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Author Topic: The Killing Season Chapter 9  (Read 5426 times)

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Offline Evie

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The Killing Season Chapter 9
« on: August 28, 2010, 10:28:03 pm »
Looks like my on again, off again Internet problem has resolved itself for the moment, so let's see if I can post this before it goes back down again....

Chapter Nine

   
    July 20, 1132
   St. Hilary’s Basilica, Bishop’s Study


   “I’m glad to see you came through the fever-flux safely,” Bishop Duncan told Sophie.  “And also sorry to hear about your loss.”

   Sophie surveyed him worriedly.  Duncan normally had a ready smile for her, his blue eyes bright with amusement as he teased her gently about one matter or another.  Today, though, there was little sparkle in those eyes, and the haggard expression on his tired features made him look older than his forty years of life.  There were a few more creases at the corners of his eyes than she remembered, and a few extra strands of silver threaded through the brown hair at his temples.

   “I’m very sorry to hear about yours as well.  Your son and daughter-in-law weren’t married all that long, were they?  I remember that Christmas Court and Twelfth Night well….”  She smiled in sad reminiscence at the memory.

   “Not long at all,” Duncan confirmed.  “Only three and a half years.”  He gave his visitor a quick study of his own. “Have a seat, sweeting.  You look like you might blow away at any moment.”

   Her lips twitched.  This, at least, was slightly more like the Duncan she remembered.  “Why, do high winds come sweeping through your study all that often?”

   A smile began to lurk at the corners of his mouth.  “No, but why tempt any?  Jesú, I’ve missed you, little one!  How is Sir Sextus?  I’m assuming from your return to Rhemuth that he’s on the mend?  Or…have you come to bear bad news to Seisyll?”  The bishop’s eyes searched hers.

   “No, Sextus is recovering finally,” Sophie reassured him, “though he’s still rather peeved now that he’s discovered that the marvelous Ballymar whisky he thought Seisyll was giving him in great quantity was nothing more than mutton broth after all.”

   Duncan roared with his first genuine laughter in weeks.  “You’d have to be quite delirious to confuse mutton broth for Ballymar whisky!  I’m glad he’s on the mend, though.”

   Sophie grinned.  “Well, he was delirious…but with the illness, his shields were also nearly nonexistent, so Seisyll might have…um…tampered with his mind just a tad.”

   “Hm.  You think?”  The blue eyes gleamed with mirth.  “Speaking of whisky, can I offer you something?  Knowing your tastes, something a good deal less strong than Ballymar’s finest.”

   “Anything but small ale.”  Sophie’s eyes grew shadowed for a moment, then brightened again.  “Oh!  I have something for you.”  She reached into her belt pouch, drawing out a small folded square of parchment, sealed messily with wax.  The childish scrawl on the outside said ‘To Uncel Dunkin.’  

   The Bishop laughed, handing her a goblet as he took the letter.  “Stefania is writing now?”  He cracked open the seal, reading the brief missive.

   “What does my daughter say?” Sophie asked, grinning at him curiously.

   “Well…it’s a bit hard to make out…I think it’s a request for a book, though.  Do you suppose a ‘prety boke of owers’ really means a ‘pretty Book of Hours’?”

   She laughed.  “Probably.”

   His eyes looked back up at her from the folded page.  “And then there’s something about Jamyl and a pony, a big splotch of ink, and she ends with promising to mail me a pie.  Isn’t she with her Aunt Javana still?”

   “She is.”

   “Hm.  Let’s hope she doesn’t really try to send me a pie, then!  How long do you suppose it would take to get to me from the Kheldish Riding?”

   “Oh, mercy!  It would arrive stale on the outside and moldy on the inside.”  Sophie giggled as she studied the letter he handed to her.  “This smudge looks like some sort of berry stain.  I’ll bet she was eating pie when she wrote this.”

   “Oh?  Well, then she did keep her promise.”  He took the letter she handed back to him, folding it again and tucking it into his sleeve for safekeeping.  “I suppose I shall have to write her back, then, and hope Archbishop Cardiel isn’t too stern with me for encouraging a young lady’s affections.”

   Sophie snorted.  “Given that she’s only five, I think he’ll cope with your exchange of love letters.  But if you fear he’ll not, it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.”

   Duncan feigned shock.  “Lady Sophie!  I knew I shouldn’t have married you into those Arilans.  A bad influence, the lot of them.”

