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Author Topic: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One  (Read 3531 times)

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Offline Evie

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Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« on: March 30, 2012, 09:52:44 am »
   Chapter Twenty-One

   Forest just outside Eddington Manor
   November 5, 1136—just before dawn


   Time had run out for Helena, and with it any leisure Duncan might have had to make a stealthy, cautious approach.  He charged towards the spot off the forest trail where his soul knew Helena lay, until the undergrowth grew so close that he had to abandon his borrowed horse to make more speed on foot, hastily handing his mount off to Eanrigh before hacking his way through the dense growth with his sword until he reached a small clearing, little more than a wide animal trail, he surmised.  Just ahead, he spotted them—the startled blonde scholar and her manservant—the man gazing back at him in seeming confusion, a shovelful of earth still poised above the shallow grave.

   Behind him, more crashing in the underbrush heralded the arrival of his escort, the two men-at-arms following after him readily enough, if seeming rather confused by his sudden departure from the road.  Duncan stopped at the clearing’s edge, signaling for the men to flank him, hoping that between the three of them they might prevent the deadly young widow and her servant from escaping.  Ĉdwige's eyes widened with fear, and she gave an instinctive leap back from the charging men, one hand flying up to ward them off with a blast of uncontrolled power.  A surge of emerald lightning crackled through the winter-bare branches surrounding them, the bolt aimed in Duncan's general direction but so hastily summoned and thrown with no attempt at caution, much less any thought to protecting bystanders, that the young scholar's steward found himself thrown from his feet and tossed several feet to one side, his hair and clothing singed.  Duncan himself had narrowly missed taking any of the charge, leaping to one side and rolling out of the line of fire.

   The move brought him temporarily out of Ĉdwige's line of sight, and he took a moment to reorient himself, blinking rapidly in an attempt to clear his vision of the after-image produced by the dazzling flash of light.  He had landed a few feet closer to his objective, although the dazed steward lay between him and where Helena lay.  He heard a moan to his right and peered through the dark shadows to see Otho curled on the ground nearby, clutching charred hands to his chest.  Apparently one of the bolts of power had struck his steel sword, traveling up the length of it to overcome its wielder.  The other man-at-arms was nowhere to be seen.  Duncan stifled a low curse.

   "Lady Ĉdwige," he called out from his concealed position, "let us settle this according to the ancient rites, by formal Duel Arcane just between the two of us.  Our men need have no part in our dispute."  Duncan cast his man-at-arms another sidelong glance, wondering if he could make it to the man's side in order to Heal his wounds without his movement betraying their position.  It seemed unlikely; even if he could reach Otho's side, Duncan could hardly spare the energy and focus needed to Heal him just then.  

   A breathless laugh sounded from nearby.  "A Duel Arcane?  I hardly think so, Father!  Why would I want to give you the advantage?  I mean to survive, whatever it takes.  I hardly need any of your stupid rules to do that."

   "And what of your steward, then?  Do you mean for him to survive as well?  You nearly caught him in that surge of power you sent my way.  He could be badly hurt, even killed, if we don't contain the energies of our magic.  You know that."  He crept along the ground until he had a clear view of her again.  She was mere feet from him, turned slightly away, although as she listened to his voice she started to turn in his direction.

   "Why should I care?  It's his job to live or die for me against all manner of folk, isn't it?  He swore me homage."

   "The oath to protect and serve runs both ways, Ĉdwige."  Duncan wondered if he had sufficient control to direct a small blast of concentrated magical power at the lady before him, but after taking a closer look at her surroundings, he stifled the impulse.  There was too great a danger of harming Helena in the process, and at this proximity he could sense that she was still alive, albeit injured and in deep trance.  "And it matters little if you kill me or not, that won't protect your secret.  Others already know what you've done.  But you can still throw yourself on the King's mercy, if you don't compound your crime by adding to it."

   "You have no proof!" she cried out, her voice shrill.  "And even if I did kill Gilrae, what mercy would the King show me?"

