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Tournament of Thorns Gold Thorn Qualifier

Come to test your oratory excellence and qualify for a golden thorn

Date

June 7, 2019, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Etienne

Participants

Monique Merek Narcissa Vega Amari Waldemai Ronja Mailys Mikani Sparte Galatea Cahal Bonnie Eshken Tyche Catriona

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of the Compact - Gilded Page

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


The Gilded Page is set up tonight with chairs! Many, many chairs, all facing the stage. Drinks, too, facing every which way and being handed out by attendants of the library. The scent of mulled cider hangs heavy in the room, warm against the winter's chill outside. The small stage has been cleared and the sigils of Gild abound, in honor of the event tonight. Lady Monique Greenmarch is here already, speaking soft words to the Archlector of Gild, who looks resplendent tonight. "... I promise I'll keep you supplied with cookies the whole night through." And then she's turning, ready to receive their guests.

Nevermore, the sulking raven, Cuddles, the pinch-happy scorpion, Galatea arrive, following Narcissa.

Damien Pierce - A Charming Assistant, 1 Redreef Warden, Vagari - Cinder Kitten, 1 Obsidian Order, 4 Byrne Mountain Men arrive, following Mikani.

Merek has put on his carmine and black attire, which is lined in some golden details, while he has a cape on as well. He makes his way into the shop, while he finds a place to settle in for the moment also.

On a wisp of wind, and the pace of stride the begets trying fly on a prayer of arriving on time, the door opens to emit a woman in black and a towering woman in white. Narcissa accompanies Galatea, the pair arriving just in time to be at the fringe of the crowd.

Narcissa has joined the line.

Merek has joined the line.

Amari has joined the line.

Vega has joined the line.

Ronja has joined the line.

Vega arrived early. Some might say too early. She would simply smile. Having already given curtsies and greetings, she stands near Lady Greenmarch with warm cider in hand and murmuring gently to her fellow redhead. "So the candied onion worked like a charm. He made such a face that even Princess Marisol put aside the actual candied apple I had given to her." Chuckling softly, she sips at her cider, then adds, "But then of course I felt terrible abuot it. I'm really not cut out for pranking people."

Mikani has joined the line.

Amari arrives and strolls down the aisle, pushing back her fur lined hood and then smoothing down her hair. She looks, honestly, like she ought to be at home having a nap. Perhaps that's why soon after she's given the hosts, Monique and Etienne a polite bow of her head and smile, she tucks herself away on one of the seats and settles right in.

Waldemai leans back in his chair to watch all the orators lining up to speak. "Going to be a fine evening's entertainment on a cold day," he says, accepting a mug of warm cider.



A young woman who, from the neck down, looks like a stylish (if martial) young noblewoman in blue, and from the neck up looks like a wild girl from the islands, enters the library with altogether too much swagger for a place of learning. Ronja runs a hand back through her intermittently braided and beaded hair, and upon seeing a queue already building, hustles right over. She stops to look at the people in front and in back of her: "Wait, this is the gold thorn line, right?" Her gaze also lingers on Monique for a long moment.

Narcissa's entrance seems to have pushed her...to the front of line? A fine turn of events, the pale woman's eyes open wide and she blinks owlishly - a victim of stepping blindly into the right place at the right time.

Mailys Corsetina is a sight to behold! Tiny, bubbly, with bright green eyes that give everyone a quick study. Some faces she recognizes, others she doesn't, but she doesn't seem to look at any particular person for too long. With narry a word, the woman steps into line behind the last person, and flashes a bright smile to the room

Mailys has joined the line.

Mikani wanders in as she moves to take a spot in line. Her dark eyes move around the room taking everything in.

Sparte comes in just a smidge on the late side of on time for the gathering. A friendly smile and a brief wave to a few others he recognizes, a big double thumbs up of dorkiness towards Merek, and then Sparte finds himself a seat.

Sparte has joined the window seating by the stacks.

Sparte has joined the line.

Amari has joined the table and chairs by the library catalog.

Galatea keeps near the entrance after she enters the room, seeming, if anything, a touch confused. Perhaps she came only to shop and instead blundered into the middle of a competition. Still, curiosity has her captive--adjusting the set of her shawl around her shoulders, she watches on, a mere spectator, for the time being.

Rather than join the line Cahal finds a place from which he can watch and, should he change his mind about entering, potentially pretend he was in the line all along.

Monique practically chokes on her drink as Vega details her prank on Michael. "Oh gods and spirits, I would have given a piece of platinum to witness that! I do believe, Princess Vega, that you have the most thorns at the moment. Five, isn't it? I'm very impressed! But this one promises to be a tough one, I'll warn you," she adds with a conspiratory smile, turning to greet the other arrivals, to nod her crimson head at the question from Ronja. "Indeed it is. I'll take names for a list, and then everyone can just have a seat and a drink and we'll get started shortly."

Bonnie makes an appearance, a little late but otherwise bright-eyed and bushy tailed. There's just a brief pause before actually stepping across the threshhold to finish a long drink from her 'walking around' bottle, before corking it and sliding the remnants of it back into her jacket. Tugging the lapels to put the best face forward, she offers a brief wave, before apparently going to line up behind Mikani. That may just be the nature of lines at work though, "Well! Fine day for a sermon, right?"

Narcissa pulls her cloak tighter about her, suddenly finding a spot on the ceiling -very- interesting to stare at as the r.crowd only grows in numbe

Mikani looks back at Bonnie. "Is that what we are doing? All I know is I earned a Thorn .. but I'm not sure what we are doing here." She laughs softly as she confides in Bonnie.

"Its terrible of me, but I truly wish I'd had an artist on hand to capture his expression." Vega murmurs towards Monique before giving a nod to confirm her question. "I believe so, yes. And I look forward to the challenge! All of the tasks have had their own difficulties, but I look forward to seeing what the Archlector asks of us." As Monique steps forward, Vega jots down her name for the line, then finds herself somewhere to settle in and wait for it to begin.

Mailys laughs, grinning to Monique. "I convinced Lord Michael that he owed me for a piece of Alaricite that I'd brokered for him. He was putting his purse in my hand, but I just couldn't take all that money from him." Mailys shakes her head with a little sigh. "It's a shame, too. Alaricite isn't cheap, after all."



Ronja gives Monique a bright smile. "Cheers, my Lady," she says, as she puts her name on the list. "And let me know when you're taking names for your own, as well~." Wait. She accidentally said that kind of flirty. No, no, back up. "I mean, the list of those looking to conquer your exciting challenge~." No! Ronja seems like she wants to say something else, thinks better of it, and just goes to sit down looking kind of baffled at herself. She does shoot Bonnie a look, but it's more of a 'Hey, why do YOU get a bottle' kind of thing.

Bonnie spreads her hands to begin a wide shrug, before catching the stink-eye coming off of Ronja. That's just returned with the smug variant of her grin and a brief wave, before she starts over that way. "Well, I guess there's some signing up ahead of time. Which makes sense; too many preachers at once is how schisms get started, isn't it?" Though when she does come up to Ronja, it's with a good hearty clap on the shoulder, "Lady Monique seemed easy to please, but I think some of that may have been because of all of us going at her one after the next. That's a lot for anyone to keep up with." Always have a spare bottle; old pirate trick, which at least works to Ronja's benefit when she takes it out from her jacket and hands it off to the shorter redhead.

Etienne furiously scribbles in a small book, bent over a table located near his chair. A satisfied smile emerges after some time, the book carefully closed and he then looks up to the gathering of people. "Welcome everyone, again." he says, crossing one leg over the other and folding his hands in his lap. "For those who have come to participate, we'll be examining this evening a course of dialog, presented in your most compelling method. A oratory worthy of any elevated place of glamour..." he pauses unfolding his hands and waving them about the stage. "... or any deeply sunken pasture. Built to sway, refined to convince, bolster, and celebrate the your grand theme." he says this all very important sounding and then looks to where the line has formed. "If anyone is struggling with what their theme should be, I would gladly suggest one, and with that, first up!"

Monique gives Mailys a look like she thinks the young woman is crazy. "You should have suckered him for all he had! It's not like he doesn't have access to the Bisland coffers. Pah! How much more alaricite does one man need! Next time, fleece him good," she advises with a wicked smile. "Poor Michael will never eat another apple again. Still, he came up with his game himself. He can't complain. As for my game, perhaps if there's time after, I might be convinced. For now, the show belongs to the handsome Archlector and I'm content to watch you all sermonize on all the qualities I /should/ possess but don't."

Turn in line: Narcissa

When her name is called, the Fidante steps forward, fussing with the umbra sleeves of her gown. There is a moment of apprehension as she hears the subject, but nods once with her fate being sealed. She breathes out slowly, and the poet's sermon comes in the only form she knows best; verse.



"The turn of the Wheel does best to decree,

Whether godly king or servant on bended knee

For all will come to know her embrace,

The Queen's own smile, the pallid grave's grace.



It is comfort to know, that to her we return,

No matter what truth we accept or spurn."

^^^ Narcissa

Narcissa checked intellect + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 22 higher.

"I'd welcome a topic, Archlector Etienne." She smiles to the scholar, and then offers a wicked grin to Monique. "I should have, and probably would have, if that were truth. Really, I convinced him he'd commissioned a weapons' rack from me-- which he then commissioned after I exposed the prank." She talks quietly to the Lady, not wanting to interrupt Narcissa.

There are murmurs from the crowd after Narcissa orates her poem; murmurs of distinct approval.

Monique is overheard praising Narcissa: Well spoken!

Waldemai nods his head, enjoying the poetry even is he is missing the point.

Etienne claps, "Splendid, there are many a praised verse in the collections and surely that would do well among them." he reaches down to a small chest beside his chair and removes one of the golden thorns, holding it in his palm so it is easy to see. "And your prize, Lady Narcissa."

Etienne gets Tournament of Thorns gold thorn from a chest of thorns.

The words had come in a rush of breath and it is with the same anxious, hurried movements that she accepts the Thorn from Etienne. Narcissa's smile is genuine, if not quick as she tries to get out of the limelight the event requires. "Thank you, Archlector. You are too kind."

Turn in line: Merek

Narcissa breathes out a sigh of relief and then makes for the door, muttering apologies and greetings in much the same breath.

Nevermore, the sulking raven, Cuddles, the pinch-happy scorpion, Galatea leave, following Narcissa.

Erasyl, a sharp-eyed thick-billed raven arrives, following Eshken.

Merek takes a moment to place a chart in front of people, then he begins to doodle a bit on it. "Alright, this sermon will be detailing the finer knowledge about faith, and how if you care for your flowers as well as animals, you too can become a beacon of faith." He then draws a bunch of cats as well as flowers, at some point this comes to a message about 'Growing Your Faith' and also knowledge that your cat indeed does like you, but in its personal way. It still doesn't like you, but it does. This is important also.

Merek checked charm + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.

Catriona has joined the line.

Somehow, people can believe it.

Bonnie has joined the line.

Amari checked charm + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 11 lower.

Amari walks to the stage at an unhurried pace, stations herself central and lifts her eyebrows. "To preface this, I'm uniquely unqualified to give any sort of religious sermon. I thought this would be a test of one's oratory skills, and the subjects selected by the host but I find that I am completely mistaken. So, naturally, I have nothing prepared. That said, I'll give it a whirl regardless." She lifts a white gloved finger, because she needs a second or two to summon up some inspiration and then arrange her thoughts. "As has been on my mind a lot, of late, I'd like to spend a short time now praising them. Where would we be without trees? As a resident of Oakhaven, which is as the name suggests, surrounded by forest, I think trees are more essential than..." And she goes on in that vein for quite some time, extolling the virtues of the Lord of the Deep Wood and trees. Well, forests, really, but trees are a big part of that. It's not terrible terrible. She sneaks some funny anecdotes in about squirrels and acorns, and an old grandmother who lives in Elmhurst and how she made clay Petrichor idols which passersby were terrifed of because she her vision was so bad they came out somewhat malformed looking. "...and so neighbors, that's why I like trees and hope you have a new appreciation for Petrichor."



