The Worlds of Katherine Kurtz

Role-Playing and Other Games => Semi Free-Form Deryni Gaming => Topic started by: Bynw on November 21, 2017, 09:26:09 am

Title: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Bynw on November 21, 2017, 09:26:09 am
This is the official thread for in-game characters only. Anything that is related to the game but not something the characters are doing or saying should be posted in the Out of Character thread. As such this thread will be monitored. Any post that does not belong will be removed and possibly smited.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Bynw on November 26, 2017, 03:56:18 pm
** It has been 36 years since the beginning of the Pax Kelsona was declared. Fortunately it has truly been peaceful for most of it. Although King Kelson did lose his friend and mentor, the Duke Alaric Morgan, two decades ago when the outlawed Count Teymuraz made an attempt to invade Gwynedd from the south. Corwyn held them back, but the cost was high for her men and her Duke. In the end, Count Teymuraz was dead, blasted away by arcane power summoned by Morgan himself in defense of his King, his family, his people and lands. Count Teymuraz army retreated and there has been peace ever since.

The line of Teymuraz countinues on in Byzantyum. His children claiming their rights to the thrones of both Gwynedd and Torenth. Although no attacks or other attempts have been made. But peace is not guarenteed. Despite the attempts made to prevent wars with oaths and marriages. These are the things that sometimes cause the very wars they were meant to stop.

It is now the summer of 1164. A warm morning which will lead to a humid afternoon in Culdi. Lord Alister and his man-at-arms, Master Darcy, arrived in Culdi the day before on their trip to Rhemuth. Here they have stopped to refresh their horses and themselves. Spending the night at an Inn. Alister is to meet up with another here to help with his escort to Rhemuth and the King. **
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on November 26, 2017, 09:36:35 pm
**Darcy Cameron surveyed the tavern area of the inn they had arrived at that morning.  Coming down from the private room Lord Alister had paid good coin for (extravagant as far as Darcy was concerned but it was the young lord’s coin to spend) he  had selected a table in a far corner out of the direct light of the large fireplace with a good view of the rest of the room.  The tables were gradually filling with patrons he did not recognize.  Good. No one appeared to be following them.  Lord Alister seemed withdrawn, but that was not unusual.  Darcy suspected he surveyed the room with as much interest as he did.

The tavern maid planted two bowls of stew, two mugs of ale and a loaf of bread in the centre of the table.  Her strong arms and ample cleavage were clearly in view and Darcy tossed a coin into the cleft. 

“We’ll have the better ale,” he said to Lord Alister.  Alister gave him a withering look.

The stew was a bit thin, but appeared to contain  a reasonable portion of meat.  Lord Alister broke off a piece of bread and passed the loaf to Darcy.  Darcy broke off a chunk and examined it carefully, looking for the weevils that were too often present in the loaves served at sea.  Lord Alister looked amused; Darcy scowled and took a large mouthful of bread.

A loud crash sounded from the kitchen area, followed by a shout and a wail.  Lord Alister startled, then looked to investigate.  Darcy laid a restraining hand on his arm.

“No good comes from interfering with the kitchen.”  Darcy said quietly.  “Unless you want to be poisoned in the morning.”
Lord Alister looked like he might object, but instead turned his attention to the stew.

Darcy did the same, but looked up as another entered the inn.**
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on November 27, 2017, 01:40:07 am
::Washburn Morgan had been riding several days, when he rode through the streets of Culdi looking for a particular inn.::

A late night Rapport from his brother had sent him out on this latest quest. He had been at the University of Grecotha representing Corwyn’s Patronage of the Schoola there: a school sponsoring the brightest human students in Gwynedd. His welcome in this good year of King Kelson's reign had been far more accepting of his family's known Deryni blood than compared to how his father had written of it in his journal. That was back when Alaric had first sponsored the Schoola to match the Royal sponsoring of the Deryni Schoola in Rhemuth. The suspicions and fears of the Grecothan human clergy and professors had finally been proven unfounded after the Morgan’s thirty years of patronage.

::Washburn smiled briefly, checking that his saddle packs were still closed.::

The contents of the bag were minimal, nothing much of value. Except… for that precious journal that his mother had always nagged his father to keep. He had not known his father well. That man had been no other than the great Alaric Morgan Duke of Corwyn. He had been and had done so much in his far Too Short a life: he had been king’s champion, a general in the wars, a hero, nay, a legend in the eyes of Deryni and human folk, alike. Washburn had only a few precious memories of the tall golden haired Duke of Corwyn; glimpses of happy moments of father and son: riding a big black stallion on the saddle before his father in a parade beside King Kelson who sat astride his royal white stallion, and that time reenacting a battle scene with wooden horses and wooden warriors within the castle gardens of Rhemuth. Washburn had only a few memories of his father in Corwyn... only that last one… that last memory of the great warrior riding out the gates to meet an invading army. Washburn had been only five.

::Sigh::

If it hadn't been for his brother gifting him his father’s journal upon his knighthood, he wouldn’t have learned of the personal thoughts of the man who was a legend. The journal gave him a goal to strive toward. If only he could be half the champion his father had been. Or even half the nobleman his two brothers had become. It was hard living in the shadows of the Duke of Corwyn Kelric, his elder brother and the Earl of Marly Brendan, his eldest half-brother. They were truly great men. Wash felt the eyes of court, expecting so much from him. Perhaps that is why he was just as happy in the saddle doing the king’s business and/or his brother’s business than that of playing courtier at either Coroth or Rhemuth.

::Washburn rode passed the family gardens where he knew his grandmother and aunt had been entombed.::

That was decades before he was born. He had seen the tombs upon his last visit here. This trip, there just wasn’t time for that. He had promised to be at the inn by noon and it was already two hours after. He was late, and that was a poor showing on his part. Especially to the young lady who had been much distressed by circumstances beyond her control. Kelric had requested that he escort this young lady to the king. If they started out right away, they had several good hours of daylight remaining. Trouble was, he did not know if the lady in question was willing to camp out under the stars. Perhaps she traveled by carriage with a retinue of women; in which case their travel to Rhemuth would be very slow indeed.

::Washburn dismounted before the inn indicated by his brother's Rapport. He unbuckled his one personal saddle bag, then handed his horse's reins over with a small coin to the inn’s stable boy. He walked into the inn, his eyes ever vigilant of his surroundings. There were no noble ladies seated in the main room. He did not think this unusual, as a baron’s daughter would not have waited for him in such a public place.  There were several men seated at various tables, every one of these men seemed to mark his entrance. He was used to that. He was not here to hide, so he sat at a good table with his back to the fireplace and a good view of the entrance door and a door that lead to the kitchens.::

Moments later, a serving wench burst out that kitchen door, she yelled some rude words in Mearan-border tongue before coming over and plopping down a large wooden mug filled with light ale on the table before Wash. “Wha' can a get fa’ ya’,” the girl asked.

“The pottage I see your other patrons eating would be good enough, lass. I’d like it hot.” Wash put an extra small coin in the buxom girl’s hand. She almost seemed disappointed that his gaze stayed on her face and not lower. But then she saw the coin. She smiled happily and returned to the kitchens, bellowing some coarse words and hopefully fetching his meal.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on November 27, 2017, 10:00:38 am
**Lady Aliset glanced up as the handsome blond knight entered the inn. He looked familiar, although she was fairly sure she had never met him before. She felt certain she would have remembered. No, if this was the man the Duke of Corwyn had arranged to meet with her here, their paths had not crossed before, but his resemblance to his elder brother was unmistakable.  There was no hiding a Morgan, Aliset supposed, no matter how much he might try to blend in with his surroundings.  Unless, of course, Lord Washburn knew how to shapeshift also.

With a start, she realized that the lord in question had probably been told to expect to meet with a young noblewoman on the road, not a nobleman.  She suppressed a rueful smile. It had not seemed entirely safe to head out towards Rhemuth on her own--well, nearly on her own--in her true form as a young maiden. Not to mention how her reputation might suffer were it to get out that a noblewoman was traveling across the kingdom without any maidservants to help safeguard her reputation. But she no longer knew whom she could trust at Caer Mariot, nor in the village below her family manor, now that her cousin Oswald had replaced so many of her household with his own supporters and cowed the villagers into grudging acceptance of their new de facto overlord.

The King, of course, would hardly allow that situation to stand for long, especially once Aliset had a chance to inform him of Baron Oswald's true allegiances.

But first, there was the problem of getting to Rhemuth.

She turned to the traveling companion she had hired to escort her this far. "Cameron, I believe that's the man we're looking for." She pointed out Lord Washburn to him with a subtle glance in his direction and a slight tilt of her chin.  "Would you let him know we're here? I . . .doubt he will recognize me."  Especially not in a young lord's guise!  Unless . . . Had Lord Washburn ever met her twin brother Alister? That thought had not occurred to her before now.  Had his brother informed him of Alister's death along with the rest of her male kindred?

This meeting might end up being more awkward than she'd anticipated! She hoped not.  Maybe there was some way to discreetly inform him of her true identity once he grew close enough to touch. She dared not attempt a mind-link with an unfamiliar Deryni, even an allied one, from across the room. There was no telling who else might be capable of sensing the attempt, even if they couldn't actually intercept the message.  And she didn't want to risk him giving her away with a startled reaction if she spoke into his mind unexpectedly.  Not only did Darcy Cameron not know the noble lord who had hired him was actually a noblewoman, she had also neglected to inform him she was Deryni.  How might he react to that if he knew? While there was a greater tolerance towards Deryni and magic in the Kingdom in her generation than in her parents' day, a few people still regarded Deryni with suspicion, and a few days of acquaintance had not been enough to let her know if Darcy Cameron fell into this category or not.

Aliset hoped for the best as she watched her hired escort approach the Deryni from Corwyn.**



Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on November 27, 2017, 03:20:38 pm
**Darcy Cameron casually approached the man Lord Alister had indicated, hoping to avoid calling too much attention to their meeting.  Not that it would go unnoticed; who had not noticed the tall knight dressed in black with the red Lendour stag emblazoned on the tunic as he came through the inn’s door? The serving wench had approached is table far quicker that she had theirs!

Darcy initially approached from behind, but changed his direction to ensure he was clearly seen.  Few people, no matter what their rank, appreciated surprises.  And if he remembered correctly, Lendour was a Deryni holding.  All the more reason to be cautious.  Darcy had nothing against Deryni in general; other than a vague envy of their powers.  Actually, the only Deryni he had ever met had drowned at sea, so the man’s magic hadn’t helped him much.

Darcy stopped in front of the knight’s table, made momentary direct eye contact, and bowed politely, keeping his hand well away from the hilt of the short sword hanging from his belt.

When the knight nodded briefly, Darcy straightened.  “My lord, I believe I am escorting the nobleman you are seeking.  We sit at the table in the corner; he asks that you join us.”**
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on November 28, 2017, 05:28:41 am
**The man who approached, was not a fellow Washburn had originally considered as his contact for the Lady de Mariot. This man in nondescript, serviceable brown garments could barely be distinguished from the shadows of the corner he had come out from. Washburn had been aware of the two men there in his periphery. Still it seemed to him that this fellow’s gaze followed the tavern girl too keenly as she served Washburn his stew, as she teased a different fellow at the next table, and then when she retreated back through the kitchen door. What seemed to bring the man out from his shadows was a loud banging of kettles and a shout from the back room. As Washburn took a spoonful of hot stew, he was certain he was about to witness the shadow man intervene in the kitchen on the girl’s behalf. Perhaps he was her amore and was coming to her rescue. Somehow Wash got the impression that it might be the cook who would soon need rescuing.

Not his problem, not today; though the cook did put up a stew better than most inns could brag about.

Washburn took in the full make of the man. A sturdy man with a wide walk who balanced well from heel to toe. It came to Wash where he had seen that walk before. On the docks of his home city. Here was a man well accustomed to life on the deck of a seaworthy vessel. The thing was, Culdi was in no way near any harbor. Why was this fellow so far inland. For the Mearan girl Perhaps?

Best to mind his own business. So he hunkered down to fill his empty belly with a spoonful of the stew before it had a chance to cool down. Therefore, when Wash looked up next, he was surprised to find the seafarer, a man actually about his own age, who had turned and was approaching the Lendour Knight. Giving due to the man’s bravery, there weren't many who would approach a Deryni Knight of the realm, Wash did little other than lower his spoon and shift his feet to a better place. Just this subtle motion brought the sea man to a halt where he gave a respectful bow. Only after Washburn acknowledged him did he come closer and announced his true intent.

“My lord, I believe I am escorting the nobleman you are seeking….” the man said. "...

Washburn furled his eyes. “Nobleman….?” he repeated not really hearing the rest that was said. “But I was told....” He turned to the seaman’s companion sitting at the corner table. A familiar face in the shadows watched for his reaction. Washburn mouth fell agape in surprise. Was he seeing a ghost? Here was the friend he had been told was dead, murdered by foul hands. Yet he was hiding, so very unlike the friend he had last seen at twelfth night when he had stood witness as Lord Dhugal presented squire Alister Mariot for knighthood to the king. That evening which had followed Alister's knighting had lead to quite a row involving Alister, Washburn, young Arilan, and the McLain cousin’s all in tow.

Aware that everyone in the tavern was watching, Washburn was careful to not jump up too fast nor pace to the corner table with too much jovial relief. Still he could not keep the wide grin off his face. Finding a friend alive was just too much good news.

“Khardasha! But it is good to see you,” he said emphatically but in a low tone, “Kelric’s news had me grieving your sorry corpse the whole way here.” Wash sat down in the chair opposite. “I am sorry for what happened to your father,  but... my God it is good to see you.”**                                 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on November 28, 2017, 12:30:09 pm
**Aliset's mind whirled as she pondered how to respond to the knight's greeting, considering the implications of her different possible courses of actions.  How well had her twin brother known Sir Washburn anyhow?  She and Alister had been close in their childhood years, but his squiring to Duke Dhugal, followed by his knighthood, had caused an inevitable separation between them during the latter halves of their lives, and although they had retained close emotional ties, they'd hardly had enough time together in the past few years to be able to share every aspect of their very different lives.  She knew that her twin had admired and respected the man before her, but were they close?  Were they merely friendly acquaintances, or so close that she had little hope of pulling off her current masquerade?

Perhaps she should go ahead and reveal herself now, sad though it made her to dash his false hope at finding 'Alister' alive.  It might be easier on him to discover that now than to find it out later, and perhaps be angry at her deception.  But on the other hand, would knowing he had a lady to escort cause him to alter his dealings with her, perhaps slow down their progress towards Rhemuth by insisting on hiring proper chaperones for her first?  Time was of the essence--even now, she suspected her cousin Oswald was beginning to call his allies to himself, spreading word of his treacherous victory over her family to the Mearan separatists whose cause he supported, informing them that they could call upon the greater support he could manage now that he had his hands on Caer Mariot's resources.

Over her dead body! She was the legitimate heiress to the Mariot lands now, and her loyalties were to Kelson of Gwynedd.  And this knight before her was her best chance of getting to her liegelord alive.

Alive and perhaps all the more quickly if she could but keep up the pretense just a little longer.

Aliset rose and favored Sir Washburn with a sweeping bow.  "My Lord, well met! I have much news to tell you, but not here." She swept a quick glance around the room before meeting his eyes again.  "Someplace more private would be best, methinks." **
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on November 28, 2017, 01:32:00 pm
**“I can get us entrance into my family's garden.  There is enough privacy there for you to tell me what in the name of Hell happened to you. And where is your sister?”

Washburn was so intent on his friend's presence that he did not register the commotion behind him nor the awful scream that echoed from beyond the kitchen door. At least not at first. **   
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on November 28, 2017, 01:56:12 pm
**Aliset jumped at the scream, startled, one hand automatically straying to the hilt of her belt dagger.  She cast a wary glance at Darcy Cameron, taking in his reaction before glancing towards the kitchen and looking back up at Sir Washburn with a questioning look.**

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on November 28, 2017, 06:57:04 pm
**Darcy had drawn his short sword more by instinct than desire.  Not necessarily the best reaction in a crowded inn.  He did not charge toward the kitchen door, but moved quickly towards it with his back against the wall.  As he reached the door, he drew back as hot flames surged from within.  He had no desire to become scorched meat, but the scream had died to a soul-wrenching wail....**
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on November 29, 2017, 03:57:54 am
**Washburn too reacted. In quick motion he handed across the table his saddle bag to Lord Alister. “Take this, mind you don’t lose it! Get to your horses! That stable’s too close to the kitchen; if the roof goes they'll both go. Mine’s the black stallion with the red bridle. Meet you out front.”      Wash didn’t wait for his friend to move. Rather quickly he spun on his heel, pacing to the kitchen door, stopping shoulder to shoulder with Alister’s man. “Friend, follow me! I hear her crying, too. Let's see if we can get to her.” Wash hoped the young seaman chose to follow at his back.

The flame at the door had resided to black smoke.  Wash took a deep breath and entered, following the sound of the girls wailing. He found the tavern girl before he had to take in another deep breath, but this breath was hot and smoky and it stung at his throat. The girl was bent over a thick broken beam. The one that should have held the kettles inside the hearth but had burnt at the center and weakened to splitting like a twig. Stew from the first kettle was spilled over the girl's dress and onto the floor. Less fortunately, it was cooking lard and oils from the second turned over kettle that burned across the floor and had set sacs of goods at the back wall to flaming. The girl cried, her hands blackened as she continued to  pull at the broken beam. She couldn’t lift it. Try as she might, she couldn't budge the broken shaft off the man who lay beneath it. Here was the tavern cook, who still held the ladle in his hand. “Hurshell wake up,” she cried, “Hurshell! I told you to fix that, over and over. You never listen, I told you! Get up!”

Washburn pulled the girl to her feet, she wailed at being handled, but he ignored her. He pushed her to the back hoping Alister’s friend was there to take her in hand. In the flame-lit kitchen Wash now saw that only the wetness of the stew had kept the lard and oils from burning the cloths of both Hurshell and the tavern girl. Hurshell was breathing, but he was pinned down and the flames were moving in faster than before. 

::Wash took in another smoky breath.  Steadied his heart rate, than searched for that spell he had always played with in his youth. Move an item with more than just hands. Let the powers of his Deryni blood help lift the beam up to free this man Hurshell, so they could get him to safety before the building burnt down.:: **   
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on November 29, 2017, 11:42:44 am
**Darcy Cameron recoiled as the tavern wench careened against him.  He grabbed her by the arm to keep both of them upright.   He sheathed his sword and pulled the woman along with him as he turned back into the dining room.

The inn patrons we jumping to their feet as the smoke billowed out from the kitchen. 

“You,” Darcy shouted, “all of you!  Get outside and grab whatever buckets you can find!  Form a fire line, fast, or this whole place will go up in flames!”  Darcy had spent too many years at sea to ignore the imminent danger from the fire.  It had been one of his duties to lead the fire brigade on the ship to put out any fire as quickly as possible.  Jumping overboard into the frigid Northern Sea was not a pleasant option if they could not get a fire under control.  Hopefully Lord Alister’s friend could look after himself for a moment or two.

More orderly now, men and women dashed from the inn and began to form a line to pass the buckets filled with water from the nearby well from person to person. **
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on November 29, 2017, 12:25:55 pm
**Grabbing up Sir Washburn's saddlebag along with her own travel gear, Aliset dashed out of the building and around to the stables behind it. Alerting one of the grooms to the danger of the kitchen fire spreading, she left them to water down the stable roof in preparation for the imminent emergency as best they could while she dashed inside to assist with leading the horses to safety.

The horses, with their keen senses of smell, had already sensed the danger, for indeed even the humans around could now easily pick up on the smell of smoke emanating from the burning kitchen next door. As she watched, a tongue of flame rose up from the nearby building. She forced her attention back to the horses, saddling them as quickly as she could, for she didn't know if there would be time to lead them out of the stables first and then return for their gear. This was quickly enough accomplished with her own horse and with Darcy's, both of which were accustomed to her, and she allowed them to be led out of the threatened stables by one of the stable lads while she turned her attention to Washburn's mount.

"Whoa, steady lad!" she whispered as she approached Washburn's horse, who regarded her warily. She could tell the rising excitement around them was beginning to spook the large destrier.  Hopefully his training would help keep his mounting agitation in check, although knowing that she was completely unknown to him, she approached him with alert caution as she continued to murmur soothingly as she reached out a hand towards him in hopes he would allow her to saddle him and lead him out to safety.**

[Bynw, do I need to do a roll here to see how Wash's horse is responding to me under these circumstances?]
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on November 29, 2017, 04:06:55 pm
((roll 2d6  results 1+6   Verification Number: 4v6wgc0c24))

**Uncle Duncan had taught him the art of focus. Kelric had drilled him in moving objects; pushing a thing away or throwing something further and with better aim than was normal, such as an arrow, a rock, or a javelin. This skill needed now, though similar, was to hold an object high while wakening enough from his mediation to physically pull the man out from underneath the raised beam.**

**One hand encircled the wood’s splintered end. As if the hearth beam was no more than a plank, the nine foot piece raised upward.**

In this partial meditative state, Washburn heard Hurshell groan, “Help me.”

“I got ya now. Take my arm, if you can.”

**The knight grabbed the man's arm above the elbow, even as the cook grabbed his arm.  It was a good hold and Washburn pulled the man out of danger.  The beam fell to the floor with a decisive k’thunck. Wash left Hurshell sitting against the open frame of the door, letting the cook catch what breath he could.  Wash then spied a stack of gunny sacks near at hand. His dagger was quick to slice the top sack open. Smiling with satisfaction, he saw the contents of ground-down-wheat and tossed the powdery stuff over the burning oil on the floor.  He repeated with a second sack of flour, dowsing the flames that were near. It might not help the building as the far wall was aflame, but it gave the two men time for the one to lift up the other, for him to lean hard on the knight’s shoulder, and for the two to find their way through the smoky tavern out into sun-filled daylight and fresh air. **
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on November 29, 2017, 04:38:33 pm
[roll 2d6, results 4 & 6, Verification Number: 3t094b5cgk]

**Aliset sighed in relief as Wash's destrier calmed down enough to allow her to lead him out of the stable.  A passing stable lad accompanied her, assisting in carrying her gear long enough for them to get to the other horses in her care, standing a safe distance away from the burning inn.  Just in time, it appeared, as a plume of smoke began to rise from one corner of the stable roof despite the frantic efforts of the grooms to douse it. A spark must have caught on some spot they had managed to miss.  Hastily securing Wash's saddle bags upon his destrier, she mounted her own horse and the stable lad handed control over the other mounts to her before dashing off to assist his fellows. Muttering a quick prayer of thanksgiving that horses were herd animals and thus--hopefully!--inclined to follow when led, she made her way around the burning buildings towards a spot in line of sight with the entrance, where Sir Washburn and Darcy Cameron would easily see her on their way out.**
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Bynw on November 29, 2017, 04:58:19 pm
(( this is another way of posting some thing that is Out of Character. Enclosing it in double parentheses. Two have made die rolls they can just be made like this too. Remember you need a 5 or 6 on any single die to be successful. ))

(( yes I was at work and just getting caught up on the action. Great job! Keep in mind that message board games can take a while since not everyone is online at the same time. It is ok if it goes slowly in between posts. ))

(( generally only use this method of OOC comments if it directly relates to what is happening in the game. Asking for or making dice rolls. Asking for clarification of something that was perviously posted. That sort of thing. Anything else belongs in the OOC thread. And only players should post these kind of comments. ))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on November 30, 2017, 12:41:00 pm
Washburn stood in the middle of the street holding tight to Hurshell who was barely conscious of the chaos all around. Far more denizens of Culdi had appeared to help douse the flames than had been in the tavern. Good. They seemed to have most of the kitchen roof fire contained.

But, Hell and High Water, there went up a flame on the stable roof.

The knight looked up frantically to find Alister, was he out of the stables yet? He did see Alister's seafaring friend at the head of the water brigade in full command of the crowd. There was a good man who knew how to keep his head in a crisis. Washburn was beginning to like him.

He would have set the cook down softly on the ground, out of the way, if it had not been for a racking cough that seized him; his tortured lungs suddenly had the need to expel all the smoke he had breathed in. He let Hurshell down onto the cobble stoned street as easily as he could manage, and then put both hands on his knees, bowing low just to keep from falling over himself as he tried to refill his lungs with fresh air.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on November 30, 2017, 12:55:26 pm
((dice roll 4 & 2  Verification Number: 453dqkrxqh))

The Lendour knight, to his dismay, felt light headed and had to drop to his knees to keep from passing out. The oily black smoke seemed to claw at his throat like a vicious animal.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on November 30, 2017, 01:54:57 pm
Columcil made his way out of the common sleeping room as soon as it was light enough to stir. God's blood! How that man had snored.  He cursed inwardly, then dousing his head under the pump in the inn yard, rebuked himself soundly and headed towards the local church where he said the first office of the day with the parish priest. There was even time to make confession of his ill-humour before attending Mass, and accepting his fellow cleric's offer to break his fast. The priest had offered him hospitality after Vespers the night before but there being no stabling at his house Columcil had been reluctant to abandon his mount to the Inn's stables and so had condemned himself to an irritated night of little sleep.

As he returned towards the Inn he became aware of the smell of burning; more worryingly he could feel the stench of animal fear. As he rounded the corner  a plume of smoke rose from the stables and without thinking he ran across the stable yard and into the building. Thank God there were as yet no flames inside but the thatch was smouldering and the few mounts that remained inside were mad with fear. Even his own stolid gelding, of placid mountain bred stock was rearing in its stall, the whites of its eyes showing.

Och. Those puir young stable lads, they couldn'a deal with this. So thinking he pushed the terrified lads behind him and reached for his pony with both his hand and mind, allowing the trust he had built up over the days of travel to calm the trembling and sweating beast. Taking the halter he led the sweat-leathered beast through the door, extending his mind to ensure that the other horses followed into the yard where there were willing hands to receive them. He caught the piece of sacking thrown to him and with firm gentle strokes wiped the sweat-leathered marks away from Spéan's side, before leading him out into the street, wondering as he did so how much of his precious gold coin he would need to spend on replacing the saddle and bridle and thankful that his own precious pack and staff were on his back.

As he came into the street, he saw a mounted young man holding two other horses and looking anxiously around. Without conscious thought he noted that he was noble, or gently born at the least, and had a fine seat on a horse. Fine horseflesh too, all three animals. But this was no time to be thinking of rank, and circling carefully around so as to approach from the front - this was no time to affright a weapons trained young lad neither- he spoke gently "Can I serve ye in any way, my son."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on November 30, 2017, 02:31:34 pm
Aliset regarded the approaching priest with a grateful smile.  "As a matter of fact, I was just looking for...." She broke off suddenly as she spotted a familiar figure slumped over another man.  "Over there! I think my friend needs assistance."  With a look of appeal towards the priest in hopes he would follow, she led the way towards Washburn and the other man he had rescued.  As soon as they reached the side of the stricken men, Aliset asked Washburn, "Are you all right?"  The priest joined them, and as Aliset took stock of the situation, she could hear him beginning to pray.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on November 30, 2017, 03:17:32 pm
**Cough** "I'm good" **cough**  "...give me a moment" **cough** "he's hurt"
Washburn manages to hold firm the shoulder of the downed Cook.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on November 30, 2017, 03:23:26 pm
((I believe our good priest's player has gone to bed, so we may need to wait until tomorrow if we end up needing a dice roll to see if that was a Healing prayer or not.  I told her I'd stick a mention in there just in case it's still needed when she rejoins game play.))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on November 30, 2017, 08:16:22 pm
Darcy Cameron surveyed the smoldering kitchen, looking for hot spots to be doused to ensure it was under control. He turned at a shout from a man on the fire line and saw the flames on the stable roof.  With a heartfelt curse he redirected half of the line toward the stable.  If they could hold the fire in check, hopefully the stable boys could get the horses out. 

He wiped the sweat from his eyes and saw that horses were being led away to safety.  Whether his own was among the group he could not tell; he would worry about that later. After giving instructions to one of the men he judged to be the most capable to handle the group still focused on the kitchen, he strode quickly to take charge of those he had redirected toward the stable.

He stopped at the sight of the group in the street.  “Sweet Jesu,” he muttered to himself.  The Lendour knight was on his knees, alternating between gasping for air and coughing up a lung.  Lord Alister hovered beside him, concern showing clearly on his face.  A rugged priest Darcy had not seen before stood to one side and appeared to be concentrated in prayer.

Darcy wondered what he could do.  He was no physician, though he knew a few remedies for seasickness he was sure the nobleman would not appreciate.  Sudden shouts from the stable area turned his attention there; the flames were gaining ground.

He paused for a moment more, then touched Lord Alister’s shoulder to gain his attention.  “Do you need me here?” Darcy asked.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on December 01, 2017, 05:54:09 am
((Yay - I managed to work ut how to roll the dice. Sadly I got 4+4, so that's not a healing prayer then))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on December 01, 2017, 06:10:21 am
Columcil felt a rush of anxious compassion as he bent his head in prayer. Dare he try a healing? The lad looked bad; breathed-in smoke and heat could kill as surely as flame. But this was no common man, nor yet even a poor knight by the look of him, with his fancy gear and a blazon which he felt he should recognize. If it had just been the cook... but heal an important knight of the realm and awkward questions would most likely be asked. Back home he was able to give all the credit to St Melangell, and that was just fine by him. He was sure that her prayers were added to whatever healing gift God had chosen to give him. Well if he didna dare try healing he could pray with all the more fervour and he sank to his knees joining his hands in entreaty, and to avoid the temptation of touching the young lord.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 01, 2017, 08:22:09 am
Her twin brother, alas, had been the Healer in the family, not her.  Or at least she'd never been given cause to believe the gift had manifested in herself also, and sadly Saint Camber had never put in a special appearance for her.  Still, a noblewoman's upbringing was not without its own storehouse of knowledge of basic healing skills of the more mundane sort, and it was possible she might have something in her travel kit that might be of use.  And at the very least she might be able to use her Deryni skills to help ease the cook's pain and perhaps even Washburn's breathing.  She had heard the late Duke had been a Healer, but if Washburn had inherited the gift, perhaps he was too worn out to maintain the proper focus. Or perhaps that talent had managed to skip him. So little was known about the Healing gift after all, since it was only so lately rediscovered.

Her keen eyes assessed the condition of the two men before her. The hapless cook's condition was far more grave; she would attend to him first.

She briefly turned to the priest beside her. "Father, is there a physician or Healer in the village who might be called upon to treat the wounded? Or perhaps an infirmarium at a nearby monastery?" Glancing at Darcy next, she asked, "Did you happen to notice one on our way here?"

As she spoke, she lay a hand upon the injured cook's brow, attempting to ease his pain.

((Dice roll--2 & 5.  Verification #  2wmmmddh5c))

She felt the cook begin to relax beneath her hand.  Aliset looked up, wondering if she could assist Washburn as discreetly. "How are you doing, my lord?" She reached out a hand as if to steady him, and lent him a bit of her energy as her hand made contact with his arm, peering at his face in concern. "Able to draw a proper breath yet?"
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Bynw on December 01, 2017, 01:45:33 pm
The flames are mostly under control and being extinguished by the people of Culdi and Darcy's quick thinking to organize the fire brigade. No lives have been lost due to the flames, not even a single horse. But many are coughing due to the smoke in their lungs. And the property will need to be torn down and rebuilt.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on December 01, 2017, 02:31:18 pm
Columcil looked up as the young lord spoke to him but, seeing that his attention had already returned to the injured, made his reply to the man addressed as Darcy. "Aye, there is. The priest here, Father Andrew, was telling me of how his Grace the Duke that was, now his Excellency the Archbishop, had given funds for a healer to serve the folk here. He lives outwith the monastery but tends those within the infirmary, as well as in the town, as needed." He crossed himself and got to his feet. "I'll go and talk to Father Andrew, he'll know how best to deal." He hesitated then briefly touched the young lord's shoulder, "Well done, lad, you've made right use of your powers this day." As he walked rapidly back towards the Parish Church, Columcil felt shame that he had allowed his fear to prevent him from using his powers aright.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 01, 2017, 03:38:09 pm
((dice roll 6 & 3    Successful - Verification Number: 5n3s9t10nq))

Washburn mentally calmed the tension in his chest. Slowly breathing out, taking in a shallow breath, then breathing out again. The technique for entering mediation was the key. He just had to maintain his focus. People were arriving all around him. A good priest was there beside Alister. His soft spoken words of prayer helped Washburn find a good place in his mind to will his lungs to take in fresh air. Experimenting with a deep breath, he was pleased to find it worked. His cough eased and reseeded away. The tension in his chest relaxed and he was finally able to think clearly again.

