Salon Questions: Hadrian Has Some
Refreshments will be provided, along with crisp high fives to each member of the Salon that attends. Unaffiliated visitors aren't entitled to a crisp high five.
May 4, 2021, 8:30 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - The Empirical - The Salon
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Hadrian has rolled 1 15-sided dice: 8
Jerome, a bodyguard, Elaine, an older courtier, Morgana, a proper secretary, 2 Valardin Knights arrive, following Isabeau.
It can be awfully tricky to recognize someone when they're wearing a veil over most of their face -- especially when they only started doing so around a year ago. All the same, Katarina dips her head in return to Angelo. The Princess is dressed for summer, and lounging comfortably on one of the sofas -- well, sort of comfortably, as she's got a bit of a stiff posture thing going on that seems like it might be out of necessity rather than choice.
"I bid you all welcome to another public gathering of the Salon," Hadrian announces with a bright smile as his footing shifts, allowing for him to turn slowly in place to take in all those present.
The Empirical itself has been set with grand appointments. Largely it is the presence of copious amounts of drink; from a trough - yes, a trough - of water, carefully arranged wine bottles, rum, whiskey, and more. Along with numerous wait staff hired specifically for the event to cater to the needs of the Empirical's guests. Finally light morsels are on offer in the form of light snacks in all manner of shape and size. The Empirical is ready to receive guests and it seems that the host for the evening's activities is ready to get things underway.
An upturned hat resides on a stool next to Hadrian's seat among the collection of small tables and chairs. The Duke of Ostria's harlequin eyes sweep this way and that, continuing to take in those seated nearby as his smile persists and he continues with his greeting, "Each of you do me a great honor this evening. You've come to answer my questions!" He says with mirth and humor, "I've always been keen to and possessed a deep love for hearing the ideas of others. Many people possess many different opinions, often on the very same topic. I feel it's good for the soul and mind to hear those varied perspectives".
Hadrian's hand drops to the hat and his fingers root about for a moment, flicking and waggling in a bid to secure a small strip of paper. When he does finally pluck one out at random, a long arm rises and held between two spindly, long fingers is that parchment, "Here we have our first question. I invite each of you, ideally in orderly fashion, to hear the question and then provide me your answer. There is no right or wrong answer, not without *really* trying to be heinous," he says with a chuckle, "so here is my question. Let me here your answer," he says with another sweep of the chamber's gathering of people.
When his arm does lower, he unfolds the piece of parchment before he glances to it. A quick skim of the writing contained therein, his gaze drifts up to the gathering and he begins to read it while looking to each face, passing a nod here and there along the way to those who are familiar to him, "Would you prefer to know when you'll die? Or for it to take you by surprise?" That first question is presented and Hadrian moves to stand beside the stool with the little hat and the various questions it's sure to contain.
Angelo decides to participate, aloof, languid voice managing to garner the strength to carry over through the room, "By surprise, for not knowing when it will come means that you will live life as it was meant to be, in its purest form, without the influence or special condition of knowing when you will meet the Queen of Endings. But at the same time, knowing when you will die means you might very well live every day as if the clock was ticking down - which it would literally be." Aside from that, the Lord DiFidante does not say further, eager to listen - as he usually likes to do.
Titus listens and the very southern accented man says with a serious look to his thin face as he adds his comment after Angelo's, "Knowing the day and not the how might cause some to worry even more, wasting the present and a life that's meant to be lived. Worry not the day, for there is no such thing as fate and instead only focus that you act honorably and haven't squandered the greatest gift of all, a life."
Calypso comes strolling in just a little bit late, because of course she does. Her boots beat an unhurried rhythm on the floor as she crosses it with a long, stride, straight for the alcohol. Based on the fluidity of her movements, this probably isn't today's first drink. She smiles to Hadrian as she pours her drink. Her whiskey roughened voice is lazy in a way that draws out her words a bit. "You know how I feel about surprises, brother, but this one time, I think I'd rather not know."
Katarina's golden eyes glance around at those who've filtered in to join in the question and answer session (of sorts). She purses her lips behind her mask at the question, and then when she speaks, her Eurusi accent is layered over with a thoughtful, contemplative tone. "I have too much to do in this one lifetime to be caught by surprise. To know such a thing would allow me to adjust my schedules~."
