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Written By Hadrian

July 4, 2016, 4:36 p.m.(12/9/1003 AR)

Regarding home:

Speaking with Prince Dagon and Princess Donella Thrax about the nature of our homelands and houses has brought to the forefront what the excitement and risks of Arx had so far kept buried:

I miss Southport.

It came upon me as I was describing my home for them. The herb gardens, in all their diversity and terrariums. The scents of them fill the air at morning and evening so thoroughly that I think only a master herbalist could recognize them all. I'm so used to it that I notice it only by its absence here in Arx.

The wide-open plazas have more than their match here in the capital, but I do not see the same sense of purpose I'm accustomed to among Arx's commoners. In Southport, people know their place and that hard work will be rewarded. As long as they fulfill their duty and don't harm others, we forbid nothing.

Most interestingly, and perhaps the largest difference - everyone in Southport goes through a period of military training. There are swords or spears in nearly every household; we help arm them through House Malvici's own coffers. I believe Arx's authorities would view that policy as madness.

Perhaps, in Arx, it would be madness.

Written By Kima

July 4, 2016, 2:43 p.m.(12/9/1003 AR)

Relationship Note on Victus

Who would have thought Victus Thrax would have ended up bell of the ball? He said there were hardly any congratulations, so I have to wonder if he was voted for by virtue of trying to prevent someone else from winning, all the while thinking: surely nobody else will vote for him, they'll vote for me!

Ha. I should have stuck around until the end in order to have seen it.

That aside, the man is no joke in the ring, even if some simpleton throwing his war hammer around at him /should/ have been funny. Actually, Victus acquitted himself well, for any of you people who think he's a completely uncultured swine - he could have beaten the man into the dirt, or seriously hurt him, and he didn't.

Written By Viviana

July 4, 2016, 6:43 a.m.(12/8/1003 AR)

I attended Princess Alarissa's masquerade the other evening. The event was well run and was a credit to the Valardin Princess, although it was a little more tame than I'm used to. The costumes were rather lacking however, only a very small number of people did more than just a mask although Princess Valencia rather stole the show with her blood spattered arms and crimson leather dress.

There was a vote for best costume, Victus won for the men despite not actually wearing a costume of a hero, and some commoner won for the women. Her outfit was one of the better ones, if obviously not the best, but even if it were the best, who would vote for a commoner in such an event. Sometimes I believe my peers are so scared of an uprising today they willingly throw the seeds of one tomorrow. The nobility rule the compact because we have the blood of legends, heroes, and great leaders flowing through our veins, we are naturally superior to those of inferior blood. Yet this only works as long as the commoners also realise this. As soon as you start treating them as just as clever, or elegant or interesting or capable as nobility what exactly is stopping them deciding they don't really need nobles after all? It is pure foolishness, I really must do something about it.

Written By Darren

July 4, 2016, 12:36 a.m.(12/7/1003 AR)

Relationship Note on Valencia

The Northern Fox. I remember when she arrived in the north, everyone treated her as if she was some sort of exotic animal. She's small, delicate, and brilliant - everything that a northerner is not. And yet she's one of us - Angus loved her, of that I have no doubt. I have asked her to speak on my behalf to our peers from the other great houses in the city, for she's far more talented at dealing with others than I could ever hope to be.

Written By Victus

July 4, 2016, 12:21 a.m.(12/7/1003 AR)

Paperwork. Give me a dozen blood thirsty shavs to fight, and I'll rather take them on naked and wielding a stick than have to do one more round of paperwork. If anyone ever questions my loyalty to Thrax and my Uncle, here is the proof otherwise. I'm sitting here at my fucking desk looking at reports and ledgers when I could be drinking ale with Kima and her sellsword buddy until we find ourselves a brothel to invade. Kima is good like that, for a knight. Almost like she isn't a woman at all, except she looks pretty like one.

But here's a truth: Ain't no army and ain't no fleet sail without mountains of numbers, the kind that gives me headaches like nothing else. If you avoid it, someone somewhere is gonna end up trying to fight equipped with fucking broomsticks for weapons.

So here I am. Death is lighter than a feather, duty is heavier than a mountain.

And fuck paperwork.

Written By Victus

July 3, 2016, 3:52 p.m.(12/6/1003 AR)

Relationship Note on Alrec

This fucker.

I ran into him at the Valardin ball, and there he stands smug as fuck and throws me a 'Lord Victus' as if he ain't a traitorous fucking cunt of a man. If you don't know, he used to be a Darkwater Captain, before he butchered half his crew (the ones who weren't party to his fucking treason) and went and sold himself to the Pravus. Now I could understand if not forgive him for selling out for fine pussy and wine and riches. Anyone can be tempted like that. And it's not like I ain't sacrificed my own men for the greater good, either. That's war. But the fuck butchered his own for no good reason at all. And for that I hold him in contempt.

But he's a Darkwater problem. For now.

