482: Citizens Of The World

on January 17, 2011 in Uncategorized Chapters

In Which Hart Is Off His Game

Professor Hart was talking to Keri La Belle when we got to the room. Class didn’t appear to have actually started yet, fortunately, as other people were still settling in and he gave no sign that he was addressing the class at large.

“Actually, we’re going to do our best to put the recent past behind us and put our focus where it should be, on the less recent past,” he was saying. He sounded weary, or worn down in some way. He looked it, too… like something had happened to diminish him somehow in the time between Wednesday and today. “I know recent events have left a somewhat unsettled feeling in many people’s minds, and that even after the press conference… well, it may have been unsatisfying in some ways. But we’re going to do our best to soldier on.”

“I don’t understand,” La Belle said.

“What part?” he asked. Maybe it was just the prospect of one more day teaching a La Belle that had got to him.

“Are we going to get to watch TV again?” she asked “That’s all I wanted to know.”

“No,” Hart said. “We’re going to be continuing with the class as scheduled.”

“But we could watch the school channel again,” she said. “That’s, like, official. It should count for the class.”

“If you want to watch the university station, you can do it on your own time,” Hart said. “It doesn’t actually have anything to do with early Republican history, so no, it doesn’t ‘count’ for the class.”

“But it did last week.”

“That wasn’t actually part of the class, it was an unavoidable interruption,” he said.

“Then can we do the thing with miniatures again?” she asked. “That’s all historical and stuff.”

“If you really want to see more miniature war re-enactments, you could join my club,” Hart said.

“Would that get me out of class? Like, to go to meetings or games or whatever you have?”

“I actually try to schedule activities for outside normal class hours,” he said. “If there were a conflict, you’d have to take it up with your professor, who would certainly have his own policies for dealing with absences. Extracurricular activities don’t give you carte blanche to miss classes.”

“But you’re my professor,” she said.

“I mean the professor who’s class you’d be missing.”

“Yeah,” she said.

“You’re asking me if you could skip my class to go to meetings for a club that I run?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said. “That seems fair. I mean, it’s your class and your club, so… same difference, right?”

“I can’t hold a meeting at the same time I’m teaching class,” he said. As La Belle started to voice her next objection, he quickly added, “And it looks like our last few stragglers are here, so we’re going to go ahead and begin.”

She turned around to look at Steff and me, coming down the aisle towards our usual seats.

“Y’all should have taken your time,” she said.

“It’s actually time to begin the class regardless,” Hart said. “They’re just lucky to have happened to have made it right in time. Hurry up and take your seats, we’re a day behind now so we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. I want to start by talking about the subject of religion in the colonies. The old empire was officially Khersian, with the Unnameable Emperor acting as Pontifex Maximus of the Mother Temple. The establishment of a state religion separate from the Universal Temple was controversial at the time, but within the empire it was seen as a necessary bulwark against the Kharolinian influence from Merovia. The Merovians, of course, had a well-established presence to the west and south of the colonies founded by…”

It seemed that Hart was serious about making up for lost time. He was spitting all this information out at a much faster clip and with fewer pauses for reactions and interactions than normal. Once he got going, he did a better than usual job of shutting down La Belle’s interruptions than usual, if only because she seemed to have exhausted his patience… but the emphasis really was on “exhausted”. For all that he was keeping things rolling, he really did seem to be quite tired.

I knew in an abstract sort of way that professors had to have lives outside of the classroom, and that some of them even had families. It was possible that Hart was married, though he’d never worn a wedding ring that I’d noticed… okay, the most I could really say was that he wasn’t wearing a ring at that particular moment. I’d never looked before, and wouldn’t have noticed without specifically checking.

But married men weren’t the only ones with families or personal lives. I really didn’t know anything about my instructors beyond the personalities they put forward in their classrooms. If it came right down to it, I probably knew Callahan better than any of the others, because she was so open and in-your-face about everything, and because I knew at least a little bit about her personal life via Steff, even if I really strongly preferred not to think about it. Bohd had offered us a glimpse of what was undoubtedly private information, but could hardly be called part of her private life.

