Feed the Soul - Dinner at the Rectory
OOC: This is an opportunity for new players in the Faith of the Pantheon organization to meet/roleplay with their fellow Brothers and Sisters and to ask questions.
Aug. 3, 2017, 7 p.m.
Olivia Joscelin Aurelian(RIP) Lailah Dafne Orazio(RIP) Reese Cassandra Arcelia Prism Leola Reigna Aleksei Blacktongue Ann Cesare Mae Lanei Katarina Aureth Sophie Merek Felix Skald Darrow(RIP) Preston Ferrando Saedrus Vanora Vayne Hana Isolde Sina(RIP) Caras Ilvin Stefano(RIP) Dagon Lianne Cicero(RIP) Fortunato Aldwin Mason Thena Samantha Cybele(RIP)
Arx - Ward of the Crown - The Rectory - Main Hall
Comments and Log
Dinner rarely is without extravagance at the Rectory though less so comparatively under Dominus Aldwin, according to the elder clergy. Additional chairs and tables were set in the Main Hall to prepare for the arrival of the discipleship. Side tables are lined in a single row have been laid out with seasonal and standard fare from the local markets with unusual samplings of sturgeon, pigeon pie, spinach tart, and pear custard. Instrumental music has its fixture to a corner, not too loud but not too soft, a feature likely influenced by combined efforts of the Whisper House and Jayus Disciples.
Ailith smiles at each person entering, attempting to welcome those of the Faith. "Please, please, treat this as any other day. Take whatever sampling or seats you'd prefer. Once we're all settled, I'll open the floor to a topic and see how the evening progresses from there."
Lindsey, a rosy-cheeked disciple of Petrichor arrives, following Leola.
Merek takes his time to step into the Rectory and listens to Ailith, while he seems about to wait, but then instead he walks up to her, and then makes a small statement, "I uh... Put that book you wanted into the Great Archives. Next thing I know, the archives are filled with books just turning up out of nowhere! But uh, your book is definitely in there somewhere," the scholar tells her, then beams, then moves off to find a seat.
Caras seats himself without ceremony, he opted not to dress up for the evening, but the whites he borrowed for the royal wedding were an exception rather than the rule anyway. He also takes care to serve himself rather than be waited on.
Fortunato arrives, slighty raggedy, his leathers loose around his frame. He examines the food offerings without quite taking a seat. He's got his hand propped beneath his chin. Perhaps they are /too/ strange and exciting.
Preston is standing near the spot usually reserved for Aldwin, in case he should wish to join the faith for their dinner - though for once Preston isn't wearing the heavy steel armour of the Templars, even if he still wears a cloak with the insignia. It seems if there is going to be an attack tonight, Preston is taking quite the painful lesson in improving his dodge. As people begin to arrives, he moves to the side and slides into one of the places at the Godsworn table, trying to position himself close to the empty seat of Aldwin's.
Preston has joined the a tall table for godsworn.
Katarina arrives into the main hall of the Rectory, her young owl in its perpetual perch upon her shoulder. A small smile works its way upon her mouth as she stops to Ailith. "Thank you for putting all of this together," she expresses softly. "I think this might be the first time I've seen so many of the Faith together." Her gaze pans over the amassed body of the faith, almost intimdated, as she moves away in search of a seat and familiar faces.
Katarina has joined the a tall table for disciples.
Merek has joined the a tall table for disciples.
Orazio is always dressed up, and today is no exception. He comes in from the winter chill, with frozen water clinging to his hair in patches, and shivering a bit as he allows an acolyte to divest him of his coat. He's brushing wetness out of his hair as he enters the main hall, and offers a smile to those he sees. "Well, this looks lovely. How is everyone?" And then, the Legate is heading for the food. Because food.
Aleksei steps into the Rectory, almost definitely with Saedrus. He's in his usual longcoat, but he's looking a bit wearier than usual, as if a certain fatigue has sunk into his bones. It's not extreme, but particularly for someone of his generally bright nature, it's noticeable. Also noticeable is the scruff along his jaw that's about halfway to a legitimate beard, which is practically unheard of for him. He pauses to lean over to Saedrus and murmur something to him before slipping towards one of the tables set aside for Godsworn after picking up a little food.
Orazio has joined the a tall table for godsworn.
Aleksei has joined the a tall table for godsworn.
Prism hasn't met an invitation for free food she doesn't like, and so here she is, prompt, and just as promptly headed toward the food. She plucks up a plate, serves herself a little of this and a little of that (but mostly the pear custard, if we're being honest), and then sweeps over to the table for -- godsworn. Why not. She sets her plate down, pristinely. Smoothes out her skirts, just as pristinely. And then tips her chair back upon its legs, dangerously.
"Father Orazio," Katarina calls upon Orazio the moment she spies him, moving around myriad seats to approach the Legate. Her small hands work their way up carefully to reposition Aioni to the opposite shoulder, fingers stroking over his fluffed feathers as she bends her knees to take a comfortable squat beside Orazio to share a hushed word with him briefly.
"Thank you, Master Merek." Ailith smiles in his direction, "I had heard of the new activity in the Archives -- most certainly a topic up for discussion." So prepare Scholars of Vellichor! Or not, they're always prepared. She greets Katarina with a smile as well. "You're welcome," she blushes, "with all these new faces, I may have to prepare introductions." Fortunato is noticed then, her eyes having had glanced about the room. "Brother Fortunato, the last tables should have the more familiar meals." Regular fish and meats with breads, fruits and vegetables, "If I let the chef have her way, we'd all be eating more experimental assortments."
As was now very much the norm, Saedrus arrives at Aleksei's side, though he pauses briefly to take a missive. The letter is left unopened as he slips free of his beautiful aeterna robe to hand to one of the acolytes with a soft, near timid smile in greeting. He turns his head to Aleksei, letting the fall of his white hair curtain his features and the quiet conversation and nods. Aleksei leaves and Saedrus greets Ailith with a kiss to the woman's cheek, if she allows. "It all looks lovely, Seraph," he tells her warm, though pleasantly subdued. "Thank you for hosting," and the Whisper dips in a polite bow before moving to take a seat. There is a smile to Preston as he passes the chair, though evergreens cast along to Prism with a chuckle as the woman beelines for the delicious noms.
Caras has joined the a tall table for disciples.
Saedrus has joined the a tall table for disciples.
Prism has joined the a tall table for godsworn.
Fortunato notes to Ailith, "Oh, that's all right. I'll be adventurous. Just-- I don't have any titles, though. Fortunato." He eventually picks up a pigeon pie and swifts himself to the disciple table, if not before giving Aleksei a long glance of Weighted Concern beneath furrowed eyebrows.
Fortunato has joined the a tall table for disciples.
Orazio smiles a greeting at Prism as he passes near her at the food tables. Once he gets back to the table, he nods pleasantly to Aleksei, before turning towards Katarina. "Princess Katarina, it's a pleasure to see you." A glance is given to the owl, and he makes a throaty little sound to try and draw the owl's attention before bending to listen to the hushed words.
Slipping in, smiling nervously, Leola bows her head to the staff assisting, and drops a quick, deferetial curtsy to the room, before she slips for the table for disciples, sitting and folding her hands into her lap
"Definitely," Merek tells Ailith about discussing their new additions to the Archives, "We're still sorting it all out though!" he laughs. He looks around a bit, and spots... Prism, whom he waves to, "Oh. New clothes for the winter?" he muses. He then sweeps up next to Katarina, or close to her, "Your Highness, how are you?" he asks aside of the Eurusi woman.
Leola has joined the a tall table for disciples.
Opia, a fat unblinking cat arrives, delivering a message to Saedrus before departing.
Preston rubs his face a little bit as so many people bustle along. This does make it somewhat difficult to keep track of everyone. Still. He sends one of the Templar squires across to obtain nibbles - why else do you have squires? - and then leans against the table "It seems, Father Orazio, that the faith are motivated quite well by their stomachs." There is a little smirk from Preston "Though, a pity His Most Holy cannot make it. Though I admit, it is nice to be able to relax a little."
