Ruins of the once-great city of Pheebor are still visible, standing
guard at the
confluence of the rivers Phee and Bor. Founded over a thousand years
ago, this was a magnificent city with
mighty aqueducts and beautiful marble and stone spires. The beginning
of the end for this great city-state came when a controversy arose
between Pheebor and its sister city Borphee over the naming of what is
now called the Borphee River. Borphee won and Pheebor is now infested
with some of the worst creatures in the Westlands (not to mention, the only sporing grounds of Borphee Moss). Today the ancient
city is covered with broken facades, windswept ruins, crumbling
aqueducts, steets with weeds growing in the cracks, and alleys strewn
with centuries of debris. A tall a narrow arch in the ruined plaze with
an opening shaped like an hourglass, has become one of the chief
regions for temporal study.
The ancient and mysterious cult of sorcerers that dominated Pheebor for
several centuries before the city's destruction in 398 BE. The Temple
of the Zizbits, which was constructed atop a massive crag that towers
above Pheebor, was spared from being destroyed with the remainder of
the city when it was sealed with powerful protective wards. These
enchantments were later removed, circa 957~966 GUE.
The languages of Borphee and Pheebor share the same roots. In the
original and most primitive dialect, only three different syllables
were used, of which
Bor and Phee are two. Common etiquette forbade the same syllable from
being used more than once in any word. So the thousands of different
expressions came entirely out of the inflection that was used to speak
the fifteen possible word combinations.
HISTORY OF PHEEBOR
Many of the reemerging families after the world-wide disaster which
heralded in the Frobeolithic Glacier Epozz (c. 3120~2500 BE) were duped
into following pseudo-gods. A remant who still followed the
ways of The One handed down through his messengers, broke away from
these deceived tribes, gradually migrating northward to pitch the
rudiments of what would
become known as Borphee and Pheebor (c. 1800 BE).
Every school child is familiar with the story of Phee and Bor, the
abandoned twin babies suckled at the breast of a babbling brogmoid. The
earliest written version of this story can be found in the
pseudo-Fizbozian narrative history, part of which is reprinted below.
Raised by this caring and, incidentally, terrifically idiotic female
brogmoid, the young twins grew to adulthood on the shores of the two
parallel rivers that now bare their names. When the mother brogmoid
finally succumbed to hunger and lack of blood (she had, according to
the sources, been living off her own flesh for some twenty-three
years), the twins, now young men, decided to set out into the world and
seek their fortune. Stopping along the way to search for food through
the occasional pile of boulders, they came at last to the confluence of
the two rivers between which they had spent their entire life.
It is at this point, apparently, that history was made. The older
brother, Bor, not knowing how to get across the One River, and of
course seeing no other options, announced to his younger twin that he
intended to stop where he was and build a city. Apparently displeased
with his brother's selfishness and lack of consideration, Phee
proclaimed his similar intention, and the disagreement promptly led to
a physical conflict. When it became apparent that Phee had beaten his
brother, Bor turned to leave, but not before handing out a few parting
words. It is here that we turn to the pseudo-Fizboz to
next sequence of events:
curse! A curse upon Phee! A curse upon Phee for that is all he shalt
gods, whom my fathers hath rejected so! Grant life so long, to mine
below!” So spoke Bor in his anger.
answer, fourteen corbies, so giant and so black, overhead they didst
Fourteen, for the number of Pheebor’s lifetime they did proclaim. And
went forth, across the One River, he did, out of Phee’s life, forever
and ever and ever and ever.
Historians are left with no other option other than to
recount this narrative as one possible explanation for the origin of
the two cities. The only shred of evidence that allows us to
this myth and still retain our dignity is the archaeological testimony
of the Phee Hourglass. If modern scientists have correctly interpreted
the functioning of the Hourglass, then the earliest settlements on the
Pheebor site date back to roughly 1800 BE. Conveniently enough, this is
almost exactly 14 centuries before the city's ultimate demise, a figure
identical to that predicted by the mysterious flying corbies.
In any case, it is here that we can leave the realm of legend and enter
that of archaeology. Recent excavations in the area of Pheebor, albeit
hampered somewhat by the deathly cold that has descended upon that area
of the Westlands in the late 1600s GUE, have given modern historians a
much clearer picture
of life in Pheebor at its height.
At the point where the various
tributaries flow together to form the beginning of the river, was
established the rudiments of what would be known as the city of
Pheebor. In its most primordial state, Pheebor was nothing but a ring
of primitive huts dotted along the perimeter of a glassy forest
Incidentally, this city, as well as the Borpheans, regarded the river
with almost godlike reverence. At the time, both cities had called the
waterway the One River and lived in peace, until in 1077 BE, in a
tragic fit of self-importance, the two groups would simultaneously
decide to rename the river after their own city.
