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Author Topic: Kelson Era FanFic Possessed--Prologue  (Read 4086 times)

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Offline Evie

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Possessed--Prologue
« on: January 18, 2011, 09:01:48 pm »
Possessed
   
   Prologue   

   January 7, 1121
   The Gold Lion Tavern, City of Rhemuth


   Lord Walter Branigan, Baron of Caerdraig, leaned across the scarred wooden table before him so his trusted lieutenant could more easily hear him over the sounds of congenial laughter and merry banter coming from the next table over.  “Well, what did you think of her, Aylmer?” he asked quietly.

   Sir Aylmer’s dark eyes gleamed with approval over his tankard as he took another quaff of the dark beer that was the Gold Lion’s specialty.  “You’re right; she’s a fine looking wench.  Exquisite, in fact.   A most suitable trophy for your collection, my Lord.”

   Lord Walter frowned slightly.  “I’m not simply seeking a suitable trophy, man!  Is she, or is she not, the most lovely maiden Rhemuth has on offer?”

   His lieutenant snorted.  “I can’t honestly claim to have seen every maid in Rhemuth, my lord, but yes, she’s far and above any other I’ve seen in a very long time.  You would be envied far and wide for winning such a prize.  You said she’s Deryni, though.  Won’t that pose a problem?”

   Walter’s ice-blue eyes glistened with anticipation.  “No, you’re looking at it in entirely the wrong light.  She shan’t be a problem, she’ll be a challenge.  And I do enjoy a challenge….”  He took a sip from his tankard, absently wiping the foam off his mustache afterwards.  “She’s young, though.  It’s too soon to tell for sure yet what she’ll look like once her face and form fully ripen.  I might have to hold off a year or two longer before I make my move.”

   Aylmer’s brows rose.  “A year or two?  Dare you wait that long?  She’s nearly seventeen already; she could well have married by then.”

   The baron shrugged.  “That hardly matters.  She’ll not marry before being properly betrothed, and if she’s betrothed, the banns will be read thrice before they're wed, barring any unusual circumstances.  It would be easy enough to eliminate a rival before the wedding.  Or, if need be, after.”

   “She wouldn’t be a virgin after.”

   Walter shrugged.  “I’d prefer a virgin bride, of course, but as long as she’s not breeding, gaining her once she’s deflowered would merely be a regrettable nuisance.  It's not as if I plan to leave her in that state.”  He paused to take another sip.  “But I suppose you’re right, a proper maiden would be a lot more enjoyable.”

   “And you’d be certain your heirs would be your own.”

   The baron laughed.  “My dear man, do you honestly think I’d ruin that perfect form of hers by breeding her?  You can’t be serious.  No, when it comes to heirs, one woman will serve as well as another.”

   “But I thought you meant to make her your wife!  And your heirs would need to be legitimate….”

   Walter of Caerdraig rolled his eyes.  “Aye, she’ll be my wife, but as for the other.... Aylmer, think!  Two women walk into a birthing chamber; a few hours or a few days later—even a few months, if one were to claim complications requiring a longer confinement—two walk out again eventually, one holding a baby.  Who’s to know which woman gave birth to it?  One assumes, of course, that the one who went into the bedchamber heavy with child is the mother of the new arrival, but if the mother is hardly ever seen in the months prior to the birth, and if the midwife is a woman of large girth herself….”  He smiled.  “There are ways, Aylmer.  You simply have to be willing to think your way through a problem, rather than giving up at the very outset because you presume there’s no way around it.”  The baron chuckled.  “I keep trying to tell you, man; perseverance is a virtue.”

   “It’s a wonder you’re acquainted with it, then,” Aylmer joked.

   Walter laughed and took a deep quaff of his beer.  “If the babes are assumed to be my wife’s, that makes them legitimate enough for my purposes.  All I care about, of course, is that my heirs be truly mine.  And I hardly anticipate that will be any problem.”

   Aylmer smirked.  “Never has been so far.”

