Ameris holds another sermon in the chapel in the Temple of Ilmater, taking up the same preaching slot as he did the last tenday.
Ameris would be smartly attired as Ilmatari go, changing into his more flowing holy vestments, those that echo the Ilmatari of Calimsham. An exotic look in Baldur's Gate, perhaps. His skullcap is on his head and his holy symbol is on display. He would have a rock lily pinned to his right breast. He would indeed have prayed for the blessing of Ilmater so that his voice may be heard clearly and persuasively, even at the back. He might even have a little magic of the arcane variety to assist him, as well.
The priest would speak before those present, whoever and whomever they might be. One notable attendee would be Telia Santraeger, who would sit near the front in a fine looking red and grey dress, the colours of Ilmater. On this first day, the foster children Timmy and Amanda from Pathfinders Hall would also be present. Amanda would sit quietly, with a serious and thoughtful expression on her face as she listened. After a few minutes, Timmy would fidget a bit, move closer to Telia and whisper to her a few times. His hand, magically, would find his way around sorceress' sleeve.
Ameris would offer the congregation a welcoming smile and begin in warm and gentle tones.
"Brothers, Sisters, friends, welcome."
Once attention was upon him, and the hubub of general conversation had passed, he would begin to speak. He begins to speak the sermon proper. At first his tone is clear, and high, as if lifting up to the heavens.
"The Lord on the Rack teaches us to persevere through adversity. He offers his strength to us, so that we can continue on when lashed by life’s storms. He hears all prayers. Anyone can open their lips and utter words to him, and he will be there, no matter how much his own suffering. Even the worst of sinners, if their heart changes, will have their prayers heard."
Ameris leaves a few breaths before speaking again. He looks out over the congregation, a sad smile, filled understanding.
"It is hard, though, for us mortals to be the same."
He continues, his tone suggesting regretful possibilities. "Now, as we people of Baldur’s Gate struggle and strive to restore the city, we are afflicted by the evils of poverty and uncertainty. We have all known loss and adversity. It would be easy for these feelings to wound us and close us off to each other. It would be easy for us to think only of ourselves, and not of our community as a whole. "
The priest pauses. His gaze cants up and back, to the symbol of Ilmater he stands before, the new symbol of bound hands. Then to the banners of Torm and Tyr, at the far side of the room, behind the congregation. Then he smiles, warm.
"Yet that would not be the Baldurian way."
Ameris lets the silence draw on for a second or two, a habitual pacing to let those listening absorb what is said.
"As I spoke, it is hard for mortals to be like the gods; it is hard for us to be as open and loving as Ilmater."
He says in a subdued tone. Yet this tone disappears as he continues, clearly set as a contrast to the uplifting warmth, the affection and the gratitude in the words that follow.
"Yet I have seen before how this city has risen from blows and struggles to be tolerant and accepting, and despite any rough edges, not bitter and cursed. I have seen it, because I experienced it, in the welcome given to me when I was but a wandering priest. Before I ever lifted a scalpel here, or called upon the Broken God to set a broken leg, or diagnosed a disease or alleviated a malaise. Even then, Baldur’s Gate welcomed me into its community. "
The formality drops from his voice now, although the volume stays the same there is a familiarity in his words, as if the congregation were dear friends. He speaks with the memory of wonder, at first.
"When I first came to this rainy city, I saw a city of wonders. Nestled here on the Chionthar, I found grand temples, clean and safe streets, a palace not of Kings, but Dukes chosen by the people. I saw the flower of the White Mask Theatre, the mysteries of the Elfsong Tavern and its invisible singer. I saw the curiosities of Gond’s Hall of Wonders. I was struck by the openness and tolerance of the people here. The kindness, in fact, to a stranger like myself. A place that any were welcome to call home, if they worked for the city and its ideals, not against it. Whatever their creed, whatever their origin. "
There is a brief silence, as the priest lets the words sink on. Then Ameris takes a breath, and his voice becomes almost an apology, a defence of the wondrous words before.
"I do not speak of a perfect, fairy tale land. I know the city has always had its divisions and its angers. I know that life can be hard here, for some; that is a thing I have spent three years fighting. Yet I saw then what I see now, that Baldur’s Gate is a large, diverse community; where laws protect, but do not smother, and where people are free to disagree."
The priest pauses again. Looking out over the congregation. There is pride and respect for the congregation in his eyes, and in his words.
"When I arrived I had no idea of the calamities that had befallen the city before, the destruction wrought by Tiamat, the war against Amn, or the sieges, droughts and plagues of the past. The city had borne such blows and endured. The people within had persevered through all of this, and yet still, their smiles when they came were warm and their arms wide. Still they cherished beauty and endeavour, and hoped for better for themselves and their city. They strove for prosperity without malice. They were not made bitter by their troubles. "
Ameris continues, a fervour in his voice, a sense of belief.
"I have faith that the people of this city will persevere through adversity and keep the idea of a Baldurian community close to their heart. I have faith that the people will work for the city’s rejuvenation without turning on each other and without losing sight of the spirit of freedom that fills their hearts. I have faith; and I say this."
He speaks with certainty, and merciful power, as if conveying Ilmater's holy judgment. His eyes burn with compassionate zeal.
"The drive of the Baldurian people in face of adversity honours the Lord on the Rack. And it is something they can be proud of. "
The following words are suprisingly gentle.
"In the name of Ilmater, the wise, the merciful, the enduring. "
The priest bows his head then, silence lingering to allow reflection, before he gets on with the administrative announcements and the like that are part and parcel of a religious community.
Ameris continues to give this sermon in the same timeslot over the course of the following five days; and he also at one point gives the same sermon in the open air, speaking from the rostra in the square outside of Sorcerous Sundries.
/// Diplomacy roll for the preaching, only very slightly better than the last effort!:
Ameris will be IG giving this sermon in the East Gate district on Tuesday 12th July at 21:00 GMT