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Written By Isolde

July 24, 2016, 1:30 a.m.(2/9/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Nadia

This delightful woman spoke about the Shav who worship 'creatures from beyond the Reflection,' then pointedly looked at me. Wonderful, I could deal with that insult, and... correct her behavior. However, then she claimed they were responsible for Mama's murder. Now, I'll have to deal with this in a significantly different way. I haven't decided my course, but she has limited time to make amends. The Inquisition has already contacted me. This could end up being very bad.

Written By Kima

July 23, 2016, 9:13 p.m.(2/9/1004 AR)

I think I should walk things back a bit. So my friends are dead, and I suppose those that know me or knew them - or care enough to read these things - aren't ignorant of that fact. What most people do not know, however, are the events that lead up to that ill-fated moment.

As I pen this, I've come to the realization that what I intend to write here is most certainly not how I would have told it a few years ago. Perhaps I needed the time to come to terms with their loss. The time to mature.

Before, I had always viewed their deaths purely through the eyes of grief. I could see no wrong in what we did. Now I do, and it smacks of stupidity and arrogance. Ah, but I am perhaps too harsh. Is not every solider a master strategist after the fact?

No matter! I've determined to tell it all and tell it true, as you'll see in the coming pages...

Written By Esera

July 23, 2016, 5:34 p.m.(2/8/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Talen

Long before Talen was my Sword, he was my friend -- when I was still a princess, and he a Ward of House Velenosa. Poor boy, trapped between two worlds. Higher than a servant, less than a noble. Tormented and twisted by both. He belonged to neither -- now he belongs to me. I am his liege: my life and heart are his to protect.

Written By Esera

July 23, 2016, 4:59 p.m.(2/8/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Isolde

My sister. My shadow. I love her -- I will always love her. A Mirrormask she may be, but she was my sister before that. My sweet little sister, before she was claimed by the Dark Reflection. Her mask changes nothing. I will protect her, with all that I have, and all that I am. Some bonds cannot be broken.

Written By Esera

July 23, 2016, 4:53 p.m.(2/8/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Deva

I met Deva when I was still a Princess. King Alaric invited us both to the Palace -- and mistook us, immediately. I never imagined I could be mistaken for a Northerner. He called me Princess Deva, called her Princess Esera. In the great halls of the Palace of Arx, the lines between us began to overlap, and we became each other. Since that day, we have shared in friendship. Now, with the loss of her father, and the loss of my mother, we share in grief. In this, we again overlap.

Written By Jaenelle

July 23, 2016, 4:19 p.m.(2/8/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Fatima

Fatima! She is an amazing woman, despite all that she has had to endure. She is charming, and beautiful, and /mysteriously foreign/, though she has never been anywhere foreign. I suppose it doesn't matter, as long as you can claim to be foreign and she can! She is certainly one of my most favorite cousins, and any moment spent with her is a learning experience and grand adventure. I feel we will get each other into a lot trouble the more we are around one another, but sometimes scandal can be fun! Not the major stealing a ship and running off to get married to a foreigner major, but equally entertaining.

Written By Alrec

July 23, 2016, 3:07 p.m.(2/8/1004 AR)

I don't know how to those freaking messengers keep finding me but this morning they did and I was told to report to the training ground to wrestle Victus. Yeah, Lord Victus. How could I say no? The crew been working so I figured watching their admiral get punch in the face would raise spirits. Well, I beat the shit out Lord Victus. He been training though. Got a step and big lungs that make him deadly in drawn out combat. I won't deny him that. The cruise went well, those in attendence found themselves enjoying their trip. Magnata kept her end of the bargain and gave me fair winds. I wonder what I paid for it?

Written By Valencia

July 23, 2016, 1 p.m.(2/8/1004 AR)

            On Pride & Vanity

    Pride is what we think of ourselves. It is how we hold our heads when we face our reflections, it is the honor with which we regard ourselves, it is the dignity with which we carry ourselves. Pride sets men apart from beasts, pride is a self-perpetuating system by which we govern our actions and our expectations of our fellow man.

