OT: Epistolary 6

on February 8, 2013 in Other Tales

Astera 14th, 179

Samuel Cross: I Am The Magisterius Half-Demon

by Eugene Harlowe

For the past two years, rumors have circulated on the campus of Magisterius Univeristy that one student has been carrying a dark secret: that he or she was a half-demon. I am here to tell you that the rumors are true. I’ve met the half-demon. He approached me last year and we got to know each other over the course of a research project. Now, at my urging, he has decided to allow me to introduce him to all of you.

Some of you, of course, already know him. Samuel Cross is not an imposing man, but he is a memorable one. He cuts a rakish figure despite his excellent manners. He’s quiet in large groups, but has a quick wit and a keen mind. His instructors—who have long known his secret—speak of him in similar terms as his friends do.

Samuel’s mother was a demon. His father was an unknown human. He grew up in a former military orphanage, until he came of the age when his half-demon nature manifested.

“A demon’s child is like a cuckoo’s egg,” as he explains it. “They’re indistinguishable from humans, until they reach adulthood. Half-demons ‘turn’ quicker, as we approach adolescence.”

When that happened, he was forced out of the orphanage and had to spend several years learning to fend for himself on the road. It was there that he blossomed, under the tutelage of the late “Sir” Banjo Thrupenny Lintwhistle, a bard who perished later in an unrelated quest.

“Sir Banjo taught me to read and write and calculate beyond the basic level I’d learned at the orphanage,” Samuel tells me. “But more than that, he taught me respect. Respect for myself and for other human beings. It’s in that spirit that I have chosen to reveal myself to the rest of the student body, trusting in their decency to treat me no differently than any other person of human blood.”

While he is hopeful that the better celestials of humanity’s nature will win out, he does hold some trepidation. He knows that not everyone is prepared to accept a half-demon as their equal.

“I’ve experienced [discrimination] before, and it was terrible,” he says. “Not just the immediate practical effects, losing a home or being attacked and having to defend oneself without hurting others. There’s an emotional toll that comes with it, a spiritual toll. It wears you down. When people pour hatred over you, it can erode your soul. It threatens to turn you into what they already fear, or something even worse.”

What could be worse than being the monster that others fear him to be?

“Becoming the monsters that they are.”

Samuel Cross is a junior. He is pursuing both a Bachelor of Arcana in Illusion and a Bachelor of Skill in Secrecy Studies. When he graduates, he hopes to become an adventurer like his mentor, Sir Banjo.

“I’d like to see the world,” Samuel says. “But more than that, I’d like to make it a better place.”

Astera 21st, 179

Note: The Gazetteer has received an unusually high volume of mail in response to our latest issue, and accordingly we’ve allotted more space for reader reactions. Not everything that we received is scribable or fit for public discourse, but we have tried to represent all sides here and to leave adequate space for students who wish to discuss other issues as well. After all, university life doesn’t grind to a halt just because one story made a splash.

Why Now?

The question I would have liked to ask Samuel Cross is why he would come out into the open now after remaining anonymous for two years. If he’d done it for that long he could have lasted two years longer and then none would have been the wiser when he’d left. I’m not saying I’m for or against him, I’m just curious about the timing.

-Gerald McCoy, Sophomore

Because Elves And Dwarves Are Known For Working Together

Anyone on The Gazetteer’s staff—any freshman who can hold a pen—would have been a better choice to interview the half-demon Samuel Cross than that jelly golem Eugene Harlowe. He’s more of an advocate for anti-human causes than a real reporter. Was this supposed to be journalism or a puff piece for pure evil? Wake up, people! Your media is controlled by elven magic and dwarven gold. If liberal rags like The Gazetteer have their way, we’ll all be slaves in the mines or an elven pleasure-garden, if we aren’t offered up as snacks to something worse.

-Mike Stacey, Junior

Smoking Out The Truth

As interesting as it was to read the interview with student Samuel Cross, I feel it was conspicuous that Mr. Harlowe did not ask him about any involvement he may or may not have with the demon who has twice attacked our school. Maybe there is no connection but it seems to me that a half-demon child must have a demon parent. Where there’s smoke there’s fire and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

-Colin Banks, Sophomore

A Note From The Editor:

Our reporter did in fact ask Mr. Cross if he was any relation to the demon, and the answer was no. I made the choice to axe that line for space because it didn’t seem to be that interesting. If he’d said yes, it would have been a different story. Obviously there’s room to disagree.

