Intro to Chapter 10

daggerWow, long time since I wrote anything here!

As I’m sure you noticed, I’ve written a good portion of Chapter 10 and posted it on FictionPress. With two main maps of Rome’s mansion posted, and a third map underway, my mind is now moving from hidden doors and secret passageways to the puzzles, stereotypes, and inner workings of society. Much to my chagrin, I have been forced to map out a rough sketch of Labriella’s town, thereby adding to the growing number of maps rattling around in my head. Without at least a rough sketch of the town, it is almost impossible to determine where Rome should go next in his quest for information, or what types of people he will meet and the nature of the help he will receive.

Sexism scouts be warned: This story will have all kinds of stereotypes. It is not that I endorse stereotypes. On the contrary: I make stereotypes to break them. It is my personal understanding that, while people hate to be put in a category, because everyone wants to be thought “unique” and “original,” each person either enjoys or overlooks the advantages of having a stereotype forced onto them, to either their advantage or their downfall.

What do I mean?

I mean if you are considered a “jock,” many people may say you are good at sports and nothing else. The jock has the advantage, because people are expecting them to use brawn instead of brains. By using quick wit and intellect, the jock may overpower their unsuspecting opponent in a heartbeat, at the time of their choosing.

I mean if you are considered a “nerd,” many people may assume that your only redeeming quality is your above-average intelligence. The nerd has the advantage, because people expect them to rely on good grades and lengthy explanations full of big words to get them through life. But many nerds are deemed such because they care more for their mind than their appearance, and at the drop of a hat, if they really wanted to, they could show the outward beauty they’ve had all along and stun their opponents into shocked silence.

I mean that nobility, merchants, business owners, bartenders, common people, servants, prostitutes, doctors, and priests, heroes and villains, men and women, major and minor characters, are all expected to act a certain way, and while they may be trapped by the heavy weight of expectations others have put on them due to their station, they are also granted advantages due to their station, borne of the element of surprise and the opportunity for the unexpected.

There is the added bonus that most people label what they are afraid of. For instance, the average high schooler might be afraid of the jock’s physical strength or the nerd’s genius or the artist’s viewpoint. People are afraid of talents and abilities they believe they do not have, skills or experiences they believe will give others the upper hand and make them vulnerable. People persecute what they don’t understand, misinterpreting it as a threat.

Stereotypes are made to be broken. The story of a beauty and a beast is the epitome of that, no matter the writer or their chosen rendition. It is an inescapable contrast borne of other people’s labels induced upon that which they can and cannot understand.

And so I set about to make a society in order to break it, that it might be remade, and then broken again, and so on. Is our society not one which constantly changes? Are stereotypes and tendencies of Rome and Labriella’s world so different from the history (and in many ways, the present) world of our own? Just because we don’t like certain events in our history, doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. Just because we don’t like certain aspects of our society, doesn’t mean they don’t exist, or that we don’t have to deal with them–many times on a daily basis.

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Rome’s Investigation

I’ve been spending an immense amount of time sorting out the classes for the society I’ve created. Here is a generalized list of the classes, from top to bottom:

  1. Nobles
  2. Merchants
  3. Innkeepers
  4. Businessmen
  5. Businesswomen
  6. Tavern Owners (bar tenders)
  7. Commoners
  8. Servants

There are a few extra classifications as well. Prostitutes and Servants get the brunt of everything, and (obviously) suffer the most in society. Commoners are barely a step up from Servants (a fact of which they are very aware), and Tavern Owners are really only successful/glorified Commoners. Businesswomen are somewhat on the same level as Tavern Owners, except that they are looked down upon by nearly everyone in the community (so they have a rough time of it). Businessmen are quite wealthy, and although arrogant, are prone to using flattery. Innkeepers are obsessed with money, so they will do almost anything for a price. Merchants are the “bad boys” on the block; the smart people just get out of their way. Noblewomen are full of plots and schemes (and lots of drama), and Noblemen are the top of the food chain (and require subsequent bowing and scraping).

Those not mentioned (besides the Prostitutes) are those generally associated with the Temple (which is a class system all its own). In the temple you have (from the ground up) Temple Servants, Priests, and Temple Maidens. Temple Servants are the extreme bottom of the social ladder, being fodder to the other temple inhabitants, though still somewhat respected by the normal citizens of the town for fear of the Temple (which does protect its own, servant or higher). Priests (and Priestesses) take care of the basic functions and administration of the temple. Temple Maidens are subject to Priests/Priestesses, but in many ways they actually have more power (physically, not necessarily politically). Healers are an odd group, sometimes found in temples and sometimes on their own, depending on personal preference.

Prostitutes are generally left to protect their own. Most of the time they have owners (just like Servants), and they are treated as even below Servants. They usually end up very independent personalities, but they do band together to protect their own when the group is threatened.

People who manage the storefronts along the streets are generally commoners, although Businesswomen do so as well (usually bigger storefronts though, maybe part of it is actually inside a building), and Merchants may open a storefront to introduce their wares to a new area. However, Merchants usually have their own indoor stores, comparable to those of Businessmen (if not greater).

 

Please note that this “generalized” information might prove VERY helpful before you read Chapter 10 (which I am currently about halfway through, or more)—unless you want to learn EVERYTHING as Rome does, which is fine, but it might be a little mind-boggling.