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Author Topic: Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue  (Read 4988 times)

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Offline Evie

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Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue
« on: December 31, 2015, 06:07:41 pm »
Previous chapter:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1642.0.html


Chapter Thirty

Morning
The Royal Council Chamber
Eirian House
New Year’s Day, 2022


The Queen of Gwynedd smiled in appreciation as she faced the others gathered around her Council Chamber table. On her right sat Morgan Haldane, Duke of Corwyn, fully recovered now from his ordeal of the afternoon before.

“I wanted to thank you all personally for your support over the past few weeks, and especially yesterday,” she told the members of the Camberian Council gathered there for possibly the last time, at least as far as could be foreseen at this point. “There are a few matters of business that I think would be beneficial for us to discuss amongst ourselves so that we may plan out how to best work together for the healthy restoration of the Kingdom. My people have been through a great many shocks in these past few days, but hopefully now that Malcolm Atherton-Haldane’s pretensions to the throne have been dealt with, we can now have a chance to pull together and heal. Not that I think we no longer have need to remain vigilant against other threats, but I for one will be glad to be able to set foot outside of warded grounds again without being terrified at every moment that I’m laying myself open for an ambush at every turn.”

“We would be glad to extend our support to Your Majesty in all matters that lend themselves to the betterment and restored balance to the Kingdom,” said Peter. “Hopefully we will continue to remain in agreement on what those matters might be and the best solutions for them.”

Sophia grinned. “That’s all I can ask of you cagey lot, I suppose. Though I am glad we are able to work together, and that I can at least be assured of your loyalties to my Kingdom, if not always your agreement with myself or with my House. I believe we can work together from that foundation, as long as we can continue to respect each other’s differing perspectives and focus more on the issues that unite rather than divide us. Not that there are any particularly divisive issues springing to mind at the moment.  Are there any I ought to be aware of?”

“No, Ma’am, not at present,” Lord Arilan assured her. “Unlike others of your House, you’ve kept a careful impartiality thus far in not showing too much favor on one side of the other in the continuous delicate balance between Human and Deryni relations. And I think we needn’t worry about you attempting to take a more dictatorial approach to government than would be in the best interests of the people. With the broadcast of your Duel Arcane foremost on everyone’s mind at the moment, there will be a greater need to assure the more magic-leery people in the Kingdom that just because you possess your ancestral Haldane Potential in full force does not mean you plan to flaunt those gifts from here on out to wield power like a hammer rather than as a protective shield over our Kingdom. But I believe you have enough wisdom and discernment to understand and ease such fears within our Human population, yet without feeling the need to go to the same extremes as Her late Majesty--if you’ll pardon me for saying so, Ma’am--and abandoning the rightful use of your powers altogether.”

“I thank you for your faith in me, and I hope it continues to be justified. I suppose it helps that for most of my life I have considered myself more Human than Deryni, not knowing the facts of my heritage until last week, so hopefully I will continue to be able to see the perspective of both sides.” Sophia gave the Camberian Council a wry smile. “And I suppose I can count on at least one or two of you being very willing to inform me of when you think I’ve overstepped in one direction or the other. Some of you are most definitely not shy about sharing your opinions.” Her gaze met Elspeth’s, who laughed.

“Speaking of the Duel on live broadcast,” Sophia added, addressing Peter Astari again as the Council’s coadjutor and spokesman, “Has that broadcast jeopardized your anonymity or put you in a more compromised position in regard to the confidential conditions in which I know your Council prefer to work? Not that I don’t have a few personal qualms about the level of secrecy your body customarily adheres to, yet on the other hand I do understand the necessity of not allowing yourselves to become walking targets. I did notice that there seemed to be some form of glamour helping to obscure your identities yesterday, but I’m not well versed enough in how the illusion works to know if the cameras might have seen through it and revealed more than you would have liked to share.  Are you likely to need increased protection now?”

“No, Ma’am.  Our identities are still safeguarded.  We do have a long history of having had need to publicly intervene in Duels Arcane and various other Deryni matters as representatives of the Council from time to time while also needing to keep the individual identities of those on the Council secured, so we have learned a few tricks along the way over the past few centuries.”

“I’m glad to hear it. All right, on to the next business.” Turning to Morgan, the Queen asked, “I understand the arrangements for yesterday’s casualties have been attended to?”