-Ed Hart, Editor-In-Chief

Move With The Times

I for one don’t understand all the hubbub surrounding our half-demon student. A man who attends classes for two years without any incidents of violence is not going to suddenly become more dangerous just because we know that he’s there. After all, as he pointed out in his interview, we’ve suspected for a long time. Why would people who were perfectly fine knowing that there might be a half-demon lurking in their dorm or sitting beside them in class suddenly afraid for their lives now that they know where he is and what he looks like? It’s purely irrational and not at all in keeping with the fine intellectual traditions of a top-flight university here. This is the second century, people! Get with the program.

-Mark Edwards, Senior

Suffrage Not

If I have to read about the doings of suffragists on my campus, I would prefer it to be as part of an arrest report and not a so-called “Campus Happening.” Why do we tolerate this kind of licentious immorality in our midsts? I expect an equal or greater amount of attention to be given to the bake sale by Ladies Against Senseless Suffrage, or I will have to call into question this newspaper’s supposed objectivity.

-Ceridwen LaBelle, Sophomore

A Wolf Among The Fold

Man’s law—even the emperor’s word—-cannot trump the divinely revealed word of Khersis Dei through his incarnation Lord Khersis, and in this word the descendants of demons are irredeemably damned, given over to gluttonous lusts that will surely destroy them, though not before they have plenty of time to do harm to others. We should expel this wolf who enrolled here in sheep’s clothing before he takes us all down to hell with him.

-Brennan Daniels, Sophomore

The Right To Know

I suppose I don’t mind if a half-demon attends university, if he isn’t killing anyone, but shouldn’t we have been informed? If he has the right to go to school wherever he pleases, don’t we have the right to go to a school that doesn’t have half-demons?

-Joseph Kyle, Freshman

Not Surprised

Why is anyone surprised that a half-demon would be admitted to a university where half-elves freely and openly roam the grounds? This isn’t the beginning of the end, it’s just more of the same. No matter how many wards are placed around the walls, the gates were flung open wide the first moment the purity of the school was thrown away in the name of so-called “progress.” I don’t give it half a century before our grandchildren are forced to rub elbows with all manner of demihuman and subhuman races.

-Ceridwen LaBelle, Senior

Human Blood, Human Soul

Samuel Cross may be a half-demon, but we need to remember that in the eyes of Khersis there is no such thing as a half-human. The Librum says “I am the Father of all Humanity, all born in Human blood are born in me.” Samuel is heir to the blessings of Khersis the same as any human is, and must be accorded the same rights if we are to call ourselves a Khersian nation and call ourselves good Khersians.

We need to respect each other’s rights, including the right to privacy. Would anyone know or care that there is a half-demon on campus if he’d had some assurance he would be left alone to attend class in peace otherwie?

-Lizbet Bohd, Freshman

Not Interested

The most important thing in the interview with Samuel Cross is the part where it says he is in excellent academic standing and has never been accused of any crime. That being the case, why are we even talking about why this guy is here? Yawn! Let’s move on to something more interesting, like what the administration is going to do about the suffragist ring that’s been infiltrating our campus, especially given the riots in Westphale.

-Michael Stephens, Junior

Hypocrisy Is In The Blood

It’s surprising to hear so much talk of human purity around campus, given how one prominent local family is known to have mixed with all manner of races both humanoid and otherwise before they became “respectable”. Remember that a half-demon isn’t the only kind of hybrid that can look fully human. If we were to try to make this a school for pure humans only, how many of us would really be left?

-Dolph Sigurson

How Hard, Indeed?

I want to know why so much time and space and ink is spent talking about one student when no one is answering the burning questions about this university’s incompetence. Last spring I received another student’s grades in at least one class for the sixth consecutive semester. How hard is it to tell one person from another, I ask you? I would think that some kind of academic leniency would be offered to students who are victims of such a mix-up.

-Ceridwen LaBelle, Junior

Protest Overcharge

What is the deal with all these groups on campus having protests and counter-protests every other day of the week? It’s really getting out of hand. I don’t want to sound namby-pamby but it seems like only a matter of time before two rival groups get too far into each other’s faces and it comes to blows. I feel like I should be protesting the noise and clutter, but then I’d be part of the problem. Am I the only one who’s here to go to classes and get an education?

-Justin Cauley

Presented Without Comment

Half-demon students, ladies in the men’s library, men in ladies’ dorms… what is this school coming to? The day will come when we shan’t be safe in one another’s beds!

