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Author Topic: Balance of Power--Chapter Fourteen  (Read 3100 times)

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Offline Evie

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Balance of Power--Chapter Fourteen
« on: October 12, 2015, 04:49:22 pm »
Previous chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1591.0.html

Chapter Fourteen

Early afternoon
A rural area in Northern Iomaire
December 20, 2021


Detective Inspector Mary Hamilton stopped the car at the edge of the gravel road in front of a small white building. “It’s a church!” A shiver of foreboding coursed through her. “Oh, no, tell me the boy’s not buried in the graveyard!”

Lady Maureen shook her head, reaching out with her senses. This close to their quarry, there was little need for the maps anymore, or even for the various means of scrying she was more accustomed to. The boy was close by--with her shields down and her mind actively searching for him, she could sense his hunger and fear easily--but she didn’t think he was buried in the graveyard. Not there. But quite close.

They exited the four-wheel drive vehicle, looking around them to get their bearings. Peter pointed down a slight slope at a line of trees edging a shallow creek bed. “I think he’s somewhere in that direction.”

They proceeded in that direction, Peter gallantly helping Maureen over the unstable footing as the gradual slope became slightly more steep as they drew closer to the water. An irregularity in the terrain drew the detective’s attention, and she pointed it out to the others. “What’s that?” Hamilton asked.

Lady Alicia veered in that direction, the others following closely after her. The ruins of some ancient building--little more than a stone foundation left, surrounded by rubble--were mostly hidden behind the treeline, but as the party grew closer, the eroded outlines of the low stone walls began to emerge. Maureen stopped, closing her eyes and miming the act of sketching in the air to better visualize what the original structure must have looked like. “I think it was a farm cottage once, centuries ago,” she told them.

As they drew closer, DI Hamilton muttered an expletive under her breath. “There, Lady Maureen. Do you think that might be the pipe from your sketches--the air vent?”

Peter stood stock still. “That’s where he is. That’s the place.” He gave Maureen a trapped look. “I’d best not get any closer,” he murmured.

She squeezed his hand in silent empathy.  Aloud she said, “Peter, perhaps you ought to call for assistance. We may require a Healer present, if that’s possible, or at least an ambulance to transport him to hospital.” Maureen gave the detective a look of inquiry. “Now that we know Colin is definitely here, it would be appropriate to call them in now, yes?”

“Yes,” Hamilton said, glancing up from where she and Alicia stood peering at the ground within the rough rectangle outlined by the ancient stone foundation. “We could do with a shovel as well. I believe I’ve got one in the boot, come to think, if one of you could go back and fetch that. And one of you should stay with the car so that the ambulance will know where to stop; this location might be difficult to spot from the road.”



Evening
Tre-Arilan
December 20, 2012

“Welcome to Tre-Arilan, ladies, lords, and gentlemen of the Camberian Council! For your safety, please wait within the Portal niche and either His Lordship or I shall be down to admit you shortly.”
Carbury’s disembodied voice echoed slightly off the stone walls of the undercroft, surprising a laugh from Peter.

“Nice touch,” Lady Alicia reluctantly admitted. “I wonder when Carbury added the announcement to the Portal’s warning system?”

“Probably within two minutes of you calling Lord Arilan to request he call everyone to convene here for Council,” Lady Maureen said, sounding amused. “Just because we all know his Portal signature now, that doesn’t mean he’d want us able to drop by uninvited at any time.” With a teasing look at Peter, she added, “Though a waiting room with magazines would be an even nicer touch.”

Alicia chortled. “Your TP has a waiting room, Peter?”

He shrugged, smiling. “I am a hotelier, after all.”

Alicia smiled back, slightly distracted. When she’d finally managed to get a call back from Lord Arilan, he’d informed her that Father Devlin had also spoken with him just a few minutes earlier with his own request for Arilan to convene a Council meeting. She wondered why. Had Maureen’s daughter finally managed to contact the Queen with her message regarding the Haldane succession?  If so, that would mean her own agenda for the night’s meeting was half covered already.

Carbury arrived to allow them through the wards and escort them to the ground level of Lord Arilan’s home. “The others are in the dining room already,” he informed the new arrivals.

