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Deryni hunting and baptismal records

Started by whitelaughter, April 29, 2023, 06:42:05 AM

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whitelaughter

If it is known that being deryni is hereditary, I'd expect the hunters to sniff around for relatives.
And the church has all of the baptismal records.

Thoughts on what steps would be taken to stop Loris and others simply researching the family trees to exterminate entire families?

DoctorM

Quote from: whitelaughter on April 29, 2023, 06:42:05 AMIf it is known that being deryni is hereditary, I'd expect the hunters to sniff around for relatives.
And the church has all of the baptismal records.

Thoughts on what steps would be taken to stop Loris and others simply researching the family trees to exterminate entire families?

Medieval record-keeping varied wildly from obsessive to very, very spotty depending on place, era, class, and who was doing the record-keeping. A village church might or might not have good records...or any records at all. There wouldn't be a central repository records were sent to. 

Laurna

I suspect when Jorian de Courcy was discovered, his family made haste to leave their home ( which was a small barony), and it is likely that any family records got burned or moved. The de Courcys are not a small family, they have several branches with the same name. It would be interesting to know if the children of Micheon de Courcy(likely a distant cousins of Jorian) would have had to go into hiding to for a time also or at least keep a very low profile until Kelson came to reign. It is also possible that King Brion took measures to protect the de Courcy family from the evil members of the church.
May your horses have wings and fly!

Evie

As I recall, it wasn't illegal to simply be Deryni, so exterminating the entire family would have put Loris on the wrong side of the law as well as risking gaining sympathy for the Deryni from members of the populace who weren't particularly pro-Deryni but might have recognized the injustice of killing people for nothing more than a mere accident of birth. The official stance was that their use of magic was evil and that the Deryni carried some taint because they had the potential to perform "evil" magical acts, but since all humanity has the potential to do evil, you can't go around killing everyone who simply might do an evil act someday. Even the least theologically astute peasant would have smelled a rat in that reasoning. So at least in theory, there had to be something illegal act to charge the Deryni with before you could make an example of them in a public execution. (Of course Deryni families would still be in grave danger, not just because the authorities would be constantly watching and waiting for any misstep to pounce on to justify an arrest, but also "accidents can happen" if they happened to be caught off guard and alone by someone who hates them enough to risk murdering them and then (if caught) justifying it as "self-defense" or "I caught them in the act of breaking the law," and knowing popular opinion would likely be on their side.)
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

drakensis

Not to mention that it didn't have to be an actual mis-step by the Deryni.

Something going wrong in the area that could be blamed on them could be enough for a local priest with strong opinions to have his flock building a pyre...

DerynifanK

The church and Christians of that era were certainly very unchristian. They missed the commandment that said love your neighbors as yourselves. What is scary is we have so called Christians today that I don't think ever read that commandment either. I never understood what made the church hate the Deryni so much. Of course those in power or trying to seize power benefit if they can find a group on whom they can get people to focus their fears and hatred to distract them from what their leaders are doing. Alaric's explanation was a good one I think: people don't understand Deryni powers, they fear what they don't understand, and what they fear they often hate and try to destroy. But I must say, there seemed to be a lot of very scary, very unchristian priests in the eleven kingdoms.
"Thanks be to God there are still, as there always have been and always will be, more good men than evil in this world, and their cause will prevail." Brother Cadfael's Penance

revanne

There had been real abuses of power by Deryni in the Festil era, as for example the law which took 50 human lives as compensation for the murder of 1 Deryni. This was partly the relationship of conqueror to conquered but those who suffered thereby would not be likely to make that distinction. Fear and hatred are very closely interwoven and of course there are always those who can see a way of using both to further their own ends. 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)

whitelaughter

Quote from: DerynifanK on May 01, 2023, 01:55:38 PMBut I must say, there seemed to be a lot of very scary, very unchristian priests in the eleven kingdoms.
Nah.
Basic known deryni powers:
- invade your mind and learn all of your secrets.
- take control of your mind, and:
- change your memories
- force you to do things you find abhorrent
- strip your very life force to power other spells.
- stop your heart
- summon animals to their deaths.
- summon stenrechs and other unnatural creations.

The only reason we're sympathetic to the Deryni is we've never *met* anyone with these powers. Unmitigated terror is the smart response to anyone who can do these things. Powers that can be used ethically are restricted; only a handful of Deryni can heal, and teleport requires portals that most can't create.

