Dec 02, 2022 2:16 AM
Lila has failed at Villarosa
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Selma squeezes her hand.  "I don't know, but she should have warned you."

She turns to Alvero.  "What are these Virtues?  And what do you do with them?"

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"I don't know a whole lot about Angels, but I'd be fascinated to hear anything you know about them," replies Alvero.

He is immensely happy she's asked about the Virtues.

"Our Virtues are Loyalty, Courage, Pride, Prosperity, Wisdom, Vigilance and Ambition. These are the best ways to be for a human being - for all sentient beings. Following a Virtue - striving to embody it, encouraging others in it - is how a human spirit can overcome the Labyrinth, and an orc soul can cross the Abyss.

Also, they just make the world a better place to live - a secondary principle we hold is benevolence, that true Virtue makes the world a better place for everyone.

As a sutannir it's literally my job to explain, spread and encourage people in their Virtues - although I'm not a stuffy Highborn priest, mostly I do practical advice, songs and stories, and generally ensure that people can enjoy their lives.

Are there any that you're particularly interested in, or should I start with explaining my own favourite - which it does sound like you have a considerable amount of, to have come out here in the first place!"

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Half of those Virtues sound uncomfortably familiar to Liliana.  "I think I heard something like that in my first life.  Virtue helps you through the story of your life and makes it better for everyone.  I... I forgot that."

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"Your favorite's Courage?"

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From Alvero's reaction it's quite clear that he hasn't actually been briefed on the whole 'multiple remembered lives' thing. "You - have memories of a previous life?" he asks.

"And yes, Courage," he picks up quickly, "which is of course a virtue often found amongst Freeborn; from the name you might think more amongst corsairs, but actually the virtue has more to do with facing unwelcome truths and holding to what you know is right. For instance, if someone gives you a stupid order, it is much more Courageous to tell them that it is stupid than to charge into danger on their command."

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"I wish I had more of that.  And what about Pride?  I think I've got too much of that.  Maybe I even had too much beforehand and that's why I chose this life like I did."

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"Now, around here we call that the Excessionist Heresy!" Alvero is smiling and clearly signalling this is to some extent a joke. "But it may be that Pride is, again, not quite what the common word means? Pride is committing fully to everything you do, small or large; and embracing what you are, and what you have been, not hiding it away - even if it is not what you would do now."

He is clearly itching to ask more about the past life thing, but too much of a professional to let it distract him from preaching.

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"Embrace it?  Embrace what I've been?"  She spreads her hands, shaking her head.

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"Then maybe you do have some Pride to work on," smiles Alvero, in what he hopes is a comforting fashion. "We are everything that has happened to us, including our worst mistakes; maybe a Pride priest would say it better, but it is alas often an unwelcome truth?"

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She nods.

"So... what?  I need to change myself?  Or keep remembering so I don't act like that again?"

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"Only you can decide that for yourself," Alvero tells her. "If your heart lies with Ambition, for instance, or Prosperity or maybe Loyalty, then it's entirely customary to reinvent yourself and not let the past drag you down; if you wish to follow Pride, or similarly Wisdom, Courage or Vigilance, you'll most likely need to find a way to accept what you did and understand how it has - or can - make you stronger."

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"So... how would you suggest I pick?"

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"That's a big question!" beams Alvero. "Normally you would hear a lot about them when you are growing up, and naturally pick one that suits you - or some people try to follow them all at once, but that often doesn't work very well! I am very happy to tell you all about any that you are interested in, to see if it is something that fits how you are - or how you want to be."

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Liliana looks interested for a moment, and then sighs.  "But I don't know yet what I want to be.  I wish I could leave all this behind me, but - but I can't.  The people last night recognized me.  Achard - my husband - he's probably still alive.  And I still feel those habits I chose."

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"Deciding on the spur of the moment isn't necessary," Alvero reassures her. "It sounds like you have a lot to think through! I recommend picking one to try out, seeing where it works and where it doesn't, and then trying out a few more if that isn't obviously the match for you."

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"Maybe.  Not now.  Not today.

"I think I should go talk with someone soon about the Confederacy just in case we do need to act quickly... and then find a Consecration."

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Alvero looks awkwardly at Camilo for further direction.

"We could attempt to travel to Anduz independently," offers Camilo. "That's in keeping with my orders and probably not too dangerous, between us and the Grendel offering easier pickings it's been quiet for weeks. Or I could try to take notes, I'm sure Yasmina won't begrudge me a notebook for this. I'm not sure we have anyone who can ask good questions..."

"I could fetch Melia, I think she follows politics," offers Alvero. "I know she said keep them out of sight, but I think that was just in case she comes back with more people in a hurry?"

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Can she start a new story now?  Leave her second life behind, like she left the first?  She'd like that so much.  And she's almost been handed the choice.

Or can she?  Will there be more people pointing at her like the refugees?

(She's trying to suppress the nagging feeling that it wouldn't be that easy even if there weren't...)

"Let me talk with Melia."

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Camilo and Alvero exchange glances, and Alvero ducks out of the tent, presumably to fetch Melia.

"Melia's normally got a notebook, so we shouldn't have to forage," Camilo explains. "Uh, is there anything else you'd like, a drink or something?"

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There's a lot she'd like, starting with an actual roof not a tent, and continuing through warm tea and a soft couch and a bath.  She spares a memory for her first life, when she'd gone from a palace to a peasant's cottage and enjoyed it.

Well, at least she can have one of her new luxurious habits.

"Do you have some tea?  And maybe a few drops of honey in it, if it's not too much trouble?"

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"Absolutely," replies Camilo, "I'll head out for that when the others get back. Do you have a favourite kind of tea? I know we've got at least a light and a heavy black and a red tea in, I'm assuming you don't want chai or you'd have asked for more things in it but we've got a great spiced blend too. Or I can just do you a cup of whatever's on at the moment if you'd like it quicker. If I can't find honey, will sugar do instead?"

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"Heavy black.  And yes, sugar would be wonderful."

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"And a lighter black for me, please?  Honey or sugar; either way."

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Camilo nods; it's only a few moments before Alvero comes back with a young lady who is presumably Melia, and he ducks out of the tent as they open the flap to come in.

"Melia, this is... well, I'll let them introduce themselves," says Alvero, having suddenly realised that he hasn't actually been formally introduced at all and doesn't know what either of them want to call themselves.

Melia reflexively takes out a notebook and pencil, perches on the corner of Yasmina's desk, and smiles at them.

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Liliana dips her head to Melia.  "Hello - I'm Lady Liliana of Coutance; as much as I can be pleased at anything now, I'm pleased to meet you."

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