508-09-01 Citizen Speaker Candidates

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The Citizen Speaker Candidates
RL Date January 11, 2010
Players Eleanor Caprios, Rourke Caprios, Helena Soranus, Laraine Karaganinas, Sage Coibran, Duncan Guybrush, Addison Brandivere, Leon Barca, Dyonith Zeloral, Emmaline Sheppard, Willem Paggion, Oksana Zakov, Aislinn Manandan, Aaric Barca, Innocentia Candide, Caspian Fernwick, Serenity Guybrush, Ansel Tyce, Joseph Starling, Solphin Acaran, Ysora Kilgannon, Chase Stevens, Florian Fortescue, Aileana Ashlan
Location University Auditorium - Plaza del Arte - Plaza of the Keeper East
Crossroads Time and Weather
IC Date September 1, 508
Season Summer

University Auditorium - Plaza del Arte - Plaza of the Keeper East

The auditorium is an expansive room with a high ceiling, positioned underneath the University lobby. Many rows of seats are available for watching performances or lectures. A stage is set up at the front of the room, the floor made of rich, deep colored wood with a surrounding frame of gilded gold engravings that subtly depict aspects of art from the various Isles. Curtains of royal blue are pulled back with golden cord though when they are closed, the crest of Gateway is embroidered handsomely on them.

Eleanor is sitting in the front. She must be waiting for the speeches to start. Even if this is not her event per say she likes to show her support in these things. Jotting some things on a parchment in her lap. She must be getting things together for the start of the fall semester soon. Her knights linger by her. More like against the wall but within eyesight of her.

Rourke enters the auditorium with a number of knights about him, pausing to look over the venue idly. He spots Eleanor near the front and crosses toward her, greeting her by name as he draws near.

Rourke takes his seat at the front next to Eleanor, two knights remaining near the pair and the other two fanning out about the room to watch the ingress and egress.

Eleanor looks up from what she is doing. Anyone would recognize that voice after all. She rises from her position and those papers she was working on are put to the side as she offers a gentle smile than a curtsey, "Good evening, Majesty." The words said fondly and maybe even with a touch of endearment. He may be Emperor but he is still her little brother even when she's showing respect.

Helena doesn't travel outside the castle without Giles and Caleb and tonight is no different. However, Giles is acting as arm candy tonight, no, wait, Helena's just leaning on him a bit as the trio enters the hall. She murmurs something to Giles and pats her arm as she releases her hold on him and moves towards the front, slightly favoring her left foot. "Majesty, Highness," Helena greets as she approaches Rourke and Eleanor and drops into a curtsey.

Rourke asks Eleanor with a skewed smile, "Is it a good evening, in truth? Though it is certainly better for seeing you. Do you feel somehow invaded, an event in your auditorium that you did not plan?" His attention wanders to Helena then, and immediately falls to her foot. He looks at it, then her, a brow winging upward in question.

Joining the growing number of people to hear the speeches is the Lady of Mists, Laraine with her own entourage. Several of the guards remain at the door with others, though one does follow her in. Her ever present shadow Geoffrey. Her footsteps carry her to the front of this familiar hall to give greeting to the Emperor and Princess. When opportunity presents itself she drops into a deep curtsey in their direction. "Good evening your Majesty...Your Highness." She greets to each in turn before looking to Helena," And to you Lady Chamberlain."

"Oh days go by as well as evenings. It really is up to you in deciding how you will let time get to you. So its good." Eleanor says matter of factly to Rourke, that smile still there. Only for her attention to be caught by Helena and the injured foot. Her brother may not ask but she does, "What happened?" Yes, to the point this one is tonight. Than she continues in answering the Keeper. Saying in a lowered voice, "Maybe just a little." But that bright, cherry smile is back in place and positively just radiates from her.

The lady's foot doesn't seem to be the only problem. The sleeve over Helena's left arm looks a little bulky and Giles, it might be noted, has his left hand bandaged. Helena does note the Keeper's look and she looks rather embarrassed. "I wasn't watching where I was walking close enough," she manages to respond as she looks to Eleanor, with a wave of her hand as if to say it isn't a problem. As Laraine approaches, Helena turns and inclines her head. "My lady, how good to see you again," she says with a smile.

It's never good to be late, especially when you're supposed to be sayin' something shortly. Or so she figures. So it's just this side of early when Sage Coibran slips in the auditorium entrance, settling herself into a seat in the back with more circumspection that usual.

Sorely lacking an entourage is the visage of the once-dead Lord of the Folly, Duncan Guybrush. Tonight, he's wearing an easy sort of smile as he makes his way into the auditorium, briefly glancing around before noting the honorable attendees. With a flourish, he bows and greets, "Your Majesty. Your Highness, and of course, Lady Laraine," with an easy care. He watches Eleanor, briefly, before looking then to Rourke and holding the Keeper thoughtfully in his study, and finally his gaze moves towards Laraine, upon whom it lingers longest. Slowly, the man begins to move his way to the front to find a good seat.

That smile that is traditional on Eleanor's features still holds as Laraine greets herself, the Keeper and the Imperial Chamberlain. A bow of her head given for the Lady of Mists. Helena is looked at again. Now its her turn to raise a brow. But no more questions come from her. "Lord." That is toward Duncan. Amused almost as she came very close to saying, 'Lord of the Dead' having heard of his reputation after all.

Rourke eyes Helena with something dubious about his countenance. "You may walk home with me after the debate then, Lady Chamberlain," he decides, allowing the matter to pass. An inclination of his head is given to Laraine and Duncan both, along with a cordial and unruffled, "Lady Karaganinas, Lord Guybrush." It might be noted that he eyes the latter of the duo, considering Duncan with a veiled look. He murmurs something to Eleanor.

Emperor Rourke mutters to Princess Eleanor, "... you have... some time... rumors... for... to... suitable."

"It would be my pleasure, Majesty," Helena says with a brief smile for her Keeper. Her gaze slides towards Duncan as he approaches and her brow rises slightly as he makes his greetings and moves off. "Excuse me," Helena says to the Imperials and Lady Laraine, "I should go and make sure those who are speaking are here and ready," she says and drops into another curtsey before she turns and makes her way towards Sage.

Duncan smiles back to Helena, "Esteemed Imperial Chamberlain," he returns, winking to her as he passes, "I entrust you shall have a pleasant evening," he avows, with a measure of sincerity that implies he already knows she will; or, mayhaps, she will now because he has wished it so. He chooses a seat a few rows back, and settles in. If there is attention paid to the whisperings of the Keeper, and the Princess, it's well hidden.

People enter the auditorium, interested in the speeches of the proposed speakers. People. And some people are more noticeable than others. Such a noticeable people is the trio of soldiers who arrive, legionnaires in their clanking armor, led by the helmetless Leon Barca and trailed by a guard in Caerdach's livery. He pauses just inside the auditorium, blue eyes surveying the gathered, before tilting his head toward some seats somewhere in the middle and leading his companions in that direction.

Eleanor goes on her tiptoes some to hear Rourke better. She is short after all. Listening intently to the quiet words exchanged. That smile that never leaves still there as she simply says back to the Keeper, "My pleasure." Looking over at the Lord Guybrush before he truly moves more, "I'd like to speak to you if I may after the speeches." If it takes a while for him to answer she has patience for the response.

