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Salon Discussion: Allegory, Metaphor, and Legend (The Horned God)

The Salon gathers to discuss the fantastical and things that many know aren't truly a part of reality, but exist in the realm of parable and imagination. In a new series of discussions, the Salon comes together to weave a conversation around the mythos of the Abandoned warlord who has a thing for archaic headwear. Together the members and visitors will seek to pull back the layers of this particular onion that they may hopefully discover some kernel of truth or understanding regarding the extravagant tales that have been attributed to the figure. This is intended to provide an opportunity for the group to examine the elements of the tale and separate fact from fiction, as well as potentially examine the Compact and its people in regard to the stories that they create in reflection of themselves.

Refreshments will be provided. This week's summertime morsels will consist of watermelon wedges lightly seasoned with oregano and diluted bacon grease.

This is also an opportunity to experience the wonderful interior design work of Guildmaster Caprice Artiglio in all its plush comfort, artistic glory, and sensible design.


Dec. 1, 2021, 8:30 p.m.

Hosted By



Cosimo Vitalis Raven Cambria Orland Gio Watcher Kiera Caprice Dante Isolde Rook Ian Cesare


The Salon


Arx - Ward of the Compact - The Empirical - The Salon

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Pyx arrives, following Gio.

Gio has joined the low-rising couches flanking a carved table.

Another gathering of the Salon is convened. This time Hadrian can be found at the bar, nursing a tall glass of milk and a delightful summertime morsel in the form of a wedge of watermelon, perfectly seasoned by oregano and a splash of bacon grease. When the Duke places his watermelon wedge aside, he sweeps up his glass of milk and takes a healthy portion down the hatch. Following that brief preparation, he rises up from his place at the goldenwood bar and begins to approach the thickest part of the Salon's gathered guests and patrons. A sweep of his arm is given, which results in the his milk sloshing dangerously about within his tall glass while he indicates the decor of the Salon, "Let's hear a cheer for Guildmaster Caprice Artiglio for her exceptional designs and decor! She's fantastic and everyone should love her!" he proclaims with cheerful brightness. He follows this mention with a nod, "And thank you of course to the generous donation of Duchess Cambria of House Mazetti for the funds to be able to supply everyone with these exquisite comforts. The bust in her honor will be commissioned eventually".

He arrests control of his milk, or at least the glass and thus the contents, before he permits himself another brief drink from the container. When the glass is lowered, Hadrian's voice casts out and across the gathering, despite the fact that it becomes a touch more stern, "This evening we're gathering to discuss legends and metaphors, then going to have an open discussion about what exactly those mean to us as a people". He sets the glass of milk aside as he begins to move to a seat, elaborating further as he continues his leisurely stroll with one hand tucked away at the small of his back.

"The Horned God," he announces with a slight roll of his eyes to join with his speaking the name, "an Abandoned chieftain with a penchant for questionable headdress and luring Abandoned into following his banner. Some say the figure is more than that, but at the very least there are valuable lessons to teach us of the Compact. There's also stories to be told to scare our children into behaving properly. Where does truth end and legend begin? Why have we crafted this fanciful tale about some random Abandoned chieftain? What can we teach ourselves from these stories? There are many lessons in the form of prose, metaphor, and allegory that we can derive from this tale. What wisdoms are best extracted from these tales?" Finally Hadrian casts a look about as he settles down into his seat, a casual wave of his hand clearly acting as a signal. One that welcomes a new speaker to join the fray.

Hadrian has joined the scattered chairs in various elegant styles.

1 Iron Guardsmen, 3 Black Fleet Reavers, Moonsilver, the pale-feathered raven arrive, following Raven.

Cosimo steps into the room, pausing to assess the crowd. He offers a polite smile to anyone who looks his way as he steps to the side, keeping his distance.

Philippe arrives, following Orland.

Hadrian is overheard praising Caprice: She's pretty great and her sense of style is exceptional!

Hadrian is overheard praising Cambria: Her generosity is fantastic!

Vitalis arrives arm in arm with Lady Kiera, the two speaking quietly. Vitalis shakes his head, lips pursed, and then brightens to see the room full and a call for praise of Caprice. He turns looks of Kiera's arm to applaud her and tips his head to Kiera, speaking quietly before heading to the goldenwood bar.

Raven arrives as unobtrusively as possible, no doubt aware she is more than fashionable late. She is flanked by guards who follow her to a nearby seat someplace out of the way. For some insane reason the lower half of her face is obscured by a steelsilk bandana tied about her nose and mouth bandito style.

Cambria, who had arrived earlier, inclines her head ever so slightly when Hadrian makes mention of her donation to the gathering. "A commemorative bust is not necessary," she demurs. "I was happy to provide. The true honor goes to Guildmaster Caprice - her work? Exquisite, as always." Thereafter, Cambria seeks out a place to sit for the evening. She pointedly avoids the snacks on offer, however, as though perhaps the idea of watermelon covered in bacon grease and oregano was somehow not appealing. Imagine that!

Orland finds himself with time on his hands this evening to arrive at the Salon discussion. It is a topic after all that is relevant to matters as they are, so he's here. "Yes, make sure you take notes," he says as an aside to Philippe, "Where should we sit?" Though he spots Raven - is it Raven - with that bandito style banada around the bottom half of her face. He creeps on over toward her and tap taps her shoulder, "Is that you Raven?"

" --Guildmaster Caprice is extraordinary," Gio murmurs, dropping himself into one of the low-standing couches near a very orantely decorated table. With a crane of his head, his eyes lid, and he leans a little as though he were trying to figure out what kind of figures are hiding in the wood. Gio's lips press thin, he rubs a thumb between his pinched eyebrows, and he follows the pensive thought with a follow-up, said aloud: "It might be that it is a metaphor for nature and the unknown, and the desperate need to lay claim over everything - including the wilds - and those that live outside our social norm."

