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An Impromptu Sermon on Charitable Giving

An unscheduled Legate has arrived in the Shrine to give an impromptu talk and probably encourage people to donate money.

Date

May 18, 2020, 5:45 p.m.

Hosted By

Aureth

Participants

Corban Rysen Merek Nurie Videl Reigna Preston Thea Shard Oili Acantha Cassandra Sydney Zara Rowenova Santiago Sabella

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of the Compact - Shrine of Gild

Largesse Level

Refined

Comments and Log


Ordinarily these things are put together with some kind of formality or at least some kind of notice. In this particular case, the Legate of the Lost has found himself with an unexpectedly free piece of time in the afternoon, and has thus got himself to the shrine, sending various disciples and priests scurrying about to help him get the word out that he is doing this, and also to provide some refreshment for callers. This has largely involved reappropriating pitchers of tea and coffee from the rectory and carefully driving them by wagon across town to get them set up in here. Someone was sent out to see if there were any pastries on offer in the market but the thing is that food is relatively scarce at the moment and it appears that nobody was randomly able to provide rolls or cake on extremely short notice, so hot -- well ... warm -- beverages it is.

Aureth stands before the walter with his hands clasped before his white raiment, watching the mild chaos he has engendered with a beatific air as people begin to filter into the elegance of Gild's Shrine.

Balian, a Templar squire, Guy, a hunting kestrel, 1 Templar Knight guards, Direhorn Jeffers, a barded Templar wargoat arrive, following Preston.

Ordinarily these things are put together with some kind of formality or at least some kind of notice. In this particular case, the Legate of the Lost has found himself with an unexpectedly free piece of time in the afternoon, and has thus got himself to the shrine, sending various disciples and priests scurrying about to help him get the word out that he is doing this, and also to provide some refreshment for callers. This has largely involved reappropriating pitchers of tea and coffee from the rectory and carefully driving them by wagon across town to get them set up in here. Someone was sent out to see if there were any pastries on offer in the market but the thing is that food is relatively scarce at the moment and it appears that nobody was randomly able to provide rolls or cake on extremely short notice, so hot -- well ... warm -- beverages it is.

Aureth stands before the altar with his hands clasped before his white raiment, watching the mild chaos he has engendered with a beatific air as people begin to filter into the elegance of Gild's Shrine.

Maikki, An Oversized White Hunting Dog, Taika, An Arctic Hare arrive, following Oili.

Greguin, an organized priest have been dismissed.

3 Templar Knight guards have been dismissed.

Lygeia, a calligrapher and alchemist arrives, following Rysen.

Scratchers the red-tailed hawk, Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes arrive, following Thea.

Corban clinks and clanks a little bit as he comes into the Shrine of Gild. The First Captain is in his armor, suggesting he is recently released from duty or training or something of the sort. He goes to settle down into a pew, to listen to the Legate's sermon.

Rysen drifts into the Shrine of Gild with the raven-haired Lygeia by his side. He finds his way to one of the benches in the back, and takes a seat to listen.

Nalani arrives, following Shard.

Merek makes a way into the shrine to listen to the sermon.

Thea has joined the a gold-inlaid bench of cherry wood, with plush aeterna upholstery.

Nurie slips into the shrine quietly, her expression solemn and her face still a little pale. She finds a place to settle amongst the pews, though closer to the back, not seeking to compete with more august individuals for a seat.

Videl looks to be positively exhausted, clearly having hurried here despite how unwise that is. She inclines her head to the Legate, "Father Aureth." She sounds out of breath, and does not speak more as she claims a place to sit for herself.

Videl has joined the a gold-inlaid bench of cherry wood, with plush aeterna upholstery.

A tired looking Reigna arrives, still wrapped in her Physicians robes. She moves slowly, hovered over by her retainers and guards until she slips into a seat and looks towards Aureth.

Preston enters the Shrine, nodding to it's usual Templars on guard. Preston is wearing a nice monk-ly frock, but it's rather clearly over armour and his cloak's wolfhead hood is pulled up over his open helm. He gestures to his guard to take position by the door as he floats a little towards the back. Balian stands outside with the goat so he can chew on...well, hopefully not Balian.

Thea quietly makes her way inside, looking completely windblown and tired. Not saying anything, the Malvici simply slipes into a pew and sits, ready to listen.

Shard enters with a sort of energy that doesn't seem particularly positive. It's probably angry. This is Shard, that's a good bet. She doesn't say anything, but she does move right past Reigna's guards and retainers and drop into a seat next to her.

Benny The Beaver arrives, following Acantha.


Oili filters into the Shrine to Gild for an impromptu sermon offering. She finds a nice seat in the middle part of the shrine and slides into the pew to listen.

Oili has joined the a gold-inlaid bench of cherry wood, with plush aeterna upholstery.

"Thank you all for coming," Aureth says amiably. He gestures openly towards the hastily assembled beverages. "I appreciate that many of you were willing to take time out of your busy schedules to come and hear me. I think it's important, particularly in these uncertain times, to recall that though none of us can solve _everything_, all of us can do a little to help. It is in our power to reach out to our fellows. It is in our power to do a little. What Gild asks us is not simply the divestment of wealth to those who do not have it. Generosity is not a simple, financial demand. Though silver to the pockets of those who lack it may _be_ charity, what charity truly is, first, is in an examination of kindness. Isn't it?"

