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Author Topic: Coins of Memory - Chapter 11  (Read 1887 times)

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Offline Laurna

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Coins of Memory - Chapter 11
« on: May 07, 2013, 03:12:13 am »

Previous chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1076.0.html

Chapter 11-   WIC 11.10.985    4th Coin           

“You cannot marry her!”  Muir stated authoritatively.

It was an hour later, in the solar of the earl’s apartment.  The current head of the family sat in one of the two cushioned chairs before the hearth; the same chair one week before had seen Wash kiss the woman of his affection.  The earl’s younger brother, having just confided his intentions for the eighteen-year-old healer, clenched his fists and stared back at Muir, his sense of duty at war with his heart.  In defiance, he opened his palms on the chair arms and thrust himself out of the red velvet seat.  He paced to the fireplace, turning his gaze into the burning flames.

“The lady in question is Deryni and Healer, a quality so rare in these times that there should be no rebuke to her lineage,” the Knight Captain stated.

“She is orphaned, and her parents were a pair of thieving miscreants,” Muir spoke harshly.  He had to make his brother see the impossibility of it and turn to reason.  “Wash, listen to me!  Even if those two weren’t her parents, everyone will say that they were, or worse that she is base born of some all too lecherous Deryni.  Without proof that she is from legitimate nobility, the king, and more importantly the council, will never approve this match.”

“Why?”  Wash spun around to stare at his brother.  “You now have an heir of your own blood.  I am no longer the first in line to inherit the earldom.  Of which I am quite glad.  I should think the King and the council would want the talent of Healing to pass down in a lineage that they could ultimately control.  Is it not more important whom she is, than where she comes from?  The waste would be to let that talent disappear with the girl’s marriage to the Church.”  Washburn was desperate to plead his case.  “Muir, she does not want to go back to the convent.  At the very least, I would ask you to grant her a position in your household.  Will you deny her that as well?”

“Washburn Cynfyn, the situation as it stands is impossible.  She belongs to the convent.  Reverend Mother Phyla Mary is insisting on her return,” Muir stated, as he sat forward in his chair, and then almost flippantly added.  “What am I to tell the abbess?  That you plan to set this innocent maiden up as your mistress; that you intend a passel of bastard children around your feet?  Is this how you intend to treat the woman of your desires?  There is no chance of gaining consent for marriage.  You’ve known that for weeks, why do you pursue the matter?”

Washburn was struck like a knife in his heart at his liege lord’s words.  He paced the floor for several minutes, anger threatening to overflow his shields.  With an intense whisper he finally stated, “She is nobler than that.  I know it in my heart.  Would the essence of Saint Camber appear to her if she were as you say, base born?”

Washburn’s words instantly mollified his brother’s callous conviction.  Muir softened his features, leaned back in the chair, and took a steadying deep breath.  “I know…  I do not understand it either.  I can sense her nobility as well as you can.  However, I have to ask you, do you think you can protect her well enough from the ambitions of the king or the council?  They will devour her in their greed.  The moment you bring to light her talents, she will no more be yours to marry than she is now.  The king will want to take her as his own mistress, as he has already attempted with other Deryni blood.  Fortunately, that girl has proven barren.  As for the council?  Heaven knows what they would try to do with a Healer at their fingertips.  Don’t you think I know how they think?  Wash, you must see.  This is about her protection as much as it is about the protection of our family name.  Neither you nor I have the power to stop the inevitable if the truth comes out.  If you love her, you will protect her by sending her back to where her secrets will remain safe.  Today the afternoon grows short, but tomorrow, in the morning, you must see her safely returned to the convent.”

There was no challenging Muir’s stance in this matter.  He had made his final decision and would hear no further discussion.  To push any further would lead to disaster on the younger brother’s part.  Washburn had nothing but his reputation to stand on, and that could be destroyed in an instant by a misplaced word.  He excused himself from the head of his house before that utterance occurred.

