collapse

Welcome to the Worlds of Katherine Kurtz

Welcome to Rhemuth Castle!

KK Chat is at 7pm Eastern on Sundays, except on the first Sunday of the month, when it is at 5pm Eastern to accommodate fans in the UK and Europe.

To register as a member of RhemuthCastle.com please send an email to: rhemuthcastle @ deryni dot net
One of the Admins will contact you for registration information


Come join us in chat! And Happy reading!

Pin yourself on the member map.

Author Topic: Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen  (Read 4678 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Prince/Princess
  • *****
  • Posts: 1967
  • Karma: 28
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen
« on: November 06, 2015, 10:21:22 pm »
Previous Chapter:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1605.0.html

Chapter Nineteen

Midnight
The Chapel Royal
Eirian House
December 23, 2021


Sophia Haldane stood at the doorway of the Chapel Royal clad in a simple white silk dress, her excitement over her upcoming power assumption mingled with trepidation. The Chapel was only dimly lit--up ahead, the Presence Lamp shone forth with a comforting glow. Someone--possibly Father Devlin, for he was walking from that direction now towards a large candlestick set along the right wall--had lit two candles and placed them upon the altar.

She stepped forward, silently urged on by Eilonwy, who wore a simple, figure-skimming dress of soft blue for the occasion. Jen remained by the door, where she would observe and stand watch over the proceedings from a safe distance.

The priest, once again dressed in the red cassock of a Royal Chaplain and wearing a white stole, lit the candle, and Sophia savored the aroma. The beeswax candles used at Eirian House, she’d been told once by Araxelle’s chaplain, were permeated with a fragrance blended according to a recipe that had been handed down for generations. She hoped it had actually been written down somewhere and that Father Devlin would be able to find it so that the tradition could continue. It was some combination of frankincense and myrrh, with a bit of sandalwood added and just the tiniest bit of cinnamon to add warmth and accentuate the blend of heady aromas. The scented candles had been reserved for use only on very special occasions; Sophia felt certain this night’s working would fall into that category.

Father Devlin, heading towards her now, smiled and waved her forward. Sophia continued up the aisle towards the altar, genuflecting as she reached the more brightly lit area of the chapel’s interior. The priest continued on his path, his steps taking him behind her. Glancing towards him, she saw he was moving another candlestick to a position just beside the main aisle. This candle he lit also.

As he moved toward the left-side wall, Morgan, wearing the dress shirt, trousers, and regalia of the Ordo Sanctus Michaelis, though leaving off the full ceremonial garb for the sake of comfort and ease of movement during the ritual, moved to join him. “I imagine given its age, the Chapel Royal’s altar actually faces true east?” Morgan asked. “Not simply liturgical east?”

“Yes,” Father Devlin confirmed. “I double-checked earlier today. Although symbolic east should work just as well.”

They had reached the center of the illuminated area, and here Eilonwy left her. Father Devlin reached the left-side candlestick but here paused beside Lord Arilan, the latter darkly handsome in his black sweater and charcoal trousers. Together, they acknowledged Healer O’Flynn’s arrival. She produce a small vial from her pocket, and the three conferred quietly for a few seconds. Heather entered the as-yet-unwarded circle and placed her contributions to the night’s proceedings on a small linen-draped table that Sophia belatedly noticed had been placed before the altar. Aside from the vial, this appeared to be a small assortment of first aid supplies. On this table were also a goblet of wine, a bowl full of what appeared to be water, and her regalia box.

Morgan approached the altar, bowing before the Presence before gently laying his ceremonial sword upon it for later use. Father Devlin, having worked his way back to the altar at this point, blessed the sword, consecrating it for the use that Morgan would put it to later.

Eilonwy returned through a door Sophia thought led into the vestry, carefully handing a thurible to the priest before rejoining Sophia briefly to cast a small amount of what appeared to be salt into the bowl filled with water. Smiling at Sophia, she took the bowl and walked toward the altar, genuflecting before beginning to work her way in a clockwise movement around the room from candlestick to candlestick, using her fingertips to sprinkle the circular pathway as she walked.

Father Devlin filled the thurible with incense and, after similarly making his obeisance towards the altar, also began to cense the circle, following the same path that Eilonwy had walked along. Once he made it completely around, he censed the other participants before handing the thurible to Morgan, who censed him as well. The fragrance of incense filled the Chapel Royal, though curiously the smoke seemed mostly confined within the circle.

Devlin took a position standing before the altar as Morgan hung the thurible on its stand nearby and Eilonwy took up a station to Sophia’s rear, closest to the chapel doors. They waited expectantly on James and Heather to set up the next phase of the ritual.

“Your Majesty,” James asked formally, “will you now assume the Haldane powers, and in doing so take up that sacred trust which is yours by birthright, and do you trust those gathered around you with body and soul, commending yourself into our hands for the duration of this working?”

“I will, and I do,” Sophia replied, only a little hesitant, for while she did indeed trust everyone in the room, Lord Arilan’s words had tuned her nervousness to a higher pitch. 

Heather, smiling reassuringly, stepped forward.  “May I sedate you now, Ma’am? This should make the potential setting go a bit easier for you.” She opened the vial she’d brought in with her and allowed Sophia to take a cautious sniff of its contents before pouring a bit of it into the wine, swirling it in the goblet to mix the contents.