1 Templar Initiates, 3 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Cassandra.

Nurie has joined the a gold-inlaid bench of cherry wood, with plush aeterna upholstery.


Acantha enters quietly with Benny and no other guards. The Baroness of Clearlake looking like she hurried when she heard of the talk. She gives a look to Benny after they enter and she finds a seat for them to listen to Aureth on things. She's not a stranger to donating to many organizations across the compact, so it was of interest to her.


When Shard moves past his pew, Corban brings his fist to his chest in a salute for the member of the Valorous Few, inclining his head to her.

Reigna looks to Shard as she arrives and desipte the fatigue, she offers her friend a warm smile. She reaches out a hand, an offering to Shard, a welcoming greeting. "Hello my friend." She keeps her voice down, so as not to disturb the sermon. She nods to Aureth's words, though the vaguely pinched look at her brow does not entirely ease.

Shard gives Corban a sharp nod as she passes. And then, to Reigna, a very quiet, "Hello." If she's angry, there's no temper in her voice, at least.

"I stand in a room full of wealth," Aureth says, opening his hands wide. "This shrine is an artistic impression of civilization, of largesse. That largesse is not only a display, but a responsibility critical to our ministry. Charity may be a gift of goods. Of money. Of food. It may also be a gift of time. It is the providence of Gild that we send brothers and sisters to our poor with gifts of bread, but not only that. Of small kindnesses. If you have no food to share because you have only just enough for yourself, you can still give - of your heart, of your hopes. You can remember that the grace of charity is in its compassion. In these small kindnesses. Most of us _can_ afford to give, in our funds, in our granaries, and so it falls to us to do that - because we are a civilization; a community. Those acts of compassion, they will strengthen our civilization; they will support our community. Each gift we give, however small, is an important piece - not only for person who receives it, but for the Faithful together."

Cassandra did not ask for healer after the events surrounding the riot in the square broke out. She did not ask for anything actually, save to be carted back to her personal apartments. Better others get care than her. But there's point to her appearing perhaps in solidarity with a fellow Legate. Or perhaps she was tired of being confined to a bed, even if currently for her, existence is pain. Using a walking staff to keep her upright, annoyedly waving away her Templar trio once she's inside. She leans heavily on the solid piece of maple, like some kind of black haired crone. Though really, she's not that old.

Nurie listens, though some of the sadness in her expression starts to ebb a little at Aureth's words, her breathing coming a little more deeply. She nods once, her tightly laced hands in her lap relaxing just a bit.


Oili has her attention turned to Aureth as the sermon continues. Her expression hasn't changed since she came in, one of mostly mild annoyance at the weather, and it's only getting worse as she works to billow her cloak out around her and invite cool air inside.

Fortunately, there's someone to take up the role of the nannying, concerned templars that Cassandra dismisses. Sydney strides in not long after, and unapologetically loops her arm with Cassandra's. "...Seems annoying to lean on that piece of wood. Please, feel free to lean on me, instead." A kind smile is offered to the Legate, and the pugilist sticks close to her.

As Aureth mentions a room of wealth, so Preston looks to the door and the gold inlaid into the cobblestones. Well, glared more than look. If a look can say 'Oh, you test me, you test me and I will have you', it would be that look. Preston has strong paving views. Helpfully this paving gazing lets him spot Cass as she enters, and he offers her a nod of his head from his perch near the rear.

Acantha gives a dip of her head to those that she knows, a quiet word to someone as she passes, but she finally finds a seat. She does notice Preston and there's a smile to the man, then she's turning to pay attention again.

Inclined to pace while he talks, Aureth comes to rest in a standing pose before the altar. He braces his hands over his hips and says, "I charge you who hear me: do a charity. Do a kindness. Support your community. Give a coin, if you will - and if you wish to financially support the efforts of Solace in the Lower Boroughs of Arx, that is the best use of your charitable coin, in my view. But give of yourself. Be generous, not only with your purse strings, but exercise giving with each other. Remember the grace of Gild in your dealings." His eyebrows climb over a faint smile that lights his mouth, and he suggests: "Would anyone like to start throwing out some suggestions of charitable acts? Of small, concrete things that you, or anyone, might do, to help?"

Shard leans over to whisper something quietly to Reigna.

Reigna chokes off a bit of laughter, soft, but faintly audible. She nods to Shard, a smile on her face.

Videl has een listening so far, but when the question comes she has an answer. "Buy food and give it to the starving. Even if you can't help all, you can help some." She tries to speak loudly, but she's struggling to get out much more than a whisper.

Elena, a solemn knight attache, Alette, a discreet lady's maid, Isabel, a calm diplomatic aide arrive, following Zara.

"If you fill their bellies they are sated for a few hours. The Faith has fed the lowers for...well. I am sure Father Aureth can find the dusty account first assigning silver to the project. But it does not change their circumstance. You do not provide them purpose by feeding them, or show them you value them." Preston offers from the back, reaching up to pull his hood down "The task of the nobility is harder than simply mimicking what the Faith has provided, or seeking to add additional pieces. It must bring the Lowers into the Compact - it must help them belong. Provide them with a stake in our shared success that all within the links of fealty normally feel. In places where populations are less...dense than here."

