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Author Topic: Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen  (Read 4901 times)

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Offline Evie

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Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen
« on: October 17, 2015, 09:51:55 pm »
Previous chapter:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1593.0.html


Chapter Fifteen

Morning
Eirian House
The Queen’s Private Suite
December 21, 2021


“I’m not used to Haldane crimson toenails,” Queen Sophia observed as she watched her lady-in-waiting and former university friend Jennifer DeLisle apply a second coat of polish to the nails in question. Jen looked up with a grin as she finished the last nail and capped the bottle, using an orangewood stick dipped in nail polish remover to tidy up an errant spot beside one nail.

“You’d best watch out, Ma’am,” Eilonwy joked. “If you aren’t vigilant, Jen’s likely to paint little rampant guardant lions on the biggest nails.”

“Maybe we can skip that embellishment,” Sophia advised, attempting to look serious but failing. “I’m pretty sure my Haldane forefathers spinning in their collective graves simultaneously might throw the world off its axis.”

“Let’s not have that, then,” Jen replied with equal mock-solemnity. “Besides, I’m not sure my art skills are equal to the task. For that, we’d need Maureen.”

The thought of Lady Maureen bent over the Queen’s feet to paint miniature heraldry on the Royal toenails was sufficient to send all three young women into peals of laughter.  “Oh, goodness!” Sophia said once she could speak coherently again, “How I’ve missed you two!” She finished off her breakfast scone, washing it down with a sip of coffee. “So, now that I’ve fortified my stomach and apparently my toenails for the occasion, could you hand me that appallingly thick pile of paper by your left elbow, Loni?”

Eilonwy glanced at the documents briefly as she rolled onto one side to lift the sheaf of paper and hand it to Sophia. “What’s all this, then?” she asked as Sophia took the documents from her. She rolled back onto her stomach as she adjusted a pillow to a more comfortable position beneath her before reaching for her laptop again.

“Business I need to familiarize myself with before the Accession Council tomorrow,” Sophia informed her as she picked up the top document in the stack and began to read. With a wry smile, she added, “No wonder Morgan was ready to bolt yesterday when he discovered he was King of Gwynedd; he probably realized that meant he’d have twice the paperwork to handle.”

“The more things change, the more things stay the same?” Jen asked as she put up her small collection of manicure supplies.

“What do you mean?” Sophia asked.

The Kelsonian scholar laughed. “Just that the ‘Darkling Duke’ wasn’t overly fond of the administrative part of his responsibilities either, or at least not the account rolls. To be fair, to judge by what’s left of the Corwyn rolls from his time, he was a quite competent administrator, it’s just that there were other things he’d have rather been doing.”

“Such as?” Eilonwy asked, returning to her internet search.

“Such as pretty much anything else,” Jen answered. “Alaric Morgan was a man of action. Being a desk jockey wasn’t his preferred cup of tea. Or darja, for that matter, since they didn’t have tea yet.”

“Speaking of your Kelsonian-era heartthrob,” Eilonwy teased, “have you decided yet if the present-day Duke of Corwyn is anywhere near as dishy as His Dishyness Alaric?”

“Excuse me?” Sophia looked up sharply from her paperwork, more laughter bubbling up as she saw the rising flush in Jen’s cheeks.

“Hardly a fair comparison; it’s hard to imagine anyone beating out Alaric Morgan wearing his black riding leathers and sporting a wrist stiletto,” Jen joked, trying to retain some vestiges of composure.

“Hm. He does sound like a rather . . . virile specimen of manhood, doesn’t he?” the Queen mused, giving Eilonwy a sidelong amused look. “I suppose you’re right, my poor cousin couldn’t possibly hope to compare. Although he’s quite partial to black riding leathers too, when he’s out and about on his motorcycle. What was that about ‘The more things change, the more things stay the same’?”

“The Duke of Corwyn has a motorcycle?” Eilonwy asked in pretended innocence, catching the conversational ball and running with it. “Fascinating! I wonder if it’s a two-seater?”

Jen rolled her eyes, her blush growing. “I’ll bet he doesn’t wear a stiletto, though.”

“Quite right,” Sophia assured her.  “It’s merely a throwing knife. But it is in a wrist sheath; does that count?”