“Now, it would be a mistake to think of the Old Empire as being a monolith, religiously speaking,” Hart was continuing. “Or the environment of post-revolutionary Magisteria as being a promised land of religious tolerance. The real difference isn’t in the number of religions that were present, or even the specific faiths. Rather, it’s in the proportions. Approximately half of the human Magisterians were Metros. As many as a third were Universalists or Kharlonians. There was a small but significant population living in Druidic enclaves in the northeast. Unifying the newly-freed provinces into a single empire would have required either another, even more bloody war… one of conquest, rather than rebellion… or a different approach to religion and its relationship with the state. Obviously, the newly-minted emperor went with the latter. Let’s talk about the consequences of that.”

It was kind of an abrupt shift, from lecturing at a breakneck speed to calling for discussion, and I think it through a lot of us off because there was a pause where no one really did anything, and then there was a bit of shuffling all around the room.

Though I’d never thought of it in those particular terms, my mind went back to the conversation I’d had with Sooni, about the veneration of emperors. I recalled that it had actually been a hot topic of debate during the founding of the Imperium, whether people would accept an emperor who didn’t wield spiritual power and who wasn’t deified. Magisterion had ultimately decreed that no emperor could be deified until a century after his death, and then it would be up to the senate.

The senate governed under the consent of the living emperor, not the one who had died a hundred years before. When the hundredth anniversary of Magisterion I’s death came around, the once-alarming spectre of mortal rule had lost a lot of its impact and so while the senate decreed a day of celebration and remembrance in honor of the great general, there was no serious talk of deification.

No emperor since had been as universally well-regarded or respected as Magisterion I, and so while the senate still technically had the power to deify, the question never came up again.

It seemed to me like this all tied together… if there was no state-established temple, the living emperor couldn’t act as a spiritual leader, and if he wasn’t a spiritual leader in life, it was that much harder to expect him to intercede in prayer in death.

On the other hand, the most recent two Unnameable Emperors had really sort of blurred the lines there, and I wasn’t entirely clear on whether all the preceding ones had waited until death to have themselves declared divine.

I was trying to figure out how to frame this insight for the class when Hart’s gaze fell over me. I froze up, feeling utterly unprepared… but though he could obviously tell I had something on my mind, his eyes moved on.

“Well, then,” he said. “Let’s start with the Bill of Prohibitions. Obviously the Third Prohibition is a big one. ‘No Emperor nor Officer of the Imperium shall effect an establishment of religion.’

“What actually stops emperors from ignoring the prohibitions?” La Belle asked.

“Nothing,” Hart said. “Or the weight of tradition and the fear of backlash. They haven’t all been followed perfectly by each and every emperor and senate throughout our history. But the establishment clause of the Third ranks is seen as pretty unassailable. There’s always going to be some argument about what does or does not constitute an imperial officer effecting an establishment, but in over two hundred years of Imperial Republican history, no one’s ever come close to actually declaring a state religion.”

“Could it have something to do with the fact that we don’t venerate or deify our emperors?” I found myself saying. “Or the other way around, I mean… could the diverse religions have led to that, or helped lead to it, in some way?”

“That’s a good point to raise,” Hart said. “There’s more going on there than the lack of a clear religious hegemony, of course. The popular story is that Magisterians wouldn’t accept an emperor who was even symbolically immortal, and I think it would be a mistake to dismiss that out of hand. As we’ve discussed before, it was some time before elves were allowed to serve openly in the higher offices, and there are still laws governing things like degree of dragonhood allowed for public servants.”

“And the mandatory retirement age of a hundred and eighty,” one of the students said.

“Yes, though I think you’ll find it’s gone up to one-ninety-six,” Hart said, nodding. “The point is that we don’t trust immortals to rule us, at least not down here on earth. But it’s perhaps too simple to say that this was the only factor in play. At the very least, we can see that conditions weren’t ripe for a god-emperor. If things had been otherwise, who can say how things might have turned out?”

“Are you sure this conversation’s not treasonous?” La Belle asked.