The redhead next to Cassandra makes a strong point, deciding that she would rather put her weight on Sydney than that on a staff. "Thank you." she says, voice soft, but tone strong. She's more or less out of the woods. "Reforms will need to be considered. Perhaps more than considered." she utters, straining to get her voice to carry. "It will take more than a handful of soup kitchens and a clinic to really make an impact. And before there is a panic, no, not some drastic change to social order or some such. But token gestures such as those will not be able to handle the needs of those who live in the Lowers or even that of merchants. We need to develop a sense of self-sufficiency to be able to be better equipped in times of strife. Quality of life must be improved. It must be larger and more long-term than a small period of charity." After saying that, she breathes a bit heavier, as if that took more effort than the Legate expected.

"It's a start," Aureth agrees amiably when Videl speaks, tipping his chin. "For those of you in the back who couldn't catch that, Lady Igniseri suggested buying food for those who can't afford it. Especially with supply in the city limited, prices for simple staples climb beyond what people can afford. That's simple, it's concrete." His eyebrows up, he says, "As a Lowers boy bred, Grandmaster, I'm surprised to hear you say we need to bring the Lowers into the Compact." He rests his hand over his heart, and says: "But to ensure that those in need feel like a part of our community, feel part of the Faithful: that _is_ part of what we need work on."

Reigna nods to Shard and gets a look on her face, it's a peculiar expression, one that doesn't entirely sit right on her. She stands up and says, "Looking around this Shrine... I see more gold, dragonweep, platinum and gemstones than anywhere else in this city, let alone the Compact. That altar... the price of it cannot possibly be quantified. And yet what good does it do, sitting in this room? It is a physical respresentation of our devotion to Gild... and yet, would Gild not be better served by seeing the Faith, by seeing *all of us* sacrifice our pretty things to ensure that those who are hungry are fed? That those who are cold are clothed?" Reigna looks around the Shrine to those gathered. "This is a bandage to cover the wound, but the wound itself cannot be healed without sweeping change. I do not have the answers to what those changes need to be, but I can see the hurting. I see the need to fix it."

Laurene, a military adjutant arrives, delivering a message to Thea before departing.

"Perhaps that is part of the kindness that's been spoken of," Nurie says gently. "Too often those of lower station are spoken as if they are not of the same intelligence as the higher born speaker. People speak about what they should do about Those People without speaking to them. Or listening to those that are them. It doesn't mean that someone can't give food to the hungry, or to help get people fed in this time--that's needed to. But what about education beyond the basics? More internships that do not necessarily involve household service? Perhaps better recognition for those that do. Appreciation. Respect. Once this time is over. Right now it seems as if we must try to keep as many surviving as well as look to the future."

"I can see more stores of food brought from Stormwall," says Rysen from his pew. "I can help Minister Rukhnis and those physicians who work with her see it distributed to those in the clinic. We have linen for bandages, and herbs that can help with pain and other maladies." Nodding to Nuri, Rysen continues, "Perhaps with the permission of the Crown, I can take parties into the Gray Forest to forge for food: berries, roots, small game, fish, birds. Times are desperate, but the forests are full of life this time of year, and even insects can keep people strong. It might also be good to work together, and give people a chance to learn new skills."


Oili pulls her cloak around her and levels her gaze on Reigna. "That's the problem, though, isn't it. They look at some of us and see clothing that could buy them a roof to keep rain out of their lives. They look at our weapons and see what could feed their family for months. For a time, they endured this under the knowledge that they would one day be included. Now, when supplies are low, they see the true face of our promise as we sidestep the lowers and direct what's left elsewhere. Now, it appears, they'd very much like us to pay up on our promise to include them in our compact. Perhaps some people will throw food at the lowers and likely that might calm them for a time. However, food is hardly going to resolve the long standing issue being brough to a head.

"To sacrifice the pinnacle of our wealth so that the least of us may have bread," Aureth says, "would be generosity indeed. Yet the demands of the Faith do not require any to pauper herself in service of another. The rewards of labor need not be squandered because we freely give in Gild's grace. The Faith does and will labor to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, yet the seeming exorbitance of our devotion to Gild hardly represents a shortfall in our giving." His smile lifts his mouth more at one corner than the other. "When I was a boy," he says, "there was nothing that made me more angry than the nobles in their pretty clothes coming down to the Lowers and giving away their things. Any of you experienced that? Tried to give out of your pockets, your larders, your closets, only to have an angry kid spit in your face?" He flicks his hair back over his shoulder with the toss of his wrist.

Shard purses her lips, and then she says, "People aren't going to like this, but I grew up in a situation where if we all had food, we /all/ ate. If we didn't have enough food, then we were /all/ hungry, in more or less the same amounts. I /get/ this is not a thing people are going to agree to. So, to suggest what I've already suggested to someone else, what the Peerage can do, what the wealthy can do, is to /actually/ give what they can. Don't go hungry, don't give all of your wealth away--unless you want to, of course--but give the extra. People don't need feasts. People don't /need/ enormous parties. They don't need to spend /so much/ on luxuries, although, of course, they should still spend. People make their livings from providing that. And I think they should do this /all the time/. I grant people won't. So, at least now. At least do it now."

