Monday, July 28, 2014

BAD Writer, No Scooby Snacks

One of those rare occasions when it's worthwhile to read the comments.  The community of commenters at Janet Reid's blog ... well, sometimes, they far outshine (apparently) the queriers she sees.  He's fortunate she didn't broadcast his name.  There's little we seem to like better in this world than a good, vicious public shaming.  Talk about a bullet dodged.

In Any Case

Seventeen or eighteen years ago, in a conscious bid to make my handwriting bearable for any attempt to read it, I took up the habit of writing in all caps when I took pen in hand.  It probably helped – but this actually happened just at the time when my work (where this was most relevant, and where I chose to make this change) was shifting away from hard copy, and certainly from anything handwritten.

Still, the habit stuck, and I have scarcely handwritten using lowercase (or cursive) for the better part of two decades now.  My signature in no way resembles the English alphabet, and cannot count toward any objective form of “handwriting” – and has been the only cursive I’ve written in at least as long.

Over the past few years, with lamentations about the loss of cursive in our schools, and possibly altogether, I’ve spent moments here and there practicing penmanship (though, it cannot be said, not much practicing neatness nor legibility).  In a funny little happenstance, my work now also calls for the occasional hand writing.  Given the nature of our business, though we do a great deal virtually, what arrives on my desk is still good old-fashioned hard copies, and in order to route things I make notes as to what belongs to whom.

The notes being primarily for my process, their legibility is not a functional issue of my job – however, I have used the opportunity to recondition myself to using, at least, lowercase.  My cursive being as halting and unnatural as it is (the physical habit of writing in print still allows for pauses, so you can hesitate before making mistakes), I’ve concentratd on my printing, but have tried a little of the trickier art here and there.

Re-establishing lowercase in my life didn’t take very long, though I do occasionally still mix an odd array of uppercase in if I’m in a hurry, not concentrating properly, or am only making one note rather than a number at a time.  Even with this, I’m happy with the progress.

In my life, I have lost the skill of speaking an entire language (German – we won’t count Spanish, as I never became fluent in the first place there), and it still upsets me.  I used to speak it all the time to Beloved Ex – who, not being a German-speaker, quite reasonably found that incredibly irritating – and so, I gave it up.  And, with noone to whom to speak a language, you stop using it, and you lose it.  I can recognize words here and there, and could if pressed perhaps discuss the lady who managt die Tankstelle or how much I enjoy brezeln und sammeln.  Sadly, for all functional purposes, my German is gone.  I can’t even understand it, spoken, anymore really.  It goes by too quickly – and, in the twenty-five years since I *was* able to converse exclusively auf deutsch, if not perfectly – and my accent was good, too), I’ve lost all sense of style and vocabulary.  Even if I regained what I once knew, it would be antiquated by now.

So to regain what I could has been a silly little pleasure.

I haven’t written anything in my creative output for twenty years probably.  As an author, I’ve essentially always been a word-processor, which makes me a very different creature than those who came, for millennia, before me.  Yet having one foot in the camp of ancient tradition – being ABLE to use the oldest methods of communication not by mouth – has become more appealing and more important to me with age.

As far as penmanship itself – the visual beauty of my writing has not improved with age, but I would say, too, it hasn’t gotten worse.  Jumbled, a little, when the capitals sneak in where they shouldn’t – but no uglier than it was when I remediated that problem by changing to uppercase.  The theory then (and it did work well *enough*) was that writing in all caps forced me to pause between letters – and the same theory has me back to lowercase with faster competency and recall than I would have hoped when I started this project.

The next project, of course, will be to revive and retain my ability to write in cursive.  I’ll never have the pretty hand my mom always has, which she wished I in particular, or either of her kids, cared about having – but at least I won’t lose another kind of language, another part of my self-expression.

I’m curious how many people have lost a language, as I did – or how our writing has changed with the advent of technology.  Please tell me … the comments are always open!

Author's Notes

As we near the end of the Author's Notes series, it's interesting to observe how the glossary sort of fell out in an order that lent itself to this format in terms of theme and content.  Today's subjects:  places, places, and more places!

