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Author Topic: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue  (Read 4102 times)

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Offline revanne

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The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« on: April 11, 2015, 11:55:49 am »
With thanks and respect to Katherine who writes so insightfully on the priestly vocation. Hopefully one day she will tell us the real story of Duncan’s ordination- in the meantime this is my version.

Thanks too, to Evie our Mistress of Commas for her grammatical help and general encouragement and to Desert Rose for telling Jorian’s story after he made his presence felt when I started to write this.

I had hoped to post in real time i.e. over Easter but life got in the way.

There is a short prologue and three or four chapters depending on editing advice.


Prologue

“et ne nos inducas in tentationem sed libera nos a malo”.
"lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil"

The heavy piece of rock swung through the air and hit sharply into the raw face of the quarry, splintering into sharp fragments. The sudden burst of noise offended the birds in their pre-dawn chorus, and silence fell for an instant before nature’s spring imperative reasserted itself. The young man responsible for this disturbance swore loudly before turning away to search the ground for another piece of rock he could heft up into his hand and hurl.

He was a priest, or would-be priest, by the look of him with his neatly trimmed brown hair and smooth tonsure. It was as well that the quarry was deserted at this early hour and holiday season, for his actions were surely at odds with his calling, especially given the solemnity of Holy Saturday. The man himself would have agreed whole-heartedly with this judgement; further, he was entertaining serious doubts as to whether he himself was fit for his calling.

How many pieces of stone had he thrown now, Duncan asked himself -- Ten? Maybe nearer fifteen? He wondered dully how long he would continue in this momentarily satisfying but ultimately pointless activity. Suddenly he jerked himself out of the semi-trance induced by the rhythmic movement of his body and cursed long and fluently, even in his anguish of heart smiling at the shock he could imagine on Alaric’s face at his command of invective. God, it felt good, and “Yes, God! I am talking to you!” he thought.

What sort of a Being would call a man to his service, only to make it abundantly clear that he required not only a broken and contrite heart (oh, he had already claimed that with Maryse’s death!), but also a bloody and burnt sacrifice? Yet even as he cursed, Duncan fumbled for the cross around his neck and mentally apologised to his Lord- not for the anger but for the misdirection thereof. The God who had called him was faithful and just, Duncan was sure in his deepest heart of that, mysterious though His ways might be.
 
He had been bereft and rebellious at the first news of Maryse’s death, but his customary and sometimes uncomfortable gift of self-understanding had compelled him to acknowledge that he himself did not have a clear conscience in all of this. He had not had the courage to attempt any contact with Maryse in all the months of their parting – he who had vowed as her husband to protect her. His one tentative mention of the MacArdry clan to his father had roused all the angry pride within Jared; Duncan had quailed before the ducal wrath and let matters be.

He had not forgotten her, but once the first pang of grief was over he had returned willingly enough to his studies at Grecotha. Surviving to maturity was not guaranteed for any, whatever their station and the loss of a beloved was common to all but the most fortunate. Duncan was far too humble a man to assume any special favours from God; moreover in all honesty, as he turned once more towards the call of the priesthood, he could not have said whether he had lost his first love or had it restored to him.

No, it was the church, and the men who led it, who deserved Duncan’s anger, not least the man who tomorrow was going to be laying holy (holy?) hands on him in the sacred rite of ordination: Alexander Darby, Archbishop of Rhemuth.

All had gone well through his training. The hours of ceremonial liturgy that others found mind-numbingly tedious were to him like relaxing into the warmth of the sun in spring. On occasions at the height of the liturgy or praying alone before the Blessed Sacrament, it almost seemed he could feel the presence of the unseen hosts of heaven, and that through his human senses alone. He trembled at the thought that he would soon have the inexpressible privilege of speaking the words that entreated the presence of Christ himself, an entreaty that never failed. At his own request he had spent some of his precious periods of all-too-short home leave with the priest who cared for the poor of Culdi and he had been moved and awed by the experience of grace to be found among such earthenware vessels. Although his secular status meant that he was unlikely to spend much, if any, of his ministry among such, he vowed to seek permission to at least return to Culdi for the early days of his priesthood.

