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Author Topic: Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One  (Read 5678 times)

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Offline Evie

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Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One
« on: November 16, 2015, 08:42:08 pm »
Previous chapter:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1614.0.html


Chapter Twenty-One

Late afternoon
Eirian House
December 23, 2021


“I need to go back to Coroth for a brief visit,” Morgan informed the Queen in private. “There are some matters I need to attend to there, but I can plan on being back by Christmas Day.”

“Yes, I’d like that, if you could be here then,” Sophia said. “It’s going to be a difficult day, I imagine, trying to get through it without the rest of the family here. I’m really trying not to think about it at all, though I suppose it will be difficult to avoid doing so altogether, with everyone else celebrating the holiday.” She sighed. “I had a present for you, but it was at Rhemuth . . . .”

Her cousin enfolded her in a comforting embrace, kissing the top of her head. “You’re all the present I need.” Releasing her, he added with a grin, “Though if you’re stuck for gift ideas next year, I can give you a wish list . . . .”

“Don’t push your luck, cousin.” Sophia gave him a playful shove.

“There’s also the Caroline Whitfield matter that needs resolving.  After the holiday, might I borrow Healer O’Flynn for a few days? Or I could bring Mrs Whitfield here, but I’m still not entirely convinced she’s not a security risk, and Coroth is better equipped at the moment to hold her securely.”

“What about Mr Whitfield? He’s still at Tre-Arilan, isn’t he?”

“Yes. Healer Dr Al-Sayid has been working on his rehabilitation from there. Mr Whitfield really ought to be in hospital or at a rehabilitation facility that could devote more one-on-one time to his care, but that could lead to too many questions asked from official quarters as to how he came to be in his condition in the first place, the nature of and purpose for the attack, and other things that might bring the Camberian Council under too close scrutiny, and he’s self-aware enough now to have requested not to be transferred to a facility where this all becomes a matter for official record. I think he’s leery enough about the two of us knowing the Council actually exists.”

“I can understand his desire to keep the Council’s existence as unconfirmed as possible, but all the same, I think I shall wish to keep a close eye on them from here on out. Not that I have any reason to believe I don’t have their good will, but I don’t like the notion of some secret Deryni organization keeping track of Deryni-related matters within my Kingdom and influencing matters as they see fit without some means of keeping up with what they are doing. There could conceivably be a conflict of interests at some point.”

“I agree,” said Morgan. “I wonder what the chances are of a Haldane getting a seat on the Council?”

Sophia chuckled. “Why, are you volunteering? Shall I let Lord Arilan know?”

“Not really, unless that’s your wish. I was thinking about you, actually.”

She laughed outright. “Why me? Being Queen won’t give me enough to do with my time?”

Morgan shrugged. “Not that I seriously think it would happen, but my understanding is that Council members are sworn to secrecy about Council dealings, so if I were to sit on the Council, there might prove to be a conflict of interest between my loyalty to them and my loyalty to you. I don’t think either of us wants that.  If you were on the Council, on the other hand, you would have first-hand knowledge of their dealings, not to mention a direct influence on their decision-making. They might not want that, but from where I sit that wouldn’t be a bad thing.”

“I see your point. Though as you say, the situation is unlikely to arise, more’s the pity.”

“You could make it arise. They do owe you a rather large favor, after all.”

Sophia sighed. “I’ll have to think on that a bit.  I may have need to cash in on that favor in some other way, down the road, and if I were simply to railroad my way onto the Council, I can see that having some unwanted repercussions. No, I think it might be best to wait a bit and see how things play out in the next few weeks and months. If it seems like it might be best to play some more direct role in steering their activities then, then maybe some opportunity to more indirectly steer their thinking in that direction might arise.” She sighed. “I wish Kelric were here to deal with the problem and not me. He thrived on that sort of politics. I’d rather just avoid them entirely.”

“Me too, though we don’t always have that luxury.”

“True.” Sophia shook her head. “Enough of that. How is Coroth Castle celebrating Christmas this year? Are you putting on a big display like you used to do?”

“With the ‘Lighting of the Towers’ and such? Yes, it’s traditional. I haven’t had much of a role in it all this year; my steward’s been handling most of that, what with me needed here so much at present.”

“I’m sure Jen would love to see that.”

