A talk on Civilization
Feb. 23, 2019, 3 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - House of Solace - Knights of Solace Armory
Comments and Log
Maxene, the steadfast ladies maid, Pellinor, 4 Thrax Guards, Honey Snuggle, a Velenosian Angora cat, Elegance, a Velenosian Greyhound arrive, following Alarissa.
Onida, a boglands wolf-hound, Gene Erique, Guardsman, Tero the Iron Hound, Outi the Iron Hound, 3 Iron Guardsmen arrive, following Jyri.
The Solace Armory has been slightly refurnished to better accomondate the unusual amount of guests that might attend the talk with extra couches having been brought in and a two tables having been set up along the length of the room filled with a wide variety of appetizers, baked goods and small candies that the more peckish attendees can partake in.
Andry himself is standing waiting by the far end of the room near the armor stands trying his best to not look overly self-concious while the guests stream in. Once the room starts looking moderately filled he coughs into a closed hand before looking over the assembled guests and starts his speach. "Welcome to the House of Solace, make yourselves comfortable and take whatever you like from the tables. Hopefully you're all here because you're interested in Gild, specifically in her aspect of Civilization and the dark reflection thereof."
2 Ashford House Guard, Bethany arrive, following Olivia.
Olivia arrives, following Zeia.
Alarissa has joined the a couch embellished with gold and silver.
Zeriax has joined the a plush purple couch.
What does a Lycene summer look like? One only has to look at Bliss Whisper to get some idea of the matter. Layers of sheer, gauzy silks fall around her in crimsons and golds, ropes tightening them at strategic points on her body, and the gown moves and flows as freely as she does. Her weapons - including Vowkeeper, the once-Sword of the Telmarch - are at her hips as she settles onto a couch, one lissome leg easily crossing over the other as she focuses on Andry.
Bliss has joined the a couch embellished with silver and gold.
Avary drifts in like the breeze with certain, fluid strides and the lift of her coat tails as she walks helps with the illusion. Her forward facing gaze, while inscrutible, isn't necessarily stern. It isn't exactly warm and open, either. It's fairly obvious she's not exactly here to socialize.
Checking her options, she settles herself on the plushest of couch options. She sits down in prim fashion with knees together, legs slight slanted and her hands resting lightly on her thighs.
Avary has joined the a plush purple couch.
Alarissa's come in with the flow of others, a dip of her head to Andry as she passes by before bypassing any of the finger foods or drinks so she can settle on a couch and get comfortable.
Sorrel steps in looking quite regal in aeterna slashed with all the colors of the dawn, full skirts swishing as she makes her way in and finds herself somewhere to sit. She looks to Andry and offers him a warm and encouraging smile.
Sorrel has joined the a couch embellished with gold and silver.
Jyri nods at those familiar people when entering, and finds a seat with little fuss after taking some food and a drink for himself. "Thanks for hosting this," he tells Andry, "been having a real big interest in this lately. All sort of confusing though, this might clear up some things."
Cadern picks his way places
Zeriax made his way into the Armory, eyes scanning the room as he strode with a slow, meandering gait. As Andry made his welcome, the man decided to take to the plush purple couch. It looked comfortable, and that was what Andry suggested. He fell backwards into it, draping himself over it almost as if he were a blanket. Legs spread wide, arms along the back. Oh yes, he was comfortable. And quiet, for the time being. Watching everyone as they poured in, watching where they went. Who they sat with, and looking over a number of them with wide, nearly unblinking eyes.
Sparte is dressed like he just came in off duty with the Iron Guard, which he did. He finds himself a seat, giving a small nod of agreement to what Jyri says as he does so.
Sparte has joined the a couch embellished with gold and silver.
Jyri has joined the a couch embellished with gold and silver.
Zeia arrives on the edge of late, the beautiful Olivia in tow. He politely waits for everyone to sit, giving those he knows brief smiles, not wanting to interrupt the talk that already has begun.
Cadern picks his way into the place letting his eyes wander. He tucks a flask into one of his cloak pockets as he searches around. Eschewing the large couches he meanders his way to the side finding a wall to prop up as he smiles and considers the occupants with interest studying each curiously.
Olivia has joined the a plush purple couch.
Zeia has joined the a plush purple couch.
Gunther comes into the armory. Some people when they enter a place for the first time pay great attention to it. The level of careful detail the aged eyes of the short and dumpy elder man is a step above common. As if the environment has some sort of meaning to him that is left under the surface. But it's clear he just isn't new -- he is new and invested in every detail of his environment. The man looks around as he searches for a spot to sit. Gunther smells a bit like fish. It looks like he had just plunged his head and torso into a tub of water. There is even a little stringy fish gut that's tangled in his thick and heavy brow. Gunther's telltale comb-over is much like a versatile mullet. When it's straight back it is tossing knucks time. This time it lays to the side for non-fightin' moments. He wearts commoner's clothing that is worn and barely in functional repair. He is the poorest of the poor. And the old fellow looks for a place to sit and find those he might know to join in.
Balian, a Templar squire, Guy, a hunting kestrel, 1 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Preston.
Keso, a totally legit assistant, Peanut, an oversized mastiff arrive, following Aleksei.
