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A Time To Heal Chapter 1

Started by Evie, September 17, 2010, 03:18:25 PM

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Ecclesiastes 3:1-4-- To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

A Time to Heal
Chapter One

   November 15, 1132
   Duke of Cassan's apartments, Rhemuth

   "It's good to see you back for a little while!"  Kelson Haldane greeted his blood-brother with a welcoming grin as he watched Dhugal direct his entourage in unpacking and storing his belongings. 

   "It's good to be back.  I just wish we could've arrived a day earlier to make it in time for your birthday festivities.  We had more of a delay in Transha than I'd anticipated."  Dhugal finished instructing his men in where he wanted everything set up in the unfamiliar new quarters and turned his attention back to the King.  He gestured invitingly towards a smaller room outside of the ongoing bustle.  The two men entered the smaller chamber, shutting the door behind them.

   "How is Araxie?" Dhugal asked as he took a seat across from the one Kelson had chosen.

   "She's well.  Her morning sickness has mostly stopped, so she's even talking to me again," Kelson joked.  "She plans to stop by here later and make sure you have all the furnishings you need."

   "The rooms look fine."  Dhugal smiled, although there was a hint of shadowed pain in his eyes with the reply.  He had not wanted to return to the same rooms he had once shared with his late wife, had not wished to sleep in the same bed again that she had taken her last breaths in, so with his return to Rhemuth, new accommodations had been quietly arranged for.

   "So, how have your lands fared over your long absence this summer?" the King asked.  "Have you had a chance to catch up yet?"

   Dhugal closed his eyes, leaning back in his chair.  "Yes, finally, but don't remind me!  Sweet Jesú, it was nightmarish, at first!"  He reopened his eyes to fix his gaze on Kelson.  "I lost a quarter of my officers in Cassan to the fever-flux, either through death or temporary incapacity, not to mention nearly that many in Kierney and Transha."  He sighed.  "You knew I'd lost Sir Judd, yes?"

   Kelson nodded.  "Yes, you received word of that not long before you left Rhemuth.  He was serving as your second during Ciard's absences, wasn't he?"

   "Aye.   Ciard is serving as steward again for me for the duration, but he's still training up someone who can fill his place when I require his presence here in Rhemuth or in the field.  I need Jass by my side too much to spare him, but old Lambert's grown weary of the constant traveling, and the men trust him."  He glanced out a window, taking in the unaccustomed view.  "I came very close to losing Lord Deveril in Cassan, but he finally pulled through."

   Kelson arched a brow at him.  "That would've been a great loss.  He was seneschal in your father's time, was he not, and Duke Jared's before him?"

   "Aye, and Duke Andrew's before him, I believe.  He's been seneschal there since...oh, when was it he told me once?  1083?  Your grandfather was King, I believe.  There's a wealth of irreplaceable experience in that man."

   "Yes, there is," Kelson said as he thought back on the man he'd met briefly during the fateful visit, early on in his reign, to Duke Jared's court for what was to have been a wedding but ended up becoming a funeral instead.  He frowned slightly, realizing that he'd probably not have a better time like the present to broach the delicate topic that he'd come to address with Dhugal.  "Speaking of your Duchy of Cassan, Dhugal, I've been considering your request for the hand of the Lady Mirjana de Furstana, and now that I've had time to think through all of the potential ramifications, I'm afraid I'm going to have to deny it after all."  He raised a hand to forestall the protest he already saw brewing in Dhugal's eyes.  "No, hear me out.  I shall allow you to remarry in due time—I do understand your need for more heirs—and I've also given the matter of Mirjana's protection some additional thought, but there are pressing reasons why I can't allow this match."

   "Kel...."  The amber-colored eyes stared at him in shock, and Dhugal's face grew pale.  "I wish you'd said something ten days ago, when I stopped by for the day to let you know we'd finished the Transfer Portal construction in Cassan, and that my retinue would be arriving here in Rhemuth in mid-month."