   “I shall tell Denis you said so,“ Sophie deadpanned.  She took a sip of her drink, then studied the goblet carefully.  “What is this?”

   “Sekanjabin.  It's a recipe from Torenth.  They tend to serve it chilled in summertime and warm in winter, but it's also known to be a good restorative drink after heavy exertion or severe illness.  Bishop Arilan brought back the recipe when he returned from Liam-Lajos' Court a couple of years ago.  I’ll make you a copy if you’d like.”

   “It's quite nice.  A bit tart, but sweet as well.”  Sophie sipped at the drink some more.  “Speaking of Torenth, John mentioned there was an attempt on the King's life a few days ago.  Talk in the Great Hall says it was a Torenthi plot.”  She looked worriedly up at Duncan.  “Surely we're not warring with Torenth again, are we?”

   He shook his head.  “No.  The King of Torenth is still Kelson's loyal ally; this was an attack planned by Liam-Lajos's uncle Teymuraz, one of his former regents.  He's taken up the old Festillic claim on Gwynedd, apparently, as well as having designs on Torenth.”  He toyed with the glass in his hand.  “One of the assassins left a widow loyal to Liam-Lajos, and she's seeking sanctuary here in Rhemuth.  Dhugal is thinking of offering for her.”  He shrugged.  “Might have done so already, for all I know.”

   Sophie stared at him in shock, hearing the flatness of his voice as he spoke the words, also hearing more than he said aloud.  “So soon?”  She shook her head.  While she had never gotten to know the Duke of Cassan very well, she had encountered him and his Duchess at Court on several occasions, and had also run into one or both of them at various times when visiting the Royal Library or the Basilica.  It was common knowledge that theirs was a heart match, not merely a marriage of state.  “But...why?”

   “Heirs.”  Duncan took a deep quaff of his drink.  “He thinks he owes a swift remarriage to Cassan and his Earldoms, for the sake of securing their succession.”

   “Well, I suppose, but....”  Sophie's gray-green eyes mirrored her confusion.  “Duncan, he's just my age, isn't he?  Twenty-four?”

   “Yes.  Only seven weeks older than you, to be precise, assuming I've remembered your birthday correctly.”

   “I'm not sure I understand, then.”

   “Neither do I.”  The blue eyes stared across the room, the bishop's gaze fixed on a small lap harp in the corner.

   Sophie watched him for a moment, sudden comprehension clicking into place.  “Duncan...I can't say I agree with your son's reasoning, but people grieve in different ways....”

   He sighed, not looking at her.  “I know that, sweeting,” he said quietly.  “It's just....”

   “It's that she was more than just a daughter-in-law to you, I think.  There was an especially deep friendship there as well, as I recall.  Is that it?”  Sophie's voice was soft with compassion.

   The bishop's gaze drifted away from the lap harp, returned to his visitor's face.  “There was.  I've known Catriona since...oh, Jesú, I don't recall the exact year anymore.  The latter part of Brion's reign.”  A dry chuckle.  “Longer than I even knew about the existence of my own son, strange as that may sound.”   

   She smiled. “Not any stranger than the mere fact that a Bishop has a son.”

   He laughed softly.  “There is that.  A legitimate son, anyway.”  He took another sip of his drink.  “I suppose you're right; I'm having a lot of trouble letting go, and...even more trouble accepting that Dhugal can let go so quickly.”

   “Are you so sure he has, though?  The Torenthi widow has only been in Rhemuth for, what, three days?  Four at the most?  He's certainly not making another love match.  I'd think, if anything, he's still so deeply ensnared in his grief that he can't look past it.  Can't look beyond his own mortality, and the possibility of his son's.”  She swirled the sekanjabin in her goblet.  “In a way, making heirs is...a way of ensuring that life goes on.”  She blinked away tears of her own.

   “Yes.”  Duncan studied his empty glass for a long moment before setting it down on the table in front of him.  “Speaking of that, I have a granddaughter now.” He smiled faintly.  “She's in Ailidh's keeping.”

   “She survived her mother?  I just assumed....”

   Duncan nodded.  “We weren't sure if she'd get through the first two weeks or not, but she's thriving now.  She's a beautiful little girl, with Catriona's fair hair.  It's still a little early to tell what color her eyes will be.”

   “So, Ailidh's at Court, then?”  Sophie brightened.  “I'll have to stop by and see her.”

   “Do!  Except I should warn you, she'll probably put you to work herding little MacArdrys.”

