After a few moments, little Endric trotted into the room, tail held high. As soon as he spotted Ser Dúane, his tail started to wag madly. He dashed across the cold wooden floor, and launched himself ineptly at his master's lap. As usual, the tiny dog was unable to scale Dúane's armoured legs, but despite years of experience, he enthusiastically continued trying to clamber up the massive armoured knight.
After a moment, with a sigh, Dúane reached down and scooped the little dog up. Endric began to yap cheerfully, in between smothering the nobleman's face with damp and imprecise affection. As always, Dúane was barely able to endure a minute of unconditional attention from the tiny dog before a broad smile broke across his features, banishing the gloom.
"Ah, tiny dog," he said, chuckling quietly. "You're a simple creature but your heart is large enough even for the likes of me."
Exhausted from all the excitement, Endric tried to curl up in his master's lap. The little dog was unable to get comfortable, and after a moment Dúane half-stood, grabbed the cushion he was sat on, lifted the wee creature up, and deposited cushion and hound on his lap. Endric immediately fell asleep, his tiny ears and tail twitching happily. Removing one gauntlet, the knight stroked his companion for a few moments, then with another sigh glanced over at Lena.
"Good morning, Lena." he said politely.
The troubadour favoured him with a wry smile. "Oh good morning Ser Dúane. I didn't see you there."
The nobleman cocked an eyebrow but did not rise to her bait.
"One of the yeofolk tells me there are no less than three exciting new holes in the plasterwork near the sparring field." Said Leena conversationally. "I assume from that and all the sighing that things have not gone well with Lady Sera then?"
Ser Dúane shrugged expansively, half a dozen conflicting emotions dancing across his face. He struggled to restrain a passionate outburst, closing his eyes for a moment and taking a deep breath before replying.
"She says she loves me as I love her, but the Earl Gerlus has set me an impossible Test of Ardour. She wants me to bring back the Mansus Grail, can you imagine? I can't believe she would do that without first talking to Sera. Perhaps I've misjudged her feelings for me after all?"
"The Mansus Grail? The enchanted cup of the first Earl Gerlus, lost somewhere in the Opascari mountains in the days of Alderei the Fair? Still lost despite three hundred years of Gerlus knights combing the foothills with a fine-tooth comb? A quest a hundred knights or more could never do?"
The big man looked on the verge of tears. Lena regretted her tone immediately.
"Lord Maxwell dropped by this morning to let me know," she said more gently. "We had a long chat about it and I think you do the Lady a disservice."
Serr Dúane frowned. "How so?"
"We both know that the Gerlus have no love for us," she said matter-of-factly. "That Avangion alone holds a grudge like a damn Marcher. If you and Sera want to mend the bad blood between the houses, it will take more than flowers and songs. It will take an epic quest, and achieving something no Gerlus questing-knight before you has managed. If you bring the Mansus Grail to your wedding feast, nobody - in either house for that matter - is going to be able to say a word against either of you."
The big knight's brow creased, and then cleared.
Lena managed to avoid rolling her eyes by pure force of will.
"Lord Maxwell also suggested that when you set off you might consider taking his nephew Samwell along as a page. He's a little on the old side but apparently the lad is full of pluck and so on and so forth and knows quite a few useful spells. You'll recognise him because he has very recently cut his hair very short and will be carrying a staff that is far too large for him."
"What?" Ser Dúane was floundering. The old troubadour cast her eyes heavenward as if looking for inspiration in the vaulted ceiling.
"Lady Sera," she said slowly and patiently. "Is pretending to be a page so she can come on this mad quest with you. Apparently she's found a lead - something about a woodcutter, a bear, and a cave of magical water. I'm to tell you she'll be waiting for you at the crossroads above Culwich. Hurry boy. She's waiting there for you."
Ser Dúane jumped up, nearly spilling little Endric onto the floor, only catching the animal at the last moment. He kissed the little dog on the nose, deposited it and the cushion on his seat, and ran full tilt for his chambers taking the stairs two at a time despite the weight of his armour.Alone in the morning room, Lena shook her head at the hot-blooded foolishness of the young, and began to strum the opening chords of The Blessed Rains of Astolat on her lute, smiling just a little.
During the Autumn Equinox, the National Assembly of Dawn chose the Earl of Fools to enact a mandate that would spread the idea that Love and Glory were inextricably linked to the seven Virtues. The mandate came after several seasons of statements by the assembly regarding the importance of these two forces, and recognises that the troubadours have named Champions of Love and Glory alongside the more traditional champions of Ambition, Loyalty, and the other virtues.
While every citizen of Dawn understands the path of Glory, this mandate has also lead to a resurgence of interest in the power of love - romantic and otherwise - and the traditions surrounding marriage.
We, the troubadours of Dawn, recognise that true Love and true Glory arise from the paths of Virtue. Only the truly Virtuous can know Love, or achieve Glory. Where we find a noble who truly embodies Love or Glory, we shall name them alongside the champions of the seven Virtues, and they shall be pre-eminent in that company as inspirations to all who follow pilgrims path. We send the Earl of Fools with 50 doses of liao to spread these words, and the names of Ser Isidore Ossienne and Lord Colwyn de Rondell to all the people of Dawn.Synod Mandate, Dawn assembly, The Earl of Fools, Autumn 382YE, Upheld with a Greater Majority (164 - 0)
Inspired by the preaching of the Earl of Fools, there has been a resurgence of interest in True Love following the Autumn Equinox. Nobles and yeofolk alike flock to hear troubadours perform songs of those inspired to glory by their love and of those doomed to tragedy by the same. In between the revels there is much discussion of what True Love really means for those who choose to place it alongside Glory as the reason for living.