   A tavern maid approached their table, bringing two bowls of hearty stew.  She set them on the table before the men along with a couple of spoons.  “I’ll be back wi’ th’ bread.  Would ye like a bit o’ butter for it?  It’s fresh churned.”

   Walter swept the pretty maid with an appreciative look.  “Aye, and top off our tankards on your next pass, would you?”

   “Right gladly, m’lords.”  The tavern maid flashed both men a dimpled smile and walked away.

   Aylmer studied the girl’s swaying hips a long moment before turning back to his lord.  “Winsome little thing, ain’t she?  I wonder what’s on offer for dessert?”

   The baron chuckled.  “You’re insatiable.  Don’t I keep you well enough provisioned?  Keep your mind on the business at hand, boyo.”  He scooped up a spoonful of stew, blowing the steaming sample to cool it before tasting it.  “This is quite edible.”

   “I told you the Gold Lion has one of the best tavern cooks in the City of Rhemuth.”

   “So you did.”

   The young woman returned, putting a tray of warm brown bread on the table between the men, along with a dish of fresh butter and a pitcher of beer.   “There ye are, then.  Anythin’ else I can do for ye fine lords?”

   Aylmer caught his lord’s eye with a slow amused grin.  Walter gave the tavern maid his most winning smile.  “Not at the moment, but when are you free tonight?”

   Her lips smiled back, though the welcome in her eyes dimmed.  “Oh, I go off shift soon enow, but I’m never free in the way ye mean, m’lord.  I’m a married lass, an’ an honest one to boot.  Will ye be needin’ aught else for yer table, m’lords?”

   The ice-blue eyes scanned the tabletop.  “No, I think this will do for us.  Thank you for your service.”

   The maid thawed slightly, bobbing him a polite curtsey, and returned to the rear of the tavern.  Walter took another bite of the stew, which had cooled enough to eat.  He glanced at Aylmer.  “So.  What have you discovered about the brothers?”

   Aylmer gave a startled glance over his shoulder in the direction the tavern maid had gone.  “She has brothers?”

   “Not her, man!  As I said, get your mind back on business!”

   “Oh.  Aye.”  The lieutenant smiled sheepishly.  “The Arilan chit.  Well, both brothers are in training as squires under Prince Nigel, though the youngest just entered that service and the eldest is due to be knighted next year, by all accounts, if he doesn’t manage to earn the accolade sooner.  He’s said to be quite talented; one of the best Nigel’s had in years, though since he’s not been battle-seasoned yet, he’ll probably still have to reach his eighteenth year to be knighted.”  He frowned.  “Though given that Wencit’s likely to make his move soon, I imagine the lad will be battle-seasoned soon enough, assuming he lives through his first real combat.”  He took a few bites of his meal.  “Are you certain the Arilans are Deryni?”

   Walter pursed his lips thoughtfully.  “Well, I’ve not yet tried to check for shielding—don’t want to give the game away just yet—but according to my late father, their sire was, though that wasn’t commonly known.  So there’s a good chance.  And if not…well, that just makes my planning all the easier, though as I said before, I do prefer a bit of a challenge.”

   “There's also a sister.  A year younger, I believe, and reputed to be equally comely.”

   His lord shook his head. “Yes, I've seen her.  Quite lovely as well, but Javana's the superior in looks.  I'll have her and none other.”

   Aylmer snorted with amusement.  “Undying fidelity, then?  I'll believe that when I see it!”

   “None other to wife.”  The cold eyes glittered with chill humor.  “I'll have naught but the best, Aylmer.  As the future Baroness of Caerdraig, she'll be a reflection on me, so I'll have no lesser prize.”  His eyes sought the rear of the tavern, where the maidservant who had tended to them was hanging up her apron for the night.  “Are you finished with your stew, Aylmer?”

   “Mostly done.  Why?”

   Walter tilted his head towards the maid, now slipping discreetly out the back door.  “Did you still want an after-dinner sweet?”

   The lieutenant's grin broadened.  “Oh, yes, I've room to spare for that.”