   “That sounds like fun.”

   A raised eyebrow.  “Have you met the little MacArdrys?  I'll say a prayer or twelve for you.”

   Sophie laughed.  She set her goblet down and stood.  “I need to head on and meet Seisyll for dinner, if he can get free.  But John's talked me into staying here in Rhemuth for a few days.  He thinks I need more rest.”

   “I agree.  Sleep off those dark circles under your eyes.”  Duncan smiled at her.  “And come back to see me before you head back to Tre-Arilan.  I’ll see if I can find some suitable book for Stefania, and maybe something for her mother as well.  John’s managed to get a copy or two of some Anvillers’ scrolls for the Schola, and I thought you might be interested in taking a look at that as well, even if most of it is of more military interest than arcane.  You might find it useful if you’re still playing that Kingdoms game against Stefan.”

   She grinned.  “It’s more like Empires now, but yes.  I’m sure Stefan and I will be sending that game book back and forth to each other until the end of time.  Or a game book, at least.  We’re on volume eleven now, I think.”

   A smile crossed Duncan’s face, quickly chased away by a faint shadow.  “I don’t suppose John mentioned anything about his own loss when you saw him earlier, did he?”

   “No”  Sophie’s eyes darkened with concern.  “Oh dear.  Who?”

    “His sister Elizabeth.”

   She paused, thinking back on various stories Father Nivard had shared with her of his family.  “Was she the one he’s said that I remind him of?”

   “Yes.  That’s why I thought you should know, in case the subject happens to come up.  Or if you were thinking of asking after her.”

   “Thank you for letting me know.”  She hugged her friend, savoring for a long moment the feel of his steady breathing and living warmth within the circle of her embrace.  Strong arms enfolded her gently.

   “Go fatten up and get several nights of good sleep, so I won’t have to run a rope between here and the castle apartments to keep you from blowing away when you’re walking through the Castle parklands.”

   “What makes you think I plan to walk through the parklands when there’s a perfectly good secret passage running from the Basilica courtyard to my husband’s apartment?”  She grinned impishly up at Duncan.  “I didn’t map all those dark and dusty corridors for nothing!”

#

   Rhemuth Castle
   July 25


   “Araxie?   Are you all right?”

   Kelson woke up to the sounds of retching, then a quiet sniff.  His heart nearly stilled.  Oh sweet Jesú, not my Araxie!  Please, I couldn’t bear to lose her also!

   He grabbed a robe, shrugging into it hastily before padding down the short corridor towards where his wife stood leaning against a wall just outside the garderobe.  Her face looked pale.

   The King ran agitated fingers through his already disheveled hair.  “I’ll summon one of the physicians and order up some restoratives…maybe some of that sekanjabin Duncan’s been ordering up from the Basilica kitchens….”

   Araxie looked up, noted the barely banked fear in her husband’s eyes, and gave a startled laugh.  “Oh, it’s not the fever-flux, sweeting!”

   Kelson stared at her uncomprehendingly.  “It’s not?  You’re not feeling too hot, are you?  Maybe I should open a window….”

   His Queen smiled.  “Kelson, I’m fine.  It’s not the fever-flux, it’s another baby.  Our second son, I think, though give me another week or two to be sure.”

   “A…son?”  The panic in the Haldane’s eyes turned to stark relief, and a boyish grin chased away the worry on his face.  “Oh, well, that’s all right then.  At least for now….”  The gray eyes started to cloud with concern again.

   Araxie laughed.  “Kelson, will you stop worrying?”

   He took a deep breath.  “All right, I’ll stop worrying if you’ll come back to bed and get back under the mosquito netting.  Unless…is your stomach quite settled now?”

   “Quite.”  She smiled up at him.  “Sweeting, you’ve had far too much to worry about already this year.  Just go ahead and cross me off your list.  I’ve done this twice already, and at least this time I’m fairly sure you haven’t given me twins!”

#

   August 1
   Camberian Council


   “And your nephew can verify that it was, in fact, Teymuraz who was behind the recent attack on King Kelson?” Barrett de Laney, coadjutor of the Camberian Council, asked Bishop Denis Arilan.