Raven has joined the tiered benches ringing The Forum.

A red haired woman wearing a mix of wools and leathers - a bit humble for the surroundings - arrives without fanfare or comment. She considers the room for a moment, or more likely its occupants, before she crosses to an empty chair and sits herself down.

Kiera has a bright smile on her face as she enters with vitalis, exchanging words before joining in the applause for caprice as he releases her arm as he heads for the bar, she heads for the seating. upon choosine one, she momentarily puts her journal on the seat next to her to reserve it for the clement lord

Caprice has arrived a little early - to claim a good seat, though she doesn't seem too embarrassed to have also come in time to catch complimentary comments. She dips her head in thanks to Hadrian, Cambria and the others, turning a quick smile and round of quiet applause to the Duchess Mazetti in turn. As the discussion gets underway, she discreetly moves to collect refreshments for herself, listening in.

Raven looks up at Orland, rising politely with a soft grunt of discomfort and half bowing, "Aye, t'is. Welcome to sit with me if you like my lord." she remains standing waiting for him to sit or wander off before she herself sits.

Orland has joined the tiered benches ringing The Forum.

Kiera has joined the scattered chairs in various elegant styles.

Vitalis has joined the scattered chairs in various elegant styles.

Watcher has joined the scattered chairs in various elegant styles.

Orland looks back to consider the other visitors at the salon, from Gio sitting over on the couches to which he gives a raise of a hand to, to Vitalis and Kiera, then an unknown wool and leather clad woman followed by Caprice. He ohs softly and applauds, catching on there was something to applaud about. That said he slides into a bench seat next to Raven, "I'm curious about your new fashion choices. It looks good."

Cambria has joined the low-rising couches flanking a carved table.

Vitalis returns from the bar with a glass of milk and a mug. Weaving through the throng he greets those he knows with a smile and a quiet murmur. Orland, Raven, Caprice. And a bow to Duchess Cambria and Duke Hadrian as he joins Kiera among the scattered chairs.

Raven says, "I'm an mystery, wrapped in an enigma, smothered in paradox sauce."

"Oh, I insist, Duchess Mazetti," Hadrian remarks with a devilish grin at the discussion of a commemorative bust. He does promptly turn his attention to regard Gio and the pensive thought given a voice. A nod is offered in return, along with a quiet sound of idle agreement or acknowledgment. The bow sent from Vitalis earns a lift of Hadrian's chin, but he's prompt in returning his attention to Gio. While he may take a moment to look from this face or that throughout the gathering, inevitably his focus returns to Gio when Hadrian responds, "A reasonable theory, I think. How do you believe the deitification factors into that metaphor? I feel like that goes beyond the claiming of everything you behold, whether that's the wilds or otherwise. Perhaps a caution against thinking ourselves greater than the Pantheon, whether as individuals or a culture?"

Raven's eyes flicker in a blinkity-blink and there's something sharply hissed at Orland which might be a 'what?'. Her makeshift veil flutters with her breath as she lowers her voice.

Andre, the messenger who can't even arrives, following Dante.

Jaxon, Champion of the Reflection, Bruiser, a merle teacup chihuahua wearing a diamond collar, Slaine, a wallflower, Rex, a large blue cane corso mastiff arrive, following Isolde.

Watcher nods to Orland as he passes. Otherwise, she's settled, and having done so, she doesn't appear to be interested in doing anything else at the moment. She slumps a little in her seat, crosses her arms, and listens with a narrow-eyed intensity.

Dante slides on into the Salon quietly with Andre in tow. A quick bow is given to Saoirse, then he plants himself on a stool at the bar.

Dante has joined the plush stools lined before a goldenwood bar.

Cambria acknowledges Vitalis bow with a nod of her head, although she chooses to take a seat at the low rising couches flanking a carved table. Her expression is largely neutral, though there is a faint wrinkling of her brow at Gio's commentary to the evening's topic of discussion. Something said privately, however, has Cambria responding in turn.

That done, she addresses Hadrian's questions with one of her own, "But who primarily views this figure as a deity? Certainly not we Arvani."

Cosimo has joined the scattered chairs in various elegant styles.

Isolde has joined the scattered chairs in various elegant styles.

"Honestly, my lord Hadrian," Gio remarks in agreement, dry, "eventually it all becomes a religious metaphor - a morality tale, hmm, that we should all remain humble - meek." The scholar shifts on the couch that he's chosen to settle in, moving one way - another, until the discomfort of the curve of his back eases.

Saoirse has joined the plush stools lined before a goldenwood bar.

Orland has left the tiered benches ringing The Forum.

Orland has joined the scattered chairs in various elegant styles.

Jeeves, a sophisticated valet , 7 Silvershields arrive, following Rook.

Kiera takes the milk and her journal with a nod to vitalis "Thank you" . she settles in for the discussion

After a brief word shared with Raven, Orland departs with a determined look on his face. He shares a polite bob of his head for those who require it out of respect for their rank, but he's aiming for Lord Vitalis, "My Lord, a moment?"

Without any fuss, Isolde slips into the Salon, a little on the late side but it doesn't take long for her to get settled into one of the chairs and start listening to where they are at.

Caprice has joined the scattered chairs in various elegant styles.

Rook has joined the scattered chairs in various elegant styles.

Arriving at least a few minutes after the start, Rook makes his way over towards the assemblage quietly, eager to avoid causing any interuption or make a scene. He slips into a chair, listening to follow along with wherever the conversation has drited to.