Archbishop McLain, the man who was not really his uncle but one that was as close to him as any uncle could be, would have been pleased. He might have said something like, "Washburn, son, as the youngest Morgan, I would have loved if you had chosen the church; if it hadn't been for your need to be so like you father, dashing about sword in hand or arrow knocked to a bowstring meeting every challenge your weapons master gave you. Some day you will find that that is a waste of a good mind. Then you will come back to me for real training." Perhaps uncle Duncan could teach him a thing or two more about his Deryni powers.

He looked up, saw everyone watching him. He put out a hand,"I'm much better. Everyone else good? Yes? Well done... Master....? We've yet to be properly introduced, yet I feel will be friends before the day is done." He nodded to the seaman with a smile of respect.

Then Washburn turned his attention to young Alister. He placed his hand over the young man's wrist and shared a little of the energy he had remaining to help the wounded cook. It had been eight months since he had shared Rapport with this man who was now rightful Baron de Mariot. Even back then it had only been a brief Rapport of congratulations on the youth making his knighthood. So if the Rapport he opened was just one sided, he understood. He was too tired himself to even question the shallow link. Just enough to help Alister help the wounded cook. 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 01, 2017, 06:11:24 pm
"Darcy Cameron, Sir," Darcy responded.  "I'd extend my hand, but I'm afraid it's a wee bit grimy at the moment."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 02, 2017, 12:08:32 am
Aliset risked a surreptitious glance across at Darcy to see what, if any, reaction he might have to the priest's mention of her powers. While she was hardly ashamed or embarrassed about using her talents, especially during times like this, enough people in the kingdom still existed who distrusted Deryni and overt use of their powers, and she had not known the man for long enough to know what he might think.  Evidently the priest himself must be Deryni as well, else he shouldn't have been able to detect anything unusual at all in Aliset's actions.

Darcy seemed to have either not noticed the priest's statement, or else he didn't care what Aliset was or what powers she might have brought to bear upon the situation, for no flicker of reaction towards the priest's words seemed to cross his features as he introduced himself to Sir Washburn.  Aliset herself, however, had to force her own features not to betray her consternation as she felt the knight touch her wrist, initiating rapport.  It was but the shallowest of links, but it startled her nonetheless.  She sensed this was not the first time the Lendour knight had shared rapport with Alister; the main problem was, she was not Alister!  Would he be able to sense that?  Perhaps trying to maintain the illusion of being the Mariot heir rather than an heiress might not be the best of ideas for much longer, but in truth this hardly seemed to be the right moment to spring a surprise on a man who must have been a closer friend to her brother than she'd originally assumed.  She kept her musings well shielded, simply absorbing back the energy he was restoring to her now that the worst of the crisis seemed to be behind them.

She would need to tell him the truth, then, and fairly soon.  But not here.  And there was still the matter of whether to let Darcy know.  He seemed a trustworthy sort, but a woman without a protector could hardly be too careful, and at least Sir Washburn Morgan's reputation as a man of honor was well known throughout the kingdom.  Darcy Cameron might well be just as honorable, but that was as yet less proven to her satisfaction, though she admitted to herself that he had acquitted himself well in their current situation, certainly doing nothing to disprove that she could put her trust in him.

If she revealed her secret, then, it would be to Sir Washburn first.  And then once she discovered his reaction to the truth, perhaps that would help her decide what she might reveal to Darcy.

She looked over at Washburn. "Where shall we stay tonight, then, since it would appear our inn is rather the worse for wear? Had you thought that we ought to press closer to Rhemuth before nightfall, or should we perhaps spend an evening recovering our energies in the village, or perhaps at that monastery guesthouse our helpful priest just mentioned, where the Healer serves in the infirmarium?"  Aliset glanced into the distance, in the direction the clergyman had wandered off, presumably to hunt down a 'Father Andrew' for assistance, before looking down at the injured cook.  "This man needs more assistance than I am able to render, I think, so at the very least perhaps we ought to see him into the Healer's care before we go any further."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 02, 2017, 02:35:43 pm
Sitting back on his heels, taking in the fullness of their surroundings with what seemed to be the entire population of Culdi crowding the streets to get a glimpse of the happenings, Washburn wanted with all his heart to get on the road, but he knew that was a bad idea. The young baron was too out in the open, if he had escaped the attention of his cousin’s men they most assuredly would have noticed him as he sat here, out in the middle of the street. Therefore, they daren't leave on the road just now. Even begging a room at the Culdi castle seemed a bit too conspicuous.

Washburn was nodding as he considered the monastery and the privacy there. “My lord Alister, I think you’ve made a good choice. Let us get this man to the infirmary and perhaps from there we can disappear unseen into the monastery for a good night's sleep before we rush to Rhemuth. I for one could use a bath and a good meal. Seeing as how my last meal was never completed.” He made a jesting smile to the men around him. “And you know, a good blessing from that priest who was just here would not go amiss.”

The knight took note that no one seemed to object. So he stood and waved at a carter who had paused at the side of the road; he was seated before a single rouncy pulling a light wagon. “You there, master driver! You be willing to help us take this man to the Infirmary?”

“Aye, my lord!’ the man hollered back. Between the baron and himself they carried the cook, who only gave a light groan, to the cart. They placed him beside a bale of goods.  Wash gave the man a coin and Alister told him where to go.   

Master Darcy came up behind them with the horses.  As they were mounting up, Washburn spied the tavern gal off to the side.  She had her arms around a young boy, the same boy who had taken his destrier to the stables earlier that day.  Wash walked his horse over to the woman. “We are taking your man to the infirmary; you can follow us there. You should have your hands looked at, as well.” Then he turned and followed his companions and the cart toward the monastery.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 02, 2017, 07:00:28 pm
He couldn’t breathe!  Sweet Jesu, there was no air, only flame and smoke. 

“Abandon ship!”  The Captain’s cry circulated among the men.  “Man the lifeboats!”

Darcy had never been sure how he made to the lifeboat.  It wasn’t the one he was to take charge of, but the Quartermaster was nowhere to be seen, so he took his place, seeing to it that it was filled with the living and lowered to the sea.

It was in the sea that they found the Quartermaster.  Darcy had ordered the men to steer the lifeboat toward him, but by the time they were alongside, it was clear the frigid Northern Sea had claimed another victim. 

“Take this,” the Quartermaster had gasped, removing a leather thong from his neck from which hung a small leather bad.”  Give it to my neph…”

Darcy had managed to grab the pouch as the Quartermaster sank under the water, destined to the depths below.

Darcy Cameron woke with a start.  He froze and listened to make sure he had not disturbed the other men sleeping in the main room of the monastery’s guest quarters.  No one else stirred.  Relieved, Darcy ran his hands through the long strands of pale blond hair and took a deep, satisfying breath.

It had not taken long to reach the monastery Father Columcil had directed them to.  The tavern wench (most likely the cook’s wife) had followed them and been taken to the infirmary for her injuries to be seen to.  Lord Alister had spent some time in consultation with the priest and Father Andrew, likely discussing the injuries to be looked after among the town folk.  Darcy had ensured the horses were looked after.  Once immediate matters were settled, he had thankfully enjoyed a hot bath.

He had dined in the guest quarters of the monetary with Sir Washburn and Lord Alister.  The meal had been simple but nourishing.  The ale had been excellent, brewed by the brethren and highly regarded throughout Culdi.  It was a pity to have to drink so moderately, but they had all been too exhausted to fully appreciate it and had turned in early for much needed rest.  Washburn and Alister, as noblemen, shared the quest room reserved for those of higher rank.  Darcy slept in the common room with the few others that were there.

A trip to the privy would clear his head, Darcy decided.  He had not had the dream for a long time; likely the day’s events had triggered it.

Once back in the guest quarters, Darcy quietly reached into his sea bag for a leather lace to secure his hair after he braided it.  It was slow to dry after his bath, so he had left it loose until now.  He found a lace, then reached father inside to check the contents of a small pocket sewn within.  The pouch was still there.  After he had seen Lord Alister safely to Rhemuth, he would continue on to Desse to fulfil the promise he had made to the Quartermaster.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 02, 2017, 09:39:18 pm
((Ooh, missions within missions!   ;D ))

Aliset paused, listening intently.  She thought she had heard a soft footfall in the corridor beyond her monastic guest room, but all was still now.  She continued combing her hair in front of the hearth, facing the cheery flames within.  She had bathed earlier, which thankfully had not been as awkward as she feared it might be, since she had not had to share the same bathwater and washtub with Sir Washburn.  He had gone to check on their horses and (she thought) to speak to the abbot about something or another. It had mattered not to her where he'd gone; he had gone, and that had bought her a few minutes of precious privacy to wash off the day's soot and grime without fear of him noticing anything amiss in her impersonation of her late brother.  There were parts of him she'd never bothered trying to accurately replicate, after all!

By the time the knight had returned to their shared room, she had washed her stained garments and had them wrung out and drying beside the fire, having changed into her spare set of Alister's clothing and tucked her towel-damp hair away into a neat border braid.  The knight had smiled distractedly across the room at her before making ready for his own bath, and she had seized upon the opportunity to flee, using the pretext of asking the infirmarian if he might be able to spare a few basic medicinals to refresh the scant supply in her travel kit.  She had tarried in the infirmary as long as she could think of excuses to do so, checking on the welfare of the hapless cook and his goodwife, but at long last she figured the knight from Lendour could hardly still be at his ablutions unless he had fallen asleep in the bathwater.  She had made her way back to their room, working up the courage to reveal her secret to him (or was that a revelation best kept until morning, under the circumstances?), only to discover upon arriving there that he had left again.

Perhaps that had been for the best.  Aliset was still quite undecided about how she should break her news to her brother's friend.

She had taken her hair out of the Border braid and run her fingers through it, finding it still damp underneath the top layer.  A wave of tiredness swept through her as she pulled the comb from her belt pouch and began to work it through the shoulder-length strands, separating them so that the heat from the fireplace could make them dry faster.  There was a padded settle before the fire, and she sank gratefully onto the cushioned seat.

Staring into the flames, she relaxed her gaze and focused on the flickering within, calling upon the power within herself to help her scry for any signs of Oswald or those loyal to him who might yet be pursuing her.

((5 and 2, verification # 257bpzs0j6))

The dancing flames, combined with the exertions of the day, began to lull her almost to sleep, but then before her eyes, a black-cloaked figure on horseback revealed itself to her in the flames, a dark silhouette of a moonlit mountain crag behind him.  She knew that terrain.  She and Darcy had passed through that valley but a day earlier, and they had thought they had finally shaken off the last of Oswald's trackers.  With a shiver of foreboding, Aliset realized that her pursuers were not very far behind them.

The footfalls returned.  The door began to creak open.  Hopefully it was Sir Washburn, returning for the night, but all the same, Aliset's hand strayed to the comfort of her dagger's hilt just to be safe.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 03, 2017, 03:16:25 am
The brother of Corwyn’s Duke stepped toward the monastic guest room door as stealthily as he could. He was far from home, in a town he knew but little, in a situation where he was responsible to see a friend, who had just lost his family, get to Rhemuth and to the king.  His stealth was so as to not wake the youthful baron if he slept. They had hard riding to do in the next days ahead. Sleep now would be welcome if any of them could get it.

Washburn craked the door just a little, looking about the room, noting Alister was seated before the fireplace. He was starring deep into the flames. A comb was in his hand and he was slowly automatically brushing back his hair. The Lendour knight had to look twice. An odd notion caught him off guard, he blinked again. Most men raked their hair back and braided it without that much care. What ever the baron saw in the flames he sighed anxiously, blinking away his focus. Wash stepped into the room, purposely scoffing his boot and creaking the door. Briskly the baron's left hand finished his braid with a twisted, and his right hand went to his dagger. "Tis but a friend," Washburn announced. "I have news."

“I had a chat with the Abbot. He is a king’s man, well, rather he is the archbishop’s man and therefore no sympathizer with the Mearian separatists. After Culdi’s history, the abbot has no desire to bring on Kelson’s wrath. Nor Uncle Duncan's. He’s agreed to help us.”

Washburn walked up to the fire. Just the slightest fire-log smoke touched his throat and he had to cough. “Thought I got rid of that,” he said under his breath. He stepped away from the fire, found a half-filled mug of ale near where Alister sat and swallowed it down. “Sorry if was that yours. Good ale. Is there any more?” 

Alister pointed to an earthen jug with cork stopper over the top, placed on the back table. “Darcy brought it in before he returned to the common room,” the baron said.

“I should have asked master Darcy to sleep on a pallet at our door tonight. But I am guessing we are safe enough for one night.” Washburn poured out two cups and returned to hand one to his friend. “Just to be on the safe side, I convinced the abbot to lend us three robes from the cloister. Riding out tomorrow, we will be three monks on church business.  Well possibly four. The abbot seemed to think the priest we saw today is in need of travel companions. He apparently is going south.  But I thought I better clear that with you first. If you think we can trust him, he’ll help disguise our intent. Course, it may mean we travel a bit slower. You can decide in the morning.”

Wash turned his head to suppress another cough. For a moment Wash thought to ask if Alister had improved on that Healer’s training he had whispered he had discovered not long before last year. But if Alister was going to offer his skilled touch, he would have done so earlier in the day. Wash decided the youth had been through too much with the loss of his family, so he didn’t bring the subject up. “Look, we need to get some shut-eye. You take the cot near the hearth. I think I'll pull mine as far away from that fire as I can get.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 03, 2017, 11:08:55 pm
Aliset frowned.  The knight's cough sounded no worse than one might expect from a man who had breathed in too much smoke-filled air earlier in the day. Still, she liked it not. She wished she knew some arcane way to still that tickle in his inflamed tissues, but mere mortal methods must suffice.  She reached into her belt pouch for a small flask of an herb-laced honey she had requested from the infirmarian earlier in the evening, while Wash had been at his bath, and poured what she estimated to be a scant spoonful into her portion of the ale before setting the cup close to the fire to warm up. "This might ease your cough," she told the knight as she looked up to meet his curious gaze.  "I cannot promise it will cure it completely, but it should still it enough to allow you to catch up on your sleep." 

The knight smiled. "Is it a Healer's concoction?" he asked.

Aliset gave a rueful chuckle. "Not exactly. It was my mother's home remedy, truth be told, though nearly as effective. For best effect, it ought to be stirred into whisky, though since I've none of that with me, ale shall have to suffice."  She studied the man before her, summoning up her courage.  "My lord, there is something you must know before we journey on any further together. I feel remiss in not informing you earlier, yet I can hardly think of when I might have had a decent opportunity before now."

"We've hardly had a minute to catch our breaths since we met at the inn, have we?" Wash agreed.  "What is it you need to tell me?"

Now that the moment was at hand, Aliset could not find the words.  Instead, she picked up the medicinal ale from the hearth, handing it to him with a wry smile.  "Drink this first.  And then...."  She offered her hand to him.  "Perhaps it might be easier if I just showed you."

((3 and 1, verification #638vj1sp16))

Wash took the posset she handed him and tossed it down in a few gulps, handing the cup back to her as he took her hand.  She attempted to establish a shallow rapport with him then, prepared to share her secret with him at last, but to her consternation, her extreme need for secrecy coupled with the stress of the previous few days and Oswald's pursuit of her had apparently resulted in an unexpected side effect, for despite having braced herself to reveal everything to the man before her, suddenly she discovered herself unable to lower her shields! His look of sleepy curiosity turned to confusion as she stared back at him in dismay, pulling away from the tentative attempt to link with him.

"My...my lord, I am sorry!  I must be more tired than I realized!  I...I must not keep you laboring under false assumptions any longer, however.  I am not the man who you think I am."  As the Duke's brother continued to listen, a hint of wary caution awakening in his eyes now, she added, "That is to say, I am your friend, if you would have my friendship, and in truth I very much have need of yours.  But I am not Alister of Mariot, my lord.  I am Aliset, Demoiselle de Mariot, and true heiress to my father's lands by blood right and the allegiance he held to our liegelord of Gwynedd.  For the sake of whatever bonds of friendship you shared with my brother, although I find myself unable to lower my shields just now to show you the truth of what I tell  you, I throw myself upon your mercy."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 04, 2017, 12:25:45 pm
“Aliset, Demoiselle de Mariot,” Washburn repeated, attempting to understand the words that came from the person and voice of the person who he thought was the one standing before him, but who declared he, no she, was not. The man he saw was a comrade in arms, one whom he had but months before jovially ransacked the Rhemuth armory with, looking for just the right dagger to go with his new knight’s sword. The same dagger that just now stood in the belt of the person before him. He didn’t want to believe what he had just heard.

“You’re not Alister!” It was not a question, but a confirmation. “Not Alister, but his sister, his twin sister Aliset.” He had heard of magic like this which could disguise so completely. However, he knew nothing of how it was done. Did she have his memories too? Would the siblings have been together when he died? It hurt his heart that the lady would have witnessed that. “Aliset is the older of the two of you, I recall you once told me. I’m sorry... he told me!”  The person who looked like Alister stood before him, barely nodded, looking on anxiously. What Washburn’s eyes told him was not in agreement with what his mind and his senses were understanding.  Little things had stood out, mannerisms not quite right. Talents not shared, talents like Healing and Rapport, because the Rapport had never been established in the first place to share them. Oddly it made sense. He looked into the eyes of the one before him and from that moment he knew the truth. “Kelric was right. Alister was murdered, as too was the Baron de Mariot. And only you alone survived. I am so sorry for adding to you grief.”

The Lendour Knight stood turning away from his friend’s sister. He paced the floor not looking up. Earlier, he had changed into a simple but clean black tunic and trews having given over his ash-covered and flour-cover heraldic tunic to a deacon to see cleaned and dried for their leaving in the morning. He had left his chain mail shirt on the chest at the end of the bed, alongside his long sword and his helm. Out of respect to the monastery, he had chosen to only wear his short sword and dagger. He looked over at the weapon lying there but he did not reach for it. Rather instead he absently said. “All three of my weapons are a matched set. They were given to me by my mother on the day of my knighting.  Maman, yum, the duchess told me then how my father had found the three weapons in the armory of Lendour. This had been years before I was born. The great sword, short sword, and dagger had once belonged to an ancestor, the man whose name I was given at birth.  His story had touched the duke and the duchess, that is why I was named after him, and that was why my father had insisted early on that those weapons would be mine at my knighting. Remember how I bragged about this to you?”

Wash had gotten lost in the memory and shook his head at the slip. “Oh god, I mean to your brother; oh Lady Aliset…. Have you heard this story before? Sir Alister had a good sword from his father, I mean your father, damn. But he didn’t have a set like mine. I was shamed by my bosting. And had to find a way to make it right. I did get permission from King Kelson, I swear that I did. Though the master Armorer did not believe. Course that was after we had ransacked the armory searching for a matching dagger. We found one, not exact but very close. It had an ebony hilted, with a twisted silver wrapping for the hand hold, a ruby at the base of the hilt and an emblem of an eagle at the cross. It was a good quality dagger and it still is. As I see it still at your belt.”

The hand of the person before him handled the hilt of the dagger, but did not draw it.

“Alister is truly gone then?” Washburn said with sadness. He looked up at the figure of Alister, knowing Aliset’s deception was not a betrayal. At least it had not been one set for him, he had just fallen into it by circumstances that were out of control. “I will avenge him my lady! I won’t run off now. Though every muscle in me wants too." He looked back into the lady’s eyes seeing her without really seeing.  She hadn’t dropped her shields. He was a stranger to her and he understood. But he knew now that it wasn’t Alister who looked back at him. It was his sister who needed him to protect her and guide her to Gwynedd’s King. Kelson needed to be the one to make a ruling which would legally return to her the inheritance of her father’s estate. “Your cousin Oswald is a coward if he sends men after a woman!”

Washburn didn’t wait for her reply. He suddenly looked around him flustered. He quickly gathered up his things. “And, and…My lady, forgive me for my forwardness before. I will sleep in the commons room. I ask you to bolt this door when I leave. And you will need a chaperon. I swear not from me,” he added quickly, “but your reputation must remain impeccable in the eyes of Rhemuth Court, when we arrive there.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 05, 2017, 02:19:51 pm
"Wait, my lord!"  Aliset held up one hand in alarm. "Before you go, there are a couple of other things you should know." 

As Sir Washburn's hand paused upon the door latch, she continued.  "Just now, before you came in, I was scrying the flames for signs of my pursuers.  You ought to know that I saw their leader not a day's journey from here. He appears to have picked up our trail again despite our best efforts to shake him off.  I don't know how far behind us he and his men are now, but we probably should not tarry here any longer than we absolutely must." 

At Washburn's nod of understanding, she continued.  "And the other thing is...Darcy Cameron does not know yet that I am a woman.  I met him only a fortnight ago, and while I trust him as much as I've been able--and he has not given me any cause to doubt his trustworthiness--I...thought it prudent to withhold that information for the time being, given the circumstances."  She blushed. "Though if you think he ought to know, I will leave that to your discretion.  I can continue in this guise as long as I must, or take on some other form if you'd prefer--if seeing Alister's familiar form before you daily would be too hard for you--and indeed would rather remain in a man's form for now if that means being able to dispense with any additional travelers in our party who might slow us down.  With pursuit so hard upon our heels, I would be loathe to endanger any of the village maidens or goodwives you might otherwise consider a more suitable chaperone." She ventured a hesitant smile. "Alister trusted you, and he was a good judge of character, my lord.  Therefore, I trust you also.  If you think it more meet to add another lady to our number once we manage to shake off my pursuers, then of course I shall defer to your good judgment.  And, of course, we shall also have a priest with us, if Father Columcil intends to accompany us.  That should hopefully prevent idle tongues from wagging."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 05, 2017, 07:07:54 pm
Darcy Cameron awoke alert as had always been his custom.  He lay still to gauge the sounds around him; the few other guests in the common room were beginning to stir.  Dawn had broken not too long before, as the light creeping in from the shuttered windows still held a pink tinge.  Red light at morning, sailors take warning.  There might be rain today.

He stretched on his pallet, felt a satisfying crack of his spine.  It had not been an uncomfortable night, once he had finally slept again.  He rose from his pallet and made his way to the door to go outside to the privy when he stopped. He turned and noticed Sir Washburn stirring on a pallet not far from the separate room the Deryni knight and Lord Alister were supposed to share.  Puzzled, he wondered if they had had an argument, or if one snored so loudly as to be kicked out of the finer quarters.  Sir Washburn awoke, stood and gave him a guarded nod in greeting.

Darcy opened the door and almost collided with Father Columcil.  The good father was holding what looked to be country priest cassocks draped across is arm.

Darcy abandoned hope of this being an uneventful day.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 06, 2017, 03:33:38 am
((This is my second reply, my first reply errored-out and crashed my laptop. I'm learning to save my words before I post.))

Washburn stood and stretched. He had slept on pallets often enough to not think too much of it. Only dukes and kings got the advantage of never sleeping on the floor. He noted Master Darcy's inquiring look in his direction and he truthfully replied in greeting, "The fireplace was too close."

He gave his back another stretch, reaching down for his belt. He saw Father Columcil enter the common room and the frown that came over Darcy’s face as he saw the clerical robes. The seaman might take some convincing to play the part of a humble monk. That would be the least of his troubles today. He had not yet meet the priest, but Wash recognized him as the man who had said the prayer on his behalf yesterday. A prayer he much appreciated.  “Ah, Father, well-met. I am in hopes that your presence this morning means you will be joining our journey south? We will greatly appreciate your companionship." It was an auspicious arrangement. The good father would be Aliset's chaperon, even if he was unaware of it.

The knight’s nightmare had been about the Queen reprimanding him, before the entire court, for his lack of Chivalry on behalf of Lady Aliset.  Yet the morning’s light only reinforced the decision he had made last night. For Darcy’s sake, as well as his own, he had asked the noble lady that she remain in the disguise of Sir Alister, her twin brother. Then with his shields open, he let her read the truth in his oath, he promised to be her protector until this business was done.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on December 06, 2017, 11:30:54 am
(( I also lost a first draft which is why Father Columcil has been somewhat silent of late)).

"And once you were unable to explain your lineage as a healer, you feared your illegitimacy might be revealed and your ordination questioned. I understand, my son, though your first duty as a priest is always towards others and not simply your own safety."

But there was compassion rather than rebuke in the Abbot's voice, and startled at the lack of condemnation, Columcil looked up to meet the other's gaze. Unable to settle his conscience he had begged that he might have the comfort of confession and had been directed to remain in the Chapel after Vespers. He had not expected that it would be the Abbot himself to hear his confession, but it was not his place to question and he had dutifully knelt at the Abbot's feet.

There was gentleness in the Abbot's eyes as he continued. " It was a sin against your calling, both as a healer and as a priest to deny your gift, but you know that and have confessed as much. And I think I know too, what you cannot say..."  The Abbot broke off as Columcil started to get to his feet in a panic and firmly, but gently forced him back down to his knees.  "Do not fear.  I will not ask you beyond what you have freely given, though it was fear of what you might confess that ensured that only I heard your confession.  I have known their Graces of Cassan, past and present for many years and I have eyes in my head."

In shock and confusion, Columcil managed to ask. "What is your counsel,  my Lord? Surely it is best for me to return home, though I will appear disobedient, to my manor Lord and to my Bishop both of whom  enjoined this journey upon me against my own judgement." The obscurity of life as a country priest had suited him well and he had no desires beyond the fulfillment of his vocation. He looked up hopefully towards the Abbot but was dismayed to see the other shaking his head.

'I think not, my son. I see the hand of God in this - though as is His way, He shows us but little of His purpose. There is much that I do not know but I am sure that your path has not crossed that of the young noblemen by mere chance. They are heading for Rhemuth, as do you, and they have begged that they may borrow monks' habits to cloak their departure. Your penance for your fear is to travel with them. And yes I know you have lost saddle and bridle, that will be made good.'

Columcil saw his last hope of escape disappear with those words, but though the Abbot had clearly seen  his forlorn hope, it was denied with humour rather than censure.

"In nomine Patris, Filii et Spiritus Sancti..." The Abbot made the sign of the cross on Columcil's forehead as he spoke the words of absolution. Columcil kissed the Abbot's hand then rose, and turning towards the Presence lamp, genuflected in homage and resignation.




Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 06, 2017, 03:14:15 pm
Aliset carefully folded her brother's clothing, returning it to her travel bag before studying her reflection in a polished brass mirror with a slight frown.  The border braid she'd taken to wearing in her disguise as Alister didn't quite go along with the borrowed monk's robes she wore.  It would be easy enough for one of Oswald's trackers to see through her disguise.

((3 & 6, verification #3585bnpphg))

She imagined her hair shorter, with a small coin-sized tonsure in back, and saw her reflection change accordingly.  With regret, she realized she really ought to change her facial features as well--doubtless her pursuers had figured out by now she was using her brother's face and form as a disguise--but it would be easier to explain a sudden haircut to the traveling companions who did not realize exactly who she was than it would be to explain an entirely new face.  Perhaps if the need grew truly great, she would let Darcy and Father Columcil in on the secret that Sir Washburn already knew, and then she could wear whatever form would best suffice for throwing her pursuers off their trail.  But for now, this modification to her disguise would have to serve.

She refilled her wineskin and left to join the rest of her companions.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 06, 2017, 07:08:26 pm
Darcy Cameron looked askance at the monk’s robe Father Columcil held out to him.  “You really expect me to wear this?” he asked.  “I like to think I have lived a mostly honourable life, but it has not been a pure one.  Do you really want to get struck down by lightning before we have cleared the courtyard?”

At Father Columcil’s solemn nod, Darcy crossed himself and shrugged into the coarse, homespun robe.
“I will not, repeat, NOT be tonsured!”

He turned as Lord Alister joined them, his hair shortened to blend with his new attire.  As Lord Alister nodded to the priest, Darcy noticed the small tonsure on the crown of his head.

“Lord have mercy,” Darcy muttered as he drew the hood of his robe up to cover his head.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 07, 2017, 04:53:34 am
((Revanne, I hope I am not writing over you, It has taken me three hours to put this together tonight)).

Darcy’s hood went up in defiance.

Wash stifled a laugh behind a pretend cough. When he had suggested they pose as monks, he hadn’t expect their deception to be scrutinized up close. His sword was a ready deterrent if the wrong person chose to get that close. Belatedly, he noted Aliset’s features had shifted. Shifted to Alister with a haircut and a-- a tonsure.

“Gades!”  Easy enough for her to do! “Is that not irreverent?” he questioned her.

Alister’s eyebrows raised as if challenging him. “Old bald men are not considered irreverent. Just be glad we still have hair to grow out.” Confounding logic that; so like Alister to take the broad view. What didn’t help, was that he knew that Aliset’s tonsure was a cheat!

Knowing what he must do, the tall knight gave a growl under his breath. “The Archbishop’s penance for impersonating a priest will be unpleasant. After he is done laughing, that is.” Wash ran his fingers through his hair. Long hair was a province of courtiers at Kelson’s court.  Short hair was good for roaming knights, he could except that, but a Tonsure?

“Master Darcy, your choice is good enough. Just keep that cowl up. But if I’m to be our leader, I must fully play the part.” A little exasperated with himself over the thought of a haircut, he spoke more briskly than he intended. “I expect everyone will be ready to ride in an hour!” he ordered. “Have my horse saddled and bridled, and our supply bags packed. We shan’t tarry here longer than needful.”

At that moment a decan arrived with Washburn’s clean folded tunic. “Thank you son, I’ll keep that for a better day.  Father Columcil, I’ll take that last robe your holding.” He placed his black tunic in his saddle bag, he almost stuffed his chainmail in to, with his helm, but he had to give that a second thought. Without help, he slide the shirt of interlocking rings over his head and arms. The monk’s robe went over that without exposing the metal underneath. Good! A tonsure he would endure. Going without his armor, he would not.

The drate robe was a tad short and his black boots were exposed. He sighed. “I’ll need plain footwear. Son,” speaking to the Decon. “Can you lead me to the Abbot to beg shoes, for a donation of course,  and then on to the Monastery barber, I’m in need of a haircut.”

He left quickly, not wanting to see the smirks made by his riding companions.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 07, 2017, 12:20:51 pm
((Reposted here from OOC thread on behalf of revanne))

Columcil saw the covert smirks of his two remaining companions but years of needing to cover his amusement under the appropriate priestly demeanour stiod him in good stead, so he contented himself with remarking  "Well, Sirs, I'd best be about fitting out Spean with the new harness m'Lord Abbot has kindly provided me, if we're to be off within the hour, as his young  Lordship orders,"  before turning and heading towards the monastery stables.

As he went he pondered as to where he had seen that blazon, if only he could remember! It was clear from the casually given instruction which expected unquestioned obedience that he was a young man of some rank. He would have to find a way of tactfully suggesting a more humble demeanour, if the monkish subterfuge was to succeed - though he had no desire to give offence to one of the nobility. This looked like being an interesting journey. He amused himself briefly with the idea of returning to the Abbot and begging for an easier penance - there was an island somewhere of the coast of Meara with a summit which penitents climbed on their knees. He snorted in amusement at his fancy and turned towards the whicker of greeting that Spean gave him. He ran his hands through the horse's mane and took comfort from the physical contact and the loving touch of the animal's mind.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 07, 2017, 01:39:09 pm
Aliset stifled an all-too-girlish giggle at Darcy's stubborn defiance.  Traveling out of doors with his woolen hood up in the heat and humidity of a Mearan summer, he was likely to wilt like day-old spinach! She hadn't meant to cause such consternation in her attempt to make her own disguise seem more believable, but she'd take what few occasions for humor she could find just now.  God knows she needed whatever boosts to her spirit she could get!

Following the priest's lead, she headed out to the stables to find her mare Papillon and saddle her for the journey ahead.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 07, 2017, 09:46:06 pm
Darcy Cameron mounted his horse more awkwardly than usual; he was not used to monk’s robes!  Father Columcil mounted more smoothly, likely due to many more years of practice.  Darcy was stuck with the disguise for now, so he might as well get on with it.  Once they were out of sight of others on the road, he could toss the hood back out of his way.  He did not like the way it restricted his side vision.

Not that it was a perfect disguise for their party.  Sir Washburn’s fine mount with its red leather bridle was hardly suited to a poor monk!  Lord Alister’s mare, while not as flashy, was still finely bred.  Nevertheless, to most travellers on the road, who had no reason to look more closely, they would pass as brethren out on whatever errand the church had sent them.

The sky was almost cloudless; it would be a warm day as they travelled.  A good breeze would be welcome, but so far there was no sign of one.  Darcy turned his horse to ride beside the others out from the monastery’s courtyard.

