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The Salon Presents A Feast of Dissension

Members of the Salon are invited to join Lady Amari Keaton for a novel dinner served with lively debate and seasoned with fine argument. Honored guests will eat on the strength of their rhetoric and match wits with their fellow attendees for culinary satisfaction.

Topics will be as varied as the menu, and all members will be given equal opportunity to participate. Come ready to defend or refute with style and vigor all manner of positions and stances, and certainly don't forget to bring your appetite!


Nov. 25, 2018, 8 p.m.

Hosted By



Duarte Modi Terese Michael Lilia Macda Amund Katarina


The Salon


Arx - Ward of the Compact - The Empirical - The Salon

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

At the appointed hour, and not a minute before, the doors to the Empirical Salon open and guests shall be permitted within. Amari stands at the head of a long banquet table, ready to greet everyone, which she does, as everyone filters in, "Welcome to the Feast of Dissension, everyone. To be fair, or just to make things interesting, we'll be determining the seating by random draw, so please don't sit down just yet."

"I thought this was a feast for Ascension. Did I arrive at the proper address?" Duarte wonders casually while stepping in. He greets Amari with a bow and seems he's decided to stay, even if at the wrong feast entirely.

Out from the cold walks in an older gentleman, clad in a mix of umbra and gemstones. Modi strides inside with an upright and refined posture, his hands fussing with his gloves while the fresh snow is being shaken from his shoulders. Leaving a nice little sprinkling of white in his wake as he steps. He greets their host, Lady Amari, with a soft smile and a deep, rigid bow. "Lovely setting and atmosphere. I'm enjoying simply standing in the presence of it."

Terese arrives, the familiar clank-clank of her armor announcing her presence, "I thought I might come by and be social. Always a pleasure meeting new people, expanding and thinking further on my understandings and views." The Templar may be a bit of an odd sight, but she comes armed with friendliness and an open mind. And Macda.

Michael had made his way to the Salon, why? It seems like an engaging sort of activity for a rather dour evening so far. He is dressed nicely enough, somber black seasilk as he enters, "Thank you, my Lady." To Amari, he'll shuffle aside to snag a drink if they are coming around.

Lilia isn't late. Surely this is exactly when the Telmar lady has chosen to arrive, a whirl of pale blue and white fur, though much of the former is shed by the door because it simply wouldn't do to track in any clinging weather, would it? She takes those few moments to size up the room, and those who've already arrived, flashing a ready smile long before it's too late to be polite. "I dare say this ought to be quite a gathering. I wonder what dissension tastes like. Salted chocolate?"

A long narrow banquet table has been set out, with a seat at the head for the host and chairs of black on one side, and white on the opposite. Each place is set, but there's no food or drink at all. The only hint of either comes in the form of mouth watering aromas of various dishes yet to be served.

Amari gestures to a velvet bag at the end of the table, instructing, "Please everyone reach in and take a wooden block from the bag there. It will either be black or white, which determines the side of the table you'll be sitting on and the side of the argument you'll be fighting on."

Duarte perks up. "The first topic to be debated tonight! The taste of dissension? To which I might also ask, the texture of it?" Duarte nods fully. He listens to Amari instructions and shakes his head. "In keeping with tonight's theme, I refuse." But he smiles. And he does.

Duarte has rolled 1 6-sided dice: 2

Macda has rolled 1 6-sided dice: 5

Lilia has rolled 1 6-sided dice: 3

Terese has rolled 1 6-sided dice: 6

Modi has rolled 1 6-sided dice: 1

Michael has rolled 1 6-sided dice: 2

Duarte can be seen admiring Michael's outfit.

"Point to Count Duarte for being argumentative without prompting." Amari smiles, and as everyone chooses a block and finds a seat on either the black or white side of the table, she settles in and arranges herself neatly. "I'd like to start actually, with introductions. I'm Lady Amari Keaton, your host for the evening. You'll notice there's no dinner set out just yet, as that will be part of the game, so worry not. I hope you've all brought your appetites."

Bundled in a coat that doesn't fit the rest of her attire, Macda hurries in with frozen hair and a paleness akin to being outside for a very long time. She doesn't move like she's cold though, nor as if she were ill. "Greetings, Lords and Ladies," she adds a "sir, evening," to the man she doesn't outright recognise. Standing with Terese, she mutters something about 'a grove' but quiets to learn the topic and system of discussion for the evening. Getting a black cube from the pouch, she parts with Terese saying then quietly, "I haven't eaten since the ball-" but doesn't expand on why as sits down a table intended to also seat Duarte. She is an image of mysteries.

