The Needy Mule Presents: Excerpts From – The Battle Of The Scribes : A Tale of the Variants

We don’t talk about The Time Of The Scribes anymore.

They are now simply a footnote in our chaotic history; that is if we were allowed to write footnotes or indeed write anything. After the War the written word became virtually obsolete in these lands.

In the beginning there was just one Scribe who would every week produce parchments for the town folk to enjoy. Scriptures to amuse, to educate, to thrill. The people loved the offering from The Scribe.

Soon, there would be more Scribes and now the people of the town had a choice. Inevitably, such a choice would lead to division and subsequently it would end…..Well you know what happened next.

These Scribes became revered, worshipped. Everyone wanted to own those sacred parchments; they became the very symbol of status.

Yet there never were enough to go round. Despite the number of Scribes the demand for these sought after parchments were too great.

Every week on an oak table the offerings of The Scribes were laid out and the huge crowd that had gathered would rush to ensure they were able to get one. Invariably, a large number of the town would leave empty handed.

It hadn’t always been that way. When the First Scribe produced the original parchment it was seen as something of a curiosity. The people were happy to share and enjoy these texts together.

No one knows how these parchments became to be held in such high regard but when that happened, everything changed.

It begun in the local tavern where many folk would discuss the virtue of the latest offering from The Scribes.

Some would be quite vocal in preferring one Scribe over the other. Others would talk for hours about how one particular parchment is the most sacred of them all.

Night after night these heated discussions would occur upsetting the once harmonious balance of the town.

The conversations that took place in the tavern would spread across the town and soon people were on the hunt for the special, prized parchment.

Some would protect their prized parchment by encasing it in impenetrable material. Despite the cries of protest that no one will ever again be able to enjoy the sacred text ever again more and more people began to do it.

Others took a different approach. There were those in the town who did not care too much for The Scribes’ parchments. They would use the status that came with owning one to become rich.

It started with the odd sale at the Tavern but soon this market to buy pre owned parchments grew. Therefore, each week on the day after The Scribes had left their parchments, the people would make their way down to The Bay.

At The Bay, food and other precious commodities were exchanged for ownership of a precious parchment. The people of the town desperate to outbid each other in an attempt to increase their own status.

Whilst some would sell their prized parchment because they were poor and needed to feed their family others were more nefarious.

After The Scribes had been, those wishing to sell their parchment at the highest price possible would go to the Tavern and spread rumours that this week’s offering were the most sacred there had been.

As word spread large crowds would gather at The Bay desperate to own it. This would guarantee the owner a high return.

Indeed, such was the reward that people would scoop up as many parchments as they could to sell at The Bay.

Some argued that they just wanted to read the parchments, like everyone had done in the beginning, but their voices could not be heard over those who clambered to own a parchment with the sole intention of selling it at the highest price possible.

Others aware of the demand for these parchments would horde them away at their home; sometimes waiting for the right price or for that inevitable rainy day.

Attempts were made to resolve this problem. A kindly old gentleman would copy the parchments so that those who missed out could enjoy the text.

Initially, they were seen as a lesser parchment but soon those who now controlled The Bay were suggesting that even those reproductions had value due to being even more scarce. Soon no one could read them without paying a high price.

This continued for many years and every week more people would be unable to read the Scribes’ sacred parchments as initially intended. All the while, those who controlled The Bay got more powerful.

And then The Scribes stopped delivering parchments……….

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