Author's Note: And now we come to the end. I'd like to thank revanne, again, for inspiration. Thanks go to Evie as always for taming my commas and catching a couple of continuity errors--this is what I get for composing scenes as they come to me and not necessarily in the order they occur. Also, Aerlys for answering my saint-prayer questions, and to you all for reading.
Epilogue2 August 1138, Valoret
On Lammas, four men were hanged unceremoniously outside the walls of Valoret, their bodies cast into a common unmarked grave. Along with the three conspirators, Royston MacAlister was hanged, but Thomas Fitzgerald had by virtue of being willing to testify earned a lesser punishment, his life being spared, but he would live it out confined to a prison cell. A number of other men had been named by Desmond and de Kierney, but the names of d’Estrelldas’ hired men had to be dragged from him by Deryni means. However, all the associates had been rounded up and punished by means varying between hanging and imprisonment. Desmond and de Kierney had taken advantage of Bradene’s willingness to provide them with a priest for a final confession and extreme unction. D’Estrelldas died excommunicate for his unwillingness to confess his sins even to a priest.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~3 August 1138, Valoret
The following morning, the Curia met again, this time to discuss the very interesting intervention of a priest who had been killed over thirty years earlier.
Bradene had a clerk read back the pertinent testimony from the trial of the conspirators, and then he addressed Denis Arilan.
“Bishop Arilan, you knew Jorian de Courcy well in his mortal life?” the archbishop asked.
“Yes, he was my friend, and I swore when I was ordained to uphold his priesthood. I didn’t know then that he would intervene so directly in my life—and in the lives of others.” Denis gestured to indicate Father Nivard and Bishop McLain.
Bradene took a deep breath. “Denis, I know you well of course, I know Bishop McLain well also, and Father Nivard is King’s chaplain as well as the guardian of the royal library. I think it would have been a great loss to our Church and to our kingdom if these men had not been ordained, and it is clear that they never would have been without divine and saintly intervention. Therefore I will take a vote of the Curia on recognizing the man known in life as Father Jorian de Courcy as saint and martyr,” Bradene said. The Curia’s vote was unanimous.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~15 August 1138, Valoret
On the fifteenth of August, it was proclaimed by the Church throughout Gwynedd that Saint Jorian de Courcy’s feast day, shared with Saint Martin, would be celebrated for the first time on the anniversary of his death, the eleventh of November of 1138, and under the direction of Bishop Denis Arilan, the first shrine to his memory and worship was to be built at the Abbey Church of the Paraclete at Arx Fidei, where the saint had been ordained and martyred. He was declared specifically the patron saint of Deryni priests and of martyred Deryni in general. Bishop Duncan McLain lobbied successfully for a second shrine to be built at the Saint Camber chapel in Rhemuth, since he felt it fitting that the chapel of one Deryni saint was a good place for an alcove for another, and he personally wanted to be able to honor the saint who had saved his earthly life.
King Kelson decided that he would find out if the new saint had any living relatives left. It transpired that Jorian’s close family members were all long dead, but he had a cousin, née Lisette de Courcy, who was the wife of a minor knight, Sir Stefan de Varnay. Kelson quickly reached the conclusion that a saint’s family, even if they were
somewhat distantly related, should not live in the relative obscurity of landed gentry and promoted Sir Stefan to the newly vacant earldom of Sheele.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~17 August 1138, Dhassa
An old human priest named Angus MacKenzie came to Dhassa a few days after the announcement of the new saint and requested to speak privately with Bishop Denis Arilan.
“Yes, Father?” Denis said when the white-haired man, clearly past seventy, was brought into the antechamber of his apartment.
“My lord bishop, when I was a young man, I was on the staff of Archbishop De Nore. I remember clearly the delight he took in the interrogation and execution of de Courcy—I should call him Saint Jorian now—and it made me question my own vocation, to think that the man at the very top of the Church hierarchy could take so much joy out of causing such suffering,” Father MacKenzie began. Denis noticed that he had his hands behind his back as if holding something, and the bishop was a bit intrigued, but he felt no fear. He looked at the elderly priest curiously and gestured to him to continue. “I was at the ordination, too, although nobody really paid a junior priest on the archbishop’s staff any particular attention. I wound up in the sacristy with him
, and I saw—Father Oriolt, I think his name was.” At that, Denis nodded and Father MacKenzie continued. “—Take his vestments off him. De Nore kept the stole from the ordination. He taunted—him—with it, told him that he would go directly to Hell for daring to believe he could take up the yoke of Christ.”
