Sunday, May 20, 2018

Excerpts from a leather binder inscribed with the pyrograph "Hraela's Homework".

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Hraela Hlegazteng
Senior Editor Professor Onsaro Adelbramp
Historical Ordination 101
Winter's Rising, 294 AR

A Field Exercise in Ordination
In Preparation for Litigating Litte
Observations on Space & Censorship
[Title in Progress]

Thanks to his surprisingly agreeable nature and unsurprisingly desperate lack of volunteers, the infamous Roberick Bertrum Litte has taken me on as one of his expedition's undergraduate assistants. Besides gaining a stipend and some field experience, I will get the chance to work on my own personal studies. Litte is tight-lipped about himself and anything other than the archaeology objective, but he can't stay that way for long. When the time comes and he opens up, I'll be within earshot, prepared to catch and record any seditious ideas and casual sacrilige sacrelige hearsay heresy he may spout about the Ivory Tower University or its accepted curricalcum curriculum.

From the number of aneurysms he's caused some of the older instructors, he sounds like there's nothing salvageable to him. But I think he might still be a tinmine of material for Ordination. He writes and reconsiders history passionately- his ideas just needs a bit of cleaning-up. I won't actively tease it out of him, nor do I want to hand him his own noose. But if my records are "juicy" enough to make Professor Adelbramp do more than offer me a passing grade, I won't be reluctant to hand them over to a committee or three. Their They're in the right to do what they need to with him. To be honest, I still don't understand why he even works at the University still- as the same old tired story goes again and again, he was expelled more than a decade ago.

This piece will include two main kinds of text: direct quotations from Litte and other relevant parties (including rough timestamps in talecks when possible), and observations or annotations on other parts of the journey in my voice. Heavy textual analysis will wait until after the expedition is concluded and I've returned home with my raw data.

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These milk-drinkers don't know what a real winter is like. Everyone but the fattest of the drivers is acting like they're freezing to death, and it's getting annoying. At least they're staying away or quiet after I gave them a glare. Except for the scrawny, pale boy from my Introduction to Foreign Languages class. I think his name is Kuudo or something else doltish. All I know is that if he tries to sidle up next to me for "warmth" one more time, I'll give him a lesson in speaking with the oldest language in the world: fists.

At least I can educate the lot of them in the finer points of Gertish religion. Smelling the child-fires in the lower city made me yearn for home again. The smallest of the men and older boys will be skating across the first black ice on the northern rivers and making it sing this time of year.

Litte still refuses to do more talking than he does writing. His scribbling is constant except for when he needs to switch to a new piece of partch parchment or an entirely new booklet of them. I wonder what he's writing, and if I can get anything more useful out of that.

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Expedition Director Litte's friend is insufferable. I've never had the displeasure of meeting a more smarmy, unclever, and casually dismissive man in my life. I was disappointed to see Sarq patch up his arm so smoothly after that vile "training" stunt he pulled.

I do at least respect his taste in knives, though. The blade has excellent edge geometry and was obviously oiled and honed to a fine edge just earlier this morning. His steadiness and stabability stability while delivering such a lengthy draw-cut to himself was also admirable, though not an indicator that he;d be any good at using it in a fight. I also recognized a few pieces of ornamentation upon the grip and small hand-guard which spoke to me of a marriage between Gertish and Esgodarran symbolism, but I am loathe to express my interest to him to find out more.

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Crimson fury.

The splintering of river-faces under crackling flames,

And the ruthless drawing of knives across beating blood-roads.

May every pint of piss in this kindling-house turn to adder's venom.

One thousand red-hot nails hammered in Goebno's name.

Two dozen stag-hearts for the hound at Nahlia's feet.

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Perhaps I was too hasty in judging the people of Janskurf's Place. It is a tourist trap, there's no denying that, and they make no attempt to. But they are actual Gerts. I counted ten Veezonders and at least twice as many people with a Hoehpleg accent. The brew-mistress herself saw kinship in me and greeted me in our own language when I came red-faced and frothing to them. She introduced herself as Machtel Protstra- I didn't think any of the descendants of Protjaas came this far south. She proved her authenticity with a bottle of malt wine. I wept to taste it. It brought me back home, to the odor of fresh fish giving way to the smells of cooking fires and sea salt at dinner time. She said drink like that was too good to waste on customers.

A long conversation followed. How they needed this alehouse, no matter how displeasing it was. No livelihood like this could be had in the towns, certainly not for a woman like her who enjoyed the power she had. The journey home was too great a task. She claimed, with startling accuracy, that the best her girls could hope for in Deneroth was a life of peddling and marriage to a fat old turnip-monger. Had my family not been so lucky to afford having me adopted into one of the tiers, I wouldn't have ended up much different, she said.

I realize now, with some shame, that those barbaric views of our people are in part perver preserved and reproduced thanks to certain artistic programs and portfolios found in the ITU itself. I was warned to keep in mind what I acculturate to. She also pointed out how very like the stereotype my fury could have seemed, if I had gotten the outburst I wanted. We parted on better terms, with an arm-shake and hopes to meet again on better terms.

I am still not happy. But I am not angry, either. Now, apparently, I must leave the backroom and look after my drunken companions. The greasy man even got Litte to try a mug.

Opportunity knocks.

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