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A Surprisingly Peaceful Protest

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:24 pm    Post subject: A Surprisingly Peaceful Protest Reply with quote

Wednesday, 12/14

Throughout the Old Temple district, reports had come in throughout the morning to all Watch stations of "pro-human" crowds gathering around various prominent businesses and public buildings, much as they had in other districts the past two days. Sure enough, as the day progressed, the mobs grew in numbers and volume, and at least two incidents turned violent.

Oddly enough, however, the crowd of protestors gathered along the sidewalks outside of Harker's Academy and Nicole's Bistro remained calm. Relatively calm, at least. There were raised voices and shaken fists on both sides, and more than once it threatened to escalate. Each time things flared, though, it was as if some unseen hand, some silent voice felt rather than heard, reached out to cool the fires of rage before they erupted into an inferno. Watch officers keeping an eye on things breathed more easily and blessed whatever forces in the heavens above were making their tasks that much simpler.

In truth, they needn't have looked to the heavens, just the rooftops.

# # #

Sitting atop Harker's Dueling & Defense Academy, Velen sat crosslegged, hands resting on his knees in a meditative pose, eyes closed in gentle concentration. Bundled well against the winter cold, he paid little heed to the chill as his focus passed over the protesters below. Calm... calm... keep it cool, boys... say your piece, but no need to fight... stay calm.... A surge of hate caught his attention, and his eyelids flew open as he peered down to identify the source. There, a trio of rough little men were facing off against a dark-scaled half-dragon, barely more than a hatchling--which was probably the only thing saving them from being roasted. Velen's empathic gift stretched out, touching the men's anger, enveloping and dampening it as much as possible, while at the same time he quashed their target's fear, building self-assurance enough for the dragonling to raise its head and move on. Still, something about that flare-up disturbed him, as if the men had been stoked in their rage, pushed into a confrontation.

"Nice save there," came a voice from behind, and with a smile Velen turned to look over his shoulder at Pearl. She came out of the rooftop access from below, bearing a bag, a thermos and two mugs. "Lo, I come with gifts, and I pronounce them hot chocolate and muffins!"

"Bless you, love," he replied, reaching up to take the mugs while she opened the thermos and poured. "Even I can only ignore the sense of this cold for so long."

Taking her own mug back, Pearl sat down on the little bench beside him. "You're too dedicated for your own good sometimes." The young woman glanced down at the crowd. "How bad is it?"

"I'm managing. Better now, with you here." He took a long drink from his hot chocolate, holding it in his mouth a moment before letting it trickle down, warmth filling his body. "Ohhhhhhh... that's good." A sigh slipped from his lips. "Most of them are just ordinary folk, spurred on by rhetoric and mob mentality. It's easy enough to diffuse that sort of emotion, keep it from concentrating into a boiling point. There's something else, though, something more. It, or rather they..."

"They? More than one?"

Velen nodded solemnly. "I think so. It feels like at least two distinct forces acting on these protest mobs, and not necessarily in concert either. It's almost as if they're both taking advantage of feelings that were already stirred up."

That got a nod from Pearl as she thought about it. "Probably set off by the Humanity First campaign during the elections. A lot of ugly words came out then, but the violence we've seen lately is beyond what they preached." Her gaze turned to Velen. "Have you mentioned this to your father?"

"He's not Governor anymore, and besides, they're going on a family vacation next week, I didn't want to spoil it. I'll reach out to Katt, though." The empath closed his eyes and looked down at the crowd below, seeing without sight. In the street, a brief shoving match ended almost as quickly as it had begun. "Another one dealt with. Lady and Lord, but this is hungry work!" With a chuckle, he reached into the bag and drew forth a blueberry muffin, taking a satisfying bite as the vigil continued.
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