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Author Topic: Coins of Memory - Chapter 2  (Read 2323 times)

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Offline Laurna

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Coins of Memory - Chapter 2
« on: March 12, 2013, 03:33:00 am »
Previous chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=1041.0
         
Chapter 2 - JK 973  1st Coin  


The haze in the kitchen air was far more breathable than the inferno that Jessa and her father just escaped.  The young girl held tight to her father’s shoulder, afraid that the fire would blast through the solid door at his back.  But it was not the fire behind the kitchen wall that held her father’s intense stare.  Jacuth’s eyes locked on the new danger in front of him, and he weighed his choices.  Could he make the side exit without a fight?  He did not think so.  He pulled Jessa close to his chest, his grip around her firm, and his back straightened with a warrior’s alarm.  Still half-gasping for breathable air, Jacuth stood resolute, transfixed by who stood between himself and the way outside to safety.  

Jessa followed her father’s stare.  Her eyes widened with surprise.  Before her, in the middle of the kitchen, stood several people in common attire.  She counted seven men and a woman at the back, each carried an axe, a hammer, or a long knife.  Between them, lying on the floor, were several motionless bodies of the manor house servants.  Jessa could not understand why no one ran away.  Why was everyone frozen, some lying down and some just standing there?  Why was no one escaping from the fire engulfing the main house?  Why did this man standing the nearest have a wild look in his eyes?  He stepped nearer.  In his hand, he uplifted a bloodied sword, and then he waved it violently toward her papa.

Jessa remembered this man with the heavy sword.  Earlier today, she had been with her mother in the great room as a group of peasants from the neighboring lands marched into the manor demanding justice.  At the front of the mob was this very same man who had then carried in his arms the limp body of a girl.  The next two men behind him had been the magistrate and a tenant farmer, whose hands were tied behind his back.  The peasant mob following the magistrate called out curses and horrid accusations, throwing small rocks at the tied up farmer.  Lord Jacuth Kyriell took immediate possession of the accused man, and opened an inquiry in the manor’s large staging room.  The farmer was from Lord Kyriell’s upper north field.  The man for three years had worked the land with diligent care.  The neighboring farmers did not know him well.  What they knew was that the girl had disappeared while she watched her flock of sheep on the hill.  After a day of searching, her body was found in this farmer’s field.  The magistrate had arrived in time to save the farmer from a hanging.

The mob of peasants grew restless and angry as Lord Kyriell tried to sort through the details.  When words were not enough to prove the farmer’s innocence, the Deryni lord exposed his heritage.  Before all assembled, Jacuth used his Deryni powers of truth reading to prove the farmer blameless of the crime.  With the same magical powers, he questioned several others, but still the truth to the crime could not be found.  

Lord Jacuth Kyriell had not considered the prejudices of the peasant folk or the dangers of using magic.  His own household held few such fears, but these common folk of the bordering estate became agitated.  They cursed the house of the Deryni, causing Jacuth’s loyal men-at-arms to disperse the mob of commoners out of the manor, and back down the road away from the estate.

Supper was tranquil enough, no one at first spoke what was upon his mind.  Their liege was Deryni; the rumors were proven true.  At the ending of the meal, it took only one voice issuing an insult to set the freemen of Kyriell’s own estate into a surge of raised voices.  Some condemned and some defended the traits of their estate lord.  In a need to protect her youngest daughter, Elzia had put Jessa down early to bed with an innocent spell to let the child sleep through the noise below.
  
That spell had devastating results.  

Jessa had not woken to the turmoil in the great room, or to the return of the angry peasants, swollen in their numbers, and fierce in their fear of Deryni.  The little girl had not heard the horrific sounds of the battle below, nor the whooping and cheering with the destruction of the main room, nor the fire at its terrifying beginning.  

Thus in the midst of a late rescue, Jessa realized these things as she clung to the tunic of her father and saw with his mind’s eye that this man before him was the one that began the blaze.  At the start of the fire, Jacuth’s men rescued the family of Deryni from the peasants’ surge of hate.  It was no one’s fault that, in the confusion, Jessa had been left behind.  

“Aye, look wha’ my desire has trapped.  You are dead, Deryni!”  The intensity of the sword man’s hatred filled the air.  The huge man pointed his thick blade directly at Lord Kyriell; his moment for revenge had come.  The dead girl’s father used his long reach to force Jacuth back to the kitchen wall.

“I have done you no harm, nor none to your daughter!  No one in my service deserves your wrath!” the lord of the manor yelled out.  “You’ve had your way; you have destroyed my house and my people.  Be gone with you before you face the anger of our king, for I am in his service and under his protection,” Lord Kyriell proclaimed standing tall in his declaration.

