Silvean's lecture on Faendryl art

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The following is a log of Silvean's Faendryl art lecture during the Faendryl Symposium on June 9, 2015.

Silvean says, "If you have an interest in this subject, it will be your task after the lecture to consider how the pieces we do not discuss fit in with the five schools."

Silvean says, "Or, alternatively, whether or not you would classify some of the works in an entirely different manner."

Silvean theatrically exclaims, "Ay me, if only we had twelve hours to spend on a discussion of typological concerns alone. The Illistim would burn with envy!"

Placing his hand over his heart, Silvean sighs dramatically.

Silvean snickers.

Japhrimel asks, "We don't?"

Silvean says, "Twelve hours with Silvean is too expensive even for you, Japhrimel."

Japhrimel grins.

Japhrimel says, "Fair enough."

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to Japhrimel, Demyse says, "I do not believe I brough enough tea for 12 hours."

Silvean says, "Now, once more, join with me and we will move into another room."

Lord Silvean's group just went through a curtained arch leading north.

[Faendryl Embassy, Antechamber]
Striated with veins of crimson, the smooth alabaster walls are bare with the exception of the marbled coloring. A rich, obsidian velvet carpet woven with golden whorls covers the floor. The only furniture in the sparsely decorated antechamber is a pair of marble benches, placed to either side of a pewter-banded ebonwood door. You also see a panoramic fresco, an enameled starry disc and a colorful wall-sized mosaic.
Also here: Kronius, Lady Aeavenne, Kortirion, Ravestra, Xinza, Iriaschel, Lady Ursuline, Lord Demyse, Karluth, High Lady Mystiq, Chancellor Fahnlaer, Lord Japhrimel, Sparegris, Aurach, High Lady Allereli, Melivn, Lord Silvean
Obvious exits: south

Silvean says, "Yes, here we are."

(Lylia clasps her hands behind her back and admires the mosaic from a fair distance.)

Silvean says, "We'll start tonight with 'Empire Classicism,' the artistic expression of nostalgia for the Second Age and the height of the Elven Empire."

J>look fresco
Time has stolen the warmer and more ephemeral hues from this image of a man delivering a speech atop a flight of broad stone steps, casting the scene into a stark chiaroscuro of cold blues and bone white. The central figure commands attention both with his pose and with the slanting light that bathes him. Forced perspective creates a feeling of immense space between the speaker, his rapt crowd, and the pyramidal buildings behind them.

There appears to be something written on it.

J>look disc
Smooth enamel in rich ultramarine blue covers this broad disc except where pinpoints of silver fleck its glassy surface. Etched lines connect the silver points to form constellations, some of which are still recognizable as their modern counterparts. A central hole in the disc allowed it to be mounted on a clockwork device that set the artificial sky wheeling through seasons at the touch of a lever, but corrosion has stilled the moving metal parts within the disc's alabaster case.

J>look mosaic
A smiling bride in scarlet, and her groom in grey, sit at the center of this intricate mosaic. A low table before them holds a feast, but many of the bright fruits are unfamiliar. As each of the attendants is dressed in the colors of a different elven house, the image could as easily be an allegory as a portrait. Stones no larger than grains of rice capture every detail, from the net of gilded chains and gems in the bride's hair to the revelers' brilliant silks.

Silvean adds, "This, of course, means a rightly ordered Elven Empire organized under Faendryl rule."

Silvean says, "In form, this movement has attempted to preserve or, more often, emulate prominent Second Age styles and medium."

Silvean says, "I wonder how much we actually know about the way they made art at that time."

Silvean ponders.

Silvean carefully instructs, "In regard to theme and content, Empire Classicism often demonstrates the superiority of the Elven Empire through images of decisive governance, military might, or opulence with Faendryl subjects receiving pride of place."

Silvean adds, "It is not uncommon for wealthy patrons to have themselves inserted within such images so that they may be seen to reign in an ideal world."

Silvean jests, "If any if you have the talent, I have a portion of silver earmarked for a portrait of slaves feeding me grapes on a couch."

Kortirion laughs softly, trying to hide his amusement.

Speaking to Allereli, Silvean says, "This is why I can never bid against you for sorcerous items."

Silvean says, "Yes, you artists, speak to me afterward."

