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A Time To Heal Chapter 1

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

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For Kelson to set himself against the Church would have been, to the medieval mind at least, tantamount to setting himself against God.  That is why, when his grandfather King Donal (also an absolute monarch) overstepped his bounds by executing Septimus de Nore himself rather than turning the priest over to the Church for an ecclesiastical trial, he had to submit to penance for his sin.  (And yes, it would have been considered sin in those times to go against the Church, not merely a "difference of opinion" or an "error in judgment" or some such.)  Donal was King, but he still had to endure the punishment for his actions.  (Scourging, I believe?  I've only read ITKS once, and it was a few months ago.)  What would have happened if he'd simply said "I'm the King, and I'm above the law"?  Quite likely, he'd have had war on his hands.  Not just the Church against the King, but his own people rising against him for fear of anathema.   Fortunately that didn't occur, or there'd probably be no King Kelson series and this thread would be a moot point.   ;D  When, as Alkari pointed out earlier, Kelson tried to work with the Church and foster changes from within it rather than setting himself against it, he did so exactly because he recognized that he, even as King, was not outside the law.  It is not to any King's advantage to supersede law.  Change the law if it needs changing, but breaking laws because they are inconvenient sets a dangerous precedent, even in secular law.  When it comes to a King saying what, in essence, to a medieval populace would amount to "I don't care what God's Church says; I'm going to do things my way," well, that pretty much would be the equivalent to hanging a banner on the Castle wall saying "Please depose me; I obviously don't give a rat's arse not only about my own immortal soul, but yours as well!"  (Again, remember that a King setting himself against the Church will almost certainly end up excommunicated, and the next step if he fails to repent is for his Kingdom to be placed under Interdict!  These are not 21st C. people who might get a giggle from that; these are pious medieval folk who would genuinely be terrified of that happening.)  As you said yourself, an "absolute monarch's" power was only as "absolute" as his people will allow, and if you push the people too far, they'll push back, whether that's via a Magna Carta, or a French Revolution.  And if you push the Church of Gwynedd too far, you end up with problems like the Church becoming divided as they were on the eve of Wencit's invasion of Gwynedd, or else the entire Church united against you as in the case of Donal Haldane, with the King declared excommunicate and the entire Kingdom in danger of being under Interdict until he repents.

Plus, even if Kelson just said "Forget Church law; I'm declaring you unbetrothed because I'm the King," he'd hardly be doing Dhugal or Mirjana any favors, since the Church would not recognize that "dispensation" as binding, so neither party would be free to marry anyone else.  So if Dhugal, a year or two later, met some entirely suitable young lady and fell in love, and went to contract a betrothal, the Church would not be able to accept it as binding, much less allow them to marry, because he'd still be considered to be in a legally binding relationship with Mirjana.  Marrying him to someone else when he's already betrothed to someone would be considered bigamy, and therefore the second contract would be invalid.  Medieval marriage was more than just a legal contract, it was also a religious sacrament, so there was no way to do an end run around the Church just because you find their rules governing betrothal and marriage contracts inconvenient.  Not if you wanted your annulment/dispensation/marriage/remarriage to be considered valid both in the eyes of the secular law and according to sacramental law, anyway.

The Bishops of Gwynedd are answerable to the King in matters of secular law, yes, but he is answerable to them in matters of ecclesiastical law.  That is why they didn't object to him executing Loris.  Loris was clearly guilty of high treason for attempting to overthrow his rightful King.  That was a secular matter, and the Bishops allowed it to be dealt with in the secular realm.  Not that he would've fared any better in an ecclesiastical trial; as I recall, he'd already been declared excommunicate by that point, hadn't he?  But on the other hand, the Deryni question was an ecclesiastical matter, not a secular one, so in order to effect change, Kelson had to work towards changing the hearts of the clergy.  He couldn't simply say "I declare Deryni to not be inherently evil, and magic to be non-sinful."  That's not up to a King to rule on, whether absolute or constitutional.  That's why he took the route he took of convincing key Bishops in the Church to take a closer look at the question, at the considerations of both justice and mercy, at the Healing gift (considered unquestionably good and of God) being a Deryni power, at the outward actions of good men who happened by accident of birth to be Deryni, at the right of a person to defend himself even if that defense might include means frowned upon by the Church, etc.  But the Church of Gwynedd had to make that change within itself and its outlook before the Statutes of Ramos could be repealed. 

