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Written By Bethany

Dec. 8, 2016, 10:20 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

Relationship Note on Jeremiah

A penpal, perhaps?

Written By Isolde

Dec. 8, 2016, 10:01 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

Today is a -lovely- day. Utterly, wonderfully lovely.

Written By Bethany

Dec. 8, 2016, 9:40 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

( From the slightly untidy desk of B. Mercier, Steward: )

Thralldom is ... an atrocious debasement to the nature of a person. It is done because of power, of wealth, on inequality, as a punishment in a system that would be better stripped to the foundations and rebuilt on higher ideals.

Of one type and class that feel the need to strip the individualism away from a person (even a criminal) and force them to become abstract ... resource, property. Bought and sold on the block like livestock... it is frightening to consider.

We are all enslaved in various ways: to passion, to war, to duty, to coin, by kin. However, to be held in thrall by a noble ... no.

To dedicate one's self to the service of a noble House is a choice.

Written By Mirari

Dec. 8, 2016, 9:33 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

Relationship Note on Valkieri

Lord Rubino does not approve of eager hands. A shame.

Written By Myrinda

Dec. 8, 2016, 9:09 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

My, my. Those who profit off the backs of those they've practically enslaved are speaking up in their defense.

Or those that are about to profit from it by marrying in.

Sit down, children, before you all embarrass yourselves.

Written By Jaenelle

Dec. 8, 2016, 8:58 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

Each house has their own ways of life, some are understood while others seem to be completely confusing. Arx is a city of melting, of mending ties and strengthening bonds, of being united despite everything that is there to divide.

I was born to a Redrain father and a Thraxian mother. My childhood was different than other Thraxian girls, and would have been a great deal different if my parents had not died. The Redrain ideals that I had been shown were replaced with a full Thraxian upbringing. I am not complaining, of course, I love my family and had the most opportunities a woman was afforded. I learned, grew, and became the woman I am today because of my grandfather, and there is nothing I could say which would ever show just how grateful I am to him.

It is easy to push away the ideals that are not your own, it is easy to deny one's way of life if it does not mesh well with yours. It is so very easy to cry out that they are wrong and you are right without a second thought or hesitation to your actions. Choose the hard path, learn about others, study their culture and why they do what they do. You still may not agree, but you are more informed and educated to make a better decision.

As a Redrain-Thraxian who is now a Velenosa, we are much similar in values than you could possibly imagine.

Written By Pietro

Dec. 8, 2016, 8:55 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

Judge not the poor Thrax for enthralling their criminals. After all, plaguing generations under a yoke of debt is fine, since they're not our generations, so who cares? I'm pretty sure nobody can have an opinion on this that isn't Thrax, anyway, that's what's known as culturally insensitive. Besides, all crimes are equivalent and the children of criminals should probably have to pay off the debts of their parents forever anyways, why not? Debt is like crime, only mildly more dishonorable because it doesn't involve taking any action yourself.

I'm also completely shocked and amazed that a Princess about to marry into the House of Thrax would speak out defending their gross backwards social nightmare fodder.

Don't read this, Vincere, I was dared.

Written By Serafine

Dec. 8, 2016, 8:27 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

Relationship Note on Niccolo

I do adore my whiskey drinking, blade sharpening uncle.

No, I'm not endangering the lives of besotted young men with hero worship and an eye for power. It's not their fault.

Mostly.

Written By Niccolo

Dec. 8, 2016, 8:17 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

It's come to my attention that some are speaking of marrying members of House Velenosa.

As the Voice of Velenosa I say, by all means. Speak to me about it.

I'm often found reading, sparring, or sharpening my blade. I enjoy wine and whiskey.

Written By Dagon

Dec. 8, 2016, 8:08 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

It seems that once again the criminal justice system of House Thrax comes under question.

Let me make a few points clear regarding the business of thralls.

We do not simply enthrall people because we feel like it. Shav pirates that roam the seas and attack the merchant vessels of the Compact, we hunt them down, we put their ships out of commission and capture their crews. Should we summarily butcher them? Perhaps. Or maybe we can reform these very men by making them see the value of the Compact by hard work. We feed them, clothe them, and give them places to sleep. This costs coin. They work to pay us back for what we provide them, and for the crimes they have committed against House Thrax and the Compact.

