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A Sermon on Weakness

Anisha Whisper, serving as a Fifth Reflection, cordially invites the people of Arx to visit the Shrine of the Thirteenth for a sermon on weakness - what it is, how to acknowledge it in yourself, and how to use this acknowledgement to work around it or turn it to strength.

May you gaze upon the mirror, and may you find only truth.


Feb. 26, 2020, 6 p.m.

Hosted By



Sydney Yvette Ornella Sudara Ryhalt Constance Emilia Merek Shard Orazio Miella Hamish Joaquin Drake Alessia




Arx - Ward of the Compact - Shrine of the Thirteenth

Largesse Level


Comments and Log


The Sermon on Weakness seemed to go over well - while some were confused at the start, most seemed to enjoy the food and drink, and the debate rose to a rousing level. I was certainly given new perspectives to consider, and from the responses I got, I will consider it a success. Perhaps, in time, I will speak of the challenges of the Thirteenth, once more.

My thanks to all who chose to attend, and all who chose to engage. May the Thirteenth challenge your path.

There's seldom much cause for Sydney to go shrine-hopping, but when these events roll around, she does at least make the effort. Her eyes linger at the jet-black colors, and the rows of mirrors are regarded with equal parts wonder and obvious discomfort. She's not immune to taboo, much as she would prefer. She meanders up to one of the benches near the front and folds one leg over the other after she eases down into her seat, the occasional glance trained at the reflection in the mirror, and then back toward the front, and the speaker.

Yvette enters curiously, not knowing anyone here and also not seeming to know what to expect out of the sermon about to take place. She finds a seat on a bench somewhere, and putting together that Orazio is the Dominus, she smiles respectfully to him in passing.

Ornella slips into the shrine of the thirteenth following the shadows of the room as she walks down the room towards the reflective benches at the front. Quietly as a mouse, she stares up at the reflective altar for a moment as she reaches the end of the rows of benches, curiosity in her eyes. Satisfied, she turns and walks past the dominus offering, "Most Holy Dominus, we need to stop meeting like this." She finds a seat on the row, curtseys before sitting, and settles in.

Ornella has joined the Polished Reflective Bench Seating.

Though clad in black and evidently of Lycene heritage, Sudara Pravus's attire is entirely lacking in mirrors. Instead, the newly-minted princess seems to be rather inclined to blend into the background as best she can... leaving her guards at the door so that she can slip in quietly, and post herself (amidst a silken rustle of skirts) where she can enjoy a clear view of proceedings.

Sydney has joined the Polished Reflective Bench Seating.

Ryhalt enters and takes a seat shortly before the sermon is about to begin.

Sudara has joined the Polished Reflective Bench Seating.

Constance arrives in a swirl of white fabric, fringed in white furs, dressed like a wintry noblewoman. However, the simply leather belt around her waist makes her alignment clear, by the three interlocking golden circles that sit just between her abdomen and pelvis. Carefully, she picks through the Shrine until she finds seating on the benches. The Sister curtsies to those who made it there before her, and goes out of her way to incline her head to the Dominus in particular, before claiming a spot.

"My apologies, Dominus," Emilia says, nearly bumping into him on her way here. It's because she keeps her head down that she can barely see where she is going. It makes sense; her being here is not a coincidence.

Constance has joined the Polished Reflective Bench Seating.

Merek is settled about, looking to the place as a whole, his dark attire on with a nice scarf, leaning back to listen while he places one foot along the next, and takes a few notes with a scholar's tome which he keeps about as well.

Shard prowls into the shrine with an air of distinct caution, and maybe even a little prickle of suspicion to her posture and expression. She's apparently been in here before, as she spends little time looking around, instead picking out the first convenient seat and dropping lightly onto it. Once seated, she crosses her arms lightly over her chest and slumps comfortably.

Shard has joined the Polished Reflective Bench Seating.

"Sister Isabeau, if you would fetch me a plate, please?" The disciple lingering within arm's reach of Orazio bowed her head and moved with the elegance of any Lycene toward the banquet tables to do as asked. Meanwhile, Yvette garnered a small nod of his head in reply to her smile though Ornella's voice caught his attention and a dry chuckle sounded softly. "In contrast, it seems to me this may be the best of ways to continue our interactions. Constance received her own nod of greeting though as poor Emilia nearly collided with him, his guards tensed and began to proceed toward the Dominus. This was halted with another lift of his hand. "It is no trouble. A narrow miss, Dame Emilia. Happy to se you in attendance."

