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Author Topic: Ghosts of the Past  (Read 32443 times)

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Offline Evie

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #255 on: February 15, 2018, 01:12:32 pm »
Aliset slanted a teasing grin at the knight. "Trust a man to awaken from being half dead when he hears someone mentioning ale!" Sobering and looking somewhat in awe, she added, "And speaking of Deryni powers and training, I'm quite impressed by yours, Sir Washburn! Two merasha darts would have felled most Deryni instantly, not merely caused them to stumble around a bit as they sprinted through dense forest.  Whatever your secret is for combating merasha's effects, I would dearly love to learn it!" She grinned once more. "Even if your coping skills weren't quite up to the task of preventing you from adding your own special touches to my lovely new latrine!"
"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: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #256 on: February 15, 2018, 02:10:34 pm »
Darcy Cameron reclaimed his water skin and the wrapped piece of berry pie he had somehow neglected to give to Lady Aliset.  “This is not water,” he warned his companions as he passed the skin around.  They took grateful, though small, drinks from the skin while Darcy withdrew his eating knife from his belt and cut the pie into four small pieces.  Never had so small a celebratory feast tasted so good!

But they were not out of the woods yet, both literally and figuratively.  They all seemed to realize it at the same time.  Father Columcil stoppered the “water” skin and returned it to Darcy.

Darcy cleared his throat reluctantly and looked at Aliset, now in her guise as Alister.  “Not knowing how much longer we can stay,” he began after a moment, “perhaps you should do whatever you need to do about those training shields now.” Darcy wondered if he sounded as nervous as he felt.

“If you are ready,” Aliset said. “Perhaps we should sit.”  Aliset moved toward the centre of the dome, sat, and patted ground across from her.   Darcy sat down on the designated spot, cross-legged as usual.  He noticed that “Alister” had assumed a more lady-like position.  If he survived this, he would mention it to her.

Aliset held out her hand, palm upwards. Darcy placed his calloused hand on top.  Father Columcil and Washburn moved to one side to watch.

“Roll back your shields,” Aliset said. They were still so fragile that she could have forced her way through them easily, but that would have severely impacted Darcy’s trust!  After a moment she felt his shields roll back, much smoother than they had previously.  “That’s much better, Master Darcy.  You are getting the hang of it.”

Darcy managed a small smile, wondering what would happen next.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Evie

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #257 on: February 15, 2018, 02:41:02 pm »
Aliset allowed her psychic touch to linger lightly just on the surface of Darcy's unshielded mind, giving him time to grow accustomed to the sensation.  "Do you feel this?" she asked him.

Darcy started to nod, but stopped, unsure whether moving his head might hinder whatever she was attempting to do. "Yes," he replied. "It's like...a soft brush of...maybe a butterfly's wing inside my head."

She smiled. "Good. There shouldn't be any pain, or even much pressure, but I'm glad you are able to detect something.  Now what I want you to do is try to follow that touch as I go deeper, and see if you can sense what it is that I am doing as I go. And it's fine to move your head; that won't affect anything one way or another."

"Um...all right." He felt a bit awkward, not knowing what to expect, but he trusted that Aliset knew what she was doing.

"Imagine a small child learning how to write his letters for the first time. Pretend I am tracing them in the sand, like so...."  She traced a shape along the surface of his mind.  "And now imagine that child following along with that motion, his small finger atop the one teaching him his letters. Only instead of using our fingers, we will be using our minds. Just try to relax and follow what I'm doing with your mind."

"All right." Darcy wasn't certain what Aliset meant, but he'd do his best to work it out as they went.

Sensing his readiness, Aliset began to probe deeper.  As she did, her eyes met his.  "I am just going to search for the spot where I need to set this training control.  I promise not to wander out of bounds, or go fishing for any thoughts or memories I have no business knowing. Lesson one on Deryni ethics--never go eavesdropping on others' minds without permission unless the need is great." She smiled. "And by need, I mean if lives are at stake, for instance. I'm not talking about simply wanting to discover some pretty barmaid's name!"

Darcy chuckled. "So noted."

"All right, we should be just about.... Oh, that's interesting!"  Aliset cocked her head to one side, studying him with a considering gaze.

Darcy felt self-conscious. "What's interesting?"

Returning her focus to the area, Aliset murmured, "Apparently someone in your early childhood was aware that you're Deryni, because there's already a training control in place!" Meeting his eyes again, she added, "It's a childhood control--the more restrictive sort I mentioned earlier. I will need to remove that block and replace it with one that is more appropriate to your age and current learning needs.  May I?"

Darcy nodded.  "Um, yes. Whatever you think best."  Her statement puzzled him, calling up vague, unformed memories just beyond his ability to grasp.

He felt a small psychic twist at that moment, followed by a sensation of something released, and with that sensation, a sudden clarity.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 03:09:59 pm by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #258 on: February 15, 2018, 06:07:50 pm »
Darcy Cameron sat very still.  The memories Lady Aliset had somehow released did not flood his consciousness.  Instead, they seemed to filter into appropriate corners of his mind.  Corners he could study in depth later. 

