[LMB] COC: Chapter 28

Beatrice Otter beatrice_otter at haugensgalleri.com
Fri Sep 18 16:06:04 BST 2015

On 9/17/2015 8:54 PM, Margaret Devere wrote:
> Iselle announces that she and Bergon will walk to the cathedral barefoot as
> a gesture of thanks. (Q3)
> Q3: Two questions:
> - Where does this come from? We haven't seen pilgrims yet, and AFAIK we
> haven't seen this kind of pious act. Why would the gods appreciate somebody
> walking barefoot? I understand that it's uncomfortable and mildly risky. Why
> do people think that hurting themselves intentionally is gratifying to the
> gods?
Beatrice Otter: Shoes are status symbols.  The richer you are, the nicer 
your shoes, and the poorest couldn't afford them and would wrap rags 
round their feet in cold weather instead.  The medium-poor would only 
wear shoes when they had to, to save wear and tear on them.  The rich, 
on the other hand, would have a variety of rich materials put on their 
shoes as a sign that they had the money to do it and didn't need to do 
any hard labor that might damage such excess.

By going barefoot, Iselle and Bergon show their humility, that they are 
willing to put off (a portion of) their finery and riches before the 
gods.  It's a symbolic gesture that everyone will get, yet one that 
doesn't require them to, say, put off the /rest/ of their finery.  So 
they get /both/ rich clothes/status symbols there, /and/ the credit for 
humility and modesty for going shoeless. Very good political theater.

What I can't tell you is whether or not the gods care one way or 
another.  It may well be a case where people assume the gods care about 
the same things people do.

> - Is this a little domineering with respect to Bergon? Thank goodness it
> doesn't set his back up. I hope Iselle will learn to be a little more
> observant of Bergon's equal status. We know that she means to -- but she
> needs a little practice.
Beatrice Otter: Why would it be domineering?  I'm not getting why you 
would think so.  He has as much to be thankful for as she does; if the 
various miracles hadn't happened, he would be just as screwed over as 
she would, now that he has married into the curse and is married in 
politically.  Instead, the civil war is averted (and he knows first-hand 
how horrible /those/ are) and he is royse-consort /now/ instead of 
having to wait a few years as he would originally have assumed.  That's 
a lot to give thanks for.

Oh.  Rereading the passage, do you read the words "Iselle announced" to 
mean that she was announcing /to Bergon/ that that's what they were 
going to do?  Because she's not talking to Bergon, she's talking to Caz, 
and Bergon takes it without a raised eyebrow, already fully onboard with 
it.  It reads to me like Iselle is announcing their joint plans.  Which 
is perfectly logical and reasonable, as she is now Royina and Bergon is 
her Royse-Consort. (In Chalion.  They have to wait for the Fox to die 
for the situation to be reversed, and then only in Ibra.)
> Sara says that Archdivine Mendenal is willing to swear to the time of
> Orico's death. (Q4)
> Q4: Has Archdivine Mendenal taken sides before, or resisted dy Jironal? He
> knows from Umegat that something is going on with Caz, but why would he
> assume that dy Jironal is to be thwarted? Or is he willing to go along with
> what Sara wants here? In general, I would assume that administrators would
> uphold order and proper procedures.
Beatrice Otter: In every case I know of where religious orders have 
hierarchy that interacts with the high political leadership, you get at 
least some playing of politics, sometimes even for the perceived good of 
the gods.  Check out Roman and Byzantine records sometime, or the ways 
the Archbishop of Canterbury has affected/been affected by English 
history over the generations.  Mendenal is an administrator, and his job 
is to uphold /the Temple's/ order and proper procedures.  He's had a 
front-row seat for what dy Jironal and his brother have /done/ to the 
Order of the Son and Daughter.  And from a political point of view, he's 
got enough of an inside look to see that dy Jironal is effectively 
attempting a coup.  He's trying to arrange things so that /he/--and not 
Iselle, the rightful Heiress--rules Chalion.  I mean, technically he 
would be ruling in her name, but that would just be a polite fig leaf.

Let's look at the consequences of this taking sides
1) it strengthens Iselle's position, which makes it likelier dy Jironal 
will /not/ be able to claim the power he is trying to usurp.  In this 
case, order and proper procedures are preserved on a larger scale.

2) by strengthening Iselle it /also/ ups the chances that the Order of 
the Son will get out from under dy Jironal's thumb. Granted, he didn't 
treat it like his brother treated the Daughter's Order, but you have to 
assume Mendenal knew of the corruption--and that Martou accepted his 
brother's corruption--and you have to assume that Martou was using the 
Son's Order in favor of his politics, which is NOT what they are for.  
Getting rid of him is good for the Temple.  Therefore, if Mendenal has 
such a perfect opportunity to do so, one can argue that it is his 
gods-given responsibility to do so.

4) Mendenal knows that Caz is the saint sent to break the curse, and 
therefore presumably acting under the Daughter's orders, and therefore 
it is Mendenal's highest job and calling to support his actions in 
support of Iselle.  If dy Jironal is attacking Caz, he is hindering the 
gods' own plans, and must be stopped.  This is likely the first time 
that Mendenal has had an opportunity to support Iselle (and therefore 
Caz) in a manner large enough that we can see the consequences directly 
from where Our Heroes are.

3) if dy Jironal wins, he would probably replace Mendenal (possibly 
killing him).  Bad news, especially as it means he would be replaced 
with one of dy Jironal's kin.  But the longer dy Jironal remains in 
power, the more likely it is that he'll be replaced with one of dy 
Jironal's kin /anyway/.  Not much to lose.
> Caz and Sara compare notes on the fate of various souls. Orico was taken up
> by the Bastard, Martou by the Father. Dondo went to the Bastard's Hell. (Q5)
> Q5: How is the Bastard's Hell different from being taken up by the Bastard?
> I'm sure this has been discussed, but apparently there are three fates:
> - Being taken up by one of the gods
> - Dwindling into nothingness
> - The Bastard's Hell
> We seem to have evidence of the first two, but the third shows up only as a
> figure of speech or in Caz's thoughts. Am I missing something in CoC? What
> does PoS add to our understanding?
Beatrice Otter: In PoS, the Bastard's Hell is that roiling pit of chaos 
the demons come from and (through Ista) go back to.  There is nothing 
there but elemental chaos.  Joen goes there because she will not let go 
of her demon, and she will not let Ista save her.  So she goes from 
will-not to the place of be-not.

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