In the restlessness of the setting sun, Wash released the squires from their attendance in his personal rooms, and bolted the door as they left.  For an hour, he paced the floor wearing low the threads of the decorated carpet beneath his boots.  At first, his attempts were to find peace with his brother’s decision.  Lust for one woman could be quelled easily by the attentions of another.  The mere thought was distasteful; it was much more than lust that attracted him to this particular young woman.  His heart had splintered at the death of his wife.  If he too had died, he would have found her in the afterlife and been at peace.  Instead his splintered heart had been remade with a saint’s visitation and a Healer’s touch.  That healing had exposed two minds and two souls, bonding each together to form one whole.  If forced to break that bond, could his heart survive a second shattering? 

He toyed with the idea that all he need do was petition a priest to marry them.  Once married before God, none could deny them.  He laughed at his own naiveness.  If he was low born, with enough funds, he could donate money to the Church to have his desired marriage service performed.  But in his position, without consent, the funds required for such an act would bankrupt the earldom.  Even then, without royal consent, the King could very well take the marriage as a personal affront to his authority.  He held the right to banish the couple from his land, or worse, have the new wife executed, and then have the noble thrown in the dungeon for breaking vows with the crown.  That was the power of the King of Gwynedd over his lords; there was very little they could dare without his blessing.  To get that blessing required a means of political advancement in some way.  A wife of Lendour had to be legitimate, of noble birth, who would tie his house to another’s with future incomes and powers.  As a second son, with even a slight chance that inheritance would fall in his path, these restrictions applied.

It all seemed so hopeless.  He was acting the fool, like a teenage boy on his first crush.  He was not a boy.  Those years were long past.  He was a man.  A man respected by his peers.  A man sought after by ladies in the realm.  At any time, he could have any one of them.  How easy it would be to just do as his brother implied, win the woman over, set her aside as his mistress, and be done with these boyish feelings. 

He shook himself from that reverie; there had to be a better answer than that.  For his honor and for hers, without marriage, he should not ask Jessa to be his.  He should let her forever return to the convent before he could mar her propriety.

Now his heart ached even more.

Absently he found himself standing before the shelf of old volumes on his left hand wall.  Looking up, he knew why his hand rested on the particular spot that it did.  When it came to the ways of women, his mother had been well versed.  Here he kept her prayer book with a small ivory carving of her face.  His mother had been beautiful in her day, a kind person caring of more than just her family.  Her bright smile faded five years ago, four months after his father’s death.  Everyone said it was from heartbreak, but Wash knew she had been sick for the entire year before, hiding it until her husband could not see her breakdown.  Her last act was asking the King to marry the Duke’s sister to her second son.  It took Wash a long time to understand his mother’s love in that request.

In a fit of melancholy, his hand brushed the dust off the prayer book as he brought if off the shelf.  He remembered then that there was an image in the book which he had thought to look up weeks before.  He paced to the candlelit table and sat at the chair, leafing through the pages in search of one portrait.  Wash found several letters lying open mixed amongst the pages.  He left them there for another time.  His mind was set on one image; he had seen it here before.  When he found it, his heart skipped a beat.  In the top half of the page was an inked portrait of a man‘s face surrounded by a dark cowl, with light-colored, wide, distinguished eyes, a square chin and defined features.  There was no doubt in Washburn’s mind that this was the same image that twice now he had seen in spiritual form.

He sat back and thought of the girl that shared this vision.  Just her image brought a longing to his heart.  He took a breath and calmed his pulse.  She was beyond his reach.  She was too lowly born for him to consider for marriage and too well protected by the Church for him to treat like a servant.  He failed at pushing her from his mind.  Why was it then that the face in the portrait, the surreal image of Saint Camber, had seemed to join their two souls together as one?

With an exasperated sigh, he closed the book.  A loose letter at the portrait’s page slipped from the book as he closed it.  He picked the single half sheet of parchment off the floor and began to place it absently back in the prayer book, when he read the opening date: Michaelmas 29.9.976.  The parchment was crumpled and water-stained.  Curious, he lifted the letter to the candle light.


