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Author Topic: Ghosts of the Past  (Read 27509 times)

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Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #225 on: February 09, 2018, 04:38:22 am »
Wash was disappointed in himself. Not so much for the failure to heal, for he wasn’t even certain that gift had passed on to him from his father. Although, he still held hopes that it was there. He was disappointed in his failure to protect those who trusted him to get them safely to Rhemuth. So many of his small tasks had been failures, at least from his point of view.  He was so fortunate to have such trustworthy persons in his company to cover for his lapses. At every turn, for four days there seemed to always be something hindering his progress. He didn’t believe in luck, per say. He believed in hard work and practice. Repetition, in theory, should allow an outcome to become predictable, and not a providence of luck.

The three people with him were good people. They weren’t the type to use his lapses for their own gain. To gossip behind his back or to abuse his rank to get what they wanted. They would never voice their disappointment. Yet, in subtle ways, he knew he wasn’t coming up to the expectations that they needed him to meet. The more he failed, the more the others seemed to  strengthened their own barriers to kept their own council. Wash did not fault any of them for doing that, it was just that getting out of Droghera, had its own difficulties. Trying to lead four independent souls to openly trust one another to get out safely was going to end in either stupendous success or utter failure. And it seemed only luck held the answer.

Failure was not an option, he told himself

Aliset had left to see to a few chores. Darcy had shadowed her out of the infirmary. Wash knew they were headed toward the nunnery stables and he let them go. Darcy would see to Aliset’s safety. Columcil meanwhile had closed down to Wash, he was upset and understandably so. He didn’t think anyone trusted him. The truth was, neither Wash nor Darcy would be leaving Aliset behind if they didn’t trust him. And he needed the priest to understand that. “Father, I well know that you have had my back since we first meet. You have helped me in far more matters than I have been able to offer back. Not the least of which, you have saved my life. I want you to know, I trust Lady Aliset to your care. The lady... well... she is an independent soul... I am starting to believe that of most Deryni women. My faith tells me that you are able to protect her in our absence.

Columcil nodded.  “I appreciate that, if you mean it.”

“I do,” Washburn affirmed. His hand grasped the priest’s shoulder in confirmation.

Perhaps this didn’t solve all that was troubling Father Columcil, but it did some good at least in the man’s outward facial expressions.

“Now, if I can just get Darcy to allow a little magic in that damnable tunnel. Do you think he will balk at handfire?”

“After everything else he has just seen?” the good Father returned.

“Damn,” Wash jumped up. “Aliset went to do her magic on the horses and I allowed Darcy to follow her, not thinking of the consequences.” One more lapse to add to all the others, which could push luck to the unfavorable side.

Wash raced out of the infirmary, over to the side door of the barn. Darcy was standing there, his eyes open wide, his face pale, the color of his hair. Yet, he could not look away. Aliset was patting the neck of a horse, a horse Wash had never seen before, a horse in the place where he had left Shadow. She is good. Wash thought, but he had to distract Darcy before the man saw more than he could handle. “Ah, there you are my friend. Are you ready to join me to stake out a good spot in the woodlands to watch everyone leave the town gates in the morning. I want to be well positioned before any of Oswald's men can move in.” Wash had stepped before Darcy to cover the lady’s exit from the barn.

“Yes, if you still think this is the best plan.” the seaman asked unsure.

“I am open if you have a better solution,” Wash said honestly.  He stepped aside now that Aliset had left the main barn door and could not be seen from their particular vantage point. “You have to admit she creates an excellent illusion. It is just illusion, you know. Just a trick to confuse the eye. Not black magic or anything.” Wash caught a glimpse of the illusionary Darcy that had been Aliset walking toward the guest house. The real Father Columcil joined him and the two entered the building and closed the door. It was some relief that the real Darcy had not seen that, at least Wash hoped he had not just seen himself walking away.

Wash flashed a key that was on a chain about his neck. “I would be honored if you would join me in a path through the underworld of Droghera. Truth is that I welcome your company in a place I would rather not walk alone.”

Darcy doubted the knight was claustrophobic, yet he did sense there were some truth to the knight’s words. Odd that he could sense that.  But then that second sight was something he knew he could trust. Just not all this magic, illusionary or not.

They walked together to a small supply room at the back of the infirmary. Wash pushed back a stack of crates revealing a narrow panel in the wall with a small hole above head height. Wash inserted his key into the hole. The panel slid free and opened to a blackness within. The knight walked in first, he started to cup his hands to make handfire. He saw Darcy’s eyes open in recognition and therefore changed his action to reach for a torch held in a bracket next to the opening. With a snap of his fingers the torch lit with a small flame.  The real flame brightened and the small room behind the wall was illuminated with a slight wave of the flame from a breeze. That was good, it meant there was movement of air where they intended to go. He handed the torch to Darcy. “Shall I led or would you like to be the one who proves there is no village Troll down here. It’s a jest only, honestly!” he said quickly, regretting his last words.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 02:05:50 pm by Laurna »

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #226 on: February 09, 2018, 10:08:51 am »
Darcy Cameron accepted the torch from the tall Lendour knight.  He had to admit the last bit of magic he had just seen had merit.  It didn’t help the sick feeling in the pit of his stomach though.  Darcy swallowed.

“I’ll go first,” he said.  “You can see around my back better than I’ll be able to see around yours.”  Darcy moved past Washburn and went through the doorway.  “But if there is a troll, don’t block my path back out of here.”