“Yes, Ma’am.  Arrangements have been made to return each of the casualties to his or her next of kin. In addition to the two Camberian combatants, there was a guard who died attempting to protect the entrance to the crypt that Duke Malcolm breached. Father Devlin dealt with their spiritual needs before the bodies were taken away.”

“Yes,” Devlin confirmed. “I administered Last Rites and granted conditional absolution to them all--not that I believe Duke Malcolm would have been inclined to request or receive it, but it was offered nonetheless. His absolution or lack thereof is a matter between him and God.”

“Thank you,” Sophia said quietly. “Into whose keeping did you commit Caroline Sheraton-Whitfield? In the end, she kept her faith with me rather than siding against us, and I would see that sacrifice honored. If Mr Whitfield has any qualms about accepting her remains and making arrangements for her memorial, I will be glad to do so in his stead.”

“I’ll let him know,” Morgan assured her.

“I trust arrangements are already being made to bury the guard with full military honors? What was his name?”

“Police Constable Roger Hammett.  He leaves behind a wife and two young children.”

“Thank you. If you would give my private secretary their names and contact information, I’ll make arrangements for their continued support and education.”  Sophia steepled her fingers, taking a deep breath. “This morning when I contacted His Majesty Aubrey regarding the arrangements for returning Duke Malcolm’s remains to Camberia, he extended his official apology for the actions of his late brother, and he disavowed any foreknowledge of or agreement to Duke Malcolm’s plots against myself and the Kingdom.  As one might expect, of course, under the circumstances, regardless of whether there is any actual truth in his statement or not. In any case, while the attempt from a member of the Camberian Royal Family to kill off the legitimate Haldane line in Gwynedd could easily be construed as a declaration of war against our Kingdom--and certainly from Malcolm’s standpoint I can hardly imagine it was ever intended to mean otherwise--I don’t think it is in Gwynedd’s best interests to continue hostilities between our two Kingdoms unless Aubrey himself continues in his brother’s footsteps in attempting to press his non-existent claim to our throne. We may have moved past our initial state of national emergency, but we are still a nation in crisis, and I would rather focus on moving the Kingdom to a state of greater stability while we continue to assess whether Camberia will continue to remain a threat in future. Unless Aubrey commits some further provocation of his own, in which case we shall need to take decisive measures to protect our people, I plan to continue a cautious and watchful defensive posture for now rather than returning aggression for aggression.” Sophia gave a grim smile. “Though should Aubrey later prove to have the same predatory inclinations towards our Kingdom as his brother, you may rest assured that I will not hesitate to swat that Camberian Dragon straight out of the sky!”



Afternoon
The Queen’s Private Office
Eirian House
New Year’s Day, 2022


“Glad that’s over,” Sophia said as she all but fell into her desk chair. “I’ve never been one for morning meetings, but it seemed to go well, I think.” She smiled at her new private secretary, seated at a smaller workstation in a corner of the room. “Give me five minutes with my precious coffee before you start throwing paperwork at me.”

Diana Layton laughed. “Yes, Ma’am. It should keep for that long, at least.”

Jen brought the small coffee service from a nearby sideboard and refilled the Queen’s cup.  As she did so, she eyed the newest member of Sophia’s staff curiously. She and Sophia seemed to be well acquainted already, though that was hardly a surprise; according to the new private secretary’s resumé, she’d been working for the Royal Family for several years already, albeit for the late Princess of Meara rather than at Rhemuth Castle serving the late Queen.  She had also, according to the gossip rags at least, been romantically linked briefly with Morgan Haldane several years back, before the death of his father had left him the sudden inheritor of a duchy and unready to commit to any other major life changes at the time. Jen wondered how true the rumors actually were, or if they--as with many other tabloid news stories--were greatly exaggerated.

“Has Eilonwy returned yet?” Sophia asked, returning Jen’s attention to the present.  After the Queen’s return to Eirian House after the Duel Arcane and her family’s funeral, Eilonwy had been granted overnight leave to take care of a few personal matters at her Rhemuth flat before returning to Eirian House to help Sophia and Jen with the final selections for additional ladies-in-waiting to add to Her Majesty’s retinue. The women under consideration were all people Sophia had known personally for long enough to consider them likely to hold up well in such a position of responsibility and trust, but she had asked for their input and final recommendations to narrow down the list, since it was likely that both would find themselves scheduled to work alongside one or more of the others at some point, and Sophia wanted to be sure her confidantes would work together well as a cohesive team.