   Duncan mentally noted the tacit admission of guilt; he'd never mentioned which crime it was that others were aware of; therefore, for her to leap to that assumption seemed a clear enough indication that she had good reason to fear she'd been linked to her late husband's death.     

   "You were forced unwillingly into your marriage.  That does not excuse murder, but there might be those sympathetic enough to your plight to allow you to spend the rest of your days in a convent rather than have to face the sentence of the executioner's sword, if you turn yourself in and throw yourself on the King's mercy now rather than do any more harm."  Duncan rather doubted it, personally—Ĉdwige’s crimes were already too great for Kelson to show her any leniency, he suspected—but until he could get close enough to subdue her, he had to at least try to win her trust.

   A faint flicker of movement in the shadows nearby alerted him to the whereabouts of Eanrigh, his uninjured companion, further down the animal trail and circling around stealthily to Ĉdwige’s rear. It would be only a matter of time until she either saw or sensed him there, unless Duncan could keep her attention focused on himself.  He rose from his crouched position, stepping forward into a clearer space so Ĉdwige could see him.   He knew his shields would provide some protection for him should she try another magical attack, although such an assault would be highly unpleasant.  She could hardly sustain such tactics indefinitely, though.  There were compelling reasons why magic was rarely used in combat; it was far too tiring to keep up the required energies, not to mention the necessary focus and concentration, over an extended period of time.  Hopefully that realization had not yet occurred to the inexperienced scholar.  If he could draw her fire without overtaxing his own energies for a few minutes longer, she’d be too weak and vulnerable to resist a more conventional attack once she had spent the reserves of her power.  

   But his men-at-arms were merely human, and Otho had already withstood one hit, and an indirect one at that, or it would have killed him outright. Even now his injuries might be mortal, although Duncan hoped not.  Duncan couldn’t afford to let Ĉdwige notice Eanrigh’s steady approach from behind her.

   Ĉdwige’s beautiful features tightened in anger as she spotted the bishop, and as he’d predicted, she cast another furious blast in his direction.   As her hand was coming up, Duncan swiftly sidestepped behind a tree, letting it catch the worst of the blast.  He sent up a silent prayer of thanksgiving that it had not been a particularly dry autumn; the sparks of flying bark that singed his hair as they flew by were bad enough without adding worries about the crazed young widow starting a forest fire to his most immediate problems.

   Then two things happened nearly simultaneously.  The steward, recovering enough from his stunned state to notice his mistress was in trouble, and still at least somewhat under her control, leaped forward into Duncan's field of view, crying out a warning.  Eanrigh, hearing the man's cry, also lunged forward just at that moment, his blade swinging forward to rest at Ĉdwige's throat before Duncan could call out or Mind-Send him a warning not to make direct contact with their Deryni attacker.  She took an involuntary step backwards, colliding with Eanrigh's chest.  His sword lowered slightly, and the smile on Ĉdwige's face made the bishop's blood run cold.

   He ran forward, but Martin tackled him, knocking him slightly off course.  Duncan tripped over a gnarled tree root even as Ĉdwige stepped free of his man-at-arm's grasp, but in that moment, it was clear to him that Eanrigh's mind was no longer his own.

   He tried to recover his balance, attempted to bring his sword back up to defend himself, but before he could regain a steady footing Eanrigh's blade thrust forward and upwards, stabbing through both layers of his wool-lined leather jerkin, through the linen worn beneath it, skewering Duncan.  The bishop's sword dipped as the shock and pain of the impact and penetration brought him to his knees.

#

   Forest just outside Eddington Manor
   November 5, 1136—Dawn



   "My…my Lady…what in the world is happening?  And…where are we?"  Martin Steward stared with dazed eyes at the man lying before him and the second man with the blank look standing nearby, bloody sword in hand.  "And…who are these men?"