-Julia du Lapin, Junior

The Office of The Chancellor
Magisterius University

Dear Sir or Madame,

I have been a loyal servant and teacher to this school since its inception. I was the first (and for decades, the only) female professor, the first (and still only) non-human professor, and I look upon the continuity of my years of service here as a source of pride. Indeed, even before the institution of tenure, I had every intention of staying with this university from its first day of classes until its last, hopefully many centuries hence.

Thus it is with a profound sense of regret that I must now inform you that recent events have me considering for the first time whether I should simply tender my resignation, or stay and fight against the enormity of the changes that I perceive to be overtaking it. Is this place of learning to be a sanctuary for monsters? Is this bastion to human achievement to become a tomb for humans? Will you bring the best and brightest that your race has to offer together and offer them up like lambs for the slaughter?

I know what the law says, but I can’t imagine its framers intended to force you to give shelter and succor to the beast, to the most ancient and dangerous enemy of man. Though I am elf, few living know better than I the depredations of demonkind. My husband, a good and virtuous man whose name I am proud to bear to this day, was slain by a demon, a veritable devil, a wolf who came to him as this supposed scholar comes to you now, clad in the raiment of sheep. It was my husband alone who bore the cost of this error. I ask you, how many will pay with their lives for the vanity of so-called progressive virtues?

Please, I entreat you to reconsider.

Ariadne Einhorn

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69 Responses to “OT: Epistolary 6”

  1. N. says:

    Was surprised to see Bohd in the list. Alumn? Hmm. And with so many recognizable names, wonder how many of the innocuous ones are actually references I didn’t catch.

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    • Anne says:

      somewhat… then again maybe not.

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    • Oni says:

      That one really did surprise me. Frankly, I thought that she was older. I’ve been cross-referencing some of the names, and it seems that you can check into MU but you can never leave. Then again, in comparison to most of the human settlements that we’ve heard about, the MU area seems to be much more interesting.

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  2. s marchfield says:

    Most interesting to see that Ms. Einhorn hasn’t changed her tune in over 200 years. And is Lizabet Bohd any relation to Proffesor (sp? I wish this had spell check) Bohd?

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    • Zukira Phaera says:

      Thinking the same Bohd, Lizabet would be a nickname for Elizabeth. Makes the last lines of This chapter a bit more telling in retrospect.

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      • Eris Harmony says:

        Given that I’d say at minimum relation, possibly the same Bohd. And it would certainly give her a reason to weigh in, if she had (or knew someone with) demonic heritage.

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  3. Sejemaset says:

    I loved how there were several different LaBelles in their all with the same name and in different years. Especially the one complaining about getting the wrong persons grades.

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    • Brenda says:

      Yes, that made it easier to notice this line:

      “It’s surprising to hear so much talk of human purity around campus, given how one prominent local family is known to have mixed with all manner of races both humanoid and otherwise before they became “respectable”.”

      I wonder what family that might be!

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  4. RealityExcursion says:

    I love the snark in some of the titles the editor put on the letters. “Presented without comment,” indeed.

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    • 'Nym-o-maniac says:

      Ha! I’d missed that the editors titled those. That explains a lot. “Because elves and dwarves are known for working together,” heh.

      And I’d missed the joke in Julia’s editorial, too. Very entertaining- is she the Julia of the previous stories? I can’t for the life of me remember her last name.

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      • Sapphite says:

        I think it is the same Julia – she’d know about all three of those, and it sounds like her kind of snark.

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        • 'Nym-o-maniac says:

          Yeah, my guess is she is indeed that Julia.

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  5. 'Nym-o-maniac says:

    Oh my word.

    Ceridwen LaBelle! Three of them, even! Lizbet Bohd! All sorts of fun familiar names here…

    And this Dolph Sigurson guy sure seems to know about the LaBelles.

    All in all, this was an extraordinarily juicy and interesting chapter.

    Also, laughing at all the Ceridwen LaBelles here.

    And EINHORN!


    I knew that she’d do something. This does not bode well.

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    • Kay says:

      Perhaps, in a few decades, it will at least Bohd better.

      I noticed a Banks in there, too. The devil is in the details, so to speak.

      I’ll stop now. 🙂

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    • Zukira Phaera says:

      Dolph Sigurson…. for some reason I want to think he is a dwarf. I’m not even sure why just now but it feels right.

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      • 'Nym-o-maniac says:

        Yeah, it really has that sound to it. I actually searched the name to see if there was a dwarf with that name in the story before, but I guess not.

