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Written By Ophelia

July 6, 2016, 5:08 p.m.(12/15/1003 AR)

Relationship Note on Valencia

Princess-Cousin Valencia is ever so-so lovely. Although the bears might've been fearsome and she's yet to understand the thrill involved in a hunt, she's a phenomenal woman when it comes to social graces and charm. She doesn't stray from proper etiquette, but the talk is juicy and engaging, her style sinful without being ribald, and she's been so helpful when it comes to things I wish to know, or do. I wanted to compare her to the best piece of pie in the Compact, since while I'm dictating this, I suddenly want pie, but she's really better than that.

Written By Viviana

July 6, 2016, 9:22 a.m.(12/14/1003 AR)

I love my house.

Some might think that's odd or point to House Pravus' dark reptuation but what you need to understand is that that is only part of who they are. House Pravus is like the Lyceum of the Lyceum, and yes that means their darkness is darker, but it also means they're more mercentile, more liberated and more fashionable than any of the other houses too. They embrace life and liberty more than any other and that is an amazing thing.

Have you ever been to Setarco? It is a place everyone should visit at least once. The smooth blue water leading up to a cove with sands as white as diamonds. Then the city itself rising up from the beach, white stone and red clay, the fountains and gardens and trees scattered throughout as the city climbs every higher towards the peak... The Pravus house grounds, a sprawling white mansion with ivy coated walls and lush green gardens filled with marble statues and fountains.

But to see the city only by day is only to see half of it. Those of the Silken City usually sleep through the hottest part of the afternoon and stay up far into the night. It is a city that never sleeps and to hear the sounds of revelry as they echo through the streets awash in warm torchlight, interspersed with the cries of sea birds and lapping waves. To see the burning lighthouses that bracket the cove and the gently bobbing lights of the night merchant ships coming to and from the docks...

House Pravus built all this, they took an island overgrown with forest and hostile creatures and raving shavs and they shaped it into one of the greatest economic powers in the world. One of the most beautiful cities in the world. So yes I love my house, I would die for her, I have killed for her, and if anyone tries to birsmirch her or challenge her they best hope they're quicker than my blade.

Written By Viviana

July 6, 2016, 9:20 a.m.(12/14/1003 AR)

Relationship Note on Esera

Archduchess Esera is young, but unlike many other rulers she did not have authority thrust upon her unexpectedly. She has been raised her whole life to rule when her mother passed on the reigns and while tragedy made it come sooner than it otherwise would have it did not catch her unawares. You can tell that her every word is considered, her poise unlikely to ever be broken, and her passion for leading the Lyceum burns brightly. She will never lack for champions for her causes, of that I am certain.

Written By Alarie

July 5, 2016, 7:28 p.m.(12/12/1003 AR)

Relationship Note on Hammar

I met this simple man in the market. He was demanding sweets from a vendor who immediately called for the guards. I helped to stop an altercation between the simpleton and the guards lest needless blood be shed. In turn, I bought the man a meal. I don't know why I took pity on the man.

Written By Hadrian

July 4, 2016, 8:12 p.m.(12/9/1003 AR)

Relationship Note on Donella

Meeting a woman of House Thrax was, I believed, necessary for approaching a true understanding of them.

To my delight, I had the pleasure of meeting _the_ woman of House Thrax: Princess Donella, House Thrax's Voice.

I went in without expectations, for too much is contradictory. The stereotype of Thraxian women is clearly a stereotype, and no one who matched them would ever be allowed to speak for them. I have a great respect for strong women - my mother Duchess Adona was one such, and so is my sister Calypso. In the Lyceum, no one doubts that women and equal are equally capable.

But Princess Donella managed to seem deferential to her brother Prince Dagon while speaking her mind boldly.

Even in talk that might cause some to blanch - call it the discussion of true statecraft! - her concern was only that it might not be the best topic at a first meeting.

She shows restraint and confidence simultaneously. I am not the best at that; in truth, I don't think my people want me to be. In her, it works.

As Lord Victus said today, everyone thinks of Thrax women as hiding in their closets, but in truth, they often have no one to rely on but themselves. There were were two 'fuckings' in his words, but however crudely spoken, his point is sound.

What intrigues me, then, is why they are supposed to seek weak in comparison. Lord Victus himself admitted he would have followed Donella as Prince of Maelstrom, were she born a man.

I'm not sure why they wouldn't follow her anyway.

That is not an appropriate subject for mixed company in the Thrax Ward, I believe, and I do not intend to broach it there.

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)


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?

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