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Author Topic: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)  (Read 8038 times)

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Offline drakensis

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Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« on: January 06, 2015, 04:08:27 am »
"As both regent an' duke in this kingdom, I hae the power o' high an' low justice, an' authority tae hear evidence an' render judgment. I charge you, Manfred MacInnis, Earl o' Culdi, an' you, Rhun o' Horthness, Earl o' Sheele, with high treason an' sacrilegious murder—"
"I don't recognize your authority to try me!" Manfred said contemptuously.

"I further find ye guilty o' these crimes an' declare yer lives forfeit," Graham continued. "Throw doon yer arms. Ye cannae escape. An' I wouldnae profane this holy place with yer blood—though 'twould be a fittin' end, here before the tomb o' the king whose sacred blood ye spilled."

"Several kings," Sighere added softly. "King Javan also died beneath the blades o' traitors."

Not a soul dared to move. Into the taut, expectant silence that settled after Sighere's words, not a sound intruded save the harsh breathing of the cornered men, Owain's muted protests as he struggled again in Lior's arms, and a single, stifled sob from Michaela. Then, to everyone's surprise, Rhun contemptuously tossed his sword to the floor, where its clangor reverberated through the stone chamber. He reached next to the dagger at his belt.

"Rhun, what are you doing?" Manfred demanded, gaping at him in astonishment, his sword slowly sinking at his side.

Even as he asked it, Rhun spun to plunge his dagger into Manfred's chest, ripping upward as he wrenched it out. Blood gushed from Manfred's mouth even as Michaela screamed and one of the Valoret knights started forward, but Rhun roughly seized the queen by one arm and drew her back along the vaulted chambers of the crypt.

At the same time, a wild-eyed Tammaron elbowed his way through the line of Custodes monks, driving his sword through Lior when the Acting Vicar General tried to flee.

Michaela screamed in horror as the sword plunged through the Custodes and into her son.

"Tammaron, are you mad?" Hubert gasped, backed up against one of the tombs, the china blue eyes wide and horrified. "You just killed the young king!"

Nodding, wild-eyed, Tammaron backed away from Sighere and Graham's swords. "The lad was no true prince and therefore no true king— unless a MacInnis dynasty is to replace the Haldane one. Hubert, did your brother ever tell you about that?"

"Wha' d'ye mean?" Graham demanded, as Hubert's jaw gaped.

"Ask the queen," Tammaron replied, hysteria in his voice. "What was the threat we made to the king after his coronation, your Highness, to ensure that you and he started producing Haldane heirs?'

"Sweet Jesu, no," she whispered, for she knew full well to what he was referring and that it could not possibly be true.

"It was only known among the Five," Tammaron confided, "that if he did not do his duty, there were ample volunteers to deputize for him."

"No!" she sobbed, only Rhun's arm holding her upright.

"But the king was stubborn, and Manfred must have gotten tired of waiting. He would have drugged the wine one night. I trust I can leave further details to your imagination?"

"It isn't true!" Michaela sobbed. Rhys dead, Owain dead...

"She isn't to blame," Tammaron went on. "She never knew. None of us knew until Manfred came back with the king's body. But why else do you think he let the king be killed, when he knew the codicil existed? Because he knew, that the king's death would put his own bastard on the throne! It's Owain MacInnis that I just killed!"

Blackness took the queen and the last thing she heard was a cry of desperate denial. For some reason she thought the voice was that of Rhun the Ruthless.



Hubert MacInnis stared at Rhun as the pair of them stood by Tammaron - Kheldour blades pointed at them in open menace - and watched as an unfamiliar priest, the mysterious Father Donatus who'd heard Rhys Haldane's last confession, struggled to save the life of the queen.

Something was not right about this scene, not right about how Rhun had been acting. Manfred and Rhun had been close friends, despite their difference over whether to kill the late king. What happened in the crypt had been totally out of character. And it was not the first time, though it was the most blatant. The old Rhun would have had no qualms about having Rhys Haldane bled to death, if it would further his power as a regent—but Rhun had tried to prevent it.

Hubert's keen mind flashed back years to the last months of Rhys' brother's reign and he thought he understood. Javan, possessed of the subtle and dangerous magics of the Deryni, had planted false memories in the archbishop's mind to make himself seem more malleable to the great lords. That discovery had sparked the final decision to rid themselves of the energetic and increasingly enigmatic young king. "What was it the king ordered you to do? Did he tell you to kill the other regents when you got the chance?"

Rhun looked at him sharply, bewilderment suddenly in his eyes.

"I—killed Manfred. I didn't want to, but—I had to.”



The archbishop looked at Michaela Haldane and had to restrain himself from any expression of satisfaction when Donatus sat back on his heels.

"The queen will live," he said with his voice greatly saddened. "I could not save the babe."