Darcy held the torch far enough ahead to illuminate the steep stairs leading down from the door.  The light it cast flickered a bit, casting eerie shadows on the damp walls.  Darcy hoped they wouldn’t find water at the bottom.  His foot slipped a bit on the next stair; he reached out to the rock wall to steady himself.

“Careful,” he warned Washburn.  “Some of these are slippery.”

The reached the bottom of the stairs without further mishap.  The torch continued to flicker, indicated there was still a flow of air at this level.  Darcy took a moment to survey the surroundings before moving forward.

A fair-sized tunnel had been carved into the rock, wide enough for a man to move through carrying supplies and high enough that Washburn only had to stoop slightly.  It stretched forward into darkness.  He moved forward, and Washburn followed him. 

Darcy was straining all his senses to help him navigate through the darkness.  It looked like there was something large looming ahead; Darcy hoped the tunnel wasn’t blocked.  Something skittered past his boot.

‘What was that?” Washburn asked.

‘I’m not sure,” Darcy responded.  “Probably a rat.”

“I don’t like rats,” Washburn muttered.

“Better than trolls.”

They continued forward.  It was darker here, Darcy noticed.  Perhaps there was a turn ahead.  He started to touch the wall with his free hand, then snatched it back before touching the spider that lingered there.  He moved on.

“Jesu!” he exclaimed, coming to a dead stop and almost dropping the torch.  Washburn collided against his rigid back.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, grasping the smaller man’s shoulder to steady himself.

In answer, Darcy raised his torch higher. 

Before them was a solid chunk of rock, evidently too hard to cut through.  Some long-dead miner had taken the time to carve the outline of a large troll on it.  A bit of crystal in the rock looked like a single glowing eye in the light of the flickering torch.

Darcy let go of the breath he was holding.  “This is not funny,” he finally said.

Washburn, who had also taken a moment or two to recover, looked at it carefully.  “Someone did a good job on this. They must have meant it to frighten, maybe as a warning.”

“That’s not helpful, Sir Washburn!”

‘Sorry.  Want me to take the lead?”

Darcy shook his head.  “Nay, let’s just hope there isn’t worse ahead.”

There was a turn in the tunnel, probably to avoid the large rock.  Darcy squared his shoulders and moved forward.

 
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 #227 on: February 09, 2018, 01:24:04 pm »
Aliset studied her reflection in her polished brass mirror with a critical eye.  Master Darcy's face stared back at her. She turned towards Columcil.

"Should I wear the leather cap pulled completely over Master Darcy's hair or not?" she asked.

"Hm. That depends." The priest tilted his head to study the illusory features before him. "Do we want to draw our enemies off Sir Washburn's and the real Master Darcy's trail and divert them into following us instead, or were you rather hoping to slip out of town entirely unnoticed?"

"Ah, good point."  With a whispered word and a wave of her finger, Aliset altered her appearance slightly to conceal the gleaming silvery-blond hair completely, also changing the familiar cap's color while she was at it.  That was easily enough managed.  Turning to look back at the priest, she asked, "How's that?"

Columcil studied her with a slight frown.  "Well, you look less like Darcy now, but on the other hand it occurs to me, if our enemies think we're still in Droghera after we've made our escape, won't they grow impatient with trying to wait us out and come in looking for us instead? I'd hate for them to sack the town thinking we're still here! Maybe we shouldn't try to hide who we are after all."

Aliset nearly threw her mirror at him in exasperation.  "Well, I can hardly disguise us and not disguise us at the same time, now can I?  And don't you think they might still wonder where the other half of our company is?  Besides, how many pursuers do you think are actually hunting for us? Not enough to sack the entire village, surely!  Even if Droghera has a few Mearan sympathizers, these are their friends, families, and neighbors we're talking about."

Columcil looked chagrined. "Well, all right, you have a point. Probably there aren't that many enemies looking for us anyway, though it certainly feels that way, when you're the prey."

Aliset only half heard him, suddenly considering another notion. What if there was some way to be disguised yet not wholly unrecognizable?  After all, she didn't wish any repercussions to fall on the villagers of Droghera either, and even though she figured a wholesale reprisal against those who had been kind enough to shelter them was unlikely, perhaps there was some way to slip past watchful eyes with just enough alterations in their appearance to make their pursuers doubt it was actually them leaving, but still retain enough similarities to their true forms that they might belatedly realize those they were seeking were no longer in Droghera?  It would be a tricky balance, but perhaps not impossible.

"Do you have any secular clothing, Father?"

Columcil shrugged.  "Well, I'm wearing breeches and a jerkin under my cassock. I suppose I could just leave the cassock off and put it in my travel bag."

"Good, good...."  Aliset studied him carefully.  "Perhaps I could make your hair appear completely gray also, and...oh, hang on for a moment...."  Rummaging through her bag for Alister's old clothing, she drew out a russet wool hood.  "That could work. Even if it gets too hot at midday to wear the hood over your head, it's an article of clothing our pursuers wouldn't be looking for on you."  Looking up, she asked, "Would you mind looking a little older than you actually are?"

The priest's lips twitched in a hint of a smile. "You're asking permission to make me gray beyond my years? Seems to me this adventure is already doing a good enough job of that without additional help, but if you think that will help...."

Aliset laughed, tracing an oval in the air around his face and murmuring the words to the familiar spell.

((12:47   EvieAliset   Rolling for casting illusion on Columcil
12:48   EvieAliset   !roll 2d6
12:48   derynibot   3, 5 == 8 ))

Columcil's hair appeared to turn steely gray. With an additional tracing of her finger, she also added another couple of inches to its length before deciding she was satisfied with his changed appearance.

