Author Topic: Coins of Memory - Chapter 12  (Read 2768 times)

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Offline Laurna

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Coins of Memory - Chapter 12
« on: May 14, 2013, 04:40:10 am »

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Chapter 12 -  WIC 11.10.985   4th Coin         

Sir Washburn and Sir Artimus centered themselves in the middle of the courtyard where Sir Dillon had the entire house guard turned out to scour the castle and its grounds.  Reports from Washburn’s earlier inquiries were uninformative.  There was no sight of an unknown intruder or the whereabouts of the missing novice Jessa.  The portcullis of the castle had been promptly lowered at sunset.  The heavily fortified, double-wood gates were barred shut, as they were every evening.  The guards assured him that the side gate had not been opened for a single man and per all accounts, there had been no unusual circumstances during the previous hour.  The perpetrator was either well away, or he was still somewhere within the curtain walls.  Washburn believed the latter.  He pushed everyone into the search.  He was determined to find answers and to find them quickly. 

A loud whistle caught the attention of the men on the wall.  It came from high above in the southern tower where a guard peered down between the stone crenellations.  By means of relay, his words were passed quickly along to the commander in the center courtyard.  A fire had just begun on the southeastern parapet.  That section of the wall was hidden by the main castle structure; it could only be seen by looking down from the high towers above.

The Knight Captain was at a full run across the courtyard into the southern guard tower.  Running the spiraling inner tower steps, he burst out onto the southern ramparts and sprinted across to the southeast corner tower.  The corner curtain wall was the highest in the castle’s outer fortifications.  It stood fifty feet above the rushing stream of water that pelted down the Lendour Mountains. He ran the tower steps with the feeling of impending dread. 

Well ahead of his entourage, Washburn burst out into the night air.  The view before him was a culmination of his worst fears.  A small spitting flame had ignited an outer layer of dried brush, which rested against loose stacks of cordwood.  The bundles of cordwood, commonly used in the outer wall braziers, were mounded haphazardly around the banner flagpole at the outer edge of the rampart’s wall.  Hung from her wrists, her hands tied high over her head to the flagpole halyard, was a semi-conscious woman in a cream-colored gown.  Ropes restrained Jessa’s body against the pole at her waist.  Her feet dangled over the bundled stacks of wood.  In her drugged delirium, her head hung awkwardly between her upstretched arms and appeared too heavy to hold up.  Jessa’s eyes were wide open, appearing glazed and unfocused.  She stared at the wood under her feet and the flames catching on the kindling just beyond.  Her mind had not yet grasped her danger.

A shadow was outlined before the growing flames.  Here a man stood tall, his dark cloak billowing around him.  He held his sword extended in his right hand and an opened book at chest height in his left.  He finished reciting a passage of exorcism, and then yelled at the woman in passionate excoriation, “I expel the demons within you and banish you, the demon bringer, to the depths of hell!  No more will you taint the living and poison the souls of godly men.” 

The heavier kindling caught the flame and burst upward with a wave of heat.  The woman screamed as the reality of the encroaching fire overpowered her merasha-induced dementia.

Washburn rushed the shadowed figure, a deathblow planned in his fierce swing of his broadsword.  Inconceivably, this man felt his hatred upon his back.  He managed to dodge and block the blade’s swift arc, bringing it to a jarring halt.

Washburn, already in the start of his next attack, reeled back at the sight of the man as he turned.  My God!  Here stood a friend, a Knight of Lendour. 

“She has brought evil among us!”  Sir Thomas yelled at his Captain.  The knight’s features blazed with insane zeal; his head was crowned by the rising flame at his back.

“Thomas!  My God, Sir!  What have you done?”  Washburn exclaimed, staring in disbelief at his once loyal knight.  “I command you to desist this insanity at once!” 

