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Question: Ties That Bind


August 10, 2016 by Lyn

Guesty asks:
What is the difference between Belonging and Geas? Not so much how you get there, we know a little bit about that. Is there something you’ll (have to) do while Belonging to someone that you could resist if you were just under a Geas or the other way round? How do you get out of a geas? The story has hinted so far that maybe you can resist a Geas with your willpower (or because an order from your Keeper trumphs it) while Belonging, like natural laws, can’t be resisted. Is that true?

Fenn, deep in the woods, answers:

A geas binds the mind. Belonging binds the soul.

That’s the short answer. All a geas does it force you to obey the rules you’re given; eventually, Belonging makes you want to obey.

So, Toy’s chains. Well, Jinani’s ropes, on Toy. They are a one-word geas in physical form – obey. So he has to do as he’s told, in this case, by me. But that leaves a bit of leeway to weasel – geasa are very literal, and as long as you have a bit of wiggle in your mind, you can work around a lot of orders.

Whether it’s wise to or not is another matter, of course.

The geas that the Old Man puts on all his children is similar: Come when I call and Do what I tell you. You have to answer when the call comes, but there’s nothing saying you can’t just walk. Well, nothing except the fact that the Old Man is pissy when you make him wait.

I’ve never submitted to the Belonging, but from what I’ve heard from others – sisters, looking for a way out of the Old Man’s chains in someone else’s collar, other Ellehemaei who aren’t part of the family, a couple really talkative Nedetakaei (Bunny, for one, talks a lot when you motivate her) – when you bow your head to someone else’s Ownership, it takes over everything you are.

You can weasel around your orders, sure, but if, say, I Belonged to someone and they called for me to come to them, I would feel that pressure until I did as they commanded, feel like a miserable failure until I completed the order. And the Belonging seems to bring with it some sort of love and devotion, some sort of miserable need to please your Keeper. Not just chaining you but making you want the chains.

What the Old Man does sucks. But I’d rather be geased than Kept.

Regine adds:

A “geas” is commonly used to refer to two different things. Normally, a geas is a directed use of Tempero Intinn, sometimes with other Manifestations used for more complex geasa; sometimes, it is used to describe a binding promise.

As the Hawthorne Spike described, a geas only controls the portions of an Ellehemaei necessary to fulfill the terms of the promise or command – a geas to walk to Texas will keep the body moving, but not impart any emotion need to do so. As Belongings have been described to me, there is a co-dependant emotional urge to do as your Keeper requests, whether or not the request is phrased as an order: the Kept has a psychosomatic physical urge to do what their Keeper desires.

An order from a Keeper will “trump” a geas, although studies have shown that the results are generally physically unpleasant enough to discourage making this a habit. A geas set in place by Tempero Intinn can be removed in the same manner, by a skilled enough practitioner of those two Words. One can be released from a promise by the person to whom you made it, or you can undergo something which I’ve heard described as a “spiritual cleansing” to remove the need to fulfill the promise from your psyche. Easier to simply never promise anything.

As for actually resisting a geas, there are people who are simply very strong of mind, naturally preserved, one might say, and thus very resistant to most forms of mind control. They’re still bound, however, if they make a promise – in that way, geasa are less strong than a natural law – and are normally just as susceptible to the Belonging and all that that entails.

As for resisting the Belonging, I do not believe it has ever been done.


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