Tea Talk: The Nature of Culture & Humanity
July 8, 2018, 6:30 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - Ambassador Salon
Comments and Log
Geralt slides a handful of silver to the barkeep once the glasses are filled, his own head canting as he looks in bewilderment at the rum that has been poured. He lofts his own glass to sniff at it, his nose scrunching up. "It smells like... the oils we would pour on the wagon wheels to keep 'em from gettin' stuck in the snow," he sniffs the glass again. ".. Mixed with honey?" And then he shrugs, and down the hatch it goes. It leaves a black stain on his tongue, visible when he flinches and sticks his tongue out. "Blech, that tastes like /shit/," he says, loud enough to make the bartender give him a very dirty look. But even with the commentary, he's refilling his glass from the bottle. "If they kick you out for askin' questions, what's the point in makin' a talk public?" he asks Shae, shrugging. Cirroch gets a nod.
Bright and bushy-tailed, Katarina steps into the salon and passes her cloak into the care of an attendant to be checked away. Smoothing fingers through elegantly coiffed curls to do away with a hint of snow, she moves toward the rear where her favorite couches reside. Attendants are already drawing up a round of her ever-growing favorite brews for tea time; wine tea, whisktea, rumtea, and bubbly tea, with tea itself becoming increasingly scarce amongst the list. "As one of the Peerage, you cannot always settle your dilemmas and disagreements with an axe, no matter how decisive it is. It seems like that would just give you another problem," she quips at Cirroch with wry humor, settling into a seat and welcoming guests to do the same. "Once everyone is settled with a drink in hand, we'll start."
Katarina has joined the Far rear couches.
Lethe gets some wine and makes her way to Katarina and the others attending. "Hello." She smiles as she looks around and waits for things to get started.
Shae watches Geralt, dead-pan, and it's the black tongue that convinces her to .... take the drink. She downs it, it's the consistency of syrup, and when she sets down her glass, she too is grimacing with distaste. "In my imagination, that drink is akin to harvesting ichor from some Abyssal creatures a-" And she stops, as Cirroch speaks and greets them, and Katarina responds to him. Shae is gestures vigorously at the barkeep to bring her a mead or something, coughing into the back of her hand. Clearing her throat, mead is sipped, and her very neutral face is attentive to the speakers, Shae only snorting twice in an attempt to rid herself of the flavor. Gross.
Belladonna arrives just on the heels of Katarina, almost as if she'd followed her friend here. Still, she disperses guards and assistant with a nod and moves forward to join Katarina, dipping into a deep curtsey before letting a warm grin bloom across her lips, "Its been far too long since we've sat down together. Is this the only way I'll see you these days, Highness?" Winking, she settles immediately on the couch next to Katarina and calls for wine! "Oh, I don't know about all that.. depending on how and where the axe manages to find one's opponent's head, it might very well settle the dispute permanently and without raising issue. Just look at the growing number of nobility that like to 'brave' the Lowers depite the dangers."
Belladonna has joined the Far rear couches.
Cambria sweeps into the Ambassador, pushing back the hood of her cloak as her eyes pass across the interior. Noting where it is the hostess for the evening's discussion has chosen to take up residence, Cambria makes her way towards the far rear couches as well. As she nears Katarina and Belladonna, the Marquessa offers her greetings, taking a seat before crossing one leg over the other.
Cambria has joined the Far rear couches.
"You don't always have to use an axe, I'm supposin'. Swords work just as well," Geralt remarks to Cirroch and Katarina, his fingers tapping over the hilt of the Great Sword strapped to his belt. Then his head cants to capture Shae in his gaze, his grin broadening as she takes a drink of the rum he's offered. Her reaction leaves him laughing, the sound probably a little too loud for the refined Salon. "Maybe it tastes better the second time around?" he shrugs to Shae, lifting his glass to swallow the thick, syrupy conconction. His whole face wrinkles up with the effort, and he belches afterward, pounding a fist into his chest. "Nope, nope it doesn't."
