Title: Moonwater Perfume Author: leiamoody Timeframe: 0.1-0.10ABY Characters: OC's (Palai Cerunna, Josym Di'sallach, etc.) Genre: Drama, Angst, Romance Summary: In the safety of her book of hours, a courtesan records her thoughts. Notes: Written for the Dear Diary '07 Challenge. (Link to the Fanfiction.net posting with uninterrupted chapters: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8701222/1/Moonwater-Perfume) Written during The Fourth Veiled Hour Najahal is glowing through the curtains, shining down upon us. She was once the guide from the holy place of Ysonesse, our glorious and beloved home world of legend. In the days soon after the Deluge, the emergency intervention was attributed to her, the moon goddess, when they came to rescue our people from the floods. They took us away and placed us upon the shores of another planet. Ages upon ages ago, we were given another home. But somewhere in our blood, this world has never felt like a home. And we have treated the lands poorly, and turned ourselves into creatures so cruel, so harsh, so cold. Locked away at night, or crawling through the streets in the veiled hours seeking the false pleasures of sin. To be honest, it isn't much different in the daytime, when Lisou holds ascendancy in the sky. Moon or sun, it doesn't matter; we're blessed with nothing. Just cursed with everything that is base and impure in human nature. Such is the nature of life on Deiu. I am in the rarefied world of Commitment, which is one form of damnation. The second might seem to be worse, for it means no protection for the poor girls caught up in its tangles. Among the dark and dirty corners, the cold duracrete alleys, the crawling vines of the mountain passes...what places to conduct their deeds. Maybe it can be said I at least bear some good fortune in my state, given comfortable beds under my back during my performances. After it's over, when I'm alone in my chamber, I can retreat into the shelter of thick plush blankets and pillows so I can sleep. And I have the protection of the manor, high in the ranges, behind the fortress walls. Isn't it fortunate that I'm here instead of down there? In the city, I would be penniless. I would be at the mercy of any client carting about half a jig in his purse. The only saving grace comes at the end of the act. He collapses into his empty dreams. Only then does the poor girl (it's always girls placing themselves at the whims of the tradesmen and farmers) have a chance to unlock her heart from the prison she has to keep it in. Surely I'm favored? I've never been forced to lay with a man for money or shelter unless I had some choice in the matter first. Though I'm stuck in Commitment, I do have some free will. It is certain sure that I must depend upon the men of the establishment for survival. If I were cast out tomorrow by the Prestat...well, I'm not young, so what would become of me? The workers would probably still take me for an hour, as sex is so often such an act of desperation that it leaves very little room for conscious decision. I would hope they might take pity on me. But if not, then I would most likely die. A cortigia banished from one of the Houses would never find work among the bars and other gathering places of the dregs. The prejudice of the lower class against the aristos is too entrenched here. Sometimes I have to ask myself the questions I don't want to feel...the things I don't want to know. Tonight I would have to say, "So, Palai, are you any different? Truly? If the goddess we thought guided us eons ago is nothing more than a moon, then what are you called?" Really, in the end, I can't lie to myself. What is my answer? "Only a courtesan."