As she turned to repack her other items in her bag, Columcil removed his cassock and packed it away in his own, then donned the borrowed hood. When Aliset looked back up, she smiled at the difference the small changes to his usual wardrobe and appearance had made.  "I think that works.  Hopefully we're just enough changed that no one will think twice about our departure until after the fact, once they realize there haven't been any sightings of us in the village in some time.  Between that and the story being put about that I'm still in the infirmarium, having suffered some sort of relapse, I think it might be another day or two before our pursuers put two and two together and realize we've slipped out from under their noses. And then, even if they do remember two merchants leaving this morning who might possibly have been us in disguise, we'll be long gone, and they'll still have doubts because there would still be two of us unaccounted for." She sighed. "Let's hope the ruse works, anyway. I really don't know what else we can try."

The two of them gathered their belongings and headed out to the stables, Columcil coming to a dead stop just before they reached the door, reaching out to put a hand on her arm, stopping her in her tracks as well.

"What's wrong?" she asked, casting out with her senses to see if she could detect some nearby foe whose presence he might have sensed before her, but if there was such an enemy close by, she felt no sign of him.

I just realized, he Mind-Spoke, you've changed Shadow's appearance already, haven't you?

Yes, Aliset replied. What of it?

Well....  The priest blushed.  He's a large horse, Shadow. What does he look like now?

A dun mare, Aliset replied.  Why, is that a problem?

I don't know.  Maybe you ought to change him back, at least until I can mount him.  Or should I lead him? I could ride Spean instead and just lead Shadow, if that would be easier....

Aliset stared at him, puzzled. I don't suppose it matters which one you ride, though if we end up coming under attack despite all our precautions, wouldn't you rather be riding the horse that is battle-trained?

Well, yes, but . . . won't anyone watching us ride away think it strange if I'm hovering several inches above what looks to them to be a smaller horse?  And how would I even mount him? Not knowing how high his back actually is, what if I accidentally kick him....

It was all Aliset could do not to burst out laughing.  I've made him look different to others, Father! I've not turned him invisible!  Since you know I've cast an illusion on him, you should be able to see him perfectly well.  Just look at him with your Deryni senses, not just your eyes.  Close your eyes while mounting him, if that helps.

She was still giggling quietly to herself as they rode out of Droghera together with the rest of the merchant's horses, riders, and goods.

« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 01:41:27 pm by Evie »
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Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #228 on: February 10, 2018, 05:50:38 am »
In the predawn hours, Washburn and Darcy had settled in the crooks of the branches of a grand old Mearan oak tree. They were some twenty feet off the ground resting comfortably among the leaves. The branches they rested against were as wide as a horse’s backside and easy to either stand or sit upon. This had been Darcy's idea, he liked the height to see up the road which   was barely visible in the darkness. The road lay at a distance of about a dagger's throw. Darcy had made the climb up the gnarled tree trunk so easily. Washburn had needed a hand up to get from a lower branch to the one eight feet up which he now sat on.  The vantage was a good one. It did give Wash the consideration that highway banditry might have been in the seaman’s past.  But he would never suggest that.

Instead, as they waited for the sun to rise, the knight gave a smile thinking back on that Troll in the cave. For after they'd past the rock carved troll, the tunnel opened to a natural cave with water-warn walls dripping with stalactites. One had a constant drip of water that had warn a bowl shape into the rock below giving off the effect of a bubbling cauldron. For a moment, Wash could not resist lighting his handfire to look into the depths of the small pool of mineral water. It was murky white and reflected the light for all the salts that it held. Then he looked to the back of the cave and could see the glow of the crystal Troll eye, a fat shape of a nose below that, and row of carved pointy teeth. From this vantage the tunnel entrance was well hidden. Who would get closer to that troll to discover it. Not after the stories told about Drogh-the-troll wanting to eat you. 

Darcy had proved his worth when he had looked back and seen what had interested the knight. “A hoax,” was all he mumbled as he returned to finding their way out of the cave. They snuffed out the torch and the handfire before the exited the rock crevice and entered the wilderness just above the river.

From there they had stuck to the trees, angling toward the road going south. They had walked about two miles before they edged closer to the road to find a good vantage point to wait. Wash had his bow strung with arrows ready.  Darcy had his daggers readily available; he cleaned his finger nails with one of them as they waited.

The jingle of wagon harnesses, cow bells, and the calls of men warned them that the merchants were making their slow  pace upon the road. They heard the sounds long before they saw the first riders come around the bend which had blocked the view of the road by a knoll covered in thick trees. They would soon know if their ruse had worked, or if Oswald’s men stalked the merchants looking for their prey.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 01:11:46 pm by Laurna »

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #229 on: February 10, 2018, 03:58:09 pm »
Darcy Cameron shifted his position in the tree to get a better look at the travelers on the road.  Their progress was slow but steady.  Older boys on foot drove the cows forward; the bulls were handled by men.  The wagons followed, along with the riders.  Darcy scanned the riders to locate Father Columcil and Lord Aliset, since he was sure Lady Aliset would not travel in her true form.  A man in a russet wool hood looked familiar; could it be Father Columcil?   Beside him rode another….

“Bloody hell, Sir Washburn!”  Darcy exclaimed in a low voice.  “You could have told me what she was up to!”

Belatedly, Washburn realized he had not considered that Darcy would recognize “himself” among the riders.  Although the cap was a different colour, Darcy knew his own face.  Washburn sighed.