Isabeau arrives with her entourage of followers, making her way inside as her cobalt-blue gaze scans the attendees while the first question is put forth, drawing her attention to Hadrian. A sweet smile holds her bow-shaped lips as she listens and waits for a moment of silence of proffer her response in her soothing contralto voice, “I would prefer it to take me by surprise. If I knew what would happen, I would try to stop it, and that is where all my energy would go, rather than to where it might do good.”
"I would rather be surprised," Cambria answers from where she sits, after others had presented their own answers to the first question. "I think knowing the time would leave one much too susceptible to the allure of attempting to, oh...you know, perhaps change, or even avoid the date given." She folds her hands within her lap, tilting her head ever so slightly towards Isabeau, who had provided a similar answer to her own.
Calypso carries her drink over to a chair and pours herself into it. She crosses her legs and sits back with her drink.
Calypso has joined the a collection of small tables and chairs gathered together.
Angelo and Titus' answers receive a look from Hadrian, one eyebrow dancing higher as he asks of the pair, "Yes, but which would you choose? That's the core of the question. Would you rather have this choice," Hadrian holds one hand up, his palm upward. "Or this other choice?" he asks with the opposite hand to soon rise up and reflect the positioning of the first. Then they begin to independently rise and fall, as though each was its own side of wobbling and teetering scales.
To Katarina, Hadrian's laughter can soon be heard as a grin splashes broadly across his features and a nod is given, "I most definitely understand *that* sentiment," he says with laughter that begins to die down into a chuckle that eventually dies away to nothing more than a subdued, passive smile as his gaze continues to move around the chamber. Calypso's answer earns a nod from Hadrian, along with an answer, "It's a reasonable choice to make, I think".
Then to Isabeau and Cambria both, Hadrian's attention seems to dance from one to the other. His smile only serves to grow anew and he almost seems prepared to laugh, but he does not. Instead he simply offers a nod at the pair before he continues, "Very similar answers, but that's not unexpected. As I said before: there are many possible ways or reasons for answering a particular way and sometimes? They'll even align."
Hadrian's attention turns back to Angelo and Titus, an expectant look given over to the pair in order to allow them time to elaborate on their own answers.
All the while Hadrian's hand lowers to the hat and he begins to shuffle the scraps of parchment about with his fingers. Eventually plucking one up while his brilliant green eyes shift from Angelo, to Titus, to Angelo, back and forth, left and right, right and left.
Hadrian has rolled 1 14-sided dice: 8
Titus says in a rough and dry whispered voice, "No, I would not want to know the day."
After a moment of silence Hadrian adds, "Which do you personally consider more important: someone who is an unparalleled expert in a handful of things? Or someone who has a very broad understanding of a few dozen topics?"
"Important for what?" Calypso asks Hadrian, turning in her chair to face him. She's attentive, but there's just a little bit of amusement glittering in her ice colored eyes.
Katarina looks over to Isabeau, and lifts a hand in a small but fond greeting to her fellow Valardin. Her eyes turn back toward Hadrian: "I am one of the latter -- and so I am a firm believer in surrounding myself with members of the former," she says. The smile behind her veil is obvious in her tone and from the look in her eyes.
Cambria has joined the a cluster of couches around a low table.
Angelo furrow my brows in consideration, before opining once more, shorter, "I assume you refer to which of the two doctrines I consider more important. I believe this time I will have to stand in the middle and say that whomever of the two enjoys what they learned the most. I personally do not think someone can learn it all - and if they do, they truly have not explored these topics to a point where they might satisfy them."
"I personally consider an individual who is an unparalled expert in a handful of things," Cambria answers. "I would rather have the ability to reach out to a few people of whom I know are experts, rather than cast my nets across a much larger sea of people, as it were." Crossing one leg over the other, Cambria waves over a passing server that she might request a drink. "I find someone who has devoted so much time and effort to become an expert in a subject, or handful of subjects, to be quite interesting. I am also not ashamed to admit that my particular station largely informs my opinion on this particular question."
Isabeau offers Katarina a smile in response to the raised hand, her head bowing slightly to the woman before her attention returns to Hadrian and she speaks, "I would prefer the former," in that rich, soothing voice of hers as she steps a little further in, waving her followers off with a hand, the gesture causing the gems of her ring to glitter. She doesn't venture a further explanation to her statement, however.
Titus says, "On one hand, the expert has honed their understanding and knowledge to such a high degree they could offer a solution that'd lift your capabilities significantly. However, I prefer the generalist who can use their varied experiences in life but have the uncommon characteristic in knowing how to apply that generalist understanding to the problem at hand, thinking outside the box.""
