Emilya exited through the cafeteria doors, holding them open for Bawen. She guided the boy to the opposite side of the building the other student had stormed off toward. She hoped she would not have to interfere there. Shaking her head Emilya took a good look at Bawen, toes to head, lingering on his eyes. She didn't like what she saw; his posture, body language, and expressions alone told a sad story she hoped she was wrong about. After a few silent moments she spoke, her tone neutral, almost conversational. Her eyes never left his."How is your father?"
Bawen frowns, considering the question, and its odd air of loadedness. "He is well."
He says, deciding the simplist response is the safest. "Am I to presume you know him personally or simply through reputation?"
he added, preparing to correct whatever misconceptions she may have about the Coridell family methods. "Personally."
Emilya noted Bawen's caution, but wasn't yet sure if that caution was bourne of concern for the family reputation or something else. "Though I haven't seen him in... a decade or so, now? He never mentioned having a son, but I may be acting presumptuous, thinking he'd tell me something personal like that. Still, I was surprised to hear your name."
She paused, watching the boy's eyes carefully and offering him a chance to speak if he so chose. Her expression was much gentler now then it had been earlier.
There is a small flash of suprise across the chimera's face for a moment, but it is quietly squashed. It was rare for him to meet someone who knew his father outside of professionally. Harkin Coridell, for all his virtues, was not a man who had many friends. "The estate has been very busy since the war. More so since the empire decided to not accept us as a protectorate."
He says. "And it is unsuprising. He was not fully aware of my existence until after the war. I was not formally granted the name until seven years ago. He has another, if you are any way interested. With any luck, Young Master Dorill will be in your lecture halls before too long."
He adds, remebering with some mild amusement how excited his brother was when he heard Bawen would be attending school.
Emilya nodded as Bawen spoke. "I see, that makes sense then."
She caught something like a brief sparkle in his eyes when he first spoke of his younger brother, Dorill, and she smiled at that. "I look forward to meeting him then. However, for the moment..."
She let her smile fall away before she continued. "...I would like to focus on you."
She paused briefly again, giving Bawen another opportunity to speak.
The chimera gives Emilya a curiuos look. A somewhat more difficult task than he thought it would be, considering their height difference. But more pressingly, she seemed to be acting strangely friendly for what, he had assumed, to be a dressing down of his behavior in the cafeteria. "In what regard ma'am?"
He asks, voice once again going flat as he prepared for an assumed verbal ambush.
Emilya spoke gently and tried to come across as non threatening, sensing Bawen was withdrawing into himself. "It's all right. I've already made it clear what the school's views on certain behaviors are. I just want you to tell me, in your own words, what exactly happened. Start to finish please."
Bawen relaxes a little, grunting in confirmation. There is an awkward moment of silence as he collects his thoughts on what had transpired in the cafeteria. "Simply put, it was rather harmless initally."
He begins, "I ran afoul of a rather...unpalletable student. Condemed him for his poor public behavior and sat down else where. Apparently the young lady was disturbed by our outburst and was polite enough to bring her discomfort to my attention."
He pauses for a moment, confusion marring his face. "Then the young man apparently felt I needed his assitance for some reason. I believe he used magic to deter her, but to be honest it caught me off guard as much as her. As for the other chimera.... Luke Anus? I think he was just looking to fight something."
Quietly, the sheep boy manages to grumble something about 'filthy blooded barbarian', though it's doubtful that was part of his testimony.
Emilya did not need magic to see that Bawen's perception and values were skewed, alarmingly so. Listening to what he said and how he said it she could tell he saw nothing wrong with the racially charged insult he had used. If she was reading him correctly he also saw nothing wrong with the actions of the two Brovak had dealt with. However, watching as carefully as she was, Emilya did not miss the subtle expressions on Bawen's face as he spoke of any other chimera.
This boy clearly viewed chimera as being inferior to humans, and for her it was no mystery as to where he might have gotten such an idea. She raised an eyebrow at the butchering of the other student's name but made no comment. More concerning was his muttered comment he had failed to keep entirely to himself. She considered her next words carefully."Why do you think so many reacted so strongly as quickly as they did in that situation? Please explain as thoroughly and as accurately as you can.""People generally take exception when people scream about the fellowship of soldiers in public with all the subtly of a dying star."
He says, flatly. "Especially when it comes from someone who should know better. That said, I was probably not as quiet in chastising him as I should have been."