Thralls are also criminals. What do you do with thieves? Cut their hands off? Throw them in prison? Prisons take space. People who are missing a hand aren't capable of being productive in other ways should the time come for them to be utilized for a higher purpose. Instead we put them to work, as we do with shav pirates. They work to be punished for their crimes against others, but prisoners also require their basic needs fulfilled and so their sentences are perhaps a little longer than if we simply threw them into iron cages.

Let us all remember that House Thrax keeps the seas safe for Compact ships to conduct trade, and let us not question the manner in which that protection is made, not unless others are willing to see to the care and housing of criminals or the disposal of them, whichever method they find preferable.

The Marquessa's concern for criminals and pirates is touching, and I agree with her that all men and women deserve to shape their destinies, but if you decide to knife someone, or steal from a merchant, punishment must come. We are a society of laws, and if the people cannot respect the laws, we become little more than anarchy.

We do not need some council instructing us on our future. Our future is for us to shape, and while I am perfectly happy working with members of other houses to increase trade and to conduct military operations in conjunction with others so that the Compact can become stronger, when it comes to how House Thrax runs things, that is for House Thrax to determine. Or would other Houses be open for us to make judgments about what they do and offer to give our advice for how they do things in such an open and public forum?

Prince Dagon Thrax
Heir to Maelstrom and the Mourning Isles

Written By Margot

Dec. 8, 2016, 7:55 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

I am just a woman, and I know that my thoughts do not bare much mention in the greater scheme of what will be, but they are still present.

In the wake of Marquessa Samantha's protests and now her leaflet campaign I am conflicted. I look over to Linette, who serves me so well now as a maid, and I remember the starving little girl who was convicted of stealing from Maelstrom's kitchens. Would they have preferred we sever her hand and send her out to starve on the streets? Is that the freedom proposed? Rather than allowing her to live in our house, not to have to worry over meals, to learn to dwell in polite society?

I wonder too, if the compact does not believe mercy can be traded for debt, if instead they would have preferred that Prince Donrai executed a 10 year old girl not so long ago, rather then raising her to serve him.

Freedom, we speak so much of freedom, and on its surface such seems charitable, but when I chase the chains of consequence I can clearly see that the the alternatives are not so perfect either.

I shall have to query those I know who whole different beliefs how they balance their ideas about freedom with their ideas about justice and perhaps come to understand them better for it.

Written By Dawn

Dec. 8, 2016, 7:12 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

I am only Dawn: a woman, flawed, imperfect, and often reckoned less for the circumstances of my birth. This I accept, and the disrespect that sometimes comes attendant with being one person interacting with others. When I am only Dawn, it is the other person's choice how they will approach me. I have tolerated much and accept that it will be so.

But when I am acting as his Majesty's regent, I am the face and voice of the Crown. The Crown is greater than any one man or woman, and that I cannot tolerate disrespect for.

This must be remembered.

Written By Ferrando

Dec. 8, 2016, 6:26 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

Lately I have been working to correct some... excesses with respect to finding new and interesting places and things for dinner that have had a noticeable effect on my finances. Despite the jump in minor aches and pains carried on through the day, more spare time spent at the training centre and a simpler diet are doing very well towards meeting my goals in that respect. It's also not a bad place to meet new people; I've begun to recognize some of the more usual faces around.

Written By Mason

Dec. 8, 2016, 5:59 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

What a curious topic to come up that I've been reading recently. In my time in Arvum, the one thing I have not been witness to in my time in this continent, beyond the leagues of sand, better food, and a more open-idea of clothing, is slavery. While those first things I mainly leave aside as a joke, I find myself intrigued by Arvum's concept of slavery itself. Or what they believe it to be.

Now, truly, I don't agree with the concept, but before one starts to question others ways on Thraxian culture, I would like to offer some insight on what slavery truly is. Because I think many Arvums have an idea about it, but I wonder if they have ever truly witnessed it. While I may not agree with thralldom, and I should stress that. It is not slavery and it is not for me, an outsider to this country to dictate how things should and shouldn't be. To put it mildly, the thralldom of the Thraxians is something that I would call 'amateur hour'. To be blunt, they're nicer about it, if such a thing could be called as much.

