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Salon Discussion: Mass Condemnation

The Salon gathers together at The Empirical to discuss the topic of mass condemnation. Is it acceptable to throw a blanket of condemnation over an entire nation? Is it unacceptable to cast aspersions over an entire culture because of the actions of a minority? Who should wield it? Who shouldn't? Does shaking the finger really do anything? Do those condemned by the mouths and actions of perceived lesser individuals feel an effect? Does condemning others drive any hope for lasting change further away as attempts at shaming others ultimately drive a massive wedge between both parties and any hope for a reasonable compromise?

As ever the Salon's discussions are just that: discussions. The highest of the high and the lowest of the low are welcomed, so long as basic decorum is observed. Attack ideas, unravel them from the seams that hold them together, and tear them asunder until the other party begrudgingly agrees with your point of view. Do not attack the speakers themselves.

Those who attack others, rather than ideals? Will find themselves swiftly removed, depending upon severity. Those who show up to drink and carry on about how they can't recall why they've came? Will find themselves swiftly removed. There is a discussion to be had and little time to pay attention to desperate bids to gain it.

Now with Marquessa Cambria Mazetti to act as host!

Date

Oct. 30, 2019, 9 p.m.

Hosted By

Hadrian Cambria

Participants

Alessia Lucilia Waldemai Drusila Alarissa Apollo Ouida Peri Alexio Bianca Alaric Dianna

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of the Compact - The Empirical - The Salon

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log

Peri

What started as a Salon called to discuss the topic of mass condemnation wandered into the topic of leadership and blind followers. The Salon is open to all, commoner and noble alike, and the Salon /is/ for questioning.

There were many commoners there who do not have the authority to compel mass obedience to a decision about trade - thus the discussion diverted to whether people should even think on the topic of mass condemnation due to an obligation to obey. The Salon /is/ for questioning. There would be no discussion about mass judgement if we lead with that. That is a topic for another Salon.

As for this Salon topic, asking if I approve of "mass condemnation" (or its reflection) is not sensible without something concrete to access. So what shall it be?

The presentation of the topic seemed provoked by commentary in the whites on the embargo on goods from Eurus and the ensuing discussion of goods from Cardia, thus that is the grounding of my response.

There were multiple prompts. I will repose two:

1). Is mass judgement acceptable? 2) Does it effect or prevent change?

As for (1), to understand whether it is acceptable we need to understand what mass judgement even means. Here is my thought: When you gather people together there will be consensus on many things. That is reality and there is no accepting or not accepting of it. That is a trivial definition, and I do not think the Marquis meant to provoke trivial answers about whether we think human nature is acceptable.

A followup question is: whether it is acceptable for people to attempt to shift consensus. For that is what people do with commentary or trade agreements. I think this journal will get too long if I try to touch on that, but I just wanted to set that out as a question instead of the other.

Since I have the authority to make trade agreements, I will focus on (2) and narrow it to trade agreements with places not under ban by the Faith for that is an entirely different matter.

Both noble and merchant houses make trade agreements that effect change. Else why marry? The houses join, they profit or decline. Attitudes shift. Where the power differential is comprehensible, it is clear that it makes a difference.

When the power differential is so huge as to be incomprehensible? It is vanishingly small that consensus will have little effect. Thus it is with trade and Cardia. (Is there any trade with Jadairal?)

I do not buy Cardian steelsilk.

If I knew of houses in those lands that did not have slaves, I would encourage people to trade with them instead of slavers so that the benefits go to the free houses. There must be some benefit, else why do we see goods?

But I have never heard of free houses in Cardia. If any know, please tell me. I will let our merchants know. (though most of them will think I am talking about some house in the Lyceum, no doubt. I am still working on updating our sea charts). (and I suppose I would also have to know honest import houses).

As a follow-on topic, is it effective to reflect such a judgement in an official policy?

There are times when houses do not make official proclamations and only make the choices in practice. This is to give room for maneuvering.

Are acceptable trade terms possible? Without a public proclamation against them, they are, even if in practice it will never happen. Thus there will be motivation for the other to even broach the topic of change. That is my thought as to whether a proclamation has an effect or is advisable.

So, /official/ mass condemnation related to trade? There might be a small chance that change is blocked where there is a small difference in power.

Please do not ban my tutors if any of this was nonsense. It's not their fault.


Cambria sweeps into the Empirical, followed by her Guardians who subsequently spread throughout the salon and take up discreet residence in this corner table or that. She herself moves towards the forum, but does not yet seat herself. Instead, Cambria remains standing in order to greet those who arrive.