A backwards glance heralds a gentle smile upon Katarina's lipss, reaching back to draw an arm through Belladonna's own to make their progression toward the couches a more companionable affair. "Hardly not, 'Donna. You've a special beacon to reach me should you ever need me, if I recall correctly. You only ever need to abuse it and I shall come, just for you," the Valardin quips in good humor, skirt-swathed legs made to fold demurely benaeth the warmth of a blanket laid across her lap. "Stupidity is an affliction no even the most well-intentioned of us are immune to," she declares nobly to the Duchess of Setarco thereafter. Cambria is received with a smile of the greatest warmth, fingers wriggling in earnest wave. "Marquessa Mazetti. It's good to see you. Can I tempt you into trying a diabolical concoction that came to fruiton last Tea Time's meeting?"
"Lady Tyde, I don't believe I've had the pleasure of seeing you in quite some time. Welcome to Tea Talk!"
Cirroch lets out a laugh to Katarina, shaking his head as he says to her in a humorous, "If I can't solve my problems with a swing of an axe, ether means I didn't swing it hard enough or I needed more people with more axes." He turns his attention to Geralt next, shrugging, "Sure, you could use an sword, but I prefer axes. Axes have a symbolic history in my house, plus shavs tend not to like being cleaved down by a big man with a big axe."
Sparte is leaning against the wall in one of the side tables, having shown up earlier. Wilhelm and Gene sit with him, playing a game of cards between themselves. As for Sparte... He dozed off. A shaking of his shoulder by Gene rouses him when the debate starts to get under way, tired eyes being rubbed at as he attempts to bring focus to the fore.
Shae's cheeks are round like a puffer fish, as she swishes her mead through her teeth and over her tongue like a damn -barbarian-, trying to rid her tastebuds of that flavors. Swallowing, she makes a distasteful noises and rubs the roof of her mouth with her tongue, rapidly, dog-like, as she shudders on her barstool. "Geralt, that was -disgusting-, don't drink it again-" And he takes another sip. She sighs at him. "Is this what it's going to be like, being friends with you?" Her gray eyes, still amused, smile without the baring of her teeth.
6 Grimhall House Guards arrives, following Vanora.
Lethe continues to smile as she looks to Katarina. "Thank you. I'm happy to be here. I think the conversation will be very interesting." She takes a sip of her wine.
2 Grimhall House Guards, Gustav, a gruff Islander advisor arrive, following Valdemar.
Grinning unrepentantly at Katarina, Belladonna inclines her head, "And don't think I won't abuse it just to get your company, Kat." Then she's turning that warm and welcoming smile to Cambria, patting the seat next to her and offering, "Marquessa, how lovely to see you! You look fabulous by the way, one would never tell that you'd had a baby so recently. Congratulations! And for the love of the Gods, don't drink the concoction. Stick to wine, its by far the safer option." She pauses, then adds, "And -I'm- saying that." Looking over to Cirroch, she clucks her tongue, "No finesse, no finesse at all, Marquis! You really should give diplommacy a try sometimes, I hear your wife is wonderful at it!"
Geralt pounds on his chest a few more times, rubbing vigorously at his throat up under his beard afterward, as though he could chase the taste away. But in spite of the disgust on his face, his eyes are alight with amusement, particularly when he spies Shae there beside him. "Yes, yes it is," he replies to her simply, matter-of-factly, taking some of her seriousness with him in the statement. "Besides, you always have to try somethin' twice to see if you like it. And if you don't like it a second time, yanno what they say..." he's already pushing a third glass to himself, tipping it up to Shae. "Third time's the charm," he winks at her, then down the hatch that syrupy stuff goes, a full-bodied shiver (and there's a lot of body!) running through the man as he swallows. This time, he looks a little green around the gills. "..Where's the mead?" he chokes out, pawing for Shae's drink.