Silvean quips, "Be sure to capture my eyes."

Speaking in Faendryl, Allereli says, "Keep spending on your decor."

Silvean says, "Now, Empire Classicism. Let's have a look at this mosaic."

Silvean asks, "What do you think of it? What do you notice?"

Xinza says, "That the Faendryl couple is at the highest place of the table, as they should be."

Xinza says, "And the others remain below them."

You murmur, "You would think me shallow if I said 'the gowns,' so I think I shall hold my tongue."

Silvean chuckles.

Silvean says, "Splendid."

Ursuline purses her lips at you, her face contorting with a disdainful smirk.

Silvean says, "Ah but clothing can say a great deal."

Kortirion quietly asks, "Is it traditional for the bride and groom to wear the colors of the house?"

You nod at Silvean.

Speaking in Faendryl, Aurach softly says, "He is the tower and and she wraps him in scarlet.. as the once proud banner of auld Ta Faendryl."

Silvean says, "And consider closely what clothing might say in a painting where the artist can paint any gown she wishes."

Ursuline remarks, "I rather like the stonework. It must be quite time consuming."

Speaking in Faendryl, Demyse quietly says, "It was the Scarlet and Grey along with those colors meaning, which captured my attention."

Aeavenne grins at Aurach.

Speaking in Faendryl, Karluth asks, "Is it a union between houses, an alliance perhaps?"

Silvean says, "I think, in regard to the historical reality, that Empire Classicism reflects an imagination of the past."

Speaking in Faendryl to Kortirion, Mystiq says, "I think so me and my husband wore the house colors."

Silvean nods at Mystiq.

Silvean says, "But it is not without continuity as well."

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to Karluth, Demyse says, "A union under one House, as leaders. Long before the house broke a part after we left leadership to themselves."

Kortirion quietly says, "Also, mayhaps that the food is not recognizable, this keeps the emphasis on the people."

Silvean says, "The feast itself is a mystery. A visual reminder of how much we've forgotten and lost. Or perhaps I am an emotional sort who reads too much into such things."

Silvean nods at Kortirion.

Silvean says, "That is a good point."

You say, "Or it is so old that certain dishes have fallen out of favor. I know such imagery can often date art."

Silvean says, "Hrm. An authentic piece? Perhaps, perhaps."

Speaking to you, Ursuline says, "An interesting point."

Speaking in Faendryl, Demyse quietly says, "With art, it could as well be a touch of both. Keeping the focus on the people or perhaps the deeper meaning of things lost from that era."

Kortirion quietly says, "I rather like that thought. We have outlived certain crops. I know that is true of certain animals."

Silvean says, "Let's move on to my favorite subject patriarchal art, sometimes called Patriarchal Romanticism."

Silvean says, "In here, we have something. Ah, yes."

Silvean points at a panoramic fresco.

Silvean says, "Have a look at this fresco before we move again."

Silvean says, "Now, Patriarchal Romanticism."

Silvean says, "This movement is concerned with both the person of the Patriarch and the eschatological vision signified by the institution of the Patriarchy."

Silvean adds, "By this I mean, a vision dealing with the end of things or the ends toward which things are ordered."

Silvean says, "The great struggle in such art, and the great struggle of our people, is the task of reconciling the glory of the Patriarchal ideal with the sometimes disappointing backdrop of history."

Silvean haughtily insists, "My writing on the subject of the Patriarchy is the finest in the diaspora. I recommend it to those of you who wish to reflect further on the philosophy behind this movement."

Silvean says, "Now, we just saw an interesting portrait of a patriarch in that fresco that seems to sit between or within two categories at once."

Silvean says, "It makes sense to group it as Empire Classicism but one could make an argument for Patriarchal Romanticism."

Silvean indicates a miniature encaustic portrait as a possible option.

J>look portrait
Painted in layers of tinted wax on a silvery round of lor wood, the tiny portrait of an umber-skinned young man in a three-quarter view has the luminous quality of natural skin. The subject's gaze is focused somewhere beyond the gilded frame of the miniature, and his lips are turned up in the faintest of smiles. Even the blackwork trim on his cloak collar has remained sharply detailed. The portrait's obverse side bears an inscription and a fingerprint, but no name.

