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Salon Discussion: Cloudwatching & Tyranny

The atrium at the Empirical has been opened for a gathering of its members and guests. During a previous discussion regarding leadership qualities, the topic of tyranny took center stage at one point. It is now time to revisit that subject specifically. Visit the atrium, lay out a sheet, lay back, enjoy a bit of sunlight and nature, and watch some freakin' clouds. All while discussing the elements within tyranny that are both pros and cons. Not a discussion of whether tyranny is right or wrong, because it's unlikely many will advocate for that. This is instead a discussion of the components which make up tyranny, with a distinction made between what parts of that whole can be construed as positive and/or negative.

Happy little clouds.

Refreshments available.


Aug. 16, 2019, 9 p.m.

Hosted By



Victus Evander Peri Roxana Waldemai Alessia Cambria Catalana Delilah Artur


The Salon


Arx - Ward of the Compact - The Empirical - Atrium

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Jaq, a solemn looking assistant, 2 Kennex corsairs arrive, following Evander.

Today proves to be a beautiful day for a bit of cloudwatching. The atrium is warm and inviting in the afternoon sunshine. The sky itself has achieved that state of perfected blue color, that simply seems just a little more than any other blue sky within what feels like the last month or two. The clouds are immense, fluffy, and at times breathtaking in their beauty. The wind carries the clouds on by, offering the narrowed view from the lush grass of the atrium with a consistent change in scenery as they skate by high above. It is on the grass that, at least for his own claimed patch of earth and grass, Hadrian resides. Stretched out on a sheet of silk that seems as though it were spun from gold itself, his arms rest behind his head and his feet remain crossed at his ankles. He doesn't turn his brilliant green eyes from the sky above, all while his voice carries distinctly throughout the atrium, "Soooo... we're here to watch some clouds and talk about the merits of tyranny! I don't think anyone present will be advocating for true tyranny, for obvious reasons. So the question is... are there benefits to tyranny? During our last discussion - at least one hosted by me - the discussion lead to the topic, guided there by a visitor to the Empirical. So the question remains. Are there individual or bundled benefits of tyranny?"

Nallah, a buff-looking tortie cat with green eyes, 2 House Mazetti Aspirants, Sirra, a very quiet maid arrive, following Alessia.

It's a slow gait that Prince Victus makes into the Atrium. Both hands dipped into the pockets of his great coat while his feline companion rides atop his left shoulder. He gives a glance toward the sky before drifting closer toward the benches, sparing a glance at all he passes. Though he doesn't seem quick to jump in. For now, observing.

Victus has joined the the northern benches.

In contrast, perhaps, with sheets of silken gold, Evander arrives bearing a wool blanket, neatly folded. With a bow towards Hadrian -- part greeting and part apology for the lateness, he looks for a patch of free, hopefully shady, grass. Despite his looking, he's drawn by the question enough to pause, brow furrowing. "Tyranny, I believe, rarely starts as that. Often it might start out as a perception of undertaking action for the good of the people," he offers in his quiet voice.

Peri is seated beneath the Pear tree sharing a jug of wine and a loaf of bread with Waldemai. She is relaxing against the trunk, watching the clouds and the people gathered here. She tilts her head in greating to those she knows, and talks queitly with Waldemai.

"It provides security! Routine, those suffering under tyranny can usually remember who their current leaders are...and their current leaders favorite forms of oppression are probably the ones they can expect to see on a given day. Security." Roxana quips to Hadrian, not to make light of tyranny but when it works.

"Hah." Peri says, "There are benefits to the Tyrant."

Waldemai rises to speak, dusting dirt from his tunic. "What do we mean by tyranny? I mean, we've got a really good king, so just having a king isn't it, I think. So how do we know what being tyrranized - is that a word - is?" He sits back down.

Victus chimes in. "I would put my uncle, the late Prince Donrai forward as a candidate for a modern tyrant that's existed in all of our lifetimes."

Evander heads towards the tree after he spots Lady Peri, a tiny smile appearing. "Lady Peri. It's been too long," he murmurs in greeting to her, before nodding his head towards Waldemai, his words quiet. "Would you mind if I join you both? I think I'll burn up if I venture to stay out in the sunlight."