They entered the room to find James already seated at the head of the table, with Father Devlin on one side of him and Elspeth and Lady Violet seated at the other side. The closer end of the table was empty. Peter took his seat at the end, with Lady Maureen and Lady Alicia moving to either side of him. Alicia noted the extra seat sadly. “How is Tom?” she asked their host.

“Faring as well as might be expected,” James said. “I checked on him a short while ago.”

“I don’t suppose Karim is still here?” she asked.

“Actually, yes. He left for a bit earlier in the day, found the note you left for him back in Marbury, and figured you’d probably be busy the rest of the afternoon, so he and Healer O’Flynn are upstairs giving Tom a thorough going over. After that, I think they’re hoping to give Mrs Whitfield an even closer look, although that may need to wait until the Duke of Corwyn has a chance to return from Eirian House.”

That seemed like it might work as a segue for her matter of business, but thinking back on the earlier part of James’ statement left Alicia momentarily sidetracked. “I’m sorry? What about Mrs Whitfield, and why does she need a closer look by two Healers? Did Morgan get overly enthusiastic with his interrogation of the prisoner?”

“That’s what I wondered too when Karim referred to her as a patient rather than as a prisoner earlier today,” James told her. “What, Lover-Boy hasn’t caught you up on the latest news from Corwyn’s dungeon?”

“Since when has he had time?” Alicia grumped. “So why don’t you go ahead and tell us all, then I’ve got some news I need to share.” She figured once she’d dropped her major bombshell, that would probably sideline any other discussions for the rest of the night, so she might as well let James have his moment in the spotlight first.

“All right,” Peter said, stepping in as the lone coadjutor for the evening’s meeting. “Tell us about Mrs Whitfield, James. What has Healer Dr Al-Sayid discovered about her?”

James shared an encapsulated version of what Karim had shared with him earlier that day, once he’d finished examining and discharging Lady Violet, adding “After Karim left for Marbury, I set Carbury to pulling up whatever archived records he could find on a missing child named Caroline Alisandra Sheraton, not to mention any more recent mentions. Not a whole lot has popped up yet--hacking into Camberian police records is quite tricky business, for one thing--but a facial recognition search pulled up these interesting images.” He turned a piece of paper in front of him face up to reveal a collage of photos of the same woman. “This is the Camberian model Shera Alexander. Look familiar?” He passed the paper around the table, giving the other Council members time to look over it before turning another sheet right-side-up and passing that one around also. “And here is ‘Ms Alexander’ on the arm of Camberia’s heir apparent about five years ago, not too long before she made her final runway appearance, allegedly to retire. Shortly after that, ‘Caroline’ ended up here in Gwynedd just in time to catch Tom on the rebound from his divorce from his first wife.”

Lady Violet inspected the second image briefly, a disquieted look on her face, before pushing it away with a faint moue of distaste. “That’s Malcolm Atherton-Haldane, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is.”

“He’s certainly changed over the years, although he’s still recognizable. I met him years ago, you know. I see he’s still attracted to the same type,” she said, her lips drawn with disapproval.

“Oh? What type is that?” James asked.

“Beautiful young blondes with pouty lips and high cheekbones. Her facial structure looks a good deal like Her late Majesty’s did many years ago. That’s what caught my eye.”

Peter looked puzzled. “Like Her Majesty Queen Araxelle’s?”

“What?” Lady Violet looked up at him “Oh, mercy, no! I meant the late Queen Mother, of course. Sybilla of Andelon. Though now that you mention it, Araxelle did have Sybilla’s facial structure for the most part, although she got her lovely Haldane coloring from His Majesty Nigel.”

Not exactly, thought Alicia, beginning to wonder if she ought to look at a Camberian source for Araxelle’s paternity. The Atherton-Haldanes weren’t in the Gwyneddan Registry, unfortunately, so acquiring DNA from them to check for a trait match might be a difficult undertaking. “Are you saying that you think Malcolm of Camberia and Sybilla might have had a fling during his state visit to Gwynedd?” How many years ago had that been? She made a mental note to look up the exact dates later.

