Author Topic: Possessed--Part Fifteen  (Read 3239 times)

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Offline Evie

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Possessed--Part Fifteen
« on: March 12, 2011, 01:51:32 pm »
   Part Fifteen—Hounds On The Trail

   September 22, 1132
   Rhemuth Castle, Arilan apartment

   Jashana set her weaving aside for a moment, tightening her cloak around her to ward off the slight chill in the air, even though it was just after noonday.  She was still unused to the unseasonably early cold snap, but at least the early frosts had killed off the last of the mosquito infestation that had plagued the city and countryside all summer long.  She watched as her younger brother bent over a desk, working on a report for the King.  He still looked a little frail to her eyes, although it had been several months now since he’d been stricken by the fever-flux virus, just a short while after their sister-in-law had started her long recovery from the ravages of that illness herself.  The physicians had assured Seisyll that both Sextus and Sophie would make a full recovery of their strength, but that it would take time, for both had come so close to death during the time of pestilence.

   Seisyll and Sophie were away at the moment, the couple enjoying an autumn stroll in the Castle gardens with their two young children, newly returned from the Kheldish Riding.  Seisyll had gone to collect them himself, not wishing for Sextus to over-exert himself while still regaining his strength.  

   The door opened, and Lady Sophie's tiring maid Annie entered the room, her cheeks pink from the cool air and her brisk uphill walk back from the City of Rhemuth, and possibly also from excitement, judging from the sparkle in her blue eyes as she bobbed a curtsey to Jashana and Sextus.  “It's a lovely day, it is, if a mite coolish, m'lord an' m'lady; ye ought to venture out afore it grows too cold again.”

   “I might at that,” Sextus said, glancing out a window, glad for the distraction from his report.  He turned to grin at the tiring maid.  “I don't suppose you'd fancy another walk to show me the sights of Rhemuth?”

   The maid laughed, her cheeks growing rosier.  “Ah, no, m'lord,  ye already know Rhemuth far better than I do, I trust, an' Lady Sophie'd have me skin if I did!  She says ye're a randy rogue an' a rapscallion, an' no' to be trusted wi' a maid, an' if ye were to try for me, I was to set ye nicely on yer ear.  Wi' respect, sir,” she added cheekily, bobbing another curtsey at him.

   Sextus chuckled.  “And so you have.”  He turned back to his work, still grinning.  “Worth a shot, though.”

   Jashana shook her head, lobbing a skein of wool yarn at his back.  “Reprobate!  Leave the household maids be; Sophie's worked awfully hard to train them up right, and she'd not thank you for trying to plow your way through the lot.”  She smiled at Annie, who suppressed a giggle.  “And what's happening in the City right now?  Any news?”

   “Oh, aye, m’lady, there’s a major row over in th’ Market Square!  Th’ chandler’s wife’s been tossed out o’ her home on account o’ she’s three months gone wi’ child, an’ it ain’t his!”

   “Wait, what?”  Jashana looked up from her weaving.  “How does he know the baby’s not his?”

   “Because he ain’t capable!  Tha’s why he married her a six-month ago; she’s an apothecary’s daughter from two shops down, an’ he’d hoped she’d know a cure, but she swears she’s still a virgin.  Only wi’ her bein’ three months along an’ all, tha’s a bit doubtful, don’t ye think?”  The girl grinned.  “Leastways, tha’s wha’ they were shoutin’ back an’ forth at each other across th’ Market Square this morning as th’ chandler was pitchin’ her clothes out th’ upper floor window.”

   Sextus looked up again, his curiosity piqued.  “So, let me get this straight.  She’s been married six months, but the marriage was never consummated.  But she’s three months gone with child anyway, even though she says she’s still a virgin.  Did I get it right?”

   “Aye, m’lord!”  Annie laughed.  “Her husband asked if she intends to name the babe Jesú.”   

   Jashana chuckled absently, but her attention was caught by the intent expression on her brother’s face.  “What is it, Sextus?”

   Sextus drummed his fingers on the desk, lost in thought for a few moments, then stood abruptly.  “Annie, would you take me there?”

   The maid looked startled.  “Take you where, m’lord?”

   “To the chandler’s shop.  Or, better yet, to the apothecary’s, if the woman’s returned to her father’s house.  Has she, do you know?”

