King Oktug’s Last Birthday Party
Lake Canulus, Alessian Ruins, Nibenay Basin
The chamber off the northern wall of the primary ziggurat was, as we had thought, a hall of records, containing the chronicles of all the dynasties back to the mid-First Era. As your lordship knows, the Colovian Ape Folk were meticulous in their records concerning bloodlines. The discovery of this genealogical library, together with the engraved steles in the Ziggurat Courtyard, should lend some credence to the theory that the Imgan Kings derived their right to rulership from relation to the Monkey Prophet and his holy lineage.
The written Imgan language is, truly, a curious medium... not because of its alphabet, which was definitely influenced by early Colovian typography, but because of its structure. The texts follow no discernable pattern. Passages run horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. They crisscross each other often, which makes the text difficult to decipher. Sentences sometimes end only to continue several pages later with no clear indication as to why. Some paragraphs are even written in mirror script. This, I believe, offers some insight into the peculiar minds of the Imga. Living in the labyrinthine branches of the graht-oaks, they would have needed a complex three-dimensional map of their surroundings. When they were educated by the early Colovian heirophants, they must have thought it odd that humans write in so linear a fashion. Luckily, the script is supplemented here and there by the words of Alessian scribes, which are useful when all other points of reference break down.
The texts, interesting as they are, have unfortunately been badly damaged by moisture and age, and are fragmentary at best. However, with the aid of the thought-echoes lingering in the ziggurat's stones, the praxographers on loan to us from the Arcane University have been able to assemble a more or less complete picture of the late First Era kings.
Attached: the latest transcript of the Alessian scroll we unearthed at Site 4, detailing the Birthday Party of King Oktug, named alternately as Mighty-Mountain-Head-Oktug, Great-Golden-Kingly-Oktug and - in an irreverent hand in the margins - Sissy-Poo-Oktug. I thought it oddly appropriate, since your Lordship's own birthday was but a few days ago. I trust that your own Party fared better than Oktug's did.
Head of Paleotypography
Canulus Complex 2
Here is the forgotten story of the Last Birthday Party of Oktug, the King of Aocoltekultügagog, anon The Place of Burning Staves, which is no more. It was forgotten on purpose, for it is [embarrassing], and was never told on Oktug's reign-story-pillar. It is remembered now because it is true, and it is important, and it is kind of funny.
Great-Golden-Kingly-Oktug was the son of High-Worldheaded-Gvoguhl, who was the son of Tohglahl Blade-Finger, who was the son of Red-Raoluk, who was the son of Serpentfeathered-Caokax, who was the son of Xicüýnuhl Flame-Tongue, who was, himself, the son of Tolaola, the eighth concubine of MAR-UKH, and reigned during the high-years of the first mannish hegemony. His domain was in the Dragon-jungled West of Aldacyrod, where monkeys can no longer go.
Now Great-Golden-Kingly-Oktug was, at that time, preparing for a grand celebration, and so it happened that he summoned nine Nedes to his court. They arrived with a train of slave-worshippers at their backs, who chanted the name of Aless and wept at her death-memory. They were dressed in the red-silks of Empire and carried staves of tibrol wood, which were mirrors of their purpose. They were Alessiklusödroklergohl, the tower-dancers of the Star-Crossed Empire.
Their arts were macroaurbic, and they knew the biting ways of [the mandibles]. It was said that they could use Cetekauktlusödrothog - the symbol of mannish conquest, anon Armunt-Axle of the Mountain-Ears - to shape something from nothing. This, to the Mountain-Ears, was a profane inversion of [empyrean supergradiency] that the Nedes seemed to delight in. Then again, the Nedes delighted in anything that involved pissing off the Mountain-Ears.
King Oktug was obliged to show them some measure of courtesy, for they were emissaries of the Slave Queen's Hegemony, and were Marukhati too. And gracious Oktug offered to them the wonders of the Royal Pleasure Chambers, replete with troupe-prostitutes who could spear-talk, perfumes and musks from the Star-Wounded East, hookah pipes, bowls of lotus-fruit, tire-swings [?] and other manifold delights of the tongue, eye and loins.