   “Not only that, but interrogation of the captured assassins, combined with the Death-Reading of their leader, Lord Nikos von Brustarkia, has revealed that Teymuraz was also behind this summer's fever-flux plague.  He was assisted, at least in part, by Thorne Hagen, who allowed him sanctuary on his own lands in Autun to use as a closer base for planning out his attacks.  He also introduced the mosquitoes which carry the illness into the ports of Desse and Coroth, and also did a weather-working to ensure an early onset of summer with a rise in heat and humidity practically guaranteed to encourage the mosquitoes to breed quickly and spread the plague throughout the human and Deryni population much more rapidly and effectively than it might have done otherwise.”

   Laran ap Pardyce leaned forward at this, his eyes bright with interest.  “So that's how this illness is spread!  I had wondered how it was getting into quarantined areas with such ease, and why it didn't appear to be passed on directly from person to person.  Mosquitoes...who would have ever thought....”  He sat back, his expression thoughtful as he pondered this new information.  “I wonder how Teymuraz knew about them?  We've not seen this particular plague on our shores before, at least to my knowledge, so I doubt he found the original insects in Gwynedd or elsewhere in the Eleven Kingdoms.”

   “An interesting question, and one we'll no doubt want to revisit later, but let's not get too far afield for the moment,” said Barrett.  “I think the primary question right now is, what are we going to do about Teymuraz?”

   Bishop Denis Arilan raised a dark eyebrow.  “The man has attempted regicide, has successfully carried out deliberate mass murders on the populace of more than one Kingdom, has drawn others into his conspiracy to destabilize Gwynedd and, to some lesser degree at least, the rest of the Eleven Kingdoms, with the intent of softening us up enough for him to come in and conquer Gwynedd and Torenth—possibly moving on to other lands afterwards as well—to establish himself as ruler.  Can we agree that Teymuraz fits any sane person's description of a rogue Deryni?”

   Sofiana of Andelon gave a dry chuckle.  “I don't think that's at all in question, Denis.  Of course, the fact remains that before we can impose any sort of penalty at all on Teymuraz, we have to be able to find him first.  And that is likely to be difficult.  Unless, of course, that resourceful nephew of yours has some additional information he's not chosen to share.”

   “Do you mean, does he already know where Teymuraz is and how to apprehend him?  Unfortunately, no, aside from in the most general sense.  We do know he has relocated to Byzantyun and has married into the Imperial Family there.”  Denis gave a wry smile. “And he’s been accorded the title of 'Grand Duke of Phourstanos,' so we can surmise from that that their Autokrator views him and possibly even his claims to Torenth’s throne favorably.  But no, Lord Nikos's dying mind didn’t exactly deliver up a street address and a map.”

   “How unobliging of it,” Prince Azim deadpanned, causing a round of dry laughter around the table.  “Well, if we can't solve the Teymuraz problem once and for all, at least for the moment, is there anything we can do to curtail the spread of the plague itself?  Right now, that's just as great a threat. Not simply because of the loss of life the fever-flux is causing, but also because of the risk of a major setback in human/Deryni relations if it ever becomes common knowledge that the spread of this plague was anything aside from one of Nature's freak occurrences.  If word that it was planned and orchestrated by a Deryni ever gets out, it could undo all of the hard-won progress that King Kelson has made in that area over the past dozen years.”

   “I had an idea about that,” said the bishop, “but I'm less sure about the best way to implement it without possibly causing even more disruption.  An early frost would kill the mosquitoes that are causing the plague to spread.  The problem lies in the timing of it, though.  How early is too early?”

   “I see your point, I think,” Sir Sion mused.  “Too early, and the frost kills off the fall harvest.  We save the populace from the fever-flux, only to lose them more slowly over the course of the winter due to starvation.  They'd hardly thank us.”

   Laran ap Pardyce nodded.  “Quite true. Though on the other hand, delay too much and there'll be so many additional losses of life to the fever-flux, would there really be any benefit to bringing in a magically-induced frost that's delayed almost until the time one would be due to come along anyway?”

   “Mosquitoes tend to favor places with still waters,” Sofiana mused.  “Though I doubt we can be that exacting in our magic working.  Swampy areas would be obvious places to aim at, but unless you've mapped every single puddle and moat in Gwynedd and its neighboring Kingdoms, it would be best to blanket the entire region to make sure no potential breeding ground gets missed.”  She sighed.  “On the other hand, while it would be difficult, it would be far more possible to send word throughout the kingdoms for the manorial lords to bring in the harvest as early as possible this year, and then we could bring in an early frost once the bulk is done.  We might still lose a few of the late harvests, especially the fruit crops.  But it's vital to have hay for our livestock and grain and legumes for our breadbaskets and cookpots enough to last throughout the winter months, and less essential for us to have a good crop of apples at harvest's end.”