   Ĉdwige attempted to regain her control over her steward's mind again, only to discover that her energies were too exhausted to resume her hold over him while retaining the one she had on the bishop's man.  Fortunately, the bishop was no longer a problem; he had slumped over, apparently unconscious.  Or was he just doing some sort of Healing trance on himself?  It hardly mattered; Ĉdwige could not afford to allow him time to recover from his injury.

   "They tried to attack me, Martin.  Kill them both," she directed her steward, her voice imperious and accustomed to obedience.  

   But clearly the steward's wits were beginning to return all too swiftly.  "Why…is that Sister Helena?!  Did…how is she dead?"

   Ĉdwige rolled her eyes.  "Martin, come here and see for yourself."

   The manservant, his wits still dulled and accustomed to compliance, came closer to peer into the shallow grave.  His mistress reached out her hand and compelled him to sleep before turning wearily to the man-at-arms and pulling the sword from his limp hand to finish the job herself.  She had no idea how she'd manage to explain away a dead bishop and a magistra yet, but at least the humans could be Mind-wiped, their memories altered to back up whatever story she might come up with later.  Maybe Sister Helena's body could still end up in the boar pit as planned, with the incriminating ring on her person, and the bishop and his men could be left by some roadside to look like victims of an outlaw band's ambush.  It would help if she knew why he was even here.  She'd have to do a Death Reading on him, if she could figure out how.  She knew the theory, of course, but it's not like she'd ever had the opportunity to practice.

   She could now, though.  But first she'd make sure Sister Helena was truly dead, for now that she stood above her grave, seeing her clearly for the first time in the early dawn light, she realized with a shock that the magistra wasn't.  She lay nearly as still as a corpse, but the color in her skin and the faint rise and fall of her chest betrayed her.

   Ĉdwige raised the man-at-arm's sword, summoning up the will to plunge it deeply into Sister Helena's heart, when out of the corner of her eye she saw the impossible.

#

   Duncan tried to focus on the wound, but he could not.  The pain was great, and his body ran cold with shock.  But he must get back up; Helena needed him too much.  He focused his attention on the bond between them, drawing strength from it—emotional strength, for she could not spare any physical strength for him in her weakened state, and he would not ask that of her—and then he willed himself to do that thing he'd managed only once before, seemingly a lifetime ago rather than mere days.  He knew not why he did it, only that his instincts screamed of the need for him to go to his beloved, if only in spirit.

   Duncan's spirit—or his life essence, whatever one might call it—rose up from his limp body and floated towards Ĉdwige.  The young widow's eyes widened, and the sword dropped from her hands—not onto Helena, thank God, but onto the ground just beyond the edge of the newly dug hole where she lay.  Duncan smiled coldly at Ĉdwige, knowing what must be going through her mind as his ghostly form approached her.  "Repent," he demanded, his voice sepulchral.

   She did no such thing, but her eyes rolled back in her head and she dropped to the ground in a swoon.  That would have to do for the moment.  He tried to touch her, hoping that he could ensure her continued unconsciousness, but his incorporeal hand passed through—or perhaps around?—her like air.  It was too much for him; he had to return to his body lest he risk being sundered from it entirely.  Not that he wasn't at high risk of that already, given what he could sense of his injury.

   He drew himself back to a body that was weaker than he remembered it being even those few moments earlier. What had weakened him so quickly?  He drew on all his strength to reach a hand up to his wound.  It bled freely, and from what he could sense of it, he was bleeding out from behind as well.

   Had all of his efforts been for nothing, then?  Would the Lady of Eddington still wake up in time to carry out her deadly plans, despite his best efforts?  That was the last conscious thought on Duncan's mind before his world went black.
#

   The dawn's light and faint warmth on her face woke Helena from her trance, and to her great relief, she was not underground.  Or at least her face wasn't, although several shovelfuls of earth had been heaped upon her lower body, the dampness of it cold against her body even through her clothing.  

