(1311-05-02) Day of Shemhazai: Rhetorics and Discourse
Summary: Rhetorics and discourse are demonstrated on the Day of Shemhazai
RL Date: Thu May 02, 2019
Related: Days of the Companions
armandine cyriel helene vincens 

Temple of Shemhazai — Temple District

The temple of Shemhazai is a cathedral dedicated to knowledge. The temple is built of grey stone and the interior is floored in white and black marble mosaic tiles. The most prominent fixture of the temple, overseeing the main hall of the temple in an elevated sanctuary at the back of the hall, is a silver statue of Shemhazai. The sanctuary is gated save for steps that go from the main floor to the sanctuary floor at the feet of the statue. Braziers on the walls give plenty of illumination at night and a few candelabras hang by chains from the ceilings.

The main hall is an elegant library, bookshelves have been put into the walls as well as thick oak shelves flanking both sides. The main aisle between them has several rectangular tables with comfortable chairs set for each. Doors lead out from the main hall to adjoining rooms which the Priesthood use for teaching or people could use for private study. Built into the back walls flanking the entrance are spiral stairways that lead to the upper floors of the temple where priest lodgings, labs and other necessities of the Priesthood are found.

The doors of the Temple of Shemhazai have opened today, to admit those that have come to celebrate the Companion of Knowledge and Wisdom. The weather outside is warm and fair, but here, within the halls of the temple, it is comparatively cool — an air reigning here, of rational calm and the potential of books on so many topics, resting in the shelves of the library. The rectangular tables have been set aside, to make room for rows of benches facing a podium. There, within sight of Shemhazai's statue from the elevated sanctuary, the stage has been set, for enlightening speeches and discourse over topics of various kinds. A priest of Shemhazai, clad in the distinctive grey of his faith, can be found standing beside the podium, ready to greet those that arrive, while an acolyte, sitting at a small desk to the side awaits those that wish to sign up for holding a lecture or presenting a discourse.

The Duchesse of Eisande arrives, perhaps a bit later than others. Her dress shows the Mereliot blue, but the golden fish ornaments are a more subtle touch, smaller, and in a way added as not to be flashy, not to distract but complete the attire of Armandine Mereliot. Her blonde hair has been done in befitting fashion, and the ducal coronet sits on her head, sapphires glittering in the light that filters in through the windows. A few of her ladies follow in her wake, hands orderly folded, and any giggles or chatter reduced to an almost inaudible minimum. Armandine approaches the priest and addresses a few words to him, spoken at a lower volume, before she lowers her gaze respectfully to the clergyman. Moving then to the side, she lets her gaze drift, before she heads for a group of comfortable seats not too far away.

Amongst those gathered both to listen, and to present, is Hélène Verreuil, the Baronesse de Poumarous. Dressed in a simple gown of deep blue silk, she has arrayed herself in a fashion meant to be neither spectacle neither of excess nor of plainness, but in a manner that might not draw the eye away from her speech when she gives it. She is not far behind the Duchesse's entourage, waiting patiently as they find their seats before looking for one of her own. Should the Duchesse look her way, she curtseys respectfully, but otherwise seems to content to situate herself for the afternoon's event.

A perhaps surprising attendant to Shemhazai's Day celebration is Cyriel Charlot. The Kusheline vicomte enters the temple, clad in the black and red colors of his House, brownish hair pulled back into a ponytail. A servant follows in his wake, carrying a wooden box under his arm, flat and long of shape. Pale blue eyes find the gathering at the far end, and Cyriel approaches, his footfall echoing ominously in the cathedral of knowledge. He has obviously followed in the wake of the ducal procession, but then again, it would be all too fitting, for a wolf to pursue what some might consider prey, in the form of oblivious ladies-in-waiting.

Vincens makes his way into the temple, first to accept and return the greetings of the grey-clad priest, and then to find a seat, pausing only to give the appropriate respects to his betters should etiquette demand it. He's dressed in a pale silvery blue that has little to do with the green and white of his house colours, with his hair tied back into a simple ponytail, and a satchel with notetaking equipment tucked under his arm.

