The Drownings were a form of criminal punishment used in the city of Letheras as well as a public spectacle. The basic idea was that an accused criminal was weighed down with their fine in coins, attached to a rope (for the later retrieval of the coins), and forced to swim the Quillas Canal. The amount of weight attached to the criminal was proportional to the crime, although additional weight could be added if a prisoner looked especially capable. Should that criminal emerge from the other side of the canal intact, they were free to go, though usually they drowned.[1] Crowds watched and wagered on the spectacle from the Low Walk along the canal and the tiers above.[2][3]

The canal was about one hundred paces wide. Those who failed to survive had their corpse dumped back into the river, which led to the saying "Guilty as sludge".[4]

Given the relative rarity of a successful crossing, the Drownings also became the subject of many wagers by the residents of the city.[5]

During the holiday of Errant's Festival, Special Drownings were held involving the most notorious criminals, and wagering was frenzied.[6]

Fines[7] Edit

Crime Fine for men Fine for women
Theft 500 docks 250 docks
Kidnapping 500 docks 250 docks
Failure to repay a debt 500 docks 250 docks
Damage to property 500 docks 250 docks
Murder 500 docks 250 docks
Embezzlement 300 docks 150 docks
Assault without cause 300 docks 150 docks
Cursing in public upon the names of the Empty Throne, the king or the queen 300 docks 150 docks
Loitering 100 docks 50 docks
Voiding in public 100 docks 50 docks
Disrespect 100 docks 50 docks

Wagers Edit

Wagers were taken for not only actual Drownings, but also Strokes, Risings, Flailings, Flounderings, and Vanishings.[5]

In Midnight TidesEdit

Two notable exceptions were Ublala Pung (4300 docks in fines) and Shurq Elalle (200 docks in fines). Because of his Tarthenal heritage (having four lungs) Ublala was simply able to walk across on the bottom of the canal dragging his weights due to his sheer size and strength.[8] Shurq did drown, but a curse prevented her from actually dying, so she emerged undead.[9]

In AssailEdit

Crimson Guard commander, K'azz D'Avore, endured a similar ordeal at the hands of the Letherii. The Guard's storm-ravaged ship made landfall on the Letherii-controlled Isle of Pillars to make repairs and find provisions. They were confronted by Luthal Canar, who charged them with trespassing and demanded their ship in recompense. K'azz offered instead to undergo the Letherii custom of 'payment by trial' to erase their debt. Luthal agreed, and K'azz was weighted with stones and dropped into the lagoon. The Letherii was enraged when K'azz survived the usually fatal test by walking underwater to shore. The Crimson Guard commander offered to forgo the usual reward of one hundred Peaks.[10]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.149/150
  2. Midnight Tides Chapter 2, US SFBC p.75
  3. Midnight Tides Chapter 4, US SFBC p.127
  4. Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.126
  5. 5.0 5.1 Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.127
  6. Midnight Tides, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.197
  7. Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.125-126
  8. Midnight Tides, Chaoter 4, US SFBC p.126-128
  9. Midnight Tides, Chaoter 4, US SFBC p.137-138
  10. Assail (novel), Chapter 4, US HC p.126-135
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