Once their last journey was over, they went back to Jarvis' Convivium. Here a surprise was waiting for them - the Regent of the Convivium was now Trake, who had been named Councilor, as the Elder Fanes had been elected Great Master of the Mystics, and moved to the Great Master's Convivium. Jarvis asked Trake to admit Fresth to the Mystics. Trake wrote to the Great Master who took all the necessary steps with the Reformeds Great Master to get authorization from him. It was just a formality, as the Regent of Fresth would surely not oppose, but they had to wait for an affirmative response.
Then, in the evening, Jarvis told Trake, with some hesitation, what happened between Fresth and him. He concluded by saying, "And yet I love you, Councilor Trake, exactly as before."
The man listened to him, then said, "I don't doubt it, my dear boy. And I'm glad you understood you are in love with Fresth also - quite soon you will have to leave this Convivium and we two would only be able to meet rather seldom. I'm happy you will have somebody near you to love and to be loved by. It will be he to give you the strength you will need to overcome the many difficulties you will encounter in your new life."
"But tell me, Master, how is it possible to be really and deeply in love with two different people at once. I love you both, with a different love, and yet with a true love."
"Love is something that escapes any definition, you must not be amazed. Love me and love him. Don't look for problems that are non-existent. But now undress, twelve months I've waited for you. Let me love you during these remaining days."
Jervis lay, with quivering anticipation, on the bed with his beloved master and when the man let him feel his desire, he welcomed Trake into himself with deep joy and emotion. Meanwhile he was thinking of Fresth and knew he was really in love with both Master Trake and the boy and understood that the two loves were not in contrast, but rather were only one, mysterious love.
The authorization for Fresth's admission arrived and during a beautiful, moving nocturnal ceremony, Trake took off the boy's Reformeds' clothes and put on the Mystics' colors. Then Fresth performed his first mystical dance in front of all the United. He danced for Jarvis and danced nicely, although he was just a beginner. But he had studied hard these past few days, under the guidance of various Masters. Together with the admission of Fresth, came a summons for Jarvis - he had to go to the Great Master's house to undergo the test to become a Master.
"Trake, what does this means? I don't feel ready yet!"
"You are ready, believe me."
"Did you propose it?"
"Sure, and our Great Master at once accepted my proposition. Listen, I talked about that when he was elected. He in person said to me that it will be better if whoever requests the opening of a new Convivium is a Master. When you come back, together we will prepare the statute of your new Convivium, then we will apply for its inauguration. Have you already decided where you want to built it?"
"Yes, during my journeys I spotted an enchanting place, it's on the top of a small hill, near a lake. I will show you on a map."
"Our Order will give you part of the needed funds, but you will have to gather the rest yourself."
"My brother will help me, moreover we will visit all the villages and cities around the hill to collect alms."
"Have you already decided who will come with you to found the new Convivium, besides Fresth?"
"I've a few ideas, I will ask some of my companions here, and others from the three Mystics Conviviums I visited during my journeys. Once it is founded, there are others from other Orders who will ask to be transferred to my new Convivium."
"You will also need to start looking for Candidates."
"Surely so - at first we will look for them in the villages where we go to collect alms."
They discussed several aspects of the cyclopean enterprise Jarvis was starting, until the day came for him to undergo the tests to become a Master. Having said good-bye to Fresth and Trake, he took a horse and left. Along the road he stopped to visit several Mystics' Conviviums, both going and coming back.
While he was at the Great Master's Convivium, he had the chance to examine some copies of the fragments of the Scriptures that were older than the Canonical copy and he had luck - in one of the fragments there was Ber's plaint for Tulham's death:
"... my friend, and calling thou just a friend is betraying thee, my irreplaceable support, my faithful companion, my beloved! (this last expression was missing in the Canonical copies!) Prepare for me also a soft pallet at the right of God, with thine ("with" and not "near" as in the official copy), and wait for me, faithful as thou were in life, as I will come. I will knock at the eternal doors as every night (and not "every day"...) I was knocking at thy door, and thou will recognize my knocking and thou will rejoice and thou will say: Lord, here is my Ber, coming to rejoin me forever. I knew this man and he knew me, and united (and not just "together") we sang your praise on Earth with our voices and our bodies - let our bodies and our minds, forever united (and not "close") to each other, have eternal joy in your light."
