The Great Whore of the city commanded men and women. Her face graced billboards and the sides of buildings, unsmiling and enigmatic. She had builded an empire, founded on the capitol of her. Clients fought for her attention, for her time, for a word or a gesture from her, delivered in the soft near-blackness of the theater, or on the thronging streets, in writing or in person. It was not an easy job, though not the physical grind that exhausted her employees, but a delicate mental balance, constant and deadly. She went to sleep thinking of her job, she woke in the morning still thinking of it. In between her dreams took her to stranger places.

She was young to be so powerful, but from six she had known what she wanted and had worked her way endlessly toward an goal so abstract it defied expression. What she did burned inside of her; burned inside her, moved her limbs, worked her voice, turned her thoughts. She took their money, and saved it, and invested it, and spent it, and gave it away, but without troubling much about it. It was not the money that made it a career, it was not for love of money or of power that she had constructed her empire.