Extra Credit!

21st of Ashan 721

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Perdita Westcott
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Extra Credit!

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21st Ashan, 721
following: this
Egilrun had got Perdita mixed up in something she'd never thought she'd actually be mixed up in. Some kind of war-thing. Now, it had to be said that she didn't know, exactly, all the ins and outs, but she was being a spy. She quite liked that idea, and she had spy work to do. So, after her art class, Perdita made her way to history. There, of course, she arrived early.

She always arrived early and she always sat in the same place. She'd done that since the first time she'd sat in his class. Now, she went in and she smiled - blushing, of course. "Good afternoon, Professor," she mumbled and then, Perdita deviated from her usual, predictable behaviour. She found comfort in routine, she liked it and it made her feel like she was safe. But, right now, she had a job to do. So, she walked up to the Professor's desk. By the time she got there she was already shaking and Perdita considered that, if it wasn't for the fact that she knew and liked Professor Deadnut, she simply wouldn't be able to do this.

Two steps towards it, and she realised that her last thought wasn't true. No. She couldn't do it, plain and simple and so she veered back on track and sat at her usual seat. Then, she followed the rules. That was easier - and she was more able to do that, without needing to push herself beyond her ability to overcome her shyness.

She raised her hand.

Perdita knew that she was in a classroom, just her and the Professor - but it helped. It truly helped. When he finally spoke to her, she replied. "I'm doing my project," she said, "On the Watcher's Union in Egilrun." In the trials between when she'd been given the brochure and now, Perdita had carefully, meticulously, copied it. She now held up the original. "They gave me this," she smiled. "They said," she was sure that her cheeks were radiating heat. "They'd send you one. But you can have this if you want." That was the longest sentence she'd ever spoken to him. Even if it was, in fact, two sentences.

"And, they gave me a name," she said. "Loomis Klepe. He's studying here." She looked at her professor and asked, around her blushing cheeks. "Would you introduce me?"
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Professor Deadnut’s face tinged with amusement when Perdita raised her hand. ”Yes, Westcott?” he asked. When he listened to her announcement, he smiled indulgently and fished something out of his notes. It was his copy of the brochure. ”I received it this morning. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Watchers Union has an efficient delivery system.” He flipped through it ostentatiously, then closed it again and looked back at Perdita. ”I’d like to hear your thoughts on it, Westcott. On the information that’s in it. On your assessment of its quality and limitations as a source. On its likely biases and omissions.”

Listening further, he pursed his lips for a moment. Then he grinned once more in amusement. ”Introduce you to Klepe?” he said, seeming to suppress a chuckle at the idea. ”I could do that. The next time I expect to see him is tomorrow afternoon. Last lecture of the trial.” He paused and wrote the break and room location on the board behind him in chalk, then waited for Perdita to write it down.

”It’s in a smaller room because it’s a seminar on problems in historiography. Advanced topic. He lacks the usual prerequisite coursework, but he has an appropriate interest in the subject, as he is writing an actual book. And there are only two other students enrolled in it, so… You can either sit in on the session or come at the end. I would request that you be punctual to the appropriate time either way. Afterward, I should be happy to introduce you, Miss Westcott.”

The Professor paused to see what Perdita had to say to that, then he pulled out the brochure once more. ”With that logistical bit out of the way, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this ‘source’ that you’ve brought me.”
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Perdita Westcott
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Re: Extra Credit!

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21st Ashan, 721
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Professor Deadnut always seemed, Perdita thought, vaguely amused by her. Like she was being slightly silly, perhaps. Foolish. Cute. Perdita knew it, knew that her blushes might make her seem like a child, but equally, Professor Deadnut read her work and he liked her work, so he knew that she had a sharp mind. He agreed for her to meet Loomis Kleepe and she nodded, eagerly. "I'd love to attend, Professor," she said, her eyes lighting with utter fascination at the thought of it. "Please. Thank you."

She would, of course, be punctual. Early, even. It was her way. Taking the note of the time and place, she nodded. "Really. Thank you." History fascinated Perdita in a way she could not easily describe and so she was more than happy to be able to be involved in something. Even if she was more than moderately sure that she was going to find herself completely out of her depth that didn't matter. She'd learn, and that was enough for her.