DISPUTE OVER THE NAMING
OF THE ONE
the course of nearly seven centuries, Pheebor had grown from a
ring of huts into a young and arrogant city. It was during these days,
that the entire plaza was filled to capacity with a cheering throng,
addressed by an orator of unknown identity. The population of Pheebor
reasons that they controlled the source of the One River, so they
deserved the right to name it. The only account of this
even survives in the diary of the same peasant who recovered the
Coconut of Quendor from the Ur-grue in 966 GUE. Using the Phee
hourglass, this unknown human travelled to this period and recounted
firsthand the final moments of the event:
saw the orator still the throng with a wave of his hand. “Our fathers
this city at the Place Where the Great Waters Meet,” he cried. “The
name the One River belongs to us!”
throng roared its approval.
infidels from the east control the One River's mouth,” continued the
“But we, who dwell at the joining of the Rivers Phee and Bor, we control the source!”
the daughter takes the name of the father, so shall the One River be
the place of its birth!”
roared the throng. “Hail the River Pheebor! Phee-bor! Phee-bor!”
have no quarrel with the city to the east,” claimed the orator (amid
the contrary). “But if they continue to slight our heritage with the
name BORPHEE “ (the crowd hissed), “we shall smite them from the face
throng went wild, and carried the orator away on its shoulders, then
was left alone.
From this account, one could conclude that Borphee was the instigator
of the entire crime of claiming ownership to a once universally used
river. Regardless of who was the true pompous fool who began the entire
tirade, nothing climatic would come of Pheebor’s haughty proclamation
until 396 BE.
THE DOWNFALL OF PHEEBOR
Seven centuries of selfishness arguing over the name of the One River
was enough time for Borphee and Pheebor to offend each other to the
point of bloody war. In 396 BE, the conflict was resolved by a massive
battle between the forces of the two cities, when the forces of Borphee
and Pheebor met
in the southern plains of Egreth, roughly halfway between the two
city-states. The Pheeborians, led by the irreversible yet tremendously
incapable, Prince Foo, stood on the northern side of the deep ravine
that contained the One River. The Borpheans, led by the uncommonly
clever General Horteus Shplee, took their place on the southern side.
The general was a shrewd war strategist, well aware of his subtle
tactical advantage. The two armies charged, swords drawn. But the
excitement of the moment was quickly doused when both sides reached the
river and were forced to dive in and paddle awkwardly towards each
other. Instead of meeting in the glorious clash of steel that all had
hoped for, it appeared more like a graceless collision of drowning
fools. The armies splashed frantically at each other, hardly noticing
the effect of the river’s strong current. An effect that General Shplee
had been counting on.
The cluster of bobbing heads drifted rapidly downstream towards
Borphee, where a battalion of Shplee’s men waited with a stockade of
granite rocks. As the soldiers floated by, the battalion tossed the
rocks at the Pheeborian army, apparently enjoying themselves enormously
in the process and not worrying too much about the many Borphean
soldiers that were mixed in with the bunch. This tactic proved quite
successful, and is credited with bringing a very quick end to what
would have likely ended up being a long and pointless war.
The Borpheans assembled and took arms against Pheebor, quickly sacking
and burning the near defenseless city to the ground. Motionless bodies
were strewn about the streets by the bloodthirsty swords, and battle
trenches filled with corpses zigzagged across the city’s plaza like
It was during this final raid that an unnamed peasant from the future
(966 GUE) arrived here after implementing the enchanted Phee Hourglass.
Upon this peasant’s arrival, the magnificent gray stallion of Prince
Foo appeared amid the smoke of the ruined buildings donned with the
Phee Helm. Another stallion, black as night, raced out of the smoke.
Its rider was one of the more zealous (and buoyant) Borphean knights;
his armor gleamed red in the firelight, but this sinister knight’s
regal bearing did not disguise his youth.
“At least we meet, Prince Foo,” snarled
Prince Foo regarded him
coolly. “Begone, thou
eastern fop!” he cried. “Never shall the River Pheebor yield its scared
The black rider drew a gleaming sword
scabbard and promptly beheaded the prince. The head rolled into a
“The reign of Pheebor is ended!” cried
knight, galloping off
into the smoke. “Foo is dead! The age of Borphee is begun!”
The gray stallion nudged the prince’s
while it whinnied
softly, the peasant drew near to the same open trench where the
prince’s head had fallen. That peasant had no intentions of mingling
within the conflict. At this point, it was impossible to recover the
Phee Helm. It was required for the peasant’s quest in 966 GUE, but
would be buried beneath hard earth for centuries to come with no way to
excavate it until the distant future. In order to lure the peasant’s
new pet minx into locating the position of the Helm and digging deeply
for it in the future when the earth turned softly, a chocolate truffle
(a minx’s favorite food) was preserved in the Pool of Eternal Youth and
then thrown into the trench, where it would wait beside the Helm for
over 2,000 years where it would be dug up by the pet minx. Just as the
deed was completed, a stray arrow struck the prince’s stallion in the
flank. The luckless beast shrieked piteously, stumbled into the trench
and lied still.
Cries of “Foo is dead! The war is over!”
through the smoke.
The last thing the peasant saw before
966 GUE, were
tattered men racing past and soon all was still as death. But it would
be a few days before every nock and cranny of the city was completely
raided. So thorough was the Borphean army’s gleeful ransacking of
Pheebor, that the entire body of knowledge accumulated by this once
great people was completely wiped out.