   The tiring maid shrugged, baffled.  “I don’t rightly know, m’lord.  I reckon she would, under th’ circumstances, if he’ll have her back.  Especially as her husband ain’t truly her husband, if she ain’t had no proper beddin’ from him.”  She stared at him.  “But ye don’t believe her story, do ye?”

   He shook his head slowly.  “I don’t believe she’s a virgin mother, no.  But it would be interesting to hear her side of things, especially if she truly believes she’s telling the truth.”

   “But…how could she be?”

   Sextus reached for his sheathed sword, strapping his weapon to his side.  “I don’t know yet.”  He finished adjusting his scabbard, looking back up at the girl.  “Where is this apothecary shop?  Which side of the Square?”

   “Th’ east side o’ it, m’lord, next door to th’ Gold Lion Tavern, across from Saint Bart’s.”

   Jashana pictured the location in her mind.  “That’s only a few buildings west of Walter and Javana’s Rhemuth residence, isn’t it?”  She studied her brother’s resolute face.  “What are you thinking, Sextus?”

   Sextus glanced cautiously at the maid, then back at his sister.  “Until I’ve spoken to the chandler’s wife, it’s too soon for me to be thinking much of anything.  But if my hunch proves to have any basis in fact, I’ll let you know.”  He raised an eyebrow at the maid.  “Annie?”

   The tiring maid glanced uncertainly at Jashana, who nodded.  “Lady Sophie will understand, under the circumstances.  I’ll explain.”  She looked up at her brother, then gave the maid a wry smile.  “Sextus can behave, he just usually can’t be bothered to.”

   Sextus, suppressing a snort, opened the apartment door for the hesitant tiring maid.  “Lead the way, sweeting.”


   “So, what did you discover?”  Seisyll leaned back in his favorite chair, listening to his brother in growing consternation.  Jashana had apprised him of the tiring maid’s tale and Sextus’s interest in pursuing the odd mystery as soon as he’d returned from his walk with his wife and children.  Sophie and the children, quite fortunately, had decided to continue on to the Basilica to pay a visit to Bishop Duncan before returning to the family apartment, so Jashana hadn’t had to wait until the younger members of the family were abed before informing her eldest brother of the latest developments.  And shortly after his own arrival back, Sextus and Annie had returned.  Jashana had sent Annie on an errand so that Sextus could report his findings back to Seisyll in greater privacy.

   “It’s a similar sort of thing to what Ethan and I happened across in the Kheldish Riding a few years back,” Sextus informed him, shooting his sister a glance of apology for the painful reminder of her late betrothed.  “She believes her story is absolutely true, but while she was telling me about it, I managed to take a peek at her memories, and they’ve clearly been altered.  There’s a night about three months back when her last clear memory is of walking home from her father’s shop—that is, she recalls leaving the apothecary’s stall—but from there it jumps forward to the next morning.  She doesn’t actually recall arriving at home and going to bed.  I don’t simply mean she doesn’t actively remember those things either; after three months, one would hardly expect her to recall the specific details of one particular and mostly unremarkable evening.  But the memories aren’t stored within her mind at all, as far as I could see.”

   Seisyll pursed his lips in thought.  “You say it’s similar to what you saw in those women near Caerdraig.  But it’s not the same?  How is it different?”

   Sextus took a sip of Fianna wine.  “The women in Caerdraig—Meg, especially—couldn’t remember exactly what had happened to them, but they usually had some inkling that it had been something bad.  Feelings of dread, signs of physical harm, sometimes just odd snippets of memory that made them wonder if they might be going mad, sometimes memories that were vividly clear in some aspects yet blurred in others to conceal the identity of the attacker.”  He took another sip of his wine, frowning.  “Actually, there’s another woman here in Rhemuth I’ve heard about lately who might fit the pattern as well, and if she’s tied in with this, her case may be even more like what I saw in the Riding.  I had thought that was just an isolated incident, but….well, maybe it’s not.”

   Seisyll, his elbows on the table before him, steepled his fingers, tapping them gently against his lips.  “And this other woman’s story?”

   “You’d recognize her, Seisyll, though you might not know her by name.  Kate, the scrumptious redhead who used to work at the Gold Lion Tavern a few years back.  Her father’s Lewis Macdonal, the tavern owner, in fact.  She was wed to Bill Draper.”

   “The Gold Lion’s just a door or two down from the apothecary’s shop, yes?”

   “Yes.  Right next door.”

