After spending some time this weekend trying to build a decent dropship and failing miserably, I put together a little scene from my new empire. First came the marines, then the regular troops (though no dropship...) although they still are lacking in ships, airforce and vehicles. So it's a small empire, though old and in all old empires there's some culture. So let me introduce Bruce:
The favourite art in the Halcyon Empire is the martial ones ofcourse, but during long periods of no enemies other arts developed. One particularly favoured is the art of the fearstricken scream. Developed by Wilhelm of Halcyon (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YDpuA90KEY
) hundreds of years ago, Bruce is a practicer (or soon will be, anyway). He has been painstakingly trained by his clan for years for this performance in front of the emperor himself!
Bruce with his instrument. However, he does not know what that is, because his training. To have the best scream it was soon found that the victim had to be unsuspecting. It's possible to surprise the victim, but beeing invited to a grand ball where ONE of the guests would be stabbed and it's vitaly important (for the sake of art) that the person is not told wasn't the fun thing it was supposed to be. So instead, the art developed along the present day lines. Here is a picture of the regular troops invited to this occasion - they have performed well and are allowed to stand honorguard in the emperors throne room on this auspicious day.
How did Bruce get chosen and how has he been trained? All spastic minifigs are chosen for this when they are young. What's really wanted are swift, decisive handmovments that are not entirely under the figs control. The minifig is then taken into a totally padded enviroment - no hard corners, lots of pillows and they're not even allowed to look at a sharp object. They never know even a bruise nor papercut, and are given daily song lessons to develop a great voice. And here is the emperor himself positioned on his throne, with his wife on his left hand side and his son on the right. In front of him the scene where Bruce soon will perform.
The performers are only good for one performance, after that the surprise doesn't really... shine through in the same way. Veteran warriors are afficionados of screams after years of war and raiding. And now Bruce enters, totally oblivious to what's about to happen. The emperor tells him to play with the object in front of him, and everyone tries not to chuckle or giggle.
And Bruce does not dissapoint! Obediently he picks up the knife, never having seen a sharp object before. The total naivity is strange to the other minifigs but they in turn sharpen (pun intended) their ears.
And in one swift spastic movement Bruce cuts his own hand of, and in total surprise screams out. All are amused and the quality was surperb, the clan that trained Bruce are given much credit and the veterans all agree it was a pity he only cut of his hand.
There, a small presentation of what passes for culture in the Halcyon Empire. Some proper war vehicles to follow soon, I really really hope. I wish for some inspiration.