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Author Topic: Possessed--Part Three  (Read 3997 times)

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Online Evie

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Possessed--Part Three
« on: February 01, 2011, 09:12:13 am »
   Part Three—The Offer

   March 3, 1125
   Rhemuth Castle


   Javana Arilan watched as her brother Sextus celebrated his new knighthood in one dance after another with various young ladies of the Court.  Their sister Jashana sidled up to her, a barely suppressed smirk on her face.  “Lay odds on how long that white belt of his is going to stay white?”

   The older sister snorted.  “I'm amazed Kelson didn't simply hand him a coal black one and have done with the pretense.”  Despite the disparaging words, though, her mouth twitched in a reluctant smile.  “Our baby brother does look quite dashing in his knight's finery, though, doesn't he?”

   “Very.  And trust him to turn that to his full advantage.  Fortunately this is Rhemuth, not some country fair, so he has to be at least somewhat well behaved.  He can't even claim the recklessness of youth for his mischief while he's here at Court, since he's of an age with the King.”  The thought made Jashana giggle.  “Jesú, can you imagine if King Kelson were anything like Sextus?”  She rolled her eyes, turning slightly to smile and wave at a friend she'd spotted across the Great Hall.  

   Javana stifled a laugh.  “God forbid!  He'd be the first Haldane with a harem kept in the solar, not to mention the tavern he'd install in the Royal withdrawing room!”

   “I think my mother might have some sharp words to say about the solar being used to house a harem, though I can see some merit to the idea of a tavern just off the Great Hall.”  

   Javana whirled to find Prince Conall grinning down at her, also garbed in the finery of a newly-dubbed knight.   He extended a hand to her.  “Might I have the next dance with you, Lady Javana?”

   Javana turned slightly away to meet her sister's eyes, barely managing to mask her dismay.  “I...ah...Of course, Your Highness.”

   And speaking of Haldanes more like Sextus, Jashana teased her sister via Mind-Speech.  Do be wary, sister.  Hopefully he's truly only wanting a dance.

   Let's hope.  And at least our brother has the courtesy not to leer at the women he chats up.  I know this gown's modestly cut, but the way Prince Conall just looked at me, I feel like I'm walking around in my shift! Javana allowed herself to be escorted into the central part of the Great Hall where the revelers were taking up their positions in preparation for the next dance.

#

   Lord Walter permitted himself a slight smile as he watched the dancers.  She’s the most magnificent wench in Rhemuth, and even a Prince desires her favor.  But she’ll be mine, young Haldane, not yours!

   Still, he knew he could not wait too much longer to make himself known to her.  The lass had ripened full gloriously, and her brother was sure to be receiving offers for her hand already.  He had already sent Sir Seisyll a letter of introduction as an overture, stating his interest in Javana and his qualifications for a marriage with her, only to be told that Seisyll would not consider an offer for either of his sisters, no matter how well-suited the prospective husband might seem to be, unless the ladies had at least met the man and had no objection to being courted by him.  Walter had been angry at first, but Sir Aylmer had reminded him that Seisyll’s attitude was hardly exceptional; many a father and brother held similar sentimentality towards their womenfolk.   So he had allowed his temper to cool, but now that he’d seen Javana again, he was tired of waiting for the chit.  No, it was time now to make his move.  If she’d not have him sight unseen, he’d allow himself to be seen.  

   Ladies liked handsome charming men, Walter knew, and it was a point of pride for him that he excelled at being both.  Those traits had stood him in good stead on countless occasions.  Most people found it easy to trust a likeable, attractive man.

   The dance ended.  Lord Walter straightened his tunic, checked his reflection in the window glass to make sure his appearance was in top form, and walked over to the object of his desires.  “Lady Javana, if I might be so bold, may I have the next dance?”

#

   March 4, 1125  (Ash Wednesday)
   Rhemuth Castle


   “Lord Walter Branigan has offered for you.  And quite honestly, Javana, I’m not sure we could hope for a better match.”

   The older Arilan sister arched a brow at her brother.  “We, Seisyll?  Is he asking for your hand too?”

