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Written By Marius

March 24, 2017, 12:43 a.m.

I am to be a father.

In the middle of this crisis, my wife and I choose to bring into the world a baby. Someone might think this foolish or selfish - not in close proximity to me if they want to keep all their fingers, kind - but it was nothing of the sort. Nor was it the political need for an heir.

No. It was this: love so rich it spurs confidence in the future as certainty.

Written By Leola

March 23, 2017, 11:35 p.m.

The Role of a Host,
Or, What I expect of my leaders.

I wrote, recently, about how I expect the vassals of a house, or a great house, to behave, and the demands placed on a commoner, and the expectations of them in their service to their lord. Let me now, in turn, say what I, as a servant to the Barony of Saik, expect of my lords and ladies.

As a vassal, I am expected to serve my lord's will. I cannot do this if my lord has not communicated their goals and aims. If you have not done this, you cannot expect service from those below you. If I see your actions and your words part company, how can I trust your words?

I am expected, at all times, to maintain decorum and politeness to those I owe fealty to. If the family I serve has no line of descent, this is impossible; I must know to whom my fealty is offered, and the line the title shall follow, to know who has priority in their requests of my time. If this is unclear, or the household in disarray, you risk dissent amongst your vassals; and ultimately, their loss.

A noble should be generous. Not solely with money, as the silver of the house is given through the sweat of your vassals, but with your time. If you do not know me, how can you make the best use of my talents?

I serve the Faith. My family has held to the Pantheon since before my grandfather's grandfather's grandfather's time. I appreciate a noble may hold to a different standard of their faith, but I still hope to see that they venerate the Pantheon. If you do not, if you do not support the Faith or speak against it without explaining your reason, and the virtues of the Faith, what trust in tradition do I have that you will not abandon your vassals when it suits you?

Ultimately, I expect my lords and ladies to be honest, decorous, generous and steadfast. These are virtues that enrich both the master and their vassal.

Leola Allenatore
Vassal of Saik, of Malvici, of Velenosa
Disciple of Petrichor

Written By Simone

March 23, 2017, 11:30 p.m.

Barely met, Duchess Zaffria. Neither allies nor friends, but the possibilities existed--

Still, I sincerely wish you well.

(To note: your heir has an excellent sense of propriety.

And humor.)

Written By Calaudrin

March 23, 2017, 11:03 p.m.

I made a joke tonight. But maybe the joke was a good idea. Maybe I should be given a ring for /every/ year of service in the Iron Guard. Twenty rings to turn into one gaudy necklace that I'd wear in my free time.

Written By Ford

March 23, 2017, 10:53 p.m.

Seem that duchys are getting handed out like candied petals lately.

Where does the queue form?

Written By Mathias

March 23, 2017, 4:04 p.m.

Brand might come through the walls, or he might not. Whether I'm to face Shavs, Bringers or a bloody "Herald" doesn't concern me. Can't change the will of the Gods. What you can do is fight as much as you can, fight as long as you can, and fight as hard as you can. My family's gone. But the people of the Lower Boroughs remain. The people of Arx remain.

They're just as worthy to fight for.

Written By Mathias

March 23, 2017, 3:54 p.m.

Heard a lot of Shavs bent the knee to the Compact recently, and also that the river attack was a success. Good news, as far as I'm concerned. I hope that those who have thus sworn will be met with Gild's generosity and protection, as well as being fed and cared for. Now's not the time for the Compact to appear disinterested in its newest sons and daughters. I also hope that the victors of the river come home swiftly and safely, that they may weather the coming storm from within the city's walls.

And as I hope, I make my own preparations. Got my part to do still, come good or ill.

Written By Samantha

March 23, 2017, 12:29 p.m.

30,000.

I stare at the report in front of me, unable to believe what has been accomplished.

30,000 Abandoned have bent the knee and taken up the laws and loyalties of the Compact. 5,000 of that number have taken up the southern defense of the March, nipping at the heels of Brand's army. Some less of that have pushed on to provide aid to Arx, though some fear they will be mistaken for Abandoned rather than newly Prodigal. I will make sure they have some kind of mark upon them of the Deepwood colors and sigil so that they are not confused for foe instead of friend.

