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Author Topic: Ghosts of the Past  (Read 20714 times)

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Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #90 on: December 21, 2017, 01:51:25 pm »
Darcy Cameron felt like he had fallen overboard into a raging sea.  Death Readings, Death-Triggers, and now the young lord he thought he was escorting to Rhemuth was a woman!

A lovely young woman from what he could see of her in her monk’s robe.  She stood beside the priest, listening to something he was saying to her.  Words of comfort, he supposed.  Darcy quickly cast his mind back over the journey he had made with her so far.  He had not done anything or said anything too inappropriate that he could recall, thank the stars.  There had been a snide remark he had made about a tavern wench, but that had been relatively mild.  Certainly, milder than if he had been with his old shipmates!  Nevertheless, the inappropriateness of the situation bothered him, much more than the death of their captive did.

Darcy had been angered by Sir Washburn’s suggestion that he could withdraw from his obligation to the lady.  He was as bound by his word as the noble knight; he had given his word to Lord Alister, and he intended to keep it; the fact that Alister was now Lady Aliset mattered not.  And he would stand in full account of any actions he had to take to get her there!

The brief flash of anger steadied him.  The sooner they got Lady Aliset back to the shelter of the church, the better.  He walked over to her and Father Columcil. “My Lord,” he said quietly, “we’d best be on our way.”

The face that turned toward him was Aliset’s.  Darcy managed a slightly awkward smile.  “If I address you incorrectly, feel free to stick me with that dagger of yours.”

Aliset managed a slight smile of her own. 

“A question,” Darcy continued after a moment’s thought.  “How certain was Oswald likely to be that you will be heading for Rhemuth?”

“Very certain,” Aliset replied.  “Why?”

Darcy sighed.  “It occurs to me, that if I knew your successful return to Rhemuth would result in my own ruin, I wouldn’t just send someone to follow you.  I’d also stage one or more ahead, to lie in wait of your progress.”

Aliset’s smile vanished.
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 #91 on: December 21, 2017, 01:59:51 pm »
The rest of the party had repaired to the church shortly after Sir Washburn's departure, Aliset dispersing the wards with practiced ease while the two men swept the ground with branches to help conceal signs of their passage.

In somber silence, they had returned to the church, Columcil and Aliset approaching it first with monk's hoods pulled up to conceal their features, and Darcy following shortly thereafter, with a brief detour to the stable to check on the horses and resume his monk's attire lest he be spotted and questioned about entering the church at such a late hour.  While Aliset and the priest waited nervously for her hired bodyguard to return, she rummaged through her small pack of healing herbs, searching for one with a calming effect that would help enable them to slip into restful sleep quickly, yet without making them too groggy to awaken suddenly should the need arise.  She certainly had no wish to drug herself and her companions into a stupor so deep they were likely to sleep through any approaching danger!  Ah, chamomile, hopefully that would serve.

Aliset pondered Darcy's earlier warning as she mixed up enough of the chamomile infusion to share with her companions, downing her own portion of it readily and leaving the rest for the others to partake of or not as they chose.  She knew she should resume her brother's form before they traveled on, but at the moment she was too fatigued and her effort to shift her features back into his was in vain ((Dice roll 4 [only one die due to total exhaustion and grief], Verification 49vwqg7021)), so she simply curled herself into a small ball within the cocoon of Alister's old cloak and fell into an exhausted sleep.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
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Offline revanne

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #92 on: December 21, 2017, 04:47:40 pm »
Another cup  of spiced wine and he would call it a night. The Deryni lord moved over to pick up the flagon from where it rested on the hearthstone - even on a summer evening it was necessary to have a fire in this benighted wilderness of Meara.  The holy protectors send that it was worth the effort, that the accursed Haldane seed which had poisoned his own ancestral home of Torenth and this would be driven from the earth.

He raised the goblet to his lips and all but all dropped it in the spasm which shook his body. A great shudder ran through him and for an instant it was as though a cold blade had cut his soul from his body. He reached out for the link which bound the man Austin to him, and found, as he had known he would, nothing. What had been done to him? Well perhaps that mattered little now, he was confident that the man would have revealed nothing, the death trigger had been set well. But he had no liking for those who damaged his tools. With great deliberation he drank, forcing back his anger. The man himself was worthless, a mere human but time and effort had gone into his training. Still, there were others on the road, though Austin had been the best.