   Kelson gave his blood-brother a puzzled look.  "Why should it matter if I said something ten days ago or now?  Either way, you've simply made an offer to the lady, not a commitment..."    Something about the look in Dhugal's eyes made him trail off.  "Dhugal...?"

   His Border Duke closed his eyes, stark anguish on his features.  "Kelson, the last time we spoke of the lady, you told me that if I had Liam-Lajos's consent to the match, you wouldn't oppose it.  The only condition you put to that was that I had to wait until November before I could enter into any sort of binding agreement with the lady."  He opened his eyes.  "Since I believed that to still be the case, I entered into a betrothal covenant with Lady Mirjana when I was here in Rhemuth last."

   "But...you were only here for a few hours, and that was...."  Kelson paused, trying to remember the date of Dhugal's recent brief visit to Rhemuth.

   "November the fifth."  Dhugal sighed.  "I'm sorry, Kel." 

   Kelson tightened his lips.  "Oh, not nearly as sorry as I am, or as you will probably end up being!"  He stared at his Cassani Duke.  "Dhugal, did your men have no objection when you mentioned your plans to remarry?"  A sudden thought occurred to him.  "You did inform them, I hope?"

   Dhugal sighed, studying the toes of his boots.  "Aye, I did.  And they were hardly overjoyed.   They understand my need to remarry eventually, but...."  Dhugal stared out the window again.  "Deveril would've preferred for me to wait out the year also.  I suppose he was right.  Maybe you all were.  I had hoped, if I just got it out of the way already, before I lost my nerve...." 

   The King watched his blood-brother a long moment, his face grim.  Dhugal was tightly shielded, but his pale face and tight expression betrayed some of his thoughts.  "But getting betrothed didn't help, did it?" he asked softly.

   The Duke shook his head slowly.  "No.  I knew, just as soon as I said the vows, that it didn't solve a thing.  I don't want Mirjana, I just want...."  He gripped the arm of his chair tightly until he had a better grip on his emotions.  "I just want my old life back.  Only that's never going to happen, is it?"

   Kelson suppressed a wince at the flat despondency in his friend's voice.  "No.  That wasn't the solution."  He sighed.  "But now, unless we can find some cause for the Church to grant you a dispensation from your betrothal—which I fully intend to ask for—I suppose you'll have to figure out a way forward from here."  Kelson cocked his head at Dhugal curiously.  "So, Deveril and your other officers were only concerned about you remarrying in haste?  They didn't have any qualms about you bringing home a Torenthi bride?"

   Dhugal shook his head. "Honestly, the matter didn't come up."  He looked at Kelson, who arched an eyebrow at him.  "But why would...."  The light dawned.  "Oh, sweet Jesú, you can't believe they'd hold the old enmities against her, do you?  She had nothing to do with Wencit of Torenth, and that was eleven years ago!  She was just a child...what, eight at the time?  No one in their right mind would think she was in complicity with what happened to the men of Cassan and Kierney in a battle over half her lifetime ago!"

   "Dhugal, they can and they would," Kelson said impatiently.  "Have you forgotten so quickly that in even less than eleven years ago, your own father was nearly burned at a stake for the 'crime' of belonging to the same race of people who reigned unjustly two whole centuries ago?  It's human nature to hold grudges, nurse prejudices and be irrational!"

   "But we've been in peaceful alliance with Torenth since Liam-Lajos came into his majority...."

   "Yes, and the people of Gwynedd—not to mention the people of Torenth—are still learning how to adjust to that!  It's still far too early to tell if that truce will continue—God knows I hope it shall, since I've pledged two cousins in marriages to strengthening the alliance!—but a lot also depends on what our peoples will accept, and the old suspicions and distrust don't just die overnight.  For the men of Cassan, it could take far longer for them to accept a Torenthi Duchess than it did for them to accept a Deryni Duke.  After all, Duncan was Duke of Cassan before you, and they'd known him for his entire life before his Deryni bloodline became known to all.  It was pretty much a given they'd not balk at continuing to follow him—or his son--once they knew.  But Dhugal, at least the Deryni didn't impale, behead, or hang half the bloody Cassani and Kierney army in one afternoon a mere eleven years ago!  How in the hell are you going to protect your Torenthi bride from her own distant kinsman Teymuraz, when you'll have to be on constant guard just to protect her from your own kinsmen as well?"