“I thought we had distressed you enough for one day,” he replied, his voice equally low.

“And this is not distressing?” Darcy hissed back.  Annoyed, he turned away from Washburn to scan the group and then look behind them.  A figure on horseback was approaching, moving faster than the group ahead. Idiot, he berated himself mentally.  If he had not been distracted by Aliset’s disguise, he would have seen him sooner.

“There,” he said urgently to Washburn.  “A rider coming up fast.”

(Roll to see if Darcy recognizes the rider)
Jerusha   !roll 2d6
16:46   derynibot   1, 1 == 2
(Spectacular failure.  For crying out loud! )

Darcy stained to get a clear look at the rider.  The merchants moved toward the side of the road to let the man pass.  The man gave them a curt nod and kept riding.

Sir Washburn had his bow ready.  “Do you recognize him?”

Darcy shook his head.  “No, I’ve not seen the man before.”

Washburn lowered his bow.  He would not risk killing an innocent man.  He hoped the man was truly innocent.
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 #230 on: February 11, 2018, 01:30:44 pm »
Washburn lowered his bow.  He would not risk killing an innocent man.  He hoped the man was truly innocent. 

Yet, just as that man was riding past at full gallop, beyond the congestion of cows and men on the road, Washburn could swear the man turned his head, looked straight at him in the trees and smiled. That’s when Wash got a quivering sensation of warning. He was sitting on the tree limb, with bow in one hand, arrow in the other, he could not turn about in time as he heard the faintest sounds of distant crossbows releasing at his back. Even as he heard one, he heard a second one release. How had the enemy gotten behind them? His first concern even as he turned, was that they were aiming at his two companions on the road below.  He was forming the warning in his mind to call Aliset, when the bolt slammed into his side, just under he left arm which still held the longbow up to go over the tree limb.

((I am told Bynw’s bad guys have rolled successfully to hide themselves from Washburn’s magical surveillance,(like Aliset had done the other day for are group hiding from them.) And that they have rolled a successful attack upon Washburn. I am conforming to that roll. Better me writing about it, than Bynw, I say.))

Washburn’s eye’s turned to see three men running toward him from deep in the forest, two with crossbows, the third with the Droghera guard’s sword.((Meresha attack roll disadvantage. a 6 does not affect a 1 means convulsions. results = 2, Verification Number: 74mqjg7xw7 at least it wasn’t my normal roll of one, there is some mercy in the world)).  Then… fire burned his lungs, explosions of colors seared through his vision. He grabbed at the tree limb, at anything that would keep him from falling, it was a long way down. His fingers opened, releasing the bow, nails caught on the oak’s rough bark, but that didn’t stop his fall. His hand holding the arrow spiked the head into the tree bark to keep what precarious hold that he still had. But the oak was a very old hardwood and the arrow head only skimmed across the surface of the bark. Sir Washburn Morgan fell... eight feet and landed hard against the lower branch. There he managed to clutch his thighs around that and hold tight. A wave of nausea and pain brought his empty stomach to retching. He had little to eat sense the day before. He dry heaved, nothing, then heaving again. Only the pain in his side catching on the motion, stopping his heaving short. A second implosion enveloped his brain and he suddenly knew the cause. Meresha! He screamed within, knowing he could not pass on the warning. Darcy was still on the limb above him, the man had his own concerns. Fear for the others was his greatest concern. He had failed! Failed completely, he thought as he blacked out.

________

Feyd was so very pleased with himself. This had been his day. He would be a wealthy man after this. He had been lucky enough to spy two men coming up from the river in the dark. As he had gotten near to follow them, he had successfully cast a concealment spell upon himself and followed his pray to the large tree that they had chosen to hide in. Then he had backed away. Returning to the camp of separatists watching the road nearer to the town walls. Phyer had just arrived, telling them that he had learned that two of their marked numbers would be leaving in the morning. The two they didn’t care about. They would let them go. That left the noble lady and the high ranking knight far less defended. They should try to take them the coming night by infiltrating the convent  during the daylight hours when the gates would be open.

Feyd had smiled merrily at that news. “I know where the lady and the knight are. We can take them now and not worry about the others.”

“Oh, do tell.” Phyer was quite pleased to hear what Feyd had learned. But when Feyd showed the special bottle of drug laced oil, a special compound of Meresha, sedatives, and convulsants. Phyer backed away. He was Deryni too and had no desire to handle such heinous poison. He allowed Feyd and the other separatist to dip their crossbow bolts into the thick viscous drugs. The drug would not drip off or dry anytime soon. So Rayne had been instructed to get the attention of the men in the trees, when the time was right to do so. And the others walked back through the forest coming at the two in the tree from a good distance away, once again using that same concealment spell.

It went exactly as Feyd had planned. Rayne’s run through the merchants had caught everyone’s attention. In the noise of the wagons and cows, no one had heard them come forward through the trees. A good solid focused aim on Feyd’s part and his target was impaled. The Meresha would do the trick to stop any repercussions. The human separatist next to him was an expert crossbow man, his reputation had that he never missed. He too let his bolt release, aiming at the lady disguised as a man.