   Their mother gave an exasperated sigh from her travel-bed.  “You know what Seisyll means!  Lord Walter’s a baron, and well enough off that you’d want for nothing.”

   Seisyll nodded.  “And to top it all off, he’s not all that old—not quite thirty yet, I don’t think—and as far as I’m able to judge such things, I don’t think any maid would consider him uncomely.  There’s many a lady in Rhemuth or abroad who would gladly welcome such an offer.”

   “Oh, I know.”  Javana sighed, staring moodily out a window.  “I barely know him, though.”

   You barely knew Stefan either, Seisyll thought, though he refrained from saying so, not wanting to stir up those memories at a moment when his sister’s future well-being hung in the balance.  “Lord Walter has a good reputation at Court,” he said instead, “and is considered a rising star by many.”

   Javana nodded absently.  “He seemed likeable enough, based on our brief encounter last night, though how in the world could he possibly think he knows enough about me to offer for me, based on one dance?”  She glanced over at her brother.  “I need more time than that to decide!  Can’t I at least get to know him better first?”

   Seisyll glanced down at Walter’s message, then back at her.  “Of course.  That’s only fair.  In fact, Lord Walter himself suggests that, as we’re presently observing Lent and a marriage would not be permitted before Easter anyway, he would like to use that time to form a better acquaintance with our family.”  Seisyll smiled.  “You’ve no objection to that, I trust?”

   His sister shook her head, slightly stunned.  This baron who had offered for her certainly seemed to be the decisive sort, to have sent Seisyll such a message after only one brief encounter at a Court revel, though she could hardly find fault in any suggestion that would allow her more time to assess a future husband before she had to make a choice to wed with him or not.  “He’s…not in haste to wed right after Easter, though, is he?”

   Seisyll’s brow rose.  “If he is, he hasn’t said so in his message.  If, after you’ve had a chance to get to know him better, you decide you like him, would marrying that soon be a problem?”

   Javana bit her lip, wondering what excuse she could use to stall the marriage.  It’s not that she had anything in particular against this suitor, but he wasn’t Stefan, and her heart hadn’t healed enough for her to feel ready to entertain another man’s offer yet.  A thought suddenly came to her, and she turned back to her brother.  “It’s just that I was hoping to be able to finish my Deryni training.  You know I had to put off my final studies and return home from Andelon before the Mearan War started because you needed to save up to equip Sextus properly, and then Maman started growing more ill….”  It was no mere excuse, it happened to be the truth as well.  No need to mention that, had it been Stefan offering for her rather than some stranger, Javana would gladly have given up her final year of training rather than delay the bliss of becoming Stefan’s wife.

   “Sister…Lord Walter might not be willing to wait a full year….”

   “But we can at least ask him, can’t we?”

   Seisyll sighed.  “Yes, I suppose we could.  But what excuse would we give him?  ‘My sister is Deryni and would like a chance to finish her training in use of powers that, in some parts of the Kingdom, could still get her burned at a stake before a Haldane could catch wind of what’s up and intervene’?  I think that’s unlikely to serve, Javana.”

   Lady Alix tugged at her sheets as she regarded her eldest daughter.  “I'd love to see you settled before I die, dearest; it would ease my mind greatly to know you'll be cared for once I'm gone.”  She glanced fondly at her eldest son.  “Not that I doubt Seisyll would take good care of you as long as he's able, but he'll be needing to wed too someday and get heirs for Tre-Arilan, and it would be easier for him to do so once you and Jashana are settled into your own households.  Though you're right as well, you do need to finish your training, if at all possible.”  She sighed.  “If only I had more time....”

#

   March 20
   Tre-Arilan Great Hall


   Javana listened attentively as her dinner partner spoke of the beauty of his ancestral lands in the northeastern corner of Gwynedd.  “It's mountain country, the Kheldish Riding is, not too dissimilar to the lands here in western Gwynedd, near the border to the Connait, though my baronial seat is even closer to the sea.  From Caerdraig, one can see for miles.  On a clear day, if you look eastward, you can see the Gulf of Northarch in the distance.  My fields are fertile enough, but Caerdraig's true wealth is in its lumber and its mines.”