Slavery, is a way of life in Eurus. It is not questioned, it is something that simply is. Of the thirteen Great Dune Kingdoms, one is devoted wholly and completely to the raising and training of slaves. It is called Skal'daja, but in Arvum tongue, it is known as the City of Chains. And for good reason. Some say it is the birthplace for slavery in the entire world. It is one of the oldest cities in the Dune Kingdom, ruled by one known as the Grand Vizier of the Golden Chain of Rule. It is said that whenever a new Vizier takes the mantle, another golden link is forged. The chain is long, very long. Thousands of links.

But it is this place where slaves, bred, raised and trained like cattle begins. With my people, there is no need to pull outsiders into slavery, the infrastructure is already centuries old. There is no freedom, there is no working or buying you way out of servitude. In essence, there is no hope. Hope cannot be taken away if it was never there to begin with, it is not a concept that a slave understands, that they never will understand. Granted, not every Eursi noble treats their slaves poorly. Some very well, but they are still slaves. They are not people, they're barely registered as items. Valuable commodity, certainly because no noble worth his diamonds wants a dead slave and have to buy a new one, but that is where it begins and ends. Names are given to them, not even their own.

There are entire bloodlines devoted wholly to slavery. This has been meticiously tracked and recorded. Diseased or lame families are outright culled, being bad for business. If a noble family wishes particular slaves with bluer eyes and lighter hair of a particular shade, that can be afforded. If there is a certain body shape that one is looking for a person guard or perhaps a concubine, a great many options can be suggested. Slaves are tailored to the purchaser, from traits of personality to physical appearance. But all are broken.

A note upon that. There are occasional slave uprisings, but these are rare. And nothing will bring the infighting of the Houses together more than the idea of a rebellion. They are crushed, bloodily. I should not have to get what happens after that. I will leave that up to the imagination.

The fields to be trained in varies. Whether is is a simple laborer or water carrier. To soldiers, gladiators, to prostitutes and other slaves of pleasure. It is a very long list, and not one that I feel bothered to really writing out in it's entirety. Needless to say it is a very a busy economy and business is very good. The City of Chains is one of the richer of the Dune Kingdoms because of the amount of coin that drives it.

I have never seen the Plaza of Fetters with in the City Chains personally, but I'm told, by a cousin who once visited it, that it was a grand thing. It is a bazaar of merchants that prays to the coin and the Plaza of Fetter is it's high temple. The auctions of men, women, children, and beasts of burden go on for days.

Why am I writing all this down. To suggest something. Perhaps it's the wrong message, but I do wonder how much real slavery Arvians have honestly seen. To me, thralldom is a step up from slavery. That doesn't make it right. However, it does mean that things could be so very much worse. There is a chance for freedom. What I grew up with was something very very different. In the end, Thrax is going to do what it's going to do, this is an establishment that has been in place for a very long time. That would be like Eurus banning slavery. There would be economic chaos and at very worst, I suspect there would be a certain degree of warring between the nations. They are not Eurusi, and it is for that reason, that I will be grateful. Because I know, if I never have to look at another auction or blood sport arena again, I will be happier for it.

Written By Sebell

Dec. 8, 2016, 5:55 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

It falls to each of us to help one another to understand the impact that our own ideals sometimes have on others and on our own behavior. As the child of a thrall, this often becomes quite a difficult topic for me to speak openly on, whether it be broached out of true social mindedness or out of politic.

As a man, I do not endorse any belief system that marginalizes and discriminates against others. As a servant answering to a higher calling, I do not dismiss the fact that many people are deeply socialized, deeply indoctrinated, into such systems.

By coming from a place of openness and visibility, I can only hope to inspire others examine those systems; examine their history, their social emergence, their impact on others and the socially constructed assumptions upon which they are based.

Calm seas.

Written By Rymarr

Dec. 8, 2016, 5:49 p.m.(5/2/1005 AR)

Loss is something which many have felt, yet we all feel so differently. Some allow their grief to consume them, others press forward with hardened resolve, others are frozen in place, and many other reactions to death of one whom we care.