((Separatist shooting at Darcy with focused advantage. 3d6 success on a 4,5 or 6. rolled 4, 1, 2 = 7 Verification Number: 1wz327zgfz))

True to his word, the second crossbow bolt flew as accurate as Feyd’s had. The back of the person in the tree arched as the bolt struck home.  The only unfortunate was that this second person twenty feet up managed to hold on with all his or her might and stayed high up in the tree. As the three men ran forward, they knew there was no time to climb up and get him. For even as the Meresha took affect the man did not change into a women. They had the wrong target then. There was nothing for it to do but grab at the feet of the heaving unconscious knight, pull him from the tree and run back like hell for their horses tied back in the forest. They had mostly been quiet. No one on the road should have been able to see them through the brush or hear them over the noise of the cows. They would be well back to Valerian with their prize fairly caught.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 02:24:28 pm by Laurna »

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #231 on: February 11, 2018, 03:49:10 pm »
Jerusha   !roll 1d6
16:28   derynibot   2 == 2

Pain!  Pain and an awful, wrenching dizziness followed by nausea.  What was happening to him?

Darcy Cameron clung to the tree branch.  He vaguely remembered a commotion behind him and bolts hissing through the tree they had perched on.  He had turned to look at Sir Washburn, only to find him falling from the branch to land on another one.  Men had come and were dragging him away.  Darcy could not summon the strength to try to stop them.  All he could do was grab the branch and hold on.

The pain in his side was intense.  If he had not turned to look at Washburn, the bolt would have caught him square in the back.  At the moment, he thought that a swift death might have been preferable.

He needed to alert Father Columcil and Lady Aliset.  Even if he called out, he was afraid that, in his current condition, his voice would be too weak to be heard.

In spite of the pain it cost him, Darcy managed to move his arm and reach into his belt pouch.  He found what he was looking for.  A sailor’s tin whistle.  Please don’t let me drop it, Saint Nicholas.

With painful slowness, he managed to raise it to his lips.  With blackness swimming perilously close, he blew as hard as he could.

A shrill blast went forth.  He blew again and again, until the blackness finally overcame him.
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 #232 on: February 11, 2018, 04:49:26 pm »
When Columcil had allowed himself to fantasise about riding Sir Washburn's wonderful stallion he had never imagined that the animal would be disguised as a dun mare. He could not quite understand how this all worked - he only hoped that the poor beast had no idea of the indignity practised on him. Still all seemed to be going well. Sir Washburn and the real Darcy had left the previous evening under cover of darkness using the hidden passageway. At first light he and another Darcy had risen from their beds in the guest house preparatory to leaving - Columcil tried not to imagine his next confession: "Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I slept alongside a woman but we did not touch and she bore the shape of a man".

As they left sister Margaret had detained them in loud voiced concern, "Father, and good Sir, the lady is feverish this morning, she cannot ride with you. Your errand is urgent, you say. Well maybe it is but you cannot just abandon her. Sir Washburn will remain? - well thank God at least for a true knight and a gentleman. Will you not at least come and give her your blessing, Father." She had bustled off into the infirmary, and Columcil had followed, wondering what she had in mind but thanking God for her ready wit and her willingness to play a part without asking questions.

Riding out through the town gates admidst the noise and dust of the cattle and horses Columcil thought again of Sister Margaret and the unexpected gift she had given to him.

"My heart tells me you may yet need my help. You are in need of haste but will you permit me to establish a rapport with you? I pray that it may serve for you to reach me if need be." The country priest that had been Columcil would not have understood but days alongside Sir Washburn and Lady Aliset had taught him much and he had allowed her to take his hands and lead him into rapport. ((dice roll 5+2 =7 1nhgjhhz00 Sister Margaret and Columcil establish rapport)). As he turned to leave she had pressed into his hand a small brass medallion with a woman's head embossed upon it. "Use this if you need to contact me and may the blessings of St Brigit, and your own blessed Melangell be upon you".

As the drovers moved out of the town gate and out along the path Columcil found that his attention was dragged forcibly back to the present. His own Spean and Darcy's mare were biddable enough but Shadow clearly longed to stretch his legs in a good gallop and it took all Columcil's skill with beasts to restrain him. He only hoped that his pride in riding such a spirited animal would not come before a fall, but Shadow would not have endured to be led like a common pack animal.

They had covered possibly a couple of miles when a scream echoed through his mind followed almost immediately by the sound of a whistle being blown repeatedly with the most desperate urgency. The noise was shrill enough to penetrate the noise of the cattle, something was obviously badly wrong. Looking at the disguised Aliset he saw the same look of horror on Darcy's face as must be on his own and her lips shaped the words, "Darcy and Washburn!"

Columcil knew already whose the scream had been. It had come again, once the whistle had fallen silent, slicing through his head like a knife, but much fainter. Either Sir Washburn was weakening or he was further away. Likely it was both. God help them, their best protector must have been captured. Praying hard Columcil extended his senses. Yes there were presences both human and ...more horses ((dice roll 6+2 =8 3wdbltnsnj Columcil senses Washburn's captors)). He felt utterly helpless; under him Shadow reacted to his emotion and reared, his forelegs hitting back down to earth with a bang which jarred him in the saddle, and almost as painfully sent a thought seering through his mind. He did not know whether it would work, but it was worth a try. Begging all the Saints and Angels he could think of, and a few he did not know for good measure, he reached out with his mind to the horses that were there at the edge of his consciousness, putting into the uncomplicated equine minds  thoughts of fear and pain and freedom. Pray God they would be driven into enough of a frenzy that at least some would break loose and Washburn's captors delayed. ((2+6 =8 3gf9r3w3n1 - thank you lovely dice!!)). He breathed a silent prayer for pardon to St Melangell who had allowed no harm to living creatures from humankind and turned again to Aliset, hoping that she would be able to make use of the time he had hopefully gained. As he did so an oath all but escaped his lips. Washburn's scream had driven all thoughts of the real Darcy out of his head.


