Have you been having trouble sleeping recently? Are you troubled by dark dreams, menaced by nightmares, stricken with insomnia? Perhaps you need a new bed, more specifically a very special bed, a Royal bed, even. Whilst such monarchical terms are generally looked down upon in Buentoilliçan society, here ‘royal’ denotes a certain overt lavishness of style, an exuberance of comfort, and is not intended to be derogatory in any manner. The term does, however, give a clue as to the monarchic origins of the ceremonies today.
Before the Revolution, many industries, small and large, centred around the monarchs and their lavish lifestyles. Whilst some of these were destroyed along with the monarchy, others were repurposed, the bad, the inequality and prejudice, stripped out and the good retained in that familiar Buentoilliçan manner; never let it be said that tradition is not valued in the City. Much of this reorganisation was done by the Council of Logistics and its various provisional forms, but in the case of The Order of Somnolent Luxury, it was self-imposed, led by entrepreneurial spirit and fear of losing traditional skills passed down through many generations.
Despite their grand name, the Order was really a single family who made ornate beds. Yet ‘ornate’ is perhaps underselling things a little; these beds took an entire year to make, and are still considered the best, most comfortable sleeping places in Buentoille. The family, the Driddiams, were once simply another, very skilled, bed making company, but during the rule of Queen Immas they took on a royal contract, and were afforded all the pomp and circumstance that entailed. The Queen was a strange woman, who believed that if you sleep for too long in the same bed, then your nightmares would begin to seep into the wood, and would feed back to you, forever troubling your dreams. The Driddiams offered her a new product, the Royal Bed, to solve this issue; a perfect bed that would take a year to make, and then would be burned at the end of its year-long lifespan, so as to destroy the bad dreams.
The Royal Bed has various other perks and quirks of construction, which make it seem worth associated time and cost. The mattress was once filled with feathers taken only from birds which were killed whilst they slept, though the modern forms of the mattress use more comfortable, synthetic options. The four posts are ornately carved with images of sleeping people and animals, curled up together in intricate interlocking patterns. The canopy is heavily embroidered with similar scenes, as well as moons and stars above, picked out in silver thread. Inside the mattress and pillars various charms thought to produce good dreams are hidden. All through the production process, the workers constantly sing lullabies to further imbue the bed with sleep-inducing properties.
Today has always been the day that the new bed was presented and the old burned, in the courtyard outside the palace. It was the birthday of Queen Immas, but after she was deposed the next monarch never bothered to change or cancel the contract with the Order and eventually it became a tradition. After the burning, all the local ‘psychics’ alleged to be troubled with the monarch’s bed-contained bad dreams for a few days, and would be visited by members of the court looking to gain some insight into their psyche, so as to gain the monarch’s favour or better plot against them. Nowadays no such burning takes place, because no king or queen receives the bed that the Order make; the bed is awarded to whoever won last year’s lottery.
The tickets, which went on sale for a small cost ten days ago, can still be bought from any participating newsagents until 11am today, should you wish to try your luck at getting a new bed made especially for you. This, of course, is the reason that it is the winner of last year’s lottery that today receives the bed in a ceremony at 12pm in Revolution Square (it will later today be delivered to the winner’s home, and installed there); it is made to order, seeing as most people don’t have the same available space in their homes. The overall design, however, is usually very close to that made each year for the monarch, so as to keep those traditional skills alive. After the presentation of the bed to last year’s winner, the tickets are then all deposited into the tombola, and this year’s winner is announced. Possibly to make the year-long wait until they receive their prize more palatable, the winner is today given an exquisitely comfortable pillow. Ironically, the winner will probably be too excited to get much sleep tonight.
Other festivals happening today:
- The Festival of Ample Care
- River Dredge Day
- Flight of Fancy Festival