The closest real world equivalent is actually crossbows; banned during the middle ages because it was such a horrible way to die (the crossbow bolt wasn't sharp, but even if you were wearing armour, blasted your ribs to shards, so every breath brought you slightly closer to death).
So I would expect that getting forgiveness for using Deryni powers would require the same act that was required for being forgiven for using a crossbow: going crusading

And as you could use your crossbow on the crusade, using Deryni powers would probably also be acceptable against the invaders.

Evie

#8
Quote from: whitelaughter on June 22, 2023, 07:00:05 AM
Quote from: DerynifanK on May 01, 2023, 01:55:38 PMBut I must say, there seemed to be a lot of very scary, very unchristian priests in the eleven kingdoms.
Nah.
Basic known deryni powers:
- invade your mind and learn all of your secrets.
- take control of your mind, and:
- change your memories
- force you to do things you find abhorrent
- strip your very life force to power other spells.
- stop your heart
- summon animals to their deaths.
- summon stenrechs and other unnatural creations.

The only reason we're sympathetic to the Deryni is we've never *met* anyone with these powers. Unmitigated terror is the smart response to anyone who can do these things. Powers that can be used ethically are restricted; only a handful of Deryni can heal, and teleport requires portals that most can't create.


Very much all of this. Not to mention that the only safeguard regular humans have against a Deryni's powers is that Deryni's own personal moral compass and ethics preventing them from using those powers against you, or some other Deryni with strong ethics putting some sort of block on another Deryni (such as the training blocks placed on children when they are young) to prevent them from using their powers in ways that might range from unwise to shady to outright malevolent. For humans to peacefully coexist with Deryni with absolutely no frictions between the two subraces, that practically requires that all Deryni have to be born with a perfect moral compass that prevents them from being able to use their powers against humankind to their own advantage. And yet we know that isn't the case. Even the "good guys" in the series--the ones we love--are seen to sometimes use their powers to give themselves advantages over regular humans repeatedly, and without asking for consent.

Now granted, because our Deryni good guys are good and have pretty well formed moral characters, they tend to only do this in extreme circumstances, such as when their own lives or the lives of others are at stake. Still, they do occasionally get very close to the border between ethical and unethical use, and even occasionally overstep it. One case for illustration purposes: we see Kelson routinely tampers with his squires' minds when they first enter his service so they can't divulge any Crown secrets to others that they might happen to overhear in his service. Is that, in and of itself, a wise precaution? Probably. But did he ask for the squires' consent first? In the case we see in the story, when he did this in front of Dhugal, he did not, or at least if consent was obtained, it was never mentioned in that scene. Hopefully the squire was warned at some point when he first entered royal service that the King making minor alterations to his mind, and his allowing that, might be a prerequisite to service.

Now, this being a medieval world with medieval mores, we are less likely to think badly of Kelson for overstepping his bounds a bit in this scene. After all, we already know him to be a sympathetic character who genuinely wants to do his best for his people and Kingdom, and who does have good reason for taking tight security measures, and if Deryni powers would be an asset to securing his state secrets, who are we to quibble? "The ends justify the means," as the old saying goes, though we might have a few qualms about those means. But imagine this happening in 2023 America or Europe! You start a new job as an administrative assistant to a CEO. The two of you have a great relationship built on mutual respect and trust. But at some point maybe a few years into your employment, you happen to take a peek at your employee records and notice that  a routine block of some sort was placed in your mind, and no one thought to consult you about this beforehand and verify that you agreed to this. Or worse, you might have some health issue down the road (hopefully unrelated), consult a Healer or get a CT scan done about some headaches you've been having, and the medic tells you "Everything looks fine! No signs of a tumor or anything, although there are a few minor signs that look consistent to you having some sort of psychic block...you are aware of that, right?"  :o

All I have to do is look around at the people I see daily, both in my personal sphere of existence and--God help us all!--on TV and in social media--and I can tell you for darn sure which ones I am very, very glad do not have access to Deryni powers, and how few of even my most cherished friends and family I would 100% trust to use Deryni powers wisely at all times, every single moment of their lives, for the rest of their natural, if they did have such powers. I include myself in that number as well. Because Deryni are not superhuman in their ability to resist temptation, and I know I'm certainly not either!

