Building community and heart into the Firefly 'verse
In Firefly we don't see many Companions and of that mere glimpses of Core Planet Companions. Joss wanted there to be more sex in the show but on main stream TV violence sells better than sex (he got a bit more into exploring sex and relationships in DollHouse which is also a good show IMO but even that was curtailed some).
Core Planet Companions would be in the main focussed on the day to day living of a courtesan and the maintenance of community. When we see Inara providing booked engagements they seem to often follow the same procedures but I imagine that Companions living in cities and working with a system would have been booked for all sorts of engagements, even ones that deal with intimacy on levels before sex, diplomacy.. massage.. teaching someone to dance etc.
Such engagements might not be as flashy or exciting as the idea of having sex with someone you just met but I imagine would be a big part of the Guild itself being an accepted part of helpful society. Beings who are trained to understand intimacy in different levels and context would be, and are, highly sought after.
The gift of giving an understanding of personal limits and boundaries is also an act of love.. not overly illustrated by Inara apart from her "no servicing the crew" rule - which she often could be seen as breaking in her affectionate treatment of Kayleigh. Such intimacy would probably only be offered casually to members of the community in the Core Guild worlds and would have to be booked for by people who were not being trained themselves.
Any thoughts about Core World Companions and the difference between living in communities of Companions and not?
I like to think that it would be much like what we've created in SL - our Guild is what a "Core World Guild" would be like.
In our RP with Araxes, I've tried to foster an image of the Guild as being more than just sex workers, even more than just "escorts" of any kind, non-sexual or otherwise. I took inspiration from, of all places, the Vestal Virgins of ancient Rome.
In ancient Rome, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins (Latin: Vestālēs, singular Vestālis [wɛsˈtaː.lɪs]) were priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth. The College of the Vestals and its well-being was regarded as fundamental to the continuance and security of Rome. They cultivated the sacred fire that was not allowed to go out. The Vestals were freed of the usual social obligations to marry and bear children, and took a vow of chastity in order to devote themselves to the study and correct observance of state rituals that were off-limits to the male colleges of priests.
The Vestals became a powerful and influential force in the Roman state. When Sulla included the young Julius Caesar in his proscriptions, the Vestals interceded on Caesar's behalf and gained him pardon. Augustus included the Vestals in all major dedications and ceremonies. They were held in awe, and even attributed certain magical powers.
Their tasks included the maintenance of the fire sacred to Vesta, the goddess of the hearth and home, collecting water from a sacred spring, preparation of food used in rituals and caring for sacred objects in the temple's sanctuary. By maintaining Vesta's sacred fire, from which anyone could receive fire for household use, they functioned as "surrogate housekeepers", in a religious sense, for all of Rome. Their sacred fire was treated, in Imperial times, as the emperor's household fire.
The Vestals were put in charge of keeping safe the wills and testaments of various people such as Caesar and Mark Antony. In addition, the Vestals also guarded some sacred objects, including the Palladium, and made a special kind of flour called mola salsa which was sprinkled on all public offerings to a god.
The dignities accorded to the Vestals were significant.
- in an era when religion was rich in pageantry, the presence of the College of Vestal Virgins was required in numerous public ceremonies and wherever they went, they were transported in a carpentum, a covered two-wheeled carriage, preceded by a lictor, and had the right-of-way;
- at public games and performances they had a reserved place of honour;
- unlike most Roman women, they were not subject to the patria potestas and so were free to own property, make a will, and vote;
- they gave evidence without the customary oath, their word being trusted without question;
- they were, on account of their incorruptible character, entrusted with important wills and state documents, like public treaties;
- their person was sacrosanct: death was the penalty for injuring their person and they had escorts to protect them from assault;
- they could free condemned prisoners and slaves by touching them – if a person who was sentenced to death saw a Vestal on his way to the execution, he was automatically pardoned.
- they participated in throwing the ritual straw figures called Argei into the Tiber on May 15.
So, take their inviolate public persona, their aura of almost magical glamor, the trust in their complete discretion and reliability, their place as important members of high society, their position as negotiators who are respected by all, and the keepers of their own "sacred flames" (something WE do in our Guild) - just substitute open and unashamed sexuality for the chastity of the Vestals, and substitute the Mother Ritual and our own customs for the ritual observances of ancient Rome, and you are not far off what I think the Guild would have been like in Core society.
Good! *grins* It hasnt been easy establishing a Core World Guild as of course those who are fans of Firefly are often fans of people who only have the sky to their name. Laying a fertile platform for long term love and support is not really 'canon' per the scenes we see in the show but it IS the strength that Inara draws from when she is out in the Black on crazy adventures!
I like to think of Italian Renaissance courtesans and the significant fame and wealth they often had. They were pretty much rockstars in their society -- officially disapproved of by older, stodgier types of folk, but widely admired by the young and cool. And they were often significant patrons of the arts, fostering creativity with wealth and encouragement.