- "I have of late - but wherefore I know not - lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me: no, nor woman neither." — Hamlet, Act 2 Scene II
Quintessence of Dust is an unexceptional entity. Its economy is not the strongest and its companies do not hold whole populations in their sway; its army is a poor, humble shadow of a force, outdated, outgunned, outmanned; its government is benevolent but incompetent and its public services do not meet the expectations of the tax rates supplying them. The nation has no empire, few allies, and fewer enemies; it bobs, unseen, in the cold waters of global apathy.
Its soils are barren and little of value lies beneath, bar a half-seen history of past civilizations that met their deaths in similar squalor of interest and repute. The sharp beauty of rare slivers of countryside are squeezed out by vast expanses of flat, low moorland, and even its largest cities cannot muster any hint of buzz or excitement at their illuminated nights. There is no bustling in the streets, as people scurry home to stare into their fires, no idle banter on the Metro, no glimmer of joy at the annual parades of colour and noise.
Quodites are not a happy people, but then they are not really a people at all. The land is one of migrants: everyone has come from somewhere, whether seeking refuge, or respite, or rescue. Few find it, and now their lives are dogged by the wonder of whether tedium oppresses more than tyranny. Quodite minds are clogged with the doctrine of reason, the hegemony of scientific enquiry, the near-universal scorn for religion; but in the night, they are prone to dreams; and it is terrible.