Cry for the Wolf, Chapter 4. by Richard Walker

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Chapter 4.

In the narrow cobbled streets the people thronged. Myranna passed among the late noon crowds, her long tresses of snowy white bound with shining strands of gold, silver, and silk into a gleaming cable that hung across one shoulder and down to her knees. In spite of her pale beauty, the throng passed her by without even a first glance, much less the second which was commonly her due. She moved away from the fairegrounds, where the masons were still putting the finishing touches on the new grandstands for the up-coming tournament.
On down Barrister's Lane she went.
A couple of finger-spans shorter than the average run of the other women on the street, she craned her head about anxiously trying to find her way, carefully working to keep moving with the flow of the crowd. Trailing from one hand was a kerchief of silk, a particularly vibrant shade of scarlet. Past the government buildings she went, all shades of buttery sandstone with their sculpture-filled alcoves and crocketted spires rising like ranks of spears against the deep cerulean sky, down towards the waterfront, almost the last stop on her outing. Noble in bearing she was, swathed in layer upon layer of gauzy silk veils that obscured her face and turned the rich midnight blue of her velvet gown to a pastel ghost of its true hue. Her gown was simple unembellished velvet but impeccable of cut. Under those veils her complexion was the pale translucent ivory of one who rarely went out in the sun. A mysterious lady of noble bearing, she wandered on foot and unaccompanied in the streets. This in and of itself was a strange sight, violating all the accepted rules of propriety. She was broad-shouldered and hipped with a waistline still taut and narrow, lush curves all still firm with the tone of youth, the sort of figure that promised much pleasure. Yet, no one moved to accost her. None seemed even to see her. She moved carefully among the people, with them, anonymous in a crowd that should by all rights have been struck by her beauty, her grace and refinement. Even under her many veils there was something chilling about her eyes that quite belied the alluring figure the lady cut. She tried to peer through the drifting crowds as she moved along with them. With eyes of chilly blue, as pale and unreachable as a cloud-streaked sky. she looked at none in particular but seemed to look for something. Carefully plucked eyebrows like finely arched lines of frost knitted briefly in what appeared to be irritation.
Still wrapped in mystery, she arrived at the waterfront. She paused, smelling the sharp saltiness on the air, the rank dead-fish smell of the wharf-rat neighborhoods that were built up on pilings among the piers, reaching like wasted fingers out over the sandy strand towards the deeper channel at the center of the Straits. So many, so many, so busy. Before her, cask upon cask of fresh-cut flowers was being unloaded from the small local boats, and many more bright sheaves were being carried in deep baskets on the shoulders of local men and women, all to be delivered to the veritable army of townswomen in the squares who were twining them into innumerable massive garlands, each more than a half-dozen rods long.

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