Whether it's the vibrant violet eyes set within his pale visage, or the rather fearsome set of serpent-themed rubicund plate armor that he's wearing today, the big, war-torn sellsword is a rather easy man to pick out in a crowd. Alas, he doesn't seem to fit in with those in attendance today.
Maris Maw has only recently returned from the plains of Pieros, crimson armor having been stained with an additional layer of red - dried blood, very little of it his own, from head to toe. Now very little links him to that decisive battle, not even the armor, having been thoroughly cleaned and polished. Still, that heavy swordbelt is slung about his sturdy waist and a blade-laden scabbard dangles against his hip as he looks the place over, opting for the bar along the eastern perimeter. He gets settled onto a stool and nods over to the bartender, ordering a drink. Vodka, straight. Then he turns his attention to the dialogue taking place.
Hadrian has rolled 1 13-sided dice: 7
"Yes, which of the two is most important to you, personally," Hadrian repeats that last word with a faint twitch of a smile while looking to Calypso, "so do you think it is more important to have a wide, versatile array of talents? Or a few things that the world over could look to you for when seeking an expert?" Then his attention turns back to the gathering as a whole. As the answers begin to be spoken, Hadrian nods along with them. Katarina's earns another bit of laughter from the Duke before Hadrian claps lightly to her benefit, "That's an excellent answer, princess. You presented and your reasoning, while making it amusing. I like it".
Angelo's answer earns another nod, though Hadrian shifts to face the speaker a little more fully, "There's another example of why these questions are fun and even informative. Some have taken it to mean what they find most important for themselves. While you," Hadrian offers a nod toward Angelo, "have taken it to mean what you would personally deem important in others. There isn't a wrong or right answer here. Our perception of the question is just as important as our answers, sometimes".
Hadrian's attention turns to Cambria, who he regards with a steady stare and attentive focus. He nods along once or twice, but by the end he nods a few times more before he glances around the room upon his speaking anew, "So you prefer to be able to reach out to those best suited to the task. Citing that it may be your position as a ruler that causes this. Which I am inclined to agree," he agrees once more. Then onward his attention travels to Isabeau, whom he fixes with a faint smile, "A small, elite group of masters rather than an army of dabblers? I think it's a good idea, personally, but I see the intrinsic value in the alternative too".
Then Hadrian's focus turns to Titus. He seems to take in the lord for a moment, his harlequin eyes seemingly fixed on staring at his own red eyes. That results in a squint from the Duke, his jaw setting for a moment, and then upon looking away once more Hadrian begins to speak suddenly, "Which is also a viable option. Again, there really isn't a wrong answer, this one comes down to personal preference, I think. It's simply interesting to hear what peoples preference is and why".
Then Hadrian's hand falls like a stone back to the stool, he collects another piece of parchment, and as he begins to unfold it his eyes flick up and around to the gathering, "You're all doing great. I'm proud of you," he offers up in encouraging manner to the gathering. When the parchment is fully unfolded, he begins to read it aloud, eyes flicking from the parchment, to the gathering, to the parchment, back and forth, "Does jealousy have an important place in pushing us to improve ourselves? Or is it a purely negative emotion with no positive aspects?"
Angelo give an agreeing nod to Hadrian's observation, although appearing rather thoughtful. "It is a natural flaw that humans have. Sharing is a virtude, and we're seeing it nowadays in the aftermath of war, where much of the nobility of Arx is stepping out of their way to assist, do charity," Angelo opines - although, the answer could have gone further, he seems to be interested in other thoughts - so once more he becomes observant and pensive, looking at whomever speaks next.
Calypso raises her eyebrows and shakes her head just a little bit. She sits back in her chair and takes a sip of her drink. This time, he doesn't offer an answer, like she did for the first question, or a question, like she offered for the second."
Katarina's answer is again delivered with a smile, though a bit of a more muted and coy one. "It does indeed have an important place in pushing us to improve ourselves," the Eurusi Princess purrs. "Not to claim the things that others have and we desire -- but to improve ourselves by understanding where such a thing comes from within us, and to know ourselves better... as one must always know their worst enemy~."
Cambria appears thoughtful, her blue eyes rolling upward as she contemplates the latest question. Angelo's reponse has her glancing his way, nodding her agreement as she says, "Very true - it is a natural flaw we all share. In that sense, then I do not think it comes without the possibility of being positive. It is up to each of us to overcome it, as it were. We can give in to our feelings of jealousy, and thus suffer whatever may come from it, or we can temper ourselves, admit that it is indeed a flaw, and work to rise above it." She pauses in order to accept the drink she had previously ordered, then sips delicately from it. Again, her answer resonates with another already given. This time, by Katarina, to whom Cambria raises her glass with a knowing smile.
Isabeau takes a moment to make her way to one of the couches, making her way there as she ponders Hadrian's question. "It is not merely one thing or another, because it is a double-edged sword, like anger. The kind of jealousy inspired by admiration might in turn inspire one to be or do better in the future, while blind jealousy inspired by a need for everyone someone else has is a toxic poison that eats away at the heart and makes everything taste bitter." With her answer, she lowers into an unoccupied couch, smoothing a hand over the opalescent skirt of her gown, adjusting and arranging her ankles neatly.
Isabeau has joined the a cluster of couches around a low table.
"Jealousy is a survival instinct." Maris intones, thin lips hitched in a faint smile when he receives his glass of vodka. He sets the brim to his mouth and draws in a slow swig, letting the alcohol roll along the roof of his tongue and burn it's way down his throat. "Without it, you fail to realize that someone is out there desiring your position, status, wealth... wife or husband. People around you are always sizing you up. Jealousy prevents you from getting complacent or too comfortable. It's a beautiful thing, if you think about it. Keeps y'on your toes. Keeps you hungry, just like envy." Absently, he lifts a big, blade-touched hand and tousles his silky champagne blonde hair, tucking a few loose strands behind an ear.
Maris has joined the a glossy walnut bar.
Titus says, "It can be used to help guide you to what you actually desire instead of living a life of vagueness. When it pops up, it means to ask the question why. To dig deeper and find out why you feel that way. It also lets you be honest with yourself and identify what you might be lacking that others have which gave them an opportunity or thing that triggered that pang of jealousy. But focusing purely on what the other person has can drive you to a poor decision. Use the emotion, don't let the emotion use you."
Hadrian has rolled 1 12-sided dice: 8
Hadrian takes in all of the remarks, answers, points of view, and the rest. He takes up a glass of wine that sits atop the stool, next to the hat. He doesn't drink from it immediately, but instead turns his attention around to each individual that answers, "Fantastic answers, everyone," Hadrian remarks with eyes that widen and turn toward Calypso. As though he were silently pointing at her with his devilish green eyes. Then his head rolls, his eyes follow with the motion, and his focus turns back to regard the gathering, "Some very good answers out of everyone, enough so that I can't really point out a single one that was better than the others - of which, be assured, I've been doing mentally," he says with a playful flash of a smile, "You all win this round".
He fetches another folded scrap of parchment from the hat, unfolds it, and his lips purse while he reads. He nods once while he reads. Upon looking up to the gathering he asks with a curious tilt of his head, "Imagine there is a lever. Every time you pull it, you're given a chest containing one million Silver Knights, but every time you do one stranger somewhere in the world dies. Would you pull the lever? How many times? Would your elbow hurt afterward?"
Angelo considers, nodding to Katarina, nodding then to Cambria, apparently agreeing with their ideas or finding them particularly insightful. He seems to have trouble connecting with Maris' more positive outlook on jealousy, judging by his facial expression, but appreciates the differing view with a nod. He also appreciates Titus' point of view, nodding a few times, as if accepting some kind of knowledge he did not have before. This is where the Lord Fidante seems to enjoy things the most: listening rather than talking.
To te newest question, the Lord seems to find it easy to answer, "There's so many ways to earn money in this world, that the easiest way is often the worst."
Hadrian is overheard praising Titus: 'Use the emotion, don't let the emotion use you'. I like that.
"I'd be the richest man in all of Arvum. And I'd pay the nearest blue-eyed beauty t'massage my elbow, but only if she's still alive." The mercenary's cool voice is dusted by a clear touch of the Isles and he offers everyone an easy smile, the faint gleam of white teeth barely visible past those parted lips. Then he washes the thought down with another warm gulp of vodka for good measure.
Isabeau blinks once. Twice. Three times as the question is posed. Her head gives a single, almost violent shake by its decisive negative. "Never. Not a single time. Lives are worth more than coin, no matter the life. Coin has limited potential, lives have limitless. It is a bad trade, even for that of a stranger." she says, quietly.
Calypso meets Hadrian's look with a smile, slow and sly, just barely touching her full lips; her pale blue eyes glitter as though lit from within. "I already have a chest that cranks out silver knights. His name is Martino Malvici. A second one seems like overkill, dead strangers or no."
Katarina looks toward Isabeau, and gives a nod as though to back up her (adoptive) cousin. "You are asking if we would become murderers, Duke Hadrian. Not soldiers or warriors -- simply murderers. I would not pull the lever. It would not be just."
"So you would not pull, Lord Angelo?" Cambria inquires, her smile a bit crooked. Of course, since she had spoken up, it would not do to /not/ provide an answer. But first, a drink. It is only after she has taken a healthy swallow that Cambria seems poised and ready to speak. "Since it is suggest that we know someone will die, albeit someone we do not know, with a pull of the lever, then I would not pull it." The answers already provided by Isabeau and Calypso earn a small smile, though she gives the Valardin Duchess a nod for her response. Maris' reply, however? That has her laughing of a sudden, turning slightly within her seat so that she might take a proper look at the man at the bar.
"I cannot say I blame you, differing opinions aside. Let's hope the blue-eyed beauties aren't all dead as a result of your multiple pulls of the lever." Her composure regained, Cambria delicately wipes beneath one eye with the side of her index finger.
Hadrian has rolled 1 11-sided dice: 2
Maris' answer results in Hadrian's head falling back, laughter soon rising up loud and booming as he reaches a hand out to steady himself against the stool. It would seem that he has some measure of fear for falling over, "Right? When my one arm fell off, I'd start putting in work with my other arm," Hadrian answers with an agreeable nod of his head, though he concludes with another statement, "I jest, of course, but yes. I thought it was an amusing question, but still with some measure of seriousness to it, depending on how serious one wishes to take it. As is the way with many things". Calypso's answer results in a glance from Hadrian, a faint look of amusement dancing across the Duke's features. He nods once or twice in acceptance of the answer, before moving on to regard Isabeau and Katarina.
Then the serious contingent arrives in the form of two Oathlanders. Which may be a bit redundant. Hadrian's expression remains light and airy as ever, but he seems to take their concerns with a shred of grace by accepting their answers with an understanding nod, "Yes, of course. You're right in that it *would* be murder. For profit, no less. It's not the heated exchange of a passionate murder. It's simple, cold, hard greed that would spur those deaths". He spares a nod toward Cambria regarding her own take on the matter, though he begins shifting his fingers about within the hat again. Soon enough he gathers up a piece of parchment, draws it up, and begins to unfold it with eyes that dart about the crowd as though he's suddenly become nervous. The smile etched into his sharp, angled features seems to indicate otherwise.
"Oh, how poignant," he says with a sudden flash of a smile. Then he glances up and around to those gathered around as he begins to read from the parchment, "Lying is seen by some as a dishonorable act. Imagine a scenario where if you tell the truth, it will result in the death of one hundred innocent people. Is telling the truth considered dishonorable in that context?"
Hadrian is overheard praising Maris: When in doubt, just keep cranking the lever.
Angelo seems to try to peek at the way the question came, pinpointing it to Cambria and flashing her an amused smile, before offering earnestly, "No, from a moral sense and from the sense that I frankly don't need more money, my Lady." Then, to the question at hand, the Lord DiFidante offers in his enigmatically aloof voice, "We do what we must for the best cause possible. If the best cause includes lying to save lives, then so be it."
Isabeau does fix her rather blue eyes on Maris for a moment before the next question is put forth and her attention moves to Hadrian. She rolls the question about before deciding, "I would lie for the greater good." She folds her hands neatly in her lap, having not attained a drink yet, busying herself with adjusting them for a moment.
Maris slings a densely muscled arm sidelong atop the bar as he lounges, releasing a low, breathy laugh before responding to Cambria, "I'd certainly hope t'count you among the still living, my lady." He soon quiets to listen to Hadrian, however, thin lips quirked still as he ruminates over the newly posed situation. "Dishonorable? Sounds like it. But it would an honest one hundred deaths. So that's something." He releases a warm breath, absently returning Isabeau's glance, those vibrant violets deep pools of swirling emotion, impossibly difficult to decipher. But he does seem to be enjoying himself.
