Well of course you don’t, but you might remember my Grandfather. Made the mistake of sending the wrong manuscript to the publishers. Is that a clue?
He was meant to write the official history, kept a more racy version for the family, managed to publish the racy one. Are you with me yet?
Here’s an odd clue. Its 31 December 1398, at least according to some. He ‘disappeared’ in 565. So how come he’s my grandfather? – that’s something for later. Anyway he died in the year of my birth and I’m 317. Bad year for these parts, he’d managed to get himself conscripted and ended up dead. He might have had the potential for immortality but wasn’t immune to too many arrows and very poor armour.
The current date? … well that’s disputed. There are some quite near here who insist its somewhere in 801, others, especially the more pompous in this city, insist it’s the beginning of the 21st century. Hope you’re keeping up – there maybe more clues.
Well that made Granddad 571 when he died. Family rumour is that when he was up one night writing (and we don’t know if it was the official or unofficial version) he went to the kitchens looking for a drink. Found something fizzy, being prepared by some Armenians – turned out it was part of the search for a philosopher’s stone.
So all the males in the family have this problem. We are probably immortal – unless we encounter too many arrows. So that, plus a bit of learning from Granddad’s mistakes means we tend to avoid two things – too public a position (after all someone notices if the emperor hasn’t died in 500 years), and writing official histories. Did I write emperor? Oh well another clue.
So we do menial jobs, where no one really notices you haven’t died yet, and tend to move around, even swop jobs as me and my 3 brothers don’t look particularly alike. But at least one of us – and it is me, at the moment, in case you hadn’t guessed – keeps up the family tradition of recording our times. The other problem with semi-immortality is you tend to lose much sense of loyalty to a state or a ruler. So one of my 3 brothers is already working with them – you know them, over there – and another is a merchant with a real interest in the legends of immortality. Hyperborea, the Isles of the Blest, that sort of place. The final one is a bit of the black sheep – he became a priest.
Dad disappeared a while back (another family habit), went off with some Venetians eastwards, he didn’t come back but that doesn’t mean much.
Anyway, this is the ongoing secret history of this city, you’re the reader. That’s clear, more soon.