Chapter 12: Storied Histories

on May 6, 2011 in Volume 2: Sophomore Effort
Timeline: , , , ,

In Which Accounts Conflict

It might seem like the second day of class should feel more routine than the first one did, but it didn’t. It was the second day of classes… the only part of it that would be at all familiar was the last class of the day, which was still Fighting To Disable, and that wasn’t exactly a comforting routine. Even with having Coach Callahan’s class every day, it would probably be the end of the semester before I was able to be comfortable with it.

That aside, I was excited to start the day because the majority of it was composed of classes that I wanted. I had to get through one hour of fighting at the end of the day, but there was two hour-and-a-half classes between me and it and I was looking forward to both of them.

Breakfast in the Arch was somehow less impressive than dinner had been. The slightly fancier breakfast fare just didn’t seem to benefit as much from its tacitly improved quality. The scrambled eggs looked more like something you would see pictured in a menu, being paler and with little flecks of herbs in them, but they were unsatisfying, somehow. The diced potatoes weren’t really as satisfying as the hash browns I was used to. They made omelets to order… but so did the old dining hall, and theirs were heavier and fuller.

“This isn’t breakfast food,” was how Two’s friend Hazel put it. “It’s brunch food.”

That plus how much more of a hike it was from the towers in the morning compared to the student union led us to decide that we’d stick with the old place for breakfast, though we decided that we would give the Arch a try for lunch later on and we would definitely be back for dinner.

My first class of the day was not in support of my major, but I’d been too intrigued by the concept to pass up on it: “The Making of the World: An interdisciplinary investigation of history and lore from the dawning days to the dawn of the modern era.” As a time period, “from the creation of the world until roughly the day before yesterday” maybe sounded a little broad, but as I understood it the specific focus of the class wasn’t on the period of time, it was on the things we could point to in the modern world and trace back through time.

Also, it was taught in part by an instructor I respected. I couldn’t say he was my favorite teacher, as he’d always had kind of an acerbic manner… but he was informative and interesting, and fair with his grades.

The classroom was in the familiar environs of Smith Hall, the building that housed the offices of the history department. It was an upstairs classroom with big arched windows all along one wall… actually the tops of arches that on the outside of the building extended down to the ground. A set of folding chairs had been set up in a circle in the middle of the classroom, with desks pushed off to one side. Two men were seated in a pair of chairs in the middle of the circle.

One of them I recognized… a man with strong if somewhat stormy features, salt-and-pepper hair, and as a new touch a sort of scruffy beard. Professor Hart had taught the Early Republican History class that I transferred into after transferring out of Elven History class to get my GPA out from under Ariadne’s biased thumb.

The other man looked older, though both of them could easily have been well within a decade of each other. He was on the short side and somewhat slight of frame. Though he was wearing a suit and not robes, he looked like the sort of person who might comfortably affect wizardly garb.

The two instructors were chatting quietly with each other. There were already five students in the classroom when I arrived, and they were all still getting situated, like they’d just arrived. Another four or five people seemed to follow in right behind me. It seemed like I wasn’t the only one eager for this class… which made sense, as everybody was there because they wanted to be.

This brand new class was not a specific graduation requirement for anyone. It counted towards the requirements for at least three majors but no one’s academic plan of attack depended on it. It was part of a handful of new classes that had been proposed and planned over the course of the previous spring as an initiative to modernize the MU curriculum in the same way that the campus was being overhauled.

It was still a few minutes before the actual start of class when the last chair was filled. Professor Hart broke off from whatever he was saying, stood up, and glanced around the room. He counted heads, then picked up his chair. He carried it to a gap in the circle, set it down, and then went over and closed the door.

“Good morning. I am Professor Aaron Hart,” he said. He gestured to the other man. “This is my colleague from the College of Bardic Arts, Lore Department… Professor Fenwick Hall.”

“Do not, I pray, allow my name to deceive you,” Professor Hall said, not quite stifling a chuckle. He stood and moved his chair to the spot opposite where Hart had put his. “I am an instructor, not a building.”

“Uh, right,” Hart said. He went back and stood by his empty seat. By sheer luck I was almost but not exactly halfway between them, so I could follow both of them fairly easily. “This is our first time teaching this class, and our first time team-teaching, so it may be a bit of a bumpy ride sometimes. The explosion in these interdisciplinary discussion courses is yet another brainwave from our glorious leader, peace be upon her name, Chancellor of Our Souls Bethany Davies. The ziggurat is still on order, I understand, or we’d be meeting there.”

“Also, please note!” Hall added, with considerably more excitement. “This class is meant to be an investigation more so than a lecture. Our purpose here as instructors is not to tell you answers but to lead you ever-so-gently towards questions.”

Professor Hart rolled his eyes and mouthed the words “ever-so-gently”.

“The fact is,” Hall continued, “that there has never been much in the way of a systematic interrogation of the intersections of received lore and recorded history. You students have the honor of traveling into unexplored terrain, and we are honored to be your guides and fellow travelers.”

“We are ever so honored,” Hart said.

“Yes, quite ever so,” Hall said. While I knew from experience that Hart’s effectiveness as a teacher was hampered when he was performing under protest, I was kind of heartened to realize that I wasn’t the most oblivious person in the room.

“Then let’s get ever so started,” Hart said. “Here’s the format my colleague and I have agreed upon for the class. Each time we meet we’ll agree on a topic of discussion for the next class, a time and a place for which there is both a proper historical account and… some lore. You, in the time between sessions, will do your own reading and research on the chosen topic.”

“Note that when Professor Hart says ‘we will agree’, he means you as well as the two of us,” Hall said. “You are included in the decision.”

“Yeah, yeah, ever so included,” Hart said. “The thing is that it’ll be a round table discussion, and you’ll be graded on participation as well as the strength of your ideas. Now, obviously you know we didn’t assign any topic for the first class so this is going to be a bit more free-form. Professor Hall and I are going to talk a bit about our disciplines and how we each would approach the same set of events, using specific events as examples.”

“Indeed,” Professor Hall said. “And in doing so it is our sincerest hope that you will learn to incorporate both approaches into your own interrogations”

“Or that you’ll see that one is superior to the other,” Hart said.

“Er. Oh. Yes, or that,” Hall said. “And, of course, in the course of this discussion an interesting topic for Thursday may very well put itself forward. Professor Hart, if you would care to say a few words about history?”

Maybe it was my imagination, but it seemed like a dark look passed over Hart’s face before he composed it. Perhaps he didn’t care to have his “teammate” taking the lead like that.

“The study of history is an interesting contradiction,” Hart said smoothly. “You might think that the longer the world goes on, the more history we have to study, and that’s true. The contradiction is that it’s all very recent. The more ‘historical’ a time is compared to the present, the less we know of its history.

“If you look back ten years ago, you’ll find we know quite a bit about things that happened all over the world. Fifty years ago, we still have pretty complete records for anywhere the human empires or any other world power was operating. One hundred years ago, things start to get sketchy around the edges. Two hundred years ago, we know an awful lot about what we were doing but not much else. A thousand years before that, there are entire nations that we know less about than we know about specific individuals of the past two centuries. When we get as far back as the dawn of time… well, there’s a reason we call the earliest eras ‘pre-historic’. Obviously it’s not quite as straighforward as that. When we talk of ‘history’ without modifiers, we generally mean human history even if we don’t realize it, and not just human history but specifically western human history and even more specifically the history of the empires. That’s what we have the most records of and that… traditionally… is what we’ve been most interested in. When we start examining the histories of other peoples, we begin to fill in the gaps in our understanding somewhat.”

“The, ah, ‘history’ of lore is even less straightforward, I’m afraid,” Professor Hall said. “But it is in some ways the inverse of that of history. As written records have become more reliable, and communication has increased in range, speed, and reliability, the role of lore in recording and transmitting important information has decreased. New information, I should say. Of course all the old lore hasn’t disappeared, nor has its usefulness diminished. Particularly when it comes to those pesky ‘gaps’ that Professor Hart refers to.”