Terese shakes her head, "No Lady Keaton, I've not brought my appetite, though I am hungry. I brought Princess Macda. Much better than an appetite I'm certain." she smiles playfully to Macda across the table a ways as she introduces herself, "I am Princess Terese Valardin, a Templar."

Lilia s/last

Modi pulls forth a black cube, marking his position in this game. It brings him a modicum of delight as that smile on his face grows. "Ah, just my color and my luck as well." He travels down the table, laying a hand upon the back of his seat as they begin their introductions. "I am Modi Blackpelt, of the House Champagne. Nothing more, nothing less."

Duarte settles down across from his personally assigned enigma and bows his head. "Duarte Amadeo." It was directed at Macda, but may as well serve for the benefit of the room.

Macda bows her head respectively to Duarte, "Oh, from the pillow fight. You sat on the other side of Sparte. Pleasure, pleasure. Macda Grayson," and she follows suit leaving off titles.

When it's her turn to collect a block, Lilia also draws out a black cube. She holds it in the flat palm of her hand, almost at eye level, as if to inspect it for some hint of what might be on the menu tonight, but it can scarce hold her attention for very long. "And I am Lilia Telmar." Perhaps titles are less important for this event than other cerebral assets. Either way, she sets her cube by her appointed seat, then draws the chair out to settle therein.

Amari bows her head politely to the princesses in attendance though her gaze does linger on Macda as if somewhat concerned. She does look slightly chilled, after all. That Terese doesn't mention it means she'll go on like everything is fine, for now. After the introductions she repeats the names, with titles, out of respect and no doubt in a bid to memorize them, "Princess Terese, Princess Macda, Count Amadeo, Lady Telmar, Lord Bisland, Modi Blackpelt. It's wonderful to meet those I've not had the chance to, and see those I do know again." But! She claps her hands softly together, "Here is the game. I will select a topic of debate, and two dishes at random. If you're seated in a white chair, you will argue for the assertion against the guest seated opposite you in a black chair. The winner chooses the dish they'd prefer. We will decide who of the pair has made the most moving argument by vote."

"So I came to a feast only to find it's quite likely I won't eat at all?" Duarte laughs as the rules are explained.

Macda smirks at Duarte and pushes her black cube across the table. "Fibre is good for everyone."

Michael digs forth and pulls free a /white/ cube and huhs to himself. He'll move from velvet bag towards tables to settle in across from Modi. "I am Lord Michael Bisland, Voice and Sword of Pridehall." Then he'll settle in when everyone else sits down.

"Well, it is a dissension feast. Perhaps the writing was already upon the wall, Lord Duarte." Modi muses as he takes his seat. Nice and proper all the way through. No elbows on the table, no eye contact held for too long. It's almost rehearsed. "I do hope we get some good cuts of meat, however. But that's just me." The prodigal offers that same smile Michael. "Modi Blackpelt. Lovely to make your acquaintance, Lord Bisland, Sword of Pridehall."

Amari laughs at the banter, amused, and picks up the two die that were set out on her empty plate. A roll is made, and the results frowned speculatively at, a small notebook is produced and her fingertip runs down a list of topics until she reaches the winning entry. She rolls them again after, and lifts her hand to summon an attendant who approaches and leans in so she can whisper in his ear. With a terse nod he's off, returning with two platters as she announces the topic, and what's up for grabs, "Duarte and Macda, here are the two dishes, cream fish baked in scallop shells and larded grouse with glazed sweet potatoes."

Of course to decide which gets which, there's the debate, which she introduces with a smile, "Whereas good humor and wit provide hope in dire situations and lift spirits in times of sadness, be it resolved that there is nothing too serious to joke about. Duarte, you are arguing for this. Go."

"This ought to be quite entertaining," says Lilia, flashing a smile across the seat at the templar. She may not be addressing Terese specifically, but as they are seated opposed to one another, it might make her the most natural, immediate conversant. "I cannot really say when the last time I had to fight for my supper was. If I've ever really had to fight for it, come to think of it." But then the dice are out and the plates are brought and she leans up perhaps an entire inch in her chair, as if this would get her a better vantage of what is on the menu. Then Amari gives the first subject of debate and she settles back, hands folding in her lap, to listen. Duarte gets all her attention, a rapt, expectant sort of interest.

Terese can't help but chuckle across to Lilia in a friendly matter, "Should you manage to serve me my humble pie this evening, maybe I can encourage you to the fields for a friendly spar sometime? It's always a good idea to learn how to fight."

