but loved her coffee more, freed McLaughlin’s tribe and allowed them safe passage over the border.
- 9th - Today is the birthday of the great potato breeder Manuel Allpa, who studied among the mountain people and brought back many cultivars on the brink of extinction. Among these were Golden Fish, a slender, yellow-fleshed potato excellent for the water’s edge, and Hummingbird Heart, a tiny red potato roasted and eaten as a snack. It is estimated that nearly 20% of genetic variability in modern potatoes can be traced to Allpa’s work.
- 11th - Naturalist Eland the Younger first described the Bird-Cage Orchid, which grows into a small natural cage around the nests of certain warblers.
- 11th - The Island of Bones appeared in the harbor. Fortunately it did not stay long, because it is an unpleasant sort of place.
- 16th - Noted entomologist Reagan Gennault passed away, in pursuit of the famed Great Morpho butterfly. The Great Morpho is believed to be extinct, or possibly mythical. Gennault, who described a number of species of louse, was not actually interested in the Great Morpho, but on lice which he believed would live on this giant butterfly’s wings.
- 16th - The barbarian chieftan Ethel Khan attacked the convent of St. Almathea, burning the skunk cabbage fields and advancing despite the acrid smoke. She captured three hundred nuns and put them to the sword.
- 18th - It is the birthday of the seventh Prime Minister, who introduced a number of notable reforms and ushered in the historic peace with the mole-people. Unlike his short-lived predecessor, he remained in power for many years, before retiring and passing away peacefully, surrounded by his children and grandchildren.
- 20th - It is the birthday of noted cookbook author Annie O’Riley, who has produced such works as “1001 Uses For Leftover Turkey,” “Ham For All Occasions” and “4-Ingredient Meals For Funerals.” Her published, Cryptic Cooking Books, has stated off the record that working with Mrs. O’Riley is “printing money” and has sent assassins after anyone who dares to suggest that she might be a conglomerate of eleven overworked cooking school students.
- 4th - It is the birthday of Lady Ebonlock the Conjugator, one of the great heroes of the Ancient Order of Linguists. Known for her berserker fits, during which she would chew the edge of her index, Lady Ebonlock slew many foes of grammar. She was eventually brought down by a cowardly free-verse poet, who stabbed her in the back and then began declaiming over her body. Fellow battle-linguists rushed to her aid and the poet died before finishing his poorly spelled tirade. Lady Ebonlock was given a hero’s funeral, set adrift in a burning boat garnished with correctly used Oxford commas.
- 9th - Whale wisewoman “Six Notes Returning From The Western Stars” composed her famous haiku “Thoughts of the Barnacle.” This haiku follows the required 5/7/5 format but takes eleven days to perform, as whale syllables last much longer than other people’s.
- 11th - It is the birthday of noted patron of the arts John Wilding, who sought out street artists and bought their paintings so that they could eat. Upon his death, a warehouse of artwork was found under dust sheets. Many of the paintings were terrible, but there were also extraordinary early pieces by many famed artists. "I don't actually care for art," Wilding said. "Never have. But it's an addiction these poor souls were born with, and there's no cure, so I try to lighten their suffering a little."
- 14th - It is the birthday of a hummingbird egg. The actual hummingbird was born some days later.
- 16th - It is the birthday of the interior decorator Agnes Moonshort, who described thirty-seven hundred different shades of the color green. Her comprehensive volume “From Chartreuse To Sage” was three feet thick and consisted of endless color swatches, which had to be silk-screened to insure total color fidelity. The book was a staple of high-end paint stores and a number of the colors, including “Alder Underleaf” and “Week-Old Bamboo Sprout” are still popular today.
- 18th - It was on this day that the naturalist Eland the Younger discovered a small nest of baby hummingbirds. A few moments later, the adult discovered him and set his mane on fire. Eland thus went on to describe the Ember Hummingbird, the smallest form of phoenix then known to science. (The Bumblebee Phoenix, discovered nearly a century later, is the smallest currently known.)