The two professors went back and forth for a bit, explaining the actual differences between their fields of study. It would be too much of a simplification to say that history was written and lore was oral, as both were developed from multiple sources and either one involved things that could be written down or told. It was more about the matter of approach and purpose. History was interested in why and how things happened. Lore was more about what they meant. History was more systematic and focused on the truth, when it could be determined. Lore was more utilitarian. It didn’t matter if the story itself contained some elements that weren’t factual, as long as it was still a useful story to know.

It was hard to judge how much of Hart’s apparent contempt for lore was real and how much of it was a side-effect of him not wanting to be co-teaching a class about it. I made a mental note to find out how he felt about any of his classes I considered taking before actually signing up for them.

They did move around to an actual example eventual.

“Let’s consider, for example, the Thylean exploration of the Westering Lands,” Hart said. “That there were Thylean humans and dwelves in Magisteria is now considered to be a solid historical fact, on the basis of evidence uncovered at their settlements and corroborating accounts from dwarven clans willing to discuss prior contact with humans, as well as a now-famous interview with a barrow-wight discovered at one of the settlements. Before that, we merely had stories… poetic sagas about lands beyond the sea that were so vague that they could easily have been based on the fact that there was a sea and the possibility that there might be land beyond it.”

“Well, Aaron, these stories you call ‘vague’ were in fact specific enough that after the settlements in northeastern Magisteria were uncovered, no fewer than seventeen specific geographic details of the Voyages were found to directly correspond with the locations of the settlements,” Professor Hall said. “And of course, the existence of a land across the sea was also supported by innumerable other bits of lore…”

“Like every story that begins with a stranger coming from a land across the sea?”

“Well, yes, and the sagas of Athanasia, which attested to an elven empire that spanned three continents, including one that was completely unknown to human historians before the age of exploration,” Hall said.

“My point is that with so many different stories all talking about a land across the sea, the only way to pin down whether or not there’s any factual basis for one is to find some way of verifying it,” Hart said. “Otherwise we don’t have any idea what previous generations actually did, only what they told each other.”

“And that, in a nutshell, is why studying the intersection of lore and history is so fascinating,” Hall said. “The ancient wisdom of lore acting as an expert guide to the young and inexperienced discipline of history…”

That was the first time that Hall seemed to stray at all into a comparison of the virtues of his field versus Professor Hart’s, and he was so matter-of-fact and sincere about it that I could kind of understand Hart’s frustration with the situation. Hart was making no secret of his opinion, but Hall didn’t seem to be aware that what he was voicing was an opinion at all… much less an unflattering one. If anything, his tone suggested that he was being magnanimous towards the “young discipline”.

“So, to back up,” Hart said. “We had stories from the Thyleans suggesting they’d traveled to the west and even settled there. A band of delvers exploring a hollow hill in Terra Nova uncovered what we later learned was the first Thyleans burial chamber to be found in the Westering Lands. Comparisons of the weapons and armor they looted from the chamber to similar gear in use ‘back home’ tell us that this happened approximately a thousand years ago, a time period when the northlands were independent nations and thus outside the records kept in the Mother City.”

“Also the timeframe established in the sagas,” Hall said. “And it is from the saga that we were able to ascertain the identity of the gold-bedecked figure previously known as the Cairn-Dweller, the Thylean chief Asvald.”

“The barrow-wight told us that,” Hart said. “When the cairn was breached, he declared ‘Here lies Asvald, Son of the Wolf’. In later interviews conducted by a modern-day Thylean cleric, he gave us Asvald’s full lineage and an account of day-to-day life as one of the chief’s retainers.”

“Accounts that were confirmed by lore,” Hall said.

That was pretty much how it went. Each of their examples were from times and places where we didn’t have a really complete historical record but that we did have sufficient evidence for historians to have a say: lost islands, disappearing colonies, battles with few survivors to tell the tale. The whole conversation was fascinating in the sense that they were talking about all these really interesting things but also in a slow-motion disaster kind of way. The specific details of what they were even talking about were swept away by the general impression of awkward awfulness. Hart’s exasperation with the whole situation was visibly growing, as was Hall’s awareness that he was in an argument with someone who didn’t care much for him.

“Look, we’re going all over the place and it’s getting us nowhere,” Hart said finally. “This is supposed to be a discussion class… let’s get the class involved.”

“Well, that’s the point, isn’t it?” Hall said. “This preliminary discussion is meant to lay out some possible topics for just that discussion…”

“But we’re just talking over each other,” Hart said. “We’ve got about half the class left… let’s both propose one topic that interests us, and then we’ll have the class vote between those. We’ll conduct that discussion for the rest of class, and that way when we come back on Thursday we’ll have the dynamic somewhat established and maybe it won’t be such a… well, you know.”

“Very well,” Hall said. “I suppose we should have known better than to try to fill an hour and a half with our own nattering. What’s your topic?”

“Thylean age of exploration,” Hart said. “Asvald and the rest. There’s no more perfect a textbook example of how historical inquiry enhances our understanding of the past, and it ties into the later human explorations of the Westering Lands that lead to the Imperial Republic. What’s yours?”

“Well, I’ve always had a weak spot for dragons,” Hall said. “How about some lore and history surrounding dragon/humanoid hybrids?”

“How does that shape the modern world, exactly?” Hart asked.

“If I win, you’ll find out,” Hall promised.


Monday: Dragons it is!

How about you tell me? You are the class… vote between the two topics in the comments! If this goes well then I’ll be using audience feedback to select future topics of discussion for this class, which will exist primarily for world-building/backstory.


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219 Responses to “Chapter 12: Storied Histories”

  1. Fatefox says:

    “They did move around to an actual example eventual.”

    Should that be “eventually”?

    What a great class! I wish I could take it. I love the dynamic between the profs. πŸ™‚

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    • Lythar says:

      I almost thought this typo was unnoticed for three years.

      Now I know it’s just not been fixed for three years. :I

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  2. Cindy says:

    Oh neat. =) I wanna hear about the dragon hybrids.

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  3. 'Nym-o-maniac says:

    Dragons. No contest.

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  4. Iason says:

    Ever so exciting!

    Thylean age of exploration of course… I signed up for this class because I enjoy knowledge of older times on a larger scale.

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    • cnic says:

      It could be said that tales of dragons have larger scales πŸ™‚

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      • Anvildude says:

        They also tend to have more Tails to tell, too.

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  5. Jennifer says:

    Oh! Dragons!

    Though, it’s a credit to your writing that I feel a bit guilty about Prof. Hart when I go against him in a situation he already finds so frustrating.

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    • Jennifer says:

      (Maybe the other can be the study at home for Thursday topic… it does seem interesting too)

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  6. Golgash says:

    Dragons

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  7. Alicorn says:

    I vote dragon hybrids!

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  8. Denyre says:

    >.< I don't want Hall to win but I've got to go with dragon hybrids.

    Maybe we can get some insights on Aiden's kid and what he might be capable of in the future.

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  9. Alyxe Barron says:

    Heyla

    I love Professor Hart but… but… DRAGONS! Let the condescending bardic building have his way this once, I say.

    -r

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    • Zergonapal says:

      Yeah I have to agree. I think you weighted it in favour of Dragons AE when you capped the chapter with that little teaser.
      But I am interested to see how Mack votes. Will it be for Hart because he is one of her favourite teachers? Is she uninterested in Dragons from her close encounter with one or is that motivation to learn more about them?

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  10. Smiles says:

    Dragons, and I do want Hall to win (although I’d chose dragons regardless). I don’t like Hart’s attitude here. Even if Hart doesn’t respect the field of study, being outwardly antagonistic toward a colleague in front of a class seems tremendously unprofessional.

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    • nemka says:

      yeah, but he was never enormously stuck on appearances anyway. And a department forcing a man to teach a class he doesn’t want to or respect his colleague in is just asking for issues.

      Also, dragons, for the purpose of WHAT IS UP WITH EMBRIES. and I enjoy Hart being irritated.

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      • nemka says:

        because I love him and think he’s entertaining, not because I like Hall better.