What I have never truly, in my core, felt in the past for those suffering loss has been sympathy. The Lyonesse have grown accustomed to loss or tragedy over the decades, it is our constant companion. Perhaps this has hardened me to the existence of loss that others may feel, but not today. Today I felt genuine sympathy for another in their grief. Even after so many days, weeks, and months it is still fresh upon their mind and heart.

I think back to my great-aunt Elene as a result of this awakened sensation. I recall a fond time of my life with her, when I was very young; young enough that I can not recall the precise time period. She would regularly sneak a delicious treat to me. She would hand me the honey and the slices of apple, press her fingers to her lips, and quietly shush me into conspiratorial silence. Eventually, like many things in our lives, she wasted away. She fought the good fight, but inevitably death claims us all. I did not weep for her. "Prevail Through Calamity", such were our words. So accustomed, so hardened to loss we had become, we engrained it in ourselves to feel nothing when loss reared its ugly head.

Perhaps my mind draws back to these memories because I understood the loss another felt, saw the hurt in their eyes. It has weighed heavily on my mind since our last encounter, because I have no family anymore. My family and title was placed aside in order to devote my loyalty to the crown as part of the Sovereign's Own. Is it the realization of my own mortality? Is it the pain of another coming to my attention? Is it my own feelings that have been essentially shut off for some years now suddenly awakening again? I do not know. I do not know why this weighs so heavily upon my mind.

It is easy to acknowledge our own pain. It is markedly more difficult to acknowledge and attempt to do something about the pain of another. Should we look the loss of another in the face or instead grant it the dignity of being ignored? This is my moral dilemna this day. Does one provide dignity in ignoring the vulnerability of another or do they look in the eye and offer themselves as a bastion?

Merely something which I must consider at a greater depth. Within the allowance of my duties, of course.

Written By Sebell

Dec. 8, 2016, 5:27 p.m.(5/1/1005 AR)

May our hope find harbour,
Our hearts your favour.
In your name we pray calm seas.

Written By Natalia

Dec. 8, 2016, 5:09 p.m.(5/1/1005 AR)

Darling Readers,

I have been asked a few times my thoughts on thralldom, more so with the recent announcements of my future. I have to admit that I would rather say nothing and follow Dagon, but I am not without my own voice.

I hear the condemnation of thralldom. I know the rumors and speculation and the histories of the practice. I also know that we are not without our own stereotypes. In the same breath that one declares the sins of thralldom, they could condemn the poisons of Velenosa. It's the same sort of whispers that follow all the lores and all the things we do not understand because they are not our culture. Those of the north are painted as barbarians that shed their own blood. They are referred to as godless and demon worshipers for their 'second sight' merely because they do not follow our Gods. If we are to make blanket statements then we open the statements to be made against us. It is a burdened step to take.

So I will not lower my head to my strong Thraxian leaders in this matter. I will state with my voice and my pen my thoughts on thralldom as I have researched it. I would like to say though, it is not just picking up random commoners and making them bend to the noble rule. Thralls are not crafted from the average every day citizen. They are criminals. Let me repeat this and take a moment to let it sink in. Thralls are people that have committed crime. That crime could be theft, death, or a manner of things that are important at sea. The basic truth is they are criminals.

So now I pose a question, since the debate is offered. What do we do to criminals in our system? We banish them away from society. We lock them in towers and cells until their minds rot. We kill them. We allow our laws to dictate what action comes from it. So then is the laws of Thrax with thralls. They are people that have risen up against their liege and broken the laws of Limerace. They are prisoners that many of our brothers and cultures put to death.

Thralls are given a chance to fix that which they have done. Now you may not agree with the methods, but they are forced to pay off the debt to those that they have errored against. They steal and make it so another family cannot eat? They work until those profits are seen. They took a life in a way that did not honor Gloria? They give theirs in servitude. It is a way for them to learn to respect the lands and the people they chose to dishonor. It is a way for them to see the perspective of those that they wronged. We speak out against the conditions, but they are fed and given a place to sleep. Perhaps they do not have the softest bed or the most decadent food, but should a criminal serving their sentence have these things?