As he drank, another thought occurred to him. His servant was dead but the amulet could perhaps still be put to another use. He refilled his goblet, to the top this time, and starred fixedly into the smooth dark surface.  As he slipped into trance he murmured "show me who holds you now" ((2+6 =8 6mp5o3sk31)). Hell and damnation! He would have known that family likeness anywhere, even cloaked and hooded as it swam up out of the darkness towards him. It was seared into the heart of all his kin. How had that accursed seed, the filthy get of Duke Alaric, become involved with the de Mariot wench? This must be the youngest of his get, Washburn. God knew how she had done it but the girl had got herself a powerful protector. Even more reason why she must be stopped. And with good luck he himself would know the moment that another of the Corwyn brood suffered and died. And this time, unlike his father's nauseatingly heroic sacrifice, it would be in vain.

"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 Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #93 on: December 21, 2017, 05:20:06 pm »
The manor house court yard was quiet. Only the pattering of rain on the cobblestones was heard. A shiver, not from his wet clothes, cascaded down Sir Washburn's spine. The cause was indiscernible as Wash dismounted before the stable. With a sense of dread, he knocked on the big barn door. Briefly he wondered if anyone was sleeping in the barn. The door did finally open, he was heartened to see a lad wrapped in his blanket looking at Wash with huge startled eyes of recognition. The boy had helped Wash saddle his horse two mornings ago. His mouth opened when he saw the body on the second horse that Wash lead into the barn, out of the rain.

“Quickly, my lad, find the steward and tell him that Sir Washburn Morgan is once more in need of his hospitality. Only this time I come with troubled news.” The boy was gone, leaving Wash to settle the horses. The body, he placed on the floor off to the side.

Twenty minutes later, Wash was standing by the fire place in the Baron’s office. He was warming his hands, which had gone numb from nerves as much as the cold. Before him, over the Baron’s desk was a portrait of a man dressed in full borderland regalia.

“That was my father,” said the old baron as he entered the room. “Lester Lord Trillick of Trillshire. He was a loyal retainer of Duke Jared McLain. Died alongside His Grace at the heathen betrayal of Llyndruth Meadows.” Lord Adam came around to look inquiringly at Sir Washburn, who still had his hood up but a bit back from his face. “I am told that you have had some difficult times since we last met and you are looking for a trusted hand to help.”

“That I am,” Washburn conceded. “I fear I bring trouble to your door.” Wash gave a partial accounting of the events over the last two days. The tavern fire. Learning of Lord Mariot’s demise and that of his son, Alister. He being followed through the day’s ride and him confronting his follower this night only to find Alister’s brooch in his bag. “The fellow threw a dagger and I wounded him with an arrow. I removed the arrow, but I fear the fellow was sorely wounded and did not survive long after. I don't even know his name. Yet, I sense there is much more to this than a greedy cousin looking for wealth.”

Wash had held the old baron’s gaze as he told of events past. Nothing he said was a lie. The baron was not Deryni but you never knew what form of Second Sight could be used by the border folk.

“That is most distressing," Lord Trillick responded when all was said. He held Washburn’s gaze a moment longer before taking a good look at the brooch with the Eagle’s head. “I recognize that.” He frowned as he took up the brooch. “The Mariot’s all dead. His Grace, Lord Dhugal, will want to know of this at once.”

“I agree. Can you please tell him all that I have told you. Also tell him that the Demoiselle De Mariot survives. She is hidden away in a safe place. She bid that I bring her distress directly before King Kelson. I fear I can not stay tonight, I must be on my way.”

“Tonight? In this weather? You are mad. Did your assailant hit you in the head?” he asked with true concern, noting Washburn’s hood still on his head. The knight before him did not answer. “That’s it, isn’t it. I forbid you to go out tonight. Duke McLain would have my title if I let anything happen to a cousin of his. Don’t deny it, he would. Your room is being prepared. In the morning I expect to see you at table. Then I will confirm if you are well enough for this journey you seem hell bent to complete.”

Wash had no choice but the spend the night in the manor house. It was far more comfort than he deserved.  In the darkness of the night, he even attempted to contact Aliset.