It's not a good sermon at all, but she did warn everyone. With a wave she steps down and walks herself out.

People nod their approval, all smiles, for Merek's light-hearted sermon. Who doesn't love cats?

Etienne rises to take a closer look at Merek's chart. "I see." he says, following the lines and doodles. "I have little expertise with felines, but flowers ... I also have little expertise with. I can see here how your conclusions were drawn and how flowers could easily benefit everyone. Well done." His smile is wide and warm, and with that he hands him a thorn.

Etienne gets Tournament of Thorns gold thorn from a chest of thorns.

Turn in line: Amari

Waldemai sneezes reflexively when the topic of cats arises. "Sorry," he mutters, looking for another mug of warm cider to clear his sinuses. Yeah, right.

Merek bows thankfully to all and sundry, while he takes the thorn, "Thank you," he says, then he makes his way to a place to settle and relax also. "Bless you!" he calls then to Waldemai!

Amari has left the table and chairs by the library catalog.

Turn in line: Vega

Eshken steps into the room quietly, moving to the side of the entrance to spectate the various sermons, occasionally he'll send a glance toward the sign up, though for now he remains idle.

"The themes of nature are well represented tonight." Etienne comments. "I did like the bit about the squirrels." he offers, taking his seat again. "I have no doubt with a bit more practice and preparation you'll really have something. Next.."

Vega checked charm + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 25 higher.

When Vega's turn arrives, she takes the stage and offers a small nod towards the Archlector. Looking out towards the gathered people, she murmurs, "I feel out of place in attempting to sermonize to anyone, but I suppose I can verbalize one that I often attempt to turn towards myself." Putting on a warmer smile, she lifts her voice and begins to speak on the subject of generosity. Not only of silver or resources, but of spirit and deed. Of selfless acts and silent gifts of understanding and support towards one's fellow man (or woman). She notes many of the people in the city for the selfless acts they've done: the book drives to increase knowledge, the charities started or parties hosted to pay for others' needs, and she makes special note of Lady Olivia's recent selfless act, a gift of food being given freely to any House that wants it. A truly free gift, not a silver's profit to be made form it by anyone, but the ability for every House to increase their crop production. And how this selfless act has inspired her to give more freely of her own time and energy to others. As she winds down, a faint flush appears across her cheeks and she glances sidelong towards the crowd, "Thank you." Then she steps aside to let another take their place.

Waldemai nods at the most recent sermon. "Even I understood that one. Well done."

The crowd reaction is innately positive for Vega's sermon. There are few dry eyes left in the room, and those leaving will likely leave with the desire to do better.

Turn in line: Ronja

"A subject I often find myself speaking about to no end, if you don't mind, I may borrow some of your more effective points." Etienne says with a small wink, clapping his hands together. "A fine showing, passion for a subject often lends to the effectiveness of getting the message across." the creaking of the chest indicates another thorn going out.

Etienne gets Tournament of Thorns gold thorn from a chest of thorns.

Eshken has joined the line.

Ronja checked charm + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.

"Thank you, Archlector, and pelase feel free to borrow whichever parts of it that you want," Vega responds with a smile as she accepts her thorn. Adding it to her handbag, that gives her six thorns and one left to obtain. Rather than run off immediately, she finds a quiet space to sit and listen to a few others'.