"And the severity of this particular circumstance is not exempt from the rule," Duarte begins. "I challenge that whereas one /could/ joke about anything serious, then it follows that nothing would be so serious as to not be able to be joked about."

"Is it proper to do so? Not always. There is social opproprium attendant with making such jokes. But only within the framework of our shared sensibilities. One's enemies will surely joke about another's travail if they intended it."

"But to the context of the question: joking about and making a joke of are separate things entirely. One certainly should not make light of a dire situation by turning the situation itself to the punch line. And I will not defend poorly crafted jokes that don't bring levity." A beat, "And I won't delve into the disconnect between the intentions of the joker and the poorness of the joke. Clearly not all jokes are funny, and many funny jokes are not viewed as funny."

"So maybe, I don't know. Can one? Sure. Will one? Mostly no. Should one? Probably not. And the real joke is that I will enjoy either of those dishes equally, and so leave you to determine if this is all just a joke."

Amari does applaud Duarte's opening salvo, if softly, before turning to Macda with a bright smile, "Your Highness. Would you care to give your argument against? To convince us that there are in fact, things far too serious to ever make light of?"

The princess stands for a moment, her smile still a soft echo on her lips. Her white coat looks almost completely dry, and in contrast to the damp sheen still present on her wet skin underneath. As for herself, Macda appears ignorant or simply unaffected by whatever weather she had survived in all night. Folding and draping the coat on an empty adjacent chair, she leaves a sword in scabbard and a boot knife there as well. The short blond sits once more with crossed legs, uncovered by the umbra skirts that slide away around them. "Oh, Bastion, Larded grouse- Thistleton is going to have fits," she smiles across the table but let's Duarte give his argument.

Her own argument forms thusly, "Jokes are quite like baking. The fire's temperature and the timing must be considered to be successful. Or wait- this lovely man has made all of the arguments against such a generalisation of joking. But a joke is only a joke is someone finds it funny. When only the joke-teller is amused, is it a joke? It has not fulfilled the purpose of levity or sheer embarrassment, or even communicated a point: the message that was supposed to be a hearty laugh or awkward chuckle. Should any of you know a topic, whereas a joke might compell you to be leave an unconscious person in a larder, then I think the rational answer is: There are things you aren't meant to joke about."

"Very well done, both of you." Amari compliments before rising from her chair, applauding politely, "Typically of course we'd have another round and closing arguments, but we're all hungry here, I'd hope. That leaves decided who gets which dish. If you thought Duarte's argument the most compelling, raise your right hand, or if you instead thought Macda had the right of it, and said it most eloquently, raise your left hand."

Terese seems to ponder over the two arguments, mulling over this and that, and larders and proverbial-entirely-hypothetical bodies before she seems swayed and raises her left hand.

"I do believe any crowd is swayed more by personal preinclinations than the soundness and structure of the arguments. And I personally agree with Princess Macda but must vote for myself because I am hungry." Duarte raises his right hand.

Modi rubs his bearded chin in thought for several moments, a look of deep concentration on his face. Eventually the same hand he uses to scratch goes up. It's his right hand. "I must say that Lord Duarte's expounding vocabulary has struck me."

"I vote for Macda. I'm a big fan of analogies, and grouse. The purpose of a joke is the enjoyment of the joke listener, not the joke teller. So some things are not fit to be joked about. But it is liable to change person to person." Michael lifts his voice towards Amari down the table. His left hand lifts upwards and holds in the air.

"Aye, fair, fair." Macda raises her left hand, obviously, with a grin. Her eyes focus on the Bisland Lord with a smile and nod. "For the Bastian grouse." But she has no drink to hold up, and pouts a moment.

Lilia follows one argument, then the other, with the same neutral interest. Her hands stay in her lap until the very end where one lifts, coming up to tap against her lower lip for a few moments of further consideration while Amari details the manner of voting, whereupon she lowers that... and raises her left hand. "I fear that, from my perspective, Lord Duarte rather danced around his subject, debating timing of delivery rather than content."

"I believe you mean her highness, my lady. I spoke not of timing or delivery." Duarte replies to Lilia.

Macda adds, "To be fair, I mentioned all three. But founded on content to audience, aye."

