Names from Fourteen Minutes
When the Irvill won the war against the redacted, they did not celebrate. They didn’t even mention it. They cleaned up, swept up, imprisoned the few remaining redacted, and razed the redacted city to the ground, planting fast-growing vines over every inch of the land to further obscure the ruins.
The Irvill had survived horrors at the hands of their ancient enemy, been enslaved, tortured, and suppressed for generations. They could have, some said should have, been throwing parties, marching in parades, singing songs about their victory. But to do so, the Wise argued, would have been to give the redacted power that they did not deserve. Worse, it would entrench in memory the atrocities that had been done to them, making them forever a nation of victims.
The Wise were called thus for a reason, and so they were heeded. The few surviving redacted were imprisoned, enslaved, or executed, banned from ever speaking of their home nation, banned from ever mentioning that redacted had existed. All mentioned of redacted were stricken from the records of the city, back to the oldest books, the best-made statues. In a generation, the Wise declared, it would be as if the redacted had never existed.
Within the city-state of Irvya, this worked fairly well. The Wise had a wide reach, having been the only government the redacted had allowed the Irvill. While they worked on replacing themselves with a secular, elected council, they could still censor everything they wished to, and they did, with a broad and liberal hand.
But they had no such control of the other city-states of the Aniorg peninsula… indeed, having been a vassal-state for more than three centuries, they hardly knew the other city-states existed until their envoys came knocking on their gates. The Wise could negotiate, and did; they could sign treaties, and did. They could broker trade, and did so with glee. But they could not convince the other city-states to stop talking about redacted.
It became a bone of contention, and from the bone, a monster was grown. The Noremintim were the first: their envoy laughed at the wise.
“You cannot make a nation go away by saying so,” the envoy declared.
“We have made them go away,” the Wisdom who was negotiating the treaty declared, “and we say they never were.”
War followed quickly. The Irvill had learned much from their former masters, and more from destroying them. This battle was quick, sharp, and nearly painless, a scalpel rather than a sword. The Noremintim, wishing to keep their own name, learned quickly to forget about the redacted.
They had not been expecting the attack. The Euserglio had some idea, and thus gave the Irvill a bit more trouble. The Damiendan managed to stay quiet about the redacted for almost two decades, until their new, young king said something unwise.
There was almost no-one alive in Irvya who could remember the redacted when the armies of the Wise finished conquering the Aniorg peninsula.
The leader of their army, a Wisdom who had been a youth when they had won their freedom, sat in a chair in the highest tower in the land, overlooking what they had conquered. He was dying, of age and a lifetime of war and old injuries. But he had been born a slave, and he was dying an Emperor.
“All for want of a parade,” he whispered, and died.
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