((roll 5 & 6 Success at last Verification Number: 22r4230spj  Jerusha your dice are helping :D))

“Lady Aliset, I know you are tired. I want you to know All will be well, This particular trouble is done with. I will be with you in the morning. So please get your sleep and break your morning fast with a hardy meal. We will leave for Rhemuth together after.”
« Last Edit: December 21, 2017, 08:09:52 pm by Laurna »

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #94 on: December 22, 2017, 10:00:43 am »
Darcy Cameron awoke as the first faint light of morning seeped around the shuttered window of the room.  He has slept light, as was his usual habit, but he felt surprisingly refreshed.  The tea Lady Aliset had provided must have done the trick.  He touched the sword he had carefully positioned beside him.  Thank goodness it had been a quiet night.

He sat up and rubbed a hand along his jaw.  Fortunately, the pale, fine hair of his beard was hard to notice.  Or unfortunately, the pale, fine hair of his beard was hard to notice.  It depended on your point of view.

Darcy rose, sheathed his sword and looked around the room.  The door did not have a lock, so he had positioned himself across the doorway.  Father Columcil lay rolled in his cloak on one side of the room, and Lady Aliset lay curled up in her brother’s cloak along the other side.  It was good to have the priest with them under the circumstances.

Lady Aliset awoke, lay still for a moment, then suddenly sat up. 

“Good morning, my Lady,” Darcy said quietly and moved to open the shutters to let in some light.

“Good morning, Master Darcy.” 

Lady Aliset looked rested, but Darcy could see the sadness that lingered around her eyes.  He moved back toward the door, but stopped along side the sleeping priest and kicked his foot.  “Up, slug-a-bed….”

The priest jumped to his feet, grabbed his staff and aimed for Darcy’s head.

Darcy, more by instinct than conscious thought, had moved as quickly, drawing his sword.  If Columcil missed his head, his blade was positioned to thrust upward deep into the priest’s chest.

Both men froze where they stood, eyeing each other warily.

“Master Darcy!  Father Columcil!  Desist!”  Aliset said urgently, though keeping her voice quiet enough to not be heard outside the room.  “You’ll be of no service to me if you kill each other!”

The two men continued to look at each other, neither moving.

“Beg pardon,” Darcy finally said. “It was stupid of me.”

“Aye, it was,” Columcil replied.  He lowered his staff as Darcy sheathed his sword.  “Let us perform our ablutions in the common area and allow Lady Aliset her privacy.”

Darcy nodded and moved to open the door.  “You first, Father.  I’ll stand watch outside the door until you return.”

“Agreed.” Columcil walked out the door, and Darcy followed, closing the door behind him.

Aliset realized she had been holding her breath.  She let it out slowly in a long sigh.  Men!
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 #95 on: December 22, 2017, 05:07:00 pm »
Aliset swiftly freshened up and changed into Alister's spare clothing under her monk's robes, which she hoped to be able to shed before too much longer.  She felt much more refreshed than she had the night before.  Gazing into the polished metal of her dagger which would have to serve for a mirror, she focused on transforming back into her brother's image.

((dice roll 5 + 6, v#1fv1d02xqk))

Her features shifted into the beloved form. Aliset stifled a twinge of grief at the sight and finished packing her few belongings.
"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 Evie

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #96 on: December 22, 2017, 11:18:02 pm »
((And meanwhile, in a castle only a three days' ride from our brave and hardy adventurers....))

In the window seat of her bower she sat like a bird in a gilded cage, watching the sun rise above the distant foothills that separated the borderland of Meara from the lowlands of Gwynedd barely visible in the distance even at this height.  She sighed, wishing for a moment she really were a bird.  If she were, she could fly through the window to freedom!

There were those among her people who would say she had little to complain about, here in her sumptuously appointed quarters with loyal subjects to wait upon her hand and foot. Such had not always been the case, of course.  She had spent most of her young life in hiding, afraid to come to the attention of the wrong people, those loyal to Kelson Haldane who might wish to see her dead for little more than the sheer accident of her birth and birthright.  She had not sought this destiny, and at times it frightened her, but it had come to her nonetheless.

