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Author Topic: Modern Day impact of Deryni  (Read 2539 times)

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Offline DesertRose

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Re: Modern Day impact of Deryni
« Reply #30 on: September 08, 2018, 02:22:57 pm »
I always come back to my favorite Alaric Morgan moment on topics such as this one.  Any kind of power, any kind at all, can be used for good or ill.  Fire, as in Morgan's example to Dhugal, can warm a cold room or cook food, or it can burn down a building.  Hot irons can blind someone like Barrett or cauterize a wound (as Dhugal himself pointed out when Morgan mentioned Barrett's blinding).  Psychic powers can help heal a penitent of their guilt (to which KK alluded in her discussion of Deryni priests in Deryni Magic) or can warp a person's mind into something very unlike the person they were or would like to be (as has recently been visited upon Washburn by Feyd in Ghosts of the Past).  The ability to Heal can be used to ease pain and cure illness, or it can be used to cause pain.

It comes down to how one uses the power one has, and even people acting in good faith toward (what they see as) the greater good can screw up pretty freaking badly (e.g., a lot of Camber's behavior).

It's fascinating to contemplate and discuss.  :D
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Offline Laurna

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Re: Modern Day impact of Deryni
« Reply #31 on: September 08, 2018, 03:36:42 pm »
What I will say, is that if one certain PC survives his ordeal, he will become an activist for person's rights against psychic abuse. And he may even become both justice keeper and Healer for said abuse cases. In modern Healing books he will be known as Sir Washburn Morgan, the Father of Psychic Healing. Heather from Balance of Power will have heard of him.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2018, 03:39:08 pm by Laurna »

Offline Bynw

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Re: Modern Day impact of Deryni
« Reply #32 on: September 08, 2018, 04:01:28 pm »
Sometimes that abuse of power and corruption happens over time. And not just over a single person's life time. But over decades and centuries too. As Deryni become more common place. Transfer Portals become more abundant, and one things of nothing about a Healer and the power they possess. And Deryni can bend minds as well as forks. Power corrupts it has been said. And it will corrupt Deryni too. It's always a battle to take the harder road of ethics and doing the right thing. The other path is far easier to walk.

Offline whitelaughter

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Re: Modern Day impact of Deryni
« Reply #33 on: September 10, 2018, 04:11:26 am »
So many things to comment on!

Medically - Europe went back hard at the end of the Middle Ages; as other posters have mentioned, contrary to propaganda the Medievals valued cleanliness highly. The various plagues such as the Black Death (which was wasn't even called that until centuries later) seems to have wiped out the cream of healers. Interestingly, this seems to have ended 'the age of miracles' - presumably most miracle workers died fighting the plague, with the result that the abilities could not be passed on, or where they were they weren't taught properly.

Police work - Katherine uses the importance of seal of confession in some of the books; other privacy issues would bubble up later. The ability to change memories might result in the Russian rule of a confession no longer counting as proof - that you believe that you committed a crime may make you the victim not the criminal

Transport - a fascinating use here is to put transfer portals into mines, so that in the event of a collapse deryni can port in and rescue all of the miners. Similarly they would be great for moving patients in hospitals.

Offline Bynw

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Re: Modern Day impact of Deryni
« Reply #34 on: September 10, 2018, 07:22:25 am »


We keep coming back to these 3 aspects. Medicine, Crime and Police, and Transport.

Yes these things would be revolutionized in a modern setting with Deryni populations. Healing would expand to be able to heal the things that Deryni in Kelson's time cannot. And surgeries, recovery, everything about a hospital stay would be drastically changed. The need for some drugs just wouldn't exist because the conditions could actually be cured.

Yes with the Deryni detectives. They could Truth-Read or even Truth-Say an individual. But would something like the US 5th Ammendment exist to prevent self criminalization? The right to remain silent can easily be broken with Truth-Saying. Privacy rights would need to be addresses as well with scrying abilities able to peer into your life. And of course pulling out a memory and displaying it to an open court, like what happend with Camber's canonization. Very scary indeed. There would have to be very strong laws and means of course would come into existance to detect the use of Deryni powers in an area.