   Seisyll nodded.  “Continue.”

   “Kate stopped working at the Gold Lion quite abruptly after she was abducted and violated while walking home late one night.  Her father tried to quell the rumors, said she’d simply decided to stop working because she was expecting her firstborn child.  But once the child was born, the rumors started up again.”  Sextus swirled the wine in his goblet.  “Bill Draper was a fair-haired man; Kate’s baby had dark hair, nearly black as coal.  And there’s no dark hair on either side of that match for three or four generations back.  It started the talk back up, as you might imagine.”

   “Does the lass verify the rumors, or does she deny them?”

   Sextus shrugged.  “I’ve not had a chance to speak with her in years; she’s turned man-shy from what I’ve heard, though I’ve hardly caught even a glimpse of her since she used to work at the tavern.  She wasn’t shy in those days.”  He smiled sadly.  “I don’t mean she was a lightskirt—Kate was never that—but she knew how to make a guest feel welcome at the Gold Lion.”  A quiet chuckle.  “I used to like going there of an evening to practice my pick-up lines on her.  Not that they ever worked, but I think she found it amusing.”

   A memory dawned in Seisyll’s mind.  “Oh, I remember her now.  She called you ‘little cub.’”  He grinned slightly at his brother’s faint blush, though the grin swiftly faded as he considered what had happened to Kate since that time.  “Does Kate work in her husband’s shop now, or does she stay at home instead?”  He glanced at Jashana.  “Maybe if she’s working in the draper’s shop, Jashana could take a look at some wool fabric and get a peek into Kate’s mind while she’s there.”

   Jashana shivered.  “I’d rather not, thank you, unless it’s absolutely necessary.  I’m not really keen on experiencing someone’s memories of rape.”

   “I know, and I’m not asking you to delve deeply into that aspect of her memories.  She’s hardly likely to let me or Sextus close enough to even talk with her about what she might have gone through, much less let us Mind-See her, though.  If we could just know for certain if the rape actually did occur, and how much of the event she actually remembers, if anything of it, that would be helpful.”

   Jashana raised her eyebrows.  “The existence of a dark-haired child isn’t evidence enough?”

   Seisyll shook her head.  “No, that’s just evidence that the child probably isn’t her husband’s.  It says nothing about how she happened to get with child by another man, nor about whether she remembers what happened or not.”

   His sister sighed.  “All right.  And if it turns out that her memories have been toyed with, like the chandler’s wife’s, what does that mean?”

   Sextus and Seisyll glanced at each other.  “It means that there could be other women like them out there, possibly even in the same neighborhood, who have experienced the same thing,” Sextus offered.

   “Yes.  And there are women in the Kheldish Riding who have gone through very similar experiences as well, if not identical ones,” Seisyll added.  “It would be interesting to see if there might be other occurrences of the same sort of thing between Rhemuth and the Kheldish Riding.”

   Jashana stared at them in growing horror.  “All the way across the Kingdom?  You think it’s the same Deryni, then?”

   Seisyll looked grim.  “Let’s hope it is.  If it’s not, then that means we’ve got two rogue Deryni doing the same thing to women on opposite ends of the Kingdom, and that’s certainly not the sort of news Kelson Haldane is going to want to hear now that the Statutes of Ramos have finally been repealed and Deryni are beginning to feel free to reveal themselves to humans for the first time in two centuries!  Sweet Jesú, this could set all his work back to how things were a century ago, if word gets out about what’s been happening to these women.”  He took a deep breath.  “Can you find some excuse to meet with Kate, Jashana?”

   She nodded, her face pale.  “I’ll do my best.”


   September 25
   City of Rhemuth

   Jashana’s first inquiries did not take her directly to the draper’s shop.  Instead, she spent a few mornings and afternoons getting acquainted with Kate Draper’s neighborhood, exploring the surroundings and meeting several of the women who lived and worked in the area.  Only once she had established herself as a respectable tailor’s widow who was looking for an inexpensive apartment in Rhemuth’s market area where she might be able to take in some commissions to do fine needlework did some of the area women start to exchange confidences with her.  She knew it would be a stretch for her to try to pass herself off as a rustic; even though she felt confident that she could act the part, a sharp observer would notice her hands were too soft and well-maintained for a woman who lived off the land, and she retained the youthful appearance that women with harsher lives lost early on.  She was not nearly as skilled at altering her appearance to project what others might expect to see as Sextus or Seisyll were; both were far more practiced at that art.  But the guise of a respectable woman of the middling class—a merchant’s daughter or the like, whose father was aging and could not be depended upon for much longer to provide her sustenance and shelter—she could manage easily enough.

