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Chapter 58B: The Role and the Name

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January 18, 2017 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

It felt strange to be back in school.  Their Instructors had all been told — well, something, at least — by House Monitor Libkazaarie — which meant that Instructor Pelnyen looked at them sideways but everyone else seemed to accept their absence with decent grace.  

There were projects to wrap up, papers to write, research to be done in the Library, but it all felt a little bit empty.  “Is this what it felt like?”  Enrie asked Taikie, while they researched embedded aether in fabric and theoretical techniques for producing it in the modern age.  “After you found out what had happened to Instructor Talmizhaab?”

“Mostly I felt sad,” Taikie admitted. “I didn’t want to find out Instructor Talmizhaab was dead.”

“Oh… oh.”  Enrie wanted to crawl under the table.  She smiled crookedly instead.  “I guess they’re not that similar.”

“Well, nobody got arrested, except the Associate Governor.  And it doesn’t sound like anyone is going to strip your vowel.” Taikie smiled cautiously at Enrie, like she felt as awkward as Enrie did. “Nothing to be sad about, in your case. Except that it’s out of your hands now?  Someone else took over the adventure.”

“Someone did,” Enrie admitted slowly.  “Nobody’s hurt, as far as I can tell.  Nobody got in trouble, except my cousins who were cheating—”

“And the Associate Governor, but she doesn’t seem to stay in trouble long.  Lirnilalie didn’t even seem to get scolded, no matter what the Voice of the Emperor said.”

“Well, we wouldn’t see it, if she did,” Enrie pointed out.  “It would be private, because she was at one point the daughter of an Emperor.”

“Did she lose that, then?”  Taikie frowned.  “I mean, she lost her vowel, she lost her title, but did she lose her father?”

“I think,” Enrie worked through this slowly, “that she lost being the daughter of the Emperor but not of Edemietridem.  It’s complicated, because she is still her parents’ child.”

“It’s the supposition in the Calenyena lines that the role is bigger than the person,” Saydrie offered.  “You grow into the role — Emperor, Scholar, Engineer.  It’s part of you, but it’s like your jacket,  you can lose it.”

“But that doesn’t make any sense,” Taikie frowned. “I’m an engineer whether or not I’m an Engineer…”  

“Not everything makes sense,” Saydrie agreed dryly.  “And sometimes things made perfect sense to your ancestors and now they just seem strange.”

Enrie snorted.  “I wonder if that’s how we got in this mess?  Things that made sense two hundred, five hundred, a thousand years ago?  They fit in a different world than we fit in, but everything is based around those ideas.”

“The Voice will figure it out.” Taikie smiled sympathetically at Enrie.  “All we have to figure out right now is this paper.”


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