As to the source itself, though? Perdita smiled slightly. "It's advertising, masquerading as historical document." She said. "It's well put together," that was without doubt to her. "And it's clever," frowning at it slightly, "Because it presents as history, and it has a lot of history in it." But it wasn't history and Perdita knew that. "It omits mentioning Slags Deep," she said. "So it's political, too." Considering it, she looked down at the brochure. "But, it gives names and dates," she smiled slightly. "Things which can be checked, and it provides a perspective." Thinking further, she said. "I'd like to compare it to previous editions." Perdita said. "To chart changes." He taught her, after all, that history changes with politics and economics.

There were many things, as far as Perdita was concerned. But that didn't change the fact that it was a useful document - as much because of it's biases and omissions. As long as it was not the only source.

Still, once they were done in class, Perdita went to the library to look up historiography - and at least get some idea of what it was. That evening, she'd read. And then, the next trial, she'd read more. She came to the class - early, of course - and she made notes and prepared as much as she could in order to be able to keep up.



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Re: Extra Credit!



Historiography, as Perdita’s research would reveal, was the study and practice of writing history. It was a sort of meta-discipline, an academic discipline about another academic discipline, like philosophy of science, or medical ethics, or the pyschopathology of art students.

Surprisingly, there was a range of opinions about how one should write history, not just what should be written about, but *how* it should be written about. And the strength with which various scholars held their respective opinions was impressive as well. Some scholars championed a more facts-and-figures approach, the more tables and graphs the better, deriding those other historiographic approaches as being “too narrative”. The narrativists (yes, there were quite a few -ists and -isms in this field, apparently) derided the facts and figures types as “too positivistic” or “too reductive”. The comparativists found non-comparativists to be “too monographic” or “too parochial.” Most people just found all of the above “too boring”.

Fortunately, the seminar the next trial was neither as rancorous nor as abstract as Perdita’s survey of the literature might have led one to fear. It turned out, in fact, that none other than Loomis Klepe was giving an oral presentation about his project: a history of the Egilrun Watcher’s Union. Leevan had not been exaggerating when he said that Loomis resembled him, in build, in coloration, and to some extent in manner. He had not grown any facial hair, apparently.

Professor Deadnut introduced Perdita briefly to each of the other students in the seminar -there were four in all, counting Loomis- none of whom she had met previously. Loomis, who was preoccupied with gathering his thoughts for the talk he was about to give, only gave her a cursory nod.

His approach to writing about the Egilrun Watcher’s Union was solidly narrative. Even though this was a business history, Loomis’ interest was not so much in the statistics of its business performance, although he would of course give that some mention, nor in its role in some socioeconomic “big picture”, nor in comparing it to other businesses. His focus would be, rather, on the dynamics of the family that had owned and run the Union since its inception: the Lamkeys. In Loomis’ opinion, the Lamkey family dynamic was the most interesting and unusual factor in the Union’s activities and outcomes, the thing that gave it its distinct character and made it different from all other enterprises.

Part of his reason for thinking this, he explained, was that the Lamkeys had developed unique relationships to the Pirate Lords, as well as to Slag’s Deep, relationships that remained partly shrouded in secrecy. Even their dealings with the Egg and with such other local business as the Glassmakers’ Guild seemed unusual and mysterious. Loomis had found that the Watchers’ Union frequently did business that wasn’t obviously covered by publicly-available contracts, but which was nonetheless quite lucrative, and which often correlated suggestively with confidential visits or communications between one of the family members and individual decision-makers of these various entities: a dinner party with the Egg, a fishing excursion with some master glassblowers, a late-night meeting at a pirate lord’s compound, a personal visit to Slag’s Deep. And the Lamkey involved wasn’t always the head of the family or even anyone with a formal senior position in the Union.

When Loomis had finished his presentation, the other students peppered him with questions and observations. Why was he focusing on this and not that, why was he using this method of investigation and not that one, and so on. Loomis seemed to be pretty conversant in the overall concepts of historiography, and from Perdita could tell, he gave reasonably thought-out answers to most of the general questions about his approach. He also seemed to know a fair amount about Scalvoris history. He got a bit more flustered when pressed about specific scholars.

At one point, Professor Deadnut stepped in to cut the discussion short, when poor Loomis drew a complete blank on a fairly blatant stumper question about how he intended to de-problematize various meta-polemical constructs that seemed to inform his discourse. It was clear that everyone in the room knew that Loomis didn’t have the background to answer such a question, and the rest of the room seemed mildly annoyed at the student who had asked: an older male human student with long but thinning and graying hair pulled back into a ponytail named Aybee Dee.