With the support of House Riven, I opened the way for the Abandoned of the Gray Forest to come into my lands as refugees. I did not demand they bend the knee, but did insist they act as guests - follow the laws of the land and refrain from any practices that were anathema to the Pantheon. This gave us the opportunity to show them the benefits of the Compact, to offer diplomacy and recognize them as people. To Prove to them that the Compact can be compassionate, a uniting force, a light against the darkness.

And they bent knee. I am pleased to have achieved what I had hoped, and daunted by the idea that this is an event worthy of remark in our history. Humbled by the weight of that, and the trust these people have put in me and mine.

House Riven has served me beyond my wildest expectations. I only hope that I continue to be worthy of their loyalty.

Written By Alis

March 23, 2017, 12:16 p.m.

I've considered what I want to say about the River Column battle for days now, but the right words just fail me. I have never been very eloquent so I will simply say that the bravery and skill of those I fought beside is beyond compare. And we should celebrate these victories, while we reflect on those who gave their lives to help us make it happen.

But since I hadn't been able to think of words, I'd set upon another task. Sitting with the injured while they recuperate, we've sewn replicas of vassal and Valardin battle standards, or dictated letters to scribes with remembered stories of someone. There's nothing that can replace the loss of a family member, but when the notification arrives - accompanied by an honor guard - it will come with a battle standard of their own house and that of valardin, as well as those fond written memories from their comrades. And. the assurance that the name of their fallen loved one will be inscribed on the memorial wall we keep at Sanctum. A knight or soldier's ultimate sacrifice is never forgotten.

Written By Aiden

March 23, 2017, 11:45 a.m.

When I first arrived to Arx, I was told my brother was in seclusion. I was too late to arrive to catch him before the tragedy of serving the blade had made it's first real lethal score in my brother's heart. I was not going to be the one to barge into his room and interrupt what he was dealing with. He must be left to do that and I to watch for an opportunity when I did not have break the boundaries he had set up. I respect him far too greatly to cross them.

I wandered then to the city, coming across Brother Branan's book shop. It was a splendid shop and one that every avid reader must attend. I found a copy of histories newly written of the Iron Rebellion and the Battle at Pridehall. I purchased both, to read in my spare time while I watched for Ainsley.

Dear reader, you should understand I have always watched him. Since the time we were young children, I always watched what he would do. When he was six, I snuck away from my own lessons to peer from a window as he got scolded by our mother for sword play rather than the dance lesson he was scheduled for. I watched years later, from the confines of my own lecture study out the window into the Grayson yard, as he chopped away at the air in determination to learn his forms. I always watched. I watched as I came across him when he was sixteen and worked himself to exhaustion that he could not stand, staggering to a knee. He always pushed too hard. I told him he would do great things one day and that, is clear, he has achieved, for the histories are already speaking well of him. But I told him, as he missed dinner again and I helped him rise from that knee, there would be a point that he could go no further, that he needed to rest.

I saw him last night, in a private stretch of gardens, pushing himself yet again, anguish filling my heart for what I saw of him. Still, he was so refined with the blade, as I've never had chance to witness before. I know why the scholars have written of him. He was one with the blade, the weapon a true extension of his being, or maybe, the blade used him as one. It awed me, to watch him so, and made my soul ache. Then he saw me. I told him as I often did, that he had missed dinner again, reminding him it was time to rest, taking him back to his room. He enjoyed hearing of my birds and the memories of our childhood, I got him to laugh, a small one, but a smile too that I feel somewhere in my heart may be the last I see from him for a while. He ate a little, but he was so different now, I saw it. I put him to soft comforts as I carried on, watching him fall asleep as I spoke on about the gyrfalcons and the Mews. It always helped before, put him to sleep after he spent a day in the yard drilling. It worked again last night.

And for the first time, I wept.

I have seen what a life serving the blade has done to him.

I cannot undo it.

Nor can anyone else.

He has reached a point he can go no further.

He needs to rest now.

Let him rest.

Gods, let him rest.

Written By Lark

March 23, 2017, 10:30 a.m.

I listen beyond my rooms as a morning lark ushers in the dawn, singing her sweet song. When did her existence amongst the snow-covered grounds become one of defiance? It does not feel like a new day, yet invisible in the line of trees, high above the bedraggled winter fox as it clumsily scrounges to remember the location of its long-spent stash, she perseveres to tell me so. She sings as if to say, ‘It is daybreak and you must stir for there are those who on this day do not.’

Written By Aldwin

March 23, 2017, 6:48 a.m.