Orazio turned attention to Alessia anew. "A pleasure, my lady. Please give my regards to the Duke should an opportunity arise."

Anisha is stood behind the broad altar, wearing her mirrorsilver mask, the metal cradled over her left eye, the harvest of autumn on display there as it is on the tables set along the walls. She wears an ornate outfit in umbra, and accents it with contrasting jewelry. As she watches the people file in and settle - watches the folk who, tentatively, take part in the food and drink on display, she holds a pose, hip cocked, one hand resting on the parchment on the black stone before her, the other at her waist.

Her smile is coy, her eyes glitter, and she bows her head in recognition at the Dominus' words - and in respect to the varied people joining - be they noble, Godsworn, or commoner.

After an almost uncomfortably long period of silence, though, the Mirrormask clears her throat, and picks up that parchment. Glancing at it idly before raising those storm-filled eyes, she steps around the altar - removing that barrier between them.

"Welcome, my fellow faithful. I trust you are well. I trust you have sated your hunger and thirst, that you have indulged in the many flavours and treats on offer, as you've indulged your curiosity by joining me here today. If you have not, feel free to do so now. I will not be terribly bothered. I'm sure you will be able to listen, and I want you to digest what I say with a full stomach. It may make it sink in easier."

Another little smile. A nod and a gesture to the tables. "Please. Partake. I will wait."

"That is awfully ominous," Yvette murmurs softly to no one in particular.

Sydney appears to be side-eyeing some of the refreshments already, in spite of herself. Old habits never really die. They just hide for a time. A brow lofts at the word 'Dominus' and she tilts her head to briefly regard the one closest to the gods. Shard's arrival is met with a degree of warmth. Her attention swings as Anisha opens up the opportunity to hit the food and drink, and she none-too-shyly eases up to her feet, fetches a drink, and piles high a plate as only one who's gone without might, and then reclaims her spot, some salted meat hanging out of her mouth for good measure. That gets worked at first upon being seated. "...With thanks, of course."

Emilia lifts her face to flash a smile at Orazio. She bows, in way of offering thanks and says. "If you need anything, please don't hesitate to ask, Dominus." Then the blonde proceeds to the seating area and finds a spot for herself. She does not partake of anything though; listening alone is more than enough, probably.

Emilia has joined the Polished Reflective Bench Seating.

Merek looks to that which is placed for folk, then he decides to not pick up any. He doesn't show any emotion, there is a curious look between people, taking note of those that do take it, then to Anisha. It looks like he is discerning what he can, taking a few notes, while he looks from above the book to that altar. "I appreciate it, I ate before I came though, a nice deer, I wouldn't be able to manage anymore than that."

Primus, First of Monique's Assistants, Tertius, Third of Monique's Assistants arrive, following Monique.

Shooting a look of wry amusement in Anisha's direction, Sudara inclines her head to the masked preacher - then moves to collect a drink and a few sample morsels from the array of offerings, before returning with them to her chosen spot.

Prima Shard garnered Orazio's attention upon her arrival and joining at the reflective benches, a small incline of his head in greeting was offered to her though it did not linger as Sister Isabeau returned with his plate. The plate was set on the bench beside him in wait of his partaking though the Dominus' dark gaze was more so drawn to the Mirrormask speaker than the presented food.

Ornella nods at Orazio. "That's true. I do enjoy the conversations we have, organically." Some kind of joke maybe. The offer of food is given and she side eyes the table. It's piled with offerings of food and drink, but she ultimately returns her gaze to the mirrormask performing the ceremony and does not partake. She offers no reasoning for this.

Though Ryhalt glances at the table, he does not rise from his seat.

Shard glances toward Sydney, though there's no sign of any return warmth from her. Acknowledgement though. And again, when Orazio inclines his head, she tips her head, just slightly, toward him in turn. She's silent, however, and doesn't seem particularly inclined toward the refreshments that have been laid out, as she more or less ignores they exist.

Sydney's voice is a bit muffled around well-salted animal product. "Never know when the next meal's to come. Today's passed opportunity can become tomorrow's regret. The pugilist seems to wonder this aloud as the food has thus far gone undisturbed save for herself. The bruised-faced brawler offers a soft little snort, "...Oh well. 'Tis a sermon on loss, I suppose."