   "Kelson...."  Dhugal swallowed.  "I truly haven't heard all that much anti-Torenthi rhetoric in any of my lands since the Pax Torenthi with Liam-Lajos.  I know their feelings about King Wencit and Mahael's regency were quite strong, but this is a new reign with a King who came to age under your fosterage, one known to be committed to keeping the peace between our peoples.  Maybe it's not quite as bad as all that."

   Kelson shook his head.  "Let's hope.  But I suspect there's some anti-Torenthi hostility still simmering under the surface, waiting to bubble up again, at least among the survivors of the Llengarth Plain.  It's possible that the younger generation—especially the men your age and younger who were still children and never actually saw what happened in that battle with Wencit—might forgive and forget more easily, but I would imagine that even those too young to have seen the horrors of that battlefield themselves lost friends and family to it.  Given enough time, it's even possible that some of the older men have managed to forgive and forget, or will manage to someday.  Your father has, though I'll warrant it took him quite some time.  But then again, Duncan has had the benefit of living in close association with my Court in Rhemuth. He's had many more opportunities than the average Cassani to meet other Torenthi and not base his entire view about a race on the behavior of one man.  Besides which, being Deryni gives him a bit more insight about the illogic of that position as well, I suspect.  You, however, do not have the advantage of being the Duke of an entire populace of Duncan McLains."  The King sighed.  "I think I may have done you a grave disservice, Dhugal.   I realize you weren't involved in the battle against Wencit, and that you didn't grow up among your father's people.  You are perhaps the first Cassani Duke to be charged with needing to lead your people without first having had the benefit of growing up among them, for all that Transha is a small part of that larger whole."  He gave Dhugal a rueful smile.  "You did, after all, grow up in an Earldom that was at odds with its own Duke for most of your boyhood due to the MacArdry Tanist's death at the hands of a Cassani man, so one can hardly view Transha folk as typical liegemen of Cassan.  Fractious, stubborn Bordermen, the whole lot of you!  But have I kept you so often here in Rhemuth, you've failed to realize the impact a Torenthi Duchess might have on a people who suffered as much as your people of Cassan and Kierney have under a Torenthi King's invading army?"

   Dhugal closed his eyes.  "All right, you've made your point.  What can I do to set things right?"

   Kelson sighed.  "Pray there's some way for you to be dispensed of your betrothal vows.  If you can't...then God help you, Dhugal, because I won't be able to!"


   "Is there anything that can be done?"  The King looked around the Council table at his assembled clergy.

   Archbishop Cardiel sighed.  "Well, the bridegroom is clearly of legal age and entered into the contract willingly.  What of the bride?"

   Dhugal sighed.  "She agreed to the betrothal.  And I believe she is nineteen."

   "And she had her father's or guardian's consent to the match?"

   "Her father is dead, and I had Liam-Lajos's prior consent to make the offer.  And—at the time, at least—it was my understanding that I had Kelson's consent as well."  Dhugal glanced apologetically at his King.  "Or at least, to quote him more exactly, when I asked if I could make the offer, he said he would not forbid the match if Liam-Lajos consented to it.  By the time I found out he'd reconsidered, I had already entered the betrothal contract."

   Cardiel steepled his fingers, looking thoughtful.  "Well, that's no help, then.  And I don't suppose there were any pre-existing contracts between yourself and another woman, or between the Lady Mirjana and another man, which might nullify this one?"

   "Not on my part, certainly.   And unless the lady entered into another arrangement during my absence from Rhemuth, I doubt she has any pre-existing betrothal as well.  Unless she was under a prior contract before she was forced into a marriage with her late husband."  Dhugal looked dubious.  "I'm given to understand she was only fourteen when Lord Nikos married her, so I doubt it."