“What’s in it?” Sophia asked as she took the goblet from Heather and brought it to her lips.

“A sedative mixed with a strong analgesic. Do you want me to be more specific?”

Sophia, not wanting to think too closely upon the possible reasons why she might need pain relief if she was to spend most of the ritual in a stupor, decided she might be better off not knowing just at the moment.

“Bottom’s up, then, Ma’am. Pretend it’s a drinking game based on how many women Lord Arilan has been featured on tabloid covers with since his testicles first dropped. That ought to do it.”

It was impossible for Sophia to focus on her worries in the wake of Heather’s breezy comment and the fleeting expression of consternation on James’ face before he quickly masked it.  Narrowing her concentration on the effort to retain a straight face and avoid causing James further embarrassment, Sophia polished off the contents of the goblet quickly.

Heather gloved up before touching her fingertip to the mouth of the vial, then dabbing a bit more of the liquid it contained onto Sophia’s right index fingertip. “Are you right or left handed, Ma’am?” she asked Sophia.

She could feel the drug already beginning to take effect, making her feel slightly distanced from what was happening around her. “Right,” she murmured through lips that now seemed strangely hard to form into the proper shapes to make words.

A cool sensation in her left palm made her look down in dulled curiosity to discover that Heather had poured out what little of the mixture that remained into her slightly cupped left hand. Wiping the excess away with a square of gauze, the Healer tucked the used gauze into a small plastic bag retrieved from her pocket, carefully peeling off her gloves to discard them in the bag as well and leaving additional squares of gauze on the table for some future use, then handed James a small object wrapped in the sort of paper that bandages, sticking plasters, and other similar first aid items came packaged in. James peeled back the paper to reveal a metal lancet.

Heather took the wrapper from him and opened the regalia box before inclining her head respectfully toward Sophia and retreating from the circle. Through bleary eyes, Sophia watched as Morgan picked up the sword from the table and began to trace a circle on the floor with the tip, following along the same path as Eilonwy and Father Devlin had done earlier. Along the path the sword’s tip took, the traced circle upon the stone floor began to glow.

What happened next, she couldn’t quite say. When Morgan completed his full circuit, she was not entirely sure, but once he had finished he took a position to her right, a calming, reassuring presence. She fought down an insane urge to laugh; whatever descriptions she might normally come up with for her Haldane cousin, ‘calming’ was not generally one of them!

Father Devlin spoke now, from seemingly miles away rather than just mere feet in front of her. “We stand outside time, in a place not of earth. As our ancestors before us bade, we join together and are One.”

The suggestion of joining together and oneness created a vision of an entirely different sort of unity in Sophia’s mind, to her startled embarrassment. She closed her eyes briefly, willing herself to pay attention to the matter at hand, though her ability to make sense of Devlin’s disembodied voice was swiftly eroding. She forced her drifting eyelids open once more, anchoring the quiet sound of the priest’s voice more securely to his body, not understanding what he was saying anymore, although a sudden swirl of golden light and wind encircling him, tugging at his hair and clothing, made her think that whatever power he’d just invoked had responded to the call. Raphael, some detached and slightly more aware corner of her mind prompted.

Beside her now, to her right, Morgan was speaking. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the candle behind him flare up, its flame oddly more red than normal fire, while ghostly tongues of fire traveled up his body before dancing over his head as if there had been some brief recurrence of Pentecost. Michael.

Behind her now, she heard Eilonwy’s voice, soft and soothing. Sophia attempted to cast a glance over one shoulder, but the motion made her dizzy. She clutched at the table as she heard what sounded oddly like the ripple of running water behind her. She hoped it was illusory, like the fire that had momentarily surrounded Morgan without consuming him. A blue glow seemed to brighten the room for a moment before dying back down. Gabriel.

Lord Arilan spoke now, his voice coming from her left. As he finished, Sophia felt the ground beneath her quake, although she was far too heavily sedated by then to feel any fear. The Chapel windows rattled briefly, then were still. An odd swirl of color, like the blackish-green iridescence of a raven’s plumage, swept around him like a vortex before dissipating. Uriel.

Devlin brought his hands up above his head swiftly, his palms clapping together. A shimmering dome of light appeared, starting as a curtain of liquid light which flowed upward from the glowing circle left by Morgan’s sword to merge at a central point above her head. He said something else then, but by now she was unable to do more than gaze upon him in wonder. He seemed almost like an angel to her, still haloed in faint golden light.

 A few moments of silence followed, and she allowed her eyes to drift shut again until a sharp pain in her fingertip caused them to jerk open again to focus more closely upon what Lord Arilan was doing.

“Sorry, Ma’am,” he said quietly as he touched something to the blood welling up on her skin. The words sounded garbled, as if spoken underwater, though at least this time the unexpected pain had revived her just enough so she could understand him. He retrieved something from the wooden box before her and touched it to the blood. It began to glow from within. That was good, because for some elusive reason she couldn’t call to mind just then, that was important. James’ lips--quite lovely lips, she was forced to admit, when viewed  from such a close vantage point--curved upwards in a slight smile as he touched the object to the ring he held in his other hand. It, too, began to glow.