   “It sounds quite lovely, my lord,” she murmured, taking a dainty nibble of her squab.  It was tasty enough, but she was too nervous to have much of an appetite.  She stole a look up at the man who shared her trencher.  Seisyll had been right; Lord Walter was not at all unpleasant to look at.  The man seated beside her had reached the prime of young manhood—Javana guessed his age to be in his late twenties—yet a sprinkling of silver strands at the temples of his otherwise raven hair lent him an air of maturity beyond the years reflected in his features.  Pale blue eyes, almost like aquamarines, smiled down at her as he noticed her perusal, and she dropped her gaze, flushing slightly as she took another taste of her squab.

   “I would very much love to show it to you,” Lord Walter told her.  “It is quite a beautiful and productive barony indeed, though alas, there is one thing Caerdraig lacks which renders it short of perfection.”

   Javana glanced back up at him curiously.  “And what is that, my lord?”

   Pearly white teeth framed by a black mustache and goatee grinned back at her.  “Why, a baroness to provide the crowning jewel for such an elegant setting!  Though I'm hoping you can remedy that lack in due time.”

   Javana smiled, casting her eyes demurely downwards, her blush growing as she toyed with the ring he'd given her as a courtship token.  Her new suitor was certainly charming, but she found the intensity of his admiration more than a little disconcerting.  She wondered why—she had certainly had other ardent admirers in the past few years since reaching the age of womanhood—but after a moment's thought she realized most of those had either been men closer to her own age, still in some ways more boys than men and hard for her to take seriously as potential suitors, or else men old enough to be father or grandfather to a maid her age, their admiring comments born more of fond affection rather than from ardent desire.  

   Though Stefan had also been very charming....  Javana took a sip of wine, stifling her sudden confusion.  She had been so sure she was in love with him—no, she still was certain of it at times!—but now she felt her affections beginning to waver.  Oh, not that she was ready to accept Lord Walter's suit—she barely knew the man yet!  But surely, if Stefan really cared for her, he'd have offered for her already, would he not have?  Should she feel guilty for merely thinking her present suitor both courtly and handsome, and not rejecting his suit outright, when the man she'd have gladly given herself to had not bothered to contact her since they'd parted ways in Rhemuth the previous August?  Maybe Seisyll had been right about Stefan.  If so, she would be a fool to turn down a perfectly good offer from a man whose sole disqualification as a husband was that she had not grown to know him yet and was therefore shy at the thought of a courtship.

   Lord Walter extended his goblet for Seisyll's squire to refill, then gestured for a few more choice morsels to be added to Javana's side of the plate.  “Your brother provides a sumptuous feast, my dear lady,” he told her.  “It would be a shame to let such bounty go to waste.”  He picked up a small pastry and held it to her lips.  “A sweet for the sweet?”

   She took a delicate nibble of the offered delight, then glanced up at his eyes.  They locked on hers, an oddly proprietary expression in their depths.  Javana dropped her gaze again, the nervous flutter in her stomach returning.  No, she wasn't ready to consider accepting the baron's offer yet, no matter how courteous he was.  Not so soon after the raptures of Stefan's attentions.  She needed more time for her heart to become more fully hers again before she could offer it to another.

   “I mustn't fill up too much, my lord, or I shan't be able to accompany you on that tour of Tre-Arilan I promised earlier.”

   “Ah, so you did.”  Walter put the sweetmeat back on the trencher, dabbing at her lips with a napkin.  Javana allowed his ministrations, averting her gaze demurely as her mind worked to figure out how she could buy herself more time to consider his suit with a clearer head and less bruised heart, without discouraging his courtship entirely.

#

   March 30
   Rhemuth Castle


   Damn that young pup of a King to eternal perdition!