"That one looks like a donkey knight," Hadrian announces with a lift of his chin and one hand slipping from behind his head to level an index finger toward the sky. His pointing finger follows the cloud for a moment, before finally lowering to return to cradling the back of his head. The answers earn a tilt of Hadrian's head so that he may glance in the direction of the speakers, though it is Victus that earns his notice. However brief, "Oh hey, big guy. Surprised to see you here. No smashing things with your axe, okay? Please? Pretty please? Pretty, pretty please?" Then Hadrian's attention drifts back to Evander, a nod given, "So you believe that tyranny - at least some - can have roots in a desire to do good?"

Then Roxana's answer is presented, Peri's words offer it a counter. Hadrian's hand shifts to point a finger toward Victus at his mention of his late uncle, up to and including a snap of his fingers as he points again to Victus. Though his hand slips again back behind his head as he nods along with both Roxana and Peri's words, "That is a question to consider. Is that security for only the privileged, elite, influential, or some other caste of people? Or is that security for all?"

"Except!" Roxana holds up her finger, as if to suggest 'wait'. She might be proud of this next idea. "Babies! Babies benefit from that tyranny, the bit with the security and knowing what to expect and such. From their tyrant parents." Glancing to Victus she adds, "Not /actual/ tyrant parents, I mean I expect being raised by tyrant tyrants to be quite uncomfortable, but the tyranny of parenthood itself. Anyway, I've made my point!" Or not, but defers to Victus and others making actual points.

Peri inclines her head to Evander and motions for him to sit beneath the three with them.

Evander has joined the a shady pear tree.

Taking a seat on the bench just as Hadrian begins to speak, Alessia waggles fingers in greeting to her cousin and the princess, before returning her gaze to the front. "As someone already mentioned, it may not always start that way. Sometimes when making reforms, leaders lean toward tyranny when they start to face more resistance from the public." She suggests.

Cambria is laying upon her own stretch of fabric, though it is molten silver to Hadrian's gold. She has her legs crossed at the ankles while she is laid out, staring heavenwards. "I don't know, I think that would looks like a giraffe," she comments aside, presumably to Hadrian. Then one hand shoots into the air, a finger pointing...not at anything in particular. "Tyranny is oppressive power, especially that controlled by ones form of government. And of course tyranny has roots in the desire to do good." Her eyes find Victus, and she smiles at him upside down.

"A belief that one is out to do good," Evander murmurs in response to Hadrian. He gives a nod towards Roxana, no matter that she means it as a quip: "For the security of the people, for one." After Peri's nod, he gives her a grateful smile and sets about laying out his blanket within the shade underneath the tree, settling down.

Alessia has joined the the northern benches.

Roxana has joined the the southern benches.

"I did not bring an axe. I brought a ludicrously large sword." Victus replied back to Hadrian in a dry tone before he set himself a little further forward. His elbows rest atop his knees as he considers. "Under Prince Donrai Thrax, the Mourning Isles had never been more secure and House Thrax possessed the largest swath of land under its direct control, save for during the Crownbreaker wars. This was because everyone was afraid of my uncle, as he had shown that he would willingly cross over laws of limerance to meddle in the affairs of his vassals, and kill those who didn't oppose him. He had my father, his brother, killed for instance. And many more. On crosses, drowned at sea, so on so on. Security, yes. But it bred something that eventually overpowered any security. Resentment."

2 Kennex corsairs arrives, following Catalana.

Swiftwing, a sharp eyed, red-tailed hawk, Daan, the Fanboy Valet, 2 Redrain Guards arrive, following Artur.

"See! Security" Roxana seems extremely pleased that Victus implied she was right, even if she kind of missed the major point, she made one that was right and that we will chalk up to success! From this point then, she's much more of a listener than a chatterer, though a listener and a wine-drinker as well.

Peri can't tell if Roxana and others are joking. She looks puzzled. "There is no security. A Tyrant has absolute power and rules at whim. In some fit of impulse the tyrant might destroy your lands and execute you."

