Class Reports: ENGL 1302, Sections 02 and 03–31 March 2017

After treating concerns from the last class meeting and before, including quiz answers and related issues, discussion asked after progress on the PrEss. It then returned to Sir Thomas Malory and assigned readings.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • PrEss FV (online before class begins on 12 April 2017)
  • ChEss RV (online before class begins on 24 April 2017)
  • ChEss FV (online before class begins on 5 May 2017)

Information about other assignments remains in development.

Section 02 met as scheduled, at 1000, in Weir 111. The class roster listed 14 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Twelve attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. Two students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Section 03 met as scheduled, at 1100, in Weir 111. The class roster listed 16 students enrolled, a decline of two since the last class meeting. Thirteen and a visitor attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. One student from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

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A Letter about Points of Departure

Dear Readers,

I appreciate that you’ve continued to read what all I have written–and I appreciate that many of you note liking it. I mean to continue, of course, but I have a lot going on at the moment. I’ve made no secret that I’m working four jobs at the moment; three of them are picking up right now. Too, I’ve got another adventure brewing in my life (it’s nothing bad; quite the opposite, really). So things are busy, indeed.

Consequently, while I enjoy doing this, and I intend to keep doing so, today, I have to skip. I hope you’ll look again come Monday (provided, of course, that I can get done what needs doing over the weekend).

Best,

Geoffrey B. Elliott

Points of Departure, Chapter 14

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔗he next morning dawned, finding the mail-clad man already fed and ready to depart. The green-clad man he accompanied was somewhat slower in making ready, but he was soon mounted, and he led the mail-clad man slightly south of eastward along the road through the forest. The trees continued to thin, and the road continued to improve, and they began once again to encounter travelers along the way. With most, they exchanged but few words, mostly of greeting and of kindness, and with a few, they stopped and shared news. From it, they learned that matters were settling in Logres, with a man called Custennin from Cornwall taking the throne and beginning to stamp out the remnants of the war between the two kings that had preceded his ascent. Word was that fighting continued in the east and south, less so in the west and north, and that banditry had begun to spring up with the news of the two kings’ fall. The mail-clad man touched his side where he had been pierced but was no longer, and the green-clad man spoke his thanks to those from whom he heard the news.

As they rode on, after leaving some travelers behind, the green-clad man asked the mail-clad what he thought of the matter. The reply he received was thus: “It is only sense that there would be something of a vacuum of rule arise when the kings both fell. The one was the evident heir of the other, being his closest kin, but although he was anointed and crowned, solemnized in office under the Lord, he was crowned king of a kingdom that already had a king. I know of no heirs of his body, although there might be such–for it is the case that many are born to parents unwed, and some of them do great things, although others do perfidy and shame. But with none such known, and two kings slain, it might well be thought that smaller lords could rise to power, and that lords from outside might think to come in. But if the Cornish king can keep matters secure, then it is to the good. Lawless lands are bad for those who must live in them, all out of accord with the will of the Lord.”

He paused for a moment, then said “It is clear to me that you are a man of no mean power and skill. By your attire and your conduct, I know you to be a man of some eminence. Will you not then go to where dwells the new king and offer your respects to him? For even if you will not be his subject, the land is under his rule, and he has an interest in knowing who is in it and what business those who are in it may be about.”

The green-clad man answered him, saying “It may be that we do so after our business near Anderitum is done. But it is that business that concerns me most closely, and so it concerns you who must follow me. When we have finished there, if matters are such as permit our doing so, we will find where the king reigns, and there we will greet him with seemly words and perhaps gifts. For you are correct in that I am not a subject of the king here, and I have no desire to be one such–but it seems that you would be one, and that you have the desire to be one such. And I would know why it is that you would take such a thing on yourself.”