   She heard no one around her, but she could sense Duncan's presence nearby—close to her, yet alarmingly weak.  Casting her senses around her, she could sense no conscious presences in the immediate vicinity, although she sensed several unconscious ones nearby.  She rose cautiously, wincing as her head throbbed at the motion.  She would need to tend to that immediately, now that it was safe to do so.

   Or almost safe.  Her face hardened as she spotted Ĉdwige's limp form beside her makeshift grave.  She reached out a hand to Ĉdwige's forehead, sensing her beginning to return to consciousness.  No, that certainly wouldn't happen!  Helena locked the murderous widow into an unconscious state that she could not emerge from until properly secured within a locked and warded room to face trial for her deeds.

   What had the little bitch done?  Helena quickly sifted through Ĉdwige's temporarily unshielded mind for her most recent memories, her face turning grim as she saw the actions of the past few hours through Ĉdwige's vantage point.  Duncan's injury looked grave; that's where she'd turn her attention first, then, even before tending to her own healing.  The other men, with Ĉdwige's control over their minds broken, would be fine for the moment, and she doubted even Martin Steward would pose any threat to her once he woke up, now that he was restored to his own mind again.

   At any rate, that was a chance she would simply have to take, she realized once she saw the alarming amount of blood spreading through Duncan's tunic and the pallor of his skin.  She crawled to his side, whimpering softly in fear and from her aching head, gently pushing aside the weeping Eanrigh, who had come to himself enough by now to realize what he had done and who was bent over the bishop’s still body, trying to staunch the flow of blood.  Helena pushed his hands aside with a murmured word of command, and the man-at-arms sat back, spent and unresisting.  She began to study the extent of Duncan's injuries.

#

   Duncan returned to consciousness enough to sense her loving touch upon his body, felt her fumbling with the buckled straps of his jerkin.  She drew the blood-soaked leather off his chest, using Eanrigh's belt knife to cut and peel away the torn linen of his tunic to expose his wound.  Under more normal circumstances, his jerkin would have provided adequate protection against the usual hazards of travel as well as warmth in the November chill.  Even if he and his party had been set upon by brigands, his men-at-arms would have closed ranks around him, and should he have had to defend himself personally, the thick padded leather would have provided reasonable protection against the sort of slashing cuts he might have expected to deal with in such an ambush.  But it had been designed primarily to ward off the edge of a blade, not a direct stab at extreme close range with the tip of a sword, and the leather beneath the sword tip had given way, punched open and partly into his flesh at the force of the blow, the sharp blade penetrating leather, wool and linen to cut cleanly through skin and muscle, scraping past bone and exiting his body on the other side, although not with enough force by that point to pierce the leather covering his back.  Judging from the amount of blood he'd lost already, it had probably nicked a major blood vessel as well, if it had not severed it entirely.

   He could do little to help Helena except to use what little remained of his energy to try to slow down his bleeding as much as he could.  That, and to lend her whatever strength and encouragement she might draw from the knowledge that, no matter how badly he was injured, he was not dead yet.  Helena could Heal his injury—Duncan knew that—but did she realize it, or would her confidence fail her?  She was still inexperienced as a Healer, but she was fully capable.

   He spared a tiny bit of power for a wordless mind caress before returning all of his focus to the task of staying alive.

#

   He was alive, and she'd be damned if she'd let that cunning little she-wolf Ĉdwige steal this man from her!  Helena slipped a hand beneath Duncan's jerkin, cutting away the blood-soaked linen beneath to expose bare flesh.

   Saint Camber, have mercy on us!

   There was a flask at Duncan's side—whether it contained water or wine, she knew not and didn't take time to inspect—but she uncorked it, sluicing the contents over her fingers to cleanse the dirt from them before plunging them into his wound, probing with flesh and mind to see the extent of the damage.  His body bucked slightly at the intrusion, but she couldn't allow that to distract her.  She concentrated instead on stopping the flow of life-stealing blood, not allowing herself to focus on any other distraction, not even the disconcerting feeling that someone more sensed than seen was watching her—no, perhaps even assisting her—guiding her hand and lending steady comfort as she began to knit together the displaced tissues, as she slowly drew her fingers back out of the wound, trying to work fast enough to staunch the blood loss quickly yet slowly enough to mend the tissue damage properly.  And even as she did so, she could sense that while she had managed to Heal the worst of Duncan's injury, there was still something she'd missed.