Sidana Caitrin Annalind Ithelianne de Paor, Queen of Meara (or so those loyal to the ancient House of Quinnell called her, at any rate, for her late mother Ithelwen had herself sprung from that royal bloodline by right of her father, the late Prince Ithel) turned from the leaded glass to lean against the tapestry at her back. She knew without looking at it what it portrayed--God knew she had spent enough hours in this chamber being tutored on her family history!  It had been embroidered by her mother, God rest her soul, and completed not long before her final lying-in before the birth of her brother Llewellyn Brice Sicard. 

The tapestry showed a young Prince Ithel as he'd looked on the occasion of his knighting, when he'd captivated the heart of a young lass named Amalie. His courtship of her had been ardent, and although Amalie knew his mother, Queen Caitrin of blessed memory, had higher ambitions for her son and heir, Ithel soon won her over with clandestine wooing and promises that his love for her was true.  He had given her a token of his love--a ring with a stone as blue as a mountain lake--which he put on her finger the day she finally gave herself to him.

Then war had come to Meara, and Ithel had been plucked away in the flower of his youth, never having had a chance to wear the crown that rightfully should have been his.  But Amalie had blossomed with his child by then, a child he would never live to know about, much less see.  That had been for the best at the time, Amalie came to realize, for had young Ithelwen's existence become known to Kelson's armies, she likely would have been slain as well. 

Ithelwen had eventually ripened to marriageable age, her secret heritage still a closely guarded secret, but at last she found a man she trusted enough to confide in, for if she would share his bed and hearth, she would not have him ignorant of her true identity. Brioc de Paor could well empathize--the tyrant of Gwynedd had also claimed the life and lands of his own father in the same war.  They had lost the Barony of Trurill, their land and means of livelihood, which Kelson Haldane had given to another man who had treacherously sided with Gwynedd during the war for Mearan independence.  Brioc was the last remaining son of that ancient line; he would gladly serve the last true heiress to the House of Quinnell.

And so he had, although his service to Ithelwen had been cut short by her death by childbed fever shortly after young Llewellyn's birth.  Sidana barely remembered her younger brother.  She had only been five when he was born, and he had succumbed to a fever as well before he could walk.  For weeks, their father Brioc had been a shell of his former self, his hopes and dreams for Meara shattered with the loss of his son and heir.  But then his attention turned to his daughter, now Meara's true Queen.  For the past decade, he had watched and waited, slowly and carefully drawing allies to their cause, not yet ready to tip their hand and reveal themselves and their intentions to the Haldane tyrant.  But at last they were nearly ready to make their move, with the assistance of powerful allies from a distant land with an equally deep resentment of Kelson Haldane.  He had found her a Deryni husband who would champion her cause in ways that even Brioc, with his merely human blood, could not.

Though nearly twice her fifteen years, Grand Duke Valerian Tiberios Hogan Marek Phourstanos of Byzantyun was an undeniably handsome man in the prime of his life. She could count herself fortunate in that, at least.  Though something about his manner chilled the blood at times; she had seen flashes of temper in his eyes and a coldness about his expression that made her fiercely glad he was an ally and not her enemy.  He had vowed himself to her service as her father looked on proudly, although he had stopped short of a betrothal just yet.  That, he said, they could discuss once Meara was free and she could sit upon the throne openly.  Then together they would support his brother Iskander's claim to the Throne of Gwynedd.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2017, 12:37:37 am 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 Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #97 on: December 23, 2017, 02:59:16 am »
What a stupid idea to shave a tonsure upon his head.

Wash cursed under his breath in the pre-morning candlelight. He considered the best way to remove it was to shave his whole head and let all his hair grow out the same length. On this morning, however, that would be a little difficult to explain to his host. "Uncle Duncan," he whispared to the paternal figure who was here only in his imagination. "for this reason, more than any other, I could never make my vows to the church." He laughed to himself. “Well, that is not the most important reason,” he said more loudly. That more important reason was an unmentionable. Very different from this bald spot on the center of his head, a reason which he and Archbishop Duncan could joke about for years to come.

How he hoped he and Uncle Duncan would soon be joking about it.  Ever since that assassin's death, he felt an uneasiness; like the man’s ghost was haunting him. He would ask Baron Trillick to be sure the body was properly buried. Soberly Wash settled to the difficulty of the morning. Could he work the magic of a little illusion. He stared into the candle flame and focused his energies.   