For a moment, just a moment, Jessa thought the men would turn to go.

“Deryni scum,” howled the insane woman at the back.  “You killed my daughter and you used trickery to hide it.  Your kind does not deserve to live.”  She hefted her blood soaked cudgel above her head, screaming a list of obscenities.  Her husband laughed at the nobleman’s vulnerability.  It seemed not to matter that the Deryni lord was a trusted vassal of the King of Gwynedd.  His daughter was dead; he intended retribution for that crime.

Calmly, Lord Kyriell lowered his own daughter to the floor.  He cast his thoughts into Jessa’s mind.  “Jessamyn Kyriell, be brave,” his inner voice soothingly stated. “Stay just behind me.  No matter what happens, you need to be right behind me.  Understand?” Hiding her fear, the girl followed her father’s orders.  She took a handful of his healer green cloak and did not let go.  

Jessa watched her father draw his curved short sword from its jeweled scabbard.  The blade looked so thin compared to the thick sword in the hand coming at him.  Jacuth stepped out from the wall in an open space between the cooking tables.  He stood ready to defend against the oncoming attack.

The broadsword swung down with a strong force, and the man screamed, “You’re dead!”

Lord Kyriell blocked the first attack, surprised by his opponent’s skill.  The next blows were fast and strong, proving the man had soldier training.  Jacuth could do nothing more than deflect the attacks and wait for an opening.  Jessa watched as her father maintained his defense with his thin refined blade.  The soldier’s sword, by contrast, was heavy; his moves were strong, causing the little girl to cower behind her father in fear.  On the fifth stroke, Lord Kyriell found his advantage when the soldier recovered too slowly from his pressing advance.  The nobleman ducked under the upheld arm, swiped across, and cut skin through the rent in the man’s leather vest.  With his left hand, Jacuth grabbed Jessa and lifted her off her feet.  He turned decisively behind his opponent and stabbed upward into his unprotected back.  Surprised, the peasant soldier garbled a word and then collapsed forward onto the floor.  The healing part of Jacuth’s mind rebelled at the death.  The moment was short, as the others answered this killing of their leader with a mad rush.

Jessa clung to her father’s cloak, doing her best to stay clear of the fight.  Farm axes and hammers clashed against her papa’s sword.  Two men fell away, and Jacuth stepped around a table, getting closer to the outer door.  A great rumble of crumbling stone reverberated through the room, followed by a crash of the upper manor wall falling outward onto the roof overhead.  Parts of the kitchen ceiling tore away, raining roof tiles and flaming debris onto the floor.  Canvas sacks stacked against the wall caught fire, and sent flames into the remaining rafters.

Amidst this great distraction, Jacuth grabbed his daughter’s hand and ran toward the exit.

The enemy jumped at the child, grabbing her free arm.  With a fierce hold, a man yanked her back from her father’s grasp.  Jessa screamed as her arms were stretched taut, her shoulders near to bursting.  The man kicked her off her feet, ripping her hand from her father’s grasp.  She fell to the floor, watching in horror as a hammer swung down to smash her head.  Her father in a protective rampage jumped toward his daughter; the speed of his sword was a blur.  The howl of the enemy echoed through the room as the hammer flew away over Jessa.  The man’s arm, nearly severed, jerked up to defend Jacuth’s next strike.  The man crumpled to the floor before the child’s eyes.  Jessa screamed and her papa went mad, his thin sword slicing the enemy in his path.  How dare they threaten his child!  From her father’s rage, another man fell face down to the floor.

The last two peasants attacked together, one with a large axe, the other with a long double-edged knife.  The knife-man dodged in, then fainted back, allowing the axe-man time for a full swung at Jacuth’s neck.  Lord Kyriell dropped below the axe, coming up under the swing, stabbing the axe-wielding man in the heart.  But the knife-man was there, his dagger swiftly dodging into Jacuth’s open side.  Jacuth kicked upward, catching the enemy’s arm only after the blade had cut flesh.  His boot slammed against the arm bone; it gave a defining crack.  Jacuth’s mind screamed out as the peasant’s knife was ripped from his side.

Jessa screamed aloud at the sight of her father falling to his knees.  His face paled, and his eyes stared, stunned.  His voice quivered as he yelled out, “Run, Jessa, Run!”  The daughter’s protective love brought her to her father’s side.  Her healing senses flared as her hands reached for the open wound.  She stifled a cry as her fingers pressed over the warm, wet mass.  The touch sent Jacuth’s eyes rolling upward, and he fell forward, his face pressed to the floor.  