   His back.  That still, small voice was barely audible, even inside her mind, but Helena turned Duncan onto his side, running a hand beneath Duncan's shoulder, underneath leather and fabric, to trace along blood-slicked skin, feeling for an exit wound.  Yes, there it was…barely large enough to slip a fingertip into, yet still leaking blood.  She felt inside the small wound until her fingertip made contact with the newly Healed tissue inside, and focused her Healing energies on closing that last gap in the rent flesh.

   Duncan's body was whole again, so she concentrated her efforts on his mind next, rousing him back to full consciousness so he could sip what was left of his flask's contents, imbibing the life-enhancing liquid that would help his body produce more blood to make up for what he'd lost.

#

   Eddington Manor
   November 5, 1136--Morning


   The Eddington mausoleum, as Helena had already discovered, made a very effective prison, especially once the entire building was warded, as much for the Lady Ĉdwige's protection as for her household's protection from their deadly and unpredictable mistress, for once Martin Steward had made it known how he had been ill-used by the lady of the manor and that her actions had nearly resulted in several others' deaths and had almost certainly been the cause of their late master's, the Eddington household was simmering with righteous outrage towards her and swift to tend the magistra's needs and those of the new and unexpected arrivals.  Otho and Eanrigh were resting under Mistress Nell's care, the former's burns and shock ministered to beforehand by Sister Helena as Nell and Eanrigh watched in awe, and the bishop lay upstairs in the steward's own chamber.  Ĉdwige's bedchamber—the finest in the manor house—had been offered up for his use first, but Helena had declined on his behalf, knowing that even if Duncan could not consciously sense the negative resonances still lingering in that chamber, they might still be sensed on some subconscious level and adversely impact his recovery.  It was not a chance she was willing to take, nor was he at all eager to sleep in the chamber where Sir Gilrae had spent his last labored breath, once he understood which room was being offered.

   So it was in the steward's room where Helena sat perched on a bench pulled up close to the steward’s low bed, stopping by Duncan’s borrowed chamber in her capacity as the more fully-restored Healer to check on the bishop’s well-being, since despite her Healing of his physical injuries, his loss of blood would keep his energies low and his overall health more precarious for a few more days to come until his body had time to restore the loss.  One of the household chambermaids sat close by with her needlework, dutifully acting as chaperone and remaining on hand to call downstairs for anything that either the bishop or magistra might have need for, should she be asked.   Martin had recovered enough from his ordeal to send messengers riding for Danoc and Rhemuth to inform both the Earl and the King of what had happened and that the Lady Ĉdwige was now in protective custody.

     I thought I'd lost you, she Mind-Spoke, wishing she could know the comfort of Duncan's strong arms around her.

   A mental caress, almost as reassuring.  You can never truly lose me, heart.  Even once I'm gone, a part of me will always be with you.  And there's the next life as well.

   I know, but somehow I doubt that thought would be very reassuring on those cold lonely nights in the years ahead while I'm waiting for my turn to die, you dolt!

   He chuckled softly at the asperity in her mental voice.  See, that's why I fell in love with you.  You always know just the right things to say to let a man know how much you care.

   She stifled a laugh, blinking back tears.  And I don't know why that thought ought to bother me so; it's not like I ever spend any of those cold lonely nights with you anyway, even when you're in full health!

   Sure you do, woman; we're just never in the same room.  He opened his eyes briefly, stealing an admiring glance up at her before allowing them to drift shut again.  Do you think you can let a man get a little sleep now, you sweet-tongued, heart-stealing wench? he teased.

