[DWJ] Chalice

jodel at aol.com jodel at aol.com
Mon Apr 20 15:01:28 EDT 2009

>>I wanted to say, without quoting all of J.Odell's excellent post, how 
I always enjoy reading your astute and amusing analysis<<

Er, thank you. Spare my blushes.

But, really, I strongly suspect that I am going to need to roll this 
into the Beautyx3 essay. 'Chalice' really is another retelling of the 
same story, so I've had it on my mind ever since I read it back in 
January or thereabouts.

As to the point that you raise; this turns out to be a case in which 
the ending throws us a Fire & Hemlock conclusion. It came about because 
the situation had a sting in its tail, and it is *only* going to work 
out properly by going *against* the established tradition.













The bit about Masters being forbidden to mary their Chalices was 
traditional, and it read as being a perfectly reasonable constraint -- 
according to what, by then, we had absorbed of the tradition. It took 
until the middle of the book to absorb that much of it, but we managed 
it. the stipulation against it didn't spring out of the blue and leave 
us going "Say what?!" It was the sudden elimination of that prohibition 
that surprises us.

But then, when you stop and think, the whole story from the get-go was 
a departure and a defiance of "tradition" -- from the point that the 
Grand Senechal started insisting upon making the attempt to restore the 
Mastership from the original bloodline. If not earlier, when the 
previous Master decided to get rid of his brother, defy tradition, and 
the devil with what it demanded.

There had never been a 2nd-level priest who attempted to return to 
humanity. Indeed, 2nd-level priests were *unfit* to live among normal 

There had never been a Chalice who held her office in honey, for that 

And, getting down to the nitty-gritty of the problem, by the time 
matter was settlerd, that demense had really been through an awful lot. 
I can't remember how many years the previous Master had dragged it into 
his rebellion against everything his father had stood for, and had held 
him to against his will. But it was at least a few, and then it lost 
both Master and Chalice in the same conflagration, and the rest of the 
circle were left at loggerheads.

Then it suddenly burps up an untrained Chalice with a totally 
unprecidented fluid in which she holds her office, who isn't socially 
equiped to help to bring the circle back together. And *then* when the 
Senechal finally gets his way, and brings back the Master's younger 
brother, the fellow isn't even properly human any more.

He means well by the land, however, and that makes a big difference. 
But by the time that things are finally beginniing to stabelize, the 
Overlord has to shove his oar in, and and we are looking at a demense 
that is slated to shatter altogether. And will produce *exactly* the 
situation wherein the Master *must* marry his Chalice to bring the 
demense back together, and give it a new ruling bloodline.

Which the Overlord counts upon, for the benefit of his favorite.

Well that didn't happen. But by restoring the Last Master's younger 
brother, the demense now has yet *another* "new" Master to have to 
adapt to. It was gradually succeding in adapting to being ruled by a 
Master that was not human. But that is not a safe precedent to set, for 
a Master who is not human will only forstall the pending disaster for 
his own lifetime. He will get no heirs. And a demense needs *human* 
heirs, and I suspect that it has been through too much by that time to 
just settle down as if it were passing smoothly from its new Master's 
father to him, had the two young lords' birth order been reversed.

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