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A Matter of Record

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"We need an official court historian," Aravis announced one winter evening, halfway through Cor's first official state visit to Armouth as king rather than crown prince.

Her husband turned from his absent contemplation of the streets and squares of the port city, dimly visible through the thick, uneven glass of the Lady Mayor's townhouse windows, and raised his eyebrows in a wordless request for elaboration.

Aravis set down the gold circlet she'd been inspecting for dents and obliged. "The Great Book of Archenland is all well and good, but it chronicles the whole land rather than any specific person's deeds. Additionally, it's as much a compendium of legal cases as a history in the strict sense, and the textual style is dull as ditchwater, to borrow a northern phrase. If we wish to ensure that our country remembers us for who we are, we need a more personal, intimate record."

"A fair point," Cor agreed. "But do we wish that?"

"When the other options are sycophantic flattery or whatever balance point history reaches between scurrilous rumors and melodramatic ballads, yes."

Cor winced. "Also a fair point. Although it raises the question of whom to hire for the position. There are precious few people I would trust to write an unbiased account when politics are involved."

"As to that, the Lady Eena has mentioned that our mutual acquaintance the Lady Anaprisma, currently assigned to the Cair Paravel archives, might be interested in a long-term posting in Archenland so as to escape Port Paravel's summer humidity," Aravis said. "And no one could plausibly insinuate that a Cat would deign to produce a falsely flattering portrait of anyone."