Constance reaches out to pluck up a glass of refreshment, and some of the fruits spread out on the trays. She takes a few nibbles, washes it down with a swallow of wine, and then inclines her head in wordless thanks to Anisha from her spot on the benches. She folds one hand over a knee, but keeps the other clasped about the stem of her goblet, sipping every so often.

Mirrormasks come in all stripes it seems. And Miella Corsetine just keeps herself quiet for now. In a long dark colored dress that clings just close enough to highlight her form without showing much skin, the young woman keeps her hair up, braided to reduce the length and then pinned up behind her head in a bun. Her expression kept cheerful and warm when her dark gold eyes roam the room and the other attendees but anything beyond that is kept to herself for now.

The Mirrormasked preacher waits, of course - as she said she would. Certain that most who wish have gotten their first portion if not their fill, and casual enough to not let a few people moving to the buffet interrupt her. Instead, she moves, slowly, raising a gloved hand, the emerald on her finger glinting as she gestures to the lamps in the corners.

"The light has been adjusted. The shadows are long, the reflections unclear. Because sometimes, it is not easy to see. Sometimes, we are weak, in various ways. But what is weakness?"

She pauses and regards the people - but this is not a question meant to be answered - or at least not to be answered by the crowd. So she draws a breath, and she goes on, her voice clear and resonating against the walls, her tone melodic.

"My friends, my fellow faithful. Humanity was created with the First Choice. And we are imbued with every virtue embodied by our deities. But unlike them, we are not the embodiment of virtue, and so, we will fail. We will fall short. We will be weak."

Again, that stormy gaze is cast upon her congregationers. She rolls her shoulders, she leans back, planting both hands on the altar behind her. The parchment with her sermon lies left behind, forgotten - apparently, she has no need of it.

"Rejoice, my siblings of the faith, for we always have a choice, in each and every moment, as to what virtue we embody. And when we fail, when we are weak, we can look to the Thirteenth, and feel his judgement upon us. We can face the mirror, if we dare, and acknowledge before him how we suffer, how we fail, and how we are plagued with weakness."

Another pause. Let them digest this, for now, as she gathers her words. As she pushes herself up from the altar again, and continues her quiet pacing, swaying at the hips. Gathering her hands before her, lacing her fingers, and throwing them all a knowing look - an exultant smile.

Emilia listens, eyes closed, nodding her head to the words. At least then, head bowed and trying to make her diminutive form even smaller, it might comes across as being respectful - especially because the Dominus was nearby. Lucky.

As Sydney is quick to discover, it is not a sermon on loss. It is a sermon on weakness. She pauses for a moment to reflect upon her words and lightly tugs the hood of her cloak down over her face. Yes, she mixed up the topic. No, she does not wish to speak of it. She continues to eat throughout, at the very least. She offers a sheepish nod along with the talk of being human meaning failure.

Merek nods a bit, listening while he thinks about it.

She pauses her pacing, stopping before the middle of the altar - looking out over them. Her voice hushing now - though still carrying. That careful balance of lowering the volume so that attention is required to catch her words, without actually making herself -too- hard to hear. Thankfully, a clear enunciation helps, and she's not above letting her words ring louder as she goes. But she starts of a little quieter. A little more contemplative.

"The Thirteenth makes us a promise - if we do acknowledge who we are. If we know ourselves truly... That need not be the end. That need not be a bad thing. Learn of your weakness, and temper it. Work around it. Turn it to strength. If you are greedy, look to the Shrine of Gild. Avarice Builds Cities, and you can certainly consider yourself worthy of a cut as you work to build up others - as you work to build cities. Courage is not the absence of fear, but acting despite of it. So own your fears, know your fears. Act. But act with forethought. Act as a choice. For is that not another gift of the gods themselves?"

Again, the question is rhetorical. Don't fret, little flock. Anisha has your answers.

"I could speak for hours, but none of you would want that - and truth be told, weakness - and the challenge of facing it - is an intensely personal thing." She concludes. Running her tongue over the bottom row of her teeth, as she casts about with stormy eyes - seeking familiar and unfamiliar faces. Seeking eye-contact. She smiles - eager. Friendly.

"So I invite you, today - or in the coming weeks. Come back to the Shrine. Speak with one of the Mirrormasks. Their seal is an oath as strong as any. Your confession is as holy as any journal you write down. Find your weakness. Own it. And maybe even overcome it."