"Of all the aspects of Gild, it can be argued that Civilization is the least understood, or least talked about. We of the faith often tend to emphazie charity, merchants often desire success in commerce and ensuring safe travel is often the focus of my order in particular. So what is civilization?" Andry takes a dramatic pause for his rhetorical question while his grey eyes slowly wander across his audience. "It is all of us together and what we've achieved as a community. "It's our shared bonds and commitments, it's what we create not just for ourselves but also for the future. It's dark reflection then is the inverse. It's the breaking of bonds, it's the lack of commitment and it leaves nothing behind."
Preston slides into the talk a little late, and ducks his head down a little as he makes a beeline for an implausibly spacious couch. He unfastens his sword belt a little so he can settle the swords on his lap as he sits - thus avoiding murdering other residents or, y'know, the furniture and thus earning a reprimanding note from others.
Preston has joined the a couch embellished with gold and silver.
Zeriax's amber eyes returned sharply from their drift along those gathered to Andry when he spoke. They didn't focus on him entirely, moving back and forth from him to the others, watching them and their reactions to what the man had to say. He leaned over to whisper something to those seated next to him, nodding their way before his attention returned quietly to the room.
Aleksei slips into the armory with a curious expression, noting the crowd, offering a hint of a crooked smile to a certain few he knows -- Bliss, Jyri, Sorrel, Preston, Avary -- as he shuffles about to find a good spot to sit. In the end, he plants himself at the couch where Bliss is currently the /solo queen/.
Aleksei has joined the a couch embellished with silver and gold.
Keeping her gaze on Andry, and resting an elbow on the arm of the couch she is on as she rests her cheek on her palm, Bliss is the picture of absolute rapt attention - except for when she beams at Aleksei as he comes to join her, fingers of her other hand wiggling in greeting. Then her eyes are back on Andry, the Softest Whisper seeming to consider his words.
Jyri nods respectfully around, murmuring greetings - he looks quite chuffed to see Aleksei, the man getting a broad grin. "So," he says, turning to Andry and not being afraid to speak up, "it's not one person. Though could it be someone is so damnably good at this whole civilized thing, they're an Aspect themselves? Without even realising?" he wonders.
Alarissa has left the a couch embellished with gold and silver.
Maxene, the steadfast ladies maid have been dismissed.
Pellinor have been dismissed.
4 Thrax Guards have been dismissed.
Honey Snuggle, a Velenosian Angora cat have been dismissed.
Elegance, a Velenosian Greyhound have been dismissed.
"An Aspect can be a person, but it can also just mean -- an aspect of a god's domain," Aleksei pipes up to suggest. "A person can't really be an Aspect without knowing, though. It means being empowered by a god. Or gods. Not just being super good at a thing."
Cadern tilts his head considering Andry for a time and then his eyes flicking across the crowd watching responses with interest and curiosity. As the discussion moves to aspects he looks on with interest head tilting clearly unfamiliar with the use of the terms.
Alarissa has joined the a couch embellished with gold and silver.
"I donno, I've read some theories that suggest aspects ain't necssarily knowing them being it, more like they act so much like it they become aspects. Just a theory however," Jyri says, waving a hand. "What you mean is... Civilization isn't a person, it is a /part/ of Gild's domain, and we're either working towards it or we're not. So, if it's not a person, is the dark reflection a person?"
Sparte lifts an eyebrow at what Aleksei says, nodding slowly. "Interesting." He considers for a few seconds before looking to Jyri and considering their words in turn.
Gunther has joined the a plush purple couch.
"My lord," Bliss says calmly to Jyri, "It is rather rude and dismissive to claim that you know what someone else meant. Come, now, let us not start off this discussion on that sort of note. Aleksei is one of the foremost theologians of our time, and I dare say he knows what he is talking about."
"That is not entirely clear." Andry says towards Jyri and Aleksei. "There are some who believe that there may have been many living aspects througout history that were never aware that they were embodying a domain, suggesting the likes of Sir Macron, King Alar the First or Queen Alarice the Great as candidates. We may never know for sure. I was recently told an old almost forgotten story of the faith, and I'll recount it for you now."
Andry takes in a deep breath as he prepares to tell his story and clasps his hand behind his back in the manner of someone trying to avoid fidgeting. "Gilds spirit of generosity and Avarices boundless selfishness are rivals in almost all things but even they have points of agreement. Those opportunities where selfish greed could be used as fuel for cilization as immortalized by Marach the Apostate in the shrine of Gild, Avarice builds Cities. These same impulses when directed elsewhere could lead to destruction and breaking of bonds and connections and these impulses of light and dark are made manifest in a child of Gild and Avarice bound beneath Aviaron's Peak. In times of great agreement and bonding, the ruining force wanes. In times of strike, broken agreements and shattered treaties it waxes high and if the greatest bonds would fail, the child may break free and civilizion everywhere will fall to ruin."
Gunther offers a warm smile in the direciton of Sorrel as he slowly makes his way over towards the purple couch where others sit. His mangled mitt does a little finger wave to her before he goes to sit down. When Gunther sits his legs dangle a bit. He's definitely the shortest (and likely the fattest) person in the room (not touching or commenting or qualifying pregnant folks). As he makes his way through the peope at the purple couch to the end where he sits -- he nods to Avary, "Archlechtor." He greets her with a chuckle, "You never said you was no high muckity-muck!" He shakes his head and scoots on down. As he spots Zeia he winks and smiles that kind-hearted way of his, "Hullo!" He offers quiet. Seems people are started and talking. So he settles down and shuts his yammer hole.