“It’s not,” Hart said. “Anybody who teaches imperial history at any level takes treason workshops as part of our certification.”

“It’s just, it sounds like you’re saying Magisterion would have declared himself a god, if he could have,” she said. “And that doesn’t sound right to me.”

“I’m saying I wouldn’t deign to put limits on what our illustrious founder might have done, had he the opportunity,” Hart said. “It’s a respectful position, and as Magisterion I is neither living, nor divine, nor the current emperor, it’s about as far from treason as I could get.”

“Oh,” La Belle said. “It still doesn’t seem right to me.”

“Well, by all means, don’t participate in the conversation if it bothers you,” Hart said.

“Don’t you grade on participation?”

“I also grade on grading,” he said. “If I could pass or fail students based entirely on their desire to learn, I’d do it.”

“That’s easy,” she said. “Everyone would want to learn.”

“Everybody would want to pass,” he said. “But only those who wanted to learn, would… look, this is the discussion we’re having. If you don’t want to be a part of it, you can leave.”

“No, I don’t care about it,” she said. “I just wasn’t sure.”

“Okay, well, then… moving on,” he said.

“It’s not like they can make an emperor into a real god anyway,” she said.

“Moving on,” Hart said again. “You can probably imagine that each of the different religions active in the westering lands brought their own influences to the shape and style of the early government. This was similar to the effects we’ve talked about before, of influences brought by our dwarven and elven allies. Again, the Old Empire was not a monolith, but we can see a difference between an empire build by humans that took on elements from other faces, and one built around these disparate elements from the beginning. The colonists who renounced the Old Empire and broke away from it considered themselves to be citizens of the world. This, of course, is what history books mean when they talk about the ‘cosmopolitan shift’. Magisterion or one of his advisors coined the term ‘Great Trial’ to refer to the new ways of thinking the newly formed state was supposed to embody… this is trial in the sense of a test, or even a test run.”

The subject of cosmopolitanism took up the rest of the day, with frequent callbacks to the original topic of religion. The discussion opened up a bit more, with debate as to the exact nature and extent of Magisterian cosmopolitanism. I had to confess to having mixed feelings on the subject.

It could hardly be denied that we were living in a tolerant age, compared to past ones… and the time and place covered by our class had been another relatively tolerant age, compared to what came before it. But there was also a ways to go before the dream of everyone simply being citizens of the world was realized.

People like Shiel and Dee… and for that matter, myself… were able to attend school and in theory had the protection of the law and could walk about unmolested. I mean, the present situation notwithstanding, I could usually walk from one place to another on campus without encountering obvious harassment.

But really, how much tolerance did someone need to encounter in the course of their usual day to make up for the times when people throw rocks at them instead? There were students in the classroom with me who took the opportunity to talk about how great the ideals of the Imperial Republic were and how far we’d come since, with a definite undercurrent suggesting that we were done, that we’d arrived at the end, we’d completed the Great Trial and there was nowhere left to go.

I didn’t think of myself as unpatriotic, but it was hard to listen to that kind of talk from people who wouldn’t have looked at all out of place in the halls of power of the Mother City.

On the other hand, if a society that was tolerant enough to let Iona walk around… but no, that argument was a tempting distraction from any real point. Single-racial enclaves with no traffic in or out would still have murderers. What Iona had done, she’d done in secrecy, and it was against the laws of the Imperium. There was no reflection on the amount or value of imperial tolerance in her action.

“Ms. Mackenzie, is something else on your mind?” Hart asked near the end of class.

“I guess so,” I said. “I just… I’m not sure I’m comfortable saying it.”

“Fair enough,” Hart said. “Nobody’s going to make you.”

“I’m just thinking that something that’s the best can still be made better,” I said. “And… to look at it from a different direction… even the best isn’t always necessary going to be good enough. You can be the best at something and still fail, right?”

“It seems natural,” he said. “So what are you getting at?”