That curtsey of Hélène has been noted, and Armandine inclines her head to the Baronesse, her features warmed by a smile, even as her gaze considers the young woman of House Verreuil. Then, the duchesse looks towards the Charlot, and the quality of her smile shifts just so. Vincens too catches her attention for a moment, but the duchesse seems content to remain seated, not seeking the spotlight but rather preferring to be among the audience today.

Cyriel approaches the acolyte at the desk, giving the young lad some murmured instructions and waiting to see him put down certain notes on the list. A nod is given to the priest. And then, Cyriel finds himself a spot on the benches, making sure his servant follows along.

As the flow of people subsides and most have settled in, the priest of Shemhazai climbs the steps to the podium. He is a man in his sixties, his face shows the traces of many years, and yet there is that glow in his eyes. Facing those that have come, he lifts his arms in a gesture of greeting. "Be welcome, in Shemhazai's Halls. For we shall celebrate Him today. Where would we be without His wisdom, where would we dare to venture, were it not from the knowledge gathered in decades and centuries! Let Shemhazai look kindly upon us today, as we invite all that are willing to present a particular area of their interest. The scope of topics will vary, but it is this variation, the many facets of even one topic alone that will grant everyone something he or she has of yet not been aware of. And we need you who are here to listen and learn, to place a vote at the end of the day, for which of the presentations you have found most appealing and enlightening." He lowers his arms, and then with a bit of mischief glittering in his eyes, adds, "Who'd like to be the first, to start off our celebration of Shemhazai?"

Hélène turns her eyes about for a few moments, looking to see if anyone else rises or otherwise gestures to the grey-robed Priest, before making eye contact herself and inclining her head in assent. She takes a breath and rises to her feet, smoothing her skirts with her palms before walking over and stepping up to the dais before awaiting the Priest's permission to begin.

Cyriel sits there, his gaze lowered, expression distant as if he were contemplating something. When Hélène approaches the dais, he looks up, his eyes tightening just a little, as he considers the Siovalese lady.

Vincens offers a bow, and a polite smile, when Armandine's attention wanders his way but initially seems disinclined to draw much attention his way. He spends a few moments fiddling with the contents of his satchel but stills as the priest makes his way up to the podium. In the moments after the priest asks who will be first he leans towards his neighbour to softly ask. "Do you know what her speciality is?"

"Please, my child. Give your name, so that we may know who you are, and then feel free to begin," the priest of Shemhazai intones. His hands fold before him, as he lifts his eyes to regard Hélène with mild curiosity.

<FS3> Helene rolls Composure: Great Success. (5 8 2 8 3 7 3 7 3 5 6)
<FS3> Helene rolls Mind+politics: Good Success. (4 6 7 3 1 6 6 3 8 6)
<FS3> Helene rolls Presence+persuasion: Great Success. (3 5 1 1 5 7 1 7 8 4 7 4)

Hélène steps up to the lectern, looking out at the gathered audience with gentle green eyes, and a soft smile. "Thank you. I am Helene Verreuil of Poumarous." As she speaks, she makes eye contact with the various members of the audience, the Priest and the various members of his order as well.

To begin though, she takes a deep, soothing breath and says, "Your Grace, High Priest, and of course, ladies and gentlemen, of late the discourse in our city has been fraught with tension. On one side, there are those who oppose the intermarriage of d'Angeline families with the children of foreign dignitaries and royals, and on the other, those who support what these alliances bring into our nation and our bloodlines."

And so she continues, presenting both the arguments she has heard in favour, of the wealth that these alliances bring both in trade in culture, and the military advantages, and also those opposed, those who consider this as diluting the bloodlines of the Companions, and those who fear the lessening of opportunities for unlanded nobility to make good matches and strengthen alliances both within and between the provinces. She does not; however, appear to take a side, instead presenting both with equal compassion for the believers.