"I know many of you expect to see Marquis Hadrian as host for these discussions, but alas, an unexpected issue will have him delayed this evening. I hope that none of you will begrudge me as I stand in for him this evening." Cambria smiles, as though she really does not mind if there are those in the crowd that /do/ begrudge her. "I will follow my husband's example, and merely act as a moderator for tonight's topic." She gestures to the forum at which she stands. "For those of you who have come with opinions you would like to share with your fellows, I encourage you to join the forum. For those who may not know, and walked in to escape the cold...welcome! Tonight we are debating mass condemnation. Are you in favor, are you against? What are the positives and negatives of such a thing, and what can we learn from it - good or ill?"



Cambria's eyes roam over those gathered, and she nods as though satisfied, clasping her hands behind her back. "Anyone who follows even some of the White Journals, or paid attention to certain proclamations recently will be aware of the inspiration for tonight's topic. There are foreign powers under intense scrutiny, with some Houses and individuals choosing to shun them for certain subjects we Arvani do not agree with. This is /not/ a discussion about whether those foreign powers are our friends, allies, or even enemies. It is not about whether what they are, or are not, doing is wrong. I instead reference it as an example. And, as always..." Her eyes close briefly, as if in recollection. "Attack ideas, not one another. These events are a means for people to gather together and debate without acrimony. And, in the end? We may all learn and grow as individuals."

5 House Mazetti Guardians leaves, following Cambria.

Deserra, a shy merchant's assistant, Alfonzo, a hawkish accountant arrive, following Alexio.

Siri, an attentive apprentice, Paris, a charming mercenary, Alexio arrive, following Apollo.

Apollo has joined the a collection of small tables and chairs gathered together.

5 House Mazetti Guardians arrives, following Cambria.

Alexio has joined the a collection of small tables and chairs gathered together.

2 Ivory Shields arrives, following Drusila.

Cambria has joined the The Forum.

Maxene, the steadfast ladies maid, Elegance, a Velenosian Greyhound, Pellinor, 3 Thrax Guards, Honey Snuggle, a Velenosian Angora cat, 2 Thrax Elite Guards arrive, following Alarissa.

Entering the Salon, removing her cloak as she ventures further into the room, Alessia waggles her fingers to her cousin in greeting, though does not interrupt her hosting. She settles down in the Forum, waiting for others to take their seats.

Alessia has joined the The Forum.

Lucilia enters, taking her feathered hat off and to her side. She gives a wave or bow of the head to whoever appears to notice her, before making her way to a chair in which to sit and lay her coat. She crosses her legs upon sitting, carefully scanning the room and taking in the surrounding with a curious, pleased expression.

Lucilia has joined the The Forum.

Waldemai takes a seat near the bar, where he has easy access to hard liquor. "Give me a double," he says. "I'm going to need it."

Drusila steps into the Salon, dressed for warmer climes and not the snow dusted streets. The young looking girl and the two Ivory Shields make their way to join the forum to observe.

Alarissa had eased into the room on the arm of a lady in waiting, cloak tucked away somewhere and had nestled herself in a seat, a smile when Cambria announces the topic and that it is her, not Hadrian tending to this particular discussion. Deposited in safety, the lady i n waiting scurries off to find a drink as the Princess settles to listen for now.

Apollo swung around to get Alexio, which was not at all on the way - and yet. He also brought his guard (habit) and his apprentice Siri; for her, he has a purpose. After pulling out a chair for her (and nudging out one for Alexio with his foot), he hands over the notebook he carried for her under one arm. She gets to be secretary tonight. Probably also kick him under the table? With good company, why would Apollo want to give over his attention to taking /notes/, gosh. (A student of Vellichor he is... not so much.) "Never hurts to indulge a curiosity, does it. Oh, we should get drinks." Ah, but Paris is on that. Apparently the threat is assessed as low, just here. A round of beers for the commoner-bachelor table, apparently. ...and Siri. She must have the hardest time around these gross dudes all the time, hmm? It appears that Apollo means to listen first.

Alarissa has joined the a cluster of couches around a low table.

Ouida makes her way into the Salon a little early, and with more than enough time to offer Cambria a warm smile, seeming to find the stand in a pleasant suprise rather than an unwelcome one, by her expressions. "It is a pleasure to see you regardless, my lady," she offers gently. "I am very much looking forward to hearing a variety of views." But she doesn't take up the hostess' time overlong, instead moving towards one of the more comfortable seats, more slowly than usual but managing without seeming too ungainly as she settled in and smoothes her skirts about her.

Archimedes the White Horned Owl, Sir Alren, Scholar Duran, 3 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Bianca.

Peri takes a seat at the bar, by happenstance, near Waldemai. She gives him a very informal nod. She talks to a server and then leans against the bar to stare out over the forum.