“Why are you telling me this now?” Denis asked in no small measure of perplexity mixed with pain.
“Because—” the old man’s blue eyes, still clear and bright despite his age, began to fill with tears. “I have that stole still. I took it after the execution. De Nore threw it into a pile of trash to be burned, but I—I salvaged it. I couldn’t bear to see it destroyed. I sometimes was never sure myself why I kept it all these years,” he said in a voice shaking with emotion. “Until now,” he finished, pulling from behind his back a small linen bag. From the bag he removed a length of clean white silk, slightly yellowed with age, lightly wrinkled from its long storage, and embroidered with a small golden cross at the center back and two larger golden crosses at the ends. “I think now he
wanted me to keep it safe. For you.”
Denis took the offered stole, held it in his hands for a moment, reverently set it on a table, and then he burst into tears with a vehemence that surprised the old priest but shocked Denis himself most of all.
Through his sobs, Denis excused himself to his bedchamber to pull himself together. Re-emerging a few minutes later with red eyes but a clean dry face, he thanked the old priest profusely.
“I don’t know if you know, but they’re building shrines to Saint Jorian. I think it would be fitting if this stole were placed in a reliquary at the shrine to be built at Arx Fidei, and I would be honored if you would attend the dedication ceremony,” Denis said in a voice still rough with emotion.
Father MacKenzie nodded his head, his eyes still full. “I would be more than glad,” he whispered, his own voice breaking. “I never thought that was right, what they did to him. And I’m happier than I can say to hear of his canonization.”
Denis nodded before impulsively embracing the old priest. “Thank you so
much for saving that,” he said, indicating the stole, which was still on the table. “I will make very sure that it has a place of honor at Arx Fidei.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~11 November 1138, the Abbey Church of the Paraclete, Arx Fidei
Bishop Denis Arilan had been asked by Archbishop Bradene to dedicate the shrine at Arx Fidei, and so on the eleventh of November 1138, he found himself back at the site of his ordination for the first time in a good many years, in front of a huge congregation that included such luminaries as the King and Queen, the duke and duchess of Corwyn along with half the peers of the realm, and all four children of Denis’ brother Jamyl with their spouses and offspring, all present to witness the formal dedication of the first shrine to the new Deryni saint.
After Denis, dressed to honor the occasion in the finest vestments he owned, had performed the ritual of Mass, honoring both Saint Martin and the newly acknowledged Saint Jorian, he gave a brief homily to dedicate the new shrine in an alcove of the church.
In an unconventional move, accompanied by Father MacKenzie, who had assisted with the Mass, Denis walked over to the alcove, wherein lay a lovely statue, carved and painted to Denis’ specifications—since of anyone still living, he best remembered what Jorian had looked like—and at the feet of the slightly-smaller-than-life statue, a small narrow rectangular casket of marble with a clear glass top sitting off to the side. Before the casket, Denis nodded to Father MacKenzie, who had held the stole whilst Denis said Mass. The old priest offered the stole to Denis, who reverently took it in his hands, kissed the cross at the center back as he would if he were going to vest himself with it, and carefully handed the relic back to its protector. Father MacKenzie’s hands shook slightly—maybe with age, maybe with emotion, maybe both—as he placed the yellowing silk stole in the new reliquary. Denis stepped forward then and carefully placed the glass lid on the casket. Using the power of his well-trained mind, the Deryni bishop arcanely sealed the reliquary, projecting a blue-violet glow around it for a few moments, forever preserving the ordination stole of Father Jorian de Courcy, saint and martyr.
It seemed to Denis as he opened his eyes from performing the arcane sealing that the statue of the newly recognized saint smiled at him. He had been about to look away, and when he looked at the statue again, it was simply carefully painted marble, quiet and cold, but he thought he felt laughter in his mind—and a certain impish joy from Jorian at his discomfiture. Blinking back tears, Denis smiled in a much softer way than was his usual habit, and he bowed at the shrine, offering a silent prayer to his old friend and, as it seemed, his own personal patron saint.