Orazio chuckles to Preston. "Ah, it is not just the food, Sir Preston, but the chance to eat in congenial company. To seek out companionship among our fellows is surely one of the best impulses of humanity? And yes, do relax - consider it an order if you like, until the Most Holy arrives to contravene me." He grins. Then he bends to say something quietly back to Katarina.
Caras smiles around the table and nods to Katarnia, sharing a short word.
Aioni sways himself back and forth upon Katarina's shoulder, his head craning to look imperiously upon Orazio while he's stroked and petted to his liking. After her quiet word, the Eurusi turns her gaze up to Merek from her place crouched beside the Legate. "Oh, Master Black," she smiles with the warmest reception, rising partway. "I am doing well. So very excited for the coming of the winter season. I hear there are games and festivities to be had."
"Dear Ailith!" Sophie warmly greets when there is ample opening. "How lovely of you to host this, and how lovely to see you so soon." Fondly, she seeks to clasp hands in friendly affection.
Saedrus settles to his seat, smoothly crossing one leg over the knee of the other and takes great care in adjusting silk across his lap; sure at least to keep one leg covered. No food, and apparently isn't quite thirsty either as he settles without wine either. There is a smile to those at the table with him, quiet for the time being.
Given she has so far involved herself only in the acquisition, and then the eating, of food, it remains in question whether Prism is here for the aforementioned congenial company. She does extract herself from a bite of food long enough to give Orazio an imploring look. But imploring for what? What indeed? Life's mysteries. She takes another bite of custard.
Ailith shyly blushes at Saedrus' greeting, returning it warmly equally. Light whispers exchange before she's off to greet another -- Sophie! Hands reach out to clasp in return. "I am pleased you were able to make it. There's much we need to discuss including a concoction Legate Orazio is experimenting on." She murmurs low to Sophie, stepping back afterwards to chuckle.
Aleksei settles in his seat with a bit of food and, most importantly, a glass of wine. Orazio's friendly nod is returned with just the slightest shift of his chin, and Fortunato's Weighted Look doesn't get much of a response at all. He glances down the table at Prism, offering a slight, small smile, before he starts on his tart.
"Mmm, is there meat?" Merek asks, while he searches around for any, and picks up a wing, surely they have a wing, and bites into it before he swallows. "Mmm, wonderful," he states. He then cherishes it, while he inclines to Katarina, "Winter, so much umbra," he motions to his copious amounts of umbra he wears while draped in a black cloak. He looks very much. Well, his namesake. "Books." He sighs, then his gaze goes distant as he seems deep in his thoughts.
Leola takes a simple meal; beginning to eat and listen to the various chatters around. She nods to Saedrus, taking up a hug of wine and offering to pour him a glass, questioningly. The same is offered to the others at the Disciple's table
Fortunato picks in his idle desultory way at the pigeon pie, like he might manage to eat sometime. He keeps tossing those Weighted Looks at Aleksei. Well, he tosses two before he appears to lose interest. Direct interest.
Orazio's head comes up at the sound of his name, and he gives a look over at Ailith, eyes mock narrowed. "Hey, now. That's /my/ hangover cure, thank you, Seraph. Don't make me sound like a mad alchemist." Harumph. And then Prism is giving him an imploring look. He returns it with a tilted head and a puzzled frown.
Saedrus blinks and look out of whatever empty space he had settled to considering with rapt silence to smile at Leola, "darling, I am sorry," he chortles quietly glancing about the table and falling into quiet discussion. There is a grateful nod for the offer of wine though. Bless Leola, what a hero.
Prism answers that puzzled frown with a disappointed sigh. Still not psychic. More's the pity.
"Ah, and yet, Father Orazio, you are not the Legate of Arts nor are you Archlector Cassandra not the Grandmaster. I am quite free to ignore your orders and not enjoy myself!" Preston allows himself to tease the Legate before he offers a conspiratorial wink and laughs "But, I think I will indulge. In the interests of supporting the Seraph's endeavours in arranging this." And Preston gives a respectful nod over towards Ailith
To whatever Ailith murmurs to her, that might be a tiny crinkling of Sophie's nose before an equally quiet reply. She, however, is also amused. "Dare I ask how it tastes?" A glancing look cast between the chuckling Seraph and the protesting Orazio.
Katarina bows her head to Orazio, grateful. "Shall we go and find ourselves something to eat?" she asks to Aioni, only to be answered with Aioni transplanting himself preferentially on Orazio's shoulder with a quiet chirrrp and cleak of the beak. The Eurusi laughs, before hesitantly leaving to return to her table.
Orazio freezes. Ohgodsthere'sanowlonhisshoulderandit'sgoingtoeathisear. His hand was just lifting a drink, and now remains suspended in the air. Very, very slowly, Orazio moves his head so that he can eye the bird with wary suspicion. Staring contest.
"Forgive, always" Leola tells Saedrus, as she pours wine for the table, and then sets the jug down, returning to her own meal, before she lowers her voice, her eyes lowered to the table and her movements quick, light
Thena has joined the a tall table for godsworn.
Aioni gives a sharp crane of his head, massive artic blue eyes staring back up at Orazio unblinkingly. He begins to sway himself side to side, getting comfortable. New nest, found.
Ailith deadpans, "Exceptional. The Legate is a true master of his cures." Gently, she makes her excuses to Sophie. Greetings now complete and it appears most are either in line for food or seated, Ailith then joins her fellow godsworn, accepting a small plate of rye bread, fruits, and cheeses accompanied by a tankard of mead. She stands briefly, her voice pitched but calming to the ear as though skilled in speaking before large audiences. "Thank you one and all for coming. It isn't every night our discipleship is able to attend. With the changes happening in Avrum, new knowledge and experiences have led to question what is tradition or status quo. Magic, for one. There's evidence in the ancient parts of the Palace. Some of us may have personally witnessed its use." She pauses. "What I pose as a quandary -- was the Fourth Law of Limerance meant as a precaution? Was it a creation by ourselves because it was unknown? Was it created as a means to keep us blinded -- kept ignorant to the unseen acts by darkness? Or is the Fourth Law absolute? " She motions for anyone to speak up.
Prism puts down her fork. With weighted significance.
Aleksei takes a large swallow of his wine and slants a look down the table at Prism. With her weighted significance.
Orazio slowly sets down the wine, and then caaaarefully picks out bits of pigeon from the pigeon pie. These bits are dabbed free of sauce, and then offered, one at a time, from the tip of his fork to the owl. When his ear is /not/ eaten, the Legate gradually relaxes to turn towards Ailith. He frowns, disapprovingly. His mouth opens. But after a moment, although his expression remains drained of all its previous jovility, the Legate doesn't say anything.
Katarina falls quiet when Ailith introduces to the room such a controversial topic. Her smile wanes just-so, golden eyes seeming to naturally drift to Prism, of all places, while she quietly processes it herself.
Merek pauses in the chewing of his wing, and then places it down while he washes whatever he was eating with water, and then dabs a handkerchief on his face. "Well, I just lost my appetite..." He takes a small breath, and exhales, while he seems to think for a moment, "Discussion of such things could draw much unwanted attention," he considers, though his voice is quiet. He flicks his fingers about the cup of water he has, seeming deep in his thoughts.
Preston smirks as he spies Orazio and the owl "Ah. We may need a new Legate for when Father Orazio is eaten by an owl...it will at least make for a fine story for the Priests of Vellichor to record. I am sure we haven't had a Legate eaten by an owl in quite some time." And then, Ailith makes her announcement of the topic, and Preston's eyes narrow and his fork is stabbed rather brutally into a pickled onion, causing it to fly off his plate. Alas, poor pickled onion, we knew ye well.
Caras pushes back his chair and sinks his chin into his chest, thought overcoming his naturally dark features. "It is a subject that needs addressing." He concurs, for what it is worth, supporting Ailith, ostensibly, without giving his opinion.
Thena slips silently in while Ailith is speaking and takes a seat at her table, tilting her head as the Seraph speaks. Her expression is blank but there's a distinct tightening of her jaw.
Fortunato glances up and over to Ailith, and then to Prism. He chuckles, mildly. So very mildly. "Magic does seem to have been in heavy use once. Doesn't it."
