The Story Thus Far - Season 1
PreludeIn a world very like our own, there existed a little known magical art called Literomancy. According to legend, literomancers had the power to rewrite reality with the use of the written word. The things they wrote came into being. Over time, the art fell into disrepute. Perhaps something happened to reduce its power, or perhaps the art declined as literomancers were actively targeted by kings, queens, and other political leaders throughout history. Literomancers were particularly persecuted during the War of the Roses, and the art all but disappeared after the Renaissance. Yet there remained in the world a number of literomantic Houses who still practiced their art in secret. Their mysteries, and the tattered remnants of their libraries, were passed down through these families for generations. Once nobility of great power and influence, these families had mostly lost all of their temporal power, and were effectively common folk whose titles had no significance, except in literomantic circles. Annually, these families would meet to compete in a literomantic event to test their skills against each other, an event called the Game of Tomes.
The First Word WarIn 2020, as the world reeled under the effects of Covid-19, the literomancers still made arrangements to meet for their annual competition. But this year, things were different. The first indication of this was that certain "wild talent" literomancers had begun to appear, with no connection to any of the known literomantic Houses. A small, internet based news outlet, the ASC News Network, was the only network covering this oddball event, much in the same way that VICE covers countercultural events. Mostly their reporters were literomancers involved in the competition. But they found that instead of simply being eliminated in the Game when the House they were writing for had compiled the lowest word count in a five-day period, many of the literomancers actually died -- and kept writing. These new Tome Zombies seemed to have fallen under the influence of someone calling himself the Night Monarch -- the subject of an ancient legend that even most literomancers believed was merely a myth. The return of this ancient evil brought with it word of the return of an even more ancient artifact -- The Iron Tome, which was said to have the power to bring into being anything written in its pages, regardless of the laws of physics or even logic. And the literomancers found that their powers suddenly had more broad-reaching effects than they had in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. Now the literomantic Houses, who had been merely playing a game, found themselves in a genuine war, as each began writing to defeat the ever-growing Undead Horde, and each other, for control of the Iron Tome. The literomancers primarily banded together under the leaders of some of the most powerful literomantic Houses, who had maintained their literomantic traditions and something of their libraries successfully throughout history, despite, in many cases, poverty and struggle. These Houses and leaders were:
AftermathUpon achieving victory, the Cosmic Kraken claimed the Iron Tome, and used its pages to resurrect all the Tome Zombies, and all other undead that any of the surviving Tome Knights personally knew or could find. The victory was a pyrrhic one. While the Great Houses all survived the War (some, barely,) only four Lesser Houses managed to make it through the apocalypse; some with only a single member left alive. The world was forever changed by the return of literomancy and the accompanying zombie apocalypse. Most nations of the world collapsed. The G8 and other significant industrialized nations remained in some form, but they were now divided as they declared their fealty to the literomantic Houses, frightened by their significant magical powers, and hoping for some modicum of protection should the zombies return. The literomantic Houses now have far more temporal power than they ever have, and effectively, each leader of one of the Great Houses suddenly found themself a ruler of an empire. Further, writing in the Iron Tome had unforeseen consequences. The geography of the world significantly changed, although all but the Tome Knights seem to think it has always been as it is now. Further, literomancy suddenly had even more power and effectiveness, and the abilities of the literomancers became truly frightening in what they were able to accomplish. As a silver lining side effect, Covid-19 completely disappeared; indeed, had never existed. Wisely, Coffee Quills made the decision to never use the Tome again, nor to allow anyone else to do so, and they sealed it in a vault at the bottom of The Zafforza Trench in the depths of the ocean, protected by guards at all times. At the end of the First Word War, DM Stretch made a mysterious broadcast to an unknown party from somewhere near The Warren, referring to the launch of an operation called "New Dawn." To whom was he reporting, and what did he mean?
Peacetime: 2021 Tourney SeasonWith the Undead Horde defeated, Erin Righ was restored to his living self. His wife, Sable Aradia, asked him to return to House Lapin's traditional stronghold, The Warren. But Erin no longer trusted himself, and instead wandered aimlessly until taken in by House Chiroptera, where he became the Bat Queen's General. The Tome Knights decided to restore a traditional custom, called the Tourney of Tales, in which they would get together to practice their skills -- just in case the Undead Horde should make a return. In the Middle Ages, these Tourneys were held in April and July, and so the first Tourney of Tales in more than 400 years was scheduled to take place in Japan in April 2021, hosted by House Mollusca, as the House that currently held the Iron Tome. The ASC News Network, in the process of a hostile takeover from the GOT News Network, continued to report to the world on the event, but now found a much larger following, and more personal influence. Having made a name for herself as one of the last TV shows to stay on the air during the War, AuthorGoddess, a wild talent literomancer and mercenary, became the most popular talk show host in the world, with her insider's reports on the activities (and personal lives) of the Tome Knights, especially the House nobles. A significant social event, which set the stage for politics in the Realm for the next year, was the Grand Feast hosted by the Mother of Bunnies Sable Aradia at the Warren. Almost every major figure among the Tome Knights made an appearance, and several alliances were made or rebuilt. House Meles won the April 2021 Tourney of Tales, in large part due to the prolific efforts of two of their members, Amelia Nite and Lord Galakrond.
Game of Tomes: Tourney of Tales of April 2021
Tradition / Ritual | Aug 17, 2022
The Tourney of Tales is a fun, less high-pressure version of Game of Tomes for Camp NaNoWriMo on Twitch, and any writer can play!
This article is a work in progress, and may be subject to changes.
This article is part of a series related to streaming the Game of Tomes. For more information, see Streaming Game of Tomes.