   Once the local wives and widows knew her as a working woman like themselves, one with good reason to ask questions about what sort of neighborhood she might be moving into, they were glad enough to talk of all they knew regarding both the advantages and the potential dangers of life near Market Square for a lone woman such as herself, who hadn’t the advantage of a strong male protector.  It was, she was assured, an excellent location to set herself up in a small room above a shop and to attract custom for her finely stitched wares.  There would be competition, but judging from the samples of her work she’d shown around, nothing so outstanding in comparison that she could not easily draw interest in her own handiwork.  She would be well advised to share lodgings with another widow, however, or rent a room with a shopkeeper’s family, as a woman living completely on her own was less safe, not to mention she was more likely to be considered disreputable and therefore a fair target for the attentions of a less reputable sort of man.

   At last she was able to subtly work the conversations around to the topic of the draper’s widow.

   “Oh, aye, Kate Draper’s man died in th’ fever-flux plague a couple months back; she might have a room t’ spare, come t’ think,” the cobbler’s wife offered.  “Some o’ her custom might be in th’ market for fine needlework, though if yer willin’ t’ take in more common sempstress jobs, there might be more of a call for that sort o’ thing.”  The woman frowned slightly.  “O’ course, Kate’s a bit of an odd sort, but it’s little wonder, considerin’ all she’s been through, poor duck.”

   “You mean, with her husband dying so recently, and in such an awful way?” Jashana prompted, as if she’d never heard anything else about the Drapers.

   “Well, that too,” the butcher’s wife told her, looking around quickly to see who else was in earshot.  She lowered her voice slightly to whisper in confidential terms, “Kate don’t like anyone t’ know, but ye’d hear of it soon enough.  She was violated a few years back, no’ long after th’ young King’s Coronation, God bless ‘is soul!  It’s made ‘er a bit queer in th’ head, but she’s no’ th’ dangerous sort, mind, just a bit shy.  A recluse, Kate is.  But she might welcome a lodger, come t’ think, especially if ye’ll help ‘er deal wi’ the male custom.  She’s no’ much for men now; even ‘er own Bill—God rest ‘is soul!—took separate rooms afore ‘e died, an’ they was right close before th’ tragedy happened.”

   “Oh, poor dear!” Jashana murmured.  “That must have been awful for her.  Did it happen close by?”

   The woman risked another quick glance around before lowering her voice even more.  “It was one o’ th’ back alleys behind th’ Gold Lion Tavern, I heard tell, an’ Kate’s right lucky t’ be alive, if ye ask me!  It were a moonless night tha’ night, an’ if th’ night watchman hadn’t happened by when ‘e did, it might ha’ been her corpse he found tha’ night an’ not a live woman.  Whoever done ‘er was right savage about it.  Knowin’ wha’ Kate used t’ be like, I reckon she must’ve put up a huge fight.  She were a feisty sort, our Kate, once.”

   “But not anymore?” Jashana asked softly.

   “Nay.  She shrinks at shadows now, Kate does.  It’s a damn shame, an’ I hope t’ God they catch th’ men someday, an’ string ‘em up above Rivergate by their privy parts!”

   “There was more than one man involved then?”

   The butcher’s wife shrugged.  “Well, Murraugh th’ night watch what found ‘er said ‘e thought ‘e saw two men run off into th’ adjoining alley when ‘e come up t’ th’ scene, but ‘e stopped t’ check on Kate first—‘is sister’s daughter used t’ work at th’ Gold Lion Tavern wi’ Kate—an’ by th’ time ‘e got help for ‘er an’ raised th’ hue an’ cry, th’ men were long gone.  One o’ th’ men had dark hair though, I know tha’ much.”

   “She told you that?”

   “Nay, Kate don’t like t’ own it ever happened at all, but she had a babe th’ following autumn, an’ Cass has hair black as midnight.  Bill, he were a blond, an’ Kate’s got bright red hair like oak leaves in autumn.  Cass takes after ‘er real father right enough, whoever ‘e were.  Kate keeps ‘er hid away most o’ th’ time, but if ye get a room above ‘er shop, ye’ll see her soon enough.  A right queer child, Cass.”

