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Question: Mama’s Boy


August 10, 2016 by Lyn

Shutsumon asks:
In situations where someone hasn’t twisted The Law to a pretzel (ie Outside Addergoole) how does the fact children belong to their mothers and students to their mentors work? We know that outside the school children and students can’t be owned… presumably because their mother/mentor already owns them. Does this mean that Children can’t disobey their mothers or Students their mentor?

NOTE: I only mean outside the school in a situation where the Law isn’t twisted.

Michael VanderLinden answers::

I got tapped to answer this one because I’ve been on pretty much every side of this arrangement, unlike most of everyone else at Addergoole. Might as well have an answer from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about, right?

Now, to begin with, I don’t think it’s fair to quite say we’ve twisted the Law into a pretzel inside Addergoole. Certainly, we’ve taken a couple liberties with the way things work, but all in the name of education. All of the core Laws still function. That the Laws of Sanctity and Belonging appear to work on Children and Students, well, that’s not a bad thing, is it? Better to learn young than be tossed out into the world and learn the hard way what happens when you promise something.

Yeah, I did that. Name an older Ellehemaei that hasn’t done it at least once, I dare you. At least I knew what I was getting into when Tell decided I was going to be Kept for a while. I know others that didn’t, and let me tell you, that was a mess getting them out of that.

And before you start in on the injustices of Addergoole: the things that are now coming to light, I’ll admit, I should have thought might have happened. You can’t really fault Regine for not seeing them; her world is a lot more black and white than ours. She really thought teenagers were good people, and that this would save them from the evils of the outside world, if they were forewarned.

And me? Yeah, I’m beginning to realize how much I missed those first couple years, and I’m pretty appalled. Some of this stuff, I never expected, either. Some of the things I’m just hearing about now, stuff that happened in the first couple years, are really Nedetakaei-type horrors. I’m beginning to think some of the teachers ought to pay our alumni a visit.

…but imagine if they’d run into those situations out in the world, without the (all right, insufficient) protection of the staff, without the time limit. When these things happen out there, people are stuck in relationships like that for decades. And we live for quite a few decades.

Okay, okay, back on topic. Luke’s glaring at me. That man has one hell of a glare. In a normal situation of the Law, a child, when born, is in the Legal custody of its mother. She can choose to sign that custody over to someone else – a relative, the child’s father, a childless friend – or share it (usually, again, with the father or a lover), but that is her choice alone.

That child remains the mother’s until it Changes, at which point the mother and her family, crew, or friends find a Mentor for the child, or until, if it doesn’t Change, it reaches the legal age of adulthood in the jurisdiction where mother and child live.

From there, Ellehemaei Children become Students, and those who don’t Change just become considered Human, and either way are out of the domain of their mother.

Students stay with their Mentors for a minimum of a year and a day, or until a council of three of their Breed say they’re ready to be an Adult – this can take over a decade.

Okay, so that’s the framework. Within that – no, it’s not quite the same. A child, a student, they’re still learning, so they’re given, by the society, a lot of leeway to make mistakes. A mistake or a breach of etiquette by someone young isn’t going to bring down misery and fallout on their Mother or Mentor (a huge transgression still will, but you’re supposed to teach your children not to, say, purposefully Destroy someone’s Mind. Ouch).

So, because there’s a lot more leeway, no, with a Mother-Child or a Mentor-Student relationship, there’s not the inherent required obedience. With the Mother-Child, there’s none at all, because the child is still human. With the Mentor-Student, the Mentor has the ability to force obedience, but it’s much less inherent than it is in the case of Keeper-Kept.

All of that, by the way, still holds true in Addergoole. I could push obedience from one of my Students, albeit with effort. I’ve never tried pushing it on a “Kept” student, however. I wonder what would happen?


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