Eight silks drape across Belle Marche. Eight silks that frame the sky and shade the calm of commerce. But why eight? That question is posed time and again by visitor and philosopher. What in the grand history of our capital is displayed in this subtle choice? The ages? But we have had nine, and what fool would have made such a prediction? There is nothing in the Orlesian mindset, in the heart of Orlais, that suggests even a hint of accepting an end to our way.
Perhaps then something less flattering, but veiled? It is opined that the eight represents the twin boys of Empress Yvette, born 7:99 which heralded the Blessed Age, being the entwined loops of the number "8" itself, not its value. The more irreverent suggest that the "8" could as easily be a slight against Yvette's figure, for she was rumored to be stout but determined in her choice of corsetry. Both theories are scoffed at by historians as mere number fetish.
What emerges when we consider the longevity of the question is not that there is meaning to be found, but that it is ingrained in us to search as though there is. For we need to believe that such a prominent detail of the greatest city the world has ever known must be thoroughly rife with meaning. And so certain are we, that we discount even the architect, who grew so annoyed of the question that he had the answer engraved on his memorial:
"There were sixteen rods."
How compares his "fact" to our search for "truth"?
—From Our Orlesian Heart, by (formerly) Sister Laudine