In RL history, even though Henry VIII was King, he still wasn't above ecclesiastical law in the matter of his divorce from Catherine of Aragon and remarriage to Anne Boleyn and the other hapless ladies after her.  He tried going through channels first before breaking off his relationship with the Church of Rome to found his own Church of England (no small matter for him done on a whim...keep in mind this was the same man who was given the title "Defender of the Faith" in his younger years by the very same Church he later broke away from!)  And his choices in that matter had lasting repercussions on his Kingdom for generations to come.

As for Kelson forcing the issue and the people deciding to form some sort of representative power to provide more checks and balances, that might be an interesting story for someone else to take on, but that's not what this story is about.  It would be interesting to see someone's take on a Republic of Gwynedd a few centuries down the road, though.
"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!


QuoteIf 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. 

I think you have forgotten that interesting little scene in Ch 8 of KKB where they are in Coroth: Kelson is still angsting about Rothana and wanting Albin to inherit Carthmoor.   He warns Richenda not to press him, and says about Rothana that:  "She shall yield in the matter of Albin, if I - if I have to seize the boy and bring him up myself! I cannot force her to marry me, but I can and will ensure that Albin Haldane shall have the inheritance that should be his!"

And Morgan immediately calls him on it: "Will you force Nigel to agree? I suppose you could.  You are the king - and with powers that lesser mortals can scarcely imagine, much less comprehend.  No wonder they fear us.  At the very least, you could certainly throw Nigel into prison. strip him of his title, bestow it on Albin.  not even Rothana could stop you from doing that if you chose.  You might even be able to force her to marry you.  But you will do none of these things."

It's a salutary shock and brings Kelson to his senses, and KK makes it perfectly clear that Kelson knows he has to work within the law.   (And MOrgan didn't lose his head over his challenge, either!  :D)  A wise king cannot hold himself out as being above the law or somehow having a different system of justice - that is the way to revolution or civil war, for certain.   This little temper tantrum aside, Kelson is too wise to do that, and moreover, he has several close advisers who won't let him. 

At this time - the 1100s in Gwynedd - Kelson is slowly and carefully working with the Church and the secular law, to right some of the many injustices that have been done to the Deryni.  It is a hasten slowly approach, and the very last thing a king in his position would do is to suddenly thumb his nose at Church and secular law for the sake of mere personal convenience.

Yes, democracy 'might' come to Gwynedd in due course - or it might not.  But that is a totally different story, as Evie says - and if you are so keen on advancing those ideas, perhaps you should write it?!  :)


Interesting though this is (and believe me this has been debated for hours in the chat room) this is how it's been written and I'm intrigued to see where Evie is going with it.  There are lots of inconsistencies even in KK's books so personally I'm prepared to allow a bit of leeway.

My 2p, you can go back to arguing now, if you like. :D


LOL!  Well, Kelson arbitrarily deciding to circumvent the Church and illicitly annul the betrothal anyway would make my life a whole lot easier, come to think, Annie, so maybe I should rewrite it.  Sure, I'd have to throw the five chapters I've already written into the scrap heap and start over, but the resulting story would be a whole lot shorter:

"Dhugal, I've decided I don't care what Cardiel says, I'm not going to let you do this to yourself. So congrats, you're a free man."

"Huzzah!  I'll go tell Mirjana.


"What's that sound of crickets, Daddy?"

"It's the sound of several chapters worth of Stuff Not Happening in Cassan.  Now go to bed, son. I promise you won't miss anything if you fall asleep."


"Father, I finally found a non-Torenthi woman to wed and bed.  When can you marry us?"

"I can't, son.  You're still legally betrothed to Mirjana, unless someone died and ordained Kelson Archbishop while no one was looking.  Fortunately she hasn't been able to take final vows as a nun yet because she's equally bound to her contract to you.  But that would bring us back full circle to where we started out, so tell you what, we'll just knock her off, say Teymuraz did it, and no one would be any wiser.  Sure, we'll both be damned for premeditated murder in the afterlife, but in the meantime we'll have a problem free life, and that's what it's all about, right son?  'Cuz heaven forbid we upset the good people of Cassan!  Much less put them into a situation where they might have a chance to learn and grow, in the same way that the entire Kingdom has had a six-book series in which to learn and grow in regards to the Deryni question.  Conflict...struggle...sacrifices...transformation...growth...who needs all that crap in a story?  Just take the easy way out, son; your author will thank you."


"Damn, she's dead, Liam-Lajos!  Sorry...I could've sworn that man was loyal to us, but this is Torenth...."

"Not your fault, Matyas.  We took all reasonable precautions, but too bad Deryni aren't omniscient.  Well, now that we know that dude is a double-agent for Teymuraz, have him impaled, won't you?  Won't bring back Mirjana, but life's tough when you're Torenthi...."