"What is a giraffe? Stop making up animals," Hadrian answers back at Cambria. Victus' answer though earns a prone shrug from Hadrian, "You win this time, Highlord. I didn't say anything about a sword, so..." he casually flutters a hand toward the rest of the atrium before he adds, " your thing, if it pleases you". Then Hadrian's attention returns to the conversation around him. Well, at least he's listening and on occasion smiling. Otherwise he's busy staring at the sky above and the clouds that meander by, "That's a very good point. So the security offered by particular applications of tyranny can, in a sense, provide a great deal of good... but as the use of it rises, so does the tolerance for it fall? Until eventually there reaches a breaking point? I would ask about the rule of law or order, but I believe that is contained within Princess Roxana's blanket use of security."

"I merely stated that tyranny can provide security which can benefit infants. Babies. That's all. Further more nuanced discussion regarding forms of government or fear vs love as motivators for people...that I leave to these well educated men and women here." Roxana gestures towards everyone else there.

1 Inquisition Confessors, Scribble, a Delicate Social Butterfly, 1 Graypeak Aerie Warden, Pearl, a Maelstrom Forest Cat arrive, following Delilah.

Delilah has joined the the southern benches.

"Tyranny does not equal absolute power. Our society has rules in place that prevents any from ruling entirely unopposed. Tyranny begins when one oversteps those rules. There is only so far one can travel before the world around them bites back." Victus opines. The Highlord scratches at the side of his head a moment and all the while, his mouth keeps moving. "I was told from a young age these words. 'You will be a weapon soaked in gore of Thrax's enemies, or I will toss you into the sea'. Essentially equates to my uncle's entire method of rulership. Do as I say and you will not be harmed. Which the Compact itself adopts in opposition to Shavs, so, it's really only tyranny if we're doing it to each other. But I digress. My point was that my uncle did not meet a natural end, but was killed by a culmination of his misdeeds catching up to him. Tyranny killed him, as he had used tyranny to kill many before. I could also speak on King Darius Thrax. He's a /fun/ one."

Evander's watching the various people as they speak; most of whom he doesn't recognize, but Cambria's words earn a tiny smile and a lift of fingers from the Kennex Lord. He stretches his legs out in front of him, a brief frown following as he listens quietly. "It can be easy to mistake security as a necessity and be willing to give up one's freedoms. Maybe even," he glances at Peri, "The destruction of someone else's lands, and their execution. If all you hear after the fact is that that person was terrible, that they did something worthy of the treatment, it could be difficult to discern the truth of things."

"Security and stability." Alessia nods, in agreement. "Does that mean there was a way Prince Donrai could have avoided such ends if he reduced the severity of his methods? Or would he have been doomed any way if people thought that to be showing weakness?" She takes a tiny flask from her maid, taking a drink.

Catalana is running late. Hardly surprising really. Quickly slipping in and trying to not to draw attention, she sneaks over to Evander, which is a fail since he's now talking. Thanks baby brother.

Catalana has joined the a shady pear tree.

Peri looks at Highlord Victus and says, "Your grace, /our/ society has rules that put a check on Tyranny."

Artur has joined the a shady pear tree.

Evander's smile lights up his features as he waves over Catalana to join him on the wool blanket.

"Or, how does one provide security and stability without having to resort to threats and oppression and making people from young ages prepare to be weapon soaked in the gore of their enemies and that sort of thing. Middle ground? Even more like almost all the way on one side but not entire ground?" Roxana wonders

Better late than never, if you were to ask most people. Or maybe they don't. Lilah eventually makes her way into the Salon, accompanied by no more than a very weary looking Inquisitor who will not be sprawling out in the grass with her. No, he has a duty to stand by and look unimpressed with his charge. Some people have all the luck, though her light-footed approach weaving through the crowd assembled certainly makes for an excellent diversion as she drops down at a bench next to a Grayson princess. Only reasonable that a Grayson duchess would show benefits in numbers.