“She rang a few minutes ago to say she should be on her way back shortly.” Glancing at the clock, Jen added, “I would think she should be here at any minute, barring anything unforeseen.”

Sophia suppressed a smile. “Or barring Patrick’s desire to, shall we say, ‘celebrate life’ again after our spot of trouble yesterday afternoon?”

Jen laughed. “That too, I suppose. Newlyweds!”

Sophia shrugged as she took the top folder off the small pile Diana set on her desk and flipped it open.  “I suppose the man deserves some reward for his part in keeping the city safe from our HA gas-lobbing renegades yesterday morning . . . is this the police dossier, Diana?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Good. I’m quite curious to see who Mr Armitage has been conspiring with, and how far-reaching this alleged Human-rights organization actually is.  See that a copy gets to Lord Arilan for analysis, will you? He seems to have a talent for pulling together connections and conclusions from nearly disparate sets of data. Hopefully he can wrap his head around all this and sort out who this lot of renegades has been interacting with in other areas of the Kingdom.”

“I’ve already made a digital copy for him; he stopped by earlier just after your meeting to say he was on his way over to visit Healer O’Flynn for a bit should you require him, but that he would stop back by here on his way out to pick up the file, since he didn’t wish it emailed.”

“A sensible precaution, Mr Carbury’s and the Lord Chamberlain’s internet security systems notwithstanding,” Sophia agreed. “I’d like to think Eirian House’s servers are hacker-proof, though I suppose few systems are ever guaranteed to be fully secure.”

No, if anything, the events of the previous day had shown Jen that nothing in life was entirely secure. Jen was still shaken by the thought of how close Morgan had come to death during the Duel Arcane.

The door opened, and as if summoned by her thoughts, the Duke of Corwyn arrived, in the company of an armsman announcing his entry into the royal presence. Jen kept her emotions contained and her thoughts tightly shielded; the last thing she wanted to do was make an utter fool of herself, not to mention be a disgrace to Her Majesty, by giving in to her urge to grab the damn git in a fierce embrace to reassure herself that he was, indeed, quite whole again before shaking him soundly for scaring the crap out of her! Nor did she want even a hint of those feelings to leak and be picked up on by a woman alleged to be one of Morgan’s old flames.

Then again, hopefully there’d be no chance of that, shields or no shields.  Diana Layton was Human, after all.  That was some comfort, anyway. No, it was Morgan she’d need to guard her thoughts against. She wouldn’t want him to think her the desperate sort who would read anything more into an offer of friendship than just that. It wasn’t as if she’d really known him all that long at any rate.

The Duke cordially greeted both ladies in attendance on the Queen before drawing up a chair across the desk from Sophia. “I’ve had an interesting tour of the Rhemuth City Jail just now,” he informed her.

She raised a teasing eyebrow at him. “Only had a second chance at life for less than a full day and you’re already getting in trouble with the law?”

“Funny.” Morgan gave her an affectionate eyeroll.  “DI Strachan has been a very busy man over the past day. I’m not entirely sure he’s been to bed yet since yesterday. You’ll be relieved to know that aside from a few minor injuries, there were no major casualties of the attempted M-Gas attack outside the Cathedral before the funeral started. Or tried to start, that is.”

“Yes, so I see.” Sophia pointed to the file before her. “Diana’s already brought me the dossier he sent up this morning.”

“Any thoughts on how we might reward him for his efforts?” Morgan asked.

“Aside from a week of uninterrupted sleep once all this has been sorted?” asked Sophia. “I was thinking perhaps a knighthood would be in order.”

“Knighthoods generally are.  In an Order, that is.” Morgan leaned back in his chair with a carefree grin.

She laughed. “You’re in a chipper mood.”