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  11. Calia says:

    Dragon hybrids, no contest.
    Sorry, Professor Hart πŸ˜›

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  12. SilverMoon says:

    *I’d* like to hear about dragons, but I’m sure Mack wouldn’t want to think about anything less, than that topic, given recent events.

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    • Lyssa says:

      Not so recent, of course. It’s still no doubt a traumatic and awful memory, but it’s nearly a year old now. Perhaps she’d be more willing to learn now than she would have then.

      I vote dragons as well. Mostly because I want to find out how it relates to the modern world.

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  13. Miz*G says:

    Dragons πŸ˜€

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  14. G says:

    Yeah, while I also prefer Hart to Hall, I’m going to have to vote Dragons.

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  15. Sore says:

    I vote for the Age of Exploration.

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  16. Bernie says:

    DRAGONS. I don’t want hall to win but….DRAGONS…yeah. xD

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  17. Kallio says:

    Ooh, tough call, but I think I’ll have to vote for the age of exploration, if only because I suspect dragon/humanoid hybrids have a higher chance of actually being relevant to the main plot, and are therefore more likely to be discussed later if they don’t win now.

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    • ShadowKat says:

      exactly. we have a whole year – real time – of Kin and Distant Relations. which is all about dragons. <3

      I vote for Hart because he'll do relevant main story stuff, especially to MU.

      I wonder if Mackenzie will choose the library as her historical spot/discussion. I immediately thought of her interest in that. or perhaps in regional names. XP

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  18. Janus says:

    Dragons always win.

    Also, “dwelves”? Is that a thing now?

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    • Jennifer says:

      Someone with one dwarven parent, one elven parent would be a Dwelf. It’s been established before (there is a colony of them mentioned in chapter 266), kind of like Callahan could be called a “Dwelgrorc” – her birth mom’s a dworc and her dad’s an ogrelf (chapter 244).

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      • beappleby says:

        Yeah, I had to do a search to see if that had come up before or if it was a typo.

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  19. Kagedviper says:

    While I would much rather learn about dragons, I prefer Hart’s teaching style over Halls willy nilly bantering.

    +1 for Thylean age of exploration.

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  20. Iain, home from the Crusades says:

    I think this is the greatest idea anyone has come up with for an interactive story!
    And I’m going for Hart… but only because I like him a great deal more.

    Possible corrections: Second paragraph – There WAS 2.5 hours of classes… instead “There were two and a half hours of classes between me and it…”

    During the Hart / Hall – “They did move around to an actual example eventualLY”

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    • Lyssa says:

      No. She means there were two classes that were 1.5 hours each. It parses correctly, though I can see why you slipped up a bit. πŸ™‚ I did too.

      Or did she make a correction and fix it already? ‘Cos you didn’t quote what she had, so maybe I am just coming in after a correction.

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      • Rin says:

        Actually, I think it’s still wrong. Since there are two hour-and-a-half long classes, I’m fairly certain it should be; “there were two hour-and-a-half classes between me and it…”

        Two means we’re talking plural here and was is singular.

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        • Thane of Eurmal says:

          Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that, but I’m agreeing with you. If you take out the adjective phrase ‘hour-and-a-half’, you get ‘there were two classes’ – which would be right.

          I say more complicated, as I used to work with British English teachers, who would say, “The class are acting up.” Correct in the sense that ‘the class’ is a group of students. But hard to get used to hearing…

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          • Thane of Eurmal says:

            Oh, and Dragons.

            Mostly because I would like Hart’s eyes open to new historic possibilities. I think he’s a little close-minded and unwilling to accept new possibilities, and this could be good for him. I like Hart’s classes, but I think his peeves get in the way of him actually teaching.

            And I don’t know Hall well enough yet, but I like his openness, and I think we’ll find him a trove of learning.

            You’d think early history would take the oral tradition, and devote time to verifying what they could instead of assuming that, since it hadn’t come from a book in the ‘proper’ process it’s a bunch of bunk. As a scientist, I certainly see the correlation to disregarding anything that didn’t come through the ‘scientific process’.

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  21. beappleby says:

    I’m going with exploration as well.

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  22. Erm says:

    Heh… the way these two professors are going at each other, Mack is going to be taking two fighting classes this term.

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  23. Sapphite says:

    Thyleans here as well. I’d like a better sense of the relative location.

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    • Oitur says:

      I was wondering too–do the Thyleans in the MUniverse correspond to Vikings in the you & I universe (UnIverse…?)?

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  24. Ferwe says:

    I’ve got to go with Dragons. I’d sort of prefer to start with the present and delve backward, but since that isn’t an option let’s jump into the deep past and dig back up to the present.

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  25. Riotllama says:

    exploration. just because I hate that hall guy. I love hart, but almost think Mack should drop this class while she still can.

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    • zeel says:

      Why don’t we like Hall? Everyone keeps saying that, but I can’t figure out why.

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      • Lyssa says:

        This bit, I’d say: “Hart was making no secret of his opinion, but Hall didn’t seem to be aware that what he was voicing was an opinion at all… much less an unflattering one. If anything, his tone suggested that he was being magnanimous towards the β€œyoung discipline”.

        He’s so damned condescending. And reminds me of a pre-school teacher with how he talks to the class itself.

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        • Cadnawes says:

          Not that preschoolers appreciate that tone, either.

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          • Lyssa says:

            I don’t think anyone does.

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      • Zukira Phaera says:

        I agree. I liked him when we had a little glimpse of him in part one back when he was one of Ian’s (I think it was him at least) teachers. The combination with Hart is going to be interesting to say the least however but the resulting class could be very much more for having a tense dynamic.

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  26. Ducky says:

    Draaaaaaagons.

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  27. JiBB says:

    Age of Exploration.

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  28. zeel says:

    DRAGONS!!!

    No contest.

    BTW, suggestion: If we are to vote (in the future), you should post a comment for each choice (as soon as you post, so it’s at the top). Then we heart the one we want. That way it counts its self up nicely.

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    • Calia says:

      Ooh, this is a good idea.

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    • Zukira Phaera says:

      shoot, I missed your comment and posted the same suggestion later on.

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      • zeel says:

        It’s a good idea, and not overly complex. Thus many people will probably think of it. I merely was first to voice it.

        . . .

        BUT! It’s still MY idea so ALL shall bow to ME! for my SUPERIOR intellect!!!

        . . .

        * cough cough

        Excuse me, sorry about that. I might have blacked out for a second what was I saying. . .

        πŸ˜‰

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    • beappleby says:

      Except that you can heart more than once.

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      • Zukira Phaera says:

        that is why I mentioned radio buttons in one go for the voting in mine πŸ˜‰ then you skip the multiple heart chance for double voting

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  29. Roshini says:

    DRAGONS!

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  30. Xicree says:

    As much as i want to hear some actual history here, I’m gonna go with the Dragon Lore. Dragon’s make for interesting stuff and the lore provides knowledge of how to tip toe around the beasties and survive even if its just their half human offspring.

    (I’m pretty sure Mack would RELUCTANTLY agree.)

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  31. monsterzero says:

    Er, a correction in the second paragraph: “I had to get through one hour of fighting at the end of the day, but there *were* two hour-and-a-half classes between me and it and I was looking forward to both of them.”

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  32. Glenn says:

    Dragons vs Vikings? Even though I’m sympathetic to Hart’s position, I’m more interested in the Dragons.

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  33. Celti says:

    Gotta go with the Age of Exploration. Dragons get too much attention as it is…

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  34. Sindyr says:

    Excellent job! Husband and I have been reading faithfully but have not commented in a while, due to me being sick for a bit. In any case…while Hall is being condescending, I see him kind of being absent-minded-ish. That almost endears him to me. πŸ˜€

    There are two of us here, and I think we have one vote for each topic. Not too helpful, I’m afraid. ^_^

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  35. sammy says:

    loving the thylean thing… i am from the terra nova of our world, have been to the viking excavation site. also studied folklore (with some people who thought folklore was stupid). that was really fun to read!
    and- i vote for thyleans.

