This Shining City Built Of Gold

Posted: 5th September 2014 by Krin in Journal

In Vostock, se see Lithmore City as a place of riches and of opportunity. A place of culture and knowledge where—at the center of King Iain’s Empire, civilization can flourish. I came here to make something of myself, to seize control of my life and give myself the luxury and influence that was denied to me by my mother’s death and by my father’s decision to remarry. In Lithmore City I saw an opportunity to not have the entirety of my life determined by the three letters that connect my names. I have accepted that I will never be the Baroness that I was born to be; I have my father’s love and he has given me enough to remain happy by any typical metric, but in my heart I burn with a hidden anger that he chose to give to me the honorable ‘mal’ and draw others closer to his heart. In Lithmore City I became a ‘von’ again, and the people of the city have been content to allow me to live out my lie: Vena von Storix.

Perhaps it is because this entire city is mired in a single great lie, a vast gilded cage that holds within it an undercurrent of debauchery and sin and vice. Within the very shadows of the great cathedral mages come and go, and no place is truly safe—and it is only that some places are more dangerous than others that gives anybody any real comfort. “Coiler Avenue,” they might say, “Is a long stride from Southside, so it must be fine.” Inside I laugh, outside I only smile. People ask why I chose to become a Cadet of the Reeves, and it is not a lie that I feel that fervor for Justice, a passion for the Law and a determination to see it’s reach extended to every crevice of the city—it is, after all, the Law which has shaped who I am, that for all my life I have been treated as an unfortunate child rather than the eldest daughter of the Baron Vyric von Vasian. Why should a single journey change my life’s course as being dictated by the laws of Kings and Queens by the  period movements of the courts? I am a woman of passion and emotions—though it is much easier to be such here alone, with only my pen and my journal for focus; the Reeves can use my talents, and I can be an aid to this deceptive city and do good things, good work.

But underneath my virtues is a pool of blistering-hot revenge that I cannot deny.

I came to Lithmore with the intent to study at the university and it was my father’s hope that I could learn a profession or find a posting that would allow me my own comforts and also keep me from troubling Iseri and though I still hold my official enrollment there, I do not attend. I did for several months, of course, and went through the easily-learned paths and rote studies and I was comfortable but not content in that house on Willow Lane. I was bored, I was restless, and though to some I might have been brave I was also very deeply a fool.

A snow had just swept down from the north when I chose to visit Southside alone, without the protection that a few silver coins could have provided to me. I thought that the worst of the people who fueled the rumors I had heard would be indoors, huddled beneath blankets and around fires. I thought that guards would tend to their duties, that the patrols would still be out and the watchmen watchful. I thought that I would be safe.

But Lithmore City—that gilded jewel of the kingdom, that place which cannot stand to the stories told of it—cannot warm the hearts of the Queen’s Guard, and the shine of their breastplates and the weight of their armor cannot on its own keep the men to their duty. It was they, not the strongarms and daggerhands of Southside, who were kept sloth around flames.

I still remember the crooked yellow grin of the man who robbed me. He stole the rings off of my fingers and the jewels off of my wrists. He called himself a noble man, a man of principle, but he still stole my cloak and stripped me down to my tunic and skirt and laughed and hit me when I cursed him a coward.

Some men of Lithmore would cry for me if I shared to them my story, but would any of them truly care, beyond the depth of skin and hope of coin and thanks that it was not them? They would be sorrowful that they could not help, they would tell me that not all men are men without honor—as if it is a comfort to me to hear of their idle virtues and seated kindnesses. If I were their horse they would fill with rage and no hellish magic or god above would stop them from tracking down the rapscallions and ensuring I was never hurt again, but I am not their horse, thank Dav for that, and I do not need their shallow attempts to enlarge themselves in the eyes of trauma.

No, I will take care of myself, as I always have, and I will be the solution to my own problems.

And I, Vena mal Vasian, Vena von Storix, will see such men punished. Before the Lord of Springs I swear it: I will bring Justice and safety to Lithmore City. I will remove the lies from the edges and forge it to something stronger, and I will leave no room for wickedness.

Though I do not yet know how.