He took note of the people going about their daily tasks as they departed.  Just in case one of them would appear again along the way.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 08, 2017, 05:35:12 am
The road between Culdi and Rhemuth was a well traveled road. By agreement between Kelson King of Gwynedd and Dhugal Duke of Cassan the road was kept in good repair after each winter’s thaw. The full distance could be traversed as fast as three days.* Such as traveling day and night, not caring that he broke his steed doing so.  A more leisure travel, taking care to rest their mounts each night, could take a full week.+ There were a few noble houses along the way from whom hospitality could be requested.  Washburn was certain their small number would not be refused. Also sleeping under the stars on these warm summer nights should not be a hardship.

The hardship was there was a young woman in their midst, whom the others thought to be a man. How to keep her from being pushed beyond her capabilities without giving her secret away. The best answer was a priest of middle years who had likely not been in a saddle for days on end since his youth.

“Father Columcil  would you please lead us at a good pace for monks on a journey. Master Darcy, I’ll ask that you stay up front also so as to keep us on the right road.” He and Aliset followed close behind.  In this way the energies of the two noble mounts would be tempered to a steady pace, rather than run full out to Rhemuth as Wash would have allowed, were he alone.

((Foot notes:
 * The Kings Deryni Chapter Six. A messenger traveled from Culdi to Rhemuth in three days to bring news of Duke Andrews illness.
+  same chapter: Llion escorted the youths Alaric and Duncan from Rhemuth to Culdi at an easy pace  taking seven days.

I am using these travel times rather than the unreasonable travel time of Duke Alaric and Father Duncan traveling from Dhessa to Culdi in only three days. as is seen in Deryni Checkmate))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Bynw on December 09, 2017, 09:34:35 am
Lord Oswald sat on his horse thinking as they rode towards Culdi. From there his query could be in Rhemuth within a week or sooner if they are not stopped. Time is not on his side and his men should have made sure everyone was dead at the manor before claiming victory. He is only one of many self-styled Mearan Freedom fighters. They are loosely banned together with the common goal of rekindling the Mearan independence movement. And as long as their are Mearans in Meara there will be Freedom fighters willing to take up the sword against the Gwynedd usurpers. The previous generation of Mearan Freedom fighters made a mistake that cost them dearly when Kelson of Gwynedd came to press his false claim on the Mearan throne. They had allied themselves with the ousted anti-Deryni Bishop, Edmund Loris and that allegiance cost many Mearan lives. So now that the new generation of Freedom fighters has arrived. It is time to rethink the Mearan position. And it will need Deryni help to combat the Deryni King of Gwynedd and his Deryni allies. Oswald knows he may have to move up other plans if the baron's heir reaches Rhemuth. The pursuit will have to be abandoned if the brat is not delt with soon. Riders are already well under way carrying messages to various Deryni Lords outside of Gwynedd.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on December 09, 2017, 10:23:50 am
Columcil knew what was in the young lord's mind - Let the old priest set a gentle pace, but not what lay behind it. He'd rather gained the impression that there was some urgency. He found his temper, normally held well in check, begin  to rise. He didna do much riding that was true, but the life of a country priest was hardly one of idleness, with the need to tend his own wee bit garden and help out betimes wi' the harvest. Not to mention walking between some of the further flung holdings of his hilly parish. He'd had a good seven days of riding to harden him to the saddle before entering Culdi and though Spéan was a good solid work horse, with no nobility about him, he could give these fancy-bred mounts a run for their money. He was sorely tempted to try. Biting his lips to restrain his temper, he bethought himself of a way to gain a subtle revenge for the well-meaning patronage.

After a few hours travel he judged by the sun that it must be midday and gently easing Spèan to a halt he made to dismount. Darcy pulled up too, and enquired, "Is there anything wrong, Father?"

"Nay lad, but 'tis time for the midday office, and gi'en that I'm setting the pace, best do it properly It'll not take long." So saying, he reached in the breast of his habit, pulled out a leather bound book and sank to his knees.

"Lord, have mercy!", ejaculated Darcy, then muttered a hasty apology. He was relieved to see that the priest was suppressing a smile, though he spoke gruffly enough. "Let's hope he does, lad, for all our sakes."

As Alistair and Washburn drew level they both looked enquiringly at Darcy who explained, "The good Father is saying his office. He says he won't be long. Shall we make a halt here, My Lord?"

"We've may as well get down and stretch our legs" agreed Washburn equably,  but as we're all meant to be monks...." His words tailed off as he bowed his head but Darcy caught his meaning and he and Alister swiftly followed suit. Washburn's prayers were genuine enough, they could certainly use some help, but he couldn't  help noticing with curiousity the prayer book which the priest was using. The book he was using for his prayers was small, but covered with finely tooled leather. Surely few country priests had such treasures. As Columcil finished his prayers, crossed himself and rose to his feet, Washburn  reached out his hand and said courteously, "That's a fine bit of workmanship you have there, mind if I take a look.?"

Columcil knew a command when he heard one and handed the book over, though  he could not prevent his dutifully lowered eyes flashing with an anger he was otherwise careful to shield. Something in the other's silence warned Washburn that he had overstepped a boundary, though even laymen were surely allowed to handle prayerbooks, so he forebore to open the pages but contented  himself with feeling the leather before handing it back with a muttered "Thank you, Father,". Something nagged at him, though. The book had a feel, almost a mental aroma, that reminded him of someone, someone he knew well, though he could not think of whom, and the priest's shuttered face denied further questions.
Amended because I forgot they were all dressed as monks
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 10, 2017, 04:18:08 pm
Darcy Cameron glanced from Sir Washburn to Father Columcil.  He saw the momentary tension between the two.  The Deryni knight was accustomed to a position of authority, so no surprises there.  The good Father, on the other hand, was perhaps not as humble as one would expect from a simple country priest.

No matter to him either way as long as they reached their destination safely.   Darcy made his way to the trees a short distance away and took the opportunity to relieve himself.   Dratted robe was in his way.  How did ladies manage with their long dresses?  He smiled inwardly; that certainly was not one of his concerns!

He rearranged his habit and turned to return to the group but stopped.  He though he heard movement farther in among the trees.  Silently, he moved forward, staying hidden in the trees as much as possible.  Yes, there was a man and horse ahead; odd that he stopped within the trees with the animal.  Darcy studied him carefully; there was nothing remarkable about him.  Average height, plain clothes; had he seen him before?

((Results of dice roll:  6 + 3 = 9 verification zm0lcckph4))

He had seen him!  The man had been lingering outside the monastery courtyard as they had left.  But even more disturbing, he had seen the man on the road as he and Lord Alister had approached Culdi.  That was too much circumstance to suit Darcy.
Taking care to make no sound, Darcy returned to his small group, pulling his hood well up over his head. 

“Sir Washburn, Lord Alister, a word if I might,” Darcy said.  Washburn looked at him with interest. “We are being followed,” Darcy said briefly.  “I think we may want to pick up our pace a bit.  Not too much to draw interest, but we might want to reach Rhemuth sooner than later.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 11, 2017, 10:37:53 am
As the party quickly remounted and headed further down the road towards Rhemuth, Aliset surreptitiously reached out with her senses, trying to detect the follower that Darcy had mentioned. She thought she could detect someone in the periphery of her senses. Hastily withdrawing that mental probe in case their pursuer might be able to detect it, she centered herself, focusing on her party's need for stealth. Could she use her Deryni gifts to help them pass unseen?  Concentrating her will upon that thought, she focused her energies on helping her party slip away from their pursuer unnoticed.  She knew she could not keep up the subtle cloaking of their passage indefinitely, but hopefully it would throw off the pursuit for a short while.

((Dice roll 4 + 5 [success!], Verification Number: z1vbxgr09h))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 12, 2017, 05:36:50 am
The afternoon steady ride continued on into the late daylight hours of summer. Washburn had forgone any prolong stops during the day, including Father Columcil’s afternoon office. This did nothing to ingratiate the noble knight/pretending-to-be-a-priest in the eyes of the true priest.  Had there been proper time for Sir Washburn Morgan to speak privately to Columcil he was sure they could find common ground. The young Morgan wasn’t exactly unused to the ways and habits of the clergy. He was family to the Archbishop of Rhemuth, after all. The trouble was, there were far more pertinent concerns weighing on his mind as they rode through the afternoon. Staying alive was a major one.

As for Aliset. To keep her protected, it was necessary that she stay with her companions in their sleeping arrangements. No more rooms for her alone. Far too dangerous for her to be out of Washburn’s protection. And for her reputation’s sake, better that she be with all three of them than with just Washburn. This meant they could not spend a night in a noble manor house where either Sir Washburn or Sir Alister were known. The host would take offense to the two noblemen wanting to sleep in the common room with their companions. It was never a good idea to offend any host who offered generous hospitality. There were rules of society that just should not be broken nor even bent. Under the circumstances, Washburn considered camping the night under the stars. Only as the sun nested into the branches of the western trees, the humidity rose and clouds gathered in the east. The summer months were no strangers to rain.  Even Darcy commented that by the next morning it would be raining. Sleeping in the wilderness was therefore, out of the question. And what to do about their pursuer?

Since the noon break, during a long portion of their afternoon journey, Lady Aliset ‘s riding posture had been one in a state of mediation. She barely caught her balance when her horse made a bad step. Washburn did not stray from her side, just in case her horse decided to side step out from under her. He probably needn’t have worried, but still, he felt responsible for her.  As to what ever it was she was concentrating on, it seemed to do the trick. There was no sign of anyone following them, at least not one Wash could sense. He did cast out  at two different times to locate if anyone followed them. Though he sensed no one, he wasn’t convinced they weren’t there. They rode on through the dinner hour nibbling on baked bread. Aliset’s exhaustion from her use of magic was evident in the way she took tiny bits and chewed slowly.

Not far ahead was the manor house Washburn had stayed at only two days ago. Nodding to himself,  he made up his mind what they needed to do.

“Follow me,” he said to Darcy, as he rode up alongside the two front horses. He took the lead, heading off the main road onto a smaller road that would end at that particular manor house. However, he really had another idea in mind. When the road turned around a clump of trees, it briefly passed alongside a slow moving creek. Washburn pulled his horse off the road and stepped him into the cool waters of the creek. The others looked at him hesitantly. Father Columcil may have even thought the knight’s tonsuring had caused the top of the man’s brains to have become sun-fried during their journey. Yet no one dared to question Washburn's hand signals for them to continue south, down the middle of the shallow creek.

As soon as the three other horses had moved into the water, Washburn turned his focus into the depths of the glistening surface. Just a little concentration to splash the water up on the bank to wipe away the evidence of the horse's hoof prints.

(( 2d6 roll 2 and 2, failed - Verification Number: 7ttbbwtjp7))

Damn, he must be more agitated than he thought. The water moved a little, but not enough to cover their passage. Frustrated with himself, he reached into the bushes at the sides of creek, pulling out a few long branches with leaves on the ends. Back to the spot where they had walked off the road, he leaned over the neck of his horse and did his best to sweep the hoof prints away. When he was satisfied, he backed his horse into the water then turned to catch up with the others. For nearly a mile, he had them walk through the shallow waters. About the time his companions were ready to complain about the unsure footing for their horses, Washburn turned and climbed the eastern bank of the river. They traveled a short distance through a tall ashwood forest, before they came upon the backside of a small country church and a village just beyond the parish gardens. The church was of thick stone walls and steep slate-tile roof lines. Washburn lead the way past a hedge row with a pen of sheep. On the far side of the pen was a shed row barn with one end for the sheep and the other end for two plow ponies and a half stack of loosely bailed oats and barley.  There was just enough room in the center for their four horses and plenty of fodder for them to nibble on through the night.

The tallest of the four monks, dismounted first. His head was uncovered, his wide tonsure among a bristle of short golden hair displaying his vocation. “Father Columcil, Father Alister, would you be so kind as to ingratiate our party to our hosts within.” He nodded toward the church. “If they have a room for us all to stay in, would be ideal. Else wise, we will be happy to sleep in the Nave.” Washburn turned to Darcy who was the only one to have his hood up. "Father Darcy, stay with me and help put the horses up for the night.” That duty did not seem to displease Darcy at all. Washburn briefly caught Aliset as she started to follow the priest inside. “Get yourself some dinner and some rest, we will rejoin you after compline.” Washburn noted how Father Columcil gave him a look, as if to say, you may be impersonating a priest, but you will never be one of us.

When the two were gone, Washburn and Darcy changed their horses bridles for halters, loosened their girths, but left the saddles on. Just on the bad chance, they would be leaving quickly. They feed the horses from the stack of barley and rubbed their horses wet legs down with straw. When this was done, Darcy’s eyes went wide as Washburn slipped off his monk’s attire, pulled his longbow and greatsword from the bed roll that had been tied under the right flap of his saddle. With ease he swung the long sword over his shoulder onto his back and he reached for the bow string. From years of practice, he had the bow strung in less than a minute. Grabbing last his quiver of arrows. He looked at Darcy with a smile. “How would you like to go hunting with me?  You can recognize our pursuer when you see him, yes?”

Darcy gave a half-look back at the church, then a half-smile to the knight in black. “Yes, I can. Let us discourage him from his pursuit.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 12, 2017, 10:53:08 am
Once they had been offered a room away from curious eyes, Aliset knew she needed to catch up on her rest--it was tempting to consider using a fatigue banishing spell, but that would only cause more problems for her later once the need for sleep and proper energy replenishment caught up with her--but there was one thing she felt she needed to do first before her other travel companions returned. Flashing a weary smile at Father Columcil, she sized him up privately. He had sensed her use of her Deryni powers the day before, but she had not sensed any judgment from him in her use of magic, simply approval at what she had attempted to do to help the injured cook.  Perhaps, then, she could trust him in this matter.  Especially if her sharing was done under the seal of the confessional, which no priest of integrity would ever dream of violating.

"Father, while we are alone together, I would have you hear my confession, if you would.  It has been...longer than I would prefer since I last had the opportunity, and the journey ahead of us might prove... somewhat hazardous, since I am being pursued by men who will likely stop at nothing to prevent me from reaching safety in Rhemuth at the King's court.  I would not have you accompany us without being aware of the risks, and if there is a chance I might die before reaching Kelson's protection, I would not meet our Lord unshriven."

Father Columcil slanted her an inquiring look, but said nothing, merely giving her an understanding smile as he reached into his pouch and pulled out what appeared to be a well worn travel stole, slipping it around his neck.

"I will hear your confession, my son," he finally said as he settled into place comfortably beside her.

She gave a quiet chuckle. "And that, I suppose, must lead to the first thing I need to confess, Father. I am Caer Mariot's heiress, not its heir.  I regret the necessity of deception, but I felt it was necessary for my survival. Is it a sin, Father, for me disguise myself so?" As she spoke, she attempted to let the glamour briefly fade away that concealed her true form, planning merely to allow him a glimpse of her true form before resuming her brother's guise, but much to her consternation, she could not!  Jesu, she must be more exhausted than she'd realized! 

((dice roll#1= 1 + 1, dice roll#2: 5 + 2; verification 214k89bc8z.  Since I rolled "snake eyes" [two 1s] on that first roll, should I consider that a spectacular failure?  Yeah, that could be fun.  ;D)) 

Her eyes widened in alarm, as the priest's also did in matching alarm and confusion. "Oh, sweet merciful heavens, Father, I'm ...I'm stuck!"

"You're...stuck?" Father Columcil echoed, looking uncertain of her meaning, not to mention a bit dazed at the sudden appearance of a young woman before him.

"I'm...oh, damn and blast, I can't get back into my brother's form!  And I must, you know, before Master Cameron and Lord Washburn get back!"

Despite the gravity of the situation and the priest's slow head shake, she thought she caught a faintly amused glint in his eye, along with a swift twitch at the corner of his lips that belied a sternly suppressed flash of humor mingled with the more evident dismay written large upon his features.  "No, that most certainly will not do!" he affirmed.  "Might I suggest, before you continue on with your confession, that we rectify this situation immediately?" As he spoke, he lay a calming hand upon her forearm, lending her enough of his own energy to help her feel better refreshed and more capable of the focus necessary to resume Alister's form. "Is that better?"

She closed her eyes, calling up Alister in her mind, and resumed his illusory form.  "Much!  Thank you, Father."  She opened her eyes, meeting his questioning gaze.  "That was awkward," she said with a self-conscious laugh.

The lips quirked in a visible almost-smile that time. "Quite.  And now, my daughter, I believe there was something you meant to share...."

Taking a deep breath, Aliset unburdened herself of all she'd had to do in order to protect herself after Oswald's slaughter of her family, and confessed to the bloodshed she'd found it necessary to spill and the deceptions her circumstances had forced to maintain in order to escape from his clutches.


Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Bynw on December 12, 2017, 11:55:16 am
((

((dice roll#1= 1 + 1, dice roll#2: 5 + 2; verification 214k89bc8z.  Since I rolled "snake eyes" [two 1s] on that first roll, should I consider that a spectacular failure?  Yeah, that could be fun.  ;D)) 

  ))


(( There is  nothing about such a critical failure in the core rules but anything can be house ruled. We could  have a lot of fun with all 1's being rolled. ))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 13, 2017, 09:05:19 pm
No encouragement was needed for Darcy Cameron to shed his own monk’s robe.  His short sword had remained hidden beneath the robe as they travelled, so he was already armed.  He followed Sir Washburn back past the hedgerow to the ashwood forest.  They avoided the creek this time and followed the regular path.

They kept a quick pace but not so fast as to draw attention along the way. The few people they passed nodded respectfully to the tall knight, but gave no significant notice of their presence.  Perhaps they remembered him from his previous visit.

When they reached the main road, Darcy paused.  “Let me scout around a bit,” he suggested.  “If the man I saw is truly following us since before Culdi, he should recognize me.  It may draw him out.”

“Or cause him to run,” Washburn countered.

“And that would be a bad thing?” Darcy asked with a slight smile.

Sir Washburn gave him a sharp look but nodded.  Darcy moved casually out onto the road, surreptitiously looking around.  The man could have passed them, but if in doubt of their continued travel, he was more likely to be close by.  He would have travelled a bit farther ahead, hoping to sight them if they stopped and then travelled on.

There was a thicket not too far ahead; Darcy strolled forward and casually noted the broken thorns.  Someone had gone through, moving off the road.  Darcy decided to circle around behind, hoping to avoid detection and painful scratches.  He turned to make sure Sir Washburn was watching his progress.

Beyond the ticket a horse was grazing, the bridle tied to a low shrub.  A man crouched low, picking through the contents of his saddle bag.  Darcy recognized him instantly.

He strode boldly forward, hand on the hilt of his sword.  “I suppose you have been looking for me?” 

The man drew his dagger, rose up to his feet and faced the intruder warily.

Darcy’s sword was already drawn. “It seems introductions are required,” he said.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 14, 2017, 11:12:12 am
Darcy Cameron pursed his lips and emitted a piercing whistle, his signal to Sir Washburn that their quarry had been found.  It also suggested to the man standing before him that Darcy was not alone.

The man standing before him was remarkable in his unremarkableness.  No distinguishable feature caught Darcy’s eye.  Medium height, plain brown hair under a cap, a face that was neither handsome or ugly.  Average horse.  A man who could easily lose himself in a crowd.

“Why are you following me?”  Darcy asked.

“What makes you think I am following you?” the man replied.

“What should make me think you are not?”  Darcy countered.  This could go on for too long.  “Explain yourself.”

“Should I?” The man looked at Darcy carefully, noticed how steady and sure the sword was in his hand. “Very well, I travel to Rhemuth to beg work from my uncle.”

“You keep well to the sides of the road and the bush.  Why?”

“There are those I would avoid.”

Perhaps a man running from his master, trying to make it to Rhemuth to spend his year and a day?  A man who might not want to reveal his name.  Was he telling the truth?

((dice role, 1 dice, results 1. Verification 72qx8jbhjt))

Darcy could not tell.  It could be plausible, or it could be not.

Darcy heard movement behind him.  He did not trust the man before him enough to turn his head to see who approached. He hoped it was Sir Washburn.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 14, 2017, 03:12:51 pm
The Lendour knight could appreciate the seaman’s tracking skill. Something instinctual about the way his companion saw the lightly pushed back and broken twigs of the thicket. Wash was as much curious about the way his friend took charge, as he was anxious that Darcy had gotten out of his sight, when the seaman stealthily went around the backside of the thicket. That would not do!

Quick steps brought Wash across the road to the thicket. As he went, an arrow was knocked to the bowstring, readying the weapon in the event it was needed.  Level with the thicket, he could just make out a horse and figures beyond it. This would not do! Indeed!

At Darcy’s whistle, he sensed caution, but it was not a sound of emergency, not yet. So Wash traveled as Darcy had, around the thicket and a tree. He heard the men talking…

“I travel to Rhemuth to beg work from my uncle.”

((2d6  roll 1 & 1,  spectacular failure, Verification Number: 4rwv7180bq))

“You keep well to the sides of the road and the bush.  Why?”

“There are those I would avoid.”

As the men kept talking, Washburn shook his head. Not only could he not tell if truthful words were being said, but he felt a sense of being blocked. Of the two men before him, only the stranger would have such an ability and a need. Who was he and what was he about?

Washburn stepped into view, near the back of his companion. His bow was held in play, his arrow taught in the string, yet not pulled back. Not just yet.

“Why don’t you tell my friend and I, just who you are avoiding. And then answer me- honestly- what you know of the heir of Mariot, and a man named Oswald?”

Just on the off chance his arrow was not threatening enough. Washburn let, a for just a second, a flash of scarlet aura encircle his head. Darcy with his back turned did not see. But the fellow with the dagger took note of it.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on December 14, 2017, 04:15:11 pm
Columcil spoke the words of absolution over the young woman's bowed head, and mentally chided himself for even thinking of her as such. He had been wearing his stole when the disguise was revealed to him and such knowledge was therefore under the seal of the confessional and  must be hidden even from his own conscious mind. Besides his own need of concealment, if somewhat less hedged with mortal peril, was enough to make him inclined to be protective of another's, even without his priestly vows. To have called Aliset "My daughter" once was an acceptable way of acknowledging what had been revealed, twice would be foolish.

"Your sin has been set aside, my child, go in peace. And pray for me who am also a sinner."

The face of a young man looked up at him gratefully, although the corners of his mouth quirked in recognition of the Priest's careful way out of his dilemma.

"We'd best get what rest we can while we wait for the others" Columcil continued and matching actions to words he rolled himself in his cloak and settled down with his head on his pack. Sleep though was impossible; as time went on he became increasingly anxious for their two missing companions, but separating further would be foolhardy, even if he felt brave enough to disobey M'Lord out there. He wouldna want to face that one's wrath. He considered extending his Sight beyond the walls of the church - Aye, he knew that what he possessed were Deryni powers but the old language of the Borders still came more naturally to him - but thought better of it.

(( 1 dice roll. Result 2+4 verification code 5b2gjssr0t)).

 Who was to say that the one tracking them didna have powers of his own. He'd best be about his prayers and hope that the Lord had forgiven his ill-tempered show of piety earlier in the day.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 14, 2017, 04:46:05 pm
((Good grief, we're having spectacularly bad luck with dice rolls today! LOL!  Well, since Aliset is sleeping, let's see if I can flesh our stalker out a bit in the meantime.))

Austin MacInnis watched the young Deryni knight's display with a faint smile on his face. Was he meant to be impressed? He suppressed the urge to reach a hand up to caress the amulet hanging around his neck beneath his jerkin. He was no Deryni himself, but his master had gifted him with certain protections nonetheless, and he'd managed to learn a few wee talents despite being human-born. He was certain now these two men before him were traveling with the de Mariot chit he was sent to find. He would be rewarded richly once he brought her back. Oh yes, he could tell these two Gwyneddan loyalists a thing or two about Baron Oswald if he chose to--not that he would.  Say whatever one might about him, he knew where his loyalties lay.  Oh, not with Baron Oswald directly, though he was happy enough to be of service to him in this small job, so long as the reward was as good as promised. But he had higher loyalties, as did Oswald. And if he did well in this, there would be more opportunities to prove his value to his master.  Austin was an ambitious man. He would take whatever odd jobs would facilitate his rise to the top echelon in the once and future Kingdom of Meara.

"The heir of Mariot and a man named Oswald?" He shrugged, maintaining his nonchalant demeanor in the face of the knight's aura flare. "Who are they?" 

((Dice roll 5 + 4, verification #dbtlc8rjjp, for whether his ability to block Wash's ability to Truth-Read continues to succeed...which it did, darn it!  Though maybe that's just because he avoided giving a direct answer.  Better luck next round, hopefully!))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 15, 2017, 12:57:06 pm
Darcy Cameron sighed.  He did not like the man’s evasiveness.  They had him outnumbered and stood a chance of taking him.  Perhaps they could beat the truth out of him, but it would be hard won, and he doubted Father Columcil would approve.  That amount of penance he did not need.

The flash of light and the sharp crack of thunder caused all three men to startle. The man before them took the opportunity to throw his dagger at Darcy.

((dice role 2d6; 3 + 2 = 5.  Failure.))

The dagger flew wide, missing Darcy’s shoulder by inches.  Austin leaped onto his horse, grasping the reins to pull them up.  But he had secured the reins a little too well to the shrub, and they did not come free at his first hasty tug.  On the second they came free, bringing broken pieces of branch with them.

Darcy uttered a curse and sprang forward with his sword.

((dice role 3d6; 5 + 5+ 1 = 11; Success!))

He delivered a backhanded slice, severing the girth of the horse’s saddle.  Saddle and rider began to slip sideways, and Darcy heard the swish of Sir Washburn’s arrow as it sailed past him….
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 15, 2017, 01:34:57 pm
((Perception roll, 1d6 to see if the thunder/bright flash would wake Aliset or not.  Success on 4-6.  Dice roll=4, verfication #7bm2c1dbf2))

Aliset awakened with a start, hearing the echoes of loud thunder as she sat up swiftly. Had she merely dreamed the bright flash illuminating the room when her eyes first flew open? It seemed even darker now, leaving her uncertain how much time had passed since she had dropped off to sleep.  Not nearly enough to replenish her, she felt as she fell back onto her pillow groggily.  She glanced over at Columcil, who rolled over on his pallet. Without reaching out to him mentally, she couldn't be sure if he was asleep or not, but she didn't wish to intrude on his privacy in either case unless it became truly necessary.

She did, however, feel somewhat uneasy without quite knowing why. Perhaps it was simply because her brief glance around the room had informed her that Darcy and Sir Washburn had not yet returned from their explorations.

Perhaps she should trust that gut instinct and reach out further with her senses to see if she could detect their presence nearby. Or perhaps sense the presence of anyone else close by who might pose a threat to her and her companions. 

Centering herself, she focused on extending her senses outwards to see what they might encounter.

((Dice roll 5 on 1d6, since Aliset is still tired from concealing the party during their journey and not getting enough sleep, but evidently not too tired to detect danger.  Verification #5bsbkm1tx7))

Oh, bloody hell!  She could sense Sir Washburn and Darcy, all right, and what was more, she could sense a third person with them. Some dark shadow seemed to emanate from him, though whether that was because he was a threat or due to some strange power he was using--his was a slippery presence, for lack of a better description coming to mind at the moment, and not easily detected--she did not know, but she intended to find out. Rapidly, she raised her hand to her forehead and attempted to use a fatigue-banishing spell.  An expletive she'd heard Alister use when he thought she was out of earshot escaped her lips as the spell failed ((1d6 rolled due to her exhaustion--result 1, verification #78tq3wssgn)).  Evidently she was too tired to manage her own fatigue now! But despite that, she could hardly leave her newfound friends to their fate unassisted.  Forcing herself to rise and gear up swiftly, she woke up Father Columcil as she returned her dagger to its scabbard.

"Father Columcil, wake up!  Wash and Darcy need our assistance!"
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 15, 2017, 01:54:27 pm
Lightning struck and thunder cracked through the trees, not too distant. A dagger flew at Darcy, there was no time to Focus it away. Thankful to Saint Camber, the dagger flew wide of its target. Then in an instant, both men before him were moving. This time there was time to Focus. And time to make a good draw. The stranger’s near shoulder was a solid target. Washburn aimed, not to kill, but to incapacitate. He still did not have solid proof that the stranger was more than what he said. The ramifications of killing another without due provocation would be strict punishment in Kelson’s courts. The stranger did attacked first, but if Truth Read, it could be claimed that he was defending himself against their bullying. Gut-instinct told him otherwise, yet they needed proof that he was their stalker.

His arrow flew.
((3D6 Advantage and Focus  roll 5, 3, 3, Verification Number: 5sn7l23gcm))

The arrow’s flight was true, even as the stranger fell from the slipping saddle as Darcy cut the man’s girth. The arrow struck the left shoulder and sent him to the ground.

“Don’t kill him!  I want to know who he is and what he knows!” Wash yelled as he ran forward.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Bynw on December 15, 2017, 03:49:52 pm
(( I am going to give everyone (all four of the PC's - the bad guy doesn't get one) what is going to be called a Hero Point. The player can spend this Hero point in any of the following ways:

Everyone has 1 (one) Hero Point. ))

(( this post had been edited ))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 15, 2017, 04:00:04 pm
((I am guessing the Hero Point is a one time use sort of thing, and we only get more Hero points at certain intervals, or have to earn them through game play or something, similarly to how Force Points work in the Star Wars RPG?

[As I recall, one way in Star Wars that you can earn a Force point back is if you manage to use one up during a dramatically appropriate moment.  So, for instance, Luke using one to determine whether to break left or right when evading enemy fire wouldn't earn him a point back, but using it to help tilt the outcome in his favor when making that critical shot necessary to destroy the Death Star would.  But there were other ways to earn them during the game, you might just have to wait longer to get it back if you wasted it on something less heroic.] ))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Bynw on December 15, 2017, 04:17:34 pm
(( Hero Points are similar in nature to Force Points from the Star Wars RPG. And the concept crops up in a lot of other RPGs too. It's always nice to have something to give the Hero's an edge. Right now everyone has just the ONE. When it is gone it's gone. Yes you can get more. And I will give them out. ))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 17, 2017, 08:17:55 pm
Austin MacInnis cursed as he and his saddle slipped sideways.  Panicked, his horse attempted to skitter away and Austin kicked himself free from the stirrups when pain slashed at his shoulder.  Damn! He hit the ground hard and tried to roll to his feet but the pain of rolling over on his wounded shoulder stopped him.

“Don’t kill him! I want to know who he is and what he knows,” Austin heard the taller man shout.

“I’ll see you in hell first,” Austin thought grimly.  He attempted to roll in the other direction but was stopped by the point of a sword placed none too gently at his throat.

“I would be a bit careful of your next move if I was you.”  The fair-haired man above stood far enough away that a lunge on Austin’s part would not connect with either leg, and the slightest pressure on the sword would put it neatly through his throat.  The taller man in black had another arrow knocked and ready to fire.  It was time to turn this situation around.

“You have injured me for no reason!  I demand to be taken to the nearest authority to state my case! You will pay dearly for this!”

“We could remove your arrow and leave him to die,” the smaller man said. 

The other man thought for a few uncomfortable moments.  “We’ll take him back with us.  I will know who he is and what his purpose is here.”

Austin smiled inwardly.  This had taken a better turn than he had hoped for.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 17, 2017, 08:47:44 pm
((LOL!  I had just rolled for Austin to see if he'd make a safe landing falling off that horse, but you got your scene in there first, so I guess I'll use that roll for this scene. I just have to figure out first how I'm going to apply it.  Dice roll 5 + 4, verification# 6n9f1jl3pm.  Yeah, I suspect he really wants to go to that monastery after all!))

Austin had to work to control his smirk. So, they were taking him directly to the de Mariot lass, were they? That would make his job all the more easy. 

Making only a token resistance, he allowed himself to be escorted by the Mariot girl's protectors.  The wound in his shoulder, that was truly annoying, but he'd had worse injuries before. He'd see the two men who'd accosted him pay dearly for that. But first things first.

Oswald had cautioned him not to kill Aliset de Mariot unless it couldn't be avoided. He wanted her alive. Austin was fine with those terms. But he hadn't said anything about unharmed.  Or untouched, for that matter.  Or unscarred. Or even conscious. 

Austin amused himself with imagining several interesting scenarios featuring his runaway prey as he stumbled through the wet countryside towards the dry warmth of the nearby village church.

((Edited to eliminate mention of monastery that isn't here.  ;D))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 18, 2017, 12:41:38 pm
((Ooh, something else has occurred to me!  We have a human villain with some borrowed powers, in the service of a Deryni master. Sort of like the Derry/Alaric relationship, but on the dark side, so to speak.  He is also injured in a way that would cause blood loss, has aggravated that injury by falling on it, and is now being led off somewhere by our heroes at a pace that I suspect is not entirely gentle and considerate of his new injuries.   ;D  Will there be some natural consequence to his health as a result of that?  [I.e, will he lose a hit point?]  Also, can his master sense his weakened state through the link they almost certainly share?))

