Assembly of Commons
July 26, 2020, noon
Arx - Lower Boroughs - Nightingale Park - Community Hall
Comments and Log
The relief that rises up in Tanith's eyes upon spotting her husband is almost embarrassing, her smile sudden and sunny. "You're here!" she all-but-squeaks, but it's a quietish squeak. Hair pulled up and pinned in a messy pile at the back of her head, she reaches for Raymesin's hands. The woman is very ... energetic, but she's calming down now that he's there. Likely not nervous. Probably. And then there's Verity and Tanith starts to relax a little more, because jokes. She laughs. "I'm still not sure what's involved."
Evaristo has joined the a lofty oak counter table with trestle base.
Breccan has joined the colorful front table.
i Theophania has no idea if she's running late or not. Wearing her simple grey peasant's dress rather than anything ~ * ~ exciting ~ * ~, she hustles into the community hall. She gives a vague wave to Verity, who is the person she knows far and away the best here. She's visibly closed-off and nervous... and looks a little fatigued, besides.
"Course I'm 'ere," replies Raymesin to Tanith, the Lowers accent strong to the point of incomprehensibility. Clad in scuffed and scarred black leathers, with a brace of knives at his belt, he's just another Lowers tough - albeit rather taller than most. He moves up to Tanith's side, with a nod to a few familiar faces.
Breccan spots Theophania from his seat at the foot of the front table and gives her a big wave and a bigger smile. He elects to remain silent, rather than shout over the crowd.
Ian sits in the back of the room with Alessia, sharing a bottle of whiskey back and forth and exchanging conversation in a low tone of voice. His demeanor is very much that of an observer, someone who has no intention whatsoever in actually participating in the proceedings. In his sweaty linen shirt and beat up coat, he'd be hard down to pin down as a silk if you didn't look close enough to catch the signet ring on his finger. (Or the steelsilk lining in his old coat.)
Sydney makes her way in all but right on time - perhaps it would have been better to be earlier than all of the guests, but that's apparently been lost on her. She pauses upon noticing the empty seats next to Tanith and Rukhnis and flashes her teeth, "Well. I suppose this is all but exactly what I was asked to do, is it not?" She seats herself in one of those empty seats, "I'll keep these warm until one of our far more talented friends arrive."
She gazes out on the crowd which is starting to filter in. Plenty of familiar faces, and a good amount of folk that none have heard of. That Guy from the docks. The Castermonger. Plenty of nondescript commonfolk.
Sat at the yellow bench with Ian, looking just a little bit out of sorts despite her elegant garb, Alessia fans her face as she talks quietly. She waves her fan at a few familiar faces, though doesn't linger, preferring to keep herself seen and not heard.
Rukhnis has left the a lofty oak counter table with trestle base.
Rukhnis has joined the colorful front table.
Sydney has joined the colorful front table.
Ras lurks in a position in the shadows by the wall, leaning with one hand pocketed. He scratches at his head with the other, gaze panning from Rukhnis past Ian and Alessia. It's obvious he recognizes them both, but he says nothing, and glances towards Sydney as the brawler enters, then watches the commoner's council assemble.
Orick has joined the a lofty oak counter table with trestle base.
"Whatever it is, I'm sure you'll be wonderful at it," says Verity. She glances over her shoulder, perhaps due to premonition, and spots Theophania. She returns her attention to Tanith to give her a reassuring pat on her shoulder. "I'll see you on the other side. If you get too nervous, I'm sure Ray will rescue you right through a trapdoor."
With her reassurance delivered, Verity leaves to accost Theophania instead. "Tiff, did you sleep at all? Come on, let's find a place to sit up front -- or perhaps near that man waving at you?"
Successfully accosted, Theophania admits, "Ah -- it wasn't the lack of sleep, so much as what I was doing before... I forgot to pair the wine with water in equal measure." with a light laugh. "Wait -- waving at --" She takes a moment to orient herself, and finally spots Breccan. "Oh! Ah, yes, that would be agreeable." She quickly forms up with Verity, letting her lead the way but giving a polite wave back to Breccan.
Orick has settled himself in at the oak counter where he has a good view of everything and he slips his bag off of his shoulder to set it in the seat next to him. Evaristo gets a nod and a softly spoken greeting but otherwise he's rather quiet as the room comes to life around him when others starts to gather.
Breccan has left the colorful front table.
Tanith watches the others assemble as well, smiling at Verity as the woman reassures and moves on. The Grayhope looks up at her husband and murmurs something softly, her lips twisting into a familiar half-smirk.
Evaristo blearily squints around the room, now that he has spent his energy on his entrance - he stretches his legs out, slouching. He turns a smile at Orick though, and a nod, but keeps quiet for now.
Nurie has joined the colorful front table.
Breccan notices for the first time that this front table /might/ be for important people. He does not count amongst them. With a sheepish smile, he stands and ambles toward Theophania and Verity. He nods at sleepy-looking, small woman. "Evenin' sister. How are you faring? Another drinking contest?"
Raymesin offers Tanith a faint smile, then lurks over to prop a wall up whether it needs the help or not.
Tanith has joined the colorful front table.
Verity communicates the intent to sit with Breccan by putting on a serious expression, pointing at her own eyes, and then pointing at Breccan. HER DREAD GAZE HAS FALLEN UPON HIM--oh wait here he comes. Verity resumes looking cheerful.
"Another?" Verity gives Theophania an appraising look. "You're exactly as wild as I expected. Come on, let's sit at that fancy table. It hasn't got any splinters and Evaristo will probably say something funny."
Verity has joined the a lofty oak counter table with trestle base.
"Less contest, more..." Theophania gestures vaguely. "... I let my frustration with the state of the market get the best of me." She pinches the bridge of her nose for a moment, and takes a deep breath in; she looks *slightly* more awake and less displeased with herself when she finishes. "It's not a problem." And to Verity, she adds, "I -- I wouldn't call it *wild*! I paced myself beautifully during the contest, even if it meant losing first..."
Theophania has joined the a lofty oak counter table with trestle base.
Rukhnis takes a seat at the table, folding her arms loosely over the tabletop as she looks out at the assembled crowd. She looks tired as usual, but there's an expression of attentive curiosity in her eyes as well as she scans the various faces, familiar and otherwise. When it seems like everyone is beginning to settle in, council and audience alike, she speaks in a voice that is low and rough yet has an oddly carrying quality for all that.
"We bid you all welcome here tonight. Truly, I am glad to see so many people in attendance, come not only to meet the new council and hear whatever we may have to say, but to speak of your own interests and concerns here this evening. For we are not here only to introduce ourselves as your new council, but to hear from you as well, so that we may know better how to serve your own interests and help you achieve your own goals as commoners of Arx. I am sure that a great many of you know me, as I know a great any of you, but for those who do not, I am Rukhnis al-Katibi, a healer with the physicians guild and one who works at the clinic here. I decided to run for a seat on the council because, like all of us here, I recognized that there were many serious and abiding troubles in the Lowers that needed to be addressed more systematically than I could on my own. And also, I wished to be better able to meet with all of you, and learn more of your concerns to be better able to make a difference. I have been honoured by your choice in electing me."