Alarissaouida

Cambria greets Ouida warmly, taking the other woman's hand within her own an giving them a slight squeeze before releasing them. "I am happy to see you here this evening, and look forward to your thoughts, as always." Yet as Ouida is, as ever, polite and does not seek to take up too much of Cambria's time, the Marquessa does not in turn try to hold Ouida back.

Waldemai lifts his glass back to Peri. "Aways like to hear the talk, even if I don't understand some of it. It's thirsty work and always a good reason to hoist a few."

Alexio, now, comfortably seated by the hot commoners-bachelor's table nods in agreement to Apollo regarding both indulging curiosity and drinks. "Interesting topic, isn't it?" he mutters to his friend thoughtfully.

Seeing as others seem to also be in a receptive mode, Apollo looks around, studying the others about. Afterward, he clears his throat, sitting up from his leaned-back posture at the table there, clears his throat. "Thank you for hosting in the stead of the Marquis, Marquessa Cambria," he says. A tip of his head, and he says: "I'd sort of thought this might be a discussion more exclusively about the embargo on Eurusi goods. Given the name of the Salon - /mass/ condemnation. I was curious about the decision of the Faith to emplace an embargo on Eurusi goods on the grounds of their extensive practice of slavery, and not other places that have a similar practices." A glance about the room, curious, and he adds: "Is there anyone from the Faith that might illuminate that decision?"

"I presume due to other matters which suggest antagonism from Eurusi in particular." Alessia says, turning to Apollo. "Such as what happened in the Isles many months ago, the Island under Grimhall. And of course, tales of tainted drugs in the Lowers from Eurus."

"With such a curioisity, I would suggest one write a member of the Faith and ask them directly. I am of the understanding that the embargo is not something up for debate, whereas the /idea/ of mass condemnation is," Cambria says.

"Because Eurus doesn't have a ship, three times the size of anything currently in our own harbors, Caravals included, nor that in a heartbeat a dragon can be here to burn us to ashes to a degree that nothing can or ever will grow again." Alarissa points out to Apollo. "That would be my supposition. Politics really."

"Goodman Apollo /does/ bring up a rather interesting issue, however," Ouida muses thoughtfully. "We do oft places a rather..uneven hand...in what peoples we do and do not condemn as a whole. Usually depending on what they offer to us--or do not. Or what we would stand to lose from doing so, or gain. In my observation it only very rarey comes down to /pure/ conflicts of belief alone." She can't help but grin at Alarissa's comment. "That too."

Apollo's head tips, and he reaches for his beer, turns it around so he can lift it properly, but doesn't yet. He follows the conversation; there's definitely curiosity there, for the points Alessia brings up, and frustration at the notion of politics, and a nod for Ouida. It's Cambria he addresses, though. "Apologies, I didn't mean to imply that I'd like to debate the embargo," he says. "Rather, that it stands as an example of something I would think /fits/ the idea of mass condemnation. The reasons that those with actual power vary in condemning one thing and not another are interesting." He has a sip now. "I did ask the Faith, actually, about that issue. I didn't get a clear answer in the brief exchange of missives. There is only so much I can press the Faith to indulge me." A smile there. "But we're all here because we'd /like/ to discuss the matter, so I didn't think it an imposition."

Peri motions with her glass of whiskey at Waldemai. She harumphs, but not at him.

Peri is overheard praising Apollo.

"Beliefs aren't tangible." Alessia says, nodding at Ouida's points. "The practical consequences of our -beliefs- tend to skew our decisions ultimately." She smiles faint at Apollo. "I think the Faith were explicit in their condemnation of the other nation you refer to, in the Assembly. It's just not impacted trade relations, which I'm sure are for pragmatics, -or- political reasons." She gestures to both Ouida and Alarissa.

"Skew them, Lady Alessia?" Apollo asks. "Or guide them?"

Lucilia leans forward in her seat, hands resting on top of eachother on her knee. She rests her gaze on Ouida, nodding as she speaks, and waiting a lull in which for herself to speak. "An uneven hand in such condemnations is obviously punitive, it simply stands that, at the moment, what they are receiving punishment for is not apparent. It is quite common to do this, in fact-- a public reason, and a private reason, for all things. This is just on a grander scale, which is harder to pull off, in any case," she says, leaning back in her seat again now that she's begun. "Whether it is right to do the condemning in this situation is not at question, but rather, is it right to be underhanded with your public dealings, as to not state the true reasons behind your actions?"