Wiping the excess blood off the first object onto a gauze square, he handed it to Eilonwy. Seeing it more clearly now, Sophia dimly recognized it as the Eye of Rom. She felt Eilonwy’s fingers gently stroke her hair away from her right ear to set the earring’s post in place through her pierced lobe. As this was done, Father Devlin also approached, taking the Ring of Fire from James once it, too, had been wiped clean, and placing the ring upon the third finger of her right hand. Instinctively her hand clenched, securing the loosely fitted ring. She felt a tingle course through her.

Morgan approached next, putting the Crimson Lion in her right hand with the clasp side upwards. Taking her left hand, he turned it palm up, holding both hands loosely as he willed her to keep her eyes open for this final stage of the ritual.

“Sophia, do you understand what you must do now?” His voice sounded strangely like the crackling of flames.

Such lovely eyes her cousin had, the clear green of pale glass! There was something that she alone could do now, she wasn’t entirely sure what yet, but deep down the certainty of it filled her, spreading through her until it surfaced to the realm of conscious knowledge. She stared down at the three-inch-long clasp in one hand and her stained palm of the other, the knowledge clicking into place. Vague alarm flooded her, and she raised her eyes to Morgan’s once more, seeing love and compassion mingled in his gaze. Strength flooded her then, strength and courage, and with a warm smile back at him blossoming into joyful acceptance she touched the center of her palm to the clasp’s point and drove it home.



Very early morning
The Queen’s Bedchamber
Eirian House
December 23, 2021


“How is she?” Father Devlin asked the Healer. He had known--or thought he’d known--what to expect when the Queen completed the ritual to set her Haldane potential, but even so, he’d yet to recover from the shock of seeing the surge of power coursing through Sophia’s petite frame, causing her to fold in on herself before a nearly explosive convulsion shook her entire body, which stiffened briefly before crumpling limp and seemingly lifeless, tumbling forward into Morgan’s arms. Her reaction to the empowerment had shaken them all.

“She’s finally coming around,” Heather assured him.

On the other side of the bed, Jen and Eilonwy sat vigil over their friend, their faces pale and set. Michael and Henry had taken quite a bit of reassuring when they burst into the chapel to find their fallen charge unconscious within Morgan’s protective embrace. They had escorted the Duke, the Healer, and the two ladies-in-waiting back to the Queen’s apartment once the wards had been safely dispersed, leaving him and James to finish tidying up the chapel so that none entering that place the following morning would guess what had been done in there the night before. Only afterward, once the two of them had finished this task and caught up with the others in the Queen’s chambers, had the two armsmen been willing to leave her side, albeit only to take turns napping in the sitting room outside her bedroom door, unwilling to put any more distance than that between themselves and their charge while she remained so vulnerable.

Morgan sat on the near side of the bed, Sophia’s small hand tucked safely within his larger one. At some point the Ring of Fire had been eased off her finger, stored away for the moment in the regalia box along with the Crimson Lion, although the Eye of Rom still pulsed softly, its red gleam shining through her ebon hair.  James leaned against the door, his face a closed mask, an expression that Devlin recognized from long years of association with his childhood friend. James tended to withdraw into himself when struggling for mastery over strong emotions such as this night’s working had produced.

The Queen stirred, long lashes that had lain fanlike upon pale cheeks now fluttering open, her expression vague at first, but as her gaze met Devlin’s a flicker of something like recognition entered them. She started to say something, but her voice was too quiet to make out, and it trailed off nearly as soon as it had started. Heather waved a small ampoule of smelling salts beneath her nose. “Could you repeat that, Ma’am?” she asked.

This time the royal gaze lingered on him a fraction longer, and when the Queen spoke, she was clearly--if very quietly--audible. “He’s far too handsome, make him stop.”

The ladies-in-waiting burst into laughter borne of mingled hilarity and relief. Devlin, blushing, turned a nervous glance towards Morgan, who gave an amused snort. “She’s drunk” was his blunt opinion on his cousin’s unexpected comment.

“That she is,” agreed the Healer, “or high as a kite at any rate, although the sedative is wearing off swiftly now, and she should be back to her regular self in just a few more minutes. I think it would be best now if the rest of you leave to let her sleep, not to mention catching up on your own. I’ll just stay long enough to make sure she comes down completely before easing her into a more normal slumber until daylight. You two have an adjoining room, yes?” she asked Jen and Eilonwy. At their confirming nods, she added, “Good, then if she should wake and need anything, you’ll be close at hand, but I wouldn’t count on her waking up much earlier than noon. If anything pressing chances to come up sooner than that, she can be awakened earlier, but otherwise I’d just suggest telling the Lord Chamberlain or anyone else who might ask that she’s got a slight headache and wishes to sleep in. It’s quite likely to be true, in any case.”



Several minutes later
The Queen’s Apartment Wing
Eirian House


They’d all gone their separate ways, for once the ritual had ended and they’d stayed around long enough to ensure that the Queen would be all right, the exhaustion from the night’s work had set in, and no one had wished to linger when there were empty beds awaiting them and far too few hours remaining before daybreak. None, that is, aside from James, who’d ventured no further from the Royal Apartment’s door than a few feet down the hall and around the first corner.

Within ten minutes--fifteen at the latest--he heard that door open quietly once more. Soft footfalls approached the corner. He leaned against the entrance door to Heather’s rooms, waiting.

She turned the corner to find him there, her weary blue eyes staring at him in confusion. “Wait, I thought . . . Isn’t this my room?”