With that, she tilts her head to the next in line at the table, presumably for their own brief introduction.
Breccan walks over to the counter with the pair. "State of the market...so that's when my legumes don't fetch a good enough price," he responds to Theophania. Then he forms a rakish grin. "Or mebbe you want legumes to be cheap." He turns his smile to Verity. "She was a lot smarter about it than me. I might have vomited outside..." He quiets when Ruknis starts speaking and takes his seat.
Breccan has joined the a lofty oak counter table with trestle base.
Ian says a few last words to Alessia and then falls into a respectful silence to listen to the speeches, with maybe a drink forom the bottle of whiskey that he brought thrown in from time to time. When he's not handing it off to Alessia.
Ras slides down the wall a few steps to be next to Raymesin, and lurks there with the Ulbran, muttering something quietly and tilting his head towards the benches.
"You definitely did," Theophania teases. "And -- for my part I would love it if legumes commanded a decent price. As is I've had to defer so much trade in the hopes that conditions will shift." Before long, though, she's turning her attention to Rukhnis. It's not long before the mention of her name draws her attention -- indirectly -- to Evaristo. "Theophania Desmarais, Minister of Coin for House Blanchard -- though as Verity has made abundantly clear, I don't actually worry too much about title. 'Tiff' is fine." A beat, before she appends, "I'll let your new friend properly introduce himself, too."
Orick has left the a lofty oak counter table with trestle base.
Shooting Rukhnis and the others A Look, Tanith clears her throat and speaks in a voice that carries without being too loud. "Tanith Grayhope. I'm sure many of you know me from the Murder of Crows, or maybe even the bakery, but I've met even more of you through the collected efforts of feeding folk here in the Lowers, as well as 'upstairs' for them that need it with business getting hard to find at times. It was you all that encouraged me to run, to take my work on in a more official capacity when it comes to organizing help and people and get them to work together." She smiles. "Not for anything specific, but to listen to people and help them get what they need, to bring attention to issues we can tackle as a community and find a way to get it accomplished."
Raymesin looks to Ras at the murmur and replies. Whatever it is it's negative, because the tall Ulbran is shaking his head as he says it.
Breccan extends a hand to Verity and does his best to speak quietly while extending a rough hand to Verity for a hearty shake. "Pleased t'meetcha sister. Breccan Malere." He smiles sheepishly. "And I usually don't drink so much, but you city folk can handle a lot more than I thought you could."
Breccan whistles softly at Theophania's introduction. "Master of coin, eh? I didn't know you had such a fancy title!" He offers another hearty shake to Evaristo after Verity returns his (or not). "Breccan Malere."
When the bench he is sitting at gets a little full for his taste Orick sends a sick sort of smile, slick and oily, to the new arrivals before he quietly excuses himself to find a place where he can listen to the speeches away from all the hungover banter.
Evaristo smiles brightly back at Orick and makes some sort of gesture suggesting he'll find Orick later and talk MORE. Then he listens to the councilors and makes a few sage nods, following along.
Nurie bows her head respectfully to Rukhnis as she bring the meeting to order, and then remains respectfully listening, her eyes bright, as Rukhnis introduces herself, nodding solemnly with the idea that they are here to serve. She smiles at Tanith's introduction as well, nodding in support.
When it is her turn to speak, though her voice is gentle, it carries suprisingly well. "I am Nurie Baseborn, tailor and member of the Crafter's Guild, and courtier. I chose to run for the Council because of my experiences both inside and outside it, seeing ways that we can perhaps better connect the varied interests of commoners though all of the Compact and better the whole; raising /our/ voices and trying to find ways that we can tie them in. To do this, we'll need everyone's help in allowing us the opportunity to understand your individual perspectives. It will not always be easy or perfect, and there will be times when there will be and must be disagreement as well. But I do have faith that those you have elected to serve are very much interested in doing just that, and are willing to take the time to listen to you individually as well as here tonight. Thank you very much for the opportunity."
Sydney offers a light clearing of her throat, Sydney folds one leg neatly over the other and leans forward, "Those of you that know me down here are probably more familiar with me as 'The Waterfall', but I have the honor of being Sydney, of no surname. You've seen me in the Training Center, The Murder, the Pits, and gods help me, some of you might even recognize me from when I 'prenticed under Brama - I apologize for all the bent and mangled nails we sold together."
She clear her throat, "Today, I'm filling in for one of the other members of this council in my capacity as an alternate." She crooks a wide smile, "Ain't much for diplomatic words, but I think if we wanted just *that* sort of talk, we'd be up and chatting away while we drink ourselves sick at an Assembly of the Peers. That ain't what this is. This is /your/ turn to have your voice heard, for a change."
The pugilist scans the audience, and offers, "And for the lot of you that voted to put me in this position, you've got my gratitude. So, let's get this thing kicked off. Rather than shouting all over one another, take up a line, and we'll do this shit right, proper and fair. We all know you've got shit to say after all those, so lay it on us. What do you want to see us take up for you? We're /your/ council."
She pauses. "So, you got anything that's bothering you that you think should have been happening and ain't, or got ideas... get in the line!"
Evaristo has joined the line.
Ras nods after a few more quiet words exchanged with Raymesin. He studies the councillors speaking in silence after that, though there's a faint gleam of pride in his eyes at one point.
Rukhnis listens with her head slightly canted towards the others in the council as they introduce themselves, nodding every now and then as if she particularly approves of one sentiment or another. She then sits up a little straighter when Sydney announces the formation of a line and the chance for people to make themselves heard, and her gaze becomes keener still as if she's very much interested in knowing just what her fellow commoners are thinking of.
Ras has joined the line.
Evaristo has shook hands with people at his table and had a murmured conversation that hasn't disturbed - but as Sydney finishes with that, opening up for people to adress them, he stands up and excuses himself at the table, moving up to stand waiting for him to be called to talk. Very polite.
Orick doesn't have any questions but once he finds his own bench to occupy he pulls out a book and a quill and jots down some notes during the question asking portion of the meeting.
Turn in line: Evaristo
Sydney clears her throat and turns her focus towards Evaristo. She flashes her teeth in a wide smile. "Evaristo!" She doesn't bother to announce the man's last name, "Bard and poet extraordinaire. What do you have for us?"
Evaristo clears his voice, and smiles brightly around the room at large, weight mostly on one leg and his cloak held back by his arm, hand resting on his weapon. The other hand is gesturing animatedly. "Honored Council, citizens of Arx," he begins, voice carrying well. "We have overcome the worst trouble that the Whirlpool brought us - starvation. Much thanks to people in here, and the council members, who did extraordinary work. So, we no longer starve. But, that whirlpool is still there, and my ship sits unused at the docks of Arx, unable to go anywhere. I pay my crew and try to find work for them meanwhile - some of them have joined some other ships, taking off from north of Arx, but I hope they will come back to me later. Anyway! I want to know what work is being done to get rid of the whirlpool, if any? The Crown has been very quiet about that one. Why is it there? What happened? What are they doing about it?"
Balian, a Templar squire, Guy, a hunting kestrel, 1 Templar Knight guards, Direhorn Jeffers, a barded Templar wargoat arrive, following Preston.
Verity has joined the line.
