Written By Medeia
Dec. 8, 2023, 1:04 a.m.(5/1/1021 AR)
No, I'm not being sarcastic.
Written By Mattheu
Dec. 7, 2023, 9:56 p.m.(5/1/1021 AR)
The prize I will have to wait to pass...
Written By Ferrando
Dec. 7, 2023, 4:45 p.m.(5/1/1021 AR)
Relationship Note on Eirene
Written By Raven
Dec. 7, 2023, 2:57 p.m.(4/28/1021 AR)
Written By Duarte
Dec. 7, 2023, 12:02 p.m.(4/28/1021 AR)
The period following Duke Piero's death was marked by treachery and political manuevering. Belladonna's execution of untrustworthy vassals, including the Count of House Adimento, set the stage for a relentless search for the truth. Amidst the chaos, whispers suggested an assassin was behind Piero's demise. Marco Argento was conspicuously absent in Arx during the murder, and his men were seen in the Lower Boroughs conversing with those who consort with shadows.
As the walls were closing in around Marco Argento, he went mad. He burned down the Lighthouse of Nilanza, with his son (Salazar) inside, and fled. Salazar Argento declared his father a traitor and named himself Marquis. Lianne Pravus was installed as the Voice of Nilanza.
And thus began the hunt for Marco Argento, and the backdrop for my budding relationship with Orland Lowborn.
During this hectic time I was assigned to gauge the sentiments of nobles and the upper class regarding the escalating tensions between Nilanza and Setarco. It required a delicate touch and an ear turned to the subtle nuances of courtly intrigue. And this is where Orland's uniqueness began to shine.
I recall a particular soiree where Orland's sharp observation of a noble's furtive glances and tense posture unvieled a hidden assistant whose eavesdropping would otherwise have gone unnoticed. Orland positioned himself in my periphary and a single nod was enough to convey that I needed to change the subject. Shifting instead from inquiry to narrative, I composed some impromptu yarns of misinformation that proved adequate in thwarting an attempt to ascertain the coming intent of House Pravus.
Orland's cynicism and distrust - born of a harsh upbringing - provided a sharp counterpoint to my own approach. At my side, he saw through facades that I might have missed. His instincts were honed on the unforgiving streets of Arx. Indeed, he could gauge a man's trustworthiness from posture alone.
Simultaneously, I had taken it upon myself to teach Orland to read, a skill he quite embraced with a fervor that matched his streetwise acumen. His progress was remarkable and it wasn't long before he became an invaluable messenger, carrying sensitive information with a discretion that belied his years.
Initially, I had thought to mold Orland in the image of a courtier - as I had been. But imparting to him the lessons Belinha had taught me was much akin to teaching a fish to dance.
No. Orland's experiences had shaped him into something different. I shifted instead to nurturing the talents that were uniquely his. His keen observation. His ability to blend into a scene. Orland brought with him an unadorned honesty and a frankness that cut through artifices and duplicity. In him I found an anchor when the tempests of intrigue and conspiracy threatened to sweep me away.
But it wasn't all political intrigue and lessons.
Orland and I bonded not only through our shared work, but through countless conversations that ranged from the pragmatic to the philosophical. His perspective, so different from my own, challenged me in its intuitive simplicity. I like to think that my guidance offered him a steadying influence, but the reverse is the truth of it.
One late evening, Orland and I found solace atop the roof of Pravus Manor. The ward's noise and the distant sound of waves against the docks created a serene backdrop. We sat silently, each immersed in our own thoughts. The silence was our language. And I recognized the rarity of it.
Reflecting on this period presents a narrative challenge - try as I might to tell it in a linear fashion - for it was time where multiple crises converged. The aftershocks of Piero's death rippled through Pravus, spurring a frantic manhut for Marco Argento. Nilanza, along with its vassals, teetered on the brink of chaos. Amidst this, Shreve's ousting added to the tumult as the Inquisition found itself entangled in scandal. Lianne had her demons. I had mine.
But Orland was a simplicity. With him, there was no defining moment. The whole is what it was.
In very little time - very little time - I came to trust Orland as I trust myself, as he trusts me. Our friendship was forged in fire.
Age, circumstance, and his insistence alone makes him my son - as he puts it. But he is not my son. He is a touchstone that reminds me of the values that lay beneath the veneer of nobility and titles. He is a mirror that reflects what I forget and ignore. He is resilience. He is my conscience.
And I was going to need one.
