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Written By Aislin

Aug. 2, 2016, 4:30 p.m.(3/10/1004 AR)

My first day back in Arx. It has been a while since I have been in this part of the world. The rich history of the city can be found on every street. Tales of the Great Houses written on every wall. The architecture of each Ward, each Burough, virtually breathes it, much to my delight. Eventually I will need to track down my spirited brother and my cousins who I hear are also in the city. Like any place, I wonder how long before I feel the urge to be outside of the city walls, back in the field. That yearning for adventure, for now, is contained within the city and it's secrets.

Written By Acacia

Aug. 2, 2016, 9:15 a.m.(3/9/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Torian

Torian was my Father's man for as long as I can remember. I've seen just how ruthless he can get, but he's always been easier with the smiles with me. I thought he'd be upset, really, when I split without a word, but I think he almost was more confused that I'd bother to come back once I got away. At the same time, there's some level of understanding for what had me return, that I know if no one else gets-- he does.

He'll deny that he's a font of wisdom, but he spews it more than most, tends to be pretty great on the fucking ego and provides unerring support when maybe he thinks no one else is watching. I imagine sometimes he'd probably still like to cuff me upside the head like he used to be able to do when I was younger, but he knows the way things work, even if he's been halfway keeping himself outside of it. Honestly, I'm glad he took over the Family after my Father died. I wasn't ready then. In the future though? Well. We'll see.

Written By Morrighan

Aug. 2, 2016, 3:36 a.m.(3/9/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Rohkir

I met Prince Rohkir one night while I was strolling about the city, trying to find something to do or somewhere to go to occupy my spare time. My first impression of him was that he's a giant fuzzy bastard...yes I know that's awfully informal but - no, I'm not insinuating he's illegitimate, for fucks sake just write it down. Anyway, yes. Giant man clad in leathers and fur, as any proper Redrain man should be. He had only just arrived within Arx, making it here after a long journey from Farhaven. There were times throughout my association with the Prince that I wasn't sure we would get along. Sometimes we did, other times we were butting heads, but from that we formed a friendship. An understanding. Rohkir could at times be imposing and a bit intimidating - he was massive and muscled, let's not forget how tall he was, either. A full foot higher than me. It doesn't seem there was enough time. I guess it's true when people tell me life is short. I wonder what he'll do with the finery I made for him, I don't know if anyone else in the family matches his size. It greatly saddens me that the Prince has made his way back to the North, and I don't suspect I'll be making my way back home any time soon. I can only hope that he takes care and stays safe on his patrols or battles with the shav tribes up there. I know that I'll miss that bastard - stop trying to correct me, damn it. It's a fond name calling. He understood that. The villa won't be the same with him gone, but maybe someday if I'm ever sent back home I'll be able to harass him again.

Written By Eithne

Aug. 2, 2016, 3:24 a.m.(3/9/1004 AR)

I was born and raised in this great city here of Arx, and you've gotta admit, we've got it pretty nice here. We are a living and thriving Mecca of trade and commerce since we've got that nice port over by the Eastern Gate. Now, let's see, Arx attracts folks from all walks of life and you best believe I've seen 'em all. Well, almost all. I've seen -most-.

We've got'em big and tall and small and short and fat and skinny..light and dark and somewhere in between. We welcome all to this great city; the city of the King and the city of the beloved Greyson family. I don't really get much up into politics. I don't follow much like my daddy used to. I'm thinking these days he's happy that I took over his business so he can stay at home with mama watching my nieces and nephews. That's something you gotta know about the Thornburns, we got a large family and it just seems to keep growing. What about me? NO. Absolutely not. Not right now, not when I'm in the absolute prime of my life with my business.

I've got this shop down in the center of town, right off of the city center called Fire and Brimstone, because it's a forge. I am an armorer extraordinaire. I'm sure you've heard of my old man Gervis Thornburn. He's been one of the resident crafters for a long time and when I decided to get my hands nice and dirty, because they -do- get dirty, he told me, Ethie, you've gotta get yourself involved in the Crafter's Guild. I didn't really question him. I never question my pops. He's the smartest man I know, or that's what I like to tell him, makes the old man feel good about himself.

