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 Speech! Speech! Speech! [Sophie]
Richard Mackenzie
 Posted: Oct 8 2014, 12:36 AM
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I'm all six feet five of solidified handsome.


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Lecture. Entitled Mask Of the Unknown: The Divide Between Experimental Theology and The World. Or so the paper in his hand told him. The only thing Richard Mackenzie could glean from the speaker in front of him was something, something, something, experimental theology, something.

Goddamn. And he had front row seats too, by virtue of his generosity towards Jordan's College. Something he was secretly regretting at the moment. Could he hold the lecture papers in front of his face and fall asleep without anyone noticing?

Don't you dare.

Morpheusa, reclining on three seats beside him, yawned.

Easy for you to say. You can yawn in public and get away with it.

I'm yawning. Not sleeping.

Her human frowned and poured even more whiskey into the cup of tea he was holding. There were two ways this was going to end. Him falling asleep up front, or him running out of whiskey up front.

Richard much preferred the former.


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Sophie Le Gall
 Posted: Oct 8 2014, 07:32 PM
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Sophie had managed to be in Jordan's College early enough to get a good place at the lecture. The first row was reserved for scholars of the college and important guests, so she had settled in the second row. When people of the first row hed arrived to install them-selves, she had recognized one of the scholar, for she had once seen him at a lecture in France. In front of her was a majestic white tiger dæmon.
Some dæmons seem to think they are everywhere at home.
Come on, Mignon, It's easy to say for you, you are small enough to lean on my shoulder, but bigger animals can't... Besides, thanks to her, we are able to see perfectly well the rostrum and the orators...

As the lecture begun, she had to pay the most intensive attention to what was said. She had never followed a whole lecture in another language than French, and she found it quite difficult.
The main speaker was explaining the epistemological difference between the concepts of universe and cosmos, and she was deeply concentrated not to miss a single word, when she felt a sudden cramp seizing her calf.
Aïe ! That hurts !
Unfold your legs, and allow the blood to flow...

That's what she did, but in the process, her knee hit the back of the siege in front of her.
"Oh, je suis dés... erm, I'm sorry !" she whispered precipitately.
What a clumsy girl you are !
You, shut up !
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Richard Mackenzie
 Posted: Oct 8 2014, 10:02 PM
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I'm all six feet five of solidified handsome.


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Richard's next sip of tea went up his nose and down his throat at once. Somehow.

That was enough to wake Morpheusa up for a laugh.

Damnit!

He turned around, expecting a short, frumpy female scholar but instead -

"Oh, hello there."

The man waved his hand and continued the conversation in whispers.

"It's fine. Don't worry about it."

A minute ago, you were ready to kill her!

A minute ago, I didn't realise she wasn't short, frumpy and old.


The man raised his tumbler of whiskey and shook it in front of her.

"Want some whiskey?"


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Sophie Le Gall
 Posted: Oct 8 2014, 10:47 PM
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Sophie had expected the dæmon's human to yell at her, curse her or simply ignore her. But instead he... offered her some whiskey ?
"Er, no, thanks..."
She stared blankly.
"I... I don't drink".
Aren't you supposed to listen an experimental theology lecture ?
I almost knocked him out, I'm polite : I apologize.
You're not apologizing, you're chattering.

Embarrassed, she raised her hand to her glasses to readjust them.
"Last time I drank alcohol, I was sick for the three following days."
Now, you're definitely chattering.
No ! And anyway, as I've already lost the thread of the lecture, a few seconds won't make a big difference.

Mignon disapprovingly shook his beak.
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Richard Mackenzie
 Posted: Oct 9 2014, 11:44 PM
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I'm all six feet five of solidified handsome.


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"You're just like Morpheusa."

Richard jabbed a thumb at his daemon's direction.

"She can't take alcohol either."

The white tigress raised her head and nodded at the pair courteously.

"How'd you do?"

Her human balanced his tea on the other empty seat beside him and offered a hand to shake.

"I'm Richard Mackenzie, by the way. Don't think I've seen you around before."