“Having a new lease on life does seem to be having that effect. Our Castle bombing orchestrator isn’t having the best afternoon of it, though, not that I can summon up much sympathy. Eric Armitage apparently never tumbled to the fact that it was a High Deryni Lord pulling at his puppet strings until the Duel Arcane yesterday.  He was under the impression that he was working with the Camberian Human Underground. That’s a severe loss of face before the rest of his organization. Even if he hadn’t been in our custody, I don’t think he’d have been able to retain leadership of Humanity Ascendant after this, between that and the embarrassment of their huge debacle with the M-Gas attack that turned out to be nothing  more than dyed water vapor!”

“Surprise!” Sophia retorted. “Big Fish and Little Fish.  Eric Armitage is just very lucky he didn’t get swallowed up by the bigger predator.  As it is, he’s facing trial for treason and multiple counts of conspiracy to murder, but at least a lawful execution under Gwyneddan law should prove to be more humane than whatever Malcolm Atherton-Haldane had in store for him.”



Afternoon
Tre-Arilan
New Year’s Day, 2022


James Arilan leaned against the paddock fence beside Heather O’Flynn as they watched Aderyn’s first riding lesson.  One of his grooms led her pony on a lunge line, allowing Aderyn to ride in a circle at a walk around him.  Aderyn grinned as though she’d just taken first prize at an equestrian competition.  She waved towards her mother, who smiled and waved back.

“It’s lovely of you to invite us, James,” Heather said, “although I should warn you this might be all she’ll ever talk about in the next few weeks!”

“Hopefully I can talk you into bringing her back for more lessons, if the weather cooperates, though I’ve heard we’re in for snow soon.. She seems to be taking to it rather well, doesn’t she?”  James smiled. “Any chance of getting you on a horse?”

Heather laughed. “Well, I don’t know about that!”

“Oh, come now, it’ll be fun!  Just a little trail ride to start off with--or you can ride pillion with me if you don’t want to try riding alone, though I promise Bess is quite docile--and maybe a picnic lunch down in the valley.”

“In winter?”

“Well, all right, maybe not winter.  Late spring, then, after the worst of the rains, or perhaps early summer before it gets too hot?” James gave her a winning smile.

Heather paused only momentarily. “All right, I suppose I can give it a try.”

A gust of wind picked up, causing her to pull her coat more tightly around herself. James pulled her close to him, sheltering her in his warmth. “Maybe we should go ahead and call them in for now. I believe Carbury has some cocoa and fresh biscuits waiting on us,” he said.



Outside the Chapel Royal
Eirian House
Evening
New Year’s Day, 2022


“Looking for me, or just slipping in to be alone with God for a bit?”

Sophia turned away from the chapel door to see Father Devlin dressed for venturing outdoors, the top of a regular button-down collar barely visible above his knit pullover and a slightly faded black jacket. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize . . . Are you on your way out somewhere?” She tucked a stray lock of hair behind one ear self-consciously as it belatedly dawned on her that the question must sound a bit daft under the circumstances.

“I was about to head down to the village to explore a bit,  but if you need me . . . ?”

“No!” It came out a little more vehement than she’d meant for it to, and her cheeks warmed. Laughing, she added, “I’m sorry, I mean yes, I was looking for you, but no, it’s nothing urgent. What I meant was, I don’t want to get in the way of your plans for the evening. So, you’re going to Woodbridge?”

“Yes, I thought it might be nice to have a look around the place, see what might be of interest down there, maybe check out a few of the local pubs, see if any are open for the New Year or if they’ve already rolled up the pavements for the evening, so to speak,” Devlin replied. 

“Sounds like fun. I don’t suppose they’ve got a Gold Lion burger shop in a village that small?”

Devlin laughed. “I rather doubt it, but if I do find someplace open, shall I pick up a pub burger and chips for you?”

Sophia’s eyes sparkled as a sudden thought occurred to her. “I’ve got a better idea!” She cast a quick look over her shoulder to make sure no one else was around before turning back to him, tracing an oval in the air around her face while mouthing the words to a spell.
“Would you mind very much if I go too?” she asked upon completing her preparations. “This was what I came to show you, actually.”

Devlin found himself chuckling as he looked down into pleading sky blue eyes framed by a cascade of golden curls. “Well, hello!  I’ve not seen this face since our trip up from Tre-Arilan. Heather’s finally taught you the trick to it, has she?”

“Yes, and I’ve been practicing for hours, trying to get it right, and finally managed it just today!”