   The baron reached into his coin purse.  “I may partake as well.”  He tossed a few coins upon the table.  “Is she kin to the tavern owner, do you think?”

   “I believe she's his daughter, my lord.”

   Walter smiled and added another coin to the small pile.  “That should be adequate recompense, then.” 

   The two men rose, following the young woman out into the dark night.

#

   April 15, 1121
   Rhemuth Castle practice yard


   “Kill him, brother!”

   The other onlookers laughed at Lady Javana Arilan’s jest as her brother Laird Seisyll closed on his opponent, his dark blue-violet eyes seeking any opening in his brother squire’s defenses.  Stefan de Varnay grinned.  “Not fair!” he called out to the lovely young lady in the crowd of spectators.  Seisyll took advantage of de Varnay’s momentary distraction, aiming for a blow to his opponent’s less well defended right side, but Stefan caught the blur of motion out of the corner of his eye and parried with his shield, blocking the practice sword.  The young mens’ eyes met, violet clashing with green-gold.  Seisyll smiled.

   “Nice block,” he said, “though you’d be better served ignoring my sister and keeping your mind on the game.”

   Stefan grinned.  “Since she’s your sister, you might well be oblivious, but trust me, for any other man she’s a bit difficult to ignore.”

   “Works to my advantage, so I’ve no cause for complaint,” Seisyll said, easily parrying a half-hearted feint by Stefan, whose gaze had wandered to the sidelines again.  “You think the King would let me bring her to war with us?  I could dangle her in front of Wencit and hope he’s as easily distracted.”

   “I heard that, you git!” Javana protested with a laugh.

   “If your brother’s a git, does that mean you’re on my side now?”  Stefan grinned as he sidestepped a blow from Seisyll.   “I could use a little support here.”

   “I’ll let her drag your dying body off the field of battle; that will be support enough,” Seisyll joked.  The two fighters eyed each other warily, circling each other, swords held at the ready.  Finally Seisyll broke the brief stand-off, feigning a strike towards one of Stefan's legs.  Stefan swiftly brought his shield down to ward off the expected blow, but Seisyll changed the direction of the swing at the last moment, bringing the practice sword up and over to strike Stefan's shoulder.

   “Damn!”   Stefan took a step back.  “I was using that arm.”

   “You have a spare, don't you?”  Seisyll grinned.

   “Well, yes, but that was my sword arm, you know.  I suppose I could switch to my off hand, if I'm not bleeding all over the battlefield right now.”  He pretended to stagger over to the edge of the yard, stopping next to Javana.  “I don't suppose an angel of mercy could offer me a cool drink and a towel?”

   “Right, because that's going to happen when you're fighting at Cardosa!”  Prince Nigel favored Stefan with a raised eyebrow as the squire leaped back swiftly, startled by the Iron Duke's quiet approach.  Nigel stopped at the yard's perimeter to sketch a courtly bow over the young lady's hand.  “Lady Javana, it's always a pleasure to see you, but I'm going to need to ask you to leave for now; I need a fair bit more practicing and a lot less posturing from my squires over the next half hour.”  He grinned at the blushing maiden.  “Though perhaps if I were to promise the squire with the greatest number of 'kills' and the fewest 'deaths' the opportunity to sit with a pretty young maid tonight rather than serve at feast, they might pay more attention to their fighting form.”

   She laughed, smiling a bit shyly at the unexpected Royal attention, and curtseyed.  “I'm sorry, Your Highness.  I saw the squires in training as I was on my way to the Castle from St. Hilary's, and just wanted to wish my brother well in his practice.  I never meant to cause a distraction.”  Javana waved at Seisyll and continued on her way back to the Castle.  She did not notice the silent watcher who detached from the small group of other onlookers to follow her a short time afterwards.

Part One:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=647.0
« Last Edit: January 18, 2017, 10:43:51 pm by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Offline DesertRose

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Re: Possessed--Prologue
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2011, 09:20:55 pm »
Wow.  Walter's a right jerk to say the least.  Poor Javana.
"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.)