“Even taking all of the stuff about cosmopolitanism and egalitarianism and Magisterian exceptionalism at face value… taking it as given that this is the greatest imperial power the world has ever seen and that people here are the most fairly treated subjects of any great power,” I said, “that doesn’t mean that we’re treated fairly enough. It doesn’t mean that we’re, you know… done.”

“So, in your opinion… the cosmpolitan experiment failed?” Hart prompted.

“In my opinion, it hasn’t succeeded yet,” I replied, and that sounded a little bit better to me. There were some rather indignant mutters from around the room, and I kind of regretted speaking up at all. I felt that rather proved my point, but I definitely wasn’t about to point that out.

“Some of you who seem unhappy with Ms. Mackenzie’s opinion were just talking about how wonderful it is that we’re equally entitled to speak our minds, as citizens of the Imperium,” Hart said. “I’d be interested to hear why your minds changed so quickly, but maybe we should save that for next week, when it happens that we’ll be covering a turbulent period during the early days of Republicanism, before the great balance was struck regarding free expression. We’ll be looking at under what circumstances Magisterion I and II saw fit to suspend the free exchange of ideas, during the scribal interdiction and the dissolution of the bardic college.”

Comparing my classmate’s disapproval to one of the least popular things our founder had done seemed a little heavy-handed, but subtlety wasn’t Hart’s strong point on his best days, and this didn’t seem to be a good one for him.

“Just as one small, final note for the day,” he added. “A sort of a heads up for anybody who’s interested, or curious… the history department is so very happy to welcome Professor Ariadne Einhorn back to the campus after a sabbatical that was far shorter than she deserves.”


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66 Responses to “482: Citizens Of The World”

  1. Krista says:

    ooook! Sorry, just couldn’t resist 😛

    Current score: 0
  2. drudge says:

    The reason free speech was suspended ought to be interesting. Mainly because the idea that questioning authority can count as full blown treason isn’t doing much for my image of the imperium, which is already some sort of hive of evil and decadence.

    Current score: 0
    • Xi'Cree says:

      Oh you mean the USA?

      Cause that’s kinda how the US looks to most on the outside of it. Which is as well an unfair assessment, but I digress.

      The parallels in US history are fairly clear but at the same time the construct of the empire stands very well on its own story wise (Awesome world building actually).

      Current score: 0
      • drudge says:

        As someone outside the USA, yeah it does. At the same time there’s things the USA couldn’t possibly do that’s forming the bulk of the evidence. I mean we see Jimmy the necromancer performing magic so twisted it’s literally blackened his soul to the point it’s visible on his body, and he’s still only learning.

        Or you know, the whole slavery thing. I believe unless I miss my guess that’s a pretty big thing considered universally evil a lot of people fought against.

        Not to mention all the little implications that AREN’T blatant to the average citizen. I mean back in Aiden’s storyline, we hear about how if he had to deal with the military they’d make him kill a whole lot of people. Now, I highly doubt he’d be the first or last one. Given they’d need him to be fed people bits every month this probably means they wouldn’t be quick to judge Mercy for doing essentially the same thing or change the law.

        Or the whole “ethnic cleansing” bit, since we know they’re still actively doing that. I recall Mackenzie reading that they still have a bounty out on any and ALL ratfolk that get caught in town.

        Current score: 2
        • Xi'Cree says:

          True true, cause while it does parallel the US in a way its still a savagely chaotic magic kind of parallel, its own D&D flavor which doesn’t do more than lean on the real world structure.

          (In a way the way that the construction works out feels a lot like how Disc World does things without the more comedic bend.)

          How ever I’d pretty much like to point out that they are pretty much doing all these horrible things which are more or less the D&D style fantasy standard for even your ‘good’ kingdoms. Much like Mac suggested, their ‘Grand Trail’ is far from over. Which is a point in itself which makes interesting real-world parallels.

          Current score: 1
          • drudge says:

            Technically speaking, DND ruleset at the time of writing makes the MUniverse impossible. The rules explicitly say “slavery is evil, no ifs ands or buts” and “good people are unable to abide by slavery and still call themselves good”, along with “a paladin who does not act in an honorable and good manner instantly falls until they atone for their sins and falls again if they don’t uphold to the code after”. Not to mention the various core rules on humanoid nonhuman alignment and how good characters behave. There’s a REASON the goblins you’re fighting right this second usually kidnap the inkeepers daughter or sign contracts with some dark lord or something beforehand.

