Court of Public Opinion: A House Divided, or, Exchanges of Political Recognition for Peace
Treaties and alliances that can be held to the light of public inspect and scrutiny with official and public alliances, accepted/acknowledged and exchanged representatives at a location where citizens can levy complaints and issues at a public place for those foreigners.
Do you have thoughts or opinions? Come make them known and enjoy a spirited debate.
Aug. 12, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Arx - Upper Boroughs - The Unkindness
Comments and Log
The day has long since been over, with folks heading home after a long day toiling in the oppressive summer heat. The moon is bright, painting everything in Arx with a subtle silvery hue, although the windows that glow golden with lights inside beckon folks to step in.
Here at the Unkindness, there's a small section (relatively speaking) cordoned off. Tables have been rearranged so it's a semi-circle with chairs. There's copies of a Treatise that is available at every table for folks to take copies of too.
"Welcome, good evening. Come in, please come in. There's drinks on the tables for you to enjoy. Feel free to take a copy of the treatise, and I hope we all can enjoy a spirited discussion on a topic that touches on high born and low, no matter their allotment in life. My name is Vincenzo Villente, I'll be your host tonight. We'll get started shortly. If you do have an opinion or complaint, by all means raise your hand and we'll make sure you get your time to speak. Try to keep the brawls to a minimum."
Waldemai sits on the couch, waiting for the debate to start. "These things are always interesting."
Ondine, a red-breasted sparrowhawk, Majesty, a dappled gray Maelstrom destrier arrive, following Brianna.
Peri has joined the Raven Table.
Sednaya, a female Maelstrom Osprey arrives, delivering a message to Brianna before departing.
Yvon steps from his room, his mutilated hand tight on his walking stick, and makes his shuffling way toward the Raven Table, where he winces and gingerly sits.
Yvon has joined the Raven Table.
Brianna has joined the Raven Table.
Ethan enters the hall, stepping in from the night. He hears the sound of Vincenzo's voice and then walks over to the table indicated to pick up a copy of the treatise, which he starts to peruse quietly as he makes his way to a seat.
Peri finds a seat near Waldemai. She looks rather pale as she finishes the treatise. She looks around the room, noting each face.
Ethan has joined the Raven Table.
2 Grimhall House Guards, Ivan arrive, following Sanya.
Jacinthe, 3 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Sina.
Ethan has left the Raven Table.
Sednaya, a female Maelstrom Osprey arrives, delivering a message to Brianna before departing.
Vincenzo checked charm + performance at difficulty 25, rolling 45 higher.
Peri checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher. Peri rolled a critical!
Shard prowls into the Unkindness with a certain sort of familiarity. She certainly seems to fit this environment more than higher class establishments, regardless of the clothing she's wearing (which is some strange mix of black silk and dark leather). Her expression is...let's call it skeptical. There's a certain lift to her eyebrows that isn't usually there, and when she settles at a table she leans back in the chair and eyes the nearest treatise with a faint, one-eyed squint.
Shard has joined the Raven Table.
Vincenzo looks and begins to encourage the crowd for the discussion point. There's his charming smile that he gives each, as if old friends. "Tonight my friends, we're gathered to have a talk and a drink. To talk about how our world has grown larger in terms of peoples most never even heard about or perhaps heard our old grandmother talking about them but you never were sure if she was really speaking the truth or perhaps inventing something to keep you entertained. In the past few years, we've seen the Nox'alfar came from obscurity, and with them we paid the Tiend, our King awoke, married the beautiful and wise Queen Symonesse and won the Silence War against Tolomar Brand and his dreaded Bringers of Silence." says Vincenzo, glancing about the crowd.
"The Marin'alfar came, and with their help, we won the Gyre War against the Fleets of the Gyre. Thrax has accepted the challenge of removing thralldom, and the rest of the Compact has stood in unity to support it. We've had three gods who were formerly lost now found, and their shrines flourish with knowledge restored. Throughout this, Copper was here protecting Arx. Since then, we have had constant battles with the Shav'arvani on every border as many align themselves with evil deeds but we also have had significant amount of Abandoned bend the knee and embrace the strength of the Compact. A life saved is a life that can repay thousands back to our entire civilization. But I want to talk about more than just them."
He holds up the Treatise, gesturing for others to take a look. "But first, lets hear what some of you have to say."
Waldemai gets up to fetch a drink. He does not fetch a copy of the manifesto.
Sednaya, a female Maelstrom Osprey arrives, delivering a message to Brianna before departing.
Brianna quietly excuses herself. It appears there's business she needs to handle.
Brianna has left the Raven Table.
Ondine, a red-breasted sparrowhawk, Majesty, a dappled gray Maelstrom destrier leave, following Brianna.
Entering the Unkindness, a venue unfamiliar to her, Sanya Grimhall offers the host of the event a kind smile in greeting, glancing around curiously, before taking a seat on the Raven Table. She's attentive as Vincenzo begins to speak.
Shard crosses her arms over her chest and shifts her squint from the treatise to Vincenzo.
Having heard wind of the topics up for discussion at The Unkindness, Archscholar Sina makes her way in, in time to hear Vincenzo's speech about what the discussion is all about. Silently, she gives the host a bow of her head, and then she makes her way toward a seat. Three templars accompany her, and take up spots where they can keep a good view of the Archscholar any any potential threats to her. Other than that, they might very well blend into the background. Seating herself alongside her assistant Jacinthe, Sina turns her gaze to studying those who are in attendance, listening for now, and reserving her own commentary.
Sina has joined the Feather Couch.
It is obvious that something in the treatise has disturbed Peri, but she steadies her nerves and calmly walks over to talk to Vincenzo for a moment.
Sina takes up any available copy of the treatise, her silvery eyes scanning it quietly.
Sina checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 3 lower.
Peri comes over and he leans forward to listen to what she says, and he nods and says something back reassuringly. But as no others yet speak up, Vincenzo says "Don't be afraid. We've had representatives move unfettered and unchecked here in the city such as the Eye of the Prophet from the Thirteen Dune Kingdoms of Eurus, the Praetor Marcus Sullus for the Skykingdom of Cardia and the Emperor's Child, Zulana, the Emissary of the Platinum Empire, Jaidairal. Peoples like the Sylv'alfar who lived in giant trees and were on and off again allies of the early Compact so long ago and fought against us and beside us."
There's a pause, as Vincenzo glances about the room, watching those who are reading the Treatise and following his words might notice a deviation. "Peoples who have -very- different beliefs, religions, customs and laws than the Compact. They move and go as they please, they speak publicly and privately with Compact citizens and ultimately are here not as guests, but as those who sneak about your property while you're looking the other way. And so that's what brought me to this discussion. But don't keep your thoughts to yourself, do speak up."
Shard has joined the line.
Turn in line: Shard
Shard coughs loudly. And then raises her hand. But the cough comes first.
Vincenzo points to Shard, "Ahhh, Prima Shard. Yes, do speak up."
Reading the treatise, Sanya glances up as Shard is addressed. She leans forward in her seat, curious as to what the woman might say.
"The representatives from Jadairal and Cardia were hardly /sneaking/," Shard notes, blandly. "I don't think Sulla is capable of it. And I can't speak for a people I don't know, have never met, live in lands I've never been to, and who don't even know I exist." She taps the treatise in front of her.
Bhandn is a touch late, which is part of the reason his mouth is set in a line. The heavy footfalls of his booted feet might well be what announces his presence, though. He'll make his way into the section of the inn blocked off for this event, but rather than take a seat he'll hover on the edges of it, taking a glance around with his grey eyes. Those pause first on the Archscholar, whose eyes he tries to catch and then offers a deep nod if he succeeds. Lady Peri, however, is the one to whom he gives the majority of his consideration when no one is speaking. No words are offered by the knight, who takes up wallflowering as Shard begins to speak. There's a small upwards twist of his mouth at talk of Marcus Sulla, but whether it's a grimace or not remains in the eyes of the beholder.
Waldemai adds, "If they sneak into my shop, they're welcome to anything in it, so long as their silver is good."
Sina's expression is clearly troubled upon reading the treatise, which she sets down lightly once she has finished. For now, she merely stays where she is, though she watches the proceedings with a decidedly hooded expression, her gaze focused on Vincenzo in a rather intently curious fashion. Her gaze flicks to Shard, then back to Vincenzo to see how he handles the Prima's observations. Otherwise, she remains silent, for now.
Peri nods at Vincenzo, but does not look very assured. Her eyes have lines of tension and her mouth is pressed firmly. She returns to her seat. The discussion interests her, and she attends to Shard's comments, but she is on edge. Sir Bhandn catches her eye and he gets an upnod. She again looks around the room to note all of the faces.
