This all comes from my sense that Joram is very reluctant to help Rhys Michael in The Bastard Prince. Okay, I am prejudiced (can’t stand R M), but Joram is offhand to the point of rudeness. Admittedly again I am a unreconstructed traditional Brit who is deeply royalist, and I might be reading in more than KK intends but he is very offhand indeed for a mediaeval knight first meeting a king.
And I began to wonder what happens to Joram emotionally when Javan is killed,and that led me back to a what if....
What if Joram first of all thought that Ansel was responsible for the kidnapping of Rhys Michael – and what that might reveal about his hopes. Prologue
Joram made his way to the chapel deep in the heart of the former Michaeline sanctuary, preparing to offer a personal prayer of thanksgiving.
Normally he shied away from coming here unless standing at the altar on behalf of the community of exiles of which he was a part –God knew there was little enough opportunity for him to fulfil his priestly calling otherwise. Austere in appearance, immaculate in dress, little silver even yet in his golden hair and with the carriage of a young man though in early middle age, he had the reputation of reserved certainty, sure within his power and faith, and with unshakeable purpose. And when he said Mass all this almost became true, swept up as he was in an outpouring of Power that owed nothing to him, and in the Majesty of a Sacrifice that brought hope even into hell. And the chapel became for a short time bearable.
Otherwise, for a man whose senses were so finely attuned both by his priestly ordination and his Deryni heritage, the emotional residues in the chapel were like a fine miasma entering into the crevices of memory and impossible to shake off.
Joy there was in the memories of relationships shared with Rhys and Evaine but overlaid with sorrow at their loss; even more powerful joy at the priesting of his father and the drawing back for that short time of the veil of deception but overlaid with the horror of the false cult of his sainthood and the even more unnerving fear that the sainthood itself could just be true.
Joram would not even admit to himself what the full implications of Camber’s disturbing habit of materialising at significant moments might be, although the sardonic sense of humour that was increasingly his safety valve acknowledged that it would be entirely typical of his father to be as infuriatingly justified in his bending of the rules in death as in life.
However it was not any of this that kept him away – but the memories surrounding one man: Cinhil. Cinhil wreathed in grief as he stood at the altar facing the impending loss of his beloved priesthood; his confusion and cruelty at his marriage to Megan; his anger at the murder of his first born; above all his sense of betrayal by Camber MacRorie never properly assuaged. Cinhil’s bitterness at the price he paid for the restoration of the Haldane dynasty had seeped into the walls of the chapel, tainting all else.
Yet if the fabric of the walls had given safe-keeping to his bitterness then Joram could have knelt in thanksgiving for the Priest-King ready to be sacrificed for his people, the good shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep and so shared in the Holy Sacrifice of the altar. But he could not pray here in the presence of the rancour which had demanded a blood price from so many; how many slaughtered Deryni, Joram wondered in the bitterness of his own heart, did it take to pay wergild for a king’s conscience?
But today’s news, startling as it first appeared, brought renewed hope that the essential nobility of the Haldane line, for which so much had been and continued to be sacrificed, might have a real chance to triumph over that same dynasty’s urge to self-gratification and self-pity. And the news brought too a resurfacing of more recent emotional outpourings in the chapel.
Joram had believed that his own ability to care, once so precariously close to the surface, had been irretrievably locked within himself by the trauma of the years following Cinhil’s death. The passionate refusal to accept the world as it was had always expressed itself in action, or Imre might still have been on his throne, but now it seemed to Joram that action had replaced feeling. Or had, until that glorious meeting with Javan fresh from outfacing the former regents at his accession council and shining with the divinity of a King. Joram had bowed in homage knowing that the ritual of submission came from his heart as well as his body, and feeling for the first time the emotional power of offering his fealty to the individual and not just the crown.
He suspected that Javan had guessed something of what was in his heart, but he had kept tightly shielded the insight that had come as he bent to kiss Javan’s hands. That for him, Javan was the son he would never have of his body. And even as the insight came, with it came the fear of further loss.
“Be sober, be vigilant, for the devil your enemy prowleth around as a lion, seeking whom he may devour” – words spoken every night in Compline and words that Joram could never pray without thinking of the tightrope that Javan walked.
And so Joram came to give thanks for once for the impetuosity of a nephew who he prayed might just have given King Javan the breathing space he so badly needed....Next chapter--Chapter One: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1256.0.html