The Lady Vanora Grimhall and her husband arrive almost exactly on time, with Vanora's hand resting on the crook of Valdemar's arm as she speaks to him quietly. "...have already had with each other again and again, sometimes angrily and others not. I'm interested to bring you to a discussion on truth with people who aren't just me." Pale green eyes sparkle, and she looks around the room to find somewhere comfortable to sit, settling on a set of couches.
Vanora has joined the Private booth.
Valdemar has joined the Private booth.
"No thank you, your highness," Cambria says. "I prefer and am content with wine. A Lycene red, if you would," she says to the server who just so happens to be in the right place at the right time.
Lethe has joined the Far rear couches.
Shae already has another mead in her hand, for Geralt, to spare her own drink the folly of his ways. "Here," she says, giving the brew to him. "Drink slowly, swish it. GERALT. SWISH IT. It won't clean out all of that stuff and you'll be left with-
" but, she gives up and just sips from her mead, eyeing him. The man is a lost cause.
Cirroch lets out a little chuckle at Belladonna when she makes that suggestion to him, telling her, "Well, she must be good at it, since she stand living with me." He pauses a moment, before asking, "How are you, Duchess? Have you been keeping warm in this cool spell that you southerners call winter?"
Signe followed the bodies that filed into the Ambassador's salon perhaps seeking respite from the chilled weather outside. More people certainly meant something interesting. Nightgold lady gave herself a brisk wiggle to shed the flakes of snow that had clung to her thin winter cloak before venturing further into the salon.
Valdemar's stride is shortened some so that he can walk alongside his wife, nodding somewhat at what she is telling him as they enter the room. "Yes, I will be interested to hear what they have to say, as well," he admits in a low tone as he eases into a seat with her. His gaze drifts around the room for a moment before he calls over a server so that he can order mead for himself, and wine for his Lycene spouse.
"We'll have to finish that line of conversation another time," Katarina laughs brightly at Cirroch. "Else I'll never get this debate properly started." With that said, she lends an exasperated look to Belladonna. "You wound me," is all that is uttered before she rises gracefully from her seat. Golden eyes swivel over the gathered crowd in and around her couches, taking stock of the whos and forgetfuls - not one is forgetful in her gaze, her smile one of infectious warmth when eye contact is fostered.
"Welcome to Tea Talk," she introduces the debate with a flourishing toast of her teacup; actual tea. "These are informal debates designed to provoke conversation we might not usually broker amongst ourselves. The rules are simple: Respect the person speaking. Give their words consideration. If you must have side conversation, please limit it to your seating companions or wait until we can open the floor to free flowing comments."
"Tonight's debate is to see if we can answer two questions. Is human nature constant or is molded by culture? Can human nature be completely changed by culture of society?" There is a pause to let her questions sink in. "I'll share my thoughts on the topic first to open the floor, then we can call upon people to present their own thoughts. A few moments will be given to each speaker to let others pose questions or responses to them, but then we'll keep going. Any questions for me so far?"
Geralt sucks back nearly half the glass of mead before Shae's able to give her instructions, and he peers at her over the rim of the glass like she's lost her mind. Swish, she says? Well then swish he will! Geralt pulls in another swallow, filling his cheeks out with mead, swishing the alcohol so vigorously that some of the mead dribbles back out in his beard. "Bleechhh," he groans once the mead's swallowed, leaning into Shae to make a face at her. It wasn't just his tongue that was black now, his teeth were too. "Next time, we stick with a stout," he says to her, before his attention diverts to Katarina, as she lays out the ground rules of the evening.
"Ah," Cambria says to Belladonna, grinning. "You are too kind, Duchess." For the moment, however, Cambria does not add much to the conversation as the others filter in and greet and catch up before Katarina herself begins to prepare the floor.