Despite also listening to Evaristo with as much interest as she has anyone, at the end Rukhnis can only spread her hands and reply, "Unfortunately, I myself have no more news of this than anyone. I do not know what the Crown may be planning, and though I have heard of some nobles investigating the matter, I know nothing more than that. But perhaps someone else -- either among the council or in the audience -- knows more? If not, we can surely attempt to find something out to report back."
Evaristo nods to that. "I don't expect the answers to be here today, but those are questions I am surely not alone in wanting to ask. And, if the whirlpool is there to stay - I suggest a plan to be formed, something big and grand, to MOVE our ships. There HAS to be a way."
"It is a concern shared by many, Messere Evaristo," Nurie replies sympathetically. "The council can ask the Crown directly to address this matter again, or perhaps direct us to who we can request further information from. And if there is no futher information, then yes--perhaps there can be a commoner-led effort to try to do something about it. Would this be something you would be interested in coordinating with our support? Or if there are other suggestions as to who might be a good choice, we can certainly reach out to them."
Tanith shakes her head, brow furrowing. "Faced with something I can't effect directly, I opted to treated the symptom of the problem." Her eyes flick to Rukhnis, the barkeep amused by something, but the expression sobers quickly. "I can ask Lord Commander Eleanor Allenatore. Not only is she the leader of the King's Own, she's a friend," she offers.
Preston enters the community hall with his small couple of fellow Templars, the Carnifex of the Faith wrapped in his Faithly robes, cinched closed with his sword belt. He stays near the door, leaning against a wall as he watches the goings on, his arms folding as he listening intently "It seems to me that you might want to consider how we were able to load troops for war while the whirlpool was there." Preston comments as he catches some of the words "The shore does not begin and end at Arx - the roads are patrolled by Solace. Perhaps the answer is to petition the King that should this whirlpool remain, some kind of easement between Arx and the Crownlands of Grayson to provide a temporary wharf or harbour further up the coast and supply to Arx. Not as efficient, but the trade must flow, mm?"
Sydney offers a shake of her head and offers, "To add to that, Ev, For now, you can rest assured that on the matter of the whirlpool, we only know as much as you. It has disrupted our trade, disrupted the markets, and we're all /quite/ aware of how it impacted our friends, our families, and our neighbors." When Preston speaks up, Sydney pauses and offers a smile, "...Certainly a consideration. May I direct you toward the line for any concerns you might have with the state of the Lowers?" She looks to Evaristo, then. "Does this answer satisfy?"
Ian raises a hand and clears his throat. "If you start up an investigation, I'll share what I've been told with whoever's put in charge of it," he offers in the hesitant voice of someone who's only about 70% sure he's allowed to be talking right now.
Evaristo just stares at Nurie like she suggested he should jump into the pit. "...what?" he says, turning a bit pale. "Uh... I mean, I can certainly come up with IDEAS, but coordinating?" He scratches the back of his head - clearly he didn't consider that him speaking up would also possibly end up with him having to DO things. "Ahh, our very own CARNIFEX is here! Excellent. You speak of a new harbor? Well, we would need one, if the whirlpool sits there like it does. Or figure out how to move past it - and from what I hear, only the Cardians and the Platinum Empire ships know how. A new harbor does not solve the problem of all the ships now locked at our docks, but it would ease trade. I know Brighthold has picked up the slack, and goods move overland from there, but - it's a bit too far from Arx for comfort. " He ponders, but then nods and smiles at Sydney. "It does. As for working towards fixing it? I might be tempted to lead such a project, but only if I got the right support." ANd with that, he moves to sit.
Turn in line: Ras
Remaining silent for now, Alessia merely listens to those speaking, assuming reverse-Assembly rules apply here. She raises a brow when Preston arrives, seeming just a little surprised, though nods in greeting.
Ras shifts off the wall and takes a few steps forward, hands coming out of his pockets so that he can fold his arms loosely. He glances towards Preston, grits his teeth, and returns focus towards the table of councillors. It seems as if he's mostly looking at Rukhnis, as though the sight of her steadies his temper-towards-the-templars somehow. "We need laws to protect the rights of commoners in Arvum," he says, measuring his words with care. "Commoner rights. Freedom and fairness. I want y'all to petition the king for that shit."
Orick, writing his notes calmly and quietly, stifles a laugh with his hawk feather quill and doesn't look up from his book.
Ras checked composure at difficulty 10, rolling 3 lower.
Tanith checked composure + diplomacy at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.
Sydney's lips quirk up, and her brows follow suit at the words that Ras speaks. "Ras. You are of course recognized." She glances to her fellow councilmembers to have them speak their piece on the matter.
Ras clenches his jaw harder and shoots a glower at Orick. Arms slowly unfold, and he lowers a fist to each side. Then, he jerkily looks back towards the table at Sydney's voice. There's a stiff nod.
Rukhnis raises her head to look in Preston's direction when he comes in, and she nods to him but then objects mildly, "Yet that still does not alter the fact of many people's ships -- and thereby livelihoods -- being trapped in the harbour. Nor does it help the fact that prices for essential goods are raised beyond what people afford by the additional difficulties of transport, or the additional fact that many people who once worked on the docks here, or in shipping in the Lowers in various capacities, have lost their employment or been forced to seek work elsewhere, sometimes far from their families." Pursing her lips briefly, she says, "It is indeed a problem of many complexities, and we will be glad for any additional information or ideas that anyone may be able to furnish to help us rise to this challenge."
She then shifts her eyes towards Ras and listens very seriously, nodding at the end. "I am sure you have many ideas in mind for what laws and rights you would wish to see," she tells him. "Are there some in particular you would like to suggest? I am sure you know how serious we are about striving for all commoners to be treated well and fairly in all things, and while I can think of many such possible measures on my own, I would like to know what you and others have particularly in mind." /She/ certainly looks serious about it, at least.
"Not all commoners dwell in the Lowers, Sydney - nor would I hope do commoner concerns or aspirations end at the bottom of the slope. There are sayings about things rolling down hill, aren't there?" Preston answers, but he bows his head acquiesing either way "Merely a suggestion of an alternative already found, and which might help stem - though as Evaristo says, hardly solve - the problem, my apologies however." Preston moves towards the table full of commoners, nodding back to Alessia before he gives Evaristo a pat on the shoulder and takes a seat there.
Preston has joined the a lofty oak counter table with trestle base.
"Ras," Tanith greets the young man, her smile warm, and her features shift to something determined, resigned and serious. "I hope it helps you, and others, to know it's been talked about, something important to all of us commonfolk that live in the city and not just in the Lowers, we're spread throughout and through the wards. While we've made strides to work with other organizations lead and manned mostly by others likes us, it gets hard to find the momentum needed to find ways to change things. Sometimes what's needed is a demonstration of how important we are to the well-being of everyone that lives in Arx, a reminder that we are as important as everyone else, but even then ... well. I'm interested in looking for ways to make our many voices, as we are many, to be heard as clearly as those born further up in rank."
Nurie seems quite happy to consider the idea of Evaristo's involvement, and as he seems to agree to be /willing/ to consider MAYBE doing so in some capacity she beams. For some reason though, she offers a wink to Tanith, her smile turning a bit impish as she does so. But then she is carefully attentive to Ras as he speaks, as well as nodding supportively to Rukhnis' question of specifics, her expression both warm and interestested.