“Well, it should be up until Twelfth Night at least, so maybe sometime between Christmas and the New Year I can bring her over to have a look. I’ve promised her a tour of Coroth Castle anyway, so she can drool on my Alaric Morgan memorabilia collection. Dragging her back here afterwards might be the problem.”

“Not really; I’ll just dangle old artifacts in front of her until she takes the bait. That usually does the trick.” The Queen grinned. “I’m sure I’ve probably got a letter opener or a boot wipe or some such around here that once belonged to Kelson the Great. That should give her palpitations for days.”

“I could offer her the chance to test drive the Darkling Duke’s carved oakwood canopy bed with me and see what that does for her heart rate,” said Morgan, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.

“Behave, you!”

He laughed. “I’m just joking.”

“I know you are. Besides which, I’ve seen Alaric Morgan’s fabulously appointed Ducal bed, and while it’s a lovely example of early twelfth-century woodworking and embroidered bed linens, as I recall it’s currently the centerpiece of the downtown Coroth City Museum. Hardly a private location for working your wicked wiles on her!”

“I’d love to see her face, though.”

“So would I.  Jen’s done some study of Byzantine martial arts when she’s not been distracted swotting up on medieval history, so you’d probably get cold-cocked. It would be difficult to carry on with the pretense of a seduction when you’re flat on your back unconscious, though Eilonwy and I would have a good laugh.  So let us know if you plan to trot out that line; I’ll sell tickets and have Loni put on the popcorn.”



Early morning, CST
(Late afternoon, RST)
A private home in Jorian Heights
St. Michael’s Province, Camberia
Christmas Eve, 2021 (Dec. 23 in Gwynedd)


“Good morning, Your Grace,” Malcolm Atherton’s caller greeted him. “I’m sorry for this pre-dawn call, but I thought you might wish to get a Christmas present early, and you did say to call you at any time if the news was important.” The caller sounded smugly self-satisfied.

Malcolm sat up in bed. The younger of his two wives murmured something sleepily, but a brief touch of her forehead accompanied by a psychic suggestion sent her back into deep slumber.  “Yes, what is it?” he asked.

“You asked for your operatives to check around at various Gwyneddan hospitals to see if we could track down The Viper’s current whereabouts. I have discovered some information that might be connected, though you might know better than I would, but even if it’s not, I deemed it of sufficient interest that it should be brought to your attention immediately.”

A surge of adrenaline coursed through Malcolm, dispelling the last vestiges of sleepiness. The Viper was the code name he’d given his Gwyneddan sleepers for Alisandra. They had been directed to begin a discreet search for her within that kingdom’s medical system, since he had reasoned that she would have attempted to contact him long before now unless she were either incapacitated or dead. A dead operative, he could do little about, but an injured one might be worth the effort to retrieve and rehabilitate, at least one as valuable to him as Alisandra.

“What have you found?” Malcolm asked. “And which of my agents is this?”

“Gregory Torrence at your service, sir. Here is what I’ve learned, although only you can say for sure how useful the information is or not. On the afternoon of 17 December, just a few minutes after noon, several patients were secretly admitted to the Royal Hospital Rhemuth by means of an emergency Portal that is in a location of the hospital not accessible to the general public. These patients were the victims of an acrinious gas attack. Three Healers responded to the crisis. Their names are . . . “ There was the sound of pages turning. “Ah, yes. Healer Dr Karim al-Sayid, Healer Heather O’Flynn, and Healer Damien Turner. Healer Turner is my source for this information, by the way.”

“Willing or unwilling?”

Torrence chuckled. “Oh, willing enough with a few beers in him, and once I was able to slip past his shields, I was able to glean a few extra details he didn’t think to share. He has no idea how significant the information is, of course. But there’s more, my lord.”

“Yes?”

“From the descriptions of the patients, it doesn’t appear that the Viper was among them, though that makes sense. I don’t imagine she would have been careless enough to poison herself in her own gas attack. However, shortly after arrival at the RHR the patients had their initial symptoms stabilized before being transported to a second location. Healer Turner says they were most insistent that they did not wish their presence to be noted in any sort of official record.”

“Interesting.” Malcolm’s heart raced. From the sound of things, these patients were almost certainly survivors of the Camberian Council attack. He felt a swift surge of annoyance--he’d thought the whole lot had been eliminated--but no matter. He would find some other time and way to deal with the Council soon enough. And it was possible that at least some of the Councilors had eventually succumbed to the toxin, especially if they’d been discharged from hospital care prematurely. “Did you find out where the second location is? And how many patients were there?”