Once she has laid out the arguments, she turns to those who make them, and discusses the reasoning behind these deep-felt beliefs, exhorting those gathered to consider the side not their own, and to speak, and interact with compassion, and forebearance with those they disagree with. Her argument is not about the marriages themselves, but the way they are spoken of in the streets, and in the salons, a condemnation of cruel dismissal of one another, and an elevation of civility in discourse instead. In finishing she adds, "And so, I would ask this of each of you. Listen. Listen with generosity, and compassion. While you might not agree with the position, respect that it comes from a place of deep feeling, and is likely just as considered an opinion as your own. Thank you."

The Duchesse of Eisande has listened attentively to Hélène's speech. Her expression, even if composed as that of a duchesse should be, gives away she is very much intrigued and impressed with the topic Hélène has chosen. Once the lady finishes with her discourse, Armandine Mereliot's hands come together, as she is the first one to applaud to the presentation.

"A very clever choice of topic," the priest of Shemhazai comments. "And you did well, in presenting the opposing positions. Thank you, Lady Hélène. This was definitely enlightening."

Perhaps it was the choice of topic. Or maybe, a coincidence or other that made a wry smile appear on Cyriel's features, his pale eyes lingering on the lady as she presents the different views on a subject that he himself sort of had broached at the Ducal Court a few months ago. His applause is given after a few moments, late enough to drown in the noise of others clapping their hands in approval around him.

Vincens listens to the entire thing in rapt silence. He shifts as it finishes, adding his own applause to that around him.

Hélène curtseys before retaking her seat, anxious it seems to listen to the next speaker.

"Now, is there anyone else who wishes to speak to us?", the priest asks. He looks to the acolyte, and the acolyte looks down at his notes. "Lord Cyriel Charlot would be next," he announces.

<FS3> Cyriel rolls Blades+Mind: Good Success. (6 5 8 7 4 4 2 1 5 7 6 5)
<FS3> Cyriel rolls History: Success. (7 1 4 3 5 3 6)
<FS3> Cyriel rolls Persuasion: Success. (2 2 5 2 2 4 1 8 2)
Cyriel spends 1 luck points on Reroll Persuasion.
<FS3> Cyriel rolls Persuasion: Good Success. (3 8 5 8 3 1 1 4 6)

Cyriel Charlot rises from his seat. Straightening, he steps forth and climbs the dais. A casual wave is given to the servant to follow. "My lords, my ladies," the man greets the audience. His voice is calm, and the Kusheline accent unmistakeable. It gives his tone a certain dark timbre. "I am Cyriel Charlot. And my particular area of interest," and here his features twist into a sharp smile, "are blades. Blades of all kinds. I collect all manner of blades, d'Angeline ones and those from abroad. Recently, I have come across a certain very rare kind of blade. And of this rare kind, I wanted to speak to you today."

He gestures for the servant, and the lad opens the box and produces a dagger of fine quality, it is polished and glints where it catches the light. Cyriel accepts it from the hands of the servant and then presents it to those that have come to see and listen. "This here… is a d'Angeline blade. Forged in Camlach. It is a fine blade. Nothing a man or woman of noble birth would be ashamed to wield." His hawkish features pull into a smile. "It is fine quality, and you can see, when you look at the blade and it is polished as it is now, it reflects the light almost as if it were a mirror." With a wave of his hand he hands the dagger back to the servant.

Another blade is produced from the box, and Cyriel holds it up, presenting it for everyone to see. "Now, this here…" The blade is of a curved design, looking definitely foreign. The surface looks a bit darker, and oddly dull. "This is a dagger I have been told has been crafted in Khebbel-im-Akkad… It is a rare blade that is made of what the call Damascus steel. It is said to be much tougher and sharper than our blades. If you look closely, you will see that the steel shows a pattern." He hands the blade back to the servant and with a cant of his head encourages the man to walk around and present the blade for those that wish to look for inspection. "Steel is not my area of expertise. But I admit, I got curious. I have acquired a book and researched a bit on this particular sort of steel, that is based from what they make in Bhodistan." And so he closes, "I think, this sort of steel deserves far deeper research. As far as I learned, the process of forging as well as in dealing with the material is quite complicated. So my plea is, for the Temple of Shemhazai, to look into this mystery, and perhaps unlock the secret of how to create these blades."