So yeah, I've got this shop in town and it's real nice and quaint. In the afternoon I get to work on my 'mail by the window watching the folks go by. Many of them wave back to me or will just stop on in to say hello. It's a great life. I really can't ask for more. Well, gotta get going to my next appointment, I'll be sure to come back and give you regular updates. Until then.

(Signed with a flourish - Eithne Thornburn)

Written By Acacia

Aug. 2, 2016, 2:17 a.m.(3/9/1004 AR)

I have the utmost appreciation for those who have fulfilled their training to become true Courtesans. While some may harp or contend about indulgences or less subtle politics and the manner they're done, it would take a special person to refute the fact that what Courtesans do as easily as breathing is nothing short of pure art. The ability to be exactly what people need at that moment, even if they don't quite realize it themselves, without ever losing that special character that makes them unique, is something which deserves that level of respect. Every time I see a wealthier someone who looks incredibly bored without someone to entertain them, I can't help but wonder why they didn't think to hire one for that particular night. More people definitely should. Then again, more people should also probably indulge in whiskey. It's delicious.

Written By Silas

Aug. 2, 2016, 12:24 a.m.(3/8/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Gareth

The Prince Inquisitor is the Grayson royal I've spoken to the most, which isn't terribly surprising considering both of our professions. The surprising part may be the fact that we can get along! I have promised to relay any pertinent information I may overhear from the streets regarding the King's alleged assassination attempt, though I suspect the true puppetmaster is someone higher up in the hierarchy; he may be better equipped to smoke him out than I.

He has agreed to pay me for intel (should I come across it) and has more or less ordered me to pay Mistress Eithne for a fine suit of steel armor - in order to test her skills - which I'm to wear instead due to his physical impairments. I'm not complaining, but it is an odd way to gift something.

Written By Silas

Aug. 1, 2016, 11:38 p.m.(3/8/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Talen

Master Talen, Sword of Lenosia, is talented warrior who deserves the title he's inherited and the favor he curries. He may also be more competitive than even I am, and seems capable of doing whatever is necessary to secure a win, even at the expense of his honor. Regardless of my feelings on that matter, I suspect I will have to get used to it if I ever intend to be victorious in any of our future match-ups.

Written By Jaenelle

Aug. 1, 2016, 5:47 p.m.(3/7/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Rohkir

It is odd to mourn a concept. I have mourned my mother, my father, and my husband, but to mourn an idea is peculiar. An idea agreed upon by two strangers to share parts of their lives with one another in good times and bad, an unspoken arrangement so life is not quite as boring as if you had to travel it alone. A friend. I will not brush you off as easily as you have me. I can wait till you return to your senses.

Written By Ida

Aug. 1, 2016, 11:51 a.m.(3/7/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Edain

What can I say about Prince Edain Valardin? Even before the Tragedy at Sanctum, he seemed a fan of my fighting style and I was certainly honored by as much. I still am, truth be told, and while loyalty to one's house is expected, His Grace also earned mine some time ago. When he invited me to Arx, the timing was almost too perfect. My husband had been gone awhile, the children were off with their new masters and there were only so many boxing championships I hadn't already participated in at least once. Surely Arx would offer a more varied array of opponents. Besides, the chance to forge arms and armors for House Valardin? Who in their right mind would turn down such an opportunity? His generosity since my arrival is beyond measure, providing me any necessities wage in exchange for my work. I surely have the better deal in this relationship. That he is immeasurably humble as well as honorable? I could hardly admire him more. Whatever dark times may approach, I hope to serve His Grace and his family well, however I can. He deserves no less from me,

Written By Ida

Aug. 1, 2016, 11:40 a.m.(3/7/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Hammar

A rather hulking figure of a man came to the shop a week or more ago. Imposing would be an understatement and that blank look in his eyes...well. I've seen people hit a few times too many in the head during my days as a pugilist and this seemed a touch beyond even that. While Master Hammer, no doubt, is an exceptionally dangerous person - deadly, even - our meeting wasn't like that at all. I'm unsure how he was lead to my door - the sign? Word? Whatever the case, he requested armor and I have to admit, the challenge was one I was excited about. He's about the size of a small cottage back at the hamlet, so just trying to make something to fit his girth would be work unto itself. Mostly dull, black armor, he seemed pleased with it, which made me happy. And, perhaps, from harm. He doesn't seem the type to hurt unprovoked. Duke Arn Telmar remarked to me recently that he saw Hammar in his armor and thought it amazing work. Humbling, right? One could do worse than someone near the size of a barn walking around in one's armor.