“Six patients, my lord. They were discovered by Healer Dr Al-Sayid’s girlfriend--her name is Lady Alicia Coris. Lady Alicia also secured the services of a detective inspector to assist with the rescue effort. Hang on, I have his name here too . . . yes, Adams. DI Patrick Adams. As to the location, Healer Turner was not given the Portal signature for that, more’s the pity. However, he says that one of the patients made a suggestion of a place called Tre-Arilan, so they likely ended up there. Healer Dr al-Sayid and Healer O’Flynn have both made subsequent jumps to that location. The Portal they transported to is off-Registry and therefore a specific coordinate for it can’t be identified. However, here is another interesting bit. Both Healer Dr al-Sayid and Healer O’Flynn received subsequent secondments for their services in two different locations, and both of those transfers are a matter of official record. Healer Dr al-Sayid has been working on a part-time basis at Coroth Castle, and as for Healer O’Flynn, she has been transferred to Eirian House.”

“Do you have names for the six patients?”

“No, my lord, although I did manage to Mind-See their faces when I was poking about in Turner’s mind. Some of them look at least slightly familiar, though I will need to do more research to figure out who they were. Their names weren’t entered into any official record, unfortunately.”

“Continue looking into that, then. As for the secondments, what reason was given for those temporary transfers?”

More flipping of pages. “Healer O’Flynn was specifically requested by the Pretender Queen of Gwynedd to serve as a full-time Healer at Eirian House for an indefinite period of time until a permanent Healer-in-Residence can be secured.”

That was bothersome. Coincidence, or was Sophia Haldane somehow involved with the Camberian Council? Malcolm tried to remember when the official announcement had been made that the Princess had survived the Castle bombing and was now Sophia the Second of Gwynedd. Had that been the same day as Alisandra's mission or the day before? He thought that announcement had happened very quickly, sometime on the day subsequent to the Castle bombing, and Alisandra had been sent on her mission the day after that. Had the Council been hiding the Queen of Gwynedd in their secret chamber? He fumed at the thought that Alisandra’s unsuccessful attempt to kill off the Council might have also failed at eliminating Nigel Haldane’s remaining heiress.

“Healer Dr al-Sayid’s services were requested on a part-time basis for . . . let me find the official wording here . . .  ‘a guest of His Grace of Corwyn, temporarily in residence at Coroth Castle.’”

“Coroth.” Malcolm’s mind worked furiously. “And when was that secondment requested?”

“On the eighteenth of December, which would have been the morning after the patients were brought to the RHR with acrinious gas poisoning.”

Malcolm nodded. “That could be significant.  All right, I want you to scout out Coroth Castle and report back to me on which of Morgan Haldane’s ‘guests’ is in need of a Healer’s personal attention. Good job, man! Torrence, you said?”

“Yes, Your Grace. Gregory Torrence.”

“You will be suitably rewarded.”

“Thank you, my lord.  Happy Christmas!”

“And a very happy Christmas to you as well. In Coroth, mind.”

“I shall head there right away, my lord.”

“Oh, and Torrence? Before you leave Rhemuth, make sure Healer Turner is taken care of once and for all. We wouldn’t want anyone else to discover you’ve been poking around in his head, or what you’ve found.”

“Yes, my lord.”



Late afternoon
Coroth Castle
December 23, 2021


“How is the patient?” Morgan asked Healer Dr Karim al-Sayid once he’d had a moment free from taking care of other ducal business.

“Caroline is starting to make a recovery and is beginning to integrate a few memories of her past from before she became Caroline Whitfield. The Alisandra personality is much more resistant to my attempts to integrate her, and certain aspects of it may end up needing to be eliminated for the safety of the patient, let alone society, although I’m still trying to save whatever is salvageable. Healer O’Flynn agrees that some of the mental mines Alisandra’s creator planted deep within her psyche can’t be disarmed without killing her--they were specifically created to be removal proof--so we’ve decided to counter that by barricading those areas off behind impermeable shields so that at least they can’t be triggered from the outside anymore.”

“Will that be safe?” Morgan asked.

