The technology commons was an odd place. Odd because it was huge and looked like a palace but with wires and reflective surfaces more than fantastical magic. Reno made his way over to the room which his group had planned to meet. Entering, it was a non-descript place with just a singular circle table large enough for the group and their personal items.
Reno settled in choosing a place next to an attractive blond named Airya. Everyone in his group was here; including him, five guys and one girl, the almost token Estrogen to off-set the sausage fest. A double-sided blade thought Reno, to be ready to focus on the course material but have the temptation for the mind to wander into other less… productive, territories. Focus, Reno, focus!
“Okay, everyone, let’s get started. I’m sure we are all busy and want to get to other things” said a tall, athletic man who seemed to be a little older than most of the students present. This was Mike Imo, the older brother to Chad Imo, as Reno would later discover. “Thankfully, professor Algrotto hasn’t assigned too much, so I figure a quick go over of the scholarly introduction would be fine before we move onto entering Vingaard.” There was a murmur of agreement. “So, the introduction he assigned us is to a book called A Knight’s Own Book of Chivalry. It appears to be a primary text written in the Middle Ages by a practicing knight named Geoffroi de Charny who fought during the hundred years war and appears to be one hell of a cookie. The scholarly introduction the focus of today, however, is provided by an academic named Richard W. Kaeuper. This provides an overview of Charny’s manual. So, what is everyone’s thoughts?”
“Generally speaking?” a blue-haired, smooth-faced boy named Sora Nightgale asked.
“Before reading this chapter… eh, ‘scholarly introduction’” he said, making air quotations with his fingers, “I had no idea what actual chivalry implied. Really, I thought it was just, like, men treating women super-nicely but also jousting once in a while”.
“Yeah, definitely, same here!” Airya replied. “I mean, I had a vague idea from like movies and whatnot but I guess I was wrong. I mean, heck, there is a point early in the intro where he says as much. Let me find it.” Several moments pass. “Ah, here it is: he writes, ‘medieval chivalry was thus a highly serious code. It was in no sense frivolous or ephemeral, concerned only with a few outward forms of social life as the popular notion would have it’ (2)”.
Chad joined in the discussion: “Great point. What I found interesting in those first few pages was how chivalry borrowed from clerical ideas while still retaining a distinct identity (2), almost like it had molded what it borrowed into its own original form, like a photo collage”.
“True” Replied Sora. “I found it surprising though that it was distinct from religious-based instruction. I kinda of just figured that it would have integral theocratic points mixed into it. When I think of the middle ages, after all, I think of Christian crusaders with crosses on their Shields duking it out in the holy land. To see that actual chivalry was relatively secular was unexpected”.
Reno decided to jump into the conversation and mention Charny’s eventful life. Since Charny was the younger son born into an elite family, essentially, the medieval version of an upper-middle-class family, Reno believed, it was easy to understand Charny’s position. The conversation surrounding Charny’s actual life, however, wasn’t particularly productive, which disappointed Reno as that was the most intriguing element to him; but others, like a disheveled skater type called Issac, dismissed the biographical elements included since they didn’t add anything to the understanding of actual medieval chivalry.
Even so, the conversation hit on some relevant points, namely, that the fact that Charny was held for ransom during his fighting career and routinely bargained for in exchanges, meant that his prowess wasn’t simply a one-off affair which modern audiences only think was relevant to his time due to a lack of evidence; Charny’s skill in knighting was recognized far and wide. Plus, the fact that he died by his lord’s side holding his standard meant that he truly had dedication to the principles he tried to embody in his own knightly order, The Company of the Star, as it was founded by Jean the Second. Whatever. There would be plenty of time later to go into Charny’s life. Besides, Issac was right— the focus of the class would be on practiced chivalry, not biographical elements of the author.
After another twenty or so minutes, the discussion ended and Mike arranged for another meeting. He said that he wanted the group to enter Vingaard and complete some of the side-quests that professor Algrotto had assigned. Being a first-year and alien to the apparently state-of-the-art virtual reality immersion the university offered, Reno was looking forward to it, certainly more than just sitting around a table and exchanging remarks on the first half of the introduction. Reno was enrolled in Tangagile University, the top institution of higher-education in the world for New Media Immersion. He thought that it was about time he got a taste of what that meant.
Still, the group meeting today hadn’t been a waste. He got to get a look at everyone in his group, jot down some names, and at least shoot the shit with the material. He still hadn’ made any friends but the year was still young, so he wasn’t fretting. For now, Reno would go back to his dorm, look over the second half of the introduction which he hadn’t really read, and prepare for the next meeting. In the meantime, minus well slog through his biology homework. Yay.