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Author Topic: The Demoiselle and Derry Chapter 7  (Read 14793 times)

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Offline Evie

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The Demoiselle and Derry Chapter 7
« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2010, 09:07:46 pm »
Just checked Deryni Magic, and it says: "Given the technical skill and energy output required to construct a Transfer Portal, we can surmise that Portals were probably never really numerous, even at the height of Deryni ascendancy."

And there would be extremely valid reasons for this which would have as much to do with the number of Deryni in general who would have access to training as anything else.  OK, let's take a look at it this way. 

Gwynedd in the time period of the books covers the 900s to the early 1100s, yes?  OK, so just to look at what population figures would be like for the Kingdom during this time, let's do a comparison with England of 1066.  It's roughly analogous in terms of type of society plus ease of finding stats on the Internet about that year.

So....Estimated population of London in 1066 seems to vary widely, but most seem to fall between 10,000 and 50,000.  I would imagine this would be comparable to Rhemuth, so for the sake of comparison, let's say 50,000.  That's a huge city in an era when the average major city would have at most 500-1000, and most villages would have a few hundred at most.  I've been looking at some manorial records lately for knights' lands (comparable to Chervignon) where the entire manorial estate--including the village, would be closer to 25 to 50 persons, if that.  It's an agrarian society, so the population centers are very spread out, and centered around locations ideally situated for water supply and defense.

OK, if Rhemuth has 50,000 (and that's the high estimate), Coroth would probably be, due to its location, the only comparable sized port city.  IF it is comparably sized, but let's assume it is.  So that's 100,000 people accounted for so far.  But of course, most people would live outside these towns, so looking at estimates for the population throughout England during this time period, they tend to fall between 1.25 and 2 million for the entire kingdom.  Let's call it 2 million to make the math easier.

Of these 2 million, most would fall under the "Third Estate"--i.e., the peasantry.  The small remainder would be clergy and nobility/royalty.  Only these far smaller segments of the population could afford the time and the possible expense of full Deryni training.  (That is to say, even if the Scholae don't charge, you'd still have living expenses, travel expenses, etc.  Your average peasant Deryni would be working dawn to dusk, leaving little time to learn formal Deryni training even if this were permitted.  They would probably only have the most rudimentary abilities like Truth-Reading, handfire, and what the common folk would think of as "hill magic.")  So what percentage of the population would have easier access (such as it ever was "easy") to specialized training?  Maybe 5% at most.  So 5% of 2 million brings us down to 100,000 individuals who are clergy, landed knights, barons, earls, dukes or royals.  I doubt adding in the very few wealthy non-landeds wouldn't inflate this figure too much, if at all, so let's add them in too.

OK, out of all of these, you have a population which has an extremely rare genetic trait in common.  I'm going to guess this is roughly 1% of the population.  That's rare but not unheard-of rare.  My personality type happens to also occur in this percentage to the general population, so I know several people who share it, but not a heck of a whole lot.  So, of the Deryni in Gwynedd theoretically in a position to get proper training, that brings us down to...1000.

Personally, I wonder if that figure might not be a little bit high, but then again, that would be clumped in a smaller number of families who carry the trait.  So assuming a generation in which at least one parent and all children surviving to adulthood are Deryni, I'll guess in any given year you might have an average of 5 members of a household with the trait.  Some would have fewer and some more, of course, but that makes 200 households total. 

Some of these, of course, don't even know they're Deryni.  Of those who do, some are afraid to pursue training, or can't take the time away from Gwynedd to seek it elsewhere, so in modern-day Gwynedd there'd maybe be 50 to 100 households at maximum that might be able to send someone to get the training needed to create a Transfer Portal.  And not all would, of  course.  Some simply don't have need for one.  (You have to know at least one other location to go to, and have a need to go there frequently enough to justify going through the trouble of making an easy access to it.)  Some could certainly use one, but the risks of having something that says "Deryni live here" outweigh the advantages of one.  Or to have one built, if they don't know how themselves, they'd have to have someone with the required training have free access to their home.  Even in peacetime, most people would be uncomfortable with handing just anyone the psychic equivalent of a housekey, but for most of Deryni history, they've been in what is essentially a war of sorts.  A Cold War, if not outright fighting for their lives.