"As ever though I wish our future meetings find you in better health milady." Laraine says to Helena, looking with open concern upon the woman's arm for but a moment before looking up to the Keeper. There is definitely a sense of strength and poise to her tonight. She inclines her head to the Keeper's greeting before another greeting causes her to turn her gaze. "Milord Guybrush, it is a pleasure to meet with you again." She inclines her head to Duncan, a smile touching upon her lips ever so briefly before she too moves along to allow the next to greet the Keeper, finding a seat amoungst the growing crowd.

Sage is still tucked in the back row where she took a seat some minutes ago, fingers nervously fraying the end of one long plait in her hands. Helena's approach brings the chandler to her feet, though, a rusty curtsey offered respectfully. "M'lady Chamberlain." She greets with a wide smile. "You feelin' all right?" She inquires, nodding to the woman's foot.

Addison slips into the auditorium and moves slowly down the aisle, her destination, the Keeper and Princess. She pauses at a fair distance, not wishing to interrupt though still offering the pair a deep curtsy.

Rourke notes Addison's curtsey just as he moves to sit himself. He nods to her and pats his side opposite where Eleanor's seat is, in invitation.

Helena smiles a little at Sage and makes a gesture to the stage. "I think you are seated in the wrong place, Mistress Coibran," Helena says, ignoring now any looks at her foot or her arm. One may note that she is desperately trying to walk naturally, to hide the slight limp. "But I do not see Master Fernwick about, have you?" Helena asks of Sage as she takes a long look around the auditorium.

Eleanor has already taken her seat once the niceties are done. But there's a welcomed look for Addison when she approaches. Scanning the crowd to see who the speakers are, and if they are here.

Dyonith finds himself a seat in the back and glances to who is there. Seeing the emperor he offers a polite bow before sitting down.

It's only when he's well into the auditorium that Leon seems to recognize the Imperial presence -- certainly after he's lifted a hand to indicate his own to Helena, though she's likely busy enough not to notice, and he hardly seems willing to take offence it that is the case. But when his eyes fall on Rourke and Eleanor, he stops. Pauses. Draws back a few steps toward a row further back, and almost steps on Addison as he does so.

Sage casts a glance of keen agate eyes about, as bid, but looks back to Helena after only a moment. "Nah, m'lady, ain't seen 'im. Not on the way over, either." She offers apologetically, shrugging her shoulders. She steps out of the row then, and makes her way closer down to the stage, pausing to drop a curtsey here or there as needed, heavy plaits swaying behind her.

A faint smile comes to Rourke's features when he notes Dyonith, and he inclines his head to the man's bow.

A bright smile appears for both Rourke and Eleanor, approaching as she's given permission to do so. She settles in the free chair beside the Keeper and leans in close to murmur a few quick words to him before casting a look around at others sitting nearby.

It is in scanning for speaker number two that Helena catches a glimpse of her cousin. With a brighter smile, Helena lifts a hand in return and nods to Leon before she ushers Sage towards the stage. "We'll give him a few more minutes," Helena says to the chandler as she turns again to look out over the crowd, her expression looking just a little troubled.

Duncan answers Eleanor after a brief pause from his focus on glancing towards other people as they begin to trickle in, "Such would be my honor, Princess," he says warmly, offering her a smile in return. "I will have to think of appropriate measure to repay the favor of your company."

Emmaline quickly makes her way into Auditorium with some measure of briskness to her steps, causing the skirt about her feet to sway with the rush of energy to be here on time. But with suitable enough pause, for poise and the guardsman that ever faithfully accompanies her. Settling in a nearby seat, an extra one is minded before glancing towards those already present.

There's a chuckle that bubbles up out of the Princess before she can contain it in Duncan's response. There's a pleased look seen though and a nod of her head. Perhaps she liked his charming words.

Dyonith notices the smile from Rourke and offers one back but a bit stronger, still reserved. He glances for the second speaker and raises his eyebrows, "Not good to miss this..." To himself as he leans back and waits.

Another row, two, three back -- against the tide of those entering the auditorium -- and only /then/ does Leon give the approving nod to his accompanying legionnaires. And only then they sit, a distinctly martial and distinctly expectant presence, waiting for the evening's entertainment -- the speeches -- to begin.

Sage offers more of those rusty bow-curtseys to the Imperials, lords and ladies gathered in the front, and then slips into an empty seat to await the official beginning of the evening.

Helena says a few quiet words to Sage and then climbs up to the stage to take a place front and center so that all can see her. She glances around the auditorium again for one last time before she speaks, lifting her voice loud enough for it to carry. "If I might have your attention, we shall begin." Helena waits a few moments more for everyone to find a seat and settle in.

Duncan flashes a smile back to Eleanor, before settling into his seat, and his eyes focus forward for the speeches that he came here to hear.

As Laraine takes her seat near the front of the Auditorium, her guardsman joins others along the wall. Her dark eyed gaze shifts around the room, looking to those here present. Perhaps more time spent on those from Mists, those familiar to her before turning her attention to the stage as Helena calls for attention. One no doubt familiar to her, having had a few performances here with her brother in the past.

As the people begin to make their way in, the Baron Regent is one of those souls, having no guard or company for the time being. Willem Paggion glances around before he eyes notice the familiar head of hair seated in one of the seats. He moves toward Emmaline, giving faint smiles and nods to various VIPs as he passes through.

Quick steps are no less precise as Oksana arrives late to the start of the speeches. She tries to enter as quietly as possible (for her), folding into a general curtsey to the nobles about before she moves to a seat to set up with the note taking.

Leon's eyes follow those entering the auditorium from his spot nearer the back than the fore, and when they see Oksana enter and find a seat too distant for his liking, he stage-whispers none too quietly, "Miss Oksana! Over here!"

Helena folds her hands before her and looks satisfied with the turnout. "Majesty," she says first to Rourke and then a "Highness," to Eleanor. "Your Graces, Excellencies, my lords, ladies and all citizens of the Empire, I welcome you to the opening of the voting for the position of Citizen Speaker." Helena pauses and looks toward the back doors before continuing.

"I am pleased to present Mistress Sage Coibran and Master Caspian Fernwick as your two candidates for this position. Each shall be allowed a chance to speak with you and explain why they are running and why you should vote for them." Helena tries to keep her concern to a minimum as she continues. "After which, you shall have a chance to pose questions to the candidates. But for now, allow me to introduce your first candidate, Mistress Sage Coibran!" Helena takes a few steps back and stretches an arm out towards Sage who waits off stage, inviting her to come forward.

Hard to be inconspicuous when tanned gold and rattling with bracelets and various gewgaws, Aislinn nonetheless goes out of her way not to draw overt attention from whomever holds the stage. Her fingers steal into her skirt's deep layers and pluck higher to afford climbing steps two by two, a lengthy stride trammeled by her current choice of attire. Glitter-gold murmurs follow from the bangles spanning her wrist where she goes, slipping into a seat.

Aaric's entry is likewise late, flanked as it is by two guardsmen and one particularly harried looking attendant. The duke gives a quick survey of the crowd, a bow offered in the Keeper's direction before he settles into an unobtrusive seat.