The tower-dancers, unthinkably, declined. King Oktug, though mortally insulted, showed much mercy in not having the Nedes executed, as they would have been if they had been anything other than representatives of the Slave Queen's Hegemony, for it was unthinkable that followers of MAR-UKH would behave in such a manner.
Following this scandal, King Oktug spake thusly unto the Alessiklusödroklergohl in a voice like thunder:
"I, Great-Golden-Kingly-Oktug, Ruler of Aocoltekultügagog and lord over ALL the monkeys of these jungles, have called you here for a REASON. I have heard that you tower-dancers have strange-shaping-magicks that you can use to MAKE things from NOTHING. Since I have grown BORED with the parties that MONKEYS throw, I want YOU to make my BIRTHDAY PARTY. It is said that the Tea-Party-Man throws the BEST parties, and you Nedes are in his FAVOR, or he wouldn't have scoured the Mountain-Ears from the land with his God-Light if you are NOT! There one-hundred-and-some days until my birthday, and you have until THEN. I will personally test EACH Party you create until you get it EXACTLY right. And I FORBID you to leave until you have SATISFIED me, for I am King here, and I DO NOT CARE what the Slave-Queen-Hegemony thinks! HA-HA-HA."
"And," Oktug added, "I don't want just ANY Party, oh no... I want a SURPRISE Party!"
And the Nedes were anxious, for they hated surprises.
"But, O Mighty-Mountain-Head-Oktug," another tower-dancer said, "If you insist on testing each Party that we dance into being for you, then it won't be much of a surprise when your birthday arrives."
"Then you must make it EXTRA SURPRISING, musn't you?" Oktug snorted, stamping his great feet. He was becoming angry, for he was King, and he was unused to being tested so.
"But, O Great-Golden-[sexually insecure]-Oktug," one tower-dancer said, "We require a tower in order to shape the [spiritual bleed] from the womb of Æther, and your splendid city has none."
And the court sniggered, for the tower-dancer was only used to his own kind's feeble-bird-language and had said Oktug's name wrong. Oktug, showing infinite grace, ignored the mistake.
"I shall make you one!" Cried Oktug, gesturing expansively. "I shall build for you a great-high-place in the image of MY OWN PALACE. It shall take eighty-and-one days to build, and will be a LASTING MONUMENT to MY reign!"
"But, O King Oktug," another tower-dancer said. "Please, allow us to explain. It is not enough for our dancing-place to be high... it must have the proper shape, as well. The reason we use Cetekauktlusödrothog is because it is the same-image of Nüllna'lusödrog, the Origin-Spire, whose foundation is at [zero-intercept]. If we do not have a proper myth-shape-tower, then the Parties that we dance into being for you will be shadows, or woven from lie-thoughts, or worse still, will [not really be there at all]. What you ask of us is impossible. Surely if you would allow us to..."
But Mighty Oktug, who knew nothing of the All-You-Can-Eat-Trumpet and was enraged by their discourtesy, had reached the end of his patience. He reached into his anus, drawing forth a stinking mass of his own faeces, which he hurled at the Nedes with great malice. The rest of the court followed suit, for as monkeys see, so shall they do, and the tower-dancers retreated under a fusillade of excrement.
And over the next eighty-and-one days did the monkeys of Aocoltekultügagog assemble the dreaming-tower, and as it rose from the soil stone by stone, the tower-dancers became greatly dismayed, for it was indeed not shaped like the towers of Ald-Meria. It was square-based, squat and low upon the ground, built from green stones carved with serpent-patterns that coiled around each other, and inscribed with mirror-words that did homage to MAR-UKH and his four times Great-Grandson, Great-Golden-Kingly-Oktug. Oktug's story-reign pillar was erected on the jade stair, and at the pinnacle was constructed a great arch for the Nedes to Dance on. The Alessiklusödroklergohl saw this and knew that the Ape Men knew nothing of mythotecture, and despaired.
The tower-dancers, having no other choice, set to work immediately on the Party, for they had but four weeks in which to prepare it.