Professor Deadnut’s own comments to Loomis were mostly positive, which seemed to relieve the young man greatly. He listened eagerly to the criticisms and suggestion the professor did have, and seemed to take the criticism well, without getting discouraged. The class session over, the students rose and began to leave. Professor Deadnut stopped Loomis and called him over to introduce “Miss Westcott” more properly and fully, and to explain how the two of them both had an interest in the Watcher’s Union history.

Loomis’ eyes lit up at this. ”It’s not often I meet someone with an interest in this,” he said. He paused for a moment. ”Did you want to meet for coffee at some point talk about it? I’d love to hear what you’ve learned, and what you think of it.” His manner was restrained and dignified; he wasn’t begging. But he did seem to relish the idea of having somebody to talk to about his oddly specific hobby.
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Perdita Westcott
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21st Ashan, 721
following: this
There had been a moment, during her research of what on Idalos "historiography" was, where Perdita sat back and breathed in through her teeth. Holding her breath for a moment, she allowed the enormity of what she had just read to sink in to her comprehension.

meta-disciplines

There were disciplines given over to studying the study of disciplines. To how teachers taught, how doctors made life or death decisions and, as a wonderful and beautiful and perfect cherry on top of the most beautiful and delicious cake in all the world, there was the academic discipline which studied how history was written. The study and practice of writing history. Her out breath, when she let it happen, was a slow and low-pitched half whistle - half meep of delight. New words flew from the pages she was reading and fluttered in her mind like butterflies all taking off at once. Positivist approaches deemed too reductionist? Her face had a look of almost bliss as she wrote down notes - and more notes. It was wonderful.

Academically, she thought as she finally climbed into bed that night, things simply didn't get better than this.

As was so often the case, Perdita found that she was entirely wrong in this assessment the next trial. As she sat in a class of four people, and she listened to the wonder which was their academic conversation, she knew that this was what she wanted to do, where she wanted to be. She concentrated ardently on Loomis' presentation and she made lots of notes as she did. The Lamkey family were key. Perdita was interested to notice that, not only was she right in what she had said to Professor Deadnut that what the leaflet had left out was important. She listened avidly, and she took as many notes as possible.

At the end of the lecture, Perdita made a point of speaking to Aybee Dee, to ask him to explain what his question had meant. She'd explain that she didn't understand it and, in her own shy and earnest manner, she made sure that she was polite at all times. It might - after all - be important. Also, it might mean that she had a different contact. If she could make any connections with the other students, given the time frame she had.

To Loomis, though, she shook his hand enthusiastically and smiled. "I am very interested," she said. "Yes, please"was her response to the offer for a coffee. Perdita smiled. "Are you busy now?" If not, then she would be sure to say. "My treat. I greatly enjoyed your talk." And, of course, she made sure to thank Professor Deadnut for allowing her to sit in on this class. In truth, she loved history and this topic fascinated her. She would have been happy to sit in on the class even had she not got a specific interest in the subject. Historiography might be, she considered, her new favourite word.
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Re: Extra Credit!


Perdita would not have the chance to talk to Aybee Dee. The man rose quickly and swept swiftly past her as well as past the other two clearly chagrined seminar students. Too fast for the polite, soft-spoken visitor to catch him he was, but not fast enough to escape the hot pursuit of the angered young eidisi who flew like a falcon in pursuit out the door, calling out his name. The other student, a male human, followed her, more quietly and deliberately, but clearly just as determined to take up matters with Aybee Dee, whatever those matters were. They were soon arguing heatedly out in the halls about some “stunt”, until Professor Deadnut peered out of the classroom door at them with a frown, whereupon they quieted down and withdrew someplace else.

Loomis was still at the table, his materials assembled and ready to carry away as he looked out the door, bemused. Professor Deadnut turned back towards him and Perdita. ”I’m sorry about that, Miss Westcott,” he said to her, though he sounded more irritated than apologetic: ”Aybee Dee was not registered with the class, but as he is -officially at least- in the last stages of his Licentiate qualification, it is customary to allow him to audit any course or seminar that might be relevant to to his thesis. I had not expected him here today.”

Loomis looked at the Professor: ”Is he always like that?”

Deadnut sighed. ”Often enough,” he responded. ”For what it’s worth, you handled his quibbling well. I’ve seen Diploma students handle themselves with less poise when dealing with him.”