Vincenzo bows a head to Shard. "You are Prima Shard, last of your line, Queen presumptive of the Primasen of Wolves in Nefer'khat and because of that, you do speak for them with what you say and your actions, even if you say right now you don't. You might not know them, they might not know you, but you are it and rejecting what you are to me would be like cutting off your hand, making us all weaker. I think it's an opportunity for the Compact to grow in seeing that you're looked after, and the Compact to become stronger with a public treaty. Or, if you really have no idea who they are and you can't bind them in any manner, then politely I'd suggest the title is meaningless. Like calling myself the King of the World except I can't enforce my claim. But? I again encourage you Prima Shard not to do that, and instead keep working on how to build that bridge. No reward is worth more than that which has the near impossible challenge before it."
He smiles to them and says "And that, my friends, is the point of diplomacy. The Nox'alfar have an excellent example with their permanent embassy here and ambassadors, and we all can read the treaty which shows their legal position. The Marin'alfar also have an embassy over in Maelstrom, but we also have their roving ambassadors-at-large too. They respect our customs, they respect our ways of life and respect the sovereignty of our King. It's time our uninvited guests from these foreign powers show they respect our king and the sovereignty of the Compact."
Shard looks positively exasperated, and she doesn't do anything to hide it. Indeed, she actually looks toward the ceiling for a few moments. "Yes, all that's true, apparently, but no one can speak for a people they /don't know/. I can act like I am, you can believe I am, but that doesn't actually make me their voice." She starts to say something more, but there's a twitch to her eyebrows, and instead she leans back in her seat again.
Yvon inclines his head to Peri, though he remains silent.
Behtuk pauses at the door, absentmindedly munching on a dinner roll. He walked in with the roll, but he has more, as evidenced by producing a second one in his other hand, his on-deck dinner roll.
Sina continues to observe and listen from her seat a little separate from the others, silent for now. But it's clear she's absorbing every word. While she may not have much to say at the moment, there are clearly deep thoughts drifting behind the intent, silvery gaze.
Vincenzo smiles to Shard but he says "I'm not going to tell the Captain-General of the Valorous Few how to build that bridge, I think you're excellent when it comes to fixing problems and I wish you the best." He pats the treatise in his other palm, and after a thought, continues. "The right to receive and send ambassadors and embassies tests the power and sovereignty of our Compact and King. A nation that rejects our ambassadors or our desires to establish a permanent presence in their capital or city is one that infringes on the sovereignty of our King. We as a people should press upon our King's ministers to establish ambassadors to those foreign nations, to set up in their capitals a permanent place to show their people that our nation is strong, that our nation deserves the respect it has hard-fought for and paid in sacrifices. Everyone here has been touched upon the wars that have come to our borders in recent times, every single one of you would have immediately someone dear to you that you've lost. This strength and all that the Compact can offer should be shown to the world in those nations that have visited us. To only have their members here probing about in the dark and occasionally talking in public about their strange cultures without an opportunity for the Compact to speak with their citizens is an insult, and we shouldn't stand for that. Would you allow trade that's one way, where your competitor comes and sells to your family and yet rejects the goods and products your family has ready to offer? Of course not, only a fool would think that's fair."
Peri focuses on Yvon and Waldemai at her table and talks quietly. Her hand comes to rest on the treatise. She gestures to Vincenzo and the paper as she explains something. She returns to watching the room after she speaks.
Shard's entire expression twitches this time, but she's quiet as Vincenzo moves the topic back to the actual issue he wants to discuss. Quiet, and clearly listening, though the effort to remain the former shows a bit toward the end.
Sanya has joined the Raven Table.
Peri has joined the line.
Turn in line: Peri
Behtuk ventures in Shard's direction, pretty much the only person he recognizes. He offers her a dinner roll once he is close enough, and gestures to the seat next to her.
Shard eyes the roll, and eyes the seat, and responds with a faint shrug. After a moment she does take the roll, though for the moment she just holds it rather than eating it.
Behtuk has joined the Raven Table.
Bhandn has joined the line.
Behtuk eases himself into the chair lest it turn traitor, but looks attentively at the conductor of this event. He stuffs half a roll in his mouth, and gets out a notebook to write his thoughts.
Peri stands to speak when she has the floor. "I cannot speak to everything in today's topic. For one, I am ignorant of our laws. So I will start by asking if foreigners are restricted or banned from Arx. We have had visitors from other kingdoms, even before these emmisaries. If they are not banned from Arx, then I have no problem with them living here freely here as long as they are lawful. Thank you." She nods and returns to her seat.
Behtuk has left the Raven Table.
Sina has joined the line.
"An excellent question posed by the lady Peri Seliki. The question posed was if foreigners are restricted or banned from Arx, and if they aren't banned, her statement is that she has no problems living here freely as long as they're being lawful." repeats Vincenzo. He spies Sina, and delightedly says, "And we're fortunate that the Archscholar herself is here tonight so we'll see if she can perhaps answer that question! But a question back to you, lady Peri. Having an unexpected guest show up at your door of course can be a pleasant surprise, and offering aid to those who need it through charity is something we should do. But when your guest sneaks in your house, surprising you, and then begins to talk with your staff sharing things about a different house and getting them confused on why they should stay loyal to you, would you consider that person still a guest? Or a nuisance?"
Sina inclines her head to Vincenzo, though her expression is solemn. "I shall wait my turn, but I do have one or two points to make."
Peri considers Vincenzo. "I do not answer that analogy, because I do not see how it fits if you are referring to the emmisaries from Cardia or Jadairal. They made their presence known immediately upon arrival and have been very clear. They stood up in front of the Assembly of Peers and our King. They cannot be more public than that." She raises a brow at Vincenzo.
Bhandn offers a brief nod of agreement to what Peri has to say, but his own mouth is visibly being clamped shut by force of will, considering he's biting his lower lip to keep his words back.
Vincenzo laughs, "Yes, they -did- make their presence known immediately when they wanted to, didn't they. Perhaps like someone who already canvassed the place they desire to sack. And then like thugs trying to strong-arm the merchant, they levied their open threats to the Compact and King, disrespecting in a way that surely they wouldn't accept themselves. Have they invited an exchange of ambassadors? Do you think they'd allow a Compact representative to go to their capital, speak to their sovereign and make a threat against their sovereignty? I'll answer that for you. No. One should treat their enemy and ally at least with a minimum of respect."
He turns and with the rolled up paper, he points to the next in line.
Turn in line: Bhandn
Shard fidgets in her seat and makes a rough, if quiet noise in the back of her throat.
"I think you are overestimating the good will of some of those nations where you would have us send emissaries -- one of whom I consider a nuisance, just to be clear -- in that they have conclusively proven that respect or not, they will do as they please without any regard for us and what we have to say for it. More like raiders sacking a village, than a merchant's wagon being strongarmed." That deep voice is Sir Bhandn's speaking up from his standing place of residence, and his grey eyes are directed to the host of this particular talk. "Forgive me, but did you attend, or have you read the transcripts from both Emissary Zulana's and Pr -- Emissary Sulla's summits? The latter especially was... riveting, especially with his answers to certain accusations directed at him. You propose we establish relations. From what I understand, they did not bother with permission and all but forced themselves upon us. And just as curious, they remain despite their stated purpose here having been fulfilled. A very /telling/ action that hides behind the words they brought. Not only that, but Cardia has been... let us call it 'keeping busy' here. So, I ask you, in what way do you propose we treat with them in answer to their obvious or silent condescension, when they have little to gain from it? You might as well offer to sell them a cart full of stone when they ask for alaricite. I think we both agree that doing so is nothing less than a farce."
Behtuk has joined the Raven Table.
Vincenzo nods to Bhandn, tapping his scroll in hand. "Yes, I did. I consider those meetings they held opportunities for those foreigners to try and persuade citizens, to sow seeds of disloyalty and have people question the sovereignty of our King and the Compact which he represents and we all have bled and fought to protect, and they would not have afforded the same opportunity to the Compact in their cities which should be telling. Otherwise is the crown our King wears made of paper, that folds and blows away in the wind? Or does it represent the true strength and sovereign right of the Compact to rule over Arvum? That's what is at stake by allowing these nations to do as they please and disrespect our King."
Turn in line: Sina
Shard has joined the line.
After a time, Sina finally speaks up, "I would like to note that the Emissary from the Undying Empire and the representatives from Cardia were given leave to speak at the Academy with His Majesty's permission, as a means to educate the people of the Compact about these foreign nations. For Cardia in particular, I sought the counsel of the Dominus as well. He strongly counseled against it, but in the end, he said that the decision was mine to make. In the interest of not showing favor to one over the other, I allowed both to speak. The Cardians and the Undying Emperor's emissaries did present themselves properly at an Assembly of Peers. They largely stick to their ships, as far as I am aware, unless invited into the city. I am also aware that the Cardian Tribune, Lady Petraea Livy, was recently escorted with a heavy guard under the supervision of Princess Zara Valardin and guided by Scholar Rinel Tern to visit the tomb of Aurumadin, for which she was very grateful."
