Written By Renata
Nov. 22, 2023, 8:09 a.m.(3/26/1021 AR)
The Duke was a gentle man, and while many would use this against him. It was his gentleness that found me under his care. There are many within my family who might have their own words and thoughts towards how he should have conducted his business. Who he would associate with, or ultimately bring into his family.
But I digress... It is hard to think of our shores without his memory sneaking into my every thought. Of how he would be mesmerized by the Siren of Luciva.
A name which I have only thought of recently, left dormant for years...
Written By Tikva
Nov. 21, 2023, 6:17 p.m.(3/25/1021 AR)
Written By Duarte
Nov. 21, 2023, 4:41 a.m.(3/24/1021 AR)
I was not in Arx long before my path converged with a figure who would leave an indelible mark on my life: Master of Questions Shreve.
Our introduction was as unassuming as it was profound. Of course, the man's reputation preceded him, and of course, I knew who he was. Our first meeting was not happenstance. I had taken my time to observe his comings and goings from the House of Questions and waited it out, patiently, for my opportunity.
Shreve was a man of daunting intellect. Unfortunately, like so many others, I mistook his unwavering resolve in the pursuit of personal power for an unshakeable dedication to the cause of Justice. Hindsight is what it is, but I rest peacefully knowing I was not the only person to so mistake the man. He was appointed by the King, after all.
His demeanor was always calm, almost eerily so. I would later come to learn that beneath his veneer lurked a terrifying darkness. Had I joined the Inquisition for lack of a greater purpose, perhaps he would have been able to sway me to his side of things. But, my membership was a means to an end: access I believed would prove beneficial to the survival of Pravus. Loyalty to House and liege was my eventual guardian from what may otherwise have been a path to pure corruption.
But you do what you have to do to cozy up to whom you must. And you, dear reader, may find it despicable but I assure you, dear reader, that anyone who was ever in power the length and breadth of the Compact, and held it, did it because they had people like me. Whether it's the Treacherous Lyceum, or the Honorable Oathlands, intelligence is a game played by all.
I started off as a Confessor. If you do not know anything about the Inquisition, then you should know there are Confessors and there are Inquisitors, and they hold different functions. Inquisitors ask questions and Confessors - well... They don't always tend to ask too many.
Rumors swirled around Shreve and his select group within the Inquisition, known in hushed tones as his "Special Few". Word was this cadre, hooded and enigmatic, carried out tasks that seemed to fall outside the usual purview of the Inquisition. Their arrests appeared arbitrary. Sometimes it was a notorious criminal, and other times it was an innocuous elderly woman. There was no discernable pattern beyond the chilling aftermath: those taken were never heard from again, and quickly forgotten.
During my tenure with the Inquisition, I became a bit of a right-hand man for Shreve. It was a role that brought some prestige among my peers, but also a growing sense of unease. I witnessed acts and made decisions that would later haunt me. Shreve's methods were ruthless and in time his corruption became undeniable. But it was the undercurrent of something far more sinister that began to gnaw at my conscience.
Shreve was not just a man with a penchant for control and a lust for power. There were whispers of him being involved in something far darker than corruption or power plays. Demon worship and other sorts of profane talk circulated.
But the most chilling revelation came subtly, almost casually, from Shreve himself. He hinted at a darker world. One that he was willing to share with me, should I express interest. The mere suggestion of it set shivers down my spine for the thought of delving into the demonic - whatever that meant - was abhorrent to me.
Yet, there was a seduction to the promise of forbidden knowledge and power. Or was it not seduction, and was it fear? Shreve wielded his power with terrifying efficiency. He harbored secrets that threatened the very fabric of our reality. As days passed, it became more and more certain that not only was Shreve an unrelenting force who sought power alone, but indeed he may work for the very darkness his charge was meant to guard against.
Shreve was my first true test of balance. I was wobbling on a knife's edge. Could I find my footing?
Written By Giada
Nov. 20, 2023, 12:23 p.m.(3/22/1021 AR)
Let's begin with the definition. An archlector is chosen from among the Godsworn to lead a particular Shrine, guiding the dogma, the actions, and the discipleship therein. Expanding, this means that they are the Voice of their God and bear the responsibility of administrating the associated Shrine in accordance with the Faith. They are the final word in Shrine matters unless they are overruled by the Legates or the Dominus.
What does this mean? It means that the well-being of the Shrine falls on the Archlector's shoulders. They have been entrusted with nurturing the Shrine by those closest to the Gods, with tending to its needs and plotting a course that keeps the Shrine growing and healthy. It means the maintenance of internal matters, the actions taken by the Shrine, and the presentation of theology.
How does this apply? It is on me to lead the Thirteenth's Shrine and His Mirrormasks through this confusing and unsettling time. That much of the unrest has taken place among the Mirrormasks grieves me. I wish that I could have forseen this, to prepare and solidify the discipleship if it could not have been averted altogether. I wonder if there was more I could have done in the past. Unfortunately, I could not and was as blindsided as everyone else.
The disciples that speak Heresy and advocate for the involvement of the Abyss or outright secession do not speak for the Shrine, nor do they speak for me. But I have sent out godsfearing Mirrormasks who are educated in the theology of the Thirteenth and empowered to speak my words to the Compact. I pray Gods it helps to bring us unity again. More will be requred, but let us begin on a foundation of mutual understanding.
Written By Neviah
Nov. 20, 2023, 10:22 a.m.(3/22/1021 AR)
Its right soil
Written By Duarte
Nov. 19, 2023, 11:41 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
Vividly I recall the meeting that would shift my life's trajectory. It was one hot summer morning when Duke Piero summoned me into his study. It was earlier than usual and the House page hastily interrupted my morning ablutions. To be fair, he waited a good twenty minutes first - but what can I say? A mustache such as mine requires a fair amount of tending to.