Lobbing a pillow at a reigning monarch didn’t seem quite right, so Jen did the next best thing, aiming it at her fellow lady-in-waiting instead. Eilonwy fended it off neatly, hardly looking up from her screen as she held a hand up in a warding gesture and whispered a word. The pillow appeared to bounce off an invisible wall about an inch from Eilonwy’s hand, landing on the floor. Jen bent to pick it up again, but the pillow scuttled a few inches to one side, just beyond her reach.

“Neat trick, that!” Sophia said, chuckling at Jen’s expression. “I wish I were Deryni.”

Jen forgot the pillow, turning to Sophia with an arrested look on her face. “Maybe you are, Ma’am. Have you ever checked?”

“Well, no; the Formaceks are full human, and Mother’s Deryni blood was . . . “ Sophia stopped in sudden realization. “Wait--you mean . . . .” A whirlwind of emotions tore through her as the implications of her newly-discovered parentage dawned.  She turned to Eilonwy. “Did Lady Alicia happen to mention who my mother was?  Or . . . is? Is she still around?”

Eilonwy, looking startled, thought back to the evening when Alicia and Patrick had discussed their discoveries. “I don’t think she ever mentioned your maternal line. But surely she must know, or at least she would know how to find out. There’s some way to trace maternal lines as well as paternal ones, isn’t there?”

“Yes,” Sophia sat up, her documents forgotten for the moment. “Eilonwy, your husband knows how to contact Lady Alicia, yes?”

“He does, Ma’am; they’ve worked together a fair bit. And actually, she’s the one who introduced us, although Patrick knows her better than I do. Shall I have him call her to Eirian House for you?”

“Yes, please.  And you know, you two could stop ‘Majesty’ and ‘Ma’am’-ing me in private.” Sophia pondered the question of her true parentage for a moment, then asked, “What are you researching at the moment, Loni?”

“Where your missing regalia might be stored. Assuming it’s not stashed away somewhere in the Rhemuth Keep, that is. Patrick says he’ll see if he can get in to take a look next time he’s able to get back on the grounds, but since we can’t count on him finding the items there, I’m checking out antique jewelry restorers in Valoret.”

Sophia mimed picking up a phone. “Hello, this is the Queen. I’m missing a few baubles, and I’d very much like to have them back. Do you happen to have them there? Lovely! I’ll send Lord Arilan right over.”  Her friends laughed. She gave a rueful smile. “If only it could be that easy!” Her smile fading, she added, “Lord Arilan’s heard some rumor that after Mo--Araxelle’s coronation, the regalia were placed in a wooden box and given to Duke Henri for safekeeping. If that’s true, then I imagine the box is still at Rhemuth, hopefully in an area of the Castle that is still intact. We rarely visited Valoret; it’s more of a museum than a home these days, and Eirian House was more comfortably appointed when we wanted a family getaway. Or Coroth. I spent a fair few summer months visiting my Corwyn cousin’s home.” With a teasing grin at Jen, she added “The dishy one.”

“Lucky you; Coroth’s a lovely castle, full of amazing history. Too bad the ‘dishy duke’ has been dead for centuries,” Jen shot back, “though I suppose the current Morgan heir is all right, if a bit full of himself.”

“So you’re immune?” Sophia asked, her grin only growing wider.

“Quite,” Jen affirmed.

“Good!” The Queen chuckled. “Morgan is altogether too accustomed to women fawning all over ‘The Most Eligible Bachelor in Gwynedd.’ It will be a refreshing change for him to spend some time around a woman who’s not so easily impressed.”

Sophia returned to her reading, the other two women reverting to a comfortable silence to allow her some peace and quiet so she could devote her full attention to the task. Eilonwy continued her web search and Jen, lacking any particular task at that moment, took a few minutes to select the Queen’s wardrobe for that day. After all, Her Majesty could hardly venture out of her suite wearing a bathrobe and toenail polish! That done, she did a few stretches to limber up before settling cross-legged onto the lush carpet to meditate.

Sophia finished one of the documents and was just starting to read another when she noticed something unusual out of the corner of her eye. Looking up, she stared at Jen.  “Loni? Is it just me, or is Jen actually . . . glowing just a little bit?”

Eilonwy looked up from her research, glancing in Jen’s direction, and began to laugh. “Hey, Jen, your aura is flaring. Might want to look to that; I don’t think HM is used to ladies-in-waiting with haloes.”