“Oh, gracious, I doubt it!  What, under Nigel’s watchful nose? But there was some talk of Sybilla nearly marrying into the Camberian Royal Family at one time, only she ended up marrying Nigel instead. The more advantageous choice, to be sure, though Court gossip had it that she gave up a love match to wed Nigel.”

Peter jotted down a note. “All right, so we need to do a deeper check into this woman’s background--find out how a Camberian model ended up getting sent over here to infiltrate Tom’s mind and assassinate a Council which, in theory, most Deryni wouldn’t even know about at all. At least not beyond vague rumors of our existence.” He tapped the pen against his cheek, looking thoughtful. “Who in Camberia would hate the Camberian Council enough to want to kill us all? It’s not like we’ve had any dealings with the Camberians in the past two centuries.”

“Well, the Council of Reginald Haldane’s day did play a role in their exile to that godforsaken hellhole of an island,” Elspeth observed. “Only a third of the original exiles survived long enough to even breed, much less figure out what defensive strategies would help ensure their continued existence in that hostile environment.  That’s bound to have some scarring effect on an entire culture, and some people hold a grudge for a very long time.”

“Granted, but two centuries?” Peter shook his head. “All right. Getting back to James’ statement that our Camberian infiltrator is now being treated as a patient, I surmise that she was not acting on her own initiative, but that she’s been psychically tampered with in some way to force her to commit the acts that she did. Is that essentially correct, James?”

“I believe so. Or at least Healer Dr. Karim does.  Healer O’Flynn hasn’t had a chance to examine her yet and give a second opinion, but from what I gathered from Karim, there is extensive evidence of mental tampering, to the point of creating separate personalities who may not even be aware of each others’ existence.  According to him, Caroline Whitfield was not our attacker at all; that was a separate personality who calls herself Alisandra.”

Peter gave a silent whistle. “Well, that certainly puts things in a different light. Please keep us updated on what they find out and if she can be Healed to the point where she is no longer a threat to society.”

Father Devlin smiled. “Everyone is potentially a threat to society to some degree, Peter, unless Healers have learned how to eliminate human nature.”

“Within realistic expectations, I meant,” Peter countered.  “All right, then.” He glanced at Maureen with a smile. “Lady Maureen and I have a bit of news of our own. This afternoon we were able to assist the Marbury Police Department in locating Lloyd O’Malley’s missing son Colin. He is currently under close supervision in hospital at Marbury General. I’m hoping, once he recovers from his ordeal sufficiently to be allowed visitors, that perhaps I’ll be able to get some information from him that might be useful in tracking down the persons responsible for the Rhemuth Castle attack.”

“That would be good, if he knows anything of use to us, but we’re talking about a five year old boy, Peter. How useful is he going to be as a witness? He may not even know the right words yet to express anything he might have heard or seen regarding the terrorists responsible for his kidnapping or the Castle attack,” Lady Alicia reminded him.

Peter smiled. “We are Deryni, you know. There are other ways to collect information from a young mind without having to ask him to use his words.”

“You’re going to Mind-Read him without consent?” Elspeth protested.

“I believe young children aren’t legally able to give consent,” Peter said, “but no, I do intend to inform his Mum beforehand. I doubt she’ll have any objections to me finding out more information about the persons who used her child to force her husband into a suicide bombing so that they can be pursued and brought to trial, but if she does . . . .” He shrugged. “In cases of national security, which this is, I believe there is legal precedent for parental authority to be overridden.”

“Yes, if you’re in law enforcement, which you’re not!” Elspeth reminded him, bristling.

“Or if you are operating under the sanction of someone who is in law enforcement,” Peter said. “Do you think I haven’t thought this through?” He tapped his pen on the notepad, giving himself a moment to control his irritation. 

“If this is a good time for a topic change,“ Alicia smoothly interposed, ”I have a very important issue to bring to the table that I think we ought to discuss, since it also has wide-reaching implications for our Kingdom in that it affects the Haldane succession.  If it were to become known to the public, either with or without the consent of the Crown, all hell could break loose.”

