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.
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.
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 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.