LONELY PLANET GUIDE TO GOYLE – Part 1

FACTS ABOUT GOYLE

History

Nobody has ever made a study of Goylish history, but we shouldn’t think too badly of work-shy historians as the oversight is entirely justifiable. Fair-minded readers should see the following as an explanation rather than an excuse.

The fact is that Goyle, the unimaginatively named homeworld of the Visigoyles – and of all other types of Goyle – has too many histories. It is one of those extremely rare ‘timeshare’ planets.

This is not to be confused with the occasional ‘brigadoon’ world explorers have been known to encounter on the outer rim, those planets which have an annoying habit of appearing and disappearing at semi-regular intervals. Annoying for explorers hoping to land, twice as annoying for those who live there and only have limited windows in which to evolve, advance and/or venture off-world.

No, as a timeshare planet, Goyle was cursed from a very early stage in its prehistory to straddle a chronic rift – a particularly chronic one – that resulted in the world playing host to several parallel versions of itself at any given time, which gave rise to countless variations of Goylish civilisation: the Visigoyles, Ostrogoyles, Endogoyles, Marigoyles and so on. These parallels are in a state of flux, as unpredictable as most natural weather systems, with one reality tending to be predominant for a given but frustratingly variable period. Frequently there occurs a simultaneous convergence of parallels and, Goyles being Goyles, war breaks out. This was a feature of Goylish history that very soon put paid to the Minigoyles, whose unfortunate size disadvantage meant that the only remains of their civilisation are to be found in what has become known as the Model Village of GrrrunkFar.

Out of this mess, against the odds, several diverse species of Goyle have continued to flourish and develop as spacefaring races of one sort or another. Mostly of one sort, that being the belligerent kind. One thing that they have in common is a deep-rooted contempt for all other species of Goyle. Goylish ‘nations’ tend not to officially recognise the other parallels, even if theirs happens to be the primary reality at the time.

Another thing that they have in common is that all other races tend to hate them.

Geography

Take your pick.

Unfortunately the landscape will vary according to which parallel is existent when you arrive. The range of terrain on offer is to all intents and purposes infinite, although it is not impossible to encounter the same mountain in a number of different places. The same is true for the cities, whose locations are as varied as their architecture, although the majority are merely different combinations of grim, dull, monolithic and depressing. Many, but by no means all, of the versions of the capital city have been described as ‘a bit like Venice, if it had the misfortune to be converted into a major naval base’, with many of the locals preferring life on board docked warships rather than bothering with the old derelict buildings.

There are theories that in fact the Goyles themselves, being partially silicon-based life forms, originated from these rather medieval facades, the stones having been permeated with some sort of organic catalyst and thus brought to life. Hence the name Goyles, as derived from ‘gargoyle’. Other theories maintain that the name merely arises from the fact that they are hideously ugly. The jury is out.

All of this is rendered largely irrelevant when you consider that for all the differences exhibited by each parallel version of the Goylish capital, every one of them is named – in the Goylish language – AarkFakRaggaFok, which translates very accurately as No Visitors Welcome.

To Be Continued…

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