The Ackenzali have already discovered that the magebred nature of the Feral is no reason why a being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or, perhaps, the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond compare a more rational, as well as a more conversational animal, than a human or fae infant of a day or month. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? Ought we be caught up in the counting of the strings bound up into a creature’s knot? Is this not the reason why the Nonmen saw fit to own our own kind as chattel? The question is not ‘Can they reason?’ nor, ‘Can they talk?’ but, ‘Can they suffer’?
-from A Discourse on the Ethics of Beasts, Liminals. and Men by Brother Ufford
The term “liminal” is used to describe a creature seen as being situated between an animal and a sentient being. The term is most often used to describe creatures that possess six strings in thier knot, but is also used sometimes to describe creatures with fewer strings, most often great apes, and also creatures with seven strings who are viewed by many as still being sub-human, such as some forms of the Slavebred. Creatures described as “liminal” are almost all magebred, as this is the most common reason for any given species to have six strings in their knot, though elephants, some cetaceans and great apes, and a particular species of tropical bird also possess souls with that problematic complexity. The fact that humans, while developing in the womb, also gain their strings steadily rather than all at once sometimes places fetuses among the ranks of the liminals. The subject is a moral and religious issue for many, and is of special concern among nations that still practice the enslavement (or, alternatively, domestication) of the magebred creations of the Autumn Court.
Officially, the Ascendant Church only regards beings that possess seven strings as being truly sentient, and does not recognize liminality of “personhood” at all. However, as practiced much more sympathy is given to creatures that are seen as liminals among cultures that follow the teachings of the Ascendant Church.