One of the territories known to have been gained by Clovis, but not always firmly under his control, Thuringia was the font of allies and family for the king.  It was his close relation to the people of this region which both justified his claim upon it, and horrified because of the manner of his staking that claim.  Basina, Clovis’ mother, was a Thuringian queen before she scandalized the Franks by leaving her husband Bisinus (who had provided refuge for the exiled Frankish king) to marry Childeric.  Thuringian land occupied the eastern borders of those domains making up a part of Clovis’ story, situated north of Odovakar’s realm.

The Battle of Tolbiac, 496—site of Clovis’ conversion (most widely reported/accepted date).  Called Zulpich in many sources.  The “place-name problem” often prevalent for a British writer was a lesser issue for European/Roman geography in Late Antiquity.  For no reason better than accessibility for the unfamiliar reader, I’ve chosen Latinized forms of both personal and place names almost universally.

Tongeren is one of the oldest cities in Belgium, predating even the advent of Julius Caesar.  The city was a Roman administrative center, and housed one of the first Catholic dioceses in the area, but was likely sacked in 451 by the Huns.  Chararic’s placement at Tongeren is a fiction, but the area is a likely one for someone associated with Clovis as early as the victory at Soissons, and places him in proximity with the smaller world of Clovis’ Belgic origins, as well as in a believable kin-geography.

Clovis’ first capital, and the main of three cities held by Childeric in the province of belgica secunda, Tournai is also one of the oldest towns in Belgium.  Tournai lay east and slightly south of Bononia, with Arras between the two, farther to the south.  Tournai was and is situated on the Scheldt river, a conduit for trade and sustenance dating at least to the Roman period.

As always, Author's Notes excerpts are excerpted from the MS, which means they are written "in-universe."  These posts should not be taken as historical resources.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


For a pleasing Sunday interlude:  Mojourner has marmot fights!  There is a tale about marmots in The Ax and the Vase, but it is nowhere near so cool and cute.

Jeff Sypeck on Tolkien's Beowulf - "like no English ever before uttered or heard."

The British Museum shows us the Ur-Ur.

Finally, another amusing interlude (this time, vintage images with puns!) at The Passion of Former Days.

Author's Notes

Today, a look at princes and non-primogenitive inheritance.

Much has been made, over the centuries, of Salic Law, not least Title LIX, Concerning Private Property, which addressed the prohibition of feminine inheritance:  of Salic land no portion of the inheritance shall come to a woman: but the whole inheritance of the land shall come to the male sex.  Looming far larger at the time of the Merovingian dynasty, however, was the division of inheritance—a habit, at the royal level, which led to the perceived degeneration of Clovis’ descendants and their power.

Clovis’ decision to divide his kingdom in the manner of a patrimony, rather than to enact the now-familiar practice of primogeniture, has fascinated and frustrated historians and scholars for generations.  However, at the time, such an action was commonplace and unexceptional—and, of course, led to the notorious wars and factions so much a part of the dynastic history of the time.  The problem is another more applied by modern perspective than one which would have been recognized at the time.  As the sun comes up in the east, so the tradition was the tradition, and if it contained inconveniences, and even the seeds of strife, that was not the matter for a father (nor even a king) to presume to rectify.  Primogeniture was not merely foreign, it would have been inconceivable, in the sense of not occurring to those with estates.  If it obviously became conceivable to those inheriting, then the actions were as they were, and were as much accepted consequences as the tradition itself was accepted.

454-526; King of the Ostrogoths (488-526), ruler of Italy (493-526), and regent of the Visigoths (511-526).  The name means king of the people (theud), and may be tied to a form of rulership referred to in ancient Germanic nations as Thiudans, a spiritual level of authority in contrast with reiks, the military or blood ruler.  This name, of course, unites those aspects.
Theodoric made much of his (possibly fictional) descent from the venerated Amal line, and varied his approach to Clovis and others with their value or threat to his position.  His queen, Audofleda, was Clovis’ sister; though the alliance forged by this marriage was not made of stern stuff.  Theodoric and Clovis, though they never warred directly, remained wary and at times antagonistic regardless of the relation.