Humans fear Deryni for very good, sound, survival of the species reasons. Fortunately for the ones in Kelson's Gwynedd, the Deryni in his Kingdom mostly have their heads on straight and are doing their level best to be decent moral folk. Mostly.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

tmcd

Training blocks? That's canon? Huh!

Evie

Quote from: tmcd on June 22, 2023, 06:39:26 PMTraining blocks? That's canon? Huh!

Yup! They are mentioned in the Childe Morgan series, to prevent Deryni children from accidentally using their powers in dangerous ways, not to mention to help keep their Deryni heritage secret from others, since a young child just coming into their powers might not know any better than to do something like practice starting fires where a Deryni hater might spot them. IIRC, Lady Jessamy also probed Alyce's mind under the guise of adjusting her training controls or something. Though it's been a while since I read that series, so I might be misremembering that part. I also can't remember for certain, but I think some training controls were established in Alaric and Duncan during their Naming ritual.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

DerynifanK

Actually I think we have out thoughts and actions altered, not by direct action on our brains but by misinformation constantly fed to us over social media.  IIRC, squires entering Kelson's service were told of the blocks that would be placed to prevent their repeating anything they heard while on duty. Most accepted this because of the honor of serving the king but it was not forced.
"Thanks be to God there are still, as there always have been and always will be, more good men than evil in this world, and their cause will prevail." Brother Cadfael's Penance

whitelaughter

In Deryni Rising, Morgan mentions to Jehana that Brion refers to his powers as 'divine right' or something similar. Perhaps the oath of fealty included the conditions under which the vassal's memories could be altered? Done as ritual magic, it could bind the king as well, preventing him from going beyond what was agreed on as well as making it easy to remove state secrets.

DoctorM

This relates to another issue that catches my eye. The non-Deryni population of Gwynedd c. 1120 views Deryni with suspicion, but by that point were there still sporadic violent outbreaks against Deryni?  As a Deryni craftsman c. 1120, would you be able to join a guild? Would a merchant house think that it might be useful to have a Deryni marriage kinsman? Would a Deryni with some medical knowledge or the hint of Healer's abilities try to up-market his fees by hinting at "special" knowledge, or would he hide anything and put his successes down to luck? Would villagers or urban smallfolk be more hostile to Deryni? What are the social barriers-- spoken or unspoken --for Deryni by King Brion's day? 

Evie

Quote from: whitelaughter on June 27, 2023, 05:26:29 AMIn Deryni Rising, Morgan mentions to Jehana that Brion refers to his powers as 'divine right' or something similar. Perhaps the oath of fealty included the conditions under which the vassal's memories could be altered? Done as ritual magic, it could bind the king as well, preventing him from going beyond what was agreed on as well as making it easy to remove state secrets.

KK includes the oath of fealty in several scenes in the books (it's pretty much word for word the same oath of fealty that then-Prince Charles vowed to Queen Elizabeth during his investiture as Prince of Wales, so I am pretty sure that was KK's inspiration for the Gwyneddan Oath of Fealty), but there might well be a different oath required in addition to that one for entering royal service. Kelson certainly is shown in several other scenes during the Mearan War to be reading his scouts' minds with their full knowledge and consent. However, the scene I was referring to specifically was the one in which Kelson has just taken Ivo as a squire and the lad is serving the King in that new role for the first time. There is a mention of some sort of oaths being exchanged in which a promise that Kelson would not do anything to harm his squire is implied, but the scene also makes it pretty clear that Ivo was not expecting the intrusion into his mind, tensed up when he first sensed it, and Kelson senses that the boy had half-expected something like that to happen because "one could hardly spend much time around court and not have heard at least rumors of what the king could do with his mysterious powers."  But there is a big difference between just assuming your squire is going to be cool with mental tampering because surely he's heard rumors about that sort of thing, and wouldn't have accepted the offer of being the King's squire if he wasn't prepared to deal with what comes with that, versus the Deryni King explicitly saying "This is what is going to be required of you if you accept these duties. Are you OK with that, or should I pick someone else?" And there is also no hint in the scene of the constraits placed on Ivo being reciprocal, aside from Kelson's promise to him that "I doubt we'll ever need to have this conversation again. In fact, this is the most I'll ever do to you without your consent, unless it's a life or death situation." So yeah.  Essentially "Yes, I know I did this without your consent, but no worries, I won't do that again in future...unless it's a life or death situation, anyway." Which is...reassuring I guess?  ::)
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!