Laughing lightly at Cirroch, Belladonna inclines her head, "I am -never- uncomfortable, my lord. A true Lycene is at ease no matter what their surroundings." She reaches for the glass of wine that's brought to her, taking a sip and savoring the flavor before adding cheekily, "Besides, I merely have extra braziers brought up and set around the outdoor areas. You can hardly tell its winter! I have to remember to extend an invitation to your wife for you and she to join us in Setarco sometime during the summer and I'll remember to ask you the same question." Smiling unrepentantly towards Katarina, she quiets down to let her friend speak, sipping at her wine once more.
Vanora has left the Private booth.
6 Grimhall House Guards leaves, following Vanora.
Shae hushes Geralt, gesturing to the speaking and talking, and speaks quietly with him at the bar a moment.
Cirroch has joined the Far rear couches.
Not long after they sit, Valdemar and Vanora put their heads together, whispering back and forth as the Grimhall heir's brow furrows. Nodding his head to her, he then waves over one of her guards and gives him instructions before they escort her back out of the salon with as little fanfare as possible, trying not to distract from the event's hostess. Once she has left, his attention returns to the matter at hand.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Shae before departing.
Signe takes up occupancy at the bar which brings her closer to the array of beverages all on display to accompany the discussion. She and the server are engaged in a back and forth over the selection until something 'new' is offered.
Signe has joined the Bar.
"When it comes to questions like these, a "nature versus nuture" kind, there will never be a wrong or right answer. Some qualities of humanity are innate, while others are gained through experiences throughout life," Katarina expresses her thoughts first. "An answer depends on our individualistic views, but I'm sure that there is some agreement that can be made."
"Perhaps it is easier to say what humanity is not, or will never be. But that is a road far too easy. So, instead. I wonder do I truly know what it means to be a human? We are not First Children or elven, such fantastical beings who's existences often stretch across centuries and make our own brief lives pale in comparison. We are as rich and varied as the day is long, and flawed and imperfect, but beautifully so."
Dreya, an older woman in Velenosan livery, 2 House Velenosa Guards, Ailfryd, a tall, thin man with a haugty air arrive, following Saoirse.
Dreya, an older woman in Velenosan livery, 2 House Velenosa Guards, Ailfryd, a tall, thin man with a haugty air leave, following Saoirse.
Belladonna has joined the line.
Geralt has joined the line.
Turn in line: Belladonna
Signe settled on some bubbling pink drink while partially turned towards the others within the salon. The debate begins and her attention shifts from the speaker, Katarina, to her companions at the bar.
Signe has joined the line.
Rising up, glass in hand, Belladonna nods to Katarina with a smile and offers, "I would posit that its because we, as humans, are unique to this world. The Gods are perfect ideals. Their Reflections are perfect opposites. Everything else that exists is at least in part an echo of the God or Reflection they serve or come from. But not humans. We alone stand as a species that is not an echo of any one thing, but of -all- things. We carry within us the capacity for great good and great evil in equal measure. Its we alone that -truly- have the freedom to choose what we will do with our short lifespans." She pauses for a drink, then adds, "And let us not forget, we were not always restricted to our natural lifespans. We'd once wielded magic and walked side by side with these same fantastical creatures. Its only been in the now that we have been so limited. And still we stand apart." She resettles herself back onto the couch and gives a nod to Katarina to show she's done.
Sparte speaks up from where he is still sitting at his table, tired and looking it. "Potential. That is what we have that makes humans unique, based on asking Skald that very question. He made us, and I wanted to know how." Sparte sighs. "He listed a bunch of things that sounded like the entire inventory of an apothecary's basket, but ended with potential. A bunch of specific terms and one very vague one. I don't know that clarifies anything, but it gave me quite a lot to think about."
When Belladonna rises to give her statement, Katarina fills her teacup with equal parts black tea, honey, and champagne. And when Sparte speaks up, chiming in his thoughts to the Duchess of Setarco's words, there is a quiet approval alighting within the moderator's golden gaze. "Potential is a rather vague, but also very -specific- thing," she opines. "It ties in with the freedom of choice; to do what wish, and the consequences or rewards that come with it."
Derovai has joined the line.