The knight of Lendour held out the book as if it were a shield.  He pointed his broadsword forward, bracing himself before his captain.  “She is the demon bringer, my lord,” Sir Thomas declared.  “Her pet demon tried to ensnare me, and I know he has you enthralled.  I have seen him!  He tore me away from the gates of heaven and dropped me back on this worldly plane.  He darkened my soul, making me see into a man’s mind and know what he is thinking.  This is devilry,” Thomas said, trying to sway his captain to turn back from the evil.  “I know you saw him when he cursed the new bairn at the moment of his birth.  The monsignors told me that if she repents, than we will all be freed of this demon’s curse.” 

Stunned by this sudden revelation, Washburn held his sword in hesitation.  “Demon?  Thomas, there is no demon!  At the baby’s birth stood the essence of a saint, a Deryni Saint, Saint Camber.  How is it that you even saw him?”  Wash stepped forward, his gaze darting to the woman hanging helpless, her eyes wide, reflecting the rising flames. 

Even as Wash realized the truth, Arty and Dillon lunged out the tower entrance.  Both men leaped forward together to overwhelm the crazed knight.

As they charged, Sir Thomas began a verse, a short rhythmic verse, a verse that jarred Wash’s understanding of the man he thought he knew. The verse was familiar, from a long time memory, the memory of a game Muir and he had played when young.  With only words, they had Pushed stones off the east bridge into the river below.  No one had seen them, or so they had thought, until Sir Thomas, their sword master, had appeared unnoticed behind them.  The knight had been angry at their use of magic and had scolded the boys roundly, threatening to tell their Papa.  Yet Wash remembered him repeating the words that evening.  Thomas was human, Wash had believed.  He had thought it would not matter if the knight muttered the words to himself. 

At this very moment, it mattered.

As the words were spoken, Sir Thomas swept his sword wide.  A force of magic shoved all three men back.  The two running men lost their footing and fell to their knees.  Wash was shoved back a great many feet, but he managed to stay standing, just barely.
“You are all consumed by the demon!” the knight proclaimed with a yell.  “My lord, look at what she has done to you.  She has stolen your warrior’s soul and made you weak, too weak to understand the evil she brings into this world.”  In Thomas’s intense focus, he began to glow in an eerie light.  “The priests of Saint Foillan have shown me the cure.  The poems in this book will force her to repent.  Otherwise, she must die to fully save all our souls!”

“He is Deryni,” Wash called out to the others as indignation flared within his being.  His hands instinctively gripped his sword.  Yet Thomas held the red leather book high.  He began to read words that were not from a mere literary concoction.  What he read was a Deryni spell, an aggressive spell of combat, like spells from the days of Wash’s training with the Deryni instructors of the east.  Wash realized he’d been pushed too far back to stop the knight with physical force.  He needed to focus his mind on the spoken words; for with the intensity that Thomas was displaying, those words could bring forth devastating energies.  That energy controlled by an untrained mind could destroy the men who gathered unshielded on the rampart’s wall behind him.

Washburn quickly extended his protective shields far out to those men.  Raw Deryni power clashed on his shields.  “Get back!”  Wash yelled.  The energies reflected in all directions.  Splinters of stone exploded from the collision.  The Lendour guards and noblemen dove back into the tower for protection from the flying debris.

When the energies had dissipated to neutrality, Washburn used the moment to step closer.  “Thomas, we are friends!” he yelled out.  “I can help you.  You are Deryni like me.”

Sir Thomas did not hear.  He was already reading a verse from the book that he held.

“Of all the earthly elements
I call forth the lord of fire,
Strike this man,
and cleave from him,
The evil of her demon’s desire”

All too quickly, a fire demon lumbered out of the blazing pyre.  Its molten mass surged forward toward Washburn, dripping fire that burnt the stone beneath its heat.

Instinctively, Wash formulated a counter spell for this dangerous elemental.  He called the words aloud as fast as they could be said.

“Of all the earthly elements,
I call forth the power of frost,
Strike the lord of fire,
and neutralize the flame,
Before a life is lost.”