Written By Viviana

Aug. 1, 2016, 9:07 a.m.(3/6/1004 AR)

I've been asked a few times now to shed some light onto my training regime, so I thought I may as well do so here.

I try to train at least two hours a day, usually in the morning unless I've had a long night, and I do skip it if I'm injured or ill. I put very little stock in sparring, it will help you a lot if you are a novice, but what I would call mindless sparring in which you treat it as if it were a real fight for practice is never going to help you improve beyond a certain point.

I try to split my session into equal halves working on pure physical conditioning, and working on technique. When it comes to conditioning it is important to be sure to exercise your whole body, especially your legs and rear. Many neglect those areas in favor of more strength in their upper body but the power for proper thrusts comes from legs and the speed of your footwork is very often the difference between being struck or not. It is also important to focus on explosive power and endurance over raw strength, practice by doing the same sort of thing you're likely to do in a fight, but harder.

When it comes to technique it is again very important to push yourself. Do not simply do the same thing over and over again, force yourself to have to do something faster or harder or smoother than you have before. Your body learns through reptition so no matter how tiring or boring it is make sure you practice everything until you can do it without thinking. Your body will always react faster than your mind, you need to teach it how to react however.

When you do spar be sure to try to work the new things you have been drilling into the practice session, even if it means you do worse in the spar or are forcing yourself to use it in sub-optimal situations. The point of sparring is not to win, it's to teach your body to do something new in a situation much like real combat.

Also never stop thinking about your art, a duel is almost as much mental as it is physical. You need to find the weakenesses in someone's style and come up with ways to exploit them in the middle of the fight. You can practice this even when you aren't fighting, if you meet someone new imagine them as a warrior, what kind of warrior would they be? How do you think they'd fight? What would be the weaknesses of that style? Don't ever let yourself give into the temptation to be mindless or to use the gaps in combat to simply recover yourself.

As a general guide any time your training becomes a routine or stops being stressful or borders on becoming enjoyable, you're not getting better and are probably getting worse.

Written By Viviana

Aug. 1, 2016, 8:55 a.m.(3/6/1004 AR)

Organizing a Decathlon is quite exhausing, I must write a note to never attempt something so silly again. Still at least people seemed to enjoy themselves and it gives them something to talk about.

I was surprised by how well Talen fought, given he'd been lanced off his horse a half hour previous and beaten into unconsciousness the day before that. Still I wouldn't put it past him to fake injuries for the upper hand. In either case it was a close fight, and could have gone either way. In the end I won, which likely makes me the single combat champion of Arx at least for now. I am sure of course there is no less than an army of warriors with long and elaborate reasons for why they could not take part in the contest and would definitely have won if they did.

The problem with being the best at something, or even just one of the best really, is people are always trying to tear you down, it's rather exhausting truth be told. Miss Kima Saik started a rumor that I'd used my house blade in the competition, which was of course nonsense there are hundreds of witnesses to the fact that I was using my personal rubicund weapon in all three bouts. I would generously assume she is hard of sight and perhaps merely saw what she wished to? Although as an aside as a lady of the Lyceum someone should really teach her how to properly slander others, you don't say things that are provable false when they're also easily traced back to you.

Ailith, the palace Seraph later noted that I wore armor of shadowmeld that made me invulnerable. A curious sentiment given not only my wounds but the fact that my shadowmeld, even if it were invulnerable, covers only the back of my torso. Perhaps she too is hard of seeing and thought the rest of my armor also shadowmeld? Although that would not explain how I kept my head invulnerable without a helmet. I suppose she might believe I struck a deal with the Thirteeth to secure an invisible, invulnerable shadowmeld helmet?

These are but two examples, in truth it's a common phenomenon, if you are a woman who is any good at pretty much anything, there will be a whole lot of other women going to often rather insane lengths to try and bring you down. I'm sure men suffer the same from their own rivals, but I think it is perhaps less insane in that case. Women are undoubtedly impressed by champions and the more skilled and accomplished a man, the greater the appeal. But it really does not work that way for men. For sure men are more attracted to women who are more capable, and as their prowess increases so does the attraction, but right at the point their prowess passes the man's that attraction takes a rather sharp plumment off a rather steep cliff. I would say they should learn this for themselves, but that might require taking too much time away from man chasing and complaining to train, and I'm not sure how likely that is.