That's a hand enough to win it for Macda, so Amari gestures to the dishes, smiling, "It would seem the clarity of your argument won the day, Macda. The grouse is yours." She looks to the attendant again, and he reappears setting out a bottle of wine to go with it. "So! Next we have Lady Lilia and Princess Terese..." She sits again, and goes through the same routine as before to determine what the topic will be, and which two dishes will be fought over. "Your dishes will be kippered herring and biscuits, and braised shoulder of veal with carrots and onions."

Another look in her notebook and she, smiles, "A lighter topic, as it happens. Whereas not all desserts are created equally, be it resolved that cake is the superior after dinner treat that no other can match, least of all pie. Terese, you are arguing for this. Go."

Amund sits down to... watch people argue eachother to death. He doesn't even look around as if he's lost, taking a seat at the bar as he turns to listens to the arguments in that usual almost-nonexistent expression of his.

"I yield to a mind far defter than my own," Duarte says as he stands partially to bow consession to Macda. He settles and tucks in now to munch upon his consolation meal.

Amari notes the latecomer and lifts a hand to him, addressing him amiably, "Welcome! Feel free to observe, and perhaps someone else will arrive before we get to the end. Would you care to introduce yourself?"

Terese rises to her full height, "Let there be no doubt in your hearts or minds. Cake is most assuredly better than pie! As a Valardin, I may speak most clearly on this matter, the finest of milk comes from our home, providing the greatest quality of creams and frostings to be applied at their freshest point to the soft sponge cakes. Never will a cake made in a Valardin holding leave you with the dry-mouthed feel of a pastry. Pies! Pah! A pox on pies! If you've the wealth to enjoy a cake, you eat cake, it is undeniable. I even feel pity at the poors who might not have cake, and so this argument inspires me to give some further charity to the poors. I shall arrange a number of cakes to be brought to the Lowers, that they may not live such a wretched existance of only having pies for dessert." she shakes her head in dismay at the thought of people eating pie, "For elysium's sake, no one ever has birthday -pie-, do they? No, of course not. Cake is clearly superior, and you know it in your hearts, as you ought in your mind."

Mind you, Macda is mannerly at the table, even if she is eating a bit rapidly, but not too much so to make a mess or really look uncouth. However, the veal dish is mentioned and she has to rest her fork down to cover her mouth, avoiding a giggle towards Terese Valardin. She listens intently but she's starving and trying to be polite while being attentive all at once.

"Amund." The sellsword introduces himself, with the faintest of nods, once addressed by Amari. And then he's back to his almost complete silence. Just listening.

"Pie is better." Duarte states decisively. He motions to the next debater. "But let's hear it, though you needn't even defend such an objective position. I will vote for you either way."

Terese is overheard praising Amari: Let them eat cake! A wonderful event for debate.

Amari nods down the way to Amund and since he seems content to just watch and listen quietly there, she turns to pay more full attention to Terese's robust argument for cake and its superiority to other lesser desserts. She tries to keep a neutral expression, but there's a twitching start of a smile and her eyes shine with amusement. "Lady Lilia, will you let that bad mouthing of pies stand unchallenged?" She cues smoothly, before looking around the table and looking slightly disappointed, "I don't like the empty glasses I'm seeing. Let's get everyone a drink, we have wine, brandy and whiskey." She waves to the attendant again, who will go around and fill those sad empty glasses when bidden to.

Michael's head is shaking slow towards Terese and her arguement. Cake better than pie, my goodness. Eyebrows lift high, then settle low towards Duarte and Macda. Apparently Duarte doesn't get to eat. Oh bother. "I've had..birthday..pie." A glance towards Modi, "Have you had birthday pie?"

Swallowing first, Macda's priority is for wine and whistles a melodic bird's song to call over an attendant. Then she refutes her fish-eating companion by saying, "Excuse me? Lemon cake, and cloud cake are inferior to runny fruit pies? I say, 'Let them eat cake." And likewise her vote is likely sealed. Then she hears Michael and turns her head, "What sort of pie?"

Duarte is eating cream fish baked in scallops shells.

Modi slowly turns his eye back to Michael. "I've had as much pie as I could reasonably afford with 100 silver in my first few weeks in this city. I fear I may never be able to eat pie again. I'm sure at least one of those pies was a birthday pie, however. Unless it required it to be my birthday when I consumed the pie, in which case, I've never had a birthday pie."