Sydney's eyes sweep the room, brows lofting at any number of the points being made, as well as looking directly beside her to the words that Cassandra speaks - those words get a small bob of her head, and she clears her throat, "...I'm glad to see you touch on the rejection of charitable giving." The woman lightly slaps her free hand - the one not supporting a pained Sword of the Faith - against her collarbone and offers, "Throwing food and coin into the Boroughs is a start. Granted, one that's historically not been followed through on very well. What it doesn't solve is the fact that there is little chance to improve safe for extremely risky ventures. Gambling. Mercenary work. Crime. These are some of the only ways that those in the Lowers feel they can escape from their situation, and that often leads to digging a hole around themselves."

Sydney sweeps her arm to Shard's point. "A man is starving, because he's in over his eyeballs in gambling debt. Do you expect to be thanked for hanging him a handful of berries, and then prancing off to your third feast of the week? He may go to bed with a stomach that's fuller, but the resentment in his heart will only grow." She clicks her tongue, "...Because there's nowhere to /go/. They're trapped in a place where the only way to excel is to wait for luck to pluck them out of it, as it did me, or to turn to crime, risks, or selling their very safety as a mercenary, all while being spat upon by much of the peerage."

"Not everyone is satisfied with another person's leavings," Nurie agrees. "Many people want their own dreams, and if those aren't recognized, why shouldn't there be a little bitterness? Sometimes charity is more of a bandage and balm to the giver rather than the receiver. It's so easy to lose sight of that, or just not be aware of it. It's not just the necessities, though those are a must. But there needs to be more. And beyond just service to another." There's a sadness to her tone, though her voice is unwavering.

"You apparently know more of my origins than I do, Father. I could not tell you if I was born in the lowers, in Arx, even in the Crownlands. It is hardly as though I am one of the lowers - I grew up most fortunate. One of the lucky ones." Preston answers Aureth, an amused smile curling the corners of his lips "And I think you know what I mean. The Compact is a system of co-dependence. Each person playing a part to a greater whole, within the boundaries of our Faith. In a city like Arx? It is easy to feel...separate to that." There is a pause "At least one thirteenth of every harvest goes into our stores, and is given to those across Arvum. For as long as the harvest comes in, people are fed. As it stands, a freed thrall on Maelstrom has more hope of advancement with all that is being done there, than a kid from The Tragedy. The only prospect they have for a shining future is in crime, or the Faith. That perhaps should change. Not that I wish any fewer knights from the lowers. It is unusual, but perhaps Thrax has lessons."

Sir Floppington the Soulful Hound arrives, following Rowenova.

Rowenova has joined the a gold-inlaid bench of cherry wood, with plush aeterna upholstery.

So far as it is possible to be low-key when traveling in a pack, Zara is _low-key_ as she arrives with her attendants carrying various ledgers and accounts. She passes them over to one of the other disciples, a quiet murmur at the back getting her to speed. "Nurie touches on something I've heard from others. Of course we wish to help, but there's something to be said about enabling those in the community to help their neighbors rather than simply--." She tilts her head to Aureth next and opens her hands, scattering her imagined goods. "Finding those doing the good work already, the food and the training, all of it, for they are surely there already."

Reigna listens to Aureth, nodding to some of his words, a look close to guilt on her face. She seems about to speak, thought at Sydney's words she halts, listening, her brow furrowing. She's thinking, clearly, her thoughts roiling. "What if we created a... an outreach ministry that -- that would be funded with the sole purpose of providing vocational training for those who wish to learn a trade skill. Another branch could serve as a means to connect laborers to those seeking employees? Not just in carpentry or what have you, but in things like quartermastering, or stewards. Pages, or lady's maids?" She glances to Shard and pulls a face, that is clearly wondering if she's stepped in it. "Or in being a lawyer or accounts keeper or banker?"

"It's worth thinking about. Particularly with the rise of the merchant classes in the Upper Boroughs, _are_ there opportunities for growth? _Can_ the Faithful sponsor more trade for more of the poor? Can we enable the community to help itself?" Aureth tips his chin between Reigna and Zara, and smiles a little wider. "What an inspired idea," he says. "Perhaps Solace and the Crafter's Guild can work together on that, for craft and industry do well together." (Brainstorming: the art of taking people and mashing their brains together.)

"There is power and support that does not feel like merely a handout when those who are in those professions organize, not just something minded by those who will never be a part of them. The crafter's guild has transformed the lives of many. Perhaps there should also be guilds for the trades, and those in service," Nurie suggests. "Or at least the ministry should be in the hands of those who practice those professions."

Benny The Beaver have been dismissed.

"There are also many places outside Arx where more hands are sorely needed." Videl adds after some time listening, still unable to speak as loudly as she'd like "Perhaps we could set up a system to help people who want work and don't mind moving; but can't afford to, to get to places where their help would be appreciated. It won't solve the short-term problem, but in the medium and longer terms?"