"Wait, what?" Aleksei peers over at Bliss, and then back to Jyri. "No man, you're fine. I'd just be curious to hear about what you've dug up to suggest that. I wouldn't think that's the case -- spontaneous Aspects with people not even realizing -- but only because they're a step below Seraphs, so there's gotta be a level of empowerment. The gods choose their Aspects. Who to bless. I've never heard people talk about Queen Alarice as an Aspect." He pauses. "I don't think I'm a foremost theologian of /any/ time." He looks back to Andry, curious. "A child of Gild /and/ Avarice?"
"I've heard this story as well," Sorrel offers supportively to Andry, nodding a bit. She glances to Aleksei, then. "There is some writing that suggests that Aspects might not know their nature, done by a Godsworn Scholar by the name of Alixander. That is, it's his interpretation of what the Aspects of Civilization might be. Great builders, largely. People who shaped civilization as we know it."
Jyri just stares at Bliss, then blinks his one eye and says nothing, instead nodding at Alexei. "I'll show you the notes, found some scholar named Alixander who had some theory - like Sir Andry said there. Same book?" he says, raising eyebrows at Andry. He looks a bit surprised that he talks about Aviaron's peak and looks, momentarily, a bit uncomfortable. "It's stirring," he murmurs. "What's going on now, makes you wonder, is it stirring cause of what we did, or is what is happening because it's stirring?" Lopsided cynical smile.
"It seems it is difficult to come to embody the nature of a God, an act that requires dedication and devotion, without being aware one is doing it. Though interesting, Aleksei - I guess dear Child Aleksei now." Preston says the last with a wry grin towards his former superior within the Faith hierarchy "But, I find it most interesting you place a hierarchy - Aspects below True Seraphs. And yet Paragons must come in there too. If we are going to speak so openly about such things."
When Gunther sat at the Plush Purple Couch, Zeriax leaned over and invaded the man's space. If Gunther didn't move away from his quick hand, Zeriax would've plucked the fish gut from his brow and flung it towards the entrance, before wiping his hand on Gunthers's shoulder. He whispered something to Olivia, before his eyes moved about to the room, staring most particularly at Jyri. Eventually, they continued drifting between those in conversation, Zeriax remaining quiet.
Avary gives Gunther a casual look when he approaches and sits. Her gaze is no less inscrutable than when she walked in. "Well," she exhales a small breath and is slow to speak. "There are higher muckity-mucks." She turns her attention back to Andry.
Gunther offers Zeriax a soft 'thank you'. His focus back on the talking.
Sparte nods to Jyri. "Thank you for offering your notes. It is very difficult to put the pieces of what we need to know together, often we're all left with our own portions and an incomplete understanding. It takes working together, which seems to be in the spirit of civilization, for us to have a full picture."
Andry nods towards Jyri and Sorrel, confirming the shared source of their knowledge before moving on. "This story was long thought to be allegorical but in these times it's become clear that it's a true albeit distorted account of something very real. The entity that we call Ruin was sealed below Avarion's Peak a thousand years ago, sometime around the reckoning. Ofcourse something with such power can never truly be contained only limited." The knight takes a breath and looks around the room again. "In one of Dominus Tins prolific writings, he wrote about he believed that before the reckoning, something had been lose in the world that caused all attempts to build a broader community to break down and ever since there's been something different about the north. In the ruins of one of the dwarven settlements that fell during those times we found an account naming swords and magic, strength and will helpless in the face of their enemy. Only words can bind ruin, perhaps something like the treaty in the south. Our compact."
Meeting Jyri's gaze, Bliss doesn't blink, but when the man turns away she listens to each person in turn. As she hears Andry speak of Dwarves, she tilts her head, then nods, saying, "Do we have an estimated date for that document? What I had heard is just that it was very, very old." She then glances to Preston. "Paragons?" she wonders, apparently unfamiliar with that particular term.
2 Pravus Guard arrives, following Sudara.
Cadern listens to the discussion quietly, "Can an aspect be a document or an idea?" He tilts his head, "While individuals are important, it's been suggested that what keeps us from ruin is not any one individual but rather that agreement. Would that document, or law or treaty that keeps us from giving into our more base demands be the important thing?" He nods at Andry at his last words since apparently that's where his question comes from.
"I'd think it was the individuals who were committed to enforcing that treaty who really make the difference. A treaty is only as good as the parties who abide by it," Sorrel points out thoughtfully, clearly interested in the discussion.
Sparte nods to what Andry says. "An alliance blessed by Gild. It didn't explicitly say it was our Compact, but that is the implication. The ruins were old enough to be reckoning era or even pre-reckoning, making it more likely that was the case."
Jyri listens with rapt attention. It's clear the man is no scholar, but this topic is of great importance to him - heck, clearly he HAS put his nose into books because of it even. There's some satisfaction shown at something Andry says, perhaps a puzzle being cleared out for him, and he nods along in understanding. He's been talkative enough for now however and keeps his mouth shut, looking between the others that ask questions.
