crucifix

The naming of things is a difficult matter

It isn't just one of your holiday games. I need to name a thing. I have been failing to name this thing for months now. But if you worry about being spoiled for novel-length stories about Giles that I have in progress, you might not want to read this discussion. Not that I spoil all that much. Council backstory, mostly, in the universe of "Breaking Glass" and "Gas-ring Alchemy". Also, it's all about religion in the Buffyverse, which might potentially offend though that is not my intent.

Ignore anything season 7 said about Slayer & Watcher origins, because I am. The setup that follows is the backstory I've invented for my own nefarious purposes. If I vary from Buffy canon, it's because I want to. Nyah.

In this story, Slayers are chosen of God (aka 3 particular Powers who decided to gang up a long time ago). Christianity is the only religion with holy symbols that are effective against vampires, because it's the one whose backers are annoyed with vamps. Every religion is real, in the sense that it has a Power behind it. (Ethan worships Janus because Janus is a real Power, who rewards Ethan.) Watcher magic is Christian magic.

The deal is that the Council wasn't always the vamp-fighting Slayer-helping organization. The Council as shown was founded by Hank 8 shortly after the dissolution of the monasteries, when somebody cleverly pointed out to him that he still needed somebody to deal with the vampire problem London has had for its entire existence. Before the council, there was a Roman Catholic organization, founded in the dark ages. It still exists, though much diminished because it lost the political squabble with the CoE branch. (England's political ascendence mattered.)

What is the name of that organization?

In "Gas-ring Alchemy", I named the Watcher school St Gregory's, for no good reason whatsoever. But I might work with that. Gregory was an early pope, the first monk to become pope. 6th century. Bleah.

What do these organizations get named after? People, places. Argh! I just need some kind of decision here.


With such issues I lay waste my days.
Does it need to have a proper name, or could it have a nonspecific name, like "the council?" Society, association, college, order...? I'm reminded of Merlin in That Hideous Strength asking Ransom if he is truly a member of the College. A name like that could be recognized as a specific name by those in the know and dismissed as general by those from whom it was hidden.
I think I need a proper name, if only because Giles will explain bits of the history to Buffy. And because they visit the remnants & have a long interaction with them. So I gotta bite the bullet here.
ooh, I love naming things...
There were some HUGE arguments between the Church and the crown well before H8 pitched his very personally lucrative fit. [remember "Murder in the Cathedral"? St. Thomas a Beckett and his sovereign, once the best of friends, arguing over the right to anoint the king, i.e. is power from the state or from God....oy, very old story.]

By far the most lucrative property Henry the 8th gained from his "coup" was Glastonbury, founded by St. Dunstan [patron of jewelers and smiths, hence a favorite of mine, of course; he is often shown leading Satan around by the nose using a pair of blacksmith's tongs]. In 900 Dunstan really did lay the groundwork for English Christian power, both political and sacred, and he did it on a place of existing power and incorporated that power very well. And --aha! -- the tie-in with the other two stories. Look up Dunstan and his transformation of Avalon into a Christian power. Surely that's where the native English vampire hunters were trained, right? A secret order of warrior monks, perhaps, or a sacred knighthood [arms: crossed sword and stake on a red cross, white field....] Canterbury didn't get its power until the shrine of Thomas was built in 1200ish [rusty on that one]; that is the shrine Chaucer's crew were off to visit. But I think older is better in this case, given the primordial battle and all, and the connection to Arthur [okay, a fabrication for pilgrim tourism, but nevertheless there....]

Would you consider Watchers to be Dunston's heirs, in a way? or his lieutenants? You really need an English saint for this, and Gregory wasn't. I also think the connection to older and other mystical powers is useful, too. There is the Tor, casting its long shadow across both time and space; there is the Abbey, potent ground still even in ruin.... of course you already know how I feel about that.

Let me just do some ruffling around in the hagiographies and get back to you...my sweet tomes are still packed [but shelves are going up! soon, soon!!!!]

Cheerful task in a time of grief. Thanks for, y'know, asking for input....

