Author Topic: Four Calling Birds  (Read 2029 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline revanne

  • Donor
  • Earl/Countess
  • *
  • Posts: 487
  • Karma: 13
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Book: King Javan's Year
  • Favorite Character: Father Joram MacRorie
Four Calling Birds
« on: December 29, 2015, 03:09:47 pm »
In the midst of a few weeks of blissful relaxation in the Duke of Cassan's residence at Culdi, Alaric Morgan was steeling  himself for the conversation he felt duty bound to have.

Not that Duke Jared and his second Duchess Vera,  who had acted in loco parentis for himself and his sister Bronwen,  had ever given him cause to fear them; other than when he deserved it and honesty forced him to confess, at least to himself, that growing up he had often deserved worse than he had received.

Had it been for himself that he was approaching his aunt he would have had no qualms about opening his heart,  but talking about Bronwen felt like disloyalty. But there was no-one else to whom he could confide his fears for his sister; it was only Vera,  secret Deryni that she was and sister to Alaric and Bronwen's own mother Alyce, who could have any inkling of the bleak future that was likely to await a known Deryni woman. The bleak future that Vera's own parents had sought to spare her in separating her from her twin at birth, and giving her up to be brought up as human.

The days of holiday were drawing to a close when one sunny afternoon Alaric finally found the courage he needed and sought out Vera as she sat in her solar overlooking the terrace and gardens, contentedly plying her needle and talking with the two gentlewomen in attendance on her. These two rose to their feet on Alaric 's entrance and dropped curtsies fitting for the Duke of Corwyn, although he was grimly amused to note that one at least displayed that sudden twitching of the right arm which betrayed a repressed desire to cross oneself. He motioned them to rise as he addressed his aunt:

"Might I have a word? In private."

Vera asked her ladies to retire to the anteroom, where they began to play and sing, then gestured to Alaric to seat himself.

"You look troubled, my dear. What is on your heart?"

"Aunt Vera - you're like a mother to us both, especially to Bronwen. I barely remember our own mother, God rest her soul, Bronwen not at all. I fear for her!" That last, coming out half-reluctantly and therefore more forcefully than he intended, almost had the force of an accusation.

Vera looked at him gravely, "Has anything happened? We keep her very secluded here, and surely no-one would dare to threaten Jared's ward. Not openly at least, though for all our powers we cannot change the fear that lies in people's hearts." And she sighed.

"Nothing, I know that you are here to protect her, though with Jehana dropping poison into willing ears at court, we all walk on a knife edge. But what future can she have? As a known Deryni! Sister to the prince of darkness!" Alaric could not keep the bitterness from his voice and Vera longed to comfort him, although much of what he said was true. She started to speak, but Alaric rushed on:

"My mother was lucky, King Donal was very good to her."

Vera breathed a silent prayer of gratitude that Alaric would never know the reason behind Donal's 'goodness' to his mother, but made no sign as Alaric continued,

"And she was truly blessed in the love of my father, God rest him. There are few men who would take on a Deryni witch and honour and protect her as he did. What hope can there be, for Bronwen, of a marriage in which she can find any sort of happiness? But my worst fear is that Jehana will persuade the King that Bronwen's welfare can be best served in an austere convent where she will be forced to penance and a life without joy or love. Oh, she will dress it up as care for Bronwen's immortal soul but her true desire will be to see one less Deryni free to breed!"

Seeing Alaric's anguish, Vera put out a hand for him to help her to her feet then stood as though undecided for a moment.

"Do you truly want her happiness?" Seeing the tears spring to the eyes of the young man, as dear to her as her own son Duncan, and whom she sometimes feared was being hardened beyond repair, Vera was answered. "And do you swear to keep what you will see secret until they are ready to make it public?"

"Aunt Vera! What are you suggesting...? She's only fifteen!"

"And a woman grown, despite being your little sister." - even given the seriousness of the conversation Vera could not keep a smile from her voice - "But if it comforts you remember that according to your mother's will she cannot be married until she is twenty-five. A provision made for her protection although we may have a hard time, Jared and I, persuading her of that. But if you will promise, then come."

Gravely, and surprisingly sweetly, Alaric signed himself then bent to kiss his aunt's hand in token of promise. Placing her fingers to her lips Vera led him out of the solar and along the terrace to where they could look down into the enclosure of the herb garden without themselves being seen.