((Dice roll #1--2 + 2.  Rolled to see if Austin loses another hit point during this trek back towards the church. I assume he already lost one when the arrow went into his shoulder.  Looks like our villain is out of luck this time! One more HP down, 4 left to go, assuming he starts off with the usual 6 we all have.))

Austin stumbled along the trail as he plotted dire consequences for Aliset and the rest of her traveling companions. The diversion helped to keep his mind off the pain in his shoulder and the feel of his own blood soaking into his clothing.  He felt a wave of exhaustion hit now that the earlier adrenaline rush began to wear off, but he fought it. He would not allow this rabble to see any weakness. His master would sense what had happened to him, he felt sure, in general terms if not in specific details. He just had to see his mission through to completion, or at least endure long enough to see the girl's protectors dead, and once his master (or another of his henchmen) caught up with them, deliver her into his keeping. And then his injuries could be looked after properly. He put one foot before the other, his entire focus now on keeping his remaining energies up until he could complete his mission.

((Roll #2--3 +6 to see if his master can sense his weakening energy through their psychic link.  Oops!  Apparently he can, so let's hope he's not too close!))

((Roll#3--Rolled 1d6 to see how far away his master is.  One day's ride per number on the dice roll.  Result was a 3, verification #4zgzsz5p8d.))

In his fortress three days' ride distant, a Deryni mastermind felt a sudden phantom pain in his shoulder, followed by other muffled pains shortly thereafter, and a wave of weakness.  Dampening down the link between himself and his injured minion, he retreated to his study at his earliest opportunity.  Opening a small engraved box upon his desk, he reached within its velvet lined confines to pull out a polished shiral crystal.  Focusing his concentration on it, he whispered "Show me what Austin is seeing."

((Dice roll #4--3 +2.  Verification #n59rnm8cmt))

The shiral remained clouded for some reason.  Were Austin's eyes merely closed, or had he already succumbed to unconsciousness?  Damn it all, he had to find out what was going on! If the de Mariot chit made it to Rhemuth with her tale, the Mearan revolt would be exposed prematurely.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 18, 2017, 02:07:27 pm
The darkness of the road set in. The sun was beyond the hills to the west and the clouds, black with moisture, filled the sky over head. Another lightning flashed, more distant this time, with the thunder reverberating through the forest. It was going to rain. Possibly even before they got back to the church yard. Five paces before Wash, Master Darcy lead his captive. The captive’s shoulders sagged and his feet drug slowly forward.  The man was hurting, but he was not fighting back or trying to escape. Wash lead the man’s horse. A cursory glance of the saddle and bags gave nothing away to the rider’s identity.
 
((1d6 disadvantage  rolled 3 *failure* Verification Number: rwx63qpnlk))

Washburn cast forward to try to discern what he could of their prisoner. All that echoed back in his mind was a shadow, a shield unlike anything Wash had encountered before. He wanted very much to read the man’s intent. For everything about the man, except for his words, told Wash to use all caution. If he could touch him, he could learn if the man were truly Deryni or not. That, however, was filled with its own risks. If their captive was Deryni and he was the enemy, Wash must be prepared to do battle of the mental kind. Which ultimately could end in the loser being Mind-ripped. If it came to that, to protect Aliset, he would.  He could use the excuse of removing the arrow to get that touch. Soon. Out from under these rain clouds with four walls for shelter. That would be better place for that kind of battle, then this open road.

((1d6 disadvantage  rolled 4 *failure* Verification Number: 3r9l2qkvqd))

As they walked, Wash took a try at focusing on the horse's mind, his hand resting on the animal's neck. It was said his father could call a deer to the very gates of Rhemuth. This was a trick he had yet to learn. If he ever could learn it. His Grace, Lord Dhugal was the master of that magic. All Wash could sense from the animal was that he was away from what was familiar. There had been several suns on his left side ending with suns to his right side. Translating into southerly travel for several days.

(( 2d6  rolled 2 & 5 success Verification Number: 4nv72n3k8z))

Ever wary of the man before him and the woods all around, Wash and his companion and captive were mid way up the road toward the church when Wash heard the faint sounds of someone ahead in the darkness. He braced himself for an encounter. @@"Caution!"@@ was the single mental word he sent out with Mind Speech on the chance that it was a friend; or a warning if it was a foe.

((sorry it that was 3 actions and not just 2. LOL))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 18, 2017, 03:13:37 pm
Aliset saw two familiar figures approaching in the distance, along with one other man less familiar to her, but she recognized him nonetheless. She had sensed him nearby before, albeit not like this, with waves of pain and increasing shock rolling off him.  She felt conflicted at the sight. She was certain this man meant her no good will--indeed had most likely been sent to cause her harm, if not death. Yet despite that, something within her did not wish him dead.  Not yet, at any rate. Not unless it became truly necessary. If he must die in order to ensure the survival of herself and her friends. Not to mention the survival of Gwynedd as an intact kingdom, without the shadow of civil war growing stronger until it overcame the decades of peace that Kelson's decisive actions against the last Quinnell pretenders had brought to Meara.

Within her mind, she Heard Sir Washburn's warning. Caution!

It's Alister! she Sent back swiftly, using her brother's name on the off chance her fatigue had reduced her ability to focus her thought to his mind alone.  ((Rolled one die instead of two because of the distance and she is also tired--result was a 3, verification 5gd54vslxz.))  From this distance, she could not see his features clearly, and there was no other sign that the Deryni knight had registered her attempt to contact him, so cautious she would be.  She stood her ground, awaiting their arrival.  While she waited, she mentally reviewed the small selections of medicinals she'd acquired at the monastic infirmarium the night before.  Which ones might be most effective at preventing infection and promoting healing? After all, Sir Washburn might wish to bring the prisoner to King Kelson alive. And perhaps just as important, which ones might help keep him sedated and prevent him from using any powers he might bring to bear against them?  Or might one of the spells in her family grimoire be better suited for that purpose?

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on December 18, 2017, 04:08:29 pm
((Columcil tends to veer from male to female pronouns while thinking of Aliset. Nothing in his priestly training or experience has prepared him for this.
Reading back a few, it says that Aliset woke Columcil but he doesn't seem to be with her. I am assuming that he proved very difficult to wake and she decided not to waste time.))

Columcil woke suddenly to a sense of dread. He had finally slept, exhausted enough that the storm had failed to wake him. Something had however. He sat up and listened as to whether the same something, whatever it might have been, had woken his companion. He could hear nothing.  His heartbeat sounded loud in his ears and his breathing ragged, maybe that was what was preventing him from hearing Alister's breathing. The youngster slept quietly - maybe all women did, that was something he would never know - but surely not that quietly. Even though she bore the shape of a man he did not dare to reach out to touch but waited for the next flash of bright light from the sky to fill the church. Alister was gone.

Anger flooded him, anger with Alister, but much more strongly anger with himself. Were all those night-long vigils in vain that he could not watch out even half a night? "Could you not watch with me one hour?", he heard echoing in his thoughts. Was it blasphemy to think so? Well, he had no time to waste worrying about it, he had best follow and quickly at that. Should he go mounted? Both horses were still tethered in the church porch, standing together sheltered from the worst of the storm but trembling with fear. It would be needlessly cruel to leave one horse alone, and Alister had clearly gone on foot. He would too. He picked up his staff, wrapped himself in his cloak and then, on a impulse, slipped his prayer book from the breast of his habit. He kissed the cover and prayed that the Deryni heritage of his father's kin would aid him now. Cautiously he extended his senses (dice role 5+5 verification code 21ptcOrqkb) and felt a presence slipping through the forest just beyond the church yard. He must have woken just as she left. Kissing the book again he replaced it, crossed himself and walked rapidly out through the church porch. Both horses were showing the whites of their eyes and sweating with fear. For all his anxiety Columcil could not leave them like this ((I rolled 3d6 as Columcil is a beast-handler 4+3+6 verification 45fk3z177p)) and placing a hand on each animal he reached into their minds soothing their fear. Then, half -ashamed of his time-wasting, he strode out into the storm.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 18, 2017, 09:28:16 pm
Darcy Cameron marched their prisoner in front of him.  He had used the man’s belt to bind his hands behind him.  He had lines within his sea bag, but he had left it at the stable.  The belt had sufficed.

The man’s face was stoic as he plodded forward.  Beads of sweat glistened his forehead; he was still bleeding and in pain.  Darcy would have been more sympathetic if he had not remembered the dagger that had been thrown at him.

Darcy heard the rustle of someone travelling towards them.  He gripped their prisoner’s arm.  “Steady now, let’s not create a disturbance,” he cautioned. 

A grunt of pain was the only response.
 
Damn and double damn!  He recognized the figure in the monk’s robe as they approached. Lord Alister!

Darcy had hoped they could secure there prisoner at the church without exposing the whereabouts of Lord Alister.  This did not bode well.

“Good Brother,” the man beside him suddenly called out.  “Pray help me!  I have been taken unjustly captive and sorely wounded….”

Darcy cut off his speech by twisting the man’s wounded arm.  He was not feeling charitable.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on December 19, 2017, 06:58:22 am
Suddenly a rough hand seized Darcy's and forced him to stop.

"That will do lad, no need to hurt without cause."

Columcil, who had come swiftly up behind Alister, ignored Darcy's glare and stood four-square in front of Austin, effectively preventing him from any further sight of Alister. He nodded at Darcy to keep a firm hold of the belt tying the captive, hoping that would reassure the man that he had no intention of aiding any escape.

Austin knew relief that his pain had lessened but this was a complication he could do without. Still the man was a cleric by the look of him, best carry on with his appeal to the soft-hearted clergy.

"Brother," he repeated, "Pray help me. I have been unjustly taken captive..." but was interrrupted.

"Father it is, d'ye no know a priest when you see one. And as for unjustly, whyfore would an innocent traveler be tracking such as us on a night such as this. But with permission of My Lord here, I can maybe do something about that wound of yourn." He bowed towards Washburn, there was now no point in pretending that the other was a humble monk and Washburn nodded slowly, again wondering about Columcil; the man was clearly more than he seemed, did he mean that he was a healer.

Columcil grasped Austin firmly by his good shoulder and began to peel back the sodden jerkin and shirt from the wound. Austin squirmed and tried to wriggle away, but only succeeded in having his bad arm twisted again by Darcy. This time Columcil made no protest at this rough treatment but growled at Austin,

"Hold still, d'ye want healing or no!"

God! the man was a Deryni too, thought Austin but said nothing. Slowly Columcil began to enter into healing trance (6+5 6rwvf2btg) and slipped his hand inside Austin's shirt. Suddenly he jerked himself out of his trance and turning to Washburn said urgently, "Your dagger, my Lord!" and as the other hesitated, "Now, if you please!" Washburn made a split second decision to trust the priest and handed his weapon over. Columcil pulled a leather thong out of Austin's jerkin, ignoring the other's frantic attempts to kick and bite him, and swiftly cut the leather. As he pulled it free he held up the amulet and handed it to Washburn with a bow, "Maybe you know what this heathen thing is, my Lord. I didna ken whether I could've healed past it but I didna care to try."

Anger was rising in Columcil again. Whatever the thing was that had been round the wounded man's neck, it had stunk of something foul. He'd maybe repent of it later but just at the moment he didn't feel like trying again to heal. He turned away in disgust and spoke roughly to Darcy - "He's all yours, Son." ((Modified to make clear Austin not healed))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 19, 2017, 09:23:42 am
Darcy Cameron tightened his grip on the prisoner beside him.  The man was in a panic over the removal of the amulet.  But Sweet Jesu, the priest was Deryni!

Darcy looked warily at Father Columcil and Sir Washburn.  What had he gotten himself into?
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 19, 2017, 10:25:34 am
The bigger question, Darcy Cameron conceded to himself, was what to do with their prisoner.  If they continued to the church, the man would certainly decry their ruse as monks.  The man he gripped seemed to lose some of his bravado with the loss of the amulet, but Darcy felt the man’s muscles begin to tighten in resistance.

“Father,” Darcy said as he turned Austin away from his line-of-sight to Lord Alister, “why don’t you return to the church.” He jerked is head slightly in Alister’s direction, clearly suggesting that he take him with him.  “We’ll linger here awhile and see if we can convince our friend to be more talkative.”

Darcy smiled; it was not a pleasant smile. “In the nicest possible way, of course.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 19, 2017, 10:31:59 am
Aliset took a moment to consider her situation.  Father Columcil had revealed his Deryni powers to Darcy, and thus far Darcy hadn't run screaming into the darkness. And surely he had to have figured out by now that Sir Washburn, younger son of the Morgans of Corwyn, was also Deryni.

It would not do, however, for their captive to recognize her.

Under the concealment of her hood, she allowed her features to transform into a form she was unused to assuming, but as her pursuer did not come from the village of Mariot or (as far as Aliset knew) any of the surrounding villages, it was unlikely he would recognize the slightly balding gray-haired visage she now assumed as that of the village cobbler.  ((6 + 5, verification #1904cblgl7, for a successful shift to the new shape.))  Pushing back her hood, she regarded the wounded man soberly as she approached.

"What have we here?  An arrow wound?"  Casting a glance at Darcy, who appeared somewhat stunned (and little wonder, Aliset thought, wishing she'd been able to warn him beforehand), though not so much as to lose his hold on his captive, she drew closer, ready to draw her dagger for self-defense if need be, but thus far the wounded man seemed to realize he was outnumbered and outmatched, now that his protective amulet had been taken away from him.  Pondering her choices, Aliset glanced at Sir Washburn.  "We will need to remove that arrow and staunch his bleeding before anything else, I think. Can't have the man bleeding out and dying on us before we've had a proper chance to question him." Looking into the man's eyes, she added, "You do realize, don't you, that there's no way to simply pull that arrow out without the arrowhead's barbs causing more damage to the wound?  We shall have to push it through so we can cut the head off first before we can draw out the shaft. I can offer you something for the pain, or perhaps one of my Deryni companions can alleviate it via magical means, if they so choose." She gave those men a skeptical smile. 

The wounded man turned pale, but met her gaze defiantly. "I'll accept no painkiller or potion from your  hand.  You likely mean to muddle my thinking, or worse."

"As you wish," Aliset answered, closing the distance between them, and laying one hand upon the arrow's shaft as if to push it the rest of the way through muscle and skin. At the last moment, however, she stopped, laying her other hand upon his brow instead.  ((Dice roll 3 + 4, verification #6gv7mcdrbx)) She attempted to Mind-Read him, but unfortunately she could not.  He was still shielded despite the removal of his amulet.  His shields were not particularly strong, no stronger than might be expected in a human who had spent a lot of time in contact with a Deryni, but she was still too tired to be able to break through them nonetheless, at least not without risking damage to him that might destroy the very memories she sought to gain access to.  She sighed.  "All right, it seems you're not feverish at any rate," she said in hopes the captive would not realize she was Deryni as well, and therefore figure out she was actually the lady he sought in someone else's guise.  "Let's do this, then."  Taking hold of the arrow's shaft again, she braced herself and pushed the arrow through his flesh the rest of the way.  Meeting Sir Washburn's eyes with a faint grimace, she said over the man's outcry, "If you'd remove the arrowhead now, my lord, we need the shaft out as quickly as possible so we can staunch the blood's flow."

((1d6 roll for Austin to check for further damage to his health and see if he loses consciousness. He got a 4, lucky fellow.  Verification#1p4xtx696g))

The wounded man swayed a little, but remained conscious, glaring at his captors defiantly.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 20, 2017, 03:04:03 am
Wash had accepted back his dagger with one hand, even as he took the leather thong from which dangled the amulet in his other hand. Just holding the metal ringed gem near was enough to confirm that this was indeed to source of the shadow Wash had felt earlier. That the good Father Columcil could feel it too, was the surprising proof that he too was Deryni. Darcy seemed none too pleased with this revelation. Wash knew several Deryni priest; beside those who were family. Most of them chose to stay close to Rhemuth or to Valoret, where acceptance was not an issue. Columcil was proving to have a story as yet unheard.  The priest even hinted that he could Heal?  He didn’t, however. Holding the amulet by the throng, Wash well understood why.

There was no time to delve into the amulets power. Columcil had turned away revealing Aliset behind him. Only, as she confronted their captive, her face was other than that of her own or her brother’s. Darcy appeared none too pleased with this revelation on top of the last.
 
Wash slide the amulet quickly in his pouch, best if the thing was out of visual sight and not touching skin. He prepared himself to jump in with dagger in hand, as the old monk who was Aliset pushed the arrow head through the wound on their captive’s shoulder. The arrow had sunk deep from his shot; it had cleared the bone causing little other obstruction for the steel tip to escaped the body through the back skin. Wash’s dagger was sharp, he snapped the head off the shaft in one quick motion. Even as Aliset pulled back on the shaft. He used that moment to place his hand firmly over the bare shoulder, his mind seeking Control through the touch, swift to overcome the other's resistance.

((2d6  rolled 4 and 4, failure, darn, Verification Number: 3rzs394hwf))

Resistance he meet. It mattered not how fast his attack had been; his thoughts did circles around shields strong enough to hold in defense. Yet that was all. Their captive did not respond with a mental attack of his own. Wash had been prepared for that, yet there was no energy build up or reciprocating strike. So the man was not Deryni. That would make things easier.

Their captive pulled away from his touch. Wash let him. Darcy’s grip was sure, the wounded man was going no where. “I think we shall take a moment to dress our friend’s wound. I have nothing to accomplish that, so I am certain you will not mind if I go through your saddlebags to find what cloth we can use?” Wash was please to see concern in the wounded man’s glare with his head turned as far back as Darcy’s hold would allow. There was something in the bags that this man did not want Wash to find.

(( 2d6  roll 2 and 6  Verification Number: 6fsvlngrhn))

Wash pulled out a few expected items. A cup, a small knife, dried meat rolls, a bread loaf. He handed over the gauze cloth that had wrapped the bread to Aliset for a bandage. Still, deep in the bag, his fingers touched something round and cold, attached to a torn fragment of cloth. His hand pulled the item out. It was a pewter brooch with an eagle's head pinned to a segment of green and blue wool. Blood was on the edge where the wool was frayed.

It took every ounce of power for Wash to not turn around and brandish Sir Alister's brooch in his captive’s face. He daren’t, not in front of Aliset. It would send her into a rage. He would show her, later, when their prisoner was more secure. Or dead!

His fist tightened on his dagger. Anger swept through him.  He had his proof. Kelric would say it was justice. Kelson.... Kelson… the man, would not reprimand him. The King.. the King, who was the justice of the land... King Kelson would say he should have brought the prisoner before him and let Him be the Hand of Justice.

Fuming, Washburn stayed his hand.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 20, 2017, 09:30:39 am
Darcy Cameron had a momentary desire to release the prisoner, steal his horse, and get as far away from this small Deryni horde as he could.  But only for a moment.  He had not progressed upward from a kitchen swab on his first ship by running from the twists and turns in his life.  There had been too many twists this day, and his companions had a lot of explaining to do.

Now, however, was not the time.  Not in front of their prisoner, who was sweating profusely, partly from pain, and partly, Darcy suspected, from fear. The older monk, who must certainly still be Lord Alister, cleaned the wound with the small amount of wine left in the wineskin Sir Washburn had retrieved from the captive’s horse.  He had tossed it to the monk almost angrily.  What had he found in the man’s saddlebags to put him in such ill temper?

Their captive’s breathing became less ragged as the monk wound the cloth around the wound.  Darcy maintained his tight grip, perhaps tightening a bit more than necessary as the result of his own frustration. 

Lord Alister finished and stepped back from the prisoner, wiping the blood from his hands on the small amount of cloth that had not been required to bandage the wound.  Darcy took the opportunity to take a closer look at the monk.  Whatever his employer had managed to do, he had done it well.  Lord Alister gave a slight nod, acknowledging the scrutiny.

“My Lord,” Darcy said curtly to Washburn.  Best not to use names in front of the man he held firmly. “May I suggest we take this opportunity to question our captive?”  He moved swiftly to grab the injured arm and turn the man toward Washburn.  The man gasped and uttered a curse through clenched teeth.

Father Columcil and Lord Alister looked ready to object; Sir Washburn looked uncertain; remembering what he had found in the saddlebag, he was sorely tempted to allow the seaman to do what damage he wished. 

“We need answers and don’t have a lot of time to waste,” Darcy said firmly.  “Unless you have a better suggestion, I’ll see what I can learn.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 20, 2017, 09:55:51 am
Aliset sighed, acknowledging the necessity of getting answers from their stalker. Deryni methods had failed to obtain that information, partly due to his protective shielding, but also partly (in her case anyway) due to her fatigue, so perhaps Darcy's methods would work better. Still, it would be better if they could question the prisoner out of the rain and damp, not to mention conceal their increasingly suspicious-looking activities for an alleged party of traveling monks from outside observation.  She nearly reached for her familiar belt pouch for the Ward Cubes she'd normally carried with her whenever she ventured away from home, until she remembered that not only was she not wearing that pouch right now, she'd not had time to retrieve those items before fleeing her manor home with Oswald's men in hot pursuit.

"I agree we need answers," she said, "though it would be best if we could obtain them somewhere a bit better protected from the weather and concealed from any curious eyes that might happen to be around."  She briefly debated the wisdom of continuing her thought aloud, but since she was hopeful the captive had not seen through her disguise yet, she carefully phrased the rest of her idea. "Perhaps it would be best to continue this within the shelter of the church, or perhaps even here under a protective Ward, although of course some of you might be better equipped for that sort of thing than I would be."  She looked around at her companions.  "Do any of you happen to have a set of Ward Cubes on your person at the moment?  Or even a set of regular dice that could be attuned to work as such? It needn't even be cube-shaped, just something stackable could work." She glanced at the captive's bag. "Perhaps he has something that might be of use to those who know how to work that sort of thing?"
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 20, 2017, 01:41:06 pm
Aliset glanced at Sir Washburn in query, but he simply sighed and shook his head.  Whether he simply meant he didn't have his Ward Cubes on his person at the moment, or didn't have them with him at all, or that he had seen none in their prisoner's bag while he was going through it, she could not tell, but it was sufficient to inform her that a handy set of Ward Cubes was unlikely to be produced from that quarter.  A quick glance at the priest showed him glancing back at her with an expression that was difficult to read, though she guessed he didn't have Ward Cubes either, or perhaps not any that were immediately at hand. Or maybe he was reluctant to tip his hand before their reluctant guest as well.  And as for Darcy, he was unlikely to own anything as esoteric as a set of magical Ward Cubes, wasn't he?  No, unless she spent precious time and energy to search for materials to activate to serve such a purpose, it seemed they were going to have to do without the standard Deryni means of warding.

Which wasn't to say that there weren't any available forms of warding that couldn't serve the purpose nearly as well, at least for a short time until better arrangements could be made.  Casting a quick glance around the area, she spotted a nearby willow tree.  Aliset smiled.  Using her dagger, she swiftly chopped off a slender branch.  Returning to her companions who stood guard around their prisoner, she told them, "My mother used to use an old Border folk prayer to protect our livestock.  Let's see if it might prove useful here." 

Centering herself and focusing her mind on the task at hand, she began to walk around the gathered group in a circle, walking sunwise around them, inscribing a circle on the ground with the tip of the willow branch, the center of this circle at her right side.  As she walked, she began to speak quietly.  "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, bless the ground that I walk on. Four Archangels, gather near; pray protect those gathered here.  Holy Trinity, grace this ground with protection all around." 

((Dice rolls 6 + 4, verification #50g45zm2n5.  YES! Finally SOMETHING went right!!! ;D)

Thrice she circled the group, repeating the chant.  As she sealed the circle at the end of the third round, a dome of protection, more sensed than seen, rose up around them, obscuring those within from the outside world while deflecting the falling rain.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on December 20, 2017, 02:30:57 pm
Columcil saw Alister's glance and cursed himself for his indecision. He knew that he was far less exhausted than she was; in any case he had already revealed himself to have power of a kind and the warding he could have offered was common to border folk, not just Deryni. By the Saints, she was a brave lass! Something akin, indeed, to how he imagined St Melangell herself. Muttering a prayer of apology to that Saint for his own cowardice, he thought that his best way of making reparation might be to offer to lessen Alister's fatigue,  if he could do so discreetly  ( (1+1 =2 4j66kbhd81)) but as he moved towards her he realised that all he had succeeded in doing was to make their captive eye the both of them with suspicion. 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 20, 2017, 03:16:23 pm
Dice roll:  2 + 3 = 5 (verification 1rqft4kkgj)

Darcy Cameron was frustrated.  The man should not have died.

A few punches in sensitive places and a sharp twist to their prisoner’s wounded arm had merely been to let the man know that Darcy meant business and suggest he could do worse.  Darcy did not consider himself a cruel man; the suggestion that he would break the good arm in several places and it would not likely heal straight was meant to frighten.  No one wanted to go through life, even temporarily, with two crippled arms.  Darcy might even have done it.

He had not expected the man to suddenly arch his back in rigour, bleed from his mouth, ears and nose and collapse.

They had all frozen in that moment, staring in horror at the body on the ground.  Father Columcil moved forward first, but Darcy stopped him briefly with an outstretched arm, drew his sword and planted the tip in the centre of the chest of the man laying on ground.  He could be still be alive, though Darcy doubted it. If he tried to spring up or grab the priest, he would impale himself.

Father Columcil nodded, knelt beside the man and felt for a pulse.

“He’s gone,” the priest said as he rose to his feet.

“Bloody hell, and no I don’t beg your pardon, Father.” Darcy returned his sword to its scabbard and stood with his hands on his hips.  “If he wasn’t already dead, I’d kill him for this.  Now all we have is a body to explain and no information at all!”

Darcy did not notice the look that passed between his three companions behind his back.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 20, 2017, 03:35:08 pm
((Noooooo!!! LOL!))

Sir Washburn closed his eyes briefly as if praying, or perhaps summoning his strength.  Or maybe calling up reserves of patience to keep from killing Darcy.  Possibly all three.

Falling to his knees beside the stricken captive, he glanced up at the others. "I might be able to find out the information we need through a Death-Reading, if it's not too late."

He lay his hand upon the man's brow, closing his eyes in concentration.  ((2 + 4, dagnabbit!  V#2gp1l7bbqd))  After a moment, he looked back up with a shake of his head, his lips pressed together in a thin line of frustration.  As his eyes met Darcy's, his gaze softened slightly.

"It wasn't your fault, man.  There was a Death-Trigger set in his mind, probably by whoever it was he was working for.  That much was evident, but unfortunately it did its work thoroughly."

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 20, 2017, 09:14:50 pm
There was a moment of shocked silence, then Father Columcil sank to his knees beside the dead man, perhaps to pray for his departed soul, or maybe just to confirm that he was actually dead rather than simply unconscious or feigning death.  Whatever he was doing, Aliset only barely registered the motion. She stood in stunned reflection as she stared at the tableau unfolding before her, mind frantically awhirl as she wondered how in God's name they were going to explain this to the King!  It might have been one thing if their prisoner had died while actively attacking them, if they'd had to defend themselves from some act of violence at his hands at the moment of his death.  But no, this did not look good, not at all.

Although...Sir Washburn had said something about a Death-Trigger.  Aliset breathed a relieved sigh.  Then it wasn't their fault.  Wasn't due to Darcy's rough handling of him.  Not entirely, anyway.  Which might not absolve them fully in the eyes of their King--not if he became privy to the full details, anyway--but it was something to cling to nonetheless.

She knew deep in her soul that this was the man who had hunted her down all the way from her village, even though now she had no way to prove his guilt to King Kelson.  Or did she?  Maybe they could learn something from Reading the lingering psychic impressions from that amulet the man had worn around his neck.  Surely that could provide them with some information about whoever had hired this man to pursue her?  Certainly Oswald had been involved in that in some way, but Aliset knew enough about Oswald's loyal retainers to recognize that this was not simply one of her cousin's lackeys.  No, there was some other person behind all this--some other Deryni.  They must find out who this other enemy might be.  And perhaps if they could prove that connection, that would be sufficient proof to bring before the King to show that, despite the accidental circumstances, this man had truly deserved to die.

With that hope to cling to, she turned to Sir Washburn.  "That amulet...we need to Read it!  We need some sort of proof that this man was ordered to follow us, and if possible, we need to find out who he was reporting back to."

Sir Washburn nodded slowly, although there seemed an odd reluctance in his reply.  "There is some other evidence in his bag that ought to prove sufficient, I think. Handling that amulet would be dangerous.  I sense an aura of darkness shrouding it."

Aliset stared at him. "What sort of evidence?"  And why had the knight not said anything about it before this?  Granted, everything had seemed to happen so quickly....

The Deryni knight seemed even more reluctant to answer this time, but at last he reached for the dead man's travel bag, fumbling inside it to produce what appeared to be a blood-stained piece of fabric. The details took a little longer to seep into Aliset's fatigue-clouded mind, but when at last she pieced them together--the eagle, the colors, the pattern of the weave--she sank to her knees before him, one hand reaching out for the precious item. 

Cradling it against her chest, she began to weep.  "Alister!  Oh, Alister, blood of my blood, my brother...."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 21, 2017, 04:05:23 am
Hell’s fury unleashed!

Nothing in this world was ever simple. Escort the surviving heiress to Rhemuth, Safely, his brother had asked of him. A few days in the saddle, acting as guard for a carriage with women on board.  How had that tasked ended up here.

Aliset was weeping. Caused by her exhaustion and grief, her features were shifting to the face of a maiden, whose high cheeks and wide eyes would prove her a beauty, if they had not been for her tears. Wash hadn’t wanted her to see the evidence, not like this. It could not be helped. He did not want his companions blaming themselves for this murderer’s death. Colmucil and Darcy had fallen into this not knowing the risks. This was not their doing.  He knelt down beside his friend's twin sister, one arm around her shoulders, giving what comfort he dared.

“Colmucil? Darcy?” he said quietly, looking up to the two other men.”This is very important that you know the full extent of what you are involved in. This is Lady Aliset de Mariot. She is the only surviving heiress of her late father’s estate. Her family has been assassinated upon the order’s of her cousin Oswald, who has taken over her manor house. That brooch was her brother’s; the same Lord Alister that you thought Lady Aliset to be. That man,” Washburn alluded to the dead man, “was the man who stole Alister’s life. I knew that the moment I touched my friend’s brooch. He may not have been the only one. I fear we may not be able to tarry here too long.”

A wave of responsibility came over the son of the King’s Champion. He would not be his father’s son, if he did not try to make this right. “If you must walk away from this, I suggest you do so now. If there is compassion and justice in your heart, than I plead with you not to. Instead, guard Lady Aliset. Take her back to the church, see that her identity is not discovered. And get what sleep is possible. Say nothing about this to anyone. If I am not returned by daybreak, proceed to Rhemuth, as swiftly as you are able.”

“What of him?” Darcy asked of his prisoner. “Are you burying him out here?”

“If it were only that simple,” Wash replied. “I’m taking the body to the near by manor house. A few days ago, the baron seemed like a reasonable fellow, loyal to Kelson, too. He knows of me. My rank and reputation should be enough to have my explanation believed. And as I will tell the truth, as much of the truth as Baron Adam Trillick needs to know, I should not be detained overlong. I'll say I am traveling back to Rhemuth to inform the king of the assassination of Baron Mariot and his family. I discovered I was being followed by one of the assassins, whom I confronted this night. I have proof that he is a  murderer. There was an altercation between us and he died, unintentionally, from his wound. There will be no mention of any of you.”

Wash turned his attention to Aliset, he sent all the energy that he dared to bolster her through the night. (( roll 2 &4 Verification Number: 39gqkjf5pj That dice rolling page hates me!)) Again, as before, the Rapport was one sided, but that was not a concern. What was a concern was taking the brooch from her fingers. She did not willing want to let it go. But she understood that was his proof. With a kiss to the pewter the surviving heiress let him take it.

“Be well, my lady. Take comfort that Alister is avenged.” He stood then, noted the resolution in the two men before him, and he leaned over, lifting the body and throwing it over the neck of the man’s horse. The ward was up, a faint shimmer of blue. “Let me go ahead of you, my lady. You may stay a little while under the ward after I am gone. But do not stay overlong. You need sleep in the protection of four walls.” She was hesitant, but she did as he asked. He walked the horse through the narrow opening she made in the ward. Wash leapt to the saddle feeling he had failed in some great way.  He gave a nod of respect and kicked the horse into a trot, away from the church and up the road to where the manor house stood on the hill.





Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 21, 2017, 01:05:54 pm
Sir Washburn Morgan regretted leaving his companions in the woods. He had only gone a few paces from the ward when he turned to say something to them. He could see them not. The ward was functioning perfectly. There was no evidence that it was there or that three people were safe inside it. If he ever eventually gets back to Rhemuth, he was going to have to ask his nephew to return his ward cubes. His pouch had gone missing after his last visit to his sister Grania’s house. He suspected her five year old son, Brion had taken them, thinking them a great dice game. An oversight on his part that he now regretted.