“Not entirely, sir, but Caroline will at least be safer with those countermeasures in place than she is now, and we should be safer from Alisandra. Would you like to see her?”

The Duke raised a considering eyebrow. “Why not?” He followed the Healer to the secure room in Coroth’s Keep where his high-security guest was housed. Two men in his household uniform stood at either side of the entrance. They snapped to attention as their Duke approached. He acknowledged them with a nod as they stepped to either side to let him pass. One guard palmed the touch lock, which read his aural signature. The latch clicked open, admitting the duke and the Healer.

Had Morgan not been aware of the mayhem his psychically-impaired guest had caused for the Camberian Council and what she had planned to do at Tre-Arilan, the security precautions surrounding her might have seemed like overkill. The blonde woman seated near the barred window hardly appeared to be a threat despite her trim, lithely athletic physique. Her hair was pulled back in a simple ponytail, revealing exquisite bone structure. Her beauty was somewhat diminished by the blank expression in her sky-blue eyes which stared straight ahead, as if she was unaware of her surroundings or of their entry.

As Karim took a seat facing her, however, a flicker of response appeared in those eyes.

“Good afternoon, Caroline,” the Healer told her.

There was a long pause punctuated by the flicker back and forth of those blue eyes, as if they were reading some invisible script hanging in the air before her, and then she spoke. “Is it afternoon?” She sounded only vaguely curious, as if most of her thoughts were far away, but some small part of herself which remained here and now had belatedly become aware that a statement had been made which required some response.

“It is afternoon, yes,” Karim affirmed. “I’ve brought you a visitor. Do you know who this is, Caroline?”

The blonde swiveled her head slowly to study Morgan, tilting her head almost like a cautious owl before looking off in the distance again, her eyes making the back-and-forth shifting movement once more before she replied. “I do not. She does. She wants to kill him.” Her voice was quietly matter-of-fact, chilling in its tonelessness.

Morgan glanced at Karim in question, but the Healer seemed to find nothing unusual in this statement. “Does she say why?” Karim asked.

The searchlight eyes again. “He hates Haldanes,” she finally answered.

He does?” Karim asked. “Who hates Haldanes?”

A longer pause. “The man who made her. The man she loves.”

“Can you say who that is?”

She shook her head, slowly at first then with increasing speed, until she clutched at either side of her head as if in pain. Karim made a soothing sound, capturing her attention to break her rhythm. She ceased, staring up at him.

“Do you know where you come from?”

“Yes.”

Karim smiled, as if amused at himself for the badly phrased question. “Where do you come from?”

“Camberia.”

“Where did you live in Camberia?”

“In a house.”

“In whose house?”

“In his house.”

“And how long did you live there?”

“Until we were two.”

“And then what happened next?”

“I don’t know. I slept.”

“When did you wake up?”

“When I was in Gwynedd.” A glimmer of confused awareness flickered  briefly through her eyes. “Where is my husband? Where is Tom?”



Later that evening
The Green Tower
Coroth Castle


“How do you manage to even make sense out of that rambling?” Morgan asked as he poured himself a glass of MacRorie Old and handed another glass to Karim.

“It’s coming together in bits and pieces, although it takes a fair bit of time and patience,” the Healer admitted. “And sometimes you have to check your preconceptions at the door; her answers don’t always mean what she might seem to be saying on the surface of things. Take today’s statements, for instance. What did you learn from them?”

Morgan sat, puzzling over the cryptic utterances they had heard earlier in the day. “I take it that was the Caroline personality answering the questions?”

“For the most part, yes.”

The duke leaned against the back of the sofa, sipping at his whisky as he considered Caroline’s answers to Karim’s questions. “I got that she is still rather disoriented--she didn’t realize it was afternoon. Apparently she is at least somewhat aware of the Alisandra personality now and has some of her knowledge, since she didn’t know who I was at first, but she said that ‘she’ did and that ‘she’ wanted to kill me. I take it that ‘she’ is Alisandra?” Karim nodded in confirmation, and Morgan continued. “Alisandra wants to kill me because the man who tampered with their mind hates Haldanes. But I gather there’s some sort of block preventing her from saying who that man is.”

“Not just a block,” Karim informed him. “Probing too close to that information can trip a Death Trigger. That’s one of those areas we’ve had to shield off.”

