The Festival of the Sybarites is the high holiday of the Ulimite Church in Rastingdrung. It is a festival of excess and social inversion that is notorious throughout Ghinor. In the days leading up to the festival, security in Rastingdrung is even tighter than usual. Unless a visitor is lucky enough to carry a personal invitation from the Chatelaine, he may only enter through the city gates by buying festival tickets at an exorbitant price (50gp). All weapons, armor, religious symbols, and written materials must be checked for the duration of the visit.
The festival begins at dusk of the first day with the Parade of the Blasphemers. This joyful procession includes a rare display of the renowned wooden icons of the Ulimite Saints. The icons depict the saints' gruesome martyrdom for their pioneering research into extreme and unknown pleasures in the days when the Church was still a persecuted sect. They are accompanied by large and cunningly constructed puppets, usually satirical and jesting--mockeries of the Scarlet Censors and the Voluptuaries are especially popular. The center of the parade is traditionally occupied by an enormous float (literally a sailing vessel on wheels) of the Bishop, the giant fish of Lake Wooling who is the subject of many tall tales. Beginning on the steps of the Church, the procession winds its way through the city quarters, spilling out of the gates to finally arrive at the docks as darkness falls. The procession ends with the launching of the Bishop into the waters of Lake Wooling. The revelers are greeted there by fishing and merchant vessels, and specially constructed pleasure barges, all bedecked with colorful lanterns. Skiffs ferry citizens through the oily silver waters out to the celebrations on the lake which last until the small hours of the morning.
It is said with some reason that there are really two Festivals of the Sybarites. For the Chatelaine arranges special and remarkable amusements for those holding her personal invitation. In the past, her guests have wagered as beautiful slaves, their faces smeared with goose fat, bob for golden apples in piranha filled tanks. This year, rumor has it, she has purchased an unusual number of halfling slaves. These unfortunates have been fitted with elastic suits, and are to be force fed tureens of rich sea-slug and butter sauce. Their flatulence will expand the suit like a ball, enabling her guests to roll them down the bluffs to the Yex river below, where they will be burst like balloons by the starved crocodiles released for this gratifying event.
|A church prostitute in melancholy repose as the Eucharist of Ulim finally fades|