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    Literature in the Flanaess Considered - The Old Flan Almanac
    Posted on Fri, May 27, 2005 by Dongul
    gvdammerung writes "Farmers live by it. Ignorant farmers. There are peasants who know no better or who are forced to abide by its dictates. It is The Old Flan Almanac. Once, it was a valuable resource. Debased, it is now nearly worthless. Its historic importance in Old Aerdi, however, should not be discounted. In this special entry in the Greyhawk Bibliograpgica Series, we look at a single, unusual title.

    Literature in the Flanaess Considered - The Old Flan Almanac
    By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Books in the Flanaess are rare. In terms of time and expense, they are costly to produce. Accordingly, there is no popular mass literature. Most of the masses are illiterate in any event. There is, however, one notable exception to this truism - The Old Flan Almanac.

    When the migrating Oeridians reached the extensive Flanmi River basin, they found the most fertile agricultural land in all the Flanaess. Of course, they immediately set about dispossessing the Flan who had lived there for untold generations, butchering, enslaving or subordinating them to Aerdi rule and administration. The new overlords, however, soon discovered that while superior to the Flan on the field of battle, they were markedly inferior when the field was expected to yield a good harvest. Learning out the secrets of the Flan’s superior agricultural knowledge became a priority.

    Success proved either elusive or fleeting. The Flan responded poorly or not at all to the heavy-handed methods of the Aerdi. Into the breach stepped the first OverKing, Nasran. Having managed to divine that the key to the formerly bountiful Flan harvests lay in the seasonal application of the knowledge and skills of the druidic hierarchy of the Flan people, ironically among the first to be targeted for extinction, Nasran offered special dispensation to the surviving druids. In exchange for sharing their knowledge with the Aerdi, Nasran would recognize the Flan druids as a lesser noble house of the Great Kingdom. This proved acceptable to the druids and the minor House Flandri was born.

    In fulfillment of their part of the agreement, House Flandri performed their ages old rituals each year and in the early spring of each year set out a specific agricultural regimen, along with guidelines, to be followed throughout the Great Kingdom. To facilitate the dissemination of this information, the druids of House Flandri annually published an agricultural guidebook or almanac. That it might be understood even by the illiterate, as well as the educated, the almanac included text in Oeridian as well as pictographs and symbols meaningful to the Flan, but with experience understandable to illiterate Oeridian yeoman and peasants. The almanac was a resounding success. Harvests grew ever more bountiful.

    Of course, the elevation of Flan druids to noble house status, even if minor, did not sit well with the strictly Oeridian priesthood, nor with the Aerdi nobles who were still busy suppressing the last Flannish resistance to Aerdi rule. At first, however, they could do no more than grumble. As good harvests began to become the norm, however, much became taken for granted and the grumbling about House Flandri became more open. The purge of the house was inevitable. That harvests immediately were less bountiful, even with Oeridian clerical intervention, was attributed to Flannish intransigence and reprisals ordered. Killing the druids of House Flandri, however, did nothing to alleviate the situation, and matters were made worse as the almanac was discontinued.

    Matters took an unexpected and particularly serious turn when Aerdi peasants began seeking out surviving Flan druids of their own accord in the hopes of regaining the better harvests that the knowledge in the almanacs had facilitated. Flannish peasants were also sought out for their presumed knowledge. Intermarriage followed, along with a cultural merging among the agricultural classes. Though they did so solely for survival, the few Flan druids to survive in secret the purge of former House Flandri provided enough agricultural aide to foster and support this process. As an increasingly strong druidic faith began to take hold among the peasantry, even as they also made traditional obeisance to the Oeridian gods, the Aerdi clergy and nobility determined to act.

    Of course, mass executions, the preferred Aerdi solution to social upheavals, were out of the question for the agricultural classes formed the bedrock of the feudal Aerdi social hierarchy. Instead, there was announced a reconstituted House Flandri that would annually produce what was called The Old Flan Almanac. Unfortunately, the almanac was now to be produced by Oeridians whose agricultural knowledge, while often considerable, was not the equivalent of the Flan druids now purged. The resulting almanac only served to decrease harvests where the peasantry had either interbred with the Flan or had otherwise acquired druidic knowledge from the Flan by reverencing a druidic faith alongside the traditional Oeridian gods. The damage was done.

    The peasantry of Old Aerdi developed a pronounced druidic bent in their worship, even while also reverencing traditional gods. The Old Flan Almanac became the bane of the peasants’ existence when thrust upon them by overly zealous, and usually intolerantly religious, Aerdi landlords. In more enlightened areas, the nobility tolerated the druidic leanings of the peasantry and reaped better harvests. The worst Oeridian churches then conducted periodic witch-hunts, attempting to ferret out Flan druids, druidic leaning peasants and Aerdi nobles “soft” on druidism. An atmosphere of ignorant intolerance, sullen or sly disobedience and quiet religious conspiracy came to typify much of the life of peasants, and not a few nobles, in Aerdi lands.

    Until the Fall of Aerdi as a consequence of the Greyhawk Wars, The Old Flan Almanac was annually produced and just as assuredly, if carefully, ignored in many quarters, even if still promoted almost everywhere. With the rise of new nations in Old Aerdi in the aftermath of the Wars, the almanac is still, if variously and only irregularly, produced, truly popular in only the most parochial areas or benighted hinterlands. With the once almost monolithic power of the Oeridian churches broken, more nobles are willing to openly embrace what works. If that means allowing the peasantry to practice druidic rights, that is acceptable, so long as they do so without great fanfare and so long as they publicly venerate the traditional gods.

    The Old Flan Almanac is a dying creature of an increasingly distant era. It is a natural history text of the worst kind. Its final passing away will not be mourned.

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    Re: Literature in the Flanaess Considered - The Old Flan Almanac (Score: 1)
    by mortellan on Sat, May 28, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    The bookshelf runneth over! Good series, just many more installments are in the loop?

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