Emilya was silent for a long moment, partially lost in old memories and partially assessing Bawen's thought process. "Tell me, if it had been a human doing the shouting would you have reacted any differently? What would you have said in such a case?""Forgoing the fact that a human wouldn't behave in such a manner..."
He begins, crossing his arms and considering the question for a few moments. "I likely would have said nothing. To do so in such a situation would would be beyond my station. But as I said..."
He huffs for emphasis, the noise bleeding over into a subtle breathless trill. "It is a moot point. A human would not have debased themselves in such an incredible display of cognitive impairment."
At that Emilya felt she understood the situation more than adequately. Her expression became notably sad and she looked at the ground briefly as unpleasant life lessons came to mind. "Bawen Coridell. I have witnessed far more disgraceful behavior from humans. From my own brother. From myself."
She locked eyes with the boy as she continued. "Even from your own father. Do you honestly think humans are above chimera?"
Bawen stared at her silently for a moment, face flat and composed. He had been concerned this line of questioning was going somewhere uncomfortable, though now the woman's goal seemed crystal clear to him. He had to commend the professor; he hadn't been expecting her to test him like this so early. "Absolutely."
He says, voice ringing with a confidence that could have only come from practice. "Our origin is deplorable nor are we in any way a natural inhabitant of this planet. There is no conclusion to draw but inferiority. One need only observe the fact that subsequent generations of halfbreeds trend towards human features. If one can look upon a seventh generation chimera and not draw the logical conclusion that humanity is the optimal form for sentient life, then there is no helping them."
He adds with a small puff of pride.
Emilya's face barely twitched before becoming unreadable. She had heard almost those exact words before, and they had the same effect now as the first time she'd heard them. "Have you ever considered the possibility that your father may be wrong about humans and chimeras?""Occasionally the idea strikes me. But normally I'm able to see reason after a few minutes of self reflection."
He adds primly. "It cant be helped really, considering I am one. The bias comes naturally."
Emilya shook her head slowly and sighed. There was a lot of deeply rooted damage, more than she could handle alone. Years of this one idea that chimera were inferior being drilled into the boy's head would not be easy to heal. "The tour will be starting any moment now, so we'll have to shelf this conversation for the moment. However, if you need to talk I'll make myself available. I am going to need to send you to a friend of mine. Her name is Leonora Serannen, and she's a staff member here at the Institute as well. You need help Mr. Coridell, and I believe Miss Serannen can provide that help. I'm afraid I must insist you see her regularly, at least once a week. Is this understood?"
Bawen frowned, tempted to object to the order, but he nodded obediently. "Very well Professor. Though I fail to see the need for additional staff assistance."
He says tone once again flat so to not risk further offense. "Nor as to why I specifically need help. But if it will put you at ease, consider it done ma'am."
He elects to remain silent as they continued, now thoroughly confused. "I hope in time these things will become clear to you."
Emilya reached up and placed a hand on Bawen's shoulder. She looked about to say something else when the doors to the cafeteria opened and the students began pouring out. Hans also emerged, a concerned look on his face.
She retracted her hand, albeit reluctantly, and adopted her usual professional demeanor. "It seems we're out of time for the moment. Please rejoin the group Mr. Coridell. And remember to check your comments before voicing them."
Emilya stepped away from Bawen letting him rejoin the group. Hans walked slowly to her, but did not say a word when he caught sight of the subtle look in his sister's eyes. Instead he stood next to her silently, waiting for the students to pass by. For her part Emilya kept her expression in check enough that she did not disturb anyone that looked her way. She took note of the other students involved in the incident and was satisfied to see their attitudes were acceptably subdued for now. As the last students passed by the pair hung back."Emilya?"
Hans asked at last.
The tiny professor's facade of self restraint fell and she glared darkly in the direction of the tour group, though her actual feelings were not directed towards anyone present. Her fists clenched as she began to explain. "That was Harkin Coridell's boy. Fight nearly broke out thanks to some racially charged comment from the boy... directed at another young chimera over some apparently loud and obnoxious behavior, but otherwise..."Ah, I see now. Harkin. So he couldn't escape the old man's poison in the end. With luck maybe the boy at least can escape the cycle.""Luck, and a lot of work. Too many students coming to us damaged these days. I think I need to pay our old friend a visit."Ah, you two always were an inch from eachothers throats half the time. Please don't make it personal if you can help it.""It's not about me and Harkin, Hans. Well, not primarily. It's about the boy. Bawen Coridell."