Commencement Turned Convocation
“It is my great honor to recognize our esteemed colleague, Warden Master Teshladrel Atticusanthuan, by bestowing the highest title of our academy – ‘Maleficus Emeritus’ – with all the rights, responsibilities, and liberties pertaining thereto henceforth, until the end of his days."
The sound of stoic applause drug through the air in the spacious foyer of the ivory faculty tower as the throng of aged and venerable Elven faces cast their eyes upon the newest member of their retired ranks: Teshladrel. The Headmaster cupped his hands together in ceremonial fashion, and released a pursed-lipped smile from its decade of incarceration. Teshladrel was ushered to the podium as the Dean of Transmutation Arts polymorphed the stoll and shoulder marks of his academic robes to the white-gold color of retired status.
Teshladrel was never one for pomp and propriety; he was a researcher by nature. Most of his colleagues were mildly put off by his insistence that they call him, “Tesh” – nicknames were unbecoming of their station as academic nobility. His primary passion was study into the arcane means of obtaining immortality: a family theory for six generations. He spent a century in study and research of the oldest species prone to arcana – dragons, demons, and devils. His father focused on the undead art of lich ritual, a field which cost him his life.
The crowd settled in their droll applause, and waited to hear Tesh’s remarks upon the change in his regalia – his memento for assuming the teaching duties at the academy.
“Assembled Academians,” he began, “it is a fine thing to be honored in this way, and to take my position among new peers…”
His eyes scanned the audience for even one younger face than his own, but saw no one less than his 290 years. All of his navel length hair abandoned its golden hues for the dignified white of an elf his age. He looked down at the new shade of his stoll; the tragedy of his life spent in research with nothing to show for his efforts overtook his thoughts so suddenly that he half-stumbled before catching himself on the podium. A few necks in the front row stretched toward him inquisitively. He didn’t know how to continue. Not just with the speech, but with is fate as a retired senior in his community. This wasn’t him. He wasn’t going to accept failure and resign himself to retirement from the quest for immortality so easily.
“But-” he paused again. “but I am afraid the Dean has selected the wrong colors!” Tesh stood up completely straight, eyes beaming. “I believe that the appropriate colors for ‘Maleficus Inquisitorem’ in the field are green and golden yellow.”
A befuddled look swept over the masses in response to his unprecedented extemporaneous rejection of his retirement. Tesh’s eyes caught sight of so many of his colleagues squinting under temptation to read his thoughts.
Tesh continued. “The termination of my duties as Warden Master of this academy may qualify me for Emeritus – but my intention is to take the millennium of research on immortality by my family to the field, just as my father did before me.”
The Headmaster stood. “Teshlandrel, your actions here today do not dignify your forefathers at all.” His frown intensified. “Nor do you honor the venerable guests who have come to welcome you into peerage.” Tesh shirked, slightly at the podium, knees bending. “However,” the Headmaster resumed," it is not a dishonor to this academy that you choose to continue your research in the field. So be it."
Not long after the crowd excused themselves from the appalling ceremony, the Headmaster approached Tesh. “You know that you should not expect to be called upon for adjunct teaching.”
“Yes, I gathered that from your tone all by itself.”
“Well, Tesh, I would have thought that after all these years you’d know me better than to think it that display was directed at you.”
“Apologies, but I do not understand,” Tesh said.
“No, no, it was for them – the elderly who have nothing else to live by except for their status. My position requires a silver tongue for the silver haired.”
“I see. Well, I suppose that will only give me more time and liberty for field research.”
“Precisely,” the Headmaster said. “Consider it a gift… for your commission.”