Vitalis listens to the conversation as it warms up, not commenting. Not yet. He looks around and blinks at Orland, sitting forward, inviting Orland to sit near.

Orland looks toward Vitalis with some gratitude as he quickly seats himself near to Vitalis, leaning over to engage in a private conversation, swiftly as if not to detract from the salon at large.

Kiera hms "to add to that, i think that it shows how our own choices can either feed or weaken our enemy. it's easy to see the threat as being wholly outside us but inside as well"

"Perhaps it can be considered a tale about retaining what makes one an individual and not a faceless part of the masses, lead without thought by a figure with nefarious intentions." Isolde suggests, having gathered herself, dark eyes drifting between the different faces in the room. "We should definitely not remain meek." She shakes her head at this. "The meek are easily manipulated."

Raven says, "Action ain't enough. Intent, belief, matters. Most part of things like rituals ain't about the things one sacrifices, or handles in the ritual but the emotion or focus that it lends. So it ain't about meek or bold. It's about acting with /purpose/ on purpose, with intent at key points. I know I'm a poor person to be commenting on boldness don't matter, but perhaps I've just been a slow learner on that point. You gotta act-not as a guess or in absence something better to try but act only when you can do so with purpose and a focused, specific intent. An how actions are perceived or received-that matterts too."

"Ah," Hadrian's left hand features a finger that shoots up at the voice of Isolde. His wrist pivots, aiming that pointing finger toward the princess in question, "That sounds like an awfully fine concept. Far too often it's easy for us to be lulled into the safety and security of being yet another of the mouth-foaming, screeching masses. The acceptance afforded by going with the crowd can be an intoxicating thing. While there are moments where it's reasonable and the right thing to do? There are just as many times that it is not," Hadrian further comments with a few shallow bobs of his head, clearly in agreement with Isolde's words. Then his attention shifts from her, his hand lowers, and he turns his attention to Cambria. He offers her a nod and a soft smile, "You're right, we certainly do not. I believe the answer may be: himself. First and foremost, at least. Perhaps there's some lesson tucked away in there about the corrupting influence of power, when we allow it to affect our egos?" Hadrian's eyebrows dance upward, curl higher near the center of his brow, before finally dropping down again. Then he's off, searching for the next point of view to be heaped onto the contribution pile.

Cosimo shifts his weight slightly as the mention of being meek. He shifts his eyes briefly from the crowd to the floor, blinks three times, then adjusts his posture to a more upright stance and looks back to the gathering.

Vitalis notices his attaché waving for his attention and winces. There's a brief flurried exchange of hand movements and with appologies to those near, he rises and departs.

Vitalis has left the scattered chairs in various elegant styles.

a blue and gold macaw, Renard leave, following Vitalis.

Better late than never? Ian comes in after a soft exchange with someone by the door. He moves carefully, mostly watching his own footsteps as he passes over the unfamiliar ground, and carries his upper body with a care that probably has something to do with the bandage on his chest, dimly visible through his shirt.

Kiera hms "humility and strength are not necessarily opposites

Raven spies Ian and lifts her good hand to finger wave and beckon in invitation for him to join.

"Mm, so, the commons should not remain meek, your Highness, thank you for that validation." With a polite incline of his head, Gio turns to ask Raven, curious. " - what does that mean, acting with purpose, in regard to the allegory of the Horned God?"

Orland finishes up a word with Vitalis and pans his attention back toward Hadrian, where for a while he listens to the various points of view on the subject matter. He watches Vitalis excuse himself and nods to the man, leaning forward, "There's such a turn of phrase called going against the grain and that it will chafe. It is terribly hard to stand up against the flood of opinion of those you respect and trust, carrying you toward one resolution less you be left standing on your own and outcast. Being an outlier is a fear that many of us in this very room may share. The fear of being dishonored in the eyes of our friends, family, and peers. That alone has the weight to set people into motion to carry a belief that may not be completely their own." He adds, "Though I do believe if we say something enough times, we begin to believe it. So if you get the masses to say something enough times, they begin to believe it. Words are powerful. Sometimes we can say something and help that reality come to be. That's why we have goals and dreams and ambitions, spoken outloud or written down, it moves us in that direction. Imagine if everyone in this room had the same goal, exactly the same, down to the way it was spoken. Wouldn't there be a greater power in that? No deviations."

"They most certainly should not." Isolde tilts her head to Gio, a curious smile on her lips. "They are human, after all. No human should be meek - it goes against our nature."

Ian looks around, blinking; his eyes move fast, taking in details of those gathered, the way people are sitting, the directions they lean, what they're doing with their hands. Whether there are ninjas on the ceiling, apparently, because he looks at the ceiling. Then he goes to join Raven, and gives the bench a look before easing himself onto it. Judging from his expression, the question he asks her immediately after sitting down is some permutation of 'What the fuck?', but none of the actual words carry.

Ian has joined the tiered benches ringing The Forum.

Dolente, a mourning dove, Dolce, a collared dove arrive, following Cesare.

Raven considers Gio's question, "I'm not sure I have a coherent way to explain it. I have an idea, I know what it looks like, what it feels like, I know how emotions and interactions carry a weight and ripple and intermingle in ways while I distantly get as an abstract concept, I'll never understand more than a toddler who's learned colors trying to describe a master's work." She purses her lips and hrrrms, "Alright. So. I reckon some folk here already done their primum cleansing, no? You had to sacrifice thirteen things, right? It PROBABLY wasn't about the objects it was about the willingness to give up things which were important to you-that willingness to sacrifice and the attachment or importance. So not JUST the sacrifice, not JUST your willingness to do so, but the emotional 'weight' of either your attachment or the emotions it evoked. You can act and you are physically moving the physical world around you and not much else-or you can act with intent and it be like running your hand through a pool where it moves the water around your hand." She siiighs and looks to Ian, "I ain't smart enough to be talking this, Why weren't you here ten minutes ago to tell me to keep my trap shut?"

"Making an attempt to convince an entire room toward the same goal, very - very certainly - would be considered an action." Gio agrees, offering a smile toward Orland. "An entire room shifted toward the same purpose. Would that be considered easily manipulated - no, not if the crowd was filled with faith, belief, without question. Filled with purpose after a divine sermon." Gio blinks, mildly, and stares in uncomprehending fashion at Raven - actively listening, trying to understand. No, he got nothing. He offers Raven a consolatory smile, a well-meaning shrug, and now he honestly should find a refreshment for himself.

"Language is powerful," Cambria agrees with Orland. "And that is why you will find that those who wish to attain control over others will do everything that they can to destroy language - to destroy the meaning of words. But more than that, I suppose, would be better suited to another debate."

Ian still looks like he's trying to get his bearings. "... Would it help if I told you now?" He asks Raven, after a pause. And then asks her a second question, but again, not loud enough for the words to carry.

Orland nods to Gio, "That's the trick isn't it. This horned fellow has figured out how to gather them all into one goal, one action, one purpose. Meanwhile, we sit squabbling over this or that. While the mindless slavery is the downside, he's got us beat in the fact that there's an army that works together." Orland nods to Cambria, "Oh it is entirely powerful. Call yourself this or that, people might start paying attention and thinking that of you."

Cesare is Very Late, and even as he steps in, he is offering a vigorous aside to a messenger who is rapidly scribbling notes, so dictated by a ticking of Cesare's fingers, one by one. As the messenger is summarily sent to destination, with a bag of silver for the trouble, Cesare turns his attention to the gathering, offering a faint smile first to the Salon's moderator, and then to a particular one of its occupants, before sidling to the bar to appropriate a pair of drinks, and taking a seat beside Gio, head tilted. He listens to the arguments, handing one drink to Gio, sipping from his own, finding his place in the continuing discussion.

Cesare has joined the low-rising couches flanking a carved table.

"Following on from my point, this has me thinking about the allegorical creation of humans. It's said we were created by Skald, the First Choice. This would mean a human's purpose is to be free, boundless opportunities, many directions our lives can go." Isolde says with a thoughtful look, tapping her knee idly. "It is said that this Shav Chieftan is an "elf", which is considered a race other than human. We can draw from these tales that this man deviates from the nature of humanity and wishes to draw those he encounters into living life opposite to the purpose of their creation. Which is freedom. This is supported by the legends claiming he partakes in heretic worship of Skald's reflection."

Raven listens intented and her brow furrows as she considers Orland's then Isolde's points.

"I think there could be great power in that," Hadrian offers back at Orland, accepting the point made. He lifts a hand, his fingers clutching over and over as he makes grabby-hand at his glass of milk that Luigi soon delivers to his awaiting grip. Still he does not drink the tall glass of milk. Instead his focus is maintained on Orland - at least for the moment - when Hadrian presents his own thoughts on the stated point, "Wouldn't there be an even greater power in an assortment of ideas? While we could all fall into line with the one path forward? Among the whole of us," Hadrian remarks with another sweep of his glass to indicate the gathering, the contents sloshing and frothing within the container, "I can only imagine we'd have innumerable great ideas, some better and some worse than others. It would just take one mistake of thinking it's a good idea to fornicate with a bear to become fabulously wealthy before we're all dead. One bad idea and it's all over, right?"

Then Hadrian's harlequin eyes shift around to regard Raven. He blinks once, twice, and thrice. His eyebrows dance a little higher while his lashes flutter, seemingly caught off guard by the remarks. He doesn't speak though. Instead he simply offers a simple nod of acknowledgment, all while remaining silent in order to consider the words spoken by Raven. Lips pursed, but his mouth still dances about as though he's savaging the insides of his cheeks or simply metaphorically chewing over the words he'll eventually offer in response. He tilts his glass of milk toward Raven before Hadrian finally answers, "So you're saying that if you believe hard enough, you can make all manner of things come true? Or at least be perceived to be? In relation to this horny individual and the influence that they carry, of course."

Then Hadrian's attention drifts to regard Isolde. He watches. He listens. He tries to follow along with only minor squinting.

Kiera blinks at ISolde "Isn't it that kind of thinking that creates hatred darkness to make assumptions about those unlike ourselves

"Filled with purpose," the red haired woman echoes quietly, if loud enough to be heard. "I imagine his followers are also filled with purpose. They do keep joining his war."

From his seated position, Cesare clears his throat. "I'm sorry, are we having a discussion about the occult, or about the ideals of the Pantheon which the individual - who we really should be referring to as the Traitor, that is the preferred appellation, at this point, for simplicity - opposes, and what we can do to thus strengthen ourselves and our society? Or both? Because I imagine we should start at one end and move toward the other, rather than mixing them all up together."

"But - but the 'alfar are quite real, yes, and not the nightmare figure that centers this lively discussion." Gio supplies, quietly, over his drink before he takes a sip.

"This is just allegory isn't it? Everyone is human and therefore there are no races "unlike us"." Isolde points out to Kiera with a warm smile. "In which case elf is merely an allegory for those not created by the First Choice."