He covered his mouth and chin with one hand as he studied the illusion. “Well done.” Sophia beamed at him. “I don’t really have a death wish, though, and if I take you off the palace grounds without checking with your armsmen first, one or both of them are likely to kill me.”

“Well, I suppose if Michael came with us . . . .” Her smile faded. “I’m sorry, of course you’re wanting a night away, after all that’s happened lately, and I wasn’t meaning to barge in . . . .”

“Sophia.” The quiet utterance of her name stopped her flustered apology. He gave her a wry smile. “You’re feeling caged, aren’t you?”

“I . . . Yes.  Just a little. I thought maybe, now that Malcolm’s dead and Eric Armitage has been locked away . . . .” The bright blue eyes looked wistfully up at him.

“Come on, then.  If Michael says it’s all right with him. There’s room in the car if he wants to come with us. But you might want to consider changing first.”

“Change? But . . .this is the only illusion I know yet, and do you really think I ought to go out there as just me?”

Devlin grinned. “I meant your clothes. That’s a very pretty dress, but it looks a bit too queenly for a pub hop, don’t you think? Could you find something warmer and maybe a little less top drawer?”

Her face lit up. “I think I can find something suitable.” Her excitement was barely contained, warming him in its glow.

“I’ll go bring the car around, then.” 



Night
The Queen’s Private Apartment
Eirian House
New Year’s Day, 2022


Jen stepped out of the Queen’s Apartment to find Morgan Haldane just approaching it. “If you’re looking for Sophia, she’s out at present,” she informed him. “I believe she has her phone with her, though, if you need to contact her.”

“No, I was just at loose ends and thought I’d stop by, but I was actually hoping to find you,” Morgan said.

“Really?” Jen quickly shielded a burst of elation.  “Well, you’ve found me, it seems.”

“So it seems.” With a curious glance at Henry, still at his post at Her Majesty’s apartment door, he added, “Where did Sophia go?”

“Oh, she’s got Michael with her, don’t worry.  They’re off checking out the nightlife down in Woodbridge with Father Devlin.”

Morgan looked bemused. “It’s Woodbridge--not much nightlife there, I shouldn’t think!”

“Yes, well, she’s been under a great deal of stress lately, you must admit, and now that security tensions have eased somewhat, she needs a bit of escape from the palace before she goes stark raving guano. Don’t worry, Heather’s taught her how to shift her appearance. No one will ever guess it’s the Queen out pub hopping and letting her hair down with two attractive men in tow.”

Morgan opened his mouth as if to reply, shut it again with a look of mild consternation. Henry stifled a chuckle as Jen’s grin widened.

“So why was it you were coming to see me?” Jen prompted, steering his thoughts away from the alarming prospect of his baby cousin off on a pub crawl with two single men.

“Maybe we should . . . ah . . . go join them?” Morgan offered.

“Maybe we should most definitely not,” Jen replied. “You don’t want to remain the Royal Heir forever, do you?”

“You do have a point,” Morgan conceded, albeit with some reluctance.

“Stop worrying, she’ll be fine. Now, again with the coming here to see me?”

Morgan laughed. “I found myself rather at loose ends too tonight, so I stopped by the rec room to see if I might find some way to while away an hour or two, when I found this.” He brandished a virtual reality cartridge at her. “‘A Virtual Tour of Kelsonian-Era Rhemuth’ by the University of Rhemuth’s Department of Archeological Studies. Fancy a stroll through medieval Rhemuth with me?”

“Yes!” It was all she could do to refrain from snatching the VR cartridge from him. He grinned.

“I must admit to an ulterior motive,” Morgan admitted as he escorted her down the corridor towards the recreational area downstairs.

“What’s that?”

“Sophia and I have begun preliminary consulting with a variety of experts on the possibility of restoring Rhemuth Castle, perhaps as a royal residence again but as a memorial as well, with the more historic areas open to the public. We’re looking at rebuilding it as close to the Kelsonian-era plan as possible--with allowances for modern conveniences in the offices and apartments, obviously!--and restoring the interior in a modernized, more comfortable version of that aesthetic as well, though perhaps with more period-appropriate reproduction furnishings in the historic areas, and possibly some sort of educational living history programming aspect there as well. We thought you might want to help out with that, seeing as it’s your period of interest. How does ‘Historical Consultant to Her Majesty for the Restoration of Rhemuth Castle’ sound?”