At the distance of a mere few feet from Washburn’s outstretched hands, a fountain of ice shards speared the fire demon, splitting it into smaller and smaller flames until all were tiny sparks of flint and ash. 

A woman’s horrified scream distracted the knight captain’s concentrated focus on the next spell already being leveled against him.  His eyes left his crazed friend to watch in horror as the flame leaped into the heavier woods near the Healer’s feet.  Smoke poured over the convent maiden, and already she was suffering from breathing the heated, heavy fumes.  Wash’s heart sank.  He could not get to her in time.

Due to his distraction, he had missed the key words of his opponent’s incantation.  At a loss for the counter spell, his fighting instincts took command.  He rushed at Thomas, brandishing his sword, intent on incapacitating his friend before the spell was complete.  Beyond him, Arty and Dillon had pulled on their thick-leather gloves and they were already attacking the blaze, as it burned hotter.  They grabbed each flaming timber with shielded, gloved hands, tossing the wood aside before grabbing the next one.  Within three strides of the Knight Captain reaching his foe, the deranged Deryni yelled out the last words of his spell.  All too late, Washburn recognized the dark magic of a twilight schism.

A wall of purple energy formed before the knight Captain of Lendour.  His feet slid to a shuddering halt before the swirling mass of a thousand tiny points of abysmal darkness.  The points churned and grew even as his mind raced for a counter spell.  In that second of hesitation, Thomas yelled, “Banish the demon’s evil which consumes this man!”  The twilight mass attacked the noble knight.  The purple haze surged over Washburn and the black energy twirled around him like a maelstrom.  The force pushed in on him and pressed on his chest; it propelled him to his knees and tightened his throat.  Breathing became an act of desperation.

His two Deryni lieutenants were too intent on saving the woman he loved to notice his distress.  If he distracted them now, she would die.  His mind could not find the response to this consuming spell.  In torment, he realized he had never touched on dark magic; such knowledge was forbidden.  He was a noble knight, not a malevolent sorcerer.  How had Thomas come by this book?  Who had given it to him?

Washburn withered from the pressure seizing him on all sides.  Without the counter spell, only the death of his opponent would free him of this curse.  In a last desperate act, he shifted defensive spell to offensive.  His lips spoke the spell of his father’s with barely enough air to breathe them to life.

“From the forested mountains of Lendour,
Between the lands of Valoret, Carcashale, Dhassa, and, Corwyn,
In the ancestral home of my kin,
I call forth the powers inherited of my blood

Jessa’s gown caught a spark at her feet.  The fire caught on the hem of the cloth.  It simmered and threatened to grow even as the two men pulled the more threatening fagots of wood aside.

For a moment, Wash’s focus floundered in suffocation.  From the depths of his lungs, Lord Washburn forced the very last of his air out with a shout of the spell’s last words.

“— smite thee with the strengthened crest of Cynfyn.”

The red Stag of Cynfyn leaped off the heraldry of Washburn’s tunic. The family crest came to life, even as the lord was engulfed by the shifting purple and black mass.  The psychic mass pushed down on Wash, collapsing him to his hands.  His throat constricted allowing for no breath at all.  The mass solidified around him, banishing him from the world.  The men filtering out of the tower entrance watched their lord be encased by an opaque sphere.  They stopped, terrified, too afraid to interfere. 

However, the hart had escaped from the bounds of the sphere.  It leaped outward, landing on the stone walk.  Its size grew full, its coloring turned proper, and the beast’s antlers became long and majestic with age.  The stag reared high, forelegs challenging the enemy of his caller.  His ruby red eyes glared at his enemy.

Sir Thomas backed away dumbfounded, his features filled with confusion.  His shaking hand turned a page in the book, but that next page was blank.  No poems were there to stop this forest beast.  The priests of the Abbey had told him untruths.  The last ritual poem should have cleansed his target of evil, not destroyed the life that it hit.  His eyes went wide with fear as he realized his error.  “But I am not Deryni!” he shouted, remembering Lord Washburn’s accusation.  “Or… or am I?”  A doubtful look crossed Thomas’s face.  “Grandfather, was this the secret that you said I must forget?”  Thomas stared at the Cynfyn beast, only just beginning to comprehend.  Some heard him say, “Oh Lord, what have I done?” as he stood there, transfixed before the gleaming red eyes.