Written By Medeia
Dec. 7, 2023, 10:46 a.m.(4/28/1021 AR)
Written By Lys
Dec. 7, 2023, 4:24 a.m.(4/28/1021 AR)
Relationship Note on Malcolm
Written By Lys
Dec. 7, 2023, 4:22 a.m.(4/28/1021 AR)
Relationship Note on Duarte
"It still surprises me from time to time how much a smile can hide." - Count Duarte Amadeo.
What surprises me about a smile is how many people trust them. How just a gentle laugh and a well curled smile will put people at ease. Do people not realize that a smile is a lie? That it is a mask behind which we all hide? Sure some people smile when they are happy, laugh when they are amused. But how many of us force it? How many of us flash our smiles to show we are not a threat? That we are not offended? That it is all just a joke. That everything is fine?
We smile when we are uncomfortable to avoid further awkwardness. We smile when we are upset to avoid conflict. We smile to make someone think we are friendly to avoid a fight. We smile to lie. Day in and day out. Sometimes the smile is a lie to ourselves. Because if we don't force a smile everything will collapse down upon us.
I'm smiling just now writing this, because it's all just a joke. Everything is fine.
Imagine my laughter accompanying this journal.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
Written By Giada
Dec. 6, 2023, 11:49 p.m.(4/27/1021 AR)
Written By Raven
Dec. 6, 2023, 9:34 p.m.(4/27/1021 AR)
Written By Denica
Dec. 6, 2023, 7:30 p.m.(4/27/1021 AR)
Written By Jan
Dec. 6, 2023, 7:19 p.m.(4/27/1021 AR)
Written By Denica
Dec. 4, 2023, 10 p.m.(4/23/1021 AR)
Written By Duarte
Dec. 4, 2023, 5:35 p.m.(4/23/1021 AR)
Submitted at Count Duarte Amadeo's request to the Whites for the purpose of his memoir.
That most people don't know what is sitting across or beside them, is sometimes astounding. If they knew the peril, they would run. It still surprises me from time to time how much a smile can hide. Some day when I die, they will potentially know what they supped with, danced with, played with and loved with. In the end though, everything has a purpose. If they choose not to walk away, it is their fault.
It is at night though, I sometimes question. Myself. Others. I talk into the void knowing that nothing will answer back. Some day though, maybe something will. I will continue what I do, what I need to do, what I should do. There is what is right, and it may not always align with what others demand. What is right, is not what is always good, the same as what's good, is not always right.
She states that she's not looking for love, and I can understand. I of all people, understand. Love is too dangerous. Love gives someone something over you. Leverage. Love is a weakness, the same as lust. I don't know that I could find another who could stomach what I have done in the name of others with a higher purpose. I don't know if I would want to because that would mean I have found another who lives as I do. Solitude is better, necessary. Solitude is the reason for my smile.
Whats in the dark?
What's in the shadows that she looks at with fear?
Do I even want to know? Because I know, it's not me.
Written By Titus
Dec. 4, 2023, 12:57 p.m.(4/22/1021 AR)
Relationship Note on Caspian
Written By Skaldia
Dec. 4, 2023, 6:17 a.m.(4/22/1021 AR)
Today, I set up shop in the Harrowed Grounds, opening my little section. I have decided to name my business Libera Leathers, in honor of my hawk companion. Even if she's a troublemaker, I do love her so.
Tomorrow is another long day of meetings and briefings. There is much to catch up on since I've been away.
I forgot how noisy the city can be. Yet, there are surprising pockets of peace within the walls.
Written By Duarte
Dec. 4, 2023, 5:25 a.m.(4/22/1021 AR)
In the wake of the chaos that saw the end of Shreve's special few, I found myself confined to a bed in Pravus Manor. My body was a tapestry of pain and my mind a whirlpool of thoughts. The evisceration I suffered left me with a scar - a stark, constant reminder of the night's horrors, my guts meticulously re-packaged and sewn by Lianne herself. Each throbbing ache, every pulsing pain, was a ghostly echo of that fateful confrontation. The sounds, the sights, the feels of that evening, all swarm back when I regard that thick mass of scar tissue.
And truth be told, reader - knowing what I know now - remembering it at all is a sweet, sweet gift.
Laying in that bed, my mind wandered through a fog of pain and a daze of medications. In those solitary moments, I grappled with a grief that seemed misplaced but was undeniably real. It was not for the death of Shreve, but for the death of a purpose he gave me. Perhaps the grief wasn't about him at all, but about him just being the last of a long chain of departed father figures and mentors who cobbled a path to their own undoing.
