Practical Exercise

Previous post apparently jammed and did not release. It is there for the cover.


Kwober’s did indeed have the class schedules with room locations.  I etched a copy of the Academy map into my class notebook, marking where my classes would be.  I’d have to visit them in advance to check that the map was correct.  I then read descriptions of the refectories and the three bars.  ‘Bar’ is misleading; they all had extensive late-night-food menus.  There was a long list of clubs, many of which ate regularly at a fixed table in one refectory or another.  In particular, here was a table for Barlow Academy alumni, which met at dinner in not too long, at the inexpensive refectory – Memories Live — much of the way toward the ocean, someplace near Proscenium Hall.

I also received a small packet of paper from the mandatory History and Morals course.  I was given a description of a series of actions of an estate manager, and told to comment on their morality.  The comments were to be returned to the course lecturer before the first lecture; they would be given back to me at the start of the first class.  I had a week before my answers were due, so I started immediately on considering my answers.

The estate manager was a truly bad person.  He stole money, faked his accounts, plotted against his House, cheated unmen clients, killed several unmen who he claimed were troublemakers, and more.  At the end he did do something right.  There was a forest fire, an unmen small village was surrounded by flames and about to be engulfed, so he gated the unmen and their worldly goods first to the Purple Sea and then to safety elsewere. My paper would discuss each of his actions before the fire.  Some were clearly illegal. Some were violations of family trust.  Some poisoned relations with unmen clients.  For his last deed I discussed at fair length fealty, the unmen giving us certain benefits and in exchange we give them protection.  Protection was most commonly protection from other Houses, some of which treat unmen as animals who think, but here he protected them from death.

Finding the Barlow table was not difficult.  It was not that large, but had Barlow school banners at each end.   It was also quite empty.  I dimly remembered comments at Barlow from student advisors, saying I wouldn’t get into Dorrance, that I wouldn’t like it here, and that I could get as good an education at any number of schools in the far northwest.  None of those schools had much in the way of a library.  For all that they did not like my plans, my parents both said very firmly: “There are a lot of schools where a good man can get an education, but only a few where a man can get a good education,” so I paid the advisors no attention.  However, several good friends who had been admitted here had instead gone off to Lumberpeak Flood Tide, or Innsmarsh, or Mount Roanoke, which all did solid jobs of preparing students for routine work in construction or estate management.  That wasn’t my interest.

As I was finishing eating, four Faculty members sat down at the far end of the table. I stood, politely raised an open hand to summon the glowing Barlow sigil, and bowed.  One of them waved in acknowledgement, following which they all ignored me.

About George Phillies

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