Crimes could be commited by mind controlled individuals. They could be acquitted of course but then the man hunt would be on for the Deryni who did it. Crimes could also be committed with Telekinesis. Including crimes in a casino. Roll those bones and get that lucky shot and bet at the craps table. There again, a little mind reading can tell you if a card player is bluffing or not. Which brings us back to the need to be able to detect such uses of power.

Transfer Portals are great things. But distance is always a factor. Long distance jumps are dangerous and energy costing. Although I would personally believe in a high Deryni society that public transfer portals would exist. At least one in every major city. You need to go from Detroit to Chicago? There is a public portal in both locations. Learning them is very easy. And POOF you are there. Longer distances are better for more mundane means of travel. And of course cargo is better that way too. We have never seen a Transfer Portal with more than 3 persons, including the operator of the jump. So it is limited. But could be useful as a mine escape of course. But then you might have to have several in the mine as it grows. And that leads to the potential that someone uses it for personal gain, and robs the mine. Could be trapped of course since its a private portal, but non lethal.

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Re: Modern Day impact of Deryni
« Reply #35 on: September 10, 2018, 10:17:09 am »
So many things to comment on!

Medically - Europe went back hard at the end of the Middle Ages; as other posters have mentioned, contrary to propaganda the Medievals valued cleanliness highly. The various plagues such as the Black Death (which was wasn't even called that until centuries later) seems to have wiped out the cream of healers. Interestingly, this seems to have ended 'the age of miracles' - presumably most miracle workers died fighting the plague, with the result that the abilities could not be passed on, or where they were they weren't taught properly.


I'm probably about to go on a tangent here that might ought to go into a separate thread altogether--maybe one called "What Medieval Deryni Healers might logically have known" or something like that--but as you can probably tell from my previous posts on the topic, the subject of how so much ignorance managed to creep into the field of medicine by the Reformation period, when there are extant documents showing our medieval ancestors knew more than their 17th and early 18th Century descendants did in some aspects of the profession, has been a source of intrigued speculation to me for years.

But here are some quotes I happened upon last night from a book I am currently reading about medieval daily life (Everyday Life in Medieval Times, by Marjorie Rowling) that help to illustrate the knowledge gap.

One bit of knowledge that seems clearly to have been lost along the way was the importance of good hygiene in addition to good bedside manner. From Instruction for the Physician Himself we see this portrayal of an eleventh-century doctor, written by Constantinus Africanus, a teacher at the University at Salerno who was born in Carthage in the early eleventh century: "Let the physician have clean hands and well shapen nails, cleansed from all blackness and filth." The passage goes on to advise using comforting proverbs and good tales to make his patient laugh and 'induce a light heart to the sick man.'" Some other bits of advice from this book seem just as applicable today as when they were written. "Use three physicians still--first Dr. Quiet, next Dr. Merryman, and third Dr. Diet."  And also "If you would health and vigour keep, shun care and anger ere you sleep. All heavy fare and wine disdain / From noonday slumber too, refrain. Each day to walk awhile you should, for this will work you naught but good. These rules obey and you will find / Long life is yours and tranquil mind." Not a bad bit of holistic advice there, and that much at least probably managed to get passed down to later generations, but sadly the handwashing and nail cleaning did not make the list of things that got passed down to later centuries of medical practitioners.

From a 1271 statute by the medical faculty of Paris, at a time when there was still a divide between the practices of surgery and medicine, and jealously guarded secrets within each branch (which, IMO, unfortunately helped lead to the future loss of knowledge when those who know the trade secrets were lost during the later epidemics): "Since certain manual operators do not know how to administer medicines or the relation which medicines have to disease, since those matters are reserved exclusively to the industry of the skilled physician...we strictly prohibit that any male or female surgeon, apothecary, or herbalist presume to exceed the limits of their craft, so that the surgeon engage only in manual practice, the apothecary or herbalist only in mixing drugs which are to be administered only by masters in medicine or by their license."   What fascinates me about this is the mention of female surgeons. We know that in the 1200s, the University at Salerno still permitted women to be physicians (and it would seem from this passage, there were also female surgeons), which makes sense because even in that more gender segregated time period, they recognized the need for female doctors for female patients. Yet in later centuries this would become a profession that women were barred from until the late 1800s, IIRC.  Women were still permitted to be midwives by the early 1800s, but they weren't going to medical schools.