"It was not unknown," Prism says. She looks down the length of the table, down, longer still, to the table of disciples. She holds Fortunato's gaze, in particular. "Your Queen Alarice, your greatest of heroes, was herself a powerful Adept. Queen Triscali, a sorceress. But your records do not remember these things about your Queens, do they?"
"If records of such things are not present, then I wonder at how you could speak to them with such certain knowledge." Caras intones, directing his gaze at Prism.
Saedrus takes another sip of wine. Evergreen eyes slanting from Caras to Prism, and back to his wine.
Merek's attention shifts to Prism when she starts to speak after a moment, and debates a moment, "Hmm," he considers, while he debates for a moment. "Well, it'd be hard to remember such things with them purposely veiled from our sight to avoid us regaining the knowledge, Seraph," he tells Prism.
Does Orazio have a cure for this? Sophie's balm seems to be a plate piled with comfort food. Unobtrusively, she finds a seat at the Disciple's table, next to Leola, and nonchalantly deposits a delicious baked good on the Horn's plate. A fond smile is cast at Saedrus, the curve of her mouth turning more politely cordial to the others in her line of sight. Then her blue eyes are upon Prism, and those who subsequently speak up.
Sophie has joined the a tall table for disciples.
Leola looks to Prism, considering the woman carefully as she looks at the disciple's table, and then she quickly looks away, lowering her voice once more, murmuring between sips of wine and little bites of cheese. She pours Sophie a glass of wine, smiling to the princess.
Aioni stares at Orazio for a time, before slowly shuffling himself forward to clasp bits of the meat in his beak, gorging himself upon it at his leisure. Meanwhile, Katarina is just silent, content to absorb and observe.
Fortunato meets Prism's gaze. He manages this much, if his fork strays to the table. He leaves it there, his pigeon pie largely just perforated. "Seraph," he says. "No one who knows about this unknown is likely to speak of what they are not supposed to know or remember."
"She's Skald's Seraph," Aleksei says, simple and subdued, in reply to Caras.
"I will speak of that which is recorded. That which I uncovered during my reading on events that transpired while I was away." Caras says slowly, "I have encountered a number of records in white journals referring to magic. One, though it was at points incoherent to me, regards a company that rode out to face the enemy. It was there that they found them approaching the city. One of them, I shall not name names, cut himself and spilled his life blood upon the earth to shatter it and to swallow up the enemy. Enemy of this city. Enemy of this Compact." Caras stops. "Surely you know about what I am referring to, better than myself perhaps. Was it a false record?"
"Not to those that witnessed the act," Saedrus says in a clear and quiet voice, looking to Caras with a dip of his head.
"The traditions of the Faith, whatever origin people may decide they have, keep the peace across the Compact. Where there are Velardin, Lycean, Thraxian, Redrain, Grayson.....all of that is unified under the crown and the order of the faith. Even when people feel their lords err, they can rely on the faith as a steady rock. Our traditions given us that credibility. If we offer up one or more for question, then we say nothing is certain." Preston states from his sedentary position, his hand still gripped around his fork "And magic, whatever its role in the past, is a dangerous thing and our people are not ready for it to be unleashed. Its corruption will run roughshod through our lands, and you will ask my Brothers to do the impossible in determining the righteous from the wicked, the good from the bad. And so there will be deaths, of the laity or of our clergy. And either way the pact we once had with the people in worship will be sundered. All because in the quiet depths of winter, the Faith felt they had the luxury of a theological debate on history. I guess the perk is that in the chaos of the fall of the Compact, there will be no priests of Vellichor to record our folly."
Leola looks up from her low chatter, to fix her dark eyes on Caras. There is a quiet attention paid, as her hands fold around her cup of wine, and her thin lips press together. She does not speak.
Although attentively listening and watching, Sophie doesn't seem inclined to add anything other than delicious food to the inside of her mouth.
"There are already deaths," Prism says, rising, palms flat against the table. "There are deaths by the thousand. They treat your lives like dust, to be scattered to the wind, and forgotten. Just because you cannot feel these deaths -- just because these deaths go unspoken, and unnoticed -- does not mean they are not happening. And they will continue to happen, so long as you allow yourselves to be powerless, so long as you are -- playthings. For this is what they think you are. Ignorant, and helpless. Toys."
"The Igniseri twins," Aleksei says quietly of Caras's words. "I'm sure that Princess Cara Grayson, who was engaged to the man you're talking about and witnessed him spill his blood to save her, would be happy to talk about whether or not the story that went around was a lie." He draws in a slow breath as Preston speaks, his jaw working with a clear effort at self-control. And then he finally says, "We don't have the luxury of /not/ debating it. It's not history. It's right now." His gaze flits to Prism, and then he quiets.
"I do not think one can leap to the assumption that magic itself is evil, Sir Preston. The people that have weilded it, perhaps, but the art, or skill, however you wish to phrase it, I doubt is inheirantly evil." Saedrus suggests calmly before taking a sip from his glass, which leaves it empty.
Fortunato draws his hand into a fist as Prism speakds of deaths. His shoulders hike. "Our lives /are/ dust to them," he says, nearly spits. "While we stay small, they'll continue to be dust. No matter what light and love we try to spread about us, we're essentially weightless."
Thena pushes her food around on her plate, which is what she always seems to do with food, and listens. Her eyebrows travel towards her hairline when Preston speaks, then she cuts her dark eyes to Prism.
Orazio heaves a long, low sigh. "Sir Preston, that may be overstating the potential repercussions by a bit, although there /would/ be repercussions for making that change to doctrine without a compelling reason and an understanding of the situation." He turns a studiously neutral expression on Prism. Quietly, he says, "Then, will you teach those of the Faith who can learn magic to do it in a way that honors the gods? Will you shield them from the sickness that those who try to invoke magic suffer from? Will you shield them from the retribution that is likely to come to fledgling mages? Or will they just be more names and existences lost?"
"We are not the arbiters of life and death." Caras counters, trying to strive for a middle ground. "We are to speak the will of the Pantheon. If we have taken it upon ourselves to speak for them in error, then we must correct ourselves. Anything else corrupts this Compact beyond the consequences of life and death. We must search our hearts, not for the consequences of our decision, but for the will of the Gods."
Merek looks over to Preston for a moment, as he seems thoughtful, then he looks to Caras. He leans back a small bit while he pulls his cloak about to him, "... The dangers in becoming less than dust, the danger of power, is that there is still a weight over Arx, one that poses a danger to those that want to recover us from the poison that seeps in the vein of each man that steps into Arx."
Ailith calmly speaks, "Magic is heard around the Palace. It's been noted the Hall of Heroes shows evidence of some of the great Arvians of history wielded magic." Ailith listens to Preston. "True. And this debate is not about breaking that tradition right now. It's do we seek understanding, for while we are not ready for magic, it certainly exists -- we cannot as the Faith not be ready if we are to lead and protect our followers. We've regained awareness of three Lost Gods. Elves were once myths to us. Do we want to be blindsided again?" She quiets again, listening to others now.
Katarina leans forward within her seat, her hands clasped neatly within her lap as her gaze flies from Orazio to Prism with such a heavy request poised to the woman. Teeth set in her lower lip as though she were to speak, but ultimately remains quiet with a look of askance flung toward Sophie.
Caras mutters a few words to Saedrus, seeking edification that will not derail the conversation.
Leola sets her cup down, resting her hands by it. Her voice is quiet, melodic, as she addresses Prism "If there is anything we might do to better defend the Compact and Arvum against these threats, I would be honored to assist, in any way I can. I'm sure that those here would say the same. Knowing what to do, though, is a different matter" She bows her head respectfully, demure, settling down once more.
Preston looks over to Orazio and bows his head "Perhaps, Father Orazio. But. In truth, we talk about altering the fundementals of the Faith, at a time when we have already come under attack - no matter how much it was invited. It is a very real threat that should we make ourselves weak, we do open ourselves up for those in the Great Houses who do not understand our value and instead see only a rival. And for those who work in the compact for more malevolant ends. That is the thing about moving yourself close to the precipice, Father Orazio, you must trust all those around you not to push you." At Prism's words, Preston gestures back towards the Knights Hall "We die for the Faith, Seraph. We are not uncaring for the deaths that occur - I would be more than happy now if I was given the freedom to tell my Grandmaster that we are to summon the Templars, to allow our shrines across the compact to be protected by the Knights of Solace alone, and for the Templars to ride on those evils we know muster. And stop what deaths we could. And yet, how many templars would muster before the Great Houses grew fearful? The Templars together are a force greater than any Great House. And even if I know we would never seek their power, I must also respect that they cannot trust me and my Grandmaster unconditionally. But if you can tell me where we can send Templars, and strike, I will lead them myself. We have killed evil things without magic, but with blood and sweat, and will do so again."