The mail-clad man responded in turn, saying “You know me to be a knight. Knights are made by other knights, so there is a long chain and unbroken that connects each of us back to the beginning–and that making places each of us under another. It is part of knighthood that we are in service, and having that service shapes us and our days. It gives structure to our lives amid the world that is still being reclaimed from its first fall, and it helps others to be able to do the work of reclamation. I do well that which I know how to do, but there is more that must be done than that I know how to do, and because I do not know it but know that others do, I would be in service. And as for being the subject of the king, I have been sworn to the king since I was of age to make such swearing, and it is the case that the oaths given to one must be given again to that one’s successor, until the debt is discharged. If this new king is the successor of the old, just and appointed, then I am already a subject to him–and if it is the case that he is not, then I owe my old king the duty of overthrowing one who takes his throne unjustly.”

“Is that, then, why you fought for the one king against the other? Or that you sought to do so, in any event?”

The mail-clad man nodded. “It is, indeed. For I had benefited greatly from my service to that reign, and if it had been the case that the one king had died and the other succeeded him–as would have been righteous, for he was his nearest kin–then I would have served the second willingly and well. But because he did as he did, he rose unjustly, and the king to whom I was sworn through many swearings was in the right to return to what was his and take it back again. Nor was I one whose memory was so short as to think so little of what had come from the king who was.

“But now he is gone away As for what replaces him, that remains to be seen. But I think that I will look for it to be to the good. I would not have a lawless land be what my own becomes, and a good king and wise will help it to remain as it should be.”

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

Class Reports: ENGL 1302, Sections 02 and 03–29 March 2017

After treating concerns from the last class meeting and before, including the note that the DrEss FV is graded (but revisions received are not yet), discussion asked after progress on the PrEss. It then returned to Sir Thomas Malory and assigned readings before adjourning in favor of a quiz.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • PrEss RV (online before class begins on 31 March 2017)
  • PrEss FV (online before class begins on 12 April 2017)
  • ChEss RV (online before class begins on 24 April 2017)

Information about other assignments remains in development.

Section 02 met as scheduled, at 1000, in Weir 111. The class roster listed 14 students enrolled, a decline of three since the last class meeting. Thirteen attended, verified by the quiz. Student participation was good. Four students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Section 03 met as scheduled, at 1100, in Weir 111. The class roster listed 18 students enrolled, a decline of one since the last class meeting. Fifteen attended, verified by the quiz. Student participation was good. Two students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Points of Departure, Chapter 13

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔄s the mail-clad man slept, he dreamed, and in the dream, he was again readying for battle. Around him, comrades in arms girded on their swords and were helped into their armor, and he looked down to see his surcoat and shield emblazoned gules, on a bend argent a baton gules wavy. Away across the field, he saw an army gathered similarly, and between them, he saw the small party where two kings met and sat and drank and tried to work out terms such that the dignity and puissance of both, and God’s clear favor on anointed and crowned rulers, could be respected. He knew where he was and when he was in the dream, and he looked down to see if a serpent would once again strike his heel. But there was no adder there, nor any of the usual animals of the field.

Behind him spoke a voice, saying “This is how it should have been.” The mail-clad man turned to face it, and he found himself facing his own face, his own self, pierced with arrows in shoulder and side, and with foot and leg swollen with venom. “This is what should have transpired that day, save that the adder bit you and you struck back at it. There should have been no serpent here. All manner of beast have been driven away, fleeing the sound of fighting to come–for to what other purpose do so many ride under such heavy arms than to make war each upon the other? The beasts of the field have their own wisdom, and they know that human quarrels are not theirs to pursue. They have their own wars in which to die and need not ours, as well.

“Yet the serpent struck you, and it would have slain you. And serpents are clever, as has been written and as the priests have read. And serpents can take many forms, as well, or at least the one can. You know of whom I speak, though I will not speak the name even here. It is not fit for mortal ears, nor for mortal tongues to say it. That one do you follow now, accompanying him along his errands to no good end.”

The mail-clad man replied to himself “Yet I am sworn to follow and charged to it by the priests. I cannot set aside what I have sworn and the obligation placed upon me and keep any worship. Already do I lack it in that I left the field of battle rather than falling with my fellows–for even if I was poisoned as I was, I still could have advanced rather than retreating. Will I then add to my unworth by turning away from what I know that I have said? May I be shriven of my guilt when I become guilty while trying to do my penance? For I still am in the midst of atoning for my sins with Lady Maelis’s woman, and I would not compound the error.”

