FanFiction > MerchantDeryni's FanFic

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MerchantDeryni:
This is more like KK's Deryni Magic Grimoire. These are my thoughts on a world that goes from the 1100's to modern day with a race of teleporting sorcerers in their midst.

These are my assumptions when thinking about an 11 Kingdoms story. Your Deryni fanfic universe may well be different.
   I throw in the Medieval trade routes and spice bazaar. India, China, and Palestine are in the world (I am assuming, Jews, Muslims and Eastern and Western flavours of Christianity are in the books and RPG game). I use google maps to figure out distances. I assume a Transfer Portal can move people 250-300 miles as a max range. I add in Jewish banking institutions in the medieval period and the Bills of Exchange. My starting point for Deryni expansion is the 1100's. This keeps it out of anything KK has written canon wise. Clearly the smuggling and such would likely start in the early days after the Statutes of Ramos. People have to earn a living.
Moving from the 1100's to modern day with a race of mind reading sorcerers would change the culture. Here are some of my thoughts on a what if though history.
I skipped the idea of creating an Illuminati that mind controls all those in power. That's for the next cycle of nasty stories.
Pricing I get from: https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/munro5/SPICES1.htm
Pepper is cheap in that a pound of it is 3 days pay for a regular mason at 6 pennies a day. Saffron is more expensive. Silk is insanely expensive. The Silk Road earned its name.

Deryni Through the Ages
(Who needs De Gama?)

The Deryni Diaspora to escape the OCF and anti-Deryni backlash after the Haldane Restoration resulted in a loss of Deryni culture and knowledge to many Deryni. Not all knowledge was lost. Some families were more adept at their power and used it on a regular basis. This allowed them to escape Gwynned and build a place for themselves outside of Gwynned. Torenth is Deryni friendly, and Meara ignores the Statutes of Ramos. These locations would allow Deryni to flee both East and West.
   Following the diaspora any Deryni remaining were forced to try and create a place for themselves in a society that did not allow them to own land or join the priesthood or hold titles. Legal sources of income were difficult to come by.
   There were few avenues for Deryni and their powers. Indeed it was their well known ability to read and control minds that created the most friction and fear among the humans of the land. Few people have a clear conscience and the presence of a person who might know the dirty secrets a person has, or worse yet, compel the person to commit some heinous act was enough to make humans mistrustful and disinclined to live with a Deryni.
   Some Deryni found work for themselves as Truth Readers and Delvers of Secrets. Kings and Queens have enemies and having a person on staff who can find out if the honeyed words being whispered to the Royal ear are real or just flattery is a powerful tool. Such Deryni were hated on all sides for their abilities of course.
   Healers were also sought after and managed, after a time, to create a new Healing Guild. The ability to repair injuries beyond the skill of Doctor’s is a powerful incentive to accept at least some use of Deryni power. As human knowledge grew the Healers gained even more understanding of how to best use their gifts and Healing art advanced considerably.
   The area that saved more Deryni and changed their position in society was Transfer Portals. The ability to read minds and compel actions inspires fear and hatred. The ability to make money for someone inspires common interest.
   A family that had long used Portals for its own use was able to escape the OCF and make their way to an out of the way estate. To fund their move and support the family they created more Portals and got involved in smuggling. They made connections to the local criminal elements and moved salt, spices and any other high value property that needed to evade customs and border taxes.
   It was shortly realized that a trading network did not have to rely on smuggling stolen goods. Legitimate goods could be transported and a profit made. The speed and reduction of people needed to move goods would increase profits considerably. The Deryni family allied with a human mercantile family and bankrolled an expedition to the spice lands. The aim was to reduce exposure to tolls, pirates, bandits, tax collectors and anything else that cost money.
   It was at this point the connection to the Jewish Mercantile banking institutions was made. The banks funded the early expeditions and helped arrange leasing for the buildings that were needed along the route. The first expedition simply followed the standard trading route and created a Portal at regular points along the way. The twenty Deryni contingent that went along with the human merchants were able to create the Portals at the major cities along the route.
   After several months of travel the merchants arrived in far Byzantyum. They leased a trading house and installed the final Portal. Purchasing packs of spices the Deryni began shuttling the spices Westward along the route. At each outpost they feared discovery, but the careful planning and judicious use of Deryni reinforcement of loyalty and good coin paid allowed the travellers to flit from Portal to Portal and return to the West.
   The payoff was immediate. The packs were small enough that the trading house was able to sell them at the various trading houses in each city easily. There was no sudden glut of material on the market to drive the price down. The goods were sold for an astronomical profit. A Deryni could travel across the network and return with a pack and make a years income in 2 weeks.
   The banks were repaid and the buildings along the route purchased. Security measures were put in place to keep the source of income as vague as possible.  The human trading house and Deryni family grew closer and agreed to help each other become as rich as kings. The banks were also brought into the fold as the trading house needed the ability to transfer large amounts of money legally, as well as arrange to pay the taxes and bribes needed to keep the operation going. The banks were among the first to realize that the ability of the Deryni Transfer Portals to keep tabs on the Bills of Exchange and other mundane trading ships put the banks in a much safer area of business. Information became a major income for the Deryni trading House.
   The house soon realized that the trade route simply followed the easiest path for people to walk, ride or boat to get to the far away lands. Routes would take massive detours to go around a mountain for example. Portals needed no special route. They could be set up in a straight line and shorten the actual journey to the destination.