"No one killed Brand without some manner of power that wasn't mortal in nature," Merek points out to Preston.
Katarina soon raises her voice to pose a question toward Prism, after great hesitance, "In the time before the Reckoning - before such knowledge of the world as it truly existed was hidden from us - did the Fourth Law exist as it does today presently?"
Prism looks across the table at Orazio, her gaze unblinking, bright-eyed. "Magic is not the domain of the Faith," she says. "It is -- everything. /In/ everything. It is in you, Orazio. In the people around you. In the table in front of you. To deny magic is to deny your natures." She casts her gaze across the hall, holds each man and woman's gaze for a moment, a powerfully long moment. "It is not in /my/ nature to force anyone's hand. I cannot make this choice -- or any choice -- for you. I speak with conviction only because I have come to offer the very same help that you have requested. So, yes." She retakes her seat, and scoots her chair in an inch closer to the table. "No," she answers Katarina. "It did not."
Fortunato barks a laugh. There's no humor in it. "A hundred Knights of Solace vanished in the Lower Boroughs. Brand himself dissolved a column of calvary with a single weave. Knights are valiant, the most valiant, but force of arms is not enough." He slips a long look sidelong to Prism.
Katarina grimaces faintly at Fortunato's mentioning of the Valardin Knights that were disintegrated into ash in the battle past, fingers curling tight around her tankard of mead as she takes a hefty drink.
"Evil exists on a scale that force of arms alone will never match," Prism says, echoing Fortunato. "It is held in check by -- well, not by very much anymore. By what remains of the forces of good, and those are few. Dwindling."
Merek seems to have a question on his tongue, and he can't help but ask it, as he looks to Prism, then he asks with a curiosity in his tone, "Are those touched by the Gods, born with powers at birth, and granted them... Is that a form of magic, or something else entirely?" he asks.
Caras nods approvingly at Katarina's question and adds: "Equally important, is there any truth to the belief that any use of magic allows the taint of the Abyss to coat one's soul and conceal them from the light and protection of the Pantheon?"
Saedrus shifts in his seat and takes up the wine jug, glancing to those at the disciples table for anyone that needs a refill. No? Yes? Saed certainly adds another full tot to his own.
"The Paladins were empowered by the gods," Aleksei says simply, and with a certain bland look thrown in Leola's direction. "The enemies who walk among us are already having their eyes opened to the reality of magic. Not to mention the far older evils doing the eye-opening. We're going into battle against swords with nothing but our fists. That's the reality."
"Only if you reach into the Abyss," Prism says. "But those who reach into the Abyss do not fear the laws of gods or men, or abide by them."
Leola nods to Saedrus at the offer of wine, mouthing her thanks to him as she takes up the cup, and stands, returning Aleksei's look, before she takes a sip of her wine and speaks calmly, quietly "Templar. If I may?" She asks, resting the cup on the table and her lightly shaking hand atop it. She gives a polite smile, and her eyes flick to Sophie, to Aleksei, to Orazio.
Katarina bows her head faintly toward Caras, her eyes never leaving for Prism as she awaits to see whether her question might go unanswered for a touch longer. Eventually, though, a look is cast aside to Aleksei. "We don't have to, if we could but come to a decision to not be pawns to those who'd seek to keep us in perpetual darkness of ignorance."
Preston lifts an eyebrow to Fortunato "But you would not deny that Brand's armies died when confronted, no? That the shadows of corruption in the forest can be burnt with blade and prayer? Let those chosen by the Gods, given their powers, deal with these warleaders of the Abyss. Such power is divine, it cannot corrupt. It cannot taint, surely that is why the Gods must give such power into mortal hands?" Preston looks to Prism, almost pleadingly. But then Leola mentions Templars, and his head turns around slightly confused, like a cat with a bag on its tail "Hrm?"
Saedrus pours Leola out another glass, done with trained precision and graceful flare. His eyes though at settled on Katarina; for the time being he says nothing.
"As I recall, it took the Faith a great deal of wealth and power to call down the blessings of the Gods upon those chosen, I don't think that's something you can do every Tuesday," Merek offers Preston.
Orazio frowns. "If you wished to offer aid in the instruction and shielding of mages, Prism, it would have been...polite to bring that up in a less public forum," he says, his voice still gentle. His gaze shifts to Ailith. "As would some warning about the proposed topic of discussion." He does pick up his wine again, this time to down it in several solid gulps. A servant is waved to refill the glass. And win it is refilled, it will be quietly but quickly drained. "The fact of the matter is that, first, doctrinal matters are not a matter for public debate. They are decided by the Dominus, in consultation with the Legates. Second, my personal feeling is that magic is not necessarily evil, but it is dangerous. What can be a weapon for the light can, in a moment of despair and loss, turn into a gateway for the Abyss. Rescinding the Fourth Law entirely would mean, essentially, encouraging people to gamble with their souls. That is not what the Faith stands for. Third, there is the public perception to be counted for. Those of us in this room," except for the presumably VERY CONFUSED nameless NPC priests and disciples around, "have seen, experienced, or heard credible accounts of magic, for the most part. We are open to the possibility, some of us. But will the average member of the Faithful feel /more/ protected by a change in this Law? Or will it stir fear and panic, and open the door for charlatans and false mages to prey on the innocent and gullible?"
"Well. The power to defeat a Herald is kind of a big ask," Aleksei says in reply to Merek with a touch of wry humor through his weariness. He lifts his gaze to Orazio when he stands to speak, and exhales a slow, quiet breath through his nose. His jaw tenses a moment, and then he reaches to drain his wine.
"Is the answer to avoiding fear, misuse and hysteria not to educate people on the topic? Instead of simply sitting in closed rooms and discussing the possibilities of 'oh but if this were to happen..'?" Saedrus says, still softly spoken -- it might not even be heard.
"I have been appointed to speak for Gild, but I am no seraph, no divine. I know that the limits of my knowledge are mortal, and that when I seek to find answers beyond those limits I must be guided by scripture, by prayer, by study, by long-fasting, service and devotion. It is strange to me to ask someone for an answer beyond the knowledge of mortal scope and receive it as truth without being guided by these things. It feels more like theft than charity." Caras says. "But the layman does not seek knowledge in this manner. If the Dominus agrees to explore the potential of using magic to protect the compact, and the Seraph is willing to train those that are willing to avoid reaching into the Abyss, then we can create a college of Godsworn, trusted by the Pantheon to wield magic in the defense of the compact. If the knowledge is inevitable, as it increasingly seems to be, then it behooves us to show the path that leads to salvation and away from damnation."
"Brand's armies, but not Brand," Fortunato answers Preston, his voice still generally sharp. "Consider this. Perhaps most servants of the dark are on our level. Well, not mine. I could probably fight a demonic /painter/, but not a Bringer. You and a few of your friends could. But the dark has servants in power beyond that, power that we cannot match without grave cost that we must pay each time." He folds his hands tight over the other. "Prism is not exaggerating our vulnerability." He clears his throat. He steadies. "But no one would say magic isn't /perilous/, and that publically rescinding the Fourth Law won't have grave consequences. Remaining as we are also has grave consequences, however. Possibly graver."
Fortunato adds, firmer. "Absolutely graver." Might as well go all in.
Merek rolls his finger around, while he looks at it, and seems to think, "I wonder... We have many books returning to the Archives, being unveiled, I wonder if this is a sign that the enemies hold upon Arx is weakening enough for us to recover knowledge. If there was a time to act, it's now, as the power returns to the world and the Dream becomes wielded once more by men of all stripes," he states, then he adds, "But indeed, how it is handled going forth is entirely important, and there are concerns, as the Legate has pointed out."