"Well, it's certainly a theory! And I'd definitely be interested to read the notes. Not sure if I'll subscribe to it." But it's all said with faint, wry cheer by Aleksei, not even argumentative. "What I've read about Paragons has always suggested to me that they're more of a -- eh, not important right now." He waves away the topic before it distracts from Andry's meeting too much. "Well that's all getting pretty literal," he suggests to Cadern. "Treaties and agreements are all part of building civilization. They help make it stronger. Strengthening the overall aspect of civilization in the world. A lot of it comes down to being really -- conceptual. Very real, but conceptual." He looks curious at the talk of an ancient treaty. "Well that sounds cool," he says.
Late but in earnest is better than not at all - or so it might be hoped. At the least, arriving amidst a back-and-forth exchange provides some cover for Sudara Pravus to slip in and seek a seat without causing undue disruption to proceedings. Mention of an 'ancient treaty' very evidently secures her interest, though she keeps quiet as she moves join an acquaintance on his chosen couch.
Sudara has joined the a couch embellished with gold and silver.
"I'm not much in the way of understanding for a large number of topics some of you seem to know quite well, what with the expression of names, places, and dates." Zeriax spoke up. "The concept of 'civilization' is about progress, social and cultural development, and the communication between others. Pardon my ignorance, but I believe I speak for those here who know not the precise nature of these names, places, and dates when I ask this; you're saying that what's kept this 'Ruin' from its namesake has been the abstract concept of agreements between others, and the honouring of such agreements? Particularly, ones of larger scale and importance?"
Avary tucks a thumb under her chin and extends and contracts the edge of her index finger below the line of her bottom lip in quiet contemplation. Her eyes shift focus to each who speak, as they speak, with watchful attention as if her charge was to listen only and offer nothing. Any favor she might have to any concept presented is carefully shrouded behind a curtain of self-containment
"It's not about your desires." Andry explains to Cadern. "It's what you do with them. If you pillage, burn, steal and defraud you do the work of ruin. If you build something to last it doesn't matter if you do it out of greed or pride, you're doing the work of civilization." He then turns to Bliss and Sparte, acknowledging them with a nod. "They wern't dated and I could be wrong about which treaty they refer to. There have been other great treaties made south of Avarion such as the great experiment or Queen Alarices's treaty but the compact is the only one not yet broken."
Alarissa's gaze sweeps back and forth between the speakers, blue eyes rapt.
Jyri gives Sudara a welcoming and respectful nod an scoots over a bit on the seat. He shoots Zeriax a look and another thoughtful nod at his questions, then glances around to see what answer that will get. "But it's correct," he asks, "that Ruin is in an actual physical place, locked up by... something? Someone?"
Cadern glances around the group again looking to Sparte and then to Sorrel and shrugs, "The Dwarves were a kingdom amongst themselves. Their ruins can be found across the north. It's hard to think they didn't have SOME form of agreements and alliances and they were favored by Gild themselves. I don't think it's enough to say it's just agreements as a whole. There's something specific. Everything I've seen indicates Drakorsis, the dwarven kingdom, predates the reckoning. During the reckoning one of their kingdoms, Aviaron, fell to worshipping the Dark Reflection... and well from there it seems to go downhill quickly, their entire culture was shattered such that efforts today to discover them find only abandoned ruins and cryptic messages. I suppose the person who knows best would be Brass, I don't suppose he's around today? Since... you know he tends to pop up." He says with a frown glancing around.
"That's the story, yes," Sorrel points out to Jyri with a nod. "Do you need to see my notes? I'd be happy to share with you. It's an interesting conundrum."
"The Pax Noctis was made around that time, as well - the first one," Bliss points out to Andry. "I think pretty much every treaty has been made south of Aviaron, to be frank. I do agree that the Compact is the most likely one." She then looks to Zeriax, nodding to him. "Things like this seem to be as much about ... taking concepts and making them into reality as much as possible. Civilization is the bonds that are formed with one another, and how we keep them. Laws and treaties are primary examples of this, but so are any deals you make at the merchant, or vows given that you keep. We shape the Dream with each of our actions. What Radiant Caithness did, for example, likely helped keep it sealed away." She then looks at Cadern and shakes her head. "Drakorsis was elsewhere, to my understanding," she tells him.
Sparte looks thoughtful. "There are those here who I know will correct me if I put this poorly, but..." Sparte looks to Zeriax. "Power comes in many forms. Perhaps we see it in a knight well armed and armored. Or we see it in bravery, a force of soldiers with their morale up and voice raised. Some see it in wealth, the ability to tip the scales of commerce. There is power in places less obvious as well, and apparently there was a creature of some ilk that drew power from the divide between people. There have been similar powers on display in the recent wars, such as the terrible hunger wrought on soldiers in the Pirate War at Setarco. We don't fully understand how they work, but this prison of oaths and treaties is one we should not neglect."
