Tag Archive | meta-conversations

Meta-Conversation Part Five: Biology and History

You, the readers, asked Jaco of Lady Taisiya’s Fourth Husband some questions, and he’s already discussed someand then some moreand then he got upset… but you guys calmed him down. Now, it’s time for him to wrap up and go home to his lady:

Jaco takes his time looking at the final questions.

“The Treaty,” he says slowly, “they control everything. Everyone here — all the groups — signed the treaty. It was, um, a couple generations after landfall, and everything was getting, I dunno, all violent. Three times as many men as women, things get a little tense.” He jingles his chains demonstratively. “Hard to stab someone like this, though. So, chains.

“It’s not just chains. I think they’d dictate the number of eggs we could hatch if they thought we could get away with it, but the planet’s still too knew, and rich women are still going to end up with more eggs than poor women, no matter how many laws you try to put in place. I mean, regulate stuff too much, and then you end up with people incubating egglings in barns and caves, and trust me, that just turns into a mess.”

He looks back at the map for a moment. “We’ve been here ten generations. Where we came from… I don’t know. Some of the old books, they say something about The Company, or The Boyden Company. But none of them say where we were before. Maybe it’s because, well, they mixed us up to survive here, like something in a cake batter?” He shrugs eloquently and goes back to the cards.

“Okay, this one’s good. Who lays the egglings?” He shudders, just for show. “The ladies. I can’t imagine trying to… well, I can’t. And they carry the eggs for about a month and a half before they lay them.

“We’re all the same species, I guess, as far as I know. The raiders are, at least. I’ve seen some people that look really different, visitors, but I don’t know if they just look different, or if they’re some other things.” He snorts out something like a laugh. “Heck, they could even be real aliens. I wouldn’t know the difference.”

He spends some time looking at another question. “We can dream all we want. The thing is, what our brains do and what our bodies do, well—” he holds up his wrists with their chains. “When we’re kids, sometimes if a boy shows a lot of promise, they’ll encourage him — his fathers, his mother — to train for the military or the academy. You focus, you spend all your life on that, then, until you come of age and you see if that’s a route you can take — or if you’re going to end up in chains anyway.

“But the rest, it depends a lot on the wife. Some women don’t let their husbands out of the house at all. Most women, really. Some just let them go into town for errands, that sort of things. And there’s a couple out there who let their husbands — especially their first and second husbands — even pick up a career outside the house, if there’s someone at home to pick up the housework and the child-care.” He smiles crookedly. “Or maybe that’s just lies women tell men they’re thinking of marrying, to make them come more easily to the alter.”

He stands up and bows politely to the whole group. “Thank you. I don’t get out much, after all.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1168555.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

Meta-Conversation Part Four: Uncomfortable Topics

You, the readers, asked Jaco of Lady Taisiya’s Fourth Husband some questions, and he’s already discussed someand then some moreand then he got upset. Here he is, after having taken a brief break to calm his nerves.

When Jaco returns, he bows deeply to the gathered listeners, then sits down. He looks calmer, and quirks an eyebrow at the group as if sharing a joke.

Sauergeek steps forward. “Jaco, you seem to be upset by being on the spot. Is it rude for me to ask what’s bothering you?”

Jaco leans back, much more comfortable now, and clears his throat.

“You can’t fix everything, you know,” he begins, not looking at the cards yet, not quite looking at the audience, either. “Heck,” he jangles his chains, “I can’t fix much at all. And sometimes, sometimes it gets frustrating. Looking at all the things that can’t be fixed, that nobody fixes.” He takes a breath. “My little brother got married before me, and the woman he married, well, let’s just say from the outside it doesn’t look good, and nobody’s getting in to get a better look.”

He flips through the cards slowly. “Ah.” He bows at Clare. “I missed this one. How I was chosen to be one of Lady Taisiya’s husbands. There was a business deal. There’s often a business deal. Lady Taisiya’s House has some very prime land grants, and my mother’s House wanted access to the fishing rights on her coast. My family’s lands are landlocked — I’m told someone made a very bad deal a few generations back in return for a very handsome husband. To be honest,” he ducks his head and smirks, “my family has a habit of making bad decisions for reasons like that.”

This time, he picks a card at random, and smiles. “Ah, an easy one. Raiders. They are — well, when we were brought here, we weren’t the only people brought. There were five different groups. It’s not a small planet, and we are all over the place; I don’t think any of our people know what happened to the two groups on the other side of the world.” He gestures behind him at a big world map consisting mainly of survey photos from space.

