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The unofficial motto of the Nation of Lotte

Story

Color is prohibited and silence is encouraged.

Mathias was sitting on a small bluff with a pen and a paper. To his right was the grayish-blue ocean. A small peninsula jutted out into the sea making a small harbor. Built at the edge of the harbor was the gray port town of Elette.  Everything more than a mile from the beach was marsh. Behind him on a small hill was the town of Kaepe. Mathias’ father was the mayor of Kaepe, but in this country being mayor doesn’t necessarily mean that you have any power. Hermielle, the queen of Lotte ruled everything supremely, everyone else placed in power was just for the public’s benefit.

The queen lived and ruled out of Elette. She had come to power quite suddenly after she saved the town of Kaepe from invaders. The combination of her greed and sudden power had catapulted Lotte into a dark age. The first law she proposed was that the people would be separated according to social class by only being able to wear certain colors. She said that this would make the people respect those in power and work harder to get more colors. Since the people voting on such things were all rich and powerful the policy was adopted. She removed the beauty from everyday people and kept vibrant colors for only the upper class. As she gained more and more power she horded more and more colors. Flowers were only grown inside of the palace walls. She founded a group of soldier-enforcers called Shanks. They made sure that no one got a hold of any colors they were not allowed to have. As the people fell into depression more and more natural colors became faded. The once bright blue and green ocean dulled to a grayish-blue. As the people’s will to live dwindled so did the colors. During this time Hermielle grew more and more powerful and eventually, without even a fight, made herself Queen. When she finally had complete power she decided that only she would have the privilege of color. She made it illegal to wear anything besides gray, brown, or tan. ‘Color is prohibited and silence is encouraged’ became the unofficial motto of the citizens. Eventually the younger generations couldn’t remember colors. The townspeople whispered that Hermielle must be magical because she had ruled for three generations and killed even natural colors. She gave proclamation after proclamation that she was doing this for their safety and well being. She said that if they worked hard she would give them the colors. She said because they had removed colors and focused more on work that they were becoming richer and richer, soon they would be the envy of nations.

The shanks made sure no one disagreed.

Mathias sat drawing and reflecting on all he knew of the history of Lotte. He only knew bits and pieces that he had gleaned from whispered conversations. As he drew his friend Benviolo walked up the bluff to Mathias’ perch. He hailed Mathias when he came into earshot. Mathias pretended not to hear him and kept drawing. Benviolo came and sat next to Mathias. Benviolo asked Mathias,

“Why do you draw?”

“Someone told me that a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Mathias answered without looking up.

“Words put you in prison.”

“No, colors put you in prison.”

“So does too many words.” Benviolo said with a smirk

“I know, but I have a reason.”

“What is it?”

Mathias had stopped drawing, and when Benviolo looked up from the paper he realized why he had stopped and what the answer was. There was an Elettian girl walking  up the bluff towards them.

“Juliet” Mathias murmured to Benviolo finally.

Juliet walked up and gave the boys a weak smile.

“Hello.”

Mathias looked back down to his drawing as Benviolo answered.

“Hello.”

“Why are you two out here so late? The gathering is going to happen soon”

“Mathias” Benviolo answered.

Juliet gave Mathias a sad look as she told him

“You really should stop”

“I know…”

Seeing that Mathias was not going to stop drawing she became silent and stared out towards the ocean.

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