    Vanity is what we would have others think of us. It is in how we speak of ourselves in the hope of those words reaching the 'right' ears. It is in how we speak to others, putting them down to lift ourselves up. It is in the many little comparisons we make to others, oftentimes unconsciously. What jewels is she wearing, what sword does she carry, whose company does she keep, what ladies give him her favor, how much silver does he spend, who did he last best in a duel?

It is pride that causes us to stand up for what we believe in, it is pride that guides the righteous, it is pride that allows a body to address the gods, be it in silent prayer or a Rite of Gloria. For one that has no pride has no reason to seek the favor of the gods, he would not be worthy in his own eyes.

It is vanity masquerading as pride that leads people into all manner of troublesome thought. The fear of looking weak is a vanity, it leads those of lesser talent or skill or accuity to disparage those with pride in their deeds or accomplishments. Vanity leads people to petty hatred and ill-timed words, whether spoken or written or simply thought.

Be petty, be vain. But for the sake of your own pride, be silent about it.

Written By Acacia

July 23, 2016, 5:09 a.m.(2/7/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Ida

Ida Ferron's name first reached me early on as one of the people that I should certainly take my time to meet in this city. For reasons only the Gods know, it took me awhile to meet her in person, but it was definitely worth it. Prince Edain had mentioned her in passing in regards to being highly acknowledged. The woman truly has character, depth, energy. At her suggestion, I stopped by her shop east of the City Center, unmistakeable as Ferron Arms and Armor. Although she can only forge up to a standard gauge of steel for now, I admittedly found myself surprised at the quality of her weapons. Each one was rendered with both care and exquisite style. This likely sounds like a shameless advertisement (since in part, it is), but it's honestly rather doubtful as her skill continues to increase that I'd get my weapons anywhere else.

Written By Ida

July 22, 2016, 11:35 p.m.(2/6/1004 AR)

Oathballs but Princess Alis is one helluva knight! Not sure I particularly care for the way that Sword of Lenosia fights, but I suppose it's not unexpected. In any case, I wish now more than ever that I could fashion the better steels, as Princess Alis was wearing the set Prince Edain commissioned me to make her and it did not protect her as well as I would have hoped against the Velanosa. She made some great shots and fought with exceptional honor. I was so proud! Not that she needs me to be. All told, the fight was a grand one and I even managed to meet face to face with Mistress Acacia. Nice conversation, that. Prince Edain sends such wonderful people to my door.

Written By Viviana

July 22, 2016, 8:51 a.m.(2/4/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Talen

I highly suspect Talen may actually have some noble blood somewhere in his lineage. He's not perfect of course, too crass, to apolitic, and too unaware of the importance of appearances to be a true born noble, yet he has more noble qualities than many others I've met in this city of pure blood. He's brave, capable, intelligent, loyal, willing to sacrifice and make hard choices for his house, and has a sharp wit when he chooses to use it. I quite enjoy his company, and his bladework. I still do not think a commoner should be given an ancestral blade, but I will admit I'm somewhat jealous of my cousin, the Archduchess Esera, for securing his services none the less.

Written By Viviana

July 22, 2016, 5:02 a.m.(2/4/1004 AR)

I fought Duchess Nadia Nightgold on the tournament grounds for the Decathlon qualifiers. I fought with a token of favor from Princess Ophelia Velenosa, she with one from Princess Valencia Redrain. It's odd to say that it's the first time I've seen the woman in person despite exchanging correspondance with her many times. She's beautiful, which is no surprise, her armor was also rather exquisitely stylish, I'm almost jealous really. I think she's the first person I've seen besides myself who took the time and effort to fashion dueling armor that is also appealing to look at.

