It is a custom among the wealthy families in the city of Barcfrit to build high towers, from which to spy upon their neighbors. The first tower, citizens say, was built on a commission by the city to track the weather and make calculations on the position of the sun and the stars. When it came to light, however, that the family whose land had been leased to build it was spying on the garden parties of their rivals, towers sprung throughout the city – nearly 100 – in just a few years, toppling now and then as the soil proved infirm for towers so shoddy in construction.
An ancient wall along a ridge once ran through the town of Barcfrit. In the race to build the towers, many families began to stake claim to the high points along the ridge – precipitating torrents of rocks that crushed the slums below. In the wake of these incidents, the city outlawed the building of towers and seized the ridge, building a high yet sturdy wall to safeguard the slumdwellers against the petty rivalries of the nobility.
Most townspeople are skeptical, however. Since the government is controlled by the aristocrats, the massive wall is in fact assumed to be a great palace of peeping holes from which the rich cast eyes and shadows upon the city. This is well known, for the wall takes pains not to block the sun of the towers or the dappled sunlight for garden parties. Things are often so, in corrupt cities, professing to be one thing from another, but really staying the same.