Ronja accepts Bonnie's backup bottle with a quiet cheers and has a glug or two while listening to the sermons and waiting her turn. When she's called, she walks up still holding the bottle, and doesn't seem to realize it. "Right. Hello, all. Hello, Archlector. So, this is more of a parable, I think? I mean, it's a thing that really happened. I don't know if parables are allowed to be true. But that's not the point, actually. The point is that I was born eighteen years ago, and I've been on the seas for nineteen. The topic of faith doesn't come up out on the waves so much -- usually when you're about to die, or you think you are, anyway, and you're trying to apologize to whatever deity will listen for that time you stole something or that time you slagged someone off behind their back to try to steal their lover -- you know, the usual." Ronja didn't bother reading the room before saying that, but she's confident enough with her very-out-west islander drawl. "But being out at sea, you see calamity. If you've lived as a sailor and you've never seen a wreck, or you've never had to fight off a pirate, well, you've not lived very well as a sailor. And one time, I saw with my own eyes a ship break in two as it sank under the waves. I wasn't on the ship, thank the gods, but all the same, I had the most perfect, terrible view of it going under until it wasn't even a shadow on the surface of the water. And an old sea dog said to me: 'That's why we pray to Mangata.' So I do."

The room, it seems, like that particular sermon wrapped in a story. There are shivers, and no few prayers uttered to Mangata under breaths.

Monique is overheard praising Merek.

Monique is overheard praising Vega.

Monique is overheard praising Ronja.

Etienne listens carefully, smiling more as the descriptions of near-death and near-life are told. "The lives of the gods and of mortals often find themselves most intertwined during moments of great despair and great elation. A great tale." he hands over yet another gold thorn from the chest. "Fair winds to you." he offers to Ronja.

Etienne gets Tournament of Thorns gold thorn from a chest of thorns.



Ronja accepts her gold thorn graciously, giving Etienne a big, bright smile. "Thank you, Archlector. You as well." She tucks the thorn away and is already swigging from the bottle again as she goes back to her seat.

Turn in line: Mikani

Mikani checked intellect + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 1 lower.

A messenger enters the Gilded Page, glancing around and over the room before making their way discreetly to the THraxian Princess' side. A quiet murmur is exchanged and she gives a small nod. Pressing silver into the young person's hand, she smiles her thanks, then turns to murmur something to Monique. Offering a kiss to the woman's cheek, she smiles and collects her cloak, moving towards the entrance, though she pauses to offer something quiet to Ronja along the way.

Mikani stands up and clears her throat to start her sermon. “Charity.” She pauses, “While most people see charity as a one way street. It isn’t. Charity not only benefits those that are receiving the charity but those that give it. While most of us know the benefits of charity on the receiver I will focus on the benefits for the giver.”



”As an individual that gives charity, you will find not only are you helping others you are gaining more meaning in your life. It helps you experience the fullness of life by experiencing the giving with the reciever as well.”



Mikani finishes up her short sermon by adding in the benefits of promoting charity within our youth, helps improve our money management skills and the realization that you may not change the world but that every bit helps. Mikani at the end of her speach she bows her head and smiles at the judges.

3 Thrax Guards leaves, following Vega.

Waldemai nods at another familiar sermon. "That's true, what she said."

Etienne nods, "Charity has benefits far and wide, it's without a doubt." he mulls for a moment. "I would suggest that adding a personal connection would help your audience with the message. It was a wonderful beginning."

The crowd seems to be on the fence. It's a close call. Perhaps they're feeling like they ought to give more generously, and the guilt has them squirming in their seats, unable to truly appreciate the sermon for its true value. There are a lot of downcast gazes and flaming cheeks.

Turn in line: Mailys

Mikani smiles and nods, "Thank you."

Mailys checked charm + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 32 higher. Mailys rolled a critical!

Damien Pierce - A Charming Assistant, 1 Redreef Warden, Vagari - Cinder Kitten, 1 Obsidian Order, 4 Byrne Mountain Men leave, following Mikani.

"Freedom. Choice." Mailys speaks, a few words as she makes her way to the front. "It's a thing we have from birth. The freedom to make our own choices, to carve our own paths. There was an.. information session at the Vellichoran Academy the other night, that raised a lot of important questions.. Mostly, whether we should give up certain freedoms for the greater good." She pauses, meeting every single gaze with her own bright green eyes. "My answer? No. Never. It's one thing to swear to uphold certain behaviours, but we must always be free to do what we think is right, what we think we -need- to do.." Mailys continues, espousing Skald's tenants and the need to own our own choices. She gets quite into it, as well, passionate about the subject of free will, and the importance therein.