"I don't think anyone /is/ saying that civilization is just -- agreements," Aleksei says, looking over to Cadern. "I mean -- it's a lot of things, like Sir Andry said. Anything that strengthens building our civilization. There usually isn't /one specific thing/ for stuff like this, because it's all about -- concepts. Ideas. We know now that the idea of the gods as being only metaphor isn't exactly right, but they still -- /are/ these concepts. They're beings /and/ they're ideas. The gods themselves aren't embodying their concepts: they /are/ the concepts."
"Yes and no." Andry offers as the unhelpful answer to Jyri's question. "The seal of Ruin is located in a specific place below the peak of Avarion and Ruins influence seems to be geographically limited. However as far as I've been able to tell, Ruin is not anything like a person, it's not in chains and behind lock and key. It might be better thought of as a force, like the wind and if unleashed it will be everywhere at once." He pauses with a frown before he adds. "And worryingly, its reach has gotten longer. Incidents traced back to Ruin or someone pretending to be Ruin has been found here in Arx, thousands of miles from Avarion's Peak."
"Broken promises. Wonder if that's what all those divorces were about?" Jyri says, after nodding vigorously at Andry.
"Well. I guess these secrets aren't really that anymore." Preston observes with a faint look of worry before he leans forward in his seat on the couch "Good to know that turning to the Abyss always is a story that ends in terror though, that is a secret some others could do with learning...though." Preston's face scrunches a little "It is not a matter for the Faith, but it does raise questions about the options the Assembly faces, does it not? One of the agreements that binds is our shared Faith, a Faith whose established place would be ended under one of the options. And of course the breaches of duties and obligations during the events after the Great Road." Andry's comment does make Preston pause for a few moments before he adds "The tools of the Abyss, its embodiments, being things is not unknown. A place doesn't seem unusual."
Zeriax looked to those who responded to him first, his eyes darting between the participants of the discussion when they chose to speak of what they felt or what they knew. "Hmm. More and more it seems to me," He said, peering towards Bliss and Sparte, and then to Aleksei, "that everything that exists is embodied by something. As Champion Bliss mentioned, the Dream is shaped by our actions. Actions that glorify the Pantheon and the virtues they uphold, for example, lend an almost self-recurring strength to those embodiments of concepts, and then in turn, to those who work to act on those concepts."
He paused, noting what other participants brought to bear, before again speaking. "So this embodiment of ruin, then, is being strengthened by an increase in the number of bonds broken." He nodded towards Jyri. "Or, perhaps, something of more significance? If that is the case, then the upcoming assembly with the foreign nations might come largely into play." Just a thought posited to the floor, than to any one person, the man bringing a hand up to scratch his chin.
Cadern glances to Bliss and grins, "Well if I knew where it was I'd have already checked it out. But fair point it may not be in the north. But, my point was more that... Aviaran and Drakorsis are at least two Dwarven Kingdoms that predated the reckoning and fell during the reckoning. But it's a point maybe only the dwarves here died out. I'll have to mention it..." He looks thoughtful at that. He glances to Aleksei and considers but admits, "I'll admit I can't easily understand what that means. I think you have more experience than I in the subject." He furrows his brow as he listens more. Andry gets an intrigued look, "There's something closer to here?"
Avary's eyes lift to the ceiling as all that has been said sifts through and coalesces to a single thought in her mind. Her hand falls from her face and meets its opposite with fingers loosely intertwined now in her lap. She looks to Andry and now her expression is less an observant one and more a patient one with the slightest raise of her chin.
Sudara smiles gratefully to Jyri when he ensures she has enough room... though her expression swiftly changes to warm interest, and then deep concern as the conversation moves through dwarves and seals and on to Ruin's influence being directly discernible in Arx. Jyri's query earns him a look mingling surprise with amusement, before she nods to the more serious points that follow.
"People can take actions that strengthen the domain of one God and weaken another," Aleksei says with a dark-humored agreement with Zeriax. "All of our actions matter. Which is kind of terrifying."
Jyri is rubbing his jaw, thoughtfully working something through in his head. Slow going, looks like. "What about the visions?" he says suddenly. "What if," he posits, "some big promise is about to be broken and we don't even know about it? What if that's the warning?" He hikes a thumb at what Zeriax said. "MAybe something with that. Or, there's some big damn oath done sometime and either we, or someone else, is about to break it." Wry smile.
"Unintended consequences," Sorrel agrees, nodding to Aleksei seriously. "A small misstep can lead to terrible things, without even us meaning harm. Every choice we make is important, even if we don't realize that we're making a choice."
Preston mutters, "An excellent point, ... ... One ... ... more ..."
"I imagine it is the hardest choices which have the biggest impact. The ones which truly cost us something. And those who are willing to give things up for what is important to them, who don't bluster about it in self-importance, those are the ones who need to be held up and honored." As Bliss says this in her Lycene contralto, keeping her voice low, her fingers brush over the pommel of Vowkeeper. Her eyes look to Jyri, and she says, "It's hard to be sure, really - it's important that everyone that is working to stop this thing knows what it's been doing, and maybe from there, we can see why it has been working that way."
"Platinum is apparently breaking a big treaty just by sending his people here," Aleksei says with a grim set to his jaw. "And that has to be one that's lasted for centuries. That's -- a very big thing. Clearly it didn't include a clause in which it ended with Copper's death."