Sage smiles widely at Helena, and then rises from her chair, pushing back heavy, waist-length plaits as she steps up onto the stage. She takes a moment to allow another curtsey for the gathered nobles and folk that require such, sparing that beaming smile for all others. "Evenin'. Kind of y'all to turn out this evenin'. Do hope Master Fernwick appears at some point, so you're not just listenin' to me jawin' on. But then again, guess it suits m'case better, wot?" She begins with a grin.

Oksana looks over at Leon for a moment, considering his invitation before she does point herself to a seat nearby. "Why are you here?" she asks him in a pointed fashion, though not in a mean way. "Why are there so many nobles here?" As the speech of Sage starts, she does turn her attention forward.

Leon's armored shoulders rise in a shrug at Oksana's questions once she's shifted to a far more suitable seat. A shrug, but then he hooks his thumb at his likewise-uniformed companions, and mutters a reply in a somewhat quieter tone under the first of Sage's words.

Leon mutters to Oksana, "... boys... it.... more fun... tonight."

Near the front, the monarch leans slightly in Addison's direction to hear and exchange soft words, though his eyes are upon Sage Coibran as she begins to speak. Focused and courteous, that is the set to his features while he watches her, even if he says something quiet to Addison.

Emmaline glances sideways at Willem as he settles into the seat beside her, a soft smile appearing before turning her attention towards the debate. And notably the first question asked elicits something of interest before tilting her head in the baron regent's direction.

Addison's attention is also focused primarily on Sage as the speech begins, though she is leaned slightly in Rourke's direction, exchanging the occasional softly spoken word.

Eleanor has gone quiet and is not exchanging anymore words with those around her. Her attention solely on the speaker at the moment. Interest seen in her features. Distracted? No. Focused? Yes.

Laraine looks up to the stage as Sage starts her speech, her attention to the woman focused. At the woman's joke, Laraine can not help but smile , drawing a gloved hand to her lips to hide it. Once composed again her hand moves to rest with the other in her lap, intent to listen to this speech.

Oksana does glance toward the other men that Leon refers to before she affords him a nod. Her lips move over quiet words she shares with Leon, though her main focus does remain on Sage.

Sage takes a moment to collect her thoughts, moss agate regard sweeping over the gathered. "Well, then. If you're here, 'm guessin' it's cause you're interested in who aims to be Citizen Speaker and why on Ikol they want the job. It ain't about glory or riches, cause if this job pays, someone forgot to mention that bit t'me." The young woman says with a grin, but her visage grows solemn with her next words.

"The Citizen Speaker's about givin' the citizenry of the Empire a voice. 's how I see it anyway. Folk could say, citizens have a voice through their lords and lieges, y'ken? And that's true. But that's a lot of people to filter through 'til it gets to the Ducal council, wot?" Sage points out, hooking her thumbs comfortably into the pockets of her trousers as she speaks, her gaze moving over the crowd below the stage.

"So then the question becomes, what sort of person's best for being that Speaker? Some might say, it's one what knows the ins and outs of the nobility and politics. I ain't that girl. Nothin' in me's noble, and none of my kin are presently. When they were, it was a brief thing. I'm as common as they come, if m'speech didn't touch off that thought in your noggins already." She avers. "But that's why 'm good for this. 'm a citizen, y'ken? Born and bred, and I know the life and work and hardships of the folk this Empire is peopled by. Know their concerns, their minds. But I know how to get shite done, too, y'ken? 've worked for the Guild as Officer of Merchant Relations under Guildmistress Sheppard, concerned 'bout seein' the merchants treated right after m'da and I were screwed by the Guild couple years ago. When the folk in Seal Cove lost their jobs, 'm the one what helped to find most of 'em work in other ports around the Isles. Them what Sheriff Conway didn't hire on found work elsewhere, and helped keep their families fed. Didn't do it for money or fame. Did it cause folk deserve better. And that's why I wanna do this. To be of service, and to help."

Oksana mutters to Leon, "... of these... always..."

Helena lingers to the side of the stage, her attention divided between Sage's speech and the back door, watching for some sign of candidate number two. The longer it goes without him showing, the more concerned she becomes, as might be noted by the expression on her face.

Something passes over Rourke's features for a moment as Sage speaks, but the expression is quelled before it can truly surface or be recognized. Instead, the Keeper but delivers a small tip of his head toward the Coibran Chandler when she pauses slightly in her speech.

Leon tilts his head to Oksana's words, and they draw a moment's uncertainty across his features before a quirk of a smile breaks out. He glances to her, rather obviously, as he spares a few more words under his breath. There are those who are rather clearly paying respectful attention to the candidate's speech. He is not, exactly, one of them. But at least he doesn't actively interrupt.

Dyonith crosses his arms as he listens to Sage thoughtfully, a touch of a neutral look on his face.

Sage pauses a moment to rest her contralto and take a deep breath, grinning momentarily as her shoulders hitch and fall again in a mild shrug. "So, that's m'purpose and m'idea of what's needed. If y'all don't know me, 'm a chandler, born and bred here in Gateway...know lots of folk about, citizen and noble, get on well with most of 'em, respect those I don't, for the most part. 'm an honest sort that can be trusted to fight for what's right, havin' been screwed over m'self in the past a time or two. 'm steady and clever, and I think 'd be good for the job. So...if anyone's got questions, feel free to speak 'em afore I jaw everyone to sleep or Fernwick shows up to say his piece."

Aislinn tucks herself into her seat, and once fully established there, all her focus launches with unerring accuracy upon Sage. She leans forward slightly from the waist, her arms crossed loosely over her thighs for an additional level of support throughout the candidate's speech. The dark darts dyed into her skin at the corners of her eyes creep inwards as her gaze narrows speculatively, every word judged and gauged.

Laraine retains her composure as the woman speaks, nodding at certain points in her speech. Despite the woman's uncouth speech, there seems to be a touch of admiration and respect for the woman in her gaze. When questions are asked for though she remains quiet, glancing around to those around her. If nowhere else, this is a moment where Citizens take precedent in her eyes.

Whatever it was Leon said, it was something with enough interest to pull Oksana's visual attention off of Sage so that she might fix him with a look, before replying to him with a few short words before she is paying attention again.

Willem takes his seat next to Emmaline, but as the auditorium continues to fill, his attention shifts from Sage's words to seeing who else is about. "Good turn out," the young man states seemingly to himself.

Innocentia slips in, taking a seat out of the way so as not to disturb anyone speaking or listening.

The /look/ from Oksana is enough to send Leon's eyes back to the stage, front and center, though not to wipe the twitch of a smile from that soldier's features. He settles a little lower in his seat, a little more comfortably, and murmurs back with some trace of amusement, "Wouldn't dream of it."

That's not a question for Sage. But he suddenly looks rather attentive and interested in just who might be asking them.

Rourke gives a slight nod to Addison at his side, but glances about to gauge his own appropriate moment to toss a question into the mix.

Oksana gives the briefest of glances at Leon before she looks forward and raises her hand, looking toward Sage. She wants to ask a question.

The thing about having a child and having a wife that's absent and not having a caretaker show up when she's supposed to? You run late. Even to your own speechamathing. This is the case with Caspian, who now hustles into the auditorium, yet still managing a great deal of poise with his swift walk as he gestures for the young woman with his daughter to take a seat while he...goes to wherever it is he's supposed to be. At least he's grinning, apologetically at that. "Who told me fatherhood was easy? T'was a lie. Mistress Coibran," greeted with a smile and nod.

