Friday, 30 August 2013

Curse the Prince!


Pluvial sits upon the broad and wasted plains of Ennui, highly fertile arable land fed by the flooding of Lethe. Not farmed at any time, its muddy shoals left to rot.


Justice

In Pluvium, they don’t call you for jury service, they call you to judge.

The most important factor is that person judging a crime is in exactly the same mental state as the criminal was when the committed it. So, drunk, angry, desperately in love, insane, enraged, jealous or suicidal. Whatever you need to commit that crime, that’s what you need to judge it. The courts of Pluvial send all over the city, and sometimes all over the world for someone in the exact right state of mind to judge a particular crime.

Killing your husband or wife is generally ok, if they were really annoying. Suicides are always found guilty in-absentia during very quick trials. Theft is rarely prosecuted as you never get a conviction.


Religion

Any god may be worshipped, but prayers are allowed only to request from a particular god those things the god is unable to give. From the Devil – pity, from the Buddha – engagement, from Thor – calm, from Zeus – chastity. Faith is encouraged so long as you are in the middle of losing it.

Holidays

Weekend trips are laid on to Cythea, a black naked island in a stormy sea, strewn with creaking gibbets, populated only by wasted and highly political lesbians with a culture of forced nudity in all weathers.

Society

Casual conversation with friends must include some cursing or disparagement of the Prince, he listens at doorways secretly hungering for the amused condescension of the people. If the Prince hears you mocking him, he screams, rolls on the ground clutching his head and staggers away shaking and cursing you. Then he writes a poem about you. If the prince doesn’t hear you cursing him he leaves silently and you disappear the next day.

Conversations begin and end with frightened cried of “curse our worthless Prince!” and “curse the rhymes!”

Alcohol is encouraged but pluvial law says to drink at all you must drink at least 7 units in the first ten minutes or face arrest. Beyond that point you are on your own. Regular drinking tests are administered. Taste is ignored but impurities are added to guarantee particular kinds of hangover. Drinks are named after the depressions and headaches they provoke.
Art and the Media

Portraits are allowed only if the subject is decapitated before they are painted. Famous portraits are required to family tombs, though they can take a while to complete.

Art is only of the dead.
Porn is only of the dead.
Porn is required reading.
Other art is optional.
Most of the newspaper is porn and you have to read it once a day.

Pluvial ID is a copy of todays paper and some questions about its contents. This makes you a citizen.

Everyone is familiar with recent obituaries and editors try to sneak in useful news under descriptions of the recent activities of the just-deceased. For instance, this recent label to a picture of a headless corpse fucking a starved, dead, naked pensioner.

“..while attending the recently-built bridge across the lachrymose tributary, Monsieur R- was decapitated by a falling stanchion from by what he described, a few moments before its collapse, as
 ‘a really excellent piece of engineering!’
The papers artist Mademoiselle G- states of the wound,
‘I couldn’t have done better myself’.
The bridge is now closed and pedestrian traffic is asked to divert around the Rue De Smiles or ‘just throw yourself in the river’. Curse the Prince.”

Pluvians tend to look at your hands while they talk to you, in case they need to recognise your pornographically-arranged corpse in tomorrow’s paper.

A common Pluvian ‘joke’ amongst familiars is “I thought I saw your thumbs in the paper!” Sometimes an expression of happy surprise that you are alive, meaning ‘It’s been too long’. But also, sometimes a coded criticism from an older relative for not visiting enough.

All Pluvian plays and fiction are comedies, all set in a better version of Pluvia, a-

‘Babel of endless stairs, arcades
It was a palace multifold
Replete with pools and bright cascades
Falling in dull and burnished gold’

In these fictions loving couples live happily ever after, caring families stick together, decent Priests praise kind rational gods, wars are short and glorious, cares are few and no crime goes unpunished under the blue and golden sky. The Prince of Carcasses commands this because he wants his subjects to dream of that perfect world. Every morning, when they wake up from that dream, and remember who and where they really are, just for one moment they understand how he feels every day.


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