Vignette:Desperate Times

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Desperate Times

Hartensteiner Straße 122a, Sungkou, Provisional State of Sungkou
September 9th, 1925

he Maltzahn family was a name of high repute in Goetia. Her ancestors found purpose in the royal court of Weissberg in the 1300s, a relationship that withstood the test of the time and the strains of war and shifting politics. The 1800s saw Weissberg incorporated into the Goetic Empire; their positions remained largely unchanged, but the family saw an explosion of wealth as its sons dove headfirst into the empire’s burgeoning capitalist culture. By the turn of the 1900s, the family had grown ties with Goetia’s metalworks and arms industries and was at the helm of Weissberg’s growing shipbuilding scene. She was there at the height of her family's power; she'd met the Kaiser and made small talk with other nobles. Given her status as a woman, that was all she could do.

But Goetia was gone now, swept away into oblivion by revolution. Her brothers disappeared on the front, and her sickly father died in a Sungkou hospital waiting for help from his supposed friends who never came. She had no friends to rely on here; only fellow travellers and strangers. All Hyacinthe von Maltzahn had was a small apartment, nestled deep in the Nordost district, and two briefcases; one full of her belongings and the other full of what remained of her dynasty’s wealth. The latter was already small, to begin with, and it was becoming rapidly easier to lift with each passing week.

The mattress hurt her back; she tried to gloss over the faded stains smattering the beige wallpaper in the room. Her living conditions were spartan at best; she was allotted a single chair and table, with an accompanying stove on the brink of falling apart. She chuffed at the thought; this was supposed to be the acceptable standard for non-Goetic housing. Despite the less-than-admirable conditions, she got lucky; others had “settled” for pricey hotels or had nowhere to go. From the whispers in the streets, the temporary housing built to house people like her was no different, if not worse than her dingy little apartment. Of course, their tenants were used to grand mansions with sprawling greenery, not unlike herself. Like her, they’d have to get used to life in Sungkou.

The church bells thunder; it’s six in the morning. Her back screams in pain as she rises to greet the sunrise peeking through the bedroom window.

Time for work.

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