That would leave me free to get back to the other eleventy-dozen stories queued up for my attention.  Lordy, woman, don't tempt me!   :D
"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!


LOL at 'inconsistencies' in the books!

For me, the problem is not so much individual inconsistencies, but in trying to impose various 21st century ideas about democracy, 'rights', laws and such onto the fictional world of Gwynedd in the 1100s.  In particular, KK shows us that Church and State are very closely intertwined in Gwynedd, and indeed in the other kingdoms of KK's world: that is a complete contrast to our situation today and our thinking. Indeed, given that the American Constitution very carefully separates Church and State, which is the case in many other modern democracies, it can sometimes be a little hard for people to appreciate how closely the two were intertwined in the medieval Britain which has formed the broad basis for KK's Gwynedd.  

Anyway, on with the fic please Evie!  That short and sweet ending is fine, and Mirjana's demise is perfectly plausible, but I'd really rather read the five chapters you've written - more angst and torture for poor Dhugal and Mirjana, no doubt.  :D


Quote from: Alkari on September 19, 2010, 02:32:04 AM
Anyway, on with the fic please Evie!  That short and sweet ending is fine, and Mirjana's demise is perfectly plausible, but I'd really rather read the five chapters you've written - more angst and torture for poor Dhugal and Mirjana, no doubt.  :D

*dies*  It's fine that Duncan and Dhugal become co-conspirators in murder?  Well, I'll certainly keep that in mind, then, though I'm fairly certain that breaks Fanfic Board Rule #1.   Unless Duncan turned to the Dark Side in KKB and I missed it....   ;D

Let's see...without getting too spoilerish, a brief glance at the existing outline (such as it is) says that Dhugal's and Mirjana's situation goes from bad to worse, then briefly a little better, then worse again...then worse still...then eventually catastrophic...and then there's a glimmer of hope...and then things end up happily bittersweetly ever after, though with the potential for future bright sunniness, if with occasional squalls, but c'est la vie.  How's that for a sneak preview?   ;D
"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!


QuoteIt's fine that Duncan and Dhugal become co-conspirators in murder?

But they only thought they'd murdered her of course!  It really was a Teymuraz plot you see ... on the double-double-double agent principle!  :D 

Besides, if you're going to have Kelson arbitrarily circumvent the Church etc, of course a canny Highland Duke will not think twice about finding an assassin to bump her off ... ;)


Heck I'm busy for a day and this thread becomes the Monty Python show. :D  Just give us the next instalment, Evie, and the hopefully people will stop dissecting the first one. ;)


Kelson:  This betrothal is not in the best interests of Gwynnedd.  Hence, on my authority as King, I am declaring it null and void.

The Bishop: [whichever one you want]  Majesty, the Church will not allow it.

Kelson:  Most Reverend Sir, I am King of Gwynnedd; I am anointed by God as king of ALL Gwynned, both clergy and laity.  I am anointed by Him and responsible to none but Him.  If you think that a purple cassock gives you the right to oppose me, ask Edmund Loris and Judahael of Maera how well that worked.  I asked for your advice on this matter and you gave it.  Thank you very much.  But at the end of the day the decision is mine.  [Writes out a document in duplicate.  Signs and seals it.]  Dhugal, give one of these to her, and another keep for your own records; the betrothal is dissolved.  She may marry whom she wills, so long as it is not you.  You may marry whom you will, so long as it is not her.  Anyone who says otherwise, I will order confined in the dungeons beneath the castle until he changes his mind.


KK set up Gwynned as absolute monarchy.  That means that the King can do whatever he wants.  That is why most countries in the primary world have either created the concept of a constitutional monarchy, or have done away with monarchy altogether.  As a direct descendant of patriots of the War of 1776, I think you know on which side I stand.


Elkhound, KK has a very good understanding of RL medieval history.   You may be a "son of the Revolution", but 1776 is the wrong perspective from which to view Kelson's Gwynedd, and therefore the behaviour and possibilities in Evie's fic.  

Magna Carta.  1215.   Directly on point and on period.  There were two fundamental ideas in said document, the first of which was that the King must obey the law.

And that meant feudal law, and the law of the Church at the time (King John, the silly boy, had run foul of both his barons and the Church).  

At least in Evie's fic, Kelson is not about to make King John's mistakes.  And as it's only ten years since the very acrimonious schism in the Gwynedd Church, from which the kingdom is slowly recovering under the enlightened leadership of people like Kelson himself, Bradene and Cardiel, Kelson is also not about to 'do a Henry VIII' as regards the Gwynedd Church on a matter such as this.