Salon: On Redemption
Aug. 13, 2019, 6 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - The Empirical - Atrium
Comments and Log
Vincenzo lifts his glass and clears his throat, a charming smile offered towards Merek as he spies not too many here tonight.
"Good evening, Sir Black. Isn't it something that we can all come here this absolutely beautiful evening? As we enjoy tonight, lift your glass with me in a silent toast to those who have come before us and paid the ultimate price. Of our loved ones, friends, companions and strangers that gave us a second chance, or in some cases, a third or even sixth."
Merek makes his way into the place, pulling hood back of his cloak, then he nods to Vincenzo, with an incline as well. "Of course," he says, then he takes a cup which he lifts up with the other also.
There's a pause as he glances at Merek before he takes a drink and then continues.
"I suppose tonight then will be a very private discussion, but I'll continue as the topic is interesting. Redemption, the act of being able to redeem one's self through deeds and words to amend the harm early caused. This evening's topic is on redemption. And what is redemption? The act of being able, through deeds and words, to amend a harm earlier caused so that one is seen to have, for a lack of better illustration, settled the debts and return things back to the status quo. An act born of the Sentinel's justice but having traits across all the gods such as fidelity of Limerance, of Gild's compassion, Lagoma's healing and tempered with the fire of Gloria's honor through deeds and challenge to name a few."
"There's many examples in our history of the redemption path, illustrations of where it truly benefited the person being redeemed and those around them, as well as times where redemption was abused to prolong pain and suffering."
"An example of why redemption could be a positive is perhaps best illustrated by our beacon of hope, Copper. As Mage of Second Chances, she looked past our failings and strove to push us to make amends before things truly were in perilous position. Or Brimstone who was freed by Cobalt after he built and honed his war crafting in service of evil, he then built the tools needed to effectively win our war so many years after he died. Or even the shav'arvani who had fought lifetimes against the Compact that then were given one last opportunity before death's embrace and bent the knee, and now the prodigals have become a defender of the Compact such as our Northerner allies and fellow citizens. For those who are pro to redemption, we might see points that by offering a second chance to someone, you give them a challenge to not just make things right, but become better people themselves."
"An example of why redemption could be a negative? We could look at the Gyre, a man who at his very core had no honor and so plunged his people into despair and darkness for his own selfish needs. Even after his daughter desired to try once more to save him, she saw that there was no spark of honor there and so he was cursed. For those who are negative to redemption, we might see points that there are times when people don't desire to turn their back on their wrongdoing, and will of course use our compassion against us."
"And so that's our topic tonight. As is the spirit of our noble organization, by all means, let's have fiery but respectful debate and attack the topic, not the person. So bottom's up, Sir Black! And then decide which position you'd like to take first. Pro or con?"
Merek nods a bit to Vincenzo, taking it all in, "I'm a man that is for Redemption, but I do agree there are negatives when it comes to people who have proven to not be trusted, still I don't think anyone is beyond it, it just takes the right way to kinda reach some folk," he says.
Sparte enters, late. That wouldn't normally be cause for attention at one of these events but this particular event is undeniably sparse. It leaves his walk across the room to find a seat standing out more than it might otherwise. There is a small smile and a nod to the others as he sits to listen in. "Sir Merek, Master Vincenzo."
Vincenzo turns his head and spying Sparte, he gives a lift of his glass to welcome the newcomer before he sits down at a chair, crossing a leg over a knee. "Good evening!" says Vincenzo, welcoming Sparte before turning his attention to Merek. "I'll play the part of the contrarian then. Should redemption be offered to shav'arvani who fight against the Compact? Should it be for those who are turn-coats, abandoning their ancestors and bending knee when it's most opportunistic? Is there risks giving them these opportunities instead of death?"
"There's always risk," Merek mentions, while he seems to consider it also, "Still, I think the benefit could be you might gain trust, and an ally, it is possible that a little bit of that trust can bring a lot, I think in a lot of ways that does offset the other bit as well."
Zoey finds herself a glass of wine from one of the little white tables before making herself comfortable on a couch. She sips and listens.
Rinel enters the room with head held high, but there's an undeniably nervous bent to her posture. The soft clack of her cane fades into muffled quiet as she makes her way onto the heat-parched grass and finds a seat.
Vincenzo says, "True, you could gain trust and an ally. I can think of a handful of tribes that have bent the knee to the Compact, who fully embraced their new allies and while the redemption path for them was rocky and still is, they have transformed into powerful houses that have fought numerous encounters without fail or shirking their duties. I'm talking about the Northerners, the Redrain. They're the bright example I can think of right now regarding the shav'arvani." Turning to Sparte he asks, "What is your position tonight on redemption?"
Merek nods a bit, finding a nice place to also settle in to listen.
Sparte listens carefully to Vincenzo. "You have some interesting views. I don't know that I have a position other than, well, it depends." Sparte offers a shrug. "But I'll elaborate for the sake of all here. Redemption is a path. It isn't something someone else grants you, it is something you seek for yourself. If you offer someone redemption all you are really offering them is forgiveness. You are choosing not to hold past deeds against them, but that isn't redemption. Nor is tasking someone with a penance redemption, as it is still just forgiveness. Albeit forgiveness with a caveat."
Sparte looks over to Rinel and offers her a small nod before looking back to Vincenzo. "If you are to agree with me, which I'll assume for the sake of the thread of thought, then that still leaves the question of what redemption means to the person seeking it. If redemption is purely internal, is it a change? Is it to be a different person? Is a person potentially redeemed without any who damn their name the wiser? Therein I have no good answers, and thus my first answer. It depends."
Vincenzo listens to Sparte and nods, taking a drink. "An interesting position that's non-committal! Would you say it's an agreement between at least two people, in which one offers the thing called forgiveness, and the other offers another thing of value, the path of redemption they take, in which they work to amend what they damaged? Maybe? Because you can't just have something for nothing, everything has a price." Lifting a brow, he looks to Rinel and there he says to her, "And what of you, Scholar? Are there points where redemption shouldn't be offered or can be shown that it can lead to worse situations in the future?"
Rinel says, "In truth, I came here hoping to learn--I do not know if my views on this topic have merit," Rinel says. "But..." She speaks slowly, uncharacteristically picking each word with care. "I think... perhaps /redemption/ is just... Perhaps redemption is what starts when you forgive yourself, and what ends when you return to the Mother of Beginnings." She lowers her gaze to her cane. "Perhaps we are never redeemed. Just... just redeem/ing/. Maybe redemption happens through turns of the Wheel." She lowers her gaze further to the ground, and speaks quietly. "I don't think a lifetime is long enough."
Then she looks up, straightens, and although sorrow mars her features, her bearing is proud. "I know many desired that I be forever barred from service, for my crimes. I know that I despaired then, and I know that I am grateful to those who have given me another chance." She shakes her head. "I cannot answer your question, Master Villente. Not with words. When the Queen takes me, perhaps then you will have your answer.""
"Sometimes there is no one left to offer forgiveness." Sparte furrows his brow for a moment at some thought. He leaves it at that, attention shifting to consider Rinel's words.
Zoey cuts in. "If I may? Redemption is a matter of cost and benefit, with three factors to consider." She sets down the glass and counts them off on her fingers. "First, the size of the offense for which they are seeking redemption. Second, how much they are willing to do to redeem themselves in the eyes of the offended, as there is no redemption without sacrifice. And third, what benefit the offended has in forgiving the offender." To Sparte in particular she says, "As long as someone is alive who knows of the offense and might hold it against the offender, there is someone left to offer forgiveness."
Vincenzo listens to Rinel, nodding. And Zoey and Sparte's comments also get a nod. "Good points. Then if the person is forgiven, are their crimes forgotten? Or do you think it's appropriate to set aside their crimes but not actually forget, always judging them negatively? I ask, because there's a whole group of people in unfortunate circumstances that no one here has lived their troubles. People who worry about where tomorrow's bread comes from, and are forced due to their situation to commit crimes out of necessity to simply survive. Is there redemption for those in the Lowers like that?" he asks the group.
"It is not the citizens of the Lowers who should be seeking redemption," Rinel responds quietly, but very firmly.
