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Semi Free-Form Deryni Gaming / Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Last post by Laurna on Today at 02:23:36 pm »
Kelson Haldane stood face to face with Denise Arilan. The king’s black hair was only speckled with steel gray, while the man of religion, older by some twenty-four years, was completely white on top; neither man balding. Well, unless you counted the bishop’s medium tonsure. Perhaps it had gotten a little larger than in his youth to disguise the thinning spot of old age. Few would notice. The two men had four decades of working together to keep dioceses and kingdom on a path of collaboration. Denise had at one time been offered the archbishopric of Valoret but had turned it down. He was a man best working behind the scenes to encourage others to do the right work for the right cause.  Both king and bishop were masters of the Deryni form of sharing. They each held the edges of the bishop’s Prayer book in their left hands, and they each had their right hands resting atop the other over the worn leather bound cover. They looked to be in silent prayer, but those who knew better knew the two men were in full Rapport.

In quick bursts of information, the bishop shared all that had happened to find the Portal beyond the Rivergate. Kelson was not unfamiliar with the two-hundred and fifty year old legend of escape routes for Deryni in the years of the Regents. Yet the portal system had never been discovered. Some form of security would need to set in place now that it was found. And that trap would have to be broken with a new trap set by the king’s men placed upon it. That would be the first thing on the agenda for the coming day. Following Washburn’s captor would take more effort still. Kelson agreed the next Portal after that last one found would likely be more stringently trapped. He would not risk any man jumping into the devil’s layer.

When Arilan’s report was done. Kelson gave a full accounting of the prisoners. Jabir Ibn Habib from Khasifa, a man known to trade with Rhemuth for several years without ever an incident before this, was the man behind the forced induction of Lord Jaxom to steal Lady Aliset. The connection of this man to the man who’d attacked and took Sir Washburn was uncertain. The images that Dhugal had seen of both men escaping with their targets through the garderobe veil had not been clear enough to identify the one who had ultimately succeeded.  Denis could not Identify him either.

With a sigh, Kelson put those images aside. Perhaps you could offer me better assistance in identifying a more important man from two differing sources. I believe both images to be of the same man. Yet, I can not place the face, though I feel that I should.

I will do what I can, I am ready.

The first images sent were a cullage of the Lady Aliset’s scrying of the first amulet that had been found on a pursuer just out of Culdi. Mixed scenes quickly passed from one to the other.
             "Who are you?" had been the question
             The answer came not in words, but in a series of scenes rapidly playing out before their eyes.  A hot clime, a majestic city in the Eastern style.  A palatial mansion that spoke of wealth and elegance. A long journey from faraway lands. A Portal hop from an unfamiliar place to one much more familiar, no more than a day's journey distant. Furtive meetings with a series of others, most unfamiliar to Aliset, although she detected Oswald's despised features among them. And central to one scene, a beautiful young woman seated on what appeared to be a throne.


Denis had stiffened at the sight of the palatial mansion. He knew that residents all too well.  The temple and home of the Byzantyun emperor. The place where Count Teymuraz had fled to after the killijalay of King Liam in the year 1128. Sources through the years had the count married to the daughter of Grand Prince Alexios of Byzantyun. Teymuraz was named Grand Duke and his marriage to the Grand Princess Justiniana produced three sons. First of which were two twin boys born in the year 1129. The eldest twin Grand Duke Iskander, Denis and Kelson had spys keeping track of. The younger twin, Grand Duke Imre was a little harder to follow. And the third son, younger by three years, Grand Duke Valerian, had been out of viewing from the spy network for several years now. The images of this man who ever he may be did have a likeness to one of these three men, but the images were not clear enough to tell which.

Kelson’s next sharing was of another scryed image from Lady Aliset of just the face of a man in his prime. That face made Denis’s blood run cold. Quickly following, having trouble containing his anger, the king bombarded his bishop with the newest images from his spy in Ratherkin. The Pretender Queen of Meara in the splendor of her subdued subjects with a tall man at her back.  The same man, a man just past the age of thirty, Denis knew the sight of.

Breaking their Rapport, feeling weak-kneed Denis sot-out the bench in the alove window. “We have been following the wrong son.” He said under his breath.

Kelson came to stand before him. “Which one is he!” he demanded in dis-humor.