Shard seems to have said all she means to say, at lesat for the moment, so she settles back in her seat with her arms crossed. She glances up at Reigna when the woman speaks, but if anything in that annoyed her, there's absolutely no sign of it.

"The Liberators actually already do that, largely in the Mourning Isles. I suspect that we could expand those efforts," Aureth says a little distantly, like someone trying to do math in his head, "given... adequate investment."

Sydney checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.

After showing up a bit late, with that wild look showing more within her cobalt-blue/kohl-lined eyes than it usually does, along with less preening to those wolf furs she always wears, Rowenova quietly sidles to a pew seatuation before sitting down. She leans back and curiously listens, hands clasped.

Merek quietly notices Rowenova, and offers a light smile, while he nods a bit, then he keeps listening. "The cats are doing well," he offers the woman, while he checks his writs a moment.

Sydney takes a deep breath after Videl's statement and manages to swallow down most of her bilious retort - but not all of it. "So, just... ship the impoverished away to other cities that can afford to have them, unlike /Arx/, which as we all know is /deeply/, deeply impoverished. So deeply impoverished as to afford multiple wars, but not to fix a single thoroughfare between its docks and the 'real city'?"

She pauses, "Am I missing something, here? Did the whirlpool funnel away all of the resources of the crown while I was losing count of Caravels?"

There is a wince from Cassandra, but she tries to draw herself up. There is more she may wish to say, but she resists that urge to do so. "It must be a change in the foundamental outlook that many have. Father Aureth has already stated on the mindset that many have. But if there is to be change, true change, it will only happen once that outlook and mindset has changed. If there is anything this conversation should bring to light is that there is one thing distinctly lacking for life in the Lowers. That unless the dice roll in a certain direction, there is no hope. And that, that, is a failing. Projects to undertake to improve quality of life is all well and good. But the mindset must change if there is to be real improvement. Real progress."

After what Merek tells her, Nova cannot help but to cheer up, no longer looking so serious as a moment ago. "Thank you for telling me." she quietly replies. Then, she looks around to all those who are speaking up.

"It's quite silly to suppose that the richest city in the Compact is suddenly the poorest merely because of the whirlpool, or that it is practical to simply transplant thousands of people to other cities, presuming they would even submit to being relocated," Aureth says with a quizzical glance in Sydney's direction. "The biggest barrier between the Lowers and the rest of the city is the giant bloody hill, though." He leans down and scrubs at the back of one calf, which was built up big and strong primarily by traversing that hill over and over again. "Food is too expensive right now, here, but I think the idea that other economies could support Arx's populace is ... short-sighted at best."

Videl's eyes settle on Sydney and she simply states, "If handouts would be insulting, and helping them find work elsewhere is an offense, then what can we do? Clearly there's not enough work for all of them in the city, or we wouldn't be talking about finding people jobs to do. I am perfectly fine with giving people what they need, but I can't conjure jobs for them to do out of thin air." A pause, "And it's for people who want to, no-one would be forced."

Lygeia leans over a whispers a quiet word to Rysen, and the pair rise like ghosts, silently drifting out of the Shrine of Gild.

Lygeia, a calligrapher and alchemist leaves, following Rysen.

Shard clears her throat. "Treat them like people, ask them, listen to them when they answer, and then, realize, that as people, every single one of them is going to have a different opinion." She pauses. "Because they're people."

Reedy, a King's Own aide have been dismissed.

"We could offer support into economic projects in the Lowers to expand more communal facilities and improve others, a light work program which will be rewarded with funds, a deal made between commoners of the Lowers and Ward," Merek offers, "Apologies, I didn't mean to speak away from turn." He seems not himself since the whole situation after the riots, as in a lot more withdrawn.

"Many of these ideas are interesting. The commoners' council will doubtless like to hear a lot of them," Aureth says with a tip of his head. "All of these options are worth discussing. Some are more practical than others. Making the _effort_ is going to remain important, and retaining compassion and kindness as we consider potential solutions is, likewise, important."


Oili smiles at Rowenova as she slides into the section of benches. Not even trying to be quiet, Oili stands up and moves over to be closer to Rowenova. She hits the bench a few times as she goes, but eventually settles in once more. "At the risk of being droll, there's a forest beyond these trees. If the lowers were happy with what little they had before now, ask yourself what has changed that would cause a person to riot. I assure you that the answer to this question is about the peerage and not those people relegated to the lowers."

Oili mutters, "Hello ... how ... ... ... hear you're going scouting soon."


There is a silent arrival of one imposing yet unassuming figure. He wears only basic items, and Lord Santiago carries a thick book under one arm, the other hand tucked behind his back to stand somewhere in the center of all of this. His eyes bore forward into the Legate.

Sydney mutters, darkly, "Perhaps the Commoners' Council might speak, every so often? How many Assemblies of come and gone without a peep, while we shine spotlights on girding our cities defenses, and the thing /rots/ from inside?" Clearly, this is a topic that gets the brawler's hackles raised.

Cassandra doesn't have much to add. She's said what she felt like needs to be said. If anything, she suddenly looks a bit more exhausted, causing her unconsciously sag a bit more against Sydney.