(( 1d6 Disadvantage with Focus(4,5,or 6 would succeed in the illusion)  Rolled- 2- failed. Ummm--- Revanne--- take those #2 dice back out of the dice pool, please. I much preferred Jerusha’s #6 dice. LOL))

Such a simple illusion. He thought he knew how Aliset had done it, yet he could not get even this right. A deep sigh past his lips. He could not go down to break his fast with the baron with his hood up. He certainly did not want to explain the tonsure. Wash pulled out from his bags his woolen arming cap. His host might find it a crude form of morning attire. At least it was less of a lie than winding a bandage around a head injury he did not have.  That problem resolved, Wash found parchment and quill on the guest room desk. He wetted the quill with his tongue and wrote a short missive under the flickering glow of candlelight. 

To His Grace the Duke of Cassan,

My Lord Duke, I write to you about a most serious matter that came to the Duke of Cowryn’s attention, and one that I am deeply ensconced within. Events are such that I can not come to you in person to explain, nor can I put them down in full upon this page. What I ask of you is to seriously consider the matters of Lord Oswald, the newly self-made Baron of Caer Mariot. His actions are an offense unto the loyalties of those who live within your protection. His offenses are great and criminal being the cause of the deaths of the father and the son of Caer Mariot.  The daughter survives, and is in the best place of protection that can be managed at this time. It would be wise if you are able to look into the heart of this matter.

Your cousin
Sir Washburn Alaric Cynfyn Morgan


Wash signed with the flourish of his full name. He folded the parchment, soften a stick of sealing wax in the flame then pushed his Lendour ring into a drip of wax. He thought long about adding a message to the seal, but he stopped himself. If someone could place such a Death Trigger in their minion than breaking a concealed message might be in that person's power. Best to not take that chance.

Daylight was starting, Washburn was anxious to be away. He gathered his things then walked down the the great hall. His coming the night before obviously had repercussions. The household was up much earlier this day then it had been three days prior. The baron was already at table, anticipating his guest’s needs to be away quickly.

Wash gave the man a sincere greeting. “I am indebted to you for this last night. May I trust that that which I brought in is being duly dealt with.”

“It has been.” the Baron stated. “You appear refreshed, better than last night, I dare say. Do you still mean to carry through to Rhemuth. Can I not dissuaded you; will you not go to the Duke of Cassan instead.”

“Three days to Transha or five days to Rhemuth, the road to Rhemuth will be far easier in this weather. I do have a letter which I desire you to send by courier to His Grace, along with whatever other message you desire to send. I trust you will see it through.”

“Yes, of course.” He accepted the folded parchment.  “The man you brought in has been looked over and viewed by several of my retainers.” ((2d6 roll 3 & 2 failure Verification Number: 78pklsl856)) The baron shock is head, “No one recognizes him. I am sorry, I have not helped you learn his identity.” The Baron then returned the brooch he had received from Wash the night before. “This has absolved you from wrong doing. I presume you will want to keep it to show to the King.”

“Yes, my lord. It is also the token of a lost friend; I do wish to keep it.” Wash took the brooch and sadly folded it away inside his tunic near his heart. For a short time he nibbled on some offered bread and meat rolls but then time seemed pressing and he turned his attention back to his host. “I thank you for this and all that you have done. It is not my desire to shorten my stay here, but I fear I have little time to accomplish my task. May I ask pardon of you for my early departure.”

The old baron looked him up and down, concern upon his features. “I don’t like it!” he blurted, “My son returns this afternoon, will you not wait so that he could accompany you. You should not go alone.” It was a generous offer. In normal circumstances, Wash would be remiss to not accept. However, nothing about the last two days was normal.

“A most gracious offer, my lord. But I daren’t delay. Please give me your blessing, and I will be away at once.”

Washburn was the brother of a powerful duke and a favored knight of the realm. Baron Trillick would not say against him. “May you find your way swiftly and safely,” the old man said with a nod allowing the knight to depart. 
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 03:19:37 am by Laurna »

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #98 on: December 23, 2017, 06:30:36 pm »
Darcy Cameron rose from the table well satisfied.  The meal provided to break their fast had been simple but filling.  Fresh course bread, cheese and an ale that was surprisingly good.  In truth, he had needed a good meal.