Lords of All they Surveyed

   The surveying and map work project began as a means by which the Deryni could shorten the direct trip to the Spice Bazaar. It began by mapping the roadways and river routes across the continent. The new surveying equipment developed allowed the creation of quite accurate maps.  The expedition also paid to have the valleys and mountain passes surveyed. This resulted In an ever growing map of the world, centered on Rhemuth to be developed.
   The coastline of the country was surveyed as the Portal Network followed the sailing ships as they plied across the seas and oceans. Expeditions inland were financed. This brought new customers, knowledge, and discovered hidden communities of Deryni to be contacted again.
   The Deryni family had never forgotten its roots, and spent considerable effort and money in searching out Deryni. These communities and families discovered were offered access to the Network and jobs bringing in more money to the House.
   The map of the world grew ever more complete and accurate. As it grew in detail Portals were able to be shifted to create a straighter more efficient path to a desired destination. Many Portals remained quite active though, as the trading house on top of it bought and sold goods to trade to far off lands.

Journey to the Land beyond the Sun
Marco Polo was financed by the Trading House and left the known world to discover the Land of Wa and the Land Beyond the Sun. His support group of Deryni followed along, surveying the route and creating a trail map across the known world. They also created a string of Portals every 200 miles to keep the mission in contact with the Trading House. The days of a trading mission being out of contact for years were long over.
   Kublai Khan sent a letter to the King of Gwynned and the archbishop of Grecotha. The response was sent back by way of Deryni courier.  China had a trading mission authorized and representatives were transported back to the West to open a formal diplomatic mission. Japan remained a closed society, except for a small trading island and Portal. Silks and artwork flowed along the Oriental Network and changed how the West view themselves, the world, and their place in it. The Silk income was astronomical. A single bolt was a years salary for a master Mason.
   Kings, Queens, and Emperors all discovered they wanted to send letters to other Heads of State. A Postal service was created to shuttle Royal Mail across the Network as fast as possible. Treaties and trade deals were arranged. Human dignitaries were shuttled across the world to establish embassies. All this was done on the backs of the Deryni.
   The Trading Houses and Deryni families grew rich from the trade and information they gathered. This fostered some resentment. Their ties to the Jewish banking houses, and their mental abilities earned them a chapter in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Anti-Semitic authors could not decide if the Jews were controlling the Deryni through special Jewish magick, or if the Deryni were secretly Elder Jews.
   Still, the ability of the Deryni to make the world a smaller place, and a richer one allowed them to remake their image into that of helpful adept rather than evil sorcerer. People began to ask to pay for passage along the Network to visit the places they had only read about. Deryni again proved their value to the humans as they fostered communication and trade around the world.

