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Written By Preston

Nov. 12, 2019, 4:18 p.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

Relationship Note on Rinel

In our time knowing one another, I have offered twice to help you if you wished to pursue the Faith as a calling. And in between those two offers I told you that I believe you should have been executed, but that I would have taken no joy in it nor did I think it would have been totally fair given specific circumstances.

I think the fact I have made that offer before and after should tell you that I do think you have something to offer. It should tell you that you have people who wish to offer you a hand. Yet you seem to choose conflict, you would rather beat on the Rectory doors than step inside and converse and debate with what would be your brothers and sisters. You have ideas what the Faith should do, you want to help people - I know that, I respect that. But, the Faith is a chorus, not one voice alone. Even in the Templars, my Brothers and Sisters in each Chapter come together with their master and discuss what is to be done. Each voice is equal. Yes, the local master shall decide in the end, but he will do so with the voices of his siblings in his ears, and all will bear that decision and leave discord within the confines of the chapter house.

I do not understand why you seem determined to stand in your own path. It saddens me, but you remain welcome at the Compound if you wish what small bit of help I can offer.

Written By Strozza

Nov. 12, 2019, 3:40 p.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

Relationship Note on Amantha

Surprising day to find that the Iron Guards also employ women who look like they should be attending court - but then if one looks to my favored cousins - Di and Lessi themselves do not look the type that could cut a man from neck to giblet with a smile and a wink.

Interesting city.

Quite polite, astute, and observant. I'd not mind stealing her from the Iron Guard, but I don't think the house would let me induct her into the house guards.

Worth checking.

Written By Zulana

Nov. 12, 2019, 3:07 p.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

Though the Undying Empire worship the pantheon, and so keep journals as you do, I have been sending mine back to the Verum Armarium in Daobujin Bo. But as a recent conversation reminded me, there is value in preserving bits of knowledge in other cultures as well, so I think perhaps I will submit some of my journals to your Great Archive as well as the Armarium, going forward.

It is perhaps timely, too, as upon coming here to your archive to inquire about this possibility, I stumbled across a discussion of those who make poor choices -- and the need to shepherd them. And this Rinel is quite insightful; she seems to grasp the essence of the Undying Empire.

For people /do/ need shepherding.

People are not inherently evil, of course, but we are all flawed. Even the greatest among us has the potential to make poor choices; perhaps in haste, perhaps under duress, but the potential is there nontheless. Yet when we stray too far from the flock, the cost is rarely confined to merely ourselves; if someone's poor choices lead them to the abyss, it's likely many others may pay the price for that choice.

Yet even were one able to make the perfect choice at all times -- to be a shepherd to others -- no one can shepherd every person every moment of every day. No one can guard everyone against such falls at all times. You may ask your priests and archlectors and legates and even the dominus to guide and guard people, but can they do so for everyone in the Compact? And if someone makes the wrong choice a second time, a third, if they begin to lead other sheep astray...

Well, if the shepherd spends all their time chasing one sheep, then the wolves might come for the rest.

And so, Writs; just as you might fence a meadow to keep your sheep from wandering astray, so do the Writs granted to every citizen of the Empire provide a railing on the Path. A shepherd whose pasture is fenced can spend time caring for the sheep properly, rather than constantly chasing the strays and abandoning the rest. Our Emperor, in his wisdom, placed these railings -- these fences -- out of love and concern, to keep his people from just such a fate.

Yet your society as a whole seems averse to fences. If a child tumbles off a cliff, well, at least they were free to choose to take that step. If someone desecrates a shrine, or makes a blood pact with a demon, at least it was their choice; perhaps dozens will die for that choice -- perhaps hundreds, perhaps thousands -- but at least they were free to /choose/ to swear to the abyss. And if a sheep wanders astray, better for the shepherd to abandoned the rest to the wolves and go chasing the wanderer than to fence the pasture in, it seems.

Perhaps the thought of such freedom comforts every one of your Compact citizens who has ever died at the hand of a servant of the abyss; I can assure you, it does not bring such comfort to the Abandoned who the abyssally-aligned among you have been known to prey upon. Ask the Abandoned of the Crownlands whether they are glad this 'Tolamar Brand' of the Compact had the freedom to choose the abyss... those who yet survive, that is.

As Rinel-Shimin correctly suggests, people need shepherds. I can only hope in time more of you come to see the truth she has.

And I pray that when awareness does come, it isn't bought with innocent blood.

