#NaNoWriMo : Story for the Day: Lucentian Markets

Morning roused in Lucentia capital, and with it came the usual hum and bustle of the marketplace. The colourful stalls with their vibrant hues radiated in the rays of white morning light, casting their vivid tints along the ground and bespeaking their tinged shadows upon the adjacent tents and walls. The Lucentian peoples emerged from their homes, carting their wares to their stalls and entering their shoppes with all the high good humour that a clear and cool morning over the arid capital could warrant. Pleasantries were exchanged, hands were waved, heads were nodded in recognition and understanding as a few blithesome words were exchanged, calls were made across the passages and narrow lanes, and soon everything was in a way to have the long day at the Lucentian markets begin.  Delicate trails of smoke billowed and wafted from the chimneys of the bakery ovens, arrases and curtains waved about in the gentle and warm breeze, and once the market received its first patrons, cries from sellers and merchants of all variety rang out, their dulcet coos wooing young women to regard their wares, their ardent demands enticing passing men, inviting everyone to taste a slice of their desert fruits, touch their fabrics, wear their silver, inhale the blended scents of their nosegays, all in the hopes of making their first sales of the day.
                Lucentia had always been rather liberal with regard to its reserved spaces in the markets; some of the winding paths of the place were so narrow as to make traversing them impossible if there were too many stalls on either side. Space was rented and lent by the princedom, but for those with a more lucrative and prominent business, larger spaces where a shoppe might be placed could be bought. The rent, depending upon which stall one had, the wares one sold, and where in the markets the stand was situated, was considerable, but as Lucentia was enjoying its times of peace and immense affluence under Lamir’s rule, the expense was of little concern. A good stall with quality items in an excellent place would yield double the amount needed to pay the collector each month, and once the rent and taxes on goods were covered, the net was all the merchants’ to do with their fortune as they would. Would there be any mischief of affairs and some try to secret away the true amount made in their accounts, the guilds would be notified once the amounts proclaimed were compared with the amounts that the royal treasury kept. Missions would be dolled and placed on the boards in the guild halls, warrants would be issued, rewards offered, men and men deployed. Few underhanded dealings must go unnoticed in so crowded and animated a place; a few copper pieces here and there were not the crown’s general concern, but those merchants whose object it was to deceive the princedom of its silver and gold was all their scruple. Inspections and accounts where often and thoroughly made, and those who hesitated in allowing the assessors to perform their duties were questioned and investigated directly. If no errors were discovered, an apology was given, the excuses of general nervousness were made, and the continuance of business was allowable whilst another investigation took place in the privacy and seclusion of the treasury. Incongruities yielded a call for the guilds to engage their members and either retrieve was belonged to the princedom or to take its equivalent in trade. Seeing a few guild members strolling through the colourful and canopied lanes gave little cause for alarm, but seeing a guildlord attend them and pageant themselves with the lord at the centre and his subordinates beside him in the true menacing style was a sight to give many terrifying notions. Whom they were planning to overpower and by what means was ever a source of interest and terror to those in the markets. Those who wished to witness and not to witness peered over counters and turned shoulders, many pretending to take no notice of the baskets being overturned, of the fingers being broken, of limbs being twisted, of errant shoppekeepers and merchants being dragged off to the palace, and whilst these sights were enough to excited the interests and horrors of all those who witnessed them, there was one prospect above all others that gained the most attention and dismay from the market crowds.