THIRTY-THREE TALES OF WAR XXIX: THE CASTER
Civil war rages in the black-blooded nation of Kandrisev. Its citizens grow restless. They demand their voices be heard. These are their stories laid out in thirty-three tales of war.
Thirty-Three Tales of War is a collection of flash fiction pieces that follow thirty-three anonymous individuals living during the Candrish Civil War. You can read all previous stories for free in Worldbuilding Magazine or on the author's website.
“AND so,” the Caster said to the Academy board, "It is my belief that, with proper care and attention, all three disciplines of anatomancy can be taught and used in a safe and benevolent manner."
The Academy sat back in their chairs, some looking bored, others downright hostile. The Caster breathed in quick, shallow puffs. This could end the war if the Academy only gave it a chance.
"And whose responsibility might it be if this becomes another Mazrija?" One of the scholars asked.
"Let's not catastrophize now," the Caster replied.
"Another Mazrija? What about another Moonwar?" Someone else interjected.
"It—" the Caster's voice was cut off by a rising chorus of voices.
"The entire Nastkatev Order was laid bare by a single anatomancer and you expect us not only to condone its use, but to teach it?" asked someone from across the meeting hall.
"That was a unique and unusual—"
"I motion to deny tenure on the basis of this research subject being dangerous, inconsistent with this Academy’s values, reckless, and highly suspect," another voice called on the crest of an emphatic glut of "Yea."
"But what I’ve found indicates that—"
"Who oversaw this so-called research? Which one of you signed off? Are you willing to personally shoulder the burden of another Mazrija, another Moonwar, another Nastkatev Order, another Bendrasif? Who will stick out their neck on the mere possibility that reintroducing a dangerous, volatile, chaotic—"
"May I speak, please?" the Caster shouted.
Dead silence overtook the meeting hall. Sweating, the Caster exhaled. "Sorry. Sorry. No need to be rude, I understand, but my research was funded by this very Academy and the thought of wasting my life on—on something no member of this faculty is willing to entertain the idea of is simply—" the Caster fumbled for words. "Simply disheartening and indicative of a greater problem with the state of academia and scholarship in this day and age. There. I've said it. That you are unwilling to see this from another point of view is extremely frustrating and frankly anti-intellectual. I urge you to consider that this is a discipline worthy of further consideration and study. The impact of the organized and well-controlled education of promising casters in the art of bloodhealing alone would be nigh-on immeasurable.”
The section headmasters, who encircled the Caster in the first row of tables and chairs, conferred with one another for long enough that the Caster began to think they may have actually listened. But, when the Headmistress of Essencecasting stood, the Caster knew the end was nigh.
“The Academy has elected to deny further funding or cooperation for research concerning this or related topics,” she stated. “We regret to inform you that you’ll have to find another subject to earn your tenure.”