Re: Heortling hitches

From: John Hughes <>
Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2001 10:09:47 +1000

The Once and Future Alex:

> The tribal kingship. How feasible is it to "depose" or "persuade to
> step down" a king? My mental picture is that it's certainly possible,
> pragmatically, but that it would be harder than voting out a clan
> chief, due to the greater formality of ritual involved. (Not to say,
> the greater amount of political horse-trading.)

Eek. Start with an easy one why don't you. I guess the first question to ask is what does a tribal king *do*? There's the obvious political dimension - mediating, gift-giving, healing rifts, planning for the future, making alliances, peace and war. There's also the sacred dimension: I don't think there's a 'sacred marriage' in the strict Frazerian sense (the king can be a woman, and cult feats don't reflect this directly), but as well as embodying Orlanth and the tribe to a certain extent, you could consider a king's reign as one seven-year long Dar/Rex/Orendana ritual.

A High King is king for life. An Alakoring king would seem to be king for life, and by implication Rex worshippers, though tribal custom may well have modified this.

I play seven year kingships among most tribes. (See TR 44 'a king in his sevens') IMG to replace a king mid-term would be pretty drastic, and the reasons would be spelt out clearly in tribal law. You would have to prove him or her unsuitable for the job, in effect by taking him to court and proving a suitably serious misdemeanour. As with any Heortling court case, the politics and numbers game would be subsumed within the legal procedures. Good luck! And consider the implications for your clan if you happen to lose.

> Now, on a more (in)delicate matter... Let's suppose a clan has a
> tradition of keeping thralls. (I know, boo, hiss.) What's the legal
> position of having "relations" (in the Clinton sense) with non-free
> persons?

Depends as much on your status as on the thrall's. Seduction is seduction, part of everyday life. Rape is rape, and a capital crime.(See the same paragraph in TR, a bit further down). If you're married, any extra-marital cigar swapping is hearth breaking - see the two applicable laws in ST 162. (The law codes are spread through both books: TR 42, 84, ST 61, 162.)

What if one fathers a child on a thrall -- does one have
> a moral or legal responsiblility to raise the mother from thralldom?

Heortling childrearing is profoundly communal. You share a hearth with uncles and aunts and numerous cousins, so the lack of a father (or even a mother) isn't so noticeable or profoud as in other cultures with more nuclear family arrangements. Because of this, I play that having a child out of wedlock isn't a matter for great concern, and certainly isn't a social stigma: the child is raised communally at its mother's hearth.

Once again, thralls complicate things. Sex and marriage are very different in the Heortling mind. Marriage is about alliance, and marriage partners are often selected or prescribed from a particular group of people. Taking care of someone and marrying them are two *very* different things to Heortlings. Freeing and marrying a female thrall wouldn't normally even be considered. Freeing her and bringing her and her child to your own communal hearth would be *possible*, even quietly making her a bed mate, but the resistence given by your own hearthmates, and the reception accorded the ex-thrall by the other wives would be *major* factors to consider. The other wives were courted and gifted and persuaded to leave their families, suddenly there're asked to regard this pig-slop thrall as one of their own!

Given this, I think that the best one could do in most circimstances would be to ensure the women has her own small lodge in the company of other female thralls. Its for this reason - hearth pressure - that I suspect relationships with thralls are relatively rare. If the woman is a hearth-thrall (helping with cooking etc.) then she is part of the domenstic sphere, and Heortlings know instinctively that women at your own hearth are *not* potential sexual partners - with the obvious exception of your wife.

So in short, no obligation legally. Morally, no great shakes either. Keep your eyes and your pecker to the horizon. The sweetest grass, the *only* grass lies beyond the tula. You don't run cattle in a sheep's pen. And a good shepherd watches his own flock.


John John Hughes

Fast-friends, forest-companions, we made one bed and slept one sleep in foreign lands after the fray.

Powered by hypermail