She folds her hands before her, and continues, "Relations and the building of bridges take time. They may not share our Faith, or our ideals, or our experience, but they are the guests of the Compact. Invited or no, they are here and have been accorded Guest Right, and they have an important role to play in our future, whether we accept their propositions or not. I do not think it would be wise to unduly provoke either of them," she continues with a pointed look. "It is up to the Peers of the Realm, and His Majesty, to decide how best to deal with our foreign guests, and thus far, they have not been asked to leave. Likewise, Brass remains an honored guest of Legate Aureth and the Faith."
She tilts her head slightly, regarding Vincenzo. "So when you say that they are sneaking into our house, and sharing things about a different house, and getting people confused, what do you mean by that? They are clearly not sneaking, if they have been given leave. The Compact, the Assembly of Peers, His Majesty, could have simply asked them to leave, but they didn't. As for whether they would accept an Ambassador from the Compact in their lands... has anyone ever actually asked them, in an official capacity?" she gives a little shrug. "But they remain as guests, not thieves in the night as you would paint them. The Eye of the Prophet is another matter, of course, but from what I understand, the Inquisition is handling that situation, and we should leave them to their work. Otherwise, if you are confused about where your loyalties should lie after hearing these emissaries speak of their homelands, then the question lies not with their words, but with the conviction of your own beliefs."
1 Inquisition Confessors, Pearl, a Maelstrom Forest Cat, 1 Graypeak Aerie Warden arrive, following Delilah.
Sanya has joined the line.
Bhandn's head turns to give Sina a /very/ startled look at mention of just what happened with Lady Petraea Livy. His mouth opens, but a hand comes up to clap over it to keep himself from interjecting. It falls down a few seconds after, but his eyes, and his eyebrows, clearly do /not/ approve. In the end, he is giving the Archscholar is full attention, staring at her, and keeping his mouth covered.
Peri nods grimly at something Yvon says.
Just because she wasn't here the whole time is no reason she cannot be there now. With the Archscholar somewhere over yonder, the second of the Vellichorians slips in with a relative kind of ease. Take no notice of Delilah, who shows particular ease about slipping around the periphery of a room to plant herself right among the conversations in question. There are opportunities, of course, to listen as she goes, but it's not /quite/ as though she commands the force of presence ascribed to most of the high lords. Take no notice!
Bhandn might give a brief bow to Delilah upon spying her entry, but the motion out of the corner of his eye has him turning, and it's to Peri he gives a briefly questioning look, a brow rising up, before he moves towards her and bends down. After taking his hand off his mouth, of course.
Vincenzo listens to Sina and he contemplates on her words. Tapping the scroll in his hand, he gestures "Blessed, I don't understand your actions in the past and I don't understand you now. Our wondrous shepherd, the Dominus, allowed you in his infallible wisdom a moment of freedom for you to exercise against his guidance to you and for that you have public discussions where both of these nations waxed on about the glory of their nations who enslave and allow slavery to legally exist and of potential powers to worship and glorify instead of the gods from whom all our blessings and gifts flow from. Where nations gloat in public about taking the firstborn of our King, and that they will hold such an heir until they see fit to return. Where nations talk openly that a King cannot decide what is best for us and to treat him less than his sacred person should be treated and the Scholars sit by with their ink-stained fingers happily scribing away while good people are left blinking in amazement that perhaps our great Compact is under siege already. You're then responsible for empowering these nations! The Faith is under attack by these nations. The Compact is held in contempt, and we should not stand for it. These nations either treat with the Compact like the Nox'alfar and Marin'alfar, or they should be shown to the door."
Narrowing her eyes at Vincenzo's words, Sanya turns to a retainer who leans forth to whisper something in her ear. Excusing herself, she rises, slipping out of the door quietly.
Peri checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.
Sanya has left the Raven Table.
2 Grimhall House Guards, Ivan leave, following Sanya.
Yvon has joined the line.
Behtuk shakes his head at the tone Vincenzo takes with the Archlector of Vellichor. It's a fairly significant expression of his thoughts, for him.
Shard never left her slouched position in her chair when she spoke before, but this time she leans forward and stands up. It feels measured, as if she were deliberately slowing herself down, as it does when she plants her hands on the table in front of her. "Vincenzo, you're talking about the world getting larger. You say it in your paper too." A vague gesture toward the treatise on the table. "But that's not true. That's not true at all. The world has always been big, and wide, and full of people that are not the Compact, full of kingdoms and empires that are older, and more powerful than the Compact. The Nox'alfar do not want to control us, and the Compact can't control /them/. So there's a treaty. The Marin'alfar do not want to control us, and they live where the Compact doesn't claim territory. So there's a treaty. Think, for just one moment; what does the Compact do, how does the Compact think and speak about peoples they /do/ want to control, that /are/ on territory they claim, and that they /can/ conquer. Think on that, and then consider this: Cardia and Jadairal are enormous, ancient, extremely powerful empires, and both of them want to control Arvum. They do not respect us because they have no reason to respect us. Sulla said it himself. They do what they want because they can, because there is not one damned thing we can do to stop them. They arrived when they did for a reason, and they arrived basically at the same time for a reason; Copper was gone. And they made us offers and have tried to persuade us to agree with them not because they can't come in and take what they want, but because as soon as one side tries to do that, the other side will come in as well, and it'll be war. This is not about sovereignity. This is not about sacred kings or the Faith or any of that. This is about /power/. And maybe for the first time in the Compact's remembered history, it's sitting in a position where it is /not/ the one with the power. How exactly do you plan to 'show them the door'? With force? Because if they don't want to go, they're not going to go, and there is nothing we can do to make them. And even if there was, if we killed their people and sunk their enormous ships, do you just not realize that they would return and crush us in ways most people haven't been able to imagine?"
Gliding to the Raven Table, Delilah offers that faint, quick smile while Vincenzo commands the moment by responding to something that Sanya says. Sina's response may well draw her gaze up, starry eyes bright as the summer sky by evening, though the rest is hard to read. She pauses to murmur to Behtuk, "Would you mind if I join you?" A wiggle of her fingers greets Shard, but it's distracted.
Delilah is overheard praising Shard.
Behtuk shrugs nonchalantly. There's plenty of room at the table. He gets up and scoots his chair over so that Delilah can sit next to the others.
Yvon shifts uncomfortably in his seat, then inclines his head to Vincenzo. "Indeed, I agree with the long-winded young person." He gestures briefly to Shard before looking back to Vincenzo. "You speak as though we wield the power to do as we wish without consequence in this matter of ambassadors, representation, and foreign powers. But perhaps we are not their equals. Perhaps we are supplicants. Perhaps we are weak and afraid of these foreign powers. If we are on our knees, is it not wise to be chary of challenging them, for fear of reprisal?" He winces at some internal discomfort, then sweeps the room with his silvery-blue gaze. "There are other powers abroad in the land to whom we crawl, after all, for fear of rousing them. I know nothing of these foreign countries, and merely pose the question." He looks back to Vincenzo. "Do fear and weakness explain our toleration for being treated with contempt?"
"Let us not forget that we are playing host to an even /more/ esteemed guest from Cardia, without them mentioning a word of /him/ being here, that I know of," Bhandn adds dryly onto what both Shard and Yvon say.
Tilting her head slightly as Vincenzo levels those words at her, Sina contemplates them quietly. She doesn't react with anger, or the raising of her voice. Instead, she merely levels that silvery gaze at Vincenzo calmly. Then, Shard is speaking up, and Sina turns that silvery gaze toward the Prima. She listens, and nods her head in agreement, before turning her gaze back to Vincenzo, and finally responding to him. "You may think of me what you will, Disciple Vincenzo," she says quietly after a time. "I am fully aware of the responsibilities that I bear as not only Archscholar, but a representative of the Faith of the Pantheon. They are responsibilities that, quite frankly, very few can or ever will fathom. One of my responsibilities is seeing the larger picture, which many people cannot see. So it is my /duty/ to educate, where I can. Sometimes, that involves delving into ideas that make us uncomfortable, and looking at things which are unfamiliar to us. Does what you have seen frighten you?" she asks, with a lift of her eyebrow, and a glance around. "/Good./ You should be frightened. Prima Shard has it right. The world is bigger than you know, with dangers you cannot fully comprehend. Some of which, none of us can. This anger you direct at me is based in fear of the unknown, nothing more. If you are ignorant of these truths, if you fail to stare it in the face and understand it, then you will be taken unawares when the time comes to face these things. Vellichor's psalms teach us to keep an open mind, to not turn our eyes away from knowledge as it is presented to us. If you wish to villify me over this, then that is your prerogative," she says, turning her gaze back to Vincenzo. "If you think that I allowed them to speak because I am somehow in support of their doctrine, their embrace of slavery, their holding of the King's offspring hostage, you are, quite frankly, rather single-minded in your desire to remain ignorant. You will believe as you will, because you have already set it up in your mind to see nothing else in me. But bear in mind, Disciple Vincenzo Villente, I am the Archscholar of Vellichor, and /my/ faith is not in question. So tread carefully, before you put your foot in it further." She levels a cool stare toward the man, before resuming her seat.