Ian has joined the line.
Sydney checked composure at difficulty 7, rolling 2 higher.
Evaristo calls out now. "Hey, then maybe if our suggestions are not met with anything but empty words, we can show how important we are," he suggests smoothly, smiling charmingly. He doesn't go into detail. There's nobles RIGHT HERE.
"We'd have to start small," replies Ras after a moment of tense listening. His hands slowly ease back out of their tight fists, though the faint grimace remains on his features, and his voice contains a sullen sort of stubbornness that indicates he senses more unspoken resistance to his suggestion. "Shit like, can't kill your serfs for lookin at ya wrong. Inquisitors can't just grab and bully you in the street. Silks oughtta be accountable to the Iron Guard just like we are."
Squinting a little at Evaristo's words, Alessia cannot fully suppress a smile at this, murmuring something else to her companion.
Ian raises his eyebrows to Alessia in a 'told you' sort of way.
Sydney maintains her smile toward Preston as he corrects her, and she offers a shake of her head, "...Indeed. The Carnifex has a point, and I'd like to clarify that for anyone that has any doubts - this isn't just for the Lowers, it's for any that ain't a noble. So rest assured, despite my scrutiny on this particular region, this council is for all matters for all commoners." She flicks her attention to Ras, and offers, "You're absolutely right. I can't recall the last time I saw a nobleman beaten in the street by the Iron Guard. We will make a point to discuss this in future meetings. Do you wish to add anything else, Ras?"
"Indeed," Rukhnis says to Ras, with a faint twist to her mouth which she can't quiet suppress. "All of those things are clearly right and just." They are in Rukhnis's head, anyway. "But the question becomes, how to convince the people in charge of the laws to change them in a way that may not benefit themselves. Or at least in a way that does not seem to benefit them immediately, though in my opinion all people benefit from a just society that equally values all its members." Letting out a quiet and yet thoughtful sigh, she assures him sincerely, "It is something that we will not fail to consider."
Orick collects his things when the talk turns seriously to Commoner's rights and he packs away his book of notes and his quill back into his satchel. He's an assuming fellow and he makes an assuming exit without any farewells or even any eye contact on his way to the exit.
Beakers, an austere raven wearing a purple ribbon leaves, following Orick.
"There's a lot of us," says Ras dourly, glancing between Tanith, Sydney, and Rukhnis. He looks fleetingly towards Evaristo, but the minute shift of his gaze to Preston ensures that he diverts his attention from that table immediately. "There's less of them. They need us to live. We don't need them to live. If we gotta show them how important we are, we could..." Furrowed brows lend darker shadows around his eyes. "...do anything."
Some guy, looking as hungry and rotten as the rest, filters in through those two wide doors with this tired a look and eyes that hang with a loose droop. It is Gael, with a nose swollen red and hands hidden in the cross of their arms beneath the limp flow of his dark, dusty coat. As Orick slinks by him, he enters with the awareness of someone that's never been here before, eyes dark that scan the walls and ceiling for a brief intake of detail, until he finds some cracked and loosely hinged barrel to sit on, and look on, silent, at the proceedings.
Sydney claps her hands neatly at Ras's words. Once. "Well-spoken. Verity Locke, you look like you're itching to speak."
Turn in line: Verity
Evaristo's gaze is sharp at Ras suddenly, and then he calls out again. "Indeed!" he says loudly. "We could write the most SCATHING songs," he is quick to fill in. "As an example." THen he quiets, and winks at Verity and gives her a thumbs up.
Raymesin continues to prop up his piece of wall, lurking quietly at one side of the room and watching events.
"It may be that some of those things may be more quickly affected here in Arx than beyond it," Nurie acknowledges solemnly to Ras. "Especially addressing the physical violence shown towards commoners by those charged with keeping the peace, with impunity." But she then falls silent again, listening.
Ras scuffs back a step, looking towards Verity, and slips both hands into pockets with a sigh strained between his teeth. He returns to his post at the wall near Raymesin.
Raymesin eyes Evaristo. "Scathin' songs, like last time," he says. "You gonna make someone else take yer fall this time, Ev?"
Verity comes down from her table to approach the council seats. While waiting for Evaristo's discussion to conclude, she's afforded plenty of time to turn and look at the incoming Carnifex and his templars. Her gaze lingers on them, and then moves briefly to the two nobles in the back of the room and the house guards in their company.
But then she's called so no more mysterious looks. With a passing smile for Ras, Verity steps forward and inclines her head to the council -- a deferential gesture, but without the obeisance of a curtsey.
"My fellows have brought up important issues facing us. I know you're here to listen, and it's wonderful to be heard, but I think knowing the passions of our leaders is as important as conversing with them. You spoke briefly about what drew you to serve on the council, but what would each of you like to accomplish for we common folk?" Her smile grows thin. "Provided you feel comfortable saying such things to an audience like this."
Evaristo turns violet eyes at Raymesin, and if normally Evaristo is amused, mischievous and happy-go-lucky, the look Raymesin gets now is dark and filled with disdain. He says nothing however, but turns back to the meeting.
Ras catches Evaristo's look and awkwardly tries to bump Raymesin with his elbow, forcing an uncomfortable snicker from his throat in an attempt to levify that disdainful stare. "He looks pi-issed," he stage-whispers, and calls toughly towards the roguish bard, "Ya pissed over there?"
"Don't like music," Gael mumbles with some disdain at that Raymesin not too far, perhaps just in time for Ras as he himself arrives. When he says this, his focus' yet on Verity, and his voice's low, low... quiet, and not so easily understood from a distance. "Actually, wait," the Islander reconsiders, making a face. His chapped lips, too, strangely tighten in a poorly suppressed incline. "It's the bards I don't like, I don't know, music's okay I guess."
Raymesin's eyebrows lift at Evaristo's reaction. He looks somewhat less than impressed. That less-than-impressed look turns on Gael.
Ian's gaze tracks briefly to Gael when he speaks and he remarks something to Alessia, then takes a drink and passes her the bottle they've been sharing.
Rukhnis makes a quiet grunting noise at Verity. "We are not your leaders. We are the ones you have chosen to represent your own interests in an organized way." Giving a small shake of her head, she continues, "For my part, one of my chief concerns is in fact knowing what problems other commoners are facing, so that we may take these concerns and attempt to create some plan to address them, rather than dealing with only those things that we ourselves already feel are problems. Additionally, I believe the council has lost the trust of some of the common people that we do in fact care about what they think and need, so I would like to re-establish that trust. The more united we are, the more we become a force to be taken seriously by others." Her eyes narrow a little with thoughtful intensity, and then she shrugs slightly.
"Beyond that," she goes on, "I would like to see greater opportunities for commoners, as indeed all of us would, but I would like to see these opportunities created within the Lowers themselves, rather than only in the upper boroughs and wards. I think people lack the material resources -- the coin, generally speaking -- that would allow them to start their own business and ventures here in the Lowers, where such things are most needed. I would like to see measures to loan them the money to do this, by--" Then she abruptly breaks off, her eyes snapping towards some point near the back, in the vicinity of Raymesin and Ras.
