Mere Sapnon Ki Rani

The Queen of My Dreams

The palaces of ancient Bharata are shrouded in mystery and darkness, nestled between jungle hills or at the base of golden cliffs that shade them from the sun. They ring courtyards studded with mango groves and sacred wells large enough to build entire new palaces inside them; the sun doesn't reach their bottoms, and the water there is always cold and still.

The palaces are filled with priests and princes, sorceresses and queens. They are filled with liars.

To the south and west, across the narrow ocean, lies the Crescent of the Sun and the mad Solar Barbarians, ever-obessed with their religion of paper, their armies led by astrologers and geometricians rather than generals and warriors.

Who Are The Characters?

The characters are the warrior nobility and learned priesthood of Bharata. They are the select few, the people in the world who can act with resource and conviction, who have the leisure to pursue selfish and nonutilitarian aims. Sometimes they are other people, too, farmers and retainers and foreigners, those who lean on the freedom of the wealthy.

According to the sages, men can be evaluated along four axes of inborn talent, which correspond to the four social castes that Bharata divides itself into. Each talent is linked to four fields of training, which are, to an extent, independent of that talent; for workmanlike tasks, training is training, but the ability to produce works of art, perform innovation, and overcome obstacles are all things that depend on talent.

The talent of Air corresponds to the brahmana caste, who serve as scholars, scientists, and priests. In ancient times, they were the "tenders of the fire," who kept the village's hearth burning, before the miracle of flint was discovered. The skills of Air are:

  • Vision:
  • The skill of prediction and awareness, this is used defensively in combat, as well as for prophecy and investigation.
  • Prayer:
  • This skill governs communication with demons and gods, and encapsulates mystical knowledge.
  • Celebration:
  • This is the skill of organising and performing public events, including festivals and rituals. It governs dance and acrobatics.
  • Scripture:
  • This skill is training in logical debate and natural science.

The talent of Fire corresponds to the kshatriya caste, the administrators of kshatar, territory. They are warriors and leaders. The skills of Fire are:

  • Archery:
  • This is the skill of conflict at a distance.
  • Splendour:
  • This is the ability to present oneself before others, and to lend emotional impact to one's actions through naturalistic emotion and gesture. It contrasts with the ritual communication of Celebration!
  • Kingship:
  • This is the skill of leading men.
  • Battle:
  • This is the skill of the fray.

The talent of Earth corresponds to the vaishya caste, the craftsmen, farmers, merchants, and other skilled labourers of the country. The skills of Earth are:

  • Smithy:
  • This is the skill of making things.
  • Ornament:
  • This is the skill of managing money and face.
  • Tilling:
  • This is the skill of maintaining the status quo.
  • Cattle:
  • This is the skill of repairing things and tending to one's lessers.

The talent of Water corresponds to the shudra caste, the "outsiders." This is the caste assigned to those whose calling is unknown, which makes people misunderstand it; the role of the caste is to serve as communicators, emissaries, and traders to foreign lands, and so, people with mysterious origin are assumed to be shudra from another tribe. The skills of Water are:

  • Horse:
  • The ability to cover ground and to have appropriate timing; if you need to do something in a certain amount of time, this is where you look.
  • Speech:
  • The ability to communicate across barriers.
  • Theft:
  • The ability to conceal socially unacceptable action.
  • Mystery:
  • The ability to recover and broker informational wealth.

What Do They Do?

Characters fight. There are a variety of ways that they come into conflict! More on this later?


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