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December Drabble: A Staff Meeting

25

December 20, 2013 by Lyn

This is in response to Ziggy’s request in my December Drabbles offer here for a Normal Staff Meeting.  

The drabbles were offered at 50-500 words; I can definitely go further with this if someone wants to commission more.

Sixth Week (mid-October), Year 6 of the Addergoole School

The staff gathered together in Regine’s conference room, notebooks out, all chit-chat coming to a halt, as if by mutual agreement, when they stepped into the office.

Their seating arrangements hadn’t changed much in the seven years they’d been doing this; these weren’t people to play office politic or, truly, politics of any sort.  They took their jobs seriously – they had to.  They couldn’t go home at the end of the day and step away from the office.

Some days, Shira allowed herself the melodramatic thought that they were as trapped as their students.  She knew better, however; they’d chosen this, after all.

Regine cleared her throat.  It was interesting, watching the meetings without Ambrus there. Hayley, Regine’s assistant, took notes just fine, but Ambrus had done so much for bringing attention to his mistress and, Shira assumed, keeping the emotional  tone of the meetings where Regine wanted them (inasmuch as Regine understood emotion).

::You know she understands emotions, Shira.::

::Don’t do that, Reid, without knocking first.  And no, I don’t know it.::

::I’m very very sorry.::  Reid’s presence departed her mind, leaving Shira uncertain if he was sorry for her lack of knowledge, for Regine’s actions, or for having been sitting in her mind uninvited.

“I am glad you are all here promptly.  I have no issues of my own to bring forward, but I know several of you had agenda items.” Regine nodded politely to Mike VanderLinden, who sat to her left, and to Luke, who sat to her right.

Luke cleared his throat.  “I want to talk about Abednego.  And Abaddon.”

“And I’m concerned about Lucian and Thessaly,” Mike put in.

“And there’s the problem with Shahin and Emrys.”  Luke glared at Mike and kept on.  “Ofir won’t be a problem this year – Xaviera dealt with that – but we’ve got other fallout to handle.”

“Fallout?”  Regine raised one perfect eyebrow at Luke. “To what are you referring, Luca?”

Shira watched Luke’s face; more than that, she watched his wings.  One wing twitched, not the full flap he did when he was normally irritated, but the suggestion of that.  “The First and Second Cohort had some problem students.”

Shira coughed out a laugh.  Everyone else ignored her.

Luke continued. “We have already seen what can happen to someone after a year of bad Keeping.  Ardell-”

“Ardell was a bad seed to begin with.”  Regine’s frown was repressive, as was her tone of voice.  She should have known it wouldn’t work on Luke.  “We’ve known he came into the school with emotional problems. We’ve discussed this in depth before, Luca.”

“Ardell took a bad experience and some emotional problems and turned ugly.  Ofir took a bad Keeping,” and now Luke plowed right over whatever Regine was trying to say, and Shira didn’t fault him, “and repeated the actions back to Kendra.  Not everyone does this, of course – Eris, for instance.”

“Another emotional unstable one.”

“But with some of the things Bowen has been doing, I think we need to be vigilant.”

“And how would we determine a ‘former bad Keeping’ we needed to watch for an aftermath?”

Shira held her breath. Regine was being snide; that was never good.

Luke leaned forward, fists on the table, wings spread. It was all very slow, very careful.  “Those would be the ones we should have stopped before it got to this point, Regine.”


Addergoole: Year Nine updates every Wednesday evening EST. Want more?


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25 comments »

  1. Rix Scaedu says:

    I can see that this s gong to be an interesting conversation…

  2. guesty says:

    Go Luke! Don’t go along with this any more!

    • Kuro_Neko says:

      Unfortunately since this is year six, and we just watched him and all the rest go along with it in year nine, we know nothing comes of this. Or at least not remotely enough. Lee alone is proof of that.

      • Lyn says:

        Well, many of the issues Luke was talking about no longer happen by year 9.

        • Kuro_Neko says:

          True. I will admit that things have gotten better. Though I would attribute that Kai and her council more then the Staff. But Lee and Ahouva, at the very least, show that there’s still a long way left to go. At this rate, in another decade or so the place might finally not be chewing up and spitting out kids on a regular basis. But again that’ll likely be mostly the students acting, not the staff. That might even be the point in some staff-members’ minds, it certainly is in Fridmar’s, but it’s a hell of a lesson to learn by example. And the cost in children’s shattered psyches will be way too high.

          I gotta get off my high horse before I really start ranting.

          Since I’m writing this anyway, would you be willing to accept a commission to write more of that conversation between Cenwein and her parents?

          • Lyn says:

            Didn’t you request that in the December Drabbles request list?

