the city

It’s another day in Buentoille, the City of a Thousand Festivals. No matter the weather or day, a number of things will always happen in this city:

As the sun rises in the morning the lamplighters wind their routes around the streets, keying in their codes to shut off the lamps one by one as they pass. The lamplighters are shaped by their route; the scenery and turns of the body  worm their way into their minds. Each route – and thus each lamplighter – is as different from the next as the colours of butterfly in the Grand Atrium.

The breakfast establishments promptly open up shop at 7am. The proprietors in more crowded neighbourhoods give a friendly nod or mere narrowing of the eyes to their counterparts. The streets are filled with the delicious scents of cinnamon doughnuts, frying meats, pickled vegetable salads, and other such breakfast fettle. The lunch and dinner establishments open when they wish, so do not cause such a cacophony of pre-prepared scents.

At midday the clock smiths sound out their wares, and the city is suddenly assailed by the ringing of bells for a full minute. You will notice that any True Traditionalists out in the streets – and a few others besides them – will, at a minute to 12, fill their ears with cotton wool or cork to avoid hearing the sound. Members of that political group are easily identifiable in their thick brocade shawls and enormously wide hats, and block out the noise because they believe it to be an ‘untrue’ Buentoilliçan tradition; a recent fabrication to drive sales. Others who cover their ears have alternate political reasons, or may simply be attempting to avoid damage to their hearing.

At 4pm throughout the streets Buentoillitants will stop what they are doing and sit down for afternoon tea at one of the many open air cafés. This is to observe one of the most important traditions of Buentoilliçan life: the first cup poured out of the pot must be poured away again, in remembrance for the youth gassed at Benetek station in the last days of the Monarchy. Small rivulets often flow down streets, especially as more historically conscious folk make a point of pouring out the last cup as well, in memory of those members of the League of Elderly Persons in Opposition to Monarchic Oppression (LEPOMO) who joined that fateful student protest.

As night closes in the lamplighters once again go about their routes, but this time in reverse. The familiar motions and scenery are almost Pavlovian, and it is not uncommon to see a lamplighter yawn as they are readied for sleep.

And finally, as always after the lamplighters have done their rounds, a vast susurrating cloud fills the sky as the gablelarks return home from their hunt on the marshes. They swoop in great folds towards the high spires and cotes of Ranaclois hill, with small contingents falling off from the cloud toward the gables of smaller dwellings. Their morning calls will wake the lamplighters tomorrow.

Although these things occur every day in Buentoille you could by no means claim the place is monotonous or bromidic; this is The City of a Thousand Festivals, and every day is different.