   Kelson turned towards Bishop Arilan.  "I don't suppose Sir Sextus might have chanced to approach the lady with his offer yet?"

   Dhugal turned to stare at him, startled, then looked at Denis Arilan.  "Sir Sextus wished to wed the Lady Mirjana?"

   Arilan gave a drily amused snort.  "'Wished to' might be exaggerating the case a bit, given that he's a second son with no lands of his own, and he'd hoped to marry up—if he had to marry at all--to improve his fortunes.  However, he was willing to accede to the King's request.  But no, his business in Autun took a bit longer than expected, so he did not return to Rhemuth until two days ago.  In any case, he would not have been in any position to propose a marriage to the Lady Mirjana prior to November the fifth.  And even if he had, a mere proposal is not binding like a betrothal."

   Cardiel nodded.  "All right.  Then there's the question of fidelity, though I suspect that one is academic.  I don't suppose you've been unfaithful to your betrothal vows?" he asked Dhugal with a wry smile. 

   "No, I've been abstinent since my wife died."  Dhugal rubbed his forehead, feeling a headache coming on.  "Please tell me you're not suggesting I go out and bed the nearest trollop just so I'll have a legal excuse to break the betrothal?"

   The Archbishop shook his head.  "Sweet Jesú, no, son!  Besides, that would only give just cause for the Lady Mirjana to break the betrothal, not for you to.  And even if she were to appeal for a dispensation on the grounds of your infidelity, I couldn't ethically grant it if your sole cause for infidelity were to dissolve the pre-existing contract."  Cardiel gave a wry smile.  "Think of the legal morass that could cause, If unscrupulous suitors were to discover they could easily get out of wedding one woman simply by bedding another.  No, the intent of that particular legal grounds for dispensation is to protect someone from having to follow through with a marriage to someone who never intended to be faithful to the marriage relationship from the very outset."  He sighed.  "And none here have any reason to believe that the Lady Mirjana's character is...less than proper in that regard?"

   Bishop Duncan shook his head.  "None.  From what I've seen of her, anyway, her character appears to be unassailable."  A wry smile.  "There may be a myriad of faults with this mismatch, but the lady herself seems to be quite suitable, for a marriage to pretty much anyone but Cassan's Duke, that is."

   Cardiel sighed again, going through his rapidly diminishing mental checklist of valid reasons to dissolve a betrothal contract.  "Consanguinity wouldn't be an issue in this case.  Nor would...well...."  The Archbishop looked suddenly uncomfortable.  "I would assume the lady has no physical impediment which would prevent consummation of wedding vows, given that she's been married before and has a son to show for it.  But...I don't suppose you might have developed an...um...impeding condition in recent months, Your Grace?"  His face flamed.

   Dhugal's face also reddened once he realized the implication.  "Good God, no, I'm not impotent!  At least, I was certainly capable as recently as June!  Again, should I go out and check?"

   Arilan chuckled.  "Again, no. The impotence would have to be incurable, at any rate, for that to count as a true impediment.  A simple one-time inability to bed some hideous slattern you've dug up at the local stews would not suffice as proof, I'm afraid, if you were wondering.  Not that I think you'd try that excuse; I'm afraid that one's more Sextus's style." 

   Cardiel drummed his fingers on the table.  "The prospective bride is Torenthi.  Was she raised in the Church of Torenth, or is she a Moor?  Or, perhaps, a Jewess?  There are a small population of Jews in Torenth as well as here in Gwynedd, are there not?"

   "There are," Duncan affirmed.  "But Lady Mirjana was raised in the Church of Torenth, so she was duly baptized.  The doctrinal differences between our churches aren't sufficient to require a dispensation due to disparity prior to contracting a betrothal.  In fact, there are even fewer points of difference between the Churches of Gwynedd and Torenth than between the Church of Gwynedd and the first Duchess's Church of Llyr."  A sudden thought occurred to Duncan.  "Dhugal, did Mirjana's first husband die at your hand?"