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Sophie Le Gall
 Posted: Oct 10 2014, 01:18 AM
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Mignon answered the salute with an affected bow.
Sophie rested her pen and shook "Mr Mackenzie"'s hand.
This name rings you no bell, Sophie ?
No. Why, should I know it ?
Sounds familiar.
Maybe you heard it somewhere.
Or read it.

"Sophie Le Gall. I'm only in Oxford since the beginning of September. In fact I have only been in Brytain for a few weeks. I'm French. But my "orribeul accent" has probably already betrayed me."
She had a wide smile, while blushing.
"Orribeul accent" ? Really ?
She ignored her dæmon's comment.
"I teach French civilization in Saint Sophia's College. It's a girl college, near the University Parks."
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Richard Mackenzie
 Posted: Oct 11 2014, 02:58 AM
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I'm all six feet five of solidified handsome.


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"Yes, I know the place. Absolutely fantastic college. I attended a few lectures there when I was a kid."

I thought they still had a blanket ban on your presence in the dormitory.

Ain't nobody can tell where Richard Mackenzie can go except Richard Mackenzie.


Morpheusa resisted pointing out the obvious flaw in his theory and licked her paws instead.

"Your English is very good, Miss Le Gall. A lot better than my French."

He winked at her.

"Are you from Paris? I just visited the city over the summer. Notre Dame Cathedral was outstanding. The Magisterium organised a morality play of sorts inside but I couldn't get tickets to go in."

Also, he wouldn't be caught dead in a Magisterium play, morality or otherwise. But that wasn't something you should say in public.


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Sophie Le Gall
 Posted: Oct 11 2014, 11:17 AM
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She smiled widely.
"Oh, yes, Notre-Dame is really beautiful ! I lived in Paris for six years, when I was in college. I used to often go to see the plays in Notre-Dame. There, they always play some old medieval "Mystères", which are usually incomparably better than the new morality plays...
Sounds a lot like a criticism toward the Magisterium.
"I... I'm not criticizing the morality plays, they are very... moral..."
You can say so !
"It's only that, in an artistic point of view, the new ones aren't really interesting. The "Mystères" from the Middle-Ages, if more naive, generally have much more "charme". They're very picturesque."
"Hum, hum."
She turned to her neighbour, who was glancing reproachfully at her.
He's right, pointed Mignon out. You shouldn't prevent other people from listening, by talking out loud as you are.
As if he really listened ! He looked at his watch at least a dozen times !

She resumed in a lower voice.
"If you were near Notre-Dame, you may have visited the Quartier Séverin, between le boulevard Saint-Michel and la rue Saint-Jacques. It's one of the few old district which was not destructed after the insurrection lead by the followers of Auguste Comte's theories."
And again criticizing the Magisterium ! Watch your mouth, Sophie !
I won't say they had a glorious idea when they razed half of the city, to prevent new barricades.


[I imagined that the Revolution of 1848 could have had a religious and scientific purpose in Lyra's world, and since France doesn't seem to have a great Geo-political influence in her world, I assumed that the Magisterium was the one taking important decisions since Napoléon's defeat. Such as constructing wide avenues to prevent the erection of new barricades, just like Haussman did in our world.]
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Richard Mackenzie
 Posted: Oct 12 2014, 01:51 AM
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I'm all six feet five of solidified handsome.


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"It was dark, unfortunately, and the Magisterium had cordoned off the surrounding districts. I think - "

Richard looked around and the tone of his voice dropped conspiratorially

"Father MacPhail himself may have attended the morality play that night and so security was pretty tight."

He grinned.

"I'm sure they had good reason to close down half a Parisian neighbourhood for our great leader. His security is paramount and if I remember my history properly, there was an uprising in Paris a few years ago...?"

OOC: Totally cool idea, Rine!


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Sophie Le Gall
 Posted: Oct 12 2014, 12:49 PM
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"Well, yes, Parisians are prompt in rising up in arms... The Magisterium set the nationalists, both royalists and bonapartists, against it-self with the Treaty of Vienna. And now, a lot of persons still think that the country should be ruled by an independent French government, and not by agents of the Magisterium... And since they suppressed that neo-leibnizian chair, scholars and students also are... tumultuous. I heard of that visit of Father MacPhail..."
She had a lump in her throat.
"They... they arrested a group of Under-Scholars and workmen, who had plotted a criminal attempt against him, I heard."
And among that group was a close friend to Julien, isn't it ?
Nicolas Duclos. His fiancée worked in that ready-to-wear shop, on the right bank.
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Richard Mackenzie
 Posted: Oct 13 2014, 01:52 AM
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I'm all six feet five of solidified handsome.


