No Mercy for Shefenka
By Tennen Mil Nurenas
Aras 22, 50 Y.P.A.
- Terera Square, Vae Arahi
Today, as will have been reported, Ifaen Shefenka Sha-Arano-e has been convicted of a crime he committed when he was still a child, and flogged to falling for it. This crime was not informing the people of Yeola-e that he had a certain foreknowledge, as we all know, that of his own early death.
Given that the Government and Court and Yeola-e general public work regularly with the famed augurer, Jinai Oru, this writer would have thought that someone would have argued that there is a general understanding that foreknowledge, whether granted by the Gods or by All-Spirit, is granted so that different choices may be made and that Shefenkas, when a first threshold child, could not see that this foreknowledge was not immutable, unchangeable.
Shefenka’s crime then, was not ‘lying’ to the people of Yeola-e but rather labouring under a delusion; a delusion that all foreknowledge was changeable, with the sole exception of this one, at least until his twenty-eighth year, when he was convinced otherwise by the healer Surya. So Shefenka is convicted of ‘lying’ to the people of Yeola-e, when truly he was laboring under a childish delusion and so has been punished less for having this delusion, but for the timing of his choosing to change it.
This strikes as justice at its most harsh and unforgiving. The Yeolis systematic embracing of the principles of the athyel seemingly insist on justice over mercy. People with access to Gods as the ultimate judges of fallible humanity appear to allow mercy more readily. There is more tolerance for mistakes and delusions, since the ultimate Judges are infallible in Their judgments, whereas athyel, dependent on the limited and often flawed views of their fellow men, and knowing men to be flawed, seem driven to insist on the fulfillment of the absolute letter of the law, with no mitigating circumstances allowed, no mercy.
Shefenka, living under the belief that his foreknowledge, that his own early death was an immutable fact, only now seems to realize that it is, as all other foreknowledge, changeable. Who knows the reason that he considered himself worthy of such cruelty? This seems also to be part of the Yeoli fear of anyone in power, who shows a gift for it. Even in Arko we say ‘The best die young, for the Gods are lonely for them’, however in Yeola-e people take it as a given they must restrain, punish, and rigidly control their brightest souls, if they are in a position that some might say has some power.
One must grant, however, that the principles of Divine mercy are seldom practiced, especially in an unbalanced system of power as was more than amply demonstrated in Kurkas’s Empire, yet an Imperator called to Ordeal, could also be released of it. A sane Imperator could grant clemency when circumstances called for forgiveness and a higher justice than that of men; of the spirit of the law, the grace in the law, rather than the punitive letter thereof.
The Arkan system is less flawed than it used to be, but perhaps the Yeolis could consider allowing a gracious Arkan idea to influence their judgments? Not only justice, but a kind of grace, and perhaps a rather more forgiving face to present to their only servant of the people?
Shefenka was flogged to falling, and spoke beforehand to ease people’s outrage at something that many Yeolis saw as an injustice done. Apparently the current semanakraseye has rather more grace in him than his own court. He received the pinched-soul demands of justice and bore the consequences of a system with space for very little mercy. Justice was done. Not mercy.
[excerpt from a much longer letter] I will be going asa kraiya on atakina 71 or Mikas 19, and you are of course invited, as is Minis. (I’ve included a letter to him in this packet, please pass it on to him. I can’t describe how much I miss you, Kall, though I keep trying. In the back of my mind I am counting the days to Muunas 1 48 YPA, when we’ll be able to be together permanently. All-Spirit… I’ll be 31 then. It’s so strange to write that…