Orazio turns his gaze on Saedrus. "That would be lovely, Disciple Saedrus, if such knowledge wasn't subsequently yanked out of someone's head. Or if they, themselves, were not obliterated for knowing it. If Seraph Prism can shield prospective mages of the light from having their memories torn away, or being erased from memory, that is one thing. Because..." he sighs, his shoulders dropping. "The Faith can't. We've tried. Even trying to /protect/ people, we've lost them, and cannot even mourn those losses, because we don't remember who they were."
"Templar. I thank you for your confidence in the strength of the Compact's armies, your belief that strength of arms will be enough to stand against the enemies without." Leola begins, her voice quiet, and her hand pressing on the cup, just enough to keep the pressure there. Her eyes fix on him, and she continues "I understand this, for I share it, though in larger measure than yourself. I trust the leaders of our Faith to guide us, to understand that when our history has been hidden from us, we must understand that doctine alone cannot be trusted. We have already re-evaluated the Faith in light of new developments; the gods returned to us; and I am certain that as we discover more, this will continue. I tell you this - we know that in the time of Alarice the Great, magic was studied and known by even our knights. Why? The treaty with the Nox'Alfar. It asked, specifically, for us to send our knights -without- knowledge of the art against the Bringers of Silence. Without the blessings of the gods and the protection from the rite, the other Paladin present and myself would have died - no, we would have been unmade, entirely." She takes a further breath, and then "Petrichor gave us dominion of this world, and we have a responsibility to it. I will not break the laws of the Faith, nor would I encourage any to, but I would ask you this; do you think Brand was the worst we will face? Would you ask that only the Gods can save us? Or would you use their gifts and strengths to stand against the encroaching darkness, silence, emptiness? That -" She bows her head respectuflly to Prism "Is a choice I made when I accepted to stand for Creation. I would do so again in a heartbeat."
Prism looks to Preston, to his pleading gaze. "The power of the divine does not corrupt," she agrees with him, gently. "But ... I do not know if it will be enough. It never was, before." She looks to Orazio, quizzically. "You brought it up. I answered. I have no intention to sit in silence until the Faith finds my voice more convenient. You are all faced with many hard truths, and many harder ones yet to resurface. I am sorry for this. I am sorry for the state of the world you were born into. But the gods do not hold you to ignorance, and will not ever. Ignorance has never been the will of the divine."
Saedrus demurs, and dips his head to Orazio.
"The stories tell that Vellichor left us the journals, that we not forget once more what we have to write, to remember, to scribe as memories to all," Merek mentions, "Seraph Prism is indeed correct, it is not the gods' will we remain in ignorance. Jayus himself was satisfied that one of our Lost Gods returned," he offers, with some /odd/ assurance in that statement that he's right. He gives Ailith a look, then settles back down and sighs. "We need to remember as much as we can, but yes, how to do it safely is important."
From beneath her lashes, Katarina flits a briefly questioning glance upon Saedrus when his gaze becomes apparent. A subtle uplifting of her mouth's corners in acknowledgement, before her attention is once again upon the Rectory hall at large. She rises briefly from her seat to approach Orazio to extract Aioni from his shoulder with great care, the little owl's claws digging instead into a band of leather threaded through her hair for his new lofted perch.
At what Orazio says about the forgotten fallen, the Mother Mercy dips her head, perhaps offering a silent prayer. Finally, though, Sophie speaks up and asks Prism, "Seraph of Skald, how and why what it not enough before, the power and favor of the Gods?"
"I do not dispute matters of history, Paladin - but, to reach instantly for these powers to fight threats we do not understand? It feels as though we are at the edge of a forest on fire. And we are being asked to jump off a cliff to avoid the fire we know will consume us because we are told to trust that there is a river below to catch our us and that the fall is not too high, and the river not too perilous. I would not know how to tell magic drawn from the divine and magic drawn from the Abyss on looking at it. I am not saying we should not learn more - we should. But we should do so under the leadership of the legates, and with a mind that we will need steel and blood and bone to protect whatever solution we arrive at. But I say that the fourth law must stand without question until we can answer all the fears the people will bring to us." Preston answers Leola, his tone respectful and his head bowing towards her. As he straightens though, he shoots Orazio a weary, knowing look. The look of 'I told you thusly'.
Orazio inclines his head at Prism. "Believe me, I am well aware that absolutely no one is concerned with the convenience of the Faith, Seraph. But, when we have our first public failure who tries to do magic and ends up exploding their own eyeballs or ending up a demon thrall, absolutely everyone will want to know why the Faith didn't stop it, and what we plan to do about it." He goes quiet as the owl is retrieved, rolling his shoulder briefly once its gone. The Legate falls into a brooding, thoughtful silence, drinking wine and watching the discussion. Preston's weary look is met with just the faintest of tired smiles.
"It was not by the will of the divine alone that the Reckoning was ended," Prism says. "What happens to this world if another Reckoning comes? By what light will the Abyss be defeated?" She shakes her head. "The gods take one step forward, and their reflections take one step forward with them. There is a limit to what the light of the Divine can ever do. But the light of men--" She smiles. "--There is great hope there."
"That is the first and greatest worry. The answer of course would be for us to present the solution at the time instead of before. But would that not bring concern that the Faith concealed their actions? We should..." Caras says thoughtfully. "We should prepare for such an event through those whose faith is unquestioned." He looks at Leola, then Aleksei. "Though they have already sacrificed in the name of the Compact."
Aleksei glances for an acolyte that will surely refill his glass of wine, because he's an Archlector. He gulps down another swallow of it. "I haven't heard anyone here make the argument that would should leap into /anything/ blindly," he says in a flat voice to Preston. He snorts a bit when Caras looks his way, scrubbing a hand across his face. "Gods. I sure don't go unquestioned. The Paladins were still just people."
Caras says, "There are not a lot of living people inducted into the Hall of Heroes."
"Well, you kind of have to die first," Aleksei points out.
"Then the Faith must prepare to manage such things." Saedrus lilts prettily. It's all PR, right? That's what Whispers do, "and I doubt no one will feel too badly about the poor creature with one eye if we all become thralls to demons for lack of action. Surely if the Faith is unified on it, there will be less kick from public. Which obviously, starts at these sorts of events." A small smile passed Ailith's way.
"Every man that died in the war against Brand is a hero," Merek states with some finality, and something akin to /anger/ in his voice. "The men I had flung off the bridge holding it while the demon summoner was at the Palace, they were heroes. Every man who lives and dies to defend others, to uphold ideals, is a hero," he adds.
Fortunato draws his hands in, both of them, together. "Where the Faith /excels/, where the luminaries at that table," he inclines his head toward the godsworn table, "/excel/ is in order and management. In ethics and planning. In integration. We talk here, we're talking. But hurtling into action isn't even currently possible. There's that."
A nod is offered to Prism for the answer, along with a pensive smile. Then, Sophie goes back to watching, listening, and eating.
"My point." Caras says patiently. "Is that if the common people had their way. The five who faced Brand would be in the Hall of Heroes today. If they were to be exempted from the fourth law, it would be a worthy way to spend the capital they gained and no trust would be lost, either in the Compact, the Pantheon or the church." He turns a sad expression on Merek. "I wish to hear every detail of your experience on that bridge. If it is easier for you, I should read it in your white journal, but I hope you will share with me, soon, the stories of the heroes you fought alongside."
"I would say, Archlector Aleksei, that I have heard many voices arguing for us to embrace the breach if not the abandonment of Limerance's 4th law, and yet no-one - with perhaps the exception of Skald's True Seraph" And Preston bows his head to Prism at that "able to explain much on magic. I would say that is leaping without knowing. But. The decision is for His Most Holy on the advice of his legates. It is not for simple Templars to suggest in any direction."
Leola's cheeks have flushed pink as she listens to the responses to her speech. She lets out a breath, and picks up her cup, lifting it in a respectful salute before she sips gently "Thank you, for listening to me" She says with an abashed look "I simply ... I feel it's wrong to rely on the grace of the divine. I would not sit in another's house and ask my host to clean up a mess I made. I have a resposibility, as a guest, to aid them. I would not let my lord fight alone; I am sworn to his service. And I must not rely on the gods to save me; they have already given me this world and all within it. Anything within this world - not drawn from the Abyss - is their gift to us, and their way to allow us to save ourselves." She pauses, and swallows, her cheeks paling "So it seems to me."