Raven bobs her head, "Bribery and poisoned promises apparently go down nice and sweet until folks get the bill." She reflects to Watcher, "All sorts of promises he's been making and his followers been passing along." She looks to Ian and looks chagrined, giving a gentle headshake to whatever he's said to her.

Orland nods to Hadrian, having sat forward and crossed his arms over the empty chair in front of his own, his one arm lifting, "Naturally, we can assume it is better, as with the sentiments from her Highness, we are created to have free will and that comes with the ability of free thinking. Though, that comes at a risk of ... oh what's the saying, too many cooks in the kitchen? Even if we are all free as we are created to be, our society has put structures upon us so that it eliminates the risk of too many cooks. We all look to the person of highest rank to make a conclusive plan of action, naturally, in any given situation, or the person with most experience. If we all tried to do a thing our way, no one would get anything accomplished. So while I agree with the former sentiments, we have in a way already restricted our own people from expressing their own free thoughts." He notes, "And there is also punitive responses if you say the wrong thing, to the wrong people, at the wrong time. So are we truly free as Skald wished us to be?" His eyes flicker to Isolde.

Watcher's gray eyes flit toward Raven. "He doesn't have to make very many of them." She says it almost as an aside, but if there's anything she wants to add to it, Orland draws her attention first.

Ian nods to Raven, and then looks over at Watcher. "We make a pretty good boogeyman," he remarks in a dry tone of voice. He slips a flask out of an inner pocket of his unbuttoned coat. "Probably helps."

Watcher breathes deeply, and then responds with a slight shake of her head. "it also helps when the boogeyman is real."

Raven's eyebrows lift and there's a flicker of curiosity. Her gaze follows Orland's comment and points at Orland, "I think Lord Amadeo might be onto something. I tried to understand what choice actually was-but got distracted. Something about choices /really/ matters, But I don't know how or what that means."

Kiera hns "well metaphorically the implication is still uncomfortable in suggestion that those who deviate from what is properly considered human are evil. the kind of thought that derides those of different beliefs and gives this chieften his strength

"We are always the monsters in another person's story," Gio quips, lifts his cup toward Watcher - Raven, and drinks as though it were a toast.

"Metaphorically the implication is that everyone who opposes the ideal of free will is evil." Isolde points out with a nod at this, before nodding at Orland's words. "It may be sweeping since as he's mentioned, we do tend to restrict choices when we think it's to our benefit or the benefit of the greater whole." She looks thoughtful before adding. "That being said, perhaps following the ideal of free will means that we accept the fact that others will use their own free will to stifle others. You can make whatever decision you want, as you have the ability, yet others have the freedom to inflict consequences or punishments on you."

"We're pretty real, alright." Ian lifts his flask to Watcher before taking a drink, in a makeshift toasting gesture; either he had a similar idea to Gio, or he's buying into the other man's toast. "Part of what makes us so good for the part."

Raven inclines her head politely to anyone looking her way and then slips out with her guard, perhaps having realized much of this conversation is very much over her head or perhaps she has been reminded she has studying to do.

Raven has left the tiered benches ringing The Forum.

1 Iron Guardsmen, 3 Black Fleet Reavers, Moonsilver, the pale-feathered raven leave, following Raven.

"There are all fascinating insights," Hadrian remarks, finally finding his voice once again. Though he does turn his attention to Isolde once again, then to Orland. Back and forth between the pair the Duke's attention goes before he comments, "A choice made doesn't absolve us of the consequences. You can certainly choose to fist fight a rabid bear if such is your prerogative. You can also choose to bequeth to me your assets before doing so. Thank you". Raven's rise and departure results in a waggle of fingers from Hadrian. Soon enough though, his focus is returned to the discussion underway.

Again, in response to what Orland has said, Cambria offers, "I think what is important to remember, too, is that there is nothing in our theological teachings - as far as I am aware - that mentions we have been created as perfect. Or else, why do we have these ideals, and strive to live up to them?"

Orland looks around and then gives a little shrug, "It is terrifying to see a hoard of people banded together that have the strength to tear down a city. It truly is, I've seen it three times now. Each of those instances, I witnessed the unity of those bodies, minds, masses... and saw the potential in it. It coudl have easily swept us all away. There is power in it. The allure of that, the allure of true unity..." He stops and shrugs, "Maybe we need to recognize that and maybe use it ourselves." He gives pause to Isolde's thoughts on the matter, "Though whom or what gives you or I, the authority to say that person's free will stifles another? Can you see why the Horned guy gather's more and more to him? Like, imagine seeing a group of people moving together, as one, all their movements all their intentions, as one." He nods to Cambria, "Oh I agree. I'm speculating why the allure of the great ... mass, you know the name, is appealing. Especially if you've been beaten down and cast out all your life."

"Indeed, there is nothing that says we were made perfect." Isolde agrees when Cambria makes her point. "So personal failings when we try to follow ideals is expected." A hmmm at Orland's words. "I think there's a gnawing loneliness in most people. There's naturally a comfort in feeling as though you are bound to others. I do think it's important to notice these feelings in ourselves, to find a healthy outlet, lest someone preys on our weaknesses to manipulate us into serving their interests."

"Precisely," Cesare agrees with Cambria. "The state of perfection implies stasis. Stasis represents the anthithesis of Lagoma's ideal of change. The ideals of the Slaver represent the antithesis of the freedom of choice represented, given to us by Skald. We strive toward the ideals shown to us by the Gods, yet even we know that to /embody/ those ideals is not the purpose of mankind. For example: We, as Disciples of Jayus, destroy the Shrine of Jayus every year, and rebuild it. Because we know that creation and destruction are intertwined. We cannot hope to embody pure creation, flawed as we are." A pause. "As for unity: Unity in the sense that the Slaver represents is not a mindful one. It is not individuals /deciding/ to come together, to work as a group despite difference. /That/ is an ideal of Civilization. That is Gild. That is what Whisper House, what diplomats the Compact over, what courtiers, seek to create. The slaver is not unity. He is slavery. Unthinking obedience. Our bonds to others are /chosen./ We /choose/ to join hands, despite the fact that our agreements will never be perfect. Do you see?"