Serenity arrives just with the second speaker, so she figures she's not too terribly late. Silently, she slips in, spots Duncan, and slips into the seat next to him.

Addison nods in return to Rourke, though her gaze is quick to return to the stage. She doesn't seem to have any questions of her own to ask just yet, but she's listening attentively for the questions others want to ask.

Helena takes a few steps forward to join Sage again. She shares a few quick words to the chandler and briefly places her hand to Sage's back when she leans in. But her gaze is cast outward looking for those raising their hands or standing to speak. It is just then that she notices the hurried arrival of the second candidate. "Master Fernwick," Helena says, stepping back from Sage and lifting her voice to introduce him to those gathered. "You're just in time," she tells him and with a wave invites him up on stage. "Mistress Coibran has just given her reasons why she wishes the position and why the citizens should vote for her, Master Fernwick. You may have to floor now to convince the public." Helena glances out to those gathered. "If you would all hold your questions, we shall call for them once both candidates have spoken."

Ansel is seated towards the back with a couple others he seems to know, and has been listening more attentively than not, despite a few whispered comments passed among his the members of his group. Now as they wait for questions they talk amongst themselves a bit more before Ansel settles back in his chair, looking about at the gathered (and gathering) crowd.

Eleanor's eyes track Caspian when he finally makes an appearance. So maybe this won't be one sided tonight. Taking a glance at the caretaker and the little one that accompanies the man. She doesn't say anything. Just waiting to see what happens next. Taking in a breath she let's it out slowly when Helena takes a turn to speak and than those eyes of hers fall back on Caspian, to pay attention to what he has to say.

When Caspian enters, Rourke's gaze turns toward the man for a moment, gaze veiled. He inclines his head marginally and turns the focus back to the front of the room with anticipation.

"Master Fernwick." Sage replies with that wide grin. Nodding to Helena, the chandler pulls her thumbs from her pockets and descends the stage, braids swinging behind her, to retake her former seat and listen to Caspian's own speech.

Caspian's arrival doesn't pass Leon by either, and he shoots the man a look that follows as he heads toward the stage. Leon leans aside, a little closer to Oksana -- but by all that's good and holy, he certainly doesn't touch her -- to whisper something more once questions are postponed.

Duncan doesn't seem to have any queries for the folk, merely giving Serenity a small smile of welcome, shifting to accommodate her comfort as she seats next to him. Then, his gaze shifts back to watching the speakers - well, speak.

Aislinn quietly crosses her legs and flicks her gaze in the direction of Caspian. Measured interests wages war with politeness, the aim not to stare requiring a bit more effort on her part.

Oksana shrugs to Leon's question, the movement a measured one to not draw much attention to. She eyes up the two contenders as she answers quietly. Of course, she lowers her arm, at least until later.

Caspian bobs his head to Helena as she speaks to him, brows raising as he's given the floor. He's missed Sage's whole spiel? "I apologize," is offered to the departing woman as she makes her way offstage, words sincere. His eyes raise to the congregated, head bowing to His Majesty, as he is noted, "And I apologize to all of you as well, whole-heartedly," continued in an elevated voice in order to be heard. "Though I see this as an opportunity. As I did not hear what Mistress Coibran had to say, my words cannot be mistaken or taken as insincere counter to her promises and thoughts. My name is Caspian Fernwick, and I have been many things since I have arrived upon Gateway at the age of eight. Apprentice tailor. Squire. Knight. Sheriff. Deputy. And now many of you may wonder why I wish to have yet another title added to my name.

It's a valid question and thought, I agree. I've always felt as if my service was best spent towards the People of Gateway. As Sheriff, young and inexperienced, I hoped to do many things for the city, not realizing that my duties were not wholly so. As Citizen Speaker, I feel that I'll have the opportunity to voice the changes that should be and need to be made to our city that have gone forgotten or ignored for too long. I've the experience to speak among the Court, having had served those of Court in the past as a squire. I've the skill of speech and the patience to listen. I have lived among you, and I now wish to help serve you to better your lives as citizens and break the silence that sometimes falls between commoner and nobility."

Helena looks more relaxed now that both candidates are here. Still keeping most of her weight off of her left foot, she stands at the side of the stage and listens to Caspian's speech, though occasionally her attention strays towards the crowd.

Caspian continues, "Be it myself or Mistress Coibran, I feel the position as Speaker will be upheld well by a competent person who wishes not for the honor due to any privileges that it may bring," said, shifting a grin towards Sage before looking to everyone in general. "That is not why I desire it. I love this city, as it is the only home I've ever remembered having. The people within are brothers and sisters to me, mothers and fathers, as my own family is unknown to me. I have been raised here, and it is my intent to give back to the city that has given me so much opportunity. I am qualified. I am known. I am honest. That is why I believe I am fit for the position. I thank you for listening," said in conclusion, head dipping in a bowish nod just as very young sounding, "Da!" is heard from somewhere in the rear, followed by the sounds of a squirmy one year old trying to escape.

The Keeper's regard remains fully upon Caspian while the man speaks, polite interest shown for the words that the second candidate offers about his candidacy. When it is concluded, he glances toward Helena.

And Oksana lifts her hand again.

Once Caspian has finished, Helena moves forward again and gestures for Sage to once more join her on stage so that both candidates might field questions. Her gaze skims the crowd and there's a brief nod to Oksana, but she speaks first to Rourke. "Your Majesty," she says with a deep nod, calling for his question first.

Laraine looks upon the next candidate with equal reverence. Words of the connections between commoner and nobility causing a slight nod. The words of each imprinting into her mind it seems. The exclamation from the back of the auditorium causing her to shift her gaze and she can not help but smile at the source of the exclamation before looking back at its recipient, nodding as he finishes. Her gaze shifts back to the Chamberlain.

There's a glance given over at Rourke. But Eleanor doesn't say anything. Lips quirked when the speech of Master Fenwick is done. Her eyes now draw back to Helena. Must be question and answer time. Eleanor must be playing the part of observer for now. Or she's mulling things.

Sage listens to Caspian's speech with polite attention throughout, arms crossed. As she's summoned, however, the chandler rises to her feet and makes her way back up to the stage with an inclination of her head to Helena and then to the Imperials.

Dyonith chuckles softly as he smiles a moment considering again. A glance to the others and then back to the sage.

Addison shifts in her seat to lean just a little closer to Rourke, and though her gaze never leaves the stage, she offers very quiet words to the Keeper.

Aislinn raises a hand towards her mouth, the almost serpentine intensity of those pale eyes of hers utterly unswerving. Does she blink? Is there some trick she picked up to give the illusion that it never happens?

Leon remains quiet in his seat after Oksana's answer, listening to Caspian -- or, at least, appearing to listen. When the Keeper's question is recognized, he settles a little deeper into his chair, content to let Oksana's hand be raised instead of his own.

Oksana lowers her hand once she is acknowledged as in the queue by Helena.