He berated himself. His  hand steadied the body before him. His thoughts replayed the events of the last hour. Why hadn’t he been able to mind read the man when he needed to the most? What powers had been in that amulet? And what monster would have set a Death Trigger in his own minion? Who was behind this and why?  Too many questions.

The rain which had been a light drizzle, was coming on harder. Wash brushed he hand over his wet hair and cursed has his fingers touched his tonsured scalp. Damn and double damn. He could not go before Lord Trillick like this. Aliset needed to teach him her magic. If he could make it look like he had hair. He didn’t try. Something told him that with his luck at magic, that might lead to some worse fate. His cloak was in his saddle bags and he really needed his horse anyway.

Wash changed direction. He arrived at the back of the church hedge row in the dark unseen. He tied the horse to a tree and secured the body to the saddle after he dismounted. It was dark, raining, and cold, he was in black. It was easy to slip into the shed row barn and retrieve his horse and gear.

(( roll2&6= 6 Verification Number: 69lgdf0rjj , Yes. Wash is good in all things not magic. I guess the dice just will not let him do mind reading. Sheesh))

All remains quiet, even the three remaining horses he leaves behind. He quickly retraces his steps to the tied up horse, throws his traveling cloak over his shoulders, mounts his horse and pulls the hood down over his face. Now he was ready to meet with Lord Trillick and explain what happened.

((Edited to change Grania's son's name to a proper Haldane Name :D))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 21, 2017, 01:19:49 pm
((You rolled a 6 there. That's a success.  What were you trying to do?))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 21, 2017, 01:22:27 pm
((You rolled a 6 there. That's a success.  What were you trying to do?))
Wash succeeded in sneaking out the barn with his horse without causing the others to whinny and cause a fuss. Thus not bringing unwanted attention.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 21, 2017, 01:51:25 pm
Darcy Cameron felt like he had fallen overboard into a raging sea.  Death Readings, Death-Triggers, and now the young lord he thought he was escorting to Rhemuth was a woman!

A lovely young woman from what he could see of her in her monk’s robe.  She stood beside the priest, listening to something he was saying to her.  Words of comfort, he supposed.  Darcy quickly cast his mind back over the journey he had made with her so far.  He had not done anything or said anything too inappropriate that he could recall, thank the stars.  There had been a snide remark he had made about a tavern wench, but that had been relatively mild.  Certainly, milder than if he had been with his old shipmates!  Nevertheless, the inappropriateness of the situation bothered him, much more than the death of their captive did.

Darcy had been angered by Sir Washburn’s suggestion that he could withdraw from his obligation to the lady.  He was as bound by his word as the noble knight; he had given his word to Lord Alister, and he intended to keep it; the fact that Alister was now Lady Aliset mattered not.  And he would stand in full account of any actions he had to take to get her there!

The brief flash of anger steadied him.  The sooner they got Lady Aliset back to the shelter of the church, the better.  He walked over to her and Father Columcil. “My Lord,” he said quietly, “we’d best be on our way.”

The face that turned toward him was Aliset’s.  Darcy managed a slightly awkward smile.  “If I address you incorrectly, feel free to stick me with that dagger of yours.”

Aliset managed a slight smile of her own. 

“A question,” Darcy continued after a moment’s thought.  “How certain was Oswald likely to be that you will be heading for Rhemuth?”

“Very certain,” Aliset replied.  “Why?”

Darcy sighed.  “It occurs to me, that if I knew your successful return to Rhemuth would result in my own ruin, I wouldn’t just send someone to follow you.  I’d also stage one or more ahead, to lie in wait of your progress.”

Aliset’s smile vanished.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 21, 2017, 01:59:51 pm
The rest of the party had repaired to the church shortly after Sir Washburn's departure, Aliset dispersing the wards with practiced ease while the two men swept the ground with branches to help conceal signs of their passage.

In somber silence, they had returned to the church, Columcil and Aliset approaching it first with monk's hoods pulled up to conceal their features, and Darcy following shortly thereafter, with a brief detour to the stable to check on the horses and resume his monk's attire lest he be spotted and questioned about entering the church at such a late hour.  While Aliset and the priest waited nervously for her hired bodyguard to return, she rummaged through her small pack of healing herbs, searching for one with a calming effect that would help enable them to slip into restful sleep quickly, yet without making them too groggy to awaken suddenly should the need arise.  She certainly had no wish to drug herself and her companions into a stupor so deep they were likely to sleep through any approaching danger!  Ah, chamomile, hopefully that would serve.

Aliset pondered Darcy's earlier warning as she mixed up enough of the chamomile infusion to share with her companions, downing her own portion of it readily and leaving the rest for the others to partake of or not as they chose.  She knew she should resume her brother's form before they traveled on, but at the moment she was too fatigued and her effort to shift her features back into his was in vain ((Dice roll 4 [only one die due to total exhaustion and grief], Verification 49vwqg7021)), so she simply curled herself into a small ball within the cocoon of Alister's old cloak and fell into an exhausted sleep.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on December 21, 2017, 04:47:40 pm
Another cup  of spiced wine and he would call it a night. The Deryni lord moved over to pick up the flagon from where it rested on the hearthstone - even on a summer evening it was necessary to have a fire in this benighted wilderness of Meara.  The holy protectors send that it was worth the effort, that the accursed Haldane seed which had poisoned his own ancestral home of Torenth and this would be driven from the earth.

He raised the goblet to his lips and all but all dropped it in the spasm which shook his body. A great shudder ran through him and for an instant it was as though a cold blade had cut his soul from his body. He reached out for the link which bound the man Austin to him, and found, as he had known he would, nothing. What had been done to him? Well perhaps that mattered little now, he was confident that the man would have revealed nothing, the death trigger had been set well. But he had no liking for those who damaged his tools. With great deliberation he drank, forcing back his anger. The man himself was worthless, a mere human but time and effort had gone into his training. Still, there were others on the road, though Austin had been the best.

As he drank, another thought occurred to him. His servant was dead but the amulet could perhaps still be put to another use. He refilled his goblet, to the top this time, and starred fixedly into the smooth dark surface.  As he slipped into trance he murmured "show me who holds you now" ((2+6 =8 6mp5o3sk31)). Hell and damnation! He would have known that family likeness anywhere, even cloaked and hooded as it swam up out of the darkness towards him. It was seared into the heart of all his kin. How had that accursed seed, the filthy get of Duke Alaric, become involved with the de Mariot wench? This must be the youngest of his get, Washburn. God knew how she had done it but the girl had got herself a powerful protector. Even more reason why she must be stopped. And with good luck he himself would know the moment that another of the Corwyn brood suffered and died. And this time, unlike his father's nauseatingly heroic sacrifice, it would be in vain.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 21, 2017, 05:20:06 pm
The manor house court yard was quiet. Only the pattering of rain on the cobblestones was heard. A shiver, not from his wet clothes, cascaded down Sir Washburn's spine. The cause was indiscernible as Wash dismounted before the stable. With a sense of dread, he knocked on the big barn door. Briefly he wondered if anyone was sleeping in the barn. The door did finally open, he was heartened to see a lad wrapped in his blanket looking at Wash with huge startled eyes of recognition. The boy had helped Wash saddle his horse two mornings ago. His mouth opened when he saw the body on the second horse that Wash lead into the barn, out of the rain.

“Quickly, my lad, find the steward and tell him that Sir Washburn Morgan is once more in need of his hospitality. Only this time I come with troubled news.” The boy was gone, leaving Wash to settle the horses. The body, he placed on the floor off to the side.

Twenty minutes later, Wash was standing by the fire place in the Baron’s office. He was warming his hands, which had gone numb from nerves as much as the cold. Before him, over the Baron’s desk was a portrait of a man dressed in full borderland regalia.

“That was my father,” said the old baron as he entered the room. “Lester Lord Trillick of Trillshire. He was a loyal retainer of Duke Jared McLain. Died alongside His Grace at the heathen betrayal of Llyndruth Meadows.” Lord Adam came around to look inquiringly at Sir Washburn, who still had his hood up but a bit back from his face. “I am told that you have had some difficult times since we last met and you are looking for a trusted hand to help.”

“That I am,” Washburn conceded. “I fear I bring trouble to your door.” Wash gave a partial accounting of the events over the last two days. The tavern fire. Learning of Lord Mariot’s demise and that of his son, Alister. He being followed through the day’s ride and him confronting his follower this night only to find Alister’s brooch in his bag. “The fellow threw a dagger and I wounded him with an arrow. I removed the arrow, but I fear the fellow was sorely wounded and did not survive long after. I don't even know his name. Yet, I sense there is much more to this than a greedy cousin looking for wealth.”

Wash had held the old baron’s gaze as he told of events past. Nothing he said was a lie. The baron was not Deryni but you never knew what form of Second Sight could be used by the border folk.

“That is most distressing," Lord Trillick responded when all was said. He held Washburn’s gaze a moment longer before taking a good look at the brooch with the Eagle’s head. “I recognize that.” He frowned as he took up the brooch. “The Mariot’s all dead. His Grace, Lord Dhugal, will want to know of this at once.”

“I agree. Can you please tell him all that I have told you. Also tell him that the Demoiselle De Mariot survives. She is hidden away in a safe place. She bid that I bring her distress directly before King Kelson. I fear I can not stay tonight, I must be on my way.”

“Tonight? In this weather? You are mad. Did your assailant hit you in the head?” he asked with true concern, noting Washburn’s hood still on his head. The knight before him did not answer. “That’s it, isn’t it. I forbid you to go out tonight. Duke McLain would have my title if I let anything happen to a cousin of his. Don’t deny it, he would. Your room is being prepared. In the morning I expect to see you at table. Then I will confirm if you are well enough for this journey you seem hell bent to complete.”

Wash had no choice but the spend the night in the manor house. It was far more comfort than he deserved.  In the darkness of the night, he even attempted to contact Aliset.

((roll 5 & 6 Success at last Verification Number: 22r4230spj  Jerusha your dice are helping :D))

“Lady Aliset, I know you are tired. I want you to know All will be well, This particular trouble is done with. I will be with you in the morning. So please get your sleep and break your morning fast with a hardy meal. We will leave for Rhemuth together after.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 22, 2017, 10:00:43 am
Darcy Cameron awoke as the first faint light of morning seeped around the shuttered window of the room.  He has slept light, as was his usual habit, but he felt surprisingly refreshed.  The tea Lady Aliset had provided must have done the trick.  He touched the sword he had carefully positioned beside him.  Thank goodness it had been a quiet night.

He sat up and rubbed a hand along his jaw.  Fortunately, the pale, fine hair of his beard was hard to notice.  Or unfortunately, the pale, fine hair of his beard was hard to notice.  It depended on your point of view.

Darcy rose, sheathed his sword and looked around the room.  The door did not have a lock, so he had positioned himself across the doorway.  Father Columcil lay rolled in his cloak on one side of the room, and Lady Aliset lay curled up in her brother’s cloak along the other side.  It was good to have the priest with them under the circumstances.

Lady Aliset awoke, lay still for a moment, then suddenly sat up. 

“Good morning, my Lady,” Darcy said quietly and moved to open the shutters to let in some light.

“Good morning, Master Darcy.” 

Lady Aliset looked rested, but Darcy could see the sadness that lingered around her eyes.  He moved back toward the door, but stopped along side the sleeping priest and kicked his foot.  “Up, slug-a-bed….”

The priest jumped to his feet, grabbed his staff and aimed for Darcy’s head.

Darcy, more by instinct than conscious thought, had moved as quickly, drawing his sword.  If Columcil missed his head, his blade was positioned to thrust upward deep into the priest’s chest.

Both men froze where they stood, eyeing each other warily.

“Master Darcy!  Father Columcil!  Desist!”  Aliset said urgently, though keeping her voice quiet enough to not be heard outside the room.  “You’ll be of no service to me if you kill each other!”

The two men continued to look at each other, neither moving.

“Beg pardon,” Darcy finally said. “It was stupid of me.”

“Aye, it was,” Columcil replied.  He lowered his staff as Darcy sheathed his sword.  “Let us perform our ablutions in the common area and allow Lady Aliset her privacy.”

Darcy nodded and moved to open the door.  “You first, Father.  I’ll stand watch outside the door until you return.”

“Agreed.” Columcil walked out the door, and Darcy followed, closing the door behind him.

Aliset realized she had been holding her breath.  She let it out slowly in a long sigh.  Men!
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 22, 2017, 05:07:00 pm
Aliset swiftly freshened up and changed into Alister's spare clothing under her monk's robes, which she hoped to be able to shed before too much longer.  She felt much more refreshed than she had the night before.  Gazing into the polished metal of her dagger which would have to serve for a mirror, she focused on transforming back into her brother's image.

((dice roll 5 + 6, v#1fv1d02xqk))

Her features shifted into the beloved form. Aliset stifled a twinge of grief at the sight and finished packing her few belongings.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 22, 2017, 11:18:02 pm
((And meanwhile, in a castle only a three days' ride from our brave and hardy adventurers....))

In the window seat of her bower she sat like a bird in a gilded cage, watching the sun rise above the distant foothills that separated the borderland of Meara from the lowlands of Gwynedd barely visible in the distance even at this height.  She sighed, wishing for a moment she really were a bird.  If she were, she could fly through the window to freedom!

There were those among her people who would say she had little to complain about, here in her sumptuously appointed quarters with loyal subjects to wait upon her hand and foot. Such had not always been the case, of course.  She had spent most of her young life in hiding, afraid to come to the attention of the wrong people, those loyal to Kelson Haldane who might wish to see her dead for little more than the sheer accident of her birth and birthright.  She had not sought this destiny, and at times it frightened her, but it had come to her nonetheless.

Sidana Caitrin Annalind Ithelianne de Paor, Queen of Meara (or so those loyal to the ancient House of Quinnell called her, at any rate, for her late mother Ithelwen had herself sprung from that royal bloodline by right of her father, the late Prince Ithel) turned from the leaded glass to lean against the tapestry at her back. She knew without looking at it what it portrayed--God knew she had spent enough hours in this chamber being tutored on her family history!  It had been embroidered by her mother, God rest her soul, and completed not long before her final lying-in before the birth of her brother Llewellyn Brice Sicard. 

The tapestry showed a young Prince Ithel as he'd looked on the occasion of his knighting, when he'd captivated the heart of a young lass named Amalie. His courtship of her had been ardent, and although Amalie knew his mother, Queen Caitrin of blessed memory, had higher ambitions for her son and heir, Ithel soon won her over with clandestine wooing and promises that his love for her was true.  He had given her a token of his love--a ring with a stone as blue as a mountain lake--which he put on her finger the day she finally gave herself to him.

Then war had come to Meara, and Ithel had been plucked away in the flower of his youth, never having had a chance to wear the crown that rightfully should have been his.  But Amalie had blossomed with his child by then, a child he would never live to know about, much less see.  That had been for the best at the time, Amalie came to realize, for had young Ithelwen's existence become known to Kelson's armies, she likely would have been slain as well. 

Ithelwen had eventually ripened to marriageable age, her secret heritage still a closely guarded secret, but at last she found a man she trusted enough to confide in, for if she would share his bed and hearth, she would not have him ignorant of her true identity. Brioc de Paor could well empathize--the tyrant of Gwynedd had also claimed the life and lands of his own father in the same war.  They had lost the Barony of Trurill, their land and means of livelihood, which Kelson Haldane had given to another man who had treacherously sided with Gwynedd during the war for Mearan independence.  Brioc was the last remaining son of that ancient line; he would gladly serve the last true heiress to the House of Quinnell.

And so he had, although his service to Ithelwen had been cut short by her death by childbed fever shortly after young Llewellyn's birth.  Sidana barely remembered her younger brother.  She had only been five when he was born, and he had succumbed to a fever as well before he could walk.  For weeks, their father Brioc had been a shell of his former self, his hopes and dreams for Meara shattered with the loss of his son and heir.  But then his attention turned to his daughter, now Meara's true Queen.  For the past decade, he had watched and waited, slowly and carefully drawing allies to their cause, not yet ready to tip their hand and reveal themselves and their intentions to the Haldane tyrant.  But at last they were nearly ready to make their move, with the assistance of powerful allies from a distant land with an equally deep resentment of Kelson Haldane.  He had found her a Deryni husband who would champion her cause in ways that even Brioc, with his merely human blood, could not.

Though nearly twice her fifteen years, Grand Duke Valerian Tiberios Hogan Marek Phourstanos of Byzantyun was an undeniably handsome man in the prime of his life. She could count herself fortunate in that, at least.  Though something about his manner chilled the blood at times; she had seen flashes of temper in his eyes and a coldness about his expression that made her fiercely glad he was an ally and not her enemy.  He had vowed himself to her service as her father looked on proudly, although he had stopped short of a betrothal just yet.  That, he said, they could discuss once Meara was free and she could sit upon the throne openly.  Then together they would support his brother Iskander's claim to the Throne of Gwynedd.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 23, 2017, 02:59:16 am
What a stupid idea to shave a tonsure upon his head.

Wash cursed under his breath in the pre-morning candlelight. He considered the best way to remove it was to shave his whole head and let all his hair grow out the same length. On this morning, however, that would be a little difficult to explain to his host. "Uncle Duncan," he whispared to the paternal figure who was here only in his imagination. "for this reason, more than any other, I could never make my vows to the church." He laughed to himself. “Well, that is not the most important reason,” he said more loudly. That more important reason was an unmentionable. Very different from this bald spot on the center of his head, a reason which he and Archbishop Duncan could joke about for years to come.

How he hoped he and Uncle Duncan would soon be joking about it.  Ever since that assassin's death, he felt an uneasiness; like the man’s ghost was haunting him. He would ask Baron Trillick to be sure the body was properly buried. Soberly Wash settled to the difficulty of the morning. Could he work the magic of a little illusion. He stared into the candle flame and focused his energies.   

(( 1d6 Disadvantage with Focus(4,5,or 6 would succeed in the illusion)  Rolled- 2- failed. Ummm--- Revanne--- take those #2 dice back out of the dice pool, please. I much preferred Jerusha’s #6 dice. LOL))

Such a simple illusion. He thought he knew how Aliset had done it, yet he could not get even this right. A deep sigh past his lips. He could not go down to break his fast with the baron with his hood up. He certainly did not want to explain the tonsure. Wash pulled out from his bags his woolen arming cap. His host might find it a crude form of morning attire. At least it was less of a lie than winding a bandage around a head injury he did not have.  That problem resolved, Wash found parchment and quill on the guest room desk. He wetted the quill with his tongue and wrote a short missive under the flickering glow of candlelight. 

To His Grace the Duke of Cassan,

My Lord Duke, I write to you about a most serious matter that came to the Duke of Cowryn’s attention, and one that I am deeply ensconced within. Events are such that I can not come to you in person to explain, nor can I put them down in full upon this page. What I ask of you is to seriously consider the matters of Lord Oswald, the newly self-made Baron of Caer Mariot. His actions are an offense unto the loyalties of those who live within your protection. His offenses are great and criminal being the cause of the deaths of the father and the son of Caer Mariot.  The daughter survives, and is in the best place of protection that can be managed at this time. It would be wise if you are able to look into the heart of this matter.

Your cousin
Sir Washburn Alaric Cynfyn Morgan


Wash signed with the flourish of his full name. He folded the parchment, soften a stick of sealing wax in the flame then pushed his Lendour ring into a drip of wax. He thought long about adding a message to the seal, but he stopped himself. If someone could place such a Death Trigger in their minion than breaking a concealed message might be in that person's power. Best to not take that chance.

Daylight was starting, Washburn was anxious to be away. He gathered his things then walked down the the great hall. His coming the night before obviously had repercussions. The household was up much earlier this day then it had been three days prior. The baron was already at table, anticipating his guest’s needs to be away quickly.

Wash gave the man a sincere greeting. “I am indebted to you for this last night. May I trust that that which I brought in is being duly dealt with.”

“It has been.” the Baron stated. “You appear refreshed, better than last night, I dare say. Do you still mean to carry through to Rhemuth. Can I not dissuaded you; will you not go to the Duke of Cassan instead.”

“Three days to Transha or five days to Rhemuth, the road to Rhemuth will be far easier in this weather. I do have a letter which I desire you to send by courier to His Grace, along with whatever other message you desire to send. I trust you will see it through.”

“Yes, of course.” He accepted the folded parchment.  “The man you brought in has been looked over and viewed by several of my retainers.” ((2d6 roll 3 & 2 failure Verification Number: 78pklsl856)) The baron shock is head, “No one recognizes him. I am sorry, I have not helped you learn his identity.” The Baron then returned the brooch he had received from Wash the night before. “This has absolved you from wrong doing. I presume you will want to keep it to show to the King.”

“Yes, my lord. It is also the token of a lost friend; I do wish to keep it.” Wash took the brooch and sadly folded it away inside his tunic near his heart. For a short time he nibbled on some offered bread and meat rolls but then time seemed pressing and he turned his attention back to his host. “I thank you for this and all that you have done. It is not my desire to shorten my stay here, but I fear I have little time to accomplish my task. May I ask pardon of you for my early departure.”

The old baron looked him up and down, concern upon his features. “I don’t like it!” he blurted, “My son returns this afternoon, will you not wait so that he could accompany you. You should not go alone.” It was a generous offer. In normal circumstances, Wash would be remiss to not accept. However, nothing about the last two days was normal.

“A most gracious offer, my lord. But I daren’t delay. Please give me your blessing, and I will be away at once.”

Washburn was the brother of a powerful duke and a favored knight of the realm. Baron Trillick would not say against him. “May you find your way swiftly and safely,” the old man said with a nod allowing the knight to depart. 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 23, 2017, 06:30:36 pm
Darcy Cameron rose from the table well satisfied.  The meal provided to break their fast had been simple but filling.  Fresh course bread, cheese and an ale that was surprisingly good.  In truth, he had needed a good meal.

But he was anxious to leave.  The thought that others might be waiting ahead to delay or end their journey was not comforting.  They needed to wait for Sir Washburn; if danger lay ahead, and he had no doubt that it did,  it was best to keep their number intact.

“Ah, Brother,” said a voice behind him.

Darcy turned to see the church’s priest approaching.

“I wonder where the other member of your party is?” the priest asked.  “You arrived with four horses, but I am told only three are in the barn this morning.”

Darcy resisted his initial impulse to flash a winning, innocent smile.  It would not do.  He kept his eyes lowered, trusting the hood of his robe to keep his face in shadow.  He tucked his hands into the opposing sleeves of his robe.

“Our brother was tasked with an errand to fulfil,” Darcy said meekly.
 
“An errand?” the priest questioned.

“He did not confide the details to me.”

“I see,” the priest said.  “God go with you, Brother.”

Darcy inclined his head and waited for the priest to move on.  As soon as he could quietly move away, Darcy looked to find Father Columcil.  He stood alone, seemingly lost in thought.

“We need to leave sooner than later,” Darcy said to the priest when he reached him.

Columcil gave him a questioning look.  “We need to wait for Sir Washburn.”

“Aye, we do.  But I hope he comes soon.  The local priest take too much note of us.”

“Does he?”

“He notes the number of horses left in the shed.  That is not a casual interest.”

“Let us hope Sir Washburn arrives soon.  I agree, we need to be on our way.” 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 23, 2017, 11:21:19 pm
A monk on a black horse rode into the church courtyard coming at it from the main village road. His hood was partially back exposing gold/blond hair combed forward and part of a tonsure. He turned his horse full around giving a cursory look at everything around him. He was noticed by several people. Mostly villagers coming to the church for early morning service. There was one man in priestly attire that watched him more closely than the others from the main church door.  Wash nodded to him from where he sat, but he did not dismount. Rather instead he folded his hands in his sleeves and bowed his head to wait. It was not a long wait. His companions had been looking out for him.  Their traveling gear was already tied to the back of their horse's saddles. Without appearing hasty and without a word, they mounted up.

The four monks rode out of Trillshire Village without a glance back. They didn’t need to turn back to feel the priest gaze stay on their backs until they were well out of view.

“I am setting the pace today. It will be much faster than yesterday's travel. Don’t fall behind.  If we must stop, give me fair warning so I can find us a safe place to make a break.” With that Washburn took the lead. Surprisingly, Father Colmucil fell in beside him. Master Darcy and Sir Alister came up together close behind.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 26, 2017, 03:13:47 pm
Aliset waited until they were well beyond the village before she maneuvered her horse alongside Sir Washburn's.  "My Lord," she whispered as softly as she could, not certain if she could manage to Mind-Speak with the newly-met Deryni Lord without physical contact yet. "Do you still have that amulet our stalker was wearing?"

He shot her an inquiring glance.  "I do," he affirmed.  "Why?"

Aliset gave him an uneasy look. "I have a feeling we ought to destroy it sooner rather than later. Maybe not immediately, if you think we're being followed, but as quickly as can be arranged.  It might require magical effort to destroy, and it might take a little time. I somehow doubt something as easy as simply burning or burying it will suffice."

Washburn nodded with a heavy sigh. "No, nothing is ever that easy, is it?"  He slanted a humorless grin at her.

"I'm afraid this won't be, at least."  Aliset gave him an apologetic smile and dropped back to join Darcy Cameron.  "Would you cover me, Master Darcy? I don't dare try to conceal our passage like I did yesterday because that took way too much of my energy, but I'm going to reach out with my senses for just a moment to see if I can tell if anyone is following us. It should only take a few moments, but I will have my entire focus on the task at hand, so I'll need you to be my eyes and ears and ready to bring me back to the present immediately if need be, if we should come under attack while my attention is elsewhere."

Darcy gave their surroundings an uneasy glance and nodded his understanding and agreement with her plan.

((Dice roll 5 and 1, v#1ddn73bzgd for being able to sense if there are followers.  Second d6 roll to see if there were any nearby followers.  1-3=Yes, 4-6=No.  Rolled a 4.  V#1w3x0ss86l.))

Aliset centered herself and went into a deep trance, extending her Deryni senses.  After a few long moments, she opened her eyes, giving Darcy a reassuring smile.  "Wherever our pursuers are, there are none in our immediate area, I can sense that much. I'll let Sir Washburn know."  Darcy smiled back, but continued to keep a watchful gaze on their surroundings nonetheless as Aliset nudged her horse forward again to inform the knight who headed up their small party.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 26, 2017, 04:32:34 pm
Grand Duke Valerian Tiberios Hogan Marek Phourstanos of Byzantyun’s handsome features were distorted by his scowl of frustration.  The presence of the amulet he had given MacInnes was still strong, but it showed him nothing but darkness.  Perhaps it was being carried inside a pouch or saddle bag. He could sense movement, but nothing more.  He set aside the shiral crystal he had been holding.

Very well, then, it was time to bring another pawn into play.  With luck, he would be able to eliminate the cursed Sir Washburn Morgan.  If not, he should at least be able to slow them down, perhaps enough for Lord Oswald to intercept them.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on December 28, 2017, 03:16:03 pm
The priest of the Church at Trillshire had been told but little of what was afoot and he was content to have it that way. What a man did not know he could not be made to tell, and with so many accursed Deryni in the midst of honest folk that was how it must be. His father had been one of Sicard MacArdry's men, but had escaped with his life from the scene of his master's murder. The Haldane had been inclined to mercy for the men-at-arms but if he had expected gratitude he had been sorely mistaken. His father had bowed his knee to save his life, but he had not forgotten nor forgiven the cold-blooded shooting down of his lord, and his heart would not bow to the usurper. His old loyalty he had kept locked in that same heart and he had passed it on, unabated, to his sons.

As far as the priest at Trillshire was concerned the offence had been worsened by the open admission of Deryni to the priesthood, and the advancement given to these spawn of Satan, while honest human priests, such as he, mouldered away in poverty. His father had told him how the accursed Duncan McLain had been saved by the magic of his equally accursed son. The one was now Archbishop of Rhemuth and his bastard son the Duke of Cassan. How long, O Lord, How long?

The priest watched the four men -monks they of a surety were not!- ride out along the road,  then, realising that he had allowed himself to be lost in his anger, strode back towards the stables, calling for his servant.

"Prepare to ride out within the hour! There is a message I need you to take to the Rose and Crown Inn at Culdi. Hand it straight to the landlord,  none other mind. You've kin in Culdi, I believe." As the other nodded the priest continued, "Good. Take a few days leave to visit, while you are there." That should help to cover tracks if the watchers themselves were being watched.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on December 29, 2017, 10:29:56 am
"Enter!"  Grand Duke Valerian glanced up from the map before him to look briefly at the person entering the room as the door opened.  He nodded in brief acknowledgement of the man's deeper bow before returning his attention to the map before him.

"I have a task for you," he told his minion.  "Lady Aliset and her companions have managed to eliminate Austin and have shaken off pursuit for the moment." He shook his head. "Oswald's men seem an incompetent lot.  I expect better from you."  Tracing a fingertip along the main route towards Rhemuth, he added, "Thus far, the lady's party has been traveling  more or less along this road, with occasional detours to shake off pursuit, but it's one of the few routes through the Mearan highlands. Once they hit lower country here"--he indicated a spot with his fingertip--"their route options will be more open." Lifting a necklace chain over the map, he closed his eyes, focusing his thoughts on the amulet in Sir Washburn's bag, and allowed the pendant to hang a few inches over the parchment, giving it a spin with the flick of one finger.  ((Dice roll 3 + 6, v#7qxdt6911v))  As it slowly stopped spinning and began to swing towards a particular point on the map, he stabbed it with his fingertip.  "At the moment, they are here."   

Looking back up at his minion, he said.  "You will need to intercept them before they reach the lowlands. Once they reach flat land, it will be harder to predict their route and set up an ambush.  I have men situated further ahead on the trail, but I want you to come up from this side." He indicated a short cut that was less easily traversed, but which would cut quite a few miles off the journey for a single rider traveling at high speed.  "Ensure that they are not able to simply double-back and find some way around the surprise I have in store for them. Is that clear, Master Owain?"

"As crystal, Your Grace. Consider it done."

One corner of Valerian's lips twisted upwards in what might have been a smirk or perhaps the ghost of a smile. "I will consider it done once it's actually done, and not before."  He surveyed the man before him. "Succeed in this task, and you will be rewarded amply.  Fail me in this, and it will be the last time you ever fail me. Is that clear?"

Owain swallowed hard, but met his master's eyes bravely. "I shall not fail you, my prince. Nor my young mistress."

"Your Queen, you mean. Her Majesty of Meara."

"Aye, Your Grace!  For Meara and Her Majesty!"  The minion bowed.  Grand Duke Valerian returned the reverence with a cool smile.

"For Meara and Her Majesty," he echoed.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 29, 2017, 01:44:22 pm
Their canter was invigorating. Up and down through the rolling Culdi Highlands, the four riders rode a swift steady pace, sinking their weight deep in the heels of their stirrups and letting their horses have their heads. It was a test run. Washburn needed to know the abilities of his companions. He was far better pleased with each of them than he had first given them credit.

At noon, the sun peeked out for the first time that day through scattering clouds. A breeze was picking up from the west. It was not felt in the wooded valleys but as they broached the more barren landscapes across the hill tops they felt it flip their monks robes to the side. At least it helped alleviate the humidity of midsummer.  One last run down the hill to where a creek sided the road with a patch of trees on the far bank. Wash raised his hand to slow, bringing all of them back to a panting walk. As agreed upon with lady Aliset, he took his turn to cast out for pursuers or persons nearby.

((2d6 3 & 5 Verification Number: w28z0m87lv))

They were alone on the road and no one followed them. Relieved Wash lead his group across the creek and up on the far bank.  Once under the tree cover, he let his fellow riders take a moment to breath.

“That was a good morning passing,” the young lord complemented his companions with a node. “The faster we our out of the highlands the better off we will be. I recon by evening we will meet the fork where the road from Ratherkin joins ours. From there we will have our choice to continue on to Cuiltiene or to cut across the farmlands to find our own path toward Arx Fidei. I won’t look for a hard run the rest of this day, but if the horses can keep a fast walk with an occasional canter, we will shave a day off our time.”

Wash dismounted, lead his horse to the creek to drink, and took a cloth from his bag to dampen and wipe the sweat from his horse's neck and flank. The animal took the moment to recuperate.

