There are no great stories of Bir Beshig, no legends of Bershigian Kings, or sorcerers of old. In fact, very few people actually know of Bir Beshig. It is mainly a point of trivia bandied about by erudite and arrogant philosophers, sages, and bored scholars.
The city itself was raised during the twilight of the great Empire by a large number of highly imaginative and disgruntled clerics, wise men, and dilantettes. They protested the eclectic and painfully mediocrity of the Empire.
The city was raised fairly quickly, but there was quick outcry. The architects had copied Imperial architecture, and the cry of mundane was raised. The buildings were torn down and construction began again, with new walls being raised and new arches being put in place. Mundane mundane! was heard again. Surely the architects could be more original that arches and flying buttresses, those architectural styles were so the domain of the Empire and the City of Archs, passe! The most signifigant of the ruins of Bir Beshig is the Palace of Innovation. The Palace is unique in that it has no roof, but large inverted awnings and drains to catch rainwater. There are no windows either, as windows, like arches had already been done. The most unique feature is that there are staircases everywhere, most of which are simply decorative. Many were used as support columns for drain scoops, or for the few second story inverted verandas, and normal columns were so classical it wasnt even funny.
In the fields those who thought to plow and raise a bountiful harvest were beset by the Mundani as they named themselves. Maize? Already being grown across the empire, grain for ale, who hasnt. These rarified and gentile elitists demanded original foods, original drinks, and nothing that had come before would be accepted. They experimented with dietary variety. They tried to find things such as edible stones, or making breads from the pulp of trees. Some of the greatest of the Mundani chefs were praised for their unique creations despite the fact that they were completely inedible. One of the recipes recovered from a water logged book indicated the use of ground granite, three plants known to be poisonous, mainly for their colors, and for a large dagger cut into bite sized pieces.
Their greatest, whose name was erased since there were four other people in Imperial history with the same name, even pointed out that they spoke a language that was spoken elsewhere. The Mundani of Bir Beshig responded quickly creating their own language, but each attempt was a failure. none of the cunning linguists could come up with new sounds, and an entirely new syntax structure made any attempt at learning the new language nearly impossible.
The final attempt, and most successful was a language that was entirely based on noises generated by placing a cupped hand beneath the armpit. The syntax, or language structure was difficult in the extreme and learning to form the correct sounds without a sufficiently sweaty armpit proved to be a major stumbling block. However, after attempting the 'speak' Beshigi generally causes perspiration and makes the task slightly easier.
The Fate of Bir Beshig was dismal at best. Many of the populace decided that the continual demand for pure innovation was too much. Rather than try to come up with unique styles of stacking rocks to make buildings, to finding new ideas that had never come before, they were content to head back to the Empire and take up their former comforts.
Left to their own devices, many of the Mundani too left the city, menial labor and such had already been done before by others and they were above such petty concerns. The city quickly stagnated as fewer and fewer people were left, until only the most die hard of the mundani refused to return to their old lives. In the Memoirs of Prince Bir Beshig, after whom the city was psthumously named (as no one could decide on a proper name for the place, as all the other names bore similarity to other things, or were just mashed up letters) he records his greatest failing...
Today I berated Pfft-ppft-PPRRt for looking at the clouds and not at the shapes he might have seen in the stones. He was mad, again something I told him had already been done, madness is madness and it is all the same. He was obviously afflicted with mediocrity.
Oh, trying to kill me? I said as he tried to kill me, with a sword of all things. it was difficult to talk with him, and he refused to speak to me, intent on using both hands on his sword. I called him twillit-ghom, a purely original curse on my part and he had the nerve to predicatably offended! He then tried to kill me again whereas I was forced to defend my own life, a mundane responce but one I will atone for by singling his eulogy entirely in the knee-cap dialact of Pfft-pfft (the armpit language).
The rest of the manuscript is pure gibberish as the 'Prince' clearly goes on to using a cipher of his own creation. Some scholars have speculated that he changed the cipher code on a daily basis, just to keep things fresh.
The City was later flooded when irrigation canals without mundane retaining ponds drained into the city. With no people left, large portions were washed away, and other areas subsided, as buildings with foundations were considered yesterday's news. All the remains are several acres of flooded stone walls and very irregularly shaped plazas, since square was out and eleven sided figures were in in in!
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? Responses (9)
Francois Rabelais ala Scrasamax. Its beautiful! I wish we had more subs like this! What a fun place and wonderfully skewed satire! Is there a twin city nearby with a whole other crew of crazies?
It is more of a metaphor than a place... a piece of story, rather than the reflection of a place past. I am sure there were colonies trying to be exotic and individual, but this one goes too far into the satire (and the satire codes could of made it a bit better.
It is an intersting story, but I don't find it nearly challanging enough... just odd.
Quite interesting. Not sure what I'd do with it... Especially since it is destroyed... :D But still.
Just felt the urge to additionally comment in honor of Mourngrymn's 'Voting' sub.
Of course this is a metaphor not a place, I thought I covered that with the Rabelais comment. But I guess many people might not be familiar with the ascerbic Francois.
This gets a 5 from me, because I LOVED Gargantua and Pantagruel when I first tackled the book in my teens, and because the absurdity and wit is so refreshing!
Oh and Scras, you may be a cunning linguist, but I am a master de' bater!
Wonderfly funny-I needed a good laugh today.
Excellent as a story to leave you wonder 'There can't be such a city, can it?'.
Precisely the thing you wouldn't believe as a fiction, but tends to happen in real life anyway. Amusing. :)
How used? Simple - your party finds the ruins in some out of the way place. Perhaps some spirits or things drawn to chaos and insanity if you need the ruins to be a little less lifeless. I think the odd ruins sitting silently by themselves works.
It brings to mind the speculative cities the Chinese have been building, well before anyone is ready to occupy them, and now sit largely abandoned.