The six year old screamed at her father to wake up.  Having seen her father heal, she pressed her fingers into his side, throwing all her love into the gushing wound.  She knew nothing of healing; she was too young to be taught.  Yet her link with her father was desperately strong.  She took herself into a trance as she had been shown and searched for a tendril of consciousness to wake her father.  She needed him to show her what to do.  She called him time and time again, each call more desperate.

  
If it was healing or just love, she would never know, but his mind stirred and his body gasped from the pain.  She was there, full of tears, letting him grasp the energies of her soul to give him strength.  He coughed up blood and could hardly breathe.  But Jessa’s love empowered him, allowing his own healing trance to delve deep and find the keys to heal himself.  His daughter went with him, giving him the balance to put the pain aside.  With her strength, he found his focus.  She poured her soul into his.  Miraculously, he found the balance point in her delicate long fingers, using them to heal his wound.  She experienced a healing, feeling the tissue beneath her fingers mend.  She pulled her fingers free and pressed her flat palm against his side.  The muscle and skin beneath her hands closed and became whole.

Jessa moved her hands aside, staring in amazed belief, only the energy drain had been too much, and her papa lost awareness again.  He did not see the roof overhead dropping bits of flame and ash, nor hear the groan from the weight of the tiles on the weakened beams.  

“Papa, papa, wake up!” the girl yelled, her hands pulling at his shoulder.  Very slowly, Jacuth revived.  His daughter urged him to move, but his mind was exhausted.

“I love you, my sweet,”
his voice said in her mind as he managed to lift himself to his knees.  Wobbling, he placed a booted foot out to stand, just as the roof overhead gave a deafening sound.  The beam in full flame let loose from the wall and crushed down on the pair of healers.  Jacuth shoved his daughter away as a burning beam slammed him in the back and knocked him down to the floor.  Jessa was pelted with splinters of wood, hot tiles and ash.  She threw up her hands to protect her head.  When she looked up, her father lay still under the fallen roof.  She grabbed her father’s hand and pulled at him to make him move.  When he did not, she touched his face with her fingers and demanded that he wake up.  He neither moved nor woke, the beam having taken his life force in one swift moment.

Jessa did not understand.  She drove her mind into a trance, but her father’s face relaxed, his body slumped, and his mind was quiet.  She screamed aloud, her arms hugging his back.  Calling “Papa” and crying fierce tears, she laid her cheek against his face and ignored the flames that engulfed his cloak.  The flames touched her clinging hands, and climbed up her sleeves.  With a wailing scream, she let the flames burn her arms, but nothing would make her let go of the father she loved.  Where he went, she would follow; he had always been so proud of her when she did this.  At six years old, what more could a child want, than to follow her father in her love for him?  

That love was stolen from her when a woman’s arms grabbed her feet and pulled her from the man that owned her heart.  Her body was dragged far across the cold stone floor, away from the flames.  A wool cloak was slapped across her sleeves, eliminating the fire that had come away with her.

“What are you doing?” yelled the surviving man.  His right arm, which he held tight to his chest, was off angle.  His left arm darted around the dead lord, grabbed the jeweled sword that lay close to his shoulder and then snatched the glittering silver chains off the nobleman’s neck.  A crazed look of greed and pain washed across the peasant’s face as he stuffed the items into a bag on the floor.  He hefted the bag and started toward the door.  “Dharma!  Leave her!  The roof is coming down!  I’ll not wait for you!”

“They murdered my daughter, and he just murdered my husband!” the woman howled at the departing man’s back.  “Marat, wait!”  Determined, she dragged the full weight of the child a yard further, before realizing Marat was gone.  Dharma grabbed another swath of green wool from around the throat of a dead servant and flipped the fabric over the child’s shivering body.  With a twist of the cloak, the hateful Dharma encased Jessa firmly with her burned arms crushed to her chest.  She knotted the corners of the wool tight, ensuring that resistance was impossible.  In a sudden panic as more roof crashed down, Dharma lifted the bundle to her shoulder and ran after the man with the bag of stolen goods.  

“You are my revenge,” the mad peasant woman growled in Jessa’s ear.  “I’ll show you the torment of my loss for the rest of your days.”  She ran out through the door, which Jessa had once thought would hold freedom.  The last of the two destroyers of the country home ran away from the burning manor, neither giving a second thought to the death and devastation they left behind.  

They ran, unseen, to the stables, throwing a bridle and saddle precariously over the head and back of a stout palfrey.  With only one hand, Marat was too slow, until Dharma threw Jessa to the side and saddled the horse herself.  Jessa tried to squirm away, but all cocooned she could barely inch along.  Marat’s big boot slammed her body to the floor.  

“You’re coming with us,” he growled.  