No Haldane king with their accursed magic to sit upon the throne. It meant civil war. It meant Hubert's death, most likely here in the crypt for with he, Tammaron and Rhun alive they were still the majority of the Royal Council, something the Kheldour lords couldn't permit to continue. But somehow the Archbishop of Valoret wondered if it might be for the best in the long run.

"It's o'er," Sighere said grimly. He turned an angry face towards the three remaining regents. "A' you happy now? Rhys Haldane was a braw king and could ha' been a great king, so could his brother. An' ye destroyed them both. For what?"

"To keep Gwynedd free of the tyranny Deryni kings have brought it." Tammaron held his head up. "We didn't overthrow the Festils to replace them with Haldanes no better."

"Ye never overthrew the Festils," Graham told him in disgust. "Cinhil Haldane did that - wi' help from the Michaelines an' my grandfather. Ye just oozed out of the earth t' steal away the spoils. Ye murdered Javan, Rhys an' now Owain. Who knows if Alroy might have lived without yer poisons."

Rhun exhaled slowly. "With no Haldane heir there's nothing to stop Marek of Festil returning. Unless there's a strong king in place on the throne."

"No chance o' that now."

"There is one." The Earl of Sheele stared at Sighere. "I'll offer you a bargain, you and your nephew."

"You don't have much to bargain with."

"I've a last codicil to his will. A verbal one perhaps but one that might spare Gwynedd a civil war."

Ailin MacGregor folded his arms. "And what would you want in exchange? Your life?"

"You'll need me long enough to testify to the codicil. But beyond that... I'm not a fool. No attainder. Your word that our sons - mine, Tammaron's, Iver, even Richard Murdoch - that they succeed to our lands and titles. Let your revenge end with us here."

"An' in return?" asked Graham of Claibourne.

Rhun's mind flicked back the days to the day he'd learned that Rhys Haldane had outflanked them all with an addition to his will.

"If I die before an heir of mine comes of age, the Duke of Claibourne and the Earl of Marley are irrevocably appointed as regents, regardless of whoever else you ramrod through the council. And before you even have a chance to kill them, they'll have appointed their own successors—and their successors will appoint successors. Kheldour will have a say in the next regency."

"Kheldour will be running the kingdom," Rhun said testily, "and the next thing you know, Kheldour will be providing the next king."

"I don't think so," Rhys Michael replied. "And if they did, they couldn't do much worse than your lot have done. You never gave Alroy a chance to be a real king, and you killed Javan when it looked as if he might be one. And you've only been keeping me alive until you were sure you had an heir and a spare to mold in exactly the image you wanted. If it isn't to be a free Haldane king on the throne of Gwynedd, Rhun, I think I might prefer one from Kheldour. The Duke of Claibourne would make an excellent king. Or maybe Kheldour can give my sons a free crown."


"I told him he was a fool. I told him you'd be running the kingdom, that you'd supplant his sons," Rhun said with brutal honesty. "He told me if there next king wasn't a Haldane, that he'd prefer one from Kheldour."

Hubert cried out in dismay. "You can't be serious!"

The Kheldour lords turned to Donatus who spread his hands. "I know nothing of this."

"Call in Drummond." Rhun grinned thinly. "He was there."

Tammaron turned his head to Rhun. "Truly?"

"Don't thank me, you bloody fool. Even a blind man would have known there was no MacInnis blood in Owain Haldane."

Tammaron's face went white.

"Aye. You're the man that ended the Haldane line. A fine legacy for the FitzArthurs."



Nothing was as it should be.

The King of Gwynedd accepted the fealty of Tambert Quinnell - for the ten year old Duke of Cassan had forsaken his grandfather's family name. His father Fane was discreetly absent from the coronation but Tambert's mother and uncle stood by him for Fulk FitzArthur's loyalty had been attested to and he would inherit Tammaron's other titles and lands over his less trusted brothers.

As the Cassan party moved aside, Cathan braced himself and took Michaela's hand, guiding her to stand before the great lion throne and the man in the crimson mantle worked with golden lions and silver saltires. He felt her trembling as they dropped to their knees before Graham.

Rather than extending his hands for theirs, the king leant forwards to Michaela. "I would much rather 'twas I who knelt t' your son as I did t' his father," he murmured.

She sobbed in agreement.

"Michaela, Countess of Rhendall, I am prepared t' hear your oath."

Her hand left Cathan's and she placed them between the royal hand's. "I, Michaela, Countess of Rhendall, do become your vassal of life and limb, and do homage for all the lands of Rhendall, held of your granting and before then of your son Hrorik. Faith and truth will I bear unto you, to live and die, against all manner of folk, so help me God."

"This I do hear, Michaela of Rhendall, an' I, for my part, pledge the protection of Gwynedd to you and all your people, to defend you from every creature with all my power, giving loyalty for loyalty and justice for honor. This is the word of Graham Donal Angus MacEwan, King of Gwynedd, King of Gwynedd, Lord of Meara and Mooryn and the Purple March, and Overlord of Eastmarch. So help me God."