He asked to have an authenticated copy of that ancient document and took note where the original was conserved - he was more and more persuaded he was right in his vision...
Finally, when he was back with his Master's degree, he prepared the papers to open a new Convivium. As the Great Master was already favourable, the discussions were neither long nor hard so Jarvis with Fresth, and Petak with Raffle, Domke and Punts, at last got the authorization and the funds. Then Jarvis went to see his brother Mulke, who welcomed him with his usual joy, happy to meet Fresth. Mulke gave them a considerable sum of money. So, after having bought the land, they had the first nucleus of the Convivium built. Meanwhile the six United were living in three tents near the builders' yard and, during the day, they started their tours to get the alms and to talk to the people about the new Convivium, as well to recruit youths as Candidates who were fifteen or sixteen-years-old.
They settled into the new Convivium, made for the moment of just four small buildings - one with the Small Hall, one with the mess, the larder and the kitchen, and two with six cells each with a communal bath in one and the library in the other. This all enclosed by a wall with a single door and lodgings for the two doorkeepers. Later the building for the Candidates and the Novices, together with a Medium Hall, another bath and another mess was added. In just one year, the new Convivium already had five Candidates and six more Mystics, including Kampi who asked to be moved there. From the very start they applied the new rules, and started to sleep in couples - the steady ones, like Jarvis and Fresth, always together, and the others as they pleased, at times in the cell of one companion, at times another.
Whoever desired to spend all night with one of the companions, went to his cell and, if the shoes were at the door, he entered and asked, "May I bring the shoes inside?"
If the other said yes, he went to the door and brought both pairs of shoes inside, thus they spent the night together making love without worries. If the other said no, the first one had three options - he could go back to his own cell leaving his shoes outside in the hope that another companion would enter, or he could try another cell, or go back to his cell renouncing to have a mate, therefore not leaving his shoes outside the cell. The system was very simple and worked well, and would work even better when the Convivium had more members.
The bath was officially conceived for only one person at a time, in twelve daily shifts of an hour each, therefore there was a system of booking. But if two desired to use it at the same time to make love in the warm water, they had just to book two hours in a row and spend both hours in the bath without problems.
Another place they also could meet to make love was the garden. It was made in the shape of a maze with several L shaped blind paths wherein to withdraw - in this case the shoes were used in the opposite way - nobody could to enter a blind path having a pair of shoes at its entrance.
The Candidates wing had a large dormitory with twelve beds, divided by partitions chest height and with two beds each, divided into six groups of two looking outward, and with a central secret corridor from where the United who was in charge of the Candidates could see them through a hidden spy-hole. If, during the night, two Candidates were seen engaging in sexual activities, the man in charge would say nothing to them, but their names were added to the list of those who would be acceptable to become Novices. The two were then separated and put in to sleep with different Candidates, in the hope, as often happened, that these two would try sex with their new companions also.
If one of the boys refused all advances of his companions, and if he didn't denounce the attempts to the superiors, he became a Novice all the same in the hopes that he would accept new advances, and if he still refused them all, he was moved to Trake's Convivium. The same happened if he went to denounce the attempts of his companions to have sex with him. In this way all those who became Acolytes were certainly lovers of sex with men. At this point the true reason and rules of the new Convivium was revealed to them. During the entire period they were Acolytes, they could make love freely with the others but could not yet be bound in a steady relationship.
Once they were Professed, they could ask to be bound as a steady couple with another Professed or someone of a superior degree, thus their union was celebrated in the Great Hall with a dance of the two applicants, who were afterwards left alone in the closed Hall for the whole night to make love.