But on the surface, he remembered things that were long absent.  He had never questioned that his life before he was sold to sea was vague; it just was.  Now at last he remembered his parents; his father stern but readily forgiving, his mother an endless comfort.  He remembered the older brother he had practically worshipped. With an inward smile he remembered the pony he had inherited when his brother had moved on to a horse.  How many times had he been bucked off when he was riding it unsupervised when he was supposed to be in bed?  She had been named Sigrun; no wonder the name had come to mind when he purchased the horse grazing contently now within the dome.

Not all of the memories were happy ones.  The sadness he felt when his brother left for training at the court of Rhemuth.  Now Darcy remembered the small ring his brother had given him before he left.  The ring, far too small now to fit on his hand, which he wore on the chain around his neck.  He remembered his father’s death under circumstances so suspicious even the five year old Darcy had noticed.  He remembered the grief.

But it was good to know these things now.  He would study them more when his attention did not need to be focused on what needed to be dealt with today.

“Lady Aliset,” he said quietly.  “I am forever in your debt.”
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #259 on: February 15, 2018, 06:16:36 pm »
Phyre surveyed the faintly glowing dome before him.  Sir Washburn Morgan had escaped their trap, and Phyre could feel his payment also slipping though his grasp.  His side hurt from Morgan’s desperate dagger slash; at least his wound was not as serious as the crossbowman’s.  He had had to leave him while he went after their horses.  He finally found the horses munching grass by the side of the road, now perfectly calm.  What had gotten into the beasts to make them so frantic earlier?

Now partly hidden behind a tree, Phyre watched the dome, looking for any sign the four protected inside were ready to make their break for freedom.  Despite being Deryni, Phyre had little knowledge of warding.  He could not see inside the dome, but he did not know if they could see out.  So Phyre kept himself at least partially hidden. 

The crossbowman sat propped against a tree where he could observe the dome from another angle.  Phrye had bandaged the wound in the man’s waist as best he could but had not spent a lot of time over it.  At least he had managed to stop the bleeding.  He needed the man to call out if there was any activity on the far side.  Phyre had left the man his crossbow.  Whether the man still had the strength to use it was another matter.

They continued to wait.  Eventually, when food or water ran out, or when they could no longer stand the confines of the dome, the four inside would leave.  Perhaps Lord Morgan and the other man had died from their wounds, increasing Phyre’s chances for success.  Either way, Phyre would be ready.

***

Lord Jaxom Trillick was impatient with the slower pace.  Although they left Droghera at a gallop, it soon become apparent that the farm horses could not keep up the pace.  While they could work in a field for hours, they were not bred to run for distance.  The group needed the farm guild masters to show them where the attack had occurred, so they must all stay together.  At least they were proceeding at a fast trot.

They rode two abreast.  One of the guild masters rode at the head of their small column with the Watch Captain.  Jaxom and one of his men-at-arms rode next, followed by his squire, the remaining guild masters and his other man-at-arms. His bowmen brought up the rear, placing them far enough back to have a little extra time to draw and fire.

They travelled several miles before the guild master in the lead pointed ahead and the Captain signalled them to slow their pace.  Jaxom looked ahead and saw a dimly shining dome in front of a large oak tree. 

Cautiously, the Captain led them forward.

***
Phyer signalled the crossbowman to keep still.  He could hear horses approaching; hopefully they would continue down the road.

They did not.  They turned into the woods to approach the dome.  Phyre recognized the Captain of the Watch and at least one of the farm guild masters.  Phyre had given him a hard time about one of the wagons he was bringing into Droghera; perhaps that had not been wise.  He counted the number of riders and the number that were armed.  If the crossbowman did not move and remained undetected long enough, Phyre could withdraw and make his own escape.

Roll 2d6 to see if Phyer escapes undetected
Jerusha   !roll 2d6
11:47   derynibot   1, 2 == 3

Phrye carefully began to inch backward, watching the riders.  He did not see what lay in the leaves as he set his hand on the ground.  The need for silence was forgotten at the sudden pain the snake’s fangs caused as they bit deeply into the back of his hand.  With a yelp, he sprang to his feet, shaking his hand to dislodge the creature.  It continued to hang on.

“Phyre!” the Captain called out.  “What in blazes are you doing here?”

Phyre thought desperately while trying to dislodge the snake.  Finally, it broke free, taking skin from his hand with it. 

“I was investigating the ward, I mean dome,” Phyre began.  “I thought it suspicious.”

“Investigating it from your arse?” The Captain motioned the rest of the column forward.

“Where is your horse?” Lord Jaxom asked. 

“I left him back there.”  Phyre waved vaguely toward the trees behind him.  “I’ll just go get him now.”

“Don’t let him go!  He’s lying!”

