Chapter 1

posted Dec 16, 2009, 3:16 PM by Jeremy Poehnert   [ updated Dec 16, 2009, 4:06 PM ]
Truman was waiting to be expelled.  He had been waiting to be expelled for almost an hour.  He was feeling impatient, which seemed silly, since he didn't actually have anywhere to go.  On his way to the hearing he had taken an inventory of his future prospects.  This didn't take long, since he didn't have any.

His meager savings would keep him fed for a few days, if he was comfortable not having anywhere to live.

That wasn't quite true.  He was literate and numerate, and was a decent calligrapher.  No prestigious institutions or wealthy patrons would hire someone expelled by thge guild, but he could probably find work with a few merchants, writing bills and managing correspondance.  That would give him a basic living, and there might even be one willing to let him sleep on a cot wherever their apprentices bedded down...

No, he wouldn't starve, and he wouldn't be homeless.  But he wouldn't be a historian either, and he still couldn't wrap his mind around that.  As much as he had dreamed of leaving the guild, as much as he hated most of his time as an apprentice for the last seven years, he always knew he'd be a historian, he always knew it would be worth it when he finally graduated.

Except he wasn't going to graduate.  He was going to be expelled, or more accurately, not passed.  They were going to reject his dissertation, and then politely ask him to leave.

In theory it could happen to anyone, but in practice, no one who got to their dissertation failed.  If the committee wasn't going to like their work they would be given feedback before hand.

Again, to be fair, they had done the same to him.  Specifically, they had told him the guild would burn to the ground (again) before his dissertation would be accepted, and if he wanted to graduate, he better make the changes they wanted.  At the time he had swallowed his pride and said he would make the changes.  Who would care?  Who would know?  But he would know, and all he could think of was his granfather, living in regret and shame.  So when it came to submit his final draft, he turned in the one he knew was good, that one that was as true as he could make it, not the sanitized lie they wanted him to submit.

So now he was going to fail...
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