Eight years after its foundation, the Convivium was so crowded that it was decided to found a second one, and Kampi was chosen as its Regent. They also changed their names calling themselves Closured-Mystics, to mark a difference with the main branch of the Order. Jarvis was named Councilor of the Great Master, who knew and was following Jarvis experiment with great interest.
During this time a boy whose name was Belche was admitted as a Candidate. Besides being really beautiful, the boy was incredibly sensual and, in one way or another, always managed to involve all his dormitory companions in complete and joyous sexual activities. He became a Novice when he was seventeen-years- old, and Acolyte at just eighteen. Several members of the Convivium were in love with him, and as he still hadn't chosen a steady companion, his cell, or his bath shift, or his corner in the maze-garden, were always well attended.
One day, Jarvis called him. "Belche, why don't you choose a steady companion?"
"I am not yet a Professed."
"Sure, but you should know that nobody would oppose it if you had a beloved one."
"I still haven't one. I love all of them." the boy answered with bright eyes.
"And all of them love you. But don't you think it would be good having a steady companion?"
"Possibly one day I will fall in love with one in a special way. But, each time I am with one of my companions, I really love him. Each of them has something different to give me and to get from me and I am happy being able to receive and to give at once. I like dancing for each of them, not yet for one in particular."
"Your dances are very good, and quite near to mystical ecstasy. Did you ever try to dance while making love?"
"Not, ever. Is it possible? It must be beautiful, really beautiful." the youth said, happily but somewhat stupefied.
"Try it, then. And if you eventually experience total ecstasy, the one with whom you experience it, is your man."
"But what if I experience it with everybody?"
"It is not possible, you will become aware of that in yourself."
"You, Councilor Jarvis, experienced it with your Fresth?"
"The total ecstasy?"
"It must be wonderful. This is why both of you are always so luminous, then."
"I'm glad that you understand."
"Thank you, Councilor Jarvis, your words are precious to me."
When Novice Herte became an Acolyte, the first time Belche made love with him, they both experienced total ecstasy, thus he asked Jarvis to be united with Herte.
"Our rule doesn't allow it, Herte is not yet a Professed. You know that."
"But we are really in love!"
"Nobody prevents you two from being together, and nobody can force either of you to have sex with other people. So you can love each other in an exclusive way. We just cannot celebrate your union yet."
"Forgive me, but I cannot understand the reason for this rule."
"If you are able to wait and to be faithful to each other without an official bond, it means that you are really right one for the other." Jarvis explained gently.
Belche nodded gravely, "Yes, I now understand. Thank you."
Belche and Herte were always together; they were really deeply in love with each other. Herte studied hard to become a Professed as fast possible. And at last they could unite. Their union dance was such a wonder that many were moved to tears.
After Jarvis left the Great Hall where he had shut the new couple. He said to his Fresth, "Belche will go a long way in our new Order, now that he got the illumination."
Finally, when Jarvis was thirty-three-years-old and had already founded seven Conviviums, after having deepened his studies and for a long while compiled the new Constitutions, felt ready to apply for the institution of the new Order of the Closureds. He toured all seven Conviviums to explain that the most crucial period for them was about to begin - with the request to recognize the new Order, after the proceedings in front of the Bergalilam and all the Great Masters. The official inspections would start of all their Conviviums and, if none of the inspectors opposed, the authorization could possibly be granted. Thus they had to prepare themselves for the inspections ensuring that nothing could leak out about the real aim of the new Order.
The proceedings in front of the Bergalilam lasted nineteen months, during which Jarvis, together with some Masters, had to explain, support and defend the new Constitutions. The study that Councilor Trake had done on the previous failed attempts to found a new Order, revealed important clues for them to avoid mistakes. At the end, they got the first permit to proceed.