“That certainly sounds ominous,” Peter said. “What sort of issue are we talking about?”

Lady Alicia glanced at Maureen, wondering if Eilonwy Adams had mentioned anything to her yet about the Haldane succession problems, but Maureen looked as unsuspecting of what Alicia was about to share as everyone else at the table. Everyone, that is, except possibly for Father Devlin, who was regarding her with a speculative gleam in his eyes. Well, that would make sense, given that Sophia Haldane had already sought pastoral care from him at least once since the Castle attack. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if she’d specifically requested Dev as her personal chaplain during this time of transition.  If Alicia were the confessing sort, she might choose Father Devlin too; he certainly seemed like he’d be a good listener, and unlike some clergy he didn’t come across as the busybody type whose idea of sharing the Gospel was forcibly cramming it down one’s throat.

She took a deep breath, bracing herself for everyone’s reaction. “I was recently placed in charge of the DNA testing of samples gathered as evidence after the Rhemuth Castle attack.  And those of you who were still conscious will remember Patrick Adams from this past Friday’s attack on our Council Chamber, since he was one of the rescuers. The Anti-Terrorism Bureau subsequently assigned him to analyze the data gleaned from my testing to see if any likely suspects for the bombing might be determined from the testing results. While sifting through the data--which does implicate Lloyd O’Malley, by the way--DI Adams discovered the same anomalous results in certain individuals’ DNA code strings that I spotted while putting together my initial report.” Alicia took a glance around the table at all of the faces turned to her in expectation. “I regret to inform the Council that while Sophia of Gwynedd is indeed a Haldane, she is not the legitimate heir to the throne. She is Nigel Haldane’s daughter, not his granddaughter, and not the daughter of Araxelle.” She waited for the ensuing hubbub of astonishment to die down slightly before continuing. “Araxelle was, of course, complicit in the Royal cover-up--she’d have had to be, wouldn’t she, since she passed Sophia off as her own daughter. I would imagine that the late Queen Mother was also involved in the plot, especially since she had her own secret to hide--Araxelle wasn’t even Nigel’s daughter at all! I’m still working to track down Araxelle’s paternity.  However, there’s at least one other person--besides Araxelle’s late husband Duke Henri, that is--who had to have known the truth about Sophia’s origins, and that would be her biological mother.” She smiled archly. “And which of Nigel’s many lights of love might that have been?” Directing her gaze to one Council member in particular, she continued, “Lady Violet, before you retired to private life shortly after Nigel’s death, you were a lady-in-waiting to both Sybilla and, as the years went on, to her daughter Araxelle. As I recall from our last meeting, you even served as Araxelle’s Mistress of the Robes at her Coronation. Since you were so deeply entrenched in the Royal Inner Circle of the time, perhaps you would care to inform us of Sophia’s true parentage?”

Lady Violet glared at her for a long moment before slowly turning her head to look at each member of the assembly, a fierce pride in her aged features. “Sophia Haldane is my daughter--the child I never thought to have, born in the twilight of my fertile years when her father and I mistakenly believed the possibility of an unplanned conception was behind us. Nigel might have had other lovers before me, but I was the only woman he ever truly loved. And while we may have hidden the truth of Sophia’s parentage from the world in order to save the Haldane family honor, no usurpation of the Royal birthright was ever intended. Her illegitimate birth should never have become known, much less a problem to the succession. Had the tragic events of last week not occurred, I doubt anyone would ever have discovered our secret.  After all, Princess Sophia was believed to be Araxelle’s third child. The dear girl was never meant to sit on the Throne of Gwynedd at all!”

Father Devlin listened to Violet’s declaration with growing dismay.  Most of what Lady Alicia and Lady Violet had revealed in the past few minutes had already been known to him, both as Sophia’s current chaplain (however temporarily) and as one of the few who had been present at Eirian House when she had learned about her illegitimate birth--if not yet of the circumstances behind it--and had requested that he be present when she broke the news to her cousin the Duke of Corwyn, now assumed by his fellow Councillors to be the rightful King.

Except that he wasn’t. Not anymore, at least, as of later that same evening.