484-533/534(?); inherited Austrasia, Rheims, and Metz.  First son of Clovis, whose mother was unrecorded but seems likely to have been a concubine/friedelehe.  Little is recorded of him before his father’s death, and there is no indication whatever that he was in any way  unhealthy.  His “palsy” in this story serves both as story arc for his character and also as the physical manifestation of unspoken conflict between Clovis and himself.  Much of what I have created for Theuderic’s character is utter fiction.
Early in his own reign, Theuderic sent his son Theudebert to battle the Scandinavian King Chlochilaich (better known, from the poem Beowulf, as Hygelac) who had invaded his realm. Theudebert defeated and killed Chlochilaich.  See the note on Theodoric for etymology of the name.    (Variations:  Thierry, Deitrich)

As always, Author's Notes excerpts are excerpted from the MS, which means they are written "in-universe."  These posts should not be taken as historical resources.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Author's Notes

Today's edition will cover everything from Romanization to the archaic name Romans used to designate the Franks:

Though there are historians and students whose misgivings regarding the Franks’ Romanitas may validly put it in question, the overwhelming slant of early sources and commentary on Clovis and his world in general indicates a high level of Roman assimilation among the Franks generally, especially at the level of government and nobility.  Of all the barbarian peoples, the Franks appear to have been singular in both their approach to Rome itself, but in their assimilation of culture, belief, social structure—and the preservation of their own extremely-difficult-to-define, from a modern perspective, identity (*).  There is reason to wonder  why Clotilde is said to have converted Clovis from Roman gods, but source material displays a strong identification of the Frankish people with the Roman—and Greek—culture, even in the absence of overall conformist points of reference, law, and hierarchy.  This is to say, the Franks appear to have appropriated Roman history and culture, recognizing it as prestigious, but maintained at the same time a strong cohesion at the same time.  Thus, Clovis was a “long-haired king”, a Frank, an independent entity capable of destroying Rome in the person of Syagrius—and also fully capable of recognizing that power might be had in Roman forms, and that, for instance, Catholics represented a strong force with which it was worthwhile to align himself.  His inheritance of Roman administrative and cultural structures was no more antithetical to his identity than his adoption of the Christian faith was entirely a betrayal of it.  The Franks being a pragmatic people, and Clovis a pragmatic king, the nonconformity he and they displayed among peer tribes and kingdoms in the barbarian world of Late Antiquity was a matter of decision and practicality as much as it was the manifestation of faith, religious manifest destiny, or advantage-making.
(*This may also illuminate the question of Clovis’ conversion to Catholic, rather than Arian, Christianity; see notes on Catholicism and Arianism for further discussion.)

The Latin term for a servant bound to the land—to an estate, specifically—these were not slaves, but not fully free in the Frankish sense either.  Forerunner of the term serfs, which would become so familiar in later medieval times.  This term exists minimally in this work, as a hat-tip to medievalism and a necessary allusion to Romanization as well as societal stratification—but it is kept fairly unobtrusive as well, in light of the preconceptions attached to both the Roman and medieval associations.

Clovis is known to have had two siblings other than Audofleda – another like-named sister, Abdofled/Abofled, the youngest, and Lanthechild, who along with the other siblings is largely known for having converted from Arian to Catholic Christianity with Clovis.  There was, in a previous draft of this work, a storyline for Lanthechild.  However, in the interest of avoiding confusion, the character was entirely excised during the most extensive revision.  Abdofled does not appear in all sources, and was never included in any draft, for reasons which may be obvious.  I have wondered whether the vagaries of spelling simply created this sibling in duplication of the clearly-historical sister, Audofleda, but will confess to having put no research into this question.

This term appears most prominently in the legend of the baptism of Clovis, by some depicted as having occured concurrent with his conversion.  The name refers to the Romans’ poetic designation for the Franks.  It is derived from the name of the tribe Sicambri, a tribe first appearing in Roman histories just before the last half of the first century BCE.  The Sicambri were said to live at the mouth of the Rhine at that time, and Clovis’ Salian Franks would have been considered their descendants.  To use archaic names for tribes was a Latin poetic convention; thus Bishop Remigius’ reference to Clovis as “O Sicambrian” at the iconic moment of his baptism.  Other references to Franks as Sicambrians can be found in the panegyrics of the time.  Because it seems unlikely, outside such contexts as the rarefied rules of Roman literary usage, that the Franks would have referred to themselves by this name, I’ve maintained the famous line from Remigius, but eschewed this usage anywhere else.

As always, Author's Notes excerpts are excerpted from the MS, which means they are written "in-universe."  These posts should not be taken as historical resources.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Thought ...

... sometimes, when you love someone enough to give your life for them:  it doesn't mean you die.