“Yes.” He made no move to leave.

Confusion turned to annoyance. “Then would you please move? It’s bloody late, Lord Arilan!”

“No. Not until you tell me what the hell that was about in there.” James kept his voice low, controlled, with nothing but the stoniness of his expression to convey his barely leashed anger.

“James, please, whatever this is about, I’m sure it can wait.” Her expression was a mixture of exasperation and pleading, which normally he would have conceded to, but on this occasion it left him unmoved.

“I don’t think it can, Heather. If I were to walk away right now and leave this for the morning, I’m fairly sure you’d find some way to avoid me tomorrow. Or the day after, or after that, until you’re sure I’ve given up trying to pin you down and will let the matter drop. So no. I want to know what the hell you thought you were playing at in there tonight, and I want to know right now.”

“Well, I’m not going to discuss anything with you right now, sir,” Heather replied with a dangerous gleam in her eyes. “My daughter is asleep in there; this is neither the place nor the time.”

“Neither was the set-up for an empowerment ritual, during which I needed to be fully focused on what I was doing to ensure Her Majesty’s safety,  quite the ‘place and time’ for you to be throwing me off balance by flinging your nasty little quip in my face,” James retorted heatedly. “I’ll ask you again, what was that about?”

Heather’s eyes slid away as her cheeks turned pink. “I just . . . Her Majesty was nervous. I was just trying to lighten the mood.”

James was skeptical, recognizing that while there was some truth to her statement, she was still being evasive. “At my expense?”

Her blush deepened. “I suppose so.  All right, yes. I’m sorry. Now can I get some sleep?”

“I think not.” At her look of angry incredulity, he added, “What I want to know is why. Since practically our first meeting, I’ve been getting mixed signals from you. One moment you’re reeling me in; the next, you’re holding me at arm’s length or outright shoving me away. I thought for a short while, after that drive over from Tre-Arilan, that maybe there might be something developing between us that could be worth exploring, but now I’m really not so sure. Are you interested in me or aren’t you? If not, just tell me to bugger off and I’ll leave you alone. Or hell, just say ‘No.’ It’s a short word, not really that hard.”

The anger faded from her eyes, replaced by a stunned look. She looked away again, blinking rapidly. “Oh God, James, I’m sorry.  You’re right, I probably have been sending mixed signals, but . . . I just can’t. Part of me wants to, but . . . .”

“But what? You just can’t what?” His voice was gentler now, though no less insistent as he attempted to understand.

Heather sniffed, attempting to reach for the doorknob, unwilling to meet his eyes. “Please, James! Aderyn’s asleep.”

He gave a humorless snort. “Of course she is. Hell, Heather, as strong as that sedative was that you gave HM tonight, your sleep spell will probably have your child sleeping clear through to the New Year.” He relented enough to open the door for her, following her into the small apartment, which was little more than a small seating area followed by a single bedroom with an adjoining bath. Beyond the open door to the bedroom, he saw Aderyn sound asleep.

James leaned against the door, his arms crossed over his chest. “I’ll wait while you check on her.” He watched as Heather entered the other room, laying a hand lightly over her daughter’s forehead briefly before stepping back and tucking a blanket more firmly around her, then returning to face him.

“She’s all right?” James asked.

“Yes.” Heather closed her eyes briefly and took a deep breath as if to fortify herself before opening them again. “James, I am truly sorry for the remark I made earlier tonight. You’re right, it was uncalled for. But I can’t get involved with you.” Despite a visible effort at control, tears sprang into her eyes.

“All right.”

“It’s nothing personal . . . .” she began.

“It feels pretty damn personal from where I’m standing, but I’ll respect your wishes.” He turned to leave.

“No, wait!”

He turned back to see Heather with her fingers pressed against her lips, staring uncertainly up at him. He decided to give it one more try. “If it’s nothing personal, then what’s the problem?”

“It’s just . . . .” She looked back over her shoulder at her sleeping child before turning back to him, her face filled with frustration and despair. “You’re right, I am attracted to you, but it would never work between us.  You’re too much like him--so handsome and charming, and . . .Oh God, you even look a little like him! I can’t help but respond to you, but once you decide it’s time to move on from me . . . .” She hugged herself tightly. “I’m so sorry, James, but I just can’t let myself in for that much pain again.”

He stepped forward, gently tilting her chin up with a fingertip. “Tell me, does your daughter’s sperm donor have a name? Because I’d really like to know whose lights to punch out should we ever chance to meet.”

She gave a watery laugh. He responded with a rueful smile. “I’m sorry too.”  Lifting her hand to his lips, he tightened his shields around the sharp burst of unexpected pain deep within himself and brushed a light kiss across her fingers as he turned to go.




Next chapter:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1614.0.html
« Last Edit: November 11, 2015, 09:02:35 pm by Evie »
"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 Demercia

  • Knight/Dame
  • ***
  • Posts: 74
  • Karma: 2
  • Gender: Female
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2015, 01:30:46 am »
It's nice to see that James is not impervious, but I hope that they can sort it out.
The light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

Offline revanne

  • Donor
  • Earl/Countess
  • ****
  • Posts: 465
  • Karma: 12
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Book: King Javan's Year
  • Favorite Character: Father Joram MacRorie
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2015, 07:28:14 am »
“A sedative mixed with a strong analgesic. Do you want me to be more specific?”