Since all of these numbers were rounded up, I actually think the true number of Deryni in the trainable population is lower.  So at most, there might have been, at one time, 40 to 50 private homes with TPs installed.  Ever.  And you'd have to have the skill and energy output AND enough motivation to make the effort worthwhile.  But none of that negates the fact that this also means at least that many people could, at least in theory, have had access to the training at one time, or have had access to at least one person with that training, and would also have access to a few willing friends (or household members, more likely) willing to supply the energy required.

40 to 50 private homes is definitely not very numerous in a kingdom with 2 million souls, of whom up to 20,000 (including peasantry) could possibly have at least some trace of Deryni blood.  And a lot of the homes from Camber's time boasting TPs have probably been destroyed, and few new ones rebuilt or reactivated due to the dangers in the past 200 years.  But that doesn't mean they can't be.
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Offline Elkhound

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The Demoiselle and Derry Chapter 7
« Reply #31 on: August 12, 2010, 09:11:01 pm »
Those herbal methods could be pretty tough on the body.  Cramps, bleeding, vomiting; they could even cause permanent sterility.

Offline Evie

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« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2010, 09:30:27 pm »
Yes, and Derry couldn't have used them regardless.  He'd have been limited to the sausage-casing condom or the early withdrawal methods, unless he could sweet talk someone into the wine-soaked sponge.

Still, there were ways of preventing conception, or at least childbirth, long before the advent of modern contraception, which is what I was getting at, and Derry would probably have availed himself of some.  Or at the very least, would've avoided most Court Ladies at all costs (too much chance of being forced to marry her if caught, which was more likely if she got pregnant) and would have stuck to one-night stands with peasant women where, even if paternity were provable, he'd at worst simply feel honor-bound to give her a hefty purse of coin.  And if most of those one-night stands were in various inns and dives throughout Gwynedd, in theory he could have any number of children out there, IF he used no protection, and IF he happened to catch at least one of those women during her fertile time of month, and IF the child survived those critical first five years of life.  But even if all those things happened, would Derry even know, or would he just continue on, blissfully unaware?  Would a tavern wench in Desse happen to recognize the Earl of Derry on sight and be able to identify him without any doubt as her baby's father nine months later, and even if she did, would she be able to get a message to him to notify him?  It's all doubtful.  Maybe a few years later, the sight of a kid with brown curls and blue eyes holding the hand of a wench he spent a night with once or twice might make him wonder...IF he even remembers what the girl looked like. 

And also, while Morgan teases Derry about his wenching ways, the simple truth could also be that Derry didn't get around nearly as much as he might have let on, much like Dhugal, the stealing-kisses-behind-the-curtains lad who talked a good line but was just as much a virgin as Kelson.  Not that Derry is exactly virginal, but he's probably not Casanova either.  With all the responsibilities on his plate--Earl of Derry, Regency Council of Marley, lieutenant to Alaric, Royal Council member--when's he going to have the time to bed his way through half the female population of Gwynedd or even Rhemuth? Only in his dreams.  :D
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Offline Alkari

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« Reply #33 on: August 12, 2010, 09:50:27 pm »
And all that of course, is assuming that those various tavern wenches and peasant women etc didn't have other one-night stands  ;)   Derry might not be the only possible father, and of course, if the woman was married, the legal presumption was that the child was a child of the marriage.

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« Reply #34 on: August 12, 2010, 10:18:21 pm »
In terms of the training and knowledge for portal construction, I don't think it is something that is necessarily part of all formal training, even pretty advanced training.  Richenda we know has considerable skills and knowledge - even the snooty Arilan respects her! and allows her to take charge of the workings for Nigel's empowerment - and she presumably doesn't have that knowledge yet.

Also, in KKB Arilan refers to 'persuading the Council' to let him install a portal in Coroth. I think that perhaps the knowledge of portal construction was very, very tightly controlled, maybe largely via the CC itself, and was not something that was part of most Deryni's formal training.   Yes, someone like Stanzi is trained, but Richenda is at least as well trained, if not better - and she apparently doesn't have that knowledge.