"Thank you, Milady." Rourke's smile to the chamberlain is passing, and his eyes move over the pair who vie for the position. "You both entertain taking a position of authority, and yet you have both been known to... mmm... occasionally be at odds with the laws and decrees of the Imperial Seat," he observes with graceful detachment. "If you each should be in a situation where a citizen is wanted by the law, even if their crime is one you do not feel should be illegal, would you try to grant them some sanctuary of station, or will you unwaveringly uphold the laws of this realm?"

Eleanor shifts some in her seat so that she may hear Rourke better. Lips stay upturn as than her eyes fall on Sage and than Caspian for their response. She obviously likes the question that the Keeper puts out there. Law is law after all. No bending in that.

Oksana leans toward Leon a bit, saying something quietly.

Caspian looks to Sage and nods his head to her, apparently giving her the opportunity to answer first if she wishes. It's only fair, as he's just got through speaking his piece.

Leon listened to this one. And he seems set to listen, ready to listen, downright /attentive/, until Oksana's quiet words reach his ears. Then he snorts. It's the sort of snort that comes from someone who's trying desperately hard not to laugh, not to make /too/ much noise in the middle of a lot of quiet. He tries. And only when he's mastered his mirth enough, he leans aside to answer.

"The law's the law, your Majesty." Sage replies with a shrug and a nod to the Emperor. "Run afoul of it m'self, but I did m'time, as I ought. A body's gonna break a law, they gotta be punished for it. Ain't no sense in makin' exceptions for nobody. Now, doesn't mean 'm always gonna personally agree with what's gotta be done, a'course. Personal and professional thoughts aren't always in tandem. But a body does what a body has to do." She says. "But, I gotta be honest. If I feel the law or what's happenin' is unfair in general, 'm gonna make m'opinion known, if it's allowed. After all, being Speaker's 'bout givin' voice to the things what oughta change or speakin' for those what can't. So as Speaker, one can expect me to do as I ought, but 'll still be voicin' m'opinion, if I can, if I don't agree, unless someone says otherwise." Sage concludes, looping her arms together lightly before looking at Caspian.

Oksana does not snort. In fact, when Leon snorts, she ignores it completely. If no one looks at him it didn't happen. She does, however, reply quietly.

Chances are it's not Sage's answer that draws the humor from Leon's features, draws them almost pale. He clears his throat low as she explains her position on speaking up against unjust laws, and some color drains from his features. His eyes remain steady on the figures on the stage as he answers quietly aside.

Laraine looks up intently toward the Keeper as he offers his first question, that which brings a touch more information on the candidates and intrigue. Her gaze shifts to the candidates to see how they will handle such a direct question upon each of them.

Oksana's lips press into a tight line for a moment before she responds quietly to Leon. There is no other shift to her features.

The relief that crosses Leon's features is almost palpable. Having ceased breathing, he starts again with a low clearing of his throat once more. And he, having no answer for Oksana now, sits and watches. And listens. Without further interruption. At all.

Caspian watches Sage as she answers, hands clasping loosely behind his back as he adopts a stance of ease. His eyes stray after a while, watching the facial reactions of people, or lack thereof in a few. A glimpse over his for now appeased-with-a-piece-of-bread child inspires a whisper of a smirk before his eyes return to Sage. As she finishes, he regards His Majesty, though his eyes jump from him to the crowd often as he addresses them all. "I've known few people to unwaveringly do anything they feel is wrong or unjust. We are only human. But, a crime is a crime, and the job isn't mine to question what should be legal or not. The Sheriff is the voice of our law, and if a person's arrested unjustly according to the laws then that is an entirely different matter than being arrested for something I personally feel is wrong. Though, as Speaker, if such an arrest causes public outcry in such a way that peace threatens to be broken, then yes I will speak on it to the Sheriff and Court, if an audience is allowed."

Fashionably late, or at least that's the story he's going with, Joseph slips into the auditorium to swatch and listen, ushering discreetly in further. A polite bow of his head passed towards familiar faces that happen to look his way and catch him arriving.

Helena waits until both are finished giving their answers before she steps forward again. "Unless His Majesty has any follow up questions, I will next call on Mistress Zakov," Helena says, looking first to Rourke for a yea or nay and then a nod is given to Oksana, giving her the floor.

Though to look at his face, one would see the Keeper's countenance as cordial and interested, the glint to his eyes is a challenge. He listens to each candidate's answers, a bare nod given at the end. The look at Helena accompanies a headshake and the silent mouthing of, 'no more right now'.

Oksana's lips quirk in the faintest amount before she looks toward Helena when her name is mentioned. "Thank you, Lady Chamberlain," she answers in a respectful tone, then looks toward the candidates. "I have one question for each of you. Mistress Coibran. You state that you are born and raised a citizen of Gateway, and that is a strength in being able to lead. How do you suppose to relate to the many others that were raised a citizen elsewhere. A farmer from Green Fields, or a High Mage from Mists, who might frown upon working with someone who can be seen as crude?" With that question asked, she immediately looks toward Caspian. "And Master Fernwick. As you have pointed out yourself, you have held quite a number of positions within the city already. Squire. Knight. Sheriff. Deputy. None of those jobs have lasted for you. Does this stem from a bad relationship with the Imperial seat, or leftover bad feelings with the Knighthood? What reassurance would you give the citizens of Gateway that the same thing would not happen with this position, should you win the election?"

Innocentia has been quieter than a mouse the entire time she's been here, her hands folded in her lap as she listens to the speakers and those about her. Her attention shifts appropriately, a faint smile flickering to life now and again.

Unable to sit entirely still through anything, no matter how interesting, Solphin seems to have decided to loiter near the back of the space, near to the doors, listening. At times shifting, at times pacing, and now, as questions start flying, she stands behind the last row of seats, to minimize her ability to disrupt others. Her hand is lifted briefly, trying to catch Helena's eye in signal. The hand goes down, however at Oksana's question, the corners of her mouth lifting. She continues to linger.

Serenity sits quietly next to her brother, listening to the questions being asked and the answers. Occasionally, a brow will rise in interest or surprise at something someone says.

Sage smiles in appreciation for the queries that Oksana states, and inclines her head in acknowledgment of the woman as it's posed to her. "'m not without connections elsewhere, Mistress Zakov." She addresses the woman with a widening grin. "M'ma is Draughten, and I spent several years there, learnin' from her. Got some distant cousins in Green Fields, and I appreciate the way they do business, both in coin and in life. The Coibrans came from there originally, y'see, and it's still in our blood, the earth, the bees, the hard work, the drinkin' and the celebratin'. 've had traffic with folk from different isles helpin' m'ma in her business, and 'm adaptable. Learn quick, as it were." She assures. "And if you're sayin' 'm crude because of m'speech..." Sage pauses, screws up her expression a moment, and then affects a slightly stilted, but quite proper, manner, "Such things can be altered, as needed, of course." And then, in her usual mien, she grins and offers, "Most of us are just too lazy to, wot?"

Solphin pauses a moment when Sage corrects her speech, shifting and whatnot aside, the scamp simply stares for a couple moments. A grin crawling up onto her features as she tries to cover her humor.

As Joseph enters, Laraine nods to the Baron, a smile of greeting offered as she does so. A brief distraction before her intention is returned toward the stage to heir the candidates as more questions get turned their way. Watching them intently, listening.

Eleanor is still listening. But she must be distracted or showing bad form as she glances downwards at a piece of paper that is on her lap.

Rourke's lips upturn slightly at Sage's answer. "Mistress Coibran, if you could please demonstrate the act of not being too lazy for the rest of this debate," he directs with something like warmth, a brief comment.

Caspian's eyes turn to Oksana as she's given the opportunity to speak. He waits as her first words are directed to Sage, though he listens to them and to the other candidate before he speaks again. "Squireship lead to Knighthood. Knighthood lead to Sheriffhood. A majority of my former titles have been due to ascensions, and thus there are no bad feelings or relationships felt for any of them, including the ones that weren't promotions of a kind. In fact, it is quite the opposite, as I feel Blessed to be ruled by an Imperial seat that governs those that have graced me with the freedom of choice. That is why I feel such an election is important. The people of Gateway should choose their Speaker." A pause as he considers his words, half smirking in the process. "Departing was the first decision I had ever made for myself. My life since childhood had been governed by others. Squireship was not my choice, though I do not regret the honor. I can assure that my seat as Speaker, if it is given to me, will not be carelessly shed because it is the first thing I have ever asked for and wanted for myself. When a man is given that privilege, it is not a thing that he takes lightly."

Helena casts a quick glance towards Rourke and immediately draws her lips together until they form a thin line in an effort not to laugh. It's a good thing that she doesn't for it would be a shame to interrupt Caspian's answer. With a nod given to both Sage and Caspian, Helena looks over the crowd again and gives a brief nod to note Solphin's intent before addressing the next in line. "Thank you, Mistress Zakov for your question. Mistress Brandivere, the floor is now yours."

Sage inclines her head in a respectful acknowledgment to the Emperor, and then glances aside to listen to Caspian's answer in polite silence, her own smile suppressed between the press of her lips.

Oksana nods. "Thank you," she says simply before relinquishing the floor.

Solphin inclines her head to Helena, briefly, still trying to hold back the wisps of humor remaining after Sage rights her speech and requested to remain corrected. Joy.

Dyonith holds a smirk on his face at the emperors comment but goes back to quiet neutrality soon after. Still listening his arms crossed

Addison rises and looks between both candidates, smiling at each politely before she begins. "It's no secret, the troubles you've both had with nobles in the past. Openly and not so openly insulting those among the noble ranks. Putting your proverbial foot in your mouth, or just generally being on the wrong side of those that hold higher station than you. I wonder, Mistress Coibran, Master Fernwick, how we as citizens can trust you to speak for us when on your own, you've proven yourself so lacking in your ability to do so?"

"I have," Sage replies to Addison with a nod and that same, affected, stilted speech. It's not a mocking mannerism, but rather a strained attempt by someone used to clipping their syllables and slurring their words together to draw things out. Thus, it sounds, well, odd. But the chandler doesn't hesitate as she replies to the Mistian. "As I recall, Mistress, you were there, wo-er, no?" Sage recovers from that minor slip only just. "I can assure you the things I said were in the wrong, and I was punished for them, and I've apologized to the lady's family since then, and I also did so at her funeral. But allow me to assure that my scrap with the woman, Lady Ravelle Soranus actually, had nothing to do with her status as nobility, and everything to do with anger I felt on behalf of a friend I believed she wronged. I'm not in the habit of slighting those who deserve respect, but I am in the habit of standing up for those I think deserve it, and that is a quality I feel can serve the citizenry well." She concludes, looking rather tired from being so patently *not* lazy.

There is the briefest of nods from Helena as Sage speaks on her tiff with Ravelle and the assurances that apologies were made. She doesn't turn to the audience and nod in agreement, but it's just a subtle gesture that comes as she listens to what the chandler has to say.

"As easily as one can trust you, Mistress Brandivere, to not revert to or call upon any memory, lessons, learnings, or desires you might have had when entrusted in your former caretaker that took the lives of those who can no longer speak for themselves," Caspian answers, eyes set on her. "We grow and we learn. His Majesty trusts you, which is enough for me. His Majesty trusts both Mistress Coibran and myself enough to give us this opportunity, as it will be either one of us in the end that is Speaker, and I'd hope that his judgment on our character would be enough for any citizen of our Isle. The Isle of Mists raised their voices to oppose you yourself as Their Duchess. Lords and Ladies have fallen victim of crippling rumor. Even the Crown has been doubted in the past. We all have those who do not like or trust us for whatever reason, valid or not. Yet, is it the mark of strength and perseverance that we continue on and press for what we desire. Few people would be where they are if they were forever judged by actions of the past that have been corrected. If I did not believe myself capable, I would not be standing here before you all this evening."

"She didn't ask if you were capable, wot?" Sage says in a loud whisper to Caspian as she leans aside. "She asked if you can be tactful. 'm thinkin' not, now."

Solphin bows her head as she stands behind that last row of chairs, shoulders shaking for a moment.

Dyonith holds a hand to his head, as he offers softly, "Both ways..." rubbing his head.

Helena hangs back a little after Caspian's answer and Sage's quick retort. For a moment some uncertainty touches her expression and she looks at the crowd again, or more specifically towards Rourke and Addison. She doesn't remain as such for too long though before she steps forward again and inclines her head to Addison. "Thank you, Mistress Brandivere for your question." Helena looks towards the back and nods. "Mistress Acaran, you have the floor," she calls out.

"You have answered my question beautifully, Master Fernwick," Addison remarks, smiling up at the man as warmly as if they were friends and, for just a moment, ignoring Helena. "And proven my point as well. If you cannot speak to me with respect, being a citizen who is supposed to vote for either yourself or Mistress Coibran, I question your ability to do so to represent me and the other citizens here in future." She offers the stage a little bow of her head. "Thank you both."

Duncan coughs, in what might be a suppressed chuckle, and briefly turns to flash Addison a conspiratorial sort of sidelong smile in what must be approval, before looking back towards those who would be Citizen Speaker.

The Keeper takes time to listen to both of the answers given, a tick of his brow upwards coming for a moment. When Addison's question and her thanks are concluded, his downturned hand passes something to her.

Solphin lifts her head again, trying to straighten her features out. A quick clearing of her throat later, she calls back to Helena, "Thank you, Lady Chamberlain." Still standing, the scamp inclines her head deeply to the room as a whole for the nobility represented before she begins. "This could be primarily directed toward Master Fernwick, I leave it open for Mistress Coibran to answer as well, now that she's understandable," restraining the corners of her mouth from tugging upward too far. "As we've established, you've both been in scrapes before and you've both shown an ability to offend others. While we have all offended others purposefully and accidentally, and we can all agree that his Majesty's opinion of trust /should/ be enough to gain the trust of all in the empire, I'm sorry to say that sometimes that is just not enough sometimes to get someone to come to you, as a civil servant, or offer you more than the minimal amount of cooperation. So, for past ills and future ills to be done, how do you plan to win back the confidences of those that you may personally or professionally offended or wronged and earn their confidence as a person they can feel safe and certain to go to? Especially to Master Fernwick, considering his past as a Knight and City Guard, who are somewhat infamous for offending citizens and nobility alike."

Serenity elbows Duncan quietly when he coughs, lowering her head so her hair falls on either side of her face.