Sparte glances to Zoey as she interjects, offering a small nod to show he isn't bothered by it. At the last he tilts his head to the side. "I could tell you that I have slain a thousand score. You might then know of that blood, had I done so, or that lie had I not. Your forgiveness would be very different from someone who witnessed the acts, whose loved ones and fellows were victims to the acts. Knowing of an offense, I would argue, is not enough to make the offered forgiveness have value. Just as actions to undo harm might come short, the act of forgiveness can too be lacking." Sparte looks over to Vincenzo. "Would you rather forgiveness from one in the lowers, or the peerage? I imagine-" Sparte wags a finger briefly. "-That it depends."
Just about everything about Ian is unsuited to these civilized, intellectual surroundings, and from the way he hesitates after coming into the Atrium, he seems to know it. He's at least changed into a clean shirt, it looks like, because even though his coat is unbuttoned, the shirt beneath doesn't look sweaty. His close cropped dark hair looks like it was freshly smoothed and put into some kind of order, too.
Zoey notices Ian's arrival and gestures for him to join her. "Well, let's look at the equation: the offense is the bread they stole to stay alive another day, the offended is the baker who must sell bread to maintain their business, and the benefit is that the community becomes closer." Again to Sparte she says, "And merely knowing is not the whole of it. They would have to be offended by it enough to persecuted the offender for it. The offender himself could even be the offended, if no other knows or cares."
Rinel shakes her head. "Justice is not a ledger, Lady Kennex, where right and wrong are balanced upon a merchant's scale. Recompense is not redress."
"And why can't it be?" she takes another sip. "It's defined subjectively by the offended, rather than being as straightforward as simple numbers are, but conceptually it's the same. Some offended may have an obscenely high price or outright refuse, but that doesn't make the equation invalid."
1 Grayson House Guards, Peaches, a lovely white war filly with a peach saddle, Deliverance, an albino falcon, Stormy, a silvery gray hunting hound, Rascal, a hyper terrier, Rosalie, a lady in waiting arrive, following Reese.
Ian takes note of Zoey and angles in her direction, keeping a close eye on his feet as he walks with that slightly mechanical gait over the uneven ground. At least it gives him something to focus on other than the fact that he left his element behind way back on the street and is thoroughly out of it, by this point.
Reese arrives in at the gathering rather late and all decked out in pink as she normally is. The girl peeks over the room, trying to gage the mood and setting.
"Because what is wrong is an offense against the Gods. It is not a debt. It is a breach of trust that cannot be repaid by the offender--only by the Gods extending Their mercy," Rinel responds.
Sparte takes a moment to nod to Ian and Reese for their arrivals. "Is redemption between people or between people and gods? I guess that is a point of some disagreement tonight."
Reese looks over to Rinel, seemingly thoughtful as she takes in hr words. The girl then goes to take a seat. "I didn't know that Sister Rinel, that is news to me. What I do know is that I made many mistakes and so I felt like this would be a good talk to attend." She says and then turns to Sparte. "I guess it depends, but it would be often be both?"
"I am not Godsworn, Your Highness," Rinel says quietly.
Ian eases himself into a bench. "Seems like if people are so hungry they need to steal, the gods would be taking issue with the Faith for not doing something about that."
Zoey smiles to herself at her husband's words. "Sounds to me like your argument fits perfectly within the equation," she says to Rinel. "The gods are offended, but the price for their forgiveness is low enough that we call it mercy. It still holds."
Reese has the grace to blush in response to Rinel's words. "I am sorry, Rinel, I assumed and shouldn't have." She says in her direction. She then looks over to Ian. "I guess so I cannot even imagine what it would be like to be so hungry one needs to steel food." Reese says and she probably has been crazy rich her entire life. She then looks over to Zoey, seemingly thoughtful. "That makes sense, I think."
"Mercy, my lady, is what is given for what you would name a debt that cannot be paid," Rinel says. "It is the staunching of a fatal wound, the withered grove springing to life, the dried-out well beginning to flow once more. It is an intervention in the order of things, an impossibility made possible by the First Choice."
"And it's at the discretion of the offended," Zoey says simply. "The baker can forgive the beggar for taking the bread just as easily, and that would be his choice. The offended is the one who decides whether or not a debt remains."
Rinel says, "Is it, my lady? If a shav'arvani slays a lord with abyssal magic, will the forgiveness of that lord's heir halt the descent of Sir Preston's blade?"
Zoey sets down her wine and sits up straighter. "That would be assuming that the heir is the only one offended, which doesn't have to be true."
