In A City Without A Name

The broken smells of history should not be stepped in.

They say that the nameless one brought his army across the sea. His 300 ships and their yellow sails were first seen by a watcher in one of the towers. The news spread across the proud city and the men made ready for war. The war came and went and the proud city was conquered and renamed. Maybe renamed isn’t really the right word for to be renamed, something really must have had a name to begin with. Before the city was conquered and renamed by the nameless one, it had no name. Well it had many names actually, for over and over again, the city had been given many names, mostly by conquerors, but none of them had stuck around for very long. The original name of the city, if it ever even had one, is long lost and forgotten. However this is not a concern for the people of the city. They take great pride in the namelessness of their city. Almost any citizen will tell you proudly, if the subject even vaguely comes up, that their city doesn’t need a name, it just is. If it has to be called something they refer to it as the city, or the nameless city, or the city that has no name. 

The last person to conquer the nameless city was the nameless one. Perhaps the thought of a city so ripe for naming was appealing to him, or maybe he crossed over the sea with his army and his ships with yellow sails for some other reason. It matters not, or if it does matter, well it is not known. What is known is that after he conquered it he took his own name and thrust it forcefully onto the city, and reluctantly the city went through the motions of taking it, for the people of the city weren’t given a choice.  It is uncertain when exactly the people of the city as a whole stopped saying the name. Some say that the inhabitants of the city stopped saying it even as it was being thrust upon them. Those that say that are of course very wrong. It is extremely well documented that most if not all the inhabitants of the city reluctantly spoke the new name at least throughout the reign of the nameless one. However, all historians agree that seventeen generations later, it clearly was already being erased, and at least the last three rulers of the nameless one’s line are believed to have never even heard their own last name spoken out loud by anyone than other members of the royal family, whispered secretly behind closed doors on occasions when they could be absolutely sure that nobody unrelated by blood and dynasty could possibly be listening in. 

The last of these rulers is of course best known for ending the line, for after he threw himself into the sea, no other member of the royal family was willing to accept the crown. The royal crown was instead given to a beggar chosen by lottery. The name of almost every beggar in the city, and even a few merchants, smiths, bards, and cantaloupe juggers that claimed they were beggars, were entered into the lottery. Valor Smith, the winner of the lottery, never tried to impose a name on the city that hated being named. Possibly because of that, it is his descendants that still rule the city to this day. The nameless one had a name, but by attaching it to the city, the nameless one’s name itself was lost. Where does this leave his descendants, the ones still living in the city he once won in a war so long ago? It leaves them nameless, with a name that no one is willing to speak.

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