April 2, 2014

In Which Raia Deals With the Downsides

January 25, 1185

"Sorry about that." Raia took her seat at the head of the table, not entirely sure why she was apologizing. This wasn't a regular meeting. It was the end of the day and she'd left the administrative tower to collect Viridia from the staff nursery, only for one of the assistants to run after her with the news that three of the department heads were in her office, in search of a word. She'd sent the assistant on to the nursery with the news that she wouldn't be long; regardless, she didn't much care to keep her youngest waiting at the end of the day.

"It's fine. We probably should scheduled something in advance, but..." Morgan grimaced. She wouldn't have been here without a grievance, but she'd always struck Raia as the sort who tried to be tactful. "Patience is a virtue, I guess."

"Which makes the three of us less than virtuous--my apologies, Sister Paulina," added Cherry with a wink. "Anyway, guess we might as well get the point. I had Farilon over for tea yesterday, and somehow the topic of departmental funding came up, and... well, you know where this is going."

Damn right she did. "You discovered that his department received more funding than yours did."

And then she'd talked to the others, to find that Morgan and Sister Paulina, at least, were similarly dissatisfied. "Yes."

Raia sighed. She and Ellona had written down their logic that day they'd met at her house, and that scrap of parchment lay half-forgotten in Falidor's sock drawer. Probably should have filed that properly. "My apologies. That said, you must understand that a lot of our mathematics and physics texts have to be translated and imported, and certain other disciplines have to be up to date--anything to do with anatomy, for example, for the sake of aspiring doctors. Given that your disciplines have more room for imaginative components, Ellona and I figured they were some of the safer areas to cut."

Did that sound fair? Hardly. Damn. She tried to be a fair boss. For the most part, she thought she was a fair boss. For this, though... ugh. She didn't regret the budget, but how could she explain that without being insensitive? "You know... there's no price for creativity."

"Fair enough for my composition and rhetoric classes, but I have the analytical classes as well." Still seated, Morgan pulled her chair in toward the table. "I can't always count on the local shops or General Zaahir's collection to have every text my students are supposed to analyze, much less multiple copies. They're on a rotation right now--and not everyone can be counted on to finish promptly."

"And I have my students painting over old work," chimed in Cherry. "I hate to do it, but new canvases are expensive."

"And my masquing students are starting to learn about set design, but there's only so much they can learn from diagrams."

Valid, valid, and valid. Being in charge did not come without its downsides. "Look, there are no rules prohibiting you from seeking independent funding--"

"But when do we have the time to do that? On our budgets, we can't hire people to fundraise for us, and the students are busy enough without having to help."

"If it was a curricular project, sure, but simply asking--"

"Oh." It was Sister Paulina, with that quiet-yet-authoritative voice that had to have been exclusive domain of drama teachers. "But what if it was a curricular project?"

Cherry and Morgan shared a glance. Intrigued, Raia leaned forward. "Oh?"

"A masque, perhaps?"

"A masque?" Cherry grinned; Raia wasn't sure whether to take that for amusement or genuine interest.

"Yes. Morgan can write it, I can direct it, you can costume it, and we can collaborate on the set. I probably don't have enough acting students to cast a whole production, but--"

"--but you could cast some of the patrons and other notable figures in the kingdom." And there they were, the eyes on Raia again. Maybe this hadn't been her place to butt in--though, she was their boss. "A production would require funding, after all; maybe they'd be more likely to contribute if they're involved directly."

"Quite possibly. Featuring notable people would also increase ticket sales, would it not?"

"It would." Actually... depending on the price of tickets...

"And our departments would be entitled to the entirety those profits, correct?" asked Cherry.


"And if the masque is successful, could we expect greater funding in future years if any subsequent masques fund the university as a whole?"

"I wouldn't discount it." The eyes didn't seem too impressed. "Fine. If the masque turns a profit, you'll get more funding. And yes, I'll talk to the patrons about a little extra for the production, so you don't have to. Any other questions?"

"Just one." Morgan turned her way, a tug of mischief at the side of her mouth. "Would you star in it?"



Van said...

MAJOR thanks to Morgaine for letting me do this storyline! :)

Anonymous said...

Raia is going to be the title character? Oooooooh.


Van said...

I am quite excited about certain casting decisions. ;)

Ekho said...

Oh gosh, really can't wait to see who is cast... And as who / what? ;P
Someone has to be a tree, that's like, mandatory!

Van said...

At least a few people may wish they were trees, for assorted reasons. XD