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  36. cnic says:

    Gah, I really <3 Hart, it made by day to see that he is coming back! He is one of my favorite professors. But the dragon story sounds really interesting, so my vote goes for Hall's Dragons.

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  37. Miryei says:

    Thylean age of exploration!

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  38. Dani says:

    This is the first chapter in the current arc that I didn’t enjoy.

    1. There’s a world-building problem. Hart is reacting to Hall as you’d expect one of our astronomers to react to having to co-teach a class with an astrologer. Yet I take this world to be one in which bardic lore is taught because it is practical, not because it was trendy for a long time. (We’ve never actually been told that this is the case. I’m imputing default D&D sensibilities.)

    2. The two professors are exhibiting staggering lacks of professionalism – starting with showing up with basically no preparation and continuing on to in-class bickering. If that continues, future classes will be train wrecks, as this one is shaping up to be. There’s no good way to reverse that, so we’re left with bad writing choices: a. Make future classes run more smoothly and basically forget the rough start. b. Declare a mulligan and have Mack drop the class. c. Give the tension between the professors an interesting resolution. d. Make the train wrecks interesting. ‘c’ and ‘d’ are both problematic, not so much because they’re difficult as because the stakes are too low: We don’t care enough about Hart and Hall to see them turned into an important sub-plot.

    3. It’s disappointing story-telling. This point is harder to defend, because I’ve greatly enjoyed previous chapters which were basically lectures on enchantment or thaumaturgy or, yes, history. Yet this chapter doesn’t feel as if it’s the start of an arc that will perform world-building in support of the over-all story. It feels like a setup for filler chapters. It might be good filler and still not be a good way to build Mack’s tale.

    Current score: 0
    • nemka says:

      Hart was never terribly professional to begin with, though.

      Also, given that it’s a newly created research-type class combining two fields which, by their nature, would be constantly try to win out over the other for validity, I would be more disappointed if it had run smoothly. A thing like that naturally starts bumpy, and sometimes does smooth out as people get used to it. That would be logical progression, not any kind of cop-out.

      Current score: 0
    • Lyssa says:

      I disagree. πŸ™‚

      1. Mack muses on the differences between the two pretty well in here, and I think they fit nicely together while being two fairly separate things.

      2. Not all professors are particularly “professional,” which I think I would consider to mean “formal” in this kind of context. Many of my English courses have been very, very informal. One was much like this, where we sat around together and talked about different discussions relevant to the class. It was student-run more than anything else, with us doing our own research and putting together projects and goals for the class, and the professor guiding us. While these two are bickering, of course, I don’t think that detracts from their professionalism, though I’d hate for it to continue too much.

      2b: I think that having the class be able to interrupt and talk at will can pretty much solve the problem all together, with the professors occasionally slinging insults at one another’s field. It could work pretty smoothly for most of the class.

      3. Just because you can’t see how AE will make this relevant does not mean it will be irrelevant to Mack’s overall story.

      Current score: 0
      • erianaiel says:

        Not to mention, that it does not necessarily have to be relevant to Mackenzie. This class can be in the story because it is interesting to the readers as well.
        (that, and it gives Alexandra the opportunity to work on the world building herself)

        Current score: 0
      • Ducky says:

        Being a theater student, I have to say that there is definitely a point at which one can be informal and still professional. All of my teachers (tenured professors included) go by their first names, but I would never consider their teacher/student relationships anything less than professional. Hart did a decent job of it last volume, to my sensibilities, and the gnome professor (can’t think of her name) also teaches informally. And Callahan? Could we call that formal in the least, what with the nicknames and the likelihood of dead students?

        This class was exceptionally unprofessional and actually lowered my respect for Hart. When you blatantly attempt to dismiss someone’s knowledge and expertise in a classroom setting, you are acting unprofessionally.

        Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      I assumed “lore” to refer to oral legends, as opposed to documented history. I can see this general conflict occurring between professionals in those subjects in our world.

      Of course, we can’t forget historiography – the history of history. As our perspectives change, the way we view and write about the past changes as well. The things which we consider to be important evolve. This would be reflected both in Lore and in History – although Lore, being mostly oral, would have less of a record of those changes.

      Current score: 0
      • erianaiel says:

        That would be myths not necessarily lore. A lot of lore, even in our world, let alone in Mackenzie’s, -is- written down. (and many myths have been written down too I might add). Oral traditions were not because there was any inherent quality in passing on stories that way but simply because access to the writing skills and materials were so limited. Parchment is an expensive material to obtain as are inks that do not fade by the end of the year.

        Lore is more like ‘informal knowledge’.
        It is knowing that ‘shavings of willowbark infused in boiling water and then strained into a clear liquid will reduce or heal a headache’ without understanding why. This lore can be combined for explanation with a myth (about a god with a headache shedding tears and the willow being arrogant enough to soak up those tears to grow, making the god curse it to forever absorbing the headache in others. Which also explains the drooping crown of the willow tree), or it can be combined with the scientific understanding of how the chemistry and biology involved cause something in willowbark to block the pain receptors. Without that explanation attached you have lore, but we are so used to interpreting things scientifically that we mistake the myth for the lore (or the other way around, I never can remember how this mistake for construct is supposed to go)

        We can not of course apply the term scientific to any knowledge in the MUverse (not without mortally offending all those honourable professors). But that makes lore -more- valuable in the story universe instead of less, because that universe is not so obliging to always do things the same way just because some human thinks it should. The same principle applies though. We start out with observation and from there we either weave a silly scientific tale or find a more reasonable magical explanation for that observation.

        What all this has to do with history though is baffling. Except maybe that lore mostly deals with old stories?

        Current score: 0
    • Kevin says:

      I had a physics professor that was really into astronomy, and when doing research on the work of an astronomer we were studying I discovered that the astronomer in question made these discoveries while he was studying astrology. The professor told me I would fail his class if I put that in my report. Hart reminds me of that professor way to much for your problem 1 to be an actual problem.

      As for problem 2, that same professor wore a tie-dye lab coat.

      As for problem 3, if it isn’t filler it isn’t world building. Filler is what gives characters a personality.

      Current score: 0
    • cnic says:

      I really don’t think they were all that atypical for the professionalism shown by professors. When I was a student I’ve had professors: show up in sweats (analysis), regail us of storys of doing satanic rituls in church basements (american poetry), bring their chihuahua (history of mathematics), belch the alphabet during the final (geography), swear nearly every other word (psychology), and randomly scream “I Bacche Bacche” (mythology). Now as a professor myself I could tell you stories. That being said I think this could work quite well as they find their stride. Plus brand new classes tend to me more informal.

      As a side note I don’t dislike Hall as much as others do, I just like Hart more, but I’ve known and liked professors like both.

      Current score: 0
    • Rethic says:

      You are absolutely entitled to your opinion, but I’d venture to say that the majority of readers disagree based on the overall comments.

      1. I’d say it’s more similar to an archeologist and an anthropologist which are both respected fields. Each giving their own version of the same time period not being a problem just different perspectives.

      2. Their seemingly lack of preparedness to me seems more like an attempt at a teaching style they’ve never tried before and never had a chance to try before, it being a new class, and a new experience for them both. Classes are often like this the first day. Also you say trainwreck like it’s a bad thing. Loads of people enjoy watching trainwrecks, at least in the fictional world. I for one hope they never get along too well.

      3. All I have to say here is what one person considers to be a filler others perceive to be the main point of the story. I hope everyone gets an equal share of the things they love.

      Current score: 0
    • JS says:

      You forgot the possibility where Hart runs Hall out of class. We may get to see if Hall has any guts.

      I’m not a fan of Hart, I think he’s a bully who incidentally can teach well, but only under exactly the right conditions.

      Oh, and Thyleans, because I like Hart’s style when he’s had all his boxes ticked and is willing to teach. And dragons are everywhere else. There’s no telling whether we’d actually get much of anything on specific dragon/dragon-hybrids we’ve met in-story.

      Current score: 0
  39. TannenWx says:

    Thyleans. I’m Hart’s girl, all the way! ^.^

    Current score: 0
  40. Cadnawes says:

    Situations like these cause contrariness in me. That little bait at the end there would make me vote for exploration, and look up dragons later. So: Exploration.