But is she better trained?  She's well trained, yes, as are Rothana and Araxie.  However, my mind keeps flashing back to a passing reference in one of the CM books (I think?) about some female Deryni being described as "well trained for a woman."  And obviously, given the egalitarian way in which female Deryni adepts are treated in the Camberian Council, at least, that wasn't meant as a slur against the gender, so what would it mean?  Well, in most women's cases, they'd have been married off at a much younger age than the average man, thereby--at least in some cases--cutting shorter the number of years they could devote to serious study and training.  Now, we know the average Naming Ceremony was conducted when a child is between 8 and 10, and that's also the child's first intro to magic.  So if Richenda married at 16, she probably had 8 years at most in which she could be formally trained, of which probably most of the more advanced training probably came in the final year or two, when she was intellectually mature enough for it.  Same thing for Rothana and Araxie.  Rothana became a novice at a young age, in an order in Gwynedd, and there's no evidence she was in the Kelson era equivalent of a place as lenient about magic as Arc-en-Ciel, so chances are her training was cut short by age 16 as well, at least for the most part.  Bran didn't know Richenda was Deryni, presumably, but even if he had, would he have encouraged her to continue her studies and training?  Araxie is really the only one of these three women who would have had the opportunity to go further with her training, both as a royal Princess (an advantage she shares with Rothana), a resident in a Deryni Prince's (her uncle's) Court, and being still unmarried at age 19.  

Evaine almost certainly could've created a Portal, but she's also Camber's daughter and Rhys's wife, two men who would've eagerly urged her to continue her training and lifelong study.  Hardly a fair comparison.

So yes, Richenda is very powerful, and Arilan would very much respect her abilities.  At the same time, it would be unsurprising if she hadn't gotten to the level of training yet to make a Portal if, say, that's normally handled in Year 10 and she only got as far as Year 8 of formal training.  Most women wouldn't get that far unless in a position to be able to do so despite the demands of marriage, family, and running a household and/or demesne.  Sofiana?  Absolutely--she's a sovereign Princess.  Kyri?  Unmarried most of the time she's on the Council.  Vivienne? Comes closest to being in an equivalent position--a Count's daughter, and married, but she still married two years later in life than Richenda did, and presumably to a man who would have no problem with her continuing her training even after marriage (and may even be in a position to contribute to it), since marriage has evidently not been any bar to her being on the Camberian Council.
Quote
After all, she's had one good opportunity to construct a Portal if she did - after Kelric's birth, she had plenty of Deryni in Coroth (herself and Alaric, Duncan, Kelson and Dhugal, plus Derry to draw on for power if needed).

In theory, if she had the requisite knowledge, this is true.  In practice, I'm wondering if she'd want to wait until she's not either pregnant or nursing before working an extremely energy-draining spell, unless there was urgent need.  Not simply "We really ought to have a Portal," but "We NEED a Portal NOW; lives are at stake."  But honestly, I think the absence of a Portal would argue more for "Sorry, dear, but I didn't get that far in my studies, even though I'm better trained than at least 95% of the Deryni in Gwynedd, because that whole 'marrying Bran' thing happened before I got that far."  And yes, now she is married to a man who would support her continued formal training, but even if Akim is willing and able to provide that, he'll still have to do so between her other obligations and his own, not on a full-time basis.  So she'd take longer to catch up than a single woman with no children, no Earldom to be Regent for, and no Duchy to help run.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 10:27:21 pm by Evie »
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Offline Alkari

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« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2010, 11:32:49 pm »
Quote
She's well trained, yes, as are Rothana and Araxie. 
You know, that's a question about Araxie - I can't remember whether Sivorn was Deryni?  If not, where does Araxie get her powers from?   She certainly doesn't appear to have had nearly the training that you would expect, as Azim seems to be trying to bring her up to speed, as it were.


Offline Evie

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« Reply #36 on: August 12, 2010, 11:34:25 pm »
Quote
She's well trained, yes, as are Rothana and Araxie. 
You know, that's a question about Araxie - I can't remember whether Sivorn was Deryni?  If not, where does Araxie get her powers from?   She certainly doesn't appear to have had nearly the training that you would expect, as Azim seems to be trying to bring her up to speed, as it were.

She's a Deryni/Haldane mix like Kelson; Sivorn is the Hort of Orsal's sister.
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Offline Gyrfalcon64207

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« Reply #37 on: August 12, 2010, 11:37:42 pm »
Vivienne also probably married a deryni, given her open derision towards half-bloods, so she could conceivably have continued her training.