“That would be the youngest, the unmarried one, Grand Duke Valerian Tiberios Hogan Marek ho Phourstanos/Furstan of Byzantyun. He is a devil that one. There was never proof, as both Imre and Valarian were seen on horse back together near where Alaric and Teymuraz had set their dueling wards, but it is suspect that one or both were the ones who murdered Alaric with that killing bolt, even as the wards died away and he had been proven the victor of that duel. The boys were only 12 and 15 at the time. No one thought them strong enough to perform such an act of violence. But since then, all other suspects have been proven innocent in that one deed.  And Imre has been seen to be a much less vengeful man than his father or his twin brother are. If I were a betting man, I would lay odds that Valarian was the one who struck Alaric down. He has kept a low profile for twenty years. Obviously stewing in his vengeance and planning this rebellion. I am sorry, sire. I missed the clues of this coming.”
2
The Childe Morgan / Re: Donal Haldane
« Last post by tenworld on Today at 10:12:09 am »
I still believe there was a schism between the ancestors of the council as we knew it in DR and the people really in the know of what happened with Camber. Lendour perhaps is the home of that behind the scenes power. And maybe Sir Se or the Anvil people.

Its a little like Asimov's two Foundations (and the eventual reveal that Robots were the manipulators). One never knew which benign seeming character was actually the power.
3
Semi Free-Form Deryni Gaming / Re: Out of Character (OOC) Thread
« Last post by DerynifanK on June 18, 2018, 07:52:18 pm »
Oh dear, where is Richard?
4
Semi Free-Form Deryni Gaming / Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Last post by revanne on June 18, 2018, 05:19:14 pm »
The ale was good with a rich malty aroma and a smooth nutty flavour. Dhugal had to remind himself that he had given his word not to question where this had come from. Besides, there was no sign that Andras or his colleagues were anything other than punctilious in the carrying out of their duties and he knew that Kelson, as indeed himself, saw no reason why those who served him should not enjoy the good things of life appropriate to their station.

More to the point it appeared to be serving its purpose with Richard. He was drinking slowly and appreciatively - and Dhugal could not help but be amused that despite all that had happened and his current fear the seaman's taste for a good brew, as for a good vintage, was untainted - and gradually the fear began to fade from his eyes. He stood up, gave a deep belch and handed the skin back to Andras with a nod of thanks, then turned to Dhugal.

"I don't know how long this will last but there is enough good magic in that ale to counter my jitters so let's be done with it."

Dhugal hoped he had not heard a stress on the word "good" but there was no time to waste. Still anxious, he pulled out his St Camber medal from within his tunic and grasping hold of it prayed that the saint who was reputed to be the protector of both humans and Deryni would come to their aid. (( 5 + 3 + 6 = 14, 4l88zvrwf8 - thank you Sanctus Camberus.)) Then he put his hand on Richard's forehead and took control as he led him through the veil into the room beyond and onto the portal square. Grasping the energies with his mind he had rarely been so glad to see the familiar outline of the portal room in Ballymar.

Their feet had barely touched the ground when he released control of Richard's mind though he was careful to keep a hold of the other's arm lest he should still be disorientated.

"Thank you, My Lord, but it will take more than a skinful of ale to put a seafarer off balance." Richard's tone was deliberately jocular, if somewhat forced, and with a smile Dhugal released his grip and replied in kind.

"I'm glad to hear it, else there's few boats would ever come safe to port!"

Richard clearly did not want to speak about his fear, and now was not the time to raise it, though Dhugal did wonder if Mirjana might be the best person to help him. Though she was Deryni she too had suffered unspeakably at the hands of one who abused his power. That was for another day though. Please God they could both make for their beds and at least sleep through what was left of this night in comfort and undisturbed.

The hope was vain. As the two men walked back through the castle, Dhugal being greeted with deferential bows, and both men with warm relief, word spread that "himself" was back and Master Kirby with him. As they entered the Great Hall, Dhugal to go up the solar stair into the ducal appartments and Richard out across the Bailey to his own quarters the Master-at-arms met them. Barely taking time to bow he all but grabbed hold of the Duke and blurted out,

"Ships, Yer Grace. And comin' along at a grand rate. The wind tha's blowin' them, it's no natural. The wind doesn'a blow like that from the East this time o'year, nor just out at sea. There's many o'the men speirin' it's the work o' the de'il himself. And I'd no say they were wrong." He crossed himself fervently as he finished speaking.

((They could well be right at that. Valerian does some weather working to aid ships from Tolan. Only rolled 2d because although Valerian is extremly skilled, he is also preoccupied.  6 + 4 = 10, 6qt2x19d6b))

Dhugal grabbed the man by the shoulders and barked, "How many ships? And where are they, have they passed the castle?"