But he was anxious to leave.  The thought that others might be waiting ahead to delay or end their journey was not comforting.  They needed to wait for Sir Washburn; if danger lay ahead, and he had no doubt that it did,  it was best to keep their number intact.

“Ah, Brother,” said a voice behind him.

Darcy turned to see the church’s priest approaching.

“I wonder where the other member of your party is?” the priest asked.  “You arrived with four horses, but I am told only three are in the barn this morning.”

Darcy resisted his initial impulse to flash a winning, innocent smile.  It would not do.  He kept his eyes lowered, trusting the hood of his robe to keep his face in shadow.  He tucked his hands into the opposing sleeves of his robe.

“Our brother was tasked with an errand to fulfil,” Darcy said meekly.
 
“An errand?” the priest questioned.

“He did not confide the details to me.”

“I see,” the priest said.  “God go with you, Brother.”

Darcy inclined his head and waited for the priest to move on.  As soon as he could quietly move away, Darcy looked to find Father Columcil.  He stood alone, seemingly lost in thought.

“We need to leave sooner than later,” Darcy said to the priest when he reached him.

Columcil gave him a questioning look.  “We need to wait for Sir Washburn.”

“Aye, we do.  But I hope he comes soon.  The local priest take too much note of us.”

“Does he?”

“He notes the number of horses left in the shed.  That is not a casual interest.”

“Let us hope Sir Washburn arrives soon.  I agree, we need to be on our way.” 
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 #99 on: December 23, 2017, 11:21:19 pm »
A monk on a black horse rode into the church courtyard coming at it from the main village road. His hood was partially back exposing gold/blond hair combed forward and part of a tonsure. He turned his horse full around giving a cursory look at everything around him. He was noticed by several people. Mostly villagers coming to the church for early morning service. There was one man in priestly attire that watched him more closely than the others from the main church door.  Wash nodded to him from where he sat, but he did not dismount. Rather instead he folded his hands in his sleeves and bowed his head to wait. It was not a long wait. His companions had been looking out for him.  Their traveling gear was already tied to the back of their horse's saddles. Without appearing hasty and without a word, they mounted up.

The four monks rode out of Trillshire Village without a glance back. They didn’t need to turn back to feel the priest gaze stay on their backs until they were well out of view.

“I am setting the pace today. It will be much faster than yesterday's travel. Don’t fall behind.  If we must stop, give me fair warning so I can find us a safe place to make a break.” With that Washburn took the lead. Surprisingly, Father Colmucil fell in beside him. Master Darcy and Sir Alister came up together close behind.

Offline Evie

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #100 on: December 26, 2017, 03:13:47 pm »
Aliset waited until they were well beyond the village before she maneuvered her horse alongside Sir Washburn's.  "My Lord," she whispered as softly as she could, not certain if she could manage to Mind-Speak with the newly-met Deryni Lord without physical contact yet. "Do you still have that amulet our stalker was wearing?"

He shot her an inquiring glance.  "I do," he affirmed.  "Why?"

Aliset gave him an uneasy look. "I have a feeling we ought to destroy it sooner rather than later. Maybe not immediately, if you think we're being followed, but as quickly as can be arranged.  It might require magical effort to destroy, and it might take a little time. I somehow doubt something as easy as simply burning or burying it will suffice."

Washburn nodded with a heavy sigh. "No, nothing is ever that easy, is it?"  He slanted a humorless grin at her.

"I'm afraid this won't be, at least."  Aliset gave him an apologetic smile and dropped back to join Darcy Cameron.  "Would you cover me, Master Darcy? I don't dare try to conceal our passage like I did yesterday because that took way too much of my energy, but I'm going to reach out with my senses for just a moment to see if I can tell if anyone is following us. It should only take a few moments, but I will have my entire focus on the task at hand, so I'll need you to be my eyes and ears and ready to bring me back to the present immediately if need be, if we should come under attack while my attention is elsewhere."

Darcy gave their surroundings an uneasy glance and nodded his understanding and agreement with her plan.