Katarina stares off into space for a long moment at this latest question. It's a matter of public record at this point that the young woman wearing the veil is royalty of Suj'abbat, the City of Veils -- the Dune Kingdom whose whole culture is built around lying and creatively undercutting the truth. Equally public is that she's a Disciple of the Sentinel, and, hell, a Valardin. "...there is honor in sacrifice for a noble purpose," Katarina finally says, after emerging from a long reverie. "Even if the sacrifice is one's own honor. It might not be honorable... but it would be right."
Calypso laughs and sits back with her drink. "The truth is overrated." She looks over at Hadrian. "How many of us show others a false face every day, and we quibble over some deadly truth?"
"A tricky question," Cambria says, her expression sly. "For we are an honor-bound society. It is part of our very bedrock. One might argue that throwing away personal honor means nothing, if it means saving lives. Another might argue that by losing that personal honor, no matter the reason, you not only damage your reputation, but the very fabric of society within which we live. And yet I see a third option: One that says, while you do indeed damage your personal honor by telling the lie, you restore it by virtue of doing so to save others. In that sense, you are in effect sacrificing yourself for others." Cambria trails off briefly, considering that which had already been spoken by the others. That she is in agreement with Isabeau and Angelo does not seem to surprise her much.
"Ah ha," Cambria then intones once Maris speaks up. "And now we see that there is indeed a fouth way of looking at it, if not more." Lifting her glass once more, this time to Maris, she goes on to say, "Well, I suppose I should have said I would rather know my time of death. I can readily say that death by some other person pulling the money lever would most /certainly/ come as a surprise."
Hadrian has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 9
Calypso's remark seems to draw Hadrian's undividied attention and upon hearing her remark, results in his smile growing wide and vibrant. The smile persists, even after the Duke of House Mazetti turns his attention away and to the gathering as a whole once more. He considers the comments made by Katarina, nodding along with her perspective, "I feel as though what you view as the answer to the question aligns closely with what Duchess Mazetti views as the facts of the answer. It would be a personal sacrifice, for the right thing, which in turn would offset that damage done to personal honor". Though Maris and Isabeau's answers both recieve a look of consideration, a few nods here and there of acceptance regarding their answer.
Angelo's answer receives a moment of consideration, followed by a glance toward the lord and an eyebrow dancing carefully higher upon his high forehead as he asks, "So the ends justify the means, essentially?"
The question is left to hang long enough that Angelo may provide an answer to the fairly basic question. All the while, Hadrian's hand retrieves another scrap of parchment. He glances down to it, seems to count, and then concludes, "We've more than a few more? But I think this shall be our last one," he explains with another sweep of his bright green eyes about, as though searching for some sort of dissent. Then he begins to read with a glance back to the parchment, "In your opinion, what is the biggest waste of human potential?"
Angelo checks wits at normal. Angelo is successful.
Hadrian is overheard praising Calypso: Well said. Never trust faces. Even those closest and most familiar.
Angelo seems to be in agreement with Cambria and Isabeau as well, as it has been for a few rounds now. The question from Hadrian is also answered thusly, "As long as the end is not more destructive than the means, my Lord." The answer comes surprisingly quick, perhaps showing that the Lord at least has a speedy mind. This latter question, however, seems to actually not net an answer: it is as if he doesn't know the answer and prefers to listen, instead, this time.
Katarina doesn't slip into such a long, thoughtful pause as she did with the question about lying -- but her veil still betrays a bit of pursed-lip duckface going on as she works over the question in her mind. "It is to listen too much to one's own fears," Katarina says. "Or worries or any such thing like that. To convince ourselves that we cannot, rather than seeing if we can~."
"Hypothetically, my lady, you would be able to rest assured that the million would be well spent." Maris offers a short wink over to Cambria, all good humored as he leans back against the bar and polishes off the rest of that vodka. For the final question that Hadrian poses, the mercenary remains silent, tonguing at the inside of his cheek.
Calypso seems to have continued her tradition of playful answers, judging by the small smile that plays around her mouth, but as for the words she speaks, those are for Hadrian alone; she takes a long drink, and then leans towards him to answer in a low voice.
Isabeau keeps her hands in her lap, back straight as she sits on the selected couch. Her eyebrows raise very slightly as she waits for someone... anyone to go first. After a moment and Calypso's answer, her serene voice raises to offer the Duchess's opinion, "Apathy is the biggest waste of potential and the biggest danger to society. With no enthusiasm, all would fall to ruin, no one and nothing would improve or strive for anything. There would be no love, no reason and no true point to live." She trails her cobalt blue eyes around the Salon, lingering amongst the contributors to the discussion one by one, though it doesn't appear to be a look that seeks agreement or acceptance to her opinion, just merely regarding reactions with interest.