   The Duke shook his head.  "No, Morgan delivered the final blow.  Why?"

   Cardiel shook his head.  "Doesn't matter.  That would be moot as well, ecclesiastically speaking, unless Dhugal had killed her husband specifically in order to wed her.  Now, that would be an impediment."  He pursed his lips thoughtfully.  "And correct me if I'm wrong on this, Kelson, but the lady is in Gwynedd of her own free will now?  That is to say, she's no longer a prisoner?"

   "She's not a prisoner.  Liam-Lajos has ceded her wardship to me while she is in Gwynedd and unwed, but she was free to return to Torenth if she did not wish to wed and remain here."

   The Archbishop rubbed his chin.  "Then, if the lady was fully aware of this, it's difficult to make a case for either abduction or coercion, since the betrothal was not made while she was still a prisoner of the Crown.  Unless there was some form of irregularity in the wording of the vows actually exchanged between them, I'm afraid that Duke Dhugal and Lady Mirjana have entered into a perfectly valid verba de futura contract of marriage."  Cardiel's eyes flitted to Dhugal.  "I presume, since you say you entered into a betrothal and not a verba de praesenti marriage like your father's was, that you did use the future tense rather than the present tense when exchanging your vows?  That is to say, you said that you 'will take Mirjana to be your lawfully wedding wife,' rather than simply 'I, Dhugal, take you, Mirjana....'?"

   Dhugal nodded slowly.  "I believe I did, yes. That was my intent."

   Arilan snorted.  "Oh, good.  Then it's not hopeless, it's just mostly hopeless."

   Cardiel gave him a reproving look.  "That's not particularly helpful, Denis."

   The Bishop of Dhassa leaned back, crossing his arms before him.  "Well, they could simply remain betrothed indefinitely.  As long as the verba de praesenti vows aren't exchanged and the relationship is never consummated, the Lady Mirjana will still have a man of Kelson's Court standing in surety for her, which I believe was one of the goals of this misalliance, and yet she'll not have the full legal rights or rank of a wife. That is to say, she won't be the Duchess of Cassan; therefore, the Duke might be able to avoid having an uprising on his hands once his people find out she's Torenthi."  He looked thoughtful.  "Or there's another solution.  He already has an heir; he could enter into a morganatic marriage, if the Lady will agree to this.  It would mean none of the heirs of her body could ever inherit any of Dhugal's lands, of course, but as long as his firstborn son survives to full adulthood and begets heirs, that won't be an issue.  His people might still resent him having a Torenthi wife, but perhaps not half so much if they know she's signed away all rights for her children to inherit their Duke's lands."  Arilan shrugged.  "Actually, if the marriage is morganatic, Dhugal couldn't even invest her as his Duchess, but given the circumstances, perhaps that's for the best."

   The Duke of Cassan glared at Arilan.  "You can't be serious!  With either of your proposals, I'd end up having no possibility of siring any other legal heirs, which was my whole reason for needing to remarry.  Either I'm supposed to be locked indefinitely into a relationship that's never consummated, or I'm supposed to sign away any birthright my future sons might hope to inherit from me if Duncan Michael doesn't survive me,   If I'd simply wanted a woman in my bed, I'd certainly not have entered into a betrothal agreement in the first place just so I could shackle myself to...what, essentially a life-bonded concubine?" Dhugal snapped at Arilan.  "That's a non-answer, and you know it!  Damn it all...."  He rubbed at his forehead with one hand, looking exhausted already despite the fact it was barely an hour past midday.  "All right, so it seems that the betrothal is thoroughly binding.  What if I marry her here and keep her in Rhemuth for the time being, until my people get used to the idea of my remarriage?   Now that I can get back and forth between Rhemuth and Cassan more easily, I could go back to my lands as often as needed, even if my full entourage couldn't, and she can remain here until things die down a bit.  My people surely can't remain hostile to her forever!"