Duke Piero's personality stood in stark contrast to the typical underhanded ambiance of the Lyceum. He was kind and he was a gentle soul. He had the misfortune of being placed in a land where such traits are often perceived as weakness rather than virtues. In time, his desire to forge a reputation for his House which stood contrary to generations of legacy would place Pravus in a precarious position - a history we all know well. Were it not for his wife, Duchess Lucia, the Duke would not have lasted long as he did.
But Duke Piero, for all these faults, tied his House together and taught them to be true to themselves and to trust in family above all. For this lesson, he will never be forgotten. It is, as they say in Malespero, "from tragedy, strength."
But I digress...
When I met with Duke Piero that day I sensed the weight of the man's struggles. He had tolerated far too much and his leniency was beginning to embolden dangerous ambitions on the part of his enemies. Now was not the time to send his chief spy to a foreign land, and yet, "Duarte, I need you in Arx."
My assignment to Arx was layered with complexity. On one hand, the Duke and Duchess saw it as a strategic placement to ensure they were kept well informed of the goings on in the capital whilst they dealt with matters at home. On the other hand, his waning ability to command respect and authority within his holdings was precisely the reason I should never have been sent away. Perhaps, he was seeking to better fortify Pravus' position by sending me to a realm where he could not inspire fear or loyalty from afar - to have me keep a watchful eye over his representatives and ensure they were sticking to scripts and acting in the best interests of the House.
As my ship sailed in ear to Arx, I recall how the city presented itself as a colossal entity. The grandeur of its architecture and its division into its myriad wards - each with their distinct character and purpose - intertwined in such a way to present an irresistible testament to the shared stories and (dare I say?) destinies within its walls.
These wards each proclaimed a glory and heritage of the Great Houses and yet stood as a reminder of the fragile balance of power that pervades the Compact to this day.
The Lower Boroughs was where I found my home away from home. Though I served as Minister to House Pravus, the draw to of the boroughs, and its people the backbone of the city, reminded me of my beginnings. Life there is lived in a raw and vibrant form that none but the denizens can truly appreciate, or suffer - as the case may be. Often is.
Much like the court in Setarco, in Arx every gesture and alliance, and every whisper, held significance. But the game of power is played with much less finesse. It came as a culture shock. I had only known Setarco - a small fraction of the greater Lyceum. Living in Arx, beyond the Pravus Manor and Lyceum Ward, was much like starting anew. Like those days I stood outside the gates of the House of Silken Sighs, admiring the Suspires from afar, I was once again an outsider observing a dance not all the same as the one to which I had become so accustomed. Indeed, it was no dance at all, but a mishmash of waltzes and carols and ballets all being performed simultaneously, each to different music, at the same time and on the same stage.
In many ways, my life as I know it did not start until I set foot on Arx's harbor.
And to add to the intricate complexities of my assignment and the overwhelming confusion of being thrown into this melting pot of culture was also something else. For it was in Arx where I met Shreve.
And also Lianne.
Written By Raven
Nov. 19, 2023, 10:30 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
Written By Jan
Nov. 19, 2023, 10:17 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
Written By Raven
Nov. 19, 2023, 10:14 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
Written By Giada
Nov. 19, 2023, 10:13 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
Written By Umbroise
Nov. 19, 2023, 9:42 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
While I don't think anyone has jumped into a patron/protege relationship right away, it certainly has laid the foundation for meeting others with that potential goal in mind. Perhaps I have been too lax in my own search. Regardless, it was such a pleasure meeting so many new (to me) faces, and re-acquainting with others. The Golden Hart shall certainly see my return on many occasions.
Written By Mirari
Nov. 19, 2023, 8:13 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
Written By Preston
Nov. 19, 2023, 7:07 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
The Caravels, well. I have never spent much of my allowance from the Faith, or any of the items gathered for it. It seemed worthwhile to spend resource in such a fashion.
Written By Denica
Nov. 19, 2023, 6:17 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
Smile and be brave, everything will fall into place. And if it doesn't? It's not going to change who you are, if you don't let it.
Written By Martino
Nov. 19, 2023, 6:13 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
Keeping that one out on the side a little more then.
Written By Isolde
Nov. 19, 2023, 5:14 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
Written By Amari
Nov. 19, 2023, 5:04 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
As an aside, I was honestly surprised the odd little rumor had spread so quickly and as far as Arx. That people would even journey to Reveillon for that reason alone, was also something of a shock.
Now to be clear, I consider the matter finished and have determined that the incident was a blessing of Petrichor and not something borne of any kind of evil. Therefore, be not concerned and focus on the true darkness that we find abounding in these days. The Shadowood is filled with many dangers, but agitated squirrels making a feast of a farmer's acorn stores are one of the least to be worried over.
Written By Avita
Nov. 19, 2023, 4:30 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
I've learned something.
When you feel as though you have heard every story there is...
... We must simply write our own.
Allow me to begin:
Once upon a time...
Written By Avita
Nov. 19, 2023, 4:04 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
I feel as though I've seen your face a thousand, thousand times by now, and yet I could not even begin to reach for your name within my memory.
Should I try, the closer I am to remembering, the more your features drift into that hazy periphery of my imagination.
Were your eyes green?
Were they blue?
The dimple in your cheeks ... left... or right?
How I wish it mattered.
Written By Avita
Nov. 19, 2023, 3:49 p.m.(3/21/1021 AR)
I am fascinated, in some small measure, by the attention paid to the far-away in this place.
Foreign lands, forgotten languages, creeds, creatures...
So few understand even what is upon their doorsteps, let alone in the courtyard that sprawls before them.
For example, what do you REALLY know about the Saffron?
Please note that the scholars may take some time preparing your journal for others to read.