Q. Could Patrick (who is taking classes for this) could be commanded to retain his memory of the English written language even into his next Contracts? Could his next Master order him to “remember how to read and write English”?

A. Yes! As discussed after chapter 19.

However, when it comes to reading and writing, Beings are inherently limited. They’re built on a Contract of written words, which instills a barrier to processing writing in any other language. And creating original words of their own…that’s about as inaccessible to them as having original opinions.

So even if every new Master immediately ordered Patrick to remember the learned skill, he wouldn’t make it to the level of a human.

Q. In revelation of Jany’s new exploration in to Things, what would happen if, say, she liked things the other way around? Could a Being strike its master if under a direct order and the Master liked that kind of pain? And even if it’s not a direct pain thing; BDSM has things like fireplay which aren’t necessarily painful, could a Being perform that if instructed?

A. Unfortunately for the masochists of the world, the Contract doesn’t have any exceptions to the “don’t hurt humans” clause. Ordering your Being to hit you would get the same reaction as ordering your Being to use your real name: stubborn refusal and/or panicky apologies, depending on that Being’s temperament and how secure it feels.

If something is intensely stimulating without being harmful, it’s okay — so a Being could inflict some temperature play. It just couldn’t do any of the fireplay that involves actually setting a person on fire. And if you gave it successively more dangerous orders, they would get harder and harder to follow as the Being’s inhibitions kicked in.