Oscar tells Rick Nash that "A guffin. . .the word itself is a bastardization of gae phaen...literally "good luck" in the original Pigt. . .Guffins were as common as spring blossoms in Pagan Iest...Tiny perfect works of art handed down from mother to daughter. . .intricately carved from white stones indigenous to the Feld River..and decorated with black paint...to a degree they were responsible for the division of the Eastern and Western Churches. . .it was during the darkest period of Iest's long history; the closing years of the fabled Black Tower Empire...A pirvotal moment when that insula and corrupt matriarchy endured the first of many organized invasions by the Sepran Empire known then simply as the Western Empire. . .Po was a student of history, aware that there had never been a successful assult on the Upper City. . .so he swept into the Feldwar Valley, over running the Lower City and neighbouring lands. . .gaining complete control of all supply lines into Iest. He installed a military government. . .assigned the best of his men to guard all road and stairways into the Upper City and declared himself Prime Minister...He reigned without any opposition whatsoever for fifteen years. One can only marvel at the simplicity of his solution. The women had never lost control of the impregnable Upper City. . .so he chose to ignore the Upper City. Just pretended it didn't exist. The matriarchal dynasty had lost favour with the people of the Lower City anyway. . .having abandoned pagan rituals as the official means of worship. . .introduced prohibitive tax rates loyally oaths. . ."
Dave speaks about Guffins
From Dave's Q&A on Jaka's Story:
02/06 (Wildcard): What is the origin of the Guffin, and why is it so offensive to Cirinists?
DAVE: I first heard the term used by Alfred Hitchcock in an interview to describe a structural screen-writing concept, that is: an object introduced into the narrative to help drive the story, although I can't remember which of his movies he was discussing. Maybe the bundle of money in *Psycho*? McGuffin? MacGuffin? Maguffin? I think Humphrey Bogart refers to The Maltese Falcon by the same term in the movie of the same name, but I have no idea if that was just in the film script or if it was in Dashiell Hammett's original story as well. So, basically I thought it would be kind of funny to invent an object that was actually called a Guffin and to leave the explanation of it completely to one side so that it was exactly what it was described as -- an object introduced into the narrative to help drive the story. It was obviously a black and white object of some kind and it was offensive to Cirinists which is why it draws their attention to the tavern and sets up the unhappy ending. Since those were the only qualities it needed to possess in order to drive the story forward, those were the only elements I came up with. Feel free to create your own backstory for the Guffin!