Yvon murmurs at his table, "Personal threats from the Archscholar, casting aspersions upon Villente's faith? That is hardly in the spirit of open and unrestrained argumentation."
Delilah has joined the Raven Table.
Peri checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.
There are many heated or perhaps merely stern things being said now, but what seems to have grabbed Peri's attention is Bhandn's comment. Despite him being almost twice her age, she scolds him.
Shard's comments cause Vincenzo to pause, the fire from Yvon and then response back from Archscholar Sina also has him silent in heavy contemplation. And here, Vincenzo sighs and frowns, perhaps he's going to walk away.
But he doesn't. He looks at the piece of paper rolled up in his hand and to the faces here, and speaks.
"I'm a tailor. I take from the nether of my dreams and with my two hands, create beauty. I sing my songs and hope that somehow, I inspire others to act instead of feeling the doom that's knocking on the door and we get that feeling that we should instead do nothing. We are not weak."
Looking to those here, he says to Shard, to Yvon, to Sina. "We are not weak. There was a time when the Skykingdom, the Metallics, the elves and humanity came together against a force that threatened to obliterate everything. Where the jewel of the world, Arx, our capital, was the prize it wanted. Not one of these foreign nations could successfully stop the darkness, and thank gods above, neither could we. But standing together against it, we all survived. Through sacrifices of dragons, Metallics, elves and humanity, we survived. And that's the fact, we all are survivors and on equal footing. Our guests happily ignore that and speak as if they have all the power in the world to snuff out humanity. Am I scared? Damn right I am. Every time I speak to people, more questions pop up. Every time I sleep, more dreams come. Every time I think, more ideas spring up. But to allow our guests to treat our Compact and King this way? It is unacceptable. They need to remember that without Humanity, they would have been overtaken quicker than I can snap my finger, and we to remember that without them, we'd have been lost. The world is a lot larger than just one man named Vincenzo, but by respecting and creating a path for diplomacy, we can see that through fiery argument, we hone our ideas and through hard work, we can create a tapestry for peace."
He gestures to the scroll. "The thoughts of one man for peace are here, and I believe them completely. I encourage you all to think not that we're weak, but that through proper diplomacy and respect, all of these nations remember we're on equal footing."
Turn in line: Shard
Sina has joined the line.
Bhandn straightens up from his hushed conversation with Peri, not seeming perturbed at all by her scolding. He doesn't offer any words, due to others talking, but he does maintain a direct gaze at Peri, exprsesion grim, before finally breaking eye contact to eye Vincenzo once more. And again, the Knight represses commentary by way of clamping teeth down onto his lower lip.
"We're not on equal footing," Shard says, flatly. "My point, Vincenzo, in less words, is that as far as Cardia and Jadairal are concerned, /we're/ the shavs." The way she says the word 'shavs' is noteworthy. As if it leaves an unpleasant taste in her mouth. There's a pause, and then with a certain amount of reluctance, she continues, "If you read the transcript then you know how both of their ambassadors responded to me. Ridiculous. Right? But to them, I'm not part of the Compact, I'm Khati. More than that, I'm the last survivor of a khat. And they don't want to piss off any part of Nefer'khat; not out of respect, but because Nefer'khat might, under certain circumstances, be able to threaten them. And they're apparently very touchy when it comes to outsiders doing something they see as a slight against all of them. You don't have that. You can't force them to treat you a certain way until you do. Right now our best options are to continue pretending like we have any control, and to not piss them off."
"From their perspective, which is millennia old, we are difficult to respect." Lilah inclines her head a fraction as she settles in, her movements articulated with a certain air of grace. "Consider how an adult pays little heed to a child's wants, for what does a boy or girl of seven know about the world compared to someone thirty-five? Forty? It's all but impossible to fathom what a being who witnessed the earliest dawns, born before Death herself, thinks of us." The faintest pause lingers there, briefly sketched out for the rhetorical question. "Their contempt and indignation have grounds, however much it irks us to be reminded of our follies, our limits, our failures. We have heard from their mouths the horror we forgot our greatest heroes, those who gave their very lives for our futures, in a sacrifice meant to ring through the ages. Death means far more to an immortal than someone who might be fortunate to see five decades in reasonable health. So when Silver's loss escaped us, and there are still people out there who denied the presence of the Metallic Order, dragons, Marin'alfar and more to the very hour those emissaries, did they not have justified reason in their own minds to curl their lips or chastise us? To treat us not as equals, but as little better than children fighting in the play yard while the adults go about the serious business of ordering a kingdom, comes very naturally to them. You've been alive thirty years, perhaps? And the Praetor? Nine hundred. The Undying Emperor? He remembers the Pantheon in a /different/ form, when there were no humans or very much we were among the youngest of races. It is not a statement of opinion that, in his great age and lifespan, he doesn't look at us the same way. Jadairal and Cardia are ancient, their timeframes beyond anything we can know, and they aren't willing to concede that our king -- who we honour and respect, yes -- is due the same degree of respect we would offer a peer. Because we are /not/ a peer to them, unless we can demonstratably prove we are so. We do not apparently threaten them because, in their eyes, we barely know what we are doing. We ape some of their works, we try to imitate their achievements in a crude scale by their standards, and thus we haven't made a point to rise up to the table on a level where they have to concern themselves with our opinions in the same way they worry about Nefer'khat or even Eurus. Is it desirable? Obviously not. Are they terrified of our sudden maturation and unification? Absolutely. Do we know why? No, but I concur with her." She nods to Shard. "Do not antagonize what could obliterate hundreds of thousands of people in an evening. If you want an object lesson in what happens when you anger one of the great nations, I'll point you to a blasted wasteland where nothing and no one live, and likely never will short of the direct intervention of Petrichor."
Yvon asks Sina, "If we are children compared to them, Archscholar--and you make the eloquent case that we are--shouldn't we submit ourselves to them completely, as child does to an adult?"
Shard snorts. "No."
Turtle, 2 Culler Brutes, 3 Culler Hoodlums arrive, following Orathy.
Waldemai settle back in his chair, smiling. "This show's getting good."
Glancing toward Yvon, overhearing the murmur, Sina gives the Mirrormask a long look, before turning her attention to Delilah as she speaks. Finally, she turns her gaze back to Vincenzo after hearing what he has to say. "My apologies, if it sounded as if I was calling your faith, specifically, into question. Perhaps I feel somewhat personally attacked as well, and my first instinct is to defend myself. What I meant was, if anyone can allow a few words spoken from foreigners to change their minds so easily on such volatile matters as the practice of slavery, then how strong are those convictions to begin with? What must we do, as a people, to strengthen our resolve? It was not meant as a personal attack, but a hypothetical situation. I will allow, their condescension toward us is enough to raise anyone's ire, but are we not equally contemptuous of them? If we are to work together again, as we did during the Reckoning, if we are to change their minds about us, then we must work for it, and prove that we are worthy of their respect, not their contempt," she says simply. "It must start somewhere, so why not with us? Allowing anger at their contempt for us to rule the day does not foster the grounds for diplomacy," she points out. "Those bonds that once held us together - humanity, elves, Skylords - that you speak of," she says more gently, "cannot be rebuilt if we cannot look past our fear of the unknown. I will gladly take the brunt of a little anger, if the result of it is to open the eyes of the Compact to what we face, to help foster understanding. Personally, I think Cardia and the Undying Empire are much like us. Some of them believe one way, and some of them believe another way, and they do not always agree with themselves as to how a thing should be done. I am fairly certain that Lady Livy and Lord Sulla are, quite frankly, silently at odds with one another. Some of the Skylords were once our friends, and I suspect would like to be again, while some of them would scorch us from the earth, no question, if they didn't think they could use us somehow. But there may come at time when the choice is taken from us all." She looks to Yvon then, and wrinkles her nose faintly at him. "Submitting ourselves to our enemies, so that they may bind us with writs, and take our choices from us?" she asks. "Would you be willing to make that decision for the entire Compact?" she questions. "No, there must be some compromise on both sides, I think. But such things are perhaps for more diplomatic minds to consider."