Preston leans over to murmer something towards Sorrel before he turns his head back to the room "Consider if your lord gives you a command to kill the innocent. You swore your obedience to him and his word, to break it is to harm limerance. To obey harms Gloria and probably others." Preston looks to Aleksei then, his finger tapping at his knee "I'll defer to Aleksei, he is very often a pain but he is wiser than a stupid young soldier, but this seems like a lot of knowledge of that which truly moves our world to speak of in the open, even in the armory of Solace. I know it is something we must speak of, but I still worry and bear the cautions of one seraph in my mind - that we are watched always, and not all places are protected. Indeed it takes power to do so."
"In a vision that struck many people here in Arx recently, Ruin was seen as the manifestation of every broken promise ever made, accumulated through the ages. I can only encourage each and every one of you to stay true to your word now more then ever." Andry says with a nod towards Aleksei and Zeriax. "Now the one who told me the tale of the child of Avarice and Gild suspected that the child refered not to Ruin, but to the seal. That stopping the free reign of Ruin was not the work of those of the faith alone, but in cooperation with servants of the abyss."
Jyri's gaze flicks to Bliss and he nods in thoughtfulness once more, then eye widens to stare at Aleksei and then the same stare is turned at Andry. He squirms a bit uncomfortably, a frown on his brow. "So," he wonders, "the abyssal forces don't want Ruin to wake up either, you mean?"
Zeriax peered to Aleksei, and then to Jyri and Sorrel in particular. "Unintended consequences from a lack of knowledge. A lack of communication between those who ''do'' know. As mentioned previously, I do not know the specifics of what many of you speak of, but I am aware that there are things that stir. Based on the idea that we're strenghthening greater powers with our actions, it would perhaps be cognizant of the decisions we're making, rather than stepping blindly forwards. As has been the obvious observation, civilization in Arx has been making decisions blindly, based on false rhetorics." Then Aleksei spoke, and Zeriax's eyes narrowed, nodding. "The implication that there might be a treaty in place already we're unaware of isn't surprising, nor is it comforting." He looked to Andry. "So to stop this 'Ruin', the Light and the Dark must work together? Both sides of the reflection, then?" He sounded more curious and intrigued than horrified by the idea, though his expression was certainly dire.
Cadern glances to Aleksei at the mention of Platinum and then to Preston. The northern Lord shifting uneasily before adjusting his cloak. He blinks then to Andry, "Well... in the end it always seems to come down to family doesn't it. I would be interested to hear more of that sometime. I've not heard that part of the tale. But... there's more than a few tales of people who have used Abyssal powers to do great good. But it's a hell of a cost to pay." He looks at Jyri, "Or... there are things they may want more. Sometimes one just needs to make a deal."
"In a civilization predicated on free will it are these agreements which form the basis of our mutual interaction: how we live, can live and will continue to live together." Avary speaks slowly, words carefully chosen. Her voice is even and confident in that it does not waiver, but never conceited. "Those customs and mores practiced broadly will be nurtured and hewn to most closely. But it is a mutual effort of many, each responsible to see to the continuance of those agreements. A frail thing that one leader in one position can undo the history of such ties."
Avary casts her eyes down a touch, "Whether Ruin is an entity or a concept is immaterial when the actions of a free people are what gives it strength and threatens its release." Her composure regains. "It's not enough to make promises and speak words. We as a whole must honor agreements and encourage and teach our brothers and sisters that our word is strong." And she motions to the Softest Whisper, "And we mustn't be afraid to offend or scared to enforce the principle that a word given and an agreement made must be followed through. Promises must be kept. Treaties honored."
"I /am/ a pain," Aleksei agrees solemnly with Preston. He wrinkles his nose a bit at something Andry says, and then he sighs. "I did hear once that it might have been a joint effort between the Metallics and the Fractals," he says of the sealing process, sounding just a /bit/ bugged about it. "Even Abyssal servants often want there to be a world surviving for them to eventually rule." He glances at Zeriax. "Not just unintended consequences from a lack of knowledge. It's an inevitable part of life: sometimes you have to honor one virtue over another. That's why we have a whole Pantheon and don't worship just one god. Life is complicated. There's no way to get around that fact, even with knowledge." He looks over to Avary, then. "Probably more focused on treaties. Promises, oaths, and vows are largely Limerance's domain, after all. But clearly the building of treaties and agreements that help to strengthen Civilization is something shared between Limerance and Gild."
Cadern does glance around, "I think... people are focusing on promises and keeping one's word. I personally don't think that's the key to the conversation. That which we balance like Sir Andry brought us here to discuss is civilization. Not just agreements. When you make a decision that benefits the greater good of civilization you support it. When you make a decision that helps only you. You reward your own Avarice. It's not simply a question of making the right or wrong decision, or honoring or not honoring the treaty. In this case it's WHY that seems to matter. Even if we cannot predict the consequences of our actions we can look at why we're doing it."
"But the story that Sir Andry told -- the crux of it was that the 'why' doesn't matter, only the doing. Only the civilizing," Sorrel points out to Cadern momentarily. "It doesn't matter if you build cities selfishly. You've contributed to civilization overall."
"Avarice builds cities," Jyri just murmurs, perhaps finally getting the full meaning of it. "But..." He pauses, glancing around. "Seems to me," he says carefully, "that the things stirring up around the great road might be a counter from Ruin against Civilization then. Right? Great Road sure is Civilization."