- 18th - It is the birthday of the bard Brigid Slashmoss, who is considered a lesser light in the bardic firmament. Her work tended to be rather pedestrian unless she was extremely angry. She once exploded fifteen fire hydrants while protesting a traffic stop, merely by declaiming, but such events were few and far between. Her greatest claim to fame is having trained the last great highland bard, Seamus Tells-the-Trees, as well as his rather less successful brother, Herman.
- 21st - It is the birthday of the poet and activist Manuel Santana, who said “All of us are prisoners, but some of us are granted more comfortable chains.” Described as “a bit of a downer” by his peers, Santana nevertheless crusaded tirelessly for the rights of the imprisoned and is credited with improving prison conditions throughout the country.
- 23rd - The skeletal grunions run. These small, dead fish wiggle their way onto the beach in vast numbers at high tide, engaging in what would be egg-laying behavior if they were living fish. When they have finished--and who can really tell--the tide washes them back out to sea again, where they go about their business for another year, being dead. Skeletal grunions are a major food source for undead toothed whales.
- 23rd - It was on this day, some four months after the signing of the Plague Doctor Accords, that the first pensions were granted to elderly Plague Doctors. Prior to the Accords, even Plague Doctors who had served their communities faithfully and well were often reduced to poverty when they could no longer serve. The Ravencoast School of Divinity offered the first retirement home for these valued--and good looking--members of society. This home is still active to this day and fields a championship shuffleboard team.
- 30th - It was on this day that the naturalist Eland the Younger first described the Giant Fruitbat, which is actually only about two inches long but lives primarily on giantfruit. A transcription error by the publisher of Eland’s journals led to years of confusion, as later naturalists scoured the jungle looking for these giants and finding nothing. The Giant Fruitbat was listed as critically endangered, probably extinct, until a researcher went back to the original sources and pointed out that Eland was probably talking about an entirely different bat, which was plentiful and increasing, as giantfruit are rather weedy trees.
- 1st - It is the birthday of the ancient philosopher Cicero. Not the famous one, but a different one.
- 4th - The naturalist Eland the Younger discovered the Dwarf Weeping Cedar, a form of miniature cedar with downturned branches. Compared to many other species discovered by Eland, this one could not be considered scientifically significant. Nevertheless, the Dwarf Weeping Cedar has proved so profoundly useful to gardeners and landscapers, spawning over two hundred cultivars, that it seems appropriate to take note.
- 8th - It is the birthday of fashion designer Alexis Beard who pioneered a line of white ceramic deer heads that became enormously popular in interior design circles. Beard followed this success with ceramic wolf heads, dragon heads, rhino heads, and slug heads, but none quite achieved the same popularity. He eventually passed away, nearly penniless, in a warehouse surrounded by ceramic animals. Those who found him described it all as extremely creepy.
- 22nd - The poet Worms-Moving-Sideways, poet of the mole people, was named poet laureate of the city. He was the first non-human so honored, and a small but vitriolic protest movement sprung up demanding his removal.
- 27th - It is the probable birthday of the graffiti artist known as “Raygun,” whose spray-painted artwork decorated the city for nearly two decades in the 1990s. The identity of Raygun was never confirmed, but on this day every year, a painting would appear somewhere in the city. This painting featured some form of beverage—a cup of tea, a pint of beer, or something similar—inscribed with the words “Happy Birthday to Me.” Raygun’s artwork ceased in 2001, possibly indicating that the mysterious artist had died or moved away. While many of their paintings were lost, they were recognized as a National Treasure in 1998 and the surviving images protected by royal decree.
- 3rd - It is the birthday of Keith the copyeditor.
- 10th - A gigantic neon sign, erected in violation of all building codes, fell down. The sign was put up by the Pickwick Casino, who cheerfully paid for the code violation, saying that the revenue brought in far exceeded the daily fines.