No one panic, it's just a bunch of Culler's walking in. One in particular is clearly the elder of the crew, the infamous uppity rabble known as Orathy Culler. Ahh but don't worry, there's inquisitors here too. Nothing TERRIBLE is going to happen. The 'Father' of the Cullers seeks a spot to sit, maybe even shoving a few others out as comes perhaps, out of curiosity. Or drink. No way to tell, since the man's face is devoid of emotion, and inevitably, he orders a drink from the bar.
Orathy has joined the Bar.
Aside from general disagreement with any personal attacks, Behtuk has just sat and listened, unjudging, taking occasional notes.
Vincenzo listens to the points made by each. "Perhaps humanity as a whole isn't strong, but then again, maybe that's where its strength really is. The chain is as strong as the weakest link, and perhaps with our short lives, our frustratingly limited memories, our precarious and duplicitous natures, perhaps that is our greatest strength. Dragon and elf, their time has come and passed and each of them failed to do their duties, although don't ask me to explain that because I don't know, I simply sing. The time for humanity is here though, and should we fail, then I would say dragon and elf will fail as well and then all will be lost. So let us find a way to bridge the gap, to find a way to bring diplomacy back and at least a mutual respect. We're doomed if we think we're able to do things alone, we're dooming them by our failure."
Turn in line: Sina
Orathy has joined the line.
Turn in line: Orathy
Shard's expression twists briefly. "I don't think it's any particular peoples' /time/." A beat. "And there's more than just those three out there anyway."
Bhandn, on the other hand, panics /so much/, that his eyes are now giving the Cullers his full attention, especially Daddy Culler. No words or greeting, just staring with his arms folded and his eyes keeping vigil in place of the (peacebound) sword on his back. Does he, perhaps, scooch a little as to place himself slightly between the Cullers and the ladies? YEP. He sure does.
Delilah mutters, "... begs ... question, what ... after ... I'm sure the others ... been ... that for a ... ... years."
Sina settles back into her seat, having finished speaking. She picks up and fiddles with the copy of Vincenzo's treatise, eyes idly skimming it once more. She falls into silence, alone and secluded from the rest seated at that table, her features a touch saddened by the whole affair. Her silvery eyes remain focused downward, skimming the document in her hands, as if the answers to the questions of the universe could be found within it.
Yvon winces and shifts in his seat, nod to Peri, then says to the generation conversation, "If they are powerful enough to sweep us off the map, they are powerful enough to take from us what they wish. Do we truly believe that they are in such perfectly-balanced opposition that they can do nothing? That is the clunky convenience of a storybook. If the young person--" He looks to Shard. "--is correct, we are shavs to them. Shavs are inferior to the Compact by definition, so we give shavs a choice: join us or die. If we are likewise, inferior to these other nations, and nobody save Villente is arguing otherwise, we have a similar choice. Join or die. But in our case, we can at least choose which we join." He looks to Sina. "And Archscholar, yes. Of course I would. I have some experience in submitting to the enemy. I should be happy to lead."
Behtuk doesn't even know why he should panic. He pulls a dinner roll out of a belt pouch and munches on it thoughtfully.
Shard checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.
Sina checked perception + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.
"Why is it," Shard says, slower, as she tips her head and her gaze toward Yvon, "That you always seem to make the worst possible arguments?" There's something very.../measured/ about her voice. Deliberately so.
The Cardian Tribune arrives without guards, without fanfare, without even an entourage. Petraea arrives alone. She takes a moment to assess the room before moving toward an empty seat and unceremoniously taking it. Her dark hair is intricately braided and coiled into a complicated design atop her head. The steelsilk she wears gleams in the light, but it is the necklace about her neck that somehow manages to steal attention despite the fineness of make and material of her clothing. She gives Vincenzo a nod of greeting and respect as host of the event as she folds her hands in her lap to listen. Petraea catches the end of Yvon's statements and arches a brow, but offers no other obviously verbal or facial reaction.
Yvon turns his torso to orient his single eye to focus on Shard. "That is an insipid statement. Would you care to try again?"
"It's an accurate statement," Shard retorts. "I don't care if you find it interesting." Petraea's arrival, however, draws her immediate attention, and she doesn't tack anything further onto her comment, choosing instead to openly study the other woman.
Glancing to Yvon as he directs words at her, Sina lifts her gaze from the document she's been studying, and her brow furrows darkly at him. "Lucky for us, then, that you are not in charge of those decisions," she says, with a wry curve of her lips. She glances about the room, still listening, and notes Petraea's presence. She blinks for a moment in surprise, then gives a respectful, if somewhat wary, inclination of the head toward the Tribune of Cardia.
For all that Sir Bhandn is keeping an eye on the Cullers, the arrival of the woman in no less than steelsilk also catches his eye. It takes him a moment; first a glance and dismissal to peer some more at Orathy, but then it suddenly hits him and he's now giving /Petraea/ his full attention. More than that, his eyebrows are slowly rising until he's completely forgotten just what it was that he's doing. He stares at the Cardian Tribune like someone just told him they were betrothed. This is to say: it's a complete surprise to him while he's simultaneously trying to look polite about it, plus she also becomes the center of the world to him right then and there, such is the level of his distraction.
Waldemai is having even more fun as the debate heats up. "Better than a football match so far."
Vincenzo checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 25, rolling 22 higher.
Delilah settles with ease into the conversation, watching Sina and the others when they speak with equal interest. Her part spoken, at least from the perspective of others, she isn't hurried to interrupt anew when additional speakers have their own opinions to recount. Petraea making her appearance lifts her dusky, starry eyes in that direction, and she inclines her head in greeting. "The Archscholar makes a point that might be subtle, but underlined. To build a rapport, to earn respect, reasonably we need to find the common ground that demonstrates we are worthy of it. Who do we treat better? The shavs who co-exist relatively peacefully, those who try to at least understand our ways, or the ones who react defensively and lash out at us? There is a difficult balance to be found, and I do not profess to have all the answers. Yet, showing at least some facility with historical lessons, cultural differences, and communication goes a long way to establishing a bridgehead to work with rather than assuming 'death' is the only option for failure to comply. Nor can we generalize so freely."
Enough time passes, to sort of give Orathy some background of what's going on here, long enough anyway that he's taken a swig of his ordered up whiskey, squinting after tossing back the entire three fingers, sniffing once and then wiping his mouth on the back of his sleeve. He pivots on the half cheeked occupation he takes on the stool, shaking his head once, making a sucking sound between his teeth, before he regards particular individuals in the room, Sina - because she spoke up when he arrived, then to Vincenzo because well, there's a natural gravitation that he's leading the discussion, to Shard, the inquisitors, and back to Bhandn who shifts himself as a sort of shield - which amuses Orathy enough that a damn wolfish sneer settles on his features. "Why is it that any of yous /care/ exactly who be tellin ya who's taxes yer gunna pay 'n who's boots ya gunna kiss?" He tilts his head, gestures openly to Vincenzo, "Reckon the faith ... ya are of the faith ain't ya boy? Aye, reckon the faith tell ya how to behave so ya ain't ending up on the wrong end of a 'Questionin' from the inquisitors. Aye, the king tells ya how much silver to toss at his coffers. On the streets, it be the strongest gets to make them rules..." He taps his finger on the bar to get another drink ordered, "The way I be seein it, who ever leads us, eh, it ain't gunna change the lot most of us be livin. Maybe you Silks, aye, the rest of us, long as we can fill our bellies, the fuck do we care?" He challenges this with a look to Vincenzo, inevitably his eyes swing toward the new delegation, but other than minor interest in the steelsilk, he adds on, "Besides, it be all of youse who be pushin fer the change of our world, invitin elves 'n magic shit into our city 'n changing the way it's been fer hundreds of years ... Iffin ya got anyone to blame fer the bed yer makin, tis you lot."
Yvon tells Shard, "I cannot tell if you are modeling the behavior of a child in an attempt to make a rather esoteric point, or if you are merely juvenile," before inclining his head to Sina. "Indeed. About that, at least, we agree." He then looks to Vincenzo after Orathy speaks and asks, "Is a translator available?"
Peri checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.
Peri's golden hazel eyes study the room, touching upon each face. Her expression is almost completely neutral.
Shard's lips thin, and there's a brief moment when she's not speaking, but the tips of her teeth are visible. "What I'm doing," she says, still measured, "is calling you an idiot. I wanted to be polite."
Shard checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 8 lower.
Peri checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.
Vincenzo is listening to Shard and Yvon, although when a particular Culler enters, it does get a look from Vincenzo. Ah, there's that smile friendly-like. And speak of the devil, and she'll appear; the Cardian Tribune is looked at by Vincenzo for awhile as he begins to not hear what others are saying. He dips a polite bow of his head in return to the nod given to him. And look, the Culler speaks towards him! What were we talking about? He glances at the scroll in hand and goes, "Ahh." to himself.