There's a soft noise and a stirring before Artur stretches out on the blanket he had laid out when he realized he had gotten out here early - apparently he had /napped/ through the arrival of everyone and the start of the debate. Blinking his eyes a few times before he gestures. "Oh hey," he greets everyone, and then squints as he looks up at the clouds, eyes narrowed in thought. "Speaking of gore, that cloud looks like it was a hydra that just lost it's head and is about to start growing a second head, as that cloud.." he gestures vaguely, "Looks like a ship, it's bow spear splintered, making a desperate charge. What an epic battle that must be." he says as he gives a little yawn and moves to sit up. "What'd I miss?"

"One assumes that by virtue of being a tyrant, the vast majority of a population disagrees with said tyrant," Cambria says. "There in books, I am not making it up. Anyway," she lets her eyes unfocus on the blue heavens above. "There is every reason to assume a tyrant may be beloved by more people than not. Tyranny need not always be as obvious as we tend to think. For example, it could come as a conformity of thought, where the dissenter is seen as a radical, even a threat to society, giving the supposed tyrant the support and consent of the people who agree with the tyrant's methods."

Victus nods. "Yes. That's... what I said." A brow raises, though he says little more than that. His eyes trail toward Alessia. "I believe my uncle's downfall was that he only ever invested in learning to rule with cruelty and brutality. It carried him into his elder age, but it is not sustainable forever. When facing an enemy, you must either make sure they are utterly destroyed every time, or have reason to lean on you to build them back up. The Tyde Rebellion for instance. House Tyde and Tyde Hall, utterly crushed, only few survivors, all of them taken hostage by Prince Donrai. The problem was solved and within his control. Now, can you repeat that for /every/ enemy you ever face? Maybe for the savages, but not for every politican." He rolls his shoulders in a shrug. "At some point you need to show an open palm, rather than a closed fist. Both have their uses, but not everything need be smashed. You see what I mean?"

"So your philosophy is to maintain a balance? A little brutality when necessary, a little compassion in other moments?" Hadrian asks of Victus. That is all that he says, too. He seems either too concerned with the clouds passing by overhead, though he does spare a glance toward Artur and a faint twitch of a smile at his description. When Hadrian's harlequin eyes shift back up to the sky above, he remains silent. The conversation is flowing nicely it seems, so he settles into his silence while the productive discussion unfolds.

At the mention of the hydra growing two heads, Alessia's lips curl, her attention turning to her cousins lounging on the grass. She nods at Victus' point. "Would be impractical, that's true." She turns to Roxana with an amused smile on her lips, leaning in to murmur.

"I wonder how many heads you lop off a hyrda before it's more head than body." Artur seems to be distracted for a moment as he considers this. "Imagine, a hydra with 100 heads. Or more! Would it walk on it's heads, or just be a mass of teeth.. huh. That'd be a lot of heads to mount on a wall." he admits to himself as he considers this, and reaches for a flask nearby to take a draw from it. "But it's kinda like tyranny. You strike down one, another one tries to rise and be worse than the past, and the cycle continues and continues until you have only desolation left - and everything is an offense."

Artur considers. "Maybe that's a bad analogy. I mean. A hyrda makes more heads, you can only have one tyrant at a time. Unless you know, everyone's a tyrant. Then who would they tyrant against?"

"/Can/ a Hydra walk on it's heads?" Alessia does genuinely seem to want to know this.

"I believe that there is no cost too high to protect your House's lineage, reputation and traditional territory." Victus replies to Hadrian. "However, I do not believe in waste. Is a thousand dead soldiers worth the tribe of Shav'arvani that would have bent the knee with lesser concessions? Need you consent to the blackmailer's demands and protect your immediate reputation, when a slit throat would stop the problem from ever arising again?" He holds both of his hands up, palms flat. "Give and take. If you face an enemy in war, then you should ensure that there will /never/ be a second war. Whatever that entails, do it. When you are presented with someone who will concede or follow willingly, then allow them to do so. Address the problems with the least amount of cost while ensuring the most decisive fix. Always. Be. Pragmatic." He presses his fist into his open hand and grinds his calloused knuckles in. With that said, Victus' mind finally clicks that Cambria had smiled at him. He gives a sort of half-hearted smirk in kind. It's not quite a smile, but it is a very clear threat of smiling.