Drusila listens and adds a comment, "Legate Aureth provided very clear reasoning behind his proclamation in his journals for everyone to read and Assembly, although I would say a leader doesn't need to give explanation nor should it set precedent. If the Faith leadership, or any of your domain leaders, issue a proclamation giving a mass condemnation to a group then shouldn't each of you uphold your oaths of fealty or faith and carry out that ruling honorably unless it causes you to deviate from the Faith, at which you'll need to seek counsel?"



"I see no reason why a leader can't brush a group of people or culture broadly and dictate they are allies, enemies, neutral or whatever else that helps protect their own interests and people's safety. There could be a reason or no reason. Demanding a leader justify every action and decision seems backwards, you require one leader to take on the responsibility, not a whole society voting or decision by mass hysteria. That's chaos, not civilization."

Ouida inclines her head slightly, one hand resting naturally on her belly. "Following orders does not absolve one of wrestling with the conflict inside. Very few people get to escape the dilemma of having to carry out an action that has been asked of them, and yet seems unjust at least in part. Sometimes other information is revealed later to support the action taken. Other times one must live with the uncertainty or consequences of following an order or edict that will always be uncomfortable to think about. Or even regret."

Alexio listens in quietly at the conversation going around, all the while entertained by both the discussion and his beer. A nod given now and then when Apollo speaks. Yes, he's here in support of his friend, naturally sharing some, though not all, of his same views on the matter.

"I used to skew to indicate a sudden change in decision." Alessia's lips curl, her eyes on Apollo. "I meant nothing negative."

Lucilia tilts her head to the side, eyebrows raising as she listens to what is being said. "To rule without reason is madness. To expect all below you to follow you is reasonable, but to expect all below you to never need to know why they follow you? Madness. If one does not have justification for the decisions which dictate every facet of life in the land, why should those expected to follow them, follow them? After all, they must have just as much faith in your rulings as you did in your rulings, no?" she asks, rubbing her knuckles along her palm as she thought. "You can't very well expect everyone to blindly accept every edict and order, never questioning or thinking for themself. That's not a life."

Apollo gives Alessia a smile, warm and easy, and a nod. "Course," he says. He turns eyes toward Lucilia, then Drusila; the latter commentary making him frown a moment in thought. "I wouldn't presume to demand my liege explain anything to me," he says. "Though he is generous if I ask a question, and I have learnt a lot from him. But the Faith -" he starts, stops, mouth closing. "I suppose I must sound like I've interrogated them." A bright smile blooms there a moment. "It seems to me that the purpose of the Faith is to guide us, isn't it? I asked not as a demand, but a question. If the Faith is applying a principle, and I mean to behave in good faith with the gods, shouldn't I try to understand so I can apply it as well?" He nods, there, to what Lucilia says to Drusila.

Cambria remains seated, sipping from some wine that she had retrieved earlier. She listens as the participants offer their views, but for now seems to see no need to interject.

Drusila lifts a brow to Lucila and to Apollo, and puts forward the comment to attack a statement given and not them as individuals. "If a person second-guesses and require like a child that their leader gives them more attention with information that might help external forces instead of hindering them, or at the very least pulls their leader's limited resources from governing to hand-holding, then to me they're part of a problem. Have faith in your leaders, pray according to your beliefs, live your lives to the very best you can according to the principles your beliefs give as an example to emulate."



"A leader's right to govern shouldn't be chained by the requirement of outlining or explaining themselves; they may as a courtesy give some explanation but your first duty is to follow unless it breaks oaths. Questioning them isn't your first duty and responsibility, that should be much farther down the list. To you, it might seem a little inconvenience, but to your leader with a multitude not carrying out work and instead questioning, it creates disharmony and can be extremely grating. But if you serve them well, then your domain grows and prospers which in turn means the symbiotic relationship between leader and follower is strengthened. Do you think it's your duty to first question and demand answers? Or to instead carry it out in an honorable way?"

"Even despots and unwise rules will have justifications for what they ask," Ouida says gently. "And certainly those who have done great evil in the guise of the Faith or in leadership may have at least one one point believed very much that they had justification for doing the things they did, and convinced others with their reasoning. I think blind, unquestioning obedience is also not something to encourage. What that means, however, is that all must wrestle with how you place your trust and your own response. Do you trust that when an edict is issued for a mass condemnation or sweeping sanction that ultimately you can respect the person and institution making it? It is also why wise people will not issue such things unless they believe the potential drawbacks, such as questioning or a loss of respect from some who cannot accept it, do not outweigh the necessity of issuing that sort of blanket demand. As is so many other things, it can be a delicate dance. Add in the element of time, because some things have more time than others for questioning and debate, and tarrying too long can have other consquences."

Alarissa sits quietly beside Ouida, watching the conversation, a serene smile on her face as eyes flick from speaker to speaker.



