Sunday 9 January 2022

Advertising in Jakalla

There are fly posters on the walls of Jakalla.

While the very highest end merchants may employ troops of children to visit high clan houses to announce their sales, and the lowest end ones have theirs shouting in the streets to direct traffic to their market stalls, there is large gap in the middle where posters are used.

Posters are also deployed by the various arms of government to reinforce proclamations, by the Hirilakte arenas to announce upcoming events, by High Clans announcing public accessible feasts and so on.

They are hand written en masse by the professional scribe clans, which in Jakalla means the Black Quills or the Plume of White, though the scriptoria of the Palaces will turn out some official documents if they are needed in a hurry.

Posters are generally stuck up with a thin paste of water and a glutinous starch extracted from local river weeds; starving beggars sometimes pull them off and eat them, and during the regular famines in Jakalla the Four Palaces at least like to add a mild emetic to the paste to discourage this.

Posters must also be licensed. The Governor's office will stamp them to make them official for a mere qirgal each. Unstamped posters will be removed, and there is a fine, but unless the offender has been OTT in their violation or has made the huge mistake of posting over an official announcement they mostly get away with it. Putting up your own posters without the services of the official scribe clans may lead to broken legs, and only the scribe clans can do it after curfew.

Posters are typically quickly written with bold brushstrokes by poorly paid scribes and their barely literate apprentices, but are usually legible. Coloured borders may be added as a thin wash of watered ink. The Palaces always use Imperial Azure, with additional stripes such as purple ink and white chalk lines for the Palace of the Priesthoods, a dripping line of red across the top for the Palace of Glorious War and so on. 'Getting your name in Blue and Brown' is a big event for the Nakome of the Foreign Quarter, it means you have your name on a City Police wanted poster which are edged in these colours.

If you are willing to stump up the cash the scribes will even put a picture on your poster, making a stencil through which their illuminator will daub poster paint, and you might even get an extra splosh of colour added by an apprentice.

Good places to see posters are the front wall of the Temple of Karakan where various odd jobs are advertised to the Foreign Quarter Nakome; there are beggars there who will read a few out to the illiterate for a consideration.

The walls of market places are also well upholstered with posters and the pillars along the grand avenue of temples are covered in layers of them to a height of eight feet. The base of many a statue and stelae celebrating ancient deeds acquire posters, and it is considered meritorious to send ones slaves out to scrape off a few before major religious processions.

The Writing on the Wall:

  • Wanted poster with the usual list of petty thieves, tomb robbers, disturbers of the Emperor's peace and such, standard fees for info at your friendly City Guard post for most, entries in red get double pay for info leading to an arrest. Oh look, there's your name, added on at the bottom in a different pen, and in purple 'Dead or Alive' ink too; someone really doesn't like you...

  • Ahoggya miscreant eating the posters. The Black Quill have changed their green ink formula and apparently it now induces hallucinations in Ahoggya at least.

  • Prophecy of DOOM posted by the Burning Heart sect of the temple of Chiteng saying that all bar the elect will die in horrible firey pain in the next five years. These are unstamped and unofficial, though expensively done with a two colour flame stencil and wavy edged paper. Immanentising the eschaton is a no no under Place of the Priesthood rules though, and the Temple of Chiteng have a bunch of temple guards and acolytes out sploshing these posters with oil and igniting them right on the wall.

  • Pilgrim caravan assembling at the Temple of Dlamelish for trip to the Shrine of Niyunen near Hyatla in eight days. Bring your own booze and drugs and there is a 3 kaitar subscription to pay for the following chlen cart picking up those too mashed to walk.

  • Come and buy slaves from Sirsum. Kilallami mountain folk, good hma herds and wool weavers, and only slightly damaged by ritual mutilation following inter-clan feud. Inquire at the Silver Collar.

  • The Staff of Beneficence would like to announce a feast to celebrate the promotion of Herulla hiShoritla to Proctor of the Temple of Ketengku. All welcome. Feast will be prepared in accordance with the Five Principles of Concordant Consumption, and provide sustenance for all of your souls!

    Some wag has added a note at the bottom in charcoal: 'Bring your own toilet paper.'

  • The Bell of Victory clan will be presenting a festival of wrestling at the Hirilakte area next week. See Gurgmush the Ahoggya take on the entire Jakalla N'luss Madball team! Tanku hiSsaivra will again fight a Vringalu bare handed! Amateur free for all sponsored by the Clan of the Rising Sun! Half time entertainment from the dancers of the House of the Pleasant Hour! Not to be missed!

    The stencil of Gurgmush throwing people all over the arena on this one is truly inspired, and the top halves of most of these posters have been torn off by fans.

  • Ohe! Let all praise the Emperor, for the ration of red dna is to be restored to seven eighths of a Pse per adult per week. Long may the spectre of hunger fly past fair Jakalla, and may the ungrateful be given the gift of a sharpened pole.

    Smaller writing at the bottom says this is sponsored by the Temple of Avanthe and it has their characteristic mid-blue border, but most people on Jakalla's streets know the Place of the Realm is behind this and that not so long ago the ration was twelve mlo.