Cambria has left the Far rear couches.
5 House Mazetti Guardians, Possum, Marie leave, following Cambria.
Derovai heads in just before Belladonna and Sparte speak, leaning against the wall by the door, folding his arms, his gaze drifting from the noblewoman to the guardsman as he leans back and gets comfortable. "You /are/ potential, Sparte," he calls out, confirming the younger fellow's words, if somewhat obliquely. And then he settles back to listen.
Turn in line: Geralt
Geralt looks this way and that way around the Salon, his brow slowly arching higher and higher towards his hairline. Then, after taking a big drink of his mead, he shrugs his wide shoulders. "Fuck it," he mumbles to Shae there beside him, before he stretches to his full height. "How can you wonder what it's like to be human when you are human? You know what it means because it is what you are," he states bluntly. "Maybe you can be wonderin' what it means to be elven, but who would want to be wonderin' what it means to be one of them anyway?" Then, he sits back down on his stool, which groans under his weight, and takes another long drink of his mead, glancing over to Sparte. "If we're the only ones that got potential, then I feel sorry for the rest. What's the point in living, if you don't have potential?"
Derovai notes dryly, "People tell me I'm not human. Well, 'inhuman,' to be more exact." His smile is faint, and then he shrugs at Geralt. "The point is finding that potential. You'll know it when you've found it. Sounds like you haven't," he remarks, his gaze on Valdemar's booth for a moment or two. He doesn't move that way yet, though.
"Humans are inherently curious beings," Katarina proposes toward Geralt. "And one's experience as being a human is certainly not the same for the next person or another as culture goes. A Northman might be more concerned with survival because they live in harsh and inhospitable conditions, but that does not mean he is not curious about what a life different from his own is like. You try Lycene wines, told they're floofy and excessive and might not necessarily like it, but you try it because you're -curious- for the experience. That's what separates a human from an animal. We don't simply accept the world as it is. We strive to answer why after why after why in quest for knowledge. It is potential."
Turn in line: Belladonna
Katarina has joined the line.
Turn in line: Signe
"You should probably get yourself checked out then," Geralt remarks to Devorai on being inhuman, smirking a little.
Shae's clear, gray eyes look from one speaker to the next, her features calm, neutral. She tilts her head to catch Geralt's words, both at the bar and spoken to the group at large. She sips from her mug, quiet, observant.
Valdemar chuckles slightly at some of the exchanges made, but has nothing to add to the conversation so far, it seems. When he notices Derovai looking in his direction, he gestures to the other seat in the booth before taking a drink of mead and returning his attention to the debate.
Derovai has joined the Private booth.
Signe laughed lightly, her feet idly swinging from the barstool while the discussion continued back and forth. "Not all are curious to deviate from what they know. Can the not stay as they are and still explore this 'potential' we are comprised of? Also this champagne is delicious." She points to her wine glass with bubbling pink liquid within. "However it makes you gassy." Lips pressed tightly to conceal the rising burp that threatened to break free.
Shae reaches out to hit Geralt's shoulder, as Signe calls her champagne 'gassy'.
Geralt is like a stone wall. The hit to his shoulder does nothing except make him laugh so loudly that he burps, too. Maybe /all/ the drinks are gassy!
Sparte nods in agreement to what Geralt says, but doesn't contribute anything else at the moment. He drinks his cup of cooling black coffee, making a bit of a face as it goes down.
Katarina drinks deeply of her mixed tea, luxuriating in the warm beverage before setting it aside to deliberate over Signe's words. "That sounds like it could be a bit oxymoronic, don't you think? How can you really explore your potential but never break away from the safety of what you know?"
