This is my weekly serial, written raw as a writing exercise.
You can find the first post in the series here.
A ripple of excitement went through the crowd as Diamond Silvermane stood before them. She was beautiful, wealthy, and courageous enough to try to challenge The Twins in Union Hall: an intoxicating combination.
“Humility does not come easily to me,” Diamond began, her tone contrite, almost reflective. “I was born on the streets of Cliffshadow. After my parents died, my aunt sold my virginity rights for a small fortune. I hated that woman, but she gave me the best advice that I ever heard as the carriage came to take me to Old Town: ‘Sell yourself and take advantage of every opportunity you have, or someone else will.’ I followed that advice and I parlayed my beauty into freedom and fortune. I sought to break the Union to help others follow in my path, but I can see now that I was mistaken.”
There was a ripple of agreement.
“You all know that my patron is Lily Gemarkand. Her sister, Sapphire, introduced us, and our friendship has opened new doors to me. But the rarefied circles that I travel in have coloured my views. Running the Pink Pearl has cleansed them.”
I exchanged a glance with Vethri; Diamond was executing a deft pivot. While her shift would be seen as one of pure self-interest by some, she had the charisma to convince others of her conversion, I could see.
“I am still an individualist at heart, and while I believe that the Union takes far too much gold from hard working Doxies, but it is naive to think that we can do without it. The Union gives us power in city politics and it gives us a way to organize agreements between brothels. I believe in The Union most of all because it gives those who have the talent a chance to work their way into better and better institutions. As a madame within the Doxies’s Union I can attract the best talent from houses of pleasure throughout the city, which is admittedly very difficult if every brothel is a business unto itself.”
I saw more than a few nod at this. It was a point that all the membership agreed upon, and a persuasive opening.
“That is what this Union does best; it gives a smart, ambitious Doxie the tools that she needs to make the connections that will allow her to rise to the full extent of her talent. Without the Union, some of the Doxies and Joyboys would be little less than slaves to violent gangs and pimps, and the great pleasure houses of Myrrhn would have access to less talent. In short, The Union is good because it serves the interest of the individual by protecting her from predators and organizing movement between districts. As for political power, The Union strong enough to resist burdensome outside regulations that other forces in the city might impose on us. Yes, I’ll say it, the Union is good!”
Diamond said it with such enthusiasm that it drew cheers from many.
“But, I still feel that The Union is too intrusive, and too expensive for those of us who work hard to meet the limits of our ambitions. Why should I have to pay a greater percentage of my earnings than someone who has not worked as hard as I have? Shouldn’t we all pay an equal amount? We are all here for they money, and many of us do not get enough back from The Union considering how much we pay in fees. In the end, its just another tax, and no one likes taxes.”
This, of course drew more cheers.
“And while The Doxies’s Union protects us from outside regulation, it is too often used as a tool to regulate hard working Doxies. Do we really need all of these classes to do the things that we are naturally equipped to do? Are the apprenticeships necessary? Do we really need more people telling us what to do? I think we get enough of that from our clients…”
There was laughter.
“I want leadership of The Union to lift burdensome regulations, ease fees, and make The Union a better, safer place where Doxies’s have the freedom to grow. That is why I am here tonight. That is why I am challenging The Twins.”