   “So, if first frost normally comes in October, that would mean trying to get the harvests in, as much as possible at least, by the first week of September, and then using magic to induce a mid-September frost instead?”  Barrett sighed.  “That probably would be our best option, but still.... It means six more weeks at least of plague-ridden mosquitoes.  How many more lives are we likely to lose over that much time?”

   Laran frowned.  “Hundreds, at least, if not thousands.  It's hard to tell how many we've lost already.  Damn Teymuraz!”

   Denis nodded.  “Just speaking for Gwynedd's casualties, we have a fairly accurate idea of the numbers of the nobility lost, and the manorial lords are also reporting the number of their dead among their villeins when they’re able to get word out to Rhemuth.  But of the freemen in the towns, we have no way of keeping track of their losses, except for those belonging to guilds keeping track of such things.  The Church, of course, has its own count of our lost brethren and our sisters in the monastic life.  But we may never know the exact toll.”

   There was a heavy silence for a few moments.  Then Barrett sighed.  “Are we agreed, then, on waiting until the second week of September to summon up a frost throughout the Eleven Kingdoms?  I think it shall have to affect all the Kingdoms in the threatened regions, not simply Gwynedd, if we are to get this plague fully in check.”

   “I agree,” said Sofiana.  

   “Do we have any dissenting arguments, before we put it to a vote?” Barrett asked.

   There was a moment of silence, as the various Council members looked around the table at each other.  Sir Sion ventured, “My only reservation with the plan was over the timing, but I think that has been addressed as satisfactorily as it can be.”  He sighed.  “I still don't think it's an ideal solution, but I think it's as close to ideal as we're likely to get.”

   “In other words, you would vote yes?” Barrett clarified.

   Sir Sion nodded.  “Yes.”

   “All right, any other discussion needed on the topic before we put it to the vote?”  The sightless eyes gazed around the table.

   No one else spoke up.

   The vote ended up being unanimously in favor of reconvening to work the frost-summoning spell after the first week of September, a unanimity so rare the Bishop of Dhassa joked about circling the date on the calendar and considering the unusual accord to be certain proof of Camber's sainthood, as a miracle had just occurred in his Council Chamber that day.

   “And now that that’s settled, what shall we do about that Thorne in our flesh?”  Sofiana asked, the smoldering angry fire in her eyes belying her deceptively mild voice and the ironic humor of her quip.

   “Hagen will hopefully be easier to bring to justice,” Prince Azim said.  “As Lord of Saint-Stéphane, he’ll have responsibilities he can’t easily walk away from.  No, he’ll try to maintain some sort of contact with his household, and from that, we should be able to track him down eventually.  He has neither Teymuraz’s resourcefulness nor his backbone; he’s used to the soft life and it’s doubtful he’s committed enough to Teymuraz to want to give up his lands and luxuries completely simply on the hope of greater rewards to come.  I predict that lack of full commitment shall be his weakness and the key to his downfall.”

#

   August 1
   Schola of Saint Camber—Rector's Study
   St. Hilary's Basilica, Rhemuth Castle


   Bishop Duncan McLain watched the quiet young Torenthi woman who sat across from him, her hands nervously folded in her lap, face downcast.  He knew his son had offered for her just a few days earlier; although that wasn't public knowledge yet, Dhugal had apprised his father of that meeting a short time after it had happened.  Duncan idly wondered if the Lady Mirjana was aware yet of the familial connection between the Rector of the Schola and the Border Duke who had offered for her hand.  If she was aware, she showed no signs of such knowledge.  The Bishop surmised she probably hadn't been informed yet.

   Good.  This would be awkward enough, even as it was.

   There was no easy way Duncan could think of to break the day’s news to the lady, so he simply did his best to give her the truth straight up, yet delivered as gently as he knew how.

   “Lady Mirjana, your husband's accomplices were executed at high noon today in the City of Rhemuth.   King Kelson wished for you to be informed.  Given the nature of their crimes and the manner of the men's execution, His Majesty believes it best if you and your son would remain within the Castle gates over the course of the next week.  Especially given your son's tender age, there are...certain sights you may wish for him to avoid seeing.”

   The dark lashes drifted downwards to conceal bright green eyes filling with sorrow.  “They were impaled before the populace, then?” she whispered.