I have long had a fascination with the Hall of Heroes. Of particular note are the heroes who stood in the front room, the Metallic Order and others who were not of the Compact but gave their lives in its defense. I have documented matters of their lives before, and offered their tales up as inspiration to those who needed it in these troubled times. Recently I received a great gift - a recollection of one who witnessed that horrible time at the Reckoning. It has struck with me, and I wanted to share a piece of it now.

"But under it, beneath it, all I saw was a man, suffering beyond all endurance and challenged beyond all measure, who refused to die while we still needed him. The wonders and terrors of that day may fade into song and legend, but all that I will truly remember til my last day is the image of a single soul struggling to stand as all the Abyss sought to make him kneel."

Those are powerful words from a journal of one who saw Lord Gold fight for the survival of civilization. She did not say that he called forth the flames of Elysia, or that he glowed with Lagoma's favor. I call these powerful words because they show the depth of capability the human spirit has. Goldenpyre stood against those who would make him knee; he fought for Arx because he felt he had to, and he refused to give in. That is the greatest power of all: conviction. And his was the greatest gift: a love of others that drove him to sacrifice that we might, today, know existence.

Written By Aldwin

March 23, 2017, 6:39 a.m.

With the Bringers and Shav'arvani that serve them engaged in battle and closing in on Arx, the city has grown restless. I am thankful for those who have joined in on the walks of prayer and guidance through the city - Sister Umay and Archscholar Bianca - as well as the aid of the Mercies - Mercy Sophie has been invaluablue - as these have brought some calm to the populace. 10,000 Knights and Arsmen have been mustered in Arx to prepare for what makes its way through the Gray Forest, and thousands more joined the likes of Duke Cristoph and Marquessa Demura to harry the invaders before they arrive.

With Tolamar Brand on his way, I take further heartening in the Compact and the strength it has managed to show. While the White Stewards have done their best to fracture us, we have still pulled together and accomplished something wonderful. Officially now I record this, though the deed is now somewhat in the past: we have annointed the Paladins and they will stand strong in faith and will against the likes of this Herald. Once this war is over, I will arrange a proper thank you for those who contributed to the effort. Let it here be recorded, though, for posterity:

To the Lady Aislin Ashford and her group of investigators, the Faith thanks you for finding Palladium's notes.

To those who contributed to the required sacrifice, the Faith thanks you as well.

Redrain: <<2,000 economic resources>>
The Crown: <<1500>>
Valardin: <<1,500>>
Grayson: <<1,389>>
Velenosa: <<1,000>>Rubino-Zafria: <<1,000>>
The Silver Consortium: <<1,000>>
Grayhope: <<850>>
Golden Hart: <<707>>
Sir Aleksei Morgan: <<366>>

And to the Disciples, Godsworn, and others of the Faith who dilligent worked to raise over 2,000 as well, my thanks.

All who came together for this effort are owed a debt of grattitude by the Compact.

Written By Vanora

March 23, 2017, 1:16 a.m.

The next time I meet her, all of my questions will be answered, or I shall have to offer my most sincere of scowls until the answers flow forth like so much water.

The next time I meet her, I will find out what all of her questions are, and whether we are seeing eye to eye on all that is happening around us or from two different worlds, both swirling in glass.

There is so much more to know before I am any use to anyone. So much more to do. So much more to be.

Thirteenth Guide Me.

Written By Vanora

March 23, 2017, 12:04 a.m.

Relationship Note on Isolde

There was a time when I was a girl when I looked upon Isolde with envy black and hot in my blood. I wanted to be favored as she was, I would have done anything.

As I grew older and we became a part of one another's lives envy changed to admiration. It is not our duty, our role, to seek being favored, but rather to be worthy of the truths that we know and the Reflection that gives us the ability to be so much more than what we are. In that I am blessed enough to have been able to experience the path that I did so far. The difference between favored and devoted becomes thinner once we move past our own vanity to see it glorified through the constant betterment of the self. Isolde helped me once to understand these things and so much more. It is then that envy was replaced in total with admiration, affection, and a bond that is hard to explain in full.

I am so pleased to be here in Arx where she is now, to reconnect, and to be able to look to her during all that lies ahead.

Written By Zhayla

March 22, 2017, 10:44 p.m.

I rode out with the Deepwood and Grayson forces to take place in the battle upriver against the Bringer troops. We fought not only shav'arvani, but a giant. A Formorian. That's what they called the giant that we killed.