Preston looks to Cadern with a concerned look, his brows furrowing. The Templar doesn't speak for a moment though, instead he works at the muscles in the palm of his right hand with his left thumb, trying to work out some kink or knot. He then speaks, his voice level "You can achieve good in many ways, my Lord. But. That which is gained with the Abyss? It is like harvesting your grain with a flaming scythe. You will get your harvest done, but it will be ash in your mouth and all you loved will be burned in the end. The ends must be just, but so must the means. We must honour Limerance, the Sentinel and Gloria in our choices. And I understand the temptation, if I could have in a click of my finger saved those we lost at Stormwall? There were items of the Abyss that could have saved one or more, could have saved Armel certainly. We took a conscious choice to leave such methods alone, because they are an anethema to the Faith and do harm beyond our understanding." As Sorrel speaks, Preston just quietly nods in agreement
"I mean, uh, sounded like the process behind the Great Road also wasn't /thought out/ all the way in certain areas," Aleksei says to Jyri a touch awkwardly, like he wants to make his point without casting /too/ much aspersion. "You don't need an Archfiend or an Aspect rumbling around just to have consequences."
Zeia has left the a plush purple couch.
"They focus on those because many here are in no position of authority to honor treaty, much less make one. And I am sure at least a few in the audience has that question, 'how do I help civilization when I am but one. And a lowly one, at that?'." Avary tells Cadern. "But they want to help, and I believe nurturing the principle of follow-through and settling for no less in our peers and betters is a way they can. Certainly not the only way. Just a way." She gives a nod of deference and acceptance to Aleksei's clarifying remarks.
"Yes, as Aleksei points out. The world still needs to be there to be ruled, in whichever twisted way they desire to rule it. Even amongst our enemies, I expect few if any are friends of Ruin." Andry says while finally unclasping his hands, only to cross them over his chest instead. "And as Archlector Avary makes clear, we must be willing to stand up for our principlies and the treaties and agreements in which we've engaged even when it's painful and yes, as Sorrel says. There's many situations in which the why matters but in terms of the balance between ruin and civilization it doesn't. Break an agreement or raze a city and ruin will grow stronger, no matter how honorable your intentions while even something like slavery can work to diminish it arrangements are honored and the work is constructive."
Falling quiet for a while, Bliss lets her gaze linger among the others before she says, "I think some kind of summary of some of this information would be useful. Knowing what this thing is up to is important for knowing how to counter it. We've heard mention of actions here in Arx, and we can all see the consequences of the Great Road. That's where I've been focusing my work - and Whisper House is an excellent place to turn to if any of you are looking for diplomatic approach. Though we certainly won't be helping to establish slavery," she adds with a quirked brow.
"So not just the action itself, but the motivation behind the action as well." Zeriax said first to Cadern. He began to nod, and at Aleksei's words, Zeriax brought his eyes to the floor, contemplating them. For the moment, he leaned back again, and listened to the others speak their piece, eyes darting around. After Sorrel spoke, he narrowed his eyes. "The action results in the same end, but the intent results in a different means, then, according to that particular line of thought." The lupine-like man peered towards Avary as she spoke, humming in consideration. "As broad as it is deep, ingrained into society as a whole and maintained throughout the ages, then. These social constructs are of little use without having them be communicated and widespread." At that point, Zeriax gestured towards Bliss. "Creating a summary of all the words and information shared here to then be widespread is an excellent idea." The man looked around. "If there are those willing to sit with me after this exchange has ended, I'd be willing to scribe this discussion into an easily digestible format for the larger public."
"You can build a civilization on the backs of slaves," Aleksei says flatly. "Doesn't make it a good one to build. Strengthen Civilization, damage Freedom."
Olivia has left the a plush purple couch.
2 Ashford House Guard, Bethany leave, following Olivia.
Cadern glances to Sorrel and then back to Andry and then he shrugs, "I guess... I don't know enough to say. Maybe I just don't want that to be true because of naivete. Maybe I don't mean the why so much as the how..." Avary gets his hands put up, "Not saying anyone shouldn't help. I'm a big proponent of knowing more and discussing things tends to help not hurt us." He admits rubbing his chin. He seems to leave that subject alone instead looking to Preston, "Sorry, I was not saying it should be done, only that there are many more tales in history of people who have been touched by both reflections reflection than those who are an Aspect of just one. Like the smith Amber who was blessed of Jayus and yet her heart held the opposite. Still Amber created amazing works that benefitted everyone of the Light and the Dark. My point was that often individuals and their actions are touched by more than one, and that just because one has been touched by the darkness doesn't mean they can't do something that benefits the light, and vice versa."
"I might suggest civilization in earnest - as we consider it - requires our freedom." Avary says lightly to Aleksei. "But that would be a futile debate to have at another time and place when there is time to kill." And at that she does give to him the first impression of a smile since she arrived.
Andry nods to Bliss and breaks into a smile towards the whisper. "That is the real reason I took the initiative to organize this talk. I suspected there are many that are concerned about this threat and have been working on it in their own way. I want this to be an opportunity to bring information and people together and see if we can perhaps work in unison. The original seal is a big mystery that Sir Corban Telmar, Captain of the King's Own has taken initiative researching."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Andry before departing.