Author's Notes

Today will be brief and miscellaneous.  Stay tuned tomorrow, for a look at ROMANIZATION!

Not noted by sources as a king, Ricchar was brother to Ragnachar, and little discussed except as one of many minor rulers whose domains were usurped during Clovis’ career.  He is variously described as having been killed with Ragnachar at Cambrai, or with their other brother, Rigomer, at Vindinium, during Clovis’ unification of Frankish territories.

Like Ricchar, a brother of Ragnachar and not noted as a king; likewise little discussed by sources.  However, Rigomer is noted in relation to Vindinium, so it is possible that as a Frankish prince he had some governance over the city.  He was killed between 508-511 in Clovis’ Frankish unification campaigns.

The distinction often employed by historians to discuss Ripuarian (river-dwelling) and Salian (sea-dwelling) Franks was not employed during the period of Clovis’ rule, though the latter term can be found in ancient histories—outside the context generally understood today.  The designation “Frankish” appears to be a later development as well, though francia and francisca may have been in use, and have long been connected with the people of Clovis as, respectively, designations for their land and their totemic weapons, the battle-axes which figure so prominently in this tale.

As always, Author's Notes excerpts are excerpted from the MS, which means they are written "in-universe."  These posts should not be taken as historical resources.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Author's Notes

Today, Clovis' two comes come in at the top, followed by a look at the type of king he was (literally, literally), and I thought we should round off this post with the Saint who baptized the King.

FICTIONAL; originally called Merovech, I changed this character’s name the moment someone fist asked me about Dan Brown.  Pharamond’s name does belong to another semi-historical/legendary king of the Franks.

Ragnachar is a historical king, seated at Cambrai, and known to have fought beside his kinsman, Clovis.  Tales of him dating from Gregory of Tours’ day depict a dissolute, villain enough to make even Childeric’s early dissipations mild by comparison.  Though there is always room for the possibility of bias and propaganda in primary sources, rehabilitation/revisionism would do away with too many good stories in this case, and so we have the older, less-powerful cousin who both envies and ties himself—for a time, loyally—to the arc of Clovis’ much brighter star.  The tales of “my Farro” come largely as recorded in sources; and, of course, one can take the particular type of sexual slurs against Ragnachar with all the veracity that belongs to Clotilde’s bloodthirsty family and some of the more magical legends attached to Clovis himself.

“Long-haired kings”; Franks of the period attached symbolic importance to hair, and their kings wore long hair as a badge both of power and position.  Stories abound of those who were shorn or tonsured like monks in a metaphorical display of their loss of authority.  As is illustrated in Clotilde’s threats to the young son of Chararic and the aftermath, for a victim of being shorn thus to even speak of growing his hair back was a clear threat to any king who wanted to see him stripped of power.
Tangentially related to this is the reference to Basina’s scalping, after her adultery.  This was intended to echo as much the fate of Morgause at her son Gaheris’ hand, as to reflect the connection to the archetypal power of long hair for Frankish royalty.

Bishop Remigius of Rheims, born 437, lived to the year 533.  By the time of Clovis’ baptism (as calculated from 508, rather than 496), he had already attained seventy-one years, and he eventually far outlived Clovis himself, surviving to the impressive age of nearly ninety-six.  This alone would have lent him a literal venerability, and his character certainly lent Remi a fame at least as great, if not even greater, than Clovis’ own.

As always, Author's Notes excerpts are excerpted from the MS, which means they are written "in-universe."  These posts should not be taken as historical resources.

Gilver and Sold

(I toyed with a “nothing gold can stay, Ponyboy” title, but this one is short and sweet.)

Okay, it took me a minute, but I'm finally getting to the post I mentioned, about metallics.

Today at work, I wore one of my favored color combinations – navy and taupe have been appealing to me much lately, but today it was navy and grey.  I played sleek wardrobe against more bohemian jewelry, and feel like it worked well.

The jewelry in question is emblematic of the way life gets funny on you.  A few years ago, as my vintage jewelry obsession was kicking into high(er) gear, a concurrent enthusiasm was DIY jewelry – DIY is made of vintage, but may involve taking broken or mismatched components and making something new.  As with clothes, with jewelry – there is nothing new, truly, under the sun.  The DIY piece getting me thinking today is a filigree pendant which I would say was once part of one larger brooch, or may have been the decorative toppings of a duette, shoe clip, dress clip – or, perhaps, even another pendant.  Whatever it had been, it was clearly quite old, but no less lovely in its detail.