   “What’s queer about her?”

   The butcher’s wife stopped to think.  “Well, she keeps t’ herself mostly, though tha’ might be Kate’s doin’, but th’ lass hardly talks at all, though she can talk.  Just mainly sits in th’ window watchin’ th’ world go by wi’ those queer eyes o’ hers.  Pale blue as aquamarines, Cass’s eyes are.  She ain’t right.  No’ a simpleton, mind—it’s no’ as easy t’ figure wha’s wrong wi’ her as tha’.  She’s more like a changeling child, Cass is, mutterin’ t’ herself in corners an’ playin’ by herself when Kate’s no’ got her workin’.  She don’t fit in wi’ th’ rest.  Ye ask me, Kate should’a left her as a foundling at th’ church door years ago, but early on she was still tryin’ t’ pass th’ babe off as Bill’s get despite th’ hair.”

   Jashana frowned thoughtfully.  “Cass must be a painful daily reminder of the attack Kate suffered.  Does she have a good relationship with her daughter, or did she find it difficult to bond with the child, given the circumstances of Cass’s conception?”

   The butcher’s wife snorted.  “Kate don’t bond well wi’ no one nowadays, least of all Cass.  They live in th’ same house, an’ Kate provides for her needs well enough—she’s no’ a neglectful mother in tha’ way—but nay, I’d no’ call them close.  Bill tended t’ th’ babe more than Kate did, when he were alive.  No’ tha’ he wanted her, but he felt bounden t’ provide for th’ chit.  It weren’t Kate’s fault, he said, an’ he’d no’ see a child starve under ‘is watch.  A decent man, Bill were, an’ he tried t’ do right by them both, even after it were clear Kate couldn’t abide a husband’s touch no more.”  The butcher’s wife looked out her window, pointing out a shadowy figure peering out the window of a building directly opposite hers.  “There’s Kate now, if ye want t’ inquire about a room t’ let above her shop.”


   Kate Draper was hardly the most welcoming sort, but after all Jashana had heard about her, she'd hardly expected the draper's widow would be.  Kate grudgingly allowed that there was a spare room above her shop, and that it might be available for another widow in need to use while she set up her own business.  They discussed price briefly, though Jashana told her that she needed to discuss her financial situation with her ailing father first before securing a Rhemuth apartment, so Kate needn't feel bound to hold it available for her if some other prospective lodger were to come along who might have need of the room sooner and had the coin readily to hand.

   As they talked, Jashana tried to find an opportunity to take a closer look at Kate's mind without the human woman's knowledge of what she was up to, but this was proving more difficult than Jashana had feared it might be.  Bill Draper's business had been a prosperous one, and customers were frequently entering and leaving the shop, so there was little privacy.  Not to mention Jashana had to override her own qualms and the ethical training that had been drummed into her from childhood simply to consider doing such a thing, though her conversations with the other women in the neighborhood had quickly convinced her that discovering what Kate might remember about her attackers would not be a simple matter of simply asking her the right question, much less for permission to take a peek at such painful memories.  Even more to the point, even without permission, the memories she sought to find were so traumatic it would be difficult for Jashana to access them without Kate becoming aware that she was doing so.  She could blur or even erase any recollection of her visit afterwards, of course, but while actually inside Kate's mind...well, the situation was bound to be awkward at best, unless Kate were sound asleep at the time Jashana attempted the psychic probe.  And Kate was hardly likely to be so obliging as to volunteer for a midday nap while Jashana was there inquiring after rooms to let!  No, Jashana mused, it would probably be best if she could talk Seisyll into actually allowing her to rent rooms there for a short time.  If they lived in the same home, Jashana might eventually have an opportunity to catch Kate unawares and secure the information that they sought.  Perhaps she could even help Kate afterwards, blurring the traumatic memories that were holding Kate back from having a full and healthy life.  If she could, that would ease some of Jashana's guilt for having to peek into Kate's private thoughts uninvited in the first place.  It would be like a healer tending to an unconscious patient, Jashana told herself.  Just as a wounded man in a swoon over grievous injuries could not ask for help, though he would readily do so if conscious, so Jashana told herself that Kate would surely avail herself of mental healing if only she knew such a thing might be possible.

