Addergoole
A.M. Harte's Stamps Question
But I Meant...

How dependent upon intention is the Law? For example, if someone jokingly says 'I belong to you' without meaning the words, are they bound nonetheless?

Luke answers:

Let me tell you, Keaira, you’re lucky you’re asking me, and not Mike or someone actually unscrupulous.

Words have power all on their own; any Ellehemaei should know that. Not just the Domains and Manifestations, either. But look at those words. How does your favorite Word feel when you speak it, even casually?

You don’t, do you? Because there’s no way to speak a Word casually. They bend the world just being spoken.

Words that echo the Law are like that, too. Not as much as the Words, sure, but enough that you ought to be careful throwing them around. “Belong” is one of those. So is “swear,” or “promise.” Or, for that matter, “home.”

The world listens to us, Ké. It pays attention to us more than to humans. That means we have to pay more attention than they do, in return.

Eris, a Fourth-cohort student, also answers:

Oh, departed gods, don’t get me started.

I’m, uh, mouthy, I guess you could say. Rafe calls it “impetuous,” but, well, he likes me. “Melodramatic” might work better.

And you don’t think about it, you know, words just kind of fly off, off the cuff, as it were, and the next think you know, you’re saying “I promise” this thing and “I swear” this thing, and you’ve promised to never lie to him, and then you’ve sworn to not go to a dance with anyone but him.

And then you’re feeling pretty hemmed in, because you’ve sworn away most of your life, and he’s reminding you that you can’t go to the dance with your best friend, because you promised.

And, um, I might have said, “so, what, do I…” um… “B-word to you now?”

And being a smug bastard, he might have said back, “it looks like you do… B-word… to me.”

And then I might have been really stupid and snapped back, “well, then, I guess I do!”

And then I was stuck.

I don’t know if it would have been different if I weren’t so mouthy. I don’t know if it would have turned out differently if my father hadn’t named me after a goddess of strife. I don’t know if I’m contrary by Name or by Nature, or if there’s no difference between the two.

I do know that being impetuous and melodramatic is a bad idea when you’re dating a sadistic asshole with a cruel sense of humor and the gods-given ability to take you at your word.

And I know that being a mouthy bitch is a bad idea when you end up getting trapped into Belonging to that sadistic bastard.

At least, when he Owned me, it didn’t mean anything if I said “I promise.”

Discuss


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