“As well you should not. But if you would address yourself to errors, then you must seek the root of them and fix it. And that root lies in what rides before you on the road. It lies in the one you follow, the one who has orchestrated the events that have unfolded. Address yourself thereto, and find your peace.”

“I have sought to do so. I could not. I cannot now.”

“Then all is lost to you.” Around the mail-clad man, the army mounted and readied itself for the charge. Spears were shaken, swords unsheathed, and with a mighty yell, the knights charged forward. After a moment, the mail-clad man turned away from himself and followed, plunging into the thick of the fighting as it began. Amid the clangor of steel on steel, the erratic percussion of weapons beating on shields, the shrieks of strained wood and metal as shields and armor failed, and the screams of men and horses as the next blows came after, the mail-clad man fought. He unhorsed one opponent, the shock of his initial charge sending the other warrior backwards over the cruppers of the horse and into the churning muck and mire, where the hooves of others’ horses ensured he would never wake again.  Another thrust of his spear splintered it on the shield of another warrior, the sharp fragments of wood bursting with a high-pitched crack; his sword flashed out, then, and with a single overhead cut, he cleft the shield held up against him, taking with it the hand that held it. Another stroke took the man’s head who had opposed him–but it carried too far, and beside him, an ally groaned and slumped in the saddle, slain by his companion.

As the man fell, his weight pulled the sword from the mail-clad man’s hand. Before he could find another, he was beset again, this time by a knight wearing sable, a chief vert, who swung an ax at him again and again. The mail-clad man swung his argent shield into the path of the first blows, deflecting them, but with each stroke, he could hear the bound wood chipping away, more and more of the device stripped off and sent to the hoof-churned bloody mud below.

With one more blow, the shield split, falling from his arm in ragged pieces.

With another, his arm was cut, the blade biting deeply into bone and there lodging. The sable-clad knight wrenched the weapon sideways, jerking the mail-clad man from his horse and to the ground. His opponent’s horse reared over him, whinnying rampant, and began to crash down.

Once again, the mail-clad man woke in the night. The surrounding air was still, leaving him only with himself to consider once again, pondering why he dreamed the dreams he did anymore.

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

Points of Departure, Chapter 12

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔗he next day saw the knight rise before dawn again, and he ate briefly and offered up his penitential prayers while the people around him slept. They did so in some disorder, with many people sleeping in several of the huts they shared, while other huts stood empty. The green-clad man had melded into the crowds the night before, leaving the mail-clad man largely alone with his thoughts; the people had fed him, but after the words the green-clad man had spoken, they otherwise left him alone. He said nothing of the matter, either in the night or in the morning beginning, but it sat strangely with him even yet that matters were as they were, that he had healed from injuries without scar and had been left to himself after thinking that an advance was being made upon him after he had already been at the center of such advances, both making them and accepting those made towards him.

It was not until after the sun was shining through the leaves of the overhanging trees that the green-clad man emerged from one of the huts. He seemed content and well-fed, and he nodded to the knight as he readied his horse. The knight followed suit, and it was not long until the pair continued heading eastward upon the road whose quality seemed to increase with each step that was taken. The forest began to thin around them, and the knight could glimpse small patches of blue amid the translucent greens of the leaves above. He said as much to the green-clad man riding ahead of him, receiving a nod and “It is as you say, Sir Knight. We draw closer to the edge of this wood, and thence we will ride to Anderitum, where there is somewhat for me to do–and I may well need your aid in doing it, as we have discussed in the past days.”

“I recall the talk,” replied the mail-clad man, “and I remain ready to aid you as you may need. If it is the case that I am strengthened as you say, then I surely must do so, for if I am given a gift, I am a fool to turn away from it and from that which has given the gift to me. Yet I worry, for I know that a gift given can be withdrawn, and I would not have that with which I have been provided taken away so easily. I am grateful for it, and I think not that a person can be blamed for wanting to keep such a thing.”