“Inconvenient, though I suppose not too surprising.  Let’s see . . . she’s from Camberia, and she lived with her captor until she was two. No, wait, that can’t be right--I thought she was older than that when she was kidnapped? The original Caroline, that is?”

“Yes, she was five years old at the time. Though what she actually said was that she lived in his house ‘until we were two.’ Until she and Alisandra became two separate entities, that is. That what I meant earlier by her answers not always meaning what you might assume at first listen.”

“Hm.” Morgan frowned. “And after that, she slept until she came to Gwynedd. What does that mean? That side of her personality went dormant?”

“Yes, I think that’s the most likely explanation. From the time Alisandra emerged until the time adult Caroline was needed to become unwitting bait for Tom Whitfield, I think Caroline remained mostly dormant. Alisandra, on the other hand, would have required long years of grooming and training.”

“But grooming and training by whom?” Morgan heaved a heavy sigh.

“Ah, but there I might have an answer from a most unexpected quarter.” Karim reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a rolled up magazine, handing it to Morgan. “My lady love found this magazine in an import store. I assure you this is not Alicia’s usual sort of purchase. Whatever possessed her to pick up this particular title, much less this issue, I have no idea--it’s several years old--but take a look at the centerfold picture and caption.”

Morgan raised an eyebrow at the cover photo and headline. “‘Camberian Cuties’? Who knew Lady Alicia had such lowbrow tastes?” He began to flip through the pages. “Such edifying literature, Karim! I may need to confiscate this.”

“In the interest of purely scientific curiosity?” Karim rolled his eyes expressively, taking the magazine from Morgan and flipping it open directly to the page in question. “Here. Look familiar?”

Morgan gave a low whistle which had less to do with the attractiveness of the nearly nude model than with his dawning realization that he was holding something much more significant than the average skin magazine. “Is this Alisandra or yet another personality?” he asked.

Karim shrugged. “I’m not entirely certain yet. I think that is still Alisandra, but she used the name ‘Shera Alexander’ as a professional name during her modeling career. But I didn’t just show you that so you could see what your house guest looks like with her kit off. Take a close look at that smaller photo in the lower right corner.”

Morgan peered down at the candid shot of Shera/Alisandra dressed in a skin tight gown, her hand on the arm of a tuxedoed, distinguished-looking older man with silver hair. “He looks somewhat familiar,” he mused. “Is that the man who created the monster?”

“I have no idea, although that man seems to have been linked quite closely with Shera Alexander in the public eye during her short-lived modeling career, so it seems a likely enough guess that her known paramour and her secret creator might be the same man.  And as for his apparent familiarity, there’s a reason for that,” Karim told him. “Morgan Haldane, meet your distant cousin Malcolm Atherton-Haldane, heir-apparent to Camberia.”



The same evening
Eirian House
The Queen’s Receiving Room


Lady Alicia Coris curtseyed in the presence of the Queen, who acknowledged the reverence with a polite nod and a firm handshake before offering her a seat. She gave her surroundings a quick, appreciative study. The Blue Room, as it was nicknamed by the palace staff, was one of the more informal receiving rooms at Eirian House, yet it was no less comfortably appointed for all that. The blue and gold decor reminded Alicia a bit of her parents’ formal parlor at Marbury Hall, decorated in their Marley colors.

Eilonwy Adams offered her a choice of refreshments.  Alicia, feeling slightly nervous in the royal presence, opted for a cup of soothing darja with mint. Eilonwy served her and the Queen before discreetly withdrawing to allow them greater privacy.  After a few minutes of small talk that might have put Alicia more at ease if she were the sort of woman who felt comfortable engaging in that sort of thing, Her Majesty finally brought up the topic that was the reason for Alicia’s visit.

“Eilonwy has informed me of my true parentage, at least on my father’s side. What can you tell me about my biological mother?”

Here, Alicia felt more in her proper element. Opening the small notebook she’d brought with her, she flipped to the first page. “Well, Ma’am, when we look here at this section of your mitochondrial genome sequence . . . .”



Night
A hotel room
New Rhemuth, Americia
December 23, 2021


“Are we still on track for the New Year’s Eve celebration?”

Eric Armitage smiled as he assured his caller that he was still committed to their upcoming plans. “Yes, I’m as ready to help the Deryni of Gwynedd enter the New Year with a bang as you are. Well, not with a bang, exactly; we’ve already done that for you. But I promise you we will make the event memorable for all the right reasons instead of the wrong ones.”