Merek looks over to Preston, "And if anyone /could/ do you think they /would/ when our Legate has just stated that those who speak of knowing too much end up forgotten forever? It's not a pleasant experience, and I've carved the name of men that died fighting alongside me into my mind and journals, and somedays I still feel I can't remember names I think I'm missing. It's not a simple solution, Templar, no one is going to ignite a fire, chant around it, and summon you a solution you'll be satisfied with."
Ailith gently gives Saedrus a smile in return. "The King will need the Faith when the people call into question about magic. We must be able to ready him -- be united. I've never doubted the Faith for we strive to remain in the light. However, undoing the Fourth Law /at present/ would be a disservice to the majority who will refuse to believe magic and those charlatans who will seek to cause harm. But those of us who do know, from what it sounds, we're united in slowly gaining knowledge or understanding." She glances at everyone present once more. "But the hows," she nods toward Orazio, "will be a decision by our leaders." Legates and Dominus. "What we may do," another glance to Orazio, "is start with the Archives and Scholars. The new books. Perhaps that shall be the next discussion?"
"Most of the common people don't know who the Paladins are," Aleksei says to Caras with a slight lift and drop of his shoulders. "It's not exactly a /secret/ at this point -- Brand can't send anyone to try and kill us before we kill him -- but it's not exactly widely-known throughout the Compact, either."
"Your humility is a credit to you Blessed Aleksei." Caras says. "But that doesn't change what I have read and heard."
Orazio nods, briefly to Fortunato. There's a hint of humor, dark though it might be, as he says, "I don't know that anyone would use the word 'excel'. But that does highlight some of the barriers to doing this. Unless there is a helpful 'Magical Theory and Practice for the Ignorant Beginner' text floating around that no one's shared with me - which is, of course, /quite/ likely - what knowledge we have is scattered, misunderstood, and often confusing or contradictory. Perhaps the newly unearthed texts will provide guidance in this matter. If Seraph Prism is going to agree to instruct people in the arts, then perhaps that will also help. But I won't support changing the doctrine of the Faith without being able to change it /to/ something that upholds our charge...and I am likely to be the /easiest/ of the Legates to persuade," he adds, dryly.
"Can I speak on the scholar subject a moment, seeing that I am one?" Merek asks over to Ailith, "It's an announcement I want to make, to verify some things. Since I was actually dealing with the Archives around when this happened."
"It is certainly leaping without knowing," Prism agrees with Preston. "I am here to help you, and guide you, but the forces that bind you are still strong. So /very/ strong. And they are listening. Do you know what they are listening to right now?" She allows a moment's pause, though the question seems rhetorical. "They are listening to a very boring conversation about the embroidery of a Legate's robe. Do you know why they are listening to this, and not your very fascinating theological discussion of magic?" She looks down the table. "Because you would all. Be. Dead. Dust! Devoured and forgotten. I have spoken boldly, because I wish you to search your hearts. But I wish you all to be careful, too. In this hall -- in this moment -- you are hidden. You will not be hidden much longer."
Something Preston says seems to ignite an inquisitive spark in Katarina's eyes. Twisting in her seat, it's another question that she poses toward Prism. "Under which Dominus, did the Fourth Law come to be?"
Caras is attentive to Merek. He's spent so much of the last two months in the archives that people have wondered about his predilictions for Gild.
Thena, silently rearranging her plate up until now, cracks a bitter smile at Prism's words. "Even now we blunder around like children."
Orazio looks down at the cuff of his (heavily embroidered) robe. "It actually is a rather interesting story how this was constructed." No, no it's not.
"I'm not being /humble/," Aleksei says to Caras, exasperation cracking. "Most of the Compact doesn't even believe /Brand/ was warped and empowered by the Abyss. They certainly don't believe that five of us were empowered by the gods to protect us from him and then defeat him." His gaze slips swiftly to Prism, and he quiets.
Fortunato goes tensely quiet, the spark of fervor killed by Prism's announcement. "I was afraid of that," he says, almost under his breath. "But I'm always afraid. Father Orazio is right that it's early. It's also correct that it's late. Almost too late."
Leola quiets. Her piece said, she settles back down; sipping her wine. Draining it, in fact, recovering herself.
"As Sir Preston has said, without magic we have achieved great feats. In those same times though we have won thanks to the aid of magic, losses have been had on either side. In the end, without it, we will no doubt have a bleak future, as Mistress Prism has emphatically made aware, and Master Fortunato. We all clearly know that the topic of the Fourth will be a tumultuous one but a very necessary one. It will not be easy but then, few things are when done for the greater good. A little understanding, and a less superstitious outlook from the Faith even, one might say, bright voice on the topic will help with that. So long it is said in one voice, without deterrence from within the ranks, as it were." Saedrus sighs softly. "I do not think it is a matter of 'if' any longer but one of 'how', the when, simply now."
Ailith nods solemnly to Prism. "Quite. It is due to conversations which has pushed this topic to the forefront." Then she offers a hand to Merek. "Please, do enlighten us about what was discovered."
Something that Prism states makes Merek blink over to her, "That explains quite a bit," he mentions after a moment, then he moves to stand up. He pulls his cloak about him and takes a moment to consider his words, "I'd just like to clarify, that it is true. Many ancient records have returned to the Great Archives. Many are referencing Palladium, a well known man who was an expert on exorcism," he waits a beat. They are hidden for a moment, then he adds, "Palladium was also a man that knew much about magic, the channeling of Primum, the rites of Casting, Weaving, Adepthood, Beseeching, these accounts can all be said to have great knowledge of the schools of magic in them as his past writings have, more than likely... With these records uncovered, if anyone seeks them out, be careful before you do, because that man knew some things, and some of those things are best carefully uttered. Because just knowing them, being able to prove them, can be disastrous to you."
In fact it's best to try not and recall /too/ much of what I've said here, and I shall speak no further. Just know that there are some around who know things, but we can't speak it, for fear of safety." He then takes a small breath, and exhales, "What you choose to do with the knowledge slowly coming back, and moving forward, is up to you, but be ever mindful your mind does not linger. Half the Compact thinks that someone played a practical joke on the Archives."
"As these things were restored inside the Great Archive itself, is it not the will of Vellichor that they be read? Would it be proper to restrict such knowledge if the Gods wish it to be public?" Caras asks. "This is a question only the Archlector of Vellichor can answer with certainty." Caras ponders. "But if the church were to move forward with a school for godsworn studying magic, these books sound like the foundation of such a thing."
"Rites of exorcism, cleansing, and warding - these, at the very least, I can support wholeheartedly," Orazio says, and there's an almost peculiar sort of fervor that comes out in the strength of his voice. But then, what priest doesn't want to learn 'Smite Evil'?
"Defense is well and good, but where there is need for a shield, there is need for a sword, yes?" Saedrus says with a look to Orazio.
"People will begin to believe," Prism says. "As the ignorance that chokes your world is undone -- as the fog finally clears -- their hearts will change. I believe that when the time comes to undo the Fourth Law, you will know it in your hearts, and they will know it in theirs, too. I do not ask you to undo the Fourth Law now. I only ask you -- implore you -- to be ready. When that time comes. And when that time does come, Orazio..." She smiles to him. "...I will be here for all of you."
"Cleansing is a sword, of a type." Caras says. "When one's tools are filth."
"Diamondplate works quite well." Preston mutters as discussion of needing a sword comes up "Banisher worked well enough in the forest."
"And I would prefer to see proof that we can /handle/ the shield, before we hand metaphorical toddlers metaphorical flaming swords and invite them to stab as they will," Orazio says, dryly.
Prism adds, "I'm about to undo my illusion, if you would all like to enjoy each other's company in somewhat more mundane conversation?"
"I am sure you will have it," Saedrus smiles, bowing his head, "Legate."
"Unfortunately, it bears a problem that a few have recorded and some remember. Attention from a certain entity comes to those that delve too deep," Merek offers to Caras after a moment, "But yes, the Archlector would be better to speak to on it." He then looks to Prism, "... Can we talk about the Legate's robes, because I'm, man, he looks good today," he grins at Orazio, with a wink.
