The Thembrian Capital is the primary settlement of Thembria.
The seat of Thembria's national government, the Thembrian capital city is the largest settlement in the entire country. Covering several square miles of territory, the Thembrian capital serves as a focal point for the nation's affairs. Much of the capital city consists of residential areas where the commoners work and dwell in state-supplied housing. In the central square of the town stands a very large statue of the High Marshall himself, facing the capitol building. Thembrian tanks and patrol vehicles cruise the streets of the Thembrian capital while public loudspeakers broadcast important news and official government bulletins to the unsuspecting populace.
The Capital City
The Thembrian capital city spreads out from the front of the government building like the village bourg at the foot of a medieval castle. The layout of the residential sector seems to be the template for smaller villages and hamlets across the country, such as the Thembrian Gruel Reserve. Snow-filled streets run perpendicular to the capitol, cutting through rows of houses supplied to the people by the state.
LIFE IN THE CITY LIMITS
Nowhere does the rift between the peasant class and the ruling class get more pronounced than here at the root of Thembria's power. While a handful of commoners run their own small shops or take to raising radishes and chickens, the majority of able-bodied Thembrians join the ranks of the proletariat — the wage earning factory workers who carry the Glorious People's industries on their backs. Either holed up in their drafty cottages or stuck in daylong lines to the general store, the Thembrian people leave their streets devoid of activity.
Under the present regime, Thembrian military forces patrol the streets of the capital city continuously. The government insists the army's presence keeps the capital safe, yet any candid observer may compare the Thembrians to a people under occupation. Tank columns stream through the town's avenues like cars in rush hour traffic, while roadsters belonging to Thembrian Army patrols and the Slush Police turn empty roads and byways into parking lots.
Thembrian troops stationed in the capital make the rounds daily; they do not overtly harass the townsfolk, but make sure the people stay in full compliance with official regulations prescribed for every aspect of life. Literal examples of the figurative "thought police" of repressive societies, Thembrian agents crack down on creative pursuits, jail anybody who participates in unauthorized fun and recreation, and feed the populace a steady diet of government pabulum and spoon-fed propaganda.
The Glorious People's Army maintains military installations within the city limits, such as warehouses holding confiscated goods, impounded foreign planes, and other "evidence."
The Capitol Building
The Thembrian capitol building, an imposing six-story concrete structure at the far end of the city, houses various government and military departments, the Thembrian ministry delegation, and the High Marshall's office. From here, practically all Thembrian international relations, military decisions, state mandates, and bureaucratic regulations are put into effect.
The decision to centralize all governmental power under one roof is not wholly unjustified. Thembria plainly lacks the infrastructure — highways, communication lines, power grids — necessary to sustain local law in settlements separated by miles of frozen wilderness. Indeed, the fact that the bureaucracy functions as a cohesive unit might be the very reason anything gets done in Thembrian politics.
The transition from humble townscape to elite office happens when one enters the capitol. Unlike the commoners' houses, the capitol building keeps out the chill of Thembria's winds. Foreign critics portray the insulation as a metaphor for the government's indifference to the bleak conditions just outside its walls. Hallways tend to run lengthwise through the building, interrupted at points by stairways scaling junctures between floors.
Thembrian interior design obviously thrives on minimalism. Electric spotlights illuminate hanging banners and tasteless portraits sprinkled in random spots along the bare-brick walls. Nearly all interior lighting is artificial, except in offices along the building's outer wall where windows are located.
Representatives of every facet of the Thembrian bureaucracy take up residence in the capitol's offices. A simple, square configuration makes these rooms suited for any purpose or function. Privileged officials have their pick of offices on the outer wall, while their lackeys occupy dim, windowless rooms deep within the complex.
Key locations include the radar room — command terminal for Thembria's air detection system — and the bench of inquiry, often presided by Colonel Spigot, head of the Glorious People's Air Force. Most important of all is the office of the High Marshal, where the leader hosts appointments with delegates, ministers, and his personal barber.
Thembrian leaders' pride in their nation is matched only by their paranoia that it will become a target for other, inferior and naturally envious world neighbors. Swirling reports of espionage and assassination attempts on the High Marshall (such as the usual bomb scare during Thembria's Slush Festival) work customs inspectors and border guards into a frenzy of random arrests, incarcerations, and even executions of suspicious foreign nationals. Such gross malfeasances leave a bad impression on diplomats, so Thembrian security enforcers have learned to handle these matters discreetly. Internal affairs specialists comb over passports, cross-examine background data on visitors, and test foreign packages for poison and explosives.
A veritable fortress, the Thembrian capitol is patrolled by hundreds of trained soldiers, making it virtually impenetrable. The basement level contains extensive dungeons and cell blocks, into which government prosecutors throw those who rebel against the system. Although the jail can hold hundreds of prisoners, very few take up permanent residence — free-thinking radicals and domestic terrorists get put into prison camps (Bedevilled Island being home to the worst offenders of all). Outlanders caught traveling with expired passports or arrested as spies face one of two fates: indefinite detainment in the dungeon's depths, or a fast trip to the firing squad. Clemency is virtually unheard of, but remains a remote possibility for first offenders charged as accomplices to the crime.
THE FIRING SQUAD
The way Thembrians treat the issue of capital punishment, one would believe they invented the concept. Public execution is as much an art as it is a pastime in Thembrian culture, approached by common citizens with the enthusiasm of spectators at a sporting event. Customarily, Thembrian military chiefs are awarded their own firing squads, which they use as leverage to keep underlings in line — although there's no misconduct that a simple flogging will not cure. Victims of the firing squad may or may not receive a blindfold; but for the hanging afterward, they may have the honor of picking out their own noose!