   “No, my Lady.  We don't impale criminals here in Gwynedd, but the punishment for attempted regicide is on a similar level of severity, I suppose.”  Duncan took a deep breath.  “They were hanged for their crime, then drawn and quartered.  Are you familiar with that form of execution?”  He devoutly hoped she was; he had no great desire to apprise her of the grimmer details.  To his relief, she nodded.

   “Yes, my lord Bishop.  I…believe it is also customary to display their heads above the city gates for a week afterwards as well, is it not?”  She bit her lip, attempting to control her roiling emotions.  “My husband well deserved a similar fate.  Yet...I hope your King will understand that I am glad he did not live to suffer it.  Not for Nikos's sake, but...I should have found that fate difficult to explain to my Mikhail....”  A tear trickled down one cheek, and she blinked rapidly to prevent others from escaping.  “How do I explain to my son what his father has done?  And how do I convince him that even an evil man may have a good son?”

   Duncan's blue eyes filled with compassion for her.  “And yet that's true, my lady.  Just as it's equally true that a good man may sire a bad son.”  He thought back to the last execution for high treason that Kelson had ordered a mere seven years earlier.  “The last man Kelson had to execute for an attempt on his Crown was his own blood-kin, and the eldest son of one of the finest and most loyal men I have ever known.  Blood-ties are no guarantor of any man's loyalties or perfidies.  Each man's choices are his own.”

   Her faint smile was filled with sad irony.  “Oh, I know full well that blood-ties can mean little!  I am Torenthi.  Blood-ties meant nothing to men like Mahael and Teymuraz.”

   “Yet far more, I believe, to men like Liam-Lajos and Matyas,” the bishop reassured her.

   “I would like to think so.  It would fit with the Laji I once knew.”  She looked up.  “But I am not that trusting little girl anymore; nor, I think, is Liam-Lajos the same little boy I once played with in the gardens of Torenthály so long ago.”  She smiled wistfully.  “Would that this were a simpler world, my lord Bishop!”

   Duncan sighed as he studied the sorrowful young woman before him, still such a stranger and an enigma to himself and to his son, yet potentially the mother of his future grandsons.  “I could wish the same, Lady Mirjana.”

#

   September 10, 1132
   Rhemuth Castle


   Kelson of Gwynedd stood atop the Queen's Tower, his eyes scanning the view beyond the castle walls to the lands beyond.

   Araxie pulled her cloak more closely around herself as she moved over to join him.  Together they gazed out upon the newly-frosted landscape.

   “Do you hear that?” Kelson asked his Queen, a slight smile upon his face.

   Araxie listened.  She heard the soft snap and rustle of the autumn breezes tugging at high flying banners above the castle walls and the sounds of men and horses rising from the Castle courtyard.  Further beyond, from the City of Rhemuth, came the distant calls and creaks and rumbles of a populace going about its daily business.  

   “Do I hear what, love?” she asked.

   His smile grew to a grin.  “Actually, that was the wrong question.  Is there something you don't hear?”

   She thought about the question for a moment, her ears still listening, then laughed.  “The whining buzz of a mosquito flying around my head?”

   “Exactly!”  Kelson took her hand, brought it up to his lips.  “And now, I believe we have a Council to address and thank.”

   Araxie took one more look around her.  “Yes.”  She looked up at her husband.  “It seems so hard to believe, after this long summer, that the killing season is finally coming to an end.”

   “Well, that still remains to be seen.  But it will be good to have a little respite, anyway.”

   Kelson offered his arm to his Lady, escorting her back into the warm shelter of the Castle.

###


« Last Edit: August 29, 2010, 10:31:51 am by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
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Offline Alkari

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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2010, 08:29:34 am »
Good ending.  Nice scene with Duncan and Sophie - LOL at:  
Quote
“Have you met the little MacArdrys?  I'll say a prayer or twelve for you.”

And now for the various sequels - finding the Thorne in their flesh, looking for Teymuraz, and of course, Dhugal and Mirjana.  

The political ramifications of that match could be very interesting indeed, because of the loyalty of the highland clans and memories in Cassan of Wencit and Bran Coris, and especially the brutal executions of Cassani prisoners and the 'demonstration' with the Cassani dead bodies.    Even though it's now eleven years on, there are a lot of Cassan's current nobles who wouldn't want anything much to do with Torenth.  