Trapped, Jessa tried to calm her mind; she tried to find her focus.  Just one mental call, to anyone in mind’s reach, and they would save her when they heard her.  In her pain and grief, her focus was gone.  She could barely breathe.  Just when she thought maybe she had touched someone’s mind, the mean peasant man grabbed her with his good hand, and tossed her up across the horse’s neck over the bag of spoils already tied to the saddle.  A quick lash of leathers, and she was as secure as the bag that her head rested upon.  Marat climbed a box and threw his leg over the saddle.  Secured in his seat, he helped Dharma climb to the palfrey’s back behind him.  With a savage kick, he jabbed the horse’s sides, producing a gallop as they burst out of the barn door.  They sped away from the huge inferno of the manor house burning wildly at the top of a hill.  

Her head hanging down, barely able to see, Jessa spied only a few survivors standing at the opposite side of her home.  In the blur of motion, she could not identify her mother.  She called out, but her lungs could not fill and her mind’s focus was gone.  She was emotionally drained and physically infirm.  They would have no way to know that it was she who was stolen, like treasure, from a wealthy lord’s destroyed home.

In shock and despair, the child tried to escape her prison; she wiggled and squirmed but could not get free.  The man laughed and whipped her wool-protected buttocks with the ends of his reins.  “You’ve no means of escape, Deryni.  Try anything and I will kill you.”  Then he laughed.  “You’ll wish I had.  Burns like that don’t heal well, ya know.  I just may need to cut off those damaged hands to save your life.”  When he laughed again, the cruel woman, Dharma, laughed with him.

Shock overcame grief, and terror overwhelmed apathy.  A life envisioned without hands was a horror worse than death.  Even at her tender age, her father had always boasted of her long delicate fingers and the power that transferred through them.  She knew she would die without her hands.  From the fire, they were burnt and raw.  They would cut off the damage and leave her helpless.  She would have wished herself dead, if a six year old was able to ponder such things.  Instead, she knew she had to save herself.  She had to save her hands; there was no other choice.

With naive determination, she searched for the focus to start her mind down to that level her father had pulled her only a short time before.  It took a great deal of effort before she found an inner peace that allowed her to go where she needed to be.  Down to where it was nothing but her mind and her injured hands.  Instinct was one thing, but she did not know how to use her own abilities to heal.  She only knew that she had to save her hands in some way.  Panic nearly wrenched her focus free at that instant.  Then, a miraculous ghostly presence, an angel, hovered before her eyes.  His two large hands soothed her stricken mind, and cradled her face.  She looked up into grey fathomless eyes.  He seemed so like her father.  She did not understand. “Father, is that you?”  The wise presence smiled serenely, then bent his will into her mind and showed her the means of healing she had the potential for, but not the training.  Energies surged from him and tingled down both her arms and into her fingers.  The surreal angel’s hands caressed her face once more.  With his leaving, she succumbed to exhaustion and fainted away.

Next chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=1049.0
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 12:33:25 pm by Laurna »

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 2
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2013, 06:23:25 am »
I can only hope that, since it appears Jessa's memories are imprinted on the coin, that she survives this and somehow returns to her rightul life. 

Good chapter - I want to strangle those who did this!!
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

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Offline Evie

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 2
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2013, 04:31:53 pm »
Nice to see Saint Camber (I presume that's him?) making an appearance to help a young Healer access her gift.   :)
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Offline Laurna

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 2
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2013, 04:03:17 am »
Hello,
Well I pushed the "Post" button a second time. It only took half of eternity this time. I hope you don't regret that I did so.  Anyway, thank you to anyone who has, or who will in the future, manage to read this chapter.
I am new to putting words out there for others to read. I am neither a writer nor a storyteller, I just love to tell stories.  This story excited me enough to put it down in words on paper.  When it was done I shared it with my sister; her response was not negative. I kept waiting for her to tell me NO, don't do it!. But she has not said that yet. I know it's a giant leap from there to sharing this with all of you here. It's just that months later I am still excited about this tale.

Good morning, Jerusha.  I appreciate your caring responses, and yes, these are Jessa's memories imprinted on the coin, if that helps at all.

Hi Evie, I always loved Saint Camber. His mystery to all who are touched by him is a wonderful treat in all of the Deryni series. He is where he needs to be, when he needs to be there. I have to love him for that.

This action/drama tale is a bit long. So please post other stories while this one is still going.  I love to read other people's stories too.

My heartfelt thanks
Laurna

Offline Evie

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 2
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2013, 08:59:42 am »
This action/drama tale is a bit long. So please post other stories while this one is still going.  I love to read other people's stories too.


If my characters would bother to ever start talking to me again, I might someday do that....  *glares meaningfully at certain Deryni...you know who you are!*
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Offline derynifanatic64

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 2
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2013, 03:23:36 am »
Excellent story! ;D
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!

 

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