This is a subject near and dear to people's hearts lately, and Mailys wins a resounding round of applause for her sermon, with many fired up nods of heads.

Etienne smiles widely again, clapping. "That was wonderful! Perhaps you've a future in this. It could a calling." he says handing over a thorn.

Etienne gets Tournament of Thorns gold thorn from a chest of thorns.

Monique is overheard praising Mailys.

Turn in line: Sparte

Sparte had been reading over a prepared note from his pocket while awaiting his turn. Why give a sermon entirely off the cuff, if you can be prepared? He glances up, looking around the room as his turn comes. A nervous smile, note left on his seat as he stands up. "Hello everyone. My name is Sparte Grayfellow, nice to meet those I havn't met before. I'm going to borrow Miss Amari's preface." Sparte gestures to where Amari had been sitting. "And say I might be talking out my ears, but for the sake of oratory, here goes." Sparte puts a hand to his mouth, clearing his throat and straightening. "Loyalty. Duty. Obedience. Loyalty is expected of us, it is what allows our civilization to grow and flourish and work together. Tenants of Limerance and Gild combine in the act of giving service to our fellows and keeping our word to them. More than people, we are loyal to ideals. We see this best in how we give our respect to the gods, as they each carry ideals within them."



"A person who is acting loyal, may be in every way also dutify and obedient. Yet, duty and obedience are in no way the same as loyalty. A duty done that a person does not believe in is a trap, where loyalty is a choice. Many can be dutiful to a person who is every bit as vile as the socks of a mushroom farmer, under the belief that in acting on their duty they are loyal. To you and I it may appear entirely the same, but we know in our heart what drives our actions."



A brief bit of pacing, Sparte gesturing around the room. "Obedience is different still. It is simply doing what we are told. We may do so unthinkingly. We may do so out of fear, but just as easily out of love. There is nothing inherently good or bad about obedience. Yet, many see it as the same as loyalty. I ask you to look into your heart at the distinction between these three things." Sparte raises one hand. "And consider what you instill in others. Loyalty need not have a contract, nor a vow, nor any other compulsion to be true and real. Yet sometimes it will have one, because sometimes that is how it is expressed. I give this sermon as offering to the tournament, in the hope it will help us all better understand what drives us, and how our actions drive others." Sparte moves to retake his seat, sitting on his notes as he does so. With a bit of a crinkling noise he tugs them out from under himself, a nervous smile as he folds them to stick back into a pocket.

Sparte checked charm + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 25 higher.

Mailys smiles brightly, clearly riding high on the success of her sermon. "Thank you, thank you! We all remember, it seems." She steps down and out of the way, accepting her thorn with a little bow to Etienne.

Etienne nods along, spending his time between watching Sparte and the assembled crowd, at the conclusion he claps. "A brilliant effort, affirming many of the ideals and clearly illustrating the benefits to civilization. Well done."

Etienne gets Tournament of Thorns gold thorn from a chest of thorns.

The crowd agrees with the Archlector, it seems, for they nod along with Sparte's sermon, visibly stirred and instilled.

Tyche is (fashionably) late, and she slips in while Sparte gives a rather impassioned speech. She claps softly when it comes to an end, and finds a nice place to watch the remainder of the competition.

Turn in line: Catriona

Catriona checked charm + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 8 lower.

Sparte chuckles as he rubs at the back of his neck, blinking and reaching over to accept the gold thorn from Etienne in cupped hands. "That your Archlector. If I didn't understand enough by now to manage tonight I'd be in a right pickle."

Monique is overheard praising Sparte.