The Professor began to gather his own things and sighed again. ”I have another classs in a break, and some calming down to do in the meantime, Mr. Klepe,” he explained to Loomis. ”We have much to talk about concerning your work. I think it is quite promising. But not now. And besides, I believe Miss Prescott wanted a chance to speak to you.”

”Yes, Professor,” said Loomis politely, then looked at Perdita. ”Well, I guess I am free now,” he said to her. ”Scholar’s Nook?”

The Professor acknowledged Perdita’s thanks, and their leave-takings, correctly, but without much enthusiasm. The blowup with Aybee Dee had clearly soured his mood.

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Perdita Westcott
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21st Ashan, 721
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Perdita was more than happy to leave Professor Deadnut to deal with whatever the problem was. It seemed to her that Aybee Dee was likely having issues with his own studies and therefore was trying to find some sense - some meaning in other people's work. However, just before they left, she asked "Professor? What is Mr Dee's thesis?" After all, information - knowledge - was power and one simply never knew what they'd find out by the asking of a simple question. The bottom line was that Aybee Dee was interested in Loomis' work, and there must be a reason for that. It might be relevant, it might not. But if she didn't ask - then frankly, she'd just never know.

Still, she nodded her head and walked with Loomis to the Scholars' Nook. The staff there greeted her and she explained, quietly, "I work here," as to why. She'd make sure that she paid for their drinks and so on, and then she'd say to him. "I'm studying the Watchers Union," she explained. "And comparing sources on it." She smiled. "Your name came up, and I spoke to your brother. He would like to hear from you." Her voice was soft and, of course, her cheeks a little flushed. But then, there was nothing out of the ordinary in either of those situations. Then, she got on with what she wanted to speak to him about. "The source I have, it's very biased." With a gesture in the general direction of the university, she said honestly. "I learned such a lot from your talk. But with the Council declaring war on Slags Deep," that was not a secret and it would be strange if she did not take it into account, she thought. "I wonder what impact it will have and, honestly, what sources I can trust to not be biased." She was being clumsy, she thought. She certainly felt like she was.

"Links between the Union and Slags Deep are completely removed in this," she said, handing over the leaflet which she had been given in the Watchers Union. "And that's political. But it destroys history, makes it inaccessible." She sighed, slightly, and sipped her tea. "I want to dig deeper, find those links and understand more, but I don't know where to start." She smiled, flushed cheeks burning. "I don't care about who is right or wrong, in this. I just want to uncover the truth." She added, then, the truth of it too. "And have a good comparison source to get good marks." After all, this was her homework and she did want to do well.

And, with that, she sat back and looked at him with a smile. "Do you have any thoughts or ideas?" Being who she was, of course, she ended with. "Please?"
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Professor Deadnut gave Perdita a long, appraising look when she asked about Aybee Dee’s thesis. After a few trills, he seemed to decide something. ”He had been working- rather, I should say, his declared thesis had been on, the establishment and early history of Gunnvorton.” There was something unpleasant in the Professor’s tone as he said this, a note of something Perdita hadn’t heard from him before, but she couldn’t quite read it. The sharp edge gave way to a weary sigh.

”Recently, he changed his topic to a study of the Pirate Lords, out of the blue.” He gave Perdita a look that might have contained a mild warning. ”Let me save you some time here: Mr. Dee’s annoyance you saw directed at Mr. Klepe was actually for me. I recently loaned a book to the latter that the former came and asked me for a mere trial later. A chronicle of one the Pirate Lords known to have ties to Egilrun. For some reason, Mr. Dee sees the consequences of his own tardiness as a sign of favoritism on my part, or of hostility towards him.” The professor sighed again. Then he leaned towards Perdita confidentially.

”Timeliness, Miss Westcott,” he said sotto voce, ”is an important virtue. Not just punctuality. Timeliness. Remember that.”

Her conversation with “Mr. Klepe” was not nearly as charged, at least not at first. Loomis was easygoing, and more baffled than hurt or upset by his recent experience with Aybee Dee, and not inclined to dwell on it. He was quite happy to have the conversation turn quickly to his work. He gave her an amused grin when she mentioned “destroying history” in conjunction with the the marketing pamphlet.

”I see why the Professor wanted us to meet,” he observed, after Perdita explained her interest in the Watchers’ Union. ”Oh, yes, he told me about you, too, after he invited you to come to my presentation. You’re not wrong. Someone’s trying to bury the history between the Lamkeys and Slag’s Deep alright. But a marketing pamphlet isn’t really there to document history, anyway. That’s not where the real burial’s happening.”