I think I still prefer being the best though, even if it does bring on such hassles, I'm a proud creature.

Written By Viviana

Aug. 1, 2016, 8:32 a.m.(3/6/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Enzo

Master Enzo is a quite talented jeweler who had the idea of creating little figurines of the champions of the Decathlon. It is really quite adorable and while I don't consider myself a particularly maternal person the idea of little children someday re-enacting the battles and events with them is not entirely an unpleasant one.

Written By Rohkir

Aug. 1, 2016, 5:50 a.m.(3/6/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Jaenelle

Any time you play games, there's always a chance you'll lose.

Written By Fiora

Aug. 1, 2016, 5:39 a.m.(3/6/1004 AR)

After missing the sprint, much to my dismay, I made sure I could at least attend the one event I was confident I could win. I have been proficient with a bow since I was a little girl; I am far more talented at archery than I am with a blade.

I did not win. The victory went to a commoner, Master Gerry, whose last two shots were truly remarkable. It was not an undeserved win, but I believe my own poor performance helped him win just as surely.

I was rewarded with a trophy nevertheless. I am not sure where to put it - I admit to not having thought that through before the event. It looks like my trunk will have to do.

I also received a flattering figurine of myself, crafted by Master Enzo, apparently as a gift. It is a clever way to get the nobility in his shop, no doubt. I visited shortly after receiving it and bought myself a splendid choker and another pair of earrings which go nicely with my favorite shade of red.

The figurine compliments my nightstand quite well.

Written By Silas

Aug. 1, 2016, 1:45 a.m.(3/5/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Acacia

The reputation of the Culler family is a complex, dark one... and I suspect Mistress Acacia is of the same cloth, though perhaps of a different color. We can help each other, while keeping our roles intact - though I am sure my intentions will receive some doubt, and others may suspect I'm being bribed somehow if we get too chummy. I'm not sure how much I care yet, but perception does matter.

Written By Acacia

Aug. 1, 2016, 1:07 a.m.(3/5/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Silas

While it's true that I don't often rub elbows with those of the Iron Guard for rather obvious reasons, Sir Mercier might be a slight exception on rare occasion when he's in a good mood and potentially absent any cause to hunt me down. I appreciate the distinction between the worlds, while facing it all with a pragmatic external aura. He's deceptively easy to talk to and were I a normal kind of woman, I'd be tempted to say that he has a lot of good in him beneath all those layers of Knightly metal. Getting him to appreciate the burn of a good whiskey might be as difficult as convincing him to let me off the hook someday-- but at least one of those might be worth trying.

Written By Silas

Aug. 1, 2016, 1:03 a.m.(3/5/1004 AR)

I received a messenger from a Mistress Acacia Culler after returning from my shift and an offer to 'chat' at my shop. Chat we did, and it appears she wished to become friends as a means to assist each other with our roles in the city.

It appears there are some among the Iron Guard who seek to take advantage of the chaos in the wake of the King's misfortune by extorting money from the citizenry, thinking they can more easily get away with it. Hopefully, with Acacia's aid, we can put a stop to it. It is to our mutual benefit, and to the benefit of many others.

Written By Acacia

Aug. 1, 2016, 12:52 a.m.(3/5/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Evaine

Starlet Evaine Silverhand is a glorious sight for anyone. She flows through conversation like she was born for it -- and really, she probably was. She's dauntingly difficult to track down at times, but I have full intentions to plant myself in the front row of the Black Rose Theatre and have people throw flowers at her until I might be able to steal her attention again.

Written By Jaenelle

Aug. 1, 2016, 12:04 a.m.(3/5/1004 AR)

Relationship Note on Leona

My twin. The only other person that I should be able to share everything in the world with. The only person that should understand. We are so different, people don't even believe me when I tell them she is my sister, let alone my twin. She and I went down two different paths, starting from an early age. My weapon of choice was my personality and her's was a sword, and in doing so, we learned to survive.

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