Tanith checked command + intimidation at difficulty 15, rolling 60 higher.
Ras abruptly flashes an unnecessarily rude gesture to Evaristo (or maybe it's to Preston, who knows, they're kind of close), with the hand that came out of his pocket in the process of trying to elbow Raymesin. He glances towards Gael and says, "Hey Gael," as blithely as if nothing else is happening.
Herja takes a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.
Rukhnis checked command + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 69 higher.
Tanith abruptly snaps at the room, Full Blown Bartender Mode. "OY," is her sharp remark, loud. Dark eyes hard, the Grayhope pulling some several decades of handling a drunks and morons and sailors and all manner of whatever in the Murder of Crows. "That has -NO- place here. Not today."
Late to the Assembly, Aswin Ulbran steps inside the Community Hall as discretely as he might. Slipping through the entrance, he casually sidesteps to the left and there he'll lean against the wall. As Tanith snaps at the room, the Ulbran barber's brows raise in surprise before his eyes shift about the room, trying to discern the cause of the outburst.
"Hey man," Gael tells Ras, perking up to the fellow by him with a weary, thin, but honest smile. He's in the process of offering something, judged perhaps by him reaching in this opportune moment into his coat to Ras' prompt, but then Tanith scythes into the room with scathing a voice, and he's made taut, hesitant, quick to rearrange himself and straighten up in order to look at her as if failing to do so would get him chastised somehow.
Ian's head snaps up at the loud OY like someone who's used to obeying when someone uses THAT TONE around him. But he's pretty quick to remember that 1) This is not a ship, 2) Tanith is not the captain, and 3) he's a fucking noble, goddamnit. So he goes back into his comfortable, vaguely disreputable sweaty slouch pretty fast.
For some reason, something has Alessia laughing profusely on the yellow bench. She's drinking from the bottle as though to gather her bearings that way, to middling effect.
Having first fixed most particularly, perhaps, on Ras, Rukhnis's gaze sweeps the room in the wake of Tanith's sharp words. Her gaze is both compelling and sympathetic, and while it's clear she shares the frustration and anger of some in the room -- and shares it deeply -- it's equally clear that she's more inclined than the barkeep-baker to allow the council to dissolve into fury and violence. "It does not," she agrees with Tanith, her voice low as ever, but with a dark edge to it that brings it somehow to the fore. "We wish to /speak/ for all of you, with our voices, not with our fists. We are here to show that we can accomplish our goals without resorting to the brutishness and lack of thought that many nobles impute to us -- wrongly. That is not who we are."
Raymesin, propping up the wall next to Ras with Gael nearby, shows Tanith his teeth, then looks down and to the side.
Ras glances towards the councillor's table, and for some reason looks particularly at Rukhnis, even though Tanith was the one who barked that sharp reprimand. His arm lowers, and abruptly his countenance sags into an expression of shame. He bows his head and rests back against the wall, biting his lip. Nothing further seems to come from his mouth, either to Raymesin, Evaristo, or even poor Gael nearby caught in the sights. Not even the laughing from the -silk bench- makes him raise his gaze from the floor in front of his boots.
"That sounds like leadership to me," says Verity to Rukhnis' initial rebuke. "There's no shame in calling it that, especially if you keep your wits." The outburst from Tanith causes Verity to look over her shoulder back at Raymesin and Ras, rather than at the bartender. However, this interest is short lived, as she then returns her attention to the front.
Preston has joined the line.
"I am leery of people proclaiming they know best what the 'common folk' want or wish, as if we were some monolith, or objects and resources to preserved and protected for greater use by someone else--though that is a fight that I expect I may not see the end of during my lifetime," Nurie answers softly. "My passion is in seeing not my work be highlighted, but those that are already doing what needs to be done, or who wish to. To see that work highlighted independently rather than just folded in to a peer's charity. It is important to connect commoners to other commoners, and peers that do recognize the work and knowledge of commoners to projects that they can support with respect. Those commoners in the upper burroughs can assist the lowers as well. Supporting and working with the guilds is also important. There is a wealth of talent and intelligence amongst all of us, perhaps it is time that we put effort into supporting each other."
Ian isn't laughing, but he did give Alessia a 'what can you do?' sort of shrug when she started to laugh.
Having said nothing, or done not a thing for several minutes, and at the most murmured quietly at his table with Preston, Evaristo blinks and looks up in surprise at Tanith. He glances around as if he has no idea why she is even calling out, and then turns a look at Rayemsin and Ras - a disapproving one. Then he smiles, and sits back and listens - he nods very vigorously to what Rukhnis says.
Raymesin checked command + intimidation at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.
There's a lot to keep track of, so Sydney doesn't recognize much or any of the side-conversations, at least until Tanith calls it into the fore with her commanding bark to restore order. The pugilist offers an impressed look, and she flashes a grateful grin in the bartender's direction. Instead of dwelling, she clears her throat and places her focus squarely on Verity. She eases her chair back, kicks one booted foot up onto the table. Then the next. "My colleagues have the right of it. Thank you for getting us back on track. To expand on the point of Verity's, I see no reason at all why I should be anything but comfortable in the presence of my peers, and in some cases, my peers and their esteemed guards. You are most welcome here."
She projects her voice, "I didn't offer a speech of my own when it came time to lobby for this position, so I see no harm in making my opinions known now." She sticks up a finger, "To offer this platform so that you all may address your concerns, and that you might know we are here to gather, listen, and act on your concerns." She raises her ring finger to meet her index finger, "To ensure that when the Crown directs people to use the Commoners Council as their Voice, that shall be precisely what it means. The days of 'no update' at the Assembly of Peers I would like to see be a thing of the past. This Council was granted the opportunity to have a representative speak, and I hope to see us do precisely that. Next Council. The one after. The one after that." She extends her middle finger to join the rest. "To collaborate more closely with the Crown." She lowers her hand, then removes her feet from the table, "Is that to your satisfaction, Verity Locke?"
Having searched the room for a moment, Aswin offers a nod to a few that he knows before slowly beginning to make a route for himself toward the table where Evaristo sits. Pulling out a chair, the Ulbran eases himself down, clearly not looking to disturb anyone from the business at hand as he takes a seat and listens to what has been said.
Aswin has joined the a lofty oak counter table with trestle base.
Gael's gaze, in this crucial moment of demonstrations, flits and hesitates across the various faces in the room, trying perhaps to create a link of understanding to who's who. He's absolutely lost. When he quietly asks, "She's upset at us? Me?" His tone suggests a foregone conclusion, and to whom he says this remains vague; could be Ras, Raymesin. "What's this all about, man? I thought they were giving out food or something."
Rukhnis's eyes shift sharply now towards Alessia, and she says tartly across the room, "If you too could please retain a demeanor suitable for attending to what the people here have to say."
Raymesin's teeth reappear, getting shown to Evaristo this time with a narrow-eyed look from those pale eyes, and one hand lifts to rest lightly on the hilt of one of his knives.
Ras remains quiet and doesn't look up, though one hand rises to grasp the feather from the charm braided into his hair.
Evaristo checked command + intimidation at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.