Ever an avid consumer of intellectual pursuits, Bianca Wyrmguard is suitably possessed of a restrained level of eagerness as she slips into the ornately-decored trappings of the Salon, a touch late. Plain white robes drawn comfortably around her to protect against the biting winter chill brushing in from just outdoors, the pale Legate of Creation is subdued smiles and curious casts of her silver stare as she settles in somewhere towards the fringes of the gathering. She remains a relatively innocuous presence, despite her station -- as if content for now to play the part of the wallflower, settling primly and neatly into her seat with hands resting in her lap as the debate unfolds before her.



Lucilia leans forward again, uncrossing her legs and placing a palm on each knee as she leaned forward, watching Drusila intensely. "You encourage brainlessness and blind obedience. As if we should all be like loyal hounds, or worse, slaves. Did this not stem from the condemnation of slavery? Do we not oppose slavery for the very reasons you encourage this behavior? To have no agency in life is to have no life at all. To act all like nails in a boat, so robbed of individuality is to never discern right and wrong for yourself, not have it told to you, but rather, have morality instilled as 'whatever the leader says,'" says Lucilia, shifting from a palm on her knee, to her elbow as her face expressed some form of frustration. "It is my duty to be right by myself and the gods, not to be right by the whims of men. As such, I take pleasure in questioning and demanding answers."

Peri speaks up from the bar, addressing the young woman in the Cardian steelsilk dress, Drusila. "The topic tonight mass condemnation not systems of government. We are all of us from many different stations. Commoners are allowed to speak here. By your words do you think the topic is only for the nobility here?"

At the table with Apollo, Siri is scribbling notes, rather quickly - Apollo glances at Alexio, then Siri, then down at the pages where he writes. Drusila draws his attention, but also a note of confusion - the head tip very like someone who has heard a snatch of music in the air and is trying to place where he's heard it before. He doesn't quite address anything she says, directly, really, not before he gives equal (and less perplexed) attention to Ouida, and then Lucilia. "Agreed," he tells Lucilia. Which is a bow upon whatever strand of conversation he'd been chewing on from Drusila. "Which doesn't mean that I'm busy taking all the time of my leaders, distracting them from their very important work of leading." Peri's comment makes him smile, eyes crinkling, and he lifts a hand to wiggle fingers at her as if to say: I've been speaking?

Cambria stands, and with something of a sigh says, "It seems the debate is less about this chosen topic for the evening, and more about authority, and whether it is right to question it. A fascinating topic, I confess, and one I shall pose to the regular moderator." Cambria offers her wine glass to a passing server to take. "I shall then close the discussion for this evening, though everyone is, of course, free to remain and continue to talk of things as they desire."

'Do you not answer to the King? To his Majesty? Are you not expected, Mistres....?" Alarissa has no clue who the commoner is. "To answer when he calls for he is your liege. To answer is not to follow blindly." Alarissa points out. "It is fulfilling the oath sworn before Limerance. To not do as asked, to come when called, is to choose to not fulfill oaths sworn. And you choose the consequences of not answering"

Alarissa is overheard praising Cambria: A lovely hostess with the mostess.

Cambria has left the The Forum.

5 House Mazetti Guardians leaves, following Cambria.

The young looking girl gives a shake of her head to Lucilia, but what Alarissa says has a nod in agreement from Drusila. To Cambria she says "Thank you for hosting this discussion, and apologies that it went off the rails."

Peri is overheard praising Cambria.

Ouida rises to her feet as the moderator stands, offering a curtsy (of sorts) in appreciation. "Thank you for your time this evening, my lady," she offers, once more with a warm smile, before carefully moving back down into her seat.

Lucilia is overheard praising Cambria.

Drusila is overheard praising Cambria: Very polite host, allowing discussion to flow naturally without stifling it.

Peri eyebrow flashes the young leatherworker, Apollo, and cheerfully raises a glass to him.

Apollo raises his glass to Peri in return, then leans aside to murmur something to Alexio there at his table.

Lucilia rests her eyes over onto Alarissa, an inquisitive look upon her face as she sizes her up, then answers. "Yes, and the King has not given any commands or orders or edicts of question, has he? This is simply why he is King, unless you think there are things of question that he has commanded, in which case, I'd love to hear your opinion," she says with a smile. "Lucilia Ulbran, pleased to meet you."

Peri poses the question to Drusila and hte room, "Do you think it a sign of a good leader to make a blanket proclomation? good or ill. I command my fleet and my ports. So it is not hypothetical talk on my behalf. But I came here to listen."

Alexio says, "Well...back to drinking it seems."

