Clerical Conversations (Second Letter)

An aqueduct on the outskirts of Torium.

The following text is continued correspondence between Professor Cesario de Torium and his counterpart in Caelon, Professor Recamundus de Gelgadongo. Both men are leading clerics in their respective academies, and their rivalry in poetry and poetic discourse lives on long after they both die as friends to a bitter end.

The letter contained here is written by Prof. Cesario in response to the first letter from Prof. Recamundus concerning the heroic portrayal of the villain Ranemiro who was known for raiding wealthy caravans in his day.

My dear colleague Recamundus,

I do believe that you have entirely missed the point of the poem you have so passionately denounced in your recent letter. While I enjoyed thoroughly your citation of two of the verses of my work, you have failed to consider the value and meaning of the full poem. Even though I believe you might be able to make a strong argument for your claim that the song might be sung by thieves and outlaws, I do so hope that you do not see it the same way that you assert these men of ill repute would do. Surely you are not claiming yourself that my work honors the robber Ranemiro, had you actually read and considered the full poem.

While I am certainly not interested, as I imagine you are not, in explaining the meaning of the words I have written, I must believe that a man as learned as the esteemed Professor Recamundus does not take the documentation of an event to equate to an endorsement of the actions. Certainly not, I would expect. Yet I am led to believe by your insistence for me to denounce my own work – what a thought! – you have likely been pressured to put quill to parchment by the local lords in the area. This is the only circumstance that I can imagine that would cause you to write such a correspondence to me, as I know, based on your works, that you have handled similar subject matter before. Should I also take a selection of your most popular poetry and trim the context right off of it? Certainly, I would not do this under normal circumstances, but I am afraid that the letter that I received from you has tempted me to do so.

Ah, here we are! Taken from somewhere in the middle of your historical poem titled “White Walls Black”:

Their heads hanging low say the best of them are at an end
For their defenses are less than the men who came as friends
Whose laws of hospitality were lost on the long road
Who were taken in through open gates and open abodes

Warrior men, barbarians and forgone conclusions
We Torian hosts open our homes with old delusions
That the reclaimers were the same as when they came years back
And the halls all fall, and the walls once white don the new black.

Now, as a man of similar interests in historical narrative, I can appreciate the depiction you give in your verses. However, using the same logic you have presented before me, one could argue that this poem exhibits not only an expression that the Torians who fled the Holy City were weak and naive in nature, but also that sung aloud this song could embolden Warathi forces to once again become more militant against the North of Caelon.

Surely you wouldn’t want a second Battle of Gelgadongo to occur. Perhaps it is you who should denounce your own poem? After all, all out warfare is certainly more dangerous than a few bandit attacks on caravans, I am sure you agree.

Prof. Cesario de Torium

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