There's a problem as the princess approaches the stage. On her final step, the one meant to elevate her to the platofrm, there's a soft 'snap'. She stumbles and glances down at the hell of her shoe that'd just been sheared off. She tries to stand up and act like she's not lopsided in doing so, and adopts her best speaking posture. Head canted gently to the side, and voice prepped to project among the audience. She even touches her hand to her chest as she begins, "All sermons have a common theme. You might say mine is a sermon of sermons, meant to touch upon core of them all. They're not united in their lesson, their message, or even in the religion they're meant to discuss. Rather, all sermons share one common element -- they mean to reach the human heart. Nothing is more prone to plucking than heartstrings if you wish to get your way. A sermon crafted in such a manner goes much further than drunken rambling or eye-glazing verbal memandering." The princess goes on for several moments, discussing the merits of tailoring a sermon to your audience, and how an emotional appeal can inspire them to act upon the point of the sermon. But... really, instead of describing why emotional appeals work, she comes off sounding like she's giving a lesson on manipulating others. And she goes on, "Appealing to the heart compels others to act much more truly than it does appealing to their mind. Not that there isn't validity in a sermon tailored to think upon. But the most effective ones -- the truest sermons -- you feel them in your chest. A person in love, a knight fighting for what's right, even a tailor making something beautiful to wear and giving it their all -- you can ask any of them and I'm sure they'd tell you there is nothing more powerful than the driving force of their heart. Sermons mean to tap into this energy, and turn it towards the divine. Remember this if you ever wish to compel someone to do something. It goes both ways too -- if you wish to really understand a sermon, listen not with your ears, but with your heart." She smiles, and takes a small curtsy as she concludes. To her credit, she barely stumbles with the broken heel.

The crowd winces at the broken heel and it seems like their focus might have wandered to the fashion snare, for by the end of it, there's no few up out of their seats, trying to help escort the Thraxian Princess off the stage to make sure her ankle doesn't break.

Mailys tucks the golden thorn away, lingering in the wings to watch the rest of the sermons. She doesn't seem to be in a rush to leave.

"Very apt observations" Etienne comments, "Those seeking to stir people would do well to understand how best to sway those within ear shot. You have learned well the concepts of speaking. I am sure you would a have much success mixing those concepts with your obvious passion, and in time find great success." he says warmly.

Turn in line: Bonnie

Eshken takes a few deep breaths as he realises his turn is fast approaching, he rubs his hands on his pantleg a few times, his foot tapping idly.

Bonnie doesn't seem to mind when Ronja goes up with her bottle. Not when, discretely reaching down, she has a spare waiting in the cuff of her boot. There's really just time for a brief nip but it certainly makes all the difference, when she's ready to get up and take to the stage while pulling her gloves off, tucking them into a jacket pocket while passing the stricken princess. Gathering her thoughts, both hands are held up, openly displaying the cuffs of her jacket sleeves. "Now, while there is always just the touch of chance to life," A little flourish with one hand and, voila, she's holding a deck of cards! Which she shuffles a bit between both hands before holding this deck out to a somewhat hesitant member of the audience, "But also a plan. Go on, pick.. but keep that between you and Jayus!" She tips an overdone wink that way before stepping back to continue.



"Because, you see, while our life is overseen by kings and queens," Which is call to flip out the King and Queen of Coins, "And knaves waiting in the way," Out comes the Knave of Batons, "Jayus takes our industry, when we're swinging the hammer," And out come the ten, nine, and eight of Batons while she's shuffling the revealed cards back into the deck continuously, "And gives us our reward when we're bending our elbows the other way." Which is cue for the Ace of Cups to appear, given a little flicker. "But in the end, if you stick with it, I think you'll find... that what's waiting for you is a Four-tune.. in your Hearts." And, big finish, she has a wide, exuberant grin while making a 'go ahead' gesture to the audience member with the card.



"Shi... Well, I think sometimes you wind up with a little 'Eight prodding away at you, which is what you need to get rid of.." She snatches that embarassing Eight of Batons out of the spectator's hand and makes it disappear, with a mildly flustered by resolute grin, "In order to see your way through. Thank you! You've been a lovely congregation!"

Bonnie checked wits at difficulty 30, rolling 13 lower.

Sparte puts Tournament of Thorns gold thorn in a double wrap sword belt made of quality leather.