- 15th - Eland the Younger described the Burning Eyespot Caterpillar, a large caterpillar with gigantic black eyespots on the tail end, designed to frighten birds. In the event that birds are not sufficiently frightened, the eyespots are iridescent and flash in the sunlight, resembling burning eyes.
- 24th - Eland the Younger discovered the Volcano Sanderling, a small shorebird that had evolved to take advantage of the area directly around active volcanoes. While normal sanderlings run back and forth a few steps ahead of the tide, Volcano Sanderlings prefer to run back and forth in front of magma, picking up anything seared to a crisp by molten rock.
- 16th - The clipper ship Remedial Stag was lost at sea under disputed circumstances.
- 16th - The birthday of the playwright Eleanor Anomalous, who wrote three plays before her sixteenth birthday.
- 16th - The birthday of a small tan lizard that lives in a dry fieldstone wall several miles away.
- 18th - The naturalist Eland the Younger first described the wood whale, a form of hover whale found only in old growth forests.
- 27th - The birthday of twin naturalists David and Eileen Horrowitz, who travelled the world together cataloging exotic species.
- 1st - The naturalist Eland the Younger first described the Banded Fruit Fly. These fruit flies are distinguished from all the other fruit flies out there by a small white line on their abdomen.
- 2nd - The naturalist Eland the Younger first described the Magnificent Flatworm.
- 7th - The birthday of Olivia Stone, who pioneered the effort to vaccinate city dogs against rabies. It is due largely to her tireless efforts with a blow-gun that rabid dogs are no longer the city-wide menace that they used to be.
- 11th - An unknown number of years ago a cloud of mayflies achieved sentience. As evening neared, they channeled all their remaining energy into a dance that expressed everything they had learned in the course of their civilization’s single day.
- 11th - It's the birthday of Heinreich, the faithful manservant of naturalist Eland the Younger, who accompanied him on his many research trips. Little is known of Heinreich’s origins, although Eland’s writings praise his level-headedness, and cooking abilities.
- 13th - It is the anniversary of the second discovery of the Coriander Isles, by an idiot explorer who thought he was going to Troyzantium. The Coriander Isles were, of course, first discovered by the ancestors of the islanders, who had arrived in small wooden boats some millennia earlier.
- 13th - It is the birthday of the smallest duck in the park… or so it claims. Ducks are not to be trusted.
- 14th - Today is the birthday of the Poetic Radish.
- 15th - It is the birthday of the Mule With A Thousand Eyes.
- 18th - Today is the birthday of Agatha Marlon, a furniture maker who codified the Art Tableaux style of furniture.
- 21st - The birthday of Angus Stewart, last of the great Haggischarmers. These showmen, with their troops of performing haggises, were once common throughout the highlands of the northeast. As the number of wild haggises dwindled, however, so did the Haggischarmers, and few young people showed an interest in this ancient art.
- 23rd - The birthday of the poet Gustavus Savoricus, born John Templeton, who called for a re-discovery of the classics and insisted on giving poetry readings in Latin while wearing a toga. His "Ode To An Impertinent Starling" was translated and sold thirty thousand copies before government censors realized that it was about a prostitute.
- 25th - The birthday of the great humorist and humanitarian Ellen Harriet Walking, who said "Whatever you see around you, at the age of eight, becomes the way the world is supposed to be."
- 27th - It is the birthday of Keiko Hayashi, author of Mindful Gardening.
- 28th - The birthday of Maxwell Hines, known as the "poet of the desert." At the age of twenty, he saw a desert for the first time and fell in love with the landscape. The rest of his life was spent making pilgrimages into dry lands.
- 30th - The birthday of the great mime-hunter Elaina Golden, credited with almost single-handedly reducing the mime population to non-threatening levels.
- 3rd - It is the birthday of T-Square Rawlins, inventor of the Architectural Blues. Some of his better known numbers included “My Baby Took My Protractor And Left Me All Alone” and “Blueprint To My Heart” and “Auto-Cad Done Me Wrong.” His music was noted for technical perfection, though critics derided him as “overly formal” and “lacking improvisational chops.”