She chuckles. "Maybe you'll even excitedly await for me to finish, so we may speak together now, mm?" There's a little sigh there.

"Well. That was it. A few short words, but I'd ask that you consider them, weigh them over. Mull them in your minds and debate them among your fellows. Face them. Own them..."

She gathers her hands before her, clasping her palms together, and gives a small bow. Then she rises, and while one hand remains before her breast, the other forms the triad-shapes of the Faith of the Pantheon before.

"Thank you, my fellow faithful. May the gods watch over your steps, and the Thirteenth challenge your path."

A moment of silence. A bow of her head.

"Now feast, and feel free to come to me with your questions."

1 Templar Knight guards, Sir Daniel the Beardless, a somewhat hapless Templar arrive, following Hamish.

Having been a former street rat, sometimes seeing so much food is still surprising to Miella, luckily that's a few years in her past. She does grab a small nibble and does her best to eat it daintilly. It also helps that while she might not need to do so any more, the slim young woman doesn't need much food to get by. So she just enjoys the small tidbit before turning her ears to the sermon. Her smile stays that same small smile while her eyes half clse with brows arching as she ponders what's being orated to the crowd.

Orazio has left the Polished Reflective Bench Seating.

Hamish steps in, head bowed, hands clasped together so the loose sleeves of his robes of station conceal them. He shakes his head at something one of the Templars assigned to him whispers in his ear, then moves to sit at one of the benches while the boys go to stuff themselves with meats, roast vegetables and wine.

Hamish has joined the Polished Reflective Bench Seating.

Sydney draws her focus this way and that. She regards her already emptied plate of food for a moment, and sets it down beside her. When the sermon wraps up, she does what she does best - meanders back over to the refreshment table and pours herself another glass. Gathers herself another plate, piling on far more meat than vegetables.

Ryhalt tilts his head slightly at the brevity of the sermon. He smiles to Anisha and says, "Thank you," before he departs, having no questions for today.

With her sermon apparently done with, Anisha gives a final curtsey - and then moves for one of the side-tables to fill up a plate and find a goblet for herself. Exhaling softly, as she does so, rolling her head idly a little from one side to the other, her midnight curls dancing along her back as she does so. "I do not bite that much, my darlings. Though I understand that there can be a certain amount of trepidation. Would you like me to share first, perhaps?" The Mirrormask balances plate in one hand, goblet in the other.

"I am -terribly- vain. I love little attentions from people, I seek them out and even ask for them shamelessly. Show me that you understand, I cry. And every so often, people do." Her eyes gleam, her lips part in a bright smile.

"Go on. I do not bite. Much."

Sudara waits a few moments, in case anyone else wants to take the lead in responding... then she carefully sets aside her goblet and plate, before rising to her feet and moving towards the preacher. As she nears Anisha, she holds out her hands, smiling warm encouragement and approval. "How do you feel?", she asks quietly. "How many weaknesses did you have to confront to accomplish this today? Or... should I not ask such things of the mirror?"

Finally Miella speaks up if others are. "Being bitten has it's place I'm sure." she points out with a playful tone, and a smirk to go with it aimed at Anisha and trying to not sound too impertinant for a common girl but otherwise lets Sudar ask some questions first. Luckily they seem to be the sort of questions she'd ask herself so she otherwise keeps quiet, eschewing more of the food for now.

Ornella gives a single, small clap. Maybe clapping isn't the most appropriate in this situation. Leaning back in the bench, Ornella listens to the mirrormask offer her own weakness to the crowd. "If the thirteenth wants our weaknesses, then I imagine he's all the happier with me sitting here in a room of mirrors. My weakness is my very reflection. You asked us to determine the best way to own our weakness and I have. I determined the shadows as the best way to fight a reflection." She waggles a finger in the air, "I think you've scared everyone with the threat of biting, though I would be impressed if you could bite a shadow."

Sudara's question prompts a laugh from Anisha. Considering. "I feel thrilled, honestly. The turnout has been excellent, and venerable. It feeds my ego, certainly." She glances to the benches, then rolls her shoulders again. "As for the weaknesses faced? Fear. Of failure, of success. Of being to short or too wordy. Of taking too long. But all that can be contained, simply, in fear. Pride. I am a proud woman. I want to present my best. Did I do so?" A beat. "I hope so. This... Is by necessity a clipped sermon. I don't wish to drag into the brightest light that which can be such an intimate thing. But I do believe in seeing ourselves as we exist." She quirks her lips. "And sometimes that can be very unpleasant. Ambition helped put me here tonight, and I need to decide if that is strength or weakness. I need to turn that into a strength, if it is a weakness."

