History and Other Myths

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge, that myth is more potent that history.
from The Crow

As long as mankind has recorded its past, that past has been replete with ghost stories. Therefore, it only makes sense that the Wraiths' own history would stretch back that far. And it does, indeed - but it is stretched rather thin, and this makes for a number of problems.

The official history, as recorded and maintained by the Order, goes back to the days of ancient civilization: back to a time when Gods walked the earth, and great heroes performed amazing feats in their name. The Order prides itself on having assembled the largest amount of historical material possible, and the Necropoli that house those priceless artifacts are considered fortunate indeed.

However, the official history those documents tell is far from complete, and not to everyone's liking. It hinges itself on the veracity of one source - The Book of Old Times - and that document is missing entire stanzas. And what is there still has glaring omissions and deep mysteries, not to mention many "conundrums" that may be nothing more than ancient lies {though the record keepers of The Order are never open to such talk}.

Disparate Records from Diverse Hands

While The Book of Old Times may be the "official" history, according to The Order, it is not the only such history to be found - far from it.

Almost every Concord has their own version of history, which either plays up their role within it, or else makes the other Concords out to be less noble than they would like. Some versions even directly contradict The Book of Old Times, which angers The Order to no end.

Urban Legends:

Past the "official" history of times past - and no one is really certain when this all may have happened - there really isn't a universal "history" of Wraiths. This is because, much like Wraith society, all history is local, too. What happened in the Deadlands of Rome a thousand years ago bears little meaning to the Wraiths of London, New York or Tokyo. However, it matters immensely to the Wraiths of Rome, as they have to live with the direct consequences of that day, and what came from it.

As if to make up for the lack of complete confidence in the most universal, Wraithly history, The Order of each Necropolis goes out of its way to keep its own historical record. All goings-on of import are recorded faithfully, and without much side comment, so that future generations of archivists can judge for themselves what happened without having to decide if the author was being ironic, sarcastic or understated.

This makes for very dry and boring reading, but its accuracy is legendary - especially on the personal level. All members of The Order are encouraged to keep journals, and make them part of the archives {minus extremely personal or salacious details, one would hope}.

The Lady Vanishes

There is another reason why The Order maintains such voluminous histories on the local level: memory is not only fallable, in the Deadlands, but it's all-too mutable, too.

History has been seen to change, due to the reality-warping nature of Storms. It isn't so much the events that change, as it is Wraiths' memories of those events that are altered. And while a Wraith whose Shadow is playing tricks on her might be able to get help from friends, or a Pardoner, it's no use if everyone in the Necropolis has also had their memories tinkered with.

While such changes to group memory are usually small and trifling, larger Storms can cause major changes to the timeline. Indeed, entire events, places and even people have vanished from the memories of an entire Necropolis, never to be remembered again.

As a result, having an exacting record of what goes on is a must. After each major Storm, the Temple of The Order is often swamped with people who want to make sure they didn't forget anything important. And sometimes it plays host to those whom no one can remember anymore, too.

What follows is a short summary of the remaining text of The Book of Old Times, along with the actual stanzas, themselves, broken down into their individual sections.

{There is also, in the interest of equal time, a rebuttal by a well-known Freewraith.}

The Book of Old Times

In Ancient Times

The Sundering

The Concord

The Injunction

The Day of Dominion

{An Opposing View}