“Are you kidding me? It sounds amazing!”
 
“Well, that was easily enough sorted. I’ll let her know.” Morgan opened the door to the recreational area, waving her ahead of him towards one of the VR console rooms.  “It looks as though I’m to be kept fairly busy here for awhile,  and I’m sure your time will soon be rather full as well, but I’ve not forgot I promised you another visit to Coroth once we can break free for more than a few hours at a time. Perhaps in spring after it warms up a bit?”

Jen felt a warm glow deep within. “Do you think you could arrange for no assassins to interrupt the evening next time?”

“I’ll do my best,” he assured her with a smile as he closed the door behind them and entered the VR cartridge into the playback system. A virtual reality world materialized around them, and in the distance Rhemuth Castle in the fullness of its ancient glory stood majestically above the city, the Haldane Lion flying proudly over the Keep. “Shall I turn on the guided tour’s audio, or would you prefer we just wander about for a bit?”

“I think maybe I’d like to start with the original Cathedral.”

“All right then, this street should lead straight to it.” Morgan escorted her alongside the cobbled road, keeping her to the outside edge to avoid the horses, carts, and pedestrians traversing their route towards the tall spire in the distance. A cacophony of sound stirred from a nearby side street, and peering down it, they could see a boy driving a flock of geese to market.

A trumpet fanfare drew their attention to the main thoroughfare again, and the sound of horses’ hooves approaching from the distance alerted bystanders to clear the street. It was a party of mounted men dressed in black and green livery, and leading them, flanked by a squire bearing the Corwyn banner, was the seventh Duke of Corwyn.

Jen watched in fascination as the party passed before them, headed towards the castle gatehouse, until they disappeared into the distance and the crowd filled the street once more. She turned then to find Morgan Haldane watching her, a carefully neutral expression on his face.

“Your illustrious ancestor Duke Alaric, I would imagine,” Jen said.

“Seems likely,” Morgan agreed.

She turned decisively towards the city center. “He’s pretty hot, but you’ve got at least one advantage over him.”

“Oh? What’s that?” he asked.

“For one thing, he’s been dead for the better part of a millennium now, but you, my lord, are very much alive.” She grinned.

He smiled then. “Damn straight I am.” He laid a hand lightly on her waist to guide her up the street.  “And I intend on remaining that way for a very long time.”


Epilogue

Morning, Camberian Time
(Late Evening, RST)
Atherton Palace
St. Michael’s Province, Camberia
January 2, 2022 (New Year’s Day in Gwynedd)


It was, King Aubrey decided, a not entirely unfortunate conclusion to his brother Malcolm’s aspirations. The Duel Arcane against the Haldane Bitch had at least managed to rid him of a potential rival for his own throne, after all, and for that Aubrey could hardly be completely ungrateful. Far overshadowing this benefit, however, was the fact that Sophia Haldane had quite decisively triumphed over an Atherton-Haldane not merely in public view, but on the world stage, and that Aubrey would never forgive. It had been a humiliation to his House, and as such it could not be allowed to stand unchallenged.

He was growing old, though, and unlike his brother, he had no desire to attain the throne of Gwynedd.  He had his hands quite full already here in Camberia, keeping a tight rein on his nobles.  Jackals, the lot of them!

But there was one particular litter of ravenous beasts he wouldn’t mind sending to harry the fledgling queen. Malcolm’s two wives had provided several sons to squabble over his estates, and Aubrey suspected their internecine battle for dominance would be quite fascinating to watch over the weeks to come. And once they had his duchy sorted, the survivors could easily be steered into avenging their father. And that, Aubrey decided, could prove equally entertaining.

He stroked his nocturnal amusement, the new plaything he’d recently acquired because her resemblance to the Haldane Queen made her an endless source of delight. She flinched away. He laughed, tossing a short silk tunic-dress in her direction. “Cover up, then; it’s almost time for Court. We wouldn’t want my courtiers to behold you in your full splendour, now would we? The greedy bastards might want to share!”

With shaking fingers his captive unfurled the crimson fabric and donned the heraldic livery of the Haldane Lion.

###
"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

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2015, 07:18:16 pm »
A wonderful conclusion, with a tantalizing  threat of things to come.  I'm sorry for it to end, but look forward to the sequel (please!).