Sophia, not wanting to think too closely upon the possible reasons why she might need pain relief if she was to spend most of the ritual in a stupor, decided she might be better off not knowing just at the moment."


I hate to think what it would have been like going through the empowerment ritual without analgesic but then I hate to think what childbirth without pain relief would have been like!

"Michael and Henry had taken quite a bit of reassuring when they burst into the chapel to find their fallen charge unconscious within Morgan’s protective embrace. They had escorted the Duke, the Healer, and the two ladies-in-waiting back to the Queen’s apartment ".

Haldane duke or not (not to mention sharp metal fetishist), I wouldn't have liked to bet on Morgan's chances against Henry and Michael if any real harm had come to Sophia. I get the sense that the escort they provided was rather more than ceremonial.

It is only with this chapter that I have begun to like James as he is revealed as something other than a "love 'em and leave 'em" smooth talking aristocrat taking advantage of his looks and social status.
"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

  • Administrator
  • Prince/Princess
  • *****
  • Posts: 1967
  • Karma: 28
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2015, 06:17:49 pm »
Yes, thus far James has mainly relied on his good looks and charm, not to mention his high social standing, when it comes to attracting women, but he's finally starting to reach a level of emotional maturity where he'd prefer something a little more in the way of a genuine relationship rather than just another notch on the bed post. But has he developed the finer qualities it takes to attract the interest of a woman who wants a deeper sort of relationship than what he's ever bothered with thus far?  Only time will tell.  Maybe his interest in Heather, who has little use for "love 'em and leave 'em" sorts (having been 'loved and left' by that sort already), will serve as a wake-up call.  :)
"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 Jerusha

  • Donor
  • Duke/Duchess
  • ****
  • Posts: 517
  • Karma: 17
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni
  • Favorite Character: Alaric Morgan
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2015, 07:48:43 pm »
While James may have been more than deserving of Heather's jab, I did think she was being a bit harsh.  But that's what makes for drama, and we will have to wait and see what transpires.  Perhaps Heather and Father Devlin will have a bit of a chat at some point, to gain some perspective.

I totally volunteer to be Sophie's stunt double and fall into Morgan's protective embrace.  Sign me up!

From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Prince/Princess
  • *****
  • Posts: 1967
  • Karma: 28
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2015, 08:27:13 pm »
While James may have been more than deserving of Heather's jab, I did think she was being a bit harsh.

Yes, she was.  Then again, people who have been hurt will often tend to lash out defensively (sometimes harder than truly called for) against those who trigger that hurt, however inadvertently. At least being confronted about her behavior helped her to face up to why she reacted that way and feel remorse over hurting James with her remark, so hopefully they'll be able to sort things out between them eventually with no permanent bad feelings on either side.

Quote
But that's what makes for drama, and we will have to wait and see what transpires.  Perhaps Heather and Father Devlin will have a bit of a chat at some point, to gain some perspective.

That could possibly help.  I'm sure Father Devlin and James have had their share of strong disagreements over the years over James' cavalier treatment of women as well, never mind that the two of them have been close friends since boyhood.

Quote
I totally volunteer to be Sophie's stunt double and fall into Morgan's protective embrace.  Sign me up!

LOL! Sophia says you're welcome to be her stunt double.  All you have to do to prove you're up to the task is take this 3" long brooch clasp and stab it clear through your palm first.... ;D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

Online Laurna

  • Donor
  • Duke/Duchess
  • ****
  • Posts: 586
  • Karma: 11
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Character: Alaric Morgan & Rhys Thuryn-May they be Family.
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2015, 12:20:34 am »
I see Heather's quip and later reaction as a self preservation technique. To him her words may have felt harsh, but she said them as a friendship jest, saying aloud that she did not want to be one of those one night tabloid girls. I respect James more for his reaction, neither automatically running away scorned, nor trying to prove why he would be perfect for her.  He actually stopped to think about her situation and that makes the relationship promising.
Other than being a landed Knight, does Sir James hold a gentry title? Were any on the Arilan ancestors barons or counts?

It is wonderful to see that the ritual of empowerment has not lost its fullness over the multiple centuries.  I do, however, want to admonish Heather for such a heavy sedation. Sophia is a doctor, she understands pain. She may not have known consciously how to reduce the pain of her patients with Deryni spells (as she did not know she was Deryni), but she would have had the intuitive ability to understand the pain her patents may feel and to be mentally prepared to help them work through it, and therefore have the knowledge to work through her own pain. That is often what doctors need to do. So I think the heavy sedation sort of cheated her from seeing the fullness of the ritual going on around her. Of course, as Revanne has mentioned, the modern concept of medicine is about pain reduction, so in that modern sense, I can understand.

I did, very much, liked this chapter.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2015, 01:48:07 am by Laurna »

Offline NavaWazr

  • Squire
  • **
  • Posts: 42
  • Karma: 0
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2015, 02:22:54 am »
My reaction to Heather's comment in the Chapel was that it was out of line. I am so used to the devotion to duty and integrity during this ritual that anything outside that seems mocking; implication (in my opinion) is that Heather is not focused on what she needs to do, she is distracted by her feelings for him hence the comment. Did this distraction cause her to give Sophia more sedative than needed? Or was it deliberate given the earlier experience when Sophia realized she took care of Grandma? 