Dearest Lillian,
I have been allowed to write you this once.  I beg of you to plead our case before my brother, the Lord Lendour.  My last two letters to him have gone unanswered.  We are eight in total.  One is but a child of high nobility with long sought after qualities.  The threat is real.  We are told there are but four days remaining for reconciliation.  We have been locked within our cells and have been informed to make our final atonement for our sins and the sins of our fathers.  If payment is not met, then we are to be turn over to the Abbot two at a time.  His pyres are always prepared for those of our blood who are unfortunate enough to pass within his domain.
Only your husband can save us.
Sister Meris


Sir Washburn Cynfyn stared at the signature.  Then reviewed the letter again.  Lillian was his mother, her husband Erwin, Lord of Lendour was his father.  His father was brother to only one sister, his Aunt Merissa Cynfyn.  Heaven help her, Sister Meris was his aunt.  How was it that she was hostage, and held for ransom?  He could remember little about his aunt.  She had been made widow in her early years, and it was said she turned to the Church for solace.  Now that he thought of it, he could not recall anyone talking about his aunt since he was a youth.  Eight persons to be turned over to the Abbot, two at a time? If payment was not met?  He studied the date from this letter and compared it to his memory of the ledger’s dates; they matched too closely.  The payment to the convent in the ledgers had been signed for on the third day of November in the Year of Our Lord 976, four days after the date of this letter.  My God, was this the reason for the doubling of the tithe?  Did the payment make the deadline?  Astonished, Wash stared at the letter.  The lives of eight women, held in balance, for the cost of the castle’s front gate repairs.

In war and battles, there were many lives, both friendly and enemy, that the Knight Captain ultimately held in his responsibilities.  He was a warrior and good at what he did.  He was also a strategist and never willingly wasted life unnecessarily.  Had his father called the Convent’s bluff and lost the game?  How many lives had been lost in that game?  Had his aunt been a casualty?  If so, then why was the payment still being made?  Who else would be worth such a ransom to the Earl of Lendour?  “A child of high nobility with long sought after qualities.” Heavens above!  Wash knew exactly who that was.  No wonder the Abbess wanted her back within the convent walls.  Now that the girl had managed to slip out of the convent’s grasp, Washburn realized he could never let her go back.  It was time to find Jessa and confront his brother.  Muir may not know of this letter from nine years back.  Was it enough to prove Jessa was not base born?  What mattered most was that he save her from living a hostage life at the Convent of Saint Clair.

Fortified by this new knowledge, with the letter held tightly in his hand, Sir Washburn left his rooms.  He paced through the long third floor hall, past the main stairs, and turned right into the west wing.  The heels of his boots struck the wood floor, the sound echoing against the walls punctuating his determination.  The guards in the hall did not flinch at his passing, but he could sense the curiosity in their eyes.  He came before the door to the earl’s private apartment.  Wash urgently knocked on the door, seeking an immediate audience with the Earl.

A timid chambermaid opened the door and admitted him to the anteroom.  The following door to the solar was closed.  The maid slipped through it silently, leaving Wash to pace the floor in exasperation.  Why was Muir taking his time?  The evening was early; surely, he had not retired for bed as yet?  Soon, an elderly woman Wash recognized as Lady Lisa calmly exited the inner doors and inquired as to the Knight Captain’s needs.

“Please, tell my brother that I need a word with him.  I’m certain it is not so late that he will deny me an audience.”
 
“M’ lord, if you would, please, keep your voice low.  My lady is asleep, as is the new bairn in the far room,” the countess's personal assistant stated in a low voice.  “Lord Muir has been gone this past hour.  I’m certain you will find him in his office if you look there.”

“Very well.  May I inquire if Sister Jessa is within?  I would like a word with her as well,” he said in a low tone, not wishing to alarm anyone on the other side, though he did a poor job of hiding his nerves. 