Regardless of any grumbles caused by a too-quick remarriage (in many people's eyes), I can't imagine that a Torenthi widow with a 4 y.o. son will be particularly welcome in Cassan or Kierney.  If Richenda had troubles for a while in Corwyn, then you can at least treble the likely animosity for Dhugal's new wife.  Even worse will be the fact that Mikhail doesn't have any lands of his own - Brendan at least was heir to Marley, but there'd be more than one person in Cassan/Kierney / Transha worried about handy childhood accidents to Dhugal's son.   Dhugal wants some 'spare' heirs because he is worried about the possibility of something happening to Duncan Michael - I wonder if it has occurred to him that by marrying Mirjana, anything that happens to his son, regardless of whether is is a genuine accident or illness, will be seen by many people as caused in some way by her?  After all, Torenth has a history of 'convenient accidents' to members of its royal family ...  :D

A hard-nosed person on Kelson's Council might well start asking some serious questions about the risks in all this.  Dhugal sees that he has a 'duty' to get more heirs - but is it worth totally offending the people in his duchy by marrying the widow of a Torenthi traitor?  If all he's worried about is getting a few more heirs, then why not find another 'brood mare' who won't give that offence?  And just because Mirjana needs sanctuary, why should Kelson risk offending the nobility and general population of a major duchy by allowing Dhugal to marry her? 
« Last Edit: August 29, 2010, 09:49:20 am by Alkari »

Offline Evie

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The Killing Season Chapter 9
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2010, 02:15:56 pm »
Wow, do you hear that sound?  I do believe that could be the sound of a novella-length premise suddenly exploding into a novel! 

I can only hope I can be in a position to return the favor someday....   ;D
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Offline Evie

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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2010, 02:30:21 pm »
She needs pale green eyes, but otherwise this could be Mirjana:

"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Offline kirienne

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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2010, 02:48:29 pm »
Nice ending, but I think Dhugal  should have thought things thru better; mayrrying her  will not set too well for many people, expecially those in his lands, for obvious reasons, although I hope everything will work out well for him (and her).

Offline Elkhound

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« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2010, 10:18:54 pm »
If you mean Mirjana is, actually she started her training at the normal age in late childhood, but was forced into marriage at such a young age to a man who didn't allow any more training, Dhugal ends up being surprised during his Mind-Seeing of her at how little she does know, considering she's of the House of Furstan.  But what she did get a chance to learn, she learned well, so with a bit of work she can be brought up to speed eventually.  Fortunately there's a Schola right there designed for such a purpose....   :)

She's nowhere near fully trained, but she's had the basics, which is more than most Gwynnedian Deryni have.  Hence, she can earn her keep by teaching to the basics while completing her advanced training.

"Keep a chapter ahead of your students."  Any teacher who has been forced to teach one of his 'minors' has had to deal with that.  (In my own case, as a major in Classical & Romance Languages, my courses in linguistics meant that I had the credits to teach HS English; my knowledge of British and American Literature, composition, rhetoric, and English grammar and the like were minimal.  It was not comfortable, but I coped.)

Offline Elkhound

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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2010, 09:48:31 am »
Nice ending, but I think Dhugal  should have thought things thru better; mayrrying her  will not set too well for many people, expecially those in his lands, for obvious reasons, although I hope everything will work out well for him (and her).

This puts me a little in mind of the situation between Lord Peter Wimsy and Harriet Vane at the end of "Strong Poison" through "Gaudy Night."  All the reasons that Harriet had for not accepting Peter's proposal are also between D. and M.

I'd suggest a visit from the Dutchess Meraude and Queen Araxie---perhaps with Rothana along---to let her know that she has options and she doesn't have to marry Dhugal, at least not right away, if she doesn't want to.

Offline Alkari

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« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2010, 04:13:52 pm »
Yes, there are indeed many similarities to that situation.   Except that in Peter's case, although he was nobility, he was not the ducal heir and had no formal responsibilities to land or people, other than the properties he'd bought himself  Dhugal as a Duke and Earl does. 

Seems to me that Araxie is looking only at the possible emotional compatibility and benefits to both parties, when as a queen I would hope she would have more regard for the political niceties and implications.  Ditto for Kelson.   Someone needs to give Dhugal the old 'wet mackerel around the head' treatment, and tell him to start really thinking about the issues for his duchy, not just about the "OMG, I need a spare heir" bit.  He's really not doing anyone any favours - himself, Mirjana or his lands.