She shrugs, causally, again. Taking a sip of her wine.

"Does that answer your question, or am I merely meandering and amusing myself with empty ruminations?"

Sydney meanders back from the refreshment table and props her legs back up, "...What do we do if our weaknesses come from without, rather than within? Or does that fall outside of the scope of this discussion? Introspection, and all that."

"Sounds like I have a lot of work ahead of me. Seem's like that for all of us, it's never just the one weakness. It's just the one most prevalent at time?" Miella ponders, scrunching her features up in thought. Sydney's question adds a nod and she lets out a guess. "Depends on what sort of weakness they present. Other people can be a strength you might not have realised?" she says and adds a little bouncy shrug of her shoulders.

"I think that it's a reasonable answer, yes," Sudara quietly assures Anisha, favouring her with another smile... before stepping a little to one side and part-turning so that she can see the questioners as well, and observe the discussion as it unfolds.

"An excellent question, Sydney the Waterfall." Anisha beams bright to the brawler. "And I thank you for asking." She inclines her head to the woman. "You must find what you can control. What you can take hold of. Sometimes that is the situation at hand - sometimes it is the person you can get to aid in leveraging." There's another casual shrug as she moves. Stepping closer to the benches, between them. "And yes, Messere," She gives a nod of thanks to Miella. "It can -absolutely- be in finding strength in another person. If your pressures come from outside, then relief may also come from the outside. We are not alone. We live in a Compact. We are bound to each other by choice and oath. And that is a beautiful thing."

She lets out a little sigh, gestures to Sudara.

"As I told the Princess Pravus, I faced my pride before coming here today. Pride can tell you that you are too good to take help, be it offered. Or too good to ask. This is not true. We can - and should - and must - aid another."

"In facing your pride," asks Hamish, looking up toward the asker of soft questions, "what benefits did you find?"

Offering a soft little hum from the back of her throat, Sydney slumps in her seat to pack away a little bit more food, pausing to turn her attention fully to Anisha as she's addressed. Her lips thin a touch at the response, and she offers a soft little shrug of her shoulders, "...I suppose turning to others for assistance has been a weakness of mine." She concedes, and focuses more on her food.

"My apologies," Emilia says, standing up. "Maybe I am too immature to understand the sermon. I am not keen or ready to blame my weakness on my humanity. Nor do I think we are frail, helpless things plagued with weakness." There goes staying anonymous. "Cowardice, Avarice, Vainglory... they all take their own courage and strength. In my eyes, there is no such thing as weakness. Only right, wrong and excuses." The blonde eyes the plates of food, and her jaw muscles ripple. Ah, talking made her hungry. She turns around to leave, probably no longer welcome at this sermon.

Anisha gives a bow of the head to the Archlector of Death. "Pride, mostly. It is good to take pride in one's accomplishments, in talents and skills that we have. Confidence when we can consider all that we are, and come up with a positive sum total. Pride becomes weakness when it blinds us to our other weaknesses. When it keeps us from accepting opportunities because we find ourselves above it." A beat. "Of course, some things we -should-, perhaps, consider ourselves above."

She looks to Emilia. Then she shrugs. "An interesting perspective. And you may, of course, find that it aids you. Whatever actions you take matter perhaps more than your motivation for doing so - again, look to the Shrine of Gild, and the path before it. Avarice Builds Cities. What we do, how we choose to act on our impulses can lead to good things, even from selfish and destructive impulse." She smiles. "Though I welcome your perspective. It is an interesting one. Personally, I'd say that Cowardice is a weakness, that vainglory is a weakness. That Avarice is a weakness. They can all lead to destructive acts, for ourselves or what we care for. And we face them and act despite them or alongside them to turn that weakness to strength."

She sets aside her plate of food, offering an open palm to Emilia. "I think you and I could have fascinating conversations on the topic."

Sydney offers a lofted brow toward Emilia, venturing lazily, "Those who do wrong have no excuse, and those who do right need none?"

Seemingly happy to be able to fade into the background once more, Sudara quietly returns to her place on the benches - there to reclaim her goblet and listen to the unfolding of proceedings.

Shard looks toward Constance again, and then makes a sudden, sharp noise that might be something like a laugh. It's a sharp bark of noise anyway, and while the amusement seems thin, there's at least a little present. She says something, but it's quiet enough that people not nearby won't be able to pick up on it.

There's a brief beam of a smile as her guess at Sydney's answer is backed up by Anisha. In going back to listening again she keeps up that small smile on her lips. At least this time her eyebrows aren't scrunching up. Emilia's counter stance gets a slight dip from those tapered lines of black hair above her eyes.

"I'm not anywhere near nobility, so forgive any impertinence. But I think the idea is controlling those vices and virtues more than eliminating them? Example. I've been in enough trouble as a small child to know it's not terribly clever to stay in uneeded danger. Courage can become foolish bravado that gets many boys stabbed for silly reasons after all." Miella states, arching her eyebrows upwards while her mouth curls into a more dismayed expression.

Emilia bites her lip and lowers her head at Anisha's reply. "Did Peregrine not throw away all that is just and right - leave her comrades to die - because of her righteousness? Would you not call Righteousness a strength? Yet, here it was a weakness." Emilia turns around, and blinks at Anisha's offered palm. Surprised. "It is not an iron law that we must live up to the ideals of the Gods. But if you have the ability to do it, why wouldn't you? Likewise, not being able to live up to them should not mean it is a weakness. I agree with what you said about seeking aid and standing together. If there is such a thing as Strength and Weakness, in my opinion that would be standing united, or divided." Emilia takes a few steps closer and takes Anisha's hand, giving it a firm shake. "Again, my apologies, I do not wish to derail your sermon. I should take my leave."

Because why not arrive for a sermon so late it might possibly be over? Joaquin enters just in time to hear Emilia's part of what appears to be an argument of some sort, and the man grins! "I do so love the Shrine of the Thirteenth, conversations can grow as lively as the Murder when false dice have been discovered." he remarks even as he goes to take a seat at some of the benches. To enjoy the show, or to actually listen to what's left of the sermon? Who knows!

Sydney picks at her food, musing, "When attempting to make a truly persuasive argument, it's better to do so fully, rather than lobbing a half-formed stone of one and fleeing, I've found. Words spoken in exit are most often either fits of temper or what one might call 'an excuse' not to defend one's position. Somewhere between right and wrong." She casually chews on another piece of meat.

At the reflective benches, there's a sudden loud sound as Ornella slams a foot into the polished stone and mutters something down the line. One can almost make out the word fuck, but surely no self respecting princess would say that in a shrine. She has been listening quietly to the conversation and as she bristles slightly from what just happened, she turns to join it. "Everything can be a weakness. Greed can be a strength in-so-far as it builds cities and puts roofs over a poor person's head, but it can be a weakness in-so-far as a magistrate that steals from his people to line his own pockets and trim his hallways with gold. As with all things, it's a matter of degrees. I think the important part of the sermon is recognizing and acting on your weaknesses and strengths, not because they are weaknesses, but because one day they might be."

Anisha quirks an eyebrow at the noise, looking to Shard and Constance, and she blinks once, regarding the two - but theirs seems to be a personal conversation, and so she quickly looks back to Miella. "I believe that is when Courage might be considered to have dipped into Vainglory, yes." She offers to the woman - looking to Emilia in turn. The clasping of her frail hand is accepted, and she smiles. "Like I said, I expect you and I have much to talk about," She tells Emilia. "And I don't think you're derailing my sermon. It's more of a conversation now, and you're raising interesting points. Make sure you've had your fill before you go, too." She notes.

"As for Courage, and Righteousness. Consider Gloria. The Goddess of Principled and Honourable Combat. The Goddess of Courage. Examine her facets, and you find -restraint-. Honour, in combat or otherwise, allows us to dictact what actions we will and will not take - allow us to say that a cause is going a bridge to far, and to moderate ourselves. Courage, likewise, is about facing fear and making a restrained and moderated decision. When Peregrine threw away, as you say, all that was just and right - was her cause still righteous? Was she still righteous? Or had her lack of restraint turned virtue into vice? Had her pride blinded her where honour would show her the wa-"

There's a new entry and, really, Anisha would happily greet him with a smile and a curtsey and an introduction, but the whisper is distracted by Ornella's exclamation. She smiles, giving a bow of her head. "So very succinctly put, your highness. Thank you. Not the whole of my point, but certainly formulated with wondrous clarity."

