“The Light that moulded us moulded our FLESH! Not our garments! Why do we seek to hide in shame the thing that should be our proudest possession? Our BODIES BEG FOR RELEASE!”
The preacher – a hundred years if he was a day – gyrates with every syllable, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination of Thracce’s citizens. “Tobold!” shouts the Mayor, surrounded by a guard of four men sporting blunt instruments and patchwork armour. “You old fool, get off there! And put some clothes on for Light’s sake!”
“The light of the Hermits’ lanterns reveal all, and yet you, a mere ink-dribbler, dare try to obscure our inner beauty?”
He speaks to a guard. “Cart this fool off to the cells – keep him there for a day and get him a damn modesty robe.” To the rabble of Thracce he raises his voice. “Now I know how the Holy King and Church feel about the naked body, but we are a coastal city – we will be mingling with foreigners from far and wide looking to trade – and we need to appeal to some decency. Spread the word – guards will be severely punishing anyone caught flaunting their ‘proudest possession’, especially today.”
As the crowd – peppered with citizens who unclothed in a fit of religious fervour – disperses, the Mayor looks upon the budding city of Thracce in all its glory. Ancient buildings in disrepair, unfinished new ones – still more scaffold than structure, all blind to the street urchins scurrying amongst them. This trade deal needs to go well. The decaying city demands it. The King demands it. But most importantly, the true power of Greater Naxis, the Church, demands it. The banner of Hermitism, a stark white field upon which a cloaked, lantern bearing figure is drawn, hangs from almost every building. The Mayor wearily returns to his manor, preparing to greet the oncoming foreign delegate.