   She said her farewells to Kate, promising her she’d return or send word soon if she meant to secure the spare room, adding a few words about the handiness of setting up a needlework business just above a draper’s shop, and headed towards the front of the shop.  As she was speaking, she felt the quick brush of mind against mind.  Jashana stiffened slightly, wondering if she’d imagined the sensation, or if someone in the shop had just Truth-Read her.  Surely it wasn’t Kate; Jashana had detected no signs of shields in the woman, who seemed to be fully human as far as her quick perusal of the shopkeeper could determine.  As she approached the door, she caught sight of a young girl sitting in a corner of the shop, brushing wool.  As their eyes met, Jashana sensed another quick probe brush against her shields.  She stopped just short of the door, staring at the child in amazement before it dawned on her that, having been sired by a Deryni, it was hardly a surprise that the girl was Deryni as well.

   You must be more careful about touching people’s minds that way except at great need, Jashana Mind-spoke to the girl.  Most won’t be aware, but some might take offense, and a few might even prove to be a danger to you.

   Cass looked startled as Jashana’s warning sounded directly in her mind, but then she lifted her chin slightly, giving the visitor a defiant look.  Why did ye lie t’ me Ma?

   Jashana regarded the child, considering her options.  She could hardly just stand there in front of the door looking at the girl and silently speaking with her; after a while, someone was bound to notice her standing there staring and might wonder why.  So she fished in her pouch for a coin, offering it to the girl.  “A farthing if you’ll show me the way to Dyers Lane from here.”

   The girl looked to her mother, still standing at the rear of the shop, for permission.  Kate responded with a curt nod, and the girl put down her wool brush, standing from her bench in the corner and bobbing a quick curtsey.  “Aye, mistress, this way.”  

   Once the two were a short distance from the draper’s shop, Jashana ventured, You’re a sharp lass.  What made you believe I was lying to your mother?

   Cass looked up at her, those ice-blue eyes regarding her steadily.  I jus’ know when someone is tellin’ a lie or not, when I want t’ know.  I sort o’ weigh their words in me mind.  I can’t rightly explain it, I just do it.  Ye tol’ her ye were needin’ lodgin’s t’ set up shop in.  Th’ lookin’ for a room bit seemed right enow, but ye’re no’ lookin’ t’ take in needlework, are ye?  Wha’ are ye, some sort o’ doxy?  Ma won’t hold no truck wi’ tha’ sort o’ work in ‘er shop, if ye are.  An’ if ye’re th’ thievin’ sort, ye ought t’ know we let an attack dog loose in th’ shop late at night t’ keep out th’ riff-raff.  Only Ma an’ I can call him off.

   Cass’s description of how her truth discernment worked sounded like a reasonable, if untrained, explanation for Truth-Reading, Jashana thought. Fair enough, she assured the girl. I mean to do nothing of the sort, and I mean your mother and her business no harm.  She studied the girl’s back as the girl darted between two laden carts and continued down a narrow side street.  Is your mother Deryni also, as you are?

   The child stopped in her tracks, looking over her shoulder at Jashana in shock. Is tha’ wha’ I am?  I never knew.  Goody Miller called me a changelin’ child oncet, so I jus’ figured I were elf-kin when I were smaller.  She frowned up at the woman following her. I ain’t, o’ course.  Me Ma was taken by two footpads, an’ one had th’ sirin’ o’ me, or so th’ gossips say when they think I ain’t listenin’.  Tha’s why she don’t love me none, but it ain’t her fault.  She ain’t been completely right in th’ head since, they say.

   Jashana felt a surge of pity for the child, though the youngster made the statement matter-of-factly enough, as if it mattered little to her whether she had a mother’s love or not.

   I hope you’re not afraid of Deryni, Jashana Mind-Spoke.  There are a few bad ones in the lot, but most are good folk, just like humans are.

   I ain't never met one afore, so I don't s'pose it matters t' me one way or t'other if folks is Deryni or not, but why did ye lie t' me Ma?

   Jashana pondered the question, wondering if she dared give this child an honest answer or not.  She decided she could hardly do otherwise, with the girl Truth-Reading her, yet knowing how much of the truth to admit was difficult.  Cass couldn't be much over ten years of age, and Jashana was tempted to give as evasive an answer as possible under the circumstances, but on the other hand, her life was far less sheltered than that of most maidens Jashana knew who had only a decade of life.  And it was clear she'd heard the rumors of her own origins, so there was little need to shelter her from those harsh realities.