"My esteemed friend..." gesturing to Orathy with respect, "Asks why should the common person care about the dealings of diplomacy and politics when ultimately their head is to the ground, their shoulder pushing the wagon and ultimately, they will live life struggling like they alway sdo. For people who worry about where the next day's bread is coming from, why should they even worry about higher things? Isn't ultimately the strongest meant to rule?"
There's of course silence a moment in case he's mistranslating the Culler father-figure. "I suppose it would be very similar to how the Families of the Lowers work things out. In the Lowers, the Families are unquestionably leading and dictating, but when the Bringers came, they banded together. Which family is the strongest in the Lowers?" He wonders aloud, looking pointedly at the Culler father.
For whatever reason, but apparently something to do with whatever Yvon says more quietly to the table, Shard, already on her feet, suddenly turns sharply on her heel toward the man and takes exactly two steps around the table toward him. Nothing measured about that, though there's a sense that she's certainly restraining some sort of impulse, if only just.
Behtuk has no cule who most of these people are and is passively listening with the assumption that he'll figure it out along the way.
Petraea listens attentively to those that rise to speak. Nods of polite greeting are offered to Sina and Delilah in turn while Bhandn's stare is intercepted. The Tribune blinks once and then looks away from the man's rapt focus on her. Shard also gets one of those nods, but a bit deeper and held just a fraction longer than she had for the others. She reaches for one of the documents upon the table and scans it as she can while still listening.
The milder reaction from the copper-haired Scholar is considerably less /interesting/ than Shard's, if from a visual perspective. Mind, Lilah couldn't frighten a friendly four-week-old rabbit, so there's that. The bright timbre of her response comes at a respectably low volume, as not to interrupt the rest where Orathy and Vincenzo are otherwise engaged.
Peering for a moment at Yvon, Sina seems to note for the first time, that he seems to have some injuries. A slight frown touches her lips at that, and then she turns her attention toward Orathy as he speaks up. She studies the man thoughtfully, tapping her fingers lightly on the document in her lap. She does not speak up, however, watching the back and forth between Orathy and Vincenzo, Yvon and Shard as she pivots toward the man. Her brow furrows as she watches things unfold, and her Templars bristle a bit further to attention.
Waldemai is watching the verbal sparring start to speed up. "It's almost like a Sip 'n' Spar," he says. "I'll put my money on Princess Reese."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Peri before departing.
Orathy gestures with an absent hand wave that Vincenzo has summized his complaint well enough to satisfy for those who cannot understand this Lower Boroughs brogue, something apparently come to him by years of mucking it down in the slums. As for the indication of Lower Families, his brow raises up for a moment and he settles his dark eyes on the man of the cloth, a wolfish grin lifting the corner of his mouth at the leading question, "Aye, ya ain't wrong, I reckon I were even leadin some defensive measures with the Grimfaced Duke," he then 'hahs' softly, "Yer a clever lad, ain't ya. Mark me yer not gunna get me to cause a war by declarin such a thing down 'ere. Sorry lad, we ain't as stupid as you lot, inviting elves 'n giant man eatin monsters to our doors by playin with shit ya ain't understand." He takes his drink, tossing it back. "Point is, we folk will be doin what we always do, under the way it is now, or the way yer makin it change to be. It ain't matter at the end, who it be."
Yvon stills in his seat, for a moment, when Shard moves, then turns stiffly away, to address Behtuk. "Is it? Well, I should be interested to hear more, though perhaps now is not the time." He inclines his head to Delilah. "Indeed, my lady. Not easy, as I said. Merely simple. And failure is a common precondition of success." He nods from Vincenzo to Orathy and says, "That is a fine point, well-made. Is it another argument in favor of acnowledgeing our weakness, our servility and childishness, and accepting the embrace of a stronger ally?"
Shard checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.
Behtuk shakes his head at Yvon's query. "No. Thank you."
The grey eyes of Sir Bhandn Yvar remain staring at the Cardian arrival for multiple heartbeats more time. It's a visible effort on his part, when he finally manages to tear his gaze away, to (with considerable distraction) return them to the talk at hand. He quickly becomes lost as to the subject matter, and not only that, but he's continuing to direct frequent glances at Petraea despite his visible attempts not to do so. Even turning slightly away from her does nothing to help, and the entire time he stands there in silence, now with his brows drawn together, looking towards Vincenzo but it would become clear quickly that he's not really seeing the man. His folded arms are compressed tightly against his torso, hands balled into fists that frequently cause his arms to tense and relax.
Shard stands very, very still in the place where she stopped alongside the table, but it's not hard at all to tell that she's seething. It practically rolls off of her in palpable waves, and she remains like that, unmoving, for at least thirty, maybe forty seconds. Then she spits something in a language that isn't Arvani--and, fortunately, does not contain actual spit--before turning with a certain amount of violence to retake her seat.
Shard says in Northlands shav, "You murderous, child-snatching, piss-drinking coward."
Peri looks at turns apalled and affronted by Yvon's talk. She refrains from saying anything. She has nothing to add. She raises a hand and attempts to catch Vincenzo's eye..
Peri has joined the line.
The eyes of the Templars are, most certainly, focused largely on Shard and Yvon, though they make no move toward the pair as Shard returns to her seat. Would they have, in any case? It's hard to say. Why are they even there, anyway? They relax only slightly. The arrival of the Cardian Tribune has done nothing to set them at ease, and they have inched subtlely closer to Sina. But that is all they do. The Archscholar settles back in her seat from where she had sat up straighter for a moment, and continues to observe the proceedings. She does glance toward Bhandn briefly, giving him a hooded look, but otherwise, she doesn't add anything further to the debate for the moment.
Vincenzo checked charm + performance at difficulty 35, rolling 21 higher.
Behtuk checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.
Behtuk stands up abruptly to depart. He stuffs a dinner roll in his mouth and his notebook in his pocket.
Behtuk has left the Raven Table.
Things are getting a bit out of hand, it seems, for Master Vincenzo's discussion on diplomacy. As conversations start to melt down, and the fiery heat of debate gets a bit too hot, he does what comes naturally. His enchanting voice lifts up, and he sings. He sings a ballad full of allegory and metaphors woven together, of things that are scary and things that bring hope. He sings, to stop people from doing something they might regret, and refocus. But as it's a song, the moment it is sung, it is up to the receiver to interpret how they react.
"Beyond the mirror did it flee,
a world in flux was left behind.
And to the Dream did Dreamer leave,
children by their opposite defined.
Dark and light, children reflect
and topics do they claim and seize.
But as Dreamer stepped beyond the mirror,
the Reflection did not leave.
To hear them cry from far Ahj'on
parched, the High One do they bespeak.
For Reflection plots, and as it plans
a Reckoning, it will patiently seek.
The Abyss seeks to corrupt the Dream
into the dread Nightmare.
Where rules are long and enforced,
where creation is lost to despair.
But flickering hope when faith is held,
a foundation built strong and true.
In darkest times the light is bright
by choice that comes from dragon, elf and you.
Horned crown and the crone,
together with a keeper of lies,
seeks out the children of forest
for their treasure locked inside.
The Firstborn in the air,
terrible Lords of the Sky
Rain fire and enslave,
Beings which cannot wholly die.
A Rex'alfar Prince shines so brightly,
his light burns darkness away.
But little does He seem to see,
how blind His eye is to this day.
May your lips sing songs of love
and your hand weave words poetically.
Remember with such a gift,
'tis better given than receive!
A time of dreams you walk in,
and nightmares so dismal.
Skald's dear children and their friends
snared within Allesandro's long vigil."
Something in the reading of the document makes one corner of Petraea Livy's mouth lift in something close to a smile. She looks up just as the simmering conflict between Yvon and Shard appears to be fading. Her brows lift slightly over her hazel eyes as she observes Shard for a moment. Then, Vincenzo's singing and it does serve to distract the Tribune from watching the Prima and the Mirrormask. One hand rests a top a copy of the treatise as she listens to the song. For the moment, Petraea keeps her peace. Perhaps she came only to observe after all...
Waldemai applauds the song. "Not bad. Now let's get back to the fight."
Shard can't really be said to settle back into her seat, because 'settled' is not a word that appropriately describes her demeanor in any way whatsoever right now, even when she returns to her previous cross-armed, previously casual slump. It's a caged temper, at least, even if it doesn't seem to be easily fading away, even when Vincenzo starts singing. Maybe because Vincenzo starts singing.
Yvon continues watching Orathy at first, while Vincenzo starts singing, apparently still hoping for an answer. But by the end of the song, his silvery-blue gaze shifts across the room. When he belatedly notices Petraee, he looks closer and his lips narrow in disgust or discomfort--though it's impossible to tell if it's in response to her, or to some internal distress.