    Current score: 0
  41. angellus00 says:

    Dragons, how can I note vote Dragons.

    Current score: 0
  42. Xen says:

    I like Hart but I have to vote dragons.

    The idea of lore vs history really intrigues me.

    Current score: 0
  43. Lesath says:

    DRAGONS!!! DRAGONS!!!! DRAGONS!!!!!

    Current score: 0
  44. Jollylawger says:

    I’ve been in co-taught classes that had this sort of dynamic. Although I agree with Dani that it’s awfully unprofessional… it’s also pretty realistic.

    I really hope that we get both stories. But if we only get one, then I vote Exploration and Barrow-Wights, because we get Dragon-lore in other stories.

    I also hope that the professors settle into a better pattern. If we’re really part of the class, then I’d recommend that they each pick a certain amount of time to give their version without cutting each other off and then opening it up for discussion.

    Current score: 0
  45. Matt Doyle says:

    Age of Exploration. I can hear about dragons anywhere, in any piece of fantasy fiction (well, almost). Learning extensive historical details about the world, though, is much less common unless it has direct relevance, and I am a sucker for worldbuilding, and especially extraneous worldbuilding.

    Though as I write this, it occurs to me that it may turn out to be much less extraneous than I thought at first glance. Either way.

    Current score: 0
  46. cdw says:

    I vote for Thylean exploration. I want to find out some more about cultures outside of the empires. The dragon hook looks like it’ll probably be lore from the empires.

    Also dragons? We have so many stories with dragons. The campus is lousy with them (given the understanding that the campus is a tiny part of a certain dragon’s demesne) already.

    This is the first BARROW-WIGHT, people! C’mon! This gives us potential insight into the nobility of the Mother Isles.

    Current score: 0
    • JS says:

      Enlighten a poor soul not steeped in D&D lore, please! I looked up barrow-wights after it popped into the story and am saving reading about draugar for later today…

      Current score: 0
      • Time Kitten says:

        Also, try the Fellowship of the Ring. That little off road adventure in the beginning pits the hobbits against one.

        Current score: 0
  47. Vee says:

    I vote for Hart.

    Current score: 0
  48. MindWright says:

    Thylean Age of Exploration, without hesitation (and probably without success, damn those dragons)

    Current score: 0
  49. Jani says:

    Sorry Hart, but seriously, DRAGONS, who cares about some dudes going about on rowboats when we can learn about dragons.

    Did i mention i’m voting dragons?
    Because i’m voting dragons.

    Current score: 0
  50. Zukira Phaera says:

    AE, just a minor suggestion. If you continue having us vote on these particular class discussions, perhaps make it easier for you to count by posting each topic as a response then go by the amount of ‘heart’ clicks each get unless you could do a radio button vote to prevent double votes. It might save a little headache in the long run to set something like that up.

    Current score: 0
    • Oooh, good idea.

      Current score: 0
      • beappleby says:

        Problem – it is possible to “heart” more than one time.

        Is there any way to just post a poll here?

        Current score: 0
        • Calia says:

          You can heart more than one thing, but unless it’s working differently in your browser, it doesn’t seem like you can heart the same thing more than once. There’s several posts on this chapter that I hearted and now it just shows the number of hearts, without giving me the option of hearting it again. And if someone were to heart both options, it would make about as much difference as if they were to not vote at all. I don’t see a problem here, unless for some reason everyone else’s browser lets them heart the same thing multiple times and mine just hates me…

          Current score: 0
          • ShadowKat says:

            I too can only ‘heart’ one comment once. meaning there are multiple hearts I can click, but per comment there is only one. does that make sense? lol

            Current score: 0
            • Lyssa says:

              I think they meant cheating. Which I don’t think you can actually do very easily. πŸ˜€

              The hearting works based on ISP I think. So you can’t just go to a new computer or open a new browser to heart things multiple times. You’d have to go find different wi fi or something like that, and maybe even that wouldn’t work. Who knows! I tried to heart this comment multiple times with different browsers and different computers, but it isn’t doable. Neat! πŸ˜€

              Current score: 0
            • zeel says:

              It almost certainly works by IP address. Virtually all such things do. Or else you are forced to be logged in. All your computers are probably behind the same router, so you can’t vote again. Try resetting it. That might generate a new IP, unless you have a fixed IP, in which case things get trickier.

              IP can be changed easily, but most people are not going to do that to vote on a MU story.

              As it is posting a comment requires an E-mail address. I have six E-mail addresses. I could easily vote six times in this system. It would be easier than resetting my router even. Thus hearts are just as good a voting mechanism as anything.

              Current score: 0
            • Lyssa says:

              Yeah, sorry, I meant IP address, not ISP. Whoops.

              Current score: 0
        • Zukira Phaera says:

          that is why I mentioned radio buttons – it would be similar to a poll (most polls are run via radio buttons unless they let you vote on multiple options, in which case check boxes are offered) I just used a different terminology.

          Current score: 0
          • zeel says:

            Problem there is that a new poll system would need added. The hearts are in place already.

            Current score: 0
        • That’s only a problem if every single person who votes “hearts” all options.

          Current score: 0
    • zeel says:

      Great minds think alike?
      http://www.talesofmu.com/story/volume-2/chapter-12#comment-11516

      Current score: 0
    • Novaseer says:

      personally, I’m wondering if it is possible to click a ‘hall’ instead of a ‘heart’ πŸ˜›

      Current score: 0
  51. Chris says:

    Thyleans!

    I wish I could take classes from Professor Hart.

    Current score: 0
  52. darkbangle says:

    I think this is my first time posting, although I am a long time lurker. πŸ™‚ Well, my vote is for the Thylean age of exploration.

    Also, Hall is giving me flashbacks to a couple of classes I’ve taken. >_< I really hate professors like him; they are so obliviousness to their own prejudices. Honestly though, I look forward to seeing more of him (and his interactions with Hart). I may hate him as a person, but he's a great character.

    Current score: 0
  53. Alico says:

    Dragon Hybrids, hands down.

    Current score: 0
  54. Gordon says:

    I vote for Hart’s Thyleans, because I find the stories of discovery, conquest and colonization fascinating, in a horror movie kind of way. Dragons are interesting and all, but I resent obvious manipulation. Appealing to the 5 year old in me who wets his pants with excitement over dragons makes me predisposed to dislike Hall.

    Plus, I further hate people who don’t realize when they are being condescending.

    Current score: 0
  55. Zukira Phaera says:

    The two topics on the table – hmm.

    Thylean age of exploration sounds a bit like a convergence with our own history. The ‘first’ discoveries of the North American continent by the vikings via Greenland and Iceland prior to Columbus springs to mind as a possible parallel to that era in the MU world. It has a lot of potential for a balanced class discussion for both disciplines. There’s potential here for not only world building but race-building as well.

    Dragon/humanoid hybrids on the other hand seems to be more a lead-in for Aidan Jr’s biological father, other dragons in general and hints at Aidan Jr’s future as well. I’m not quite sure this would lead to a balanced class discussion, but not all topics are going to be able to do that. It just strikes me as being more apt in an OT rather than MU-prime.

    All in all, I’m going to have to cast my vote for Hart – Thylean age of exploration.

    Current score: 0
  56. TLOU says:

    Thylean age of exploration!!!!!!!!

    Because I <3 Hart and that Hall Pun was awful

    Current score: 0
  57. Time Kitten says:

    I’d love to hear the lore on the Thylean age of exploration. And more specifically, how that lore reflects the historical facts. Storytelling forms, literary tropes/devices are of a lot of interest to me. I like examining stories where therms like “cutting of the dragons head” means defeating the army of your opponent, and “stabbing the dragon in the heart” means taking/defeating a main city/seat of power.

    Dragon hybrids would just tease us too much. I think it would bring up one or two storys worth of content on them, but not invoke any plot connections since this is a voted item, and unless you really do expect landslides for dragons, you wouldn’t have put that many plans in order for such.