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        • Hasufin says:

          I think it sounds that way because of the -son. I seem to recall that the male dwarves we’ve seen have been -sons. Which would fit with dwarven culture, inasmuch as the don’t acknowledge the other sex for the most part. however, I’d point out that multiple human cultures have independently come up with some variant on -son and -daughter nomenclature, so it’s not probative.

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      • TheTurnipKing says:

        Sounds Viking-esque. For some reason I’m thinking of Pala and the giants.

        Giants, dwarves and vikings all have that kind of Norse mythology root, right?

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  6. Khazidhea says:

    I’ve only just caught up with the story, and I had a few questions about recent events. Sorry if they’ve been asked and answered elsewhere, I’ve mostly been enjoying the story without reading the comments.

    1) I thought Mackenzie was meant to be going ranger (commando) this week, did she forget or did they postpone it?
    2) Similarly I thought Mack and Amaranth were planning on going moss collecting during the week, before the weekend (ch 100)
    3) Has the Hart & Hall class been dropped?
    4) Having just read through Mack’s classes with Callahan this week, it seems that there are still some continuity issues which made things a bit confusing while reading, as the coach says that the admin issues were cleared up over the weekend, and gives a 5 day plan for the rest of the week.
    5) Roughly how tall is Mack? In chapter 102 it says that Pala is over 9 feet tall, and in 103 it says she is almost 5 feet taller than Mack. On casual reading this would put Mack between 4 and 5 feet, and though there is some leeway I pictured Mack being a little taller.
    6) A bit of a request here, I’d enjoy to hear a bit more about the studies of Mack’s friends, nothing full on, just the odd comment every now and then over meals about their classes of the day, what they enjoyed/learned/disliked etc. It’s hard to picture the study life and interests of most of the group, apart from Steff and Ian somewhat, and while within the story these stories may be taking place with Mack possibly glossing over the details of the others, it often feels like Mack is the only one sharing her class details with the group.

    Thanks for clearing up any of these details I’m curious about, and even if none of these get answered I thank you for the work you’ve done creating an enjoyable world and an entertaining story.

    Also a typo: “some assurance he would be left alone to attend class in peace otherwie?” Otherwise is missing the ‘s’

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    • zeel says:

      1. I think she forgot

      2. I am not sure when they are doing it, I think it is in the following week though.

      3. I think she has simply glossed over them, “My other class wasn’t interesting. . . blah. . .” Kind of thing.

      4. I think there is actually a continuity error, isn’t there a note at the top of one of the chapters?

      5. It is mentioned many times that she is quite short.

      6. As would I.

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    • Yeah, I still need to paste in the continuity fixes for the class order error… I have existential dread when it comes to editing. They’ll be fixed soon, as I’m doing much better at managing my anxiety.

      Your question about Mackenzie’s height is really a question about Pala’s height, since that what you’ve based your estimate on. Mackenzie’s canonical height is about 5’6″. I don’t understand how you have Pala pegged as being no greater than 10 feet tall from an offhand benchmark of her as “over nine feet tall”. I mean if someone told you a giant was over twenty feet tall, would you say they were wrong if it turned out the giant was twenty-two feet tall? Obviously there’s a cut off where you wouldn’t expect a person described as being over six feet tall to be, say, ten feet tall, but once we’re outside the realm of ordinary human proportions, I think taking a statement of “over” to be anything other than a floor is a bit odd.

      (I don’t have a firmly fixed exact height for Pala when she’s standing up straight, because I imagine she rarely does… there are two other people in the apartment with me right now who have fairly disparate heights, and I vary from being the shortest to being the tallest depending on how I’m feeling. If I had to canonize a height for her, I’d say she’d be in the realm of twelve feet, all told, when she draws herself up to her full height. But expecting someone to peg that at a glance would be weird.)

      You might notice that Mackenzie and Amaranth often make plans that they don’t follow through on, due to a combination of actual circumstances (like unexpectedly hostile buildings) and forgetfulness.

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      • Khazidhea says:

        Sorry if my (perhaps poor) choice of wording was interpreted to put limits on Pala’s height, I noticed the ‘over’ 9 feet and had the understanding that that could also mean over 10 feet but was just using that as a recent baseline to ask for clarifications on Mack’s height, which was potentially lower than my impression of roughly five and a half feet.