2 Novice Keaton Huntsmen, River, a juvenile Oakhaven bloodhound arrive, following Amari.
Turn in line: Derovai
Derovai smiles briefly at Geralt. "Already have been. Hasn't done any good. So what's the question: what it means to be human? Not the meaning of our potential, and something, something, 'you have all the potential in the world; you only have to exercise it,' like a bad novel for children?" He strolls over to the Thrax lord's table at the invitation, settling at the booth with a few quiet words for Valdemar, and then adds, "My experience, as being a particularly inhuman or inhumane -- decide as you will -- human is that there aren't many answers to those 'why' questions that we have, Your Highness." He jabs his chin at Katarina. "If you do know the why, then you're ahead of the rest of all of us, and do share with the crowd. Gods know I'd like to know, at least. Or, you know, feel free to waffle on with meaningless platitudes." There's only the slightest joking twist to his words. Just barely.
"The question was if human nature was constant, or is it molded by culture? Can human nature be completely changed by culture or society," Katarina recounts the original questions with a faint quirk of her lips toward Derovai. "As the definition of human nature is something that will never be universal, it's easy to say that it can be molded by culture and society. The rules of one society will never be the same for another. What virtues they laud or disapprove of varies."
"I thought the question was about how bein' human shapes our culture or something," Geralt remarks to Derovai, though it's mostly rhetorical. He leans to the side and nudges Shae in the arm with his shoulder, and then chuckles to himself.
Sparte has joined the line.
Cirroch has left the Far rear couches.
Turn in line: Geralt
Amari slips in on her own, and a bit late if she was aiming to attend the talk. A quick inventory is taken of faces, familiar and not as she makes her way to the bar out of the way for now. Katarina is given a respectful dip of her head but she's careful not to interupt or disturb, beyond that, and a subtle wiggle of finger to Lethe paired with a warm smile. At the bar proper, she notices Shae and goes right for her mouthing a hello. Geralt and Signe both get quick smiles too.
Amari has joined the Bar.
Belladonna has left the Far rear couches.
5 Pravus Honor Guard, Aida leave, following Belladonna.
Katarina is overheard praising Belladonna.
Lethe has left the Far rear couches.
Lethe has joined the Bar.
6 Grimhall House Guards, Seryna, a charming Lycene handmaiden arrive, following Vanora.
Katarina is overheard praising Belladonna.
Derovai shoots Katarina a bored look at her refinement of the topic, and his voice turns flat. "I don't know. You're Eurusi by birth. Like I said, share with the crowd. Do you feel any different, as a human, from the rest of us sitting here? When you look at us, do you see human beings like yourself, or are we somehow lesser or greater? How does Eurusi culture tell you to approach that?" He shrugs at Geralt's rhetorical question, but offers nothing further.
Vanora has joined the Far rear couches.
Shae listens to Derovai's words and finally looks quite interested in Katarina's following response.
Whatever reason Vanora had for suddenly fleeing the Salon must have been handled, because after several minutes she walks back in out of the cold. Green eyes glance around briefly and she walks towards the back to settle on some couches. Valdemar's eye is caught and she gives him a tiny little wave, likely an indicator that everything is fine, or close enough.
Amari looks to Derovai and Katarina, likely trying to catch up on the discussion as she gets situated at the bar and has some quiet words with those assembled there already. If she has any opinions she keeps them to herself for now.
Signe has left the Bar.
Katarina smiles blithely at Derovai, genuinely amused. "I was the Crown Princess of a land vastly different from all the fealties, and would make even the most decadent of Lycenes that I know markedly uncomfortable with their level of mystique and secrecy. Sitting here, now as a Princess of House Valardin and at the mercy of a Peerage who had the potential to shun me and villify me because I am different but chose not to do that, but give me the chance to prove my worth by becoming a citizen of the Compact - a prodigal, by the very definition? It /is/ different, yes. It is almost an entirely different world; the Compact is day to that kingdom's night. So, in my experiences, -yes-, I see human beings like myself here. Because I am not of the same ilk that is my father and mother, King and Queen of another country. I did not accept what I saw and refused to just quietly explore my potential. I chose to reject it, be different, seek the truth."