Reese seems thoughtful as she listens to Zoey's words. "Maybe so. I am not sure. It is very complicated. I do feel like that should be a path to moving forward. Like if Rinel wouldn't forgive me calling her Sister Rinel, I would at a certain point, move on and just do my best going forward to get titles right. So sometime the size of the offense matters?" She says, sounding a bit confused.
Ian is distracted by trying to get someone to bring him a glass of something, but Rinel's words distract him. "... It's a pretty big jump from stealing bread to abyssal magic."
Sparte nods in agreement to Ian. "That escalated quickly."
"The nature of logic allows for such escalation," Rinel points out, her tone didactic. "Unless there exists some difference in /kind/ and not merely /degree/. Is the theft of bread not an offense to Lady Gild? How does one measure an offense against a Goddess?"
Vincenzo says, "They're both against the law, and a law broken is a law broken. That one person would feel compassion while another upholds the law without compassion I think is an interesting topic for later. Back to the point though is whether there are pros and cons for redemption."
Ian finally gets someone's attention and asks for a glass of... "Uh... whatever Zoey's having." Of course, the server doesn't know who 'Zoey' is, and it takes Ian a moment to realize he needs to point at Zoey. They get there, though. Soon, he will have his wine.
Reese seem thoughtful. "I don't know, but someone having bread is offense against gild as well?" She says and then turns to Vincenzo. "I am on a subtle path of redemption myself. Trying to prove my worth and be my best person after I have some mistakes and lost control of emotions. I like to believe redemption is very possible and that Laogma supports us changing."
Zoey looks at Rinel. "One does not measure an offense on behalf of anyone else, and that includes a goddess," she returned. "I'd say doing so would be rather blasphemous, wouldn't you agree?" She relaxes back into the couch and turns to Vincenzo. "As for pros and cons, are we talking about from the perspective of the offender or the offended?"
"To claim that one cannot measure an offense on behalf of the Gods is to claim the Faith incapable of judgment, my lady," Rinel says politely. She turns to Vincenzo. "I will twist the question, Master Villente. Do the pros and cons of an action matter in all considerations? Or can an action be demanded of us, regardless of its consequences?"
Sparte looks at Reese thoughtfully. "I wonder if every mistake requires redemption. If there is a line between when we seek to redeem ourselves, and when we simply seek to be better than we were. One implies a guilt or burden is carried, but I can think of very little else that defines one from the other." Sparte looks over to Rinel. "Forgive me Rinel, but I have to take pause with your insistence of the gods being the key roles in redemption. I do not disagree that they are heavy influences in all we do, but I do disagree with the implication that humanity cannot stand by our own actions and be measured accordingly by our fellows. The gods are an aspect of who we aspire to be, but they are not a destination."
Reese looks over to Zoey, seemingly thoughtful. "That sounds wise and very complicated. It sometimes bothers me quite a bit when people make fun of my pink and ribbons, although I never react. People might see it as a small slight or no slight at all, but to me it is a real slight if though I keep silent and..." She then turns to Sparte, nodding to him. "I try to do better every day. I have been too reactive to and emotional in the past. I do feel it is burden, but maybe not every mistake should be. At certain point we would weigh down for small things like calling someone by the wrong name and it would get silly. Also hope is important. Weigh people down with guilt and debt too much for too small of things and it can start to dampen hope of a better tommorow as one tries the pay the debts of yesterday. So for me I carry burdens for my big mistakes. Although who is to judge what is big and not? And yet I let my small mistakes go. I don't have time to carry guilt for messing up titles or forgetting a birthday. Life is too short and there is too much to do."
Ian gets his glass of wine eventually. He gives Rinel a puzzled look. "I, uh --" He coughs, a little bit awkward. "I mean, I'm not Godsworn or anything, but I think they'd take issue with someone saying the Faith can read the minds of the gods and know exactly what they want. That's not really... uh." He sounds almost apologetic. "And I'm pretty sure they'd also have a problem with the idea that someone has to do what the gods demand."
Sparte leans over to say something to Ian with a mild expression on his face.
Sparte mutters, "By the Faith, perhaps ... means the Templars. She did use Sir Preston as an example earlier, ... people ... really ... away with ... ... ... Templars ..."