“Indeed not, Sir Knight,” replied the green-clad man, “and you seem to have been given a good thing, indeed. But I doubt not of your sincerity at this point. I know well that you know the value of what you have received, and I know that you know how strong upon you the charge you carry lies. Several of the charges, in fact, for I see that you continue to do penance for some error you feel you have made. How much longer have you to do such? For I note that you drink little and eat less as you conduct it, and though you are strong, I would have you remain so against such needs as we may have.”

“It will not be long, I think,” replied the mail-clad man. “For I have been so diligent as I may be in praying and fasting, and we have been on the road long. Each day has seen me act in accord with that charge, and I will soon be discharged of it. But you need not worry of my strength. I feel it greatly in me, such as I have not since I was newly knighted. It is as you say. I have been given much, and it is of great value. I treasure it, although I wonder that I did not find such earlier in life, and that others have not found similar favor who were more pious than I. For there have been many such, many who have attended more fully to their catechism and to the work of the Lord than I. Why, then, should I find such favor? For though I am grateful for it, I am confused by it utterly.”

The green-clad man shrugged. “Perhaps it is because your strength will be needed where theirs is not. Or perhaps you are meant as a test to others, a temptation away from faith and towards despair.”

The mail-clad man stopped suddenly. “Am I then a tool of the devil? Is it through unholy agency that I am strengthened, then, and the priests deceived about me?”

“Why would you think yourself a tool of the devil to be used as a temptation away from faith? Is it not written, and do not the priests speak of it, that Job was tempted to show what faith truly is? So worry not that that is the case, but press on as you may. Act in good faith, and surely  it will be shown to you.”

The mail-clad man started ahead again, but he did not speak, riding in silence as he turned over in his mind what had been said. And he recalled his dream, remembering how he had spoken to himself of deceit and despair. For all the green-clad man’s words that sought to put him at ease, he could not find it for himself. When, therefore, at the end of the day, he and the green-clad man stopped to rest, making camp under the thinning boughs of the lingering forest, he offered up another prayer, asking for the Lord to guide his steps and lead him through to righteousness and away from any evil that would seek to have him follow it. And he did his daily penance, as he had been bidden to do, ate and drank, and found his way again to sleep.

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

Class Reports: ENGL 1302, Sections 02 and 03–27 March 2017

After treating concerns from the last class meeting and before, including the note that the DrEss FV is still not yet graded (nor are revisions received), discussion asked after progress on the PrEss. It then returned to Sir Thomas Malory and assigned readings.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • PrEss RV (online before class begins on 31 March 2017)
  • PrEss FV (online before class begins on 12 April 2017)
  • ChEss RV (online before class begins on 24 April 2017)

Information about other assignments remains in development.

Section 02 met as scheduled, at 1000, in Weir 111. The class roster listed 17 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Thirteen attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. One student from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Section 03 met as scheduled, at 1100, in Weir 111. The class roster listed 19 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Seventeen attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Points of Departure, Chapter 11

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔗he sun rose and began to look through the leaves and branches upon the mail-clad man as he offered his first prayer of the day, still working towards his penance. The events of the past days still weighed heavily upon him, filling his thoughts as he rode along behind the green-clad man. His hands kept creeping to his shoulder and his side, feeling about for wounds he knew he should have but seemed not to–nor even the scars that should have marked where they once had been. But yet his clothes and mail showed the marks made upon them, so he knew that they had been pierced before. The conundrum kept itself in the front of his mind, and so the trees he passed by did not, until at length, a branch that hung across the track that remained where once a road had been knocked him from the back of his horse.

Ahead of him, the green-clad man halted. Turning in his saddle, he said “Sir Knight, I know that there are times when even the great are unhorsed, but surely you could have faced such an opponent with more skill and aplomb. Are you well?”