They all turned to look at the young man who was standing in a doorway that had opened in the dome.

“He tried to kill Sir Washburn and Master Darcy!” 

Several things seemed to happen at once.  The crossbowman suddenly rose from where was sitting, raised his loaded crossbow and aimed for the young lord standing in the doorway.

(Rolling 2 dice (focused would be three but the man is injured, so rolling at a disadvantage) to see if the man fires the shot successfully.)
Jerusha   !roll 2d6
15:17   derynibot   6, 4 == 10
(Drat)

Lord Jaxom’s squire was already moving, spurring his horse to run down the man with the crossbow.

(Rolling 2 dice to see if the squire charging on his horse can spoil the crossbowman’s shot)

Jerusha   !roll 2d6
15:18   derynibot   5, 6 == 11
(Oh yeah!)

The crossbowman flinched at the sound of the horse charging straight at him. The bolt was shot high and shattered where it hit above the door in the dome.  Someone inside the dome knocked the man in the door to the ground.  Phyre tried to run but was forced to stop by Lord Jaxom’s bowman, whose drawn bow was pointing at his chest.  The squire’s horse knocked the crossbowman down, but the squire managed to maneuver it to avoid trampling the man.  The man did not try to rise.

Father Columcil, watching from inside the dome, fell to his knees and said a heartfelt prayer.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #260 on: February 16, 2018, 05:48:26 am »
Washburn truly wasn’t himself, not yet. The events were happening too fast. From inside the Ward, he was pleased to see Lord Jaxom Trillick ride up with the guard captain and a good contingent of men. For sometime, Washburn had thought he had seen a movement behind that near tree. It was none too surprising when Trillick’s men flushed Phyer out. Now, that snake was a surprise, a snake-in-the-grass to rat-out a snake from the village. It all seemed justice in Washburn’s mind.  The knight was rather pleased to see his sheathed short-sword still hanging on the man’s belt. That and the empty matching dagger sheath tied next to it. Washburn’s bare bladed dagger was in his hand. As soon as Trillick had the area secure, Washburn intended to retrieve his belongings. The trouble was there had been three assailants and only one man was accounted for.

His distraction was once again another of his bad lapses. He had seen Alister/Aliset use her fingers to make an opening in the ward, yet he had never imagined she would actually lean her body out beyond its protection. He wanted to tell her to come back into the safety of the ward. Then suddenly, Lord Jaxom’s squire was spurring his horse forward toward the big tree. Why? Washburn turned, that’s when he saw the second assailant with a crossbow. Damn the crossbow was aimed, the man’s finger on the release. He fired...

((02:02 Washburn disadvantage to use Telekinesis
02:09 Washburn !roll 1d6
02:09 derynibot 6 == 6))

Washburn’s instincts took over. With mind, not body, he pulled Lord Alister back from the door. The delicate control for handling a woman was overruled by his need to have Aliset out of danger. His abilities weren’t quite in full balance. His need had his mind pull just a little too hard. In an instant, Lady Aliset went from standing to falling backward. She yelled in astonishment, unable to save herself from the fall.

The crossbolt hit the ward and splintered just above where Alister had been standing. It wouldn't have hit her, but the splinters could have done some damage had they been near her face. Desperate to reversed his pull, Washburn tried to stop the lady’s fall with his abilities.

It seemed he needn’t have tried.

Darcy leaped forward, catching the nobleman around the waist and swinging him up to keep him from falling to the ground. He held Aliset close to his body assuring himself that she would not fall further. In that moment, she turned to look up at him with thanks. His gaze held her thankful eyes. Wash knew it wasn’t Alister that Darcy was seeing just then. Lady Aliset stared back at Darcy... neither seemed to move. Then Aliset was blushing, giggling in fact. “You can put me down now,” she said in a light attentive tone.

Master Darcy remembered himself then. He placed her feet on the ground. He stepped back making a deep bow, feeling a mix of gallantry and abashed impropriety.

Most of that little scene had happened inside the ward. Everyone outside was too occupied capturing the two assailants, to have noticed the small exchange within.

Embarrassed, Washburn walked passed them, “My apologies, my lady,” he said, ducking his head and then walking out of the dome to welcome the son of Lord Adam Trillick.

At the sight of Lord Morgan, Jaxom dismounted. In two steps he was grasping Washburn’s elbow in thankful comradely. “My father worried over your abrupt departure from the manor the other day. He had sent me to escort you to Arx Fidei. I had thought I had missed you, and that you would be well away from here by now!”

Wash nodded. “I knew I had not fooled Lord Adam.  Though I never thought he would send his son after me.” Washburn grasped the man’s shoulder. “Your timing is good enough. I would be ever grateful if you could complete the task given to you by your father. It would please me greatly if you could escort myself and my companions to Arx Fidei. I am to met my brother there.”

“It would be my honor, Sir Washburn,” Jaxom replied. He said nothing, but he did make note of the torn black tunic and the old blood dried on the knight's side.

