Humanity is an Ocean
There's a common belief that in times of desperation and crisis, humans will ultimately turn on each other, that they will snatch, and grasp, and care only for their wellbeing at the expense of everyone else. It's not true. There are terrible people, certainly. Greedy people, selfish people, those who will take advantage of others even when the world looks grim. But there will always be individuals that choose to only look out for their own. In times of desperation and crisis, most humans, no matter their differences, choose to pull together.
Food floods into the Lowers, from every source and every direction. It comes from redirected trade routes, from fleets of merchant vessels, from caravans, from smugglers, from the very lowest to the very highest, it comes to Arx, and it comes from Arx. Millions of silver pour into the effort, the contribution of nobles, merchants, and commoners alike. The Crafters Guild opens Crafters Hall to the hungry, and closes their shops to feed and clothe the needy. The Commoners Council works with noble Houses and Lowers Families to provide a network of shops and personal dwellings to ensure the efficient distribution of goods.
The Cullers are there, the Grayhopes, and the Ulbrans. There are smugglers and thieves, drunks and layabouts, the dregs that are usually only recognized as such by those of higher social rank, standing in the open, pitching in, protecting supplies, passing out food, and clothing, and other necessities. A lot of expensive things go missing from expensive homes and heavy purses during the effort, and yet, at the same time, a considerable amount of coin that can't be traced is devoted entirely to helping the poor. Almost no one attempts to take advantage of any of this. Those that do are quickly beaten down. Perhaps this surprises many in the Upper Boroughs and the Wards, but as the saying goes, the Lowers takes care of its own.
The Faith opens its doors, its coffers, and provides comfort. The Crown spares no expense and no effort, although this is about as quiet as anything done by the Sovereign of the Compact can be. Whisper House soothes tensions and encourages more generosity. Merchant guilds bring their influence to bear. Sellsword companies work at cost. Noble Houses send what they can from their domains. The cost of food and other staples returns to normal, despite those few holdouts who put coin above need, who, unable to gouge when so many aren't, are eventually forced to lower their prices as well. Songs are sung. Inspirations are born. Work is provided, and bellies are full.
This unity won't last. Such unity never does. There are always divides, there are always disagreements, there are always conflicting idealogies and desires. There is always need, and it can never be entirely satisfied, not for long. But in this moment, here, the people of Arx stand together.
Today is enough. And maybe that makes Tomorrow a little brighter.