Lord Alister came up beside him, doing the same. The reminder of a friend lost was momentary, the concern to keep his sister alive was foremost in Washburn's mind. “Lady Aliset, I have been thinking about the best way to eliminate this amulet I carry. Twice today I have felt a shadow come over my heart and I know that it is from this thing. Whether someone is scrying us with success or not, I can not tell. Someone is trying to pinpoint our location.” He hesitated for a moment with his hand over the pouch. “We"--he emphasis the word--"dare not touch the thing; I even fear bringing it out into the daylight. When I first looked upon it, I could see it was a polished blue/red crystal named a jerraman crystal. It can hold any number of spells. Just being in proximity to it could be devastating.” Wash took in a deep breath. “You likely would not have heard the story about my Aunt Bronwyn.... It was a sad tale, when I first heard it from my father’s lips. It does not lose it’s sadness in the repeated times it has been told to me. Lady Bronwyn and her fiance Kevin died on the the day before their wedding from a crystal such as this. It had had a love spell sorely set by a witch for an architect who would win lady Bronwyn over from her true love.” Wash took another breath-- there were only a few stories that he recalled his father saying, but this was one he remembered the tones of his father’s words and the grief that these words held.

“For that reason, I have had my shields up against this thing most of the day. I agree we need to find a way to be rid of it. I am almost thinking we should take the time to do it now. And then ride through the night. Or wait until nightfall to do it? I should have used that ward you set last night to do it. I am a fool,” he finally admitted to her.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 29, 2017, 02:17:30 pm
Darcy Cameron lifted his dripping head from the creek and slicked the stray hairs clinging to his face back over the top if his head.  Perhaps his decision to spare his hair and travel with the hood of the habit up had not be the wisest of decisions.  Ah well. The cool water had helped. If it had not been for the presence of Lady Aliset, he might have stripped and taken a quick dip.

Or more to the point, Sir Washburn would not have approved of the waste of time.  They had made excellent progress today; Darcy appreciated that in spite of the need for haste, the knight had kept the needs of both their group and the horses in mind.  Lady Aliset had no trouble keeping up, which did not surprise Darcy.  The lady had given him no reason to think he was not a capable young lord on the way to Culdi.  The only thing Darcy had thought odd was that the young man did not carry a sword.  Now it made sense.

Sir Washburn and Lady Aliset were far enough away that Darcy could not hear what they were conferring about.  Judging from the serious looks on their faces, whatever it was caused them concern.  If it was causing them concern, he would learn about it soon enough.

Darcy rose from his position by the edge of the creek and moved to his horse to check the girth of his saddle.  Whatever the concern was, he hoped it did not lead to more uncomfortable surprises.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on December 30, 2017, 09:13:00 am
Father Columcil looked at Darcy and his conscience pricked him. He should not have responded as he did to an admittedly stupid act on the other's part. Carry on like this and he would have penances to last until Christmas the next time he made his confession. Well that was his problem; what was all their problems was the sense of menace that he felt all around them. He had best make his peace with Darcy and save his anger, and his staff, for those who wished the young heir to Caer Mariot ill.

He was about to approach Darcy when he saw Aliset and the young lord who had taken command talking seriously together and the latter touch his pouch. That damned amulet, he had felt its malevolence from the moment he had inadvertently touched it. It needed to be destroyed, but how? If he were at home he would say the words of exorcism over it, throw it into St Melangell's Well and leave it to the Saints and Powers of heaven to deal with. Well he could offer his prayers and what power he had, untrained though he was. At the least he could offer to ward the area (dice roll 4+6 77thr863x0) while the more experienced Deryni dealt with the amulet.

As Aliset walked away from Washburn Columcil approached the young lord. Bowing respectfully he spoke in a low voice. "My lord, might I have a word?" Washburn retained the courtesy that had been bred into him but replied brusquely. "Sorry, father, but can't it wait?" "I dinna think so" was the firm but still respectful reply. Sighing Washburn drew the priest further aside and nodded at him to continue. "It's yon amulet - it breathes evil. I canna help ye destroy it, but I'm thinking that I could ward the two of ye," he glanced quickly towards Aliset, "while ye destroy the cursed thing."

"You could do that?"

"Aye. I've little training but it's common enough in the Borders. I wish I knew more of such things as the other..."

"You and me both!" broke in Washburn, though he felt relieved that he and Aliset would not need to expend more of their precious energy on warding "I have, thank God, little experience when it comes to things so full of menace. I could do with my uncle of Rhemuth here, he would know how to deal."

"Your uncle, my lord?"

"Well, he's not truly that but he and my father were as close as brothers and he has always been as good as an uncle to me."

Suddenly light dawned for Columcil. He knew now that Blazon hidden under the monk's habit. This must be Duke Alaric's youngest son. No surprise then that he bore an aura of command. And some sort of kin to himself, though best not to think on that. He caught the other's glance then bowed deeply, "Your pardon, my lord, for failing to know you."

Washburn hesitated for just an instance. There had been something in the flash of the other's amber eyes that jogged at his own memory but then it was gone. "No matter, This is no time for ceremony, but I thank you for your offer of warding and if you could say some prayers too I'm sure that would be of benefit to us all."


Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on December 30, 2017, 01:23:54 pm
"Oh dear Lord! Have I been so reminiscent in my duties as to have never introduced myself to you?" It had been near on two full days. "Oh Father... I beg forgiveness. Here you have been following me blindly into this unknown."

It struck Wash with some amazement. "I humbly stand before you as Sir Washburn Morgan, youngest sibling to the Duke of Corwyn. I believe you will already know that my family is Deryni and that you are acquainted yourself with those talents." Wash gave a wide grin and a courtiers flourished bow, which may have appeared a little awkward while donned in a monk's robe. This only brought out more of a smile upon his lips. "I am at the service of yonder heir to De Moriat at this moment. I hope you are not regretting your entry into our small party."

Father Culomcil seemed somewhat relieved and perhaps a little less standoffish toward the younger lord.

"I gladly will take your offer to help ward us. We may split the duty all three of us in the manor of the old ritual ways, and then all three of us use our talents to destroy this thing.” Wash was ever grateful for the priest offer. “Having the Lord’s guiding hand on our side in this will be a blessing.”

“Ah now, take a moment to refresh. Lord Trillick gave me a substantial number of meat rolls and bread to get me through my quest. It should feed the four of us through to tonight." Wash pulled the saddle bag off his saddle and handed it to priest. "Let me confer a moment more with Lady Aliset before we make our final discussion on what to do with this nasty trinket I carry.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on December 30, 2017, 02:26:21 pm
Darcy Cameron watched the hurried conference between Sir Washburn and Father Columcil with interest.  It had ended with Sir Washburn bowing to the priest with a flourish ill-suited to the monk’s habit he wore. Whatever had that been all about?

Something was afoot, and Darcy was annoyed that his companions did not share the matter with him, whatever it was.  He certainly thought he had coped well enough with what had transpired so far that they need not fear he would run screaming into the night the next time something occurred that hinted of magic. 

Father Columcil approached with the knight’s saddle bag.  “Master Darcy!  Lord Trillick has sent provisions for our journey.  We will dine better than I thought we might on savoury meat rolls.”

“Sir Washburn does not intend to leave immediately?” Darcy asked, hoping the priest might reveal some of what had transpired earlier.

“I believe we will tarry a bit longer,” Father Columcil replied, eyeing Darcy carefully. “We have a bit of nasty business to take care of first.”

Darcy felt his stomach churn.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on December 30, 2017, 02:56:49 pm
A man dressed in the coarse woollen cloth of a serving man entered the main room of the Rose and Crown Inn in Culdi. Though it was past the hour of Compline men worked late in these long summer days and there were plenty still slaking their thirst after a long day's toil. He edged his way to the bar and ordered a draught of ale then asked in a quiet voice if he might have a word with the landlord. The barmaid looked him up and down as though little impressed with what she saw but such impertinent requests were clearly not a novelty since she replied equally softly, "And what gives the likes o'you the right to demand speech wi'the master?"

"I've summat to gi'e 'im, 'im alone" So saying he palmed a folded piece of parchment from the breast of his jerkin, though the stylised letter "M" inscribed carefully in one corner he kept hidden.

The barmaid knew her part well and raising her voice grumbled, "Well it's taken yer long enough to pay yer debts but 'imself never says nay to good coin, however late. You'd best follow me."

She led the way through a small parlour and out into a back room where she bobbed a curtsey. "Man to see you, Master." Job done, she bobbed again and returned to the bar, glad enough of a good job in an orderly house, where her master would abide no abuse of his serving maids, to ask no questions.

The Landlord looked up from his meal a question in his eyes. The serving man tugged at his forelock and murmured, 'From Father Llewel at Trillshire, Sir."

The other reached out his hand and took the folded parchment, then reached into his pouch and handed over a coin in return.

"You've a bed for the night?"

"Aye, Sir. Kin in these parts."

""Well be off with you then, but have another drink first to play your part well. And thank Father Llewel for me."

Later that night a cloaked messenger took the same message to a darkened house elsewhere in Culdi.  The recipient took the paper, thanked the messenger with the usual coin and waited until the door was shut before reading it and committing it to memory. Then he went into a inner room,  and carefully locked the door behind him before equally carefully setting wards. He blew out the candle he had brought wirh him and opened his hand to release a ball of silver handfire. Then he unlocked the chest which stood in one corner of the room and withdrew an amber coloured stone. He murmured a few words to himself then allowed his gaze to focus on the light which burned within the Shiral until that gaze was caught and held.(dice roll 5+4 =9 3kbfn8dhsj)

"My Lord Duke. I have news for you." The tongue in which he spoke, and in which the Grand Duke replied was not that of Gwynedd, nor yet that of Meara, though the bearer of tidings could pass for a native of both those lands.



Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 03, 2018, 10:00:52 am
Aliset favored Darcy with what she hoped was a reassuring smile.  Given that she was wearing Alister's features, there was some danger it might turn out to be his "charm the milkmaids into the hayloft" smile instead, which might be more likely to spook the poor man, though probably not any more so than he already appeared to be by the good Father Columcil's dire portents.

"Master Darcy, if you be so kind as to lend us your assistance with the task we are planning, that might help expedite matters.  But only if you are willing; we wouldn't wish to impose on you for anything that falls outside your realm of comfort, since Deryni magic would be involved."

"Magic?" Her man-at-arms looked startled. "I really don't know how I could assist with that!  Did you just want me to stand guard while you . . .um . . .  do whatever it is you're planning to do?"

"If that's how you would prefer to help us, I suppose you could, although what Father Columcil is doing should serve as protection enough for the moment," Aliset said, glancing beyond him to where the priest was walking the boundary of a protective circle around them all, using a form of Border warding very similar to what she had done the night before.  Darcy looked somewhat wary but thus far not inclined to bolt, which was just as well since at that moment Columcil had finished walking the circle for the third time and a faintly shimmering dome of energy rose up around them.  She nodded in satisfaction. "I hadn't wanted to speak aloud what we planned until that ward was up, and venturing into your mind to Mind-Speak to you privately seemed discourteous and intrusive, although I trust you wouldn't object to me doing so if an urgent need ever arises?" She smiled questioningly at him.  "This is about that amulet we took from the man who was following us last night. As I'm sure you've guessed, it is a magic item. Sir Washburn and I . . . ." She glanced over at the knight briefly before returning her attention to Darcy and continuing. "We believe it linked that man to whoever it was who ordered him to follow us. That would be someone besides my cousin Oswald, most likely, since Oswald is not a Deryni, but whoever that man's master was is almost certainly a Mearan separatist.  We need to see if we can determine who that person is.  And just as importantly, we need to destroy that amulet so that its creator can't continue to use it. It can be used to track us, and possibly for other purposes as well.  There is an evil taint on it. Perhaps you have even sensed it, despite being human, for such objects can make others uneasy even if they are unaccustomed to working with magic."

Darcy nodded slowly. "I agree we ought to get rid of the thing. But since, as you point out, I don't do magic and don't even have much familiarity with it, how can I be useful?"

Aliset drew a steady breath. Here came the tricky bit.  Hopefully she could ease him into the idea gently.  "Well, what we would do is form a circle--or I suppose more accurately, I should say sit at the four compass points within this circle of protection Father Columcil has just erected around us--with the amulet at our center.  We would hold hands and focus our concentration on the amulet, and that's something you're able to do even with purely human faculties. Then one of our number--perhaps Sir Washburn, if he has more training in this sort of thing than I do--or myself, if he'd rather, will draw upon that combined focus and the energy of the others in the circle to draw the power needed to Read what we need to discover from the object and then destroy it. Again, you needed be Deryni yourself to serve in that way. It shouldn't hurt you, although it might make you feel tired after a bit, and possibly even sleepy. For that matter, it can affect Deryni in the same way." She glanced at Sir Washburn again. "I think that's the extent of involvement we would need from you, Master Darcy.  The more who are joined together in this undertaking, the greater chance we have of it succeeding. Sir Washburn and I might need to join our minds and wills together for this to work, and Father Columcil as well, if he feels comfortable lending his skills to ours in this.  We needn't link with your mind except for the shallowest amount of rapport needed simply to draw upon your strength to combine with our own for this working."  She smiled as winsomely as she could. "Would you be willing to trust us in this, Master Darcy?"
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 03, 2018, 01:59:36 pm
Washburn looked appreciatively at the silver dome over their heads. A good ward with a positive feel, almost a familiar feel about it. Magic often touched the senses like the flavor of a good wine, something that touched both taste or smell; actually magic often touched all of the senses at once, gaining individuality from the one who wielded the magic. This ward felt like... family. Weird. Perhaps it was just because the hands that drew it were a priest’s hands, Wash decided.

“Thank you, Father Colmucil, nicely done. Though I dare say you look tired. Perhaps you should sit for a moment before we begin.” Washburn put out a hand to help the priest sit on the near log. Columcil avoided his hand as he sat. Wash accepted that they were too newly acquainted for such familiarity.

“May I ask if you have a vial of holy water upon you? It would be of great use for what Lady Aliset has in mind.” The priest noded that he had this with him. He pulled forth from under his monk’s robe a round gold flask the length of a man’s palm which hung from a chain off his belt. The relief of two fish swimming head to tail was inscribed around the body of the small flask with an enameled cross on the neck.

“Will this be enough?” the priest asked.

“Aye, Father, It will be perfect.” Wash replied. He took the flask and then pulled the pouch from his own belt, noting that the shape of the amulet was still within the fabric. He laid the two items on the ground in the center of the warding. With a glance toward the South, he saw Master Darcy eyeing his every move. “Master Darcy, I thank you for your courage. I promise we will protect you from what we do.” was all he could think to say to the seaman.

He then nodded to Lady Aliset that she should take the lead in the east. As she passed him their hands met. I will let you lead in scrying out our adversary. He sent in Mind Speech not wishing to frighten the others more than need be. Know that I am behind you with whatever you require of me.  I have some knowledge in destroying a relic, so I can take that portion of this when you need me too. The Rapport between them, though still tentative, was becoming more familiar and accepting. Wash stepped away pleased. His off-hand pulled an ivory handled dagger from under the robe at his side. He placed the dagger on the ground next to the other two items. Given the right resonance of their counter spell, a Jerraman crystal could be shattered with the point of a heavenly-blessed blade. Thus, what they would attempt would require a hand of blessing.

Some level of Rapport with the good Father would therefore be helpful. Washburn returned to the priest’s side.  “Father Columcil, would you be willing to except replenishment of your energy from me?” he asked quietly. He held his fingers just above the priests wrists, not touching. “Rapport need only be of the shallowest, but as I would ask you to stand in the West for Saint Gabriel, Lady Aliset will stand in the East for Saint Raphael, and as I will stand in the North, there must be some small level of connection between us. Would that we test the limits of Rapport before we begin?”

 Washburn’s hand turned palm up, his shields dropping away, waiting upon the priest to choose whether or not to make the next move.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 03, 2018, 03:15:30 pm
Darcy Cameron took a deep, steadying breath.  “Aye, my Lord, I will trust you in this.  I gave you my word to see you safely to Rhemuth.  If this is necessary to fulfil that promise, so be it.”

He realised he would be trusting all three of the Deryni is this small party. It unnerved him a bit, but he had learned to trust a good crew in the stormy Northern Sea, and from what he had seen so far, they were a good crew.  And he had trusted his Deryni Quartermaster, at least as much as he had ever trusted anyone.

He was also sure that Lord Alister/Lady Aliset was giving him only the barest of details to reassure him of his safety.  Not that he had never done the same for young cabin boys on their first voyage.  It had been many years since he had been a young cabin boy, but suddenly he felt like one again!

Darcy gave himself a mental shake and, with a hurried but sincere prayer to Saint Nicholas, stood resolutely in his position at the south.  When the time came, he joined his calloused hand to the smoother hand offered by Lord Alister.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 03, 2018, 03:21:30 pm
The young lord stood before Columcil in an attitude of openess, almost supplication. Columcil knew that he must respond, knew that there was no real choice. To refuse would be to invite questions which he had no desire to answer. Besides to refuse his aid in destroying such a manifestly evil thing as the amulet would be an act akin to apostasy. He was a priest and as such he was called to fight evil wherever he found it. Quite simply, though, he was afraid. He had already seen Sir Washburn eyeing the circle of protection he had created as though it had struck a chord of recognition. Would entering into rapport reveal their kinship, the kinship which he was under oath not to reveal?

Suddenly his border common sense reasserted itself. Destroying the amulet would take all their energies and a noble knight such as Sir Washburn would be far too honourable to go probing in anither's mind. He must simply offer himself to do what was right and leave the consequences to God.

Bowing slightly he replied to Sir Washburn, hoping that his hesitation would be put down to an unfamiliarity with formal ritual magic."Thank you, my Lord, I'd be glad of some strength from ye, and I would be honoured to serve as you direct. I simply ask that after we are done you permit me to celebrate Mass here, to ensure no trace of yon devil's work can linger around us." Seeing the other's hesitancy and understanding the reason for it he added. 'It willna take long - no longer than it took for Our Lord to share bread and wine when he too had been betrayed."

Without waiting for an answer he looked down to where Sir Washburn held his hand outstretched then slowly raised his own hand to make contact, lowering his own shields as he did so and looking the orher dieectly in the eye.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 03, 2018, 03:55:20 pm
The touch of two hands was so much more than what it appeared. It opened a bridge for two minds, though hesitant they both were, at the openness to one another. It was a smooth passage that opened. Again a feeling of familiarity passed through Wash. As if he we were with Uncle Duncan. Wash did not understand it, You must have trained with Father Duncan McLain at some time in your youth. He sent across the link with a smile. He also sent across the link a little of himself; His love for his family: his brother and sisters and their children, his mother and the special love for the father he had lost long ago. Also there was his love for his King, a loyalty he would never break.

The good father shared just a touch of what his love of faith meant to him. That was a great deal to share with a man he did not know well. Wash respected him for at least opening that much. Then Wash shared what he and Aliset planed to do. They would need the good Father to bless the dagger and at just the right moment to add his strength to theirs when it came time to destroy the jem at the center of the amulet.  And of course, he would have what time he needed to perform Mass when all was done.

Be kind to Darcy if more strength becomes necessary and we must pull from him. It would be horrible if what we do frightens him into hating Deryni.  We must be cautious to not mishandled his trust.
Wash sent  with Mind Speech to both Aliset and to Columcil.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 03, 2018, 04:18:04 pm
Aliset took her place in the East facing the priest, tucking one slender hand in the knight's larger one and her other hand in Master Darcy's. In her family's circle, she had normally been the person to take up the Western position, but otherwise this posture felt reassuringly familiar, and she relaxed into the comfort of that familiarity as she settled into position and allowed her eyes to drift half shut, focusing most of her attention on the amulet at their center. She left it covered, fearing that if she viewed it directly, its master would also be able to see them clearly. But she did not need her physical senses to See and Feel its malevolent presence before her.

When she felt ready, she lowered her shields to her companions, reaching out with her mind to the two on either side of her.  On Wash's side she encountered the expected touch of shields, which melted away at her psychic touch of them, allowing her access.  With a satisfied smile, she reached out to pull Darcy into the shallow link.

Startled astonishment as her mind encountered unexpected resistance broke her focus. With a surprised glance in the sailor's direction, she blurted, "Master Darcy, are you aware that you have shields?"

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 03, 2018, 07:33:35 pm
“What?” Darcy Cameron started at the sharp question.  “Shields?  No, my Lord.  I have my sword, a couple of throwing knives, and a sling to bring down the occasional coney, but I’ve got no shield.”

Aliset looked into the ice blue eyes and stated firmly, “You have shields, Master Darcy,” she said, emphasizing the plural.  “Deryni shields.”

“Perhaps from travelling with us this period of time,” Washburn suggested.  “Humans can develop shields.”  He thought of his distance ancestor, Sir Kenneth Morgan, who was rumoured to have developed shields through his close association with his wife, the lady Alyce de Corwyn.

“No,” Aiiset said. “I think these are his own.”

“But how?” Darcy asked.  “I’m no Deryni!”

The memory came to Darcy unbidden.  His back was afire, burning pain that would not subside.  He had been impertinent, or rather, refused to be belittled, by one of the deck hands, a surly man at best and dangerous at worst.  The ordered punishment had been ten lashes before the crew.  But the deck hand with the lash had a grudge against pale blond cabin boy, who was a bit too clever for his own good.  Ten lashes became fifteen, hard and deep.
 
The Quartermaster had taken Darcy to his own bunk, settled him carefully on his stomach and held the bedpan until Darcy stopped retching.  “Easy now,” he had said.  He had laid his hand on Darcy’s shoulder.  “Well, you are the surprise.  Nice little shields, you have.”

Darcy had looked at him, but could barely follow his words due to the pain.

“Now I need you to do something for me,” the Quartermaster had said.  “Think of rolling waves, waves rolling back to the shore.  Roll your mind back with them, and those little barriers that are in the way…..”

Somehow the pain had gone away and Darcy had slept until the next day.

“Master Darcy?” Aliset said carefully, trying to bring the man beside her back from whatever memory had claimed his attention.

“I,” Darcy began.  “It’s a story for another time.  Are they, if I have them, are they in the way of what you need to do?”

“Yes. Can you roll them back?”

Darcy sighed.  “I’m not sure, but I can try.”

(dice role, 1 dice at a disadvantage:  1  verification 53n56830bt. Drat.)

Darcy imagined the rolling waves, rolling back to the shore, but they seemed to crash against a barrier he could not overcome.  Perhaps he was too tense, or maybe he had never been able to do it before.

“My Lord,” Darcy said, the frustration on his face clearly evident.  “I fear I have failed you.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 03, 2018, 08:52:05 pm
"No, no!" Aliset hastened to reassure her man-at-arms. "It's quite understandable. It's something I'm certain you've never tried to do before, at least not consciously, and this is hardly the best of circumstances for a first attempt. Perhaps, if you desire to learn how to control them, we can try again later.  For now, though, we can try another way to lower them. Perhaps if you were asleep, or even just sleepy, your shields will simply roll back on their own.  Would you be willing to let me try something?"

At Darcy's hesitant nod, Aliset smiled and fished a small medallion out of her tunic. "This is a Saint Camber medallion," she told him, dangling the pendant before his eyes.  As it caught his gaze, she slowly began to swing it back and forth, back and forth.  "Just watch the movement and try to clear your mind of all conscious thought. Let your world narrow down to naught but the motion of the pendant...."  As she spoke, she lowered her voice, pitching it to an intimate tone barely audible to the others in the circle.  "Now let's see if I can be of assistance," she said as she gently touched one finger to his forehead, flicking it softly with her fingertip as if brushing back an invisible curtain.

((Dice rolls 2 and 6, v# 4gl7ppk9sq))

"Ah, there we go!" Aliset beamed at Darcy as his eyes widened with surprise as her psychic touch brushed his mind.  "I'll teach you how to have more conscious control over those later, if you'd like.  But for now, we've other work to do."

Returning her focus to the covered amulet in their midst, she stared at it for a long moment before turning the saint's medallion she still held in her hand to reveal a polished surface on its reverse side.  Holding it in her cupped hand just above the amulet, she transferred her gaze to the mirror-like metal surface, gazing into it intently while drawing upon the energies of her companions for added strength and focus.  ""Let us see who wrought thee, instrument of evil," she murmured softly.

((Rolled 1d6 to increase difficulty because Valerian would not have made it easy to track the amulet back to himself. Rolled a 6!  V#68pk7lz3ng))

In the polished metal oval, a reflected likeness began to form....

(https://i.pinimg.com/736x/49/6c/d6/496cd6dca4a9ae095e9c3388debf3dfe--amazing-eyes-beautiful-eyes.jpg)

Aliset had never seen the man before, but pouring the fullness of her concentration upon the reflection, she whispered, "Who are you?"

((Another 1d6 roll, rolled a 5!  V#51rnx3nsfg.  Thanks for refilling the dice roller, Jerusha!  ;) ))

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.

Aliset sent a silent question through her link to Washburn, wondering if he recognized the man in the vision. She decided to make one more attempt to find out the mysterious Deryni's identity, although even as she pondered how long she could compel the amulet to reveal its information, she could feel its protections growing stronger.  "What is your name?" she ventured, hoping she could elicit at least that much more while her spell held.

((1d6, rolled a 2. V#5z767dfmq3))

Alas, even as she asked the question, she could feel her control over the amulet slip away. Conserving what was left of her psychic strength to aid Sir Washburn in what he must do next, she squeezed his hand, conveying silently that she was too spent to continue further along those lines and that it was time for him to take over.


Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 04, 2018, 04:10:25 am
Washburn gave Aliset's hand a firm squeeze, sending her reassurance even as he released her fingers. He bent down quickly, scooping up both dagger and the chain that suspended the vessel of holy water. The small flask, he did not touch. Fear seized him that his sullied hands would mar the precious gift that the gold flask held within. He was quick to give the chain into the hand of the priest. The hand which until that moment had been joined with his. In that instant, Columcil took back that which was his. There was no pleasure in his look at the knight, only concern. Had Washburn somehow offended him?

"Father,  I require your blessing." Wash held the dagger by the blade, hilt out flat toward Columcil. "Please! Bless the device which I must use to channel good and defeat that which seeks to find us. For I fear this amulet, even while we are thusly protected by your ward."

Washburn saw the small hesitation in the priest's eyes. He dropped to one knee. "Please, we daren't wait too long,"

The spell's of the Jerraman crystal had been wakened.  Its power was building, waiting for the moment it could see the light, the moment it could subjugate whoever it could capture with in its sphere of influence.

The counterspell Wash had chosen was already whispered words upon his lips. ((1d6 disadvantage 4 Verification Number: 6tctmzvmn9)) The counter spell was failing without the blessing Wash was certain that he required.

Focus... he must find a focal point...
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 04, 2018, 06:27:42 am
Columcil saw the desperation in the young man's eyes and at that point he simply became a soul in need. Anything else could wait. Crossing himself fervently, he unstoppered the vial of holy water. Pouring a little into his cupped left hand and holding his right over it,  he beseeched the blessing of heaven, reiterating his prayers to the four powers that he had invoked in his warding, speaking with a loud clear voice so that all present might take strength from his prayers. "Saint Gabriel fill this holy water with the cleansing powers of heaven; Saint Raphael bring your winds of healing to cleanse us, and this place, of all evil; Saint Uriel we beg that it may be only evil that is done to death in this place."

He paused for a moment and dipping the thumb of his right hand in the water he marked the cross on Washburn's forehead and then spoke spoke urgently to him.  "Sign yourself with your dagger then place the tip in the water in my hand and make the sign of the cross there too. I will then cast the water over the amulet and you must strike." As Washburn began to obey Columcil continued with his prayer. "Saint Michael, grant that this blade may have all the power of the holy blade with which you subdue the enemy of us all."

The blessing completed Columcil cast the holy water over the amulet and Wash plunged his dagger through its centre (dice roll for advantage ((Columcil believes in the power of prayer)) 5+1+2 = 8 verification 3chtkbp3z7). There was the sound of something breaking violently, far louder than the mere physical destruction of the amulet warranted, and a feeling of uncontrolled anger. Then nothing. That could not last though, the amulet's master knew where they were and he was assuredly a highly trained and powerful Deryni and there could be no doubting his evil intent. This was outside Columcil's experience but the fight against evil was not.

He had been careful to bring the elements for mass within the warded circle and dropping to his knees he motioned to the others to do so as he began the words of consecration. He could apologise for his high handedness later.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 04, 2018, 12:42:52 pm
Sir Washburn sat back on his heels breathing harder than he thought he aught. It wasn't from physical exertion that had him catching his breath. "May the essence of Air, Fire, Water, Earth— and the Spirit ever come together in places of time and need to squelch evil from where ever it appears on this Earth," Washburn whispered to finish off the last of his counter-spell.

He held the dagger up before his eyes like that of a cross. The light that had infused the steel just moments before he struck it's tip to the pouch fabric and the heart of gem that it held within was now fading away to the dull sheen of a normal blade.

His hand shook just a little as he placed the blade on the ground. He bowed his head in thanks to the Spirites of the Earth and then looked up at the others with a fresh smile. "Thank you," he said to all. "Thank you," he said directly to Father Columcil.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 04, 2018, 02:40:53 pm
Darcy Cameron dropped to his knees much harder than he intended to.  Sweet Jesu he was tired; he had stood full night watches in storms and not felt this spent afterwards.  He saw the look of concern in Lord Alister’s eyes, but shook his head slightly to indicate that he would be fine.  He had had enough of magic for now.

He had no doubt that what he had seen and experienced in the last while had been serious magic. Deadly magic perhaps, given the power he had felt when the amulet was destroyed by Sir Washburn’s dagger.  He did not want to think about what would have been unleased if they had failed.  They?  He doubted his own contribution had been very much, yet Sir Washburn had thanked him along with the others.

He could use a nap and a full jug of ale, not necessarily in that order.  He started when Sir Washburn tapped him gently on the shoulder.  Surely, he had not dosed off while the priest had been praying!

“We dare not tarry here,” the Deryni knight said.  “Whoever it was that owned the amulet knows we have destroyed it.  He will act quickly.”

Darcy rose slowly to his feet. “Aye,” he agreed, “and he won’t act nicely, I’ll wager.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 06, 2018, 04:50:45 am
His hand tapped the dirt back into place. The tattered pouch with the shards of the blue gem lay neatly buried some two feet below.  He hoped that was deep enough. There had been a moment of suggestion that the shards of the crystal be scattered in the river’s bottom. It had been Lord Alister’s harsh laugh, “Let’s not kill all the local fish from the river!” After which Wash had began to dig his small hole. Father Columcil’s observances of Mass finished at about the same time. Each of the companions came to him with a bent knee to receive the Host. The mood of the small group seemed to lighten considerably after that. They had been through much in the past two days. A fellowship was growing where yesterday there had been none.

The silver mist of the ward disbanded from over their heads. Almost instinctively Wash cast outward for anyone with malicious intent nearby.

((2d6 3&3 failed. Verification Number: 1v4gjb61wk)) He must have been more tired than he thought. He could not tell if anyone was near at hand. 

His hand rested upon his horse’s shoulder. ((Is the horse nervous? 1d6 roll of 1-3 yes, roll of 4-6 he is calm.  Rolled 3 Verification Number: 7flj15s6rh)) His destrier was tense, the black’s ears pinned forward, his eyes locked on something unseen by the men in the trees near the river’s edge.

Alister!  Wash send with Mind Speech to get the lady’s attention. My powers fail me. Cast outward. Is it man or beast beyond the trees?

His sword had already found its way into his hand. He was likely jumping at shadows. The face from the Saint Camber's medallion may have knowledge where they were but could he have gotten one of his minions to them this quickly? He doubted that, yet a man prepared lives far longer than one taken by surprise.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 06, 2018, 02:17:47 pm
Somewhat to Sir Washburn's surprise he felt a hand upon his shoulder and he could barely surpress a start such was his level of tension.

"Sorry, Son," came a hushed voice with a border burr. "I didna mean to startle ye like that."

Columcil supposed that he should revert to more formal language now that the Sacrament was ended but it was a mark of their closer fellowship that the more pastoral address had come so readily. However it was best not to presume so he bowed his head in a slight reverence before continuing, "Would you let me calm this fine lad, My Lord? It's a skill that I have with beasts." Barely waiting for Sir Washburn's nod of agreement, as the latter remembered how the priest had been able to lead horses from the burning stable back in Culdi when they first met, Columcil took the horse's head between his hands and looked into the fearful beast's eyes. The destrier's tension eased but the same could not be said for the young lord whose knuckles were white as he gripped his sword.

"Can you sense anything, My Lord?", asked Columcil but he was startled to see a look of something akin to embarassment cross his face. "I'm sorry Father but dealing with that cursed amulet has left me drained of power." Columcil chided himself for a fool and replied gently. "No, My Lord, 'tis me who should be sorry for asking ye after what you have just done to save us. It's over late for me to hide who I am (or at least that I am Deryni he added mentally) - maybe I can sense if there is anyone out there."