 

"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 #233 on: February 11, 2018, 05:37:21 pm »
Aliset's nerves were already on edge when she heard the shrill whistle.  She had been watching out for Sir Washburn and Darcy for some minutes before that happened, knowing that she and Father Columcil had been drawing close to the spot where the knight and the mariner would be emerging from the tunnel route and hiding themselves nearby at the edge of the forest, awaiting their passing.  She was not sure  whether they meant to join her and Father Columcil or if she and the priest were meant to rejoin them--a lot depended on whether the two men hiding at the forest's edge had managed to spot any signs of their pursuers behind them on the trail.  So she had been keeping an eye out, waiting for some sign that they had emerged from the tunnel unscathed and that her full company would be reunited soon.

Another rider had galloped past her and Columcil suddenly, spooking some of the cattle and nearly causing Papillon to throw her off in her startlement, so that she'd had to refocus her attention to controlling the startled horse. She prayed that Sir Washburn's battle-trained mount was causing Columcil less of a problem. Just as she'd begin to recover her equilibrium, she'd heard them--not the signal she'd been waiting for, but a psychic scream that made her blood run cold, followed almost immediately by a shrill, piercing sound. 

Fighting to retain some vestiges of calm so she could focus, she extended her senses in the direction of that sound. 

((16:51   EvieAliset   Sensing test
16:51   EvieAliset   !roll 2d6
16:51   derynibot   1, 6 == 7))

She sensed Master Darcy immediately, though she nearly recoiled from the brief brush of her mind against his, for at that brief contact she could sense tattered shields and a psychic disruption in his mind that could only be from merasha. Forcing down her terror, she continued casting her senses beyond Darcy, until she detected Sir Washburn, even now moving further away, although at that moment she detected a flurry of activity that abruptly halted his retreat, at least momentarily.

A glance at Columcil told her that she was not alone in sensing the danger their companions were in. Gathering her courage, and refusing to allow herself to dwell on the folly of rushing headlong towards an enemy armed with merasha, she cried out, "Our companions are under attack, Father!  For Gwynedd and Saint Camber, we must help them!" 

Wheeling Papillon around towards their friends in need, she rode at a gallop, hoping Father Columcil was close behind and whatever other allies might see fit to rush to their aid, but she did not look back to see who followed after her.
"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 #234 on: February 11, 2018, 07:40:09 pm »
Grand Duke Valerian tapped his finger against his desk in irritation.  It had been too long since he had heard anything from his agents in the field.  Surely the cursed Morgan was not still hiding in that wretched Mearan town!  On the other hand, perhaps he was.  Perhaps this seed of Alaric Morgan had fallen too far from the tree.

Well then.  He would stir things up a bit.  With a smile, Valerian reached into a box on his desk and withdrew a large medallion.  He stood up and carried it over to the window and held it in the sunshine that streamed though.  The words of the spell he murmured caused it to glow briefly.

The next time the medal he had directed be hidden in the bag on the horse left behind saw the light of day, well, the Lady Aliset would have one less protector.

***

The gong farmer turned his wagon toward a fast moving stream.  As he had so many times before, he stopped his wagon at an angle to the stream.  One by one, he unloaded the barrels, removed the lids and poured the contents into the stream. Where the contents ended up from there was not his problem.

Finally, he lifted the last of the barrels from the wagon.  This one had come from the Nunnery at Droghera.  He edged it toward the stream and removed the lid.  Absently, he noted a metallic object that seemed to catch the light of the sun….
***

Lord Trillick road with his small party back north.  In the road ahead, a dishevelled cart horse stood harnessed to the remains of a wooden cart.  One side of the cart had broken off, witness to what appeared to be some sort of panicked run.  Aromas of excrement assaulted his senses.  His squire beside him held one sleeve across his nose. 

Lord Trillick moved forward, his squire followed.  As they neared the stream, they saw several barrels strewn along the bank.  One lay splintered, planks of wood strewn about.  His squire’s horse suddenly moved sideways as something fell down from a nearby branch.  The liquid “plop” and the smell told them what it was. 

“My Lord,” the squire said hesitantly, pointing to something by the stream.

Lord Trillick and his squire dismounted, moving forward to determine what was lying beside the stream.  Lord Trillick’s squire retched, then moved quickly away to be violently sick.  Lord Trillick almost joined him.

The body by the stream had fallen backward away from the water.  His face, chest and arms were blackened by whatever force had killed him.  The vacant eyes gazed skyward.  Lord Trillick crossed himself, but could not quite bring himself to move forward and close the vacant eyes.

White-faced, his squire returned to his side. 

“My lord?” he asked.

Every sense told Trillick this was terribly wrong, and that it must be tied to whatever Lord Morgan was involved in.

“Mount up,” Lord Trillick commanded.  “We ride back south, quick time.  We’ll stop only long enough in Droghera to have them send someone back for this poor soul.  Quickly!  I fear we have little time to lose.” 
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 #235 on: February 11, 2018, 08:31:14 pm »
Even as Aliset pulled her horse up close to where she had sensed Master Darcy, another rider approached, though he retained a wary distance from the tree line. She turned her head, half expecting to see Father Columcil, but while the good priest had indeed followed close behind her, the first man to catch her attention was the leader of the group they'd been riding with.

"My good man, we don't know how many brigands we might be dealing with," the man exclaimed. "Surely it would be better to send word back to the village of what has happened here?"