Undercutting the Merchants. Grower to table Vertical Integration.
   The first Network links were to the Spice Bazaars. Byzantyum and Alexandria (And probably something Rkassian or East of Arjenol in Gwynned.) The aim was to get to the markets and then bring spices back for sale. As Deryni expeditions travelled past the bazaars they made it to the Spice Lands of India and East Asia. The big difference is the expeditions were still in contact with the Home Office. They had updates, resupply with more trade goods from the West, and a flow of information. They could ship goods direct from the suppliers. Once they found a grower they could arrange everything from crop loans, insurance, and harvest and storage loans. The Bazaars to the west were bypassed, and so was the overhead. The Deryni remembered when they were shunned and taken advantage of, they did not repeat that practice. They paid the growers very well and were able to arrange long term contracts.
Their wealth allowed them to purchase land all over the world. The banking house was able to create a global currency exchange using the Deryni Portals to tie everything together.

Diplomacy in the age of Teleportation
A Haldanic King was the first Royal personage to transfer along the Network to visit a foreign Kingdom. Treaties were signed in person. Dignitaries and Diplomats became common passengers along the Network to improve relations across the world.
Truth Reading was used by a Deryni to show the Kings had no hidden agenda. It is difficult to double cross a negotiation when lying is not allowed. This changed diplomatic relations considerably. If a ruler refused to answer question regarding intent to invade then the other side knew to prepare for action.
 

How fast can the Network move things?

I am assuming a Deryni could make at least 2 jumps per day. Deryni in the books would use a Portal, meet and act at the destination, then return. So a Deryni carrying 50 pounds of material could move 400 miles a day. 600 if the houses were maximized for distance, but assume 200 miles apart. So long distance travel would be 400 miles a day. A Master Mason made 8 pennies a day. A pound of pepper worth 18 pennies. So a 50 pound pack is worth 112 days wages at a Master level of income. Commoners made  2 pennies a day, so a single journey could hire a man for a year. Leaving a penny in the basket of a portal operator is good income.
A Deryni could well be able to jump, have a rest, have a coffee or tea, maybe a meal, Jump again, then rest for a couple of hours, jump again. In this way 3, 4,5,6 jump per day may be possible over the course of an 8-10 hour day. Then sleep for a night and repeat the process the next day. If 5 Jumps a day are possible a Deryni could move 1000 miles a day and a trip from Rhemuth(London England) to Beijing could be done in 5 or 6 days.



Would this impact the Age of Sail?
A coastal ship could map a shoreline, and every 200 miles find a location to put in a Portal and get news from home. The New world could well be discovered from Siberia to Alaska.

Bulk sailing of commodities would still happen, but the ability of Deryni Transfer Portals to move high value items undercuts the reason for the age of Discovery expeditions.

Railways

The same argument exists for railways. If the wealthy want to go somewhere they can pay to be transported along the Network. Indeed, there could be an entire industry of humans being used to fuel jumps, while carrying a backpack full of goods themselves. Humans have helped provide power to build portals. Can they provide the energy to transfer from place to place? If so, being a psychic battery, with the option of getting a cut of goods carried, would be an amazingly profitable career for a human. A single journey could set them up for years.

Would railways, and the creation of large scale transit be profitable in the face of competition from Deryni? Bulk transport is one thing from mine to smelter. Would Portals do away with commuter trains being built in the 1800's?

This assumes that Portals become a known entity, which seems likely given how much power and influence they could create for the Deryni. The opportunities the portals offer is world altering.

Evie:
Really cool extrapolation!  And that link to the medieval costs and recipes is amazing; I've gone ahead and bookmarked it for more leisurely study later.

DesertRose:
I am sick as a dog right now, but I definitely want to read this when I feel better, so I'm commenting to remind myself to do that!  :D

Laurna:
This is an amazing theory, with well thought out ideas. I am assuming the Deryni Population is a low percentage of the general population. And that they are mostly hidden from the common folk. As you describe in you vignette Families pay good dowers to have their sons marry the daughters of Deryni, thus improving the abilities of those who already have fortune and power. We know that many humans who work with Deryni eventually gain shielding of their own. Which is good, because a human does not want his bank accounts and passwords gleaned from him while traveling to a foreign business meeting via a Deryni Transfer portal.

I'm going on the assumption that you can not portal across the Atlantic or pacific ocean, therefore the discovery of the new world would still be by ship. However, once it was established that the new world had gold, tabaco and coco beans, portals might have developed along the northern tundras to get there.  I'm thinking warded warm rooms would be in the next room adjacent to the portal room.
So much else to think about here.

revanne:
This is an incredible piece of work. So much to think about and discuss.

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