“Good, good! How many of your people have committed to our little venture?” asked Armitage’s patron.

“The Rhemuth chapter should be there in full force,” he replied, “as well as Humanity Ascendant supporters from most of the surrounding areas. I think there may be a few supporters coming in from the more outlying parts of the Kingdom as well, although with the Rhemuth city security still so tight, it might be more effective to hold those in reserve until the revolution gains greater traction. After all, there are Deryni throughout the Kingdom that will need to be dealt with, not just in the capital. So what about your folks? Are they good to go?”

“As ready as they’ll ever be. A funeral seems an appropriate occasion for them to put in their appearance. Not to mention the timing. Out with the old . . . “

“. . . And in with the new,” Armitage replied. “I couldn’t agree more. So wonderfully symbolic.”



Minutes later
A private home in Jorian Heights
St. Michael’s Province, Camberia


Malcolm Atherton-Haldane thumbed the disconnect button on his phone. “Berk!” he muttered to himself, although without much heat, as the conversation with Armitage had been quite to his satisfaction.

Once again, the human supremacists would be in a position to do much of his work for him, becoming the more visible forces for his planned two-prong attack on the Haldane heiress. They would help to soften up any opposition, and once her defenses were made vulnerable, only then would he and his forces make their move.

Armitage didn’t know exactly what he had planned, of course. The idiot thought he was paving the way for a Deryni-free Gwynedd, or at least a Kingdom in which Deryni power would be severely curtailed and controlled.

The enemy of his enemy was not exactly Malcolm’s friend--Eric Armitage was certainly not that, the fool!--yet he could be a useful tool. And once he was no longer useful to Malcolm, then he would be easily enough dispensed with. One thing Malcolm was counting on was that Armitage’s hopes for an anti-Deryni revolution in Gwynedd would bring his lunatic followers out in full force, where Malcolm’s own loyal sleepers could take note of their identities and pick them off at leisure once they’d served their purpose. Once Malcolm had attained his birthright, his own personal Kingdom to rule. Malcolm so looked forward to seeing Eric Armitage’s face once he realized he’d been duped into helping to eliminate one set of Deryni rulers only to help another one gain a throne. He was saving a very special reward for Eric Armitage, yes indeed.

His one regret at the moment was that his lovely, deadly Alisandra had still not yet been located, although he was hopeful that the Corwyn lead might pan out. He would need a Queen, after all, and while he knew either of his wives would be happy to take on the role, perhaps it was time to reward her for her loyalty to him by taking her as his third wife. Or for that matter, he could divorce his first two; after all, his first wife was past her childbearing years now, and he hadn’t bothered to visit her bed in ages, and as for his second wife, he was beginning to tire of her as well. They’d both done well enough by him, giving him potential heirs aplenty, a few of which had managed to survive their interfraternal struggles long enough to reach full adulthood or come close, so he wouldn’t simply rid himself of the women, but he suspected they’d be content enough to be pensioned off as long as he agreed to continue providing for them. The remaining lads could fight amongst themselves for mastery over his Camberian lands and his daughters would remain useful in securing alliances with rival families. He wasn’t too old yet to breed new sons to fight for Gwynedd, but he would prefer to do so with Alisandra if he could. She was the closest woman he could find to his long lost Sybilla; he’d spent too long making her over into his first love’s image--nay, surpassing Sybilla, even!--to lose her now.

A new day was dawning, literally as well as figuratively. Malcolm smiled as he watched the sun rise over the crest of the Jorian Heights caldera.




Next chapter:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1623.0.html
« Last Edit: November 21, 2015, 09:31:02 pm by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Offline Jerusha

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2015, 10:10:32 pm »
Oh dear, oh dear, the storm is gathering.  Malcolm has too much information on the characters we now hold dear. But he underestimates (I hope) the Haldane Queen.  And her formidable cousin.

As for the bed in the Coroth City Museum, didn't they usually have curtains to surround the occupants?   ;D 

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

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Offline Evie

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2015, 11:13:55 pm »
Oh dear, oh dear, the storm is gathering.  Malcolm has too much information on the characters we now hold dear. But he underestimates (I hope) the Haldane Queen.  And her formidable cousin.