“Yes, so much for the theory that only angels and saints have haloes,” Sophia joked, putting down her document and regarding Jen with keen interest as Jen opened her eyes, startled, and the faint bluish glow surrounding her died away.  “Were you doing that consciously, or does it just happen?”

“I wasn’t meaning to flare,” Jen said self-consciously, “though admittedly my control isn’t the best yet. But I can do it consciously as well. It’s pretty much the same as handfire, just less localized.” She cupped a hand in front of her, calling up a sphere of pale blue fire.

Sophia leaned forward to get a better view. “So how does that work, in practice? What are you thinking or doing in order to make that appear?”

“Well . . . .” Jen gave the matter a moment’s thought. “At this point it’s become second nature, but let’s see.” She doused the handfire and then relit it, this time consciously focusing on how she did it. “It’s like the latent energy is deep within me, and when I visualize the handfire appearing in my hand, part of that energy moves upward in response to the visualization I’m focused upon, until it manifests as a visible ball of light. But come to think of it, before I could call up the handfire in a visible form, Sir Will had me learning to feel it as a ball of pure energy first. He says even full humans can often learn to do that much.”

 She stood up, moving over to sit upon the low footstool that Sophia had rested her feet on earlier while having her toenails painted. “Here, try this. Watch me first, then see how it works for you.”  Jen closed her eyes and held her hands in front of her, slightly cupped and with palms facing each other just a few inches apart. “Hold your hands like this, as if you have a lump of clay about the size of a tennis ball between them, and close your eyes.” She demonstrated the technique as she continued the explanation. “Now pretend you are shaping that clay, trying to turn it into a perfect sphere. You may not be able to feel anything at first, but focus all your concentration on that invisible ball of energy.”

One slightly cupped palm began rotating above the other. “After you do this for a short while,” Jen continued, “you may start to feel your fingertips tingle just a little, or perhaps you’ll feel a faint warmth in the centers of your palms. If you feel that, then continue what you are doing and focus on those feelings. Eventually, you may find that the energy ball has grown strong enough for you to begin feeling its shape.” She reversed the direction of her circular motion. “You might find it helps to occasionally change the direction of the rotation, but try to keep your hands just far enough apart to avoid brushing each other as you do. If you start to feel the ball forming between your palms, just keep focusing on that faint pressure the energies are exerting on your skin. It may never feel all that solid, but hopefully you’ll eventually feel that something is there.  Then to turn that invisible ball of energy into handfire, you just visualize it starting to glow from within.” 

The space between Jen’s cupped palms began to glow, at first almost imperceptibly, then with an increasingly stronger blue fire. She opened her eyes again. “That’s the part you might never be able to master if you’re not Deryni, but I wasn’t able to do it either the first few times I tried, so not being able to create handfire on your first go at it isn’t meant to be taken as an indicator that you’re not Deryni. Sir Will told me some people find it helpful, when they first start feeling the ball form, to imagine compressing it slightly until it’s more plum or walnut sized in order to help the energies coalesce, but I find myself accidentally brushing my hands together too much when I do that, so just do whatever seems to work best for you. Eventually you should be able to stop moving your hands, open your eyes, and still feel the ball--or at least its faint warmth--even if you can’t see it. Now you try.”

Eilonwy looked up and watched with interest as Sophia attempted the same exercise that Jen had just demonstrated. For about a minute, the young Haldane queen appeared to focus in rapt concentration on her slowly circling hands, the movements slightly uncertain as if she was trying to determine if she could actually feel anything between her palms or not. Afterwards, she opened her eyes, looking at Jen with a defeated sigh. “I’m not sure I’m doing this right.”

“Wait!” Eilonwy said, rolling off the bed and walking over to the window to close the blinds. She turned to look at Sophia again, then frowned. “Well, drat. For just a moment there, I thought I saw just the faintest bit of a pink glow. Did you see it, Jen?”

“I didn’t notice, but then again the morning light was pretty strong over here. Sophia, would you care to try it again?”

Heartened by Eilonwy’s belief that she’d seen something, if only for a brief moment, and even though Sophia herself wasn’t even sure if she’d felt the sensations Jen had described to her, she tried again. For just a brief instant just at the end, she had felt that her efforts might be producing something, but it had been so ephemeral a feeling that she’d thought maybe she’d simply imagined it. “I thought I might have felt just a tiny bit of warmth earlier,” she confessed, “but then I second-guessed myself and figured I’d probably just wished it to happen.”