   Lord Walter did not actually believe in eternal perdition, of course, though he supposed it was a good thing such a condition did not actually exist, given that he would doubtless be consigned to it himself for his misdeeds, or so these idiots around him would believe if any of them truly knew him and his deeply buried secrets.  He glanced around at the crowd surrounding him in Rhemuth Cathedral, dressed in mourning black even as he was, and crossed himself in pretended piety at the appropriate moment in the service.  They were gathered today to pray for the missing King Kelson and those others in his stupid, pointless quest who had perished or gone missing in some freak accident, or so the rumors said anyway.  Walter was impatient to be gone, but niceties were niceties, and one could hardly hope to rise in Court society without observing every little jot and tittle.

   Nigel should be King now, Walter mused, and Nigel was hardly a malleable young boy, but alas, the man had had the bad sense to slip into some sort of apoplexy shortly after receiving the news about his Royal nephew, and now the odds were that he'd not survive long enough to be crowned.  That was unfortunate.  At least a Kingdom under Nigel's reign would likely have remained strong.  No telling what that fool of a firstborn of his would do, once the Kingdom was in his grasp, though Walter supposed there was an upside to the Kingdom being left in the hands of the younger Haldane pup.  Even an idiot King could be a useful tool in the right hands.  Walter had no reason to fear Conall, so long as he attracted only what Royal attention it was to his advantage to attract, and drew no unwanted notice to those aspects of his life he preferred to keep private.  

   This whole mourning business meant, however, an unexpected delay to his wedding plans.  The Lady Javana, upon hearing the news, had retired to her chambers, declaring herself too distraught with sorrow for the young King and the other fledgling knights traveling with him to be able to consider such matters as betrothals and weddings for the time being, and asking leave to grieve privately at least until Eastertide had passed. So Walter had returned to Rhemuth—as indeed, Laird Seisyll had also—both men being expected back at Court to renew their fealty oaths before their new overlord.   Both had returned with the expectation that this new overlord would be Prince Nigel.  Walter suppressed a yawn as the interminable church service droned on and on, a part of his mind amusing itself with the possibility that Prince Conall might now inexplicably fall into a dead faint as well, leaving the Crown to Prince Rory, who might then succumb to some equally mysterious ailment, leaving the throne to Prince Payne.  The Haldane Princes, tumbling one after the other like dominoes lined up in a row.

   An amusing image, though hardly practical.  No, Walter hoped Conall could be crowned with no further mishap.  Conall would need the help and guidance of strong men to govern Gwynedd, for though he was Haldane, he was no Nigel.  Even Kelson, young and relatively inexperienced as he'd been, had been a force to be reckoned with, and like his father before him, not a King to be underestimated.   No, Conall was ill-prepared to rule Gwynedd, and would need to rely heavily on his councilors to learn the art of kingship.  Walter intended to become one of those men in good time.

   Yes, under the circumstances, he could allow Javana a little more time.  That would give him a chance to turn more of his attention to how he might work his way into Conall's inner circle.  Once he had won the young man's trust, there would be time enough for the pleasures of a wife.  King Kelson's death need not have been in vain after all.

   Come to think of it, Kelson's death might well have done him a favor.  Walter smiled.  It was a pity for the Haldane lad's sake that there was no such thing as eternal bliss either, though as he contemplated the future, Walter could hardly begrudge him that, poor boy.  Yes, now that he'd taken a short while to think things through, he'd been wrong to be angry with Kelson for disrupting his courtship, when there was an even higher prize at stake.

   One bright star falls; another one rises.

   The Mass was over.  Walter followed the other congregants out into the brilliant light of day.

#
   
   April 20 (Easter Monday)
   Tre-Arilan


   “He's alive!”  Seisyll grinned at his sister from the Tre-Arilan chapel doorway.

   Javana, kneeling at the prie-dieu in prayer for their mother's rapidly declining health, turned to stare at her brother.  “Yes, brother, that's what Easter traditionally means....”

   “No, I mean the King!”

   “The Ki--”  Javana's eyes widened, her smile growing along with it as the news sank in.  “Kelson's been found alive, after all this time?”