   Helena stood, stifling a yawn.  I suppose I could, if you'll allow me to do the same.  She couldn't bend to kiss him, certainly not with the chambermaid rising behind her and glancing at her quizzically.  But she laid a gentle hand on his forehead as if checking for a fever, and he smiled faintly in reply.  Enveloped in his love for her, and reassured of his well-being, she felt content.


Chapter Twenty-Two: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=859.0
« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 01:04:12 pm by Evie »
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Offline Jerusha

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Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2012, 10:34:16 am »
"Time had run out for Helena" - you had me truly worried there, for a moment!  :o

There can be no mercy for Ĉdwige, though consideration will have to be given to the unborn child.  She will remain a considerable danger to all until the child is born, and probably even to the child.

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 Evie

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Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2012, 10:45:36 am »
"Time had run out for Helena" - you had me truly worried there, for a moment!  :o

 :D

Now, now, would I kill off one of my favorite characters?  Not to mention break my darling Duncan's heart in the process?

* Evie stops to consider previous stories.

OK, never mind, don't answer that.   ;D

Quote
There can be no mercy for Ĉdwige, though consideration will have to be given to the unborn child.  She will remain a considerable danger to all until the child is born, and probably even to the child.

Fortunately for the baby, Ĉdwige is well aware that her unborn child is her best hope of survival at this point, and if she's still in enough denial to think she's likely to salvage anything from this mess, she'd still think of him as the means of retaining her hold on Eddington.  She might not think too highly of her late husband's manor, yet it's better to be a landed knight's widow and regent than to go back to being a landless knight's daughter and have to work her way up the chain of nobility once again.  And we know how ambitious Ĉdwige is!

Of course, I wouldn't count too highly on that baby becoming her retirement plan now, if I were Ĉdwige....   :D
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Offline Shiral

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Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2012, 01:51:31 pm »
If she thinks Kelson would be merciful to her after all she's done, INCLUDING threatening the life of one of his own closest, most  trusted friends, and having impugned the honorable reputation of the King's own chaplain,  Aedwige's nuts!  Oh, wait.... we already knew that......Her life is probably safe until she's delivered but..What convent would even WANT her?  :D I rather pity the baby; a dead father and a mother who is a ruthless little spoiled brat and a murderess. Hopefully, his uncle will foster him, and bring him up as a worthy heir to Eddington.
Melissa
« Last Edit: March 31, 2012, 01:13:53 am by Shiral »
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Offline Elkhound

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Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2012, 06:48:47 pm »
I rather pity the baby; a dead father and a mother who is a ruthless little spoiled brat and a murderess. Hopefully, his uncle will foster him, and bring him up as a worthy heir to Eddington.
Melissa

The child will have to deal with mutterings of 'bad blood' and 'the apple falleth not far from the tree' all his/her life.  Particularly if it is a blonde girl.

Offline derynifanatic64

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Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2012, 06:50:30 pm »
Now the real fun begins!!  Time for our evil, little......to pay the piper!!  Once her child has been born.
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Offline Elkhound

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Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2012, 09:54:55 pm »
Now the real fun begins!!  Time for our evil, little......to pay the piper!!  Once her child has been born.

I have a feeling she has one or two nasty little tricks up her sleeve.  As for the child, I'm a little surprised that with all the physical exertions she's been putting herself through that she hasn't miscarried yet.

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Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2012, 10:42:26 pm »
Oh trust me, as someone who has been through pregnancy twice, pregnant women really aren't all that fragile unless there are some underlying complications.  In fact, women are encouraged to continue moderate exercise throughout pregnancy, especially if they've led active lives before they became pregnant, and even sedentary women are encouraged to begin some form of exercise to help boost energy levels and keep weight gain from spiking too high for maternal and fetal health.  And Ĉdwige is more spoiled and pampered than many women of her time; a pregnant peasant woman would probably spend most, if not all, of her pregnancy working in the fields or what-not until her labor pains began, and would be back at work fairly soon after the baby was born, possibly even with baby in tow so she could nurse him when he got hungry.  Granted, Ĉdwige is having a more strenuous day than normal in this chapter--she's certainly not accustomed to pulling "all-nighters," much less doing her own manual labor (digging holes with a shovel) or taking control of other people's minds, and that combination of effort would leave anyone quite fatigued, and possibly Ĉdwige more than usual because she's pregnant.  But she's also beginning her second trimester now, which is when energy levels start to increase for most women, and generally speaking this middle period of pregnancy--when a woman is past the early months of morning sickness (for those who experience that) and sleepiness and not yet in the last months when the rapid growth and weight gain can lead to a lot of physical discomfort--is when women feel at their best and most energized.  Plus, the girl is sixteen, so she probably has more energy to begin with than your average 25-35 year old first time mom of modern times, and she lives in a culture where the average person was probably more physically fit than the average first-world person of today, given that even the most pampered of nobility had to either walk or ride a horse or some other beast of burden to get anywhere, even if he or she didn't have to do a lot of manual labor.  So Ĉdwige would probably be better equipped to handle one highly stressful and strenuous day, pregnant or not, than a 21st Century woman who drives a car to and from work, rides a desk all day, goes home at night and watches TV, and doesn't have a regular exercise routine.

For me, the post-partum months were the ones that nearly did me in.  Pregnancy was a breeze for me, even the second time around when I was working full time during the day and chasing a hyperactive toddler around all evening on the nights when I wasn't in class or at the library doing research (I was doing graduate studies at the time).  I'd rather live through that again than the long weeks of sleep deprivation that comes along with caring for a newborn!
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 10:46:53 pm by Evie »
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Offline AnnieUK

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Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2012, 05:27:10 am »
Cool chapter, but even with all the action my favourite bit was those last few lines. The affectionately sarcastic tone between Duncan and Helena is great.

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2012, 11:15:55 am »
Well, I defer to your greater knowledge!  I was always taught to treat pregnant women as though they were made of crystal.

But, much as I abhor the thought of a miscarriage and wouldn't wish it on any woman in real life, such an event would be a real kick in the pants for Aedwige, wouldn't it?   She'd put SO much of her hopes on bearing a child for her late, unlamented husband and be regent for the child and using the wealth that would give her access as leverage for an even richer Mr. #2--and I'm sure Richenda was an inspiration, because looking at it through the lens of her nasty, mercinary, selfish, scheming little mind, that's exactly what a dowager countess marrying a duke would look exactly like--and to have a medical catastrophe like that put a spoke in her wheels. .  .

Do you think that she might feign going into some sort of crisis as a ruse to be let out of the tomb, and try to make a break for it?

Offline Alkari

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Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2012, 12:05:16 pm »
She might - but I doubt she'd get any sympathy or particularly urgent attention  :D    The servants would all be suspicious of her now, and would probably tell her to just go ahead and have her crisis by herself, at least until Duncan and Helena are recovered enough to take charge of her. 

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Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2012, 02:38:05 pm »
Cool chapter, but even with all the action my favourite bit was those last few lines. The affectionately sarcastic tone between Duncan and Helena is great.

Welcome to a glimpse of my marriage....   ;)

True story.  One Sunday morning, as I'm desperately trying to catch just a few more minutes of sleep before getting up for church....

DH:  "Time to get up."
Me: *murmuring into pillow*  "Five more minutes."
DH:  *sounding baffled* "What's that?  I couldn't hear you.  Did you say something about your legs?"
Me:  *Trying again, slightly louder but still muffled*  "I said 'Five more minutes!'"
DH:  *sounding even more bewildered*  "What?  Pray for legs?!"
Me:  *bellowing*  "I SAID 'FIVE MORE MINUTES,' YOU DEAF IMBECILE!!!!!"

The ensuing roars of laughter ensured I got no more sleep that morning.  And "Pray for legs" has become a synonym for "Five more minutes" at my house.   ;D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2012, 03:19:05 pm »
Well, I defer to your greater knowledge!  I was always taught to treat pregnant women as though they were made of crystal.

Well, there are a few common-sense precautions to be taken.  Be careful what food/drink/medication you consume, because it can affect the baby; don't do heavy lifting; if something is on a high shelf, have someone else get it down for you (never quite understood the reason for that one, unless it has to do with the tendency for some people to try to get something down by themselves which is heavy enough that it shouldn't have been put on an upper shelf to begin with?); get someone else to scoop out the litter box (due to some microorganism that pregnant women are more susceptible to, IIRC); and try to avoid activities that are likely to cause strong impact with the abdomen (pregnancy probably wouldn't be the best time to take up boxing!  :D)--those sort of things are the usual precautions recommended by a woman's OB-GYN.  But normal activities, and even somewhat strenuous ones (assuming the mother was fit enough to be doing them before she got pregnant, and that she doesn't have a high-risk pregnancy) are usually fine.  When my firefighter friend got pregnant, IIRC she moved to a desk job for a few months, and I think she stopped practicing martial arts for a while (she's a double black belt), but she still kept well-exercised in other ways, and I think she continued cycling until fairly late in her pregnancy and resumed it not long after her girls were born.  (And I'm not talking about casual now-and-again cycling; she's the sort who competes in triathlons and breaks state records doing things like riding her bike across the state.)

So yeah.  Treating a pregnant woman with greater care is one thing, and generally appreciated.  Treating her like something fragile as eggshells or very ill is quite another.  And that's why you'll sometimes hear pregnant women protest, "Stop coddling me; I'm not sick, I'm just pregnant!"  (ISTR even Richenda says something of the sort to Alaric in one of the novels!  :D )

Quote
But, much as I abhor the thought of a miscarriage and wouldn't wish it on any woman in real life, such an event would be a real kick in the pants for Aedwige, wouldn't it?   She'd put SO much of her hopes on bearing a child for her late, unlamented husband and be regent for the child and using the wealth that would give her access as leverage for an even richer Mr. #2--and I'm sure Richenda was an inspiration, because looking at it through the lens of her nasty, mercinary, selfish, scheming little mind, that's exactly what a dowager countess marrying a duke would look exactly like--and to have a medical catastrophe like that put a spoke in her wheels. .  .

Do you think that she might feign going into some sort of crisis as a ruse to be let out of the tomb, and try to make a break for it?

A miscarriage would be a tragedy for her at this point, because it would mean there'd be no reason to postpone a sentence of execution, and right now she'd want every reason for a delay that her scheming mind can grasp at!  
« Last Edit: March 31, 2012, 03:26:15 pm by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2012, 03:24:45 pm »
She might - but I doubt she'd get any sympathy or particularly urgent attention  :D    The servants would all be suspicious of her now, and would probably tell her to just go ahead and have her crisis by herself, at least until Duncan and Helena are recovered enough to take charge of her. 

Well, mostly what Helena needs to recover is a full night's sleep.  She has a concussion, but it's fairly mild, and she can probably tend to it herself once she's rested a bit and can focus better.  Or Duncan can do so when he has had a full night's rest and some more restoring fluids in his system, but at this point his main problem is recovering from blood loss, which Deryni Healing can't do much about.  In any case, at least one of them would be capable of dealing with whatever crisis Ĉdwige might have (or manufacture) in the next day or two.  Though you're right, the servants are going to be very leery of going anywhere near that tomb/makeshift prison, so Ĉdwige's main problem with such a scheme would be getting their attention in the first place!  There's a system in place that is allowing her to get daily meals without risk of her escaping (more on that in the next chapter), but that's pretty much it in terms of her ability to contact the outside world.
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Offline Elkhound

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Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty-One
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2012, 04:12:01 pm »
I wonder if Aedwige likes amontillado?

Seriously, that would be a proper Midaeval punishment, wouldn't it?  As soon as the child is born, put her in the mausoleum with a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, a candle, and a dagger.  Then brick up the door with her inside.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2012, 07:46:00 am by Elkhound »

 

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