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Susan: Javan and Kelson

Started by Evie, January 20, 2017, 01:24:44 PM

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Unicorn636 (RIP)

Kelson and Javan are both strong Haldane kings who use and encourage the use of Deryni powers. Although Javan lived nearly 200 years before Kelson, they share many qualities and experiences. Both are intelligent, curious, brave, and honorable young men who grow up with strong Deryni healers as educators and role models. Both battle secular and ecclesiastical enemies, including fanatically anti-Deryni archbishops, and both face betrayal at the hands of a family member.

Javan Jashan Urien Haldane is born to Cinhil I King of Gwynedd and Megan de Cameron on May 25, 905 with a clubbed right foot. As the crippled second son, Javan is not groomed for kingship as Kelson is. However, because of his health problems, Javan receives the services of the Deryni Healer Tavis O'Neill, who becomes his friend and teaches him to use his Haldane powers after his power-setting ritual in 917. Kelson Cinhil Rhys Anthony Haldane is born to Brion, King of Gwynedd and Jehana, on November 14, 1106, the two hundredth anniversary of Camber's sainting, a significant date since Kelson has worked hard to make Gwynedd safe for Deryni again and to return Camber to his proper honored state. Like Javan, Kelson has a friend, confidant, and teacher who is a Deryni healer, although Alaric Morgan does not realize he possesses the Healing gift until after Kelson comes of age. Unlike Tavis, whose primary task is to keep Javan feeling as healthy as possible, Morgan works with Brion to teach Kelson about ruling and things Deryni. Javan's mother dies in childbirth while Javan is still a toddler, so she has little effect on his Deryni or political views. One has to think that had Megan lived, she might have helped Cinhil and his sons take a more positive view toward the Deryni, since she grew up in Camber's household. Jehana, in contrast, is staunchly anti-Deryni, have been raised to believe the Deryni are evil and dangerous, despite her own Deryni heritage, which gives Kelson both Deryni and Haldane powers.

Both Kelson and Javan lose their fathers at a young age, which changes their lives dramatically. Cinhil begins the empowerment ritual with his sons before dying, which allows Javan to learn about his new abilities while he still has access to Tavis. Although the empowerment ritual is completed by experts (Camber, Rhys, Joram, and Evaine) some question about it's success, at least with Alroy, remains. Javan manages to forge a friendship with a talented Deryni female, Evaine, through which he strengthens his relationship with the Camberian Council, who later empower him just before his coronation. Interestingly, Javan's coronation takes place on July 31, the Feast of St. Neot. While Javan is unable to even attempt to restore St. Neot's Abbey, he does work to help the captive Healers, especially Oriel, so this seems an appropriate date for his coronation.

Brion's death leaves Kelson both fatherless and king, with a war looming on the horizon and only Morgan and Duncan to assist in his empowerment. Camber plays a role in both Kelson and Javan's empowerment rituals (appearing during Javan's and through his seal in the Cathedral floor triggering Kelson's powers). The success of Kelson's empowerment ritual also remains questionable until he steps on the Camber seal and battles Charissa. Kelson, like Javan, does find a female Deryni friend, although he would have preferred Rothana became his bride than remain forever a friend. When Javan becomes king he faces opposition from his archbishop, Hubert MacInnis, the Church, the Custodes knights, and the Great Lords, as well as veiled threats of a Torenthi invasion which does not become a reality until Rhysem's reign. Kelson's archbishop, Edmund Loris, resembles Hubert in his hatred for the Deryni and desire to see them burned at the stake. Hubert, however, seems not to object to using the "tame" Deryni sniffers or the spy, Dimitri. Both Archbishops and their associates use merasha to fight their Deryni opponents and resort to sneaky, treacherous actions: Hubert assists his brother in Rhys Michael's kidnapping and the coup which results in Javan's death, while Loris allows Gorony and Warin de Grey to trap Morgan with merasha in St. Torin's and later tortures the captive Duncan. While Kelson has some assistance within the Church from Arilan, Javan must constantly fight enemies on all sides with little assistance. Javan has loyal allies, such as Oriel, Tavis, Guiscard, Charlan, and Ettienne, but their ability to help him is hampered by their need to work in secrecy and the sheer numbers of adversaries, both secular and ecclesiastical.

Javan also finds opposition and betrayal within his own family when Rhys Michael defies him and marries Michaela after his "kidnapping." While Rhysem may not have intended to hurt Javan, Conall certainly intended to rid himself of Kelson and steal his throne and his bride. Conall engages in secret Deryni training with Tiercel, poisons Kelson's flask with merasha, and almost kills his father in his quest for the throne. Fortunately, Kelson is able to return and bring Conall to justice. Javan's death and his and Michaela's helpless state in the hands of the Great Lords for several years are probably a much higher price to pay for his marriage than Rhysem deserves, though one could argue that he deserves some punishment for betraying Javan. Javan did warn Rhys Michael to stay away from Michaela and Rhysem, although admittedly tricked by the Great Lords, failed to heed those warnings. He later redeems himself, however, with the codicil that ushers in a new age in Gwynedd. Javan is kept too busy trying to survive to even look for a bride, while Kelson finds and loses two brides, both thanks to political maneuverings beyond his control. Both Kelson and Javan are noble and honorable, committed to ruling to the best of their abilities, and willing to fight great opposition to maintain peace in the realm. Kelson fights more wars than Javan, both with Meara and Torenth, and makes more progress in creating a safer environment for Deryni. However, Kelson comes to the throne when anti-Deryni fervor is already beginning to die down and he has the support of Deryni bishops (Arilan and Duncan) and other Deryni nobles, that Javan does not have. Javan does succeed in codifying and indexing the laws of Gwynedd, the same laws Kelson presumably still enforces some 200 years later. Javan faces more physical harm in his battles (starting with the whipping he receives at the seminary) than Kelson, but Kelson faces more heartache in losing potential brides.

Both Javan and Kelson receive some assistance from the Camberian Council, although that group has changed much in the years between these kings' reigns. Joram's Camberian Council works hard to help Javan and the Deryni cause: they organize Javan's empowerment ritual, build a Portal in Rhemuth Castle, organize the Baptizer Cult to block Deryni, and try to help Carollan and his family escape. Kelson receives assistance from individual members of the Camberian Council (specifically Stefan Coram in the war with Wencit), but the group as a whole seem somewhat hesitant to assist him. The Camberian Council does send arbitrators for the battle with Wencit at Llyndruth Meadows and some of the group monitors Kelson and his friends' actions during the Mearan Campaign. However, one of the Council members, Tiercel, is largely responsible for Conall's treachery, or at least giving him the skills to embark on his quest for the crown.

Despite support from the formidable Camberian Council of the 920s, Javan, alas, fails at the end to avoid the traps set by his numerous enemies and dies on the battlefield, while Kelson, despite sometimes limited known Deryni supporters, manages to survive and eventually to marry. (How long Kelson will survive once he begets an heir may be questionable, however). Kelson also manages to accomplish more than any of his predecessors in clearing the way for Deryni to live and practice their arts freely in Gwynedd. Of course, being Deryni himself and having strong, highly-placed supporters gives Kelson an advantage over Javan in this area.

Kelson or Javan: Who is the greater king? Both seemingly accomplish as much as possible during their reigns under the constraints of the eras in which they live. Javan has very limited time and numerous obstacles to overcome, yet one must admire what Javan manages to do in less than a year as king. Kelson has ruled for nearly eight years at the time of his marriage and hopefully will continue ruling for many more years which gives him the opportunity to accomplish much more.

Susan Werner,

Mistress of Complications