An aside: "The's milk's a cruelty, my lord - as one that has truly considered a membership to the --" Gio pauses with a deep breath " -- The Arvum Philosophical Society for the Empowerment and Enlightenment of Curious Minds," and exhales, heavily, and sips his milk. "No, we are all terrible messes - not perfect. The ideals and concepts brought by the pantheon are guiding principles." By rote. The next is said with more seriousness, "Also - you ought to know better and use salt on melon." A beat. "There is an allure to being bound - to following the same goal, the same purpse. By duty, for example, to House. Peers love duty and loyalty. An, how, does that parallel to the Traitor's - to use that charming moniker - desire for an army of the same. Dutiful and loyal."

"Ah - yes, choice," Gio laughs. "Perfectly said, Softest Whisper."

Watcher tips her head toward Orland. "I think you've already found the answer. Beaten down and cast out all your life? Seeing your cities torn apart. How tempted would you be at the chance to get back at whoever is responsible?" A glance toward the room in general. "How tempted are people in this room to get them back for Bastion?"

Now alone on the bench, Ian starts to slouch in on himself, then straightens back up again; one hand, touching his chest where that bandage is, gives a good suggestion as to why that's not a comfortable position. He takes another drink from his flask and maybe grins a little bit but if so, he's pretty effectively hiding it with that flask.

"I think we are getting wrapped up in the concept of unity as meaning alignment of all identity," offers Rook, speaking for the first time in the conclave. "There is greater power in those who stand diametrically opposed taking a singuler action in unison, than of compelling all of those to be as one."

"Revenge only causes more suffering," Cesare says passionately, with a movement forward, as though he's almost driven to stand. "We can't - we can't look only at ourselves. We can't blindly cause more hurt in the world, because we are hurting, or the world will become one big open wound. I have suffered too, Watcher. I'm not ignorant to the terrible things that humanity is capable of. But I have /chosen/ to try and soothe those hurts where I can."

Orland seems to appreciate all the conversation around it, truly. His face is actually expressive of thought, reflection, and storage of such conversation. It was Watcher's remark that turns his head toward her, "It has, in a way unified us, hasn't it? The destruction." He nods, "Then maybe it is necessary for the great suffering to draw together all those of different minds to join hands." He plays with his hands, twisting the marriage band on his finger.

There's a pause when Watcher poses her question, Isolde ruminating before she responds, "Very tempted." She admits, her voice soft. "Yet he embodies everything they loathe. In pursuit of revenge, they'll find themselves back where they started. He's good at preying on the seething hatred and hunger for vengeance. He is a master at manipulating those who feel alone and listless."

Kiera nods to orland's wods "HOw can we completely indulge in the comfort that none of this is real when the man himself is drawing real people humans all to him because we designate those we deem fit as elves when in fact we share with them and need to acknowledge that

Hadrian's attention slides smoothly to Watcher. Her words seem to draw a simple dip of the Duke's chin. Clearly something she's spoken has struck a chord. He does not speak further, but instead turns his attention to regard Gio. The glass of milk is lifted in silent salute, before again Hadrian's attention drifts away. He considers Watcher first, then onward to the other individuals taking part in the discussion. He promptly returns to Gio at the mention of salt added to the melon. A slow smile dawns on Hadrian's features. It does not remains small, however. It grows until it's a devilishly broad grin. Then just as quickly it disappears and Hadrian's focus returns to the discussion; namely to Cesare's contribution. A nod is given, but eventually his attention moves onward.

Saoirse has left the plush stools lined before a goldenwood bar.

3 House Velenosa Guards, Dreya, an older woman in Velenosan livery, Ailfryd, a tall, thin man with a haugty air leave, following Saoirse.

"That's very good for you," Watcher tells Cesare, bland, even if there's the tiniest of narrowing around her eyes. "But I very much disagree." She pauses, visibly considering her next words before she continues. "...Revenge isn't blindly causing hurt. That's lashing out. Ignoring pain that exists, or refusing to address what caused it, does not stop the person responsible from hurting other people. And I would argue that part of treating pain involves getting rid of the source."

Cambria listens to the conversation as it moves apace, looking quite interested in the various thoughts and comments being shared by those gathered.

"That does open the question of when revenge is truly justice. Getting rid of the source can of course improve the issue." Isolde concedes this point, forgoing on partaking in the milk.

"You're talking about justice," Cesare counters. "Not revenge." He confers briefly with Gio, distracted, then adds, "The two are neither the same, nor mutually exclusive."

Orland's eyes flick up and then suddenly he looks to Watcher, "They're turning to him because /we/ are the ones responsible for the pain and sufferings of those outside our society. They consider /us/ the enemy, don't they? They consider /us/ the ones that caused their suffering." He leans back, especially when Watcher indicates getting rid of the source, "That's a huge under taking, as I understand it. There's boundless abandoned and roaming tribes of people out there, isn't there? Living in the Arvum but /not/ part of it. Besides of which, our society dislikes the addition of these people back into our society because at some point they abandoned our ways." He puts his chin on the cross of his arms in the chair in front of him, "But if we do nothing, more go to him."