He began to carefully extend his senses only to realise that his powers too were drained. ( 4+4 = 8 1j5xrhqm10 ((It's those dice again))) That thing must have been evil indeed to take all their strengths and he blessed heaven for the help they had surely received in destroying it. It was his turn to look shame-faced and he said quietly. "I'm sorry My Lord, it's drained you and me both, it seems. I hope that Lord Alister is in better shape."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 06, 2018, 06:23:55 pm
Darcy Cameron stretched to one side and felt a satisfying crack to his spine.  The tiredness persisted, but he was beginning to recover, at least slightly.  He noted the conversation between Father Columcil and Sir Washburn.    They seemed to be concerned about something.

Darcy looked around.  Only the bare earth gave sign of the evil shards that were buried by Sir Washburn.  Lord Alister stood a little apart, whether deep in thought or gathering his own strength, Darcy could not tell.

The sun slanted through the trees; it was growing late.  He saw the flash of light, reflected off of something metal, saw the path a projectile could take….

“Bloody hell!”  Darcy took off running, launched himself at Sir Washburn.

((dice roll, 1 die, 3  verification 6k9xzpfn7q, crap)

Darcy caught Washburn square in his midriff, throwing him backward, but not enough to move him completely from the crossbow bolt’s path.  The bolt tore through the knight’s shoulder, forcing a yelp of pain.  Both men fell to the ground, entangled, and strove to rise.

A man darted from the trees, dagger in hand, heading straight for Alister.

But Father Columcil had his staff in hand….
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 07, 2018, 03:18:24 am
((1-3 right shoulder injury or 4-6 left shoulder injury, unless someone else writes about it before I get to post again. Results  2 Verification Number: 4dj1xxdzz2. That’s not good, I should have guessed with my bad luck at the higher numbered dice and reversed the sides. ))

Wash only knew as he was shoved down to the ground that his hand could no longer retain its grasp around the hilt of his sword. It took an instant to register why. The pain was instant, numbing after the first thrust.The tackle to the ground was more surprising. Knowing it had likely saved his life was little compensation for the knowledge his companions were being attacked. “Aliset!” he yelled, disperate to wake her from the self imposed trance he now saw that she was in. The Camber Medallion palmed in both hands before the eyes that were those of her brother’s. She knew not her own danger.

Columcil’s staff raised in defense. He attacked the man, blocking him, yet not stopping the dagger that launched from the enemy's hand, which flew toward Aliset’s heart.

(( Telekinesis (Deryni): Moving without moving You can move small options just by thinking about it. You must have eye contact with the object and make a standard 2d6 Test.
Focus: This gives you a success on your next attack roll if you get 4 or above.
Hero point: You succeed on any Test with a roll of 4 or greater. Or if the success is already at that level it succeeds at the next lower pip, in this case a 3,4,5,or 6 to Push the dagger with his mind away from everyone.
Roll 2d6 1 & 3 Verification Number: 5ch5xg61rf   Success!  Thank you Hero Point!))

Seconds passed like hours: The dagger flew through the air like a slow moving bird. Washburn saw its shine in the afternoon sun. It’s silver rays gleaming in his eyes like the flair of a firefly. He focused on it, he focused down hard, taking his soul into the light of the steel. Using the spirit of his family, the spirit of his birth, the spirit of generations of men before him, good men, who had done great deeds. This one deed he would do: his mind locked on the thing that flew straight toward his friend's sister. He owed Alister that. It would not harm her! It would not cause her hurt! It would not hurt anyone!

The dagger broke from its trajectory. It twisted in the air. Its speed taking it away, throwing it far from the target it had intended to kill! It sunk, giving off the sound of a deep twang, uselessly into the trunk of a tree well beyond anyone's reach!
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 07, 2018, 06:54:23 pm
The unexpected sound of vibrating metal and the knight's shouting broke through Aliset's trance, alerting her to danger. Her eyes snapped open as she whirled to face the source of the attack she now sensed nearby, one hand reaching for the dagger at her waist.

If someone was close enough to attempt to spear her with a thrown dagger, he was close enough for her to try to do the same. Reaching out with her senses, she focused in on the threat before her.  Concentrating the full force of her will on hitting her target, she aimed and threw.

((rolled 3d6 because dagger is her weapon of mastery, but got 3, 2, and 2, which not even a hero point can save.  Verification # 46s4b8hjdr.  Much weeping and gnashing of teeth, not to mention unladylike language inserted here.))

Despite Aliset's fierce concentration, her foe managed to dodge the flying missile at the last moment, much to her consternation.  Alarmed at the loss of her weapon, she instinctively drew upon her powers to reach out for it, mentally willing her dagger to fly back into her outstretched hand.

((2d6, 2 and 5, v#2jsqjqjk48.  Phew! Lucky save!  And I guess that counts as my two permitted actions for this round.  And now I'm off again for a girls' night out, so see y'all tomorrow.))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 07, 2018, 08:15:00 pm
Darcy Cameron hit the ground as hard as his target.  The crossbow bolt had found its mark but not the deadly one that had been the original intent.  A small victory, but Darcy cursed himself for not being able to knock Sir Washburn completely clear.  No help for it now.  Darcy rolled, launched himself upward and drew his sword. 

He checked at the look of intense concentration on Sir Washburn’s face.  Sweat beaded the knight’s face as he concentrated on the path of the dagger in its swift flight toward Lord Alister. Darcy’s every instinct told him to leap forward into the dagger’s path, but there was not enough time, and the dagger’s aim was true.  Somehow, without realizing how, he understood what Washburn was trying to accomplish.  So he stood ready and watched the dagger falter, deflect, and anchor itself in a tree far beyond Lord Alister.

Their foe managed to dodge the dagger Lord Alister threw toward him and ran back toward cover.  Darcy charged after him, checking his headlong rush barely in time to avoid the dagger that flew back to Lord Alister’s hand.  The few seconds had cost him the chance to overcome the man quickly, and who know what ambush might lie ahead?  Sir Washburn was wounded and needed their attention.

“Bloody hell,” was all Darcy could think to say as he turned away from his pursuit.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 07, 2018, 11:26:30 pm
Still deep in trance Washburn moved his mind from the action around him to seek out the Culdi Highland Road and discover whether their attacker was alone.

((2d6 Focus Roll a 4,5,or 6 to see if he can sense others. Rolled 3&4 success Verification Number: 4768x8j26w))

((1d6 roll to see if there were any other enemy nearby. 1-3=Yes, 4-6=No. Rolled 3 Yes there are others Verification Number: 2q7mv8fw4b))

((1d6 how many more enemy: 1or2=3, 3or4=2, 5or6=1, rolled 5 that is one other enemy detected. That is good news at least.))

(1d6 1 point for every 100 yards away the second enemy is. Rolled 2 Verification Number: 45zkr58pnz  that's 200 yards away down the road. Oh Dear! There are still some of those two dice in the dice roller. Can someone please remove them.))

The downed knight woke himself from his trance with a fierce need. The pain in his shoulder seared as he tried to stand.  There was a hand there to stop him, but he shook it off. “We have to ride. Our attacker is not alone! There is another with him. He is on the hilltop, north. He could be in bow range if we don’t move! Now!”

Adding action to his words, he grabbed the hilt of his fallen sword with his left hand. Burying the tip in the dirt, he used it to help himself stand. A harsh grunt escaped his lips from the effort and again from the steps it took to reach his horse. He undid the reins that were loosely tied to a tree. He took them in his left hand, threw the far rein over the horse’s head, grabbed a handful of the black’s long mane and leaped upward swinging his right leg up over the horse’s back. It was a momentary scramble. He made it, but the effort left him breathless, lying against the destrier's neck.  That position allowed him to step his horse over to the standing sword and to pull it forth from the ground.

“We have to ride!” he shouted again to the others who had delayed to watch him and who only then were finding their own mounts. “Ride!” he yelled as he spurred his horse through the creek, over the far bank, and up onto the road. He looked north, saw not far up the hill a man break from the trees. A second man raced down the hill riding one horse and guiding a second. It would only be moments before the two enemy would meet, before their attacker would have a horse under him and the two would be chasing them down. His fellowship was in danger! There was nothing for it but to run. Without his sword arm, he was useless in a fight. With cross bolts in the enemy’s hands they would never get close enough for that fight, anyway.  As  his friends came on to the road, Wash kicked his horse to a canter and then to a gallop, racing south.  At this pace, his chain-mail shirt jarred against the crossbow bolt which stuck out from his shoulder with every hoof that pounded the road. 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 08, 2018, 01:50:51 pm
Aliset leaped into the saddle, glancing around to see her companions doing the same. Spurring her mount on to follow Sir Washburn's, she reached out with her senses, trying to establish how badly injured the knight leading their party was. A wave of roiling pain met her psychic inquiry and she withdrew her mental touch, concentrating on moving her horse closer to his flank. Signaling the priest to do the same on his other side, she caught Darcy's eye. Waving him on, she yelled, "Ride on ahead of Sir Washburn, but not too far ahead, and keep a sharp look out for any possible ambushes in wait for us.  We need to tend to his injuries, but it's far too dangerous for us to do so here."  Thinking fast, she tried to recall what sanctuaries might be found in this part of Meara.  Ah, there was one possibility that came to mind--the Abbey of St. Brigid!  She did not like the thought of putting the convent at risk, but on the other hand, there had been such backlash from the local population at the atrocities that had been committed there by Mearan separatists of the previous generation that she suspected Oswald's--or the mysterious Deryni's--hired men would not risk provoking the wrath of a populace they hoped to win over to their side of the conflict between those loyal to the Mearan separatist cause and the Kingdom of Gwynedd.  And if they could reach the abbey's gates alive, they would be nearly at Gwynedd's border, and even closer to safety. One might hope, anyway, though deep down Aliset knew better than to think their pursuers would leave them alone once they exchanged their mountain trail for the Gwyneddan hills and plains.

"To Saint Brigid's!" she called out to her companions, though not so loudly that their pursuers might hear their plan and find some way to detour around them and block their progress towards that refuge.  Beside and slightly ahead of her, Sir Washburn seemed to nod in agreement. At least she hoped it was agreement and not a sign he was near to losing consciousness.  Raising one hand to clutch her medallion of Saint Camber, she prayed that they would make it to the safety of the abbey before the knight from Corwyn lost too much blood, and that Father Columcil would be recovered enough from their efforts at destroying the amulet to use his gift of Healing.  Or failing that, that the convent infirmarian would be able to provide Wash with the assistance he needed.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 08, 2018, 04:26:58 pm
Darcy Cameron urged his horse forward, past Sir Washburn, continuing forward until he was four horse lengths ahead of his companions.  Far enough ahead to spot anything amiss and be able to warn the others, or far enough ahead that if he sprung a trap himself, they could see it in time to pull up and take shelter.  Though at this pace, it would be difficult. He did not find the thought comforting.

His could not shake the belief that they were being herded forward.  He strained every one of his senses to pick up anything that seemed wrong.  How far ahead was Saint Brigid’s? Could they reach the convent’s shelter before Sir Washburn could no longer ride? 

(Dice roll, Survivalist, advantage when seeking shelter.  3 dice:  1 + 2 +4 =7.  Sheesh, can’t one of us get a break?)

Darcy’s horse stumbled, nearly taking them both to the ground.  The mare recovered, but Darcy had no choice but to stop.  He dismounted and checked her for injury.

“How bad is it?”  Father Columcil asked they pulled up behind him.

“It could be worse,” Darcy said glumly.  “Her shoe is loose; if I try to keep up this pace, she’ll fall and break a leg for sure.  You go ahead.  I’ll keep up as best I can and try to keep our pursuers off your backs.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 08, 2018, 04:35:04 pm
Aliset hesitated. She was their pursuers' main quarry; if they managed to catch up with her, perhaps they'd let her injured companion go free.  At any rate, she couldn't leave her man-at-arms behind. Or at least she would not, even though she could.

Glancing over at Father Columcil, who was taking note of the situation with grave concern, she told him, "Go on ahead with Sir Washburn and inform the abbey of our situation. They might be able to send aid, and if nothing else, they certainly ought to have a bed in their infirmarium where you can turn to Sir Washburn's injury. I'll remain here with Master Darcy to slow down our pursuers."  Wheeling her horse around, she drew her horse up alongside Darcy's, facing the direction they had come from with a grim smile, one hand upon her dagger.  "They'll not take us down without a fight."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 08, 2018, 10:24:03 pm
In anguish and frustration, Wash circled his horse around his friends, guiding the beast with his knees. He growled as his left hand touched the barb embedded in his shoulder, wishing he could rip the thing out of his body. The brief effort made him dizzy with pain and he growled again.

"You'll have no chance against those crossbows." He gasped, coming around to face Aliset. "If you must do this, than take to the trees. Before they come around that bend and see you.  Chance might be that they will follow us and never know you are not ahead of me. Don't-" he gasped-"don't risk a fight unless there is no other way." His bloody hand grabbed up his reins "Quick before they see!"

"Saint Camber save her, don't let her be caught or injured by such evil men." He managed to whisper. "I would rather be dead than see harm befall her." his prayer was said to himself, but his words may have been loud enough that they may have been heard. 

"Columcil, run ahead of me! I will draw their attention when they come around the bend," Wash stepped his horse ten feet back into the middle of the road. He lay down across his horse's neck. It wasn't all an act. He knew it, but hoped his friends believed it to be. When the two pursuers came on, he would taunt them into following him. With hope they would not know Darcy and Aliset were left behind.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 09, 2018, 02:11:59 am
Columcil had been trained to obedience to authority by his days in seminary but it was not natural to him and nor was the idea of leaving an injured man when he could offer aid. "Let me heal you first, My Lord", he begged in a voice rough with worry. ((4+1=5 69krtl6mbf aargh!!)).

Mingled pain and frustration were in the look that Sir Washburn gave him, "There is no time, and we dare not risk rapport or a healing trance out in the open here. The devil will be on our heels soon, for the love of God please go!" Reluctantly Columcil saw the sense in the words, he bowed his head in acceptance, then turned and kicked his mount onwards.

The track curved around a bend and ahead he could see the beginnings of a small town. But there was no sign of a Convent this side of the town walls, which were new by the look of them, strong and sturdy with a solid looking gatehouse. All a bit much for a little town, surely, and betokening a history of violence in these parts.

Dare he ask for help or did he risk bringing more trouble on his companions. Well there was no help for it, he had to try; perhaps he could think of a story that would endanger only himself until he was sure of the nature of his welcome.

The thickets to the edge of the path had been cleared to a bowshot's distance as he neared within what he reckoned was less than half a league from the town but, his senses on edge, he thought he heard a rustle at the edge of the grass to his left. Pulling his mountain pony to a sudden stop he dismounted and swung the staff from his back, slamming it down from where he thought the rustling had come. There was a squeal and a half-grown wild boar shot out, blessedly too startled to turn and attack and shot into the deeper woodland. ((4+2 =6  7hs&zc2l6d - I forgot that Columcil could roll advantage for weapon's mastery - the best thing seemed to be to make him waste an effort. He is as irritated as I am))

Thoroughly annoyed with himself he remounted and hurried on towards the town.

((Modified as I hadn't intended to make Wash appear dictatorial))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 09, 2018, 09:17:37 am
There was no time to lose. It seemed clear to Aliset that Sir Washburn was in no shape to deal with the enemies closing in behind them, yet she refused to leave Master Darcy behind to deal with them alone either.

An idea came to her, and she brought her horse alongside Darcy's.  "Quickly, mount up behind me!  We are still near enough to the village, and perhaps even the abbey, to make it to the safety of those walls if we can ride swiftly, but as your horse is not up to that, our best bet is to let him follow along behind us as best he can. Our pursuers are under orders to stop us; I doubt they'll veer from their pursuit to capture a lame horse, so hopefully we'll be able to recover him once it's safe to do so."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 09, 2018, 10:36:18 am
A sudden thought came to Aliset. There was something she'd heard once of something the Archbishop of Rhemuth (at the time still Duke of Cassan) had done in a moment of desperation during the last Mearan War.  He had used illusory magic to call up the appearance of a wall of flame between his forces and the Mearan separatists attacking them, to buy time for his men to get away.

((Dice roll 3 + 1, v#67gq3g947h.  Nooooo!!!!  *headdesk*))

Attempting to focus on the task, she waved her hand in a wide arc in the direction of their approaching foes, but alas, she was too anxious to summon up the illusory flames. It had been worth a try, but now they really could not delay their escape any longer. With Darcy securely mounted behind her now, they rode hell bent for leather towards the village up ahead, moderating their pace only enough to ensure Sir Washburn would be able to keep up.

((Hope that's OK, Jerusha. If Darcy would rather stubbornly remain with his horse, I can come back and rewrite that bit and risk Aliset valiantly dying by his side...LOL!))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 09, 2018, 11:25:44 am
Darcy Cameron hesitated for a moment, then quickly dismounted and tied the reins loosely to his saddle horn.  The horse he could do without, but there was something else he could not.

As quickly as possible, he untied his sea bag, reached inside to the secret pocket and withdrew the worn pouch on its leather cord.  He pulled the cord over his head and secured the pouch inside his shirt.

“Hurry!” Lady Aliset urged.  She waved her hand in a broad arc at the men behind them; her look of keen disappointment told Darcy that something had not gone as planned.  But what had?

With a little less precision than he would have liked, Darcy leaped onto her horse, barely settling himself behind her and forced to grab her waist to steady himself as she urged their mount into a gallop.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 09, 2018, 12:48:54 pm
Two bays, too light and long legged for Mearean stock, looking more of the learner Torenthi breed galloped up the road chasing their query, who had gotten out of view after the last turn in the road. The two riders whooped with delight as the charged around the bend only to discover three horses ahead just moving out, one without a rider and one riding double.

“We have them” yelled the leader. He brought his loaded crossbow up into position, he fingered the safety latch. Noting his partner did the same. “I got the black horse rider, you get the back of the man riding double. Lord Oswald will pay us handsomely for this!” he yelled gleefully.

The path was clear, no obstructing trees, only the road was a bit uneven. Likely why the one horse ahead had injured himself.

The lead pursuer took his aim, careful to balance up on his heels, allowing his knees to take the jarring of rough road and his body to balance the crossbow at an even level.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 09, 2018, 01:04:34 pm
Washburn was low on the neck of his horse, a wave of dizziness passed him up as he pushed his horse into a gallop  along side the two riding double. He had seen the enemy come up from behind. His heart was racing, his spurs were jabbing his horse to move faster. Leaning so low, he was sure he was giving the pursuers the smallest target possible.  Then he heard it the twang of the crossbow.

((1d6 disadvantage roll for the pursuer aimed at Wash. rolled 6 Verification Number: 4tsnk12nwc A curse on  those Torenthi dice))

In an instant of anguish, a barb pierced chain-mail, breaches and skin, sinking deep into his right buttocks. Wash would have cried out if he had the energy left to do so. All he could manage was to hold tight to the horse’s neck with his left hand and stay in the saddle.  The war horse was well trained and took his wounded rider fast and furiously away from the danger.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 09, 2018, 01:51:11 pm
As they rounded one last curve in the road, Aliset noted the village wall and gate just a short distance ahead.  The terrain around them was clearer now, the thicket on either side of the road cleared back to make it more difficult for outlaws to ambush unwary travelers, and the road this close to the village appeared to be better maintained.  Relieved that at least this village was scrupulous in its adherence to civic duties, she urged her mount towards the open gate. She thought she spied Father Columcil's mount just on the other side of the wall now, speaking to the gatekeeper with mounting urgency, if his wild gesticulation could be interpreted as such.

((1d6, rolled a 6 for the enemy. Bloody hell, it's a direct hit!  V#1nts8t9v9j.  Second test roll to see who or what he hit: 1-2=Darcy, 3-4=Aliset, 5-6=the horse.  1d6 roll result=4.  V#5vx1l2bhrx.  Given that Darcy is seated behind Aliset but the shot hit her instead of him, I'm guessing it had to have hit her shoulder.  Unless they shot from the side at a curve in the road, but chances are her arm would still be the most likely target at that angle.))

Just as it seemed they might make it to sanctuary with no further mishap, as they covered the final stretch of ground towards the open gates, Aliset felt a sharp pain pierce her left shoulder.  As the hooves of their horses thundered through the gates, she felt Master Darcy's strong arms tighten protectively around her waist, keeping her in the saddle as shouts behind them and the creak of hinges seemed to indicate that the  good priest had managed to convince the villagers to close the gates behind them. Or perhaps just seeing mounted riders in the distance with drawn weapons converging on their village had been enough to convince them.  Aliset did not know, and at the moment was not minded to ask, her full concentration just then needed to stay conscious and on horseback.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 09, 2018, 02:23:28 pm
Grand Duke Valerian smiled in satisfaction as the scene many miles distant played out before him in the depths of his wine chalice.  His henchmen had managed to score several direct hits on their fleeing quarry, and now the four fugitives were holed up in a Mearan border village.  The fact that most of the villagers there were loyal to the pretender king Kelson due to their sense of injury at their treatment by the true heir to Meara and his forces a generation earlier caused a fleeting frown to mar his darkly handsome features, but if they offered his prey too much aid, they would be dealt with in due time.  For the moment, it mattered little to him that the village gates had been closed against his minions.  Lady Aliset and her companions were trapped, hardly in any shape to venture further towards Rhemuth until their injuries had been tended to, and that would allow him sufficient time to send reinforcements to wait outside all of the village gates until such time as they should emerge.  He could be patient.

He gave the man before him a contented smile.  "Your bride-to-be yet lives, Oswald, if you're still minded to have her. I'll have her back in your hands very soon."  His smile turned feral.  "As for the others, I have my own plans for them."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 09, 2018, 02:52:50 pm
Darcy Cameron thought they just might make it.  Were those the city walls ahead?  Lady Aliset was taller by several inches, so he moved slightly to the right to get a better view, unwittingly exposing her left shoulder….

He felt her tense with the shock of the bolt entering her shoulder.  He gripped her more firmly, reaching forward to take the reins as they flew though the gate.  He heard Sir Washburn’s horse beside him, but did not turn to look until he heard the gates close behind them.

Father Columcil was running toward them.  A man approached to hold Lady Aliset’s horse.
 
“Keep him steady so I can get my Lord safely down,” Darcy commanded, jarring her as little as he could as he slipped off the horse.  “Let go of the reins,” he said gently.  “I’ve got you, just let them go.”

Lady Aliset nodded slightly, fighting dizziness and pain. She let Master Darcy ease her down from the saddle, but managed a weak protest as he lifted her up into his arms.”

“Nay, my Lady.  This is my fault,” he said grimly, but low enough that no one else could hear.  “Father Columcil,” he said as the priest reached his side, “Lord Alister is injured, and I fear Sir Washburn has fared worse. We need your help.” 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 09, 2018, 03:12:49 pm
((2d6 to see if Aliset maintains her brother's form and features.  3 + 1, V#7bprmhtc88.  Ah well, she should be easier for Darcy to lug around now!   ;D ))

As she slid from the saddle, Aliset's world went black. When she became conscious of her surrounding once more, she felt movement and a curious warmth at her side and back which turned out to be Master Darcy, carrying her through the crowded street towards some destination unknown. Something was impeding her vision, but she knew not what, and the pain in her shoulder made it difficult on her to focus.  It appeared to be...long, loose hair?  With a glance down at herself, she realized with some horror that she had shifted back into her own form.  What an odd impression she must be making on the villagers here, a woman dressed in a coarse brown habit, untidy braid replacing a polished tonsure!

She started to protest, to insist that she was well enough to walk, but another wave of faintness caused her to reconsider.  No, on second thought, there were worse places she could be at the moment, and she felt she could take Master Darcy not to take undue advantage of their situation.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 10, 2018, 11:24:34 am
Columcil made to enter the gateway but was stopped by a man who looked both better armed and more ready to use them than was surely usual in such rural townships. He held up his hands in a placating gesture and was trying to think of what story he could tell when out of the corner of his eye he saw his companions brest the brow of the hill. Something was clearly wrong though at such a distance he could not see entirely what it was. One of the horses carried a double load and the other's rider - sweet merciful heavens! Surely he could not be dead. It had to be Sir Washburn by the gleam of his hair, clear even at this distance, and Columcil felt suddenly sick. His distraction was ended by the guard who spoke in manner which made clear the answers to his questions had better be good.

"You, with them, are ye?"

Columcil realised that nothing but at least some of the truth would save them; he could only pray that it would be enough. It would be terrible to escape from whoever was pursuing the Lady Aliset with such venom only to fall victim to the local townsfolk. He began an impassioned plea only to be stopped short by the guard.

"I dunna care what trouble you're in, you'll no come in here if you have owt to do with them cursed Mearan traitors. D'ye recognise our lord Kelson as your king or no."

Well at least he could give the right answer to that one. "Aye, we do, and one of our number, pray God he still lives, is the son of one of his greatest lords, Duke Alaric of Corwyn." At that the guard's face changed. Though Columcil could not know it he had been a small lad when the town had been sacked and all but destroyed by Ithel, and he remembered the king and his champion riding in to their rescue. He held by the loyalty he had sworn in his heart then, and most of the township held with him. Those who still held a torch for the old Mearan line did so quietly or, amongst the boldest, when they were in their cups.

"Come on through, and I'll shut the gate on any who's following ye. They'll no get in so easily" He suited his actions to his words, letting the heavy bar fall into place then added, "the best place for ye is the Nunnery up top of the town. I'll send a lad running up to say you're coming. They've an infirmary there and the good sisters are skilled in leechcraft. They'll do what they can for you. Though," he added morosely, looking towards Washburn, "'tis a healer you need for yon and there are none in these parts."

Columcil bit his lip to prevent himself from replying sharply; the man after all had spoken nothing but the truth. He saw that Darcy was lifting Lord Alister down from the saddle and gestured for him to go on up to the nunnery. "We're expected, thanks be to God, and they can care for you there. I'll see what I can do here." He sighed worriedly. His last attempt to heal had ended in failure, pray God and all His Saints that he would not fail now. Darcy looked anxiously at him but he repeated, "Go my son, your duty is plain, though spare me a prayer or two as you go."

Now he had to hope that the gatekeeper who had spoken so easily of healers was as comfortable with one in the flesh. Turning back to him he spoke urgently. "If you will help me, and if God wills I may be able to save him. Have you any skill in leechcraft yourself?"

The man looked at him curiously and clearly had a question on his lips, then looked back at the white faced bleeding figure spread-eagled across his horse's back and - thank God! - decided that explanations could wait. "I can draw out a weapon, Sir, or maybe 'tis Father, I should be calling you," he hazarded. Columcil nodded, but otherwise made no comment as to his identity ."Good. We'll need to lay him down first - do you have a bed in there?" He gestured towards the gatehouse and the other nodded.

"We'll slip him down over his horse's rump, and carry him flat - one on each side," So saying he slipped Washburn's feet out of his stirrups and with his hand on the horse's still heaving flank calmed the beast's fear and then gestured the other to support Washburn on the right while he carried his left leg and arm. Thankfully there was not far to go and the bed, though rough, was clean. Washburn moaned once then lay still, though his eyes watched them. Crossing himself, Columcil withdrew his precious prayer book from the breast of his habit, kissed it and once again prayed that the healing inheritance of his father and grandfather might run true in him.

"I'll try for his shoulder first, we'll have to push the barb through. Can you do that when I say? It would be good to have your name. " he added almost absently.

"Kieran, Father, and aye, just say the word." He hesitated. "I can cut the arrow out of his bum too, when you give the sign- it won't be the first time. Though it's usually from a hunter whose mate canna tell a human bum from a pig's backside."

Columcil breathed a prayer of gratitude for a practical helper and nodded. Kieran took out his dagger and held the blade in the fire to cleanse it then waited in silence.

Columcil prayed ((dice roll 5+1 +6 1c3kntnfxb - yay)) then setting aside his fear and exhaustion nodded at Kieran and slipped into the light trance which preceded healing. He extended his controls, and soothed away the pain though Washburn moaned again as the barb was withdrawn. The blood flowed freely as the arrow was pulled through but putting his hands firmly over the wound and his thumbs into the hole left by the barb Columcil felt the energy flow through him. There was briefly that odd sensation of another's hands atop his and he knew by that that he would succeed. The flesh closed and soon even the faint line of the scar would heal. Kieran glanced at him and receiving a slight nod dug around the barb embedded in Washburn's buttock. Columcil damped down as much pain as he could though he could feel Washburn trembling with the effort not to cry out. Finally the arrow was out and he could again allow healing power to flow through the wound.

Withdrawing from his trance he felt exhausted. He looked around for water to cleanse his bloodstained hands but Kieran was already handing him a leather bucket full of cold clean water and a rough rag for drying. "Thank you, my son," he managed. "You've worked with a healer before, I think but no matter now." He knelt by Washburn's head and said gently, "I can help you to sleep, son, if you will allow me that far past your shields." Washburn smiled up at him and as the priest put his hands to his forehead allowed his shields to roll back. Somehow this felt familar, but he was too tired to think about it now and his eyes closed in rest.

Columcil slipped to his knees and hands open in gratitude offered his thanks to God and His Saints. He must go up to the nunnery soon but he must rest a little first.



Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 10, 2018, 12:49:43 pm
 "Go my son, your duty is plain, though spare me a prayer or two as you go."

Darcy Cameron nodded and said a fervent, hasty prayer that Father Columcil would succeed and save Sir Washburn’s life.  He might have suggested the priest help Lady Aliset first, but one look at the knight’s ashen face convinced him that the priest had made the right call.  Darcy hoped sincerely that Father Columcil would have no need to administer the Last Rites. There was nothing more he could do here; his immediate duty was to get Lady Aliset safely to the Nunnery where her shoulder could be treated. 

Darcy walked quickly but carefully, trying not to jar the limp body he held in his arms.  The distance to the Nunnery was farther than he had hoped and uphill.  The day had cooled as evening approached, but he was breathing hard when he reached the entrance.  The gate was partly open when he reached it and was swung fully wide by the man who had preceded him to advise the nuns of their coming.

A nun of indeterminant years nodded to Darcy and said, “Follow me.”  She then averted her eyes and led him along the covered walk to the infirmary.

As he carried Lady Aliset through the door, he noted four simple cots arranged perpendicular to the far wall.  A nun came out from a small, adjoining room and motioned him to one of the cots.

“Place her here; lay her on her uninjured side.  Sister, help support her.”

Darcy eased Aliset as carefully onto the cot as he could, but she groaned softly as he moved the support of his arms away. The sister supported Aliset’s back as instructed, keeping her immobile as the infirmarian bent closer to examine the wound.

“You may go now,” she said.

  “But I can’t leave her!” Darcy began in protest. “I need to insure her safe….” He stopped at the sharp looks from the nuns.  “Oh, yes, of course.  I’ll be outside.”

The door closed firmly behind him as he left.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 10, 2018, 03:01:20 pm
Hold on, hold on! Fingers in a vise grip on the destrier’s mane.  All his weight in his left sturrup tilting the saddle off kilter. Hold on, hold on!

Stone walls, oak gates, protection of a small town. A moment of relief shattered by the sight of a braid of brown hair falling over Master Darcy’s arm. He carried a woman in his arms, he carried her away from Washburn’s sight.  Heavens above was that Aliset? Pain! Failure!

Hands on his injuries, devastating at first, then soothing. Calming. He looked up then to see Columcil’s face, a face in trance, Healer’s trance. Wash had felt that feeling once before from his sister’s hand when as a child he had slipped on the tower steps after waiting so long in a rainstorm, waiting and watching for his father’s return. His father never returned. His sister Briony was in tears as she had healed his broken wrist. He only learned latter, why she had cried so hard.

He woke his heart racing, blinking hard in the dim light. A light of a candle somewhere on the far side flickered on the plain stone walls. He lay face down on a cot, his clothes gone, only a blanket of wool pulled up to his shoulders. He took inventory then. Left hand moving over the two spots where he had been sure he had been injured. His fingers touched whole skin. Amazing that. Than his fingers touched the one thing he still wore. A chain around his neck that held a family token. A good copy of the original Saint Camber Medallion which his father had always worn and was now a constant part of his brother’s attire. “Blessing to you Saint Camber,” he whispered knowing that in some way the saint had had a part of his healing.

He sat up then, bringing the wool over his lap. His movement woke the only other person in the room. A man lying on a palate near the door. The man sat up instantly concerned. “My lord, you should not be up. The Father said you should sleep until dawn.”

Washburn shook from lightheadedness. “I…” was all he said for a moment. “I can’t sleep, I have to know. What of my companions? I must go to them.” He started to stand, wrapping the blanket around his midriff. “Are those me things?” he reached for the table. He was weaker than he thought, he did not make it that far. As he stumbled, the guardsman rushing over to  balance him before he fell.

“There is no news yet from the nunnery, but you can count that the lady is in good hands. I will send a lad to find out more. Please rest, I promised the Father that I would care for you in his absence.”

Wash had little choice. He was healed, but he was still weak. Rest would take care of that by morning. Yet he was anxious for news.