Fortunato does laugh a real laugh at Orazio's words this time. He eases, slowly, to something like relaxation. "The Father is one of our leaders in fashion. I strive to stay a lagger."
"Thank you, Prism, for your counsel. And everyone, thank you. I have other topics, less upsetting than this." Ailith rises to motion toward Leola. "The Hunting Lodge I have heard is going to break ground. His Highness was very pleased to here and offers any additional help beyond what Prince Aiden is providing. Could you fill us in on what's happening?"
Orazio inclines his head to Prism. "Thank you, my lady, for your protection." Merek's comment draws a muffled snort from the Legate, and he throws him a brief smile, before going quiet once again. And waving for more wine.
Caras casts his gaze toward the ceiling as if he could see the illusion in question but shakes his head. "Is anyone else attending the Lady Alarissa's winter solstice?" He asks, hesitantly.
Sophie has left the a tall table for disciples.
Dame Rosario Nevarre of the Oathlands have been dismissed.
Merek settles back in at his seat, and pushes forward in it, resuming his wing eating and listening to the conversation at hand. Whatever he was speaking on before seems to be put out of sight out of mind, pushed back as though he doesn't even wish to think on it. Instead intent upon the current conversation.
Something in the nature of the Great Hall shifts. It was impossible to notice before, but now that it has changed, the contrast becomes apparent. The walls seem sharper, the stone more solid. It is as if it was all blurred at the edges, and only now has come back into focus. Prism draws her hands back from the table, black petals revealed where her palms had rested. She sweeps them away with a flick of her wrists. Shoo, shoo.
Aleksei offers Prism a small, private sort of smile before sliding his attention back to the rest of the crowd. He apparently doesn't have any opinion about Orazio's fashion sense. He pokes at a tart on his plate with his fork. "Maybe," he says in noncommittal answer to Caras. He reaches for one of the black metals Prism sweeps away, turning it over thoughtlessly between his fingers.
Leola blinks, and rises, smiling to Ailith, recovering herself a touch "The Crown has already been a patron of the Lodge, and I thank them for it. The Faith, of course, has done so as well" She bows her head to Orazio, sincerely, before sher looks back across the room "With her highness, Princess Sophie's aid among those seeking guidence, the Lodge has recruited several more trappers and hunters, and the time seems fine to begin to build. We've a fine location in the Forest; at the meeting of two rivers; and while the Crown gave it's permission once, now his majesty is awake, I'd merely ask for it to be confirmed that we might raise a hunting lodge in the forest, for those who would enjoy the wild and hunt there. That it would not offend our allies, and our Queen, to do so."
Orazio nods to Caras. "I am quite looking forward to it. One of the few events where our everyday dress is perfectly in theme," he adds. He might be planning to say more, but then his eyes are caught by that change, and that sudden revelation of black petals. One eyebrow is raised, and he reaches out, curiously, to try and take one of the scattered petals.
Thena glances sidelong at Caras and makes a tiny little snorking noise in the back of her throat at his question, then glances up as the room seems to refocus and back to Prism, brow furrowing at the black petals like there's a thought in her head just out of reach.
"It is possible that the outfit I commissioned is... The crafter was very enthusiastic." Caras explains, coughing slightly. He busies himself with pigeon pie.
Ailith provides answer for Leola. "I can help with that since I shared your project with His Majest. He's said to proceed without delay. As he understood it, Prince Aiden already helped select the grounds not long ago. If there are any hitches, he said the Prince can unstick them."
Saedrus is sure, like a good courtier, to see all the glasses at the table are filled before he pours himself another. With that in hand, his attention turns to Leola with a fond, but small smile. "It has been a long time in the making, Mistress Leola. I--" he pauses setting his wine down and taking up what Leola passes him. "I look forward to seeing the Lodge, the Whisper House will be too no doubt." His attention distracted briefly thereafter.
Orazio looks to Leola. "I am actually planning to meet in negotiations with Lady Monique about procuring lumber. I can ensure some of it is diverted to your project. Just let me know how much you need." To Caras, he says, "A little fancier than you were hoping? Or are we talking an unexpected addition of wings and dragonweep?" His attention returns to the black petal between his fingers, and he just rolls it around, thoughtfully.
Prism gives Orazio and Aleksei both amused looks, as they reach for those black petals, but she doesn't stop the, and the petals don't disappear, either. Having caused trouble enough (and prevented trouble enough, in equal parts), she returns to her plate of custard with great relish.
Merek holds up a hand, "I'll support the Lodge and others in this endeavor as needed as well," he offers up, while he flashes a winning smile towards Leola politely. Always eager to help folk it seems, while he takes another bite of his wing and then chases it with some wine. Hopefully strawberry flavored.
"Do you need art? I can draw trees," Fortunato offers toward Leola. "And animals? Animals are fantastic."
"I wanted alum and silver..." Caras says. "Instead... well... I have engaged an expert opinion on these matters and if it is an atrocity such as I fear, I pray you never see me in it." Caras explains vaguely.
"Then far be it from me to stand against the wishes of his Majesty" Leola says with something of a relieved laugh "I'll certainly get to work. I do hope people feel free to be welcomed at the Lodge as we raise it; all of the Faith and the Compact are free to enjoy our hospitality, such as it will be until the work is complete" She nods to Orazio "My lords and ladies, and House Malvici, have offered a little assistance with the design of the walls, Legate. I will certainly pass them to you, that you might both find them familiar and offer the support needed" Merek gets a nod of thanks, and then there's another quiet laugh as she holds up her hands at Fortunato's offer "I would certainly not refuse any such. Animals, certainly; something to honor the the horse, the hound. A stag, perhaps, in honor of the Forest Lord?"
Aleksei doesn't look particularly thoughtful about the black petal, unlike some; he's just turning it over and rubbing it between his fingers idly just for the feel of it. He listens to talk of the Lodge, but doesn't offer anything additional.
"I like the complexity of antlers, the delicate weight of hooves," Fortunato dreams as he speaks. "I'll have something for you. Perhaps horse and hound as well."
Ailith grins gently as the Lodge discussions continue -- so many offers of help given. "If there are any projects or concerns that you'd like raised to His Majesty, I am not against sharing them during our conversations. That is part of my role. Which does remind me, Legate Orazio, His Majesty is looking forward to the Festival of Mangata's Blessings."
Orazio smiles. "Glad I am to hear it. It's the Legate of Creation's hope that we will have a wide variety of submissions - of course, with the war, it's possible that there might not be as many as there have been in previous years. But please convey to Their Majesties that they are, of course, more than welcome to come and have first taste of the submissions."
"The only thing that the Scholars are in need of right now is funding and a copious amount of love for parchment imports. So much inking these days," Merek states, hearing something and looking up to Ailith and the others with a nod, after the Lodge's support is asked for.
"Thank you" Leola says, in general, as she sinks once more; to finish her meal, quietly examining a cheese with a little deliberation. Perhaps - yes. She slips it between her lips and starts chewing. She can't talk if she's eating!
Prism polishes off the last of her custard, rises from her seat, and walks around the table to stand behind Orazio. She leans in toward him, murmurs to him.
Orazio's head jerks up a little, almost warily, as Prism approaches him and leans in. He listens, and then grins. It's warm and genuine, and takes a good ten years off his age, for all that it only lasts for a heartbeat and a half. Then he tilts his head to reply to her, quietly.
"Consider it done, Legate Orazio," pipes Ailith. "The Festival comes at the best time of the year." Harvest season. To Merek, she chuckles, "With the new books and additional discoveries, I'd imagine there's never not a need for ink. I'll see what funding can be provided." With a turn of her head, she asks of two others -- "Sir Preston and Squire Thena, how are things with the Templars and Knights of Solace these days?"
Caras has settled in to listening, now that theological debate is over, it's clear that the clerical work does not hold as much of his interest.
Prism smiles at Orazio, at that sudden warmth, and after she's murmured to him a second time, she kisses him on the cheek.
Aleksei watches Prism and Orazio with something between curiosity and withdrawn reticence. He pulls his gaze away, fingernail scraping across his brow, and then he reaches for his wine again.
