In the prosperous capital of the country where my story is set, undesired babies are discreetly abandoned in the darkest hours of the night on the front door of the guild of Truthers.
There, as everyone in the city knows, they will be taken care of and raised as guild members, provided that they do not know how to speak when abandoned.
Newcomers are given a potion to drink, the recipe of which is the best guarded secret of the realm, for no member of the guild knows the totality of the long list of steps that goes into its brewing. The effect, however, is known to everyone: for the rest of their lives, whenever they drink that potion again the skin of a Truther will turn permanently blue, if they lie during the next hour.
My questions are the following:
- What role would the Truthers likely occupy in society? Obviously, they would make terrible spies or diplomats, but would powerful people seek their services for other purposes?
- Are they celebrated? Disregarded? Feared?
- Truthers who did lie at some point would obviously lose their advantage. What happens to them?
For the purpose of the question, you may assume the following:
- The effect of the potion is only activated, if the Truther is not telling the truth as best as they know it. Omitting a detail by mistake is not a lie, as long as the intention was to tell the truth.
- Although the potion is complicated to brew, it is not expensive.
- Truthers are marked with the emblem of the guild early on: it is virtually impossible to have someone believe you're a Truther, if you are not one.
- My story is rooted in medieval settings, with moderate magic interventions, but I am interested to know how the response to these question might change through time. Would the Truthers become obsolete at some point and why?
- No known magic can revert the effect of turning blue.
EDIT: What makes an answer better than another?
I am really more interested in the second and third questions (what is Truther's social status? What happens to the blue ones?) than the first. I just think they can not be answered without the first. So an ideal answer elaborates on those points.
Hopefully, the answer would find a plausible balance between the privilege Truthers may acquire but also their weaknesses. Some important points to consider that I have thought have are
- They can not allow themselves to be put in situation where they have to lie.
- If entrusted with secrets, there is always the risk that they will be bound to reveal them in the future.
Perhaps such balance does not exist (i.e. the pros far outweigh the cons or vice versa).
Bonus point for any thoughts on how the answer changes in more modern settings. In a day where we can videotape us and each other, do we really need to pay human witnesses?