He had borne well enough with the compulsory reading of the Archbishop’s treatise of the nature of the Deryni, “De Natura Deryniorum”, his robust common sense enabling him to treat it as the work of fantasy it was. It had reminded him in some ways of the legends from the wild borderlands between Cassan and Kierney. There, locals spoke of the Sithean – the fairy folk who could go in and out of the hillsides at will – save that those tales were likely to have at least some basis in reality: folk memories that endured when more learned remembrance had been lost, as so much had been lost. Tales that recalled the first coming of the Deryni into the north of the Eleven Kingdoms when they had created and used Portals in the caves in the hillsides. However, although the Sithean were mysterious and ill to cross, they lacked the stench of brimstone with which the learned Archbishop imagined the Deryni to be cloaked.

Darby doubtless intended to terrify prospective clergy into sharing his own horror of the evil intrinsic to Deryni nature, but the diabolic malevolence which he described was so far removed from the teaching and example of Duncan’s gentle godly mother that he was simply unable to take it seriously. Like all good priests he knew the depths of sin and evil of which he would be capable, but he had never yet disappeared with a sizzle and a smell of scorching when blessing himself with holy water nor choked on a recital of the Pater Noster.

Neither had there been any struggle of conscience for him in having to hide his Deryni nature. That choice had been made for him long before his birth when his grandfather had opted to give the chance of a normal life to Duncan’s mother Vera, the younger of his twin daughters. Whatever path in life he followed it was not open to Duncan to reveal his secret inheritance, for to do so would be to betray his mother. If his Deryni powers seemed unlikely to play any real part in his life, what was there to prevent him being a Priest, or so he had reasoned.

No what had driven him out to the edge of the quarry in such despair in the early dawn of Holy Saturday in the year of Grace 1113 was the homily which his reverend Father-in-God, the man to whom he was supposed to be pledging allegiance, had chosen to edify the ordinands at the end of the Good Friday liturgy.


Link to Chapter One http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1469.msg12566.html#msg12566
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 09:37:11 am by revanne »
"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 Evie

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Re: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2015, 01:04:46 pm »
Squee!  I'm glad you're finally posting this! ;D

What I love about this chapter is seeing Duncan as a very normal, fallible human being, with the full range of emotions one would expect from someone who is facing the choices (and enduring the hatred against his kind) that he is facing. I remember mentioning in a conversation with my mother-in-law once that a friend of mine had a bit of a temper, and my mother-in-law's shocked response, "But I thought he was a minister! Ministers aren't supposed to lose their temper"  My reply was, "Yes, he is, but he's also a human being."  I think many people tend to forget that those called into pastoral ministry (or ministries of any sort) are just as human as anyone else. They get shoved onto pedestals and expected to always be role models for perfection, which is really too much to expect of any mere mortal, try as they might to live up to their calling. As a DK (deacon's kid), I got a little bit of insight on life in The Fishbowl, but I know it's much worse for priests/pastors and their close families. As one minister's wife told me, "If I get a job outside the home, I'm called a neglectful wife and mother, but if I don't, I'm not being a proper helpmeet and contributing to my household's support. If I keep my children at home, I'm not socializing them enough, but if I send them to daycare, I'm not devoting myself to them enough. If I don't volunteer to do just about anything at the church, then I'm not involved enough, but if I do, then I'm putting the church above my family life.  No matter what choices I make, there's someone who will gripe about them." 

So seeing Duncan at a very vulnerable and human moment makes him feel very real to me, yet no less priestly for all that. If anything, it makes him more relatable as a priest.  I would rather trust him with my confessions than the smug and self-righteous priests like Alexander Darby or Edmund Loris, knowing that Duncan would treat my own failings with the kindness and compassion of a man who readily acknowledges his own. (Not that I'm in a faith tradition that has this practice, but if I ever fall into a time warp and end up in Gwynedd, I'll definitely seek out Father Duncan. ;) )
"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!

Online DesertRose

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Re: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2015, 01:55:42 pm »
YAY!  revanne is posting it!

Seriously, this is a wonderful story.   :)

Offline Laurna

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Re: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2015, 02:04:42 pm »
Wonderful! Love the moment!

I was always perplexed as to why Duncan would follow through with his Calling, especially since the only living person who knew he was Deryni would be warning him greatly against it. I would think Alaric's fear for his cousin would have substantial sway on Duncan's motivations. But I can also understand the need to find a life long commitment as a very personal choice that often goes against the ideals of family. I love the introspective. Your a very good writer Revanne, write on! Write on!

Offline Jerusha

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Re: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2015, 03:26:18 pm »
Beautiful start, revanne!  I confess, I read through it twice to make sure I hadn't somehow missed the homily that made Duncan so angry.

