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Consonance

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A

It is a grand dame, the new District Center of Dæmonology. The locals often warmly recommend it to visitors, with no more enthusiasm than due, of course, to any of the new centers of learning that charmed me and my companions into the Delshire hills. Once a building given over to dubious youthful activities, it has been rebuilt and rechristened by district elders to the finest purpose: educating their children in the ways of their souls. And if not all children can view the exhibits, yet—alas, they must miss the magnificent specimens of bears, the perfectly textured beaks of the birds, the well-bred marching at meticulously judged remove from their dæmons, the percentages of hooked-feet in this town and that and their correspondence with petty crimes—the Center has at least the consolation of knowing it has acted in accordance with the best incentive programmes devised yet by the scientists of Delshire. With community blessing, it will soon be able to penetrate the countryside with its most crucial pairing examples, and enlighten those folk as well.

I witnessed an exchange between a Delshire child and an adult volunteer during my visit. It is a common pleasure, to be sure—the wide-eyed children form a constant stream in, and an enlightened one out—but a pleasure nonetheless. The men and women who out of humility refuse the term Staff wear a riot of colors, and are of admirable physical diversity; but to a one their communions with their dæmons are flawless, and all continuously delighted by their dæmons' permanent forms—most understandable, as their dæmons could fail no test. If only every human had their spirit!

BOY. What if she's got red patches under her wings?
VOLUNTEER. Then you only need to turn another page. Yes, there, that's her type. And there you can see the statistics of her breed, and all of the studies we've collected about people like you.
BOY. [Sniffles.] But I don't want to join the Corps.
VOLUNTEER. No one will make you, sweetheart! But you can see here in the Center how happy you'd be... 1

 

B

The existence of these Centers is no doubt only one manifestation of the processes that drive the modern study of dæmons. This study has been named systematic, rigorous, precise. It is: the field has been the instrument by which permanent surveillance has been introduced, and resistance to it eased, in our society. No longer needs one a church to hunt those judged most abnormal or knowledge of Angels to imagine oneself being watched. In the charts of the Centers in Delshire, Agetshire, Tolshire one can see the supposed history and future of every dæmon-bond in the universe. In its infancy dæmonology only identified witches and non-witches; the panoptic breadth of our knowledge now allows one to pinpoint dæmon normality on any of a hundred axes, and thus the qualities of the person bonded to it, and allows for one's neighbors to instantly access one's own. Everywhere we interrogate the child in the guise of helping her understand. The Magisterium kills and rends nowhere, but life is now imposed on all of us forever, in files that will never be complete, and through procedures that bear no names but judge our souls. 2

 

C

Fellow daemonless, keep reading: That you are here and thinking and feeling is a revolutionary act.

You are not a lesser being for not having an animal at your heels. You are not a lesser being for not raining Dust from your underpants. You are not a lesser being if you were born Severed or if you chose to Sever yourself. YOU ARE NOT SAFE. The cameras, the papers, they have let us slide in public. They haven't figured out yet why we can be strange and live. They have no place for us in their hierarchies and graphs. But when they realize this they will come after you. Look at the sisters-in-arms that grew too close to their partners' daemons, remember how they were looked at when they dared to touch. LOOK. Do you think the daemon-bound will be any kinder to us when we fail to fit their charts, when we dare to show how wrong their judgments are by living good lives without our souls peeled out of our skins? WE BREAK THE SYSTEM. Don't think you can be normal by acting normally with your parents' and friends' daemons. Don't think the worst consequence is your neighbors climbing over your fence to goggle. WE CANNOT BE SEEN IN A WORLD THAT RELIES ON SEEING EVERYTHING ABOUT US. When the Centers remember, the cages and claws will come out again, and you will need to look and listen and fight with your own eyes and ears and mind. 3

 

1 Iel Järvinen, "Sights and Sounds: The Modernization of Delshire", p8.

2 This passage is most commonly attributed to M. Foucault, who is unfortunately but safely dead.

3 Anonymous, "Visibility Is Not the Answer", p1.