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sabotage on the Vyônes bridge
Posted by: zimriel (IP Logged)
Date: 3 November, 2019 07:01PM
Simon Whitechapel's "Symposium of the Gargoyle" (which you can now read also in the Averoigne Legacy collection) starts with an assumption of a bridge between Vyônes and Ximes, for trade. Let us investigate this through Clark Ashton Smith canon.

From "Colossus", we know that Ximes - like Vyônes - sits on the Isoile river. We also know that both are cathedral cities. Vyônes hosts the archbishop's cathedra-seat; Ximes, a subordinate bishopric. It is uncommon for two bishoprics to host their cathedrae in adjacent cities.

When men pass through Vyônes, as in "Colossus", they aren't forced to stop at Ximes. "Holiness" assumes a journey of days between the twain. The Inn of Bonne Jouissance serves travelers on that road.

The best model for their location is Kirk's. The two cities are both on the river, but with some distance between them. Since "Holiness" doesn't mention the river, Kirk concludes that the shortest land route (and the Inn) doesn't follow the river.

Whitechapel's story assumes an early-modern time when France exists, and German universities exist. By this time, the Colossus has already been and gone. Further, I assume that both Vyônes and Ximes have rebounded sufficiently that urban areas exist on both sides of the river.

So: why the new bridge, for trade between two cities, which can already trade across land and by river-boat?

I propose: the bridge was meant to direct traffic around a city - and, since this is a Vyônes tale, around Vyônes in particular. The new bridge is a bypass.

And now we get to the story's early villain, the miser Salfuyche. Who loses when traffic doesn't go through a certain neighbourhood? Why, the businesses serving travelers in that neighbourhood - foremost, the innkeepers. And their landlords.

It wasn't stinginess that induced Salfuyche's clan to undercut that new bridge. It was direct greed. And I'm not suspecting negligence, but sabotage.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 3 Nov 19 | 07:10PM by zimriel.

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