He leaned forward close to Perdita and started to whisper: ”I can help you. I found-” he broke off when he noticed Perdita blushing, then leaned away a little out of her personal space, though he still kept his voice down as he resumed: ”Pardon. I found some documents that I think are just what you would need. They aren’t in my possession, though I copied a few pages that you’re welcome to look at and even copy yourself if you like. The records are in a box in a records storage room in Egilrun kept by the Merchant Queen. They aren’t direct from any of the Lamkeys or the Watchers’ Union -well, most of them aren’t- but those names come up a few times. They’re actually business correspondence of Pirate Lord Frederick Harper, alias the Slaver.

“He’s the guy who used to own that compound that the Elements or Rangers or somebody just started moving into. Anyway, his second mate, a half-biqaj guy named Ruddin Lostand, married Marta Lamkey, that’s Tobias’ sister. Turns out he actually wanted to settle down landside. He took out his share and moved into a house and everything. But apparently he was still in the business. When the Pirate Lords left, so did Lostand's protection. He thought his connection with the Lamkeys would help cover him, but it turns out Tobias had no interest in putting the family name nor the Union’s reputation on the line to protect an unreformed pirate and slaver.”


Loomis spit in disgust. The spit was imaginary, but his disgust seemed real enough. ”Hypocrites! Tobias wouldn’t even agree to see his own sister in the trials after the Elements busted Lostand. Blood may be thicker than water, but it ain’t thicker than onyx, apparently.” His mouth twisted away from the Klepes’ practically congenital amused grin into a bitter frown. ”Still, Slag’s Deep is the Union’s number one client, so I’m sure they’ll take good care of a Lamkey family member, right?” The question was no less acid for being rhetorical.

The fit passed, and Loomis reverted to calmness, even mildness. He seemed somewhat embarrassed by the heat of his own outburst. ”Sorry,” he said sheepishly. ”Maybe *I’m* too biased to write this history, huh?” He shrugged. ”But who else cares enough?”

Loomis suddenly fell silent, drumming his fingers while pursing his lips in concentration. He appeared to have lost his train of thought. At length, he regained it. ”When the Elements grabbed Lostand,” he resumed in his earlier tone, ”they impounded a bunch of documents and records, which he had apparently rescued from the fire that had burned the Slaver’s compound a couple arcs previously. Probably forgotten he still had them. And that’s the trove I found in the back of the Merchant Queen’s storage room. You can bet the Lamkeys managed to redact anything particularly juicy about their own family from that box, but there’s still plenty in there. About Slag’s Deep, the slave trade and other dealing with the Pirate Lords, a few direct references to Lamkeys and the Union, and a bunch of indirect ones once you know how to read between the lines.”

At last he breathed, calmed down, leaned back, the Klepe grin settling once more on his face. ”I’m only interested in the bits that concern the Lamkey family directly, and that’s only a small bit. The rest sounds more like it might be what you’re looking for. And they’re technically public records, so they’re as much yours to look at as mine or anybody’s. I can give you directions, and the name of the recordkeeper who helped me. That and a note from me’ll probably get you access to whatever you need. Does that sound like what you’re looking for?”

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Review for an abandoned thread.

Experience: +15 xp

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Skill:

Knowledge:

None Requested. Perdita is eligible for up to 9 skill knowledges, should she so desire at a later date.

ETA: Per your PM, I'm awarding the following:

Research x 7
Investigation x 2

Skillplay: Appropriate to level

Loot: None.
Injury/Overstepping: None.
Renown: +5
Wealth Points: None.
Collaboration: Yes.
Magic Experience?: No.

Comments:

Perdita Westcott, graceful in her element. And even there she’s still bashful and raising her hand instead of just speaking out.

You write this character with such grace. There is a balance between her inherent shyness, her drive to get at the truth, and her thirst for knowledge. I just love how excited she is to even learn that historiography is a thing. I never did give you Professor Deadnut’s response to your insights on the brochure, but I can assure you that he was impressed by your insight and earnestness.

It’s too bad that events both IC and OOC overcame this thread. It would have been quite interesting to see what other things Perdita would have sleuthed out of those boxes of documents in Egilrun. And if she and Loomis Klepe would have become friends. Or if she will ever defeat the archvillain Aybee Dee.

I hope Perdita raises her hand again, sometrial!

Enjoy your rewards!
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