As the second topic of debate is posed, Lilia turns her attention and her smile on Terese with passingly rapt attention. More so than before even, maybe, as this argument is crucial to her own choice of dinner. There's a passing glance given to Amund as he introduces himself, and a little blink of what might actually be surprise, but it hardly dampens her interest. And, when it is her turn, she rises and carefully sets her hands just so on the back of her seat. "A pox on pie? Your highness, what did pie ever do to you? Pie, as you say, is of near-universal accessibility. Everyone from the king to the lowest commoner might find cause to have it. Might even be able to make it, given a little culinary talent, as I wager it is infinitely easier to make some manner of crust, shape it into a vessel, and fill it with whatever your sweet tooth desires, whereas a cake - a proper cake - requires great technical know-how, else it is runny, or dry, underbaked, or baked into a brick."

"Ah," Lilia lifts a hand, as if to forestall some argument. "You may suggest this is the hallmark of cake's superiority, the finesse required to make it masterfully the thing that elevates it, but does it really? Does it not simply create one more barrier to enjoyment? Moreover, cake, by itself, is so very limiting. It is sponge, with some bare flavor mixed into the batter, and must be propped up with any number of other things. Icing. Filling, Custard, cream, liquor. At what point, ladies and gentlemen, does such a cake - two sponges, two crusts, if you will - become little more pie itself when shaped around any one of those clever fillings? Nay," she says. "Anyway. If you pin superiority solely upon the cake, you then rule out every other possible contender, along with the pie. The tart, the cookie, the fritter, the custard... like cake if you will, but cake most assuredly is not unparalleled in the dessert arena."

Terese chuckles, "Why of course cake is greater than all those others you've listed, if anything when forced to have those lesser deserts in times where cake is a-lacking, it causes me to cherish cake all the more"

"Tutt..." Duarte lifts a finger. "You've had your turn.." Pointing with food loaded fork before taking a bite.

"Ah, ah," Lilia points out, laughing now. "She said there were to be no closing arguments. You're so very biased, clearly." She collects a glass of wine, then, and settles back into her chair.

"A spirited defense of pies from Lady Telmar. Excellent!" Amari is still trying to be mostly objective and neutral, being the host and all, but she's clearly pleased with the arguments from both. "This will be hard to decide, I think. Those who more favor Terese's argument, please raise your right hands, and those who thought Lilia made her points with greater vigor, your left."

Terese grins to Duarte and Lilia, "But when cake is involved, everyone comes back for seconds. Sometimes thirds."

"I don't even come for firsts on cake." Duarte quips as his hand raises proud and defiant in favor of PIE!

Modi raises his right hand. "I must thrown in my lot with cake. For it is creamy and delectable, whereas pie has continued a nasty habit of burning the roof of my mouth."

With a smile, Macda nods to Bisland Lord. "You come from a mad house, my Lord. Eating birthday pie. But I'll accept the contents. You have fine taste, if it was your choice." Listening to Lilia, she nods at her points, and they are valid what with the process of eliminating all other deserts. A chuckle rings out as Terese gets another joke in. However, she poses, "But if all I could have for dessert was cloud cake or a moon cake with twilit frosting. Mmm, I could live with that." Her right hand, with wine glass goes up.

"There are clearly voting patterns and alliances pre-established. I fear, Lady Telmar, we are victim to a rigged game." Duarte says to Lilia.

"Rigged game, but I will /always/ vote pie. Apple pie specifically if I could manage it. Pumpkin as well." Michael lifts his left hand to vote for Pie!

Amund leans back against the bar as arguments for pie and cake are made. He orders a mug of ale for himself, drinking while watching Lilia's side of the argument and the votes she receives.

Macda gasps dramatically and then takes a drink with a smile.

"I dare so not, my lord," Lilia offers back to Duarte, tilting her glass at him, just enough to argue the point. "Here the issue lies more along the lines of pre-existing bias. Preference clearly outweighs the truth." She does have a ready smile for Michael when he ties up the score. "Preference apparently also buys support, but then this is politics in a nutshell. From whence do we get our tiebreaking vote?"

Duarte waggles a finger at Amari and suggests, "I think our host would like to vote in favor of pie, and so I nominate her to break the ... draw."

"Amund? Would you care to vote?" Amari calls over, but with faux shame at being caught out she says, "Otherwise I think I would have to give the win to Lilia, and pie. I'm a simple country lady at heart."

Duarte slides in gently, "And she thought I should've won too..." having now established his rightness in Amari-related opinions.

Terese smiles good naturedly, "Well, I can not fault one for their own opinions, even if they're wrong. That would after all, take the cake." she pauses for effect, and adds in a joking voice, "and no one takes my cake."

"I vote ... pie." Amund says, simply enough. "Cake has its time. But every hour is a good hour for pie."