The veiled lady, her eyes still cast low, could barely hide the tightening of her cheeks in mirth at his request.  Did the whole castle know of his feelings?  “My lord, the sister was here only for a short time after you left.  Father Pernal sent a message that he could see her at the chapel.  She excused herself quite abruptly and left with the page.”

“Father Pernal?  Why would she speak with him?”  Wash questioned, perplexed.

“I rightly do not know, m’lord.”

Wash said nothing as he left the room.  His quarries were split.  Which one would be best to pursue first?  The decision was easy; he retraced his steps passed the main stairs, his own rooms, and onward to the east wing where the earl’s offices were. 

A foreboding hit him as he turned into the east wing hall.  The wall sconces were out; the hall was empty, not a page or a guard in sight.  With the earl present, there should be two guards and a page here, with the hall well lit.  It had been so when he left here a few hours ago.  He anxiously reached the thick inlaid oak door and lifted the latch.  The door would not budge.  His fist pounded the wood surface, and he called Muir’s name, then he listened.  No voice or sound could be heard from within.  Alarm triggered his senses.  With a quick brush of magic, he Pushed the inner lock mechanism to turn and spring back, unlocking the door.  He swung the door inward with a hard shove.  The office anteroom was empty. 

“Muir, are you here?” he called, his mind opening to the room, and instantly he sensed the weak energy of a person in the office beyond.  Something was drastically wrong.

Washburn took the room in three strides, slamming the next door against its hinges.  His eyes raced across the room as his heart sank.  The worktable in the center was flipped over on its side.  Behind it, a pair of booted feet were seen twitching in tormented motion.

A curse passed the knight’s lips as he rushed forward into the room.  Muir was face down on the carpet, quivering in a shaking fit.  He had been here long enough for sweat and vomit to soak the carpet beneath him.  Wash threw his hand quickly over his brother’s tightly squeezed eyelids and delved into his mind.  He recoiled instantly at the shock there.  No shields!  No strengths!  No Deryni thought!  The mind was a quivering confusion of colors, sounds, and traumatic pain.  Poison!

Wash pulled Muir away from the table, turning him upright and easing his brother’s head upon his knees.  He prepared his mind for the anguish, and then pushed through the hysteria.  Only one drug to his knowledge resulted in this mass disruption: merasha poisoning.  He cupped both hands over Muir’s forehead and forced his mind deep into the ill effects of the drug-induced delirium.  His thoughts intertwined with the merasha disruption.  He, too, nearly succumbed to the mass confusion of the drugs deleterious effects.  With force, he pulled his mind from the rapport.  Muir yelled aloud at the ripping pain.
 
“Damn!”  Wash cursed, as he took heavy breaths to steady his own powers. 

Muir chocked and his body seized, shutting down his lungs.  In desperate need, Wash clenched his jaw, managing only short bursts of energy through the midst of the disruption to ease his brother’s contracted muscles.  He found a shallow level of rapport that he could maintain to keep from losing himself in the delirium.  At least this reduced the violent seizure of the earl’s tension and allowed the man to breathe.

Neither Deryni had experienced the merasha drug before now.  Its horrific property of ripping a Deryni’s powers away was nearly unknown, except in high circles where its secrets were hidden for the gain of those in the know.  Still, every Deryni heard myths of its existence and was terrified of prospects that someday it might be used against them.  Who would have been able to procure this secret drug?  Why would they use it against Muir?”  Wash squeezed his own eyes shut.  It was impossible to work through the chaos of his brother’s mind.  He could manage nothing more than dulling the body’s thrashing.  He had to pull away his own thoughts from the victim’s screaming, tortured mind. 

Wash felt weak and abused when he next opened his eyes.  He held his brother close in case another seizure came on.  Desperate to discern what had happened, he scanned the room with his dulled senses.  Two pewter wine goblets lay on the floor, one of which was dented from its fall from the overturned table.  Both goblets’ contents of red wine stained the rug where they spilled.  Searching further, his sight caught the gleam of a narrow silver flask on the edge of the earl’s desk, the symbol stamped on its center face was not recognizable as any wine maker’s mark he had ever seen before.  Beside it, another goblet stood.  He sensed it was still full and untouched with what he knew would be the merasha-tainted wine.  Yet two goblets were upon the floor?  A horrid, sickening feeling flooded the Knight Captain.  Three people had been in the office.  Who could the two other people have been?