"I am." Alessia says with a warm smile, but no hint of apology in her demeanor. She hands the bottle back to Ian, fanning herself with a free hand, as the next person speaks. She's still dabbing at her eyes, sufficiently calmed.
Evaristo's smile at Raymesin is wide and a bit toothy, the sort of charm born from a certain crazy streak - eyes glitter with dark amusement too.
Rukhnis is not in the least mollified by that smile from Alessia, and from the look she gives the Mazetti woman, it's clear she's going to be KEEPING AN EYE on her. Along with half the room, by this point.
"It does, Sydney. Thank you, all of you," says Verity. With another nod of her head, she moves to allow the next in line their place.
Turn in line: Ian
Tanith has the other half of the room, apparently, letting the Eurus woman speak for her. "Councilor Rukhnis and I are of the same mind," she adds, gaze shifting around the room.
Somewhere during the conversation, warnings, threats, Alessia's hyena impression, and general staredowns, Ian had gotten up, pushing himself to his feet with the aid of his cane, and made his way to the line. Now it's his turn, and he clears his throat again and begins speaking with all of the earth shattering charisma that he's become known for. (None. There is no charisma.) His voice is so level it could be called flat, and his cadence is slow, slowed further by his thick Isles accent, but at least he's capable of projecting it loud enough to really carry through the room. "Going back to the issue of the whirlpool. At Lady Rodica Corvini's suggestion, I got a group of people together to try and redirect trade down the gray river. A couple merchants. Some financially minded nobles. The Cullers and Rivensharis. Wash. We've gotten a fair amount of interest upriver, so we're getting to the point where we're going to be looking to hire sailors from the docks for the first convoy. So, uh. That's coming. We'll be at the docks recruiting, but Mistress Acacia or I are probably good people to talk to about getting a berth. We're hoping to make it something sustainable, since the whirlpool doesn't seem to be going anywhere."
Gael catches Rukhnis' admonishing of Alessia, and there that narrow and thin-eyed focus sits, on this woman; on this noblewoman, finally finding the familiar sight of Ian bordering her a second after. The previously lazy partition of his lips widens with dawning understanding, and with a glance that roams cursorily to Evaristo, then Raymesin, it all clicks. "Oh shit," he realizes, seeing as well him reaching for one of his knives hidden handles. "Hoo, wow, hold up," Gael murmurs to self as he slinks away, silently, borrowing perhaps Ian's ownership of the room to distract while he finds a wall away from knives and possibly morbid conflict resolution.
Raymesin's baring of teeth at Evaristo turns in a moment into a toothy grin, completely with a wiggling-fingers of a cheerful little wave.
Tanith looks surprised when Ian offers that information up. "Some of the goods we got in to feed folk came through trade by river. It's a good plan, thank you for telling us."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Ras before departing.
Sydney offers a slightly skeptical nod of her head in Ian's direction, having nothing further to add to that bit of information. She relies upon her fellow council-members to field this one.
Insaya has joined the green bench.
When a messenger stops by Ras at the wall, he finally glances up to take a look at the note, then passes it towards Raymesin with a short muttered word.
Rukhnis tips her head to Ian in acknowledgement of his words. "Ian Kennex, the information you share is much appreciated. Any effort to bring trade around the whirlpool and provide continued employment for some of those whose livelihoods depend upon it is better than none, and hopefully it will make a meaningful difference. It will surely not solve all the problems involved, but it is a good start, and better than anything I have heard about it thus far."
Insaya has a seat at the first place she can find at a bench, briefly letting her eyes wander to scan the crowd for faces. Her hands grip the wood to either side of her.
Having spoken, Ian doesn't seem totally sure what to do with himself, so he gives the council in general a stiff nod and a grunt that could really mean anything but probably means 'I know I should be saying something right now but I don't know what so hopefully this will be good enough', and goes back to sit down.
Raymesin takes the message Ras offers him and glances at it, then narrows his eyes and starts to read it. It takes a minute or two, but when finished he passes it back to Ras with a nod.
Evaristo fixes his gaze upon Ian, and his eyebrows go up a bit - but then he nods thoughtfully and grins at the Kennex man in appreciation.
Sydney offers a gentle nod of her head when Ian has said his fill, and turns her focus to the end of the line. "Carnifex Preston - this council recognizes you to speak."
Turn in line: Preston
Sir Floppington the Soulful Hound, Tarik arrive, following Rowenova.
Preston pushes himself to his feet weerily, sighing as he gives a look to Ras and then back to the table of councillors "I actually came to listen, not to talk. But. Well. Perhaps I will share advice from what experience I have working with nobles, given what has been said today. There is, as Sydney says, a variety of commoners. I recognise that my experiences are in some ways unique, though I am a commoner. One with privilege as a Godsworn, for I walk where others will not because of the Faith. But I am an orphan raised by the Faith. As many from the Lowers are. The Tragedy is not so far from here, I suspect many of you have had friends or relatives who - through the scholars - had the education to find a better place. Indeed, the Faith have always been in the lowers when no-one cared." Preston pauses, looking around the room "The Whirlpool caused a moment, where people became worried and where people cared. And yes, their response was often...naive. And yes, they should have cared before."
"Everyone recognises the world is imperfect, and you can likely use that to build up something better. To improve in some ways. To get help. To get support. It is an opportunity, while they care. Just as a noble patron might render you immune to the worst of the inquisition, so their support might help you now achieve more than you normally could. But. The whirlpool will not last forever. And there will be some new suffering in this war that will take peoples attention." Reaching up, Preston rubs at his short hair, taking another breath as he steels himself for the next bit "There will be voices that urge anger, violence. Voices that correctly identify abuse, and ignore every act of kindness they have been shown. I have watched those voices seek to make demands of the powerful institutions in this realm and walk away with offers of support to help them be better, I've seen them attack people in Shrines and be spared through mercy. But. Making those demands, ignoring every system already in place for your support to expect great things and making not very subtle threats? You will find that people's care for the plight evaporates. And nothing will be gained. So. I suppose I'd simply urge you to seek to build upon the traditions and institutions that exist, not to seek to confront. Because the commons together may be powerful, but a few angry voices will find themselves alone, with no hands offered to help them up the slope."
Rowenova has joined the green bench.
Nova holds hands with Tarik as they show up (fashionably late but still here), and Sir Floppington follows them.
Breccan hangs on Preston's every word, nodding along in eager agreement as the handsome man urges peace and brotherhood. When he finishes, Breccan claps loudly and shouts loudly, "Hear, hear!"
Ian mostly just looks relieved that everyone is paying attention to someone else now, as he talks quietly with Alessia. He gives a nod to Nova when she comes in, though.
Tarik has joined the green bench.
Ras checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 10 lower.
As Preston speaks, Gael's expression takes on varying configurations of decline, having started relatively upbeat only to find himself not just frowning, but crunching the whole of his face like a fist that's slowly closing into one tight fist, recalling every finger slowly into that binding squeeze. Like an image of film, this expression of disdain belongs now to his primary motor cortex. It would probably take a minor neurological miracle for him to cease producing it.
Nova looks to Ian with a dip of her wolf-framed visage, back, and then she moves to the green bench with Tarik. They get seated not far from Insaya there and then the scout quietly speaks.