"But is there sadder sight than one who is the only one left unaware that they're beaten? Sad, hilarious, that kind of thing." Joaquin replies in Sydney's direction. "Though I suppose it doesn't matter, there's amusement to be found in either choices, laughter in their wake or cast upon them." He's otherwise relatively quiet, listening and looking at the various people choosing to speak, but finding little requiring anything from him to add. Or lacking the interest.

Constance rises from her seat with a sharply drawn breath and a clearing of her throat when there's a lull in the question taking. The brunette makes herself known with an inclination of her head to Anisha, then clasps her hands tidily together, just over the three interlocked rings atop her abdomen. "A question on weaknesses, if you will. Given that none of us can ever be perfect, what is the true purpose of striving to overcome them?"

"Ah," Emilia begins and then smiles. "I am not hungry, but thank you. I will certainly think about your words, and I am always open to conversation." The blonde inclines her head respectfully, and then heads towards the exit, casting a passing glance at the black walls.

Sudara remains silent for the time being, though the black-clad Pravus is evidently paying close attention to the assorted lines of discourse unfolding withi the shrine. She sips delicately from her goblet, unabashedly people-watching as well as listening... though her gaze lingers on Joaquin, her head cocking slightly as if she doubts quite what she sees.

Joaquin arches a brow upon hearing Constance's words. "One would think setting aside such self-defeating talk would be a wonderful first step. There's just been talk of degrees, has there not? I'm quite sure that one put it well." he waves a hand towards Ornella. "And this one confirmed it." now to Anisha. Ah but Emilia is taking her leave, alas. Does the man comment? No, he seems instead to have found Sudara looking and he raises his hand to do a little wave. If there is hesitation in the princess at what she sees, the man on the other hand exhibits none.

"Me sweet Sister Constance," Anisha grins. "Just because something is impossible doesn't mean we shouldn't try." Her answer is, perhaps, a little glib - her smile certainly wide. "More seriously, we are the Faith of the Pantheon. We are the Followers of the Triads, and the virtues that the Thirteen represent. As I said when I was up at the altar, we contain the sum of all vice and all virtue within us. And we make a choice, conscious or not, every moment. As a Mirrormask, I encourage thought and consideration behind that choice. Awareness can shift our perspective in a wondrous way. Can help us make the choice that is right for ourselves - and for us."

At that, she looks to Emilia with a small smile. Wiggling her fingers in farewell as the knight steps to leave.

"If nothing else, Sister Constance... Growth is a virtue. Lagoma's virtue. She poses an answer to the question and the challenge that the Thirteenth asks - an underlying answer, that supports up under the answers that the other virtues provide. And I am sure that with meditation and consideration, you can find an answer for each god to that challenge. To that question."

She inclines her head, and looks to Joaquin. Offering a smile. "Welcome, Messere. Excellent candor."

Joaquin's entrance gets the man a look, mostly with a considering and flat expression. But Miella does hmm at the situation he poses. "Sometimes it's not over until the thing is over. Sometimes looking beaten right at the end might be the plan in order to inspire false confidence. Then he plays a winning hand that clears out his opponent. Then whom was the one that was unaware he was truly beaten?" Miella points out.

Drake was under the misapprehension that an event called a 'sermon' would be something one watched and that he would show up to hear preaching, and it might not be a bad idea but he might be rude coming in late. Then he actually arrived, and discovered there was food.

He'll always show up for food.

He just goes right for it, putting butter on bread and whiskey in a glass with the typical energy of a knight who has a basically bottomless stomach.

Ornella has crossed her legs again and as Joaquin waves her down to indicate her, she waves back. There's a question posed about being beaten and she nods. "Sometimes, one has to sacrifice themselves to defeat in order for greater victories to be achieved. Rather than seeing loss as an end, you could see loss as a step on the path to beginning."

One corner of Sudara's mouth lifts in a wry half-smile, then she inclines her head to Joaquin as the expression momentarily broadens into a grin. Then she mutely points at her goblet, then gestures to the buffet - an open-handed invitation or encouragement to this unexpected figure from her past, ensuring that he is aware of the bounties on offer, rather than a noblewoman's demand to be waited upon by a subordinate.