With difficulty, he forced a desperate mental call for assistance.  “Artimus!  Dillon!  To me now!  Muir’s office!” his mind-speech yelled.  Knowing his Deryni lieutenants had heard him, he eased Muir to an upright position against his side to ease the earl’s breathing.

Artimus was the first to arrive.  He stared aghast at the two brothers on the floor.  In an anxious fluid motion, the earl’s closest friend drew his sword and leaped forward at Washburn.  The point of his weapon stopped at the throat of the Knight Captain.  “Have you gone mad?  What have you done?  Release him!”  With a furious undertone, Artimus inched his blade forward until Wash released Muir and let him slide unconscious to the floor.  “Curse that Thomas, I told him you would be dangerous if you knew.”

On his knees and utterly defenseless, Washburn threw his hands out at his sides, but his eyes never left his brother now quivering once more as he slipped back to the floor.  “What the devil would cause you to think I would harm my brother?  Arty, it’s me!  What is going on around here?”  Without Wash’s numbing influence, Muir’s body convulsed again, curling on his side and dry heaving from the torture of his stomach.  The Knight Captain reacted.  He forced the sword back, slicing his left hand on the lieutenant’s sharp blade.  He barely noticed it as he reached for Muir and once more used strong bursts of energy to calm his brother’s spasms. 

Realizing his error with shame, Artimus dropped his blade and knelt beside the two brothers.  “Oh my God, I’m sorry.  Is he injured?” he stammered.

“It’s merasha!”  Wash said through clenched teeth and unfocused eyes.  “Don’t touch that goblet!” he warned when Artimus reached for the overturned wine.

Artimus quickly drew his hand away.  A startled fear crossed his brows.  “Merasha?  It really exists?  How would anyone….”

“I don’t know.  I don’t think Muir’s sustained any injuries, but this drug has him under its full effect.  It’s… beyond…”  Wash’s voice trailed off as Muir succumbed to another fit.  He tightened his jaw and forced himself to endure the horror.  When the seizure passed, he raised his brother once more from the floor.

“Help me carry him to the bench by the hearth.  He needs to get off this cold floor.”  Together they braced the earl’s arms over theirs and picked up his knees between them.  As they carried him to the settee, Dillon rushed in with four men on his heels, swords drawn, not knowing what they would find.

Dillon’s first glance locked on the blood over Muir’s forehead and the blood dripping down Washburn’s wrist from his cut hand.  In an instant, he posted his men about the room, guarding against the chance the enemy was still within.

The Knight Captain shook his head in disgust.  “Too little, too late.  Find me my guards who were supposed to be at that door,” he demanded of his second.  “I want to know who else has been in this room in the last hour.  I want to know how this happened.”  Dillon gave the office rooms a thorough search then recalled his men, moving them to guard the door.  Out in the anteroom he barked a quick series of orders.

Accepting a bit of cloth from Artimus, Wash first wiped his brother’s face then bunched the cloth against his wounded hand.  He held his good hand over Muir’s forehead, assuring himself of his brother’s eased muscles, before he turned a serious eye to his friend.  “What wasn’t Thomas supposed to tell me?  What could possibly make you think I would be responsible for this?”  Only once before had Artimus seen Commander Washburn so serious; that was the day the Lendour Knights had been ordered to cover the left flank protecting General Cluim in the forward attack on Rengarth.  King Jasher took the center-line, and though the battle was won, the king had lost his life.  Prince Cluim surrounded by the Lendour knights was suddenly Gwynedd’s King at the climax of that battle.  Determination of one Commander had seen the new King through the worst tide of the fighting and then forward to the glory of victory.  That same determination was in Sir Washburn’s eyes now.