   Duncan sighed, looking dubious.  "Maybe not, but even if they adjust to the idea after a few years, that's still a hell of a long time, son.  I don't envy your Lady at all; she'll have an uphill battle trying to win the people's trust and acceptance, especially if they never see her and have a chance to get to know her for herself.  Though on the other hand, I have to agree she'd probably be safer remaining here in Rhemuth at least at the beginning."

   Dhugal glanced at his father warily.  "Do you seriously think they'd try to harm her?"

   The former Duke of Cassan shrugged.  "I really couldn't say.  I was only Duke of Cassan for a handful of years—much of which time was spent in Rhemuth or in Meara—and have hardly had a chance to return home in the past eight since I abdicated the title in your favor.   Emotions might have calmed down quite a bit more than I've anticipated over those years.  Still...."  He shook his head.  "The people of Cassan and Kierney have long memories, son.  They're not unlike the people of Transha in that regard.  When I passed the title on to you, I still heard the occasional grumble about me having sired a Transha lad, given the former feud between my father's men and old Cauley's, never mind that most of the resentment was on the MacArdrys' side.   From the time Ardry MacArdry died until you became Earl of Transha, Transha paid its tribute directly to the King rather than through its rightful Duke, although my father never pressed the issue, given the circumstances, nor did I.   Then again, you being of my blood, and therefore also of my father's, helped win you faster acceptance in Cassan and Kierney.  The Lady Mirjana won't have that advantage."  Duncan gave his son a wry smile.  "You're both going to have some rocky times ahead, son, no matter what either of you do.  We'll just have to ride them out and hope that, eventually at least, the disadvantages of this marriage won't end up completely overriding the advantages you'd hoped to gain from it."  He glanced at Kelson.

   The King nodded curtly.  "If there's no hope for backing out, the only thing we can do at this point is to push forward, brace for the worst, and hope for the best."

   Arilan nodded.  "It might not even end up as a lifelong stalemate.  Life happens—people do change and emotions eventually die down.  Or of course, often wives die in childbed...." The bishop, belatedly remembering how Dhugal's last Duchess had died, hastily added, "Or other perfectly natural causes, not that anyone would wish such a fate on the Lady Mirjana...."

   "No one at this table at least, I hope," Dhugal said dully, burying his face in his hands.  "All right, since I've got us into this mess, and there seems to be nothing left to do but forge on, there's not much point in delaying the inevitable, is there?  Might as well just get the worst over with already, and hope I can eventually convince my people it's all for the best."
Chapter 2:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=501.0
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


Poor Dhugal :(  Marry in haste repent at leisure has become betroth in haste repent at leisure, by the looks of it.


Surely a case could be made that, given both their recent berievements, neither was quite of sound mind?


Ah, but that's modern thinking, not medieval.  :)   If I'm remembering correctly, mental infirmity, like impotence, would only be a bar to betrothal or marriage if it were a lifelong condition that one could not recover from.  So something like mental retardation or schizophrenia (not that they'd know them by those names) would disqualify someone from being able to marry if those were pre-existing conditions to the betrothal or marriage (but onset of symptoms afterwards, on the other hand, wouldn't be grounds for divorce), but grief or extreme stress would not qualify, since one would be expected to recover from either of those conditions eventually.

In other words, if Denis ever gets a visit from his nephew Sextus frantically begging for a dispensation from his vows to some cute barmaid on the grounds that he was on a three-day drunk and was therefore not of sound mind...oops, sorry, we'll help you find a nice wedding ring, Sextus!   ;)
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

kirienne (RIP)


Quote from: AnnieUK on September 17, 2010, 03:57:28 PM
betroth in haste repent at leisure, by the looks of it.

And there is probably a great deal of 'repentance' yet to come, I'd say  :(    Poor both of them.