"I canna just say how many, M'Lord, twice or thrice times ten mebbe. Yon crofters along the coast are canny enow at lighting the signal fires but no so braw at figurin'. But gi'en how they've bin comin' I'd say they'll 'a' dropped anchor in the mouth of yon sea loch ahint yon brae," he pointed to the east, "and if they gan their road wi' first light they'll be here afore Father Aidan has finished sayin' his morning prayers. The ships are gey prepared to sail and the men aboard, but it's fer yer Grace or Master Kirby ta gie the order ta leave port."

"They'll no' be coming here," Dhugal said grimly, "They've other prey in sight."

"Still, treble the guard and tell each man not on duty to sleep with his weapons. No man has ever taken this castle." He stopped for a moment in thought then added, "Late as it is, rouse the villagers, tell them to bring their bairns and their brychans and naught else. Thank God it's warm enough for them to sleep out in the Bailey tonight. We'll rouse the household to care for them at first light. And, well done! You've done a grand job in my absence."

Calmed by his master's presence and happier now he had definite orders to fulfill, he bowed, with more dignity this time and left. As soon as he was out of sight though Dhugal's calm left him.

"Damn him to the pit of hell, whoever he is! I need this, the King needs this, like a hole in the head! If only we could have been here earlier, when it was still light, we could have had them at anchor like rats in a trap." Dhugal was venting his frustration without thought for his listener and only Richard's silence warned him that he had misspoken. Turning he saw rage and shame in the other's face.

"Just say it, Your Grace. If I hadn't been such a bloody fool about the portal we'd have been here an hour since."

"And it would have still been too dark to set sail. This far north there's aye a glimmer on the water until nigh midnight but it's not enough to see by and I'll not risk men or ships without light."

"And if you'd left me be, as I deserved, and not wasted time healing me but come back by your own, you'd have them surrounded by now."

Dhugal grabbed Richard's shoulders as though to shake sense into him, then drew a deep breath and said with forced calm,

"Whoever our enemy is, he'll want nothing better than to have us at each other's throats. Nothing today has gone well, we must just pray that God is on our side for tomorrow. If we can't catch them sleeping, we must try to stop them as they come past. Send word that the men on board ship are to be roused before dawn, which is barely a watch away, and then for God's sake get a couple of hours sleep yourself."

Richard seemed to pull himself together, made as if to bow then clasped Dhugal in a rough embrace instead and made his way briskly out of the hall. Dhugal looked after him for a long moment, then, deciding he was not about to wake Mirjana at this hour went into the withdrawing room behind the dais, pulled one of the bear skin rugs on top of another, wrapped himself in his cloak on top of them and allowed himself to fall into a light trance.

Rousing himself well before there was any glimmer of light in even in the north-eastern sky from where the sun would rise he waited long enough to perform a fatigue banishing spell then moved out into the hall. Men were already rousing themselves, and out in the Bailey there were sounds of bairns greeting with fear and hunger and their mothers doing their best to hush them. Summoning two of the men who seemed most alert despite their disturbed night he ordered them to light torches and come with him down to the quayside, expecting that he would meet Richard already down there. There was, though, no sign of him, although all were following orders and all was being done with an air of calm, if tense efficiency. They would sail at dawn as planned.





 


5
Semi Free-Form Deryni Gaming / Re: Out of Character (OOC) Thread
« Last post by DerynifanK on June 18, 2018, 03:02:45 pm »
Also poor Wash; Alaric told him that when he returned he would help his son be the best man he could be. Sadly he didn't come back and the other adults in his life who should  have carried out that promise  dropped the ball, even his mother. And now he lacks magical training and skills that could help him defend himself and survive. I hope he does survive and has the opportunity  to get that training. And I know that some  children are more difficult  because I have a grandson who is somewhat like that. Very smart but had  to get him to focus on academics or homework and  working with him takes a lot of understanding  and persistence.
6
Semi Free-Form Deryni Gaming / Re: Out of Character (OOC) Thread
« Last post by revanne on June 18, 2018, 02:49:42 pm »
Poor Wash. I'm sure the scholar doesn't want him to die. What a pity he doesn't know that Jaxom's wound is painful too.
7
Semi Free-Form Deryni Gaming / Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Last post by Laurna on June 18, 2018, 02:13:13 pm »
"Rest young Morgan." Even as the irresistible command caused Washburn's eyes to ease from their stare at his tormentor and for him to find himself easing to his right side, the pain in the cut on his left arm was really beginning to bother him. The jump for the beam and the subsequent tumble to the floor had re-openind the cut Jaxom's sword had made. Wash would not complain about it, yet fresh blood ran down his arm. Under his black tunic, in the darkness of the ruins, Wash doubted the Scholar noticed it. Wash could not reach the gash with his hands tied. and he could not fight the need to sleep long enough to say something about it. If only he had that Healers gift of his activated. But the Healing energy was the furthest of all arcane energy from his use. Healing required such a delicate balance. He wounder then if he would ever be able to heal again. If the wound festered and he sickened what did it matter.   Washburn fell asleep on the furs with a horrid sense of nightmares filling his future.
8
Semi Free-Form Deryni Gaming / Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Last post by Bynw on June 18, 2018, 01:09:02 pm »
"Rest young Morgan." The statement by the Scholar was more of a command than a suggestion. "In the morning, you will be well rested and famished. You will eat the food and drink the wine I have prepared for you. And come the setting of the sun we will leave these ruins."

