Affecting a detached, haughty air, Dame Bianca D’Ellolio listened to the muffled, low roar approaching. It reminded her of the weekends spent near the source of the Capital’s river, playing amongst the reeds with her sisters, being pleasantly bored to death by her father’s effusions on fishing, watching the water flow by at furious rate, with the noise to boot. Oddly, this association presently served to make her more relaxed and at ease. How could something which made her feel so peaceful be a sign of impending violence?
The servants around the Dame, those loyal few who had refused to leave her side, were nonetheless nervous at the escalating din. It would be dishonest to say that D’Ellolio empathised with their plight, for she and they could not have any common ground. In any case, to her the hands were mere furniture; they had been by her side throughout her entire life, at her beck and call without hesitation and without question, so to believe that in these dire moments she might spare a thought for their future would be foolish in the extreme.
Odd though it may seem, her main concern surrounded appearances. Specifically, maintaining the demeanour of righteous, dignified propriety. Birthright, the divine progenitor of her class, must be seen to have justification in the behaviour of those destined to be its upholders. Her mother and father, her uncles and aunts, all the cousins and half-cousins and distant cousins thrice removed of her extremely extended family…every member was counted upon to set the best example possible to their subjects.
Blue-blooded though she was, Dame D’Ellolio was far from the caricature of an arrogant, entitled royal; from her teenage tutelage under the respected but radical Professor Dmitri Kropotsky, she had embraced an egalitarian streak that gave her parents vapours. This daughter of such noble bearing, joining the hordes as an activist for equal rights – it was beyond absurd! Yet, they loved her, and sought to indulge what they at first believed to be a phase, then hoped to be an aberration, then finally accepted as a characteristic.
Her lifetime of altruism would not save her now. The mob may once have been merciful towards a member of the aristocracy who showed compassion and generosity, but in a revolution the pitch was so feverish that the cry was now, “Death to ALL oppressors!” Whether they had been kindly or amiable oppressors was neither here nor there, as far as the masses were concerned. Once the iniquitous system had reached its nadir, those who had attempted to ameliorate its more demonstrably cruel effects were no longer deserving of special consideration.
Bianca suddenly felt sick to her stomach. Had she not also been exploited? Born into the straitjacket of royalty, the manacles of social etiquette and the chains of expectation lashed around her from the moment she first drew breath. Though she had been fortunate enough to find herself in a position of utmost privilege, in a life of comfort far removed from the abject misery of so many around the world, she still could not, in any real sense of the term, consider herself free. That was why, in these last few minutes of her life, she found herself willing the insurrectionists on – cheering internally as the decibels of their riotous entry grew, pleading silently with them to show no mercy, praying to whatever deity was left that they spare no effort to crash through everything in their way and tear down the whole rotten edifice of this society.
As the first few revolutionaries tore through the door, Dame Bianca D’Ellolio welcomed them with open arms; they were her liberators too.
Solidarity, brothers & sisters…✯