The Stag of Lendour only saw an enemy.  In defiance, the hart lowered his antlers and leaped forward at a gallop.  For an instant, Thomas might have thought it just a mirage, an illusion that would dissipate when it reached him, but the image was real.  The antlers impaled his body on every forward-facing tip of bone.  It lifted him high above the walkway, and then, with a giant leap, the Stag of Cynfyn carried Sir Thomas over the balustrade wall.  The stunned men watching would say the stag dissipated at mid-height, leaving only the body of the old sword master to land in a crushing heap onto the sharp rocks of the raging stream below.

All turned bleakly quiet.  Only the sound of flames remained, just the crackle of fire in the heap of dried wood.  Three guards ran to assist the two lieutenants at the pyre.  The rest stood astonished, watching the sphere of darkness as it began to vibrate.  Slowly at first, fine lines formed over its surface.  They grew thicker as the intensity of quaking increased.  With a final shake, the black orb shattered as like a ball of glass, thousands of shards falling away to the ground.  Within the broken pieces, the freed captain fell face down onto the cold stone.

The captain’s men, stunned by the use of magic, watched his stillness and feared the worst.  His personal squire was the one who dared to come forward.  Looking for any sign of breath, Robby’s hand touched the fallen lord’s face: nothing.  He shook his liege’s shoulder, desperate for any response.  Then, all at once, the prone body inhaled, gasping harshly.  Robby grasped Washburn’s shoulder tighter with both hands.  The captain shuddered and coughed, every small breath expanding the painful crush of his chest.  With help, Wash raised his body to his elbows to fill his lungs, but his mind exploded with pain and dizziness.  Robby put his arms under him and kept Wash from falling back to the stone.  Washburn’s bout with asphyxiation tormented every muscle in his body.

Barely breathing, Washburn remembered with anguish the flames still sputtering near the flagstaff.  His two lieutenants with the help of others had pulled the last of the cordwood away from the pole.  Arty used his dagger to cut across the flaming dress and pull it free of the woman’s body.  Dillon in the same instant cut through the ropes binding her waist.  All at once, the burning fabric dropped away to the stone.  Jessa hung from her wrists, strung to the halyard line, several feet above the walk.  Shards of cloth hung from her hips, though most had been torn away, exposing her long legs.  Deep burns blackened and blistered the fair skin below her knees.  She was conscious, but only just, as she forced air through heat-seared lungs.

Washburn was there at her side, forgetting his own distress.  He helped ease her down as Arty reached high to cut the bonds at her wrists.  Wash wrapped her in his cloak and then draped her across his arms.  He held her tight to his chest and realized how close he had come to losing her.  He could not lose her, not ever.  His mind thrust into her delirium; the influence of merasha was strong.  He endured the disruption, sending bursts of pain-reducing energy into her injured body.  She smiled up at him then with dry eyes, her eyelashes and eyebrows singed away, the strands of hair just at her hairline blackened and brittle.  With a shaky hand, she reached up and touched his face.  His swift reassurance of unconditional love protected her tattered mind.  The merasha had issued its first devastating effects of contortion and pain.  Those effects had run their course, and her Deryni powers were completely gone.  Relieved of the stress of near death, Jessa relaxed within the strong arms of her black knight. 

Escorted by his men, Lord Washburn carried the maiden away from the horror of the flames still burning there.  They went down the tower stairs and entered the guard tower rooms.  He passed through these, and then beyond into the officers’ quarters on the second floor.  He followed the hall to the main staircase and climbed to the family’s third floor.  His rooms were the first at the top of the steps.  Realizing many still followed him, he stopped to give out orders.

