I saw the lights before I saw the walls. A hundred hundred beacons coaxed, and I responded, despite my exhaustion, my weary feet, the cumbersome pack and three-sizes-too-large sword and shield. So many lights meant so many people awake at what I guessed to be roughly three in the morning.

 Ul’dah lived up to its reputation as the city that never sleeps. 
The steps to the gate – why steps? How did carts and other wheeled vehicles climb them? Perhaps there was some sort of merchant entrance on the far side of the massive wall – were filled with loitering insects and small mammals. Apparently pest control was low on the city’s priority list. A few guards eyed me, deemed correctly that I was no threat, and passed on. 
Only a few steps before the gate, a voice hailed from out of the dark. It took a moment to find the source – the nearby lantern was sputtering and failing miserably at its appointed job. The woman wore armor and carried a sword that seemed taller than she was. As near as I could tell, she was a recruiter from the Adventurer’s Guild. Her hard line sales pitch left something to be desired – while she made adventuring sound exciting and even glamorous, the implication I got was that my only choices for gainful employment were via adventuring or selling my body. 
Now, I don’t know much about living in cities, but I found it hard to believe those were my only two options. I bade the recruiter farewell and entered the city. I had my father’s sword and shield, the last of my rations, one extra set of clothes, and seven thousand gil, all that was left from my family’s doomed lives. I didn’t know what I was going to become, but it was definitely not going to be a whore.

Author Sunscryer
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