The small port of Quarter Harbor is home to a State Tower, just one of many. A young enumerator, under the throes of desire, discovers a secret only few know about. Getting the girl may cost him his livelihood and reward him the ire of the one he lusts for.
Marketplace flyers pinned to post and cloth threaten to ignite in the early heatwave.
Maron Elly walked in his regulation jacket everyday. Always down the same path from his lonely apartment. Always to the State Archival Hall by way of the market stalls. The heat was tremendous against the heavy, dark wool of the costume. And it itched against his light skin.
He passed the swarthy money changer who always called out with that same insipid tone, attempting to coax the sandy-haired administrator of his money, to look at the wares in the stalls next to his table. In a putrid breath, mostly of fish which always sent the young man reeling, the older money changer suggested he could exchange a gold crown for as much as five silver marks. Maron, almost an official State enumerator knowing the value of a crown, never allowed a deal to be struck.
"I'm all out of funds, fine sir." he said. Maron tapped his pocket in gesture, feeling the stiff edges of a coin tapping against his chest.
"Ah, you're always broke!" the changer replied, "Some State's boy you are."
Maron went to see a blind vulture on her rug, all her grotesque small wares displayed, and she flashed that broken smile between long white hair adorned in gold, typical for the elder women of the harbor. The young administrator held a light conversation with the old woman as he lifted a figurine and exchanged it for a whole crown.
This happened every day.
Maron always felt broke, but not for long.