“That leaves three groups we know about — ourselves, the ones who hid, and the raiders. I don’t know much about the ones who hid. But the other ones, the raiders, they didn’t want to play by the rules. They don’t play by the rules. They barely play by the treaties.” He gestures with both hands, although the gesture is completely unclear. “They would rather steal what we’ve worked for than work for their own. Most of the time, they just sneak in and steal things. Sometimes they attack instead.”

He keeps moving through the cards. “The Treaties, those are… well, they’re a set of agreements between our people and other people here. They cover things nobody will do, things nobody ought to do, things everybody ought to do, and so on. But they also cover balances of forces and things like that.” He glowers now. “Like I said, the raiders don’t keep to those very well, and it stinks.”

He looks down at a card scribbled with notes regarding Kelkyag and Rix’s conversation while he was out of the room. He looks up again, not quite looking either of those two notables in the eye but coming as close as he has with any woman here.

“When raiders attack, they’ll take everything, if they can. The nursery is the most secure room in any house, and it can usually hold out against attack. That’s why the kids and the junior husbands get sent there.” He smirks faintly. “To protect us. Wives, women, they’ve learned not to let themselves get taken. Even little girls know the drill. But we’re supposed to keep themselves and us alive long enough for help to come, and — let me tell you, not letting your daughter die or be taken, not letting your sons be taken — if it came down to it, I would fight to death, the Treaty be damned.”

He cleared his throat, looking a little embarrassed. “That is, um. They’ll take the eggs if they can, but nobody knows what they do with them. The kids and the husbands — them they enslave.”

It’s my turn to stand up. “We should be wrapping up, so we’ll take one more round of questions before we let Jaco get back to his house and his chores.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1163315.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

Meta-Conversation Part three: Egglings and children

You, the readers, asked Jaco of Lady Taisiya’s Fourth Husband some questions, and he’s already discussed someand then some more Here he is, back after anotehr intermission.

Rix’s hand is the first to go up once again, as Jaco scans the audience, hands clenched in his lap.

“I hope I may ask this without being unpardonably rude, but how many children does a family tend to have?”

That manages to elicit a smile from him, and his bow this time is as elaborate as his sitting position and chains allow. “You’re not being rude at all, Honored Lady, but the answer might be a bit complicated.

“So, generally, most families have three, maybe four children per husband. Sometimes a man outlives his first wife, or maybe his second. It happens — look how young little Fell is. He might get married again, then, as a retirement sort of thing. Lady Taisiya’s first husband was like that. Usually guys like that don’t have more children — but Orrig had two.

“Sometimes…” He rolls his shoulders and clears his throat. “Well, someone’s not good for anything so they get married, but they don’t sire any egglings. You know, they say ‘the shell was too thin on that one’? That sort of person.

“But, uh, generally…” He twists his lips up for a moment. “Three kids, maybe four a husband, averages about two and two-thirds kid when you figure in the thin-shells and the old guys.”

“Do you know and/or are you allowed to discuss why there are more men than women?” Rix asks. In turn, Jaco shrugs, all his chains jingling as he makes a show of the noise.

“What they say in history class is it’s a side effect of the egg thing. I don’t know. They said that when we came here, to this place, the creators had to do some modification to make us able to survive here. And one of the modifications, well, that made so the eggs usually come out male. Sometimes someone comes out with a theory — an academic, maybe, or a priest. Once my older brother was working on something, actually, to see if they could shift the balance. His funding got pulled and he nearly lost his place at the University.” He shrugs, short and jerky. “So that’s as much as I know.”

He flips through the cards from the audience, finally smiling — almost a grimace, really — at one. “Lady Kelkyag.” He bows in Kelkyag’s direction. “‘How long do egglings incubate?’ That’s a good one. They generally incubate for about six —” he glances at me for the word.

“‘Month’ is close enough,’” I offer.

“…about six months. And, urm.” He frowns back at the card. “Does one male mind the same eggling for the whole incubation period?’ Well, here, and in the house I grew up in, yeah. The father minds his own eggling. If he’s sick, or… something happens, the rest of the men will take turns minding the egg, or a man without an egg will take over, I guess. But in some houses, all the egglings, all the children, are considered children of the first husband, and everyone else helps him out.” He wrinkles his nose. “Onter’s not like that, and I can’t see the Lady putting up with it. But not all First Husbands are Onter, and not all Wives are our Lady.”

