Practical Exercise, continued

James Jubilation Jackson

The Proctor at the door to the Entrance Hall was entirely fascinated by the images I’d captured.  He took Dairen off to recover. I looked at the signs near the entrance. Apparently, you simply went to the next available faculty member and discussed your plans with him. Dad said most people had very tentative ideas about what they wanted to do or what subjects they needed to take.

I headed down the corridor, passing offices holding new students chatting with faculty members, I finally reached an office holding no students.  A young man sat at a small desk, looking out the door at me and smiling. I smiled back and made a polite bow. Dad said that was usually good etiquette with faculty, and that I would eventually learn who I should treat differently.

“I’m Junior Professor Jackson,” he announced.  “James Jubilation Jackson.”

“Adara Triskittenion.” I repeated my bow.

“Please come in.  There’s a coat hook for your cape and whatever else you are carrying. Umbrella, carryall, whatever.”  I slipped off the cape, lifted my gnothdiar’s belt over my neck, and hung it over my cape on the wall. 

Jackson stared at my sword.  “That’s substantial armament for campus,” he said. “Most students satisfy the always-armed rule with cloth for armor and a penknife for a weapon.”

“I just got here,” I answered, not quite defensively, “and the admission instructions were real emphatic I should be here immediately, even before I unpacked.”  OK, I’d somewhat ignored that instruction.  This Hall wasn’t even open when I arrived on campus.  “Besides, I’ve already had to draw it once.”

“You’ve what?” he said, dismay showing on his face.

I let my gnothdiar replay my encounter on the walk.

“The Four-Fold Way protect us,” Jackson said. “You reported this to a Proctor?” I nodded. “Good. I really thought we’d gotten rid of that behavior, but it seems to come back every so often. The fellow who waved his sword at you will soon face the stark fist of removal. In any event, as you reached me, I’m your academic procedures advisor for your time here, in case something odd comes up.  I’m actually in History. You also eventually get an academic program advisor, but usually not until second quarter.  Practical answer: I’m supposed to discuss with you your course of study, at least your preliminary course choices. The commonest choices are Governance, Trade, Medicine, or the Church.  Though, with your speed, you might be welcome in the Armed Host.”

I’m not that fast, I thought; they were drunk.  “Actually,” I said, “my interest is General Magic.” 

About George Phillies

science fiction author -- researcher in polymer dynamics -- collector of board wargames -- President, National Fantasy Fan Federation
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