Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Galbaruc: Eight Lies About the City

1.  Galbaruc is the First City, built upon the toil of the infant race of Man for the use and enjoyment of their masters, who journeyed across the trackless void to make dominion of our world, having destroyed their own though perversity or carelessness.

2.  Galbaruc is the Last City, her foundations raised by inscrutable magics and the labor of the creature that Man is reduced to in his last days.  Its overlords, realizing the immanent destruction of all they had wrought, enveloped the city in a great cloud of fog and propelled it backwards through obscure sidestreets and alleyways of time, after first ejecting its builders to endure alone and without shelter the long-deferred obliteration of their race.

3.  When the Celestial City of Urizen was at last complete, the warped boards, bent nails, and imperfect stones that the Great Architect had rejected were flung from the Highest Heaven into the sea.  In their fall, this detritus struck a prison galley carrying a shipment of murderers, whores, thieves, and other convicts being transported to a distant island to serve out sentences of hard labor.  Most were slain in the resulting shipwreck or by the sharks that swarmed to the scent of blood, but the survivors clung to the wreckage, lashing the pieces together and clambering over the struggling bodies of their fellows to safety.  Thus was Galbaruc founded, and the character of its citizenry established.

4.  There has only ever been one Beggar-King of Galbaruc.  His wisdom and sagacity surpasses that of all other earthly monarchs, and his court is a model of efficiency, decorum, and enlightened rule.

5.  There is no Beggar-King at all, and tales of this secretive worthy, his court, and his kingdom are a mere fiction, elaborated upon over centuries by beggars, unscrupulous academics, and the publishers of penny romances.

6.  The yearly marraige of Galbaruc to the Sea, in which the First Citizen takes upon himself the role of bridegroom, is not merely a symbolic gesture.  The First Citizen is betimes required to descend beneath the waves in a special conveyance of glass and gold, there to perform his conjugal duties with Yash-Kunag the Many-Toothed, the great shark-headed Sea Mother who dwells below in a great palace whose timbers are the rotting hulls of ships lost at sea.  It is for this reason that the First Citizen abstains from eating godling-flesh during the Festival of the Great Culling.

7.  There are gods so diminished in stature that they have been forced to take leave of the shimmering, otherworldly manses where they held court in better days, and now lead lives of bitter exile in crumbling apartments and drafty tenements throughout the city, sustaining themselves on the prayers of tiny cults and obscure sects.  Some of these wretches must subsist on the scraps of sacrificial meat and dregs of sacramental wine left at their altars by an ever-dwindling number of dedicated voataries.

8.  In the deepest recesses of the Temple of Yash-Kunag, there is a pool, tended by seven virgins of good family, whose charge is the care and feeding of the blind, albino god-spawn that circle and thrash restlessly therein.  There, they divine the city's future from the clouds of blood that bloom across the water's surface while the god-spawn are at their meat.  Should these creatures ever refuse their meal, the city will be swallowed up by the waves within the year.