NaNoWriMo 2009: Shades of Gray [Excerpt 03]

2009 November 3 § Leave a comment

Lhurriel remembered idle daydreams that she’d had as a child, wishing she could become this or that. She especially remembered, the rare times when she sneaked beyond the Blue Gates (so named for the river that separated parts of the Lower City from more well-to-do areas), seeing pretty young women in elegant, embroidered dresses, their entire wardrobes enough to feed five families from the Lower City for an entire year. (If you counted their accessories and various ornaments, perhaps another year or two.) They stepped out of carriages that were painted in gold gilt and paneled with the rainbow of an oyster shell’s insides, driven by a servant wearing livery that could probably sell for at least a few months’ lodging. Lhurriel didn’t have a particular eye for horseflesh, but paired or matched anything tended to be pricey, and the nobility would have nothing but perfect-looking matches in their house colors.

Such daydreams were long forgotten, now, and more like the stuff of jokes and laughter. Lhurriel held no delusions about her lot in life, and her place in the societal hierarchy. Those who possessed money and riches, possessed the privilege of passing laws to keep themselves luxuriously wealthy in their wasteful, frivolous lifestyles. To them, everyone else – commoners and pickpockets like her, merchants who sold what others made, and artisans who sweated and worked with their hands – deserved their lot for failing to uphold a certain standard of virtue and honor in their past lives.

Or so ‘they’ claimed. They, of the frivolous, wasteful, and ignorant lifestyles – they, who frittered away their carefree lives in a world of idle gossip and glittering lights, while others within the walls of the same city begged and starved, worked around the clock, and suffered indignities that no man, woman, or child should need to suffer in order to see tomorrow’s sunrise.

Was it ignorance or selfishness that made their worlds so different, so far apart?

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