Joseph edges forward slightly, looking to catch Helena's gaze before he discreetly tips his head in a nod, indicating he two would like to approach the candidates.

Addison settles into her seat again and turns her hand, palm up, to accept whatever the Keeper passes to her. She closes her fingers around the item and smiles in a content sort of way, listening to Solphin as she asks her question.

"Well, I planned to throw this big party and give out lots of little cakes shaped like m'head..." Sage begins, gesturing grandly, and then grins widely at Solphin. "But truly, I've learned how to make amends quite well in my years as a businesswoman and my months of working for the Guild. I find honesty a good starting point, and a record of success and accountability the best way to go." She says succinctly before looking to Caspian, since the question was mostly for him.

Ysora is one of those attentive throughout who will take her leave at the en of the questions. There, but quiet.

Chase slips into the back of the auditorium, his expression curious as he listens to questions and answers. His arms cross over his chest as he smiles gently, leaning back against a wall. "Good question," he says to himself of Solphin.

Solphin's features open up and blossom into a full fledged grin right back at the mention of head cake. Chortling low in her throat, muted for an instant or two before turning attention on Caspian with continued warmth.

Oksana says something quietly to Leon, who is continuing to behave so well. Otherwise, she just takes some notes as she listens.

Florian crests the entrance to the auditorium cautiously as a ship sailing in uncharted waters. The arrival to the well-attended affair slows to remain in close proximity to the pilasters of the door, naught but a hush of silks betraying his presence.

Caspian glances to Sage and smirks. "If you can keep up speaking the way you are, I can be tactful," he murmurs to Sage with a half grin before looking to Solphin as she speaks, considering her question. "If I've made enemies from my time as a Knight and Sheriff, they've kept themselves quiet for some time, as I've been neither for a stretch of time now. I've always tried to be fair and personable, and at times yes I might have failed at that. You are right. The Guard and Knighthood have a reputation, but, the joy of Citizen Speaker is that you are one person, and your actions cannot be judged by the actions of others. The same cannot be said for the Guard or Brotherhood. The only way I can think of to prove that I am trustworthy is to continue to act in a trustworthy and responsible way, as I can think of no dire offences that I have made upon a citizen in our city. Those who have been arrested by me or under me were done so due to laws broken, and it was my duty."

Once again Helena waits for the two to finish their answers before she steps forward. "Thank you for your question, Mistress Acaran," she says to Solphin with a brief smile. A slight nod is given to Joseph before she calls on the next in the queue. "My Lord Enchanted Coral," Helena calls with another nod, this time to Dyonith. "You have the floor for your question." Her gaze looks out over those gathered for any more that may seek to ask questions before she moves back out of the way.

Innocentia shifts in her seat to glance at Solphin and Chase both before turning back to give the speakers her attention once again.

"Thank you, both," Solphin returns in kind to each of them. Directing a look to Sage, "And I'll be expecting a head cake." Levelling a subdued smile as she takes a step backward, withdrawing back toward the doorway to pace and fidget as she likes. Nearly stepping on the recently entered Florian but instead just stopping in incredibly close proximity. Her back to him.

Dyonith stands up slowly as he considers, ". Clearly there have been past incidents with both of you, and to a degree lessons learned. My question follows along the lines of both by the astute question from Mistress Brandivere, and the thoughtful one from Mistress Acaran. Tact and trust are powerful things, but what about personal bias and reputation? Clearly your pasts are a strong part of you even with lessons learned. From the merchant guilds and ties to other islands. To you Master Fenwick to ties with the knighthood and sheriff office. Can you assure the people you would represent the ability to speak impartially even for groups you may personally have a bias for, or personally have at odds again for whatever reasons?"

"A worthy question, m'lord." Sage replies to Dyonith with an inclination of her head. "If you're looking for past performance as proof, Guildmistress Sheppard can tell you she hired me just because I don't have any love for the guild and my intent to keep her honest and in her place is exactly why she appointed me to the position I hold in the Guild." Sage avers, nodding to where the woman sits near the Baron Regent Willem Paggion. "As far as future impartiality, 'll, er, I will," Sage corrects herself, "Do my best to maintain such, and allow my record to speak for itself."

Florian rocks onto his heels as Solphin backs toward him, the shift in weight fluid as a hand comes up between them to ward her presence from collision, should she not slow. His hand moves to settle lightly against her spine when she comes to a pause with errant space between them nearly eliminated. At least, it does so if she does not sense him and move swiftly to avoid it. He whispers to her in sibilant, trilling sotto voce.

"I will assure that I will try to the best of my ability to perform the duties expected of me in the manner that they are expected to be performed," Caspian answers to Dyonith. "The skill to do so is within me and has been put to use."

The Keeper awards a glance to Dyonith, smiling faintly as the mage speaks. He looks to the answering candidates with interest, keeping well hidden his thoughts upon the relative answers given.

Eleanor shifts some in her seat. She is listening. Truly.

"Thank you, my lord," Helena says to Dyonith as she steps forward to call forth the next question. "Baron Moonshadow, you have the floor," Helena says with a smile to Joseph before she looks out over the crowd, giving a quick nod to Ansel to acknowledge his place being added to the queue. "I wish to thank all of you for your questions tonight and once they have concluded, we will have a few words from His Majesty," Helena tells them as she again looks to the Keeper, giving him a smile.

Dyonith smiles faintly a bit more, "Interesting answers both, but perhaps my wording was poor. I was more interested in what you would do, what you were planning on doing to prevent such." He nods over to Helena as he moves to sit down and smiles over to Joseph.

DearSweetMotherOfPearlWhatWasThat!? Solphin bristles at a hand pressed against her spine, but rather than scuttling away or flailing in the back of the space, she stays perfectly still with her hands still hooked into her pockets. Eyes flash wide for an instant, then calm at the whisper, curling a somewhat humored smile. Turning her head to one side, not yet glancing back, but murmuring in turn. After which, the scamp slides a half step to the side, her back now to the wall, clearing her presence from the doorway.

Innocentia rises, slipping back towards the exit. She dips her head to those gathered there, Solphin and Florian both, and waits until the path is cleared for her to pass through. She murmurs, "Mistress.." to Solphin, and offers a faint smile to Florian before attempting her escape past them.

Chase hmmmms quietly as he watches Solphin and Florian, tilting his head a bit as he smiles before returning his attention to the Q&A.

Oksana keeps her attention on the question asking and answer round of tonight's festivities.

Solphin inclines her head to Innocentia as she passes, "Mistress." Smiling warmly all along

Florian leaves his hand in the air where Solphin so recently was standing, his fingers curling slowly into his palm. He answers Innocentia's smile with like for like, but his own more sly than her gentle one. He aligns his form more closely to the door frame while answering Solphin in an undertone.

