Jenna pokes his chest. “You’re the Buddha, ” she says. “But that doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want and blame it on other peoples’ irrational attachment!”
— The Forest (II/IV)
Hitherby Dragons defines a “history” as a reliable but tonally biased description of events. You can reasonably trust that the events in a history happened, with some minor wiggleroom for the tonal shifts and the fact that your humble author is writing this stuff daily. Histories are written as numbered series, with the numbers written in Roman numerals. Thus, Tantalus (I/IV) and Mei Ming (I/I) are histories.
Histories are often biased by one of the participant’s perceptions. That said, the entries are real events. Even Alan (II/IV), most of which the monster describes as “dream and fantasy”, is a lot closer to reality than that description suggests.
Meredith and Mr. Schiff plunge screaming towards the ground!
— A Poorly Timed Deus Ex Machina
A “legend,” conversely, is something that people use to help them understand history and the world. There’s a stage at the Gibbelins’ Tower where people present legends as a show. Whether this has any relevance to the canonical world or whether it’s just for the readers’ entertainment is something yet to be explored. Similarly, the character of the experience for the participants and audience is yet to be described.
Legends are reliable to a variable degree—pretty much, the only thing they really prove is that the folks at the Gibbelins’ Tower consider the legend worth telling. Is there data in a legend? Well, if you have a real reason to ask—e.g., you spot a connection between a legend and a history—then there’s probably some data. If not, then probably not. The set of characters is pretty carefully constructed so that your humble author can provide almost anything she wants to write as an in-character production, but that doesn’t mean that they’re always talking about important stuff.
Legends are any entries that aren’t a numbered series, with a couple exceptions. First, canon starts on December 5. There will probably be some adjustment of really old entries over time so that your humble author can start it on December 1, and possibly integrate some of the really early ones. Second, a few rare posts—the first post, temporary posts, and between-chapter stuff—are just me talking to you.
The December 4 entry? Yes, it’s the kind of thing that the stage might have performed, and it probably has meaning in that context, but your humble author doesn’t need the IP management headache that characters in one of her settings writing self-insertion fanfic for another of her settings entails.
She nods towards the wall. There are shackles dangling from it.
“You’ll want to put your wrists in those,” she says. “So you don’t fall down.”
— Surrender (1 of 2)
“Stories” are actually happening in the setting’s “now,” and are numbered series in Arabic numerals. Most of the stories have been about Liril and Micah, whom, an astute reader will note, first appeared in a legend. It is reasonable to infer that the crew of the tower know of their existence. :)
The point where “history” becomes “story” is a moving target, since Micah and Liril insist on experiencing linear time. Right now, it’s in mid-April, 2004, at the moment the wind changes.