Santiago has joined the a gold-inlaid bench of cherry wood, with plush aeterna upholstery.

Bosun Orrick, a looming Blackshore mariner arrives, delivering a message to Reigna before departing.

Videl sighs faintly and looks towards Sydney. "I will be the first to admit I know not what daily life in the lowers is like. And this pains me, for what I do know tells me it is difficult. But I also know that if I came to observe, people would take offense at the silk coming to gawk. Without knowing what the lowers need, we can only guess at what would help." Her voice is calm, polite, even if it's critical, "Perhaps instead of telling us what's wrong with our attempts to help, you should work with us rather than insult us by calling us rot."

When Oili moves to be near her, Rowenova looks up with a welcoming smile and happily hugs her before letting go. After, Nova pipes up. "I certainly agree with Marquessa Reigna Keaton. I am all for helping out when people who are willing to strive for what they want and work as much as they reasonably can while those who work hard are rewarded for it. I am abundantly blessed with a full lab of wonderful assistants, a genius protege, and helpful gardeners, because I only hire people who will work. Sometimes, there are people who are in a rough spot, and helping them out with a little boost is also good, especially if they just need that extra step to finally thrive. As for the Lowers issue, as my liege lord has written before, The Crown is to blame." Then, she nods over to Oili. She looks back to everyone else, "I do have another belief, though, in that it is unfortunate that people learn envy, but rewarding them at the time they were envious only positively reinforces it. Properly planning and specifically timing how you give is equally important, and just giving to a grouchy jerk because he guilt trips me? Not happening."

Shard fake mutters, which is to mean she makes it sound like a mutter but it's entirely audible, "You could also find out what daily life in the Lowers is like by listening to the person from the Lowers who is telling you, rather than thinking you're being insulted."

Thea has been sitting, quietly listening to the suggestions of her peers.

Sydney is overheard praising Shard.

"I think she meant the city is rotting," Merek mentions, while he takes a stick of a cigarillo to light from the pack he keeps. An old Black Mountain, then he nods a bit, "I don't think they mind nobles as much save when it's noticable they're nobles, nobling. It's... A thing," he then looks to Sydney and to Shard, "I can tell you the Lowers has no love for the Guard often, but they still talk to me easily, you just need to approach right..."

"Forgive me, Prima Shard." Videl offers with no venom in her voice, "I have heard no such thing, and I have been listening. But people have been talking over eachother, and it's possible I've missed it. I find it hard to keep track of everything in such a disorganized environment."

"I don't think figuring out where to place the blame is an especially constructive use of our time, here," Aureth says with quizzical eyebrows, lifting a hand in a gesture of abeyance. "None of these problems are new. There've been hungry people in the Lowers for longer than anyone in this room has been alive. Any specific shortfall in food or funds might have a specific person to point the finger at, but why? Tomorrow, it'll be a different one."

"My lady," Nurie says gently to Videl. "Sometimes it is good to absorb what is said without deciding it must be personal to you. Or listening to those speaking with experience, and trying not to find offense in the words." She draws in a deep breath, and then releases it. "There have been several things mentioned here that would help. Sometimes the words spoken aren't gentle, but they should be attended to anyway."


The Minister of Loyalty for Fidante sits, with one leg crossed over the other, and that thick book set over his lap. His dark eyes move from each person that speaks, but settle time and again on Sydney, and that book is slid open three-quarters of the way through, a tab of red is slid into place and an Inkwell of sorts - something made of bone - is used to begin writing. "Legate." The voice comes, loud enough to be heard, and even, he's not bothered by what is said - and after a moment of writing, the book is shut, and those eyes rise. "Do you have a priority list of materials needed within the Lowers at the schedule of one, two, and three weeks out?" A pause, and Lord Santiago slides the bone cap back on that pen. "A list of food and basic clothing items, as well as the quantity? Do we have a census of each person in a household within the Lower Boroughs?" A glance around to his fellow Peers, before looking to the Legate. "Opinions aside. Do you have the raw information?"

"Sydney is rough - there are reasons Mother Cassandra is couching her - but she gives one view from the lowers. There is no singular view, but many. Some will be angry. Some forlorn. Some envious. Others ambitious. And it all crosses over and blends. Trying to find one solution is like deciding there is only one road from here to Sanctum. You'll never see all of Arvum that way." Preston offers from his perch "And, if the crowds are angry, well. It's true, others may be stirring them up to some of this. But it is built on solid foundations. Real hurt. The best way to take down a wall is at the base, so it must be with this. Address the real greviences."

Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting, Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting, 2 Grayson House Guards, Clark, an exasperated guard arrive, following Sabella.

Reedy, a King's Own aide leaves, following Corban.

Sydney just appears absolutely /baffled/ by Videl's retort, and her lips thin. She offers a snort of obvious approval and nods Shard's way in clear thanks for the clarification, then pauses to exchange a few words with Cassandra, her attention divided.

Shard gestures toward Sydney, and then more vaguely in Nurie's direction when she speaks. And when Preston speaks, she opens her mouth, and then she shuts it. She re-crosses her arms.

as things devolve into bickering, Reigna briefly closes her eyes and leans over to murmur to Shard.