            It’s more a take on how really, REALLY lazy DM’s do things. Somehow “how lazy DM’s do things” just became the assumed way everything was done. While I love this story to pieces I have to admit it’s a whole lot less clever when EVERY group of goblins in EVERY story I read online happens to whine about the same thing.

            Current score: 0
            • Burnsidhe says:

              You’re assuming this is a world that is entirely based on the D&D ruleset, with all of D&D’s assumptions and so forth.

              What *I* see is that this is Alexandra’s world. It’s her own creation and while there are nods to D&D and while I know AE has run D&D campaigns in the past… this isn’t necessarily a D&D world.

              I could model all this in Hero System just as well, or in GURPS.

              Current score: 0
            • drudge says:

              …but you can make basically ANYTHING in HERO or GURPS. Thats half the point of either of them!

              Current score: 2
    • Barbrady says:

      Yeah, I’m really wondering if this is going to be their equivalent of the Alien & Sedition Act, the Red Scare, or something else.

      Current score: 0
      • fka_luddite says:

        Considering the time frame, I’d think something modeled on Aaron Burr to be more likely.

        Current score: 0
  3. Krista says:

    …from lecturing at a breakneck speed to calling for discussion, and I think it through a lot of us off because…

    Threw

    🙂

    Current score: 1
  4. flooge says:

    Nom Nom Nom Nom!!
    Tasty world building and history.
    I love it.

    Current score: 0
  5. Abeo says:

    That last paragraph seems to suggest that more of the staff is looking out for Mackenzie than we thought.

    Current score: 2
    • LukeLicens says:

      Or just doesn’t like closed minded biggots on general principle.

      Current score: 2
  6. Alex says:

    “I think it through a lot of us off”
    has a typo
    through should be threw

    Current score: 0
    • BMeph says:

      Technically, “through” is spelled correctly, so it isn’t a typo, but word misuse.

      Thank you for helping me in my goals of nitpicking my way to world domination.

      Current score: 2
  7. Burnsidhe says:

    “…the history department is so very happy to welcome Professor Ariadne Einhorn back to the campus after a sabbatical that was far shorter than she deserves.”

    Ooh. OOOoohh. That stung. Hart really doesn’t like Einhorn, does he?

    Current score: 1
    • jagroq says:

      Even ignoring the.. circumstances, surrounding her going on sabbatical, I got the impression that Einhorn was the worst type of superior, blue blooded, snob. I imagine sharing staff meetings with someone like that could be trying especially for a mere mortal. Even worse what Hart calls a curriculum Einhorn probably calls the latest fad.

      Having someone like that constantly correcting you on the subject you spent your whole professional life studying (and you know she would have) would be, trying to say the least. Having her gone for a month could well have felt like a vacation.

      Current score: 1
    • Gorgonopsid says:

      You’ve never heard of a left handed compliment, have you?

      Current score: 0
      • Silvertongue says:

        Actually, I’ve never heard of a left handed compliment. Backhanded compliment, yes, but not left handed. (I’m not arguing it doesn’t exist, just that I haven’t come across it before). I’m guessing that’s derived from the association of left handedness being sinister?

        Current score: 3
  8. Frelance says:

    we can see a difference between an empire build by humans that took on

    Current score: 0
  9. brandon says:

    I have to wonder how long before the return of the prefessor affects mack

    Current score: 0
  10. JaneDoe says:

    Typo report: “he did a better than usual job of shutting down La Belle’s interruptions than usual”

    Brings to mind a story I read about someone who worked in the Department of Redundancy Department 😛

    That said, I’d fallen behind on reading this (and many other things I’d followed for a while) and looks like I came back at a good time! I’m glad to see the updates coming at a more steady pace, and I can’t wait to see where things go from here 🙂

    Current score: 0
  11. tgr says:

    Typo:

    “Once he got going, he did a better than usual job of shutting down La Belle’s interruptions than usual”

    has one “than usual” too many.