The first picture they made was fanciful: it showed a black-tower in a field of red roses, orbited by sixteen attendant spirits who took the shapes of Frame-Beasts. Its number was Eighteen-Plus-One. It stood at the hub of a world-wheel, and like Cetekauktlusödrothog, its nature was [cosminach]. Wolf-animunculi with light-swords ran rings around its base, singing doom-symphonies in power-tones. Oktug found himself at the very top, dressed in a ridiculous crimson robe. He reprimanded the tower-dancers, thinking them presumptuous, and told them again that the tower he had made for them would do the job perfectly well, say thankya.
The second picture they made was silly: Oktug stood on top of a big-steel-tree with man-helper-climbing-branches, holding a lady in one hand and throwing barrels down at a crazy-plumber with the other. Oktug almost killed the tower-dancers for their insult, but Princess Argatuga thought it was kind of cool, so he had it made it into a game that some young monkeys still play.
The third picture they made was [blasphemous], and shall not be described here. Oktug broke the back of the [censored] Nede whose bright idea it was in the first place, and that was the end of that. By this act, the number of the tower-dancers was made eight (and this a fateful number).
And the days wore on, and the dancers danced, and their creations were rejected again and again.
"Holy cow," said one tower-dancer (for the lover of the Paravania was and is still held in high-reverence by the Nedes), "Oktug's birthday has arrived, and we have not yet prepared a proper Birthday Image!"
"This is bull [censored]!" shouted a second (for even the excrement of the Heaven-Bull is considered sacred). "By the Breaking-Blue-Gates and their Eighteen-Times-Sixty-Three spirits-attendant, what the Ape-King has asked of us is futile and undoable, which is (more or less) the same thing!"
It was then that another tower-dancer (the same one that Oktug had disgraced by ancient rite of the Fecal Turbulence) ran up, waving his arms frantically and calling in their strange-bird-language, "Quick! Great-Golden-[sexually insecure]-Oktug is coming! We must dance-make something for his Party, or we will be in trouble! Hurry!"
And the other tower-dancers looked and saw that Oktug really was coming. He had emerged from his pleasure chambers with a happy grin on his august countenance. He was seated on a high-chair borne by three Mountain-Ear slaves (for these are the Colovian Imga we're talking about, and they enslaved the Mountain-Ears, not the other way around), and was making his way through the harlot-fruit-marketplace.
And the Alessiklusödroklergohl, having seen Oktug's wrath and knowing the consequences of their failure, began to dance and dance and dance as they had never danced before.
But then the tower-dancers made a very, very big mistake. Because they were tired from all that dancing, because they did not have a proper tower, and because they were [scared [censored]less], they had forgotten their steps, their dreaming-chants and their profane-fabrication-patterns, and had begun to dance in reverse. The [choreography] was reason-death. [Incalculable] rhythms issued from their feet, and the Beat of the Heart and the Beat of the Drum became one and the same, as it had been in the Before-Time. By the time King Oktug had reached the ziggurat, the very stones were screaming with sacrilege.
Although King Oktug was called Great-Golden-Kingly, he was not Golden, or Kingly, or even very Great (he was Mountain-Headed, though). And because of this, he and everyone else within three-hundred-and-seventeen walking strides of [the epicenter] who did not have the kimm were [solved], and sublimed into the charged air, until all that was left of Aocoltekultügagog was an array of false theorems drawn in the cracked earth.
After the Party, Oktug's son Urokh took the throne, and once the [JILLEN] had annulled the Ætheric ramifications, the first act of his reign was to outlaw surprise parties, on pain of death.
This is why Nedes hardly ever Dance on Towers anymore. It is partly because they believe that the [Sundering of the Armunt] was a good thing (mostly), and partly because they are scared and don't want to [censored] it up, and partly because it is [really, really hard] and, by most accounts, not really worth it. Many people still think that using towers to make/unmake things is a [stupid] idea.
However, as long as there are towers there will always be tower-dancers, and of all the man-people of the Armunt, the Alessiklusödroklergohl are better at it than most.