        I wasn’t intending to use two stray bits of text as the definitive guide to either of their heights, especially as the wording used is of the imprecise nature as would be used with estimatation. In my mind I could be see it being plausible for Mack to know Pala’s exact height (measurement spell out of curiosity, general talk from around campus if it was perhaps a point of detail from her gladiator matches etc) which could change the nature of the comparison, but I wasn’t taking it that way, and nothing from within the story that suggests that to be the case.

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      • King of GAR Johan says:

        two other people in the apartment with me right now who have fairly disparate heights, and I vary from being the shortest to being the tallest depending on how I’m feeling

        I’m… not sure I understand this. Perhaps I have a different understanding of the word “disparate”, or perhaps “height”? 😛

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        • Cadnawes says:

          I believe Alexandra is saying she’s been known to slouch a bit.

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      • Hasufin says:

        I will say that I would not have assumed Pala to be over ten feet tall. “Typical” ceilings (in a 100% human, no non-human sentients, European-style frame construction, and a huge number of other assumptions) are generally about 10′ tall. While Pala’s height is mentioned, she’s not typically depicted as having to stoop. Since – as nothing was mentioned to the contrary – I assume the buildings have roughly the same proportions as typical buildings here – it is at times emphasized they’re made for humans without too much thought for people who are of wildly different sizes – then I assume Pala is able to stand in most rooms, albeit rather closer to the ceiling than most people.

        1) On several occasions you have mentioned that construction methods here are not what we use in our world.
        2) 10′ is a typical ceiling height; I live in a house right now in which the largest room has a ceiling between 12′ and 16′ high.
        3) Differences in ceiling height might have been mentioned and I failed to notice.
        4) Pala’s exact height has never been relevant – it has not mattered whether she is 9’6″, 9’8″, or 11’9″. Her height is, as far as I can tell, tall but not so tall that she has significant difficulty functioning in human-sized buildings.

        Current score: 0
        • Oni says:

          Personally speaking, I always picture Pala a little slouched in most buildings. You make an interesting point about typical room sizes and the expectations you might have (including period and style). My family home (in New England, circa roughly 1950) is what would have been considered rather large for the time but has the typical ceiling height of 8′. As another point, most purpose-built schools that I’ve been in have typically been around the 10′ or 12′ mark (gradeschools and highschools, specifically; universities have not been along these lines); my 1st grade classroom actually had a mezzanine level in a quarter of it. Now living in London, most buildings that I see that would appear to be “contemporary” to the MU universe are somewhere about the 8′-10′ mark, or jump to 20’+. To cut my rambling short; I picture that many of the dormitory and modern-construction MU buildings are likely around 10′, whereas the larger classrooms (lecture halls, etc), physical education rooms, perhaps some lab rooms, and the mess halls likely are up there in the 12’+ range.

          As an amusing, but even further-drifting final word, in my college town on the French-Canadian border there was a converted nunnery serving as apartments and elderly housing, and much of the original areas of it were under 6′. The door to the basement was barely over 4′, and this was not something that was considered “miniature” for the people who built it.

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        • shine says:

          I’d always pictured her as taller. So much so that it didn’t make sense for me that Mack was able to poke her in the neck with a staff thrust. I think at one point she mentioned that the hallway connecting the dorms was one of the few indoor places she could stand up without bumping into the ceiling.

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  7. Sapphite says:

    Delightful – kept laughing so much my fiancée had to ask why.

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  8. Anne says:

    Did anyone notice that Ed Hart is the editor of the paper? Is he any relation to Prof Hart that is teaching the class that Mack goes to? Also when are we going to see another session of this class?

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    • CLT says:

      Now that is a good catch…

      Isn’t Prof. Hart also the ‘Local Histories’ teacher? Would make sense if him (or his family) had been in the area for a few centuries. I don’t know if any non-human ancestry was stated for Hart, so if he’s pure human, it wouldn’t be the same man, but there are many potential mixes that would leave him looking Human with a much longer life span (as we’ve learned).

      As an aside, I have a suspicion that Mr. Embries has not yet taken up residence as Vice Chancellor. I highly doubt that Einhorn would see fit to send a veiled threat to the administration in regards to ‘monsters’ if he was.

      Also, I find it hilarious that Einhorn is so out of touch, that she doesn’t even know who the current Chancellor is, or even their gender.

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      • Jane says:

        Maybe she’s so out of touch, she’s overlooked a dragon?

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        • 'Nym-o-maniac says:

          It’s neither; the Vice Chancellor was brought in after the riots that razed the campus, remember? In order to prevent that from ever happening again? We’re seeing the build-up to those riots now, so no Embries.