Unfortunately Elkhound, even these days it is not as easy to get out of contracts as you seem to think.  And in this case, even if the laws were vaguely similar to  ours, they could hardly plead legal mental incapacity, temporary or otherwise, because in this case, both parties obviously knew and understood what they were doing.   Both parties knew what they were doing i.e. entering a betrothal contract, and they clearly intended to enter it, for a variety of good reasons.  Note that Dhugal even went off and got formal consent from Liam for the betrothal, so he could hardly claim that he didn't understand what he was doing or appreciate the legal consequences!

The terms of contract itself were not misrepresented in any way, nor were the legal consequences and obligations of entering it either misrepresented to them, or not understood by them.   The fact that there may be adverse social or political consequences is quite irrelevant here.  

In other words, Dhugal's good judgment may have been clouded by grief, but mere stupidity or lack of common sense is not a ground for getting out of a contract you sign!  :D

Tough luck, Dhugal - you're stuck with this one!


Well, from her point of view, if she accepted because she felt that she had nowhere else to go and no other viable option, perhaps she could plead 'duress.'  An agreement made under duress is not binding.

And the Roman Church today grants annulments quite regularly on even more flimsy grounds, and the Church of Gwynnedd enjoys far more autonomy than a modern RC diocese.


They already discussed and dismissed the coercion grounds for an annulment.  Mirjana had other options offered, but she freely chose remarriage over the other options she had.  

And annulments/divorces were much harder to get in the Middle Ages (as Henry VIII discovered!) than in this modern age in which so many people enter marriage thinking "If this doesn't work out, I can always get a divorce."  The betrothal was not looked at in the same way we look at modern-day engagement. It was pretty much considered in the same light as marriage, only one which had not been consummated yet.  In fact, even if a second set of vows was not exchanged, if a betrothal was consummated it was generally considered to have become a marriage at that point, rendering the "verba de praesenti" vows unnecessary.  The ease of divorce/annulment in the modern-day church probably has less to do with diocesal autonomy than it does with the modern-day erosion of the idea that marriage was a holy sacrament as well as a legal contract, not to be entered into lightly, but not to be dissolved either after it was made unless there were the most extenuating of circumstances.  "I've changed my mind because, after thinking it over, I've realized this was a very stupid decision" is, alas, not a strong enough extenuating circumstance under those terms, because that's something that should have been realized before the binding sacrament/covenant/contract was entered into. If the 21st Century Church is more allowing of annulment and divorce than it used to be, keep in mind that's because it has accommodated to a more secular modern society whose parishioners, if not allowed the option of dissolving the marriage contract, can more easily vote with their feet and leave.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


Quote from: Evie on September 18, 2010, 01:24:08 PM
They already discussed and dismissed the coercion grounds for an annulment.  Mirjana had other options offered, but she freely chose remarriage over the other options she had.  

The only other option, as far as I can tell, was to go back to Torenth, where she had a reasonable fear that she and her son would be killed.  I can hardly consider that a viable option.  She can still, IMHO, claim duress

I can hardly believe that the Church of Gwynnedd would be so lacking in Christian Charity that they would force two people into a situation that could only result in misery not only for them but for lots of other people on the grounds of "you made your bed, now lie in it."  That is the Dispensation of Law; Christianity is supposed to be about Grace.


"Christian charity" in the Gwynedd church?!!   ROFL.

What about their attitude to the Deryni, putting to death even innocent little children purely because they were born Deryni, who knew nothing about who or what they were?  Or trying to burn adults at the stake?  Is that "Christian charity"?  I think not.

Take a look at RL Church history, and you will find a very long list indeed of persecution, prejudice, abuse, intolerance, torture, etc.   Even today, there are many aspects of Church thinking and practice, at least in some sections / divisions of Christianity, which might be considered decidedly UN-Christian and lacking in 'grace'.   So why should you expect the Church in Gwynedd, modelled on many aspects of the RL medieval Church, to be a paragon of grace and virtue?