King and Countess both laid their hands on the Gospel held by Ailin MacGregor, the new Archbishop of Valoret, and kissed the cover of the good book.

Michaela rose and stepped aside into the company of Anne of Cassan, while the royal eyes now turned to Cathan, who by private agreement would be the new dynasty's strong - and Deryni - hand in the north of Gwynedd.

"Cathan, Duke of Claibourne, I am prepared t'hear your oath."

Nothing was as it should be.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2015, 05:42:12 am by drakensis »

Offline revanne

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Re: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2015, 07:02:16 am »
Really interesting. Can't help wondering if Graham might not have made a better king than in Canon... Is this a stand alone or are there more treats in store
"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts."
As You Like It.

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2015, 09:52:24 am »
Nothing was as I expected - well done!

I hope there is more of this.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Evie

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Re: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2015, 10:52:57 am »
You have been a really busy lad lately.  I like that about you!   ;D  Please write more!
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
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Offline Evie

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Re: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2015, 11:30:38 am »
BTW, in addition to enjoying your AU take on this story, I think I'm in love with your use of the "Horizontal Rule" button for your scene breaks.  I always wondered what that icon in the edit screen was for, and now I know.  :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline drakensis

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Re: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2015, 01:47:46 pm »
It's a one-shot for now. I was mugged by inspiration this morning.

Most of the first half is just a joggling around of parts of TBP.

I suppose there may be some scope for sequels.

Offline Evie

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Re: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2015, 02:05:51 pm »
It's a one-shot for now. I was mugged by inspiration this morning.


May you get mugged more often, then!  ;D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline revanne

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Re: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2015, 03:45:17 pm »
Never knew mugging was so creative and I am seriously impressed at the speed of your writing. It takes me for ever. Diffi This was a lovely treat
"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts."
As You Like It.

Offline Laurna

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Re: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2015, 04:37:21 pm »
Drakensis, Impressive indeed. However,  I have to place this in the Nightmare Category, at least I hope it is a Nightmare.  :o  If it is not than, dear, oh dear, what will happen to Gwynedd after that coup.  Saint Camber will be rising from the grave as will Joram, Rhys, and Evaine.

Wait! If this is 928 or earlier, Joram is still very much alive! Oh, heads are going to roll! And not in the normal fashion.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2015, 09:08:17 pm by Laurna »

Offline drakensis

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Re: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2015, 02:57:44 am »
Joram: Maybe I can bind my soul to my corpse and never enter heaven.
Queron: What!? Why would you do that!?
Joram: To avoid having to explain to father that I let the Haldanes get wiped out.
Queron: ...maybe we could mutually sacrifice our lives to tie each other to our respective corpses?


Ironically this could potentially leave Gwynedd's eastern borders quite secure: the semi-independent Corwyn remains under Deryni rule in the south and the Drummonds could form another line of Deryni dukes in the south. This assumes, of course, that the two lines remain loyal to to the MacEwans but that's a long-term concern. Fortunately Arion of Torenth isn't likely to authorise more Festillic adventurism for the next few years.

The problem area for the immediate future would be the north-west: Cassan under the regency of Fane Fitz-Arthur, Kierney and Culdi under Iver MacInnis. And let's not forget Richard Murdoch in Carthane, whose father was mortally wounded by Graham's uncle.

Offline revanne

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Re: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2015, 06:43:53 am »
Lol Joram and Queron. Not that that would keep them safe from Camber! Personally I think Joram more or less gives up on the Haldanes after Javan is killed.

Now if Graham eventually married Michaels, that would tie in the Drummond loyalty and might there be enough.. deryni inheritance to activate something like the Haldane potential...

I wonder too if Marion could be persuaded to support Marek against a king of Gwynedd who wasn't a hated Haldane

Interesting speculation
"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts."
As You Like It.

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2015, 07:25:17 am »
The Haldanes being wiped out would provide an opportunity for Mearan separatists.

Offline revanne

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Re: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2015, 09:45:12 am »
Re my last post I must apologize for the unnoticed spell check attack. I really am not intending a crossover involving Robin Hood. Arion [i]not[/i] Marion :<(

The trouble  is I'm being lazy and using my tablet which is convinced it knows what I really meant to say
- it's put Marion in again twice but I'm onto it now!
"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts."
As You Like It.

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2015, 10:42:28 am »
Whew!  Thanks for the clarification, revanne.  I can stop trying to figure out why Sister Marian from the Codex would want to support a Festillic invasion in spite of being a contemporary of Rothana.   :D
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline revanne

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Re: Nothing Was As It Should Be (AU)
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2015, 11:03:37 am »
Time travel inter world travel take your pick or blame the spell check. I swear it changed after I posted
"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts."
As You Like It.

 

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