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      • Dzen says:

        Well, Einhorn is allowed to be out of touch- for someone of her life span, “Chancellor” is about equivalent in tenure to “Intern.”

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      • Morten says:

        Professor Hart teaches Early Republican History. He has no use for local history since the early republic didn’t stretch this far west. But I can’t actually remember his first name. It might be the same guy – seems like the same sense of humour and he is usually engaged in racial politics and has a positive attitude to Mack’s heritage.

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        • Zukira Phaera says:

          Mack era MU’s Hart’s name is Aaron.

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      • old sage says:

        I’d think this is a typical Einhorn,responce.
        She’s a very ‘bitter’ widow, who has totally lionised her deceased husband. She’s lived so long even at this point in time… she cares not for anyone who is her acedemic better. A total bigot to her core.

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      • Krey says:

        I assumed the Hart class was finished since the story glossed over a summer and jumped into a new school year. Dunno about your university, but most of my classes only lasted a semester.

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        • 'Nym-o-maniac says:

          Yes, but she’s taking another Hart class this semester, remember? The one that’s the union class between the bardic arts and history departments where the other professor was one of Jaimie’s profs in Tales of MU and the professors keep sniping at each other?

          Current score: 0
  9. erratio says:

    LOL at the Ceridwen LaBelles

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  10. Month says:

    I could almost here the chuckles of the writer, while I read this chapter.

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  11. Ken says:

    I love this story. This OT series is bringing some great back story to university history and the history of Mac’s demon daddy.

    I think I found an error and a awkward sentence in the piece from Lizbet Boyd:

    “Would anyone know or care that there is a half-demon on campus if he’d had some assurance he would be left alone to attend class in peace otherwie?”

    I think this is intended to say that we (the students) should be assured that the half demon is safe. The administration would not have accepted his application otherwise. It seems that the sentence starts out about the student body and ends up being about Samuel.

    This is an interesting link to her (if this is the same part-demon Boyd) and how she is also harmless by the same standard.

    Oh, and “otherwie” should probably be “otherwise”.

    Current score: 0
  12. Readaholic says:

    Loved the letters to the Editor, with the various familiar names.
    Interesting comment about the suffrage and anti-suffrage groups and protests. Sounds like there was a lot more that contributed to that riot than just one half-demon, Ariadne Einhorn’s fixed views on the subject notwithstanding.
    Given the points in previous episodes about the Man using MU’s lack of wards against the undead to use undead minions to mess with stuff inside the campus, I’m beginning to think Ariadne might be right about her husband’s death after all.

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  13. Zathras IX says:

    Samuel Cross is
    The Magisterius Half-
    Demon of rumor

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  14. adsfadsfadfs says:

    “The Right To Know

    I suppose I don’t mind if a half-demon attends university, if he isn’t killing anyone, but shouldn’t we have been informed? If he has the right to go to school wherever he pleases, don’t we have the right to go to a school that doesn’t have half-demons?”

    this is pretty reasonable. it isn’t really racism when you’re afraid because somebody like mac actually might and did forget when her period is and as a result lose control and eat on a classmate. oops.

    Its more like wanting to know if your classmate has both a concealed carry permit and required anti psychotics. he may be normal most of the time, potentially all the time, and he may be a pretty good guy…unless say a freak blizzard dumps 3 feet of snow and a state wide travel ban prevents him from getting his refill so he figures he can skip a day or 2 off his meds but no reason not to attend all his classes anyway.

    Granted Sam doesn’t seem to have that sort of problem since he is surrounded by people too old to trigger a feeding frenzy

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    • Hasufin says:

      To me this seemed maybe an allusion to certain claims for why it’s necessary to “out” gays – that you should have a right to know if there’s a “potential child rapist” next door, and you have a right to not live next to one. But, Samuel is a great example here – *some* demonbloods might be dangerous, but there’s no reason to believe that a particular demonblood is dangerous – Samuel actually CAN’T get any sustenance by being dangerous and scary, Bohd was at her worst caught chewing on someone’s hair, and even Mack isn’t terribly likely to kill anyone even when she’s starved. Similarly with gays, yes, SOME pedophiles are gay, but it doesn’t follow that being gay means or even suggests someone is a pedophile; the argument hides prejudice in a veil of public safety.

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      • Oni says:

        Well, asides from the fact that gay males; as a general rule; do not go on a batcrap-insane “spelunking spree” if they remain celibate for more than a month.