Orazio was murmuring back to Prism, but then he gets kissed on the cheek. Who would have thought the Legate can blush. He can! It's not the easiest to see under his Lycene bronze skin, but it's there. He blinks a couple of times in surprise.
Katarina has left the a tall table for disciples.
Quiet, a Valardin champion, Aioni, a regal snowy white owl leave, following Katarina.
Prism laughs, though it does not seem a meanspirited laugh, does not seem directed /at/ Orazio, exactly. Whatever she murmured to him, she murmurs no more, but takes her leave after that kiss upon the cheek.
Thena looks up from her plate, startled to hear her name. "Oh. Ahm..." She sets her fork down carefully and clears her throat. "We are still building up after the losses from the recent conflict. With refugees and orphans and such, we have plenty of recruits for squiring but we're in need of equipment. I've been trying to remind people of what the Knights of Solace do, and how valuable their services have been."
Prism has left the a tall table for godsworn.
Orazio clears his throat, briefly, and fiddles with his cuffs as Prism takes her leave. Still smiling, though, and he sneaks a look in that direction, before resolutely returning his attention to the conversation. Ahem. He nods, with approval, at Thena.
"Though we do not have the equipment itself, the Whisper House would be more than happy to help in any way possible with the Knights of Solace." Saedrus offers Thena's way with a dip of his head to the Squire.
Fortunato scratches underneath his jaw. "I can do, hm, paintings of equipment. More useful, I can help with a bit of propoganda, if it'd be helpful."
Saedrus tips his head towards Fortunato, "perhaps paintings of equipment and when sold a portion of the earnings could go towards the Knights?" he suggests, being helpful.
"The same's been said of the King's Own," reflects Ailith. "Still, I'll see if can convince others, maybe even the visiting nobles who are about the Palace, to donate to the Knights. Have you also spoken with Mother Mercy?" She grins at the suggestions shared. "What a good idea, Fortunato."
Merek takes a moment to stand up, and then nods to those around, "I must be on my way... These tired bones need sleep," he mutters. For all of his youth it seems he looks a bit older as he stands, or... Withdrawn, it is hard to tell, except to others who have seen the stress of battle upon men. He finishes his wing, and then smiles, "It was nice to speak with you all, if anyone ever needs a Scholar, do not hesitate to send word."
"Thank you, Saedrus. I personally am alredy deeply indebted to the Whisper House," and here the corner of Thena's mouth ticks up ever so slightly in wry humor for the people tasked with making her slightly more civilized in company, "But any and all help is deeply appreciated." The smile grows at Fortunato's suggestion. "Propaganda is definitely helpful. Oh...that's...a really good idea, if Fort is amenable."
"Now you've gotten yourself stuck painting swords and shields," Aleksei says with subdued humor to Fortunato.
"I hesitate to suggest, given that my artistic knowledge is restricted to going 'oh, that is lovely', but perhaps paintings of battles where the Knights of Solace have figured heavily? Defending the innocent, fighting off bandits, that sort of thing - there's even a couple of accounts of Lilah Shay's acts that might serve as inspiration," Orazio puts in, with a glance towards Fortunato that's half apologetic.
"Always happy to have my apprentices mass-sketch some posters," Fortunato says with a small, sitting bow, before he notes over to Aleksei. "I'll only design it. That's what my team of hopeful and industrious, er, students are for. Such a small sacrifice for a good cause." To Orazio. "I know at least the account of Lilah Shay, but if Thena or Sir Preston have other vivid stories, all would be invaluable."
"Thank you, Seraph," Thena adds to Ailith. "And I'm sure there are ways we can make sure all of the orders can share the wealth. I will speak to Princess Sophie." Her eyes widen a little as the ideas flow in. "I haven't had the pleasure of going out in the field with the Knights since I joined the Order, but I know of a few stories."
"Nonsense Mistress Thena," Saedrus dismisses of any idea of being indebted to the Whisper House. "We would be honoured to assist." He promises, smiling, "come and speak with us on it at anytime." The courtesan draws to his feet then, smooth and effortlessly drawing teal silk modestly over his thighs as he does. A brief catch of evergreen drawn across one leg, to the bare skin, might be caught while he excuses himself briefly from the table to approach the other and leans by Aleksei causing a spill of white hair across his shoulder.
Ailith snaps her fingers as a thought comes over her. "We could ask Master Merek or any of the Scholars for additional stories. The ones from history could be painted in the background, alongside our new squires and Knights. A um, what's the word, the new generation stands shoulder to shoulder to protect what's right and so forth."
Leola gives a blink, shaking her head a moment as she rises "I should get going, however. Thank you, ah, for listening to me ramble, and your support" She gives a soft chuckle, dipping a curtsy. And keeping that velvet bag very, very close
Saedrus lifts his head from his conversation with Aleksei, straightening as he heards Leola about the scurry out. He gives the girl A Look.
Merek speaks to a laity member and has them fetch a stave for him. Something simple, one that is meant for walking perhaps more than all else. He takes it into his hand and tests it, then he uses that to walk his way out of the place, humming to himself.
Merek has left the a tall table for disciples.
Aneka, 3 Iron Guardsmen, Meeka leave, following Merek.
Orazio watches Saedrus approach. For one of the first times during the night, his gaze moves to Aleksei and rests there, for a long moment. And then it moves on again, turning back towards Leola. He inclines his head. "It was good to see you, Disciple."
"I will see you later in the week for tea, Mistress Leola," Saedrus lilts prettily. Totally charming.
Caras eats and chats, quietly unassuming.
Aleksei tips his head to catch Saedrus's murmur, his expression subdued. And then he says to him in an audible voice, "No, I think I need to get home." He finishes off his wine and rises from his seat, either not noticing Orazio's gaze or, perhaps, ignoring it. "Thank you for arranging all this," he says with a moment's warmth to Ailith. "And -- gods keep you all."
Ailith smiles at Leola. "Thank you for coming. Future meetings like this, I certainly hope aren't as tense. I'm glad you spoke. And happier the Lodge is coming to fruition. I hope we can chat in the future about other things.:
Ailith responds to the others departing, sharing smiles as well. "Gods keep you, Aleksei. And you, too, Saedrus. Thank you. Sincerely."
Leola has left the a tall table for disciples.
Lindsey, a rosy-cheeked disciple of Petrichor leaves, following Leola.
Fortunato gives Aleksei another weighted glance, if it's less heavy this time, a skirted check. He more generally clears his throat. "Thank you, everyone, Seraph Ailith. A-- good meeting, all in all."
Orazio nods. "Allow me to second Blessed Aleksei's thanks, Seraph Ailith. We needed a chance to sit and talk about some things." He starts to continue, and from the furrow of his brow it's likely some criticism about the timing. But after a moment, he just sighs and lets the thanks stand unleavened. He finishes off another glass of wine, and looks, again, in Aleksei and Saedrus' direction. "And thank you both for coming, of course."
Saedrus nods to Aleksei with a soft sigh, turning to one of the acolytes to for his robe. While that's fetched, he brushes a light touch to Aleksei's shoulder, moving to farewell those at the table with a delicate bow, "Blessed Caras, Mistress Thena, be well," and turns to touch a kiss to Fortunato's cheek if he is allowed to. "Eat something," he said simply to the artist. To Ailith, there is another chaste kiss to the Seraph's cheek, "thank you, Seraph Ailith, you have been terribly brave and an excellent host. You have done your instructor proud, mm?" To the Godsworn table, Saedrus flourish a gracious bow to Orazio, "Father Orazio." And a smile, in farewell to Preston. Robe in hand, he meets Aleksei and takes his leave.
Ailith breathes out a sigh of relief, tension lessening in her shoulders. The kiss is well met and exchanged, hands gently squeezing gratitude. "We must also stand in the light and be brave against the darkness. But that doesn't mean I wasn't a little afraid." She apologetically bows her head again to Orazio. "I've reasons to speaking now. And I have a happier thing to share with you, Legate Orazio, for you were specifically mentioned."
Caras stands, carrying his plate to an acolyte, there is a limit to his humility, he doesn't do dishes. "It was an important conversation."
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