A prologue with a cliffhanger!   Right on, good woman, and write on!   ;D
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 revanne

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Re: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2015, 03:51:17 pm »

A prologue with a cliffhanger!     ;D

Since this is not intended to be AU it was quite hard to get dramatic tension into the story since Duncan did get ordained and by Alexander Darby. There is a degree of imaginative licence but I think it is all very plausible in the light of what the various canonical novels reveal later. I'll leave you to judge when I've posted it all.


I love the introspective. Your a very good writer Revanne, write on! Write on!

I can only write at all because of your encouragement - thank you all. Up to 12 months ago the last time I wrote anything other than essays or sermons (for future reference please note my sermons are not modelled on those of Alexander Darby) was for O level English, when I was 16 ** years ago.

I can do introspection - I guess getting into people's heads is part of my role but I struggle with descriptions - that's why I love the richness of your descriptions so much - or original storylines, or original characters. And as for genealogies! That's why it's so good to read everyone's stories, all with differing strengths. BTW Jerusha, I've just reread "A Gryphon by the tail" and loved your insights into the characters.


 
"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 Evie

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Re: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2015, 04:16:11 pm »
(for future reference please note my sermons are not modelled on those of Alexander Darby)

* Evie dies laughing

Having read ahead to the scene in question, I can only hasten to assure folks that this is indeed a good thing!   ;D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
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Offline Jerusha

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Re: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2015, 08:09:56 pm »
Alas, I would love to take credit for Gryphon By The Tail, but that story is Alkari's.  I have read it several time's myself, and enjoy it thoroughly.

I take it as a compliment, nevertheless. 😊
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 revanne

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Re: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2015, 10:18:52 pm »
So sorry Alkari :>(
"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 revanne

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Re: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2015, 11:10:13 pm »
It's the fault of his Grace of Corwyn who gets every where. I've also been rereading Fall from Grace which I loved too
"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: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2015, 02:41:16 am »
Quote
It's the fault of his Grace of Corwyn who gets every where. I've also been rereading Fall from Grace which I loved too

I, myself, had just reread Fall from Grace by Jerusha about three weeks ago. Can not resist Alaric and a dragon in the same tale, it is definitely a favorite. Alkari's Griffon by the Tail was the second story I ever read here and my love for Alaric and Richenda deepened from that story.  The first story I read here was In Pulverem Reverteris by Evie, which caught my full attention and made me interested in finding more here to read. Now it is three years later, and Revanne, I am gladdened to have you join in the fun. I look forward to your next chapter.

Offline revanne

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Re: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2015, 03:05:22 am »
I look forward to your next chapter.

You won't be so pleased when you've read it - *evil grin*

I'll post sometime tomorrow - I really cannot give Archbishop Darby pulpit space on a Sunday ;D
"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 Evie

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Re: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2015, 09:29:48 am »


I'll post sometime tomorrow - I really cannot give Archbishop Darby pulpit space on a Sunday ;D

LOL! This may be the first time I've ever been glad of a delay in chapter posting, but yeah, Darby's sad excuse for an "edifying" homily is definitely not how I'd want to start off my Sunday morning!   :o
"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 Evie

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Re: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2015, 09:38:53 am »
  The first story I read here was In Pulverem Reverteris by Evie, which caught my full attention and made me interested in finding more here to read. Now it is three years later, and Revanne, I am gladdened to have you join in the fun. I look forward to your next chapter.

I'm glad you stuck around, and that my story had a part in catching your attention long enough to check out the other treasures on this board.  :D Has it really been three years already?!

I just wish I could recapture that lost art of writing short stories like In Pulverem Reverteris. I planned for my current story to be short, but at three long chapters into it, I think I've only barely made it past the intro at this point. ... *sigh*
"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: The tempter has many disguises: Prologue
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2015, 10:17:13 am »
But doesn't In pulverem act as an introduction to Sophie De Varney and hence one strand of MOM, even if you didn't originally intend that? Maybe the problem is that short stories lead onto other things - I'm sure that Sacerdos is only stand alone because Jorian went off and pestered Desert Rose. For which I am very grateful or the story of Duncan's Ordination would never have been written. And that was going to be three short chapters. And Joram should have been back home by now instead of which he hasn't even left the Sanctuary and is muttering about how in his young day no-one abandoned a Micheline mid-task, not if they knew what was good for them
« Last Edit: April 12, 2015, 01:06:29 pm by revanne »
"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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