        This is a situation that does rather drift into the “you left a few tidbits out of the brochure” zone. Even in the current-era MU-verse, a half-demon student is kind of a “thing.” I can only imagine how much more of an issue it would be for a society that still expects segregated libraries.

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        • carson says:

          I attended college in the late 80s. The argument seemed very like the discussions about whether HIV+ students should be outed that were happening about that time.

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          • Ken says:

            There is some support to the students argument that they should be informed. Demons (even half blood) prey on humans. It is part of their nature.

            In some ways that makes them more dangerous and one could argue that there should be some form of forewarning and consent before coming to a school with that environment.

            It might be included in the materials in the “future/present” MU brochure. Buried in with the rules to carry magic weapons and stay on the paths.

            That was one thing that caught my attention to this story. It was interesting to read about a students first day and having to show a magic weapon as part of the intake process.

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          • Oni says:

            Oh, I don’t disagree with the parallels; there are a whole basketful of real-world groups, cultures and practices that have had this argument to one degree or another. The whole “human blood, human rights” idea alone can be compared to desegregation in the United States.

            My point is that in this fantasy situation, there are legitimate concerns that can be raised that do not exist in real world history. There was no case-study to show that desegregation would result in TWP (toxic watermelon poisoning), homosexuals on campus would require chaste individuals to wear chastity belts, or that the presence of Jews in a formerly Christian school would result in a 1 in 666 chance of being struck down by the angry callused-knuckled fist of God.

            An individual with (apparently) and degree of demon heritage poses a distinct possibility of the individual losing control of basic natural instincts and eating other people alive. Also a bad situation, because without enchanted weapons or adequate combat magic the victims would be effectively helpless to defend against the threat (stripped of magic and weapons, I rather doubt that there is anyone on campus who could stop Mack in a worst case scenario).

            This argument ignores humanity that a demon-blooded individual might possess, but the point is that the individuals of this time period (almost) unanimously deny that any such thing exists. Even if the “human blood, human rights” law exists at this time (I haven’t peeked back to double check), it certainly isn’t considered relevant by the region’s population.

            Also, we’re dealing with college students here, so basically…. kids.

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      • Nocker says:

        Hell of a late reply but Mackenzie has gone psycho-cannibal like three times by this point in the story and has had urges even more frequently.

        Sam MIGHT be a bit safer but that’s because he keeps himself on an even tighter leash and is terrified of what could happen. Because there’s no misunderstanding here, he has a literal unending urge to eat human flesh and he’s painfully aware of this.

        Even Bohd wound up flying off the handle and trying to bite a dude’s head off. So of the three infernal students we’ve seen, two have gone off the handle and one ended in tragedy anyway. Statistically, all but one demonblood students lives have ended in tragedy already.

        Some pedophiles might be gay, but MOST demonbloods try to kill people.

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  15. Hasufin says:

    I’m rather intrigued by Einhorn’s letter. It suggests to me there’s rather more to the story of her husband’s death than she or the rangers’ report has led us to believe. Indeed, I get the impression that she KNEW the demon or half-demon that she believes to have killed her husband.

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    • Tim says:

      I’m too lazy to go back and look it up, but I believe that one of the Law guys was talking to Mack about Ariadne’s husband, and he was torn apart in the manner of a ghoul attack to most everyone else’s eyes.

      Ariadne is the only one who insisted, and still insists on believing that it was a demon attack. My guess is that her husband was doing some sort of research into demons, maybe to the point where he got the chance to actually talk to/interview one. Ariadne possibly knew about the demon and was terrified at the idea of her husband talking to it. However, since it’s completely against the law to have any traffic with demons, if she had pointed this out to the investigators, she could have been prosecuted for the crime, or as an accessory.

      Then, whether or not his death was murder by demon, or accidental by ghouls, she’s convinced now that the demon had something to do with her husband’s death.

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      • Hasufin says:

        I think it was Steff who looked into it, but could be wrong. Regardless, yes, that was the impression we’ve been given in the past – Ariadne insists that her husband was killed by a demon; the official report says it was pretty clearly ghouls.

        What makes me wonder, though, is this sentence: “My husband, a good and virtuous man whose name I am proud to bear to this day, was slain by a demon, a veritable devil, a wolf who came to him as this supposed scholar comes to you now, clad in the raiment of sheep.”
        That is, she’s alluding to a specific act of treachery by a specific person, and under specific circumstances. While she now bears general hatred for all demons and demonbloods, it wasn’t a random unknown element that she believes killed her husband.