Unfortunately, the state of the computer (still running in Safe Mode) means I can’t upload a photo – it might be worth coming back later to edit one in, but I have low confidence in the likelihood of this …

The reconstitution job in this case was thoughtful and good quality (I’ve seen many levels of vintage jewelry DIY – and even indulged in it, but only to a small degree).  The piece now is is close to a cross; two pieces of filigree connected by jump rings well matched to the metal (they are almost certainly vintage themselves – it’s impossible to synthesize the wear and patina on metal, of true age).  Details like that are key to a great looking end result, and the chain the pendant came on, and the bale that it hangs from, are also clearly not new ones.  In the top of the pendant is a very small ruby or garnet, somewhat dark, bezel set deep within the filigree and open-backed.  It may be a very very early synthetic; it almost certainly is not glass.  It was sold as genuine, if I recall (not that I much care) and certainly the pearl drops at the bottom of the whole piece are both very lovely, barely-pink freshwater baroques.  Tinier drops at each arm of the “cross” are moonstones.

So you can imagine, though it’s not a large piece, it’s what I consider to be part of my frowsier line of costuming – bohemian, eccentric-author, what have you.

The metal may once have been gold plated, but almost certainly not vermeil - its color now is something shy of bronze.  It has little glint, but doesn’t have the cheap look of pot metal thinly plated, then worn away.  The color, actually, is one of those things which happens to be “hot” (this year):  I’d call it gilver.

I'm not the only one, of course - this is one of this year's "Things."  Metallic textiles which are neither strongly gold nor silver (nor copper, or even bronze for that matter), which have a more matte or pearl reflectivity than polished metal, have been popular for about the past three years.  Women like accessories in these finishes/colors because they ‘go’ with more.  You can wear gold or silver with them, and not clash.  They are seasonless.  They’re less bright than older, more chrome-shiny metallics.

The textiles have played into actual metal as well, and “gilver” jewelry has made the scene.  Faux-aged metal and glass are everywhere in housewares stores and departments, evoking not only this color, but this vintage look – which, of course, is hilariously faddish and will fade soon I am sure.

My DIY necklace, of course, is not faux-aged, and has the real patina so many of these shoes and giwgaws and baubles and scarves asspire to.  It’s gilver because it was made to be one thing, and has faded to another over decades.

There is another necklace, too, I usually wear with this one.  It is a very long chain with no beads, drops, nor pendant, she wore when I was tiny, doubled at the very least, if not even tripled.  It dates at least to 1970, and probably the late 60s at the earliest, but may go back further; by the time I was six, the thing was out of fashion, had lost some of its own gold tone, and found itself in the life of a toy – and not even for my dress-up games.  This chain was used most in creating impressions in my red Crayola modeling clay, as I recall it.  I might wrap it seventy or so times up my little-kid arm, but I’m sure I never wore it out of the house like it was “real” jewelry.  It was cast off.  It was the wrong color.  It was done.

And so, a year or so ago, when I was going through toyboxes and things which have become obsolete with the growing-up of my nieces and so on, finding this long, long chain cracked me up for a minute.  I remembered it instantly, and pulled it out.  A nice weight, actually.  Hmm, and that length is seriously popular right now.  I must have eight or more “flapper length” necklaces right now.  Hmm … and that color …

I put it next to the DIY pendant necklace, and the color is perfect.  Better, indeed, than the DIY piece.

So this long, long chain usually squires out together with the DIY pendant, hanging far longer, and knotted just below its new mate, the pair making a nicely frowsy and yet fashionable show together.  Nobody knows the super-hip chain I’m rocking with my schmanzy designer top and impeccably fluid, long skirt may be home to infinitessimal residue of 1970s-era strangely-red modeling clay.  Nobody knows, indeed, I didn’t just waste fifty bucks on it at some impossibly rarefied vintage shop.  They know it’s frowsy, they let me get away with that, and they say not a word – except, perhaps, the occasional compliment.

So there’s the “sold” part of the title for this post.  I‘ve sold the look.  And that, with style (with fashion) is what counts.