Offline Elkhound

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« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2010, 05:13:32 pm »
Yes, there are indeed many similarities to that situation.   Except that in Peter's case, although he was nobility, he was not the ducal heir and had no formal responsibilities to land or people, other than the properties he'd bought himself  Dhugal as a Duke and Earl does. 

Yet.  Sayers said that St. George was killed in WWII and Peter became Duke after Gerald's passing.

Quote
Seems to me that Araxie is looking only at the possible emotional compatibility and benefits to both parties, when as a queen I would hope she would have more regard for the political niceties and implications.  Ditto for Kelson.   Someone needs to give Dhugal the old 'wet mackerel around the head' treatment, and tell him to start really thinking about the issues for his duchy, not just about the "OMG, I need a spare heir" bit.  He's really not doing anyone any favours - himself, Mirjana or his lands.

Dhugal isn't thinking clearly; who would be in those circumstances?  I agree also that Kelson & Araxie are not acting as rulers, but as people.  Again, though, they've been under quite a bit of stress, and it is understandable that they aren't thinking clearly right now.  One hopes that more mature consideration of matters will bring about more suitable conclusions.

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« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2010, 07:55:52 pm »
Nice ending, but I think Dhugal  should have thought things thru better; mayrrying her  will not set too well for many people, expecially those in his lands, for obvious reasons, although I hope everything will work out well for him (and her).

For that matter, Dhugal's own FATHER isn't taking this terribly well.  ;) After Duke Jared's fate, I doubt the people of Cassan and Kierney are going to be thrilled to have a Furstan duchess, even if Mirjana is all that she seems to be. I do think it's a reaction to grief on Dhugal's part, and I believe he feels sorry for Mirjana.  But he thinks he's being noble as well as practical (which he is, in certain contexts), while making a hasty move without having thought through all the permutations of how his second marriage will affect not only king and kingdom, but his own duchy, himself, his relationship with Duncan, his children, and his second wife.

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« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2010, 09:26:14 pm »
Nothing has been irrevocably decided yet.  Let's not jump to the worst case scenario.

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« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2010, 10:03:46 pm »
Yay, I have internet connection at home again (for the moment, at least)!   :D

Let's see...how to say this without being too spoilerish?  OK.  What might happen if a person, with the best of intentions, makes a monumental decision during a time of deep upset and stress--despite the attempts of others to provide intervention--which ends up having major, potentially even catastrophic results, which might possibly end up needing some extremely drastic measures to take place in order to reach a final needful yet somewhat bittersweet resolution for all parties concerned?

Well, hopefully we'll find out soon enough, if this story idea will cooperate and if my daughter can stop dropping body parts....   (Well, OK, I exaggerate a bit, but I'm just in from spending all evening at the after-hours clinic getting my daughter's finger X-rayed, and have just found out we'll be spending tomorrow morning at the orthopedist getting a cast.  At least this year it's her left pinky finger, whereas two years ago it was the right one, which made writing an interesting adventure for her for a month.  *sigh*  Remind me how PE class is good for my children's health and wellbeing?   :D )
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« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2010, 10:18:03 pm »
Nice ending, but I think Dhugal  should have thought things thru better; mayrrying her  will not set too well for many people, expecially those in his lands, for obvious reasons, although I hope everything will work out well for him (and her).

For that matter, Dhugal's own FATHER isn't taking this terribly well.  ;)

Definitely true, although Duncan''s reasons for not taking it well have less to do with Dhugal's prospective wife being Torenthi than with his own unresolved grief issues for a close friend...one who just happened to be his daughter-in-law as well, which only compounds matters. 

But yes, I imagine the people of Cassan and Kierney would have one massive collective apoplectic fit over Dhugal's  new intended....
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« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2010, 03:36:29 pm »
Is there any more of this story coming along?  I'm curious to see what happens! :)
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)

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« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2010, 04:13:35 pm »
This particular story has ended, but the Dhugal/Mirjana debacle story is in (very slow) progress.  I wasn't able to get any writing done at Dragon*Con, and this is one of my busy months at work, so writing is going more slowly than usual, but I'm plugging away at it when I get free bits of time.  I'm about two chapters in, but want to have more written before I start posting bits.  Eventually I also hope to have a shorter story telling what happens to young Oliver, Alienora's son who was orphaned by the fever-flux and is now being raised by those evil terrifying Deryni.   ;D
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 04:16:36 pm by Evie »
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