This passionate embrace of the ideals of the past and of the great legends of romantic and platonic love of the give rise to a profound change of attitudes that steadily spreads across Dawn. If True Love can be platonic in nature - and all the legends clearly show it can - then sex can't be fundamental to love as was often assumed.
Nobody doubts that physical affection can be an important part of romantic love, just as warfare can be an important part of glory for some knights. But the troubadours tales prove that the path to love is different for each individual, just as the path for glory is. As a result of this new understanding, important changes to attitudes to love in Dawn as well as to marriage are rapidly adopted by everyone.
As predicted, the recognition that true Love and true Glory arise from the paths of virtue - that only the truly virtuous can know love or achieve glory - has inspired the artisans of Dawn. For the Champion of Love, the weavers of Spiral Castle have created a Troubadour's Ring, while for the Champion of Glory the weavers of Laroc have crafted a Circlet of Command. Both garlands are now with the egregore, who will deliver them to the troubadours of Dawn to be suitably hallowed and bestowed upon the chosen champions. The egregore has suggested that the ideal time to honour these two champions would be at the beginning of the Grand Tourney to determine the Knight-protector of Winter.
The artisans have suggested that they will provide replacement laurels for the new Champion of Love and Champion of Glory during the next Autumn Equinox , assuming that the troubadours of Dawn plan to make the announcement of their champions an annual affair.
Several troubadours have been carefully considering the implications of the idea that Love and Glory arise from, and in turn inspire, Virtuous spirits. The judgement of Recognition exists to acknowledge those who are paragons and exemplars of the virtues, but what about those people whose deeds - while not spectacularly virtues - nonetheless arose from true Love or true Glory? They have hit upon a straightforward solution that will work in Dawn at least.
They propose that the priests of Dawn consider raising statements of principle in the national assembly, naming individuals - past or present - whose commitment to the ideals of Love of the pursuit of Glory are truly inspirational. Where the rest of the assembly agrees - where the statement receives a greater majority - the Civil Service will ensure that every congregation in Dawn learns of these people and their deeds.
The statement need not be long, but should name the individual and the specific act that the priest considers worthy or note. If the inspiration is not clear in a hundred words or so, they argue, then it is not truly inspirational. The ideal story should demonstate how the act of love or glory has enriched the lives of others, inspired people to love or pursue glory, or created a lasting impact on the world. While they imagine most such inspirational figures will be from Dawn, several are keen to hear stories of true Love and true Glory that come from other nations - adding weight to the idea that these twin forces are more than simply a part of the philosophy of Dawn.
OOC Note: In addition to the other effects of a statement of principle with a greater majority, a "statement of love" or a "statement of glory" that achieves a greater majority will be added to a page on the wiki, as long as the story it contains is clearly in line with Dawnish understanding of true Love and true Glory.
There is some concern that the ideals of Love and Glory might have implications that are blasphemous or heretical. I would argue that the Doctrine of the Seven openly acknowledges that qualities other than the seven Virtues may benefit humanity - and there can surely be no doubt that Love and Glory benefit humanity. When we acknowledge that Love and Glory arise from the seven Virtues, we are simply acknowledging those people who best embody these concepts are true inspirations of the Way to the people of the Empire.Lady Zaha Arien, of House Arien
Lady Zaha Arien is the daughter of the respected architect Lord Caradoc who recently completed work on the Rose Towers in Lacuve to celebrate Dawn's victories in Semmerholm and Weirwater. An extremely talented architect in her own right, she has spent the last several months working on a proposal for a monument recognising the virtuous spiritual power of true Love and true Glory.
The Arbor of the Twin Roses would be built in Auvanne within sight of Endric's Hill to honour of the troubadour and exemplar Elayne Silverlark. A personal inspiration to Lady Zaha, she is famous throughout the Empire for spreading tales of romance and adventure as well as stories of glory and heroism. Her stories were not solely those of the knights and witches of Dawn, however - according to legend she both took tales of her homeland to other nations and brought new stories of the glorious deeds of people in other nations to her countryfolk.
The structure would consist of an extensive and beautiful garden surrounding two towers - one for Glory and one for Love - of fine white granite. These towers would serve as repositories for tales, stories, and songs celebrating glory and love, and provide quarters for any troubadour who wished to visit. It is her intention that the Arbor would provide a place of retirement for older priests who would curate and refine the collection and teach younger troubadours.
The Arbor of the Twin Roses as designed by Zaha would require 8 wains of white granite and 8 wains of weirwood to construct, require 32 crowns in labour costs, and take three months to complete. It would require a commission from the Imperial Senate or the use of a Wayleave.
When it was complete, it would create an Imperial title - perhaps Voice of the Twin Roses in recognition of the combination of Love and Glory. This would be a national position chosen by judgement of appointment annually in the Dawn National assembly.
The Voice of the Twin Roses would be responsible for gathering and immortalizing tales of true Love and true Glory not only across Dawn but in the wider Empire. They would also be responsible for investigating stories of the spiritual powers of Love an Glory - assuming such things exist - and demonstrating how these two ideals inspire, and in turn arise from, Virtue.
As a site of spiritual pilgrimage, the Arbour would provide its custodian with 9 liao each season and 18 votes in the Imperial Synod. It is likely that individuals who have had profound experiences of Love or Glory would seek out the Voice with tales of, or proof of, their experiences. Lady Zaha and several of her fellow troubadours have suggested that when the Arbor were complete it might be appropriate to conescrate it to the virtues with a dose of true liao if such a thing could be acquired - but none of those who have raised this suggestion can agree on which of the seven virtues best encapsulates the inspirational power of the two ideals.
There is no time limit on the building of the "Arbor of the Twin Roses"; the plans are complete and have been lodged with the Civil Service. Likewise, the principle of the "Statement of Love and Glory" works with the existing rules of the Statement of Principle and may be taken advantage of at any time.