Professor Jalem glided across the floor of the room in the Learning Hall, impressed with the level of control Mr. Behaim had. The young man’s casual posture appeared more like a comfortable cloak than a defensive shield from those who wished to see him fall.
“Well done, Mr. Behaim. Miss Ilda, your turn,” Jalem said, her feet returning to the floor. Despite the heavy shoes, her steps sounds like whistling winds surrounding Lavender Lake. “Interesting choice, Miss Ilda.”
“It’s stupid,” Colina called out from the corner of the classroom. A few others chimed in, in agreement, defense, and a plea for peace.
Ilda put her wand down and everything returned to normal. Jalem sighed. “What issue do you have this time, Miss Colina?”
“These lessons. Your attitude. Your-.”
“You say disrespect, Coli, and you and I can have words after-,” an older student said.
“Do you know who my uncle is,” she said, wand aimed at the offender.
Behaim adjusted his glasses. “We all know, Colina. Stop. Please?”
Jalem stood between Colina and the older student – Toshi, both wands in her hands. “Civility, please. Armed warfare is in Professor Desmon’s room as part of your exams. “Miss Colina, select one, and I do mean one, item you want to address today. Keep it short, please.”
“Lessons are supposed to focus on the imperatives, not the imaginative.”
Jalem tucked the wands up her sleeve before she paced about, moving the students’ desk in a more appropriate fashion for discussion. “Imperative, not imaginative,” she repeated. “So, it is your opinion that the creative arts are unnecessary for exploration, examination, and expansion of our education? That everything we professors discuss must restrict themselves to what can be put on a scroll in a particular order for a particular question?”
Colina nodded. Then again, she disagreed with every professor but Desmon.
Behaim leaned forward, eyes shining as he presented the first defense. “Without music, you have no other way of measuring the mathematics, of seeing, of feeling the world around you.”
“That’s Professor Allen’s nonsense,” Colina retorted. “He’s-.”
“Let him finish,” Toshi said, leaning back. Jalem bit back a smile, aware that many other students tended to follow his lead – listening, leading, etc.
Behaim shook his head. “I can’t explain it well. Those of you on the sword fighting team could-.”
“Don’t doubt yourself,” Toshi told him. “Pick something you know to paint the picture.”
Colina grunted. “Paint? Paint? How stupid has-?”
Jalem acquired another student’s sword without warning. “I remember asking you not to bring these to class,” she chided, a joking tone to her voice. She swung it clumsily. “Never mind. So, if I just throw this-.”
“No!” was the collective cry from the entire class.
“What? It’s only a sword, replaceable if need be. Why can’t I just-?”
Toshi opened his mouth, then nodded in Behaim’s direction – confidence returning.
“Because,” Behaim said after taking a deep breath, “accuracy comes from focus, which comes from a steady breath or breathing rhythm. To throw well comes from an established tempo of heart and mind. For those who claim music isn’t vital, they only refuse to hear what the surroundings have to offer. The same goes for painting and other topics that cannot be measured from the imperatives alone.”
Jalem threw the sword across the room where it hit the center of a target that emerged from thin air. “Perfect! For those who wish to report me to the magistrate for even hinting at the imaginative versus the imperative, feel free to do so. I am only trying to provide you with as many strands to strengthen your rope of knowledge so when the time comes, you will be prepared.”
She returned Toshi’s sword to him. “Three scrolls on how you would illustrate or inform someone of the impossible.”
The assignment was met with mixed responses. Colina spoke up again. “Just how do you expect us to do that, Professor Jalem?”
Jalem didn’t care if she ended up speaking with the magistrates for this. Smiling, she said, “Use your imagination.”