Through the Lens of Another: Snippets from the Ryccian Empire

Castiana, The Core
Ryccian Empire

Castiana was one of the most resplendent worlds of the Ryccian Empire. With 19 billion residents, it was famous for its iconic fashion industry. Castiana always set the flamboyant trends of the Core and the inner worlds of the Rim, the wealthiest and most ancient planets of the human regions of the Empire.

Unlike the rest of the human worlds, which dressed in what could be considered by the one reading this (you) normal clothing, the Core and the Inner Rim are and have always been akin to a parallel universe relative to the rest of the human realm, and the Empire in general, really. Due to the perennial trend of the poorest of these regions historically migrating to the frontiers to find better opportunities, it was the richest and most ancient bloodlines that remained in these worlds. They were used to opulence and extravagance, and their style showed.

To the rest of the country, these people were crazy in their behavior, manner of speaking, and general fashion. Unlike the rest of the Empire, it was extremely common for men to wear some sort of makeup here. In their historical elitism, these people never used contractions, and their vocabulary was both vast and aristocratic. To you, dear reader, the way they speak would be like talking to a posh nobleperson from the past. To them, your dialect would be extremely pedestrian.

Everything was nothing short of high-class, or, as other people in the Empire would say, pretentiously arrogant. Beer and vodka in these regions were practically unknown, as it was historically viewed as “lower-class” drinks. Drugs here, although legal, were viewed with disdain, and partaking upon their use would earn you a surefire ticket to social ostracism. Hunting and sports that featured any kind of violence were looked down upon as “barbaric” (no boxing matches here, that’s for sure). Unlike the rest of the Empire, these people valued family ties the most, so much to the point where you could potentially be criticized or looked down on for something your cousin did. These people were gossipy to the end, and would never accept what others would normally do. That cheap shirt at only five Imperial credits for a party? Never, even if you have to go broke, you have to wear your best. Work at a landfill? Absolutely not, I prefer starvation in a macabre jail cell over at the Farlands. So many social norms here were so drastically divergent that, whenever a person from the outside went here or viceversa, they were so disoriented to the point of considering it something like going to another dimension.

The expats from other regions tended to hate living here. What came as second nature to these silver-spooned freaks was absurd and needlessly stuck-up to them. Consumerism and propriety were not some foreign concept even in the most destitute regions of the Empire, but even the worst shopaholic from, say, the Eastern Region or some prim and proper elite from the Northern Frontier could not fathom the extent these people took it to. Lawmakers and bureaucrats from the most “pedestrian” regions of the Empire, even if they were wealthy in their own right and paragons of upper-class life back home, suddenly found themselves being derided as “backwards hillbillies” even by middle-class natives of this extremely rich region.

So it was the unfortunate fate of Cassius Newcleather, a resident of the region of Novaterra who had family here. The Newcleather family came from the planet of Castiana and were some of the wealthiest in there, but poorer branches of the family were established less than a century or so ago when a few of their members began to migrate to other worlds in search of new fortunes. Cassius was from the Novaterra side of the historically aristocratic clan, and even though he was given a name that made his ancestry clear, culturally, he was a Novaterran through and through. His grandmother, however, was from here.

Even if she was almost 80 or so now, his grandmother still dressed as outrageously as ever. (OOC: think of the people of the Capitol from the Hunger Games)

“Cassius! How we have missed you so!”

“Hey grandma, how’ve you been?”

“My dear grandchild, I have seen you not in ages. Do come inside, I beg of you, for we have arranged a pleasant reception for your arrival”

Such a…flowery way of speaking. Grandma has always been like that.

Compared to the rest of his wider kin, he was shamefully “underdressed”, even if he was wearing what was considered formal attire back home. Why, not even a speck of face powder! And a full, unstyled, patternless beard? Oh, dear…

Unlike the rest of the Empire, it was customary for members of an extended family to meet at least once every two to five years in grand meetings to catch up with each other. Despite being a Novaterran at heart, his blood was from the Core, and to the Core it must return.

The food in the tables were exquisite, as always. Nothing was “pedestrian”, for everything was of the highest quality the Newcleathers could buy. Bioluminiscent orange slices dyed in light blue drenched in white sugary sauce, Castianan rainbow wine, chocolate treats in different colours arranged in the most complex patterns and designs, a floating blob of champagne in the shape and colour of a nebula that you could request be brought down to you in a glass, ice cream cooled by liquid nitrogen, detoxified selenium plates, so many utensils to use in specific ways that it seemed like insanity to memorize their roles for proper etiquette…such a hellish lunacy for someone “common”, and yet it looked so heavenly.

Yup, this is the party he remembers.

For her credit, his grandmother did remember his more “pedestrian” tastes, and arranged for one of the cooks to serve him food and snacks specialized for his palette. He and a few other “branch” clanspeople had tables exclusively for them, where they could find consumables more fit for them.

Finally, some beer!

“Thank you, grandma, you remembered the beer I liked!”

“Why, most certainly, my dear, for, out of all my grandchildren, you did perform most superbly in your studies. I hear you have received certain exceptional scores on your examinations in university, yes?”

“Ah, yes, grandma, I got all As in my graduate classes”

“A pity you did not have the opportunity to course your education in our homestead. The universities that are present here in Castiana are remarkable, as I am certain you are aware. I can not yet fathom the logic behind their denials of admission to you…”

I lied to you, grandma. Studying here would drive me nuts.

“Oh well, just another mystery of the stars!”