"An excellent idea," Aliset agreed, "but I dare not wait until reinforcements arrive. My friends are in too much danger.  But I understand if you feel it best not to venture any closer to unseen dangers in such small numbers. Still, if you could return to Droghera for help...."

((Aliset   Roll for number
19:52   Aliset   !roll 1d6
19:52   derynibot   3 == 3 ))

With an assuring nod that he would do exactly that, the man turned away, signaling for three of his party to return to Droghera to summon assistance.  With Father Columcil now beside her, Aliset dismounted, casting out with her senses briefly to ensure there was no foe in extreme close range before dashing the short distance to Master Darcy's side. Father Columcil following with the horses.

"Wards...we need to set up a circle of protection around him--around all of us, and quickly! We'll be of no use to Wash if we are wounded or captured before we can come up with a plan...." She reached into her bag, rapidly flipping through the pages of her family's grimoire.  "I would use the Border-style warding I used before, but if our enemy is using merasha, they might have a Deryni among them. I wish I knew stronger warding magic, or had my Ward Cubes with me...."

Father Columcil's eyes turned to hers briefly in startled realization before he turned his attention back towards the forest shadows as he stood guard over her and Darcy to the best of his ability given their circumstances. "Master Darcy has Ward Cubes!"

She stared up at the priest a long moment, wondering how long he'd known that and why he'd never thought to mention it before--God knows they could have stood to have used them long before now!--then shook her head and returned her focus to the attention at hand.  Doing her best to shut out outside distractions, she rummaged through Darcy's pouch, murmuring words of apology to him in case he still retained enough consciousness to be aware of her actions, and came up with the cubes.  Centering herself, she carefully placed them in their respective positions as she set their potentials.

In the meantime, Father Columcil continued staring into the distant underbrush, doing God alone knew what.  There were odd noises in that near distance--Aliset thought she heard a horse's whinny at one point, and a muffled curse--but then she blocked it from her mind entirely as she finished murmuring the words of the spell, naming the joined oblongs in turn before quietly speaking the final words of power, "Fiat Lux!"


((19:52   Aliset   warding
19:53   Aliset   !roll 2d6
19:53   derynibot   6, 2 == 8 ))

The Ward Cubes felt unfamiliar to her, unlike her family's set, yet she managed to coax the magical protection from them nonetheless.  Setting the four corners of the Wards Major around them all, she tweaked the ward to dim any visible energy, turning it into a cloaked dome instead, one which would still allow them to see out, but would hopefully conceal them from those who wished them harm.

Aliset breathed a sigh of relief.  They were hardly safe, but at least they were safer now than they had been up to this moment.  Now she must see what could be done for Master Darcy.

He seemed to be coming to consciousness again. She was not sure whether that was a good thing or a bad one, under the circumstances.  He would be aware of his torment now (assuming one might have a moment's respite from it while unconscious), but being awake and aware might also allow her to give him some small measure of relief.  No cure, for alas, there was no cure for merasha's disruptive effects except time.  Had he any formal Deryni training and a previous exposure to merasha's effects, he might have learned some means of coping with the disruption enough to function, but alas, up to this point Aliset had not been entirely certain he even was Deryni, and Darcy himself had not seemed to realize that at all.

((19:53   Aliset   test roll--medication in pouch that might reduce the merasha effects
19:54   Aliset   !roll 1d6
19:54   derynibot   4 == 4))
She dug in her pouch for some of the medications she had retrieved from the infirmary during their stay, extracting a small vial of a tincture that was said to help to alleviate the worst of the merasha symptoms.  Whether it would help Darcy function through his pain, or simply knock him out until the merasha finally wore off, Aliset couldn't say.  Holding the vial to his lips, she poured a few drops onto his tongue before stoppering the vial carefully and returning it to her pouch. They might yet have need of it again.

And now for treating his physical wounds.  Aliset studied the injury closely, careful not to touch the bloody clothing around them.  Father Columcil might not be able to risk a Healing while Darcy was still under the influence of merasha, and she was afraid to remove the crossbow bolts until Columcil could safely Heal, but maybe she could at least bandage around them and stop the bleeding that way.

Tearing a linen shirt into strips, she donned leather gloves first and proceeded to do just that.
"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 #236 on: February 11, 2018, 11:18:18 pm »
The instant Cheese Master Stanly heard the whistle, he knew there was trouble.  That trouble must have to do with the two outsiders, he just knew it. He threw the brake on his wagon, even before he turned back to see the two men on horseback nearest his wagon concentrating on the forest beyond the road. They had saved his son from injury just the night before. He owed them an indebtedness. He knew well enough that Deryni were not immortal. He had seen their race harmed often enough by bullies and men who still thought of Deryni as devil’s practitioners. He was not Deryni, but neither was he Mearan. He had been targeted by those same bullies over the last year or so. He certainly did not like where the town ethics were separating into two factions.  Bullying and banditry was the devil’s work, in his mind.

Stanly handed the reins of his four-horse team over to his younger son. “Keep them calm,” he told his boy. Then he jumped from the multi- crate high wagon to point to Talbert, his journeyman from the shop, to join him. Talbert likewise threw the brake on the second wagon and let his master’s older son take the reins.

The two men on foot followed the two outsiders on their galloping horses into the forest. From a distance, they saw them pull a third man, a familiar looking man, from the tree. But before they could reach those three, a glimmering dome went up around them, and then the men and the dome disappeared, completely.  That spooked the journeyman enough to have him back away. “Talbert, just stay here. When they appear again, and they will, offer what help you can for them. Things must be desperate indeed if they are using a ward.” The journeyman was a little wide eyed. But when he nodded that he would comply, Stanly was assured; Talbert was a man of his word.

