JUDGING THE LAMPLIGHTERS
An Essay by Ka-Enilu, Age 14
In Partial Completion of the End-of-Term Requirements for In-Oldu’s Class on the Social History of the Diamond Isle
1. How should actions be evaluated? The barbarian-poet Pale-Opals-in-Moonlight wrote “If I break your nose and during the following recuperative period you seduce your healer, have I truly done you a disservice? If I lock you in a golden cage and feed you sweets and honey all the days of your life, am I evil or generous?” (A) Fortunately for those of us who live in the real world, these questions are not commonly asked nor is much attention paid when someone does ask them. The value in such speculation is limited to what I can take from you using ideals as justification; that is, there is no inherent worth to philosophy. On this we can all agree.
2. Passing judgment on the Lamplighters, then, means answering this question: were the Mother Countries enriched by the appearance of the sibeccai, or degraded? Does the introduction of a ready pool of unskilled labor more than make up for the distasteful nature of the beasts themselves? Particular attention must be paid to the degenerative value of abolitionists and those who insult all men and women by using “he” and “she” to describe the animals.
3. The sibeccai were uplifted from base animals into something less than sapient before Living Memory began (B), and therefore understanding of the motivations for these actions depends on incomplete data. As ‘King Mountain’ said in Subjective Truths, “I trust dead memories more than live ones.” (C) So we have to look at written records, which are not reliable like Living Memory.
4. Two conflicting pictures have emerged from the body of scholarship on this question. Er-Kinil in her thesis Beasts Unleashed cited old documents from the pre-Living Memory era that Count Sibec and the Lamplighters were “dangerous fools! Meddling with what they could not comprehend; I fear for the future if those such as these will come to power… they act without considering the ultimate consequences… is our civilization mature enough to recognize the essential humanity (sic) of the alien?” (D) This suggests that people who were alive when the sibeccai were created were afraid of what would happen if the sibeccai were treated like equals of real people. People could tell that sibeccai aren’t smart like real people and shouldn’t be permitted to own property, including themselves. The Lamplighters didn’t think about what they were doing, they just thought it would be good to have slaves to perform manual labor.
5. Another view about sibeccai is provided by Ru-Tanel’s omnibus First-Hand Accounts: Volume IX, the Lamplighters, which includes the statements of Ha-Worken on the occasions of his first visit and second visits to Agony Isle (E). When he got off his boat the first time he was attacked (metaphorically) by the sight of hundreds of talking, walking animals, laboring and crafting in a little village (built by the Lamplighters and their animals), inhabited not just by sibeccai but also some of the litorian and verrik servants of the Lamplighters and even by giantish relatives of one of the Lamplighters (Ha-Worken does not identify which, for propriety’s sake). (When he got off his boat the second time of course he came with soldiers.) This suggests that the Lamplighters were insane, because only crazy people would let sibeccai act like real people. So they probably didn’t even understand what they were doing.
6. Count Sibec, leader of the Lamplighters, before his execution for treason, addressed the Grand Assembly. No record of his words was taken, but afterwards Marchess Vu-Panat called him “a great waste of a genius; [he is] too big for this little island.” (F) Perhaps if Sibec had not been crazy and short-sighted, there would not have been such an uproar and today we could all have sibeccai slaves, not just some of us, and even humans and faen wouldn’t be poor because the animals could do all the work. Unfortunately, we live in the real world.
7. I think that the good of sibeccai outweighs the bad because this way giants don’t have to do hard work like farming or mining and neither do any of the Lesser Races except in places where the sibeccai might stampede or riot. But here in the city there aren’t any sibeccai and maybe I would think differently if I had to see one face to face, especially if I saw one every day. I read that they smell terrible and they’re lazy and stupid, but if they’re so lazy they wouldn’t be good workers, so maybe it depends on which sibeccai one is dealing with. I know that in some places they put down aggressive sibeccai and breed them for docility, but it doesn’t work very well. In conclusion, sibeccai have good qualities and bad qualities. Maybe Count Sibec should have started with more industrious animals like beavers, instead of jackals.
(A) “Pale-Opals-in-Moonlight: Selected Verses,” Je-Tamik (trans.), Or-Lanan Press, 1486.
(B) “A Short History of the Diamond Isle,” In-Oldu, Ka-Rone Institute for the Dissolution of Knowledge Press, 1475.
(C) “Men and Faen: Immerstadt and the Lesser Races,” Hu-Raco, Or-Lanan Press, 1418.
(D) “Beasts Unleashed,” Er-Kinil, Ka-Rone Institute for the Dissolution of Knowledge Press, 1486.
(E) “First-Hand Accounts: Volume IX, the Lamplighters,” Ru-Tanel (ed.), ART Press 710.
(F) “Encyclopedia of Accord, Volume 13 (Sat-Son), ‘SIBEC, Count,'” author unknown, Accord Press, 1456.
Use more primary and fewer tertiary sources. Word count slightly low. You unwisely mention abolitionism and SEMs in paragraph 2, then fail to address the topic; coupled with the word count issue this suggests a section was dropped from your initial outline? While your conclusions about contemporary views of sibeccai are correct, your explication in paragraph 4 is unclear. You overuse parentheses in paragraph 5 and mis-cite entries E and F; review sections six and thirteen of “Grammarianistics.” What do the Pelagic Mysteries say about the sibeccai issue?
SEE ALSO: Immerstadt the Prolific, the Pelagic Mysteries, Sibeccai