“Arty, see to Muir.  Take him to Melina; she will take care of him.  I want you, personally, outside his door for the rest of the night.  Dillon, find me Pernal.  Have him bring burn ointments and bandages.  After, send in a chambermaid, one of Melina’s ladies will do as chaperone.  Then I’ll need you in my solar for the rest of this horrific evening.  Oh and I’ll need Paulson—, there you are, I need you to gather Sir Thomas’s two sons.  Your previous protections against Deryni influence should protect you should they try to follow in their father’s footsteps.  Keep them safe in their rooms, and say nothing to them until morning when one of us will come and handle this tragedy.”  With orders given, Washburn entered his apartment and continued to the last room, wherein he laid the injured woman down upon his bed.  He heaped the pillows up underneath her, and then sat on the bed, encasing her in his arms.  Nothing would make him part from her side now.

Several minutes passed before Dillon came into the Knight Captain’s private chamber.  Concern creased his brow.  “Father Pernal is in the outer room.  Are you sure it is him whom you want?  I can call your battle surgeon down in the city and have him here in a short time.”

“Thank you.  Pernal will do.  Show him in.”

Dillon nodded and bowed out, returning quickly with the priest behind him.  The priest entered the room balancing jars and rolls of cloth in his arms.  His cool demeanor and fortitude enabled him to enter a proven Deryni’s private domain.  He looked at the injured woman, urgently saying a prayer, and then waited for the Deryni lord to give him leave.

“Father!”  Washburn started, judging the surgeon priest’s reaction as he spoke.  “We have had a bad beginning.  Both of us have made serious errors in judgment.  I am forgiving you for your indifference to my plight weeks back, and I would wish to ask of you your forgiveness in my mishandling of your person this day.  Earlier you declared you were not my enemy; do you still stand by what you said?”  The Deryni lord’s tone was serious.  Much had happened, and he needed to know which way this man would lean.  Trust, at this moment, was a hard thing to judge.  Emotions were high, and nerves were frayed.

“I will stand by what I said,” the priest stated, although there was apprehension in his tone.  “I am not your enemy.”

“But you’re not my friend, either,” Wash stated more then asked, noting the other man’s hesitance.  “I can accept that.  Most would run from the horror of what just occurred out on that wall.  I can appreciate your courage to stand before me.”

“Will you permit me to treat her?” the physician asked as he placed the armload of medical supplies on a near table.  At Washburn’s nod, he walked to the opposite side of the bed.  His eyes fell to the delirious woman lying against the pillows.  A low rasp echoed in her throat with every breath.  The priest’s expression filled with concern as he leaned over the bed and lifted up the lady’s limp eyelid.  With dismay, he looked into her dilated, unfocused stare.  “You said merasha did this?” he asked, unable to comprehend such a drug.  “How long does this last?  I had not heard of it before today, nor have I seen these effects before.  I pray this is not permanently damaging?”

“I have no answer for you, Monsignor,” Wash replied with a sigh.  “It is a drug used against Deryni to strip us of our powers.  From what I have witnessed, the body convulses to be rid of it, and the senses are overwhelmed until the mind is blurred into delirium. From the stories of the past, all that I know is that every Deryni who has been dosed with it has died with it in their system.  There is no defense left to the victim against an enemy who is powerful enough to procure such a drug.”

“The earl!” Pernal thought aloud, displaying a sincere level of concern.  “He was never the target, but he still could be, in his weakened state.”

“My brother is well protected,” Wash said, a little surprised.

“I still do not understand.  Why Sister Jessa?”