    Current score: 0
  12. TJ says:

    the Old Empire was not a monolith, but we can see a difference between an empire ==build== by humans that took on elements from other faces,

    build should be built

    Always a great read 🙂

    Current score: 1
    • Greenwood Goat says:

      And “faces” should probably be “races”.

      Current score: 0
  13. Kevin says:

    The Bill of Prohibitions kind of sounds like an Imperial Bill of Rights and I think it would be interesting to hear more about it.

    Current score: 3
    • Oitur says:

      Or maybe Bill of Wrongs; the Bill of Rights guarantees the right to do certain things, the Bill of Prohibs. seems to prohibit certain things. Same result in the end?

      Current score: 2
      • Sailorleo says:

        Same method too. Almost all of the rights ‘granted’ by the Bill of Rights are actually framed prohibitions against the activities of the government.

        Current score: 3
  14. beappleby says:

    Wow, it’s been so long since the last Hart lecture that I’d forgotten how much fun it is to read these for the very first time!

    Possible typo:
    “the establishment clause of the Third ranks is seen as pretty unassailable”

    Seems that it should either be that it either ranks as pretty unassailable, or is seen as pretty unassailable.

    Current score: 0
    • Chips says:

      Unless possibly the it’s “The Establishment Clause of the Third Ranks” as the name/title/location of the clause.

      Current score: 0
  15. readaholic says:

    “Just as one small, final note for the day,” he added. “A sort of a heads up for anybody who’s interested, or curious… the history department is so very happy to welcome Professor Ariadne Einhorn back to the campus after a sabbatical that was far shorter than she deserves.”

    lol!! Maybe the elves don’t like her very much either. Or the good Professor is uncomfortable in an environment where she no longer has so many people to effortlessly feel superior to. A mere teacher of humans cannot rank very highly in elvish society, after all…

    Current score: 0
  16. Not that girl, the othe rone says:

    “even the best isn’t always **necessary** going to be good enough. You can be the best at something and still fail, right?”

    I think that’s supposed to be necessarily.

    Good post! I like reading the lectures, but they get a bit long at times if we see the whole class-worth of lectures.

    Also, I hope LaBelle is pretty so she can land herself a gig as a trophy wife. I have a coworker like her and let’s just say he’s not exactly rocketing his way up the corporate ladder.

    Current score: 0
  17. Zathras IX says:

    “A promised land of
    Religious tolerance” sounds
    Oxymoronic

    Current score: 0
  18. VTC says:

    Very interesting how their Third Prohibition differs from our First Amendment. Almost certainly necessary given some of the potential religions in this kind of world, but I’m curious as to what kind of problems that’s caused.

    I loved this chapter.

    Current score: 0
  19. alexander says:

    FINKEL IS EINHORN!

    Current score: 1
  20. Major says:

    As usual, Zathras gives us a pithy critique in haiku, but I must ask what the oxymoronic part of “a promised land of religious tolerance” might be. The promise could have been made by the founders of the country, rather than by a supernatural figure. What sweeter promise is there than the verse we associate with the Statue of Liberty? What betrayal is more heinous than the theft of citizens’ rights by those who have sworn to uphold them?

    Current score: 0
    • Kiraya says:

      …I love Professor Hart, I really do.

      Current score: 0
    • Kiraya says:

      …Er, sorry, didn’t mean for that to be a reply to you.

      Current score: 0
    • Angnor says:

      The term ‘Promised Land’ originates from a specific religion, so using a religion-specific term to denote religious tolerance could be seen as oxymoronic.

      Current score: 0
      • BMeph says:

        Religious tolerance does not imply religious neutrality.

        Rather, it assumes dominance by some particular religion,which is then denied state-supported ascendancy.
        You know, as in “you’re doing it wrong, but I will tolerate it, instead of just killing you and your friends in a pogrom just like we did it in ‘the Old Country’.”