This one wasn't like the other one we met: this one was animated by dark magic, and anyway, it only had one head. But I found myself thinking of the other. Was he -- were they? -- Formorian, too? I've never heard of Formorians!! What are they? Are they like us? Where are they from? Was he, like the shav'arvani, made to fight against his own will, or did he give himself to the Silence?

Of course, none of those questions matter. I fought with the Grayson forces, right by Prince Barric and Princess Reese, even!! I was one of the many that lifted our blades to bring the Formorian down. It didn't matter where he came from or why he was here as he led the forces against us. All that mattered is that we stopped him, that we stopped them. When we killed him -- Serafine knocking him right off his feet, it was amazing!! -- the will of the shav'arvani following him dissolved like smoke, just like his body.

It makes me so uneasy, the way something real can just fade away like that. It's not right.

When the shav'arvani column collapsed, I braced for the slaughter that woud follow. But -- it didn't come. Dagon was first and clearest to lift his voice and order a halt, and it was echoed down the line. I'm ashamed that I was so surprised. I should have had more faith in them. Sometimes it's hard, when even people I respect a lot talk of the Abandoned like an infection, and I see the way some treat Prodigals every day.

But still -- still. It's not everyone, and when it mattered, they remembered.

Written By Dulcinea

March 22, 2017, 10:37 p.m.

Relationship Note on Calliope

Dear Me,

What a charming lady! Full marks. Would tea with again.

With Fond Thoughts,

Me

Written By Merek

March 22, 2017, 9:32 p.m.

Ok, the Guards have been trained, and those who have not evacuated, for whatever reason there might be for them, have been led to safe places within the city, defensable positions that will keep them safe in case the worst happens. That said, I'm confident with a combined efforts of the most skilled in the Guard, we should be able to help defend the city in full with the assistance of the armies of the Houses. With one column already having been taken down, that means we can likely turn the tide, as long as the enemies don't bring out more of their more powerful defenders. It might cause some problems, but I think that victory will be for Arx.

Written By Dulcinea

March 22, 2017, 5:18 p.m.

Relationship Note on Ansel

Dear Me,

The battle is won. That much has come back to Arx, and many white journals of victory.

Huzzah.

Were there word from my BROTHER, I could celebrate. Just a little.

Or at least breathe.

Ansel, if you are not dead and have failed to notify me, I will kill you.

Ready to Put Arrows in Something,

Me

Written By Sigurd

March 22, 2017, 2:54 p.m.

Well, we fucking did it. We managed to slow down a column of twenty thousand Shavs, with only two hundred-and-some losses of our own. My hat does off to those who assisted us in this insane adventure.

Cristoph- Your planning was the most excellent I have ever seen, no offense to my friend and minister Calypso. Every strategy countered, every ploy exploited. We bled those fuckers nearly dry, and it's thanks to you.

Aislin- Dearest cousin and most wonderful scout, your knowledge of the land and the points we could use was invaluable. You allowed us to set the best of traps and kill thousands of these bastards for so few losses of our own.

Tivka - I will admit, I saw little of you in person, but you were almost as instrumental as Aislin in helping our forces keep clear of the enemy and waylay them at every turn, and for that, you have my thanks and the gratitude of my house.

Niamh - Your blade ended many, many shav lives, and that is the most I could ask of most anyone that comes with my on such adventures. May your sword stay sharp, for there are many more to slay before it is all done.

Jael- without your supplies, we would have faltered and floundered and not achieved a tenth of what we managed to do. the logistics officer, the unsung hero of any campaign (or so my brother likes to tell me constantly).

Isidora - Healers are the backbone of recovery from any campaign, and many of my men and Duke Cristoph's are alive now who wouldn't be, thanks to you and yours.

Demura - I don't know what the shit you DID to those shavs in the other column, but I saw the smoke from where I was standing, so you did an excellent job. Bravo.

Brand is approaching in the third column, I think. That's where our men were lost, most of them, trying to assault it. I don't know, I didn't get to set eyes on him, and probably should be very thankful I did not. I also saw little glimpses of a giant figure in the midst of the column, but was assuming my eyes were playing tricks on me until I got the River attack report from Calypso. Well, that's gonna be a bitch and a half to deal with, but as they proved over there, we can and we /will/ deal with it.

To my men? Thank you. For everything. I will carve your names into the Wall myself.

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