He doesn't bother to check on Washburn, knowing full well that the controls are well established that Washburn will have no option except to obey his commands. Although before sleeping himself, the Scholar rechecks the Wards that surround the ruins that will warn him of unwanted guests. And also the Wards Major that are covering the Portal itself. An age old trick to make a Portal hidden and unacessable even if those in Rhemuth managed to get its unique signature. They would not be able to reach out to it. And given the distance as well, few are skilled in long distance jumps as he was. The Scholar has a peaceful rest.
9
Semi Free-Form Deryni Gaming / Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Last post by Laurna on June 18, 2018, 12:30:55 pm »

Four men all sharing the same facial features yet expressing those features in varied shades of decades in age gained admittance into the king’s withdrawing room. The council meeting had now been going on and off for the entirety of day and well into the night. At the time that the Arilans entered, the king himself was not in attendance. Neither to was Prince Javan and gone to was Duke Dhugal, who was said to be returning to Ballymar after much delay. The six men who remained were mixed about the room either signally or in pairs. All working on various scrolls and counting sheets, piecing together the details required to move large numbers of men and arms to the northern Province of Meara. The sideboard was laden with trays of food, mostly uneaten. A few small trenchers of hand picked items were scattered about the main table within the reach of councilors to assuage their hunger as they worked. More importantly, half filled goblets of wine were near each councilor’s hand. A squire with a decanter was ready to ensure that no goblet went empty.

Upon seeing the casualness of the moment, the four Arilan men collapsed in chairs around the main table, each readily accepting the goblets of wine and plates of food that royal squires scurried to place before them. The six men watched the four with interest and concern. None but one dared to speak, knowing full that the news would not be good. The one was Brendan Earl of Marley who put his quill down and moved three seats over to sit next to Denis, the elderly Bishop of Dhassa.

“Your Grace,” the earl bowed his head in reverence, “pray tell me, even if the news is poor, what of my brother?”

Denis sighed, taking a long drink of wine. The bishop’s eyes didn’t meet Brendan’s until he had placed the goblet back on the table.  Every man in the room held their breath to hear what Denis would say. With sympathy the older bishop began to speak.

“We found the Deryni Underground Movement Portal of two centuries ago, down by the river docks. The trap on it is a nasty one. Not lethal, thank the Lord, but not easily broken either. Attempts were made, only to be meet with failure. We left guards at the Portal site and around the building. Brendan, you must hold faith that your brother is still alive. Sextus saw him in that place at mid afternoon. We can only presume that our blundering into there caused him to be moved quickly there after. Not much was left near the Portal to give us clues as to where, or by whom he was taken. The food we did find there has been sent to the apothicaires to see if they could help determine what drug, if any, lay upon it.  As for the signature of where Wash was taken…? We still have have some 20 hours of the 24 hours left to discover it. After that you know as well as I that the coordinate signature for Portal jumps tend to fade beyond recognition. We will try again at dawn, when we have regained our energy.”

“Damn it all.” Lord Angus cursed before Brendan could protest, “Ye’ a man of God’s Magic. How it be that this evil has beaten the?” The duke stood up and walked over to stand next to his earl, supporting Brendan in this time of stress. “And what’s this about Kelson forbidding anyone from taking that Portal jump until he deems ‘tis safe. How you supposed to know it’s safe if you don’t test it. I don’t even pretend to understand this fangled magic of travel. But surely something can be done before dawn. And then I ‘ear tell, that damnable Moor up and died before ‘e could’ answer ‘or his crimes.”