    Current score: 0
  58. Kevin says:

    There is an old saying: Never ignore a dragon.
    This is unfortunate because as much as I like to hear about dragons the Thylean age of exploration is shiny and new. So I’m voting for age of exploration. *Ducks Dragon Breath*

    Current score: 0
  59. drowwolf says:

    Dragons! Love Hart but love dragons even more.

    Current score: 0
  60. Age of Exploration that smarmy lore teacher must lose!

    Current score: 0
  61. Rachel says:

    Ok, forget magic, I want to go to mu just for Prof. Hart.

    Thyleans, just so he doesn’t walk out of class.

    Current score: 0
  62. Sylvan says:

    Dragons, but really my vote is for the LORE.

    Yeah, Hall was condescending, but Hart was hostile.

    I’ve taken a college course about performing actual historical research, and that actually diminishes my respect for Hart somewhat in this chapter. Looking for appropriate records is important, but the subject is called HIS STORY for a reason. The subject is the study of things relevant to mankind (or in the MUverse the intelligent races)

    One thing you have to know when researching history is there is no real Truth (just many smaller truths). You can corroborate details, and find facts and figures, but at the end of the day there is a historian interpreting it all and they may be getting it wrong.

    To me, Hall’s study of Lore seems to be grounded in a desire to pick out interconnected details. Its purpose is described as being practicality, and the chapter of the old MoarMU that had Hall had some important things to say about taking the details of a story and making your own in such a way as to both remember the story and get something useful out of it.

    In my eyes Hall wants students to not just know about history, but to know about it in such a way as to learn something useful when connecting it to other subjects and their everyday lives. It is a form of history that is also connected to the future, which I can respect. Hart just seems like he is caught up in all the details without ever wondering about a why or what for. Also, and this may have just been a reaction to la Belle, but he seems way to full of himself for me to like him as a character. Hart himself probably has it wrong about a great many things, just like the rest of us, and seems way too arrogant for my kind of historian. I wouldn’t trust his account to be unbiased, or even to try to hard in that direction.

    I read a book recently called Moonwalking With Einstein, the Art and Science of Remembering Everything. It isn’t really about remembering EVERYTHING, but the basic point is that the more detail you can add to a memory or sensation, the more connections it has to other memories and your day to day life, the more likely you are to remember it. Something with just one mental association is hard to recall, and things you do over and over again tend to blend together. So, the key to remembering more is trying to find ways to tie everything together, and the more novel you can make the association in your mind the more likely it is you will remember it (hence the mental image of Einstein dancing like Michael Jackson)

    This seems like what Hall was trying to get students to do when he advised them to connect the details in old stories together. (Something along the lines of “You may not remember what side of the mountain the dragons prefers to avoid, but if you remember that he avoids it because the sun shining off this one knights armor blinded him you are more likely to survive a trip over said mountain”)

    In any case, that is why I like Hall and am voting for him. Not everyone here may have read that particular MoarMU, or studied history, but I think this guy has something worthwhile to say.

    Edited to add a link to the MoarMU story for those who haven’t read it but may be interested. Hall’s bit starts roughly 1/3-1/4 of the way down the page.
    http://more.talesofmu.com/jamiestale/11/

    Current score: 0
    • Thane of Eurmal says:

      Thanks for the link. I like Hall even more now. Reminds me of Gandalf, riding around reciting poetry to tease out some of the truths of The Ring. One of the best parts of the movie – actually using the oral tradition to keep track of knowledge. I really appreciate seeing how systems that we don’t use any more work.

      Current score: 0
    • ShadowKat says:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia

      synesthesia is quite like that. people with it can remember and link everything. too bad that because it comes naturally to them, they can’t control when it happens and get overwhelmed really easily. but it’s totally fascinating.

      Current score: 0
      • Sylvan says:

        In the book I mentioned they discuss a case study of this guy who had Synesthesia, and that being one of the things has influenced the study of memory greatly.

        He apparently could literally remember just about everything that ever happened to him, partially because he associated every color with something like a smell/taste/sound, and so on and so forth. It has been a while since I read it, but basically he didn’t just see/hear/whatever *anything* with only one sense, and he didn’t seem to understand (at least at first) that this was uncommon.

        Some researcher studied him for a period of several decades, and apparently he could recall things like the color of the dress she wore on a specific day 20 some odd years in the past. It has been a while since I read that book, so please forgive my vagueness.

        Current score: 0
    • Arakano says:

      While I like this post and agree with many of its points… PLEASE stop promoting that “history=his story” misconception, it always makes me rage.

      Current score: 0
  63. Lakart says:

    Dragons for sure! I like the attitude Hall has about why Dragons are a good topic xD

    Current score: 0
  64. seeker of seekers - where'd they go? :^( says:

    Thyleans.

    Current score: 0
  65. antongarou says:

    age of exploration!

    Current score: 0
  66. Angnor says:

    Thylean Age of Exploration.
    Save the dragons for the ‘Kin and Distant Relations’ stories.

    Current score: 0
    • ShadowKat says:

      my logic too. *high five.

      Current score: 0
  67. Yumi says:

    I vote for dragons because…dragons.

    Current score: 0
  68. Bannef says:

    Haha, sneaky Hall gets college students… And internet story commentators? Or maybe that’s just me. Oh well, dragons all the way!

    Current score: 0
  69. N. says:

    Dragons. I WANT TO FIND OUT.

    Current score: 0
  70. Lunaroki says:

    Typo Report

    Not sure but I think the following is a typo:

    A band of delvers exploring a hollow hill in Terra Nova uncovered what we later learned was the first Thyleans burial chamber to be found in the Westering Lands.

    I’m thinking maybe this should be “Thylean burial chamber” rather than “Thyleans burial chamber”. The “s” on the end just seems to make it read awkwardly.

    Oh, and I vote for Dragons. While the Thyleans sound like a whole lot of fun and I hate voting for Hall over Hart I’ve got to say that I am mightily curious how dragons and their offspring have shaped the history and lore of the world.

    Current score: 0
  71. Nick says:

    I’m putting my vote down for The Age of Exploration.

    Current score: 0
  72. Sam says:

    Dragons. <3

    Current score: 0
  73. Miss Lynx says:

    I love Professor Hart, and Hall sounds like a bit of a jackass, but – damn, I’ve really got to go with the dragons. *guilty look*

    Current score: 0
  74. Marx says:

    Dragons.

    I’m all in favor of Hart kicking his colleague’s ass out of the class, buuuut… maybe Mack’s brother’s adopted son will be mentioned πŸ˜‰

    Current score: 0
  75. Kaila says:

    AoE.

    Age of Exploration, not area of effect.

    Current score: 0
  76. bramble says:

    I’m voting for the Thyleans. We’ve got plenty of other opportunities to learn about dragons in the story.

    Current score: 0
  77. Morten says:

    Dragons.

    I think there’s train wreck potential plus I want to hear the historical side from hart.

    Current score: 0
  78. Lili says:

    “Interview with the Barrow-Wight”

    Dragons and Vikings oh my

    being of Viking/Rus descent

    I find it hard to choose

    Current score: 0
  79. Tyrius says:

    I vote for the Hybrids

    Current score: 0
  80. Abeo says:

    Dragons.

    If it were simply between dragons and the Thylean exploration I’d go with the latter. But dragon hybrids? Gotta go with that.

    Current score: 0
  81. Ali says:

    …into your own interrogations”

    Missing period.

    Also, going with dragons just because it seems more interesting. If I were picking sides with a fictional character it would be Hart but I’m more concerned with my reading entertainment than a fictional character’s feelings. ;p

    Current score: 0
  82. Krav says:

    This is blatent race baiting and social manipulation!! Intentionally trying to foster derision in the ranks! Writing about dragon hybrids in OT and introducing it here as a vote to a bunch of more or less self avowed geeks! Well, I for one must say… GOOD JOB!

    and dragons, please…

    You already have Thursday’s class ready don’t you? πŸ™‚
    Also the voting at the begining of the comments is a capital idea.