Turn in line: Katarina
Turn in line: Sparte
Derovai nods towards soemthing he catches from the bar. "So you see humans. You didn't say if you felt the same, or different, from myself, and you didn't say how Eurusi culture colors that, although the implication is your mother and father would disagree with you indeed." He slides out of the booth, nodding at Valdemar, strolling towards the couches where Vanora has settled, taking his drink with him that he obtained. "You do like platitudes, don't you?" he notes to Katarina as he approaches. "May we?" Apparently he's fully expecting Valdemar to accompany, given the plural.
Derovai has left the Private booth.
Derovai has joined the Far rear couches.
Shae watches Derovai as he speaks, a flicker of approval in her eyes as she listens, clear gaze turning back to the room at large to observe their responses.
Sparte listens a bit more attentively as he wakes up, nodding a little here and there before finally raising his hand for a moment. "Please forgive me for interjecting twice. It is my... Sense, that we are not easily defined. The lack of a definition that holds true to all humans is in a way the meaning of what it is to be human. We are the exception to every rule, including that we are the exception." Another face as a sip of coffee flows down. "In contrast, we don't know the exact origin of the alfar, and essentially nothing of the origin of the spirits or old gods depending on what term you find more appropriate. Then there are other races, the animals of petrichor, the dwarves who are... Well, I don't know what. Simply that their name exists. The first children as well. All these myriads beings, so much older and more complex than us. Yet there are no stories of them going against their own nature that have reached my ears. Not a one of them changing."
Valdemar waves back to his wife in between speaking quietly with Derovai at the booth where they are sitting. He slides out of the booth at about the same time the other man does, picking up his glass of mead to carry it over toward where Vanora is now sitting. "Welcome back," he tells her, leaning over to kiss her briefly before he eases onto the couch beside her.
Valdemar has left the Private booth.
Valdemar has joined the Far rear couches.
"It's sort of hard to speak on the mythical species that we don't truly know anything about," Katarina points out toward Sparte. "It's easier to base an argument in the realm of what we all know, else there's no point in facillitating a conversation when the participants are on no equal footing with information that's readily available. And to that end, I do think that's a natural conclusion to this debate. Is there anything else anyone would like to add?"
Derovai settles at the couches, grinning at something Vanora says, and adding something more quietly to the couch. He then looks up towards Sparte, and there's a moment where it seems he might be digesting the words. "So you're saying we're the only ones who have the will to do so, or the... drive to do so, so to speak? I can believe that. Gods know I act against my own nature all the Gods-damned day. I'm actually a very nice person," he drawls, sipping his drink, and sort of floating a hand in Katarina's direction, a flaky type of gesture. "Ask her."
Sparte dips his head in acknowledgement of Katarina's point, leaning back to finish off his coffee with a final pained expression and a rueful look into the empty cup.
"Are we just gonna ignore the fact that your avoidin' that man's questions?" Geralt's voice raises up in question as Katarina calls for a close of the evening. Then, he simply shrugs his shoulders. "Or maybe we're holdin' it for next time's conversation," he decides, before looking back to Shae and the rest of the group at the bar. "We should do shots of somethin'."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Derovai before departing.
Katarina arches her brows at Geralt, the corners of her mouth upturning slowly. "What makes you think I didn't answer his questions?" she challenges his accusation.
"Well," Amari says quietly from the bar, more like she meant to chase it with a 'damn', rather than use it like a verbal foot in the door to launch into a long argument. She frowns faintly, and having missed the beginning, she has to ask the debaters, "It sounds like some bushes were beat, or at least rustled slightly. Was anything determined? I think I might have missed the conclusion, if one was given."
"Uh, the fact that you didn't answer it," Geralt replies to Katarina plainly. "You just vomitted out a bunch of pretty words without actually, yanno, puttin' those words together to have real meaning." He lifts a wide shoulder. "And when he called you out on it, you just ignored him and moved on," he points out.