            December’s not over yet 😉

          • Kuro_Neko says:

            Hm? Ok, that bodes very well. We’ll see what Santa brings and revisit in the new year if necessary (sounds like not). Thanks.

  3. Kuro_Neko says:

    The sticking point that I just can’t ever get past regarding the staff is all the sexual assault they’re allowing to, even assisting in, happening. They know the majority of first year students are Kept are against their will. There’s no way anyone with a lick of intelligence can come to the conclusion that every one of those girls magically enslaved against their will would consent to sex with their captors, at least not without coercion, which amounts to the same thing. Yet all the girls turn up pregnant, which is undeniable proof of said sexual activity. And the staff do nothing. Regardless of what other actions they take, or platitudes they mouth, this makes them guilty of assisting in the numerous and repeated rapes of the children under their care. There isn’t any other way to interpret it. And that isn’t anything I could ever forgive.

    Sorry if I’m retreading old ground. I just find myself unable to keep silent whenever any attempt is made to show any of the staff in a sympathetic light. They are every one of them (excepting Kairos) monsters. You have to be a monster to assist in the rape of children, the rape of anyone really, but children especially. Sorry, I’ll leave it there.

    • Lyn says:

      I never know what you want me to say in reply to comments like this.

      • Kuro_Neko says:

        I don’t know that I expect you to say anything at all. You’ve already agreed that what they’re doing is bad and wrong. It’s a dystopia after all. I think I’m really just venting. Feel free to ignore me if I’m being annoying.

        • Wysteria says:

          At a certain point, it might be nice if you moved your most negative ranting to your own space so Lyn wouldn’t have to deal with it whenever she thought about publishing a story.

          >.>

          • Kuro_Neko says:

            I’ve been trying to keep my ranting to a minimum. As well, I’ve always tried to be clear that nothing I say is a slur on the author or what she writes, just on the characters themselves in-story. If anything that I feel so passionately about the story and the fate of the more innocent of the characters can be seen as a compliment. Though if I’m offending anyone, least of all the author, just say the word and I’ll shut up.

          • Wysteria says:

            If I’m being honest, it’s exhausting reading your comments. Yes, the story treads abusive ground. Then it treads abusive ground. Sometimes it treads less abusive ground. Sometimes good things happen. But to get long comments of ‘student Keeping still abusive, staff still culpable’ on almost every chapter is – it crosses a line between commenting and something less pleasant, I think. You tend to read as, “I dislike every plot point in your story, but I still like your story.”

            If I’m wrong, and that’s not the comments you’re trying to make, you might want to revisit how you approach your comments, as they are not communicating your intent very clearly.

          • Kuro_Neko says:

            I’m simply trying to provide feedback on how the chapter makes me feel. When something happy happens my response is full of positive emotions. That many if not most chapters provoke negative emotions isn’t my fault, in fact considering the subject material, I kinda gathered that was the point. But I said I’d stop if I got the word I was offending any one, and I’ll consider your last comment that word. So from now on I’ll limit my responses to positive ones, or at least neutral technical ones.

            As to “I dislike every plot point in your story, but I still like your story.” From an out-of-story perspective, I don’t dislike the plot or the majority of its individual points because that would be the same as disliking the story as a whole and I wouldn’t read it. But from an in-story perspective, of course I dislike most of what’s happening to the characters, that’s much of the reason for dystopian fiction after all. I tend to get very emotionally invested in things I read, the better it is, the more involved I get. So it’s no surprise I feel a lot of sympathy for Ceinwen or hate Thorburn for the way he treated her, but that doesn’t mean I hate how he was written, or Lyn for writing him that way. Perhaps that’s not coming through properly in what I write. I’m not the greatest at communication. If I’ve offended you, or anyone else here, I apologize.

          • Wysteria says:

            Offended isn’t quite the word. I don’t know. Thank you for being considerate, even if I am not sure not ever making a negative comment again is the right response. o_o

          • Kuro_Neko says:

            Perhaps it isn’t. Lets say this, I’ll certainly stop retreading the ground of the staff’s culpability and abusive keeping in general. If something new happens that might perhaps provoke a negative reaction then I’ll consider posting regarding it, but err on the side of caution if I think I’m possibly retreading old ground or that it won’t be considered constructive.

            That’s about the best I can do short of not posting anything negative at all. I don’t want to post if my posts aren’t wanted. Especially since you all here have been quite welcoming and patient with me. I’ve gotten much worse receptions elsewhere.

