Previously: Official Correspondence
The main thing Father Nimbus in Ravila wanted Brother Lapis to gather for him was the names. Names of all the students, both clerical and given, since Juris Pizzaro had been teaching at the Institute. The first 10 years were easy enough, then some digging in the archives brought more to the surface. Brother Lapis knew that Father Pizzaro had been with the institute since he was a Brother like himself, having arrived in New Babbage 51 years ago. This year should be his 52nd class yet Lapis held only 46 rolls. Brother Rudyard speculated that the break in records was due to the Great Fire.
However, there was a problem with that. It was standard practice among the Huberites to reconstruct records from available memory to keep a continuous history. Brother Lapis pushed that thought to the side to begin the chore of annotating the lists he had. He found himself anticipating with some pleasure the possible trends that should appear in the history he was compiling. For every student, he had to note the outcome of each: who had left, and at what age, who had continued, who had become layman, who had taken Orders. Above all, which ones had achieved a level at which they could be conditioned to attaining the Archimedian State.
That was the whole point of the school program, to find and train those that were capable of attaining the feats of memory and calculation that the clergy was famous for. Pizzaro’s success rate was legendary. Lapis himself wondered what he would have been capable of, had he been raised in New Babbage.
It was tedious work. There were many laymen, a church education was a guarantee of a good profession in accounting and calculation, though not all had the interest to keep their former association with the Brothers once they had entered the workforce. The most trusted of these would be employed by bankers. Particularly talented students, especially those from good families, usually went on to the Academy of Industry and studied engineering. The children of the messenger corps turned out to be very useful in locating the current locations of many names on the list without having to ask questions among the older clergy. He made a mental note never to underestimate the mass of their collective knowledge about the comings and goings of city folk.
Still, the matter of the broken record troubled him. Lapis found an opportunity to ask Father Pizzaro during their daily discussions, but shook his head and begged off being able to recall. He was having more bad days as his dementia continued to progress, so Brother Lapis did not press the issue. Rudyard and James were unable to find anything in the stacks either.
He would have to approach Father Moonwall about it. But how to do that without letting him know the wallet of documents that had arrived from Ravila?