Devlin wondered if Sophia would want to know who her biological mother was. If so, should he be the one to inform her? And how exactly would that topic of conversation even come up? “I just happened to be at a Camberian Council meeting tonight, Ma’am, where we all just happened to be dissecting your family’s convoluted love life. Might it interest you to discover who your real mother is?” He could see that approach going over like the proverbial lead balloon.

However, it occurred to him there was one thing he could say here on her behalf after all.

“Before this discussion on Sophia Haldane’s right to the throne goes any further,” Devlin announced, “I have something I need to add.  Yesterday afternoon, Mrs Eilonwy Sheehan Adams and Dr Jennifer DeLisle, the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting, informed Her Majesty of DI Adams’ and Lady Alicia’s discovery. Her Majesty immediately called His Grace of Corwyn and myself to her private chambers. At that time, she ceded the throne to the rightful heir, Morgan Haldane.” Lifting his hand to quiet the stir of voices that started up at this pronouncement, he quickly added, “His Majesty, after spending the rest of that evening researching the legal ramifications and consulting with those present about his various options, wrote and signed of his own free will and desire last night before those same witnesses a document naming Sophia Morgana Anastasia Haldane, natural daughter to Nigel the Third, as his legal successor to the throne of Gwynedd and reaffirming the Act of Attainder against the Atherton-Haldane line. And then His Majesty abdicated in favor of his legal heir, which means that Her Majesty Sophia is now the rightful Queen of Gwynedd, with the Duke of Corwyn once more her heir apparent until such time as she has children of her own.”  He smiled. “Not bad for a day’s work.”

“Well, isn’t that nice?” Elspeth muttered. “That means our dear Violet’s the Queen Mum now. Huzzah! Will there be kitschy souvenir plates?” She rolled her eyes.

“Oh, grow up, child!” Violet retorted, although somewhat less heatedly than her usual wont.



Late night
Tre-Arilan
December 20, 2021


After the Camberian Council meeting, once most of the other members had left for the night, Father Devlin paused to speak with James on his way down to the Transfer Portal to return to Eirian House. “One thing puzzles me,” he told his longtime friend. “If Her Majesty is actually the daughter of Nigel Haldane and Lady Violet instead of Araxelle and Henri Formacek of Joux, then she ought to be at least half Deryni in addition to carrying the Haldane potential, not simply a mostly-human Formacek, right?”

“Yes. I wondered about that as well,” James replied. “Violet is full Deryni, as she is proud of reminding anyone who will listen, and a very strong one at that. Mind, I still think HM would be best served by having the full assumption of her Haldane powers to bring her up to speed quickly in her arcane gifts, since we may not have the luxury of being able to train up her powers in the usual way before the next terrorist attempt--and I suspect there will be a next one, and soon, if she is perceived to be as weak a Queen as Araxelle. But if she’s both Haldane and Deryni, then the situation is even better than I’d dared to hope.”

“But if she is Deryni,” Dev countered, “wouldn’t she have figured that out by now?”

James shrugged. “Not necessarily. You figured out your powers early, as I did, because we both grew up in Deryni families. By the time we were even old enough to know what a Deryni was, we’d been tested by our parents--if not our doctors as well--for the strength of expression of our Deryni traits and raised to the expectation that we’d have powers to use someday, once we were old enough to train. But HM wouldn’t have had any reason to suspect much if any Deryni potential in herself, would she? Araxelle never showed signs of being a powerful Deryni despite being Sybilla’s daughter, and with Araxelle marrying a human Duke, maybe the traits were even more watered down even in Kelric and Stefanie, or perhaps they took after Henri Formacek instead.  Any manifestations of talent HM might have sensed in herself up to now might easily have been put down to just having a keen sense of intuition, or perhaps being Haldane. And that’s half right; Haldane she definitely is!”

“But you’d agree, she needs to be trained now?”

“Hell, yes; the sooner, the better!”

Devlin leaned against the wall. “You realize at some point, especially if either of us is going to suggest Deryni training for her, she is probably going to want to know who her mother is. What’s more, if one of us tells her, she’s going to want to know how we happen to know who her mother is. She’s already aware of the Council’s existence, but I’m not sure she’d be so thrilled about discovering that the long-ranging consequences of her family’s sexual escapades has been our primary topic of discussion tonight.”