Magnificent, as always.

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

 -- Old English Litany

Offline NavaWazr

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2015, 08:53:40 pm »
Wonderful ending, thank you for tying up ends tightly enough to be satisfying and loosely enough that there are plenty of questions for the sequel.

Thank you very much for writing and sharing your stories. (Echoes this thank you to all the authors here).  Have a safe and happy New Year.
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 Thirty and Epilogue
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2016, 07:02:37 am »
Wonderful story with lots of lovely loose ends left dangling for a sequel.

Well Aubrey not's exactly lovely.

"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 Elkhound

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2016, 04:01:12 pm »
A nice conclusion, with a good setup for a sequel.

As I've said before, Gwynned is one of the few fantasy worlds I can see brought to the 21st C.  Can you image Earthsea, or Valdemar, or Westeros, or Middle Earth, or the world of the Belgariad/Mallorean given that treatment?  Well, at the end of the Mage Winds Trilogy, Valdemar did seem to be almost at the edge of discovering the steam engine, so. . .  .

Offline Laurna

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2016, 11:11:12 am »
Quote
“I’ll go bring the car around, then.” 

Devlin's leaky car?  I hope it does not rain! I think Devlin's first purchase for the new year will be a nice sedate, new sedan, with all the amenities and room enough for  Michael or Henry in the back seat. The village pubs of Woodbridge will be in for a nice steady set of visits from a particular blond  and her friends from Eiran House, I think the proprietors will enjoy the business.

Wonderful conclusion to a great story. I am so looking forward for more. (Can I have some more please. More Morgan, Please.)   ;D

Offline Marko

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2016, 11:51:03 am »
Aubrey is a real piece of work.  Plans on using his nephews to harass Sophia and if they just happen to die...

Offline Shiral

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2016, 10:08:50 am »
A wonderful end to a great story, Evie. Now please tell us you're working on the sequel.  :D I did feel sorry for Caroline, though.
I'll ask nicely, but please hand over that VR cassette and it's technological interface RIGHT NOW! I want to wander through the streets of Rhemuth and catch a glimpse of the seventh Duke of Corwyn.

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Offline Elkhound

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2016, 01:12:13 pm »
Aubrey is a real piece of work.  Plans on using his nephews to harass Sophia and if they just happen to die
Is ther Festillic blood in the Atherton-Haldanes?


Offline Evie

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2016, 07:23:44 pm »
A wonderful conclusion, with a tantalizing  threat of things to come.  I'm sorry for it to end, but look forward to the sequel (please!).

Magnificent, as always.

Thank you!  Maybe now I'll finally have a little time to write the sequel!  I also have a few other half-finished Deryni stories that never got completed because I couldn't focus on them long enough to get past the problematic middle part where my longer stories tend to get bogged down.

Wonderful ending, thank you for tying up ends tightly enough to be satisfying and loosely enough that there are plenty of questions for the sequel.

Thank you very much for writing and sharing your stories. (Echoes this thank you to all the authors here).  Have a safe and happy New Year.

I knew from the outset there was no way to tie up all the loose ends in just two weeks, but hopefully I've created enough character attachments and backstory to create a good foundation for a sequel.

Wonderful story with lots of lovely loose ends left dangling for a sequel.

Well Aubrey not's exactly lovely.

LOL!  No, that wouldn't be my first choice of description for Aubrey.  :D

A nice conclusion, with a good setup for a sequel.

As I've said before, Gwynned is one of the few fantasy worlds I can see brought to the 21st C.  Can you image Earthsea, or Valdemar, or Westeros, or Middle Earth, or the world of the Belgariad/Mallorean given that treatment?  Well, at the end of the Mage Winds Trilogy, Valdemar did seem to be almost at the edge of discovering the steam engine, so. . .  .

I think the Deryni stories can handle being brought into the modern world partly because their version of history is so similar to our own, and also what they call "magic" is mostly of the psychic / psionic sort that can be made at least quasi-scientifically plausible. 

Quote
“I’ll go bring the car around, then.” 

Devlin's leaky car?  I hope it does not rain! I think Devlin's first purchase for the new year will be a nice sedate, new sedan, with all the amenities and room enough for  Michael or Henry in the back seat. The village pubs of Woodbridge will be in for a nice steady set of visits from a particular blond  and her friends from Eiran House, I think the proprietors will enjoy the business.