Thus the inspections started. They were done by surprise, from envoys of the other Orders and even from the Keepers. The new community had tuned up a system to avoid surprises - when somebody rang at the Convivium door, anybody in the buildings making love, had to stop at once. If it was not the inspectors, the bell of the summoning at the Great Hall was rung and life resumed as before. Otherwise, everybody knew that the inspectors had arrived and nobody would make love as long as they remained in the Convivium. It was a sacrifice (at times in fact the inspectors stayed for a full month) but everybody did so with joy.
The only problem may have come from Candidates and Novices, not yet aware of the problem, but as they could only make love at night in their separate cells, it was practically impossible for the inspectors to catch them, also, to enter the Candidates and Novices wings, it was necessary to ring at the door that during the night was closed both from inside and outside, so that the boys had plenty of time to go back to his own bed.
The inspections lasted for three years, and there was never a negative result. On the contrary; several inspectors were agreeably surprised by the joyous, serene atmosphere, reigning in the new Conviviums. As well as by the intense application all the members showed in their studies, their practical works and their mystical activities.
Finally, the inspectors also gave their authorization. Then the Council of the Galilams reconvened to establish the annual assignation to the new Order, from the communal funds. At last Jarvis was summoned by the Bergalilam to be invested as the first Great Master of the Closured's Order. Jarvis had chosen white and azure as the colors of his Order, therefore he, the first, being the Great Master, wore azure clothes with a thin white border, to distinguish himself from the Sapient's Great Master, who's clothes were totally azure. Once the ceremonies of his investiture were over, Jarvis toured all his Conviviums, entrusting the new charges and giving the new colors to the members.
Then, using the first annual allotment, he had to build the new Great Master's Convivium. His brother Mulke gave him another generous donation to contribute to the new buildings. As tradition required, Jarvis had to choose land far away from any inhabited area. Therefore he chose an island in the shape of a round hill, a few hundred meters off the seashore, and totally covered by a forest.
He surrounded it with a high wall, leaving only one access toward the natural bay, and built the prescribed eight houses sloping down from the top of the hill to the bay, each separated from the others by a circular, concentric wall. The gate of each wall was under the responsibility of one of the degrees. The one at the landing-place was guarded by Candidates chosen in the various Conviviums, the second one by Novices, the third by Acolytes, the fourth by Professed, the fifth by Masters, the sixth by Councilors, the seventh by Elders and the eight by the great Master's Companion, that is by Fresth.
Inside the circle of the eighth wall there was the Great Master and his Companion's apartment, so that at last Jarvis and Fresth could make love anywhere and at any time, also in the open, under the sun or the stars, as they liked very much.
New members also started to come from other Orders, and amongst them Gerog, Temin, Pukor, Verseh and many others who Jarvis had known in his three journeys. The fame of the "very strict discipline" of the new Order, had the effect that from the other Orders were sent, as a punishment, the United caught in sexual activities, as Jarvis had hoped. These newcomers were first sent to a special Convivium where they were kept under observation and gradually, as it became sure they were trustworthy elements, the real reason of the new Order was disclosed to them and they were sent to other Conviviums of the Closured Order.
Jarvis passed away serenely when he was sixty-five years old and Fresth did his last dance in his honour, and then retired to live in the Convivium he had founded with Jarvis and here he peacefully passed away a few years later. He didn't have a new companion but he was an example and an illumination for several new United of that Convivium, and his death was mourned as much as that of Jarvis.
This is the story of the life of the Closureds Order, after Jarvis.
The second Great Master after Jarvis death, was Belche, who governed the order for thirty-two years and founded new Conviviums, raising their total to thirty-five. Belche succeeded with real skill, in a reunion of all the Great Masters, to unify the legislation of all the Conviviums about the "sexual crimes", adjusting it to the less hard rules, and obtaining an official recognition of his Order, thanks to its apparently rigid constitutions, as a "correctional" order for all the United who were denounced for sexual crimes.