Meanwhile, Morgan had his eyes on one of the captured men. “Phyer, I presume,” he said in a controlled low tone. Controlled because he wanted to strangle the man. “I will take back what is mine.” The captured guard’s hands were yet free, but with three arrows pointed at his chest, he daren’t try anything. Washburn almost wished he would, any excuse to take the man down. Instead, Phyer put his hands up, letting the knight unbelt the sword and dagger sheath.  Disappointed Washburn stepped back.  “Tell us, what is your real name?” Wash put force into the Truth Saying.

((03:15 Washburn Disadvantage TruthSaying. Washburn gets a 4,5,or 6 for success.
03:15 Washburn !roll 1d6
03:15 derynibot 2 == 2   Oh well, can’t win them all :D .))

But it was not enough, his energies weren’t yet back in balance. Not enough for that kind of interrogation, not against another Deryni with shields. “Never mind, don’t bother answering me. Your captain will surely have more appropriate means of interrogation than I have.” Washburn stepped back coming to level with Droghera’s Captain. “This is the man that ordered Kieran’s death.” He didn’t need to say more. The Captain would see that justice was done.

Washburn walked back to the dome, buckling his weapons to  his belt, back where they belonged. “Now, where did I drop that longbow,” he asked, while searching the ground. “Ah, there it is under the tree.” He reached down to pick up the bow and his quiver which had been resting in the tumbled grass. A silver glint caught his eye. A memory flashed. He reached down and picked up a boatman's whistle. “You need to be returned to you’re rightful owner, with much thanks for his ingenuity to use you.”

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #261 on: February 16, 2018, 09:22:20 am »
Darcy Cameron hoped his deep bow to the lady before him hid the warm flush he felt creeping across his face.  With his fair skin, it was always so bloody obvious.  He stepped back to give Washburn room to pass through the opening in the dome and approach the nobleman outside.  Lady Aliset, in her disguise as Lord Alister, turned away to watch what was happening from a safe spot within the dome.  Darcy stepped to the other side of the open door, near enough to protect her again if need be.  But not too near.

Suddenly, he supressed a laugh.  What if Aliset had still been wearing his form?   He would have been holding himself close and gazing into his own eyes.  Now that would have been disturbing!

Darcy gave the scene before him almost his full attention.  His thoughts wanted to turn back to that brief encounter.  Aliset stirred feelings in his heart he was not accustomed to.  Twice now that had happened.  He was not a fool; he knew that she was beyond his reach.  He also knew that his duty was to stay by her side and protect her.  He would have to cope somehow.  Set those feelings aside.  Allow nothing to taint her reputation.  Nothing!

 On the other hand, he was glad he had had the good sense to avoid the brothels that were always close by to a seaman’s ports of call.  He was no innocent, of course, and liked a pretty face that had a nice body to go with it, but he had been careful with the occasional partner he chose.  He had seen too often what happened to men who were not!

What did he have to offer her besides his protection?  He would give his life if she needed it, but that was all he really had.   That might change, though, if he could find his brother once they reached Rhemuth.  He also realized it might not; he had been away a long time.

His thoughts were brought back to the moment when Washburn approached him holding something in his hand.

“I believe this is yours,” Washburn said, extending the tin whistle towards him.

“You found it!”  Darcy was genuinely pleased.  “Be assured I’ll be keeping this close by in case it’s needed again.”

Sir Washburn clapped him on the shoulder and moved on.  Darcy spotted Father Columcil.  The priest had saddled his mount and was beginning to tie on his belongings.  They would be leaving soon.

Darcy wondered if he might be able to catch a private word with the good Father after they departed.  Confession might lighten the weight of his current predicament.  Or not.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Evie

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #262 on: February 16, 2018, 11:04:26 pm »
Sidana Quinnell de Paor, rightful heiress to Meara (or so she had grown up being told, and had no reason to doubt), stood just outside the closed door, eyes wide as she listened to the shouting voice of her father just beyond it. She wasn't eavesdropping, not exactly.  In truth, she could hardly have failed to overhear what Brioc was saying unless she retreated clear to the other side of her bedchamber and climbed out her window, where maybe--just maybe--the thick stone walls might finally muffle the sounds of his yelling to something less distinguishable. But not having a death wish, and being too distracted by the sound to concentrate on any of the several boring pursuits she might instead focus upon in the security of her private bower, she stood just at the door trying to work out what had put her father into such a towering rage.

Grand Duke Valerian was speaking now, and while his voice was quieter--so quiet, in fact, that Sidana was forced to put her ear to the wooden partition between them to make out his response--it was no less furious for all that.  While she could not understand all the particulars of their exchange, she had managed to gather that some planned coup to retake Trurill had failed, a valuable retainer of Valerian's slain in the effort, Brioc's patrimony yet remained in the clutches of the treacherous MacArdrys, and therefore they were short the men and materiel they'd hoped to commandeer from Brioc's rightful barony to redirect to the war muster.  Brioc in his fury was all for retaliatory slaughter of Jass MacArdry's home clan in Transha, a plan Valerian coolly refused to countenance, reminding Brioc that they could hardly risk alienating any Mearans who might bear no love for Gwynedd or the Haldanes, but might hold sympathy for fellow borderers set upon by Brioc's small cadre of loyalists, and therefore might refuse aid to the separatists when it was time to move against their foes in Ratharkin and Laas. 

