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Melissa: Javan and Kelson

Started by Evie, January 20, 2017, 01:20:20 PM

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Melissa: Javan and Kelson

The Haldane Royal House has produced many distinguished kings, warriors, philosophers, nuns, mystics, Archbishops, and even a saint. Perhaps most significantly of all, it has produced Javan and Kelson, both of whom had their kingships thrust upon them in adolescence. Fortunately for themselves and for their people, they also had a maturity that went far beyond their calendar years. Kelson appears primed for a long, illustrious reign for which he will be long remembered, while Javan's reign did not last a full year. Nor do even Javan's descendents appear to remember very much about him. The demands they both met were great, but while Kelson had all the advantages of a clear place in the Royal succession, good health and loyal support, Javan was an extra prince who surmounted his own physical handicap and other formidable obstacles to become King with fewer trusted and powerful friends to help him on his way.

It can't have been easy for anyone to be a member of Cinhil Haldane's immediate family. Cinhil chose his secular duties for the sake of his people, but his remorse over his abandoned priesthood made heavy weather of his own life and that of his wife and sons. Particularly Javan's whose clubbed foot Cinhil interpreted as a permanent rebuke from an angry God. In The Harrowing of Gwynedd we learn that after losing their mother at a very early age, the three Princes were chiefly left to the care of competent but unimaginative nurses and tutors who kept them out of their undemonstrative father's way. Consequently, they were also isolated from the mainstream of court life, seldom being allowed even to meet other children. The only time we see Cinhil himself interact with his sons is the night he gives them the Haldane powers – hardly a normal point of contact between a father and his children. Certainly Cinhil was not a source of emotional sustenance to any of them:

"I know you cannot understand that now or what is happening to you, but I want you to know, at least at some level, that despite what may sometimes appear, I – care for you greatly, and would never willingly permit you to come to ill." Camber the Heretic, P. 77.

Even knowing he won't survive the night and with Alroy in a state of greatly altered consciousness, Cinhil can't quite bring himself say the word love. It's doubtful that Alroy, Javan or Rhys Michael ever confided in their father or were ever comfortable in his presence.

And yet Cinhil was not a wholly uncaring parent. The best single thing he did for Javan was to engage Tavis O'Neill to be his personal Healer and attendant. Javan certainly needed Tavis' Healing skills whenever he pushed himself too hard to keep up with his brothers in their training at arms. Tavis knew very well that whatever ailed Javan physically, there was nothing wrong with his mind. Even more importantly, Tavis was the one adult in Javan's life who gave him the love and understanding he needed. No wonder that Javan fought hard to keep Tavis at court whenever the great lords threatened to send him away:

"However, I hasten to point out that when Tavis was sent away for a time last year, the boy sickened and refused to eat. Under Tavis' tutelage, he has thrived – at least as much as he is able. The fact that Tavis is Deryni does not concern me nearly as much as Javan's unhappiness and ill health when Tavis is not about...... I do not coddle him. I face the realities of his – deficiency."

"You are aware of my feelings on that subject." Camber the Heretic, p. 21.

But by the end of Camber the Heretic when it becomes clear that Tavis must leave court to remain alive and free, Javan has the maturity to send his only friend away.

Compared to the lonely severity of Javan's boyhood, what we know and can infer about Kelson's childhood makes it appear idyllic. Born whole and healthy, he was a much loved and wanted child and his father's undisputed heir. He had the emotional security of two living parents and he lived very much at the center of court life. He was a good student academically and excelled at fencing, riding and archery, knightly skills that Brion probably valued even more highly. Kelson's friendship with Dhugal indicates his freedom to make friends with the other nobly born boys living at Rhemuth Castle. As was the case with Cinhil and his sons, we only see Kelson and Brion together once. But everything about their meeting in Deryni Rising indicates that they are companions and friends and their conversation is a normal event for them. Although Kelson stands in appropriate awe of his father, he is not afraid to question Brion, and he asks very sensitive questions at that.

In a terrible way, Javan's unhappy childhood was the best preparation he could have had for surviving the dangerous years after Cinhil's death. Tavis' influence left him with no illusions concerning Regent's motives. Living among his enemies with only sporadic contact with Joram, Evaine and Tavis sharpened Javan's wits. After years of coping with Cinhil's attitude toward his clubbed foot, Javan was scarcely shocked to know he was the most expendable of the three Princes in the Regent's eyes. Never having had high expectations of personal happiness, he was able to put his survival above everything else and take shelter in the uninviting refuge of a Custodes abbey. Javan didn't enjoy the years he spent at Arx Fidei, but the rigid Custodes discipline and regimentation were bearable for him while Kelson would have found the entire experience intolerable.

Not that Brion's heir and Nigel's nephew could have been a stranger to strict discipline. Knowing the threat that Charissa represented to his family, Brion gave Kelson a rigorous preparation for his future Kingship. Kelson would simply have experienced a more benevolent form of discipline and had more pleasures and privileges to balance his duties. But he was unquestionably brought up to do his duty, and his daily life would have emphasized work before play. Many of his waking hours would have been spent in the company of adults. Before Brion's death he had already become a member of the Privy Council before he was even of age. All the preparation paid off well. After Brion's assassination, Kelson had the maturity to function as King from the beginning despite his grief for his father and his fear for himself.

Kelson had two great additional advantages that Javan did not when he came into his kingship; the support of Alaric Morgan and the rapid dissolution of the Church hierarchy of his father's day. Tavis O'Neill's personal loyalty to Javan was surely no less than Alaric's to Kelson. But while Alaric is a duke with vast military and financial resources at his command, Tavis was a gently born Royal employee with no political power of his own. While their friendship remained, Tavis was never able to support Javan on the same level after he left the Court. In purely practical terms, Tavis' support was of limited use to King Javan. With Hubert, his fellow ex-Regents and the Custodes all entrenched in their power, and no allies of equal strength to back him, Javan could neither bring Tavis back to Court, nor stop the anti-Deryni persecution if he was to survive. It is tempting to speculate on what Javan might have accomplished as King if he had not been hampered by the threat of being burned as a heretic by the Custodes. Two centuries later, Brion and Loris were as stuck with one another as were Javan and Hubert. An archbishop can disagree with his king and still remain a loyal subject, and a king can disagree with his primate without being a heretic, but only so far in both cases. Loris' most serious mistake was to rebel openly against Kelson. If he had not, Kelson would have found it considerably more difficult to legally unseat the rigid and hostile Primate of Gwynedd. In the Spring and Summer of 1121 with both Archbishops and half the Synod openly against him, the old order of his father's day was already blown apart. Thus Kelson was able to ignore Loris' bull of excommunication and keep Alaric's and Duncan's services when he needed them most. After the Synod elections of 1122, Kelson had a significantly different and far more cooperative Church hierarchy. With Bradene and Cardiel as the new Archbishops, Kelson was free to not only improve relations between the Church of Gwynedd and the Crown, but to lay the groundwork for a Deryni renaissance in his own lifetime. If Javan is watching the accomplishments of his many generations removed great nephew, it must be with approval and pleasure.


Head, Department of Wishful Thinking.
You can have a sound mind in a healthy body--Or you can be a nanonovelist!