Moreover, Belche obtained by the council of the Great Masters the rule that if a United wanted to become Closured, he didn't need his Order's authorization, but only that of the Closureds. This freed all the United who were blackmailed by their superiors - it was enough for them to make their request somehow to a Closured, that a commission of Closureds was sent to their Convivium and, once verified that the United really wanted to become Closured, he was at once brought away by the commissars and no-one of their previous Order could oppose.
Then there was Great Master Powman, for twenty-three years. He governed with wisdom and the Conviviums at his death were sixty-six, spread now in almost all the Nations.
Powman was born in a Keepers family and was possibly the first Keeper to enter an Order. He therefore succeeded in obtaining from the Amgalilam several concessions, including that the Closureds were also acknowledged by the Keepers as a "correctional order".
Then came Stakis for eighteen years and a hundred and seven Conviviums. Under Stakis' Mastership, a study commission composed of Righteous and Closureds, established the "correct interpretation" of the laws about sexual crimes and, amongst other things, it was stated that to inflict the death penalty, the two had to be caught "in a full carnal union, that is with the member fully inserted in the other's body, in his mouth or in his anus". Therefore it was no longer enough to catch the two in intimacy being naked, or caressing or kissing each other, as these were said to be lesser crimes. Moreover, for laymen also, an alternative to the death penalty, they had the option to enter the Closureds' Order. At first the Keepers opposed this interpretation, but soon they were put in minority, therefore this "correct" interpretation of the laws was spread to all Nations.
The fifth Great Master was Brumie, for forty-four years and a hundred and eighty-four Conviviums, but Brumie's Mastership was not a good one. He didn't have a steady Companion as he was way too fond of young people, therefore, infringing the rules, he took in is residence Candidates and Novices, forming thus a sort of personal harem, and naming one of them in turn the Great Master's Companion. This gave rise to jealousy and rivalry amongst the boys, too young to really understand the Order's spirit, and many of them were hatching plots to become the preferred of the Great Master. This crisis at first only infested the Great Master's residence and in all the other Conviviums life continued peacefully.
The sixth Great Master was Doffier, for twenty-seven years and with two-hundred and thirty-two Conviviums. During the Doffier period occurred the "great crisis" of the Order, caused by some runaways of discontented people from Brumie's period, his former lovers, who made reports to the Bergalilam provoking several inspections.
But Doffier, after a series of trials that put the very existence of the Order, in serious danger succeeded in rescuing it. He issued new Constitutions, more accurate and clear, to avoid the problem happening again, and he also decided, with the Order's approval, that a Great Master could be deposed by his Council.
The seventh Great Master for twenty-one years was Jerol. He ordered, in each Convivium, an external library to be opened with an annexed school for laymen so that several youths with a bright intelligence could study. As a consequence, this led to a wider support of the Order from the population.
The eighth one, for seventeen years, was Galet. But then he was elected Bergalilam and was substituted. In this important charge, Galet was able to make a modification to the youth laymen education - basing it on a passage of the Scriptures telling about the institution of the Uniteds, it became compulsory to explain to the youths that "those who don't feel like uniting with a woman, could ask to become a United". This led, in the space of only one generation, to a drastic decrease of sentences for sexual crimes between people of the same sex. Moreover under Galet's Mastership the first Closured Convivium for women was opened.
Then became the ninth Great Master, for eleven years, Toomin. He was called the "Itinerant Master" as he went to personally visit all the Closureds' Conviviums, where he stayed for a long time to control and to counsel, giving thus a new life and boost to the Conviviums, especially to the smaller ones. He had a very fascinating personality and his simple presence in a Convivium (it was rare to see a Great Master) attracted many youths who asked to become Closured. Therefore under his Mastership the increase in number of the Conviviums was not so high, but the Order became decidedly stronger.
