+++THE ONLY REASON THAT I SING+++
“So why isn’t love a virtue anyway?”
Genevieve choked on her wine. Madeline smacked her on the back half-heartedly.
“You waited and did that on purpose,” accused Genevieve when she had stopped coughing. Madeline smirked but admitted nothing.
“It’s very complicated and you could ask a dozen priests and get a dozen answers,” answered Genevieve in a tone she hoped would bring an end to the conversation. She offered Madeline a strawberry as part of a cunning plan to change the subject, and while her mouth was full launched into The Moon’s Only Daughter in the hope of diverting things onto a different track.
Madeline dangled her hand in the water, listening. When the song ended and Genevieve put her lute down, however, it was clear her attempt at distraction had failed.
“But why isn’t it a Virtue?” It was clear she was not going to be distracted.
“It’s complicated,” said Genevieve. “Some troubadours say it’s Loyalty by another name. Others say that its not really a virtue because unlike the others - Loyalty, Pride, Courage, and so on - you can’t dedicate yourself to it. Not spiritually. And because like Glory it exists in lots of different ways. Love can inspire Loyalty, or Courage, or Ambition, but it isn’t separate from them and … damn this is hard. It’s … it’s like its part of being human but at the same time it’s not the same as being Loyal… it’s like it’s something else. A thing that grows out of human desire like… oh I don’t know like a thirst for justice, or liberty, or like… I don’t know… like glory.”
Madeline cocked her head, amused that Genevieve was stumbling with her words for a change. She usually had no difficulty expressing herself. The troubadour was aware that she was flushing slightly, embarrassed at her own ineptitude.
“So it’s not really real then?”
“No it’s real it’s just … not a Virtue.” she shrugged helplessly. “It’s definitely real. Some troubadours believe it can tie two souls together forever so they find each other again when they are reborn, although technically I might just have committed some sort of indiscretion by suggesting it.”
“I’m not interested in what some troubadours think,” said Madeline, suddenly serious in that way she had. “I’m interested in what you think.”
Genevieve fidgeted. As she often did when put on the spit, she picked her lute up and began strumming it. Madeline reached across and put her hand on Genevieve’s stilling the music.
“Please, this is important.” she said.
The troubadour looked around, making sure they were alone. There was no real need to - did she really think there was some vigilant eavesdropper lurking under the water? - but it was habitual. Then she took a deep breath and let the words spill out of her.
“I think… I think that Love is not a Virtue because it is one of the things that Virtue is for. It’s the whole point of life, it’s like… goodness, or righteousness, or… yes… like justice and truth and liberty and maybe even cruelty. It’s not a Virtue because it is bigger than Virtue, than all the Virtues and all the other … spiritual forces I suppose… rolled up together. It’s easy to dismiss it as just romance but it’s everywhere creating a … a profound connection between friends, and families, and yes lovers. You can’t really Love a nation though, so that’s … I think you could take away every Virtue, and every priest, and every drop of liao in the world and people would still Love with all their hearts, and all their souls, until the sun falls into the sea. You’ll never find an aura *of *Love but you can find auras created by Love wherever you look. It’s a many splendoured thing. It lifts us up. All we need is love. It’s like a fire that burns inside us and that turns us into something more, that can make us more human that we’ve ever been before, and it defies explanation, and that’s why it isn’t a Virtue because at the end of the day the Way treats anything it can’t understand or define as if it’s worthless.”
She stopped, panting, and realised she was short of breath. Her emphatic gestures had set the boat rocking side to side. She felt guilty, but also a little lighter, as if by speaking quickly and honestly she’d shifted a weight from her shouders. Or her heart.
“Good.” said Madeline.
Then she leaned across and popped a strawberry into Genevieve’s mouth, like a reward.
“I like it when you’re emphatic,” she said, laying back in the cushions and making a face as she discovered some of them had been splashed. “But next time less boat rocking. Now eat your strawberry and then I think we have just enough time for Where the wild roses grow before we have to head back.”
And as the boat continued to drift lazily along the river, two clear sweet voices raised together in the late and lazy afternoon, entwined in song.
Champions! Specifically, Virtue Champions. There’s two things going on here, conneted by a theme:
- The Dawnish troubaours have announced champions of Lovve and Glory in addition to the more usual virtue champions. They have an opportunity to make that Official.
- The Senate has made a new title - Champion of COurage - and given it the responsibility to wield the shield ‘‘Torchbrand’’. There’s some discsussion about that and about things they could do to follow up on it.
You can learn about these two Virtuous champions here -> https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/…/The_only_reason_that_…