Shae looks to Amari. "This is the first 'debate' or 'discussion' I've attended in a formal setting. Are they all like this?" She also leans in to wrap her arms around her cousin for a firm, affectionate embrace. Just beause.
Derovai grins a little too brightly at Katarina, and then he looks up towards Geralt, lifting his drink in a salute towards the other man. "You new here? You've just identified one of the most common things about this city, whether you know it or not. Welcome to Arx," he notes dryly, sprawling back on the couches. Something said further at the couch makes him splutter a bit on his drink, although the sharp-eyed can probably tell it's more of a show than anything real.
Amari returns the Shae-hug with not a bit of fuss or embarrassment, keeping an ear perked for what she was curious about, but holding her tongue. Something being spoken of at the bar though, it makes her arch a brow high and the grimace that goes with it is not well suppressed.
"Ah, see, now /there's/ a question for debate. Why are the people in Arx so afraid to say what they mean?" Geralt quips back to Devorai, "But thank ya for the warm welcome there, sir," he tips his head to the man. "I've at least found a group that I can tolerate."
Vanora is overheard praising Katarina: Poised even when displeased. Lovely.
Katarina drinks deep of her rumtea, gracefully draining it dry. "Well let me try to answer that question again so we can all be on the same page about it," she offers benevolently, turning to face the Salon more fully after a moment's contemplation. "When I look at you all, I see everything that the Kingdoms of Eurus cannot be. They chose to use their potential to embrace one extreme and it led them down a markedly different path. Here, in Arvum, we made a different choice that I can say I accept and strive to embody everyday. We're not slavers. We're ideallystic and hopeful, striving to be better and good." She looks pointedly at Derovai. "So, frankly speaking, I don't see myself any differently than any Arvani because I -see- myself as an Arvani and not an Eurusi. I would appreciate it greatly if you, Derovai Voss, didn't go out of your way to antagonize me and villify me for being different every time we happen to come into contact."
Geralt's bistre eyes settle on Katarina for a solemn minute, before he nods his head. "Well. Those are pretty words, too," he remarks, before he looks back to his companions. "I'm all for watching people kick the shit out of each other. Somethin' far more truthful in that," he says to his companions, before he quirks an arm and offers it to Shae. "Let's go."
"There's the answer I was looking for," Derovai replies easily. "I guess she's not afraid anymore," he tells Geralt, nodding in Katarina's direction. "I antagonize everyone. Don't think of yourself as being any different on that account. The fact that I antagonize you means you're not, /at all/. If I thought you were different, something to be feared or avoided, I wouldn't treat you like I treat everyone else in this city." Another salute is sent Geralt with his glass as he moves to take his leave. "I like you," he points out, no sarcasm in the words.
Shae was with Katarina until that last, her head turning to look at Derovai. "I don't understand what your personal issues with the gentleman have anything to do with your answer, or the question. But my mother tells me I'm constantly missing nuance," she concedes, and shrugs.
3 Armed Confessors arrives, following Faye.
"I like you too, boy," rumbles out Geralt to Derovai, offering a big grin. And with that, Geralt leads his small group out the door of the Salon.
Amari finishes her drink and sets the glass aside, there's a vague smile at Derovai as though she's at least somewhat amused, then a formal curtsey to Katarina. "Your Highness. Thank you for organizing all this."
3 Armed Confessors leaves, following Faye.
Geralt has left the Bar.
Shae has left the Bar.
Mal, a devious raccoon, Daegmund, an Oakhaven Shepherd leave, following Shae.
Amari has left the Bar.
2 Novice Keaton Huntsmen, River, a juvenile Oakhaven bloodhound leave, following Amari.
Lethe has left the Bar.
Shae, Amari, Lethe leave, following Geralt.
Vanora finally speaks up loud enough to be heard again. "Yes, Highness thank you so much, and I'm so sorry I had to miss part. Only several more months of this torture, and then I will be subjected to all sorts of new ones." Her voice is bright however, perky, and she nods to Valdemar in silent request to be helped to her feet.
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