"I do not believe I have heard anything spoken by the council here that disagrees with what you have to say, Grandmaster Preston," Nurie answers respectfully, and in a quiet voice. "I hope that by the same token, that you would be willing to listen to what we have to say as well. It is not easy to hear the voices of people who are unaware of the good deeds done by those you know, and who claim that since 'nothing' is being done, they though ignorant of what others are doing, will come in and do it better. I believe most of us feel the same way. This is why I think the council has a particularly important role to play in listening and connecting people. But that does mean that people will need to not be focused more upon what they have to say and what they think others will say, and more upon listening to the whole of what is being said. Thank you for your sage advice, however. It is appreciated." And from her tone, it is sincere.
After nodding grimly back to Raymesin, Ras looks towards Alessia for a moment, and sees something there. His gaze slowly pans towards Preston, and an angry fire starts to burn in his eyes. Pushing off the wall, he looks poised to attack the templar, saying in a low growl, "Fuck you, tyrant's pet."
Ian excuses himself to Alessia and braces himself on his cane and pushes to his feet again when Ras pushes away from the wall, although he's not really displaying any sense of purpose when he does so.
Rukhnis, for her part, hears Prestion out with the exact same measure of keen and courteous attention that she'd given everyone else, and at the end of his small speech she simply nods to him and says, "Thank you for your words. I am sure everyone has different ideas of what is the best way to approach the many problems which commoners face, and it is good to hear all of them. However, while working with existing institutions and connections is important, I feel that it is equally important never to cease to search for new ways of doing things, and for new things to attempt."
She tips a small nod to Nurie as well, and might have been about to add something-- until those words from Ras, and then her gaze sparks and snaps back to him. "There is /no place/ for such rudeness at a gathering like this!" Her tone is sharp with frustration and admonition, and it's definitely not hard to hear across the room this time. "Our aim is to treat one another equal respect, and for so long as we are here in this room together, with equal /courtesy/." Pressing her lips together, she keeps staring at him, hard. "You are better than this, Ras. Do not let others goad you into appearing worse."
Nova looks to Ras and Preston but looks like your standard Norther who is curious about the potential of violence which might happen but not concerned until someone gets their eye shot out.
Raymesin blinks at Ras' words, easing a few inches away from the other man, then gives Rukhnis a slightly put-upon look.
Aswin has been quiet for the whole meeting, and that certainly does not appear soon to change. Though at Ras' comment toward the Templar, the Ulbran barber does straighten a touch in his chair, his eyes shifting between Ras and Preston.
Sydney lifts a hand thoughtfully to her face as Preston speaks, following along with a nod of her head. She clears her throat, and offers, "Not every cause will be taken in an unfiltered manner, but all matters will be discussed in our meetings to form a cohesive plan of action." She flits her attention to Ras, and closes her mouth to allow for Rukhnis to lay down the law.
Evaristo's lips curve into a very, VERY ironic smile for a second, but it's gone just as soon and might be missed - he's smiling wide and dazzling and looks suitable impressed with what Preston is saying there.
Gael quickly pushes himself up from whatever jalopy of wood he had decided on when finding his most recent seat. He makes use of the wall for this, his height making him clumsy in the act where his shoulders and elbows barge into shelves and things all about him until he finds his balance. Much like Ian, there's little purpose to him rising up, other than to not be caught perhaps sitting when a possible confrontation takes place.
Shard slips into the Assembly, most decidedly late, and most decidedly not particularly bothered about it. She's quiet though, and there's nothing about her to draw attention other than that it's her.
"It is my understanding that the commoners council, created a handful of years back, is a new institution," Tanith says after a moment, glance at Ras before looking back to Preston. "By the Crown. This would suggest that while building on old ones, and old traditions, might be easier, it's not the only path being offered. We were given a voice and the people chose us to use it. We do outnumber them, commoner to noble, as has been pointed out. We are not just in the Lowers, we are spread through ward and city and Compact." She runs a hand over her brow, her expression thoughtful. "It should never be 'us' verses 'them'; we're all bones in the end, aren't we? We take to the Wheel and come out the otherside as someone else. We do the best we can with what we are given this time, this Turn, and we should not forget that no one is better than the other, no soul more precious than the next." She looks to Preston, now. "I thank you for your words and your voice. You, too, are one amongst many."
Verity is among those standing up. She rises from her spot at her table, but remains there for a moment while looking between Ras and Preston. Her neutral expression gives little to no clue of her intent.
Verity has left the a lofty oak counter table with trestle base.
Shard checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 25 higher.
Ras doesn't even notice Raymesin edging away from him, how dark his focused scowl is on Preston. He doesn't budge, and though Rukhnis' voice break through his anger enough to give his glower an almost hopeless cast, he doesn't take back those three words, as if waiting for the templar to answer to his condemnation. There's a tension in him that hasn't come from just this moment, but from years of silent hatred stewing.
Breccan stands with Verity in defense of Preston, fists balled and glaring at Ras. The normally easy-going fellow looks deadly serious.
Breccan has left the a lofty oak counter table with trestle base.
Ian makes his way over to Ras, but, again, it's a mix of an amble and a careful progression across the room, owing to the care that he seems to have to take while walking. There's no sense of threat about it. There's barely any sense of direction. And indeed, once he gets there, all he does is say something to Ras in a low voice.
Remaining seated, Alessia's attention seems fixed on Ras, though she manages to keep her expression impassive enough. For now.
Breaking into a little bit of a chuckle at Ras' words, Preston shakes his head as Rukhnis chides Ras "If it is how he feels, I do not mind - it is an odd view to have of the Most Holy, given how often his life has been spared when he violates the laws of the Gods, but, some children are ungrateful and we love them all the same. One of those privileges of the type of commoner is that I do not do things for long life nor for adulation - simply to serve the Gods. But yes, change is sometimes necessary, but it is amazing what we think is new is truly old." Preston bows his head to the small table of councillors, ignoring the burgeoning wall of people and threats "If I may..." he offers to Tanith "Seek out Dame Sugan in the Hall of Heroes. Good leaders have always sought - and needed - good advice. But I take your point. Thank you for hearing me."
"The Faith don't have the authority to execute anyone," Ian reminds Preston gently.
Rukhnis's gaze sweeps around the room again, and it's much more obviously burning this time. "All of you," she says sharply. "I understand that among those of us who are commoners, you are frustrated, discouraged, beyond angry at the injustices you see committed on daily basis. Or perhaps, if you are a noble or someone who has been successful within the limits set by nobles, you do not believe in the Commoners Council and in what we hope to achieve. But we are here to discuss things like civilized people, and work to find solutions in whatever /constructive/ manner we can. Not to snipe at one another and hurl insults, or laugh and jibe at one another, whether commoner or silk. Finding solutions is surely not easy. Speaking to one another with equal respect is not easy either. But coming to blows and curses here is not going to aid our cause in any way."
And then her eyes find Preston again. It's a gaze that burns, darkly, but she only says in a very low voice, "Thank you. I think you have said enough."
Shard pushes off from where she paused near the door. She's not any /louder/, but she's also not attempting to be unseen at this point. Or attempting to obscure where she's heading, which is directly at Ras. Not hurriedly. Just very purposefully.