  In this sequence of stories Celsie has access to an Arilan through Sophie, and by now, wouldn't your Seisyl have as much training as Denis?  The need for a portal aspect still applies, and no one would be putting one in on a whim.  But if it comes down to it, Celsie could probably get her friends to help with power, and then if they included Alaric or Richenda, and if whoever led walked everybody else through it, then they'd all have the knowledge, and it would all come down to power again.  But all of them have access to at least four to six deryni friends, and assorted cooperative humans by now--if they can manage to get everybody in one place at the same time.
I can't figure out how better to phrase all that and it's a bit confusing, but I tried.

Offline Alkari

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« Reply #38 on: August 12, 2010, 11:39:39 pm »
Quote
She's well trained, yes, as are Rothana and Araxie. 
You know, that's a question about Araxie - I can't remember whether Sivorn was Deryni?  If not, where does Araxie get her powers from?   She certainly doesn't appear to have had nearly the training that you would expect, as Azim seems to be trying to bring her up to speed, as it were.

She's a Deryni/Haldane mix like Kelson; Sivorn is the Hort of Orsal's sister.
Hmmm - I thought it was a bit open as to whether the Hort was actually Deryni himself, or whether he was quite simply very flexible about it all.

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« Reply #39 on: August 12, 2010, 11:44:11 pm »
Quote
She's well trained, yes, as are Rothana and Araxie.  
You know, that's a question about Araxie - I can't remember whether Sivorn was Deryni?  If not, where does Araxie get her powers from?   She certainly doesn't appear to have had nearly the training that you would expect, as Azim seems to be trying to bring her up to speed, as it were.

She's a Deryni/Haldane mix like Kelson; Sivorn is the Hort of Orsal's sister.
Hmmm - I thought it was a bit open as to whether the Hort was actually Deryni himself, or whether he was quite simply very flexible about it all.

No, Letald is definitely Deryni, just far more discreet about it, like most Deryni who aren't named Alaric Morgan or in that circle.   :D  Remember, he could hardly use his own Transfer Portal if he weren't Deryni!

Don't have KKB handy at the moment, but here's a bit from the Codex entry on him:
"...the Hort agreed to allow King Kelson and some of his entourage to transport to a hidden portal at Orsal, in order to protect and secure the royal womenfolk in residence there from the potential depredations of the escaped Count Teymuraz.  In return, Letald required Gwynedd and Torenth to provide him reciprocal access to a portal in each of those countries, and the Kings agreed."
« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 11:52:01 pm by Evie »
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« Reply #40 on: August 13, 2010, 12:19:51 am »
Quote
She's well trained, yes, as are Rothana and Araxie. 
You know, that's a question about Araxie - I can't remember whether Sivorn was Deryni?  If not, where does Araxie get her powers from?   She certainly doesn't appear to have had nearly the training that you would expect, as Azim seems to be trying to bring her up to speed, as it were.

Oh, forgot my question earlier!  Where is it that Azim is shown as trying to bring her up to speed?  The only time I recall them directly working together was when she was assisting him in removing the compulsions from Derry's mind after Derry's attack on Matyas.  Yes, she's in a learner role in that scene, but I imagine the specialized kind of mind-sifting he's doing is something she might have known how to do in theory but not had much if any practical experience in doing.  For all her access  to training, she's still a 19 year old girl, not a much older and more experienced Knight of the Anvil.  And I don't imagine she'd have been exposed to a lot of people under compulsions on which to practice removing them.  Richenda probably didn't have Azim's level of knowledge about it either; if she had, she'd easily have been able to double-check Alaric's work soon afterwards and discovered not all the compulsions were broken.  (She'd definitely have motive for wanting to be sure, if she could--the man kidnapped her son!  What else might he still do, if there were a lingering compulsion Alaric didn't manage to weed out?  If she never even offered to do a recheck, that tells me she probably didn't think her training was all that much superior to Morgan's in that particular area, so it wouldn't be worth a recheck.)  Not knowing how to do a deep and thorough sifting probably doesn't indicate poor training for Richenda and Araxie as much as it just shows superior training and experience on the part of Azim.

Now, if there were scenes in which Azim is shown trying to get Araxie's powers on a par with others because she's farther behind than he'd like, I missed those completely.  Then again, I'll admit I was more focused on the cool Torenthi scenes, when not distracted by Kelson's whinging.   :D
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Offline AnnieUK

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« Reply #41 on: August 13, 2010, 04:46:45 am »
This has been a fascinating discussion, guys, thanks :)  It's also great that although people obviously have firm opinions, it is staying nice - a couple of boards  I frequent this would be at the name-calling and thread-locking stage by now ;)

I was just thinking it's almost a shame that it's in the fanfic board!  I bet there are a lot of people with no interest in fanfic who miss out on a lot of cool discussion over here.