One of the major themes and essential conflicts in KK's Deryni books is exactly this aspect of Church prejudice and intolerance, and the battle to overcome this, at least as far as the Deryni.  So you can hardly expect the Gwynedd Church to be a paragon of charitable thinking, or indeed to have the 21st century attitude to many things.  

Moreover, in RL it wasn't until the later middle ages that the Church actually became involved in all aspects of betrothals and marriages.  Betrothal was very much a civil affair, and in most cases a betrothal would not have even had a priest in attendance - it was a civil, legal contract.  In the case of Dhugal and Mirjana, this was a contract recognised at law, never mind the addition of the Church, and there were no easy 'outs' such as you seem to wish for.    Neither Church or civil law has ever recognised "mass misery or inconvenience" as a genuine ground for getting out of legal obligations. :)


Quote from: Alkari on September 18, 2010, 08:55:43 PM
"Christian charity" in the Gwynedd church?!!   ROFL.

What about their attitude to the Deryni, putting to death even innocent little children purely because they were born Deryni, who knew nothing about who or what they were?  Or trying to burn adults at the stake?  Is that "Christian charity"?  I think not.

I thought that in by this time they had moved beyond that. 

QuoteMoreover, in RL it wasn't until the later middle ages that the Church actually became involved in all aspects of betrothals and marriages.  Betrothal was very much a civil affair, and in most cases a betrothal would not have even had a priest in attendance - it was a civil, legal contract.  In the case of Dhugal and Mirjana, this was a contract recognised at law, never mind the addition of the Church, and there were no easy 'outs' such as you seem to wish for.  

In which case Kelson, as an absolute monarch--he doesn't have a Parliament or a written constitution to answer to, after all--can simply declare that the marriage is not in the best interests of Gwynned.  Which it isn't.


No they hadn't.  The mere fact that the Statute of Ramos had been repealed on paper doesn't alter thinking of many people, including in the Church. 

And no, Kelson can't.  You don't rule a kingdom by setting aside laws on a whim just because one of your dukes went off and made a really stupid decision.  Kelson at least understands that.  And because KK has written a world in which Church and State are intricately bound, Kelson also can't just go ahead and set aside something that has both civil and Church implications - not unless he wants to try the Henry VIII solution and set up a totally separate Church!  Which he clearly doesn't.   He's spent all his reign trying to work with the Church, which involves changing things very slowly in terms of both attitudes in both Church and general population, so why would he suddenly throw all that work away just because Dhugal was a complete idiot?   


Quote from: Alkari on September 18, 2010, 10:02:04 PM
not unless he wants to try the Henry VIII solution and set up a totally separate Church!  Which he clearly doesn't.   

There's no Pope in KK's world.  The Church of Gwynnedd is already separate.  The bishops take their oath to the King, not to the Pope.  He's ordered people--including bishops--to be executed without trial.  What is setting aside a contract next to that?


The King of Gwynedd is not above ecclesiastical law.  If he were, Donal would not have had to submit to the Church's penance when he decided to go all "I'm the King and I'll do as I want to" in the matter of Septimus de Nore.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


Gwynned isn't a republic.  It isn't even a constitutional monarchy.  The King's Word is Law.  Every official in the government is appointed by the King and serves at his will and pleasure.  Laws are promulgated by royal decree.  Kings have--as I said--ordered people's executions without trial, including Kelson himself.  Next to ordering summary executions, voiding a betrothal contract is nothing, especially when the marriage hasn't been consummated or even celebrated.  If Kelson declares that the proposed marriage is not in the best interest of Gwynned, who is to tell him otherwise and keep his head on his shoulders?  Defying the Royal Will & Pleasure in an absolute monarchy is a good way to end up dead.  There are plenty of examples of such in our primary world; that's one reason why most countries decided--sometimes quite bloodily--that absolute monarchies were not desirable.

And if Kelson's deciding to force the issue like this is what makes the people of Gwynned decide that they are tired of an absolute monarchy and want constitutional limitations on the royal power, and at least a rudimentary form of representative government, isn't that a good thing for the country in the long run?