    Current score: 0
  83. erianaiel says:

    I would much rather hear more about the Thyleans.
    To be honest, what I already know about dragons in this story (while far more realistic than the average fantasy dragon) does NOT want me to know more about them.
    We are talking about creatures so powerful that their occasional (or not so) rampage is treated as a ‘natural disaster’. Creatures who apparently have a will so strong (and an ego so big) that it can alter reality (or at least the way other creatures react to reality). They can literally make somebody -want- to be eaten alive.
    I really do not need to have more nightmares about the dragons in this story …

    Compared to that the Thyleans are a bit less terrifying and offer the opportunity of seeing the sagas and eddas retold in a unique way.
    And there is the added advantage of having Pala in the story again… After all she (not she personally but her kind, possibly even kindred) is part of those sagas.
    And for the dragon lovers out there, likely some of the Thylean heroes entertained the occasional spot of dragon slaying. While the opposite most certainly and far more frequently happened as well that is hardly something that made history.

    Current score: 0
    • Rethic says:

      I think it’s just polite to make your food want to be food, lol. Common curtesy if you will.

      Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      Don’t forget, Puddy supposedly has dragon blood…

      Current score: 0
    • ShadowKat says:

      ooooo! good point with weaving Pala in again. nice.

      Current score: 0
  84. Luke Licens says:

    I’ll take Dragon Hybrid History for 500, Alex(andra).

    It has a higher chance of being relevant, due to half-brother’s son. Also, frame stories are just plain fun. ^_^

    Current score: 0
  85. ayla says:

    Thyleans! Love a look at the MUniverse’s “vikings.”

    Current score: 0
  86. Tomo says:

    I’d love to see a story about dragons.

    Current score: 0
  87. Jazzman says:

    Age of Exploration!

    Really liked this chapter – pissed off Hart is always awesome πŸ˜€

    Current score: 0
  88. Imrix says:

    Draconic hybrids. It helps that I kinda like Hall; I’ve always had a soft spot for a good story.

    Current score: 0
  89. Warclam says:

    People, the topic isn’t dragons, it’s dragon/humanoid hybrids. Technically, everyone who just shouted “Dragons!” hasn’t voted at all because it’s not actually an option (not that I think AE is going to be anywhere near that finicky). Also quite an interesting topic, but I’d rather hear about the Thylian age of exploration.

    Current score: 0
    • Jani says:

      And where do you think Dragon humanoid hybrids come from, definetly not from dwarf/kobold marriages :p

      Even tangentially related to something of primary interest is better than something i have no prior interest.

      No doubt the men (and possibly women) in rowboats, if chosen, will be interesting in and of themselves, but i still prefer things of draconic nature.

      Current score: 0
  90. Alan Rustwater says:

    Thyleans!

    A glorified storyteller going on about dragons is boring… Hart and History all the way!

    Interestingly, as a History undergrad, I’m seeing echoes of the tension between historians and archaeologists in real life, though of course there it’s history that’s the established and respected discipline, and the archaeologists are all upstarts who dismiss us for relying on written sources, and who think that only ruins can tell us anything.

    Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      And ruins contain what people didn’t bother to take with them, while writings contain only what people thought was important at the time… Not that the lack of information can’t be informative as well…

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  91. Alex says:

    Age of Exploration. And someone mentioned Mack dropping this class? As much as I personally enjoy it, she clearly doesn’t and ought to drop it.

    Current score: 0
    • Angnor says:

      One class does not a course make.

      Current score: 0
  92. Asmora says:

    As much as I like this idea of dragon/human hybrids, I like Hart more than Hall. Age of Exploration.

    Current score: 0
  93. Potatohead says:

    Draaaaaaaaaaaagons.

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  94. CelticDragon38 says:

    Thyleans

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  95. Thalgar says:

    I vote for Thylean Age of Exploration, for many of the same reasons others have articulated, but also because I think Hall probably (and deliberately-I don’t think he’s as oblivious as Mack thinks) invoked the popular and always exciting DRAGONS! as a way of trumping Hart’s exquisitely reasonable and appropriate but less exciting topic. While the showy, splashy, dynamic topics are just as worthy of discussion and analysis from perspectives of lore and history, so he has every right to do this, I thought Hall deliberately passed over a chance to collaborate with his colleague on a topic where both had already acknowledged contributions from each other’s disciplines. A perfect starting point, passed over to gain popularity points with the students over his colleague. Poor Hart seems to be powerless in the face of Bardic manipulation! (But can he turn the tables, somehow?) I’m looking forward to these sub-plots, if that’s the way things are headed.

    Current score: 0
  96. The Dark Master says:

    Wow, the bickering between these two is absolutely hilarious. Its been awhile since one of these stories drew me in like this, I’m definitely looking forward to more of these two’s little war.

    Vote? I dunno, age of exploration to help even the scales I guess.

    Current score: 0
  97. David Hobby says:

    I vote for dragons, since the world building will be more interesting. Given the obvious parallels between Magesteria and America, the Thylean exploration will parallel the Norse one. Nice, but probably predictable.

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  98. Jefsolo says:

    Dragons? Maybe not. But dragon-human hybrids? Absolutely.

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  99. riocaz says:

    Dragon-human hybrids!

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  100. anna says:

    Another vote for the Thylean age of Exploration. I am eager to see the MUniverse’s version of the Viking age πŸ™‚

    Current score: 0
  101. Alice says:

    Thylean Age of Exploration, please!

    Current score: 0
  102. Shwaggy says:

    I really like the idea of this class. The dynamic between the two professors is going to be interesting to watch, and we haven’t even seen how the rest of the class is, which will be much more important here than the last semester since it’s a discussion class. And who knows? Maybe the professors will actually find reasons to respect each other over the course of the semester…or just perfect the murder plots in their heads. πŸ™‚

    And my vote goes to the Thylean age of exploration. As much as I love dragons, I want Hart to win, and I think the topic sounds like a good one.

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  103. Dirge says:

    Dragon/humanoid hybrids is my vote.

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  104. Dan says:

    Dragons, because irritated Hart is wonderful.

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  105. C8H9NO2 says:

    While dragon-human hybrids have at least two interesting intersection points with the story, I’m finding myself a bit weary of dragons because of overemphasis on the extravagant few over the real life of the many. So, let’s go with the Thylean age of exploration.

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  106. Zia says:

    Thyleans. As pointed out earlier, there seems to be a good chance of they hybrids getting discussed anyway πŸ™‚

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  107. Cryst says:

    Thylean age of exploration!

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  108. Krysstallie says:

    I vote…DRAGONS! πŸ˜€

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    • Krysstalline says:

      Okay, let’s spell my name right this time.

      And for all you picky folks, I mean: “lore and history surrounding dragon/humanoid hybrids” *coughs*

      Current score: 0
  109. Dave says:

    Sorry, historians, I’m going for dragon hybrids. Not because dragons are cool, but because it may shed more light on Embries, and indeed on Aidan. Also, dragon – human hybrids – how does THAT happen?

    Current score: 0
    • cnic says:

      I’m hoping really *carefully*.

      Current score: 0
      • Seri says:

        Since dragons can take other forms, it shouldn’t be too difficult. A dragon in form of a different species should theoretically be able to mate with a member of that species.

        Also, my vote for the next chapter goes to the Thylean age of exploration. I would love for more information about dragon hybrids, but I believe that such information may deserve a full OT dedicated to it.

        Current score: 0
    • Zukira Phaera says:

      you made me think of a song called ‘do virgins taste better’ for some reason it popped into my head.

      Lyrics to Do Virgins Taste Better

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    • fka_luddite says:

      If the father is human — before dinner.

      Current score: 0
  110. Emeritus Dean of Necromancy says:

    dragons FTW

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  111. Jon says:

    “They did move around to an actual example eventual.”

    Eventual should be eventually.

    Also dragons

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  112. Zathras IX says:

    ŦΨØ’s friend Hazel gets
    In a tiff about breakfast
    Food until tiffin

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  113. Feliak says:

    I would love to hear about the dragons.