Delilah tilts her head up towards the cerulean sky overhead, the shade nearly matching the summer-stricken brilliance of those eyes catching the skidding passage of stately cumulus clouds and their higher-flying cirrus cousins. Reclining might be difficult without the bench at her back, though she kicks off her slippers in the meantime to slide her feet through the grass. Whatever shapes gallumph or gallop towards the horizon, she still pays heed to the ongoing conversation. "Depending on the strength of its necks and the makeup of its body, it might attain some kind of locomotion a bit like a snake, though it could be rather top-heavy and simply roll along. Though if the heads are independent of one another, it might end up fighting on direction. It would be a rather troubling sight, altogether," she supplies to Artur and Alessia's point. "Which, one could say competing tyrants with different agenda occupying the same region are eventually going to brush up against one another. In the conflict, one devours the other or they both perish and leave space enough for another to rise. Will it splinter the overall remaining resources and loyalty? Mayhap. That's why so few tend to tolerate contenders for their power."

At Delilah's description, Artur snickers. "Does that mean..." he decides to ask the Duchess as he picks one of the pears to chew on. "It would be hydradynamic?"

Hadrian's eyes turn aside to Artur again, consider him for a moment, and then turn back to the clouds. He lifts a figure to point out some blob of puffy white clouds sailing by above, "Well now, that one looks like a bear. About to be fucked by some count from the Crownlands. Oh... the bear appears to be interested this time around". A shrug later and Hadrian's attention returns to the discussion at hand as he continues discussing Victus' own views on tyranny, "I can't say that I would necessarily call that tyranny, your grace. There is compromise in that philosophy, as good a policy as it is. I can't say whether compromise would be in the arsenal of a true tyrant". Then Hadrian sits up a touch, bracing himself on his elbows as he takes a glance around the atrium before asking, "Are there economic benefits to tyranny?"

Alessia checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 10 lower.

"I guess that bear is /Counting/ on a good time." Artur responds kindly to Hardian with a smile before considering the question. "It depends. Would he level heavy taxes? Would he lower prices, raise them? What type of market would he create?"

Victus mulls that over a moment. "Mixing tyranny and money is dangerous for all involved. I imagine a tyrant would want to grossly raise taxes, or throttle the allowance to his family. Which would pour more money for the house, but inevitably /only/ the House. Would the other areas suffer under harsher restrictions put on their money? Would the family be content without a proper stipend? Hm."

Alessia looks thoughtful at Delilah's theory on a hydra's mobility, taking a drink from her flask. Hadrian's comment causes her to choke on the drink, struggling to maintain her composure, without even looking at said clouds to check if the observation had merit.

Catalana has left the a shady pear tree.

2 Kennex corsairs have been dismissed.

Evander clears his throat for a moment, voice soft as he speaks up, "Those that feel comfortable rarely feel the need to agitate. If a tyrant ensured those that directly supported him, his family or a military, are well-paid, well-fed and looked after, it gives them incentive to continue to support them."

"I can see it," Cambria agrees. "Certainly there can be economic benefits to tyranny. Again, tyranny need not be in every aspect of ones life. The supposed tyrant may only wish to exert tyranny in the form of...religion, mores, but allow for economic freedom."

Peri continues to talk with those at the Pear tree. She helps herself to more wine and bread and offers more to her neighbors.

"No, the count was hoping he might be bearable and that proved not to be the case. Fortunately the matter shall be taken care of, thoroughly if not neatly, for such grand spheres are rarely handled without some turbulence." Delilah's musings come quietly enough even as she tilts her gaze back to Victus, listening while he answers that. "With the day-to-day cares that most of the populace has, are they more concerned about their immediate comfort and concerns rather than the politics over their heads unless it comes to war, penury or other forms of upheaval? I concur that Lord Evander has an excellent point there." She taps her fingertips against the saddle of her hip, smoothing out the gently pleated silk. "Is that tacit support or a focus elsewhere that could be /construed/ as consent, and therefore empowers the tyrant until the circumstances become unstable and force a reassessment?"

"So perhaps a stabler economy but greater inequality?" Alessia straightens in her seat, still refusing to look at the cloud.