And some effort to retake the Demoiselle de Mariot and capture the youngest of the Morgan Lords had also suffered a setback, it seemed, although Sidana was less sure about what that effort was meant to accomplish. Something about placating the new Baron of Caer Mariot and providing him with the bride who would secure his hold on his new demesne.  Having met Baron Oswald when he arrived at her Court to swear fealty to her, Sidana could hardly blame the demoiselle for running away.  The man gave her the shivers, loyalist or not, and not in a good way!

But not all the news was bad.  Their forces were in position now to capture Ratharkin during the so-called Viceroy's absence, despite the fact that they would be moving to take that town with fewer men and resources at their disposal than they'd hoped to have. Oswald had supplied a score of men, despite not yet having his promised bride in hand, and from all across Meara the word had quietly gone out to those they knew they could trust that it was time to take up arms for Meara and the Queen.  For the past week, she had been receiving them, accepting the homage due her during the few hours per day that she was allowed down to the Great Hall to see and be seen.

One set of footfalls sounded like they were moving further away--to the door on the opposite end of the antechamber, Sidana surmised. Her guess was confirmed when she heard that door slam behind the departing man, presumably the Grand Duke.  Before she could straighten from her position leaning against her bedchamber door, it opened suddenly, nearly causing her to fall at the feet of the one who had opened it.  She looked up with a blush, expecting to see her father's scowl.  To her dismayed surprise, it was Valerian; Brioc, it seemed, had been the one who had just left!  Her blush deepened.

A dark brow arched as her foreign suitor surveyed her coolly. "Listening at doorways could get you in a great deal of trouble, Your Majesty. I strongly advise against it."

She shivered, feeling a trickle of cold fear down her spine at his words, although she could not think why she should react that way. Surely he meant no harm by it; why would he wish to threaten her? He was to be her consort someday, after all!  Still, a vague sense of disquiet came over her even as she summoned up an apologetic smile.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

Offline revanne

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #263 on: February 17, 2018, 01:44:13 am »
Father Columcil had watched the interplay between Darcy and Aliset with disquiet, for although she was disguised as Alister, he very much doubted that her adopted shape was what Darcy had seen or felt in his imagination. Oh, he had no fears for the lady's virtue, Darcy was far too honourable for that. No it was Darcy he worried for, the lad had had far too much to deal with already in learning that he was Deryni, and as his hidden past became clear to him doubtless there would be sadness and even horror to cope with. The last thing he needed was a bad dose of love that could neither be expressed nor requited.

Columcil would have hoped to lift some of the burden but nothing in Darcy's attitude towards him had suggested a willingness to confide in the clergy. The tensions of a few days ago - blessed saints it felt like weeks!- had gone but he suspected that Darcy's increased friendliness, even respect, had more to do with gratitude for Columcil's healing powers, and even he thought with a surge of guilt, his hitherto unsuspected skill of cracking people over the head with his staff. All he could do would be to wait and pray, and hope that if the opportunity arouse he would respond appropriately.
Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
    let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
    as wax melts before the fire,
    let the wicked perish before God.
(Psalm 68 vv1-2)

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #264 on: February 17, 2018, 06:41:29 pm »
“My Lord,” Darcy Cameron said, bowing to Lord Jaxom Trillick.

“Master Darcy,” the nobleman nodded in acknowledgment, then turned his attention to Sir Washburn and Lord Alister.

Carefully concealing the irritation he felt, Darcy straightened and made his way to his horse.  No trace of the protective dome remained.  Lady Aliset had dispersed it shortly before.  They were now preparing to leave.  She had returned the ward cubes to Darcy’s pouch, careful that their hands did not touch.  He was careful to avoid looking into her eyes.

Phyre was now securely bound.  His hands were tied behind his back and he sat mounted on his horse, his legs lashed to the stirrups of his saddle.  For good measure, in case he attempted to kick his mount into a break for freedom, a rope was tied around his neck.  The end was held by one of the guards.  A man who had been a friend of Kieran.  Phyre’s chances of escape were not good.

Perhaps the crossbowman had been more fortunate.  He had succumbed to his injury after firing his last shot.  Father Columcil had administered the last rights.  Now the man was draped across the back of his horse, hands and feet secured underneath the beast so he would not slip off.

A shaggy head poked at Darcy’s side.  Spean poked again, insisting that he be acknowledge and his muzzle be stroked.  Darcy smiled and obliged, which caused Sigrun to poke his other side. 

“Patience, my pet,” Darcy said.  “I’ve got two hands, you know.”