Contrary to popular belief, the Church did not make dissection entirely illegal in the Middle Ages, although they did restrict the practice to a limited number of allowed dissections a year. Since the number of people allowed to view each dissection was also limited, and a student who had seen one dissection could not see another one carried out that same year, that also cut down on how many physicians and surgeons got a practical knowledge of anatomy in their university studies. Of course, this was inadequate, but that ruling was in part due to some backlash against the practice that developed during the Crusades of boiling the dead so that only their bones would have to be carried back home for burial. The Church, rightly or wrongly, thought that practice of desecrating a corpse (as it viewed it) for convenience's sake was abusive and therefore tried to restrict it, and the statutes passed as a result ended up spilling over into over-regulation of the disposal of corpses for dissection purposes. So while that over-regulation hampered efforts to learn more about anatomy and teach it to medical students, that seems to have been more of an unintended consequence than a primary goal.

We have extant Roman era surgical tools used for cataract surgery, for trepanning to relieve pressure inside the skull after a head injury, and they seemed to be fairly well versed in treating what we would call sports injuries, and some of that knowledge seems to have continued on into at least the earlier Middle Ages. Plastic surgery was known in at least some crude form; here is a description of a nose reconstruction done from a skin graft taken from the patient's upper arm in 1456:  "And he inserted the remains of the mutilated nose into the skin of the upper arm, and bound them up so tightly the man could not even move his head. After 15-20 days, Branca [Antonio Branca, the younger of a father/son pair of plastic surgeons in that period] little by little cut open the bit of flesh that adhered to the nose and reformed it into nostrils with such skill that the eye could scarcely detect where it had been joined on, and all facial deformity was completely removed. Branca healed many wounds which it seemed that no resource of medical art could cure."

In the 14th Century, Guy de Chauliac describes the use of anesthesia. "Some surgeons prescribe medicaments such as opium, the juice of the morel, hyoscyamus, mandrake [aka mandragora], ivy, hemlock, lettuce, which send the patient to sleep so that the incision may not be felt. A new sponge is soaked in the juice of the above and dried in the sun; before use water is added to the sponge then held under the patient's nose until he goes to sleep."  That all sounds far preferable to just getting drunk and biting down on something to help with the pain! Guy de Chauliac is also one source of our modern knowledge of the forms of plague that swept through Europe in the mid-1300s, having come down with it himself and been one of the lucky survivors.

 So to attempt to drag this little tangent kicking and screaming back to the original discussion topic, in addition to Deryni Healers having some advantages regular physicians, no matter how well trained, would have lacked because of their inability to use magic, how might having Deryni in the population have helped to preserve medical knowledge over the passing centuries, despite various epidemics, periods of persecution, and natural disasters occasionally wiping out at least some of the best trained members of the various health-related professions? I would think even in a world that had dedicated Healing guilds, teaching orders, etc., perhaps by Kelson's day there would be enough of a lesson learned by the near-eradication of trained Healers that from that point on, there would be a concerted effort to preserve such knowledge as they managed to relearn from ever being lost again, no matter what. And that would have the eventual result in a modern-day Deryni society of having more advanced medical knowledge than we have, not just because of the natural advantages having a population of magical Healers would bring to the medical field, but also because they wouldn't have had to "reinvent the wheel" since the formation of the Kelsonian-era schola(s) of the early 1100s! Knowledge would just keep adding onto a foundation of earlier knowledge starting from that point forward, with little if any slippage back to a period of ignorance. (And what makes the Reformation even more maddening to me is that it was a period that prided itself on its superiority to the society that preceded it, even though in some ways it was so clearly not superior, yet that misconception still colors a lot of modern people's ideas of what the "backwards Middle Ages" was like. Modern historians are just now beginning to gain a greater appreciation of the Middle Ages now that we have a greater ability to study its writings and other artifacts directly.
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Offline Laurna

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Re: Modern Day impact of Deryni
« Reply #36 on: September 10, 2018, 11:43:18 am »
Nice Evie, that is good information.
Archbishop Duncan will go down in history as the founding Father of the Kelsonian Schola of Healing and Medicine.