Offline Alkari

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Re: Possessed--Prologue
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2011, 11:29:12 pm »
Yes indeed - a very nasty form of jerk.  I have the feeling we will all want to rinse our hands or whatever after reading too much about his doings       

I hope he eventually comes to a Very Bad (and Painful) End!  :D

Offline AnnieUK

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Re: Possessed--Prologue
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2011, 01:36:17 am »
Got the feeling this is the start of a bad time for Javana ;)

Offline Evie

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Re: Possessed--Prologue
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2011, 08:45:15 am »
Well, you know, I can't just write sweet mushy love stories all the time.  Where's the fun in that?   :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Offline Elkhound

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Re: Possessed--Prologue
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2011, 12:29:58 pm »
Next item in Javana's magical education---human-to-animal transformation; amphibians

Offline Evie

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Re: Possessed--Prologue
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2011, 01:00:39 pm »
LOL!  Well, she's going to be finishing up her Deryni training in Andelon in an upcoming chapter, but I'm not at all sure that course is in the curriculum.   ;)
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Offline Alkari

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Re: Possessed--Prologue
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2011, 02:03:21 pm »
Next item in Javana's magical education---human-to-animal transformation; amphibians
The Gwynedd Society for Protection of Amphibians wishes to lodge a formal protest, and politely requests Master Elkhound to find some other item for his proposed transfiguration experiments.  Frogs and toads are really very nice creatures, and - if one believes certain fairy tales - some have even been known to turn into princes.   Certainly they have strong and unusual magical properties at times.   Whilst we appreciate Master Elkhound's desire to provide more of the species, we wish to point out that the addition of certain very unpleasant characters to the frog population is likely to have undesirable long term consequences.

We respectfully suggest that he confines his experiments to inanimate objects, such as lumps of peat or coal, which can then be burnt and thereby be of great practical use ...
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 02:05:20 pm by Alkari »

Offline Evie

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Re: Possessed--Prologue
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2011, 02:06:50 pm »
On the other hand, once Walter is transformed into a lump of coal and burnt, Javana might well wish she knew how to perform an animal-to-human transformation.  I'm sure there must be a frog around Caerdraig who wouldn't mind being turned into a handsome prince.  Though why she'd want a prince who likes to jump around croaking and splashing about, I have no clue, but at least it would be an improvement over Walter....   :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
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Offline Alkari

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Re: Possessed--Prologue
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2011, 02:37:40 pm »
I would think that after Javana's experience of "marriage" with Walter, she would run a long, long way away from any thought of a future marriage.

Even if applying nicely scented soap to a prince splashing about in the bathtub might be fun ...

Offline Evie

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Re: Possessed--Prologue
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2011, 03:45:41 pm »
Hm.  You might be right.  After several years of marriage to Walter, the only beast she'd be tempted to turn into a man might be Caerdraig Castle's mouser...but only after ensuring he was properly neutered first....
"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 derynifanatic64

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Re: Possessed--Prologue
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2011, 06:25:25 pm »
Javana should turn Walter into a cockroach and squash him flat!!  But that might be considered an insult to cockroaches everywhere!!
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Possessed--Prologue
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2011, 07:57:25 pm »

Even if applying nicely scented soap to a prince splashing about in the bathtub might be fun ...

Google some of the royal houses of Europe and *look* at some of the princes.  Generations of inbreeding. . .

Offline Evie

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Re: Possessed--Prologue
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2011, 08:09:49 pm »

Even if applying nicely scented soap to a prince splashing about in the bathtub might be fun ...

Google some of the royal houses of Europe and *look* at some of the princes.  Generations of inbreeding. . .

LOL!  Elkhound does have a point....  ;D
"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 Alkari

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Re: Possessed--Prologue
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2011, 08:24:38 pm »
Then Evie's "Next generation" fics had better ensure that Kelson's and Araxie's children are well and truly outbred, and have no common ancestors for at least 6 generations!

Hmmm, perhaps a nice commoner for Javan ...  ?  ;)

 

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