"Do I? Personally, at this moment in time?" Aureth cocks an eyebrow. "No. I don't. Why would I? The population of the Lowers burgeons around what, two hundred thousand people? We could start doing some math, if it would entertain you." Tucking his thumbs in his pockets, he says: "The question I began with here was 'what small kindnesses can we do, what individual works of charity can we offer that would help each other'. It does seem as though we have veered wide of that point."

"Ah, Guildmaster! I hadn't noticed you, good evening," Merek offers to Reigna.

Zara curls her fingers, loosely pressing her knuckles to her lips in a thoughtful gesture. She leans over, saying something to Nurie.

"Perhaps the Council can publish a list of organizations that are currently doing work in the Lowers," Nurie muses aloud. "For those who aren't as well aware of everything going on, that might be a very good place to start, a published list, rather than reinventing the wheel all at once. People can throw out many ideas, but...sometimes they're lost in the memory, afterwards. It won't hurt to send a messenger and request that, I think I'll do that when I return home. The council is made up of people too, after all. Sometimes it's helpful to do something when someone asks you for something, while you're being overwhelmed with the whole and knowing where to start. It's worth a try, at least."

Videl is about to say something else, when she starts coughing. The coughing continues, and she falls to her knees. Her assistant rushes over to help her up and guide her out, though Videl offers some token resistance to that, in so far as she can mid-coughing fit.

Reigna opens her eyes and looks to Merek, "Is it? I am sorry, perhaps it has been the three days of overnight shifts at the Saving Grace and Commons Clinic trying to heal people caught in the violence that has stolen my ability to see anything as particularly 'good' right now." The words, they are salty perhaps, but from the look of the pregnant Marquessa, she's bone tired.

Reigna rather abruptly coughs, covering her briefly upturned lips.

Shard, who was clearly not responsible for that, looks briefly pleased.

"I think the point is, Father." Cassandra has to pause in talking before continuing, "Is that small acts are good, but it will not solve the underlying problems. I completely support the little acts of support and kindness. But personally speaking?" She draws in a breath. "Were I choose, I would take a sustained effort to make the overall quality of life better. I believe acts small and large could accomplish that."

Getting up, Nova smooths down her double-breasted doublet then speaks up. "Should that outreach program happen, I would be interested in assisting it, but until then: if you know someone with an interest in alchemy or gardening who is currently struggling or too new to get hired elsewhere but would work, please let them know they can write me. I have several irons in the fire at the Defense Lab, and they could watch and learn and I always have dinner." Then, she heads out.

"Oh, I should certainly not disagree, Mother Cassandra," Aureth says, bowing slightly towards her with his hand laid over his chest.

Rowenova has left the a gold-inlaid bench of cherry wood, with plush aeterna upholstery.

Sir Floppington the Soulful Hound leaves, following Rowenova.

"Please forgive me, Father Aureth." At least Nurie has the grace to blush. "I'm frightened at what I saw in the marketplace. For the people I saw gravely wounded, including those that protected me." She looks a little nauseated at the memory. "I think many of us are scared, and that comes out as anger or impatience. I can't speak with intelligence to what goes on in the lowers, only in the smaller stallkeeps and minor merchants that I work with every day, some of whom are on the verge of losing everything. There's so many things I want to do, but I know that some are stupid and others are too big for just me, but I'm going to be trying my best. I imagine that many people here are feeling the same. I will try to mind my words better." But as Zara leans forward to speak with her, she listens, and nods.


The large book opens on Santiago's lap, and he begins to write again. Numbers. Letters. Names.

"Outreach has been happening," Sabella points out from where she's been here the whole time, really, "And I think that's important to not forget. There are many in this city that have been involved in charitable giving and fundraisers for those less fortunate in the city. This is not a new problem and I fear that because it is being thought of as the latest problem to fix many people will throw out ideas and make big gestures that ultimately will come to nothing or very little for those who need it. Of course every act of charity is a blessing and there ought to be more of them, but I fear that large displays right now are not what's needed. They can help, but should they fall off as the next crisis looms, the resentment that is already present will only grow."

Videl has left the a gold-inlaid bench of cherry wood, with plush aeterna upholstery.

"I have more or less used this congregation as a theater of ideas, Mistress Nurie, and I do not ask that anyone guard their tongue particularly," Aureth says with a faint smile, which widens as he adds, "Not least because I'm notoriously terrible at it. I do think that much of what has been spoken here today may actually lead to a direction for some of us - I know I have some letters to write. The message that I would give to you all is to _remember_ the humanity of all involved. The compassion, the kindness. The _community_ that we share. And I charge you to do a work of kindness. In Gild's name. For your communty, and for the Faithful." He clasps his hands together and bows his head. "Thank you," he says, "I encourage this conversation to continue, I'm going to get a cup of tea and I also encourage anyone who wants one to do the same."

"First and foremost though, it is a matter for the temporal powers, I fear. The Faith can support as it always will, and try to help the people. But the Faith only ever sets the boundaries for the nobles. It is up to the Compact assembled to consider this." Preston bows his head to Aureth "In my opinion, and simply that." There is a moment's pause "How many died in the marketplace, if I may ask?"