Wonderful conclusion to a great story. I am so looking forward for more. (Can I have some more please. More Morgan, Please.)   ;D

LOL! Dev's car generally only leaks if there is torrential rainfall or if he's in a high pressure car wash, and it's on the rear passenger side of the vehicle, so I don't think Sophia needs to worry too much about getting wet while out in Devlin's junker. Anyway, he can't really afford to replace it, and besides that, he's due to return to the mission at the end of January, so there's no use investing in a fancier car that would end up getting stripped to the axles and having parts from it sold on the black market once some of those street lads get hold of it! ;D

Granted, who knows what the future might bring?  Perhaps he'll someday live in a place where it would be safer to keep a nicer car.... ;)

Aubrey is a real piece of work.  Plans on using his nephews to harass Sophia and if they just happen to die...

Yep. Just because he isn't as overtly a threat as Malcolm was doesn't mean he's any nicer.

A wonderful end to a great story, Evie. Now please tell us you're working on the sequel.  :D I did feel sorry for Caroline, though.
I'll ask nicely, but please hand over that VR cassette and it's technological interface RIGHT NOW! I want to wander through the streets of Rhemuth and catch a glimpse of the seventh Duke of Corwyn.

Melissa

I have a few scenes written for a sequel, though I don't know yet if they'll remain in the current order or if I'll need to rearrange things as the story takes shape in my head a bit more.

I felt sorry for Caroline also, but really, what could she have gone back to after all that?  She wouldn't have been able to return to Camberia, and I don't think Tom would have wanted her back either. 

When that sort of total immersion VR version of Rhemuth gets made, you'll have to get in line behind me.  ;)


Is ther Festillic blood in the Atherton-Haldanes?

No, or at least not any more so than in Morgan or Sophia. (Can't recall off the top of my head if any Festils ever married into the royal Haldane bloodline, though I think there was at least one Furstan.)  Though the Athertons are bad enough, and the Haldane prince they are descended from was just as bad an apple as Conall Haldane. I deliberately steered away from having a Festillic villain in this story.  After 900 years, if there are any Festillic descendants left, I imagine they gave up any pretensions to the throne of Gwynedd centuries ago.
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Offline Elkhound

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2016, 09:22:08 pm »
I wasn't thinking of Geynnedian pretentions for aFestillic connecion, just general douchbaggery.
 

Offline DesertRose

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2016, 09:35:01 pm »
I wasn't thinking of Geynnedian pretentions for aFestillic connecion, just general douchbaggery.

Well, as Conall illustrated, the Festils and Furstans don't hold the Deryniverse patent on scheming and general ill-will.

Not to mention, there's Matyas on the other hand.  :)
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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2016, 03:45:27 pm »
Evie! I am going through Morgan withdraws. Do you have a tell, the smallest of little tells to share and this fair weekend?

You know I am teasing you   ;) .... but I really would love a sneak peak at anything that Morgan, Sophia and Jen could be doing on this late winter day.  ;D

Offline Evie

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2016, 03:47:31 pm »
Evie! I am going through Morgan withdraws. Do you have a tell, the smallest of little tells to share and this fair weekend?

You know I am teasing you   ;) .... but I really would love a sneak peak at anything that Morgan, Sophia and Jen could be doing on this late winter day.  ;D

Aww!  I'll see if I can find you a 12-Steps support group for readers going through Morgan withdrawal.  ;D

Sorry to report I've not had a chance to work on their story lately, or any of my other ongoing stories.  I thought life was going to slow down when I retired, but instead I've been busier!  But hopefully the voices will start talking to me again soon.
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Offline Laurna

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Thirty and Epilogue
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2016, 04:29:27 pm »

Aww!  I'll see if I can find you a 12-Steps support group for readers going through Morgan withdrawal.  ;D


12-steps? Yikes! 

I can think of just four steps-
1) Ask Morgan what he is doing. 2) Jot down what he says. 3) Ask Revanne and DR to review your notes. 4) Share it with me for reviewing.  ;D
So simple, right?  LOL  I can only wish ;D
Don't worry about me, I will hold tight until Morgan can find time to talk to you.

 

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