(I neglected to publish a 'Mascot Monday' last week. Here's penance. Should have a regularly-scheduled Mascot Monday on...well, on Monday.)
The Peacock Throne
Historians tell us that we are far from the first sentients to inhabit the lands we now call Wampus Country, and not even the first humans. In the Long Long Ago, after the fall of the Empire of Apes, three rival kingdoms feuded; sages now know of them only through incomplete records and occasional artefacts, and refer to these apparent monarchies by the pictograms used to represent them in the ancient scrolls. The “Watching Eye” and the “Sequential Runes” cultures, while widespread, were dominated in this period by the kingdom known today as the “Peacock Throne”.
The Peacock Throne influenced the entire region for years, but today we know very little about how it functioned, traded, made war, or even worshipped. Only tiny shards of evidence exist, some of those perhaps false or misinterpreted, but historians continue to attempt to piece together odds and ends. Appended below are a few notes on what is surmised regarding this proud kingdom of ancient times, and its heroes and villains.
Huxt of Koz - called by some historians one of the great wise men of history, Huxt of Koz ruled the Peacock Throne during its most prosperous period. After spending much of his youth as a spy and saboteur, Huxt rose to power in his later years, seized the throne, and came to be seen as a father-figure by much of the citizenry; everyone paid rapt attention to the comings and goings of his progeny. The eldest princess of Huxt’s line is said to have been transported to a different world, after which she sullied her family name with lewd acts; the eldest prince was often seen in the company of a humanoid insect. Extant from Huxt’s reign is an enchanted piece of clothing called the Mantle of Huxt, which imparts the wisdom of its legendary namesake at the price of self-denial. (Mantle of Huxt: this gaudy, colorful woolen garment is ensorcelled such that the wearer gains +1 Wisdom, but is also cursed to never experience that thing they most desire - be it love, fame, offspring, or a really good sandwich).
The Nocturnal Judge - a trickster-hero and magician who, accompanied by an entourage which included both an incubus and a giant, meted out justice when the sun went down. Possible member of the Cheerful Society (qv); one sage suggests this so-called Judge may have been related to the Beautiful Barristers of La, or The Ma’at-Lock (He Who Seals Justice), as part of a widespread brotherhood of Order.
The Cheerful Society - it is known that in one of the major cities of the Peacock Throne, there existed a subterranean gathering-place where various misfits, ne’er-do-wells and the like (who today might be called ‘adventuring gentlemen’) came together to exchange tales of derring-do and drown their sorrows with an intoxicating liquid soma. The proprietor is supposed to have been a champion of the sacred ball-court; regular society members included Klaveen the Deliverer (who “knew all things”) and a corpulent bookkeeper who was betrothed to an invisible demoness. It is said that the society knew the names of every person in the kingdom; they may have acted as a kind of secret police. An incomplete papyrus suggests that the mind-mage Phra-Zar was exiled from the Cheerful Society and locked away in the Great Needle, from whence he beamed his thoughts directly into the ears of his followers.
The Glimmering Witches - an influential coven of three (some say four) witches or hags who embodied the magical qualities of Lust, Ignorance, and Frustration. These creatures, of indeterminate age - possibly immortal - reigned over one of the warm-water port cities of the Peacock Throne for years. Within that same city, a small band of Lawful adventurers, led by a scarred mathematician, fought a never-ending battle against the Lords of Vice, but the historical record is unclear as to whether these crusaders ever came into conflict with the witches.
Much research remains to be done regarding the Peacock Throne; our historians know almost nothing, for example, regarding the Eater-of-Cats or the Riding Knight, and sages regularly come to blows arguing what the great sage Willis was truly talking about.