“You’re right, probably not the best admission to make. What if Lady Alicia were to tell her who her mother is? At least if HM were to ask.  Surely it’s going to occur to her at some point to do so, after all, and at least Alicia has a good excuse for knowing, being the person who made the original discovery of Sophia’s genetic coding not matching up to Araxelle’s or the other younger family members’.  HM would surely want to find out the other half of her birth history eventually; a doctor would know she’s not just the product of old Nigel shagging himself!”

“On that note, I’m leaving now,” Father Devlin said, stepping onto the Portal stone. “If HM does happen to bring up the topic at some point, I trust you can find some more polite way of phrasing that? If not, at least tell me the Scripture you’d prefer to have quoted at your funeral.”

“I’m sure you’ll think of something suitable.” James grinned. “Just promise you won’t eulogize me; you know me far too well!”


Next chapter:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1596.0.html
« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 09:53:26 pm by Evie »
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Offline Shiral

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fourteen
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2015, 05:14:17 pm »
I know what Elspeth should get for Christmas, now. One kitschy souvenir plate showing Queen Mum Lady Violet in a tiara coming right up. =o) Glad that Colin is safe, now, and that Maureen, Peter and Alicia found him first. Of course, that doesn't preclude the possibility that some agent of Malcolm's wont' abduct him from the hospital again.

Morgan REALLY doesn't want to be King, does he? Better a willing Duck Duke than an unwilling King, though.  Mindbblowing chapter, Evie. And now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find my frontal lobe under the sofa.

Melissa
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Offline Marko

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fourteen
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2015, 05:57:46 pm »
Colin may need to go to Tre-Arilan for his safety just like Queen Sofia.

Offline Evie

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fourteen
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2015, 12:32:34 pm »
I know what Elspeth should get for Christmas, now. One kitschy souvenir plate showing Queen Mum Lady Violet in a tiara coming right up. =o) Glad that Colin is safe, now, and that Maureen, Peter and Alicia found him first. Of course, that doesn't preclude the possibility that some agent of Malcolm's wont' abduct him from the hospital again.

Morgan REALLY doesn't want to be King, does he? Better a willing Duck Duke than an unwilling King, though.  Mindbblowing chapter, Evie. And now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find my frontal lobe under the sofa.

Melissa

Morgan definitely has no desire to be King. Being a Duke is responsibility enough!  As for Elspeth's Christmas gift, we shall see if Sophia's true parentage ever becomes public knowledge.

Colin may need to go to Tre-Arilan for his safety just like Queen Sofia.

That would be one possible option, certainly, although fortunately for James, that's not the only way to ensure the boy's safety. He's beginning to think his home has gotten mixed up with Grand Central Station as it is!
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Offline Laurna

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fourteen
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2015, 03:35:20 pm »
Tsk! Tsk! So our Lady Violet Estridge had a romantic entanglement with her King! The intrigues that elder ladies hide from the world... Well, good for her!
I did not suspect Violet; I think Sophia will be pleased if and when ever she finds out the truth.

As for His Royal Majesty's kingship that lasted... what? Not even a whole day? Silly Dishy boy, you should have reveled in that for at least one night, before signing everything back over to you pretty cousin. I can just see him in the library frantically searching through the legal jargon of historical precedence trying to give the Kingdom back to Sophia.  :o I can only imagine his relief when all was said and done.  And Sophia smiling back sweetly but feeling the weight even heavier upon her shoulders.  This at least allows Morgan to pursue the Amerercian scholar. I was thinking, he would not have been able to do so if he was king. At least not seriously.

I noticed in the paper work that Sophia had dropped the Formacek last name and is now a Haldane. Yeah! I hope she will not have to explain that to her government if this little truth never comes to light.

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fourteen
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2015, 04:03:50 pm »
Drat - I was rather hoping Morgan would become king. Jennifer could have made a good Queen - and being surrounded by all that history could have been a reasonable trade for a less independent life.   Oh well - once a Duck, always a Duck.  ;)

Excellent chapter.  They will have to be careful of Colin's safety - I'm not sure I would even trust his mother at this point.