“Well, wishing something into happening is along the lines of what you’re trying to do, after all, so perhaps you did,” Eilonwy said.

Sophia focused every ounce of concentration that she possessed on feeling the energy build up between her hands once more. Dimly, as if from a distance or perhaps some auditory fog, she heard one of her ladies say “You’ve got it!” in an encouraging tone. Her eyes flew open and the almost-felt sensation vanished, although this time she caught the briefest glimpse of what might have been the palest of rose-colored flickers--or was it a very dilute red?--before the mirage-like vision disappeared from view.

The Queen practically fell backwards against the seat cushion. “Is it always so hard? I feel exhausted!”

Eilonwy frowned. “No, it might be difficult to get the hang of it at first, but it oughtn’t be all that tiring, at least not after just two attempts at it.  If you don’t mind, Sophia, can I take a quick peek in your head and see if I can figure out why it’s taking so much effort for you?”

Jen exchanged places with Eilonwy, walking over to a small snack bar area, where she reached into a mini-fridge underneath the counter and retrieved a bottle of orange juice. Grabbing a napkin to hold the last scone off the tray that had been brought up to the suite earlier, she quickly buttered it and brought both back to Sophia.  “Here, see if this will help replenish your energy.”

Sophia accepted the scone and took a listless nibble as Eilonwy reached out to lay a gentle hand upon her head. “This should only take a few moments. Just relax and let me see if I can figure out what the problem is.”

Eilonwy started off with a tentative probe, immediately brushing up against shields, although these were weak and largely unformed. The presence of shields wasn’t at all surprising--Sophia was a Haldane, after all, and therefore Eilonwy had expected to encounter some rudimentary shielding. So far, so good; the presence of faint shields was encouraging. Of course, because the Queen was a true Haldane, Eilonwy didn’t dare read anything more than that into their presence. Even regular humans could develop rudimentary shields if they grew up in the presence of Deryni actively using their powers, although given Araxelle’s nearly legendary avoidance of her own,  Eilonwy hoped Sophia’s shields might also indicate that she possessed the Deryni trait.

Slipping beneath the weak shields with relative ease, Eilonwy paused to check if she was causing Sophia any discomfort, but although the Queen seemed to tense just a tiny bit, she took a deep breath and relaxed again.  “Am I hurting you?” Eilonwy asked, although she couldn’t detect any pain signals from within Sophia’s mind.

“No, I just feel . . . Not sure how to describe it.  A slight bit of pressure, maybe? Or perhaps the dull beginnings of a headache, but just the barest hint of one. More of a suggestion of discomfort than the actual thing, really.”

“All right, that’s understandable, since I’ve just slipped beneath your shields,” Eilonwy assured her. “I’ll try to be quick.”

“I have shields?” Sophia asked, surprised.

“Yes, weak tissue-thin ones, but that’s fairly decent considering most people have none at all.” Eilonwy insinuated her mental probe just a bit deeper. “Ah. I think I see what the problem is; looks like someone put controls on your powers when you were a very young child--that’s normal--but then they forgot to take them off when you got older.  Let’s see here . . . . “

She gave the psychic control a mental nudge, almost like flicking off a switch, and started to withdraw her mental touch from Sophia’s mind when she spotted another area of the Queen’s psyche that felt wrong somehow.  Taking a closer look at that area, she frowned in thought and withdrew completely. “First of all . . . .” She wiped her fingertips across Sophia’s forehead in a fatigue-banishing spell. “Let’s see if you can summon up the handfire energies again without it being exhausting.”

Sophia’s eyes widened. “I suddenly feel great!  What did you just do?”

“That last bit? That was a spell to banish fatigue. It’s great for short-term applications, although eventually the lack of proper rest will catch up with you, so it’s best just to catch up on sleep the old-fashioned way. In emergencies, or when you really need to have your full energy back for something fairly brief before you catch up on your rest, it can be a good trick to know.” Eilonwy smiled briefly. “I used to use it when swotting for exams.”

The Queen closed her eyes again, putting into practice the lesson Jen had taught her earlier. This time when she opened her eyes, a lingering glow of Haldane crimson hovered between her palms for a few seconds before slowly dissipating.

“Very good!” Jen exclaimed. Looking up at Eilonwy, she asked, “So what was the problem earlier?”