As Vincenzo begins to sing the verses of a very familiar song, Sina's gaze lifts from the document in her lap, though by now she's read it so many times that she cannot possibly read it any longer anyway. There's a hint of realization on her features, but her expression maintains a solemn aspect of quiet gravitas in response to the words. She glances about, watching the reactions of the others. She continues to hold her peace, however. She is attentive, waiting for the next person to speak. She's already had her say, for the time being.
Delilah has left the Raven Table.
Even bad singing can potentially distract folks, so perhaps that's what caused people to stop. Vincenzo clears his throat, smoothing the brocade purple vest before he says quietly "It's difficult to offer diplomacy I suppose to strange foreign nations that we've forgotten when we're so quick to see the worst in each other. If the gods wanted us to all have the same thoughts, we wouldn't have rainbows hidden away behind the waterfall or the iridescent treasures one can perceive by looking at what would normally be the black and white magpie feather. Ahh, a slip of Jayus there." He does smile though once he has everyone's attention. Looking to Peri, he gestures for her to come forward but says to each gathered, "You and I will fade in time, but our ideas can last far longer. We are not inferior to our guests, and we're not in a position to dictate that we're stronger either. Someone, we need to be able to show and convince them all that we're stronger. Think on how we can do that."
Turn in line: Peri
Peri listens to Vincenzo's song and appears intrigued yet disturbed. When she catches his eye for another round of question and and answer she stands and addresses him, "At the beginning of tonight's discussion, you asserted that Cardia and Jadairal do not welcome ambassadors from Arvum." She pauses, "And the Archscholar pointed out that perhaps no one has even asked. Lady Livy is here, perhaps we can set forth the topic to her." She turns to Petraea and starts with a solid disclaimer, "Lady Livy, Welcome," Peri inclines her head. "First. I am no one who can say that the Compact would send a delegation. I am just a minor noble. I speak on no one's behalf." Whew, that said, "/Would/ Cardia welcome visitors from Arvum? Would they be given guest right and given opportunities to participate in Salons and in the culture of your land as you have been given in ours? It has been a bone of contention here." she pauses. "Uh, if that is not a question you would like to field, I beg pardon." Peri returns to her seat.
Peri checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 7 lower.
Peri snortlaughs at something said at the table and then covers her mouth, eyes wide.
The song does not particularly impose upon Sir Bhandn's ears. He's still off in his own place, eyes staring ahead with the occasional glance to his side, rigid as a statue save for the intake of breath, the occasional clenching of fists hidden mostly by virtue of folded arms. Yet when the tune is done, he blinks several times, coming out of his half-distracted reverie to turn his attention first to Vincenzo, staring at him, then Peri, staring at her, and lastly to Petraea, whom he regards for a moment of time as well (albeit /not/ staring) before forcing his eyes back to Lady Peri Seliki, who becomes the recipient of his study, considering she's the one now asking a question. The knight shifts slightly, but does not move otherwise.
And he takes a very, very deep breath of air, letting it out slowly through his nose.
Petraea lifts her brows as she is addressed directly. She bows her head in acknowledgement to Peri before she lifts her voice to respond. "Just as you must discuss with your King and High Lords before decisions are made regarding foreign entities, I would need to take the request back to the Senate to present before them since it is within their power to grant such things on Cardian land and not my own. As for your concept and tenets of 'guest right', I do believe that is a religious observance by your people that my own do not share. Still should the Senate grant such a request, arrangements for the safety and security of an emissary would occur as is only proper."
Orathy takes considerably longer to come back to his senses after the song, struggling to formulate some ire as he looks bewildered as to why he's lacking the need to rabble rouse further. Okay, so he goes back to drinking, blinking with some distraction at the glass, turning it on it's edge, rolling it on the bar, glancing up to the welcome made to Lady Livy. Another silk. Steelsilk. Riiiight. He pipes in after a second, because that might be his job to just blurt out things, "Aye, so ya admit right off-" This to Peri, "-that we be weak 'nuff that ya gotta make sure they ain't killin ya when ya go visit 'em? That be some soft shit right there. Bargains be made with silver 'n blood, most oft."
Peri inclines her head to Petraea. "Thank you. That was very diplomatic." She raises her brow to Orathy, "Uh..." She squints, "There be I mean there is a custom to ask for guest right in our Compact too, no?"
Orathy shrugs a shoulder, "Depends who ya are. Last I be hearin, there be Dukes dyin at weddings 'n shit like that. So you tell me, is there?"
"Fuck's sake," Shard mutters, but not quiet enough that it doesn't carry. "Orathy said something I agree with."
Orathy looks across the room to where Shard is, lifting up his whiskey glass at her. Maybe he heard. Probably. SMIRK. Yes he heard.
Peri checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 11 higher. Peri rolled a critical!
Peri does NOT narrow her eyes at Orathy nor say a word. doot de doo.
Vincenzo listens to what the Cardian Tribune says on the request and approval process, watching her a bit before Orathy cuts the discussion with his slang. A head tilts slightly. As Shard, Peri and Orathy talk, he says to the group while watching Petraea, "There are similarities between the nations, even if there's many significant differences. Perhaps one bridge is that each nation respects and honors oaths and promises, even when they're made in happier times and fulfilling them puts you at a disadvantage." To Orathy, the clever singer says "Even the lowers honors promises made, otherwise everything goes to anarchy." "To Petraea, he says "Thank you." He calls others, "Are there other comments?"
Yvon asks Vincenzo, "Am I right in understanding that one of the two nations in question kidnapped the king's bastard son and holds him still? If he yet lives. I am only recently come to the city, so perhaps I misunderstood. But a nation that kidnaps the king's son is perhaps not a strong prospect for diplomatic overtures. In fact, that is an act of war, no? I'm not sure how you overcome that objection, if I'm not mistaken about the facts."
Shard checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.
Sina turns her gaze toward Bhandn briefly, noticing that he is moving a bit more freely than before. She looks vaguely relieved at that, then she turns her gaze to Peri as she asks her question directly to Petraea. The Archscholar listens with an intent sort of curiosity, then pulls her long braid over her shoulder, and idly toys with the simple brass chains twined along its length. "One of the things that is most detrimental to our ability to broker any sort of diplomatic relations with Cardia in particular is that very difference in Faith. We have been told that, if we were to embrace Cardia, we must give up our Faith. It is a sacrifice that we cannot make. I know that this question is on the minds of many people, particularly those who have sworn vows in service to the Pantheon, but to the laity as well. It is one of the greatest obstacles we face, and it is perhaps one of the greatest reasons, though certainly not the only reason, the Compact chose to stand on its own. Talk of bridging the gaps is all well and good, and I am fully in support of the attmept, if the Compact chose to try again, but I do not see how this obstacle can be overcome." She finally looks to Petraea directly, and asks, "Do you have any thoughts, Lady Livy, on how such a thing could be reconciled?"
Yvon makes a dismissive gesture toward Shard with one mutilated hand before looking back to Vincenzo.
Petraea turns in her seat to look Yvon over, head tilting slightly before look away to address Sina's question. "As far as I am to understand it, Archscholar, both the offers of merging with the Undying Empire and the Skykingdom of Cardia were rejected by your King and Highlords, so any question of assimilation from your own religious and cultural institutions is no longer relevant since it does not appear that those particular negotations will be reopened. Negotiating potential treaties and trade agreements do not require that either of us abandon our culture and beliefs, only that we find a bridge between them where we can. I do not think that anyone with any sense in Cardia would require that Arvum's Faith be abandoned before we decide the exchange rate between Cardian leather and alaricite." Then, she looks pointedly at Yvon as she speaks, "I should hope that between both of our nations, we could recognize that, unlike the Undying Empire, neither of our realms are a monolith where everyone agrees with the actions of everyone else. Unfortunate decisions have been made by many. It is my fondest hope that they can be reconciled with better choices now that more information is available."
Shard turns her head toward Petraea and starts to say something, clearly a little louder than the quiet, but not particularly friendly-seeming, conversation going on at her table. She stops right as her lips form the first word, and holds it back with some effort. Instead, her gaze flits toward Sina.
Bhandn might be paying attention more, rather than brooding in arms-folded silence, but one thing that has not changed is the fact he's still trying to splice his eyebrows together above his nose. He listens, directing his eyes around to each individual who has the floor, though he does darken slightly at what it is that Orathy Culler has to insinuate if not outright say. Guest right is a VERY SERIOUS TOPIC to this man, y'know. While he does watch Lady Livy now with considerable interest (as compared to simply staring at her), he keeps his peace until she has finished speaking. "I would be very interested to hear how you think the matter should be reconciled, Lady Livy." He doesn't /quite/ trip over the woman's surname with his tongue, but there's a hint of question to it, a glance thrown towards Peri and Sina both as to whether he said it right or not.