A few subdued words, shared between individuals, and Gio pulls himself to his feet - with care, and a hand steadying. The other hand, holding the cup of milk, looks to set it down on that lovely carved table. He looks at his hand - levelly - as though the cup had burned or spurned him. Then, to the room - a fainter, more sincere smile. A lazy inclination of his head, "Thank you for an excellent evening's discourse." There's a pause. "Treating pain means removing the source of the pain. This is factual. Pain dulls, can be ignored - but it's still there. Mhm, like haze. Time for medicine."

Cosimo rises silently and steps to the side of his seat. He offers a polite smile and a nod to any whos attention he grabs as he silently makes his way out the door.

Gio has left the low-rising couches flanking a carved table.

Pyx leaves, following Gio.

Cosimo has left the scattered chairs in various elegant styles.

"A lot of these things are easier said than done." Isolde keeps her voice level, her eyes fixed on Orland. "If for example, we were to become welcoming of them it could lower the number that flock to him. However, if our fellow peers take issue with this and revolt, we'll find ourselves fighting more battles than we can manage. Then we're weakened and ultimately we're in no better a position than we were in before."

Watcher shakes her head. "I'm saying they often *are* the same damn thing. And I am also saying that, in the situations we're speaking of, it doesn't matter to the people who want it, that they don't make a difference, if there *is* a difference, between the two." She gestures toward Orland. "Thousands of different kingdoms, with no unifying trait except that they almost all, to a person, hate us. And if a powerful warlord offers them the opportunity for that revenge, for that justice, can we, if we divorce ourselves from 'Compact' and 'Abandoned' for a moment, blame them? Whether we think it's right or not? And can we, if we divorce ourselves from 'Compact' and 'Abandoned' for a moment, say with absolute certainty that the houses of the Compact wouldn't rally behind someone with the power to do *exactly* that in turn?" Pause. She shrugs. "You get someone to step into a snare by offering them something they already want."

Rook sighs softly to himself, shaking his head quietly. "It is being taken too literally," he murmurs again, to whomever has the misfortune of sitting next to him. He stepples his fingers in front of his face, focusing on the positions advanced alternately by Isolde and Orland.

Cesare rises to his feet again, bowing to Cambria. "It was lovely to see you, Duchess, I hope I have the occasion again soon. I apologize that my time here has been so short, but I've had a terribly long day and another one ahead of me tomorrow. Thank you for the stimulating debate." With that, he quietly slips back out, like a particularly purple ghost.

Cesare has left the low-rising couches flanking a carved table.

Dolente, a mourning dove, Dolce, a collared dove leave, following Cesare.

"There's comfort, relief, in letting someone else make hard decisions for you. In avoiding the pressure of choice, in dodging the brunt of consequences, absolving yourself of the blame of poor decisions," Caprice pipes up. "In feeling less alone," she dips her head towards Isolde in acknowledgement of that point. "Even, mm, hope- in feeling something stronger than you can help you take on a challenge you know is larger than yourself. These, and at least a dozen other reasons are all powerful draws to committing yourself to a 'cause.'"

She gestures vaguely, "But imagine making that commitment, being bound to it, and finding yourself compelled to murder your kin, to raze your homeland? The recruitment posters aren't going to detail -that- part, even in the fine script. Desire and desperation can make heroes or victims of anyone; there are enemies that are adept at using these tools to their advantage. Most of the tales we enjoy reading and sharing tend to grant the protagonist a chance to learn these harsh lessons and live on, better for the experience. I think we, collectively, aren't used to stories where the hero just loses. End book. And that total loss is what they face when they join with the Traitor. That's what -we- face, if we fall to the same."

Orland considers the weight of Watcher's words with a slow bob of his head, deciding with some sympathic tone on his voice, "I wouldn't blame them. It happens in our own city, the pain that we cause one another for this or that. Trivial things really, but it causes pain. Being kicked in the ribs for being a starving urchin is physically more painful than being written of poorly in a white journal, but the pain still exists. The generations of trauma and anger..." He hms softly, "Then it goes back to the earlier expression of what we say becomes powerful. What we can get everyone to say. If we rally towards hope, like the Softest says, towards the ideals of our Gods..." He hmms as he trails off in thought. "How long has his words of hope drawn them toward the snare? What of our words of hope? What legends are going to be written about our generation? What stories do we leave them with?"

Kiera hms "i think we need more of this. we express very different ideas but have done nono harm to each other. Words have power but there is no harm in considering those of another with respect

Following up on Kiera's point, Rook nods. "Sometimes we do not need to have agreement, but merely understanding. To be able to place one's self in another's predicament, and maybe not make the same choices, but appreciate the reasons for the choice itself." He waves a hand vaguely. "This supports unity and togetherness on one level but allowing the individualization of action to remain on another."

There's a smile cast toward Kiera, at which point Hadrian chimes back, "That's precisely the point. To have a dialogue. To discuss. To share ideas, thoughts, opinions, and all the rest. We communicate, because it's one of the ways that we grow. It's one of the ways that we reach accord. Thus," he waves his not-milk-having hand idly about, "here we are". Then his attention drifts back to the conversation at hand, not making an effort to interrupt or otherwise interject the conversation's flow.

"A long, long time," the red haired woman says to Orland. "Decades, in this instance." When Caprice speaks, the other woman gets a long, long look, unreadable, but when she speaks again it's to follow up on her first, "What we say, yes. But I think, in certain cases, the intent matters as much. If I refuse to call him, for instance, the Horned God, am I doing that because I'm worried I will give him the sort of power a title like that provides, or because I *refuse* to allow him the title? If I do call him the Horned God, am I doing it because I respect the title, or because I *refuse* to allow that title to actually have any power, up to and including the power to make me worry over it?" She trails off. "Mn, but I think I'm really off topic now."

