While Tony and Ben are spinning on the Khalla’s Play manuscript, and my advance readers are reviewing, I find myself thinking about next steps. Thanksgiving is not one of those steps, but I am grateful for you, Dear Readers and Friends. The emails, the feedback, the scathing criticisms (not sarcastic here)… they have all helped and added to the experience that is writing these projects. When I begin a new book, I look through all the ideas and outlines and find one that resonates. At the end of Bomoki’s Gate, I really wanted to tell a fun fantasy adventure story that became Khalla’s Play, and the next book in this 2 or 3 part duo/trilogy. It’d be easy to rip into the next part, where they reach Merakor and what happens there.
It would also be fun to tell some shorter stories. After all, Malcor and Ora had a child together. I’m going to release that as a web-only short story. You already know that the powerful, the Dar ranked heroes, and the mighty priestesses do not raise their children. While they are free to love, the priestesses have an imperative to “preserve the bloodlines” of the heroes. With Malcor coming to terms with what it means to be king and Ora giving up their child, yes: this will be my next project as a short story. I do intend to do another 100 page book project as well, like Dar Tania I. Following that, it will be time to complete the Merakor Project. LOL. As if something as vast and grand as Merakor could ever truly be told in a single book!
So, let’s talk a bit about the Dar. Some of you have called this “eugenics.” I want to be super clear about this. Eugenics was an ugly and dark chapter in human history where people thought they could breed desirable characteristics in and out of what they felt were sub-humans. If the breeding did not work, then killing undesirable traits suited eugenicists just fine. The arrogance and evil inherent in this way of thinking is not something I endorse or would correlate in any way to Morbatten. You will not find the term ‘eugenics’ anywhere in my writing or thinking.
Here’s what happened in Morbatten. Remembering that the immortal dragons became fascinated with humans aeons back… the fire patriarch, Alerius, adopted a tribe of barbarian humans. He noticed certain things:
- Unless taught how to swim, humans could drown… even though children like playing in water
- Unless taught how to preserve food, humans could starve… but if they ate too much, they became fat
- Some humans naturally were fast swimmers who could hold their breath underwater for much longer periods of time than others
- Some humans could eat and eat and not get fat, while others hardly ate at all and did
Alerius experimented. While he could find no mix of diet that worked for all humans, and while some humans defied swimming at all, he learned generally that if all humans were taught to swim, he would not lose so many of them to drowning. He found that a human who ate about so much each day would be healthier and stronger against illness than those fed less. He learned that when humans who could naturally swim very well had children, those children sometimes would also be natural swimmers. For 1000s of years, he guided the barbarians hoping that one day, one of them (man or woman; he did not care) would have enough security and curiosity to see that Alerius himself was not a god. Understanding this, they would open themselves to the real goddess, Tiamat. This was Dar Tania. Getting to Dar Tania was not about eugenics. It was about taking benevolent care of a new society and culture and rooting out undesirable cultural traits, like aggression to other tribes, or violence to women and children.
Because this is a world of magic and gods actively involved in their worshippers’ lives, Alerius also found that certain bloodlines lent themselves to special abilities. Some examples already described in my writings:
- The Sage Alaura’s family lends itself to the Ice Patriarch, Ynt’taris
- Dar Tania’s bloodline, via the Commander Sean, is laden with prophets and seers
- Shak D’Rath’s bloodline, via Dar Tania, is the only bloodline that can summon and ride griffons
- Dar Kell’s bloodline is the only bloodline that can bond with the shadow dragons, like Kell and Malcor
- Dar Ana’s bloodline is described by Alerius as being “obstinate against Tiamat’s doctrine, but powerful in all ways”
None of these are absolute and across 2,000 years of Morbatten, these are the only real familial examples of power crossing generations and is not 100% every time. Alerius could never figure that out. As such, all priestesses are required to bear children with heroes. They are free to love who they want when not otherwise called. Tanians do not get upset about this as it is part of their society, their culture, and their expectations. There is no stigma on a priestess who ‘retires’ from service to get married, though this is not true for paladins.
The original barbarian culture, not race, is preserved in the Valley of Ancients, north of Dragon Mountain. The Tribe of the Horse, Warg, and Fish practice the ancient ways and the children born to the priestesses are raised here. Alerius noted very early on that the people treated Dar’s children very differently than the other children. Having seen how this played out in Taysor, Alerius removed the children to be raised in the ancient ways ignorant of their heroic parents so that they would not grow up with any sense of entitlement or stilted education. The real parents are free to watch from a far. When the child goes through the Coming of Age ceremony, if they wish, they are told. If the parents wish, they attend. After the Coming of Age ceremony, they are free to interact or not. Many Tanian stories stem from the magic of this moment when it works to everyone’s favor, and the nightmare when it does not.
In the Law of Innocents, there is nothing that prevents humans from doing whatever they want. The only stipulation is that their children are tested. If they become heroes, their bloodline is preserved. Again, many of Tania’s stories center on the exceptional child chosen by the Temple, touched by the dragons, or swept up into prophesy. When this happens, the only “meddling” that might occur, is that the empire will pressure the family to have many more children.
As you might expect, the local lords differ on how this pressure is applied, but over time, Alerius found that forcing it to happen, destroyed morale and so the Law of Innocents has become very clear that this is based on consent and the practice of eugenics is expressly forbidden in this Law. They don’t call it eugenics. They call it “guided procreation.” Lords engaging in this are culled by the Temple or by imperial agents.