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Written By Rukhnis

June 21, 2020, 2:30 p.m.(7/8/1013 AR)

"The voice of the people must be heeded while it is still a whisper, or it becomes a roar."

This, I have read, is the motto of the Commoners Council.

This Council has existed, so far as I have been able to discover, for several years now. It has, from what I have also read, held elections for new members within the last three.

And yet, we have just heard in deafening measure the roar of the people, crying out angrily for food, for security, for fairness, for their lives. And so, this begs the question: who was heeding the whisper?

The words I have written above concerning the Commoners Council are derived, as one can see, from what I have been able to discover by combing the city records for fragments of information. This information has not been derived from any public meeting of the Council, nor from ever once speaking to any of them in the person of Council members, nor from hearing any word issued by them until the recent roaring of a suffering people finally made itself heard. And beyond such additional small scraps of information, such as the names and ranks of the people presently serving, this is the entirety of what I have ever discovered, though I myself have lived in Arx for three years now.

This being the case, when I heard of the elections to be held, and put my name forward for consideration, I found that I had many, many questions about the Council.

Does the council meet regularly, I wondered, or only to address special concerns and crises? If the former, when and how often? If the latter, what concerns has it met specifically to address, and what actions have been taken?

Does the council hold open forums to which all commoners are invited to attend and air their concerns? If so, how often? If not, what is the method by which concerns are brought to the attention of the council?

Do different representatives focus on the concerns of different groups of commoners, so that peasants, tradesmen, immigrants, the general populace of the Lowers versus the Uppers, etc., each have somebody who is well versed in their own unique concerns to speak particularly on their behalf? Or do all representatives attempt to address the concerns of all commoners at once?

And, perhaps my most pressing question of all: Why did the Council not open communications and strive towards greater activity /before/ the latest crisis, when some of the worst of the suffering might have been averted or at least alleviated through focused action and foresight beforehand, rather than only once things had reached a catastrophic tipping point?

These questions perhaps make me sound very unforgiving towards the Council. But in truth, I mean no insult towards them, as I know they are people of good character and still better intentions, who have in fact done good in the Compact. And gods know that one cannot anticipate everything, and that there has been no lack of serious troubles abroad in the world to distract us all and draw us away from our goals. Nevertheless, I feel that it is vitally important for those who are serving on the Council to view that service as foremost among their various duties, and not as something that can be set aside while seemingly more pressing matters call out.

Is there, in fact, any more pressing matter than the happiness and well-being of the vast majority of people who make up the Compact?

The problems that commoners presently face, not just in the Lower Boroughs, not just in Arx, but across all Arvum -- poverty, hunger, poor housing, sparse education, exploitation by the ruthless, limited opportunities to fully use their native skill and intelligence, the view that they are somehow less than the present leaders of society -- are very difficult ones, and will not be simple to resolve. I do not pretend to have the answers to these questions myself. But I also do not /intend/ to have the answers to them myself. The Commoners Council should exist to allow the people themselves a voice, not to be a voice unto themselves that speaks over that of the people, thinking they know what is best for commoners as a whole.

How can the Council expect even to know what the concerns of commoners are, let alone address and solve them, if it does not communicate regularly with them? How are we as commoners supposed to put our faith in the Council, if we are not encouraged to see them as truly our representatives, as /us/, the means by which we collectively work our will in the Compact?

What I would most wish as a new member of the Council is to hear from others, to find out what most interests them, what most troubles them, what they feel are the greatest problems and challenges they face. I wish to hear their ideas for the future, and what paths they themselves would like to take to attain that future. Knowing what people's concerns are, and knowing also what they might like to see done to address them, the Council should work together among themselves to devise a practicable course of action based on these wishes of others -- and then fight to see it enacted. I would like also to help enable commoners to better help themselves, to devise their own projects, fund their own fondest schemes, and not need to rely upon the benevolence of nobles and other powerful people to achieve their goals.