The revered circle of wizards known as the Zizbits were destroyed in
the sacking along with their fabled magic spells and paraphernalia,
save a few scattered relics, including a spellbook that would be passed
on throughout the centuries. Before the city fell, they guarded their
high plateau temple with a protective spell that would not be broken
until the tenth century.
All that was left after one night of devastation was a few scattered
ruins and a number of unanswered questions, but it would take many
centuries before time would soften the layers of dirt and rubble in
order to obscure the remains of the plaza. Hence, the people of Pheebor
are still regarded with a sense of curious wonder today.
After the pillage and razing of Pheebor, the river became the Borphee
River, a very good name. There was one other besides the Borpheans who
had been victorious that day—for the entire city-state of Pheebor had
brought itself to ruin, falling to conflicts generated by the hatred of
Belegur, who had worked its way into the hearts of men for countless
generations. From its downfall until today, mistrels sing of the feud
between Pheebor and its sister city Borphee over the naming of what is
now called the Borphee River.
BORPHEE IN FUTURE
The ruins of Pheebor play a limited roll in the further shaping of
Zorkian history. When Borphee was divided during the Entharion's
founding of the Kingdom of Quendor, the ruins of Pheebor became a part
of the half-province of Mauldwood until the reign of Pseudo-Duncanthrax
(early 660s GUE).
Circa 957~966, two fledgling magicians Moog and Slye stole an ancient
Zizbit spell book from which they learn how to form the Triax. They
removed the protective circles around the Temple of the Zizbits and
used its oracle to weave together all the elements necessary to form
the Triax. This magical ritual was completed as the conflux of the Phee
and Bor rivers. Unfortunately, any attempts to determine a wider role
Pheebor may have played in the cessation of the Triax are doomed to
failure because of the poor survival rate of records from that period.
In 966 GUE, an unknown peasant tread the ruins of Pheebor, where at a
vast plaza was a tall and narrow arch with an opening beneath shaped
like an hourglass. Waves of heat rise up here from the stone pavement
under foot. Turning the Phee Hourglass over, the peasant was able to
temporal travel into the past and future, but was confined to the
plaza. The peasant used this technology in a plot to recover the
Pheehelm. Since this redicovery of the Phee Hourglass, which is
generally believed to have been constructed by the Zizbits,one of the
most promising sites of recent temporal travel research
has been the ruins of ancient Pheebor, where the magnificent hourglass
monument has offered scholars and adventurers a safe and consistent way
to research the past and the future.
During the Second Age of Magic, most of the Great Underground Empire's
laws were hopelessly outdated (despite the Analecta Loowitica, the
updating committee had never gone through the backlog from Dimwit
Flathead's reign). Thus it was still illegal to loot Pheebor, although
countless packs of adventurers combed through it. But even if everyone
else was scavenging for treasure in Pheebor or Antharia, some were
still caught and arrested by the guardsmen.
At the present day (1699 GUE), some seven centuries after the end of
the Age of Magic, the Pheebor site has become increasingly inhospitable
with ages of windblown dust lying hardened upon frozen earth. As with
most of the Westlands, the Pheebor ruins are frozen over nearly
year-around, the air consistently touched with an ominous arctic chill,
a calamitous effect which began to culminate midway through the
seventeenth century. Although it is feared that the Ice Age that is
currently encroaching upon the Westlands will affect the surviving
outposts of civilization in the east as well, older temporal research
does not provide us with conclusive evidence.
From research gathered from using the Phee Hourglass, by 2330 GUE, all
of Pheebor will be entirely covered by massive sheets of impenetrable
ice. But by 3000, the
landscape will change entirely, Pheebor seeing a remarkable rebirth of
activity. Scholars from an era before the Age of Science have described
“strange mechanisms of metal and glass” of their own accord across a
rugged landscape strewn with glacial boulders and massive highways.
Such a description, clearly a primitive
attempt at understanding the modern automobile, would indicate that the
Ice Age will not eliminate all trace of the Age of Science, and that
the Westlands will rise again some 1300 years in the future.
However, premature optimism about the future of mankind is tempered by
the last era left us by the Pheebor hourglass. The few researchers
brave enough to travel ahead as far as 3700 GUE have reported a
devastated and ruined landscape. Patient centuries will have eroded
much of the topsoil from the landscape. Loose, charred earth will
stretch away in every direction. All chronicles referring to this
desolate era have called it the Final Conflagration, a deliberate
reference to various ancient prophecies that predict all kinds of
zorkquakes and fires on the day that the Great Brogmoid finally lies
down to sleep. Although most brogmoidists throughout history have been
hesitant to predict an exact date for this event, claiming that doing
so infringes upon the freewill of the great being, the best guesses of
temporal scholars have placed the date at some point immediately before
3690. It will be sometime during this era, that the same peasant from
966 GUE, who was responsible for placing a chocolate truffle in a
trench beside the Pheehelm BE, will bring a pet minx in order to
unearth the Helm.
Another leap forward into the hourglass brings the user to a
temporal void, an exact replica of that which existed before the
foundation of the universe.
PHEEBOR, c. 957~966