((Dice roll 5 and 1, v#1ddn73bzgd for being able to sense if there are followers.  Second d6 roll to see if there were any nearby followers.  1-3=Yes, 4-6=No.  Rolled a 4.  V#1w3x0ss86l.))

Aliset centered herself and went into a deep trance, extending her Deryni senses.  After a few long moments, she opened her eyes, giving Darcy a reassuring smile.  "Wherever our pursuers are, there are none in our immediate area, I can sense that much. I'll let Sir Washburn know."  Darcy smiled back, but continued to keep a watchful gaze on their surroundings nonetheless as Aliset nudged her horse forward again to inform the knight who headed up their small party.
"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 #101 on: December 26, 2017, 04:32:34 pm »
Grand Duke Valerian Tiberios Hogan Marek Phourstanos of Byzantyun’s handsome features were distorted by his scowl of frustration.  The presence of the amulet he had given MacInnes was still strong, but it showed him nothing but darkness.  Perhaps it was being carried inside a pouch or saddle bag. He could sense movement, but nothing more.  He set aside the shiral crystal he had been holding.

Very well, then, it was time to bring another pawn into play.  With luck, he would be able to eliminate the cursed Sir Washburn Morgan.  If not, he should at least be able to slow them down, perhaps enough for Lord Oswald to intercept them.
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 #102 on: December 28, 2017, 03:16:03 pm »
The priest of the Church at Trillshire had been told but little of what was afoot and he was content to have it that way. What a man did not know he could not be made to tell, and with so many accursed Deryni in the midst of honest folk that was how it must be. His father had been one of Sicard MacArdry's men, but had escaped with his life from the scene of his master's murder. The Haldane had been inclined to mercy for the men-at-arms but if he had expected gratitude he had been sorely mistaken. His father had bowed his knee to save his life, but he had not forgotten nor forgiven the cold-blooded shooting down of his lord, and his heart would not bow to the usurper. His old loyalty he had kept locked in that same heart and he had passed it on, unabated, to his sons.

As far as the priest at Trillshire was concerned the offence had been worsened by the open admission of Deryni to the priesthood, and the advancement given to these spawn of Satan, while honest human priests, such as he, mouldered away in poverty. His father had told him how the accursed Duncan McLain had been saved by the magic of his equally accursed son. The one was now Archbishop of Rhemuth and his bastard son the Duke of Cassan. How long, O Lord, How long?

The priest watched the four men -monks they of a surety were not!- ride out along the road,  then, realising that he had allowed himself to be lost in his anger, strode back towards the stables, calling for his servant.

"Prepare to ride out within the hour! There is a message I need you to take to the Rose and Crown Inn at Culdi. Hand it straight to the landlord,  none other mind. You've kin in Culdi, I believe." As the other nodded the priest continued, "Good. Take a few days leave to visit, while you are there." That should help to cover tracks if the watchers themselves were being watched.
"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 Evie

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #103 on: December 29, 2017, 10:29:56 am »
"Enter!"  Grand Duke Valerian glanced up from the map before him to look briefly at the person entering the room as the door opened.  He nodded in brief acknowledgement of the man's deeper bow before returning his attention to the map before him.

"I have a task for you," he told his minion.  "Lady Aliset and her companions have managed to eliminate Austin and have shaken off pursuit for the moment." He shook his head. "Oswald's men seem an incompetent lot.  I expect better from you."  Tracing a fingertip along the main route towards Rhemuth, he added, "Thus far, the lady's party has been traveling  more or less along this road, with occasional detours to shake off pursuit, but it's one of the few routes through the Mearan highlands. Once they hit lower country here"--he indicated a spot with his fingertip--"their route options will be more open." Lifting a necklace chain over the map, he closed his eyes, focusing his thoughts on the amulet in Sir Washburn's bag, and allowed the pendant to hang a few inches over the parchment, giving it a spin with the flick of one finger.  ((Dice roll 3 + 6, v#7qxdt6911v))  As it slowly stopped spinning and began to swing towards a particular point on the map, he stabbed it with his fingertip.  "At the moment, they are here."   

