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Yaechahre Laws

Yaechahre are the lowest-ranking members of the Orunameh (“all people”—meaning Canichmehah and Yaechahre together). They have very few rights by law, although they do have more by custom.

Prior to about 200 A.D., all Yaechahre were held as slaves. While individual groups, in practice, owned and controlled their own Yaechahre, the Yaechahre were, legally, owned by all Canichmehah collectively.

The only law regarding them at the time was that they could not be sold, because they were considered a communal asset. If a group no longer wanted a Yaechahre, or if their Yaechahre were so interrelated they could not find suitable marriage partners for them, it was acceptable only to sell them or exchange them with another Canichmeh group (it was also acceptable to buy raw slaves and turn them into Yaechahre, but once taken in, they could not be sold out). 

When the Council voted to free the Yaechahre (because slavery was on the decline anyways), they were granted a few rights: 

  • Humans cannot be forced into becoming Yaechahre by the Canichmehah; they have to voluntarily swear loyalty.
  • A Yaechahre has the right to rescind their Acceptance at any time. (Having given up their status as a Yaechahre, however, that person can never be Yaechahre again.)
  • The Canichmehah must provide Yaechahre with housing.
  • Canichmehah cannot physically hurt Yaechahre.
  • Canichmehah are not allowed to bite any born-Yaechahre who have not Accepted. (However, they also are not required to provide for them.)
  • Yaechahre are not required to give any service to vampires except to feed them. Physical labor cannot be demanded, nor can sex.
  • No Yaechahre can be forced to travel with a Canichmeh, but they can be asked. If they agree to travel, all of their personal needs are to be paid for by the person they are traveling with.
  • Yaechahre can’t be forcibly separated from their immediate family (i.e. children can’t be taken away from their parents, spouses can’t be separated, etc.), except in criminal cases.
  • No woman (human or Yaechahre) can be bitten who is pregnant. (It’s custom not to take from anyone who is ill, except in emergencies.)
  • A Yaechahre cannot be expelled for any reason other than willful disobedience or commission of certain crimes against the Orunameh.
  • While any Canichmeh has the right to expel a Yaechahre for lack of obedience (it has since become customary for only an Eruj to do this), the Yaechahre has the right to appeal the expulsion to the Council.

Any former slave who agreed to stay on as a “free” Yaechahre was granted ownership of all of the clothing, furnishings and lodgings they had previously been allotted. They were also given money to set themselves up in business, or, where a group owned livestock, it was divided up and given to the remaining Yaechahre. Those who left with their freedom left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Needless to say, most swore allegiance and stayed. 

The age of Acceptance, at that time, was 13 for girls and 14 for boys. Due to social custom at the time, however, parents generally forced their children to Accept, and it was actually considered a dishonor among most of the Yaechahre for one’s child not to Accept when they came of age.

As time progressed, the age of majority for Yaechahre crept upwards until it was 16 for girls and 18 for boys in the 14th century. There was still parental pressure on children to Accept, but this gradually lessened as society in general gave more choice to young adults in terms of choosing their marriage partners, etc. (although in some cultures this did not happen, and Yaechahre in those areas retained fairly strict control over their children). 

Today, in America, the British Isles, and most of Western Europe, children are truly free to decide if they wish to Accept or not. In fact, the pendulum has swung the other way and many—especially girls—are actually encouraged by their parents to wait until they are 20+ years old to Accept. 

The law has changed back and forth over the centuries, but currently Yaechahre are expected to make their own living and provide for themselves (except for housing). However, by custom, no Canichmeh can allow a Yaechahre go without basic needs (i.e. food, clothing, medicine).

The minor children of Yaechahre are provided for if their parents are unable to care for them. In cases of child abuse, the Eruj and/or Council can remove a child from his parents and place the child with another Yaechahre family. (And depending on the severity of the abuse, the parent(s) can be expelled.) Where the child of a Yaechahre can never be Accepted (i.e. due to a severe physical or mental handicap), it is customary to provide all necessary care for that child for life (the same as if he or she was an Accepted Yaechahre).

The Yaechahre have a “council” of their own, which functions as an advisory board. It has no authority to create law, only to recommend changes to law and present concerns to the Council. The Council can also poll the Yaechahre council for their opinion on a matter which concerns the Yaechahre as a whole. The council can then either return an opinion after surveying its council members, or, depending on the matter and when the Council needs an opinion returned, the council can ask all of the Yaechahre to submit their comments.

The Yaechahre council has ten members, and the only rules about who can serve are: the person must be an Accepted Yaechahre and cannot have served as the personal (favorite) Yaechahre of any member of the Council. Members are elected for a five-year term, with all of the seats coming open at once. When election time comes, each member may recommend up to five people for a seat on the council (they cannot nominate themselves for a second term, although someone else on the council can; there is no limit to the number of terms served), and the list of candidates are mailed to every group’s Eruj, who collects votes from his group’s Yaechahre and submits them back to the council (although, for the last council election, people were able to vote online or by paper). The populace can also write in a candidate’s name, and a couple of people have been elected by popular acclaim in the past.

The Yaechahre council only meets once a year, at the Convening, although they keep up correspondence (now online) with each other throughout the year.

© 2012 by Keri Peardon. All rights reserved.

 

Web design by Keri Peardon.

 

Background for the website and the header is from Lilium medicinae by Bernardus de Gordonio, translated into Hebrew by Moses ben Shmaya de Castro in Escalona, Spain, January 11, 1466. The original manuscript is housed at the Bridwell Library at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. The female figure in the header is from the Manesse Codex, which is housed at the Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany.