You’re all more than ready to leave Truna, terrified you may have been infected with elans during your stay there. I assure you the city has been safe for years, but you still feel uneasy. This whole region was affected by the plague. Nonetheless, you are happy when we cross the mountains to the desert. We stay in a town along a river before reaching our final destination on Nakivi, a city along the edge of the Uzan Lake.
Today I tell you a bedtime story children in Lukravis hear.
* * * * *
In a bygone time, there was a girl who lived with her mother, aunt, brother, and two cousins in a tiny wooden home on the outskirts of a city. The children were always hungry and wore hand-me-down clothes that didn’t fit right. The girl, Heta, dreamed of being able to make her own clothes. When she shared this dream with her mother, her mother told her something she would never forget.
“Heta, this is the life you were born into, and this is the life you will live unless you marry a rich person.”
“How do I marry a rich person?” Heta asked.
“You have to make him want to be with you,” her mother said. “You have to be the perfect lady.”
Heta always kept this in mind. She learned manners and proper behavior, and she made sure to take good care of her skin and hair. She helped her mother make soap to sell, so they would have more money for healthy food. Heta did everything she could to make herself into a fine young lady.
When it came time for her to learn a job, she knew she wanted to be a tailor and apprenticed with several masters around the city. Heta was a good student and did well with her work. By the time she was an adult, she was a fine tailor. The only problem was she couldn’t afford to open her own shop, so she had to work as a seamstress for one of the wealthier tailors who had a booth in the biggest market at the center of town.
When Heta was at work, she noticed an attractive young man who was always buying nice clothes from her boss. Heta was always polite to the young man when he came in and suggested accessories to go with the clothes he bought. He started paying more attention to her and was pleased when he learned she had made many of the items he bought. She eventually learned his name was Gerret and that he was a wine merchant.
Heta was always on her best behavior around Gerret, and he spent more and more time interacting with her when he came to her booth. Heta and Gerret began courting, spending time with each other around the city. Gerret showed Heta all sorts of nice places Heta could never afford to see on her own. She went to plays and concerts for the first time.
Heta’s mother reminded her that she had to keep him interested in her for four years before they could get married, so Heta did everything she could to keep Gerret from ending their courtship. When the four years were over, she and Gerret signed their marriage contract, and Heta moved into his lavish home in the city center.
But Heta’s mother reminded her still that the contract only lasted for eight years, so she could never let her guard down. Otherwise, Gerret might choose not to renew the contract. And so Heta was always the perfect wife, always working to please her husband, because she knew that was the only way she would be able to live a life outside of poverty.