Nirmathas Secrets

"Lower Expectations"

Session 0 - Postview

6 Rova, 4665

Field Operations Report: First Entry.
Classification: Personal / Non-Research Contingent

Forty-two years ago to the day, I began the first day of a new seminar on Introductory Universalist Techniques with a full dozen students at the Academy. Though it was not my first course by any means, it was the first introductory course I taught in several decades. I recall the students fared well on their examinations: a note not worth mentioning, were it not for it’s relationship to the first day of the course.

It was the still within the first decade of the Academy’s policy to accept students from families of non-arcane vocations. Several faculty dinners were not immune to the concerns that the Academy had lowered its standards. The headmaster would always conclude such conversations with the same phrase: “None of us should lower our standards, but some of you might need to lower your expectations.” Needless to say, I had my doubts about the intellectual capabilities of the labor class neophytes. As the course endured, I discovered that what the students lacked in intellectual prestige, they made up for with innovative prowess when I did not accommodate their deficiency by lowering the standards for completion. One student defeated the imp in combat by signing up to be it’s caregiver at the beginning of the course, and feeding it Nuarda Seeds the night before his turn at the exam; the student’s success in subduing the imp was largely on account of the seed oil rendering the iimp mute, and therefor it’s throat unusable for the verbal component of it’s most potent spells. Innovation triumphed.

I met a dwarf on the boat to Three Pines Ford who reminded me of that student. On his first impression, he did not strike me as the brightest wand in the emporium. He lacked the basic philosophical ability to entertain the possibility that orcs were a superior race to dwarves without having to agree that the statement was true. Our dinner talk was less than appetizing; I wished that I had a few of the Nuarda Seeds tucked in my component pouch to put into his ale – the seed oil’s taste is almost indistinguishable from the human grog.The conversation must have upset him, for he resorted to gender insults when exiting the seacraft.However, he proved to have some measure of cunning – mixed with vindictiveness – when I presented him with an intellectual challenge of an invisible opponent. He focused on the ecolocation of my voice to lunge at me, missing his mark by not more than a pixie’s armlength, and thereby carry me overboard into the dockwater with him. His innovation did not triumph.

However, he did manage to impress me enough to make not of his name: Martuph Skyhelm.

Fin.

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