The fight itself was over fairly quickly, she has a lot of raw skill, but I suspect not the time to really hone it with her obligations as a ruler. It makes me worry that my own work as Voice will eventually start to eat into my own training time and I'll lose my edge. She kept fighting well beyond first blood, and displayed honor and bravery as well as her skill, I commend her highly. It is a far more remarkable person who steps into an arena when they suspect they are outmatched than than one who simply trains enough to be good with a blade. If I had to choose I would sooner follow Duchess Nightgold into battle than any master swordsman, bravery, conviction and a willingness to bleed for your House matter far more in a leader than speed with a blade.

...Of course it is a little easier for me to say that when I'm not the one in bandages.

Written By Acacia

July 22, 2016, 1:44 a.m.(2/3/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Isolde

In the depths of the Boroughs, superstitions are as common as the grime which latches upon one's boots, clinging to linen and wools and spreading the muck to that which it touches. It's a healthy thing though, a living and breathing thing which continues through generations and provokes stories and creativity to arise even from the darkest content. It's different here than it is in the Lyceum, a statement everyone who makes the journey can attest, for both negative and positive influence.

But for those who dare to cross the threshold to the Shrine of the Thirteenth, which is both feared and condemned by many here, and see the striking way she serves as Acolyte-- they would have a hard time not being moved by her presence. Many white journals are written with intent to bring nothing but positive praise to those who might look themselves up, to kindle feelings of good will and ensure the shadow they cast is the one which they have shaped themselves-- but this is written with true intent. She's inspiring by the measure of adherence to that which she fully believes in, that which she's fully embraced, and it has a draw of clarity which many lack. Even as a believer in the Pantheon, as one who finds most tithes directed to Mangata and oft to Gild, I couldn't deny her that.

Outside of it, Princess Isolde is nobility who does her House honor. The kind of woman who's words are sweeter than expected, yet ring true with a raw sort of honesty. She's more thoughtful than I could've imagined, even when the essence of the words bite. As a Velenosan Princess, she should never be crossed, but she has a character which should also be enjoyed for what it is.

Written By Ida

July 21, 2016, 10:23 p.m.(2/3/1004 AR)

Ferron Arms and Armor. A real shop. I have a real shop in the ward of the Compact, no less! Oathballs. It's a bit overwhelming but pretty awesome, too. Prince Aurelian even stopped in to visit. Managed a curved blade the other day for Alrec, who has also been a bit of a brawling partner. All told? New shop, getting in some fighting? Hard to complain these days!

Written By Kima

July 21, 2016, 8:02 p.m.(2/3/1004 AR)

No one will ever say of me - there is a woman after Gloria's own. This does not bother me. Indeed, it would be laughable if that were so, for I have never claimed to stand as one of her staunch adherents. I am not much of a pious person, everything being honest, so the musings I lay down here are unlikely to ever crop up around a scholar's table. All of that said, I think people forget that one of Gloria's facets is that of war.

War, which is not honorable combat, and where little chivalry exists. In war, you do anything and everything you can to win. Not simply because of /winning/, which is arguably an abstract ideal, but because by doing so you've protected something - someone. Your people, your ideals, your beliefs and culture. Such things are at stake at war, and doing what you must to preserve them, even if it is despicable to others, that is worthy of honor; of glory.

You know where those things are not at stake? Duels. Tourneys. Personal tests of prowess. So I wonder - would Gloria smile benignly down upon those who rally around her name, and her ideals while displaying no such virtues? I question - is it honorable not just to the goddess, but to the House you serve to wield a weapon meant to defend their very virtues and principles during say, a personal duel?

I know, or suspect I know, the arguments people will lay at my feet. It shouldn't matter if your House supports your choices. Or perhaps, if you win, you're bringing glory to the House you serve. Both of these are valid, though I think they are largely Lycene mindsets. Having been in Arx for a little while now, I have begun to ponder these things, because I'm in frequent interaction with those beyond the Lyceum. From all over the Compact, in fact, and I find myself having to more carefully consider my choices due to the possible repercussions they may have upon those whom I serve.