But in the end, commoners cannot solve all their problems individually, by themselves -- for the most fundamental problems they face are very large and deeply entrenched, and there are many in positions of power who will work against them; just as the powerful in Eurus have crushed those beneath them who oppose slavery, and as those in the Compact who have relied upon the forced servitude of others for their own benefit have worked against the abolition of thralldom. And even if such people do not work against commoners outright, they will attempt to turn a deaf ear to their voices, while others who might truly wish to work for change simply fail to hear the whispers. I would strive to ensure, with the others on the Council, that nobody can fail to hear; that the voices of the commoners ring loud and clear from the streets of Arx to the great halls of the nobles to the throne room itself. Not only because this is what the Council's own mission promises to do, but because we have seen for ourselves with these latest calamities that it is for the good of the Compact as a whole that this should be so.

All commoners are not alike, and we will among ourselves have different afflictions and aspirations, and different ways of tackling problems. All of us will have different ideas, different strengths, different ways of acting and speaking. I wish to see this great variety working together, drawing collective strength from our individuality, and speaking in concert -- whether in a whisper or a roar. I wish to work harder to bring the Commoners Council to the people, and the people to the Commoners Council. But in the end, it does not truly matter whether I myself am elected to the Council, so long as this body renews its sense of purpose in just this way and helps give all of us our voice, whether we sit upon the Council or not.

The Council should empower commoners, not attempt to appease them. The Council should listen to commoners carefully, and devote their time to speaking /with/ them, before they ever attempt to speak /for/ them.

The Council should be us. All of us.

Written By Rukhnis

April 20, 2020, 9:42 a.m.(2/23/1013 AR)

From Tanith and Raymesin's very fine party I have learned that it is, evidently, a thing horrifying beyond all human endurance to put one's hand through a hole in a box full of what are almost certainly earthworms and keep it there for any measurable length of time. This being the case, however, I have obtained a nice sum of money which can be put towards good causes which I have in mind.

.. I am not at all sure about these shoes, though.

Written By Rukhnis

April 1, 2020, 12:38 p.m.(1/13/1013 AR)

New life emerges even from the depths of winter. I am glad beyond telling that Lady Emma and Lady Arcadia Crovane arrived in the world with a father to greet them, and grateful to all those who helped ensure this was so. May these two grow up happy and secure in the love of both their parents as well as the many others who already care for them, and may their lives always know the warmth and kindness of spring even when the world is in wintertime.

Written By Rukhnis

Feb. 5, 2020, 10:19 a.m.(9.354240244708995/13.837453703703705/1012.696186687059 AR)

Relationship Note on Cyril

I hope that whenever one reads of such bleakness as this that the Dune Kingdoms bear, that it will only do that much more to remind us that the people of Eurus have suffered under as much cruelty and oppression as any in the world, and that we must receive those who are fleeing such depthless misery with all the compassion and care that Arvum can muster.

Written By Rukhnis

Dec. 2, 2019, 6:01 p.m.(4/21/1012 AR)

I find little that is glad in the world of late, but the healthy birth of Lord Nakoa Crovane is one bright glimmer of light in the heavy dark. May this innocent soul grow up full of joy and song, be ever surrounded by those who understand him most deeply yet love him even when they do not, and never suffer as other innocents in this world do.

Written By Rukhnis

Dec. 2, 2019, 5:56 p.m.(4/21/1012 AR)

Relationship Note on Reigna

In my time since coming to Arx, I have encountered one person who is to me the exemplar of all the highest ideals of the medical profession. Her skill in mending others is a wonder to behold, her knowledge of the healing arts a marvel, her sense of duty transcends mere conscientiousness. When the terrible blight came into Arx on the slavers' ship and afflicted so many, she worked beyond the edge of exhaustion to treat all its victims, whether foreigner or friend. Indeed she has had faith in me where many others would surely have hesitated to trust one of my heritage, and it has been only through her trust and assistance that I have been able to serve the sick and the wounded of Arx to even so small a degree as I can claim. But however great my own gratitude, it can only pale beside that of the many scores of people whom she has helped, within the city and beyond.

In short, I cannot imagine anyone filling the role of an Assistant Crown Minister in the field of health with greater capability, compassion, or care than Marquessa Reigna Keaton.

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