"Okay, that one was funny," Hadrian nods back at Artur with another flicker of a smile. Then his attention returns to considering Victus' own answer. Then Hadrian offers a light shrug of his shoulders accompanied by a chuckle, "I can't say I know what a tyrant would do. I've only ever been a tyrant once and that was for maybe ten minutes, so I don't even think it really counts, right?" A playful wink is cast toward Victus, but soon enough Hadrian's attention bounds over to regard Evander and his own commentary. For a moment Hadrian's eyes lift upward, to the clouds above, in thought. He nods his head about for a moment before he continues, "A well stated point. A solid foundation is often crucial to the establishment and continuation of a tyrant's power. Then what about ambition? Greed? What if the thirst for more becomes too great? Then that tyrants rule becomes threatened, which can erode the security that all had come to rely on, right?"

Roxana has left the the southern benches.

Artur has left the a shady pear tree.

Swiftwing, a sharp eyed, red-tailed hawk have been dismissed.

Daan, the Fanboy Valet have been dismissed.

2 Redrain Guards have been dismissed.

To Evander's point, Alessia replies. "I'm not sure if the tyrant can ensure people remain content. It only takes one clevel, persuasive figure to manipulate the masses to turn against their leader, even if they have everything they can -realistically- expect." She rests her palms on the bench, leaning back, watching the clouds.

5 House Mazetti Guardians, Possum leave, following Cambria.

For a time, Evander's distracted from the larger conversation at hand when Peri hands him a book, glancing down and opening the cover, closing it a moment later before carefully tucking it away. "It can be difficult to recognize such things in someone that could've been perceived to have been a benefit for so long." He gives a thoughtful nod to Alessia, responding, "A tyrant doesn't have to be ruthless and openly dislikable; they can and often do rely on their force of personality and will to push past objections. Everyone has different points at which they might draw the line on what they're willing to accept, and that is the great danger of tyranny. It can creep up without noticing."

Delilah has left the the southern benches.

Hadrian brushes his hands together as he begins to sit up further, nodding along with Evander's words before he tosses a response toward Evander, "Another well stated point of view and theory on how matters under a tyrant would unfold". There's a moment that Hadrian pauses, glances up to the sky above, and then back down to the gathering, "I suppose that's enough of that. In short, while there may be some benefits to outright tyranny? It sounds as though everyone recognizes that those benefits are largely outweighed byyyy... the fact that they're provided through tyranny. They will eventually crumble and fall, be burnt to the ground, or otherwise toppled. Because a tyrant won't last forever. So those benefits are tenuous at best."

Lilah untucks her feet from under the bench, stretching out further to listen to the conversations around her. "Successful tyrants rarely are. They can be beloved, viewed as benevolent or even paternal figures -- or maternal, I suppose -- guiding the needs and concerns of their people at the forefront. Never mind they have pruned different avenues away; it may be with relative consent or desire on that front. Charm is a powerful motivator. What happens if you wed philosophy or theological purviews into the mix? It's not always a clear reason to dispute their authority, particularly where they seem to blend together."

"If they never crumble and fall, then what?" Alessia ponders this, lifting her flask from the bench for another drink. "Oh, a Caribou." She smiles, glancing at one of the clouds.

"The general idea seems to be that they will eventually fall. Even if that is simply to the hands of another tyrant? The stability will inevitably crumble. And that, it seems, is why tyranny kind of sucks," Hadrian's hands begin to clap together for a moment, as if celebrating the fall of tyranny. Then he pushes himself up from the grass, though he does not bend down to collect the sheet of golden silk which he lay. Instead he turns about in the grass to consider those who remain with a faint nod of his head, though his eyes divert to regard Delilah, "Also a good point. When you marry belief into the matter? It can change things. But that inevitably makes one wonder... if belief is an establishment, an institution. Then it may very well resist that tyranny. Prince Victus himself pointed out the Crownbreaker Wars. The Faith of the Pantheon and King Darius Thrax did not mesh well and, eventually, that tyranny fell. So belief, in whatever its form, isn't necessarily a guarantee that some tyrant will maintain power for long."

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