        Current score: 2
  21. C8H9NO2 says:

    Two small corrections: “through” should be “threw” in an already mentioned way, and you’re using the verb effect in situations where it seems like you mean the verb affect. Affect means ‘to influence’, while effect means ‘to cause’, and I hardly think you meant “an imperial officer effecting an establishment”, while “an imperial officer affecting an establishment” sounds much more right to me.

    Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      Actually, I think “Effecting an establishment” is correct, in context. There’s just a few missing words, which makes sense because people don’t always spell out everything they’re thinking.

      “… There’s always going to be some argument about what does or does not constitute an imperial officer effecting an establishment, but in over two hundred years of Imperial Republican history, no one’s ever come close to actually declaring a state religion.”

      In context, it’s clear he’s talking about an Imperial Officer making or attempting to make a particular religion a state religion. Therefore, effect is the correct word.

      Current score: 0
    • Bee says:

      “Effecting” can also mean “putting into effect”, so in this context it’s correct.

      Current score: 0
  22. slaxor says:

    So… could an emperor be an actual God? As in the kind that empowers priests?

    Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      That’s what this chapter was about. That the Emperor is not a God, nor worshiped as one. Could one be? Probably? Just not in the Magisterian Empire.

      Current score: 2
  23. J says:

    Can someone post what the mouseover text says? Can’t see it on my phone’s browser 🙁

    Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      It’s a reminder that Ariadne Einhorn was Mack’s original history professor.

      Current score: 0
  24. Ali says:

    “I mean the professor who’s class you’d be missing.”

    Should be “whose”.

    Current score: 0
  25. Greenwood Goat says:

    If there were such a thing as a permanent, unpaid sabbatical, Hart probably wishes that Einhorn was on one. We still haven’t heard about any personal clashes between Hart and Einhorn (though that doesn’t mean that they didn’t occur) but the cause of the enmity could still default to Einhorn possessing what appears to be a sinecure post, while everyone else has to work to maintain their positions.

    Just shooting out a conclusion from my own thoughts now: Hart is a direct enough guy that if he had a specific warning to give, he would be able to, say, call Mack to stay behind and tell her that certain things Einhorn said before her departure leads him to suspect that Einhorn might be intending her harm. He would probably be able to provide an account of the circumstances where Einhorn last encountered a demonblood as well. So it sounds like he he was only making an “It took her all this time to pull herself back together just because her last class collapsed” type gripe.

    Current score: 0
    • tjhairball says:

      It certainly sounds to me like Einhorn is a PiTA for most of the rest of the department, both personally and professionally.

      As well as the administration. Didn’t she write a lot of angry letters to the editor at some point? And doesn’t she hold non-elven history in contempt?

      Her terms of employment may add insult to injury, but I doubt Hart would be upset about them (given his thoughtful discussion on the historic stigmatization of elvenbloods) unless she wasn’t already a major irritation.

      Current score: 0
  26. NatalieF says:

    “The subject of cosmopolitanism took up the rest of the day, with frequent callbacks to the original topic of religion.”

    Do you mean “day”? Wow, if so, that is a long class/lecture!

    Current score: 0
  27. Oitur says:

    “Unnameable” didn’t look quite right to me, so I did a spellcheck in my word processor. It insisted that the correct spelling is “Unnamable”. But then the spellchecker here flagged _that_. An online dictionary said either was acceptable, but my Webster’s didn’t even include the word.

    The fact is that there is no final authority for spelling, grammar, etc. in English, so despite the certainty of your tyrranical eighth-grade English teacher there is no clear cut right nor wrong. I’m going with AE’s spelling–unless the Emperor is Unnommable.

    Current score: 0
    • fman0801 says:

      I’m pretty sure the Emperor is unnommable, after all who would want to dine on his long dried bones. Unless the Emperor is a more recent one than Magisterion in which case;
      ewww….
      gross.
      That’s clearly not good or healthy.

      Current score: 0
      • Chips says:

        Unless you’re a Dragon. Then it’s only unhealthy if he’s got a lot of bad cholesterol and fatty acids running around his system.