He takes a breath, and then stands up to stretch. “I’ve got to get some air. Go ahead and leave more questions, if you want.”

His chains jangle loudly against the quiet of the room as he steps outside.

Next: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1163315.html

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1159258.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

Meta-Conversation Part two: Jaco answers some more questions

You, the readers, asked Jaco of Lady Taisiya’s Fourth Husband some questions, and he’s already discussed some. Here he is, back after intermission.

Rix waves her hand nervously. “Hi. If marriage is for the community, then who doesn’t get married and who isn’t allowed to marry?”

Jaco bows from a sitting position, politely, buying time to think about the question. “Sons normally get married off as benefits the family they were born into.” He shrugs a bit. “Sometimes a son shows a particular spark for the military or the university, and then he goes there, instead. Sometimes nobody wants him, and the family can’t arrange a marriage.” He jangles his chains. “It doesn’t happen often. Most women can find some use for a junior husband, especially if they can seal a deal by taking him off his mother’s hands.”

He flips through the new questions, not looking at the audience. “All right, I can handle two of these at once. This guy wants to know ‘what happens to all the poor women who don’t get husbands?’ and this lady would like to know what the proportions of men and women in the population are.” He looks up at the audience. “There aren’t any women without husbands. There are maybe four men to every woman, and no woman doesn’t get married. Some of them, they join two households and bring all their husbands together, sharing husbands, but none of them ever don’t get married.”

He looks down at the cards. “I don’t know what happens if they try, so don’t ask, okay?” He coughs and looks at the questions again. “So, the Treaty. That’s this, this big thing. It seals everything, and I’m not supposed to talk about it. We’re really only barely supposed to know about it — that’s part of the Treaty, too. We, our country, signed it, and we, Husbands, we don’t know about it. Maybe Onter does, maybe First Husbands do. Me? I do what I’m told, or, uh,” he jangles his chains again, “mostly I don’t.”

This time, when his eyes scan the gathered people, he’s defiant. “Anyone else got anything?”

Part III: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1159258.html

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1156541.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

Meta-Conversation Part One: Jaco answers some questions

You, the readers, asked Jaco of Lady Taisiya’s Fourth Husband some questions, and he’s ready to answer.

Jaco wanders into the room, chains jangling loudly, and perches on a stool, looking around at the audience. His eyebrows raise: so many women. He turns to me with a little headtilt.

“You said they had questions. You said you picked me?” If he is a little defensive, well, he is no longer used to crowds.

“Onter’s bought into the system too much, and Callum is a bit shy around women, you have to admit.” I shrug, perhaps a bit apologetic myself, and reach over. Protocol dictates I not touch you, but I hand him the cards, and he flips through them.

“Divorce?” He settles on that one first. “What’s that?”

“Well, I suppose that means it doesn’t exist in your world, then.”

“Probably not, but what is it? I mean, maybe we call it something else?” He’s leaning forward now, trying not to look eager.

What can I do but answer? “It’s when a marriage is dissolved legally. Usually there’s some law about how the belongings are split up and who gets custody of the children.”

He leans back a bit and he frowns. “No. Nothing like that. Husbands who survive their wives, well, it can go several ways. If they’re young enough, sometimes they go back home.” He jangles his chains. “Or re-marry. Won’t happen to me.”

He pointedly goes through the cards, considering and discarding several more. “Men don’t marry men. Marriage is all about the Treaties. Sometimes… men-who-don’t-marry, or men whose wives died, they set up house together. Widowers, I think your term is?” He glances at me, and I nod. Close enough. “And no, I mean, women mary for responsibility. Marrying just one man — I mean, sure, some women have a first match that’s for love, and they try to make like he should be their only. But it’s never going to last.”

He puts the cards down on the table and rubs his wrists. “Marriage is a community thing. It’s for the community. That’s what they tell us.”

He glances back at the cards, and then at the audience. “Well? Anything else?”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1155601.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

Notice: Meta-Conversation with Lady Taisiya’s Third Husband upcoming

My post yesterday regarding meta-conversations seemed to go over well, so I am going to work my way through the setting options, one meta-conversation a month (If the first one goes well, I’ll add in a Patreon level for more!).

First up is one of the first two suggested: Jaco, from Lady Taisiya’s Fourth Husband. I picked Jaco to start because he’s mouthy, and thus more likely to take questions in stride and actually answer them.

So… Leave questions for Jaco here! Once I have a few, I’ll write up a scene. 🙂

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1154728.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable