collapse

Welcome to the Worlds of Katherine Kurtz

Welcome to Rhemuth Castle!

KK Chat is at 7pm Eastern on Sundays, except on the first Sunday of the month, when it is at 5pm Eastern to accommodate fans in the UK and Europe.

Come join us in chat! And Happy reading!

Pin yourself on the member map.

Author Topic: Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered--Chapter Six  (Read 3243 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Prince/Princess
  • *****
  • Posts: 1957
  • Karma: 28
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered--Chapter Six
« on: May 30, 2011, 10:49:16 am »
   Chapter Six

   June 4, 1134
   Chateau de Moreau, the Barony of Kinlochan


   I threw myself into learning more about the stewardship of the baronial castle and lands during my first few days in Kinlochan.  The work helped keep my mind off the lady whose young son was the titular lord of these lands now.  I could ill afford the distraction, yet late at night, once the day’s duties were over and I had time for other thoughts, my mind kept returning to that brief interlude between us at the base of the staircase.  I did my best to banish the memory from my mind, for the lady of Kinlochan was too far above my station for me to consider any thoughts of dalliance, nor could I imagine she’d desire even an honorable courtship from a man so dependent on her coffers for his financial support.  Not that I was looking for a wife.  Jesú knew any woman desperate enough to want to wed me would doubtless be too desperate for me to want!

   Of the Lady Avisa, I saw little sign for a couple of days after that last encounter.  She was busy settling back into her duties as the Dowager Baroness of Kinlochan and her son's regent, while I was following Masters Lars and Gerard about their duties, learning from them and attempting to make myself useful.  On the third day following our arrival, I found a folded note underneath my chamber door when I retired for the evening.  Please accept my most profound apologies.  —A  

   I didn't know why she'd felt she owed me an apology.  For the kiss?  I might have been caught by surprise, but I certainly hadn't minded.  If anything, I felt I owed her an apology for the abrupt and embarrassing end to what had been an otherwise lovely visit.  Perhaps she feared she had taken improper advantage of me?  I had to smile at the thought; it had been years since anyone had bothered to fret over sullying my virtue.  If anything, I’d figured it was universally agreed I had none left to lose.  And it was just, after all, a simple parting kiss, was it not?  

   Mayhap she was apologizing because she felt the same niggling, inexplicable feeling of guilt that I had felt for the past three days since she fled into the night.  I refolded the note thoughtfully, wondering about that odd twinge of conscience.  Why was I so bothered by what had happened?  Maybe it had something to do with the way she had looked just before I kissed her…or was it just afterwards?  Where had I seen that expression before?

   As if in answer, my memory called up a brief vision of my daughter’s face, her eyes filled with a similar vulnerable yearning as Sophie gave her a new name.  Why that particular memory had come to me just then, I had no clue.

   I folded the note once more and slipped it into my doublet next to my chest for safekeeping.

#

   June 10
   Chateau de Moreau, the castle gardens


   I had finished the day's tasks earlier than expected, and found myself unexpectedly free for the rest of the afternoon.  It was a glorious day, sunny but not sweltering hot, and I decided to stop by the nursery to see if Grub wanted to take a walk with me.  Perhaps if the stables had a suitable horse available for her to borrow, I could even give her a riding lesson.  She had been envious during the trip to Kinlochan when Aldwyn had been permitted to leave the coach to ride the rest of the way into his baronial seat with me, and I’d promised her I’d teach her how to ride as soon as the opportunity presented itself.  Since then, Lady Avisa had arranged for her to take a few riding lessons with Aldwyn, but what with one thing after another, I’d not had much of a chance to see Grub’s progress for myself.

   Nurse Bridget greeted me at the nursery door.  “If you’re here for Amanda, Sir Sextus, she’s not within.  M’Lady has taken her and the lads out to play in the gardens.  You’ll find them down near that beastly cavern, I believe, doubtless making quite a mess of their clothes.”  She gave me a long-suffering smile and a shrug.

   I thanked her for the information, heading back down towards the castle gardens.  I didn’t see them right at first, although the sound of children’s voices at play alerted me to their whereabouts.  I followed the pathways through the flower beds until I drew close to a small arbor.  Lady Avisa sat facing slightly away from me, though her face was partly visible in profile.  A few feet in front of her, the children sat cross-legged on the ground on a grassy area just outside the artificial cave.  The lady appeared to have been mending one of her boys’ shirts, though she sat with it in her lap unattended, needle still poised above the fabric, her focus fixed on the children’s play, studying them intently as if fascinated.  Something about that intent expression drew my gaze back towards what the children were doing.

   Grub sat very still, her hand held before her at chest height, one finger extended.  As I watched, a butterfly settled upon it.  She lifted her other hand as if to try to catch it, but just at that moment Lady Avisa leaned forward.  

   “No, sweeting, don’t touch its wings.  They’re very fragile and you’ll hurt the poor creature.  Just let him sit.”

   My daughter glanced up at the baroness.  “Yes, m’lady,” she answered respectfully.  As her attention was diverted, the insect began to fly away, but then Grub noticed its departure and extended her hand further out, focusing her attention on the butterfly again. It circled a few times and then landed once more upon her finger.  Grub smiled.

   “Now you try, Aldwyn.  It’s not hard once you learn how.  You just have to think really hard towards it what it Is you want it to do.”

   Aldwyn scrunched up his five year old features in concentration as he stuck out one grubby little hand.  His mother stifled a laugh, her free hand slowly going up to cover her mouth as she watched.   After several long moments the butterfly left Grub’s finger, circling around the children’s heads uncertainly before descending again to alight on Aldwyn’s finger.  

   “Well done!” Grub crowed.  “Taggert, do you want to try it?”

   Little Taggert’s eyes shone with excitement.  He, too, focused all of his attention on the butterfly until his eyes crossed with the effort, but this time there seemed to be no effect.  He lowered his hand, looking crestfallen.

   “Oh, it’s all right, Taggert; I couldn’t do it either until I was Aldwyn’s age.  Hold up your finger again.”  The toddler did, and Grub put hers next to it, calling the butterfly to herself then coaxing it to step across the small gap to Taggert’s finger.  It obeyed promptly.

   I glanced uncertainly at Lady Avisa, but she showed no shock or even surprise at any of this, just frank curiosity and—was I reading her aright?—even maternal approval.  “Nicely done, children!” she exclaimed.  “Now let the butterfly go free; you wouldn’t want to tire it.”  She set her sewing to one side, rising to cross the grassy verge and settling onto the ground alongside them, studying my daughter intently.  “Amanda, darling, can you do this yet?” she asked, cupping her hand before her and summoning up a pale coppery glow of handfire.

   My daughter's eyes widened.  I held my breath.  Here was the moment I'd feared. Here was where the Nyford urchin would start screaming in terror, calling the entire household down upon us.

   Instead, Grub simply cupped her own hand, focusing intently for a few moments.  Slowly, a blue-violet brilliance began to form above it, mirroring the color of her eyes.  Our eyes.

   She looked up at Lady Avisa, then beyond her, noticing me for the first time. Her grin lit up her entire face.

   “This is awesome!” my daughter crowed.

#

   It was much later that evening before Lady Avisa and I had a moment to speak privately about what had occurred in the garden earlier that afternoon.  Before returning to the castle, we'd cautioned the children to keep quiet about their newly discovered abilities.  Not wishing to frighten them, the baroness had not gone into a great deal of detail as to why such gifts should remain secret for the time being.  She'd simply explained it in a context that the lads, at least, already understood—just as there was a difference between “family manners” and “High Table manners,” there was also a difference between “private family-time playing” and “playing in public.”  Some people found such abilities as butterfly-calling and handfire scary because they would never be able to do it themselves even if they tried for years, so these were things to be done only around people who were certain not to find them scary.  The explanation seemed to suffice for Aldwyn and Taggert, though as she gathered them into her arms, I suspected she'd also reinforced her lesson with a training control set into their minds so they couldn't disobey her instructions even if they tried.  That was something I'd done with Amanda as well, once we’d had a private moment.   Being older than the little baron and his heir, she’d been bursting with questions about her new powers and where they had come from, so I’d brought her back to our quarters so we could talk without being overheard.  It was evident to me now that her talents would be coming into full force before too much longer, so I was thankful her discovery that she was Deryni was more of a delight than a shock to her.  As I’d suspected, she had heard a thing or two over the years about Deryni that had made her wonder if they were evil creatures to be feared, but somehow she’d never managed to connect her ability to do odd things like Truth-Read and summon butterflies with the “evils” of Deryni magic.  Once I explained why some people were frightened of Deryni powers, that seemed to put her mind at ease, and she also understood more readily why, even though it was not a bad thing to be a Deryni, we needed to keep our gifts private and share them only with people we could trust with the knowledge of what we are.

   Now the children were asleep in their beds.  The baroness and I had returned to the garden arbor, seeking out a place where we could speak privately, hopefully without causing too much undue speculation about what we were up to, closeted together so late in the evening.

   Lady Avisa pulled a light cloak closer around her, warding off the slight chill that still lingered in the night air despite the summertime temperatures of the daylight hours.  She smiled up at me, patting the empty side of the bench in silent invitation.  I settled down next to her.

   “Was Amanda’s mother Deryni?” she asked me without preamble.

   I shrugged.  “I rather doubt it.  I suppose it’s not entirely impossible, but I saw no sign if she was.  Then again, I doubt if I even checked.”

   “Ah.  Then Amanda must get her gifts from you.  I’d hoped that was the case, especially since you didn’t seem too shocked by what she was able to do this afternoon.”  She smiled faintly in the darkness.  “Did you know your daughter was Deryni before today?”

   I nodded.  “I knew she could Truth-Read, and she’s got rudimentary shields.”  I thought back to the afternoon’s work with her, setting training controls in her mind.  “Well, a bit more than rudimentary now, actually.  They’ve strengthened in the short time I’ve had her.”

     “Hm.  I wonder how that works?  Would exposure to other Deryni strengthen her powers?  I’ve never really known how it all works.”  The baroness tilted her head at me.  “I take it you probably know a great deal more about this sort of thing than I do, Sir Sextus.”

   I studied her curiously.  “I’m formally trained, if that’s what you’re meaning.”

   “Ah.” Her eyes lit.  “There is such a thing, then?  How would one acquire such training?  Do you have to be Deryni on both sides of your family to qualify?”  She bit her lip, her expression growing slightly worried.  “I’m Deryni, but Edgar wasn’t, so I don’t know if that will make some sort of difference as far as Aldwyn’s abilities are concerned, or Taggert’s either if he ends up developing them, but it seems to me it would be a shame to pass down those sorts of gifts to them and then not give them a chance to learn how to use them properly.”

   I shrugged, wishing I knew more about how our Deryni traits were passed down myself.  “I’m not certain it makes all that much difference.  Certainly being only half-Deryni doesn’t seem to have hindered Duke Alaric very much, if at all.”

   She looked slightly reassured.  “Well, that’s true.”

   “By the time your sons are ready for formal training, Saint Camber’s Schola in Rhemuth should be quite well established,” I told her.  “It's already gotten off to a very promising start, by all accounts.  I’ve been considering sending Amanda there myself in due time.  I think that would be easier on her than sending her off to Andelon or some other kingdom for training just as she’s begun to settle in and get used to the idea of being part of a family.”  In truth, that was only one of my reasons for considering the Schola for her training.  The other reason was that I’d grown rather used to having the little grub around, and felt a sudden reluctance to send her off again, even for something so necessary as a formal education.  I glanced at the baroness.  “I take it you’ve never been trained, then.  Were your parents trying to hide the family secret, or did they just not realize what they are?”

   “Oh, they’re both human,” Lady Avisa stated matter-of-factly.  “They have no idea I’m Deryni.  I’m not sure how well they’d take the news, truth be told.”

   It took a moment for the significance to sink in.  “But…they can’t both be human, Lady Avisa!  Surely at least one of them must be Deryni for you to have inherited the trait?”

   She blushed, fingering the edge of her cloak.  “Can you keep a secret, Sir Sextus?”  She glanced at me, then choked back a short laugh.  “What a stupid question!  You’re Deryni; of course you can.”  She sighed, looking away again.  “How shall I put this?  Neither of my known parents is Deryni.  I…um…I’ve long suspected I might not fully belong in the family nest.”  The blush deepened.

   The light dawned.  “Oh.  Well, yes, I suppose if…well…if your true parentage is actually something other than what it seems….”

   “I’m a bastard get, Sir Sextus.  Go on, it shouldn’t be that hard to get the words out.  You’ve got one too.”  She grinned at me briefly.  “Except, of course, you’ve not got a wife to hide yours behind.”

   I felt my face crimsoning.  “No, I suppose not.”  I glanced away again, my mind awhirl with silent questions.  Had Lord Taggert her father simply brought home a by-blow one day, expecting his wife to raise her without complaint?  Or had his wife grown heavy with some other man’s child, and if that were the case, had he ever realized his daughter wasn’t truly his?  There didn’t seem to be any diplomatic way to ask, and even if there were, would either have told Avisa the truth about her parentage, or had she simply guessed?

   “What was it like for you,” she asked me, “growing up in a Deryni family?  I imagine you've always known what you were.”  Her voice sounded wistful.

   I wasn't sure how to answer her first question.  Growing up among Deryni was something I'd always taken for granted.  It was simply part of who I was.  I was an Arilan, and therefore like most Arilans, I'd inherited black hair, blue-violet eyes, and a very special secret.  Occasionally an Arilan would crop up who didn't quite fit the mold—little Jack, for instance, had inherited his mother Sophie's hazel eyes—but for the most part, those traits had run true at least in my own generation. Her second question was easier to address.

   “I don't remember noticing we were any different from anyone else as a very young child,” I told her.  “But certainly by the time I reached later childhood, I knew what we were and the importance of keeping quiet about it.”  I thought back to those days.  “Well, the secrecy was much more important in those days.  But even now, I prefer keeping that knowledge fairly close.”  I gave her a wry smile.  “Unlike dark hair or any shade of eye color, Deryni powers can all too easily be held against a person.”

   “Yes, I know.”  Avisa sighed.  “I had a nursemaid once who caught me lighting a candle from my fingertips.  She turned in her notice to my parents on the spot—called me a spawn of Satan and said she'd not remain under their roof a moment longer.”  Her lips formed a reluctant grin.  “Fortunately, she didn't go into details, so my parents merely assumed she meant I was too rambunctious.  I was a bit of a hoyden at that age.  I told them I'd put frogs in her bed, they locked me in a cellar with naught but bread and water for a week, and that made an end of it.”

   I stared at her in shock.  “They locked you in a cellar?”

   She shrugged.  “Just that one time.  They'd found another nursemaid the next week, so they didn't have to deal with me again much after that.  I still loathe dark, dank, enclosed places, though.”

   “I…can imagine.”  Actually, no, I couldn’t.  No matter how badly I’d behaved as a child, I couldn’t imagine anyone in my family locking me away in a cellar for a week to correct the problem.  Not even Denis.  My uncle had been strict, even stern, but not nearly that harsh.  I might have earned a thrashing or, even worse, a sanctimonious tirade, but I’d never been locked away in some musty undercroft chamber on prisoner’s rations, not even that time when I had stolen his clothes and hung them from the beams in the Great Hall while he was bathing.   “Jesú!  How would they have reacted if they’d known the true reason your nursemaid left?  Do your parents fear Deryni also?”

   The baroness studied her hands, looking contemplative.  “I truly don’t know.  They’ve never really said anything to me one way or another about Deryni, come to think.”  She gave a mirthless chuckle.  “Then again, they hardly said anything to me about anything at all, really.  Just ‘Come here…let’s have a look at you…yes, you’re not really much to look at yet, but you’ve decent enough hips and should breed well enough when the time comes.’”  She tilted her head at me with an ironic smile.  “Well, I’ve caught with child thrice and haven’t managed to die in childbed yet, so I suppose they were right enough on that count.”

   Her matter-of-fact tone was disconcerting, to say the least.  “Trying for heirs is one thing, but I should hope there’s far more to life than just breeding children!”  

   Again the rueful chuckle.  “I’m a noblewoman, Sir Sextus.  That’s what’s expected.  A girl is born to a landed family, she grows, eventually her body ripens, she gets bartered off to the highest bidder, and if she’s lucky enough, she produces an heir and a spare or two quickly enough to make everyone happy.  And if she’s even luckier, she doesn’t produce too many daughters to eat away at the family fortunes with their dowries.”  Her lips twisted up at the corners.  “Look at it this way; at least I managed to get that part right.  My parents haven’t had much to complain about in years.  Occasionally they even manage a smile on alternate Tuesdays, if the skies aren’t overcast and we’re not in the middle of Lent.”

   I laughed.  I couldn’t help myself.  At the same time, though, I recognized what she’d done.  She’d developed her warped sense of humor as a survival skill, a means of deflecting pain and coping with the crappy dice roll Fortune had thrown her in this game of life.  I’d done something similar, just not under such adverse circumstances.  For the first time in quite awhile, I felt quite fortunate to have been born an Arilan, even if just the wastrel runt of the litter.

     Her face brightened briefly at my burst of laughter, but quickly sobered again.  “I’ve heard that Deryni have a means of sharing memories with each other.  Would you…would it be too much to ask…do you think maybe you could show me a little bit of what it was like for you, growing up among other Deryni?”  She glanced at me, her gaze unusually shy for a woman given to catching me off guard with her occasional bold statements.

   I tried to think of what to show her.  My family was just…family.  I’d never really given much thought to what, if anything, made us different from other folk.  Well, granted, I supposed most other folk didn’t happen to have a ritual chamber conveniently stashed away in their manor house, much less a Transfer Portal.  But aside from that, we were just folk.

   An idea came to mind.  I focused on it, reaching for the baroness’s hand to make the mental link easier to establish, since I'd never linked with her before.

   Me as a boy, around nine or ten.  My Uncle Denis had come to Tre-Arilan for some special family occasion—had it been Seisyll’s fourteenth birthday?  Perhaps it had been; it was some significant landmark of that sort, at any rate.  He’d been seated in a place of honor at our manorial High Table, to Seisyll’s right.  My mother, as usual, sat to my eldest brother’s left.  My sisters had been seated at my uncle’s right hand, which left me as the remaining Arilan at the table.  I’d been seated to our mother’s left, where she could keep a close eye on me.

   Under those circumstances, how could I resist getting into a bit of mischief?  

   Denis was deep in conversation with my brother, giving him some philosophical spiel about the journey into young manhood or some such drivel.  As he spoke, he reached for his wine goblet.  I’d recently learned I could move small objects with my mind, if the objects were close enough and not very heavy, so as Denis reached absently for his goblet, I gave it a slight mental nudge.

   It moved, not very far, but the tiny shift ensured that Denis’s hand encountered nothing but empty air.  He glanced at the goblet with a slight frown, picked it up and took a quick swallow, setting it carefully back onto the table closer to his trencher.  Again, his attention returned to my brother.

   I picked at my food and waited patiently.  After a few moments, Denis reached for his knife.  Again, I nudged it just barely out of reach.

   Seisyll’s lips twitched.
Sextus, you git, stop that! he scolded mind to mind.  The amused glint in his eyes belied his censuring tone, though, and I suspected he’d privately share a laugh with me later over the prank.

   I smiled back at him, assuming my best expression of baby-faced innocence.
 Can’t help myself, brother.  Sometimes being an Arilan means being a bit of a git.  Ask Uncle Denis.

   Seisyll hastily smothered a laugh in his napkin, converting it to a cough instead.  Uncle Denis frowned suspiciously at him.  “Seisyll, did you move my knife just now?” he asked.

   Seisyll feigned confusion.  “No, Uncle Denis!”  

   It was the unvarnished truth, as Denis doubtless knew if he was Truth-Reading.  My mother shot a wary look at me.  I glanced back at her and shrugged, an innocent bystander, as I finished devouring the capon on my trencher.

   Lady Avisa roared with laughter.  “Oh, mercy, you must have driven them mad at times!”

   I grinned back.  “You have no idea, my lady.”

   Someone approached us in the shadowy arbor.  “Is that you, Lady Avisa?”

   The lady of Kinlochan turned towards the voice, her lips still curved in a slight smile.  “Yes, it is, Master Gerard.”  She rose.  I belatedly realized that I still held her hand in mine and released it hastily, standing also.

   Master Gerard spared a moment to frown at me before bowing before the dowager baroness.  “My Lady, I'm afraid Lord Taggert has had a bad dream.  Nurse Moira says he is calling for you, and she's been unable to console him.”

   “I'll be right there,” she assured her estate steward.  She turned towards me.  “I'm sorry, Sir Sextus.  Perhaps we can continue this conversation some other time.”  She hurried down the garden path back towards the castle.  I started to follow, but Master Gerard stopped me.

   “A moment of your time, Sir Sextus.”

   I paused in my walk, waiting for him to draw closer.  He did so, lowering his voice to ensure that anyone else who might happen to be enjoying the gardens at that late hour would not overhear what he had to say.

   “I trust, my lord, that you are well aware of what a precarious position Lady Avisa is in, being a wealthy and beautiful young widow in a position to attract entirely the wrong sort of suitors, and that you intend to take all due precautions in ensuring no shadow of dishonor or opprobrium falls on her reputation?”

   In other words, who the hell did I think I was, dallying in a dark arbor with a lady too high above my station to be tarnished by the likes of me, encouraging her affections and attempting to ensnare her with my seductive wiles?  I caught his meaning well enough.  It took considerable effort on my part not to simply deck the man, but I knew his question was well intentioned, for it hadn't taken long for me to realize that Kinlochan's high steward regarded the dowager baroness with a fond affection that was nearly fatherly.  Certainly more fatherly than her own father had ever been, from what I'd heard about the man earlier that night.

   “I'm not after her, if that's what you're getting at,” I answered, reining in my temper, “and I do intend to safeguard her.  Lady Avisa had requested my counsel on a private matter; I was merely sharing my thoughts on the subject.  We were nearly done.”

   “I see.” He gave me a measuring look.  “I do believe it would be possible—not to mention far more prudent—to give your counsel in future without sitting quite so close to the lady or holding her hand.”  His lips twisted in a grimace of a smile, as if he'd caught me cheating at cards and had just shown the proof of it to the rest of the players at table.

   “Perhaps so, though in this case that might have been less effective.”  Let him make of that what he would; I was done answering for my actions.  If he had some further argument, let him take it before the lady herself.  If he didn't already know she was Deryni, I wasn't going to reveal that to her household, and if he did, she could explain my reasons just as well as I could.

#

   June 5, 1134
   Chateau de Moreau, Barony of Kinlochan


   The royal courier arrived just as we were breaking our fast.  I barely looked up from my manchet and soft cheese, assuming he had arrived with a message for the lady of Kinlochan.  To my surprise, he asked for me instead.  

   “A message for Sir Sextus Arilan from His Majesty Kelson, King of Gwynedd,” the messenger announced quietly, addressing Lady Avisa, although his eyes drifted towards me as he finished his statement.  

   The baroness graciously inclined her head towards me, indicating that he had leave to present the missive to me directly.  I took the folded parchment he handed me, turning it over to see the Royal Seal.  “Have you been instructed to await a reply?” I asked the courier as I cracked the wax.

   “A verbal confirmation will suffice, my lord,” the man answered.

   I turned to the mistress of Kinlochan.  “Pray excuse me for a few minutes.”  She smiled her agreement.  I left the table to retreat to a nearby withdrawing room, opening the message once I was alone, in case it contained sensitive information the King would not want other eyes privy to.  I perused the contents swiftly.  The mission seemed straightforward enough, and unless some truly unexpected twist occurred, not even all that hazardous.  Hopefully I’d be able to get the matter sorted out in just a few days, maybe a week or two at the most.  The information didn’t appear to be of utmost secrecy, but it was potentially compromising for a certain party or two, so after checking the seal to ensure there were no other hidden messages set into it by magical means, I burned the missive, waiting until the last of it had turned to ash or molten wax before rejoining the baronial household.

   The courier waited attentively.  I nodded to him.  “Tell His Majesty I’ll attend to the matter straight away.”

   The man in Haldane livery bowed his acknowledgment to me, turned and gave a deeper bow to the baroness, and left.

#

   “How soon do you need to leave?” Lady Avisa asked me later, once we were alone.

   “As soon as I can get free,” I told her.  “It’s not an emergency matter, exactly, but it’s the sort of thing that will be harder for me to track down and sort out if I delay too much.”  I folded a couple of changes of clothes as I spoke.  

   “Will you require provisions?  I can get Cook to set aside some food suitable for a journey.”

   I shook my head.  “I can pick up meals along the way.  I’m not sure how long I’ll be gone yet, but hopefully just a short while.  A bit of travel-worthy fare for the first day or so out would suffice; more than that’s not worth the bother of lugging about.”

   “Is the job dangerous?”  Her brown eyes looked worriedly at me.

   “Shouldn’t be,” I reassured her.  “I’ll be back as soon as I can.  Should I return here or to your Rhemuth house?”

   Lady Avisa pondered.  “I was planning on staying here at least until the end of the month.  Taggert’s third birthday is coming up on the fifteenth, and we’ll definitely be staying long enough to celebrate that.  After that…well, I suppose we wouldn’t need to head back to Kinlochan House any earlier than the end of June unless something unexpected comes up.”  She smiled at me.  “And don’t forget, when we do return to Rhemuth, you’re supposed to help me look for more spacious accommodations.”

   “I’ve not forgotten, my lady.”  I finished my packing, securing the bundle and eyeballing it to make sure I’d not brought anything too large to fit into my saddle bags.  “Speaking of Taggert, I hope his bad dreams last night had nothing to do with seeing Deryni magic yesterday?”

   She sighed.  “Well, yes and no.  He dreamed that my hands had caught on fire and that it was hurting me.  Once I showed him that handfire doesn’t hurt and let him pass his own hand through it, he was fine.  Settled right back down and fell asleep in moments.”  

   “Good.”  I picked up my belongings, turning to face her.  “This is the first time I've been sent on a mission since Amanda came to live with me.  I'll explain to her why I need to leave for a while, but if she worries, would you reassure her that I will be back?”  I shrugged. “I just don't want her thinking I mean to abandon her or anything.”

   “I'll make sure she understands,” Lady Avisa reassured me. “And I'll have Moira and Bridget set up her bed in the nursery until you return.  Or, for that matter, permanently, if she decides she likes that better.  I just thought being lodged with you at first might ease her adjustment to the move here.”

   “Thank you.  And whichever she prefers is fine.  She’ll soon be growing too old to be sharing quarters with a father anyway.”  

   She pressed something into my hand, blushing slightly.  “For travel safety,” she told me.  

   I glanced at the small medallion.  “Saint Christopher?” I looped the chain around my neck.  “Well, that's much nicer than the one my Uncle Denis gave me after I annoyed him last winter.”

   “What did he give you?”

   “A medallion of Saint Simplicius.”

   “The patron saint of imbeciles?”  She laughed.  “What did you do to merit that?”

   “Exist?”   I grinned.  “No, I think it was my Christmas gift to him that set him off.”

   “Which was?”

    “A flowering houseplant imported from the warmer climes.  I thought it would look quite nice in his study in Dhassa.”

   She bit her lip, struggling to keep a straight face.  “There's a story behind this, isn't there?”  An odd expression crossed her features, and her eyes widened.  “Wait...Dhassa?  You don't mean Bishop Arilan?”  She narrowed her eyes at me.  “What sort of houseplant did you give him?”

   I gave her my most innocent look.  “A Bird of Paradise.  Um...it's a long story....”

   She exploded with laughter as I winked at her and headed for the nursery to take my leave of Grub.


Chapter Seven:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=725.0
« Last Edit: June 06, 2011, 11:25:59 am by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

Offline derynifanatic64

  • Earl/Countess
  • *****
  • Posts: 369
  • Karma: 9
  • Gender: Male
  • Uncle Mark Rules!!
Re: Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered--Chapter Six
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2011, 11:49:57 am »
A Bird of Paradise is associated with liberty, magnificence, and good perspective.  I guess that Sextus was teasing Denis about something and thought this plant would help with the joke--or whatever.
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!

Offline Jerusha

  • Donor
  • Duke/Duchess
  • ****
  • Posts: 512
  • Karma: 17
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni
  • Favorite Character: Alaric Morgan
Re: Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered--Chapter Six
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2011, 11:54:10 am »
More likely the Bird of Paradise from "The Arrangement".   :D

This is absolutely delightful! 
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Prince/Princess
  • *****
  • Posts: 1957
  • Karma: 28
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Re: Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered--Chapter Six
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2011, 12:03:26 pm »
Yep, Jerusha got it!  :D. This was a reference back to the scene in part 2 of The Arrangement in which Denis put his foot quite deeply in his mouth by making a scathing comment in front of the Arilan children about dragging Sextus out of a doxyhouse, and had to hastily come up with the explanation that a doxy is a Bird of Paradise to allay little Stefania's curiosity.  Of course Sextus couldn't pass up the opportunity to make a subtle joke about that embarrassing event at Denis's expense the following Christmas, so he gave Denis the potted plant of the same name as a galling reminder of his faux pas.  ;D
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 12:38:48 pm by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

Offline AnnieUK

  • Donor
  • Earl/Countess
  • ****
  • Posts: 434
  • Karma: 8
Re: Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered--Chapter Six
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2011, 12:39:45 pm »
Nice to see the kids playing around with their powers.  Grub seems to be picking things up really fast.

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Prince/Princess
  • *****
  • Posts: 1957
  • Karma: 28
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Re: Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered--Chapter Six
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2011, 12:45:52 pm »
Yes, Grub is the eldest of the three children, and her powers are starting to manifest in small ways.  Up until now, she hadn't associated things like being able to tell if someone is telling the truth or being able to call butterflies to her finger with Deryni magic, but now that she realizes that's what it is, she'll be able to call upon those powers more consciously.  She's not quite old enough for formal training yet, but in just a few years she will be. 
"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 Elkhound

  • Prince/Princess
  • **
  • Posts: 1077
  • Karma: 8
  • Gender: Male
  • Favorite Book: The King's Justice
  • Favorite Character: Denis Arilan
Re: Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered--Chapter Six
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2011, 01:40:46 pm »
Sort of like the story of the late Brandon Lee's early kung fu training; he didn't think he was training in kung fu--he thought he was just playing with daddy and Uncle Chuck.

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Prince/Princess
  • *****
  • Posts: 1957
  • Karma: 28
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Re: Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered--Chapter Six
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2011, 09:21:51 am »
That reminds me of someone I once knew on a Star Wars fan forum.  He started out every morning spending a few minutes sitting cross-legged on the floor with his six-year-old son.  The dad was meditating and doing relaxation exercises to start his day, but as far as the boy was concerned, his daddy was being a Jedi Master and he was a Jedi Padawan learning how to sit still and clear his mind....   :D

(When I went with my family to one of those hands-on science museums yesterday, I have to admit that when I was playing the Mind Bender game--it's one where you sit at a table with a headstrap with electrodes in it strapped around your head and try to use your alpha and theta brain waves to move a little ball across the table to the goal on your opponent's end--I ended up winning more often than not if I simply relaxed, visualized what I wanted the ball to do, and "used the Force" to make it happen.  My son lost the first few rounds because he couldn't figure out what needed to be done, but once he caught on, he consistently beat me.  For him, what seemed to help was forgetting the ball was even there and visualizing medieval combat instead.  ;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 Elkhound

  • Prince/Princess
  • **
  • Posts: 1077
  • Karma: 8
  • Gender: Male
  • Favorite Book: The King's Justice
  • Favorite Character: Denis Arilan
Re: Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered--Chapter Six
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2011, 08:48:49 pm »
I'm sure there are a lot of people in Gwynned who have a Deryni strain but don't know it.  It would explain, for example, the odd abilities some people in the Borders have, or people like Warin deGrey (whatever happened to him, btw?)

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Prince/Princess
  • *****
  • Posts: 1957
  • Karma: 28
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Re: Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered--Chapter Six
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2011, 09:39:08 pm »
No one seems to really know what happened to Warin after the events of HD.  He just sort of faded out of the public limelight.  Even the Codex doesn't really shed any light on that mystery.

I do think there would have been a fair number of people who inherited Deryni traits they never discovered and/or understood to be Deryni.  A peasant woman might have Deryni daughters from a Deryni lord, for instance (but no Deryni sons unless KK changes the genetics or if the peasant woman also carries the trait), and those women might pass down the trait to their children.  But one of the things I love about the KK universe is that she leaves room open for other magical, mysterious, and even miraculous things to come from completely non-Deryni sources.  I think if in each and every case in which something unexpected occurs, it ended up that there was some sort of Deryni magic explanation behind it, that would be far less interesting.  I like that even the seasoned Deryni find some matters baffling because they defy any conventional Deryni explanation.  In Warin's case, for instance, Alaric did a mental reading of him and decided that while he had a few Deryni-like powers such as Healing, he wasn't actually a Deryni.  I suppose it could be argued that he was some sort of mutant or watered-down form of Deryni, and that's why Alaric didn't recognize him as one, or that Alaric was too untrained himself to detect some signs that someone like Azim might have picked up on and correctly recognized Warin as Deryni.  But I prefer the more likely (IMO) explanation that the reason Alaric didn't read Warin as Deryni is that Warin is not one, and neither was the hill witch Bethane, or people like Ciard who can dowse for water.  There needn't be just one type of magic, nor one type of person who has access to such powers.  I think Deryni magic is probably just the form that is strongest and most ritualized.  And then again, there are also those inexplicable events such as Denis Arilan not being incapacitated by the merasha in his Communion wine when he was ordained.  I love that story, because you've got all these Deryni working behind the scenes trying to protect Denis, but in the end it's neither magic nor human (or in this case, Deryni) intelligence, trickery, or sleight of hand that saves the day, but an actual miracle.  I think if that ended up being explained by the enspelled and therefore more-than-mortal Camber somehow doctoring the cup rather than divine intervention, it would take a delightful and unexpected mystery and reduce it to the merely mundane.  (Well, mundane for that world, at least!)   :)
"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!

 

* User Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

* Recent Posts

Re: Happy birthday, Laurna! by Laurna
[November 18, 2017, 07:56:16 pm]


Re: Happy birthday, Laurna! by MidnightBlue
[November 18, 2017, 07:19:43 pm]


Re: Happy birthday, Laurna! by Jerusha
[November 18, 2017, 06:22:20 pm]


Re: Happy birthday, Laurna! by Laurna
[November 18, 2017, 06:19:48 pm]


Re: Happy birthday, Laurna! by Demercia
[November 18, 2017, 03:55:49 pm]

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 48
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 1
  • Dot Users Online:

* Top Poster

Evie Evie
1957 Posts
Elkhound
1077 Posts
Alkari
696 Posts
DesertRose DesertRose
663 Posts
Laurna Laurna
583 Posts

* Most Karma

Evie Evie
Karma: 28
DesertRose DesertRose
Karma: 19
Jerusha Jerusha
Karma: 17
revanne revanne
Karma: 12
Laurna Laurna
Karma: 11

* Online Time

TheDeryni TheDeryni
115d 20h 24m
Evie Evie
105d 11h 41m
DesertRose DesertRose
93d 18h 54m
AnnieUK AnnieUK
53d 22h 35m
Alkari
32d 18h 16m

* Forum Staff

Bynw admin Bynw
Administrator
TheDeryni admin TheDeryni
Administrator
DesertRose admin DesertRose
Administrator
Evie admin Evie
Administrator
Shiral gmod Shiral
Zipper Sister
Unicorn636 gmod Unicorn636
Zipper Sister
Laurna gmod Laurna
Donor
EvilEd gmod EvilEd
Global Moderator
revanne gmod revanne
Donor
KK gmod KK
Our Queen
gmod Alkari
Donor
AnnieUK gmod AnnieUK
Donor
Jerusha gmod Jerusha
Donor

* Board Stats

  • stats Total Members: 620
  • stats Total Posts: 16644
  • stats Total Topics: 1916
  • stats Total Categories: 12
  • stats Total Boards: 126
  • stats Most Online: 181

* Calendar

November 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
[19] 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30