Vincenzo is quietly observing as moderator, and seems that he doesn't need to step in. He looks to the Cardian Tribune with a lift of a brow and interest in his eyes.
Orathy mutters, "Some of the Gods we all forgot bout until what, some few years ago? How long be Cardia's gods in place? Longer, shorter, than our own? Why ya denounce 'em when ya honour a guy that brought skeletons back to life?" He looks down to his drink, haunted briefly from some memory that is cleared up with a swig. Then he continues, "The Faith gave us new gods, 'n fer the most part, reckon the people went along with it. We ain't knowin better." He slides off the bar stool, makes his way toward Lady Livy, pulls on some of his own steelsilk, "Reckon I be grateful fer the trade we 'ave done at least. Reckon it looks better on you though, even iffin it be useful on me." He looks back at Sina, "The one thing I be learnin from watchin all the nobles do in these last few years, runnin around tryin to save every damn foolish thing 'n do this 'n that... is not any one of us, know truly what in the abyss yer playin with. Maybe ya outta talk to people-" head tilt to Livy, "That ain't ever forgetting the ways it were." A beat, "Or we outta go back to bein blind bout it all." He looks now like he's all but done, signalling to his boys to wrap up their own drinks. Talking is so much work. "Iffin ya want anything-" his eyes swing back to Petraea, "escort round the lowers or somethin," really ORATHY, yes, really, "names Orathy Culler."
"He just wants cheaper steelsilk." Completely deadpan to the air by the Knight of Solace right on the heels of Orathy's self-introduction.
"I apologize, but I believe it would be imprudent to detail my thoughts on those negotiations at this time given the delicacy and sensitivity of the situation. I wish I could offer more than that, but I would be remiss in my duties otherwise." Petraea says in response to Bhandn with a little bow of her head. Orathy's words and offer cause the Tribune to lift a brow and she responds with a measure more of warmth. "I should like to receive a tour of the Lower Boroughs, if you would be so kind to accommodate, Master Culler. I would appreciate it. No matter what your motives."
Shard gives a loud snort, but it doesn't seem to be directed at the room at large.
Yvon asks Petraea, "If you are unwilling to do more than speak empty words, why speak at all? Merely because you enjoy the attention? You enter a room and otherwise-proud people crawl to hear your wisdom. We've seen that here. Does that supplication, perhaps, slake some need within you?"
As Petraea answers her question, Sina listens curiously. She nods her agreement with the first part of what is said. "Yes, it would seem that ship has sailed," she allows carefully. "So you would allow, then, that in spite of our refusal of the Skykingdom's offer, there is still room for negotiation of other treaties? That sounds like a starting point, at least." She, of course, has no say in any potential negotiations that could take place, but she seems somewhat satisfied with the answer. "Thank you for answering my question." She looks to Orathy, and lifts an eyebrow, giving him a puzzled look. "Nothing in my words suggests any sort of denouncement of the First Children, Goodman Culler," she says simply. "If you have ideas on how we might better educate people of our history, feel free to stop by the Great Archive sometime, and I will be happy to discuss it with you." She settles back into silence again then, though she does glance briefly at Yvon at his words, before turning her gaze to Petraea. She takes the moment to observe the woman a little more intently.
Shard gives Yvon a sharp, sidelong look, and then says toward Petraea, "Don't worry about him, he's perfectly okay with kidnapping children."
"I came to observe and listen to what I was led to believe were concerns regarding the presence of foreign emissaries within the Compact with no intention to speak at all. I was asked questions by yourself and others that I elected to answer rather than remain silent. An answer does not fail to be an answer simply because you were hoping for other words. I deeply apologize that I am unable to tell you the answers that you wish to hear." Petraea looks away once more. She catches Shard's words and nods slightly before glancing at Sina as she says softly, "Our people were not always considered so distant from each other."
Waldemai has another drink.
Bhandn's quip, has Orathy side glancing back toward the knight, but he doesn't retort anything, as if he's storing something away for next time, a secretive little curl of his lips tucked underneath that whiskery grizzled mustache. His attention realigns with Petraea, a moment his expression seems emboldened by the lack of rejection, "Reckon I certainly would. You be finding me when yer ready fer that tour 'n I be showin ya the way it really be, without all the spit 'n polish. T'would be my pleasure, aye. Me family's too, supposin one or two of 'em would wanna say hi as well." He jerks a look back to Sina, "Aye, long as it ain't gunna be like how yer people treated Esra, who were tryin to educate the masses 'n got killed fer it. Eh?" JAB at the Faith. JABBBB. Okay, he's done sticking his nose into this discussion, he seems to give Petaera a full respectful nod, prior to leaving, without anymore ceremony than that.
Yvon inclines his head to Petraea. "No. An answer fails to be an answer when it conveys no information. I cannot believe that you are ignorant of the effect your presence would have, or that you are unable to secure a transcription of this event if you merely wished to learn." He considers. "Though your assumption that you know which answers I wish to hear is, in fact, moderately informative." With a grimace, he plants his walking stick on the floor beside his change, and painstakingly stands, apparently in preparation for leaving. He gives Vincenzo a stiff, slight bow, and after a moment extends the same courtesy to Peri and Sina.
Vincenzo listens to them speak as potential opportunities are mentioned. He finally says after some thought, watching a few here, "Perhaps it will take bravery between the Compact and the Skykingdom to bridge a chasm of vast differences in a way that respects one another while according each to live their lives to their choices. Not to make an alliance or pact where it leads to upheaval between nations, but one that pledges support should the darkness attack. There are greater enemies that threaten the very existence of all, and they will not care if it's Cardian or Arvani. To them, they don't discriminate. Do any of you have anything further to say? If not, you can find a copy of my draft here on the table."
Yvon has left the Raven Table.
For a moment, Shard looks some measure of viciously pleased about something, though the expression fades as quickly as it appears. Her temper, on the other hand, while still clearly present, seems lessened. And to Vincenzo's question, she offers nothing more.
Orathy has left the Bar.
Turtle, 2 Culler Brutes, 3 Culler Hoodlums leave, following Orathy.
Sina checked composure at difficulty 30, rolling 6 lower.
"No." It's a polite response that Sir Bhandn has to offer Vincenzo to the query of more to say. "I've learned a great deal today and have much to think on, now. If each of you will excuse me, I need some air to clear my head." There's a round of glances, his grey eyes again settling on the Cardian woman present for a time, but the knight says what he means and means what he says, as he's turning after a brief bow aimed to the room at large. For all that he seems composed in terms of his voice, his steps convey no small sense of urgency to them in his departure.
Petraea doesn't response to Yvon. In fact, she doesn't even look at him. Instead, her hazel eyes follow Bhandn briefly as he makes his exit. Slowly, her gaze shifts to rest on Vincenzo and she bows her head again. "Thank you for the enlightening literature and the privilege of witnessing such lively debate. I apologize if my presense proved disruptive to your intent."
For some reason, Sina gives a rather violent start back in her seat, blinking her eyes a few times. She stares at Petraea for a long moment, her silvery eyes wide. She blinks her eyes again, then gives Petraea a shaky smile, before she tears her eyes away and lifts her trembling hands to push perfectly neat strands of hair back into place. Orathy's words about Esra barely seem to register on her, but then she belatedly recalls them. She lifts her eyebrows at his accusation regarding Esra, and she speaks to that a bit absently. "Scholar Esra disappeared, and his fate is unknown. From what I understand, he went about his task rather foolishly." That is all she says on the matter of Esra, before glancing back to Petraea. She gives the woman a deep nod of her head in respect, then rises to her feet as the event seems to be drawing to a close. But her olive cheeks look a bit warm, her hands lowering to gather up the satchel that she carries with her always. "This has been most informative, and I hope productive, Disciple Vincenzo," she says, with a dip of her head toward him. "Perhaps one day, I will be allowed to hear the rest of that lovely song. My apologies again, if I caused any offense with my words earlier. It was not intended. Sometimes I... get a little defensive."
Shard's attention shifts from Yvon to Petraea, and then more thoroughly to Sina. Her frown deepens a little bit, one eye narrowing just a little, but eventually she looks back to Vincenzo last of all.
Vincenzo smiles to Sina charmingly and if anything was said upsetting, he doesn't seem affected. "We burn away the impurities through fire and are left with beautiful gold. Thank you for putting fire to me, if I can't stand up for myself then my ideas deserve to perish. Thank you for coming and engaging, Archlector." To the question though about the lovely song, he lifts up a brow showing he might not know what she's referring to but nods. To each other person, they're given a clasp of a hand, a thank you and hope to see you next time.
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