Ras checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.
As shoulders and peoples and things begin piling around in defense of Preston, something clicks in Gael's head, and while the templar's owner of Crusader - the fabled blade - the Islander himself's soon taking a hold of some chair's former leg scattered on the floor. No frying pan, this weapon is, but it has a legend of its own. He holds it close to his chest in a shaky grip, more like a shield than a blade, and waits. And waits. Silent, cornered, eyes hooded with concern. Once Preston _laughs_, Gael releases once bated breath, but it is short-lived; he, soon, looks at Ian and Ras, respectively. "What happened here?" Asks Gael, looking at Verity that happened to be now by him. "Things were going good." Not anymore.
Sydney rises, "If there is nothing else to be considered or offered to the Council at this time, we'll bring this Assembly to a close. If you felt for any reason that you were unable to speak your mind, please send letters to any of those that you see before you here, today, as well as Raja Culler and Auda Florin, who could not be in attendance."
Verity crosses her arms and continues to watch. Gael's interjection earns him an appraising look from her, which eventually makes its way back to his face. "Bringing swords into a room sets a certain tone. Might want to drop that for now, friend."
Ras shifts his focus to Ian, looking on edge. Something in his glare briefly wavers, but then Preston's little chuckle and words draw his attention again. "I ain't your -child-, you --" A glance towards the councillor's table has his teeth gritting together with an audible grinding sound, transparently struggling to hold back further insults.
Raymesin eyes Gael as well, and leans away from the wall to stand straight. "Yer gonna want ter put that down," he informs the man, then looks to Ras. "You an' me need a word," he says. "Outside. Now."
Sydney cheerily offers, "And if folks don't stop looking like they're going to pounce on one another, please take it to a venue that is appropriate for it. May a recommend the Back Alley off of Beach Walk? Lovely little arena just down that way."
Shard hasn't quite reached Ras yet, but her voice is loud enough to fill the hall anyway, even if it's not quite a shout. "/Sit/. /Down/," she barks, at Ras's back.
Shard checked willpower + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.
Verity raises her eyebrows. "Dear me, those are conflicting orders."
Ras checked willpower + intimidation at difficulty 45, rolling 8 lower.
Ian seems to take the response from Ras in stride, and does nothing to prevent Raymesin and/or Shard from any attempts to sweep him off. It's subtle, maybe even past most peoples' notice with everything that's going on, but he's placed half-himself, half-his cane between Ras and Preston. Given who Preston is, the Templar's probably not the one he's trying to protect. He's still just standing there, though.
Still remaining seated, there's a quirk of Alessia's lips at Verity's comment.
"Swords? What d-..." the Islander hesitates, then, he looks down; down at his hands, worn things holding hard onto that wooden limb he totally hadn't grabbed off of the floor, because this is an ice place- he must've brought it with him. Formerly in his coat. Something. And now? Now he's letting it go. His hands, their fingers, tensely spread open in a quick release, dropping it. It clatters across the ground, ridding himself of it like a criminal ditches evidence.
Tanith looks a little relieved when Raymesin tells Ras to step out with him, then tense again as Shard bards orders at the young man. "Wonderful first meeting, this," she remarks of a sudden, dropping her chin into the palm of her hand with a helpless laugh.
Ras wheels abruptly, grimacing, and one fist draws back as if he's about to haymaker Shard for her troubles and proximity. But then he stops short, arm shaking with restrained adrenaline. "Cowards!" he spits, unfairly. "There's boots on our necks and you all just wanna grin and bear it!" A curse makes it way past his teeth, low and strained. "I'm -tired-!"
"When people assume that they will only be heard and not listened to, it can take some time before they feel free enough to engage without familiar shields," Nurie offers without judgement. "But people trying their best to avoid escalating by word /or/ deed will allow us to continue to hold these meetings with the intent in which they are called." She nods warmly to Sydney's words. "If there isn't any other business to address to the whole of the council, I too move that we close for now."
Shard checked strength + legerdemain at difficulty 20, rolling 24 higher.
Sydney checked composure at difficulty 10, rolling 1 higher.
Much like Ian, Nova seems to be a center of calm. She lifts her hands up to press her fingertips together, like steepling, in front of collarbone level, but she does not move much further than this. She is still just sitting there upon the green bench.
Now that the meeting is officially ended, Rukhnis doesn't bother with staying seated at the table any longer -- in fact, it seems that it would take more will than even the Eurusi woman possesses to stay put. Jumping to her feat, she swiftly edges her way through the crowd to Ras's side, and, hints of incipient violence or not, she lays one hand on his shaking arm and tells him something in a very low voice indeed.
Rukhnis has left the colorful front table.
Ras checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.
"Mm. I suspect that is an debate for another place, Lord Ian - and where nobles may disagree with the Faith, and hopefully we never need to argue it for real." Preston offers across to Ian at the comment about the Faith, but as everyone continues, he simply settles on the edge of the table and folds his arms - going no where near Crusader as he gives a nod of acceptance to Sydney andthe other group "Thank you, it was actually very interesting. I apologise for what my advice provoked. If the Faith can help, it will try regardless."
Ras hears whatever it is that Rukhnis says, and his eyes close as he lowers his head with a shuddering sigh. It seems difficult, but the tension slowly expires from his frame.
Shard makes a snatch for the back of Ras's tunic...or, no, his right shoulder. Her grip is, shall we say, rather considerable for someone who doesn't really have any sort of impressive height on her. It's not /quite/ a yoink, but it's not too far from one as she pulls him back and, with an acknowledging, maybe even inviting glance toward Rukhnis...steers him very forcefully toward the exit.
Insaya has left the green bench.
Breccan eyes Ras warily, but when the meeting concludes, he makes his way through the crowd over to Preston. He looks a bit awkward, hesitating for a second before deciding on a bow. He interjects, "Godsworn, thank you fer yer words. They were wise and...er, godly. Exactly what we needed to hear." He eagerly extends a rough hand for a hearty shake. "Breccan Malere, at yer service."
Raymesin falls into place behind Ras and Shard, moving with the two of them for whatever reason.
Sydney clears her throat and rather loudly states, "This concludes the first Assembly of Commons - thank you all for your feedback, and we will do our able best to serve you, going forward. Now please, go about your business."
"It's not a debate," Ian replies to Preston, his voice still level, but unflinching. "That authority, within Arx, belongs to the Crown. I'm sure you don't intend to usurp the King's power." Now that people who seem to have an interest in Ras' wellbeing have closed in around him and Ras himself seems to be relaxing, he takes a few steps away, although doesn't quite go to sit down again.
Rukhnis scowls abruptly at Shard as she snatches at Ras, all the force of her glare suddenly landing on the other woman, but she quickly follows after and despite the challenge, doesn't remove her fingers from the street rat's arm.
Rising from her seat, Alessia walks over to Ian with a raised brow, saying something quietly.
With the Ras drama nearing a conclusion -- for this room, at least, Verity turns her look back to Gael. "For the record, I wasn't talking about your stick."
Sydney has left the colorful front table.
Ras, Rukhnis leave, following Shard.
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