Written By Victus

July 3, 2016, 3:41 p.m.(12/6/1003 AR)

I went to Alarissa Valardin's fancy 'heroes of old' masquerade ball last evening. My mask was a Leviathan, both because the Leviathan is surely fucking old and hoary and has eaten its share of Thraxian enemies, and because the other Leviathan, the fleet itself, is full of fucking heroes. No? Well. They kill people. That seems to be the general definition of a fucking hero if you go by the Hall.

So they had a vote for who was prettiest pretty little masquerader in the land. I was preparing to sneer whatever foppish fuck got the honors when, and this is the part where I laugh every fucking time I think about it, the fuckers picked me.

Now there's irony for you, eh?

Written By Gareth

July 2, 2016, 11:31 p.m.(12/4/1003 AR)

I worry about His Grace, Edain Valadrin.
House Valadrin can remain pure and beloved becuase there are groups like House Grayson and the Inquisition that is willing to do the dirty work for them.
The crown must weigh heavy on his head, but I worry if he is not aware of how things really work. How long will Valadrin honor last if they must deal daily with Thraxian, Redrain and Velenosan intruiges?

Written By Gareth

July 2, 2016, 11:31 p.m.(12/4/1003 AR)

Edain

Written By Kima

July 2, 2016, 7:11 p.m.(12/3/1003 AR)

Relationship Note on Kieran

Daily I am reminded to thank the gods for all the good looking men they have placed upon this flat earth. Today, my appreciation for the rare specimen that is the red-headed male was raised considerably when prince Kieran valiantly invited me upon that noble's battlefield - the dance floor.

I wonder, however, if perchance Kieran knows that muzzle rhymes with nuzzle?

Written By Ida

July 2, 2016, 5:45 p.m.(12/3/1003 AR)

It's been a whirlwind couple of days, rubbing elbows with some rather famed members of Arx's society. I've more work now that I may have had in a month's time back home. Wonderful people, almost all of them. Almost. Still suck at all those social niceties and don't envy those who have to deal with that every day!

Written By Arianwen

July 2, 2016, 1:52 p.m.(12/2/1003 AR)


    Like I've been mentioning in the last journal entry, being a courtesan is tough! You've got to make sure you're pretty for the nobles every hour of every day, you've got to act all proper like and refined, and you've got to figure ways to convince them to like you most of all. That's not as easy as it may sound. After all, I'm a Lower Boroughs girl. Those folks don't exactly hang around my Uncle's tavern. Not usually, anyway. They've been awful nice to be so far, but I got a feeling if I stumbled and insulted the wrong sort of noble, I could get myself into some serious trouble! So I need to be mindful of myself, from how I speak, to how I dress, to how I act, and everything in between. You can't believe the amounts of rules and expectations nobles have got to listen to. At least, if they want to be seen as all respectable like. Even greeting is a complicated process in itself.

    I have a mind to suspect this is all for show, and they do it just to put a distance between themselves and normal folk. But if I'm to survive and thrive as a well and true courtesan, I can't slack on my teachings. I've got one or two or three people offering me some much needed advice, but it sometimes feels like there's no end to the teaching in sight. Even my writing has been put into question, and I'm doing my best to write smartly as can be. Anyway, I've got places to be and people to see. I've been invited to attend a big and fancy noblewoman's party, where all the folks wear masks and dance and sing and do the gods know what else. I've got my own mask and pretty dress, so I can't wait to see what people will think! Write some more soon!

Written By Arianwen

July 2, 2016, 1:39 p.m.(12/2/1003 AR)



    I found one! I mean, a man. I mean, a patron. I'm practically a courtysan already! Courtesan, that is. Need to be dottin' me t's and crossin' me i's. Learning to be a courtesan is tough work! So many folks don't be knowing that, and many other folks think we're just some lofty big-headed streetwalkers. But they can't say nothing when it's only me living the lap of luxury. That is, living in the lap of luxury.

    Anyway, I got meself a patron! Myself, in fact. He's blunt, which I don't much mind, since I've been serving drinks to blunt men for most of my life. He's crude, which I don't much mind either. For the same reasons, truth be told. But gods, it is as though the man were sculpted from Jayus' wet dream. He's built like a two-footed ox and towers over most others. You readers may have heard about him. He's that guy that heroically defeated the Thraxian rebel house out there over the yonder Mourning Isles. He wields the famed Tyde battleaxe and is bastard nephew to the High Lord Donrai of House Thrax. You guessed it! He's the one and only Lord Victus Thrax, and my patron. I'm practically a courtesan already.

Written By Viviana

July 2, 2016, 12:41 p.m.(12/2/1003 AR)

I finally got a chance to let loose in a Rite to Gloria against Talen on the tournament grounds. It was exhilarating, Talen is a good match for me, although I wounded him early and it helped swing the fight heavily in my favor. From then on the onus was on him to make a come back while losing blood and I could play it safe and work him down. He stuck with it until unable to continue though, which is commendable. There's nothing quite like a fight to make you feel alive, I feel sorry for the ladies who've never learnt the art of the sword really, although it has done little to satiate my thirst for new adversaries and new challenges.