Artimus bit his lip, “Muir ordered me to escort Sister Jessa back to the convent.  Thomas overheard when I sent a page to summon Jessa for an audience with the earl in his office.  I made him promise he would not tell you.”  Arty shook his head ashamed.  “He disappeared fairly quickly after that; I thought he had gone straight to you.  When the page brought Jessa back to Muir’s office, I went to the stables, to have two horses saddled at the ready.  Muir was to bring Jessa to me there, and I was to take her back to the convent tonight.”

“Tonight?”  The younger brother’s face dropped in his astonishment.  “I was told I had until tomorrow.”  He looked at the face of his unconscious brother and gently pushed the hair back from his closed eyes.  “Fool,” he said under his breath.  “Why do you pander to extortion?  What else are you protecting that you would give Jessa up so easily?”  Then suddenly Wash’s head snapped up and he looked straight at Artimus.  “Jessa was here.  I know she did not do this.  So where is she now, and who was the third person in this room?”  He looked up, remembering the flask.

“Paulson, bring me that flask on the earl’s desk.  Be wary of its contents, it’s been drugged.”  The human knight Paulson hurried passed Dillon and returned, studying the stamp on the front of the container.  Arty stopped Wash from reaching for it.  Any residue on his cut hand would make him as delirious as Muir. 

Instead, Paulson held the flask up for his lord to see.  “The stamp is ‘S F’!  Is this from Saint Foillan’s?” 

“Cursed, self-righteous priests!”  Washburn fumed.  “Get me Father Pernal.  Now!  I know he is in the castle tonight.  And find Lady Jessa!  If the good Father,” he spat the words, “has her in his possession I will kill him!”

Tormented by what might be happening to Jessa as he waited for answers, the Knight Captain ignored the turmoil in the room.  Many had entered the room and crowded the space.  Arty knelt at his side taking the controls of Muir’s abused mind from him, allowing him to scan the room once more.  Nothing else seemed out of place.  Loud voices of speculation were rampant.  At a word from Wash, Dillon took charge and pushed everyone back out of the room into the antechamber beyond.

Minutes later Dillon returned, furious.  “We found the two guards locked in a guest room.  Both are dead from knife wounds.”  The three Deryni stared at one another, trying to make sense from the facts.  Tensions ran high and none had answers.

Accusations and threats came from the men out in the hall, as Father Pernal was forced forward, his arm twisted behind his back.  Wash pounced on him the moment he was thrust in the room.  He forced the man up against the wall.  With his uninjured hand, he grabbed the silver flask from Paulson, and brandished the opened flask before the priest’s face.  “Do you recognize this?”  His Truth-Saying voice echoed; he would not give the surgeon priest a single chance to lie.

“Yes, Lord Washburn, it is the Abbot’s private reserve,” said the man without expression.  He was unable to resist that coercive glare.

“Did you bring it to the castle?”  Wash accused.

“No, my lord,” was all the priest could manage.

“Have you seen or touched this flask before now?”

“Yes, my lord.”

“Tell me...”  Wash prepared to Mind-See if the man did not answer immediately.

“I saw that flask yesterday in the sacristy of the Cathedral.  Monsignor Harmon had just arrived from the Abbey.  He said it was a gift for a friend.  I do not know who was meant to receive this gift.”

“Did you know the wine has been poisoned, tainted with merasha?”

“No….  What is merasha?” the Father asked in a bland tone of ignorance.  He could not be lying with Wash so intent upon him.  Wash let up his gaze then and turned away from the priest.

 Muir was awake, staring at his hands as if he could not tell that they were his.  Arty nodded at Wash.  “My liege is confused, but at least the seizures are ending.”

Infuriated, Wash turned back, facing the surgeon priest, attempting to control his rage with little success.

“Tell me, Father Pernal, there is something I need to know.  Did you, or Father Harmon, precipitate in my distressed condition two months ago?” the Knight Captain demanded.  He no longer used the compulsion on the man to forcibly tell the truth, but he still read whether it was truth or lies in the priest’s response.