Zara's not actually doing much talking at the moment -- not loud talking, anyway. A few quieter words to Nurie, yes, but she's largely doing a lot of _listening_. Then again, she's wearing a lot of totally expensive things. Clearly she's just trying to avoid being target of a riot. When Aureth more or less closes the matter, she bows her head with a low murmur of prayer.

Sydney has quieted down significantly after the statement of the sermon going off the rails. It's clear that she at least cedes /that/ point.


Oili watches Rowenova leave before turning her attention back to the legate. The sermon is brought to a close. She stands and makes her way out of the shrine offering a nod at Preston as she goes.

Oili has left the a gold-inlaid bench of cherry wood, with plush aeterna upholstery.

Maikki, An Oversized White Hunting Dog, Taika, An Arctic Hare leave, following Oili.


"Avarice...builds...cities." It's said low, as Lord Santiago writes in that thick book. Still writing, listening, and on occassion looking upwards at those gathered. "It is my understanding that the Lower Boroughs is where the nest of the city's labor is centered, as well? Keeping this in mind, failure to alleviate the pressures of life, and death, upon those living there during these recent events -- from famine, to whirlpools, to riots -- will slow down the surrounding areas." A pause, and that book is shut for a brief moment so Santiago can look then to Sydney, "Is there a member of the Council present?"

Reigna looks to Preston and says, "Lagoma be praised, in the Marketplace there were no deaths. Plenty of injuries, a little over a hundred and fifteen, at my last count." She looks to Shard and murmurs something softly before she gets to her feet, "Thank you, Father Aureth, for hosting this. I am needed back at the clinic however."

Aureth, arriving at the table with all of the beverages, toasts Reigna with his mug of tea as she rises. "Thank you for coming, and for your--" His pale gaze flickers with a glint of almost-humor towards the altar, and then back. "--inimitable perspective, Marquessa."

Shard stands up as well, and heads out after Reigna, though once they've exited she heads off in an entirely different direction.

"Then though sad, it is not as bad as it could have been. I will pray for the injured. Though I fear some part of this is more shocking because it is closer to people. Often Arx is far from the fighting, it only ever sees the after effects, the wagons returning." Preston reaches to flick his hood back up as everyone prepares to take their leave, though he looks over to Santiago "I would not advise the Apostate Marach as a great role model."

Reigna is overheard praising Sydney: Speaking your mind without fear.

Reigna is overheard praising Aureth: Timely and needed, thank you Father

2 Keaton Huntsmen, Marie, chef of Keaton Hall, Sir Pupsalot, a polite, tri-color corgi, Oaken, an Oakhaven bloodhound, Fidelity, a white-tailed eagle, 1 Healer Guardian, Gigi, an apprentice physician with attitude problems leave, following Reigna.

Nalani leaves, following Shard.

The look from Santiago gets a lift of Sydney's shoulder, "I don't have the faintest idea who sits the council. I've attended the last four assemblies. I was only made aware of its /existence/ fairly recently, which is telling enough."

Cassandra nudges Sydney a bit, tilting her head back towards the exit. The broken looking Legate looks like that's enough exertion for one day. Probably would like to go sit down somewhere.

"That's probably because the Commoner's Council doesn't address the Assembly, since they aren't Voices of a House and cannot speak on the Assembly Floor," Aureth says over his mug of tea. "They make commoners' concerns known to the Crown, but they're not votes in the Assembly. They meet with Alaric on a more intimate basis." He scratches his beard. "The last vote on who was to be on the Council was a few years ago, I believe. Every time someone retires there's another vote."

Sydney hesitates, and turns an apologetic look to Cassandra. Whatever else she might have to say is held, and she meanders toward the door alongside the ailing Legate, offering her an arm to lean against.

1 Templar Initiates, 3 Templar Knight guards leave, following Cassandra.

Aureth is overheard praising Cassandra: Stubborn enough to walk in here despite all.

Like Reigna, Thea has patients to. Standing to her feet, she quietly bow her head and slips out the door, like she wasn't even there.

"Thank you for the sermon, Father," Nurie says, somewhat shyly. "And for giving space for those that wished to to speak. I think there are some productive things that will come of it, whether it's shouted from the rooftops or no. But I too must depart." She offers Zara a warm smile and then a curtsy after she rises from her seat on the bench. "I hope that all will return safe to where they lay their head tonight, and perhaps will nurture some new dreams and ideas, too."

Thea has left the a gold-inlaid bench of cherry wood, with plush aeterna upholstery.

Scratchers the red-tailed hawk, Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes leave, following Thea.

"I'm looking forward to trying your games out," Aureth launches a benediction after Nurie as she prepares to leave.



Lord Santiago's face is impassive, stoic even, simply taking in the data offered - and then transcribing it to the paper in that book. When Preston pulls his hood up oer that head, there is a click of the tongue, "I will take your words into consideration."


Like a soldier of sorts, Santiago will stand from the pews and give a curt bow towards Aureth. Then, The Shrine of Gild proper. Reaching into his coat and turning to set a singular silver coin on the pew, before tucking the large book under arm and moving away.

Santiago drops coins worth 1.0 silver.

Santiago has left the a gold-inlaid bench of cherry wood, with plush aeterna upholstery.



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