Alarissa regards Lucilia, dark eyes watching. "Princess Consort Alarissa Thrax." There's a bunch of nee's in there but she doesn't add them. "You said however that it is your duty to be right by yourself and the gods but not to be right by the whims of men. But if his majesty gives a command, as is his right, to you, a commoner sworn to him, is that slavery? Or is that you, upholding your oath to the crown, to the king, and his whims?" There's an adjustment, a shift in how s he's sitting and a quick re-adjustment of the wooden arm attached to the left that rests across her lap.

Rosalba, a creamy-white raven with strikingly-alert azure eyes, Aurelio, a handsome, fresh-faced manservant arrive, following Dianna.

13 King's Own Guardsmen, Zelda, the royal messenger arrive, following Alaric.

Drusila considers Peri's question. "It depends. A good leader will determine whether they want something fast, high quality or at lowest cost. You can't have all three, but usually two and sometimes only one. A leader would be using discretion and privilege to determine what the best course of action is, and expects those who have sworn fealty to follow that blanket order first to uphold their oaths. The leader's oaths to their people to protect, ensure prosperity, law and order. The people's oaths to their leader is to be loyal, carry out their duties and responsibilities with zeal and their best efforts. Not to just blindly follow."

Alaric makes his way in quietly...well as quietly as Alaric and his 13 guards can. He can even be seen trying to shush them, to a degree, as he mutters teasingly under his breath, "I can't take you anywhere." But he moves to find a seat near the back of the ring, quietly settling down to listen to the discussion going on.

Rosalba, a creamy-white raven with strikingly-alert azure eyes have been dismissed.

Apollo glances back over his shoulder, here, to give Alarissa a faint smile of recognition; Ouida gets one, too. He then turns his attention back to the conversation between Drusila and Peri, drinking quietly... until the king comes in. There's a nudge of Alexio's knee under the table with his own, and both menn look that way a moment - not making total assholes of themselves, but - not an everyday thing for either, probably. "Gods, what /if/ the king /did/ give an order," Apollo can't help but say, over his beer, as if the guy isn't right there. He shrugs, takes a drink of his beer.



Smartass.

Ouida looks somewhat longingly at some of the bottles resting on the bar, though turns away with a pleasant expression on her face. She seems about to add something, perhaps, but then with the entourage's entrance, once more she is rising to her feet to give a deep curtsy, before retaking it. The effort brings a flush to her cheeks, and she waits a few heartbeats to catch her breath. "I would say that greatly depends upon the situation, as to when immediate obedience should be expected. Certainly though, experience says that one will always have a few who cannot or will not follow an edict without coaxing."

Alarissa rises as well when Alaric comes in, A deep dip of her head to him though her right hand shifts that wooden left and then she grips the arm of where she's with Aouida to do a somewhat wobbly curtsy to the king.

Slipping into the room behind a gaggle of guards and a king not much older than herself is the lovely and elegant Lady Dianna Mazetti, dressed in blue-and-gold cloak and black velvet gown. Accompanying her is a handsome, golden-haired young man with lively eyes and an easy smile to whomever catches his eye. Dianna curtsies formally, her companion bows deeply, and the pair make their way into the room, finding a warm spot near the wall.

Waldemai gets up off his commoner butt when the king comes in.

Alaric quirks a bit of a grin on his features, a smile at the talk of if the King gave an order. "He would have to be out of his mind, I am sure. A King giving orders? Preposterous." As people start to stand he waves a hand. "I was late. I'm interrupting enough already. Please continue. I'm excited to hear the points of view." Youthfully set off by himself for now, the King folds his his hands in his lap and smiles just so.

Lucilia seems gormless to the arrival of the king himself-- thirteen knights in shining armor be damned. She furrows her eyebrows at Drusila's response. "There is a distinct difference between following your oath and becoming a mindless worker bee. All sorts of those in any authority that I have spoken to, have never hesitated to make their reasonings heard loud and clear. It is the mark of a great leader to not just order, but convince your people."

Peri listens to Drusila and introduces herself before continuing, "I'm Admiral and Voice of of," she sees the king. "oh!" Peri flushes and bows to royalty, but she continues speaking to Drusila after a moment's fluster. "And, yes, indeed, that is all something I must take into account when making decisions for Pearlspire. I can give trade favorable trade terms to other houses, or withhold them. The host set forth the question couched in terms of condemnation of a whole culture and whether that brings any change. My people already hesitate to trade across the Mourning Sea due to our pass, but they slowly change. Cardia might aw well be a house in the Lyceum, but I could make a proclamation about that. It would not be /strategic/ for me to do, I think, us being a very small house. I'd wait on a word fro our minister of economy or loyalty for that kind of decision. It could have serious rammifications for our county. Might it benefit the lives of slaves? Have trade sanctions worked in the past?" She frowns in concentration. "I have not the scholarship to know."