It's quite tiring, frankly, but I shall persevere.

Written By Acacia

July 21, 2016, 7:27 a.m.(2/1/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Chanse

Chanse Grayhope was always of that age where we never quite ran in the same circles. The one that came between my Father and I. Which basically had him too old to do more than glare at our mayhem and too aloof to bother throwing us in the river for it. But everyone in the Boroughs knows his name and the place he keeps, even if no one would dare to really ask him about his business otherwise. He's the epitome of that sympathetic bartender, except you have to exchange the smiles for scowls and the friendliness for glares. But there's something real about him which makes him almost too easy to both talk to and look up to in the process. I respect him. I always have. And while I know beyond a doubt that he'll always be dangerous and he'll never be a Culler, the whiskey served by him is still my favorite.

Written By Rohkir

July 21, 2016, 7:14 a.m.(2/1/1004 AR)

I wonder at times whether I watch the shadows too intently. Whether I imagine they are darker than they are. The truth I suppose is that I'm used to a place crueler than this, in a more direct way. I can only assume these to be the same, if only attempting to be more clever in the way they dance around it. Say what you will, but most people will whisper in your ear your praises, and then a moment later act all the more against you for it. It is unsettling at times, how easily it is some people here call up that thing that lurks, buried deep. The beasts of war sleep restless always, don't they?

Written By Edain

July 21, 2016, 7:04 a.m.(2/1/1004 AR)

    People ask me all the time, 'why is does your War Horse have such a silly name.' I guess to explain that I have to explain one of my father's traditions. Whenever we pass from the age from being a page to a squire, we are taken to the stables, and we attempt to ride our first charger. My father, Radley, said this was to begin the bonding process between Knight, and the horse that will be the one to carry them into battle, but it is also an exercise in perseverance. No matter how natural of a prodigy you are, at the age of 13 you are not prepared to control such a powerful beast. You learn to get back up after being thrown and continuing to try again. Once everyone is done having a good natured laugh at you you get to name his your horse.
    Well, it turns out hubris was to be my lesson that day, I really thought I would be able to tame that massive beast right away, and I was wrong. The stallion threw me into the dirt again and again, each time becoming more agitated. I was too stubborn to admit defeat, and with each attempt the charger became angrier and more aggressive. It got to the point where the horse was in a near rampage and my father, my brothers and his knights were getting spears ready to put the stallion down. And that is when my sister, only 8 at the time fearless approached this rampaging stallion that was about to trample me and calmed him to docile as a puppy in mere moments with a handful of arugula leaves. "I think his name is Sir Arugula," she informed me confidently.
    "Arugula?" was my incredulous answer to which she politely corrected me by saying, "Sir Arugula." In honor and thanks to her I made that his name. Eventually the spirited Sir Arugula allowed me to ride him, and bond we did. While he never got quite as big as some charger's get, he had amazing stamina and intelligence for his breed. He even was able to accept training as a courser as well as a charger. He has never lost his love of throwing me into the dirt when I least expect it though.

Written By Acacia

July 21, 2016, 6:57 a.m.(2/1/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Everard

Mmh. The Lord Commander of the Iron Guard. I have nothing but kind words to say about the exceptionally polite man, they've just managed to slip my mind at the moment. I do believe he knew my Father quite well though.

Written By Acacia

July 21, 2016, 6:44 a.m.(2/1/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Rohkir

Prince Rohkir Redrain strikes an imposing presence whenever you first lay eyes on him and his every word is the kind that makes you forget how old he truly is. He proved himself to be generous, polite, yet carried himself with a certain level of control and hard-won experience that speaks to his House and those he stands alongside. Any man who can balance good humor with seriousness with such grace remains impressive. It's hard to capture my attention for any lengthy period of time-- he did just that. Plus, his stories were beyond decent and there's a certain character when talking to a man adorned in an array of elaborate furs that he likely skinned himself. Call me a romantic, but blood on snow really is a nice kind of visual.

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