Bronwen stood with her arms outstretched, all too clearly calling birds to her. Three blackbirds, known locally to folk as Colly birds, perched fearlessly on her, one on each shoulder and another on her left wrist. Alaric, torn between fear and anger at her stupidity even in this safe place would have gone towards her, but Vera held him with her gaze and pointed him down to Bronwen's feet where in an attitude of utter adoration sat Kevin, Jared's son and heir by his first, long-dead, wife.

Again motioning Alaric to silence Vera led him back to the solar, where, seating herself again, finally she spoke.

"You need to have no fear for Bronwen's future. We did not force it, or even plan it, but Jared and I could not be happier about it."

"But he knows that she is Deryni!"

"Knows and cares not. She has caught him by a magic far more powerful than the power of any Deryni." And Vera smiled in a way which reflected well on her own marriage.

Alaric thought on the scene he had just witnessed, vivid still to his inner eye. Bronwen in her beauty and serenity calling the birds and the three of them responding to her gentle love which touched their being and drew them to her. "No," he corrected himself "four calling birds," for Kevin had been touched and drawn by his sister's sweetness and was caught just as fully as the birds.

He looked at his aunt and smiled, the weight of his fear lifted from him. Vera smiled back, giving no hint, then or ever, of the sudden shadow which had brushed her mind like the sweep of a bird's wing."

« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 10:49:22 am by revanne »
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God...The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us and we have seen His glory, full of Grace and truth."
Prologue to John's Gospel

Offline DesertRose

  • Administrator
  • Duke/Duchess
  • **
  • Posts: 723
  • Karma: 22
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Book: Deryni Magic
  • Favorite Character: Rhys Thuryn *sob*
Re: Four Calling Birds
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2015, 04:53:43 pm »
How sweet!  :)
"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 Jerusha

  • Donor
  • Duke/Duchess
  • *
  • Posts: 519
  • Karma: 19
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni
  • Favorite Character: Alaric Morgan
Re: Four Calling Birds
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2015, 07:07:43 pm »
Alas that sudden shadow, but a lovely story, nevertheless.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Online Evie

  • Administrator
  • Prince/Princess
  • **
  • Posts: 1990
  • 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: Four Calling Birds
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2015, 10:22:12 pm »
Poor Bronwyn and Kevin, having their time together cut all too short, but at least they got to have several years of happiness before Rimmell interfered.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


* User Info

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

* Recent Posts

Re: Out of Character (OOC) Thread by DerynifanK
[Today at 07:56:32 am]

Re: Out of Character (OOC) Thread by Bynw
[Today at 07:04:36 am]

Re: Out of Character (OOC) Thread by revanne
[Today at 12:49:49 am]

Re: Out of Character (OOC) Thread by Jerusha
[April 23, 2018, 09:26:50 pm]

Re: Ghosts of the Past by Bynw
[April 23, 2018, 08:40:24 pm]

Re: Ghosts of the Past by Jerusha
[April 23, 2018, 07:53:29 pm]

Re: Out of Character (OOC) Thread by DerynifanK
[April 23, 2018, 07:15:20 pm]

Re: Out of Character (OOC) Thread by Jerusha
[April 23, 2018, 06:32:31 pm]

Re: Out of Character (OOC) Thread by Laurna
[April 23, 2018, 05:11:58 pm]

Re: Ghosts of the Past by revanne
[April 23, 2018, 04:57:41 pm]

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 22
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 2
  • Dot Users Online:

* Top Poster

Evie Evie
1990 Posts
1077 Posts
DesertRose DesertRose
723 Posts
696 Posts
Laurna Laurna
607 Posts

* Most Karma

Evie Evie
Karma: 28
DesertRose DesertRose
Karma: 22
Jerusha Jerusha
Karma: 19
Laurna Laurna
Karma: 13
revanne revanne
Karma: 13

* Online Time

TheDeryni TheDeryni
115d 20h 24m
Evie Evie
115d 3h 25m
DesertRose DesertRose
102d 11h 49m
AnnieUK AnnieUK
53d 22h 41m
32d 18h 31m

* Forum Staff

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

* Board Stats

  • stats Total Members: 629
  • stats Total Posts: 18639
  • stats Total Topics: 1990
  • stats Total Categories: 14
  • stats Total Boards: 130
  • stats Most Online: 181

* Calendar

April 2018
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

No calendar events were found.