Apollo glances back at Alaric. "The conversation got a little afield, your majesty, and the host formally closed it. Which... seems to have had little effect at all." Teeth catch the corner of his mouth, and then he turns back to listen to the room in general, zeroing in on Peri's comments. "Trade sanctions work for all sorts of things. Whatever most people think makes their decisions for them, silver does a lot of it."

Alexio chuckles under his breath before taking another go at his beer. "I do believe the topic has strayed far away from the very start. Weren't we meant to discuss if it's right ot not to condemn a whole country or group of people for sharing or not a belief or practice that we as a whole do not agree with or condone?" he comments with amusement. "Here we are talking about if we should follow or not our leadership instead...hah!" there's a bit of a laugh, and then his hushing himself once more with a chug of his beer.

Drusila stands up and gives a graceful curtsey to the Compact king, those amber eyes taking in the view before she looks back to Lucilia and Peri too spar.



To Lucilia, she shakes her head. "Absolutely not, good woman. You've exchanged oaths that bind your honor and word once you swear fealty, it isn't like you're negotiating for a loaf of bread at the market and haggling for a better deal. Either you follow the edict and keep your honor intact, or you don't. Oaths bind both the leader and the follower within the sacredness of the Faith. Breaking that oath by choosing not to follow a lawful decision that causes you not to break any oaths means you've no honor. Those with no honor aren't worth even speaking too, for their word means nothing except what they say at the immediate moment. Remember, your oaths mean you should follow not mindlessly, but with zeal and your best efforts for the greater good of your domain. You're part of something greater than just little you, wherein lies your security."



To Peri, she listens. "I think you seeking counsel from your overlord is wise, although your people ultimately are your responsibility. You must do what is right by them, and what is right to your oaths to your overlord and gods. I believe it quite justified for the Compact's King or the Faith's leaders to dictate without clarification that their followers should do this or that. It's the privilege of their office that gives them that option, and I believe I haven't seen any yet act dishonorably."

Peri nods at Apollo and brushes the mother-of-pearl necklace at her silk color, no steelsilk nor snakeskin on this woman. "Aye, and unofficially we do not trade in such in my house." She sets back at orders another whiskey at the bar. She looks over to make sure Waldumai is still set for drink.

Waldemai is still set for drink.

"We regularly condemn whole groups of people becuse they do not share our beliefs or practices. In almost every domain within the Compact. I think usually the disagreement comes when there are very real impacts to trade or to the feeling of safety. And those disagreements themselves often turn deadly within the Compact. As we have seen over and over again." Ouida's voice remains mild, almost neutral. "I am not certain we will ever escape the drive to draw fences around groups of others and condemn them, especially if there is something to gain from it."



With the arrival of the King, Bianca lifts fluidly off her seat with a rustle of white fabric. She draws herself into a deep, respectful bow for Alaric's very noticeable arrival, the glimmer of a warm and welcoming kind of smile on her lips before she turns her attention back towards the debate at hand. Despite herself, a wry kind of smile tugs at the corner of her pale lips as Apollo speaks. She shakes her head, amusement reaching otherwise calm eyes as the she speaks:



"One never knows," remarks Bianca as she settles back into her seat, "the direction a conversation may lead. Least of all a conversation amongst intellectuals." Her smile warms, just a touch more. "The path of hypotheticals is a long and winding one with many branches." She doesn't sound, at least, like she's particularly distressed about that though; instead she quiets once more to listen with rapt attention to the perspectives of the others here as the topic reorients itself.



Lucilia sits up straight at this, apparently still unnoticing, but moreso disturbed by the content of Drusila's speech. She then elects to stand and address her opponent. "How dare you aliken what I say to petty haggling! I'll have you know that honor does not begin with an oath, it is something you carry with you from birth to the grave, regardless of where your fealties lie. There is no haggling in wishing for an assurance that who leads you is right and just in their actions-- honor is not simply how well-on you are at following your promises, there's more to your integrity as a person than that. Right and wrong, good and evil, these are not dictated solely by promises and oaths, good lady."

Apollo is still listening, but there's a flinch at Lucilia's stridence. Aside, to Alexio, he says: "Perhaps we shouldn't tell her honorable people haggle." Aaaand drinks.

Alaric looks back and forth, a smile on his features as he quickly sees how heated the conversation is, and the passion back and forth so far from those participating. He doesn't speak yet though, seeming to be getting the feel for where folks sit and what the original hypothesis or question was that led to where they are now. "The challenge is wanting someone who is right and just in their actions, and the fact that you could decide they're not even if they think they're honorable. Justice is something others judge. Honor is something only you can judge. At least my opinion. What gets really messy is when the most just action is possibly the least honorable. Then what?" The King clearly doesn't share his opinion on the matter but likely speaks from some interesting past experiences.

