IMH: Once upon a time. Stop me if you’ve heard this. Once upon a time, not – not! – once before the giants came in a forest far away – once upon a time in the middle of the world there was a city that looked like it was made from bones, all white and shining.
VER: And was it, in fact, made from bones, O Imhulf who speaks only truth?
IMH: I’m trying, here. In the middle of the city there was a tower with ninety-six floors. On each floor of the tower there lived a corpse who held the power of the world in its dead hands.
VER: Corpses that, she asked rhetorically, corpses that lived in the tower. I just want to be clear.
IMH: These corpses did not lie quiet in their graves. Evil poured into them and made puddles in their chests where once hearts had beat.
VER: Evil? Piquant. Are you sure it was not on Yadd Island that this tower stood?
IMH: From their tower they worked a mighty spell in evil’s name, and twisted the world. For many hundreds of miles around the tower, none could taste honey or wine and feel their flavors on the tongue. Fire would not warm, song would not cheer, and fucking would not satisfy. Every citizen of this land grew harsh and proud and stiff, as if it were a nation of cadavers, rather than merely a nation ruled by cadavers. And so it was for generations, and for decades or centuries the ninety-six corpses gathered together annually and renewed their allegiance to the Dark, and every year the boundaries of this deadening of the spirits of others, it extended a little further.
VER: Maybe, Imhulf, genius man, Op-Rendo is this city. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a city of bones with a tower full of corpses that rule vilely over everything.
IMH: If that’s how you’re going to act for the entire play I’m not going to participate.
— From Imhulf the Genius, Act I, Scene I, by Immerstadt the Prolific (d. 1405)
SEE ALSO Immerstadt the Prolific, Op-Rendo, Vera Ilermalken