I am so glad that James saw her afterwards. Both have to address their rising feelings. I am also curious as to the identity of the sperm donor -- I hope it is not one of the bad guys!

I liked the ward setting, Sophia seeing the people literally embodying the angels. Beautifully written. Will we see this from Jen's perspective?

I am concerned a Duel Arcane will be coming up soon, and it won't be fought under the traditional rules. Meanwhile, what are Lady Maureen and Peter up to?

Your tale continues to make me madly check my phone daily for updates.
I realized that I wanted to be Deryni, would have loved to be another niece of Uncle Azim, perhaps living on a Fianna vineyard.... but I'm a never wazzer

Offline DesertRose

  • Administrator
  • Duke/Duchess
  • *****
  • Posts: 670
  • Karma: 19
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Book: Deryni Magic
  • Favorite Character: Rhys Thuryn *sob*
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2015, 11:03:07 am »
My reaction to Heather's comment in the Chapel was that it was out of line. I am so used to the devotion to duty and integrity during this ritual that anything outside that seems mocking; implication (in my opinion) is that Heather is not focused on what she needs to do, she is distracted by her feelings for him hence the comment. Did this distraction cause her to give Sophia more sedative than needed? Or was it deliberate given the earlier experience when Sophia realized she took care of Grandma?

In my opinion, Heather was out of line, and James (whatever his faults) had every right to dress her down about it.  That wasn't the time or place for a smart-alecky remark.  One of Heather's faults (and everybody has them, and writing a faultless character is firstly unrealistic and secondly boring) is that she can be very flippant, sometimes at inappropriate moments (as here) and sometimes an excellent tension-breaker.

With regards to the medication at Sophia's empowerment, when Rhys helped Cinhil with the potential setting for Alroy, Javan, and Rhys Michael, they were all heavily medicated, although that may have been due to both their ages at the time and Cinhil's resistance to the mere concept of Deryni (or Deryni-like) power.  (I can't remember Kelson's ritual off the top of my head.)  So while Heather may have been a little heavy-handed with whatever sedative was used for Sophia's ritual, it may be that sedating the Haldane(s) to be potentialized or empowered helps calm the mind and it may even be that sedation helps the power flow the way it needs to do.  Letting the conscious mind take a break (by chemical sedation or meditation techniques or hypnosis or any of a number of things) can help the subconscious mind do its job.

Edited to correct a typo.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2015, 11:32:54 am by DesertRose »
"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.)

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Prince/Princess
  • *****
  • Posts: 1967
  • Karma: 28
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2015, 11:27:36 am »
I see Heather's quip and later reaction as a self preservation technique. To him her words may have felt harsh, but she said them as a friendship jest, saying aloud that she did not want to be one of those one night tabloid girls. I respect James more for his reaction, neither automatically running away scorned, nor trying to prove why he would be perfect for her.  He actually stopped to think about her situation and that makes the relationship promising.

I would say that Heather's quip, while harsh, was not premeditated.  Emotions would have been highly charged before and during the ritual, and being in the proximity of a man she is very attracted to but has such ambivalent feelings about would not have helped her state of mind.  Her quip was more an involuntary, self-protective response to working so closely with him rather than anything meant to hurt his feelings. There was also some element of wanting to ease Sophia's nervousness mingled in with the reaction, although it was primarily a kneejerk reaction to working so closely with James under such heightened emotions.

Quote
Other than being a landed Knight, does Sir James hold a gentry title? Were any on the Arilan ancestors barons or counts?

Yes, Lord Arilan is the son and heir to the Earl of Braxton, Sextus Arilan's distant heir.

Quote
It is wonderful to see that the ritual of empowerment has not lost its fullness over the multiple centuries.  I do, however, want to admonish Heather for such a heavy sedation. Sophia is a doctor, she understands pain. She may not have known consciously how to reduce the pain of her patients with Deryni spells (as she did not know she was Deryni), but she would have had the intuitive ability to understand the pain her patents may feel and to be mentally prepared to help them work through it, and therefore have the knowledge to work through her own pain. That is often what doctors need to do. So I think the heavy sedation sort of cheated her from seeing the fullness of the ritual going on around her. Of course, as Revanne has mentioned, the modern concept of medicine is about pain reduction, so in that modern sense, I can understand.

In the canonical rituals we've seen, there is a strong drug of some sort that is given to the person having their potential set and/or being fully empowered, which lowers their resistance to the forces that are brought to bear on them during the ritual. We've not really seen the effect of this drug so much from the recipient's point of view, but my guess is that it's at least strong enough to give them an altered state of consciousness, based on Kelson's reactions during his ritual and also Cinhil's unawareness of some of the elements of his.  (In DM, for instance, KK mentions that the ritual circle was probably traced with a sword as described in other rituals, but Cinhil simply failed to notice this detail.  I figure you've got to be pretty out of it to not notice someone drawing a circle around you with a sword.  :D)  And IIRC, Cinhil's sons were completely unaware of their potential-setting, but then again they didn't have to play an active role in that, unlike someone receiving full empowerment.