Finally his successor. The present Great Master Rifed, who is preparing the celebration of the tercentenary of the foundation of the Order. Rifed in his fourth year of Mastership succeeded in demonstrating that it was mistaken to consider masturbation (also when reciprocal) a crime, because "nature also spreads the plants seeds without any concern about the birth of new plants - in fact the seeds fall on rocks and cannot take root, or they fall in the water and they rot, or they are eaten by insects, animals and birds - therefore the interpretation that a man ejects his seed with the only aim to give birth to new beings is not correct". The Keepers opposed this interpretation strenuously, but once again they were defeated, especially when the Wises' Order sustained this "correct interpretation".
Rifed entered the Order asking admission to the first Convivium founded by Jarvis, where the founder's tunic is still kept. He had his first ecstasy when he was just a Candidate - on the night when he made love, in the dormitory, with the one who is still his Companion, the Elder Minar, under the astonished eyes of the superior, they danced all around the beds, united, and the others, awakened by their chant, seeing the beauty of their intimate union, all started to make love in couples or in threes, singing and dancing. The superior went at once to wake up the Regent to show him the incredible scene. The fifteen candidates reached orgasm in unison and when the Regent asked them if they were aware of what they just did, all of them answered they were ready to die, if they were not allowed to experience that again.
As for he could certainly not authorize them officially, the Regent promoted the older ones to the Novitiate and sent Rifed and Minar to the Great Master's island. Anybody who saw Rifed and Minar dancing, naked and united, couldn't help but desire to make love, their dances were so ecstatically full of eroticism. Rifed became a Novice when only seventeen, Acolyte at eighteen, Professed at nineteen and Master when he was twenty-years-old.
Then the Great Master Tomin sent him, with his Minar, to dance in the Great Halls of all the Conviviums of the Order. When the doors were closed, Rifed and Minar started their dance, gradually undressing each other, and all the attending Closureds followed suit - several couples thus formed and not a few of them reached ecstasy, thus thereafter they asked to be united forever. They were absolutely not orgies, but real explosions of true love.
When he was twenty-four, Rifed was chosen as a Councilor and at twenty-six he was made an Elder. The following year, Great Master Tomin passed away and the Order, unanimously, elected Rifed as his successor, the youngest Great Master that there has been in all the Orders.
Under Rifed the men's Conviviums reached 1032 and the women's 97, homogeneously diffused in all the ten Nations. But the greatest achievement of Rifed was when he managed to have opened for the Masters of the Uniteds all the "prohibited libraries", thus obtaining a thorough revision of the interpretation of the Scriptures.
This was also made possible because two more very ancient fragments of the Scriptures were found and published, that after a careful study nobody could object as to their authenticity. Wherein Ber and his companion Tulham's story was written in slightly different terms (instead of the word "friend" there was the word "lover", for instance) so that after long and thorough studies and fierce discussion, the fragments were recognized as canonical. So it was said that someone erred severely in the transcription of the sacred texts.
Therefore "although the laws regarding other sexual crimes (incest, adultery, rape) two people of the same sex, be them United or laymen may ask to be united as a regular couple in the way of Bar and Tulham. In this case their union not only can no longer be considered a crime but is perfectly legal, as being "in God's plans and Galil's teaching". (The Keepers still refused this kind of union amongst them - those who wanted to do it, had to leave the Keepers, and become a layman or a United by entering one of the Orders).
This was a really great victory (the new union rite was called by the common people "Tulham's marriage") and Rifed went to place, with a solemn ceremony, this text in the tomb of Saint Jarvis, who was declared the patron of same-sex couples.
In two years time the tercentenary of the foundation of the Closureds' Order will be celebrated. On that occasion, in front of each of the 1129 Conviviums of the Order, the men and the women's, to the right of the external access gate, a life size statue of white marble on an azure plinth will be erected; representing Jarvis and his Companion Fresth, side by side, holding each other with an arm around their waist and who, with their free arms, point to the Convivium door, in a gesture of invitation. A model has already been sent to all the Conviviums who then commissioned local sculptors to carve the life size statues and who are already working on them.