From an overview, for the newcomer, of the singular Kaseian society:
The first thing a visitor needs to know upon arrival in the capital is that, in Kasei Vallis, the jeddak rules not so much a princedom but an everlasting house party. He is not so much a king as a seductive but quite domineering host. His laws are are more invitations that one ought not refuse. When he drinks, everyone drinks. When he eats, somebody else cooks (but more on that point in a moment).
The boys of Kasei Vallis—rather more than the girls, it must be said—bear the visible hallmarks of his tastes and obessions: many of their bodies are inked elaborately in livid tattoos—more true of those who were of a certain age when the jeddak was most enthusiastic about skin art. Those younger ones who have fewer tattoos still tend to have their ears and nipples and cocks pierced with rings and bars of tantalum and osmium. What is a fad for the jeddak becomes a lifestyle for the young men of the princedom. When his taste in music shifts, as it frequently does, bands are hastily formed and subsequently disbanded overnight. If he enjoys a TV show, then all Kasei Vallis enjoys it with him. Likewise, new modes conveyance prosper and fail on his whim: it’s motorcars this season, and it will be zeppelins next. Whatever the topic, whatever the detail, currying the jeddak’s favor is always in vogue—except when it’s not. During those seasons, punks coif their hair into outré configurations, adopt a surly manner and profess to give not a damn about the likes and dislikes of their prince. But they come nonetheless to his parlors and party halls when he calls. And soon enough, they again follow his lead. And why do they behave this way? Does the jeddak of Kasei Vallis hold them in thrall by his force of arms, by his authoritarian operation of the levers of the state? No, he does it by sheer force of his charm and beauty, by circuses and bread—more stew than bread, really.
Which brings me back to the point I was about to make earlier. While Kasei Vallis eats when their jeddak feasts, someone needs to cook that feast. In the deepest warrens of the jeddak’s compound, a kitchen steams and sizzles, its preparation tables heaped with the finest produce of all the Red Planet. If a visitor were to wander into this hidden but fantastic corner of the jeddak’s princely lair, one might find a massive thirteen-eyed stove, blackened by three centuries of nearly continuous use, and standing before it a young man of no particular note other than that it is he who is there and no one else. And when you draw near to that stove and get a closer look at that young man, you will recognize him from as if from a past life that you cannot quite remember having lived. He will not tell you his name, but you will somehow know that it is Dagen and that you have known that name before. This is important: you will seduce him as you suspect he may have seduced you before in another world. When the jeddak eats, it is Dagen who cooks. And now you are in the kitchen of the jeddak, his cook in your large hands.
So will the jeddak drop dead from poisin in his food? Will you be the slayer of a prince? And if you are, will you remember having done it? Will it be a conscious action, or a forgotten one, the reason for it lost in the hazel haze of Dagen’s eyes? You will wonder who seduced whom as you step into the throne room, applauded by the Warlords of Mars, feeling vastly powerful yet stripped naked by the cook’s eyes. You will never forget your visit to Kasei Vallis, its sensual delights and horrid excesses, the magnificent and terrible things you did there.