Granted, the other reason for Sophia being so heavily drugged (besides the fact that, like revanne, I can't imagine not wanting to be heavily drugged if I were going to have to stick a sharp metal spike completely through my hand!) was admittedly for my convenience and comfort level as the writer.  The most difficult scenes for me to write in this story were the ritual magic scenes and the other scenes dealing with ceremonial ritual (s/a the Accession Council, and there's a state funeral later in the story), because both are completely outside my realm of personal experience, so "write what you know" in those cases became a matter of heavy-going research for both.  As I was poring over the empowerment rituals in DM, CtH, and DR (which were the canonical books I had on hand at the time), and even the Deryni Adventure Game and drakensis' War of Three Kings, trying to find a fresh new angle to approach this ritual from yet without leaving out any of the essential elements out, it occurred to me that if I were to describe the ritual from Sophia's POV, her being drugged at the time would allow me the freedom to describe this ritual with a new twist, adding in the necessary details yet without having to stress so much about getting it all right (especially all of the dialogue that would be going on between the four Deryni performing the magic at that time, because I was already at a loss for how to create a ritual that was completely different yet evocative of all the ones that had gone before, without having to come up with completely fresh new dialogue that felt timeless as well!), because Sophia would be too out of it to notice all of those fine details.  Once I shifted the POV to inside Sophia's drugged head, the scene flowed a lot more effortlessly.  Otherwise, I might still be writing that darn scene!   ;D
Quote
I did, very much, liked this chapter.

I'm glad.  I did too, once it was over with, but writing it almost felt like going through childbirth without the aformentioned anesthesia!   :D

My reaction to Heather's comment in the Chapel was that it was out of line. I am so used to the devotion to duty and integrity during this ritual that anything outside that seems mocking; implication (in my opinion) is that Heather is not focused on what she needs to do, she is distracted by her feelings for him hence the comment. Did this distraction cause her to give Sophia more sedative than needed? Or was it deliberate given the earlier experience when Sophia realized she took care of Grandma? 

See above for the out-of-story reason why the sedative was so strong, but yes, it would have been deliberate on Heather's part as well.  In just a week, Sophia has lost most of her family and has just recovered her memories of having to kill her own grandmother (or at least the woman she grew up thinking of as her grandmother) in self-defense and the defense of her adoptive mother.  As the Queen's emotional and psychic Healer, Heather would have wanted to minimize the possibility of Sophia having to encounter even more psychic trauma beyond that which was strictly necessary in order for the empowerment to work.  She couldn't drug Sophia completely, since her act of courage in driving the clasp through her hand herself is the act which seals the ritual, but she could at least drug her enough to make that act and the resulting unleashing of her Haldane power as bearable as possible without rendering her completely insensate.

Quote
I am so glad that James saw her afterwards. Both have to address their rising feelings. I am also curious as to the identity of the sperm donor -- I hope it is not one of the bad guys!

There are a fair number of coincidences in this story already, but that would be a little too coincidental for my tastes.  Not everyone's pasts are that interwoven with the main plot of this story.  In fact, most of their past histories aren't.

Quote
I liked the ward setting, Sophia seeing the people literally embodying the angels. Beautifully written. Will we see this from Jen's perspective?

I doubt we'll see it from Jen's POV unless she refers back to Sophia's empowerment in a sequel story.  At this point in the story, I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever reach the end of it, so I wasn't interested in creating any redundancies in the story.  :)  The ward setting was influenced by the description of the ritual in CtH, IIRC.

Quote
I am concerned a Duel Arcane will be coming up soon, and it won't be fought under the traditional rules. Meanwhile, what are Lady Maureen and Peter up to?

Hm.  A Duel Arcane?  In a Deryni story?  Maaaaayyyybeeee....  ;)  As for Lady Maureen and Peter, you'll see them again soon enough. 

Quote
Your tale continues to make me madly check my phone daily for updates.

Good to hear it.  Try checking again on late Wednesday night or Thursday morning.  :)
"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

  • Donor
  • Earl/Countess
  • ****
  • Posts: 465
  • Karma: 12
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Book: King Javan's Year
  • Favorite Character: Father Joram MacRorie
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2015, 12:12:16 pm »
Like Navawazr and DesertRose my first reaction to Heather's comment was that it was out of line and it really jarred as inappropriate. However I have been in very solemn situations where fairly black humour was used to lighten the situation and, in addition to Heather's personal issues mentioned by Evie, I guess this is not dissimilar.

Also, and this has only just occurred to me, both Sophia and Heather are medical practitioners and used to using jokes about all sorts of bodily functions to lighten tension in a way that seems inappropriate to others.

I still don't think that in this instance it was fair to James.
"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

  • Administrator
  • Prince/Princess
  • *****
  • Posts: 1967
  • Karma: 28
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2015, 12:24:34 pm »

In my opinion, Heather was out of line, and James (whatever his faults) had every right to dress her down about it.  That wasn't the time or place for a smart-alecky remark.  One of Heather's faults (and everybody has them, and writing a faultless character is firstly unrealistic and secondly boring) is that she can be very flippant, sometimes at inappropriate moments (as here) and sometimes an excellent tension-breaker.

Well spotted. Another time when that character trait came out was during the road trip to Eirian House, and Heather made a quip (again at poor James' expense) that she was mortified by a split-second later, but she'd already blurted it out by then.