- 4th - Today is the birthday of Marcus McNaught, who invented the electric lightbulb after an incident with a taxidermied cat and a toaster oven. Witnesses report that he shouted “Eureka!” over and over again while his home burned to the ground. He patented it and made a modest fortune selling “McNaughteries” before far more savvy businessmen turned his invention into a household essential.
- 6th - Today is the birthday of Amelia Driade, whose memoir of survivorship Even The Mice Wear Masks won the Gloriana Prize for Literature in 1980. Although Ms. Driade died young, proceeds from her memoir went on to fund a series of women’s shelters throughout the city and is considered a classic today.
- 8th - On this day the naturalist Eland the Younger described the Whiskered Cobra, a sightless venomous serpent found in shallow caves. Whiskered Cobras have long vibrissae, which they use to feel their way around the floor of bat caves, seeking fallen bats and insects which feed upon bat guano. Whiskered Cobras can reach up to five feet in length and their venom causes ulceration in humans.
- 8th - Today is the birthday of the Stone Guardsman.
- 11th - Today is the birthday of Reagan Gennault, noted entomologist. He travelled the world describing new species of lice. Among these were chewing owl lice, burrowing lion lice, and what he described as “The King Louse” – thumb-sized dragon lice. His studies did not bring him widespread fame or fortune, but there is a bronze bust in the foyer of the Royal Society for Insect Studies in his honor.
- 12th - The naturalist Eland the Younger discovered the Greater Organpipe Cactus, a type of cactus distinguished by extraordinary complexity and extremely good sound quality.
- 12th - It is the birthday of the crow on the wire outside the station. He says “Rawk.”
- 13th - On this day Saint Bartholemew Argus led the snakes out of the Coriander Isles. When they reached the beach, they were loaded into boats and taken to the nearby Isle of Nork, where they spent a pleasant year frolicking in the sun and being catered to by local staff. On this day, the following year, Saint Bartholemew led them back onto boats and back home again.
- 15th - Today is the birthday of Thomas Lord, who standardized milk delivery in the city. Prior to Lord’s Union, milk delivery was in the hands of various dairy cartels. Depending on what neighborhood one was in, milk delivery could range from erratic to mandatory. Lord’s Union of Bonded Milkmen took the uncertainty and occasional terror out of milk delivery.
- 18th - The naturalist Eland the Younger first described the sand herring, which gathers in shoals in the deserts of the Glass Wastes. A small, silvery fish approximately eight inches long, sand herring shoals can number more than ten thousand individuals. Like most sand fish, the sand herring has functional lungs and only uses its gills for threat displays.
- 20th - Today is the birthday of the poet Ebon Lake, who wrote the epic poem “The Hollows of the Moon” while living in an unheated garret in the Glass Quarter of the city. The poem enjoyed wild success, but Lake died of hypothermia while working on its sequel.
- 29th - Today is the birthday of Eloisa Mahoney, who founded the Mahoney Glass Company. They created brilliant murals, mosaics, stained glass windows and lampshades. Mahoney’s genius was recognized in 1895, when she was commissioned to create a rose window for the Cathedral of the Madonna of Leaves.
- 2nd - Today is the birthday of Dr. Jacob Hammersmith, who developed the vaccine for lycanthropy. Early versions of the vaccine were only partially effective and required a painful series of boosters in the event of a bite, but today the Hammersmith vaccine is safe and effective. Lycanthropic outbreaks have been largely eliminated, except among certain religious enclaves and young idiots who don’t understand how herd immunity works.
- 4th - Today is the birthday of the competitive distance swimmer Magnus Olafson, who swam the Straits of Dovekie, the Fjord of Azureheim, and the Wobbly Channel. In 1977, he set out to swim from the mainland to the Coriander Isles, a distance so extraordinary that no one had even attempted it before. He made it twenty-five miles and was eaten by a glutton whale.
