Ed. Note - This article is new to the sixth edition of the Encyclopedia. It was released to the original editors under wax seal only after they all signed a blood oath which bound its release until the death of Habib and his husbands, wives and children in order to spare them potential retribution from his assertion that Godking Mandri was assassinated.
The Epitaph is the common name for the graffiti which appeared more or less simultaneously on the seven memorials – called “tombs” by the administration despite the impossibility of all of them containing Godking Mandri’s remains – erected in the year after his assassination. In the chaos of Mandri’s death and its attendant thaumaturgical explosion, the identity of the assassin and, indeed, the precise details of the death are difficult to ascertain with complete certainty. The Epitaph gives strong evidence that the death was the result of violent action, in addition the radical group the Leftward Hand (called “brave freedom fighters” by some and “demoniacal terrorists” by others) claimed responsibility for his death.
The seven memorials were erected on the seven major landmasses of the Godking’s empire including one on Xaq Island for the whole of the Southron Isles where the first instance of the Epitaph seems to have appeared. While each was designed to match the prevailing aesthetic traditions of its region, they were all unveiled on the one-year anniversary of Mandri’s death. Within the week, each of these carried the Epitaph in the same tall narrow letters. Due to the distance between the “tombs,” it is unlikely that one individual wrote all of them. While many in the media blamed the Leftward Hand, they remained silent on this score.
Many attempts were made to remove the Epitaph but none was successful, including replacing marble panels containing it. The material used to mark the tombs is assuredly magical but forensic analysis could determine little else. Some have claimed that it contained Divine Blood but this was not verified by testing though due to the erratic presentation of divine energy, that result is unsurprising.
After numerous attempts to remove the Epitaph failed, the memorials were wrapped entirely in massive swaths of black velvet. The marble panels containing the Epitaph from the Xaq tomb were sent to the Condinnori Museum for study (see above) and are now* on display there along with a recreation of the remainder of the tomb.
* Ed. Note - While the Xaq Epitaph panels hung with the Condinnori recreation for the better part of a millenium, they were removed after the frenzied insistence of the Godking’s devoted followers. The museum no longer contains a recreation of any of the Tombs. The final disposition of the Xaq Epitaph panels remains unclear.
The Epitaph reads “sic semper tyrannis” which does not appear to be from a tongue in regular use at the time of the Godking’s assassination. It is most likely archaic Xaq, a marginal regional dialect that fell out of use in favor of common Amfallen more than three centuries before Mandri’s rise to power. If this is correct, the literal meaning of the Epitaph is “thus always to tyrants.” This seems to mean the author is taking credit for Mandri’s assassination in which case the Leftward Hand’s failure to take credit for the Epithet is most puzzling. Perhaps the author(s) were the true agents of the Godking’s demise or perhaps they were affiliated with the Leftward Hand who, for other reasons, opted to remain mute. A third possibility is that the Epitaph author(s) simply piled on and asserted that with Mandri dethroned, no one else would be permitted to rule such a vast region or with such iron control ever again. The level of cunning, skill and craft required to perpetrate the Epitaph in such a coordinated and magical effort renders this last alternative unlikely.