   Seisyll laughed, entering the room to help his sister to her feet so he could swing her around gleefully.  “Not just Kelson either; Duke Dhugal's returned to Rhemuth with him, after both had been presumed dead these several weeks! You should've seen their re-entry....”  He broke off, sharing with her mind to mind the sights he had witnessed in the past day.

   “I can't imagine Prince Conall was too happy to see his cousin,” Javana ventured once the flood of images subsided.  

   The joy in Seisyll's eyes faded, replaced by a grim look.  “Indeed not.  Especially as it turns out Prince Nigel's illness was no mere accident.”  Again, he shared the details with his sister in unspoken sharing of thoughts rather than in words.

   Javana looked shaken when he had done sharing.  “Oh, Jesú!  Poor Kelson, to come home to all that, and have an execution to face afterwards.  He can't allow Conall any leniency, after so many betrayals, even if Conall had any remorse.  I know the King has the resolve to do what's needed, but he's got a heart as well.  It won't be easy on him, giving his cousin a traitor's death, and having to look Prince Nigel and Duchess Meraude in the eye after.”

   Jashana entered the room.  “Mother told me Seisyll's just retur—oh, there you are!”

   Her brother turned to face her, a grin playing on his features.  “Kelsonus resurrexit!”

   “Vere resurrexit!” Jashana answered automatically, then her brain processed what Seisyll had just said.  “Wait...what?!”  Again, Seisyll shared the events of the past twenty-four hours with his younger sister.

   The elder sister, on the other hand, turned to stare unseeingly out of one of the colored glass windows.  Yes, she was happy that both the King and Cassan's young duke had returned from their ill-fated quest safely, but now that all was well in Rhemuth and both a spiritual and a temporal Eastertide had come, she knew she had a decision to make.  Lord Walter had been otherwise occupied since Kelson's disappearance, but he was bound to return soon, ready to press his courtship anew.  She needed more time.

#

   May 3
   Rhemuth Castle


   Walter watched from a distance as the traitor Prince was brought out for his execution.  He studied the scene before him in professional detachment, wincing as the executioner had to take a second stroke after the first blow to Conall's neck failed to do the job.   Sloppy, he thought, though granted, the sniveling little boot-scraping was hardly making the headsman's job easy.  Walter wondered dispassionately what would happen to the Prince's head.  Would it be hoisted above Rhemuth Keep, or perhaps further from the Castle, over one of the City gates instead?  Oh, probably over the City.  Kelson was the sort of princeling given over to niceties; he'd not want his aunt the traitor's dam to wake up with that cheerful sight rotting outside her window!  Walter chuckled at the thought.  No, on second thought, Kelson would probably just bury the gory thing and have done.

   Just as well that Walter hadn't had enough time to hitch himself to the young Prince's rising star, given how quickly it had plummeted earthward again.

   Ah well.  There'd be other chances to rise in Court circles.  He was still a young man himself, and had the luxury of time on his side, not to mention patience.  Time, then, to apply that patience to a different challenge and a different goal.  He'd allowed himself to be distracted from her long enough.

   It had been far too long since he'd let himself enjoy the pleasures of a woman, though.  Before he set off for Tre-Arilan, surely he could spare an extra evening for a little fun.

   Lord Walter turned from the headless Prince, now being carried away, and set forth for the City in search of a pretty plaything.



Part Four:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=654.0
« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 12:10:15 pm by Evie »
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Offline AnnieUK

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Re: Possessed--Part Three
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2011, 11:46:51 am »
Not often that someone makes Conall look harmless.

Walter = slimeball.

Online Evie

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Re: Possessed--Part Three
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2011, 12:21:06 pm »
Actually, after studying sociopathic traits to make sure I was getting Walter's depiction right, I realized that Prince Conall was almost certainly a sociopath himself.  He evidences at least most (possibly all?) of the checklist of traits one looks for in diagnosing a sociopath, with the possible exception of early onset of symptoms.  (And I only base that on him not coming across as a git in HD, though in KKB Araxie remembers him quite a bit less than fondly for his childhood pranks--hurting her by pulling her braids, IIRC--so he might have had the early onset as well.)