“I do not condone Father Harmon’s hatreds of Deryni.  The day we returned from the Festil Pass, I requested a transfer from the Bishop to better serve the people of Lendour.  He assigned me to assist your Chaplain here at Castle Cynfyn.  I have kept a low profile since I arrived here.  I have tried very hard to leave behind the atrocities and intolerances of those who preside within the abbey.”  Pernal bowed his head over his hands showing his remorse.  “On that day in question, I did nothing to harm you.”

“You did not?  Your tone implies that Father Harmon did knowingly do me injury.  If you knew, you could have stopped him.”  Wash stepped forward, his fists clenching in and out, fighting his attempt at restraint.

“I knew.”  The Father bowed his head, guilt in his expression.  “He hates Deryni.  He saw an opportunity to rid the world of one without censure upon himself.  He had the opportunity to soil your wounds.  What he did, once done, could not be reversed.  The business was done before I could react.”  The priest took in a fearful breath.  Quite contrite, he continued, “I am sorry, I did not know then what I know now.  I made a devastating error that day, my lord.  I did not speak out against my superior.  Instead, in personal disgust, I left you in his influence knowing you would die.  I left to find others I could assist properly back to health.  I am guilty, my lord, but I am not your enemy.  I have tried to make penance for my weakness every day since.  That you survived that day is a testament to me that God does not hate Deryni, and that he still produces miracles when men’s weaknesses cannot be overcome.”

Wash stared in astonishment, as did many in the room, at the priest who made confession before all.  Unclenching his hands, he paced the room for a moment, reconfiguring all that he just learned.  When he came back to Father Pernal, he waved his guards to release him.  Yet, he held the priest where he stood against the wall with only his stern gaze.  “This miracle that you speak of— this reason the monsignor’s attempt on my life failed— is the very thing we are missing now.”  Wash could not quell the anxiety growing in his gut.  “Tell me, why did you meet with Jessa?  Where is she now?”

Pernal’s eyes went wide.  “A page called her to the earl’s office just prior to vespers, my lord.”  His eyes searched the room past Washburn and the others.  He realized for the first time the convent girl was not here.  “This afternoon, I was sent a request that the novice of the convent had wished to see me.  I am busy with my new assignment to assist your chaplain, but the novice’s natural talents have me amazed.  She arrived at the chapel late this afternoon and we talked of many things, things I am not at liberty to reveal.  In the end, she asked for my assistance in drafting a letter to the Bishop to release her from her temporary vows.  I assume you have something to do with that,” the priest said with a sharp catch in his words.

“I would marry Lady Jessa if everyone would stop thwarting my efforts,” the Knight Captain proclaimed aloud for all in the room to hear.  He turned an accusing eye on Artimus, who flinched, and on his brother, who was barely conscious on the settee before the warmth of the fire.  His anger at his brother melted at the sight of the helpless man.

“If you’re not the cause of this, than who, by all that’s holy, was the third man in this room?  Was Father Harmon here, did he come with you?”
 
“No.  As far as I am aware, Father Harmon is staying at the Cathedral until tomorrow,” the priest said with a pause, thinking back.  “He told me he would be in prayer all of today with the Bishop as witness.”  The priest looked about the room, realizing a conspiracy.  “The self-imposed penance did seem off tone for Father Harmon.”

Washburn turned to his men; his familiar deep voice of command issued forth his orders.  “I want every inch of this castle searched.  I want to know everyone who has left the gates since the hour of sunset.  A Healer’s life is at stake and I want her found alive.”

“Thank you Father, you may go.  Sir Paulson, will you please see Father Pernal safely escorted back to the chapel.”

Wash watched the men leave before he turned back to Artimus.  “We need to protect Muir for a short time.  I’m counting on you to see that he comes to no further harm while we search the castle.”