The mail-clad man rose, shaking himself. He replied “I am. I was simply lost in thought as I rode along. I have had much about which to think as we have ridden together, particularly since the events of the fight. I marvel yet at how I fared in it, and I am all uncertain why it should be so. I know no agency that would act toward me as I have been treated, not even the Most High whose presence has been invoked to strengthen me and toward the worthiness of which I strive. For there have not been to my mind the usual signs and symbols of it, as I have heard told in hall and in camp. And I have dreamed strange dreams that I must question, as well.”

He remounted. “Forgive me my inattention. I shall be the more vigilant–and I shall avoid falling to such an opponent as jousted so well against me as I may!” He laughed, and the green-clad man smiled, and both of them rode on for a time. As they did, they began to find that the road was in better and better repair, for they had come past the midpoint of the forest and were coming into places where people dwelt who were of civil mind and tongue. And before the day was done, they came across a group of them, dwelling together in wood-thatch huts and living off of the bounty of the forest. And those people welcomed the green-clad man as a long friend, and their speech with him was strange, so that the mail-clad man knew not what was said. But he prayed his penitence as he had been bidden, and after the sun set, he partook of the food that was offered to him by the people with whom the green-clad man spoke at ease.

The mail-clad man thought to himself that this must be the origin of the man in green whom he followed. For the green-clad man seemed at ease among these people and in this place, and both seemed at ease with him, such that they were each part of the other. But he also marked that he saw no sign of faith among them. They fed him well with nut and berry and small game, and there was a drink sweet and strong, and though he did not understand their words, he knew that their tones were welcoming and warm, so he did not make much of the matter, but he noted no priest among them, no shaven-headed friar, and nowhere the signs of the Lord he knew and followed. And it was of some unease for him that it was so–but he kept to his courtesies and acted as a guest in high hall. But when one of the women smiled at him the way Lady Maelis’s servingwoman had, he made gestures of refusal. He knew he already did penitence enough.

The green-clad man marked the demurring, and he asked the mail-clad man “Why would you shake your head so? She but smiles at you and welcomes you to this place; she says she hopes that you are happy here for now.”

“If that is all that has been said,” the knight replied, “then I apologize that I shook my head at it. But the words spoken here are strange to my ears, and I know not how I ought to respond to them. It seemed another thing was spoken, and it is not a thing that I would have, not without somewhat else that seems not to be on offer here. For I have partaken of it before, and it is for that failing that I do penitence. I would not repeat the error while yet trying to atone for it. I am taught that such belies the sincerity of contrition, and it is only in that sincerity that forgiveness may be found.”

“I am sure that you are correct, Sir Knight. I think I know whereof you speak, and if you cannot say the words as they are spoken here, in this I will be your voice.” And the green-clad man said to the woman who had smiled a series of words the knight did not understand. Her smile fell, and her eyes were sad, but she nodded at what was spoken to her, and she rose and left. Then the green-clad man turned again to the mail-clad and said “It is done. No longer will you be troubled by such a thing, at least not here. In the world outside, I cannot say, but that will be for you to handle when we are again where the words are what you know.”

The mail-clad man nodded his thanks and returned to his food while revelry continued around him.

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

Class Report: ENGL 227.61205, 25 March 2017

After addressing questions from and concerns about the previous class meeting, discussion addressed issues of diversity, as well as persuasive techniques and concerns of reports and proposals. Time was given to addressing group work, as well.

Students are reminded of the following assignments’ due dates:

  • Week 4 Discussion (online before 0059 on 26 March 2017)
  • Informal Analytical Report (one submission from each group online before 0059 on 26 March 2017)
  • Week 5 Discussion (online before 0059 on 2 April 2017)
  • Negative/Bad News Message (individual submissions online before 0059 on 2 April 2017)

The class met as scheduled, at 0900 in Rm. 106 of the DeVry San Antonio campus. The class roster listed 11 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Of them, nine attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. No students attended office hours.