“They discovered her ability, which marks her as Deryni, and an easy target not protected by the crown.”  Anger flared in Washburn’s next words.  “What has happened was no more than what your fellow monsignor strategically willed to happen.  He poisoned the mind of a good man.”  Washburn's face was red as he blew out a breath and leaned back against the carved-wood headboard.  He forced his arms to stay gentle in his embrace of the injured maiden.  The pounding imbedded deep behind his temples only served to emphasize his guardianship for this innocent lady.  In protecting her, he had caused the death of a friend; his guilt was tormenting his soul.  "Why?" he asked as he stared at the ceiling.  “Even if Thomas was convinced that the manifestation of Saint Camber was a demon, how could he possibly have believed we were so deluded by him?  He worked so closely with us for years, and until today I believed he knew our hearts.  Did he truly think we couldn’t tell the difference between good and evil?”  Wash squeezed his eyes shut against the grief.  “A friend died today needlessly…,” the Knight Captain said, swallowing hard.  “He died from my hand….  I should have found another way.  There must have been another way,” he said miserably.

Pernal was silent while he measured medicine into a small glass.  He swirled the red liquid then held it to the maiden’s lips.  She swallowed with a cough then settled back into Washburn’s arm.  The priest watched her reaction for a moment then stood back, shaking his head.  When he at last spoke, his words held no blame.  “Tonight, I stood witness to events beyond my comprehension, but unless you have completely deceived me, what I saw was a man in defense of his own life, in an attempt to rescue a woman from a madman.”  He reached down and touched Jessa’s wrist, noting the rope burns as he checked her easing pulse.  “There is a mild sedative in that.  It should relax her tension and her breathing in a few minutes.”  The physician stoppered the medicine bottle and walked back to the table and the items he had brought.

He stood there frowning at a jar of medicine, not looking up.  “How Sir Thomas became mad, I can answer you in part.  I was there on the morning after the battle when Sir Thomas came to Father Harmon claiming he had been touched by an entity.  I had asked him what his vision had been, and he described a hand touching his mind and a ghostly image of a cowled man leaning over him.  I had no answer, but Father Harmon was instantly in a rage.  He talked on about demons stealing men’s souls at death and placing them back in life to do the work of evil.  He became aggressive and persuaded Sir Thomas to follow us back to the abbey to be exorcised of this demonic influence.”  The monsignor closed his eyes, ashamed.  “I pulled the knight aside and tried to calm his fears with prayer, but he was desperate to be redeemed and he willingly followed Father Harmon where he led.”  The priest whispered a new prayer asking for forgiveness.  “I had not saved you from Father Harmon's rancour, rumors had you near death, and I could not save Sir Thomas from his hallucination.  Twice, I had failed.  I left the Abbey, unable to bear the shame.” 

The silence in the room was deafening.  The medicine had relaxed the harsh breathing of the injured maiden.  She lay quietly in that awkward space of time.  Pernal's shoulders slouched, his eyes closed, and his knees weakened; he waited for the Deryni lord to condemn him.  Washburn was as much ashamed that the priest expected him to lash out as he was of the truth that was unfolded.

“It seems the burden of this death is shared by me with another. And that other is not you, Monsignor.  I will not hold you responsible for the actions of your brethren.” 

Pernal opened his eyes acknowledging Lord Washburn’s acquittal, but he shook his head unable to accept it.  “Judgment must be left for God to decide, " he whispered. Than Father Pernal looked over to the Deryni lord. "I trust you will seek His wisdom in this matter," he requested of the Knight Captain.

“Yes, Father,” Wash hesitantly replied.

Pernal shook his hands to release the tension. He studied the medicines on the table again, and then finally picked up the jar of ointment and two rolls of cloth.  When he returned to the bed, he had regained his composure. His physician's eye reviewed the burns on the maiden's legs and feet and his frown deepened.  "When the effect of merasha is gone, she will need to be strong enough to Heal. We must keep the fever away long enough for her to recover her abilities.  These are serious burns, my lord.  If the flux of fever takes hold, she may not be able to use her gift." With a caring hand, he laid heavy cloth under each of the maiden’s legs and then delicately dabbed the damaged flesh until all was covered with medicine.  “This will give some relief, but I fear it may not be enough to keep the evils of fever away."  He stalled for a moment surprised by his own thoughts, then suggested, “My lord, I understand Deryni have an ability to temper pain. Are you willing to care for her through the night?"