Written By Fortunato

Nov. 12, 2019, 1:53 p.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

Guess there ain’t no dragons crying any more.

Written By Jael

Nov. 12, 2019, 12:20 p.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

Relationship Note on Colette

I'm so proud of my little sister!

Written By Evaristo

Nov. 12, 2019, 11:36 a.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

I went to the the fealty gown show held by Mistress Talia Baseborn, one of the city's most talented artists and tailors. I almost did not go, but am I glad I did. Not only were the gowns so amazing I don't know if I can even describe the genious of them, artful and beautiful, but they were also so fitting to the fealties they mean to represent. The symbolism can not be mistaken.

Princess Sorrel suggested I perform, after the showings, to Queen Symonesse, and Princess Berenice added a challenge of writing a song about the gowns (it was, after all, Talia's event). I wrote this quickly, inspired and awed (though I have edited in a word on the Grayson fealty gown as I felt it was missing something, I only had a minute to compose it on the spot, after all!) A merry tune, simple and easy, and admittedly quite short...

I shall write a pretty copy and send it to Talia.

A Song To Gowns of Fealty - Talia's Masterpieces
by Evaristo Arterius

The bear is a dangerous crimson delight
While violet allure is so sinful and bright
The deepest of black, as the ocean at night
White as the dragon, a dazzling white sheen
Pockets and pants in griffin hued green
The spider webbed gold on the loveliest queen

Written By Delilah

Nov. 12, 2019, 11:35 a.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

This one's for the birds.

I do not envy Lord Erik Grimhall in the taming of his squeaking gyrfalcon. He no doubt will be required to perform his exhilarating one-man revue, Grimhall Bird Dance.

Written By Aleksei

Nov. 12, 2019, 11:14 a.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

I always like to think that I've mostly shed the Oathlands from my skin. I never fit in Sanctum. I spent ten years staying away from it, because even the thought of stepping foot back in the city, of facing up to family I hadn't seen in a decade, that I'd run away from without a word for months as a stupid as fuck teenager.

Sanctum is difficult. It is unyielding. For me, growing up, it was humorless and demanding. I couldn't stay there and survive.

I like to think it couldn't touch me. That no part of it managed to get past my skin and seep into my bones and blood.

But sometimes there are moments. Like walking into a shrine of the Faith, sanctified holy ground, and seeing a fight. A _fight_. To find out that someone literally attempted to ambush another person. He just wanted to land a single hit, not do serious or lasting harm, so he's likely going to avoid the worst consequences of breaking Sanctuary. But in that moment, I could feel the sort of offense I know my father would have felt. That cold, unyielding fury.

Once, when I was about eleven or twelve, we were at the Shrine of Limerance in Sanctum for one of the many, many public ceremonies of vow and oath swearing and the like; I can't even remember whose it was at this point. I was bored out of my mind. Fidgeting, antsy. I was trying to distract and hassle my brother Holden, which has always been a challenge. (Yes, has been that implacable since birth. Trying to get Holden's stoicism to break has been a lifetime's pursuit.) I could feel my father start to notice my attempts. The way he was tensing up -- and he was always tense already. I knew I was going to be in for it when we got home, but I was a stupid kid and generally I figured the fun was worth the lecture later. But there was a moment when I got too rough about it, trying to shove and jab, and that's when I felt my father's hand on my shoulder. He was careful. It didn't hurt, but it was warning, and when I finally looked back up at him, I saw that it was going to be worse than a lecture. I wasn't just being a brat, I had stepped up to a line that was sacred. Literally sacred. I was used to my father's constant frustration with me, but he was _furious_. I don't think I stopped doing chores -- the worst that he could come up with -- for about a month. For a careless shove of my shoulder.

Most people in Arx aren't from the Oathlands, and won't really understand the difference. But I'm not exaggerating when I say that someone slapping another person across the face in a Sanctum shrine could be grounds for execution. There's no _bend_ there. It's the sort of inflexibility that drove me nuts as a kid, and it's almost unnerving to feel flashes of it now as an adult after so long. But all I could feel when I walked into that shrine -- Skald's shrine, the shrine that was once in my care, that I'll still always feel responsible for -- was an incredulity and offense that went beyond the pale. That someone would so willfully disrespect holy ground. That someone could have that little care for the gods.

All I'm saying is: Ras is lucky he didn't do this in Sanctum. And that he had an Archlector there who was working so hard to try and guide him, and who made sure that he didn't face immediate physical punishment. But there's very little you can do to help when someone refuses to listen. Or _stop attempting violence of holy ground in front of people_.