Ian shakes his head ever so slightly and murmurs to Sparte, a light frown creasing his features -- not anger, but puzzlement, still, and maybe a dash of concern.
Sparte nods in slow agreement with the response to Ian. He says a bit more then returns to sitting in his seat without highly suspicious whispering.
Vincenzo says to Rinel, "Choice always has a consequence, there's nothing done in a vacuum. Your fealty can and will demand taxes. It will demand service to be given, that you follow all the laws, even if you personally don't know every law. You can either bend the knee or be put to the sword. You either do that, or you suffer the consequences of life or freedom."
Thinking a bit he says, "If a woman committed a murder, and while she protested her innocence, she was found guilty by a good and just court, then she needs to make amends. Either by her own life, a life for a life, or the court can show mercy and allow her to somehow redeem herself through efforts equal in our eyes of a life taken. The murderer could take this redemption path, but then deviate and live a life of crime again. Or, they could as so many have pointed out, embrace that spirit of change from Lagoma and turn their lives to something fruitful, living and doing things for two people really. If they do enough, perhaps, they can redeem themselves in the eyes of all. They might die though never redeeming themselves, but some might recognize they were trying. I think that's something worthwhile, giving people a second chance."
Rinel, confronted with opposition, does a most un-Rinel thing. She simply shrugs, raises her hands peaceably, and listens.
Reese listens to Vincenzo with thoughtful attention. "That sounds right to me. I am not scholar and often and confused by such things, but that sounds like a right idea to me." She then peeks over to Rinel, giving her a dimpled smile. She moves to sit next to her and murmurs something.
Vincenzo adds, "Spoil the mercy given, and you should find justice waiting to bring down judgment immediately and harshly."
Reese hmms softly. "So second chances, but maybe not third chances."
Ian drinks his wine and listens, although the conversation seems to have deviated even farther from his realm of understanding, leaving him with the blank confusion of someone who's given up even trying to get a handle on the conversation.
Sparte tilts his head back and studies the ceiling as he thinks. "Redemption. Perhaps from a different perspective. When you imagine a person who is redeemed, how are they different from a person that never transgressed at all? Is to be redeemed to be still lesser, or to be somehow more?"
Rinel says, "It is to be hale but scarred. Yet scars can give wisdom."
Reese hmms softly. "I know I have my far share of scare, literal and actual." She says, touching the side of her right stomach.
Reese adds. "I mean...figurative and actual."
Zoey watches Sparte whisper in Ian's ear and walk away before returning her focus to the conversation. "A person who is redeemed is neither less nor more, but they are changed. You have to humble yourself to ask for forgiveness in the first place."
Rinel inclines her head. "I agree with the Lady Kennex."
Reese looks over to Zoey. "That is well said, Lady Zoey."
Reese is overheard praising Zoey: A intelligent and well spoken Lady!
Reese is overheard praising Vincenzo: Redemption, yay! leading the redemption talk.
Reese is overheard praising Rinel: Scholar Rinel is always moving forward!
Reese is overheard praising Sparte: Always amazing and thoughtful.
Sparte nods as he listens. "People associate the redeemed with wisdom, with humility, and above all with a thing scarred." Sparte considers that a few moments. "Redemption seems to hold a similar place in the in the minds of those here that old age holds in my own. Interesting. Thank you for humoring my own inquiries." Sparte gestures to Vincenzo. "And for your patience as I butt in again and again."
Sparte is overheard praising Vincenzo: A marvelous host
Merek is overheard praising Vincenzo.
"That sounds like you're preparing to leave us, Sparte," says Zoey.
Ian sips his wine and watches, still looking pretty lost.
Vincenzo smiles. "I think then we have a very interesting thought to take with us as I finish up this conversation. Redemption requires humility and mercy being exchanged. Through Lagoma, the person who is redeemed is made whole but with the scars to hopefully guide them and others who see them on the straight and narrow. Perhaps as we leave this place and think on redemption, we take a moment and give thanks for the scars we all have and try to think of a way for others to learn from our mistakes. Then, through our humility, we might be blessed."
Reese listens to Vincenzo. "Well said. Thank you for hosting this talk." She murmurs softly.
Rinel merely inclines her head, in mute agreement and appreciation.
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