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        • Don says:

          In fairness, we’ve seen that the officials who write the official reports are not at all reluctant to hide the truth and deal with issues on the QT, up to an including letting the perpetrators be eaten by a certain dragon. So what the reports say about a ghoul attack might be about as indicative of Einhorn being wrong as the price of tea in China.

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  16. Another Greg says:

    Lest we forget about Prof. Bohd, “Bohd herself had both infernal and djinn ancestry…” (chapter 36). She’s of a long lived ancestry as well.


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    • Ducky says:

      If she suffers from the same divinity issues that Mack does, she could not be as faithful a Khersian as the Lizbet writing in to the paper is. Mack’s tongue was burnt when she tried to pray for help and guidance; it follows that Bohd would probably feel some sort of discomfort. My guess at the moment is that Lizbet is the professor’s female ancestor of some sort.

      Also, was Bohd an ifrit or a djinn? I remember she’s one and Twyla’s the other…

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      • 'Nym-o-maniac says:

        She was djinn; Twyla was ifrit.

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      • Zukira Phaera says:

        Conviction and faith have to be in the invocation of the term. Lizbet’s letter didn’t involve prayer, just the use of the word, rather than the Word. Mack’s tongue got burnt in an invocation of Word, rather than word. Lizbet doing the same would have less risk due (at least I imagine) but what it boils down to is the actual faith or lack there of, is it a name or a Name, noun or pronoun. I hope I’m not being too obtuse but what I’m trying to say is sometimes it boils down to a matter of degrees. (I hope that makes sense, my brain isn’t braining well today.)

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  17. OhPun says:

    I love so many things about this chapter, most of which have been mentioned by others. The one thing that hasn’t is Einhorn’s amazing ability to offhandedly insult others.

    The Office of The Chancellor
    Magisterius University

    Dear Sir or Madame,

    I really got a chuckle out of the fact that she can’t be bothered to know the Chancellor’s name or gender. “Occupant” is totally insulting. That’s a sure way to influence people to your point of view.

    Excellent writing.

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    • Don says:

      That was my favorite bit too. Not only did she not think it worth her time to look up the name of who is in the position but she hasn’t even deigned to notice them well enough to perceive their apparent gender.

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  18. Author_Unknown says:

    I’m a bit confused. Einhorn says she has been here since the beginning, however other letter imply that the university was once human only? Can anyone clarify?

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  19. Sleet says:

    I love that Samuel was taught puppeteering by Banjo. Praise Banjo!

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    • 'Nym-o-maniac says:

      Heh, yeah, I thought that was cute, too.

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  20. holodrum says:

    @oni, well very few humans could stop Mack without magic or sanctity, but your statement ignores Coach Jill (combat experience), Mr. Embries (physical superiority), Steff(or other elves who can Dodge long enough to let Mack wear herself out), Pala (similar to Embries), and I’m probably forgetting a few.

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    • Oni says:

      Ah, a response alla way down here: You’re correct. Jilly Bean could probably smack Mack around all day (or until she eventually gets tired), Embries could dispel the white lies surrounding his existence and swallow her, and the elves could likely run away quickly enough. However, that list basically boils down to two individuals that we can be relatively certain could contain or kill a hulk-smash-level Mack-attack out of a campus of hundreds or thousands, and there’s still the wildcard of Hellfire (odds are that even Jill would die if engulfed in that stuff without protection). My point wasn’t that a half-demon is unstoppable, more than in a worst-case-scenario your average citizen is justified in feeling hopelessly screwed and pants-wettingly afraid.

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  21. Ermarian says:

    I want to know why so much time and space and ink is spent talking about one student when no one is answering the burning questions about this university’s incompetence. Last spring I received another student’s grades in at least one class for the sixth consecutive semester. How hard is it to tell one person from another, I ask you?

    Heh 😀

    The day will come when we shan’t be safe in one another’s beds!

    … ^_^

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    • pedestrian says:

      I for one and all wouldn’t mind receiving the another pedestrian’s grade!

      And if I wanted to hide, huddling together for some slap and tickle is a great idea. Especially on Valentine’s Day.

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  22. holodrum says:

    Yeah, I would’ve replied directly to your comment Oni, but I’m using the Mobile site which doesn’t have a reply button on any of the posts.
    Regardless, I can see your point. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere around when a supernaturally strong demonic entity goes crazy.

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