Written By Sparte

Nov. 12, 2019, 11:05 a.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

Relationship Note on Rinel

I have no idea what trouble you've brought on your head this time, as I've seen your temper put you in trouble many times now. Some very deservingly.

Yet, the way you write about what you've done gives me reassurance. It doesn't sound like anger on your own behalf. It sounds like you're fighting for someone else.

May they recognize what you're doing for them and have the good sense to not let your effort be wasted.

Written By Tyrus

Nov. 12, 2019, 9:28 a.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

We survived, all of us, despite the odds. Despite the previous expedition falling to that accursed place.

There are those whose choices condemn them. Who have gone so far from the light that there's nothing else to do but to release them from this life and hope they find a better one waiting for them.

I give thanks to all who joined the expedition. We would not have made it without you. I would not have.

I should offer my thanks to Mangata as well. Without Her blessings, that place would have given me the same end as the others before us.

It's over. A small thing perhaps in the grander scheme of things, but as small as it may be, the Dream has grown just a little lighter. A little better.

Written By Miranda

Nov. 12, 2019, 9:19 a.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

We shine the brightest in the dark.

Just a thought running through my head.

Written By Lisebet

Nov. 12, 2019, 9:14 a.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

I am almost beside myself with the absolute amazement I feel. I have tested for the Society of Explorers. And passed.

Written By Korka

Nov. 12, 2019, 9:11 a.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

Relationship Note on Rinel

Lost sheep, sure.

But you're chasing lemmings.

Written By Evaristo

Nov. 12, 2019, 7:45 a.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

I've never wanted dragonweep before. Now I want it so badly.

Where does it even COME from? Why is it suddenly so rare? These questions are taunting me!

Written By Colette

Nov. 12, 2019, 5:08 a.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

I have been accepted as a prospect to the Champions guild.

I was also allowed admittance in to the Society of Explorers.

I am quite exited by this.

If you could not tell by my facial expression.

Written By Arcadia

Nov. 12, 2019, 4:49 a.m.(3/8/1012 AR)

Relationship Note on Strozza

I saw Lord Strozza's white journal on his hatred of flowers. So I wrote him. A spontaneous one detailing how flowers remind us to savor the moment.

He wrote back about how a gift should capture the moment forever. He sent me a rose of gems to prove his point.

Well played Lord Strozza.

Written By Mabelle

Nov. 12, 2019, 4:21 a.m.(3/7/1012 AR)

How many ways are there to lose a friend?

They can die - in battle, in accident, by malice, by sickness.
You can have a disagreement that will drive a wedge between you over time which you cannot heal from.
They can up and leave the city because they find life here is just not suitable for them anymore.

They say death will hurt forever but time heals, a fight can be reconciled or also get jaded in time or make room to other feelings, normally not good ones. They say people leaving the city is something one needs to get used to.

I will never get used to not having you as part of my daily life.
My confidant.
My advisor.
My bearer of ancient wisdom.
My royal vault.

Written By Rinel

Nov. 12, 2019, 2:06 a.m.(3/7/1012 AR)

I lost my temper again, and I expect there will be significant consequences. Yet I feel differently, this time--usually I am consumed with regret and guilt about what I have said in my fits of rage. This time, I feel as though I spoke a truth that needed speaking.

Our Faith has many shepherds. Surely we can spare one to collect the sheep who are lost.

Written By Strozza

Nov. 12, 2019, 12:02 a.m.(3/7/1012 AR)

Relationship Note on Arcadia

That she debates without vehemence shows a clear head. That her questions and her points are precise and clearly offered shows she would be a good ally.

I enjoyed our conversation, even if only performed via missive.

I would name her friend when I finally meet her.

Written By Aureth

Nov. 12, 2019, midnight(3/7/1012 AR)

Relationship Note on Shard

I share your certainty that the idiot in question acted as you write. Else he would have received a much harsher punishment.

Were we standing in the heart of Orthodoxy, that question of intent would matter not at all, for the Seraph of Sanctum would hold that sanctuary has been breached.

The mercy of the Faith, however, is to recognize that no blood was spilled upon holy ground in pursuit of this folly. The Faith militants' blades are stayed. They will fall upon the defiant neck. We do not squander our might upon mere foolishness.

It is when we are faced with defiance, misguided and unrepentant, that we must act.

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