October 4, 2013

In Which Camaline Is Given a Not-Horrible Proposition

March 16, 1183

"Cammie!" In keeping with her increasingly chipper demeanor the last few times Camaline had seen her, Xeta greeted her with a hug--hardly one of Camaline's preferred forms of human contact, but given the agony of the past few weeks, she'd let it slide. If she or Aydelle snapped and ended things for good, Camaline would need a friend for comfort anyway, and Xeta had already proven herself trustworthy with Camaline's other secret, the one that rendered this one mundane in comparison. "I'm glad you could make it today after all."

"So Rona can't guilt you about you turning her down?" It had taken a few months, but Xeta had brought herself to the point where she was ready to tell someone about her problems, and she'd chosen her sister. From what Camaline could gather, Rona had been both understanding and sympathetic, but her chosen method of help was of the distraction variety--hardly attuned to the needs of sensitive, quiet Xeta.

"Yes, well... I did see her yesterday, and there's only so much complaining about Lemons being the only dog in the world who doesn't chase the cats away that I can take."

Camaline snorted. Her father-in-law had once bought a dog for that very purpose. That dog had loved the cats almost as much as Holladrin and Thallie did. "If the dog won't do it, perhaps she ought to chase the cats away herself."

"Give it another couple weeks and she will. She's always hated cats. I never understood it. But enough about my sister and the apparent feline infestation." Xeta took her by the arm and pulled her toward the couches. "Please, sit down. I have a project, and I'd very much like for you to be a part of it."

"A project?" She settled herself on the larger couch, right by the end-table, Xeta taking the nearer spot on the loveseat. Whatever it was couldn't have possibly been more tedious than waiting around for her turns with Prior while somebody else had him, or moping around after Aydelle--or so she forced herself to hope. "Do tell."

"All right. I'm assuming that your father-in-law told you and Sparron about the university?"

Camaline nodded. "It's not much of a secret any more."

"Not since my father-in-law fenced off the land for the campus, no." Xeta's eyes flitted to the window--specifically to the east. "Anyway, he and Raia want to offer monetary grants for students who may not be able to afford tuition otherwise, but the problem with this is that if a student's family can't afford the fees, they may not have been able to afford a tutor for their children, correct?"

"So they wouldn't be on even footing with their wealthier classmates."

"Precisely. So, Nora and I were talking, and we figured... well, we have quite a bit of surplus tax money. Why don't we put that toward some sort of academy?"

An academy? "For children, you mean."

"Yes. Raia says that the starting age for the university will be roughly seventeen, so I figured we'd educate from five to sixteen. I'll teach the older kids, and Vera has agreed to teach the younger ones. I was thinking I could ask Rona and Asalaye if they'd be willing to teach as well, so we could have smaller classes or narrower age groups."

"Then why are you talking to me instead of them?"

"Because we need someone strict and organized and competent to keep the whole place running." Xeta's hands slid along her legs as she leaned forward. "Someone like you."

Her? Camaline's jaw fell out of reach and no amount of struggle could raise it. She supposed she could be strict. She liked to think that she was organized and competent. But this? "Xeta, honey... my own son aside, you know I'm not one for children."

"I know, which is why I didn't ask you to teach." Her friend winked. Xeta didn't have the thickest of lashes, but the lingering blue between them was charming in its own right. "You'll be in the office. You'll be in charge of the budget, as well as timetables and records. Apart from the occasional parent or patron, you'll only ever deal with the teachers. You won't see any children unless they need special accommodation--or they need to be punished," she added with a smirk.

"So I'll be scaring brats straight." That didn't sound... horrible.

"Yes. That, and you'll effectively be in charge of the entire school." That didn't sound horrible either. "Promise me you'll at least think about it?"

Camaline nodded. It would be a welcome change, something not horrible to think about. "Very well. I'll let you know when I decide."

NEXT CHAPTER:

11 comments:

Van said...

Just so you're all forewarned, the next post, while canon, will be something of a lead-in to a participatory event. ;)

Jennifer said...

"So I'll be scaring the brats straight..." Haha!
This would be something to see but at least Xeta has faith in Camaline's other abilities. ;)

Ann said...

Oooooooh, I like that! Muchly! That's good thinking on Xeta's part, all of it. And they are both just the people for the job! Suddenly there are teachers everywhere. XD

Mimus said...

Uh-oh, is it just me or is Camaline starting to fall for Xeta?
This can't end well, I think...

Sooo, is this school somewhat of a latin school? Though, they would have to talk nothing but latin there...

Van said...

Jennifer: Prior is a pretty well-behaved kid, so I'm sure Camaline will enjoy unleashing her inner disciplinarian. XD

After the last time we saw them, I think Xeta may have a bit of hero worship for Camaline to some extent. Hopefully Camaline doesn't let her down. ;)

Ann: Thanks! I figured that they'd need some sort of pre-university education option besides tutors if they were going to admit non-nobles, and of course these two had to be involved, especially Xeta. I think she'll love teaching (Family/Knowledge Sim and all).

Mimus: It's certainly possible! Luckily, Camaline is fairly prone to short-lived, mostly physical crushes (e.g. Lettie--she's entirely over that now). Of course, she is capable of deeper, more permanent feelings too...

I'm sure they will teach Latin, but I think it will be a more general school than that--standard skills like math, reading and writing, introductions to history and geography and various sciences.

morgaine2005 said...

Camaline as the academy principal? Oh boy ... I know I wouldn't want to get in trouble there! I imagine one look from her ought to set all but the most recalcitrant of troublemakers straight.

I hope she accepts -- I think this would be a good job for her, something to fill her days. If this was a modern story I'd never suggest elementary/high school principal for a career for Camaline, but she'd probably be making a killing on Wall Street in the modern day, so a suggestion wouldn't be needed. ;) For her time and place, this sounds great for her. :)

Though it's sad that Camaline and Aydelle are falling apart. Maybe it's just a temporary rough patch? Either way, I hope Camaline can get back on her feet soon.

And a contest??? Oooh. Is this the one you mentioned already? I can't wait! :D

Van said...

I suspect that there will be few repeat troublemakers in this school if Camaline takes the job. ;)

I think it would be a good fit for Camaline, at least given the kind of job she'd need (in a modern story, yeah, Wall Street would probably be a better fit). For The Times, though... yep, principal of an academy should be good.

Regardless of what occurs between Camaline and Aydelle, I still have plans for both of them. ;) And even if they did end things for good, I can't imagine they'd be hostile long-term.

Yep, that contest. ;) I just need the weekend to work out the details.

Ekho said...

Hmm. Camaline. I can see her warming to this idea, and thriving even. Honestly I'd have to say she's one of my all time favourite Naroni characters. She's got balls (figuratively of course) and she can be brutally honest, those two things I aspire for myself, so I relate to her a lot.

Van said...

It may not be her first choice, but yep, I could see her possibly enjoying this job quite a bit. :)

Camaline has really grown on me too. She's got guts and wits, and she makes the most of them where barriers are concerned. And there's certainly nothing wrong with being (figuratively) ballsy and brutally honest. ;)

Winter said...

I love, love, love this idea. It sounds like it's a co-ed school but the staff will primarily be female, and the leadership at the university is female, too. This really ought to improve the status of women in Naroni (and perhaps elsewhere if they do get the foreign students at the university.) If some adults are beyond help *cough*Ietrin*cough*, kids aren't. And how great, to improve Naroni from the ground up?

Camaline will make a terrific headmistress. A little fear is good for children ;). And she'll be excellent with the logistics and figures involved, too.

Was this why the economy improved, so there would be tax money to spare?

Van said...

Thanks! And yep, both this school and the university will be co-ed (though each university residence will be men or women only... not that there won't be "sleepovers" from time to time ;) ). And so far, yep, all of the staff at the school are women, the two top people are the university are women, and most of the profs so far are women as well (and once the last secular teacher has been hired, and the nuns and monks supplement, it will end up being seven women and five men). This should do quite a bit for the status of women in Naroni, as well as Dovia and Carvallon.

And hell yeah--when Certain Adults are beyond help, nothing wrong with starting with the kids. I'm sure Camaline will inspire just the right combination of fear and respect.

The economy of Naroni does largely depend on plot convenience... ;)