The bishop’s eyebrows went up at the news, but he nodded, knowing full well what Angus meant. A death trigger was not unheard of when dealing with Deryni from the east. “I am sorry, Brendan.” The old bishop meant it. “At the moment, your brother is beyond our reach.”

Despite Brendan Coris’s devastating paternity of a man who had committed treason four decades ago, Brendan, Earl of Marly had become one of the most highly respected men in the kingdom. His strong Deryni training and ferocious loyalties to the Morgans and the Haldanes were proof enough to Denis that some traits did not pass from father to son. Yet the Deryni trait from mother to son was passed on in full. Proved again and again, half-blood Deryni were capable of learning as much as full- blood Deryni. The old prejudices of half-bloods were unfounded. What seemed to matter most was the family blood-lines of at least one parent. Some families were simply stronger in the arcane than others. And Richenda’s blood lines were among the highest. As had been Alaric Morgan’s mother’s blood lines. That was why Alaric and Duncan as half-bloods had surprised the Cambarian Council back in the early days. It was the half of Whose blood that counted which made a men as good as another.

With both Alaric’s and Richenda’s bloodlines mix together, their children had been a pleasure to teach. Brendan, Kelric and the girls especially. With shame, Denis realized he was as much at fault as anyone else's for thinking Washburn immature and spoiled. He had not offer Alaric’s youngest son the lessons of advanced magic and had even discouraged Duncan from wasting his time in that effort. After the first few tries to keep the young page Washburn in his lessons, Denise simple gave up. If the rumors were true, that Washburn had the gift of Healing like his father, so much more guilt did Denis feel for not offering a challenge to the boy to do better. 

But at the moment that was neither here nor there. Denis noted the rebellion in Brendan’s eyes. “The first Portal jump was a warning, son. The closer we get, the more likely the next traps will be lethal. Kelson has put a halt on finding your brother in that way for good reason.”

Brendan bit his lip than said to the bishop under his breath, “You have certain connections. Can they not find Wash?”

“There has been some Rapport between us,” Denis failed to mention who the us was, knowing full well that Brendan knew they were talking about the secretive Camberian Council. “As yet, no one even knows who is behind this rebellion. We need more answers before we can make rash accusations.”

This please Branden not at all. He slammed his palm on the table, took a deep breath, murmured “Forgive me.” and then stalked over the the side board and the food only staring at the food without really seeing it.

For a long while after the room was quite. The Arilans ate sparingly and the others worked on their scrolls. At length the doors open and the king was announced.  Everyone stood and bowed at his entry. “I was informed of  your return. Your grace, I would have your report and I wish to share an item which I am in hopes you have enlightenment.” Kelson waived to the others, “at ease my good men." and then the king step with purpose to a far window embrasure, beckoning the Bishop of Dhassa to join him.

With all attention given to the two men, Brendan took the moment to catch Lord Jamyl’s gaze and signal him to join him at the side board. With trencher in hand, Jamyl came over and picked a particularly plump breast of fowl.

“Don’t react, but I implore you to take me to that portal,” Brendan begged very quietly.

“Against Kelson’s orders?” Jamyl mouthed back, a bit shocked.

“This is my brother we are talking about. I swear, I won't make the jump that the king forbids, but I have to know what the portal signature is to where he was next taken. Every hour wasted and that signature fades more. If we wait too long it will be impossible to find it. You have to help me.”

Jamyl looked over Brendan’s shoulder seeing his father and uncle in heavy conversation with Dukes Angus and Albin. Grand uncle Denis was in deep Rapport with the King in the far corner. No one else was looking their way.

“If it was one of your family, you know you would do it,” Brendan encouraged.

The younger Lord Jamyl had to nod with agreement. “Better that we leave separately. Give me twenty minutes after I leave to get the horses ready. Meet me at the gate house when you can get away.”

“Thank you,” Brendan breathed. “I knew I could count on you.”

Jamyl returned to the table to eat what he had picked up. After a few minutes, Brendan slugged down his wine, ate a meat roll and then returned to Duke Angus who was counting up the levees.
10
Semi Free-Form Deryni Gaming / Re: Out of Character (OOC) Thread
« Last post by revanne on June 18, 2018, 11:44:36 am »
Slightly modified my last two posts to allow the day to end in Rhemuth. I know the summer days will be long (if we are talking British latitudes about 3 am until 9pm given that summer time hadn't been invented) but would end sometime!

And modified again to fit in with Laurna's timeline.

Great addition Laurna. Great to see Brendan.

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