"Sweet victory." Lilia's smile grows ever brighter as she's awarded two more points and a solid victory. But then her brows go up and she leans forward, just a touch. "But this now begs a most serious question. Will there be cake served later? Or pie? Was this argument to determine that? Have I doomed us all?" And, "I do believe I will have the veal."

Terese offers to Lilia with a dip of her head, "Well argued, lady Telmar, I fear tonight I shall indeed be served my humble pie- which, dry as it is shall require a drink," she calls over to have a glass of whiskey to go with her meal.

Macda claps for both the Oathlander ladies.

"Thank you! Pie wins it. Lady Lilia, you may choose your dish," Amari grins as Amund decides it, and she's slightly absolved her opinion in the matter. "Kippered herring, or shoulder of veal." She flashes an apologetic smile Terese's way, arches a brow at Duarte playfully and then goes about rolling her dice to decide what Michael and Modi will face off over.

"And yet the choice for pie is a piece of cake. And I realize now that I left mine out in the rain." Duarte says as he slides out his chair and begins to stand, "It took so long to bake it, and I'll never have the recipe again. And so I must take my leave and try to make it home before weather brings destruction." He bows courtly-like, "Lovely time, all." And a wave to Amari.

Amari is overheard praising Duarte.

"Your name?" Amund asks of Amari, while watching the people now feasting on... veal, and other foodstuffs. He drinks a deeper sip from his tankard while observing them.

Michael grins happily over the settled debate about pie. Pie is good, pie is great. "Oh. Oh no, no seafood for me." A glance towards Modi and a nod as the man readies himself to square up in lively debate.

Modi leans forward as well, albeit with a bit more disappointment for pie's victory. His eyes find Michael's and he offers another smile to the man. Fingers clasped, serious pose struck.

"Mmm." is the soft sound Amari emits as she determines the topic, and the dishes. She announces the latter first, "Our next dishes are, venison cutlets with currant jelly sauce, and stuffed calve's hearts with roast turnips." That leaves the topic, which has her laugh softly before saying aloud, "Whereas true friendship is an invaluable treasure, rarely to be found and difficult to keep, be it resolved that friends are superior to even family. Michael you are arguing for this. Go!"

Macda snickers to herself and drinks more wine.

And as her name was asked of her, Amari answers, "Lady Amari Keaton."

Lilia mmms as well, half-echoing Amari, but belatedly as she gives out the next set of plates up for debate. But she has her own, and she gathers up a bit on the tines of her fork to consume while she listens, turning that same bright interest on Michael.

Amund nods after his inquiry is answered, and he lifts the mug in her direction. "Cheers to you, then, Amari Keaton. Nobody should spend time talking without food or drink."

A good subject, Michael's eyes delight upon its offering and it really only takes a few moments before he starts to speak. "The crux of this matter is the ability to choose. Your family is an inherent thing in your life, you rarely get to add to your family. Friendship is a relation born through familiarity and repeated interactions. You continually decide how much devotion to give to a friend. When a friend sacrifices for you, its not out of the obligation of friendship, but a decision each and everytime. Its devotion freely offered, not commitment demanded upon by life's circumstances."

Amari nods thoughtfully to Michael's opening, then turns to his opponent, smiling with obvious anticipation, "Your counter, Modi? Can blood ties compare to the joy of friendship?"

Macda looks over her glass at Michael and smiles, "Well played. I thought this might be more difficult for you." She leaves it at that, and continues to smile in the way of Modi.

Quiet, a Valardin champion, Onuris, an Eurusian hand-maiden arrive, following Katarina.

Modi listens with rapt attention, nodding his head slowly for each point as polite as could be. When all is said and done however, he raises a finger to usher himself on the metaphorical stage. "I must acknowledge that a bond of friendship is a powerful thing. However, I must disagree that a friendship can cross the boundaries of what it means to be family. As they say, blood is thicker than water. What a family represents that a friendship does not and can not is the simple sense of connection. When one is born from the same parent, grandparent, great grandparent and so forth, it creates a chain stronger than any in unity. All personalities and all types can be bred into a family and all of them are immediately understanding of the fact that they are in this /together/."

He sweeps his hand out in a more elaborate gesture. "As you said, we have choice when we choose friendships. But choices are given to bias. We are prone to expose ourselves to the choices that are beneficial to us, and therefore we find our friendships in those we find the most similar in ideals or community. Family forces us into another avenue entirely. We are surrounded by all ideas, all people, all walks, and we must learn to adapt. We find ourselves intricately learning from our blood because we /cannot/ choose our relatives. Yet our relatives are always in our lives. The person you hate dies tomorrow, you feel relief. The family member you hate dies tomorrow, perhaps the same. But you know somewhere in your soul, that you've lost a part of yourself. A part of your pack." He settles back into his seat after those theatrics. "So I must say that a familial bond runs stronger than a friendship, by the fact that we do not choose."