   Your mother was harmed a long time ago, and I have reason to believe the men who did that to her—or at least one of them—was Deryni.  One of those bad few that I mentioned.  And recently, something similar has been happening to other women.  I believe there might be a connection between those events, and that if they were looked into more closely, we might be able to find out who is doing these things and prevent them from happening to other women. But to learn what I need to know, I need to be able to see what your mother remembers of that night—to see her memories with my own mind.  She studied the young child before her. I know your mother doesn't like to speak of what happened to her, or even to remember it, though I suspect she's unable to forget, and that's why she has changed so much from the woman that others say she used to be.  Once I've seen her memories, I'd also like to help her forget at least the worst bits of what happened.  I think if she could forget, her heart might start to heal.  Would you be willing to help me with that?

   Ye won’t hurt ‘er?  Ice blue eyes studied Jashana solemnly as the girl Truth-Read her.

   I won’t hurt her.  If I can do it while she’s asleep, she needn’t even know I did a thing.  If anything, hopefully I can help ease her fears and torment to the point that she can start to get better again.

   Cass considered Jashana’s word a long moment.  Finally she nodded.  I’ll set a candle in th’ window t’night when she’s asleep, an’ put up Blackie so’s ‘e won’t bite ye if ye come in.  But I want t’ watch what ye do.  She’s me Ma.

   Agreed. Jashana studied the child a trifle sadly, wondering what would become of her, unwanted waif that she was, and an untrained Deryni to boot. There’s a school for Deryni now at St. Hilary’s Basilica, inside the walls of Rhemuth Castle.  I could put in a word on your behalf if you’d like to learn how to use your powers, and if your mother will allow you to attend.

   Cass shrugged, looking a bit wistful.  Depends on if Ma can spare me.  An’ I don’t know if she’d be scared o’ th' Deryni learnin' or not.  She ain’t never said nothin’ against Deryni that I know of, but she ain’t never known I’m one either, I don’t s’pose.  She’d no’ want me bein’ anythin’ like me father was, though.  Me real father, tha’ is, no’ Bill Draper.

   Jashana nodded in understanding.  There’d be less of a chance of that, I should think, if you were properly trained.  An important part of Deryni training is in how to use your powers responsibly.  I could try to plant the suggestion of sending you to school in your mother’s mind, if you’d like.  Not all the students who go to the Schola are Deryni, so she needn’t even know your secret.  Can you read?

   I have a little reading, an’ some writin’, an’ some sums.  Enough t’ help wi’ th’ shop.

   That’s a start.  The two paused at the end of Dyers Lane. Until tonight, then?

   Cass nodded. Aye, mistress.

   Jashana slipped the child an extra farthing for her efforts, and took her leave.

Part Sixteen:
« Last Edit: March 15, 2011, 09:22:36 am by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Offline derynifanatic64

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Re: Possessed--Part Fifteen
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2011, 03:27:04 pm »
And here we go!  The beginning of the end for Walter!  And possibly coming from a little girl!
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!

Offline Evie

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Re: Possessed--Part Fifteen
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2011, 03:53:25 pm »
Ironically enough, his little girl. 
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Offline Jerusha

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Re: Possessed--Part Fifteen
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2011, 05:14:02 pm »
With Cass's dark hair and ice blue eyes, the Arilan's can't ignore the possibility the guilty party is Walter.  But it will increase their concerns for Javana.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

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Offline Alkari

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Re: Possessed--Part Fifteen
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2011, 05:57:24 pm »
The bloodhounds are certainly on the trail now.   And I don't like dear Walter's chances against some VERY determined - and angry - Arilans, especially if they get Kelson's backing.    ;D

I hope something can be done for little Cass.  It would be nice to think she has a chance of education, training and a happier future through the Schola.

Offline AnnieUK

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Re: Possessed--Part Fifteen
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2011, 02:37:14 pm »
Yay!  "My" scene LOL. 

All the Arilans involved in the investigation now.  Be afraid, Walter.  Be very afraid.

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Possessed--Part Fifteen
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2011, 05:28:06 pm »
The bloodhounds are certainly on the trail now.   And I don't like dear Walter's chances against some VERY determined - and angry - Arilans, especially if they get Kelson's backing.    ;D

And the Camberian Council.  It was set up to deal with Deryni who misused their powers, and if this doesn't come under that heading I don't know what would.


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