For “frowsy” in this post, read the middle-aged authoress version of “hippie chick” …
My kingdom for a good Ponyboy closing sentiment …

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Uncle Silas

Reasons I read 19th-century literature:

Truth is simply the most dangerous kind of defamation, and I really think I'm most cruelly persecuted.
--J. S. LeFanu, via the character Mr. Carysbroke

This Week

This week, someone I worked with in a past life has had to bid a farewell no parent should ever have to.  The fortitude and gratitude of love is breathtakingly beautiful.  And heartbreaking.

My career has put me in the path of people for whom I have the highest respect - not just professionally.  The fineness of truly good people is humbling, the most exquisite demonstration of our humanity.

Never miss out on the privilege of the best people you know.

Author's Notes

Laws and characters - today, supporting roles, fictional and non:

Salic Law, the sixth century codification of law first set down by Clovis I.  Alaric II of the Visigoths, much maligned in these pages, was known definitively to have compiled his own code of Roman laws, the Breviary of Alaric, or brevarium.  The sixty-five chapers of Clovis’ pactus legis salicae represent traditions and punishments far predating his own rule, but synthesized to bring Franks and Gallo Romans under one system (though not equally; they are not treated precisely alike).  There is little Christian influence or input in the codification, and it demonstrates the priorities of Frankish society—with family above all other concerns, and loss of freedom or financial stability being the worst possible punishments.  The clearest thrust of these statutes is to minimize feuding, outlining tariffs and penalties clearly reflecting the specific value of relationships, and each member of a community’s worth within it.

FICTIONAL.  Both a bridge to the generation mostly destroyed in my version of Clovis’ accession, and an example of the nature of Frankish society in Roman Gaul, Magneric allowed me to represent both the newness of Catholicism and the old-guard of those more insular nobles who came before Clovis’ rule.

Patrician of Rome whose ethnicity varies wildly across the sources, Odovakar deposed Romulus Augustulus and ruled during the ‘reign’ of Julius Nepos, the final Emperor in the West.  Already nearing fifty by the time Clovis came to his throne, he was nonetheless a staggering power in Italy and beyond.  His protracted standoff with Theodoric the Ostrogoth in northern Italy did end over a dining table, though some of the dramatic legends about this event are here omitted.  Variants:  Odoacer, Odovacer, Odoaker, possibly Adovacrius.

As always, Author's Notes excerpts are excerpted from the MS, which means they are written "in-universe."  These posts should not be taken as historical resources.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Author's Notes

Today we have two uncles and a sword.  Stay tuned tomorrow, when we'll go all lex salica up in here!

King of Burgundy 473-516, uncle of Clotilde.  Gregory of Tours condemns Gundobald for the murder and the usurpation of his three brothers’ inheritances in a bid for their father Gundioc’s kingdom.  Clotilde was said to have been exiled, but was able to escape into marriage with Clovis as Gundobald feared the Frankish ruler’s strength.  Gundobald maintained a state of war with his last brother, Godegesil, for years, and each of them prevailed upon Clovis not knowing that the other had, begging for assistance against one another.  In the end, having promised tribute to Clovis, Gundobald is said to have broken this promise, and besieged Godegesil at Vienne, finally defeating the latter with the help of a traitor within the city.  Late in his life, he converted to Catholicism, and was succeeded on the throne of Burgundy by his son Sigismund.

Uncle and guardian of Clotilde, Godegesil quartered his niece at his capital in Geneva, where she was educated in the Catholic church.  Godegesil engaged with his brother Gundobald in conflicts over their inheritance for many years.  Though relieved by the support of Clovis for some time, he was finally destroyed in 501 during Gundobald’s siege of Vienne, after Clovis’ withdrawal and the betrayal of an artisan who helped Gundobald past the defenses after Godegesil expelled commoners from the protection of the city.

Accurately or not, as a kid who grew up reading Arthurian stories, I confess to an affection for the idea of naming a king’s sword.  This name is made up of two authentic naming-elements:  hari/here, meaning army; and brand, meaning blade or sword.  Pattern-welded swords exist among the artifacts of the period, and represent an extremely prized symbol and treasure for any warrior or king.  In Clovis’ early career, Herebrand would have represented an almost unattainably precious treasure; even with his increased prosperity and power over the years, it would have been a symbol of great potency and value.

As always, Author's Notes excerpts are excerpted from the MS, which means they are written "in-universe."  These posts should not be taken as historical resources.