“Her childhood block was never removed,” Eilonwy answered, although she continued to frown in worried contemplation. 

Jen, noticing her concerned look, asked “And?”

Eilonwy looked up, meeting the Queen’s curious gaze. “Sophia, can you think of any reason why someone might have wanted to place a block on some of your childhood memories?”

Sophia looked baffled. “A memory block? No.  What might a usual reason be for doing that sort of thing?”

Eilonwy’s worried frown deepened. “It may be nothing; maybe you were just having some childhood nightmares or something, and your mother--I mean Araxelle--was attempting to help.  But all the same, it seems to be a fairly extensive block of one particular memory center.  You might want to have a Healer take a look at it; tampering with that sort of thing is a little beyond my area of expertise, not to mention my comfort zone. Leaving it alone shouldn’t be a problem, I don’t think, but improperly removing the block may destroy whatever memories lie underneath the block.”

“Would that be so bad?” Sophia asked. “I mean, presumably those memories were blocked for a reason.”

“Well, yes,” Eilonwy replied, “but by whom, and for what reason? And why block the memories completely? Even if it was something disturbing, such as those nightmares I mentioned or some childhood trauma, most Deryni would simply blur the traumatic feelings, not block the memories altogether. ”

“I had a concussion as a young child, after a car accident,” Sophia informed her. “My fa--Duke Henri died in that same wreck, and I was unconscious for a short time following the accident. Could the concussion have caused the blockage?”

“No, this was set deliberately, although possibly the memory of His Grace dying is what was blocked, especially if you were still conscious when that happened. It’s customary just to blur even a memory that traumatic, though; conventional wisdom among Healers is that emotional and psychic healing happens more swiftly and thoroughly if the mind is allowed to process the grief and trauma as much as possible on its own, so the memory blurring just provides psychic pain relief while the mind is still going through that healing process. Blocking the memories completely could prevent that deeper level of healing from taking place, so that’s why Healers almost never do it anymore.”

Sophia considered her friend’s observations. “Yes, on second thought, I think I’d rather have a trained Healer take a look at that block, just to be safe.  Jen, could you see if you can find out how we might get in touch with Healer Heather O’Flynn?  It’s Monday, so she may be back on duty at the Royal Hospital in Rhemuth. I believe she has also been doing home visits at Coroth Castle for a patient housed there, so Morgan might know, if you can track him down.”



Morning
Eirian House Grounds
December 21, 2021


Jennifer DeLisle followed the Lord Chamberlain’s directions to the area of the Palace grounds with the weapons practice area. A Palace guard, upon hearing that she was looking for the Duke of Corwyn, handed her some ear and eye protection and directed her towards the shooting range where Morgan Haldane was engaged in firearms practice alongside some of the Eirian House armsmen.

As she drew closer to them, she noticed one interesting difference between this firearms practice and any others that she had seen previously. Four of the men at the range were firing blindfolded. Even from behind, Jen recognized one of these four as the Duke.

She waited for the shooting to end before approaching, although he sensed her presence before even taking off the blindfold. “Dr DeLisle,” he greeted her as he eased the fabric off his eyes, handing his weapon over to an aide. Inclining his head towards the distant target, he asked, “Do you shoot?”

“Yes, Your Grace, but not blindfolded.”

“Once they change out the targets, would you care to try?”

“I think not, sir. The Kingdom has already seen enough terror this week.”

He chuckled. “Let’s go check the target, unless Her Majesty needs me to return at once. I presume you’re on an errand for HM?” Not quite waiting for her answer, he began walking towards the distant target with the unselfconscious air of a man accustomed to being followed.

She scurried to catch up with his long stride. “I am, and she doesn’t. Actually I’m just needing to contact a Healer for Her Majesty. Healer O’Flynn. She thought perhaps you might have her contact information.”

“I don’t have a phone number for her, if that’s what you mean. But I might be able to help you track her down.” They reached Morgan’s target, and Jen was impressed despite herself to see the tight grouping of holes within the small circle at its heart.

She gave a quiet whistle. “How’s your shooting when you’re not blindfolded, Your Grace?”

He smiled. “Better.” Signalling to another range aide, he indicated that he was done shooting for the day. As the man replaced the target, Morgan turned towards Jen, waving her toward the direction from which they’d just come. “Lead on, Dr DeLisle.”

“Lead on where, sir? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt your practice!”

“No need to apologize; we were just winding up anyway.” Lowering his voice slightly so only she would be able to hear him, he added, “Some of the guard prefer to practice after I’ve left the field.”

“Well, you can hardly blame them, can you, after seeing a grouping like that? I think I’d be intimidated too!”

He laughed. “No need to be, unless you’re the target. Just make sure you’re never my target.” They reached their starting point, and he handed over his safety equipment, waiting on her to hand hers over also before starting for the nearest door into the Palace.  “Does HM need Healer O’Flynn for anything in particular, or is she just hoping to arrange a secondment for her here? She could use a Healer in Residence here at Eirian House.”

Jen considered the idea. “I’m not sure if she’s thought of that, frankly, although I’ll be sure to suggest it to her. But no. We were speculating this morning as to whether Her Majesty might have Deryni powers, and as it turned out she was able to conjure up a little handfire once Eilonwy removed her childhood controls, but while she was in there, she noticed that someone in the past has created some sort of memory block in Her Majesty’s mind.”

Morgan stopped dead still.  “You mean someone blurred a memory for her, don’t you?”

“No. Eilonwy was quite clear about the difference. That’s why she suggested we call a specialist to take a look.” Jen hesitated. “You don’t happen to know how to unblock a memory safely, do you?”

“No, unfortunately I don’t. But if I were going to pick a Healer for the purpose, O’Flynn would probably be my own choice, at least judging by what Healer Dr Al-Sayid has told me of her work.” Morgan mused on what Jen had just told him. “So, Her Majesty is Deryni?”

“Yes. And I’m not the best judge of such things, being only partially trained myself, but I suspect she’s a strong one, or at least a very quick study.  It took me a full day to work up to handfire as clear as what she managed once her childhood control was removed. And Eilonwy swears she saw a flicker of faint color even before we knew the control was still in place.”

Morgan raised a sandy brown eyebrow. “With the control in place? Sweet Saint Camber!” They reached the Palace door, and he held it open for her. “In the first door to the right, and then down that corridor.”

“Where are we headed, Your Grace?”

“Portal room.”



Morning
Marbury General Hospital
December 21, 2021


“How is Colin feeling this morning?” Peter Astari asked the boy’s mother.

Erin O’Malley lifted tired eyes to his as he settled onto the chair beside hers. “As well as can be expected.” She blinked rapidly as if to dispel tears, although the events of the past several days had left her completely dry, wrung out like an old washrag. “He’s severely traumatised, of course, and the doctors have him on medication now to keep him sedated. And he’s still on fluids to deal with the dehydration, but he was able to eat a little bit this morning. What kind of monster would do that to a child, Mr Astari? Bury him alive?” Her voice rose almost to a shriek on the last word, and Peter wondered for a moment if he was about to be called upon to ease a mother’s hysteria--not that he’d blame her for a loss of control over her emotions, under the circumstances--but then she took a deep breath, visibly regathering her tattered composure.

“That’s what we’re hoping to find out this morning,” Peter told her, “if you will allow us.”

“Will you promise me you’ll blur his memories after that? I wanted them blurred immediately, but the investigators wouldn’t allow it. They said matters of national security were at stake.” Her chin quivered briefly, but she took another deep breath. “I don’t give a damn about national security, I just want my child treated like a person.”

“Yes, I can certainly understand that, Mrs O’Malley. I promise you, as soon as I’ve Read what is in his mind, I will blur his memories of his ordeal. No child should have the burden of carrying that amount of trauma within him forever.”

“No child should have endure it at all!

“True.” He paused, considering the best way to broach his next question. “Have you considered having Colin transferred to the Royal Hospital in Rhemuth? They have the top trauma specialists in the Kingdom there.”

Erin O’Malley’s lips tightened. “Yes, I’m certain they do, and under normal circumstances I’d accept the offer of a transfer in a heartbeat. But if you’ve somehow missed this week’s top story, my damn ex-husband apparently just blew up their bloody castle and most of the Royal Family; I doubt Rhemuth is the safest place for Colin just now. Even here in Marbury, I’ve received a few death threats.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. People all over the Kingdom are certainly angry right now, and rightfully so, but I hate to hear that some people’s anger is so badly misplaced. There’s no reason to assume you had any part in that attack, and little Colin certainly wouldn’t have, aside from being a pawn in someone else’s diabolical game. It’s up to you, Mrs O’Malley, but if you do decide to move Colin to the RHR, I would be glad to offer you safe shelter for the duration of your stay there.”

“Why?”

Peter debated how to answer her. After a long moment, he carefully replied, “Because I remember being a helpless little boy once, caught up in someone else’s power games, so in that way at least, I can relate to your son. But aside from that, if the police have not informed you yet, someone else out there was recently looking for your son--and someone else besides him was willing to kill that person in order to keep him from falling into the hands of the authorities. Someone with Deryni powers, or at least a uniquely Deryni means of attack. For that reason, I believe that Colin is still not safe, not even here under close guard, because of what he knows. I don’t know how well I can protect him in Marbury, but in Rhemuth . . . well, they’d have a much harder time on my turf, and they’d have to deal with me to get to him.” He flashed a dangerous smile.

“And how do I know I can trust you, Mr Astari?” Mrs O’Malley challenged him.

The smile faded. “That, I can’t answer. As I said, you’ll need to decide for yourself. But you’ll need to trust someone.” He stood. “May I go in now? The investigators are waiting for Colin’s information.”

She sighed a weary sigh, nodding her assent and closing her eyes against the world.




Next chapter:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1598.0.html
« Last Edit: October 22, 2015, 08:48:20 pm by Evie »
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Offline Demercia

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2015, 02:05:45 am »
My mind is in a total whirl now.  Wonderful chapter
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Offline revanne

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2015, 06:59:12 am »
You really are a gifted storyteller Evie. Even though I was privileged to watch this story emerge it still grips me on every reread.
"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: Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2015, 03:41:31 pm »
It's your fault I can't get the image of Morgan Haldane in black leathers, speeding along on his motorcycle, out of my mind.  I wonder if he has a green gryphon painted on it somewhere.  (Painting it on his helmet would be too ostentatious for His Dishyness.)

Very interesting chapter.  Sophia's blocked memory could have been put in place by Lady Violet, so Sophie would never know Araxelle was not her mother.  But what if it is more sinister?  I wish I hadn't thought of that.

Peter Astari is becoming more and more interesting.  I'm eagerly awaiting the next chapter to find out what Colin knows.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2015, 05:30:24 pm »
So many intriguing things in this chapter. Don't tell me I am the only one that cupped my hands a ball width apart and followed Jens directions for concentrating on energy between my palms. . I guess I am only human, nothing happened, no handfire but it was a compelling moment. As for Sophia's blocked memory... I fear something really bad may have happened in that car accident when her adoptive father died. hmmm.

It's your fault I can't get the image of Morgan Haldane in black leathers, speeding along on his motorcycle, out of my mind.  I wonder if he has a green gryphon painted on it somewhere.  (Painting it on his helmet would be too ostentatious for His Dishyness.)

LOL  love the image Jerusha. I bet he does have a leather jacket with a big green gryphon blazoned across the back.  He must have one!

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2015, 09:23:20 pm »
My mind is in a total whirl now.  Wonderful chapter

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.  :)

You really are a gifted storyteller Evie. Even though I was privileged to watch this story emerge it still grips me on every reread.

Revisiting it after several months have passed since I first wrote it is a bit like getting reacquainted with a friend after an absence. Obviously I know what happens in this story, having written it, but reminding myself how exactly it all unfolds almost feels like a surprise at times, since it's not as though I memorized the entire sequence of scenes and the dialogue as I wrote it.

It's your fault I can't get the image of Morgan Haldane in black leathers, speeding along on his motorcycle, out of my mind.  I wonder if he has a green gryphon painted on it somewhere.  (Painting it on his helmet would be too ostentatious for His Dishyness.)

Very interesting chapter.  Sophia's blocked memory could have been put in place by Lady Violet, so Sophie would never know Araxelle was not her mother.  But what if it is more sinister?  I wish I hadn't thought of that.

Peter Astari is becoming more and more interesting.  I'm eagerly awaiting the next chapter to find out what Colin knows.