Silvean says, "In the rotunda, we have this lovely and rather interesting portrait."

Silvean asks, "It speaks to me of the devotional. What does it say to you?"

Japhrimel says, "Makes me wish I could read the inscription."

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to a miniature encaustic portrait, Demyse says, "Pride."

You say, "It seems highly personal to me, a memento of some sort. A keepsake carried close."

Speaking in Faendryl, Deckits says, "Says.. future triumph to me." Deckits nods slowly.

Japhrimel says, "She has a small smile.. her gaze is focused off.. I find myself wondering if this was not something personal for the artist.. a lover or friend or liaison of some sort."

Kortirion quietly says, "I have a question, then."

Speaking to Tredohal, Silvean says, "Good evening, ambassador. We're just in the midst of things if you care to join us."

Tredohal joins Silvean's group.

Silvean says, "Please ask your question."

Kortirion quietly says, "The Romanticism.. that you speak of.. were these pieces .."

Speaking quietly to Silvean, Kortirion asks, "Were the pieces requested by the subjects of the art? Or were they done as .. tribute, honor, respect?"

Silvean says, "There is a great deal of Patriarchal art. The Patriarch is a gift to the people and they respond in turn with honor toward their Patriarch."

Silvean says, "In this way we are rightly guided toward our destiny."

Silvean says, "It is a personal matter and one of pride. This has been wisely said."

Speaking quietly to Silvean, Kortirion asks, "But the Patriarch.. does not.. say.. do a painting of me speaking on the steps of the villa or whatnot?"

Kortirion quietly asks, "Or does he?"

You ask, "You are wondering if the art is commissioned or if the artist is moved by passion, then?"

Silvean says, "It depends entirely on the Patriarch but the heart of this matter is in the heart of the people. It is the vision I mentioned earlier."

Speaking in Faendryl to a miniature encaustic portrait, Karluth says, "This looks to me that the person has knowledge that only he knows."

Xinza quietly asks, "That painting was on the steps of the old Basilica, wasn't it?"

Silvean says, "Secret knowledge is an interesting theme. I think an important one."

Speaking in Faendryl, Karluth quietly adds, "Perhaps that he shall only know."

Speaking in Faendryl, Aurach softly says, "Rare to find preserved art among the ruins of auld Ta'Faendryl, but from time to time..."

Speaking in Faendryl to Aurach, Xinza says, "No, I meant, it depicted the old Basilica. Not that it used to hang there."

Kortirion whispers, "So, some of these Patriarchs, then, commissioned a work of their own image, then?"

Silvean says, "I could speak of this subject all night. I never seem to tire of discussing the Patriarchy."

Speaking in Faendryl, Karluth says, "It seems to me that knowledge is dangerous if you do not know what the other possesses."

Silvean says, "The Faendryl as a whole possess a secret and dangerous knowledge of demons and their summoning."

You quietly whisper to Kortirion, "I am sure the artists were moved by passion alone, and then gifted with sums of silver after the fact. That way, no Patriarch or Matriarch has ever had to pay for his or her portrait."

Silvean says, "We know the thin walls and delicate patterns preventing our world from being ripped in two."

Silvean says, "This knowledge is secret because it must be. Dangerous knowledge must be kept by this who are up to such a mighty burden."

Silvean says, "And so it is with the Patriarch."

Silvean continues, "Let's move toward our third subject--iconoclasm; an oddity, because it cannot be best described as either a school or a movement."

Silvean explains, "The Faendryl reverence for their Patriarch contains an essential ambiguity over the relationship between his metaphysical significance and the boundaries of his physical body."

Silvean continues, "The proper respect for and representation of that body has led to academic and practical vexation with occasional violent outbursts."

Silvean says, "And so, iconoclasm refers to two different phenomena, one negative and the other positive."

Silvean says, "Two items to discuss then."

Silvean carefully lectures, "In negative terms, iconoclastic impulses have defaced Faendryl images, both patriarchal and non-patriarchal, in a wide array of artwork. When curated as a type, a sculpture with the face chiseled off may be on display next to a scratched and scarred manuscript portrait."

Silvean says, "As a positive phenomenon, concern over representing the Faendryl body has led to distinctive innovations in calligraphy and geometric design."