There was a ruckus of horses whinnying further back in the trees. Warily, Stanly slipped from behind one tree to the next. What in the name of Saint Brigid’s is going on, he thought to himself.

_____

An anvil with a blacksmith’s hammer pounded again and again on the red hot metal that was nestled somewhere behind his eyes. Washburn swore at the hammer, yet it would not let up. Maresha! Think you, you’ve experienced… experienced this before. Think you!

That day, the day before the celebration of his reaching manhood, when he was just about to turn fourteen, his brother had taken him by Portal to the Rhemuth Basilica, there to see his uncle Duncan at the schoola. Wash had no inkling of what lay in store from him that night. He would never have gone if he had known. Duke Kelric simply stated he had to pass a test to be confirmed as an adult on the following day. The test of Merasha had been furthest from his mind until the few moments before they had handed him a glass of tainted red wine and told him to drink it all down. What occurred then would never be forgotten. It most certainly sobered up a rascal fourteen year old to the dangers of the adult world.

Between the pounding in his head, the pain in his side and the rough handling of the two men carrying him, Washburn remembered every last detail that his brother and his uncle had used to help him get through that night. There was a way to focus past the nausea, past the pain. It wasn’t a Deryni focus, but it attested to nearly the same thing. Mediation of the human sort, if he had the Camber medallion against the skin of his chest, his brother had told him, use that to bring about mediation. Slow your racing heart. Ease the tension of muscles and lungs. Washburn did as his brother's voice had encouraged him to do. Wash felt the warmness of the medal, he concentrated on what he knew it looked like. He listened to his brother's voice.  Relax, ease the muscles just enough to seem like he had gone unconscious to those holding him. Just maybe, they would relax their grip on his arms as they drug him through the forest floor past bushes and roots catching on his dragging feet.

The mediation didn’t stop the pain, but it lessen the intensity by just a bit. Enough so that the knight could open his buzzing ears to concentrate on the sounds around him.

Horses, three by the sound of them, were making a desperate fuss to be free.  A man, not one of the ones carrying him, was cursing loudly at the beasts as they came up along side where they had been tied. Surely the harsh tone of his captor, was not helping the horses calm down. Think you, think! Would they have had time to disarm him. His dagger and short sword had been at his side, his long sword, where was that?

He chanced a glance with unfocused eyes.Through a red-hazed blur he could see the hilt of his great sword over the back of the man cursing at the horses. No help there. Another quick glance and he saw his dagger and short sword in the belt of the man carrying him on the right. Steady... steady... prepare… you will have one chance and one only. He knew the truth of it. A wave of dizziness gripped his mind. That was the cost of opening his eyes. Use your ears, not your eyes, he scolded himself.

Then he heard it. A horse rearing with a squeal and breaking free. The other horses squealing and kicking to follow their mate. The man on his right loosened his grip trying to grab at the wild horse as it ran by.

Every once of training went into the Corwyn knight’s next move.

((Under maresha influence "All other tests are at 1 pip higher." Therefore 2d6 roll, as he has proficiency with daggers. Success on 6, add a hero point to make success on 5 and 6.
rolled 2+ 5 = 7 Verification Number: 6qp0trps3f))

He pushed the man away, daring to open his eyes for a moment to snatch for his dagger and rake it across the man’s side as he pulled it free. In the same full motion he used all his weight to swing his dagger into the waist of the second man holding him on his left.

((Second action. 2d6 roll for dagger attack. Stab at the second man holding him. test one pip higher. Rolled 5+6= 11 Verification Number: 4dn0d7xk1k))

His dagger enter flesh and then came out, with all his might, he daren’t lose his grip on his one weapon. In that second, with the horses squealing, he was free.

Run, he told his weakened body, run!
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 12:13:20 am by Laurna »

Offline revanne

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #237 on: February 12, 2018, 07:01:06 am »
((Columcil was going to use his medallion to contact Sister Margaret to bring help for Darcy. Dice roll 1+1 =2 xt5qdqtxs7))
"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 Bynw

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #238 on: February 12, 2018, 07:29:22 am »
Feyd watched as the Duke's brother made his excape into the woods.

<feyd> !roll 2d6
<derynibot> 6, 3 == 9

Calming his own horse he mounted up. And shouted to the other 2 men. "After him. He is drugged. He cannot get far."

With his men chasing after the running Washburn, Feyd himself put spurs to his horse in another direction.

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #239 on: February 12, 2018, 09:46:39 am »
Darcy Cameron knew he was being moved.  Sharp pain sliced along his side and up to his head, centering behind his eyes.  He could not hear properly; was he drowning in the sea?  Was this the final turn his life would take?

He was not in the sea; now someone laid him gently on the hard earth.  He tried to open his eyes, but the pain and dizziness increased, so he closed them firmly again.  Someone rummaged inside his shirt, and he thought a familiar voice said she was sorry.  He needed to fight his way out of this blinding, painful fog that kept him from thinking straight. 

Someone lifted his head slightly, and he felt a few bitter drops of liquid pass along his tongue.  He began to feel numb, except for the pain in his side as someone worked at his wound.  That pain he could endure.

Hesitantly, Darcy tried opening his eyes again.  Dimly, he saw himself tying off a strip of linen.  He closed his eyes.  Someday this would all make sense.  If he lived that long.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 10:41:55 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

 

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