The main difference I see between the two is that Conall was a more "successful" sociopath in that he was better socially integrated.  His crimes were, for the most part, just as self-serving but much less deliberate, at least at first.  Even when he killed or badly injured, those started out as accidents.  He hadn't reached Walter's stage of harming others as an end in itself, for the thrill of it.  Then again, Conall was only, what, 18 when he died?  Who knows how he might have ended up, given another decade or two.

If Conall was a sociopath, the truly sad thing is that Nigel and Meraude couldn't have done anything differently as parents to change him.  The best they could have done would have been to keep drumming in not only their standards of right and wrong, but why it was to his benefit to keep doing the right thing.  Because doing the right thing for its own sake would never have registered with Conall, but "what's in it for me?" would've been the only thing that could keep his behavior in check.
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Offline Elkhound

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Re: Possessed--Part Three
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2011, 02:34:51 pm »
Did Connal wet the bed, set fires, or torture animals and/or smaller children?  (I don't think a boy pulling a girl's pigtails rises to the level of 'torture.')  That's MacDonald's Triad of Sociopathy, isn't it?

Next to Walter, Connal is just an opportunistic, self-centered jerk.  I think that the deterioration of his personality was mostly due to his assumption of what's-his-face's memories without properly cleaning off the bits of personality attached to them and never properly assimilating them.

I've said it before, if Nigel had sent him off to be fostered as a page in the Hort of Orsal's court, or with Auntie Jehanna's people in Bremagne, things might have been different.  He still would have been a self-centered jerk, but not a traitor or murderer.  Isn't the whole point of the fosterage system to have boys brought over to manhood under the guidance of someone who can be a little more objective about them than their own fathers?  (Not a theory I necessarily agree with, but one widely-enough held not to be dismissed out of hand.)

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Possessed--Part Three
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2011, 02:42:25 pm »
This is not looking good for Javana at all!
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

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Re: Possessed--Part Three
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2011, 03:04:00 pm »
Did Connal wet the bed, set fires, or torture animals and/or smaller children?  (I don't think a boy pulling a girl's pigtails rises to the level of 'torture.')  That's MacDonald's Triad of Sociopathy, isn't it?


Some child sociopaths do show those traits, but not all.  And remember, most sociopaths don't rise (or fall?) to the level of the ones who make the news.  That man in the office next to yours who is outwardly charming but has very little empathy for others, repeatedly cheats on his wife (or abandons them and remarries multiple times, never paying child support whenever he gets tired of a family and moves on), lies on his tax forms, steals money from the company without a twinge of conscience, and yet never ever causes bodily harm to any living being because he realizes that such behavior is likely to end up getting him thrown in jail and is therefore not in his best interests (i.e., not because it's morally wrong to do so, because even though he knows right from wrong, he doesn't give a rip about that...and it's this trait, the lack of conscience and empathy, which defines him as a sociopath), is just as much a sociopath as a guy who burned kittens as a child and grew up to be a serial killer.  The difference is that the former guy is more "successful" as a sociopath because he can blend in with society and, aside from pissing a lot of people off over the years, he's unlikely to suffer major consequences.  The ones who make the news due to atrocities are the ones who are considered less "successful" in that they're not able to quell that self-centeredness and the thrill-seeking behavior enough to be satisfied in society while following its rules.

Here are some sources that go into more detail of what I'm talking about:
http://www.youmeworks.com/sociopaths.html
http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/sociopathic-tendencies.html
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/sociopathic-tendencies-in-adults.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder


« Last Edit: February 01, 2011, 03:36:29 pm by Evie »
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Offline derynifanatic64

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Re: Possessed--Part Three
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2011, 10:15:04 pm »
It was so nice to see Conall again--LOL.  Unless Walter has deliberately killed someone, I believe him and Conall are very similar.  Conall's killing of Tiercel was an impulsive act, not planned in advance.  But Walter does appear to be worse than Conall.
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Offline Elkhound

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Re: Possessed--Part Three
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2011, 10:32:59 pm »
So, Evie, sociopath is just a ten-dollar word for 'creep' or 'nasty piece of work'?

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Re: Possessed--Part Three
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2011, 10:49:20 pm »
Short answer:  No.   :D

Longer answer:  The key is that the person has no concept of guilt, empathy, or true remorse.  (They may regret being caught doing something society considers wrong, whether that's a violent act or just being caught in a lie, cheating on a spouse, etc., but there's no true remorse or repentance.)  The person is, in fact, incapable of relating to these feelings, although he or she is fully aware of right vs. wrong and has been socially conditioned to know how to play the part of a normal person with normal feelings and emotions, feigning genuine affection, repentance, etc.   There are certainly lots of "creeps" and "nasty pieces of work" who are not sociopaths, but in addition to knowing what they are doing is wrong, they are capable of being bothered by what they do (even if their conscience isn't always strong enough to stop them from doing it), and they are also capable of true remorse.  

For instance, let's look at serial killers.  They are not always sociopaths, although a few sociopaths end up becoming serial killers.  (Thank God most don't, given that sociopaths are something like 1-4% of the general population, so chances are quite high we all know at least one!)  On the other hand of the spectrum, let's look at the guy who has never committed a rape, murder, or any other violent crime, but he can't seem to hold down a job for long, tends to lie and cheat his way through life, blames everyone else for his problems, cheats on his partner (or can't sustain any long term relationship, or isn't interested in relationships at all because he's just after sex).  This man could well be a sociopath, but there's a chance he's not, if he's capable of being bothered by this behavior and feeling some true guilt remorse for it.  It's that lack of a guilt/conscience/empathy/remorse chip that determines if someone is a true sociopath, so you have to look beyond the person's actions to discover their inner motivations for doing things.

A lot of the folks I know in Celebrate Recovery are recovering from chemical dependencies to drugs and/or alcohol.  When in the grip of their addictions, many were habitual liars, thieves, and some committed crimes (violent or not) in order to support their addictions.  But they're not sociopaths.  Not only did their consciences bother them even when they were still stuck in their addictions, but also their remorse led them eventually to want to break the chains of that addiction and seek help.  A true sociopath doesn't think s/he has a problem--it's everyone else who is burdened with that "guilt crap", but they're just fine!--so you're generally not going to see sociopaths seeking help from a therapist...unless it's to con that therapist into believing there's something else going on (depression, for instance, or in marriage counseling they might try to con and charm the counselor into believing that all the marital problems are the other partner's fault) in order to garner sympathy, manipulate their families, etc.

Is that explanation any clearer?

But yes, Walter is a much worse slimeball than Conall, and Javana's in for a rough time, I'm afraid.   :(
« Last Edit: February 01, 2011, 11:07:05 pm by Evie »
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Re: Possessed--Part Three
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2011, 03:11:38 pm »
So, even truth-reading for sincerity--which a Deryni girl with any degree of sense and training would do with any suitor--would do no good, as that only works to detect outright lies.  If a young man were to say, "I love you" when what he really means is "I want to get under your skirts", truth-reading would uncover that, and she'd slap his face; but someone who says "I love you" truthfully *within his understanding of love* (which for a true sociopath would be so rudimentary as to be nonexistant), truth reading would *not* uncover that, and she might be decieved.  Is this a fair assessment?

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Re: Possessed--Part Three
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2011, 03:43:39 pm »
Hm.  Interesting question, and I think that might be possible to pull off, though the sociopath would have to genuinely think they're in love for it to work, and in most cases that might be iffy.  (There's not the same need for emotional bonding and closeness unless the person in question wants something from the recipient of their "love," and even so, the "love" is usually very manipulative and designed to bring about the desired end results.)  In a medieval culture, the safest thing for a sociopathic suitor to do would be not to mention that "love" word at all, since of course marriages were expected to be arranged for more practical reasons and love, though hoped for, was expected to follow marriage.  So a prospective bride wouldn't expect to hear "I love you" from her suitor anyway.  And that lets Walter off that hook, since I doubt he'd be able to tell Javana "I love you" with a straight face!  Maybe "I love the thought of adding you to my collection of beautiful and highly coveted possessions," but that's hardly likely to impress her either.   :D