As for the bed in the Coroth City Museum, didn't they usually have curtains to surround the occupants?   ;D

Well, yes, but 900-year-old fragile curtains aren't going to conceal the occupants of an equally old bed that has collapsed under the stress of two museum intruders breaking and entering to 'test drive' it, doubtless setting off multiple security alarms in the process.  Although the Gwyneddan tabloids would have a field day with those photographs....   ;)  ;D
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Offline Demercia

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2015, 01:05:22 am »
As Jerusha says, oh dear.     Am not looking forward to Malcolm's New Year plans.   
As as for the bed, I misread Sophia's comment so as to think that Jen studied marital arts.  Fans herself briskly :o
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Offline revanne

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2015, 03:32:07 am »
I'm sure that the Christmas decorations in Coroth and elsewhere in the kingdom will be as good as anyone can possibly make them to honour both their late and their present Queen.

I can almost find it in me to feel some sympathy for that pathetic dupe, Eric Armitage. Only almost though. I am quite sure that Malcolm intends him to live long and painfully enough to grasp the enormity of his folly.

Thankfully Sophia is beginning to show that despite her self-proclaimed impatience with politics she is a shrewd and tough operator when she needs to be. Let's hope it's enough.
"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts."
As You Like It.

Offline Evie

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2015, 08:41:13 am »
As Jerusha says, oh dear.     Am not looking forward to Malcolm's New Year plans.   
As as for the bed, I misread Sophia's comment so as to think that Jen studied marital arts.  Fans herself briskly :o

ROFL!!!  Morgan shudders to think what a study of Byzantine marital arts might involve, at least if it's anything like Byzantine politics as it probably was circa 1130, around the time Teymuraz married into their royal family.  "What shall it be tonight, darling?  The poisoned dagger cleverly stashed beneath your pillow, or the poison in my wine cup?"  Jen hastens to assure you she did not attend that sort of finishing school!  ;D

I'm sure that the Christmas decorations in Coroth and elsewhere in the kingdom will be as good as anyone can possibly make them to honour both their late and their present Queen.

I can almost find it in me to feel some sympathy for that pathetic dupe, Eric Armitage. Only almost though. I am quite sure that Malcolm intends him to live long and painfully enough to grasp the enormity of his folly.

Thankfully Sophia is beginning to show that despite her self-proclaimed impatience with politics she is a shrewd and tough operator when she needs to be. Let's hope it's enough.

We shall soon see, shan't we?  And yes, Mr. Armitage, the enemy of your enemy is most assuredly not always your friend!  :)


"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 NavaWazr

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2015, 04:08:50 pm »
I love the idea of the Haldane on the Council! 

Finally they know of Malcolm. Now I am afraid for that healer and that there will be repercussions for all people and places that were mentioned. I worry for what could happen in Coroth. While that castle is likely even more protected than Tre-Arilan, I am sure something will happen as you've got security characters there. (thank you again for posting that sheet! It just makes me think and worry more, which is wonderful for a story). Meanwhile...

"Sorry everyone, the Museum is closed this week for maintenance," the guard told the small crowd in Coroth. It had been closed for nine days while the place and everything in it was scrubbed and cleaned and polished. Inside, Morgan Haldane established the final set of wards around the exhibit, creating a screen thicker than armored curtains, stronger than servants outside the entrance, and more private than the Council's chambers, although he would never tell them that. "Thank goodness Mr Carbury helped me test all this," the Duke muttered to himself. "Now, how can I get her to say yes without maiming me first?"
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 revanne

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2015, 04:26:10 pm »

"Sorry everyone, the Museum is closed this week for maintenance," the guard told the small crowd in Coroth. It had been closed for nine days while the place and everything in it was scrubbed and cleaned and polished. Inside, Morgan Haldane established the final set of wards around the exhibit, creating a screen thicker than armored curtains, stronger than servants outside the entrance, and more private than the Council's chambers, although he would never tell them that. "Thank goodness Mr Carbury helped me test all this," the Duke muttered to himself. "Now, how can I get her to say yes without maiming me first?"

Love it ;D
"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts."
As You Like It.