Father Columcil approached, whistling softly to his own horse.  “He is a bit demanding of attention,” he said. 

“Aye,” Darcy replied.  “I’ve no objection.”

Darcy looked back toward the Sir Washburn, Lord Trillick and Lord Alister.  They were in deep conversation, likely considering what should be done next.  Without his input.

Darcy mentally shook himself.  There was nothing he could do about it.  “Father Columcil,” he said quietly.

“Yes my son,  the priest responded.

“When we have a chance, could I speak with you privately?”

‘Of course,” Columcil assured him. “Perhaps we have the opportunity now, while the others of our party are busy in conversation.  I’m suspect God might allow us to dispense with some of the usual formality.”
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline revanne

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #265 on: February 18, 2018, 04:45:10 pm »
Columcil traced the sign of the cross over Darcy's head and murmured the words of absolution. Darcy remained with his head bowed for a moment longer then said quietly. "Forgive me for teaching you your job Father, and I admit that it is some time since I last made my confession, but aren't you supposed to give me a penance?"

Columcil spoke in the driest voice that Darcy had yet heard him use, "You feel that your life has been too indulgent of late?" Then returning to the kindliness of the tone he had used in the sacrament they had just shared he continued, "The good Lord knows your heart my Son. I'm thinking that there's likely to be penance enough for all of us before this journey's done." Darcy lifted his head and smiled at the priest but the latter could not help but notice his sidelong look at the three nobles who still stood with their heads together in close counsel.

Suddenly a wave of anger flooded Columcil; not on his own behalf, he was content to let others lead while he mopped up the hurts where he could, but on Darcy's. While there were none other to help, the Lord and Lady had been happy enough to treat Darcy as one of their company and give him a voice, but now this young sprig from the Trillick manor had arrived it appeared that Darcy was to be dismissed back to his role as servant. Columcil admitted grudgingly to himself that the other's arrival, with his men, was timely and would make the rest of their journey, please God, easier than heretofore, and he knew well enough that once they arrived in Rhemuth they would all resume their allotted stations in life - in his own case he devotely prayed for nothing more - but though Darcy had said nothing his hurt was as tangible as a dagger thrust.

For a moment Columcil toyed with the idea of spooking young Trillick's horse as they rode out and seeing his nobility hit the dust, but sadly he dismissed that as unworthy. There was something that he could do, though it would take courage. As the three nobles finished their discussion and broke apart to give the orders for departure he went to Washburn, bowed deeply and said quietly, "My Lord, a word, if you would be so gracious."

Washburn looked shocked at the other's formality, even distressed, and Columcil realised that any slight to Darcy had been unintentional. The Lady Aliset surely too had intended no hurt and was wise to keep a distance for a while for both her and Darcy's sakes. The angry rebuke which he had been steeling himself to utter died on his lips, and he resolved on another way, although that would take even more courage. As Washburn moved aside with him he continued,

"My Lord, would you permit me to show you something?" Washburn looked puzzled for a moment then understanding dawned and the last of Columcil's anger evaporated as the young Lord trustingly laid his hand in his his own and allowed Columcil to Show him what he had seen in Darcy's face ((dice roll 6+4+3 =13, rolled advantage as they have already shared rapport 3hlbr4ft7b)). As Columcil withdrew his hand from under Washburn's and their rapport ended Washburn remained in thoughtful silence.

After a moment Columcil broke the silence and still speaking quietly said, "You are our leader, my Lord, both by birth and by your qualities, but if I can speak as a priest for a moment, Darcy has deserved better of you."
Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
    let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
    as wax melts before the fire,
    let the wicked perish before God.
(Psalm 68 vv1-2)

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #266 on: February 19, 2018, 03:35:23 pm »
Washburn had nodded at Father Columcil’s frank words. He had been so immersed in his own grievous errors that he had not seen how he had excluded a very important member of his party from the next group of decisions that need to be made. Actually, Darcy’s input was exactly what Wash needed at this moment. For Lord Jaxom and he had had differing opinions on what direction to take to get to Arx Fidei.

“Master Cameron, a moment if you would, please.” The young man was finishing the last buckle on his supply bags to the saddle. The look he gave the knight was grudging compliance. That look in itself, struck Wash for his remission in gratitude he had neglected to give the man earlier. “I did not thank you just a bit ago as I should have. I reacted too vigorously to protect a certain person in our company, only to find myself giving unintended harm. Your quick hand and dexterity kept said person from hitting the ground and for that I am most appreciative.”

“I am sworn to protect the heir of Mariot. I will not fail in my duty,” Darcy said with a stern face.

“In that regards, you are a far more successful than I am.” Washburn said with shame touching his voice. “Don’t think for a moment that I haven’t recognized this loyalty in you. And I know you will do right by the heir of Mariot, even after this journey has reached its destination.” Washburn perked up, than patted the man on the shoulder in acknowledgment of his loyalty freely given. “Now, Lord Jaxom and I are in different mindsets as how to get to Arx Fidei by the safest, fastest route. Would you wayin an opinion on the matter?” With that Wash turned to wave over Lord Jaxom.