I wouldn't be too surprised if Morgan's motorcycle jacket had a green gryphon on the back.  :D

You shouldn't have to wait too long to find out what is beneath that blocked section of memory or about what Peter learns from little Colin.  As for Peter's backstory, I didn't manage to get quite as much of that into this story as I had hoped, but that's what sequels are for, right?  ;)

So many intriguing things in this chapter. Don't tell me I am the only one that cupped my hands a ball width apart and followed Jens directions for concentrating on energy between my palms. . I guess I am only human, nothing happened, no handfire but it was a compelling moment. As for Sophia's blocked memory... I fear something really bad may have happened in that car accident when her adoptive father died. hmmm.


I had to give it a try myself.  With my palms about an inch apart, I did manage to feel a faint warmth and pressure between them after a few minutes, but no handfire.  Only in my dreams....  ;D


"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2015, 12:40:08 am »
I wouldn't be too surprised if Morgan's motorcycle jacket had a green gryphon on the back.  :D

Or perhaps a small green gryphon on the left pectoral area.  :)
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2015, 05:59:33 am »
Sequels - yippee!  *happy dance*
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2015, 09:13:09 am »
I wouldn't be too surprised if Morgan's motorcycle jacket had a green gryphon on the back.  :D

Or perhaps a small green gryphon on the left pectoral area.  :)

Come to think of it, this might be more likely, especially if it's done as a dark green patch on black so it's not too noticeable.  A big green gryphon (especially a bright green) on the back of his jacket is like an invitation for paparazzi to follow him everywhere!  :D

Sequels - yippee!  *happy dance*

LOL! Don't get too excited just yet.  Just because I said the "s" word doesn't mean I've written one already.  ;D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2015, 07:44:57 pm »
Quote
“Good!” The Queen chuckled. “Morgan is altogether too accustomed to women fawning all over ‘The Most Eligible Bachelor in Gwynedd.’ It will be a refreshing change for him to spend some time around a woman who’s not so easily impressed.”
When I read that my image of Morgan was Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy at the ball in Meryton...
I don't just march to the beat of a different drummer...I dance to a beat no one else can hear :)

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2015, 08:35:40 pm »
Quote
“Good!” The Queen chuckled. “Morgan is altogether too accustomed to women fawning all over ‘The Most Eligible Bachelor in Gwynedd.’ It will be a refreshing change for him to spend some time around a woman who’s not so easily impressed.”
When I read that my image of Morgan was Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy at the ball in Meryton...

LOL!  :D
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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2015, 08:06:07 am »

Come to think of it, this might be more likely, especially if it's done as a dark green patch on black so it's not too noticeable.  A big green gryphon (especially a bright green) on the back of his jacket is like an invitation for paparazzi to follow him everywhere!  :D

He could hire some guy about his same height and build to wear that jacket with a full-face helmet.  The paparazzi would follow him and he could go do whatever he wanted.

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2015, 12:18:14 pm »

Come to think of it, this might be more likely, especially if it's done as a dark green patch on black so it's not too noticeable.  A big green gryphon (especially a bright green) on the back of his jacket is like an invitation for paparazzi to follow him everywhere!  :D

He could hire some guy about his same height and build to wear that jacket with a full-face helmet.  The paparazzi would follow him and he could go do whatever he wanted.

Elkhound, I can see him doing just that. ;D  I am certain he must have at least one of those jackets in his wardrobe. But I can also see him mostly wearing one with the smaller arm patch. With the use of Portals, the paparazzi are going to have a heck of time staking out the affluent, as they don't know where they will pop up.

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Fifteen
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2015, 12:41:42 pm »

Come to think of it, this might be more likely, especially if it's done as a dark green patch on black so it's not too noticeable.  A big green gryphon (especially a bright green) on the back of his jacket is like an invitation for paparazzi to follow him everywhere!  :D

He could hire some guy about his same height and build to wear that jacket with a full-face helmet.  The paparazzi would follow him and he could go do whatever he wanted.

Elkhound, I can see him doing just that. ;D  I am certain he must have at least one of those jackets in his wardrobe. But I can also see him mostly wearing one with the smaller arm patch. With the use of Portals, the paparazzi are going to have a heck of time staking out the affluent, as they don't know where they will pop up.

True enough for affluent Deryni, although not all of the rich and famous people in Gwynedd are Deryni, so they'll still have to dodge the paparazzi the old fashioned way.  And even Deryni have to travel in the normal ways to most destinations, since there wouldn't be Portals just any-old-where, although most major cities will have a public Portal now in addition to the more private ones in cathedrals and in homes and other properties belonging to Deryni.
"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!

 

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