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  114. Lori says:

    Age of Exploration!

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  115. anne says:

    Hmmm… I wonder if there were dragon hybrids with the Thyleans?

    Of course I just want to hear about the Dragons!!!

    Let’s see humans can hybridize with elves, dwarves, orcs, and ogres… at least. So I would imagine that all of these races could have dragon hybrids. Thus I can easily see dragons having big pieces of history (and even more pieces of lore!) that are written about them.

    Maybe the unnamable Emporer is a dragon hybrid?

    Current score: 0
    • ayla says:

      Pretty sure the Unnameable Emperor is a lich. He’s certainly undead, and Vera’s comment calling him a “bag of bones” makes that more likely than, say, a vampire. (And in a comment, AE acknowledged that this remark of Vera’s was apropos.) Of course, what race he was before he died is unknown. Could possibly have been a hybrid! Which is an extra-scary thought, really… a part-dragon lich.

      Current score: 0
    • Angnor says:

      I could be remembering incorrectly, but I believe in recounting her thoughts on Mercy being half subterranean and half surface elf Mack noted that one of the hallmarks of intelligent beings was the ability to interbreed.

      Current score: 0
  116. Rob says:

    I know I’ll get blasted but I couldn’t even read this chapter. The trend lately has been far too much talking and not enough doing.

    Current score: 0
    • Smiles says:

      I’m surprised you’ve gotten this far into the story if dialogue bothers you that much.

      Current score: 0
      • Rob says:

        Admittedly, I am losing interest. It reminds me of the Wheel of Time series. Started out great but eventually got to the point where I’m thinking… “OMG! Shut up and do something.”

        Current score: 0
        • Time Kitten says:

          Even the author himself was at that point, where he even apologized for a book that encompassed less than two weeks and was mostly just recounting the end of the last book.

          The new author finishing the series after his death is much more action oriented, and may be worth starting up from new spring (I think that’s the one) even if you haven’t read the last few before it.

          Current score: 0
  117. ElectricHarpsichord says:

    “They did move around to an actual example eventual.”

    I believe that should end with “eventually”.

    Current score: 0
  118. Ooooh, tough choice. Dragons are always neat, but world-building rocks my socks as well. Hmmm. Perhap our lovely proffessors can intertwine the two? Dragons have been around for -quite- some time in the MUniverse, after all.

    Of course, if dragon hybrids are chosen, who’s to say we won’t move on to other hybrids, like elves, orcs, demigods, or…demons?

    Current score: 0
    • fka_luddite says:

      … or government bred hybrids as weapons?

      Current score: 0
  119. Readaholic says:

    Dragon/humanoid hybrids, please, Ms Erin.
    Ooh, and cracking good idea for the class. I think Hart may (unwillingly) learn something from this which I think he needs to learn. Though next time around I will probably vote for Hart’s topic, as Hall needs to learn too.

    Current score: 0
  120. spoonybrad says:

    thylians

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    • spoonybrad says:

      even though I wouldn’t mind following up on that “how do dragonborn shape the modern world?
      vote for it and you’ll find out.” bit lol

      Current score: 0
  121. Krey says:

    Totally gotta go for Thylean exploration, though I’m fairly interested in hearing about the dragons too. Maybe a later class?

    Current score: 0
  122. b says:

    Go dragons always dragons

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  123. Sulenda says:

    Dragon/humanoid hybrids. I’m sure they’re relevant to both the present day and the Thylean exploration. Dragons have been around a long time.

    Current score: 0
  124. Jane says:

    Both!
    Oh, we have to choose? Thylean age of exploration first, then.

    Current score: 0
  125. Laszlo says:

    caught a misspelled word

    Obviously it’s not quite as straighforward as that.
    should be
    Obviously it’s not quite as straightforward as that.
    ——————————————————–

    And at this late date, I vote for dragons.

    Current score: 0
  126. fka_luddite says:

    Without the chance to prep, it is unlikely the students will be able to contribute anything except lore to either topic.

    Current score: 0
  127. katrina says:

    I vote DRAGONS πŸ™‚

    the following continues to be my favorite quote from Tales of MU:

    In the beginning, there were dragons.

    And it was good.

    Current score: 0
  128. Yay, Hart!

    Also, I think Hall and AE both threw in “Dragon/humanoid hybrids” knowing they’d sweep the popular vote =P

    Current score: 0
  129. Kitari says:

    I have to put my vote in for dragon/humanoid hybrids.

    Current score: 0
  130. Daryl says:

    They did move around to an actual example eventual.

    Should be ‘eventually’.

    Whoops, never mind. Someone already found it.

    Current score: 0
  131. Kiraya says:

    Hoo, this makes me glad I only ever had one jointly-taught class (and that with one professor clearly more in control).

    Decisions, decisions! While both sound thoroughly interesting, I’m going to have to go with the Thyleans — and hope to hear more about dragon/humanoid hybrids in OTs.

    Current score: 0
  132. Silver says:

    +1 for Thylean age of exploration.

    I get enough bickering about (and between) Dragonkin in my weekly D&D game. Also, less likely to come up in the normal course of events.

    Current score: 0
  133. Dante says:

    Dragons. Definitely dragons.

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  134. Dwight says:

    I was going to vote dragons based on my personal bias, but when someone pointed out that kin and kindred would delve in to that already… ok, so I can’t quite see where the exploration is leading, but I’m sure it’ll pan out. So 1 for exploration.

    Current score: 0
  135. Angel says:

    First time commenter, and I vote for Thyleans πŸ™‚ I love your stories Ms Erin, so beautifully written!

    Current score: 0
  136. Khavren says:

    Why so much love for dragon/hybrids? After all, they properly belong to history instead of lore since the dragons exist to interview directly.

    Current score: 0
  137. ylistra says:

    Doesn’t matter what the topic is. I’d be filling out a drop form for this class by the end of the hour. There’s no possible way you could impress both teachers enough to merit an A.

    Current score: 0
    • Time Kitten says:

      Myself was thinking of writing up a storybook with historical footnotes. Providing use of lore in an entertaining matter, with the dry facts for anyone that likes the history.

      Current score: 0
  138. Shaun O'Braun says:

    “They did move around to an actual example eventual.”
    Last word should be “eventually”. The vote’s over, but I likely would have voted for the human/dragon hybrids too. πŸ˜‰

    Current score: 0
  139. Arakano says:

    I know I am late and all, and I think the vast majority got the reference, but just to make sure:

    Thule was the ancient name for the Northlands (it is debated whether for Norway or Iceland), so Thyleans would indeed be somewhat similar to Vikings if we go by the name. πŸ˜‰

    And yes, you may call me Captain Obvious. *blush*

    Current score: 0
  140. BMeph says:

    Also egregiously late, so to reinforce it, I’ll throw in an awful pun!

    As much as I respect Professor Hart, (though I do not not respect Professor Hall), voting for the northmen feels a little “Thyle(an)” to me.

    Current score: 0
  141. Matthew says:

    I vote the non-dragon option. More chance to build the mythology there. Also,the dragon-human hybrids, while perhaps important later, are @ present coming off a little too . . . David Icke.

    Current score: 0
  142. Anthony says:

    Yay! We finally introduce Hall! This is my second read-through, and Hall has always been my favorite professor (at least since he was introduced.)

    I really don’t see why so many people seem to hate him. And I’m not so sure that Mackenzie is right about him being oblivious. Rather, he seems like a guy who knows that the best response to someone being obnoxious and sarcastic is to just ignore it with dignity, and he does until Hart’s hostility level grows uncomfortably high.

    Current score: 0
  143. keyonte0 says:

    It should’ve been a given that having two teachers from rival disciplines lecturing the same class simultaneously would be a clusterfuck. What the hell is wrong with the Chancellor?

    Current score: 0
  144. velinath says:

    Hey,

    Just dropping a note – I noticed the sentence “They did move around to an actual example eventual.”, and I would imagine “eventual” should be replaced with “eventually”.

    I’m really enjoying the story so far. I started from the beginning of volume 1 a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been enormously entertaining.

    Current score: 0