Slaves were sold on the streets beneath the raised bridges of Quarterheart. The common traffic above could view them all kneeling before the faces of their slave houses, with their vendors waving and shouting. Old bars were bolted into the buildings along the way, snaked with chains to leash prisoners’ ankles.
Interested customers leaned over railings to gossip about this girl or that man, debating and pointing to their wrists. Cords in different colors bound each slave, denoting crimes they had committed. The number of cords counted the number of offenses, and knots in the cord counted escapes or recaptures.
Shardae Jacaranda’s cords were purple. Royal treason. Her chain locked her upright to the stained wall of the house who owned her. Dangerous. She spit at everyone who met her, when she had enough spit, and heat stuck her hair to her face in short black chunks. Not going to sell.
-The Stars Went Out
There she is–the third and final triagonist. Spoilers. I think I mostly have all the mechanics of local slavery worked out for this area, but the trick is measuring how much the readers need to know explicitly for the purposes of the story.
Lots of this introduction got cut, on account of Elyan being long-winded, but maybe I can cut more. I’m also wondering if the order of these ideas wouldn’t be better reversed. Hmm.