P is for for posturing, and peacocks, and poinsettias
If Scheffenon, high on the Northern Sea, was the strange step-child of the nation, then Orschëst, down by the southern border, was its misbehaving youngest child. Scheffenon talked to strangers because they had money and trade goods. Orschëst talked to them because they were fun.
The woman of Orschëst were known across the world for being elegant. Fashions that would end up in Scheffenon in fifteen or fifty years began with a woman’s whim in Orschëst. And not just Scheffenon; Orschëst fashions traveled the known world.
If Orschëst women were fashion-setters, their young men were something else indeed. In that age when they were no longer children but had not yet learned the wisdom of adulthood, they preened and postured like peacocks. “The Orschëst Poinsettias.”
They competed: who could wear the brightest colors, the most colors at once. Whose boots could sport the most extreme cut, whose doublets could have the most buttons. They competed for their hair – wearing it longest, shorted, most braids or highest styling. There was not a young man in Orschëst who looked what the rest of the country would call normal, not from the time he was given his first belt-blade to the time he first convinced a woman to keep his calling card.
“It’s like they are continually drunk on the show,” more than one tourist from the midlands has been overheard saying. “Like they’re afraid what happens if, for one minute, they stop showing off.”
The more astute tourists have noticed, that while every city in the nation has their statues, Orschëst has only one. The Faceless Lady, as she is called by those who do not know her name – and nobody speaks her name aloud – stands in the center of Orschëst. And every young Orschëst Peacock in his feathers will stop by her statue, showing off his brilliant plumage. “Dancing for the Lady,” the tourists call it, and never wonder why the boys look so frightened when they dance.
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