A bit from my expansion of Le Roi Est Mort.

Working on this some. It was that kind of night.


All of California — poor, battered, bloodied California — mourns. From the sleepless factory towns of Castagne Steel to the dusty hamlets of Outer California, all add their howls to the heavens. In Los Angeles and San Francisco, along the spavined coasts and new badlands, the keening continues. Why, They even say that cries and lamentations can be heard in stubborn, silly Sacramento. Sacramento! Tonight, even they join the mass grief.

How can it be, howl the women at night! Tears water the ground where the Society matrons gather; some kneel in prayer to whoever might listen, other wail their anguish at the yellow-dusty sky. Their husbands show more decorum, keeping their anger at the tragic news cinched in tight, like they are Castagne Steel Company’s steam-boilers fed too much coal. You hear rumors that here and there some of the lower classes have snapped under the strain of grief, and lashed out with hand or foot or knife, the poor fellows. You hope that these rumors are untrue, but you feel pity for their plight. You tell yourself that it is not their fault, really: for the Golden Emperor is dead.