Vincens is one of those who leans to get a better view of the patterned steel. His expression filled with curiosity.

"Thank you, Lord Cyriel," the priest of Shemhazai says and inclines his head. "A very enlightening topic. I don't believe we have any works on that particular topic yet in our possession, so if you would be so kind as to send us the book that you have found…" He smiles. It is a smile that shows a certain hunger for knowledge."

Armandine applauds as so many others do, but as the applause subsides, she raises her voice. "My lord. How intriguing that you of all would bring up a topic that praises the products of abroad…" Is her tone heavy with a touch of sarcasm? Perhaps.

Hélène takes in the blade, though her brow furrows slightly as she considers the piece in front of her. She nods before it moves along, and then cants her head slightly as the Duchesse speaks. Her eyes again look around, awaiting the next speaker with interest.

"Who is next?" The priest of Shemhazai looks around, as Cyriel resumes his seat from before.

<FS3> Vincens rolls Mind+mathematics: Success. (6 4 5 2 3 5 5 8)
<FS3> Vincens rolls Mind+shipwright: Great Success. (4 7 1 2 5 7 8 5 1 7 5 1)
<FS3> Vincens rolls Presence+persuasion: Good Success. (6 2 7 8)

Having buoyed up his confidence through the other addresses Vincens moves to his feet and heads on across to the acolyte listing the competitors names. He waits there until his own turn is called up and then heads up to the stage. For a moment he just stands there as he tugs at the edges of his cuffs before putting his head up and shoulders back in a movement designed to breed confidence even if it is not already there. Like those before him he begins with an introduction. "My lords, my Ladies. I am Vincens d'Eresse and my particular interests are in mathematics and the architecture and engineering of ocean going vessels."

He takes a deep settling breath and then starts talking. There is a genuine passion behind his words that manages to make the rather dry nature of his lecture hold the attention even as he delves into the mathematical art of symmetry and its vital importance in the structural integrity of a finished vessel.

It seems as if he intends to start going into the mathematical details of it but he catches a look from somewhere within the crowd and instead skips to speaking of beauty. The subject changes to a description of how the symmetry of the form is not only vital to its strength and efficiency but also the innate beauty that we, as people, find in symmetrical things. How symmetry is reflected throughout the natural world - in flowers, the human face, the human form, the greatest of architectural forms, and how as a result, it is one of the greatest subjects a mathematician can follow.

Stopping at this point he looks around the room, seeming a little surprised to see that there are still people listening with genuine interest, and then he adds the plea that seems so important. "And so I ask that each of you consider how the simplest of things has influenced so many things around you and consider ways in which you can use it to greater further the beauty that surrounds us."

Hélène leans forward as the man speaks about ship building and design, clearly interested in the topic at hand and his passion for it. She is amongst the first to applaud at the end as well, smiling brightly this time.

It does happen occasionally, that lectures are not perceived as dry but instructive. Perhaps it is that studious atmosphere in Shemhazai's Temple. Perhaps it is the enthusiasm that suddenly breaks through in Vincens when he sums it all up into that vital one thing that gets any d'Angeline, anytime. Beauty. Beauty of form, of numbers.

It even brings a glitter to the duchesse's eyes, makes a smile form on her features. No wonder, as she is not at all bored with the presentation, but delighted. Again, there is applause that fills the halls of the temple, and the priest inclines his head towards Vincens as he says, "Thank you, my lord. This was a beautiful plea."

Cyriel sits there, one elbow on the armrest, his hand lifted, the back of an index finger brushing against his nose from below. Pale eyes have taken on a distant expression, and he does not join in on the applause when Vincens is done. Thoughts and mind are perhaps engaged elsewhere, but the Kusheline is at least physically present. But there, a faint incline of his head to Vincens as the lord leaves the dais. A minimal gesture of acknowledgement, at least.

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