I heard rumors some thought the fight depended heavily on the quality of our armor? I can only assume they are fairly unfamiliar with the sword art, yet I wonder by what mechanism would they propose to ensure the armor and weapon quality of all combatants were perfectly matched? Would they outlaw the wearing of plate if your opponent were dressed in leather? Outlaw the use of a greatsword if your opponent prefers a longsword? By what standard would they assess the metallurgic properties of one man's plate compared to the other? I should find one of these people to put the question to them, that or challenge them to a duel without armor of any sort I suppose.

Written By Acacia

July 2, 2016, 6:49 a.m.(12/2/1003 AR)

There's a heart-warming and idealistic thought in the concept that you can build something up purely on your own - and then also protect it. That your own sweat, blood and tears, along with any who stand beside you, are enough to grow strong, gain stability, build an 'empire'. But as I explained to someone tonight, it's the idealistic part that makes things complicated, isn't it?

I get it. I do. The thought that you're completely self-sufficient, which makes everything that you work for that much more real. The pride that goes into it when you tell everyone else to fuck off. But the world doesn't actually work that way if you want to expand outside of your own personal box. You have to sacrifice a little in the middle of it. The trick then is to never sacrifice enough that you're a sellout, but never sacrifice too little that you're utterly expendable.

Let's say that you're building a budding business against a competitor down the way -- and there's always competitors down the way. You dedicate your hard work, quality goods or what have you and they produce the same. And what happens when that competitor decides to partner up with other people, or pay them off for protection, and in order to double the profits, it's decided that your little business would be better off gone. This is all hypothetical, so if all else is equal? Pride isn't going to save you and everything that you'd done so far. And should it be decided, it won't protect you and those who depend upon you should things take a turn for the worst. You have to look beyond your little corner, past your sphere.

Business isn't a Rite to Gloria. sure, there might be those who admire pure honorable tasks and that the journey is more important than the end or some other such concept. But that's a luxury. It's a different kind of honor that matters out here than whether or not you were 'fair' to your competititor or opponent; whether or not you tried your best. It's the kind of 'honor' that means that your deals are solid, you know the meaning of beneficial trade, that you knife people for at least a semblance of a reason, that if you're going to cut someone - you do it without wasting breath on threat, your word means something when you give it and your loyalty, when provided, is a specific kind that people know.

But really, no matter how many allies you've cultivated or people you know, one can never be careful enough, nor think themselves too smart or at so high a place that they can't be knocked down. Yet, if you're going to be that cautious to save your theoretically-thriving life and that of those beside you -- you have to remember to live a little too, right?

Written By Kima

July 2, 2016, 3:55 a.m.(12/1/1003 AR)

Relationship Note on Audric

Dear Tehom,

Thank you for my new favorite companion.

I can only hope to get such a proud feather stuck into my hat one day.

Audric. Captain-General of the Valorous Few. How many are in the Few, you ask? I don't fucking know. Nobody does.

It is a mystery.

Written By Kima

July 2, 2016, 3:42 a.m.(12/1/1003 AR)

Relationship Note on Gareth

My newest student. I'm glad he and I are in agreement of what can be expected. The man is, or appears to be, remarkably straight forward. Quick to remind me of what the Inquisition will be happy to pay for, and I'm quick to listen. It does well to cultivate a friendly relationship with such an individual if you're forced to cultivate one at all.

My father would whole heartedly disapprove, given his adherence to the good ol' family motto.

The guys from where and what was their name again?

I somehow think that the good inquisitor won't have that same sort of mental fog.

Written By Hadrian

July 1, 2016, 10:29 p.m.(12/1/1003 AR)

Relationship Note on Arianwen

Are courtesans flowers? Let's say they are, for imagery's sake.

Arianwen Grayhope is a budding courtesan. Lord Victus Thrax is watering her.

What an unfortunate metaphor. Is he grooming her? No, for he is not a cat and she is not a potential heiress.

Let us Lord Victus is a bank and he has given Miss Arianwen a loan. What her business is right now, I do not know, but she seeks to build a new one: she aspires to be a courtesan.


I'm not going to blot that out, it amuses me. What I do not quite understand is the benefit to Miss Arianwen. If someone wrongs her, will he fight for her? That would be terrifying. Perhaps Lord Victus simply has contacts that could prove useful in her apprenticeship. I should ask him next time we meet.

She seemed quite excited about my invitation. Artists and performers, performers and artists: I want them all.

Written By Alarie

July 1, 2016, 10:21 p.m.(12/1/1003 AR)

I have made my first silk dress for Lady Margot. It was a lovely seafoam blue dress with dark blue lace over it and adorned with pearls. She seems to thoroughly love it. I will now make her a corset and slippers to wear. She must be matching! This is exciting for me as others will get to see fashion from the sea. She will also be wearing one of -my- creations and other noblewomen will want to bring me business.

Written By Hadrian

July 1, 2016, 10:05 p.m.(11/28/1003 AR)

Relationship Note on Nadia

I also met the lovely Duchess Nadia Nightgold at the Menagerie. I have never met a lady of the North quite like her. She is either too trusting (I think not) or recognizes honesty when she hears it. A useful skill, that.

I am curious what it is exactly they distill in her holding. I may exchange some of Southport's finest for some of her spirits.

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