Anyway, as you were!

Offline Elkhound

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« Reply #42 on: August 13, 2010, 08:57:37 am »
Yes, and Derry couldn't have used them regardless.  He'd have been limited to the sausage-casing condom or the early withdrawal methods, unless he could sweet talk someone into the wine-soaked sponge.

"Have a cup of this nice herbal tea, dear; an old family recipe."

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« Reply #43 on: August 13, 2010, 09:12:01 am »
"Have a cup of this nice herbal tea, dear; an old family recipe."
Don't you mean it's an old NON-family recipe?  ;)

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« Reply #44 on: August 13, 2010, 09:16:09 am »
This has been a fascinating discussion, guys, thanks :)  It's also great that although people obviously have firm opinions, it is staying nice - a couple of boards  I frequent this would be at the name-calling and thread-locking stage by now ;)

I was just thinking it's almost a shame that it's in the fanfic board!  I bet there are a lot of people with no interest in fanfic who miss out on a lot of cool discussion over here.

Anyway, as you were!

Heh.   :D

Years ago, I belonged to a USENET group...won't mention the name here, but it was a bunch of Star Wars fans.  And there were some very well thought out and serious discussions on that group.  A few.  I met my best friend of the past...oh, 13 years now, I think?...as a result of one of those discussions.  But there were also knock-down, drag-out, virtual face-punching, name-calling, mother-defiling flamefests resembling nothing more than the opening volleys of the Apocalypse.  Screaming hissy fits ending in threats of lawsuits for libel, slander, and pretty much everything short of buggering kittens in the street.

The cause for all this uproar?  Was it, perhaps, a Duel Arcane over matters of earth-shattering importance, such as some laboratory-proven but ethically controversial new treatment for cancer?

Nope.  I'm afraid not.  These battles tended to be waged over such monumental questions as... *drumroll*...."Which is the correct name for the satellite of the planet Endor over which the Second Death Star was built?  Was it the Sanctuary Moon, the Century Moon, or the Centauri moon?"

Yes.  All that electronic angst over something as trivial as Emperor Palpatine's sloppy elocution.   ;D

I fled USENET while vestiges of sanity still remained (which, I know, remains debatable!), which is probably a shame, since around the same time I learned about another interesting sounding group called alt.fan.deryni or some such (a few here may recognize the group I'm referring to), but I never really checked it out fully because I was too mind-scarred from my other USENET experience.

I think the main difference between a group like the one I fled from and a forum like this one (and also other discussion groups I've been on in which discussion and healthy debate is the norm and flame wars are next to nonexistent) is the median age of the members.  Given the time period in which most of the Deryni books were published, most of the fans ardent enough to be involved in a forum like this are older and more mature than the mid-teen to early-20s crowd that dominated at that Star Wars group.  And while there are many very level-headed thinkers in that age range who are very much aware that This Is Fiction and It's OK To Have A Real Life, there are all too many who haven't moved past the stage of "X disagrees with me" must automatically mean "X thinks I'm a weenie!"  and also "My opinions on this allegedly 'fictional' subject that IS my Real Life are of such monumental importance to the world that ANYONE who disagrees with them MUST BE ERADICATED!!!1!111!"   :o

And coming from that age range, it's at least somewhat excusable if rather annoying, because their brains ain't done baking yet.  I've got intellectually precocious adolescent children, but every once in a while they do something that so much defies any notion of walking-around sense, I want to check to see if the pilot light inside their heads is still lit.  But they're kids.  Kids in rapidly developing bodies, but still kids.  After the age of full physical and mental maturation, though, it simply becomes sad.

So yeah, I'm all about the stimulating discussions and debates, but if it ever degenerates to name-calling (unless it's a shared jest), just drop me off at the nearest mental institution.  Because, despite my occasional wish that it might be otherwise and that I could book a tour, the Eleven Kingdoms and its denizens Just Ain't Real.    

(If they are, though, I've got dibs on Duncan McLain!  I know he's celibate, but I can at least look forward to hours of stimulating discussion in his study, can't I?)   ;D
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 09:21:10 am by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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