A tale of Tristània and its Quadrennial Royal Ball
In one of the corners of what is now know as Europa, there was a rich,
prosperous and beautiful kingdom known as Tristània. In the past, not
that long ago, it had been a number of smaller kingdoms and
caliphates, all with their own cultures, religions and ways of life. Wars,
and series of marriages of convenience eventually configured what ended up
being the united kingdom of Tristània. Throughout the years, some of the
unified cultures grew and flourished, while others struggled to survive in
their ever-shrinking areas of influence.
A required introduction
Sometimes, the minor cultures would suffer due to oppression coming
from the delegates of the King, who would ban any expression of these
cultures, as they were seen as a potential threat to the kingdom's
stability and unity. For example, just a few decades before the main
subject of this tale, the predecessor of the incumbent King took power by
force, after crushing everyone who opposed his uprise during a bloody and
hard civil war. His reign was ruthless and he imposed draconian laws
uppon his people: usage and teaching of the minor languages was banned,
and everyone was forced to use the language of the Centràlia region, in
public or private.
After four decades, the majority of the Tristanian people were sick enough
of the situation to consider standing against their fear of the regime and
demand freedom, but repression prevailed until the old general died. His
place was taken by the King's grandson even if the people had expressed,
just before the Great War, that they had had enough kings and demanded a
ruler they could choose directly. Of course, the new King seemed a lot
nicer than who they had been suffering for ages, so when asked if they
accepted the new situation, an overwhelming majority said “yes”.
However, there was a region, Verdàlia, where the majority said “no”.
Things were actually more complicated. Verdalians formed a traditional,
proud society, and while the years of oppression had undoubtedly weakened
it, they had managed to preserve their very unique culture, language and
traditions healthy. The Verdal language was really weird to the
ears of Centràlians and even other minor cultures of the Kingdom, and
erudites struggled to find its real origins, not being able to reach
Verdanians, as we already know, were a traditional society, living in a
land of deep and poorly connected valleys. Little they knew or cared about
the complicated matters of Centràlia and other regions. What made them
happy was to take care their sheep and cows, keep a good fire in their
living room and, every now and then, enjoy one of their log cutting
contests. The impositions of the former dictator were too much for them,
and some of them started sabotaging, assaulting and killing some of the
dictator's soldiers, agents and officers. This was a huge risk at the
time; getting caught meant death penalty for sure, and at first, even
people from other regions were in favour of these actions. However, this
popular support greatly diminished when the new King took the throne, as
these minority continued with the killings, while most of the people saw
it was no longer justified.
The Royal Ball
One of the very first measures the young King introduced was to organise
the “Royal Ball of Tristània”, a major event through which the people of the
different regions would be able to elect their delegates to the Crown.
Every four years, a Great Ball contest would happen in Centràlia, and the
winners would be able to decide by their own on some of the matters that
affected their region. Verdanians would send a few teams of dancers, each
of which came from different towns or areas. Some Verdanian teams were
happy about the King and the new political situation, but other teams
weren't so much. And some others, while being simple non-violent dancers,
were known to be supporters of the violent minority who kept on harassing,
assaulting and even killing in their struggle for “freedom of Verdània”.
The Verdanian groups aligned with the “different” culture of Verdània
(including those who were said to support the violent) tended to get a lot
more points in the dancing contest, and a majority of the elected delegates
were appointed by them, making it easier to pass laws and edicts that
favoured protection of their ways, traditions and language.
No matter how hard they tried, the dancing groups closer to Centràlia
kept losing to the majority. After many years of dance contests, these
groups used their closeness to the King's court to pass the Ball Law of
Tristanian, that would ban any dancing group which didn't condemn the assaults
and killings that kept happening in Verdània. The unsurprising result was
that, with less dancing groups participating in the following Royal Ball, the
Verdanian majority was broken and new delegates, friendly of the
Centralian officers, were elected.
Many people who had been in favour of assaults and killings began to
question this strategy, and this political movement's unity started to
break. In the end, the dancers decided to part ways with the violent; they
wanted to dance in the next ball, and to do so, they wrote a letter to the
King, in which they explicitly expressed their rejection of violent ways,
and their embracing of dancing as the only means to drive their political
agenda. An objective reading of the new Ball Law clearly showed that this
was enough: the text only said the requisite for a dancing group was to
disavow all kinds of violence.
This wasn't really expected in Centràlia, so they started to add new
requirements in an attempt to keep this group from the contest: their
decisive majority in Verdània was at stake.
The Royal Ball was nearing and registrations for the contest would soon
close. The Centralian government first argued that the dancing group
should reject the violence coming from the Verdanian extremists in
particular. The dancers did it. Then they argued that the dancers were the
same people who had been supporting violence in Verdània for years, and
“obviously” their violence rejection statement was a lie. The dancers
struggled to find new dancers who had not been involved in past dances.
But it was not enough. They then claimed that this dance group should be
quarantined for four years, until they could prove they really were
serious about their new non-violent ideas.
The dance group made a plea to the Tristànian Supreme Counsel, a group
of sixteen experts in law of the Kingdom, and argued that all of these
draconian requirements were not part of the law that was being enforced by
the King. Their appeal to the elder counselors was in vain, though. They
ruled this dancing group was as criminal as the violent minority they had
once supported, and should by no means take part in the Royal Ball.
As a last, desperate measure, the dancing group reached an agreement
with other Verdanian dancers to join forces. They would adopt a new name
and new dancing costume colours. Many feared this would only end up in the
ban of the other dancing group.
Unfortunately, the end of this story has not been written yet, but it
will be completed very soon. Only time will tell if things continue being very
sad and unfair in Tristània, or if the dance contest will once again be
impartial, with legitimate results.
Syndicated 2011-03-31 23:40:00 from I still don't have a title