Jaxom was just dismissing the guard Captain to return to Droghera with the prisoner and body of the accomplice. Washburn gave the captain a nod as the town guards were ready to depart. Wash was certain that justice would be swift in that town. The heir of Trillik gave his last command to the guard Captain and let them ride off. Than he walked briskly back into Washburn’s and Darcy’s presence. “Aye Sir Washburn, is the consensus that we take the main road through Cuilteine?”

“A moment on that, Lord Jaxom. First, I have been remiss in not yet introducing you to the other valuable members of my team. This young man is Master Darcy Cameron. He is ship’s officer and Navigator on board the Skjoldr. Master Cameron has impressed me at every turn with his quick thinking, and leadership skills. He was the one to organize the fire brigade back at Culdi, during the tavern fire. I presume you heard about that.”

“I did. The town constable was saying how pleased he had been that the fires were put out quickly and did not spread further. I heard something about a pale haired man leading the townsfolk that day. So then it was you Master Darcy? Well done!”

"Thank you Lord Trillick," Darcy said dipping his head in respect.

“Aye, it was him, to be sure. I was busy coughing my head off for having breathed in too much smoke.” Wash returned a gallant smile to Darcy’s grimace. Wash sobered up a little more. He still wasn’t winning Darcy over. “Now, to the business before us. Lord Jaxom, if we may have a look at that map of yours? I want Master Cameron’s opinion on the two routes available to us.”

Jaxom signaled a man to unpack the map and when he had it he passed it to Washburn. Wash unrolled it, handing one edge to Darcy while holding the other to see the full detail of the local area from Ratherkin in the upper north west corner to Rhemuth in the southeast corner.  With his free hand, Wash pointed to Droghera and then to Arx Fidei lying on the halfway point to Rhemuth. “Lord Jaxom would have us take the road to Cuilteine around these hills and then down to the lowlands here. He says there are at least two estates along the road that are loyal to the king and can be counted on to take in our numbers for the evening. For he is not certain that with our late start we will get to Arx Fidei before dark. 

"I, on the other hand, wish to avoid Cuilteine. I am thinking that it would be best to take this smaller path, here.” Wash pointed to the pass between the two hills going west. “It will allow us to reach the lowlands sooner. Although the road is almost non-existent. I am told there are only open fields and small farms all along this path. I have no qualms about sleeping under the stars tonight. But I need your opinion on this.Which direction would be best for our journey.” and for our lady he implicated looking at lord Alister. “Is the shorter distance, in the long run, the safest route or not? I know you don’t know these lands personally, but you know distances and maps far better than I. I trust your opinion on this.”


Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #267 on: February 19, 2018, 06:38:23 pm »
((No pressure here, Laurna. Aack!))

Darcy Cameron studied the map provided by Lord Jaxom carefully.  Whatever his personal feelings might be, seeing Lady Aliset to the presumed safety of Arx Fidei was his main concern.  His own pride was second.

Why did presumed come to mind?  Darcy studied the map closely. 

“Either route will work,” he said finally.  “The problem is whatever trap lies ahead of us.”

“Trap?” Lord Jaxom asked.  “Surely with the capture of these men the route is clear”

“And that might be exactly what they hope we believe.”  Darcy responded.  “Whoever they might be.” He thought for a moment longer.  They did not have time to consider every possible twist and turn.

“I must agree with Sir Washurn,” Darcy said at last.  “But we must been on our guard. It’s entirely possible that traps have been laid along both routes.”

“You are paranoid,” Lord Jaxom said. 

“I’d rather he be paranoid than careless,” Washburn responded. 

Lord Jaxom shrugged his shoulders and moved away to ready his men.

“Sir Washburn,” Darcy said in a low voice. 

“Yes?”

“Is there some Deryni way you can contact Duke Kelric?  Let him know the path we mean to take?”

“Yes,” Washburn responded.  “Though I might need Father Comucil or Lady Aliset’s help to contact him at this distance.  What troubles you?”

“Just about everything,” Darcy responded.  “Where did that third man ride off to?  The game’s afoot.  I fear we may be at the disadvantage.”

(Edited because I forgot about Feyd.  Or maybe I was trying to.)
« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 07:01:50 am by Jerusha »
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #268 on: February 21, 2018, 03:13:49 pm »
The plans for the summer royal progress to the Isle of Hort was now postponed and most likely cancelled. While His Majesty Kelson was in council determining the degree of concerns coming from their western province of Meara, Queen Araxie was in the queen’s solar in conference with her stewards and chatelaine cancelling the travel plans that had taken all spring to prepare. If the court intended now to remain in Rhemuth, all sorts of new plans and schedules had to be reorganized. Kelson was even considering a progress to Meara, which might be necessary. In his mind that would be the wisest solution to remind the Mearan people that he was their King. That plan, however, had many of his councilors offering objection. Until it was certain just what was the situation in Meara, it seemed prudent to hold firm in Rhemuth and wait to learn more. Kelson continued to stress that plans should be made ready for any contingent that might arrive.