Waiting impatiently for the next chapter....  :)

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fourteen
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2015, 04:29:34 pm »
What does Camberia correspond to in our world?

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fourteen
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2015, 06:05:41 pm »
Tsk! Tsk! So our Lady Violet Estridge had a romantic entanglement with her King! The intrigues that elder ladies hide from the world... Well, good for her!
I did not suspect Violet; I think Sophia will be pleased if and when ever she finds out the truth.

As for His Royal Majesty's kingship that lasted... what? Not even a whole day? Silly Dishy boy, you should have reveled in that for at least one night, before signing everything back over to you pretty cousin. I can just see him in the library frantically searching through the legal jargon of historical precedence trying to give the Kingdom back to Sophia.  :o I can only imagine his relief when all was said and done.  And Sophia smiling back sweetly but feeling the weight even heavier upon her shoulders.  This at least allows Morgan to pursue the Amerercian scholar. I was thinking, he would not have been able to do so if he was king. At least not seriously.

I noticed in the paper work that Sophia had dropped the Formacek last name and is now a Haldane. Yeah! I hope she will not have to explain that to her government if this little truth never comes to light.

The royal line is still the House of Haldane, but as Duke Henri's (presumed) daughter and a younger princess who was not expecting to inherit the throne, the Formacek surname allowed her a little more anonymity than going through her medical rounds as 'Dr. Haldane' would have.  (Well, maybe not anonymity exactly, but at least as a family surname it's a little more discreet to go by Formacek than Haldane in Gwynedd!)  However, now that she is Queen of Gwynedd and the official heiress to the Haldane dynasty, it wouldn't be as appropriate for her to continue to style herself as Sophia Formacek. So even in documents that are matters of public official record, she is now considered a Haldane, despite her presumed father having had a different surname.  More specifically, she is "Sophia II R(egina)" if it's an official signature. When she marries, her children might sign school forms and the like as "Firstname Father'sSurname-Haldane" (or for a less conspicuous surname, possibly even just "Firstname Father'sSurname") if they want something to put in the surname field that reflects their paternity, but they will also be considered part of the House of Haldane.

There's nothing to prevent an Americian from being Queen, although Jen is probably glad she'll never have to worry about that happening to her. In our world, there has been at least one American Queen of Jordan in fairly recent history.  For that matter, when Edward VIII of England abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, the objections to their marriage didn't stem from her being American, but from her being a divorcee (twice divorced at that). Not only was divorce much more socially objectionable at the time, the Sovereign in England is also the head of the Church of England (in title at least), and at that time the Church wouldn't remarry a divorced person whose former spouse was still alive, leaving Edward in a bit of a fix.

Drat - I was rather hoping Morgan would become king. Jennifer could have made a good Queen - and being surrounded by all that history could have been a reasonable trade for a less independent life.   Oh well - once a Duck, always a Duck.  ;)

Excellent chapter.  They will have to be careful of Colin's safety - I'm not sure I would even trust his mother at this point.

Waiting impatiently for the next chapter....  :)


Becoming a Duckess Duchess would be challenge enough for independent-minded Jen, though being married to Morgan might make up for some of the headaches of the job. ;)

What does Camberia correspond to in our world?

Short answer--absolutely nothing.  Longer answer--in terms of geographical location relative to Gwynedd, it is roughly the same distance and relative location as Australia.  But that, and some very dangerous wildlife, is pretty much where any similarities end.  When I wrote the first few scenes of the story, I didn't have any firm mental ideas about Camberia and thought it might end up being more Australia-like, but within just a few chapters I realized its different history had turned it into a much more culturally hostile place than Australia has ever dreamed of being, even in its wildest "ship your convicts here!" frontier days. 
"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 Elkhound

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fourteen
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2015, 08:41:02 am »
The nearest analogy I can come up with Camberia would be if the Nazis had been shipped to Australia (assuming it hadn't already been colonized) and left to marinate in their hateful ideology for about 200 years. . . . .

 

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