Hadrian's hand rises up and his attention shifts toward Katarina, all the while he seems to nod along with her words. It seems that she's struck precisely upon his own answer. By the end of hers, his begins, "I would say doubt. Doubt can infest our minds, our souls, and our actions the moment it begins to take root. It is a seed that can embed itself deeply inside us and will seek to dominate our lives. It is the source of those who lose their will to live, but simply do not die. Once it has found its way into that one mind? It's entirely possible that mind will then go on to infect others with its doubt. It is a voracious parasite that can spread quickly and debilitate even someone normally confident in themselves if it's able to pierce that person's armor," Hadrian expresses at length, showcasing just how much he apparently agrees with Katarina's answer.
"Which isn't to say there are many, many wastes of potential that we as a people exhibit. We accel at being self-destructive and wasteful at times; but I count doubt among one of our most destructive tendencies, but can easily see how doubt and apathy are like bitter siblings fighting over the same chair," the Duke answers with another few nods of his head. A quiet remark from Calypso though seem to draw Hadrian's attention away from the gathering as a whole. He stares at her for a moment, his mouth twisting into a line that speaks of consideration, before he offers a faint shrug of his shoulders and offers an answer back at her. It is spoken quietly.
Cambria whistles, then asks of Hadrian, "Did you purposely choose a really difficult one to end the night with?" It seems she is of a mind with Angelo once more, insofar as appearing to require far more time to provide any sort of answer. "It's a deeper question," Cambria murmurs, lifting her free hand to her chin. "I just need a little extra time to think." And thinking most definitely means she needs to be doing more drinking. Eventually, however, Cambria does provide an answer.
Sitting up a bit straighter, Cambria says to the group, "I think the biggest waste of human potential is simply not trying, at all, in any aspect of life." Then, to Maris specifically, Cambria holds a hand over her heart, fluttering her lashes. "My potential last request would be that you make certain to purchase the best of all things that silver could buy. I am a woman of refined taste, and it would ease my spirit. If my spirit after death exists and is cognizant of being eased, of course."
Isabeau, however, earns a bright smile from Cambria, who says to her, "I see we have come to the same conclusion, although I do believe you worded it more eloquently than I."
Angelo seems to not have anything to add in this round of questions, either because his opinion was already stated, or because he has no opinion of his own; he does, however, follow each answer with intrigue and thoughtfulness. And he seems to agree with many answers for this one.
"Come on," Hadrian chides back at Cambria, "this one isn't even that hard. I didn't even get to the one about using babies to club small animals for their pelts; who is the real victim?" Hadrian seems to dismiss Cambria's whistling and lamenting. Though he does turn his focus back to the gathering as a whole. His hand returns to the hat and he seems to shuffle about for one more, commenting as he does so, "I hope that everyone's had an enjoyable time and I truly hope each of you go home this evening and think about your answers. Study yourself, the way you think, and all the rest. Knowing yourself is one of the most powerful tools that we can all access, free of charge. All it takes is being entirely honest with and about yourself, to yourself, as cruel and mean as it can be. I thank you all, each and every one of you, for coming to answer my questions. Your insights and perceptions have been wonderful to hear. Thank you all for allowing me to be your host," Hadrian concludes with a bow to the room as a whole.
"Fashion, apparently," Katarina replies to Hadrian's joke question. She stiffly lifts herself up from her seat -- though that stiffness seems borne of injury rather than any kind of mood. She does as a Salon leader must, and starts a brief and respectful round of applause. "You have our gratitude, Duke Hadrian, as ever."
Isabeau follows suit with Katarina, her hands raising to offer Hadrian soft applause in kind, standing as she does. "I would echo my gratitude as well."
Maris joins in with the applause from where he leans, pale cheeks dimpled ever so slightly as he watches on. Those odd eyes dance from noble to noble before he rolls out his bulky shoulder and turns more towards the bar, considering a second glass of vodka.
Angelo smiles to Hadrian as he rises to his feet, telling him gratefully, "Thank you for hosting this, my Lord. I remember the first time I came to a meeting by the Salon, hosted by my late cousin Juliet. How fond I was of her. Coming here today filled me with joy." With that, he seems to be ready to depart.
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