For the non-militant members of court, all thoughts turned to how best to confront and tolerated the upcoming hottest month of the year while remaining within the main castle walls. Whatever forms of keeping the castle cool would need to be implemented. Not truly a pleasant prospect as the humidity was already threatening to make for some blistering days and unbearably warm nights.

Dowager Duchess Richenda, at an age where she found herself more susceptible to extreme temperature changes, would have preferred an easy summer spent in Coroth with its light sea breezes and afternoon rains. She had been the first, however, to implement the gathering of the Haldane/Morgan families under the protection of Rhemuth’s secure walls and their loyal retainers. There was strength in the bonding of their two families. Strength that was recognized throughout the Eleven Kingdoms. A challenge had not come in over twenty years, not since the death of Teymuraz at the hand of her husband, Duke Alaric Morgan. May his soul ever rest in peace. Richenda whispered over her hands that clutched a needle and gold metal threads which were embroidered on an exquisite set of lions and gryphons Quartered on a tunic for Prince Rhys-Alaric Haldane's coming birthday of fourteen years

The two families tight bonding came from two marriages between daughters and sons. Not only had her eldest son Kelric married the strong and vivacious Princess Araxandra back in the summer of eleven hundred and forty-five, now with six strong, healthy children to pass on Alaric Morgan’s legacy. A second surprising and equally joyful marriage occurred a few years following between Richenda’s youngest daughter, the Lady Grania, and non other than the Crown Prince of Gwynedd, Prince Javan Uthyr Richard Urien Haldane. Their marriage had occurred upon Prince Javan’s Nineteenth right-of-birth on the fifth of May in the year of our lord eleven hundred and forty- nine. Their marriage had been bound under full splendor and regalia which the proud Royal parents, Kelson and Araxie, had arranged. With four children to blessed the royal couple, Grania was again to be seen in the fullness of begetting a fifth child, a third boy by all promise of the Healers who cared for her.

So it was in the late morning hours as the castle walls warmed and the king and queen were busy with business that Richenda was grateful for the time spent with her youngest daughter Grania. Both ladies sat under the trellises covered in blossoming wisteria vines and climbing roses. The fragrances of the garden were lavish and the colors divine. Children's joyous calls and screams were pleasant to listen too here in the great outdoors, where the sound was free to escape and not reverberate as they did within the indoor rooms.

Kelric’s middle daughter, Araxelle Jehane, sat under the lattice with Grania's oldest daughter beside the other women. Their fine fingers embroidering the small flourishes around the Morgan shield and The Haldane balzon. Delicate work that Richanda was all too happy to pass on to her granddaughters. Grania's youngest daughter of three was balanced upon her moma's knee. The only girl to play with the boys was Araxelle’s younger sister, Brownwen Alyce; she was running fast circles around her younger brothers and keeping them in line, so at least Richenda hoped. Duncan Sean and Alain Anthony were in rare form, whooping it up and playing stick fighting with soft twigs they had broken out of a bush. Prince Kenneth Brion, Grania’s second boy of just five years, was right there with his cousins as the third adversary. Richenda laughed as all three boys took to chasing each other. Alian running the fastest and dodging the others attacks the quickest. Just as her youngest son had done when he was that age.

Richenda sighed. Where was that youngest son of hers now. Kelric had sent that he had not been able to make contact the night prior, after the duke had arrived at Arx Fidei. There was no word of Washburn’s contingent arriving there. Kelric had said he would turn westward in the morning to go in search of them. That youngest son of hers, was giving Richenda new worry wrinkles about her eyes. That young man knew the importance of making contact. Why had he missed it?  Richenda did not want to think of the possible reasons that could have prevented him from doing so.

“Let's play hide and seek,” Duncan Sean yelled. “Bronwenie, your it.”

“Why am I it?” the girl called with a cry.

“Because your a girl.” Duncan answered. At that Araxelle jumped up to her sister’s defense. “I’m a girl and you better all hide good, because when I find you, your going to get it.” Richenda and Grania were both shaking their heads as they watched the older girl stomp to the middle of the grass, turn her back and started counting backward from ten. The younger kids scattered to the bushes and behind the rows of blooming roses. Richenda laughed. Kelric’s middle daughter of eleven had had her Deryni training controls mostly removed and the girl knew full well how to use her senses to find her siblings and cousins, but they did not know that.

((this story bit is only half done, I will post the rest later tonight. Not enough time now as I must get ready for work.))

« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 03:38:11 am by Laurna »

Offline Demercia

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #269 on: February 22, 2018, 01:21:38 am »
((Good to see Alain is not forgotten ))
« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 09:49:30 am by Evie »
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