- 9th - Today is the birthday of the great ornithologist Hannah Maier, who lobbied tirelessly against the unregulated “collection” of specimens, a practice that generally involved a gun. Ms. Maier’s crusade corresponded to great improvements in binocular technology, which allowed it to gain popular traction. Maier’s Silver-foot Plover was named in her honor.
- 11th - Naturalist Eland the Younger noted the discovery of the Giggling Hyrax. This small rodent-like creature is distantly related to elephants and lives in rocky outcroppings in the Glass Waste. It finds everything funny and will begin laughing hysterically at the slightest provocation. “Collection of this specimen was exceedingly simple,” Eland notes, “as it saw me, pointed, laughed, fell over, and was so convulsed with merriment that it did not notice Heinrich behind it with a rock.”
- 13th - Today is the birthday of Calico Jane, one of the most notorious outlaws in history. She wore women’s clothing during bank heists, which she would tear off to reveal men’s clothing while making her getaway. Newspapers of the day were extremely confused. She was never caught and dropped out of sight in 1849, having racked up nearly a hundred thousand dollars in stolen banknotes. Various parties, both male and female, came forward over the years claiming to be Calico Jane, but none could produce the money and the mystery appears to have gone with her to her grave.
- 16th - Today is the birthday]] of Joseph Ilex, owner of the largest private collection of birdhouses in the world. His collection ranged from the functional to the baroque and included some hundred thousand specimens. Upon his death, his daughter bequeathed the collection to the Royal Museum, on the condition that they “get all these goddamn birdhouses out of the attic.”
- 20th - On this day two field mice attempting to evade a red-tailed hawk shared a brief, fraught liason under an oak leaf. Both mice later chalked it up to “just one of those crazy things that happen,” but remembered it fondly later in life.
- 20th - Today is the birthday of the sixth Prime Minister, who was assassinated within six weeks of taking office. Mourning was brief and largely perfunctory. “He was always telling me to go get coffee,” said one member of the cabinet. “I’m the secretary of agriculture. I have more degrees than God. Frankly, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer man.” The seventh Prime Minister was significantly more popular and introduced several notable reforms.
- 23rd - Today is the birthday of the acclaimed banjo player Jack “Fatfinger” Henkel. He is credited with singlehandedly popularizing many old banjo tunes. Perhaps his greatest achievement was the introduction of banjo solos to the classic wedding march, a musical tradition that continues to this day.
- 27th - On this day the naturalist Eland the Younger first described the Lantern Bug, a brightly colored insect related to fireflies. Unlike fireflies, however, Lantern Bugs can grow to eight inches long and are solitary creatures. They are occasionally used as light sources, but must be provided with tiny muzzles, as they have extraordinarily powerful mandibles and feed on mice.
- 27th - Today is the birthday of the Witch of the Blasted Waste. She is probably dead, but since she has a habit of showing up at christenings and weddings, we at the Hidden Almanac prefer to be on the safe side. Happy Birthday.
- 28th - A dozen axolotls clasped one another’s front feet in a long line, and swam together across the bed of the lake in which they lived.
- 28th - Eland the Younger records his discovery of the Gray Sea-Eagle, an immense bird described as having wings “like barn doors.”
- 30th - On this day the infamous Ceramic Murderess was hanged. Rachel Abhorsen was a potter who lost four husbands under mysterious circumstances. Each disappeared, often after Mrs. Abhorsen had taken out large life insurance polices on them. It was later determined that she was drugging the men, shoving them into her kiln, and firing them at cone ten. The remains would then be pulverized with broken pots and mixed into clay.
- 30th - Today is the birthday of “foraging” expert Jacob Crumb, who advocated foraging for city dwellers. He published many books on the topic, including “Chickweed Salad and You,” “Ten Edible Urban Weeds,” and “How to Cook a Sewer Rat.”