Malarbor

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Malarbor.gif

Origins

Though the original background of the Republic of Shireroth was a slate blue, when the country became a Kaisership in December 2000 it was changed to an image of a monster from Warcraft. Although the monster was supposedly associated in the game with elves in some way, it definitely looked like it was just an evil tree. Seeking a name to call it by, Scott Alexander translated "evil tree" into bastardized Latin and came up with the name "Malarbor". Originally, Malarbor's size was not adjusted to the size of the Shireroth board, and so his image tiled three or four times horizontally and repeated vertically when a user scrolled. This was compounded by the fact that in those days, his presence graced every forum on the Shireroth board instead of the main screen. Malarbor thus became a symbol of the ugliness of Shireroth's forum design and was used that way by foreigners, especially Babkha. Shirerithians, on the other hand, grew more attached to him than ever and deified him into the as-yet-poorly-arranged Boomist religion, making him the God of Forum Colors.

Kaiseress Aure I tried to replace Malarbor with a more neutral Warcraft picture during her reign, a standard dark forest scene. Partisans of Malarbor, particularly Erik Mortis and Gryphon Avocatio, protested in a debate so violent it was a major contributor to Aure giving up the throne, proving what horrible things await those who mess with the Tree Demon. Nevertheless, shortly after, a forum reorganization by Scott Alexander and Joseph Strong did succeed both in stopping Malarbor from tiling and in exorcising him away from most topical forums, leaving him on the main page only. The exception was Yardistan, always the most conservative Duchy, which insisted on keeping, and still has, the original tiling Malarbor. The forum reorg attempted to placate the tree demon by adding a new feature, Malarbor Says, to the top, in which a smaller, cartoony version of the now-famous tree gave the day's news. This feature established Malarbor's personality - arrogant, evil, and threatening - and brought into use the common phrase "MALARBOR DEMANDS IT!". Rumors that the feature is actually updated by Scott Alexander or any number of other people rather than Malarbor himself are pernicious lies.

Religion

In the Cedrist religion, Malarbor is the son of Lumina, Goddess of Light. His father is currently unknown, although this author speculates it may have been H'Graa, God of Wrath. He is the God of Forum Colors, and has recently been given the added portfolio of God of Smackdowns. A myth, now lost, tells of a battle between Kaiser Raynor I and Malarbor. Malarbor was terrorizing the world by replacing its colors with different, more tasteless and garish shades. Kaiser Raynor I boldly set out and defeated the tree demon in single combat with the Sword of Vengeance, and, as a price for letting the god go, demanded that Malarbor stand guard over the public places of Shireroth, which the god has reluctantly done ever since.

Malarbor in Popular Culture

Malarbor is now one of Shireroth's most easily recognizable symbols. The Pacarians exploited this during a period seemingly leading up to a Shireroth/Pacary war, when graphics designer Sander Dieleman made a big scary propaganda picture of Malarbor with a caption reading something like "Do you want him as your micronational neighbor?" More patriotic uses include his presence on several of Joseph Strong's advertising banners and his use as an image for the Cedrist Temple forum.

Malarbor Today

Malarbor's most recent manifestation has been The Periodic Spore, a news blog written primarily by Malarbor (though Benkern helps with some admin stuff). The Paper was originally started after Shireroth was believed dead to preserve this iconic figure of Shireroth, however when the nation inevitably came to, this blog started to become a news paper both for Shirerithians and keeping the outside world aware of Shirerithian affairs.