"Thank you Chamberlain Soranus." Joseph intones politely before moving forward to take his turn asking a question, stern yet polite nod given towards Dyonith as the two pass and his gaze moves on to the two candidates, "This is to the both of you, there will be two parts to my question, I would have both parts answered so please don't short change me." Joseph states in his crisp authorative tone, as his hands clasp behind his back and his chest bristles some, "I've had the privilege of working with one of the previous citizen speakers and used them on my own holdings. Not only is their manner for asserting themselves among the noble court a needed talent, their ability to vehemently speak the case of the common man. But so is their insight, their ability to listen to the common man, to keep their finger on the pulse of the people. They say, in times of emergency that it's not the ones that call for help that you aid first, but those that do not. Those that would otherwise be missed and lost in the chaos going on around. In the hustle and bustle of day to day life, it's so easy to over look the one who is quietly enduring. Today's recent events have been rife and ripe with rumors, a Duke stepping down, A Duke dying, people stripped of land title, taxes raised and so forth. Tell me, each of you what you have heard or know of the peoples needs, here on gateway. Amidst all this change and commotion, what are the people seeking?" Joseph asks before holding up a hand to forestall any answer, "And given that ... some members of court - it's rumored, can be rather harsh, abrasive and difficult to deal with." Surely he's not talking about himself, "How would make sure these needs are heard by such people, how would you speak their case without further insulting such difficult members of court." a slight cough is made as the Baron clears his throat, "Cos, some of us Noble folk, don't much like bein' made fun of by people that done reckon they can talk t'talk and walk t'walk, wot?" a pointed look shot towards Sage.

Rourke either cannot or does not suppress a small smile as Joseph speaks, looking toward the Mistian with a marginal and yet satisfied nod.

Solphin's expression flickers, either by Florian's whispering or Joseph's commentary. Whatever the case, the flicker twists itself into a moldable grin of sorts in open appreciation. Of something. Regardless, she does turn her head slightly to one side, rolling it against the wall to return a whisper in kind, though her eyes remain glued on the back of Joseph's head for a while.

Duncan turns to consider Joseph, and gives a supportive nod to the Mistian Baron. His smile shifts to something more solemn, intense, as his eyes shift from the Baron to further scrutinize each Citizen Speaker candidate with keen interest as to how they will answer this query.

"Excellency, if I sound as I am making fun, it's not intended. But since my manner of speech was just forbidden me, I'm doing the best I can. Imagine trying to speak Leuvian. Would you not also sound a bit off to them?" Sage wonders. "I'm not mocking anyone, though I'm being mocked for trying." She returns with a shrug. There is still that stilted manner to her words, but it's the case of one out of practice, nothing more. "As to how I will approach people, I believe the requires a bit of research. It is impossible to generalize when each person has their own tastes, y'ke-, er, yes?" Sage queries of the Baron. "So, depending on who I needed to work with, I would find out that person's preferences and attempt to approach them in a manner most fitting to them." She says, inhaling breath to continue. "As for what I think the people want, being one of them, I can say that they want security. They want stability. They also want answers. But mostly, they want to know that their children are going to be safe, their bellies full, and the Empire will go on. The first things I'd like to do for the town, beginning with, is to start seeing to those needs, and perhaps getting some of those answers, if they can be found. It's hard to trust folk when there's so much shadowy stuff going on. I mean to set people's minds at ease, and help them understand life is going to go on and there's things they can depend on." Sage's accent slips a bit at the end as weariness at holding a speech pattern not her own drags at her tongue.

As Joseph stands to speak, Laraine looks up to the man, her attention upon his features as he asks his questions. Questions in her own mind waiting to be raised. A respect upon her own features towards him is apparent before her gaze shifts not to the candidates this time for their answers but to the faces of the Mistians here present. It seems those responses are more important to her at this time. Observing and watchful she is tonight, her gaze finally shifting to the stage to look upon the Keeper and the Princess before finally lighting on the candidates.

Eleanor is still here and listening even if she has chosen to not speak tonight. If need be she'll seek the candidates individually. At a later time.

Ansel frowns very faintly at Joseph's speech, and half-rises to get Helena's attention, speaking with her briefly, most of the exchange conveyed in his shake of his head before he sits back down.

Caspian is quiet for a time after Sage response, having watched her throughout. Now that it's his turn, he sets his gaze towards the far end of the auditorium, eyes set upon those near the rear. Those who arrived tardily due to the last precious minutes of work that might just make the difference on whether or not those aforementioned taxes are paid. The ones who do not dare seat themselves anywhere near the nobility up front, either due to fear or shame or dirtied clothes and faces. To the familiar child that falls asleep amidst the murmurings and questions of adults. "They are not forgotten," he answers with a distant half smile. "Despite the confusion and chaos, they are not overlooked. They are not stepped over, disregarded, or deserted, as I am one of them. I stand alongside them, as Mistress Coibran does, at times feeling as faceless as they might. But I see them. I agree with Mistress Coibran. They want what any person would want. It's what I want as well. I want to know that there is a future. That things are not always so dire. That demons will remain in place. That we will be ruled justly. And that if someone falls, a Duke, Baroness, or otherwise, there will be someone good of heart to take their place. I've spoken desires of having citizens take up vacant seats in our city that will ensure safety. Head of the Fire Brigade, for one. I want to see the citizen's areas cleaned. I want to see jobs given to those with talent. Vacant buildings left to rot removed or replaced. And to challenge myself to get this done by speaking to...the difficult members of court is a thing I've realized I'd need to do, and am willing to do with poise, patience, and much needed resilience."

No doubt Aileana is extremely late to the debate, but she does show up. For now, she just finds a place at the back of the auditorium to stand with her guard next to her. For those that haven't seen her in a while, she seems a little reserved, but despite that, she wears a ghost of a smile as if at least some small level of peace has been found in her year so littered with turmoil.

Helena had moves to the edge of the stage to speak quietly with Ansel, giving a brief nod before he turns to go. She rises, a little unsteadily, and moves back to the center of the stage, providing a warm smile both for the candidates and those who have come to listen and ask questions. "Again, allow me to thank you all for coming. I am sure both candidates will happily accept any further questions you might come up with during the voting period. I would now like to turn things over to His Majesty, who would say a few words to you all." Helena pale eyes settle on Rourke and she curtsies. "Majesty."

Joseph points finger towards Caspian, a slight measure of a smile curling the corner of his lips, "Thank you for the specifics." he says first to Caspian before looking to Sage, "I was not offended, but putting on an accent can offend some people. Do so with care." The Baron offers politely before giving a bow of his head, "Thank you both for indulging me."

Sage inclines her head to Joseph in return, and then steps back, giving the floor, metaphorically and literally, to the Emperor, as Helena shifts the proceedings towards a close.

Caspian gently dips his head to Joseph, offering a slight smile before he too steps back a little, keeping silent as his eyes move to Helena, then the Emperor.

Rourke rises with the conclusion, inclining his head to both of the candidates. "You have seen more challenge in this debate from the nobility of this realm than you have from citizens, and while some would question why so many nobles would be the ones pressing these inquiries, be mindful of the fact that the people you must deal with are both the citizens whose voice you would be, and the people you would be that voice to. I thank you for your desire to serve the people of this realm, and your candor in your answers. I strongly suggest that you both take time to not just be available to citizens and nobles alike, but to proactively -approach- them to find out what their concerns are." He pivots smoothly to face the crowd. "Those of you who have come to hear the candidates, know that both are accepted by the Imperial Throne in this potential position. We charge you to be mindful of your choices, those citizens of you who will choose the voice to speak on your behalf. Again, thank you for your attendance, as the Lady Chamberlain has said. Your interest in bettering the realm is ever appreciated. Good evening."

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