"No talk geared toward answering a question, especially a question whose purpose is self-improvement, is 'self-defeating'." Hamish looks to Joaquin and shrugs. "When considering the merits of a path, 'is this path worthwhile' is not a bad question. And while it is one I am certain the Sister knew, the shrine of the Thirteenth is not a bad place for asking questions the answers to which you are aware."

Constance breaks her gaze from Anisha so that she can peer at Joaquin when he steps up to the plate and takes a swing at her question. She doesn't look *terribly* impressed, and her mouth actually slants as if to let her true feelings slide off, never taking purchase. But when the Whisper makes her answer, she nods, and her eyes twinkle at the mention of Lagoma in particular.

"So if I understand you correctly," she begins, with a lift of a hand to press to her breastbone, "You're saying that all of the Gods of the Pantheon embody virtues which work together, and the Thirteenth is no different. Just as the Knights of Solace guard the Mercies of Lagoma, and the Mercies mend the wounds of the Knights, we should take a reflection of ourselves to know how to grow and change, and to actually take effort to change and grow once we do understand our weaknesses." With a quick grin, she inclines her head. "Thank you, Disciple."

"Why, dear Mirrormask, you're far too kind." Joaquin answers Anisha with a grin, and though he has listened to her words, once more his attention is drawn away, blue gaze turned to Miella. "Ah, and here we have that oh so fine line that separates the fool from the genius, is it not? Either he or she knows something that every single one has overlooked... or the reverse. And no way to know until all cards are on the table. A fine point, and one so sadly overlooked." Another smile as he is waved by Ornella. "The end of something, the beginning of another? Mmm, that does seem to be ringing a bell." he remarks. Does he see Sudara's quiet gesture? Or has the lure of drink proven too strong? Either way, it's time for a drink! "Another good point made by the..." He glances at Hamish, frowns slightly. "Archlector of Death. Nice pin." When he sits again, it is closer to Sudara. At least enough so that silent gestures won't be required to communicate.

Joaquin has joined the Polished Reflective Bench Seating.

"Indeed," Anisha agrees with Hamish. "The Mirrormasks will sometimes act as advocates in trials, or as The Thirteenth's Advocate in Convocations - an honour usually reserved for the Archlector." She explains. "And in the courts, I'm told, you want to know exactly what you're asking - and what the answer will be. Still, sometimes we ask on faith, mm? Sometimes we explore. And that is also our duty. To explore. To seek, and confront." She looks to Ornella, smiles, bows her head. "And yes, chose to make a sacrifice, and decide what is worth the sacrifice." Miella's comment gets another smile from the mirrormask.
%Constance's answer gets a quirk of a brow, and an incline of her head. "Yes, Sister Constance. That is an excellent way of looking at it." She quirks her lips at Joaquin, and shrugs again, leaving him to his quibbles with Miella.

Hamish watches Constance as she replies to Anisha, eyebrows rising. When she sits back down he offers an, "Ah," expression just this side of an eye-roll.

Emilia has left the Polished Reflective Bench Seating.

Drake came in the middle which he knew he would, but he's totally listening to Anisha right now. He's just also putting some meat on a roll and then putting mustard on the meat and then putting cheese on top of that. After all Bianca has impressed on him that this stuff is really important.

Anisha offers a little smile to Drake, pleased to see the Oathlander so thoroughly enjoying the feast on offer. Then she glances from one side to the other. "Well. I think this has been a lovely and lively debate. Are there any further questions? If not, I think we can call the formal part to an end, and give into the temptations on offer, mm?"

There's more appreciative smiles from the Corsetina woman as the wheels turning about in her head are acknowledged. And her words kind of echoed in what others say. Plenty of things to go over for the young woman. When the duscission comes to a close the young brunette looks over the food with a conbsidering eye but seems happy and fine to let that temptation go past her.

Sudara tries to catch Anisha's eye, to offer a warmly grateful smile - then raise her goblet in acknowledgement and congratulation. "Thank you for the invitation, and the opportunity to hear such an intriguing array of opinions, as well as your own thoughts on the topic."

"Oh. Did I start too early? I was late." Drake was super late. But he's looking at Anisha with a grin that lets her know he's not realy all that sorry about it, since, it's obvious anyway.

Sudara is overheard praising Anisha: For fostering education

Rising from her seat, Alessia beams at the Whisper. "Thank you, messere. This was an illuminating discussion, for certain." She says in praise of the sermon.

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