Re: ooh, I love naming things...
Ooooh! Yes, I really would like an English saint for this, and was just reading up on them on the wikipedia & the online Catholic encyclopedia. Am happy to abandon St Gregory's as a name and just change the copies of the stories under my control :)

Glastonbury as a site is also important to me, and I think Giles will be revisiting the location of his little adventure with Ethan to recover something useful to Buffy. Okay, now I go read about Dunstan...

I think I locate the modern remnants in Rome, where they fled after the dissolution, with whatever they could salvage. Though France would also work for this.
so many tantalizing details!
I found an excellent article on St. Dunstan in the Catholic encyclopedia at this site:

www.newadvent.org/cathen/05199a.htm

In which we learn he fell from grace with the king and was drummed out of court on suspicion of practicing magic [*grin*] and the king later has to come and make nice after a near-death experience chasing a stag near the cliffs of Cheddar [very rugged place]. Of course the official story says the accusations of magic-use were trumped-up by jealous courtiers, but for the purpose of your story, and its demonic denizens, you could tweak things a bit, eh? I should think a bit of magic would be quite a useful thing to vampire hunters who aren't themselves Slayers. He just seems like a better person to have founded a Watcher's school than Gregory -- who was a very canny politician and fund-raiser, but really rather boring on the narrative front.

back out into the information thickets to rummage....

Re: so many tantalizing details!
Heh. That's the Catholic encyclopedia site I've been reading. There's also a Wikipedia article on him.

Better and better, because in this story the Watcher's role is to be a mage & adviser to the Slayer. Also: patron saint of swordsmiths, locksmiths, and musicians. This fits perfectly with what I want Giles to retrieve from Glastonbury. Okay, I'm sold. Dunstan's my guy.
Further tantalizing details!
This in the realm of "places" -- have a gander at the Wikipedia site on Glastonbury Tor, which includes some archeological references that I had not known about concerning the terracing on the Tor. Being a good geology student, raised in the Western US and surrounded by differentially eroding geosynclines, I just accepted the little plaque's suggestions that the terraces were geological in nature. But woohoo! There is some suspicion that they are in fact a neolithic labyrinth [one of my fond passions in design] mapped onto this three-dimensional surface, and furthermore, there is the mythic connection with the Spiral Castle of the king of faerie, and the entrance to the Underworld [in this case, Faerie] being at the Tor. What if it was an Entrance, i.e. a dimensional portal? wouldn't that tend to encourage the training of a force to deal with the *ahem* persons who might wander into that lovely bit of landscape?

There is also the Tor as the central point of ley lines, etc. I like the idea of walking the Tor labyrinth as being part of the earliest sanctification of newly trained vampire hunters: the Tor Warriors, or Monks of the Spiral Castle, or something...

*whew* dizzy from spinning.....but so happy you're happy....
Re: Further tantalizing details!
I knew that bit about a portal at the Tor; Giles can see it though Ethan can't, and he tells Ethan he knows it's open. Because mumble murfle. Ah, I love it when the unconscious does my planning for me. I knew I wanted that story to set up some stuff I'd pay off later, in this long story. YAY!
How about a proper name that's obscure or has references to saint of choice, like 'the silver rose of Glastonbury' or some such?
Religious groups love to keep things elusive.
Well, yeah. When I think church 'superSekrit' groups, I think vague and pompous names with symbolic meanings and an easy way to shorten (ala Scottish Rite/masons.) I just chose rose because it's generic Christian and Glastonbury because that was related to Dunstan. Just play mad-libs 'til you get something you like.
I'm thinking a Holy Order of St. So-And-So. Someone suggested Dunstan, I think, above?

If it's a RC organization, it's a Holy Order. Esp. if the members are all monks or priests. Could be headed up by a Cardinal or a Monsignor.
The Order of St Dunstan and the associated Knights of St Dunstan. Or a name I will think up, now that I am Dunstan-aware, involving locks and keys, along the lines suggested by nemaihne above. I will probably borrow a bit from the Templar organization. I need ordained priests and members who are able to marry and are definitely not priests.