        Every price out a dragon-sized stair-stepper?

        Current score: 0
  28. Sindyr says:

    Thank you for another couple of lovely chapters, AE! Keep up the excellent work! 😀

    Current score: 0
  29. Ky says:

    Unintended pun relating to Joe Hart of Manchester City… or was it? He is in point of fact off his game lately, an article ran about it the same day this was posted! *Amused*

    Current score: 0
  30. Kevin says:

    Has it occurred to anyone else that Professor Hart’s surname is the name of the creature elves once turned humans into for “fun” or is it just me?

    Current score: 0
  31. Shwaggy says:

    I’ve been away for a good while now…college and spotty internet made me give up my web entertainment for a long time there…and it makes me extremely happy to return and see you still writing this wonderful tale. I remember many days of contentedly enjoying the newest chapter, and spent many hours this past week or so catching up. I love what you’ve done with the story, and I can’t tell you how pleased I am to be back to enjoy your writing again. Thank you.

    Current score: 0
  32. Christopher Martin says:

    Just submitting a typo:

    “It was kind of an abrupt shift, from lecturing at a breakneck speed to calling for discussion, and I think it ***through*** a lot of us off because there was a pause where no one really did anything, and then there was a bit of shuffling all around the room.”

    I imagine you were trying for “threw a lot of us off”

    Current score: 0
  33. Erm says:

    “You’re asking me if you could skip my class to go to meetings for a club that I run?” he asked.

    … Sounds like a NotAlwaysRight story. 😛

    Current score: 1
  34. Erm says:

    “A sabbatical that was far shorter than she deserves.”

    … very ambiguous.

    Current score: 1
  35. Couple minor typos that others have already caught I’m sure:

    It was kind of an abrupt shift, from lecturing at a breakneck speed to calling for discussion, and I think it –through– a lot of us off because there was a pause where no one really did anything, and then there was a bit of shuffling all around the room.

    Again, the Old Empire was not a monolith, but we can see a difference between an empire –build– by humans that took on elements from other faces, and one built around these disparate elements from the beginning.

    and finally,

    “Just as one small, final note for the day,” he added. “A sort of a heads up for anybody who’s interested, or curious… the history department is so very happy to welcome Professor Ariadne Einhorn back to the campus after a sabbatical that was far shorter than she deserves.”

    No typo, I just <3 Prof. Hart ^_^

    Current score: 1
  36. Doc says:

    Just another thought on AE mirroring the US in the MUniverse.
    Slavery is *still* a problem in America (and everywhere in the developed world) from the underpaid working classes that are little more than slaves, to illegal immigrants, to genuine slaves (look up the numbers on sex trafficking, just for starters)
    While AE uses broad brush strokes and allegory, its still an author’s commentary on their environment (and one of the real joys of fantasy and sci-fi)

    Current score: 0
    • Jechtael says:

      It’s the same way in the Magisterium. There are things folks can do that are slavery in all but name, but if you cross the semantic line it becomes retroactively illegal. “Indentured servitude” is still legal in the U.S. (unless I’m mistaken), and “indefinite indentured servitude” took a long time to be banned after the supposed abolition of slavery.

      Because I can’t find the first-level reply button on this page in my current browser:

      >“No, I don’t care about it,” she said. “I just wasn’t sure.”
      That may be the brightest thing I’ve read from LaBelle all semester.

      I very much enjoy reading the parallels between real-world cultures and MUniverse cultures and countries/empires. I often wonder where the line is drawn between “based on real people” and “based on ideas”- was the first Unnameable Emperor Henry VIII, founder of the Church of England? Karolus/Kharolus was clearly Charles the Great/Charlemagne. Was Magisterion Washington? The equivalent of a different revolutionary such as the elder Adams? Was Magisterion II the parallel of John Adams, Washington Jr., J.Q. Adams, Henry Sellerwig IV of Muncie, Virginia? The Dragon Emperor and the combination of Japan, the Indo-Chinese region, and anime has interesting implications for not only Yokai, but the world as a whole.

      Current score: 0