Regret also gnawed at me. Regret for the things I did in service to the man, and regret for not seeing the signs of his fall. I promised myself to never speak or write of him again. Vellichor compels me to do so now.
The nights were the hardest. I questioned everything. I would speak into the void and half-expect an answer I knew would never come. I pondered the essence of my being against the nature of the company I kept.
Mostly, I thought of Lianne.
Before I knew it, I was back on my feet.
The Lower Boroughs of Arx is a part of the city where survival often depends on quick thinking and adaptability. I would go there often. Either to walk or run the occasional errand for a Pravus noble. It isn't too much unlike where I grew up in Setarco, really.
Twilight hit with a peculiarly rapid setting of the sun that late autumn evening and those who didn't belong were hustling to safer quarters of the city before it dipped below the horizon. I, however, was strolling, with a coin purse carelessly tied to my belt and dangling. I'm sure it seemed like just a terrible oversight on my part to be carrying my silver so.
As I ventured East from the docks and began heading North toward the Uppers - a locale more heavily patrolled by the Iron Guard - I noticed I was being followed. It's not hard to notice when you are being followed - a fact that always eludes unskilled petty criminals, and unobservant marks just the same. The trick is to look behind yourself and see if someone is following you. A side-glance to a dark store window, made mirror-like by the reflection of a setting sun, accomplishes this nicely.
My tail, though, was at least clever enough to dart off into an adjacent alleyway. He was also clever enough to give me some stretches of street to cover before he re-appeared - hoping I'd quite forget, no doubt, that I had made him. And he was right, I did. And then he was cheeky enough to come careening right before me pretending to spill a crate of fruit from a nearby market store. Unconcerned for the plight of a careless storekeeper's assistant, I went to step around the lad. He pretended to hustle to collect the fruit he had spilled, and then he bumped me.
It only took a few strides to notice that my belt was lighter and that the patter cadence of my purse hitting my thigh with each step was now absent. But - you know - it wasn't a crowded street. There could've only been a single culprit.
So I turned around. The young man had already darted off, and there is no way I could hope to catch him. But stroll after him I did. Because I knew...I knew once he opened the coin purse he would simply stay put, and I would catch up to him then.
Following a trail of spilled fruit and muddy shoe prints, I cornered the lad in an alleyway - catching him just in time to watch as he threw my coin purse full of medicinal leeches across the brick-laid corridor in a fit of anger.
"I believe you have something that belongs to me." The rubicund glint of my beloved twin rondel daggers was a necessary pre-emption to his making any unwise moves.
Rakish, mousey brown hair and swarthy skin - the lad looked like a hundred if not a thousand other boys, were it not for his look of grit. He motioned where he had tossed my leeches and, obligingly (with very little impetus needed beyond request) drifted like some listless ghoul over to the pouch he filched, and gave it back.
There are a multitude of ways to get silver. Of those ways, pocket picking is a skill that one is trained for. So, I asked him how much his tax was and got a number. For his troubles, I counted it out of my actual coin purse - which I keep much closer to my person than dangling from my belt.
The boy seemed a shattered husk of a personality. So I tipped him a single silver coin for the service of retrieving my leeches (which he pilfered and then tossed). And then - he told a joke. "I could retrieve your leeches a hundred times over?"
The lad could be any lad and could have lived any life, but this is what he had: a shallow hope hung on a strange man with a weird accent carrying leeches on his hip. Why such paths are forged is up to the gods that set us each on our beginning. All I knew is I didn't feel like walking all the way across the city. So I gave the boy a chance.
Delivering a sack of leeches to Pravus Manor was the first honest job anyone ever gave Orland Lowborn. And he met me again later that night at Murder of Crows with a receipt of delivery.
Written By Jan
Dec. 3, 2023, 10:06 p.m.(4/21/1021 AR)
Written By Lianne
Dec. 3, 2023, 10:03 p.m.(4/21/1021 AR)
Relationship Note on Duarte
You may ask me what terrors compare, if you'd like.
Let's think of it as payment, in part, for how kindly you've obliged my insistence that you not die without my say so.
Written By Amari
Dec. 3, 2023, 9:52 p.m.(4/21/1021 AR)
But this last consequence? I thought it was going to chew my face off several times. To say the relationship was fraught, would be minimizing the initial difficulties and misunderstandings between us... significantly.
Squirrels are not respecters of the law, nor furniture, nor property generally, but they are cute. So, very cute.
Please note that the scholars may take some time preparing your journal for others to read.