Ouida rises from her seat once more, offering her arm to Alarissa. "Thank you very much, all, for an invigorating conversation. I hope the rest of the evening is enjoyable for you as well." Once more she will curtsy to Alaric, before readying to depart.





The Mazetti woman who joined the conversation late lifts her voice loud enough for the room to hear, but her tone is very comfortable, as if she was merely speaking to her blonde companion, but a bit louder. With a lyric purr, Dianna Mazetti comments:



"I wonder, though, who determines what is 'right' and what is 'wrong' in context, here. There are those who think that they are right, and give reason upon reason to their reasons why they are right; but it is so /very/ often found that quite /everyone/ thinks that /they/ are right and all the others wrong. How then do we decide, I wonder: What is wrong and what is right? The Faith? Our Gods? Our friends? Our king?" Dianna nods softly, indicating Alaric. "And, of honor's sake: If we should follow a king whom we do not believe - what, exactly, do we call /that/?"



She focuses directly upon Alaric, having mentioned the very man, himself. "Incidentally, Your Majesty, I agree with your perspective of honor; and I am pleased to say that, for myself, I cannot as yet find a single tenant dictated by Your Majesty that I find so offensive I cannot follow."

Alarissa rises carefully, joining Ouida and arm in arm. A cursty for Alaric and raise of her brow to the man. Ouida's made their goodbyes and she joins the pregnant woman in heading for the door.

Ouida has left the a cluster of couches around a low table.

2 Harthall house guards, Niall RedTree, adorably awkward squire leave, following Ouida.

Drusila looks over at Lucilia who stands up and argues, her head tilting a bit to the side as the amber eyes watch carefully trying to decipher the Arvani's intentions. "If you're challenging the right and honor of your leader, then stand up with some fortitude and call for champions and be done with it. If I was a leader and someone challenged me right now, I'd give you one opportunity to correct yourself before I'd be done with you. The Compact is at war, you don't have anymore the convenience or time to waste; every moment you delay, it gives your very real and dangerous opponents out there more opportunities to succeed." She does though stand up now and a corner of her mouth curls upwards in a ghost of a smile. "You're passionate though, that's good, and that makes for an enjoyable debate instead of something cold and dead like...." She thinks of an example. "...cold porridge." giving Lucilia a bit of praise for debating.



To the King, she listens, and too Dianna, her answer is "The Victor determines what is right and wrong, always. And it's framed in the context that they are right, until someone else is the victor."

Alarissa has left the a cluster of couches around a low table.

Maxene, the steadfast ladies maid, Elegance, a Velenosian Greyhound, Pellinor, 3 Thrax Guards, Honey Snuggle, a Velenosian Angora cat, 2 Thrax Elite Guards leave, following Alarissa.

"If there is no victor /yet/, and war is upon us because we, and they, disagree - whomever 'they' may be - who, then, decides, my dear?" Dianna questions Drusilia in response.

Lucilia looks over from her standing position to Alaric, eyes going wide as some form of recognition washes over her face. She straightens herself out, clearing her throat and nodding. "Precisely. Your majesty, you summed up what I said quite well, and you bring up a very interesting question. A difficult one. Forgive me my obliviousness, my leige."

Alaric has joined the a cluster of couches around a low table.

"The gods judge both," Apollo says, and looks down at his beer; it's nearly empty, so he finishes it. There's a momentary look around, then he pats Alexio's knee. "I've got to square something away, give me a moment," he says. It's just so he can rise to his feet, wander over to Dianna, murmur a quick word with apologetic glances toward anyone in close conversation. Then he loops back to Alexio, offers a hand. "Want to get back?" he asks, eyeing Alexio's face with a weird sort of focus - assessing, like.

There's another chuckle from Alexio. "Should I feel offended?" he wonders somewhat quietly to Apollo, before partaking once more in the drinks. Then, setting the bottle down, he comments. "So, allow me to better understand, yes?"



"Hypothetically. Am I not allowed to close the doors of my home or say my business to someone who deals in a practice I, or //we// as whole serving the compact, deem dishonorable or outrageous? Would I or we then be guilty of _condemning_ a whole nation or group by simply choosing //not// to support them or it? In a way, through such actions, one would be halting one of the sources of their financial gains, maybe making a dent on their economy (we can't know for sure)- on the other hand it means we may lose certain "benefits" that are attached to their support. Be it that we were willing or not to accept such consequences. The question stands of...would it be right or wrong to do so, and why?" he says this casual, thoughtful.



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