Speaking in Faendryl, Karluth observes, "As with the bust earlier of the unknown woman whose face was blemished."

Silvean says, "So, let's have a look at this sculpture then."

Silvean says, "It is difficult and beyond my personal expertise to discern the marks of iconoclasm from accident. At least in some cases."

Speaking in Faendryl, Karluth adds, "Rather, I meant this bust."

Silvean says, "But this is clearly purposeful."

Kortirion quietly asks, "This is a woman, then, who fell from grace somehow?"

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to a horned basalt bust, Demyse says, "Clearly. Whoever did this did not want this person remembered."

You murmur, "Such a pity to see just enough of the beauty that was once there and realize the remainder has been rendered common and trite."

Silvean says, "That's possible. These are good points."

Silvean says, "It is possible there is a historical or political reason for why this was defaced. Literally defaced."

Speaking in Faendryl, Karluth says, "Beauty is oft envied."

Speaking quietly to you, Meril says, "Ah, only if natural stone is thought of as less beautiful than elves."

Silvean says, "It is also possible, in keeping with iconoclasm more broadly, that this represents a moment in Faendryl history when any physical depiction was heretical."

Speaking in Faendryl, Aurach softly says, "Of curious thought, is the fact it was not merely destroyed... rather than concealed."

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to Aurach, Demyse says, "That defacing likely happened short after her reign or even during."

Speaking to Meril, you say, "I wish I knew her face before, and not the vacant look she has now. But I have a preference for naturalism instead of stylized imagery, generally."

Silvean says, "This is really a fascinating piece. It leaves so many questions."

Speaking in Faendryl, Aurach softly says, "Perhaps, or perhaps it was hidden purposefully, to allow it to linger ...."

Silvean says, "Now, here we have one of my favorites."

Silvean indicates a gilded manuscript page as a possible option.

J>look page
A specimen of masterwork calligraphy, the stylized Faendryl script on this page twists and wends around itself to form the image of a bird in flight. The drawing is surrounded by a border of gleaming gold leaf providing a double-framing effect with the geometrically patterned lor encasing the manuscript itself.

Silvean asks, "What do you all think of this manuscript page?"

You say, "A glorification of the physical aspect of the words themselves. I find it quite lovely too."

Silvean asks, "And why a bird? What does this image represent?"

Speaking in Faendryl, Demyse quietly says, "Depends on the nature of the bird."

Speaking in Faendryl, Demyse quietly says, "Which is hard to tell."

Speaking to you, Allereli asks, "What does it predict?"

You chuckle.

Xinza asks, "Freedom?"

Speaking in Faendryl, Aurach softly says, "To carry the message."

Laelithonel whispers, "Wha' if th'words are th'aspect of th'bird?"

Silvean says, "Ah, but sometimes the bird you have is all the bird there is."

You say, "If it were written in smoke, I would say so. Freedom and high aspirations."

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to Xinza, Demyse says, "Again, depending on the bird. Some birds mean life, others death and some guardians of knowledge."

Silvean says, "Freedom. Excellent. And birds do carry messages, that's clever."

Speaking in Faendryl, Karluth says, "That those on high see all that is below, unfettered by what lays below."

You quietly whisper to Laelithonel, "It could be that as well."

Speaking in Faendryl, Deckits says, "To me.. knowledge passed down and inherited, expanded upon, is the only way to gain flight."

Kortirion quietly says, "If the words are.. perhaps a poem about a bird or flight .. then this is just art.. but cleverly done."

Silvean says, "Height is a good point. This creates a kind of spatial reasoning."

Laelithonel whispers, "But is trapped in gold leaf an'wood an'tha'sounds all natural an'such but was shaped t'be a border. Is very trapped."

Silvean says, "And Demyse mentions guardians of knowledge. Birds are sometimes said to have their own secret language."

Speaking in Faendryl, Demyse quietly says, "It's the "surrounded by a border of gleaming gold leaf" which that holds the true meaning behind the bird."

You quietly whisper to Laelithonel, "You should say that aloud. I think it is a fascinating insight. I know Silvean would wish to hear it too."

You quietly whisper to Laelithonel, "Others see the bird; you see the words surrounding it."