Mailys finally sneaks out the door, doing her best not to interrupt or draw attention.

Monique, for her part, /loves/ Bonnie's sermon. Which is probably why the rest of the crowd looks on in muted disapproval. The Greenmarch Lady claps boisterously, though, calling, "You've got to teach me that!"



Ronja is also grinning hugely throughout Bonnie's sermon, but not for the right reasons.

Sparte claps for Bonnie. While maybe he is just trying to help her feel better about how it went, there is a genuine enough grin there for her.

"I've never considered extensive use of cards before, it seems very entertaining." Etienne says, looking at his own hands. "Some how I doubt I've the requisite dexterity for something like that though." he chuckles lightly. "Thank you for that demonstration."

Turn in line: Eshken

Eshken makes his way to the front, clearing his throat nervously as he crosses his arms behind his back. He gazes out to the crowd for a moment, and then a moment longer, his inexperience with public speaking becoming all too evident by the light flushing on his face. Still, with some initial hesitation, he begins to speak, "I do not feel myself truly educated enough to give a proper sermon, though I will do my best. In an attempt to speak of something true to heart, and to take some advice from Your Highness Princess Catriona's sermon," He lets out a soft, nervous chuckle "So that we might all, hopefully, benefit from this, I've decided to speak of the grief that comes from losing loved ones, and about learning to live with it." He pauses to clear his throat before continuing, "I won't pretend I know the best way to overcome the feeling of loss and pain, for I'm well aware I don't. Instead, I'd like to share my own experience..." A small pause, another clearing of the throat. "A few years ago... over three now, my wife of almost three years and mother to my daughter passed away. It was no accident, it was no freak of nature. She was killed in an ambush while on a scouting mission. Everything I knew was over in moments." Eshken pauses to lick his dry lips, his gaze shifting away from the crowd. "At first, I was quite furious, I didn't know where to put my emotions, what to do with all of this contempt I felt. I was surrounded by loved ones, those that cared about me and gave me their condolences, but I found no solace in their words." Eshken goes on to speak of the importance of giving things time, and of accepting the changes in our lives. He speaks of the help that can be found in ones faith, and how the ones who've passed away wouldn't want us to live our lifes in guilt. Still poor at giving speeches, he has a tendency to ramble on, and does just this. Eventually though, he manages to wrap it up, "These things take a long time, and I'm nowhere near healed. I doubt I'll ever be truly the same, but one cannot let that stop them from living their own lives, and finding happiness in the new things. Cherish your every moment, and hold your loved ones tight. The moments we have together are precious and few, and one should never take it for granted." He dips his head into a light bow at the crowd.

Eshken checked intellect + theology at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.

Etienne listens carefully, "A thoughtful examination of the journey, it speaks well that you were able to navigate that difficult path with guidance from the Faith. There is strength in telling deeply personal stories, each time you can share what you've learned with others the better it makes everyone involved. Thank you for sharing." he looks around the room. "There have been many wonderful examples of the spoken word tonight here, wrapped in the worship of the Faith and other powerful themes. I believe that concludes this evenings examination, if there are no others?"

Bonnie comes back to her seat with that bright grin in place, though the nod of acknowledgment is mostly to more imaginary onlookers. Though at least there's some appreciation, with a tip of the hand for Ronja, Sparte, Monique as well. Back beside Ronja though, she shrugs. "..that sharded eight really killed me up there, I had them in the palm of my hand before that.."

Waldemai applauds for all the speakers, at least those who remain. "There was some pretty talk," he says. "Thank you very much."

Eshken makes his way off the stage with a light bow, though his sermon wasn't a great success he wears a warm smile, looking rather content. He dips a slight nod to Tyche as he catches notice of her.



Ronja leans over to Bonnie and murmurs, "Should have stolen my story. You had it right there in your lap and you decided to make it harder for yourself instead." The redheaded sailor grins and gives Bonnie a gentle elbow to the arm, and then casts a gaze over to see if Monique is going anywhere.

Catriona is, for the time being, staring politely into space and totally not about to go ballistic.



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