Offline DesertRose

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2015, 04:37:13 pm »
"Sorry everyone, the Museum is closed this week for maintenance," the guard told the small crowd in Coroth. It had been closed for nine days while the place and everything in it was scrubbed and cleaned and polished. Inside, Morgan Haldane established the final set of wards around the exhibit, creating a screen thicker than armored curtains, stronger than servants outside the entrance, and more private than the Council's chambers, although he would never tell them that. "Thank goodness Mr Carbury helped me test all this," the Duke muttered to himself. "Now, how can I get her to say yes without maiming me first?"

ROFL!
"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

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2015, 08:44:43 am »
I love the idea of the Haldane on the Council! 

Finally they know of Malcolm. Now I am afraid for that healer and that there will be repercussions for all people and places that were mentioned. I worry for what could happen in Coroth. While that castle is likely even more protected than Tre-Arilan, I am sure something will happen as you've got security characters there. (thank you again for posting that sheet! It just makes me think and worry more, which is wonderful for a story).

Glad to be of service.   ;)

Quote
Meanwhile...

"Sorry everyone, the Museum is closed this week for maintenance," the guard told the small crowd in Coroth. It had been closed for nine days while the place and everything in it was scrubbed and cleaned and polished. Inside, Morgan Haldane established the final set of wards around the exhibit, creating a screen thicker than armored curtains, stronger than servants outside the entrance, and more private than the Council's chambers, although he would never tell them that. "Thank goodness Mr Carbury helped me test all this," the Duke muttered to himself. "Now, how can I get her to say yes without maiming me first?"

ROFL!  I'm not at all certain even those security precautions would be enough to withstand Jen and her "Byzantine marital arts."  ;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!

Offline Laurna

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2015, 01:30:10 pm »
As everyone else has said, I fear the bad guys are readying to pounce. Oh Dear, Oh dear! I do hope by New Years the good guys will be on full defense. We know the bad guys have intel, I hope the good guys get there own intel soon. and I worry about healer Turner.

Now as for:

Quote
“I could offer her the chance to test drive the Darkling Duke’s carved oakwood canopy bed with me and see what that does for her heart rate,” said Morgan, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.

“Behave, you!”

Quote
Quote
Meanwhile...

"Sorry everyone, the Museum is closed this week for maintenance," the guard told the small crowd in Coroth. It had been closed for nine days while the place and everything in it was scrubbed and cleaned and polished. Inside, Morgan Haldane established the final set of wards around the exhibit, creating a screen thicker than armored curtains, stronger than servants outside the entrance, and more private than the Council's chambers, although he would never tell them that. "Thank goodness Mr Carbury helped me test all this," the Duke muttered to himself. "Now, how can I get her to say yes without maiming me first?"

ROFL!  I'm not at all certain even those security precautions would be enough to withstand Jen and her "Byzantine marital arts."  ;D

You recall Morgan's Dreamy Green eyes.... yes... and that side ways smile... yes... and you think Jen will use her Marital/martial arts on him?  ;D  Your quite right! Of course she will. Think ring on the finger, Baby! ;D ;D
« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 04:16:55 pm by Laurna »

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2015, 07:39:28 am »
Remember that time on "Kung Fu" where Cain mentioned his training in martial arts and someone thought he said marital?  He said, "No, 'martial' means having to do with fighting; 'marital' means having to do with being married.  The words sound similar, but have very different meanings."  The other guy replied, "You aren't married, I take it?"

Offline Evie

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2015, 11:41:37 am »
Quote
I worry about healer Turner.

With good reason.  Whatever happened to Healer Turner took place off screen, but I can't imagine that Malcolm and Torrence had some benign way of "taking care of" him in mind.

Quote
Remember that time on "Kung Fu" where Cain mentioned his training in martial arts and someone thought he said marital?  He said, "No, 'martial' means having to do with fighting; 'marital' means having to do with being married.  The words sound similar, but have very different meanings."  The other guy replied, "You aren't married, I take it?"

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

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

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2015, 01:16:59 pm »
Remember that time on "Kung Fu" where Cain mentioned his training in martial arts and someone thought he said marital?  He said, "No, 'martial' means having to do with fighting; 'marital' means having to do with being married.  The words sound similar, but have very different meanings."  The other guy replied, "You aren't married, I take it?"

Also at the end of "The Horse & His Boy", C.S. Lewis said that Cor and Arvis quarreled and fought, but always made up, and when they grew up they realized that they enjoyed the quarrelling and fighting almost as much as the making up, so they got married in order to do both more conveniently.

 

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