"Yes, Father, I am," the Knight Captain replied.  He watched the priest carefully wrap each of the maiden's legs. Pernal's voice had been full of concern.  Far more so than the doctrine of the Church, who condemned Deryni, should have allowed. Wash gathered his strength to voice his own concerns.  “Father Pernal, my mind tells me to trust you, forgive me, but my experiences have tempered that point of view,” he said, unsure.  “Your superiors have accused Deryni of being an accursed race. Yet you seem more willing to deal with me directly and honestly.  It is refreshing yet a bit disconcerting as well. As you have now witnessed, I have the power of magic in my hands, yet I would tell you that magic is no more evil than fire; it can light our path and warm the hearth, or it can burn.”  Washburn hugged the burned girl closer to his chest.  The instinctive reaction to magic caused the priest to bless himself.  Wash gathered his courage and dared what he had not dared before with a man of the cloth.  “If you stay with us here in the chapel of Castle Cynfyn, than you will eventually learn that my brother and I are not the only members of this house who are Deryni.  There are many here who claim sanctuary from the intolerance of the land in which we live.  I will tell you that none of them are evil.”  Father Pernal remained silent.  Wash sighed, rubbing his temple to relieve his pain, “I fear that the horror put out on display tonight will have destroyed any attempt I might make to prove our benevolence.” 

Father Pernal said nothing for a long while.  He completed his bandaging before he heartened to Washburn’s concern.  “My son, I am first a priest of God, and second a physician of human healing.  I have sworn vows and oaths to adhere to virtue, and to hold all life with reverence.  I learned a life’s lesson two months back: the holding of power and knowledge does not define you as good or evil.  The use of that power defines your purpose, not your racial disposition.  I watched Father Harmon use the knowledge of medicine against you.  It was days later, before I learned you had not died, that the power of Healing had saved your life.  Six days ago, I discovered that Sister Jessa was the source of that gift spoken of in legend.  I have stood witness to the miracle of her abilities.  Her gift has confounded me; it can only come from God’s hands.  So I ask you, how can I condemn the whole race when some of those within that race hold the favor of God’s hand?”

Looking for the strength to say what was truly on his mind, the priest found the courage in the knight’s accepting nod.  “Though I will tell you in truth that the events of tonight have raised some apprehension,” the priest stated, bravely verbalizing his fears, “the power I saw wielded tonight was greater than my imaginings.  If humans and Deryni are to live together in peace, then each of us, individually from both races, must maintain a faithful adherence to our moral responsibilities.”  He came to the side of the bed once more, and dabbed ointment on the milder burns that had touched Jessa's face.  "For the sake of this child, I have opened my eyes and seen where understanding and even friendship can grow between us. But to gain a full peace between your race and mine?”  He stepped back from the bed and looked across at the Deryni lord.  “Fear, as we witnessed tonight, is a very compelling force.  It leads to hate, which consumes the soul and brings on madness.  The Church has the power to extinguish that fear, yet some choose to extinguish an entire race instead.  I know that cannot be the answer.  In some way, we must achieve an understanding between our two people.”

“I hope that understanding has begun between you and me,” the Knight Captain of Lendour said with a light smile.  Washburn weighed his next words against the small gain he had just made and decided a man’s soul was as important.  “Father, I have a boon to request.  Although I do not believe the man that spoke the words had any evil intent, I do believe that his words touched on something that was not of the good of this world.  Would you say a prayer for Sir Thomas?  Please pray that he is justly received into God’s hands.  I reject the notion that this event was of his own doing.  Would God condemn him after a lifetime of good will?” 

“It is hard not to condemn a man for his last deeds.  I see in your heart that you think the good of him outweighs this misguided wrong.  There at the end, Sir Thomas did appear to repent. Your guards are searching for his body along the riverbanks.  As soon as he is retrieved, I will offer conditional absolution for the deliverance of his soul.  You surprised me.  I admit I have not been here long, but I have not seen the Lords of Lendour within the walls of our chapel.  I had wondered if Deryni prayed at all.”