          • Wysteria says:

            I’ve been thinking about this, and what I feel is this – there’s a certain lack of emotional catharsis in not seeing the confrontations and the staff making the slow changes. I mean, I know the slow changes are there – I’ve even helped Lyn spec some of them out – but they don’t show up on screen that much, really. That’s part of why I found the conversation between Ceinwen and her parents so powerful. It’s one of these characters that we see in the bad place, not even coming out of the bad place, but /engaging/ with the bad place. Taking ownership, initiative, agency.

            Otherwise known as: I like Ceinwen a lot.

          • Kuro_Neko says:

            Yes! That’s exactly my feelings on the matter. Both in general with the lack of emotional catharsis and specifically with regards to Ceinwen, how much I like her, and how good it is to see her get some sort of closure, or at least a start on it.

    • Kimsie says:

      That’s not my problem with the story.
      Lacking emotional ties to a child, most girls would abort.
      Regine, being a stupid dilly, has removed these.

      Coldly rational does not sit terribly well with “wants to
      keep baby.”

      This world is fundamentally implausible, and at such
      a deep level that it hurts.

      [Note: if regine explained the whole “going to war” bit,
      I could see Kai and most of ’em going along with it.
      But she doesn’t. Because the authors assume that
      one can wave magic fairy wands around, but have the
      responses be magically convenient for them.]

      • Lyn says:

        I’m sorry you have problems with the world.

        I only have one quibble with your comment: I am singular; there is only one author.

      • Wysteria says:

        If you assume there is mind control magic that digs deep enough to cause the Kept reactions to their Keepers that we see (devotion, pleasure in their Keeping), then the stretch that this same magic can be used to prevent young women from seeking or considering abortion is not a stretch.

        It’s creepy, but it’s not a stretch.

        Your suspension of disbelief has to stretch to cover the sheer breadth of power associated with the mind control.

        It’s my personal headcanon that a majority of the pregnancies would end pre-birth if the carriers had an uninfluenced chance to make the decision.

      • Kuro_Neko says:

        As with Wysteria, I assume it’s the mind control. Yeah that’s alittle Deus Ex Machina, but really, the entire premise wouldn’t work without it. No only the lack of abortions, but American teens putting up with the slavery and abuse. There is no way a group of your typically raised American teenagers would put up with that. They would rebel, or lacking that commit homicide and/or suicide in large numbers. So being able to read this story really comes down to whether or not your suspension of disbelief can stretch to accept a complex web of mind control over the whole school that subtly forces all the students to accept what’s happening to them is normal, or at least inevitable and pointless to fight against.

        • guesty says:

          While I agree with your answer to my comment (actually I was writing a slightly longer comment about how, well, go Luke, but no reason to feel superior about anything you’ve been and still are going along with, but then noticed I had to hurry and deleted all of it but the yay, Luke part, because I felt so, anyway), I disagree that this scenario couldn’t really happen without huge amounts of mind control. In fact, in a way, it does in reality. There’s sexual and emotional abuse everywhere in the world, there’s people who pimp out children, there’s bullying and fighting in schools, there’s basically all kinds of injustice and violence and people tend to find it quite hard to put an end to it, victims and witnesses alike. People mostly try to ignore all that stuff if they’re not directly affected (which, obviously, is bad and I’m not trying to justify it).

          As for the abortions, I always figured the Kept are simply not allowed to do that, since their Keepers want to graduate. Well, most people want to graduate, anyway. Then I doubt Caitrin would offer abortions, so the only option left is the dangerous diy kind and I also guess it’s a little less urgent without the social stigma that usually comes with a teen pregnancy.

          Anyway, happy new year, guys!

          • Lyn says:

            Author here.

            I chose not to deal with abortion as an issue when writing Addergoole; the short answer is that the mind control pushes one’s mind away from the idea.

            It’s abusive, but then again, so is “have two kids in four years, mkay?”

          • Kuro_Neko says:

            This sort of thing certainly happens in the real world. WWASP schools are a prime (and horrible) example. But without the mind control of Addergoole the system needs to be much more oppressive. And in the real world children don’t have superpowers or access to magic, taking those into account, without the mind control the school would turn into a war zone. Even disregarding that, studies have shown that approximately 13% of rape victims attempt suicide. That works out to roughly one suicide out of every eight Kept or two to three a cohort. I was unable to find a suicide rate for former sex slaves (which many Kept basically are) but it’s likely to be higher. That in ten years there has not been a single attempt to take the ultimate escape shows how pervasive the mind control is.

            To Kept and abortion, not all are Kept that are tricked into getting pregnant, Shahin is a good example. As to access to abortion, magic should certainly be able to take care of that. But the point is moot because the mind control stops them from considering abortion as an option.

            (sorry for the late reply, my internet has been down since Thursday)

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