Quote
With regards to the medication at Sophia's empowerment, when Rhys helped Cinhil with the potential setting for Alroy, Javan, and Rhys Michael, they were all heavily medicated, although that may have been due to both their ages at the time and Cinhil's resistance to the mere concept of Deryni (or Deryni-like) power.  (I can't remember Kelson's ritual off the top of my head.)  So while Heather may have been a little heavy-handed with whatever sedative was used for Sophia's ritual, it may be that sedating the Haldane(s) to be potentialized or empowered helps calm the mind and it may even be that sedation helps the power flow the way it needs to do.  Letting the conscious mind take a break (by chemical sedation or meditation techniques or hypnosis or any of a number of things) can help the subconscious mind do its job.

Yes, that's the reason that DM gives for the sedation also, although it doesn't spell it out quite that clearly.

Like Navawazr and DesertRose my first reaction to Heather's comment was that it was out of line and it really jarred as inappropriate. However I have been in very solemn situations where fairly black humour was used to lighten the situation and, in addition to Heather's personal issues mentioned by Evie, I guess this is not dissimilar.

Also, and this has only just occurred to me, both Sophia and Heather are medical practitioners and used to using jokes about all sorts of bodily functions to lighten tension in a way that seems inappropriate to others.

Heather was probably glad Sophia was a doctor and more amused than offended by her quip in the car en route to Eirian House from Tre-Arilan, though that didn't stop her from being embarrassed nonetheless.

Quote
I still don't think that in this instance it was fair to James.


No, it wasn't, and the timing made it even worse.
"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 DesertRose

  • Administrator
  • Duke/Duchess
  • *****
  • Posts: 670
  • Karma: 19
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Book: Deryni Magic
  • Favorite Character: Rhys Thuryn *sob*
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2015, 05:16:06 pm »

In my opinion, Heather was out of line, and James (whatever his faults) had every right to dress her down about it.  That wasn't the time or place for a smart-alecky remark.  One of Heather's faults (and everybody has them, and writing a faultless character is firstly unrealistic and secondly boring) is that she can be very flippant, sometimes at inappropriate moments (as here) and sometimes an excellent tension-breaker.

Well spotted. Another time when that character trait came out was during the road trip to Eirian House, and Heather made a quip (again at poor James' expense) that she was mortified by a split-second later, but she'd already blurted it out by then.

Yeah, Heather seems to lack that mental filter that says, "Maybe everything that pops into my head ought not pop out of my mouth."  :D

Don't get me wrong, I like her as a character.  As stated above, everyone has their faults, and a written character who hasn't any is unrealistic and boring to read (and to write, IMO!); it makes Heather a character to whom many of us can relate.  I know my DD had to learn to develop that filter, because when she first got to the age of wrapping her head around sarcasm and smart-mouthing, she didn't quite have the cognitive or emotional maturity to realize that that sort of humor is not appropriate for every situation.  (She's since learned some discretion, but even today she's more outspoken than I am, and still every once in a while, running off at the mouth gets her into situations she'd rather not have to face.) 

But Heather's smart mouth is part of her charm, even though she perhaps could stand to cultivate a bit of discernment at times.  :)  Additionally, Heather is physically beautiful and psychically powerful; she needs a negative (or at times negative) trait or two to be interesting.
"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.)

Offline HealingWaters

  • Squire
  • **
  • Posts: 42
  • Karma: 1
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Character: Morgan
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Nineteen
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2016, 10:10:02 am »
Thank you for bringing back the Michaline Knights, I miss them and was hoping that they would return somewhere along the line but never did.

I also like the fact that you made Morgan one of them.
May Michael protect us, Gaberiel bless us, Uriel shield us and Raphiel guide us.

 

* User Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

* Recent Posts

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 32
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 1
  • Dot Users Online:

* Top Poster

Evie Evie
1967 Posts
Elkhound
1077 Posts
Alkari
696 Posts
DesertRose DesertRose
670 Posts
Laurna Laurna
586 Posts

* Most Karma

Evie Evie
Karma: 28
DesertRose DesertRose
Karma: 19
Jerusha Jerusha
Karma: 17
revanne revanne
Karma: 12
Laurna Laurna
Karma: 11

* Online Time

TheDeryni TheDeryni
115d 20h 24m
Evie Evie
105d 14h 30m
DesertRose DesertRose
93d 21h 11m
AnnieUK AnnieUK
53d 22h 35m
Alkari
32d 18h 16m

* Forum Staff

Bynw admin Bynw
Administrator
TheDeryni admin TheDeryni
Administrator
DesertRose admin DesertRose
Administrator
Evie admin Evie
Administrator
Shiral gmod Shiral
Zipper Sister
Unicorn636 gmod Unicorn636
Zipper Sister
Laurna gmod Laurna
Donor
EvilEd gmod EvilEd
Global Moderator
revanne gmod revanne
Donor
KK gmod KK
Our Queen
gmod Alkari
Donor
AnnieUK gmod AnnieUK
Donor
Jerusha gmod Jerusha
Donor

* Board Stats

  • stats Total Members: 620
  • stats Total Posts: 16697
  • stats Total Topics: 1922
  • stats Total Categories: 13
  • stats Total Boards: 128
  • stats Most Online: 181

* Calendar

November 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 [23] 24 25
26 27 28 29 30

  • - Holidays -
  • holiday Thanksgiving (USA)