“Monsignor, we are neither devils nor heathens.  It is hard to go where you know you are openly condemned.  Our current chaplain is not as forgiving as you seem to be.  At times, it is easier to take service with Bishop Michael at the Cathedral than it is to use our small chapel.  Perhaps this is why Bishop Michael has sent you to us.  I praise him if that is his intention.”

Father Pernal nodded in understanding.  “Then let us ask for God’s forgiveness for Sir Thomas.”  He folded his hands and said the words of prayer.  He additionally asked for forgiveness of Sir Washburn’s actions to protect the lives of his brother and that of Sister Jessa.  The prayer concluded with a blessing. 

When the physician priest left, Washburn knew a man he had mistakenly thought to be his enemy had become an important friend.

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« Last Edit: July 21, 2013, 04:54:42 am by Laurna »

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 12
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 08:38:10 am »
Exciting chapter!  I see you changed your mind about letting Sir Thomas survive.  I like your choice - I don't think he could have lived with what he had done if he had survived.

Glad to see Father Pernal has managed to reconcile his beliefs about the Deryni.  Now what are we going to do to about Father Harmon?
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 12
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 09:54:17 am »
Do I detect an echo of "Harry Potter"?

(I once attempted a fanfic on the postulate that the wizardlings of HP are the modern descendants of the Deryni.  It didn't work out, but there is a scene I may re-use elsewhere of a confrontation in Lambeth Palace between the ABC and 'the Other Archbishop'.)

Offline Laurna

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 12
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 03:21:03 pm »
Good afternoon,  I am so glad the web site is up and running. During the weekend, I was thinking I would have a few days delay in posting this chapter.  But Bynw is good to his word and has everything up and running again.  Thank you Bynw.

Hi Jerusha, I have to tell you that I really struggled over the issue of saving Sir Thomas.  Two months ago, when my dog ran away, I got very melancholy and rewrote this chapter and the next one in which Wash managed to only incapacitate Sir Thomas at the end of the duel.  This led to many changes including an added scene where Wash tries to determine if Thomas can be turned back from his brainwashed view of Deryni. or if they just have to throw him in the dungeon for his deeds.  Things progressed from there but the story just did not hold up to how I had written it the first time. When I found my dog 30 days later, I reevaluated the story. Two people reviewed both versions  and both people told me they preferred the original. My conscious went through agony for a few days before I had to agree with them.  In retrospect I have to agree, this version is better. I am so sorry Sir Thomas, but that is just the way that it happened.

Hello Elkhound,  I never even thought about Harry Potter until my sister said the same thing, and I went AACK.  Here was the delema. Our beloved KK said the Cynfyn heraldry is red and white. But no where could I find a emblem listed for that heraldry.  Please, some one tell me if I am wrong about this. I know that I took a liberty here in making it a Rearing Stag.  My thoughts went like this.  I needed something that would leap off the tunic and attack the opponent during the duel.  I wanted it to be a forest creature. A bear or a wolf  would make a bloody mess of Sir Thomas, and I am really trying to avoid massively violent scenes. A fox or a rabbit...that would be a joke. An eagle might work but it would have to be one very large bird.  The original Lendour emblem was the Furstan Leaping Hart.  Cynfyn can not have the same heraldry but it could be very similar. Remember the first Cynfyn was a good friend of Festil.  So therefore, I went with a rearing stag. In the duel, the stag becomes a real forest beast, not a blue form of energy like in HP, but I know it is hard to not see the similarity. Sorry about that.
I would love to see your fanfic crossover,  I can see where it just might have some valid connections.  May be you'll be inspired to rewrite it or write something new with it.  It is amazing where the mind will lead once the fingers start typing.

Have a great day everyone.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 03:54:05 pm by Laurna »

Offline derynifanatic64

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Re: Coins of Memory - Chapter 12
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 07:21:22 pm »
May God help Jessa to a speedy recovery and may God have no mercy to show Father Harmon.
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!


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