Amari isn't supposed to show outright favor for one debator over the other, but she does whistle softly to herself as Modi wraps up his refutation. "Strong arguments. I think it'll be another close vote. If you find Michael's friendship argument the better one, raise your right hand. If Modi has your vote with his defense of family, raise your left." As she waits to count, she finally lifts a hand to the attendant and has him pour her a brandy.

as Terese finishes her herring and glass of whiskey, she nods to Modi, "You've a rousing argument. By the fact that family forces us to widen the scope of our experiences and hearts, I must accept that you're right in my mind," she raises her left hand

Since he has no vote in the matter - despite being the tie-breaker on the other vote - Amund just continues to sip from his mug. He sets it on the bar for a refill, nodding along to Modi's words, nevertheless. He agrees.

"Indeed. Fine arguments from both sides. A difficult decision... but one that needs be made if either of you are to eat, I suppose." Lilia studies Michael, then Modi, then Michael again, little tips and tilts of her head as if these subtle changes in perspective were somehow going to be enough for her to make herself a decision. After five or ten seconds of this, she lifts her left hand, in favor of her own side of the table. "I fear I am in agreement, here. True friends may indeed be invaluable treasures, but they can never truly replace familial ties."

Skiftfeather - an Elegant Snowy Owl, Morigan Bradshaw - Nurse and Doctor in Training, Fayre Wyrmfang - Excitable Champion, 1 Valardin House Guards, Jaibrian - The Lovable Blue Roan Mare arrive, following Isidora.

Considering both sides, Macda is hard-pressed to be truly serious. "Never replace them, but prayers know, some of us have wanted to. Even if temporary. Despite how I'm sure you all know I must feel about my immediate family and duty, I will say, sometimes bonds struck by commonality are necessary to compare and contrast the relationships with family. So I'll be rebellious and side with Michael's idea this time." And her right hand is raised.

"It seems Modi takes this one, by a hand. The choice of dishes is yours." Amari announces gesturing to the two platters already set out before them. So much meat. "And, well, I think we've run out of debators. So everyone, please enjoy your meals and thank you for the fun tonight. I hope it was fun, anyway. There was some very good arguments all around. A round of applause is warranted." She starts, smiling brightly and applauding heartily.

Modi's decision was made sometime ago and that's reflected in just how quickly he's aiming to grab the plate of calve's hearts. It's quick at first and then immediately is a bit slower. An apologetic smile for the host and others at the table. "Pardon me." And the dish is dragged back to his corner, where it will never be seen again. He joins in the applause, casting his smile toward Michael as well. "You had a striking point in your assertions, Lord Bisland. I'd happily debate with you any day."

Macda applauds the room of fine debaters, and reclines a moment in her chair to finish her wine.

The arrival of the Idle Mind is a discreet and quiet affair; a swish of pelagic-hued silks and soundless steps sees Katarina crossing the threshold into the main of the Empirical. "It seems I've missed getting to watch the debates," she realizes with a modicum of disappointment, though delighted all the same for the mix of debaters present. "I've no doubt that you've done a marvelous job, Lady Amari. But if there is anything I can do to help, even as late as I am, I'm more than happy to do what I can," she murmurs to her friend, retiring to an unoccupied seat to witness the remainder of the dinner with an affable smile cast to many of the familiar faces.

And Lilia joins in the applause. "Really, splendidly done. Fine arguments, the lot of you. Truly a credit to the establishment. And you, Lady Amari, have outdone yourself. A delightful way to host a dinner party, and now we might all have something to talk about. Provided we do not succumb to arguing amongst ourselves again."

Terese nods, "A great evening with some great minds, thank you Lady Amari for allowing me to partake of such. I did my best, but I must credit Lady Lilia with being a stunning arguer."

Amund slaps his hand on the counter a couple of times. That counts as applause, right? Rising to his feet, he looks over at Lilia, nodding to her in greeting, then again to Macda. He makes his way to Amari, though. "Thank you for the drinks, Ama- Lady Amari."