“You have my sworn allegiance, my lord,” Sir Artimus said, chagrin at the cut across his commander’s palm.  He could not afford to make any other mistakes.  “Nothing further will harm Muir this night,” the lieutenant said.  He was already pulling a small leather case from his inside pocket.  Within it, Wash knew, were eight ward cubes: four black, four white.  Nodding in agreement, Wash came back to his brother’s side.  Arty spilled the cubes on the floor and began the incantation that would bring about the protective Ward Major. 

The younger Cynfyn fell into trance once more with his liege, and found the first horrors of the drug dissipating.  For a time he eased his brother’s distress and finally found enough calm to allow the man to sleep.  “I’ll return as promptly as I can.  Sleep this off.  It soon won’t be as bad, I promise.”

He pulled out of the sleeping mind and watched his brother’s breathing for a time.  Then he stood and nodded for Artimus to complete the ward.  A blue glow of an arcane warding arched over the cushioned settee and surrounded Muir’s sleeping body.

“He is safe,” Artimus stated, a hint of exhaustion playing across his features.

“I want four guards on this door,” Wash ordered.  Without question, Dillon quickly assigned four men: two inside the room, and two out.  Wash took a deep breath.  He was still concerned for Muir’s safety, but he knew these four men and where their loyalties lay.  He nodded to Dillon and Arty.  Then he turned down the main hall with his two lieutenants at his heels.  He set more guards on the Lady Melina’s doors once he had checked for himself that she and the baby were fine.  He and his men paced down the main steps, out the castle’s large doors, and into the darkened  courtyard.

Next chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1082.0.html

« Last Edit: March 01, 2014, 03:02:19 am by Laurna »

Offline TKnTexas

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 11
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2013, 04:56:06 am »
Awesome.  I kept scrolling down and there was no more  :(

The mystery is driving me crazy.. just who is Sister Jessa? 
Thomas Hill

Offline derynifanatic64

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 11
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2013, 06:14:14 am »
Methinks that Father Harmon might suffer Edmund Loris' fate if caught.  He better start running now.
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 11
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2013, 08:44:14 am »
This just keeps getting better and better, Laurna!

I note an individual who has not been accounted for, but I'll have to wait until next week to see if I am correct!  Seems I was wrong about Father Pernal.

Is there a Deryni spell to make time fly?   :)
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 Elkhound

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 11
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2013, 09:39:48 am »
Oh, very good.  A very good addition.

Offline Laurna

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 11
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2013, 02:51:12 pm »
Hello everyone,

You all sure know how to make a girl feel good. I really like your comments.  My sister has told me that I have made the story too long. but every time I try to shorten it, I find it just isn't the same.  So I think it it great that all of you are reading this and I hope have fun with it.

Hi, TknTexas, I am so glad you are joining us here. There is bit more, but I promise your question will be answered half way between here and the end. 

DF64 wonderful to hear from you this morning. I never liked writing from the view of the antagonist. I don't want to put my self in their shoes.  So Father Harmon is a distant character, but his actions have serious consequences that have to be dealt with and survived.

Just a note to everyone about something I said a few weeks back; just remember I am a woman, and women always hold the right to change their minds when ever and as often as they like.

Jerusha, Morning you are ever so supportive. I may still be quivering at night when I dare to post each chapter but I am overwhelmed and happy the next morning from the nice comments.
Someone missing? :o Whom ever can you mean? :-X   At least, Father Pernal is in the clear. I'm sure he feels better knowing that Wash and you do not persecute him any more.  The poor man, being transferred into a house full of Deryni.  I find I rather like Pernal.  I would love to post faster but I am not sure I could mentally handle it, sorry  ;D

Elkhound, Hi there. Glad  you liked this chapter. It feels good to know your still hanging in there with me on this.

Evie, I know your there too. I'll just  formally say HI to you this morning. I'm forever grateful for your wise words.

Online Evie

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 11
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2013, 03:23:32 pm »
Nope, I'm not here, I'm in the other window trying to get Chapter 12 proofread so you can edit and post it in time.  I don't want to get lynched by the faithful following for delaying your next chapter....    ;D
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