"It'd be nice to think that, but I don't think it actually does necessarily," Aleksei says with a grim smile to Avary. "I mean, as far as I'm /personally/ concerned, of course it fucking does. But. Conceptually? I think it's yet another big important reason we've got thirteen gods instead of one."
Jyri shuts up. He's a Prodigal and probably got a few things to say about civilization and freedom...
"Cardia is a great civilization that has slavery. So is Eurus. The Undying Empire isn't exactly perfect, either," Bliss says quietly, shaking her head, "And the greatest civilization in history absolutely did not have it. But how we build our society is our choice, and no one else's."
"What I'm most interested in at the moment, is what ties Arvum has with The Empire. Most people seem to be very on board with Ashe's side of the argument. As much as people seem to enjoy Brass' ideals, it would be a large upset. It can still be a 'proper process', by way of the advancement and culture portions of civilization, if done right." He paused. "But if we happen to break ties and dishonour an agreement with the Empire, that could be disastrous as far as this 'Ruin' is concerned then, wouldn't it?"
Sudara - bearing the symbol of a prodigal band around her throat, in spite of her Lycene looks and accent - offers Jyri a sympathetic look, before nodding. "We need our particular civilisation to be something *worth* defending, that people will choose to join of their own free will. And I would argue that forging a greater bond with our own people could more than counteract a disagreement with a different, and frankly power-hungry, civilisation. If we dishonour agreements and fall into anarchy, that will serve more than one dark power. But if we are able to forge a distinct path and stand *for* virtues, including freedom, we have to believe that we will be acting in opposition to the Abyss."
"Far as I know, the Compact itself doesn't have any agreements or treaties with the Undying Empire," Aleksei says, brows twitching upwards. "I think that -- Platinum may have had an agreement with Copper. The Great Experiment. Where he agreed to leave Arvum alone to be free. She believed in our ability to fight the Abyss without the bonds Platinum started using in his Empire. But -- it's already been broken."
Jyri looks absolutely startled now, staring at Aleksei. "Vision came right after they came here," he says abruptly. "That might be it, that might be the big promise broken?"
Jyri clarifies. "Right after the Assembly when they presented their... offers."
"An interesting one though in things like the Tiend. We supported blood magic, against the laws of the Faith, to honour a treaty. And to make up for harm caused. Is that good or bad for civilisation?" Preston enquires of Aleksei, a genuine look of curiosity on his features "Much as people like to pretend otherwise, over half the high lords were excommunicated. Which I guess again damages civilisation, but ignoring the common bind...." His eyes shift to Avary - after all, hard questions are for Archlectors
"It was part of the Fourth Law at the time, so probably not great for Gild?" Aleksei weighs with one hand. Then another. "On the other hand, good for Death. /And/ honoring a treaty. So, you know." WHERE DOES IT BALANCE. Who knows.
"You have become less helpful in your old and not very Godsworn age, Aleksei Morgan." Comes the teasing mock grump from Preston, before he breaks into a smile.
"Consider where our civilization would be now had they not done so, and I think the answer will then be clear enough." Avary tells Preston.
"Now we've been here for a few hours, I'm sure you're all getting tired of listening so I would like to thank you all for coming and indulging my idea of making sure we all know as much as possible about this aspect of gild and the one of the threats facing us." Andry says before clasping one hand over his chest and bowing deeply. "If you'd like to help researching this matter or you think there's important pieces I'm missing, I would encourage you to get in touch so that we can work together."
"Or where the Nox might be," Bliss adds.
Zeriax laughed a little at something Gunther said, quickly clasping a hand over his mouth before he looked around to the room and composed himself. Clearing his throat, Zeriax looked back to Andry. "As I offered before, I believe I will take to scribing these matters into a more digestible format that can be then distributed to a wider range of people. My compatriot here," He claps a hand on Gunther's shoulder, "brings up a good point, related to precisely what Archlector Ashford has vocated previously. There's a lot of people who don't have opportunities like these, who have yet to witness the things that many who've gathered here have witnessed." Zeriax stood, and bowed towards Andry. "Thank you kindly, for hosting this event Sir Bayweather. It hase been most informative."
Sparte nods in agreement to Zeriax, smiling towards Andry. "Yes, thank you for making this happen. It was very much needed."
"There is no good answer, Blessed. The Faith did as it had to do, the High Lords did as they had to do. But it is a hard one to consider, a practical example of how our idealism can work." Preston answers to Andry, nodding to Bliss "Our allies would be in trouble, we would be fighting, perhaps already lost. And yet. I would walk into defeat if it meant honouring the values I swore to embody. It is the harder thing to order others into it." Preston lifts his shoulders, he has as many answers to these questions as Aleksei "Those problems are sometimes fun to think on, Blessed. Like that spot at the top of your nose that when you press you get all tingly? Or pressing on a fresh bruise? It solves nothing, but perhaps it helps bring other things into focus."
Avary looks to Preston with a patient regard, but it's pretty apparent she's finished engaging. She gives just a nod to what he says to show she heard him and then focuses her attention to what has been being said at her couch.
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