Offline revanne

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Re: Modern Day impact of Deryni
« Reply #37 on: September 10, 2018, 03:33:58 pm »
In some ways the Reformation Era was more backward and intolerant than the eras that preceded it. So it was the 16th and 17th centuries, not the middle ages, which saw the burning of large numbers of women as witches.(There is a fascinating though not strictly relevant line of research which suggests that the suspicion of wise women grew as the -strictly male-  professionalisation of knowledge developed) In England witchcraft itself was not a crime until 1536, prior to that one was prosecuted for the crime that was alleged to have been committed by means of witchcraft i.e. If someone was accused of killing someone else by witchcraft they were tried for murder not witchcraft.

I think the medieval church often gets blamed for atrocities the guilt for which rightly belongs to the early modern church - that would be true of the awful things you saw in South and Central America, Laurna. I'm not in any way seeking to justify them but to suggest that our view of the middle ages has been skewed by the view prevalent over the last few centuries that things must of necessity be getting better. The doctrine of progress whuch CS Lewis criticised as chronological snobbery.

Not sure if this rant belongs here -apologies if not. I think where it might be relevant is to suggest that modern Deryni would not necessarily be more ethical than their medieval predecessors.
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Offline whitelaughter

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Re: Modern Day impact of Deryni
« Reply #38 on: September 12, 2018, 08:53:40 am »
Thanks for those quotes Evie! Very useful.

It's worth noting that the Reformation could never have taken off unless people remembered the church being far less corrupt. While the Reformers naturally focused on failings in doctrine, failures in practical matters would have been occurring at the same time. While it is easy - and encouraged - to look down on our ancestors' knowledge, it's worth noting any of them would have had an understanding of many fields only matched by a handful of experts now. People who slaughter animals for food will have a far better of anatomy than those of us who get meat from the butchers, who live without artificial light will know the heavens better than we do (snap quiz - do you even know what the phase of the moon is tonight?)

I've always felt a lot of sympathy for Camber's grief over not being a healer - I suspect that in the modern era many Deryni would be exploring just what medical possibilities were available with their 'ordinary' abilities. Imagine a cross between a Transfer Portal and a CAT scan that was used to teleport items out of a patient without surgery - anything from growths to hydatid cysts to bullets to items that should never have been taken internally. I've always thought that Deryni shields should be adjustable to surround the skeleton, allowing an emergency splinting of broken bones - very useful in an emergency.

Offline DesertRose

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Re: Modern Day impact of Deryni
« Reply #39 on: September 13, 2018, 10:47:12 pm »
Also, there is a tendency to think of the medieval world as consisting only of Europe, which wasn't true then and certainly isn't true now.  There was more communication (trade, diplomacy, etc.) between medieval Europe and north Africa and southwest Asia (aka the Middle East) than a lot of folks think (because it's largely omitted from standard history books).  The Muslim world of the early second millennium (by Western reckoning) was making some incredible advances in math and science (particularly but not exclusively, medical science).

Spain particularly (especially before the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella) had a lot of Arabic/Muslim influence (and there are still a lot of loanwords in Spanish from Arabic), but also many of the city-states that comprise modern Italy (Venice was a trade powerhouse for quite some years, and they weren't the only ones) had diplomatic and trade relations with the Ottoman Empire and various other rulers in north Africa.

We see this in canon to a degree, in regards to Azim, Richenda, Rothana, and Sofiana all being some degree of related to one another and all having some sort of Moorish ancestry, and also al-Rasoul, for the other side of the Gwynedd/Torenth border.  Azim and the Knights of the Anvil are probably the best resource Kelson, Duncan, and Rothana have at their disposal for Deryni-related history and knowledge.

I like whitelaughter's idea of being able to excise growths and foreign bodies from a patient without surgery and the shield/splint idea is fascinating!  It reminds me of the time during The Quest for Saint Camber when Dhugal lifts Kelson's skull fracture to reduce the pressure on the king's brain, which frankly may well have saved Kelson's life.
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