Looking back up at his minion, he said.  "You will need to intercept them before they reach the lowlands. Once they reach flat land, it will be harder to predict their route and set up an ambush.  I have men situated further ahead on the trail, but I want you to come up from this side." He indicated a short cut that was less easily traversed, but which would cut quite a few miles off the journey for a single rider traveling at high speed.  "Ensure that they are not able to simply double-back and find some way around the surprise I have in store for them. Is that clear, Master Owain?"

"As crystal, Your Grace. Consider it done."

One corner of Valerian's lips twisted upwards in what might have been a smirk or perhaps the ghost of a smile. "I will consider it done once it's actually done, and not before."  He surveyed the man before him. "Succeed in this task, and you will be rewarded amply.  Fail me in this, and it will be the last time you ever fail me. Is that clear?"

Owain swallowed hard, but met his master's eyes bravely. "I shall not fail you, my prince. Nor my young mistress."

"Your Queen, you mean. Her Majesty of Meara."

"Aye, Your Grace!  For Meara and Her Majesty!"  The minion bowed.  Grand Duke Valerian returned the reverence with a cool smile.

"For Meara and Her Majesty," he echoed.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #104 on: December 29, 2017, 01:44:22 pm »
Their canter was invigorating. Up and down through the rolling Culdi Highlands, the four riders rode a swift steady pace, sinking their weight deep in the heels of their stirrups and letting their horses have their heads. It was a test run. Washburn needed to know the abilities of his companions. He was far better pleased with each of them than he had first given them credit.

At noon, the sun peeked out for the first time that day through scattering clouds. A breeze was picking up from the west. It was not felt in the wooded valleys but as they broached the more barren landscapes across the hill tops they felt it flip their monks robes to the side. At least it helped alleviate the humidity of midsummer.  One last run down the hill to where a creek sided the road with a patch of trees on the far bank. Wash raised his hand to slow, bringing all of them back to a panting walk. As agreed upon with lady Aliset, he took his turn to cast out for pursuers or persons nearby.

((2d6 3 & 5 Verification Number: w28z0m87lv))

They were alone on the road and no one followed them. Relieved Wash lead his group across the creek and up on the far bank.  Once under the tree cover, he let his fellow riders take a moment to breath.

“That was a good morning passing,” the young lord complemented his companions with a node. “The faster we our out of the highlands the better off we will be. I recon by evening we will meet the fork where the road from Ratherkin joins ours. From there we will have our choice to continue on to Cuiltiene or to cut across the farmlands to find our own path toward Arx Fidei. I won’t look for a hard run the rest of this day, but if the horses can keep a fast walk with an occasional canter, we will shave a day off our time.”

Wash dismounted, lead his horse to the creek to drink, and took a cloth from his bag to dampen and wipe the sweat from his horse's neck and flank. The animal took the moment to recuperate.

Lord Alister came up beside him, doing the same. The reminder of a friend lost was momentary, the concern to keep his sister alive was foremost in Washburn's mind. “Lady Aliset, I have been thinking about the best way to eliminate this amulet I carry. Twice today I have felt a shadow come over my heart and I know that it is from this thing. Whether someone is scrying us with success or not, I can not tell. Someone is trying to pinpoint our location.” He hesitated for a moment with his hand over the pouch. “We"--he emphasis the word--"dare not touch the thing; I even fear bringing it out into the daylight. When I first looked upon it, I could see it was a polished blue/red crystal named a jerraman crystal. It can hold any number of spells. Just being in proximity to it could be devastating.” Wash took in a deep breath. “You likely would not have heard the story about my Aunt Bronwyn.... It was a sad tale, when I first heard it from my father’s lips. It does not lose it’s sadness in the repeated times it has been told to me. Lady Bronwyn and her fiance Kevin died on the the day before their wedding from a crystal such as this. It had had a love spell sorely set by a witch for an architect who would win lady Bronwyn over from her true love.” Wash took another breath-- there were only a few stories that he recalled his father saying, but this was one he remembered the tones of his father’s words and the grief that these words held.

“For that reason, I have had my shields up against this thing most of the day. I agree we need to find a way to be rid of it. I am almost thinking we should take the time to do it now. And then ride through the night. Or wait until nightfall to do it? I should have used that ward you set last night to do it. I am a fool,” he finally admitted to her.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 03:35:38 am by Laurna »

 

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