Of Windows and Walls
A snippet of the Praetor's life in Bevelle
The day was bright in Bevelle. The windows of the massive complex within which the ruling body of New Yevon resided glimmered in the sunlight. The glass in them had a slight opaque quality about it, which, when viewed from afar, made it look like the building was donned with small rectangular pearls.
The New Yevon headquarters – formerly a temple of Yevon – stood near the edge of the city, on a precipice that overlooked the residence area. The view was quite spectacular, especially when the sun set the sea on fire as it descended beyond the horizon, or when the moon cast its glistening strands upon the water as it rose to the velvety sky. So naturally, with such a spectacular view, all the windows on the complex opened towards the inner city and the sea.
Which was something that never ceased to irritate Baralai.
Upon first entering the building, he had spent hours on the numerous temple balconies, marvelling at the sight that opened in front of him: hundreds of houses which, from his vantage point, looked like seashells, or, perhaps, smooth and polished pebbles from a particularly lavish necklace that had scattered all over soft white sand. He would stand on the balcony and let his eyes rest on the city while his soul rested on its beauty, his thoughts leaving the troubles of the day far behind.
He never would have thought he would tire of the sight. Yet, as the weeks and months wore on, bringing with them numerous tasks and the ever-growing responsibility as the other party members kept heaping their work on him, claiming he could do it better, he started to grow weary of the view. Previously, he had looked at the city and the sea and seen the shifting lights and the weaving colours. Now, when he looked at the houses, he saw faction squabbles between neighbours. When he looked at the market squares, he saw mounds of merchant reservation tickets waiting for approval. And when he looked at the sea, he saw (apart from the completely unsolvable sewage problem – which may have been an improvement from Sin, but somehow failed to look any better for it) the entire Spira. Which always made him think of the monstrosity that lay beneath the city.
It was not really that surprising that he eventually grew quite sick of the look of Bevelle.
So he left the balconies and the high-arching pearl panes and went looking for a window that would treat him the sight of Macalania Forest. He spent all his spare time over the span of several days by roaming the halls and chambers on the forest side of the building, finding nothing but walls; walls painted with murals, walls covered with tapestries, walls hung with portraits of the Maesters of ages past, plain, undecorated walls… It was only when he thought of lifting one of the tapestries to see what was underneath that he realised that all the windows facing the forest had been bricked up and covered, hiding the insides of the temple from Spira outside. Someone must have thought that the temple might be attacked by exiled groups, because on closer inspection, it revealed to be built like a fortress.
Wretched Yevonites with their all-consuming paranoia, Nooj would have said.
What he disliked most, though, was how, every time he walked through the tapestry-draped halls – and he did quite a lot of that nowadays, since the windows that did exist had lost theirappeal – he would be reminded of the temples' habit of huddling to themselves and turning their backs to the rest of Spira, stubbornly refusing to look at anything and everything thathad toedout of the line of their law and order. The temple ruled its city, the city bowed to its temple, and both acted as though Spira encompassed nothing but them.
Baralai never returned to the balconies. Although there would never again be a time when terror appeared into the hearts of the citizens in the form of one massive fin rising slowly out of the sea in the horizon, he had begun to see, in his mind's eye, the waters tearing aside and sizzling into grey fog from the way of a brilliant and terrible ray of energy that rose from the depths of the earth itself and smote the great city into ashes, in the matter of seconds.
He would really have preferred to look at the woods. Being so much closer than the sea, the tall, intimidating trees in their waning gowns of ice would have looked much bigger than the city below, making the world look larger and sturdier as well, instead of something that could almost fit on the palm of his hand and might breakdue toa moment of carelessness.
Eventually he had asked someone to fit a pair of curtains on the window of his study, and now he kept them pulled shut whenever he worked, effectively blocking out the daylight, blocking out all the smells and sounds of life from outside.
Blocking out everything except the balls of dust that probably held traces of things left behind over many hundred years. They drifted lazily in the corners, by the walls, and along the corridors. In constant motion, yet always remaining the same.
He'd started watching the dust balls instead.