It should be noted that Thrax does not immediately just take a life or banish a person. Instead they call them a thrall and indenture them to serve a sentence. It is not normally a life sentence and when the sentence is complete and the offense has been paid - THEY ARE RELEASED. Everyone seems to ignore this part of the statement. They are released after serving their time in CRIMES they have CHOSEN to commit.

So I just ask each of us, before you cast a stone against a culture. Talk to them. Research them. Just because it is not identical to how we might see it, does not make it wrong. Do not make the people who constructed a way for a person to redeem themselves of their crimes, instead of death, vicious and vile. I know some would say that being in thralldom 'breaks' a person. But is it not already a person that is broken if they are committing the crime in the first place to land them into thralldom?

Written By Samantha

Dec. 8, 2016, 4:21 p.m.(5/1/1005 AR)

It is a truth nigh-universal that the state of thralldom is only a scant step above the institution of slavery. The premise of this system is that of indentured servitude, with few if ever any earning their wage with the intent to release them from their eventual debt. More frequently thralls die in servitude, and it is not unknown for their debt to be further passed down to their offspring, who must in turn engage themselves into the system in order to pay it off, while acruing more debt.

It is also a truth night-universal that the institution of thralldom is regarded in disdain by almost all the regions of our great kingdom, save amongst the Thrax, from which it originates. In the past, thralls who have escaped have been welcomed into the service of other lords and masters in order to prevent their return to such a demeaning and inhumane circumstance. However, this was done as a quiet measure, with no one truly daring to openly challenge the convention. Until now, all objection has been subversive. But if the nobility ofour great land is to truly act in the name of the people they have by the grace of the Gods been granted to lead, this social construct must be confronted, and a solution must be sought.

Dear friends, it may seem on the surface that an immediate abolishment of thralldom is the natural conclusion to such thoughts, however that is the furthest from the case. It is important to remember that the House of Thrax and its banner Houses are strong, providing members of our great land, and to simply insist that they revert an entrenched element of their culture and economy would be to do them a disservice. We must not throw the lives of so many into chaos, not only those who gain directly from thralldom, but also those who live simpler lives that are dependent on a secure economy and would suffer as a result of too swift a change, and for thralls themselves, who would eventually need to realize a new way of thinking about their personal value and worth. Change and growth are painful processes, but with guidance and support, great change for the betterment of all men and women may happen.

I do not believe that all Thrax or all of their bannermen believe in maintenance of this institution, but are perhaps cautious of speaking out against it. They are a proud, strong people. If any were able to face such a significant alteration of their lives and culture, it would be them.

But what solutions may we offer, to ease the pains that would surely come from such a deconstruction? How can we buffer our fellows who, if they choose to commit to this course, will surely suffer from the loss of an established institution? Can solutions be found at the Crown level? Through the support of the other Great Houses? Perhaps, if House Thrax is so willing, a kind of council can be formed to discuss the topic of gradual abolishment in a way that minimizes the impact.

All men and women deserve the right to shape their destiny in as much as they are able, in the loyal and willing service to those responsible for their mutual care. To trap any in less is to reduce them to a state of chattel. If your great kingdom is to be a beacon of true greatness and utopia, we can no longer quietly avoid the inequality present within the realm. It must be faced head on, but respectfully and with consideration for those who will need to prepare for the brunt of this change. Anyone familiar with the natural world knows this to be true: the strongest creatures of the forest and sea survive by adapting to their circumstances. It is not easy, but for doing so, they become stronger, swifter, and more powerful than before. If we can succeed in this my friends, it makes not just the House of Thrax more powerful, but it will bring greater power to us all, throughout the realm.

Written By Aislin

Dec. 8, 2016, 2:45 p.m.(5/1/1005 AR)

It feels strange to have taken this week off from my own investigations and studies. But there's just... so much else to work on.

Trying to polish my language skills, getting things organized to formally recognize Explorer's Society membership, trying to get things squared away for the Society's first expedition (it's important to get permission and backing BEFORE sending folks out into the wilderness on something like I intend), and so on. It was time for a break, to ensure I could focus on everything else.

*Next* week, however, I have a few things I definitely want to look into...

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