With the drink finished, Macda stands and rakes fingertips through her wet hair. Luckily the umbra of her dress dried quickly enough. "Lady Ameri, a delight to meet you, and hope to see you again soon." On her feet, she starts to gather her things, taking her sword and knife from the chair that also is home to her white coat. She hasn't put any of them on again, with her coat draped over her arms in front of her. She bows to those at the bow and Katarina. "I have to get a nap in, else I'd linger and chat more." As she excuses herself to walk across the room, her eyes find Amund properly and she dips her head, "Afternoon, sir."

Amari pats the white chair next to her that was previously Duarte's seat, in the hope that Katarina will plunk her butt down there, closeby. "Please sit and have a drink, Your Highness. The selection is somewhat limited, but there is wine, brandy and whiskey..." Somewhere. She glances around for the attendant who has been buzzing around filling glasses and delivering the meals. "A question for all of you, incase I do this again some evening; would you prefer more topical and polarizing topics, or less serious ones, like the one about cake, or was the mix tonight good?" As Macda stands she bows her head politely to the princess, "Thank you so much for attending. It was wonderful to meet you as well."

Adjutant General Theodora arrives, following Cullen.

"It is a very polarizing question. But any good debate has a question such as that." Michael dips a nod across the table towards Modi. "I would happy to debate this, and anything else that comes along in the near future, Modi."

Adjutant General Theodora leaves, following Cullen.

Katarina raises a glass of wine to her lips, considering AMari's question. "I would suggest a healthy mix of both to keep the mind well-fed, but not over-saturated," she surmises, a glance turned over the remnants of guests with a close-lipped smile. "Of course, I'll make sure to be in attendance for the entirety of the next dinner so as not to miss partaking in the excitement."

Skiftfeather - an Elegant Snowy Owl, Morigan Bradshaw - Nurse and Doctor in Training, Fayre Wyrmfang - Excitable Champion, 1 Valardin House Guards, Jaibrian - The Lovable Blue Roan Mare leave, following Isidora.

Terse gives the question some thought, "I prefer the light hearted stuff presently, but the reason I favor that is because the dissent is much easier to manage. I can only imagine how it might get some nights with some topics and blood getting heated in debate. I do agree with Princess Katarina though as well. The meatier topics challenge me a bit more, and encourage me to meet those challenges boldly and with honor."

"To be fair," counters Lilia, maybe not done arguing, even now. "Had I gone first, you probably would've beaten me. There is some advantage to being able to build on your opponent's argument. You made a fair case, even if you remain wrong in perpetuity." Which she can only smile about, before raising her glass in greeting to Katarina. "I agree. A mixture seems best. For one, it keeps everyone off guard, unsure of whether they will have to prepare a serious argument or not. For another, it's sometimes easier to argue something that you feel strongly about, whereas topics of levity may require you to invent a position to be impassioned about."

"I relish this opportunity." Modi muses to the gathering. "I've seen few topics being discussed with such openness since arriving in the Compact, especially ones that bring a challenge the belief of an individual. It's refreshing." He cuts off a piece of heart and pops it into his mouth. "Mmm... Reminds me of home." He inhales deeply, just to drink in the moment. Afterwards his eyes linger onto Amari and Katarina next. "Does this Salon ever host discussions on more occult subjects?"

Amari nods to the feedback given, obviously taking it to heart and tucking it away in some mental compartment or another on the chance she tries to tackle another evening such as this one. What Lilia says gets a smile, "That was my hope, exactly. It's often that people have their pet opinion and won't deviate from it, nor consider the other side of a matter." Terese and Katarina are agreed with as well, "I was a little worried it might get too heated, which might have put some people off the entire thing. I enjoy a good argument, but when it devolves into just fighting, it tends to alienate." Modi's musings have her lift an eyebrow, "That would be Princess Katarina's forte. Where's home, Modi? Are you from the North?"

Katarina threads her fingers beneath her chin, content to sip modestly upon her glass of white wine while listening to the words spoken of those around her for a short time. "We tend to have a wide variety of topics; some heavily entrenched in occult and less favorable topics, all usually coming on the tail of special research projects we take up as part of the new initiative of the Salon," is her soft-spoken aside to Modi when the question arises. "The point of the Salon is to rip people away from clinging to opinion so blindly that they cannot step into the mold of another's thoughts. How can one consider pursuing knowledge with a narrow and closed mind? These debates are fundamental exercises before I let others go delving into the really heavy, sensitive topics with me."

Amari is overheard praising Macda.

Amari is overheard praising Lilia.

Amari is overheard praising Modi.

Amari is overheard praising Terese.

Amari is overheard praising Michael.

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