Where I'd differ with you is in the idea that a Deryni girl would naturally Truth-Read any suitor in order to gauge his sincerity, especially given the implications in the novels that for one Deryni to Truth-Read another (unless given permission to do so by the person being Read because that person wants it verified that they're being utterly sincere) is often considered insulting--it's a way of saying "I don't trust you enough or believe you have the integrity to be truthful with me; I have to use my powers in order to ensure it," which is hardly a way to show the man who is offering for you that you really respect him!  He'd be likely to think of that as a slap in the face (and she can't simply not tell him she's Truth-Reading, because if he's Deryni also, he'll know she is without being told), and the betrothal might be off before it's even happened.  When Kelson and company Truth-Read someone they don't know for sure they can trust in the books (like in KKB), that's a decision they have to weigh carefully and decide if the risk of disclosing their distrust that openly is worth learning if that person is being totally honest or not.  In some situations, they do so anyway, and if the person is someone like Matyas, who knows full well that Kelson has good reason to mistrust him and who has nothing to hide, then it all works out for good despite the risks.  There's always the risk of that going over very badly, though, and making relations even more tense than they were to start off with.

Certainly if the suitor gave the young lady some very strong reason to mistrust his motives, she might want to Truth-Read him...but if she doubts him that much, why is she bothering to consider marriage to him at all?  There might be extenuating circumstances in which she could Truth-Read a suitor and not cause offense by it, and I'm sure if I think long enough, I could come up with something, but it would have to be some extraordinary reason, I'd think.  Not just "He seems like a nice guy, but I think I'll cast aspersions on his integrity and hope he's fair-minded enough not to take offense just to be absolutely sure."  Where I could see a Deryni girl using Truth-Reading on a suitor would be if she absolutely wanted the man to break off his courtship because, for whatever reason, she was unable or unwilling to end it herself.  Maybe her family was forcing her into an unwanted marriage, and she couldn't convince them to let her marry someone else, so she's deliberately trying to insult her suitor in hopes he'll back out of the match before it's formalized by vows.  Depending on why the man is wanting to marry her, that may or may not be an effective deterrent, and could actually backfire.  If he's just looking for a wife, he might decide "OK, I don't want to marry some woman who treats me like a shady character even though I've never given her cause to," but if he's marrying her because he's greedy for her land, he might well still go through with it, but then treat her shabbily afterwards if he's feeling really aggrieved.
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Offline Elkhound

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Re: Possessed--Part Three
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2011, 03:13:40 pm »
YMMV.  Knowing what young men are like  (having been one myself), I think that a girl truthreading one who came a-wooing is simply a reasonable precaution; indeed, if I were the Deryni father of a teenage daughter I'd insist on truthreading any suitors myself.

It would be part of a Gwyneddian version of this http://www.funtoosh.com/new_timepass/boyfriends.php

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Re: Possessed--Part Three
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2011, 03:57:19 pm »

It would be part of a Gwyneddian version of this http://www.funtoosh.com/new_timepass/boyfriends.php

LOL!  Seisyll, Jass and Derry want the Gwyneddan version of that cast in bronze and mounted as a plaque outside their front doors when their daughters are of an age to court.  ;D
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Re: Possessed--Part Three
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2011, 05:10:22 pm »
Alaric, Nigel and Kelson are having copies made too :D   Nigel may have betrothed Eirian to Lliam, but there is still little Amelia/Conalline ...

ETA:  Anyone who risks running foul of one of those three is either very, very brave - or just plain suicidal  :D


« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 05:16:31 pm by Alkari »

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Re: Possessed--Part Three
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2011, 06:40:21 pm »
ETA:  Anyone who risks running foul of one of those three is either very, very brave - or just plain suicidal  :D

In the case of Conaline, if Grandpa Nigel doesn't get you, Uncle Kelson will.  Similarly, with Bryony, if her father doesn't get you, her big brother will; and if they don't her mother will turn you into a frog.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 06:46:09 pm by Elkhound »

 

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