"Hmmm, no. I think that's worth considering." Isolde says on the subject of titles used, before rising from her seat. "Unfortunately, I had best return to the estate. This has been excellent. My lady, my lord." She smiles warmly at Duchess and Duke Mazetti. "This has been edifying, thank you." This extended to the other debaters, before she takes her leave, her movements light.

Isolde has left the scattered chairs in various elegant styles.

Jaxon, Champion of the Reflection, Bruiser, a merle teacup chihuahua wearing a diamond collar, Slaine, a wallflower, Rex, a large blue cane corso mastiff leave, following Isolde.

Hadrian begins to laugh at Watcher's final words, his head shaking, "This is a conversation. They grow, they change, they're fluid things. The topic was... adjusted... some time ago". His grin persists, though he does eventually turn his attention to the gathering as a whole once again. Though there's a brief pause before his attention drifts back to Watcher, "Which is to say that you shouldn't worry about going off topic. So long as we remain within the realm of the topic? I think we'll be okay. That is, of course, so long as others don't feel a shift back to the original topic is necessary?" Then the Duke spares a glance to the others gathered together, eyebrows rising while he considers the convened in search of thoughts and opinions. "Otherwise? If the majority seem prepared to call this gathering to a conclusion? I do have a final announcement to make. But if the conversation still has life in it? I'm certainly don't wish to stymie it."

Orland looks over toward Kiera and Rook, nodding at their comments to the conversation at hand. His hand scrubs through his hair a bit, messing it up from it's otherwise messy state it usually hangs in. Watcher's words of how many generations it's been has him frown, "Yes... a long time. Hmm. It will take even longer then to bridge some form of reconciliation." He squints a bit at the Watcher, "It's a little bit about what Raven and I said earlier. If you believe something strong enough you can make it happen and if you say it, you can will it into reality, or infuse that realness into others around you. If I were to say over and over again that I'm the fastest hands in Arvum, people probably won't really give a shit. But if I start introducing myself that way, making all conversation and action around it, then I will be. It's like this horned guy, he wants to be titled that way because that's what he wants to be. Is it possible?" He sits back with a shrug, folding his arms.

Kiera nods "Thank you all for the stimulating conversation " with this she rises

Kiera has left the scattered chairs in various elegant styles.

Winter, A Highhill Puppy, Angeline leave, following Kiera.

"The immediate and practical benefit of a good title," Caprice remarks towards Orland and Watcher (having had no objections to the turning conversation, and no real feeling one way or the other on concluding, given her head jiggle in Hadrian's direction), "is the information you can pack into the first impression. Which would stick with you more: Caprice Artiglio, Tailor - or," she casts about for inspiration, "...the -Starlight Seamstress-?"

Watcher shifts on her seat, looking as though she might be preparing to depart as well. Hadrian gets a nod of acknowledgement, before she does indeed continue. "Only if people start giving a shit," she says to Orland. "And I would think..." She pauses, a faint frown on her lips, "I would think that if people started making it a point to not call you that, out of fear that calling you that would make it so, then isn't that *also* granting the possibility that you might be that? Or, at the very least, that there's some reason beyond 'you don't deserve it' that they should avoid it? The title means nothing so long as you don't allow it to mean anything. The problem is that you already attach a certain meaning to the title of 'god'. If that word was also meaningless to you, would it give him any recognition at all?"

Ian looks up from musing over his flask long enough to say: "People were all pretty sure the 'Sword of Stormward' thing was bul -- didn't have anything behind it until I led the defense of the Kennex Kay when Ivan's people tried to burn it down. Seems like actions count for a lot, at least sometimes."

"This has been stimulating," Orland says on the remarks of Caprice and Watcher, eyes turning to Ian, nodding, "Action does help prop up a title." He puts his hands on his thighs, looking around and not offering further debate to the conversation at hand.

"I've found it's always useful to have your titles on a long scroll, which you have an assistant hand to - or better yet, aggressively unroll in the direction of - the person you're about to impress," Hadrian remarks with a sage nod of his head.

"I do appreciate all of you coming for this most wonderful and, hopefully, enlightening discussion," Hadrian remarks upon rising up from his seat. He lifts his glass of milk in salute, but still he does not drink from the container. Instead he holds it aloft for a moment, a smile adorning his features before he continues, "I am pleased to announce that recently Princess Katarina Valardin offered me the opportunity to act as the Idle Mind of the Salon, in her place. I have accepted. Until she tells me she'd prefer otherwise? I welcome her to maintain a role as a Moderator within the Salon". He pauses for a moment, a glance cast toward Luigi. There's an exchange of nods.

Then Hadrian's harlequin eyes dance merrily back to the gathering, his smile seeming to grow greater. He switches the glass of milk from one hand to the other as he shifts his footing, permitting himself the capability of shifting to regard those gathered before he continues on, "I'm also happy to announce the next discussion for the Salon. We will be discussing the topic of Archduchess Jaenelle Velenosa and recent political matters surrounding," he gives a little wave of his hand, "all of that. There are many feelings regarding the subject, but I think that the majority of our members - and guests - tend to exhibit enough maturity to conduct themselves appropriately for such a conversation. If they don't, well, I'll gladly have them carried out. Even if the furniture they're on has to be carried out with them". Another smile before Hadrian finally lifts his glass of milk in a final salute to the gathering. Then he hands it off to Luigi, commenting as he does so, "Pour that out, please. I sat it down. It was unattended," and then he seems to have another thought, "actually? Find that one person that I don't like. Give it to them". He's joking, obviously. Probably.

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