Feb 15


Posted: under Background, Contents.
Tags: , , ,  February 15th, 2009

Young people in Tsaian and Lyonyan society may be fostered with another family at several stages–for noble families, typically as pages (ages 7-10 or 12) or squires (ages 14-18ish.)   In addition to fosterage, there’s formal schooling in a boarding situation (like the young students in Fin Panir, including Aris Marrakai).   Nobles are more or less expected to take in a few of one another’s offspring .   This forms bonds between families (they hope), relieves some sibling rivalry (a forlorn hope, usually), and provides the “shared” young person with experiences most find valuable.

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Jan 11

Earthfolk: dwarves and gnomes

Posted: under Background.
Tags: , , , ,  January 11th, 2009

I’ve mentioned before a book by one of my college professors, F.S. Lear’s Treason in Roman and Germanic Law. In the course of studying ancient and medieval history, I was dragged (willingly, most of the time, but sometimes dragged) through a lot of legal systems. Lear discusses the contrasting bases for a concept of treason, ultimate disloyalty, under the two systems: one tribal, where loyalty is to a person or tribe and treason is a personal betrayal. The tribal leader in that case cannot be guilty of treason because he (it was always he, then) is the one to whom loyalty is due. The other is formally legal, where loyalty is to a code of law, and anyone–including those at the top–can be guilty of treason if they have transgressed that part of the code.

Relevance to current politics is obvious, but not a topic for this blog, except to show that the same conflicts of concepts exists today, as it did 2000 years ago….and undoubtedly longer ago than that. I grew up on the Border, in an area where a culture that claimed to believe in a rule of law was in daily contact with a culture for whom personal relationships were obviously more important.

All of the history sources I used are relevant to the Paksenarrion universe, but this one, in particular, set the tone for the two types of Earthfolk–dwaves and gnomes– in the books.

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Jan 01

O Captain, my Captain…

Posted: under Contents, the writing life.
Tags: , , , ,  January 1st, 2009

The book continues to throw surprises at me, though not fast in the last couple of days as the International Gut Bug has reached our house.   But leaving that unsavory subject aside…it dawned on me last night, working on a scene between Dorrin and some of her cohort, that this continues a conversation begun in the first Paks book, and resulting (ultimately) from a very old schism in human behavior.

What is loyalty?  Who or what can be the object of loyalty?   What are the theoretical and practical and ethical boundaries of loyalty?   Heavy stuff for New Year’s Eve…

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