You nod encouragingly at Laelithonel.

Silvean says, "This goes back to the secret knowledge we mentioned earlier, of course."

Laelithonel coughs.

Silvean says, "I believe it contains some Patriarchal names but I find it impossible to read. It is so intricate."

Speaking in Faendryl to Demyse, Karluth adds, "Yes, which is why I infer it to something that is most high given the golden border."

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to Karluth, Demyse says, "That's the wonderful aspect about Art. It speaks ALL tongues and reaches all minds."

J>look canvas
Painted with vivid realism, you could almost mistake the canvas for a window just barely separating you from the central subject: three ridiculous halflings. One plunges a tart into his gaping, rotten-toothed maw. A second wipes jelly-jam from his face with pages torn from a book discarded near his feet. The third has an upside-down timepiece in his hand and a robust mid-section tied up with a sash reading "Mayor."

There appears to be something written on it.

Silvean abruptly complains, "Well, here we are, the lot us, in the diaspora amidst waddling halflings and twaddling humans. Is there any art to be found in such circumstance?"

You quietly whisper to Laelithonel, "I think it was a fascinating insight. Words bind as well as free, perhaps." Laelithonel smiles at you.

Silvean answers, "The Diaspora School seems to think so. Their work, sometimes called Diasporic Symbolism, depicts the chaos of the world outside of Faendryl rule."

Silvean contends, "Dire poverty, disease, and extreme bodily decrepitude are all unusual subjects bound to interest and shock Faendryl audiences."

Silvean says, "But it is up to you to decide whether or not your parlor walls ought to shock the less adventurous."

Silvean warns, "Remember that you have to look at the damned painting too." Maetriks snickers.

Zephyrie appears to be trying hard not to grin.

Silvean asks, "What do you all think of this? What does it represent and how does it do so?"

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to a vibrant canvas, Demyse says, "The halfling, third one, has an upside-down timepiece in his hand."

Silvean bluntly says, "Chaos."

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to a vibrant canvas, Demyse says, "Perfect recollecting a time when peace and joy was best known among the races."

Silvean says, "Time itself turned upside down."

Speaking in Faendryl to a vibrant canvas, Karluth says, "It represents astute halflings, such as they are."

You say, "The halflings of Icemule? The artist's horror at encountering the place for the first time is plain. It is almost like an image one sees of a battle in its clarity. He wished to document an atrocity."

You nod once.

Silvean says, "Oh that is interesting."

Speaking in Faendryl, Deckits says, "The world without Faendryl."

Xinza says, "It captures well their gluttony and disdain for study."

Kortirion quietly says, "The Halflings.. a statement to suggest gluttony, and lack of hygiene. The torn book page implies a lack of interest in knowledge."

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to Deckits, Demyse says, "All the halflings look happy.. and pleased."

Silvean says, "It's an interesting contrast with Empire Classicism if we think of a conflict between perfect time and chaotic time."

Speaking to herself, Mystiq says, "That is what we are living right now."

Silvean says, "Yes, the book is important."

You exclaim, "And pigs look pleased in their sty!"

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to Deckits, Demyse says, "As under Faendryl Rule.. countless generantions and races new those. Which again I believe the importance of the upside down timeclock."

Silvean says, "A sorcerer myself, it seems appropriate to end with a discussion of Sorcerous Expressionism."

Silvean boasts, "Sorcerers are wont to say that all of their workings are a form of high art."

Silvean speculates, "This may indeed be true but such art is ephemeral unless we want to argue that all the poetry of a spell is captured by the flopping of severed limbs."

Silvean says, "Some sorcerers, therefore, have engaged in a special effort to translate the power and mystery of their vocation to gallery and museum settings."

Silvean passionately declares, "The results have inspired some of the most exciting and controversial conversations on the Faendryl art scene."

Allereli removes a petrified champion hand from in her woven carryall.

Allereli examines her fingernails.

Speaking in Faendryl to a vibrant canvas, Karluth says, "I believe in this depiction, that the three halflings represent an occurance to some degree. The first is experiencing decay, the second is losing knowledge, and the third is the coming of disorder."

Silvean peers quizzically at Karluth.

Silvean says, "That would make a good essay."

Silvean glances at a column of rippled glass.

Silvean reaches out and touches a column of rippled glass.

Silvean cryptically concludes, "In the end, it is up to the individual viewer to decide if her encounter with Sorcerous Expressionism is transformative or merely baffling."

Silvean says, "And in here we have this triptych as well."

Silvean points at a monochrome triptych.

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to Karluth, Demyse remarks, "Again, that is the beautiful thing about art. It is knowledgable of you. You need only have an open mind regarding it."

Speaking in Faendryl to Demyse, Karluth says, "Yes, I agree. I just could not paint upon a canvas if I tried. Abstract would not be a kind word for my art."

Silvean says, "Sorcerous Expressionism is meant to draw the viewer into a reflective or even meditative state."

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to Karluth, Demyse says, "Of course not. Art, is and would be the word you use."

Silvean says, "This aligns with some of my own writing on the relationship between sorcery and the destiny of the Faendryl people. All Faendryl, not just the sorcerers."

Silvean says, "Let us conclude in the rotunda, where we began."

Silvean says, "We have covered our five schools and movements. I will leave it to you to explore the art we have not yet seen and decide whether they fit within my scheme."

[Applause, applause!]

Silvean says, "I believe there are some truly excellent examples in the pavilion."

Silvean sincerely says, "Brothers and sisters, honored guests, it has been my great pleasure to speak on this topic with you."

Speaking quietly to Silvean, Kortirion says, "Thank you for the lesson."

Silvean implores, "I hope that you will join me once more on the last day of our symposium for a speech on the future of the Faendryl."

[More applause!]

Silvean reverently says, "All honor to the Patriarch."

Silvean says, "Now, I will remain for a while for any discussion. Or some of you can carry on to the pavilion to explore that on your own, as you wish."

Speaking appreciatively in Faendryl to Silvean, Demyse says, "Thank you for this evening. You, as always, have done Our people justly and proudly."

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to Silvean, Demyse says, "I am with only one question for you at the moment."

Fahnlaer says, "An informative and enlightening discussion. Your insight and knowledge on Faendryl art is refreshing."

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to Silvean, Demyse asks, "Among all of Our peoples wonders, regarding Art, which here is your favorite?"

Allereli says, "The page I thought."

Silvean says, "Hrm. I do have a special fondness for the calligraphy as Allereli mentions."

Silvean says, "I suppose it changes with the day but the simplicity and beauty of that speaks to me."

Speaking in Faendryl, Karluth adds, "Sometimes simplicity is a beauty onto its own."

Silvean says, "I quite enjoy the glass sculpture as well."

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to Silvean, Demyse asks, "Simplicity and beauty, are we talking about Our people or Art now?"

Speaking to you, Mystiq says, "I love your husband, you are truly a very lucky woman."

You sincerely say, "I am quite the luckiest, I believe."

Silvean says, "Well, as I said at the start, I think it's the same. You learn a great deal about a people through the ways in which they express themselves." Mystiq nods to you.

You ask, "I wonder if these will stay for some time here at the Embassy?"

Japhrimel says, "One can hope."

Speaking to Silvean, Tredohal says, "What I arrived for was excellent, I do apologize for my tardiness."

Speaking in Faendryl to Silvean, Karluth says, "I have many questions. Though I would not wish to offend you with keeping you to answer them all, for you would grow tired of me with rapidity."

Tredohal says, "They will be here for a time."

Tredohal says, "But alas they are only on loan from the Museum."

Speaking to Silvean, Xinza asks, "Is it known who that belonged to?"

Speaking to Tredohal, Silvean says, "Thank you for that. It means a great deal."

(Xinza cants her head slightly towards the summoning circle.)

Speaking quietly in Faendryl to Tredohal, Demyse says, "Ambassador, all the more reason to have Art and Statues from the City displayed here. Even if only for a short period of time."

You say, "How lovely! If there were some way to showcase art and artifacts on a more permanent basis, it would be finer still."

Speaking to Tredohal, Mystiq asks, "I would like a tour of the museum think we may be able one day?"

Speaking to Karluth, Silvean says, "Well, this is not the last evening in the world. We might speak in the future, I hope."

Speaking in Faendryl to Silvean, Karluth says, "I would like that and look forward to that day."