Points of Departure, Chapter 10

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔗he mail-clad man woke in disbelief. He felt no pain, was not hindered in his motions when he moved his arm and shoulder and sought to sit up. When he looked around, he saw that he sat in the forest where he had fallen the night before. The green-clad man sat across the fire from him, eating. When he saw that the knight was awake, he nodded and offered a cup of water, for the sun was already in the sky, shining through the trees.

The mail-clad man took the cup with thanks, offered up a small prayer, and drank. When he had wet his mouth, he asked “Am I dead? For I recall that I was smitten in shoulder and in flank by arrows, and the latter bit deeply into me.” The green-clad man answered him swiftly, saying “If you are dead, then so am I, as is all you see around you. But I think you are not dead, for I do not think myself to have passed out of life. Nor yet did I work healing upon you this day.”

“Then I am confused as to what happened. And I am confused as to how you reacted while a fight occurred around you. For there was fighting, and you acted as if nothing was wrong, eating your food and drinking your drink and paying no mind to aught that happened. A man was set to kill you, and yet you acted as if nothing was amiss.”

“Why should I worry? You were here, as I knew you would be, and you are charged to me, so that I knew you would act in my defense if it were needed. And it is so. I am unharmed, and you appear to be so.”

The mail-clad man felt himself, searching his shoulder and his side for the marks of arrows. The cloth of his gambeson was torn where he would have expected, given the wounds he had named. Yet the skin under the tears was unbroken and smooth, and there was no pain in the motion. And the mail-clad man marveled at the revelation, saying “I must be strengthened, indeed, in the pursuance of my obligation to you. For there is not a mark upon me from what I have endured, although the tears in my clothing say that something happened to me. God be praised that it is so!”

The green-clad man smiled. “If you are feeling well, then, let us go.”

The mail-clad man rose. “Let me look about a bit before we do. I have to think that there have been some things left behind by those who attacked us, and I do not know where my horse went.”

The green-clad man also stood. “As to the former, I know not, for I have not looked about. You would know better than I what to search out and recover. But as to the latter, your horse is with mine, and there.” He pointed, and the knight looked, seeing the horses standing a little ways off, grazing merrily on such shrubbery as was present for them. He nodded, and as the green-clad man went about his own work, the mail-clad scouted about. He found the corpses he had made the night before, and he offered prayers for them as he laid them out and took form them such knives and moneys as they had. Armor had they none, and their bows had been broken.

“We should stop a bit and bury them” he said, but the green-clad man replied “We have no priest to pray over them, and there is no hallowing to this ground. Too, I have scant pity for those who would have slain me and those in my service, so I will not tarry for them. No, Sir Knight, we will not bury them. Let them be as the beasts they would become, dead in the woods and given to those who live therein.” And he mounted to ride away, but the mail-clad man prayed over them again, asking their forgiveness and God’s for the neglect of their bodies. Still, he could not but follow, and so he did.

The two rode through the rest of the day, moving slowly against the deteriorating road, and stopping as the sun descended. The forest still surrounded them as they made their camp for the night, and as the sun set, the knight offered up his penitential prayers and his prayer of thanks, and he ate. Soon enough, he slept, and while he slept, he dreamed. In his dream, he saw the faces of those he had slain the night before, and the marks of their wounds were upon them. They struggled to speak, but they could not, or else the knight could not hear them–but they were joined by a third, and the knight knew the figure to be his own. And it was marked with the marks he would have suffered, with arrows in shoulder and side, and one leg swollen and bloated from the bite of the adder. It spoke to him, and he could hear its words in his own voice clearly:

“You are deceived and your soul in peril for it! For the one whom you follow is not as he seems to be; although his name is such as cannot be spoken, and the names used for him are vile and reviled, you must know who he is. Follow him not, though you think yourself charged to it, for it is only through deceit that you have taken that charge. Repent of your folly, though it cost you your life again, and be shriven that you may pass on in peace. Go now, before you are damned forever!”

The knight awoke in sweat and cold, and he stared into the overhanging leaves in the darkness, seeing only few in the lingering red light cast by the coals of the fire he had made and that had since gone out.

Alms for the poor? Please click here.