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"Oh."

In truth, Richard had heard that rumour for days courtesy of the French branch of the Republic. Some of them were even dragged back to London for...interrogation.

Morpheusa's face turned dark at the thought of that.

"That's a shame. I didn't know opposition to Father MacPhail was so pronounced in Paris. Are there - "

The cogs in his brain were slowly turning.

"The French are very brave. In London, speaking against the Magisterium is treason. You heard of the riot we had a few years ago? The Magisterium opened fire on the people. Until today, we don't know how many were killed."

His daemon shook her head.

"It was tragic."


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Sophie Le Gall
 Posted: Oct 13 2014, 09:40 PM
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"The French newspapers never mentioned such an... event..."
Naturally, the whole press is under the archbishop of Paris's thumb ! And he wouldn't allowed such an information to be published.
No, but there are secret journals too, Mignon...
Which you aren't supposed to read...
True.

"I mean, the newspapers sometime mention riots in other country, but only to announce that they have been handled. And I never heard of casualties caused by the Magisterium..."
She bend down her head, searching how to express what she wanted to say.
"As for bravery, I don't think the French to be braver than others. Maybe less organized..."
If the insurgents of France had succeeded in federating themselves...
They would have needed a leader.
The Republic of Heaven has one...
You know that only a tenth of French has heard about him.
A tenth could be enough if well organized...
To what ? Overthrow the government ? You're such a child, Sophie. The Magisterium would nominate a new one. The government only is a puppet.
As you say.

The dæmon moved uncomfortably on her shoulder.
I don't dare to understand what you mean...
Isn't that exactly what Lord Asriel has in mind ?

"Are English rebels better organized ?"
Stop that conversation at once, Sophie ! You don't know who you are talking to...
I said nothing compromising.
For now.

"I thought I read something about a rebel, an aristocrat if I correctly remember... In France, insurgents are always poor and humble it seems..."

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Richard Mackenzie
 Posted: Oct 15 2014, 11:35 PM
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I'm all six feet five of solidified handsome.


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Richard's voice dropped even lower, inviting Sophie into his little conspiracy. Morpheusa would have rolled her eyes at his theatre if it wasn't so serious.

"From what I heard the square was red with the people's blood by the time they were done. Anyone who claims to have participated in the demonstration are denounced as criminals, although there's no way the Magisterium will ever find out. It's ridiculous."

The man cleared his throat and moved on hastily.

"Anyway. That aristocrat you mentioned. There have been rumours..."

He leaned in closer.

"His name's Lord Asriel, isn't it?"


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Sophie Le Gall
 Posted: Oct 16 2014, 09:33 PM
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Sophie had completely forgotten the lecture and her surroundings. She shuddered at the thought of the scene Richard was describing. She could almost see the wide stain of red. What a horrible death... For a while she wondered how Julien had died, but she eventually pushed the though away.
Be careful to what you will say, Sophie. It's not because that guy seems to criticize the Magisterium's action that he is not an agent of it, trying to make you betray your-self.
But Sophie was shaken. She had never pronounced or heard Lord Asriel's name. She only knew him by the secret journals and tracts which had fallen into her hands. Hearing it out loud made the situation and her desire to change things more real.
"Asriel. Yes, I guess it's that."
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Richard Mackenzie
 Posted: Oct 17 2014, 01:29 AM
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I'm all six feet five of solidified handsome.


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"He's - "

"Should I call for a break for you to finish your conversation with the lady behind you?"

Richard looked up at the speaker sharply and the professor hastily added.

"Sir."

Morpheusa was about to apologise, as usual, but he waved his hand and cut her off.

"No. No break necessary. Please. Continue with your speech."

The Republican turned around and nodded at Sophie, his voice dropping again.

"Should we continue talking some other time? If I've distracted you from this lecture I do apologise."


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