Lady Aliset had been injured, of that he was certain. He sat back down on the bed, his elbows on his knees, his head resting on his hands. He casted out with his mind, searching for Aliset.  ((2d6 rolled 1&3 Verification Number: 67v70lcd91))
Damn! He could not reach her. What did that mean?

“Go now, please!” he bagged of the guard. “Find out how she fares.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 10, 2018, 03:28:17 pm
Aliset awakened from unconsciousness with a start, eyes frantically taking in the unfamiliar surroundings.  She relaxed slightly as she realized it appeared to be a convent infirmarium, but the absence of her familiar travel companions alarmed her.  How had she arrived here?  The last thing she remembered, she'd been riding through the village gate, her enemies in hot pursuit, and then the rest of the memory was shrouded in the building fog of pain that had clouded those final few moments she remembered between taking the crossbow bolt in her shoulder and arriving here.  Well, not completely shrouded.  She vaguely remembered slipping out of the saddle, half falling from her horse, her vision already beginning to fade around the edges as someone caught her up to prevent her from crumpling to the ground. Who had that been? Ah yes, it must have been Master Darcy!  Sir Washburn had been in no shape to lift her, and the priest had ridden on ahead.... Yes, she remembered now, he'd been with the gatekeeper.  So that meant Master Darcy had brought her here.  But where was he now?

She tried to stand, but the effort was too painful and brought on a wave of weakness that nearly caused her to pass out again.  Gingerly inspecting her shoulder, she saw the bolt had been removed and the injury had been washed and neatly bandaged. That was good, at least.  She wished she had her healing herbs with her, but they were still in her saddle bags, and at any rate, the infirmarian would doubtless have their own stock of potions to help her fight off infection and fever.  Her more pressing need now, it seemed, was to locate the rest of her fellowship.

((2d6, dice rolls 6 and 6...woohoo! V#z1j2bj7hmz))

Ah!  There was Master Darcy just outside her door, and somewhere nearby, though not yet so close, she thought she sensed the presence of Father Columcil.  At first she could not sense Sir Washburn at all, and a surge of sorrow coursed through her, fearing that he had succumbed to his injuries, but then, at the outer range of what she could sense with her flagging energy, she managed to brush up against his mind.  All alive, then!  With a relieved smile, she gave in to her overwhelming need for sleep.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 10, 2018, 09:22:52 pm
Darcy Cameron awoke with a start, for a moment confused as to where he was.  Then he remembered. 

It had seemed a long time before the infirmarian opened the door and informed him that the bolt had been removed from Lady Aliset’s shoulder, and God willing, she would recover.  Darcy had thanked her, but his request to see Aliset had been denied.  He had not even been told she was resting; the nun had simply said, “No!”

She had motioned him toward the guest house, but Darcy had crossed his arms over his chest, leaned against the wall, and told her he would stay where he was.  She had not been pleased.  She instructed the sister who remained inside to make sure he did not enter, closed the door and strode resolutely down the corridor.

After a while, Darcy had removed his habit, folded it into a makeshift cushion for some comfort against the stone walkway, and sat down to wait.  He assumed Father Columcil would come when he could, hopefully with good news.

Darcy had drifted off to some much needed rest, though he kept a hand on the hilt of his sword.  It was now early evening, and the Nunnery bell began to toll the evening office.

One clear peal, then two, then clank.

Clank?

Darcy rose, stretched, and made his way to the small courtyard in front of the Nunnery’s church.  There was a bell tower, rather high for the simplicity of the church.  At its base stood one of the sisters, the end of a rope in one hand, and the rest piled around the hem of her habit.

The aged Nunnery steward came toward her.  “What’s happened, Sister?”

“It broke,” she replied, “I pulled and the rope broke.”

Another nun approached them; she did not hurry; her bearing clearly indicating one who is in charge.

“Reverend Mother,” the steward said after bowing with respect. Darcy followed suit.  “The rope has broken.”

“You can fix it?”

“I have no ladder that can reach.  I’ll have to go down to the town,” he replied.

Darcy stepped closer to the bell tower and examined the interior.  Along the far wall rope netting hung, reaching from the floor to the top of the tower.

“Reverend Mother,” Darcy said carefully.  “We need no ladder; there is rope to climb.  If your steward has rope long enough for the bell, I can carry it up.”

The Reverend Mother looked at him carefully.  “You can climb up that?”

“Aye, my Lady.  I’ve twelve years at sea.  I’ve climbed rigging more precarious than this.”

She studied him carefully, then nodded. 

The steward fetched a long enough rope to do the job.  Darcy tied one end around his waist, leaving both hands free to climb.  For a moment he thought to leave his sword behind, but thought better of it.
 
After a second assessment of the rope netting, Darcy began to climb.  The netting was old, so he tested each piece to ensure it would take his weight.  One section broke away, but he was able to grasp the one above and continue.  Once he reached the top, he untied the rope from his waist and secured it to the bell’s metal ring.  He tied good, strong sailor’s knots.  This rope would not break free.

He took a moment to view the town below, the walls and the surrounding hills.  It reminded him of stories his grandfather used to tell.  Stories of the fabled watch fires of Isles, skirmishes with invaders, tunnels under fortress walls.

Tunnels?  Many fortified manors in the rugged Isles had hidden tunnels to allow people to escape or supplies to be brought in under siege.  Could there be a tunnel under this town’s walls?

“Master?” called the sister from below.

“Coming!” Darcy called back, and carefully began his descent.  He found one other weak section on his way down, but carefully allowing himself to drop to the section below, descended safely.

“Your pardon, Reverend Mother,” he said.  “I have not enjoyed such a view for a long while and tarried too long.”  He expected a rebuke, but instead she smiled, thanked him, and led the nuns into the church.

Darcy hesitated for a moment, but decided that Lady Aliset would be safe within the Nunnery’s walls.  He needed to find Father Columcil and Sir Washburn, God willing the knight still lived.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 11, 2018, 05:04:10 am
The compulsion was to sleep. Just to lay down and get a full night’s rest. Columcil compulsion was hard to counteract. The guard would be gone for some time. If Wash slept now would the man wake him when he returned with his news? Probably not. If Wash wanted to learn how his companions were doing, he needed to stay awake. With every passing minute of quiet, his head grew heavier and he his eyes were shutting for longer moments than they were staying open.

A church bell somewhere beyond the room he was in gave a clear ring. Wash listened, he had no idea what the time was. He would count the bells to help stay awake. A second ring. He waited, expected to count seven more.

***Clank!***  came the third sound.

“What was that?”

***silence***

“Khardasha!” Washburn called out. There was no sound that answered him. His mind raced. Why would the bells stop ringing. Only one answer came to him.  “An Attack! Damn!” Could it be, up at the convent where he had heard Aliset had been taken. He wasn’t there to protect her.

Energy surged where he had none a moment before, he threw the blanket off, stood and walked none to steadily to his things piled on the table. Most of his stuff was not there, he hoped it was all still on his saddle wherever his horse was. He pushed the chain mail aside, he could never get that on, not in a hurry. His riding leathers were here; a whole in one back side and stained with his blood. He stuffed one leg in, caught his balance on the table, and stepped into the second legging, pulling the leather trues up and tying off the waist. He found his monk’s shoes, which he had learned to despise in the last two days. At least they were easy to slip on. His tunic was too torn and blood soaked to ware. So he threw the monk’s robe over his head, grabbed his sword, gathered his courage, and left the guard’s room.

There were townsmen on the gate and  armed men on the walls. All seemed intent on what lay beyond, none paid any mind to those who moved about within. Their pursuers must be camped out there, just out of bow shoot.  Wash would have loved to test that theory; his archery distance was far greater than most could boost at. Just now, however, he had only one thing on his mind. Find Aliset and make certain she was protected.

Wash half ran from one building to the next always seeking the roads that went uphill. He was certain he could find the convent gate. It should have been somewhere off of this main street.  Or was that the main street. The stone buildings were so close that he could not tell. He was lost. He never got lost in Rhemuth or Coroth, but this little burg had him all turned around.  He head was spinning once more, he found himself moving as a drunkard moved. Huddling in to a shadowed corner, he passed a fatigue banishing spell. That helped. As his mind cleared he started to question his purpose. No one in town were screaming or panicking. There was no attack going on. In his exhaustion, he had made it all up. Aliset was protected by Darcy and Healed by Columcil. He needed to return to his own bed and rest up. 

Two men crossed the street he had just left. Two more followed them down to a one story building. All four went into the door looking both ways as they entered. They shut the door behind them. Wash was sure he saw the gleam of weapons under their cloaks.  Were they preparing for the Mearian separatist who sieged the town gates.  Perhaps he could help by telling them what they were up against. He stepped slowly down the street to the closed door. There were men's voices heard, mostly muffled. He stalled his knock on the door as he heard. “We can not get to her. Convent gates closed… she’s out of our reach.” Washburn's short hair raised at his neck. Who were these men. “ …that near dead one ... Keiran left him alone, we can take him while he sleeps, before Keiran returns.” There was a humph of agreement. Wash brought forth his sword. He would attack all four of them. On a better day he could. Just now... damn he couldn’t handle four. He knew his own limits. He could not protect Aliset if he was wounded again.

Ashamed of himself, he stepped away from the door. Just in time for the local Mearan separatists to reenter the streets. He marked their looks in the torch light. He watched them turn and go down hill. Even though his sword was in hand he could not beat them all. Feeling his cowardice deep within, he turned the opposite way, he went further up hill. Soon enough, he came to the Convent gates.  But just as they had said, the gates were locked tight. No one answered his knocks. The fatigue banishing spell wore off far too quickly.  Exhausted he turned to a space between the convent wall and a smaller building, sliding down to find some protection from the wind from the roof overhang. 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 11, 2018, 10:00:53 am
Darcy Cameron approached the closed gate of the Nunnery.  From the small gatehouse beside it, a man stepped forth.  Probably the gatekeeper, Darcy thought.  The torches that had been lit at the sides of the gate showed the man’s features clearly.

Unlike the old steward, this man was younger, only a few years older than he was, Darcy surmised as he approached him.  He was well built, possibly a formidable guard.

Darcy nodded in greeting.  “I need to step out for a bit.  I will return shortly.”

“Sorry,” the man said.  “No one leaves or enters tonight.  Reverend Mother gave strict orders.”

“I must check on the other of my wounded companions and make sure all is well.”

The man shook his head.  “I’ll not disobey her orders and loose my position,  so you can visit the town for a drink.”

Darcy bristled, arms bent and clenched fists on his hips.  He could probably take the man, but that would jeopardize any future help they might receive from the Nunnery.

“Besides,” the gatekeeper continued. “If I did let you out, I guarantee you won’t get back in this night.”

That would be a problem. He was not willing to leave Lady Aliset unguarded that long. Perhaps his idea to find the others had been a bit rash.  Even if there was a passage, and if someone would admit to it, and if they could convince someone to give them access, it would be full dark by the time they left.  There were advantages and disadvantages to leaving in the middle of the night.  And Lady Aliset had not yet been Healed by Father Columcil.  His plan would wait.

“Very well,” Darcy said.  “But there is a priest that may ask entrance.  The injured woman has need to see him.”

“I will have to ask the Reverend Mother’s permission.  It is up to her to decide.”

Did the man have a smirk on his face? 

“See to it you ask the question,” Darcy said, giving the man a dark look. 

Darcy returned to his post beside the infirmary door.  He had a clear view of the gate from there.  He would make sure the gatekeeper asked the question.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 11, 2018, 04:59:28 pm
The nunnery gatekeeper had not been entirely honest with Darcy. He, like the majority of the townsfolk, was very protective of the nunnery and its sisters. Though it was nigh on half a century ago, the memory of Ithel's ravaging of the holy women and their home was seared into the town's memory. The gatekeeper had his own reasons too. He had run, half -crazed with worry to fetch the Infirmarian when screaming in agony his wife had seemed unable to birth their last child and the midwife had despaired. The nun's very presence had seemed to restore hope and bring peace and though the child had breathed just long enough to be baptised he had not lost his wife nor his older children their mother. Besides he had taken a dislike to the man. He did not begrudge the lady her care but her serving man should know his place better than to start making demands. And if they were bringing trouble to the nunnery or to the town then the whole pack of them could be off. When Kieran had come enquiring after the same lady he had heard a worrying tale for a man who liked a quiet life.

He had not lied - quite - simply failed to tell Darcy that the priest he spoken of had already been admitted some time before.

  *************************************************************

Columcil had waited to make sure that Washburn was asleep then, charging Kieran to watch over him, he made his way up the main street of the town to the nunnery gate reaching it just as the bell began to clang for evening prayer. He stopped short as some disaster seemed to happen to the bell, but when there were no further indications of alarm he knocked at the closed gate and waited. The gatekeeper had been suspicious at first when he requested access to the infirmary but the sight of Columcil's well-worn prayer book had reassured him and he agreed to fetch the Infirmarian who at first seemed to misunderstand the reason for his visit.

"Thank you, Father, but we have our own priest and besides the lady will, please God, live many more years before she has need of the last rites."

Columcil bowed courteously to her before replying with as much truth as seemed wise before the gatekeeper. "There were four of us, including the lady and myself, travelling together for safety when we were attacked outside the town walls. I beg you to let me at least see that she rests quietly." She looked intently at him for a moment then beckoned him to follow. As they entered the room where Aliset slept he spoke quietly to the nun, "Sister, I see that you have tended her well but I beg that you will not take it amiss if I say that God has granted me the grace of healing in my hands." He was taking a risk he knew in saying this, but he could not see that there was any choice. His heart told him that the dangers they faced were far from over and the Lady Aliset must be fully recovered this night.

The nun looked at him intently again, and then smiled. "The lady is in no danger, otherwise I would have healed her. But like you, I am wary still of using my talents before outsiders. The townsfolk accept me with gratitude, most of them, but those who hold with the old Mearan ways..." Her voice tailed off as though she had already said too much and she spoke briskly. "It would not be seemly for me to leave you alone with her and I daresay you would value my prayers." She walked with him to the bed where Aliset lay and dropped to her knees, her lips moving in the words of the evening office.

Columcil crossed himself once again and placed his hands over the linen dressing bound across Aliset's shoulder. He focused his gaze on the unadorned crucifix which hung on the wall at the head of the bed and entered into trance once again aware of the hands which for an instant covered his. (( dice roll 6+5 5qfmvw68n0)). Aliset's breathing deepened and she settled into an easier sleep. Glancing down at the kneeling nun he saw that she was smiling with relief at him. "Thank you, Father, from both of us. I think it would be more seemly if I check the wound but I make no doubt that she is healed, praise God. Will you rest now, our priest lives just over the way and would, I am sure, be pleased to give you a bed for the night."

Columcil was sorely tempted but shook his head. "Praise God indeed but I must return to another of our company at the gatehouse. I leave her in good hands." The Infirmarian got to her feet and led him quietly from the room through a door opposite to the one through which they had entered and across a small courtyard, full of the evening scent of flowers, to a gate in the wall. You can leave through here Father, it's the gate the townsfolk use when they need my ministrations. God be with you."

"And with your spirit." Father Columcil replied before following the wall as it led round behind the nunnery buildings and eventually back to the main street. As he walked wearily towards the gatehouse he was shocked to see that the door stood open. Worse still, when he entered neither Kieran nor Washburn were there. Sinking to the floor he sat with his head in his hands and realised that he was too exhausted to get to his feet. Several days hard riding, a warding and an exorcism followed by a desperate chase and three healings had taken their toll. He attempted the fatigue banishing spell which he had seen others do but either he was not sufficiently skilled or just too tired (( dice roll 2+4 =6 5qfmvw68n0)) . He rolled himself in his cloak, put his head on his pack and slept.




Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 12, 2018, 03:36:11 am
“Coward”  Wash swore under his breath. He sat in the dark corner next to the convent gates that were closed to him. He hit his head back against the wall in his shame. There were four men in town, who wanted him dead. What did he do? He sulked away like a coward. What kind of knight of the realm did that? Not one that King Kelson relied on. Not one that Kelric would call brother. Not one that Alaric would call son. Alaric Morgan, Gwynedd’s champion,--the thought brought Wash to standing--how much humiliation would his father have endured if he had been alive and he had learned of his son’s cowardice.

Wash tried to use reason, that if they could not find him, they would cause no harm. Yet, yet, what of the man who had helped him? What of the guardsman Kieran? What if he walked in on the four of them searching the gate house. Searching but not finding what they were after. If Kieran started asking questions would they harm him. Wash knew the answer, it was yes! Dangerous men did heinous crimes when they had misguided loyalties and no honor.

“Think, damn you,” Wash said to himself as he demanded his tired body to move toward the gates. He didn’t hurt anymore, not like he had. What he felt was weakness and exhaustion. “Think, you don’t have to do this alone,” he said aloud. There are armed men at the gate, very close to the gate house. Get them to help capture the four. Then you won’t have to worry for the heir de Mariot’s safety come morning when the nunnery gates opened.

He gave one last bang on the convent gate. “You keep this gate closed, do you hear me!” he yelled out. “Lord Morgan demands that you protect the lady within! Let no harm come to her!” He got no reply.

To gather strength he attempted a second banishing fatigue spell (( 2d6 rolled 1-4 failure. Verification Number: 9kr91l8r8c)) Magic abandoned him again. 

Fine, he had to do this out of shire will.  He started off at a walk down the main street. His downhill pace increased to a jog, his jog increased to a run. How much harm could the four men have done in the quarter hour since he last saw them.  Sword brandished, he was about to find out.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 12, 2018, 09:14:44 am
"Crash!". The door to the gate house was slammed back and Columcil woke. He got to his feet, still clutching his staff which he had held against his body as he slept. He had learnt the value of knowing how to wield a stout stick as a studious lad growing up amidst the fierce Transha clansmen and he had continued to practise his mastery of it. The wild beasts of the remoter parts of his parish could not all be soothed with a gentle mind touch and not all outlaws or bandits had respect for his cloth.

Warily he stood with his back to the wall facing the door as two unknown and rough looking men entered with plain but very dangerous looking swords. They looked at him as though they had expected to see someone else but to his surprise made no move to attack. They moved instead to either side of the door where they stood with swords drawn, keeping wary and warning eyes on Columcil the while. Two more men came in dragging between them a man who looked as though he had taken a vicious beating to the head. To his horror as the victim was flung down savagly onto the floor Columcil recognised him as Kieran.

"You lied! This is no young lord," spat one of the men, looking contemptuously at Columcil and kicked the prone man hard. Columcil winced loudly and immediately knew he had made a bad mistake. The man who had spoken smiled evilly. "A priest, he'll do even better! He'll tell us all we want to know." Columcil braced himself and took a firmer hold of his staff but none of the men made a move towards him. Instead the previous speaker, who was clearly the leader snarled to his companions, "hold him firm!" and  they spread-eagled Kieran on his back, two of them forcing his hands away from his head while the third lay across his legs. The leader took out a sharp dagger and leant over Kieran, who said nothing but whose eyes sought Columcil's pleadingly. "A simple choice, Father. Answer what we ask with the truth and he dies easily. Otherwise...". His voice trailed as he slowly drew the point of the dagger down Kieran's arm slicing open a deep cut.

Columcil barely knew what he was doing. He swung his staff at the back of the torturer's head ((dice roll advantage for weapon's mastery 4+3+5 = 12 2271k6hrnx - remembered this time)) and felt a moment of unpriestly exultation as the man keeled over, knocked clean out of his senses. The dagger flew from his hand and Columcil felt renewed respect for Kieran as the prone man made a grab for it as those holding him let go and scrambled to their feet, reaching for their own weapons. He muttered the words of absolution, praying that God would accept them for himself and Kieran and hoped fervently that they could both meet a quick death.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 12, 2018, 10:10:52 am
Darcy Cameron jumped to his feet at the sound of the pounding on the Nunnery’s gate.  Finally! It must be Father Columcil.

The gatekeeper, who had come out of his small house at the noise, listened and then turned away.

“If that is the priest, you need to let him in,” Darcy said urgently as he reached the gate.  “Ask the Reverend Mother if you must, but the lady needs him.”

‘It’s no concern of yours,” the gatekeeper stated, disdain in his voice.  “Besides, your priest has been and gone already.”

Darcy had had enough.   He grabbed the gatekeeper’s shirt with both hands and cracked the gatekeeper’s head against the solid gate.  ‘Why didn’t you tell me!”

“Let go of me!  Who do you think you are?”

“I’m a ship’s officer and the lady’s man-at-arms,” Darcy snarled.  “if it wasn’t the priest at the gate, who was it?”

The gatekeeper did not like the look in the smaller man’s ice blue eyes.  Sailors could be a mean lot.  He could think of no danger to the Nunnery if he revealed what he had heard.

“It was someone called himself Lord Morgan.  He demanded we keep the gate shut and protect the lady within.”

Darcy let the man go. Sir Washburn!  What was afoot? What additional danger had he discovered?  If the knight wanted the gate kept closed, he must fear an attack, or at least a forced entry.

The small altercation at the gate had brought forth several of the nuns, including the Reverend Mother.  She did not look pleased.  “What is going on here, Simon?”

Simon the gatekeeper bowed.  “This man demanded to know who was knocking on the gate.”

Darcy bowed in turn to the Reverend Mother.  This was not the time to be subtle.  “The man at the gate was Sir Washburn Morgan. He also escorts the lady we bought into your convent for treatment.  I believe he fears someone will try to take the lady by force.  We need to prepare.”

“I will not permit violence again within these walls,” she replied.

“In truth, I’d prefer to avoid that myself,” Darcy admitted.  “How many men are here with you?”

“Three:  Simon our gatekeeper, our steward, and another man who assists us with heavy labour.”

Simon might do.  The steward was well past his fighting prime. The labourer was an unknown.  Darcy was sure they would be too few.  He had to keep Lady Aliset safe, but he could not let harm come to the nuns.

Darcy made his decision.  “We should summon the Watch.”

“Your knight said to keep the gates closed.  You can’t send someone for the Watch, and you can’t let them in,” Simon reminded him.

“No, we can’t, but we can alert them to the danger, and they can be additional protection outside the gate.”  Darcy eyed the bell tower.  He looked at the Reverend Mother, who thought for a moment and nodded her ascent.

The church bell rang loudly, causing alarm in the town at this unaccustomed hour.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 12, 2018, 04:21:58 pm
The church bell rang out true. Faces of armed towns folk positioned around the courtyard startled from their lassitude to astute attention. They looked up, they looked at each other, they tightened their grips on their weapons, they curiously watched a tall man in a brown monk’s robe race past them like the devil was on his heels.

Washburn’s eyes weren’t on the town folk, but upon the town’s armed guards standing before the barred main gate. The smaller door to the gate house was beyond them. He could see it just past a mule cart which someone had parked there in the last little while. Ostensibly to block the view of the door from the eyes of the town folk.

“You four! Yes, all of you!” the tall lord demanded of the guardsman, “I am Lord Morgan, son of Duke Alaric Morgan of Corwyn.  Follow me! There is treason afoot!” It was not in Washburn’s nature to make such commands. This was an exception, he put every ounce of authority he could into his order.

The name of his father sparked recognition all around him. The four rushed to follow him, as did every man in the courtyard. Wash jumped over the wagon blocking the way. He landed on the door's first step, pounded the hilt of his sword against the latch, breaking it clean away.  The door swung wide. What his eyes saw before him was far worse than he had expected. Kieran was there, lying on his side on the ground, his hands just grabbing for a dagger on the floor.  One man was leaping to stop him. Even more serious, two men were attacking a man he did not expect to see here.  Damn, he should have known better. Father Columcil stood rigid, staff in defiance before him, an assailant already downed at his feet.

Admirable for a priest, Wash thought as he made a great leap toward the two assailants. His great sword swung from the full strength of his shoulders; both hands grasped the hilt; the swing was low and wide.

((Wash swinging his great sword at the backs of two men. I am rolling twice to see if he hits each one in turn. 2x 2d6  roll= 2& 2 missed, roll 5&4 hit. Verification Number: 7mh24bmljr)) ((oops I forgot I got a 3d6 roll for a mastered weapon, roll 1d6 for the advantaged roll that I missed. rolled 5  hah! Verification Number: 2sg49mldg7))

The closest man witnessed the blade in action; he dropped low to rolled away.  The blade bit him in the shoulder, the sword’s velocity not slowing from the bite. The second man had no notion what hit him. He crumpled as the weapon took him across the waist. His thin leather vest was no match for the sharpness of the steel.

Behind Wash, arms-men jumped into the bloody scene. 

Kieran, whose arm displayed a viscous gash, had the dagger in his hand. He held it firm. He sliced it across the ankle of the man who kicked out at his chest to stop him.

(( who strikes first: Kieran rolled 2+4=7, assailant rolled 2+2=4 Verification Number: 23f76l0v7p))

The guardsman Kieran’s dagger struck the booted foot before the kicker could reached him. (( 2d6 rolled  4&2 Verification Number: 4kcdkmxj6t))  The blade skimmed over the leather, yet it did not penetrate. That same boot continued its momentum  toward guardsman's chest. (( 2d6 rolled  1&3 Verification Number: 533rq6gxl4)) Fortunately, Kieran had the wherewithal and speed to roll aside to be clear of the damage this kick would have wrought.

(( I am late for work, I'll see you tonight. ))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 13, 2018, 04:39:00 pm
Loud pounding could be heard at the gate, “What’s wrong?  Why does the bell sound?” a deep voice called.

Darcy Cameron stopped ringing the bell and strode toward the gate.  Simon already stood before it.

“Are you the watch?”  Darcy called out.

“Aye, what’s wrong?”

Darcy looked at Simon.  ‘You know him?”

Simon nodded.  “He’s the watch captain this month.”

“I need,” Darcy began, and sensed the man beside him stiffen. Darcy decided to change his approach.  “We need your help.  We have good reason to believe someone may try to force their way into the Nunnery tonight and try to remove a lady within against her will.  The gates are to remain shut for the night.”  After a brief moment, Darcy added, “The Reverent Mother’s orders.”

“Is this true, Simon?” asked the watch captain.

“Aye,” Simon replied.  Reverend Mother gave me the orders herself.”

“Captain, can you post men outside the gate?  And maybe a few along the wall?” Darcy asked.

“Yes, I’ve good men here” the watch captain replied.  “No one will enter or leave this night.”

Relieved, Darcy nodded to Simon and turned back to the courtyard.  The Reverend Mother stood before him, hands in the sleeves of her habit.  An attendant sister stood to one side.

“We are secure, Master Darcy?” the Reverend Mother asked.

“As well as we can be for now.  Reverend Mother, if something does go wrong, may I suggest you and the sisters relocate to the church?”

The nun before him eyed him carefully.  “It has not always been a safe refuge,” she said.

“Perhaps not,” Darcy agreed.  “But is would put you all in a spot we can defend.” 

“If the time comes,” she said gravely.  “I shall consider it.”

Darcy felt an odd relief that she had not said “when.”

A familiar figure was standing not far away.  Lady Aliset!  The infirmarian stood at her side.

“Lady Aliset, are you alright?” Darcy asked as he approached.

“I am fine, though still a bit tired. Father Columcil was here, but stayed only a short time.”

“So I’m told,” Darcy said dryly as he rose from a quick bow.  He explained what had happened to cause the current situation.

‘Lady Aliset,” Darcy began carefully.  “If the situation becomes dire, I’d like for you to join the sisters in the church."

“Master Darcy, I am not helpless, as you well know.”  She patted the dagger that hung once again from the belt of her monk’s robe.

“That I do, which is why I would like you with the sisters.” Darcy gave her a hopeful look.  “Perhaps you and the infirmarian could join the other sisters now?”

The infirmarian shook her head.  “I must prepare the infirmary in case there are injuries.”

“I’d be happy to assist you, Sister Margaret, if that would be alright,” Aliset said.

‘Yes, we’ll be that much better prepared.”

Darcy did not argue.  His respect for the nuns was growing, and he could tell that Aliset’s mind was made up.

“We’ll also make sure the back gate to the infirmary is locked,” Sister Margaret added.

“Back gate?  Why does no one think to tell me these things?” Darcy blurted out.

“Probably because you never ask anyone, Master Darcy.”  Aliset smiled slightly at the puzzled look on her man-at-arms’ face.  “But first I should introduce myself to the Reverend Mother, and thank her for all she and the sisters have done.  They risk much for us.”

“Simon!” Darcy called as Lady Aliset walked away.  The man looked at him but did not move.  Darcy sighed.  “A moment, if you please.”

Simon joined him and they moved into the infirmary.  “There is another gate here?”

“Aye.  The townsfolk use it when they need Sister Margaret’s help.”

“So most of the town knows about it.”  Darcy sighed again.  “Simon, show me this gate: I’d like you to guard it.”

Simon led them through a small courtyard to the back gate.  Darcy checked to make sure it was secure and left Simon beside it.  Simon was armed with a short sword.  Darcy hoped the man would not need to use it.

“Where will you be?” Simon asked.

“Anywhere and everywhere.  If anything seems wrong or suspicious, sing out and I’ll come at once.”

“Very well,” Simon said.  He took up his post and kept a hand near the hilt of his sword.

Darcy turned to leave and paused.  “Thank you.”

From the covered walk, Darcy surveyed the Nunnery grounds.  The watch was posted outside.  The labourer, who turned out to be large and substantial, was posted at the gate.  The steward drifted about, checking things here and there.  Simon was at the back door.  Most of the nuns had followed the Reverend Mother into the chapter house.  Lady Aliset, the infirmarian and another sister were preparing the infirmary.  There was nothing more he could think of to do to prepare.

All he could do now was remain alert and wait.

(Edited to be accurate with revanne's description of the courtyard and gate.)
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 13, 2018, 07:28:52 pm
Aliset was glad for the task at hand, glad she could lend her efforts in aid of the good sisters who had taken her into their protection, and grateful for the sense of control over her circumstances that the opportunity to do something--anything--helpful had afforded her.  She was still a little weary, for though she had managed some sleep, it had not been quite as much as she would have preferred under the circumstances, but if there was a chance the convent was to become the focus of an attack, she could hardly be such an ingrate as to ignore the threat of danger to go back to her sickbed! At least her shoulder injury had been Healed, and that was the important thing.

The thought brought to mind Father Columcil, who had left her bedside almost as suddenly as he'd shown up to her aid, gone God alone knew where.  Hopefully back to Sir Washburn's side.  Master Darcy seemed to have things well in hand helping the other men prepare to build up the convent's security.  Aliset sighed. When they'd arrived at the gates of the convent town, her hope was that they'd leave their cares outside its walls for at least a day or two, giving them some time to heal and recover from their injuries, revitalize their energies, and put their heads together to come up with some sort of an escape plan. But no, practically from the moment they'd arrived, her companions had scattered seemingly to the four winds!  Annoyance welled up in her.  How very much like men they were, wandering apart and dashing hither and yon acting all heroic rather than sticking together and covering each other's backs like sensible folk! She stifled a laugh as the irony dawned on her.  Of course they were acting like men, daft creatures!  They were men!  She just hoped, under the circumstances, that all their dashing about wouldn't get them killed, and especially not on her behalf.  After losing her father and her brothers so recently, she didn't think she could bear any more losses.  Not for her sake.  For the safe of Gwynedd remaining an intact kingdom, mayhap, should that become needful, but even losing any of them for so noble a cause would cut deeper than any sword. She'd grown curiously attached to the lot of them in the past few days, even though keeping up with them right now seemed to be more useless than attempting to herd cats.

But preparing an infirmarium for incoming casualties was something she was willing and able to do. Her mother had trained her well for such contingencies, for one never knew when one's manor lands might come under attack by reivers, and such outlaws did not always stick to stealing livestock. As she worked, cutting linen into strips for use as bandages and rolling them in preparation for use, she diverted her thoughts from the mindless task and cast out with her mind to see if she could detect the presence of any enemies nearby.
((2d6, 2 and 4, V#jmfpn5phrb))  For better or for worse, she could not. Hopefully that simply meant that there was no one close by who wished her ill, not that some unseen foe lurked nearby, cloaked from her senses, but alas, Aliset had no way of knowing.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 14, 2018, 12:33:08 pm
((See notes from "How things work"))
((Initiative tests for NPC's who have not attacked yet: we have: 6. thug 3 rolled: 1:4 + 3 = 7     8.Thug 4 rolled 2: 2 + 3 = 5. and 7. first guard to make it into the room behind Wash 3: 2 + 4 = 6.
(The last three guards following will not be in the fight unless it continues to the end of the next full round.)
Roll for attacks:Thug 3 he was moving first and attacking Culumcil in front of him. rolled 6 Verification Number: 1tnckzk5vx  Hit
                       Guard 1 attacking closest bad guy, that would be thug 4.  rolled 5 Verification Number: 23vskfdxwb  Hit
                       Thug 4 has 0 hit points left.))

The street thug took the shoulder wound with a viscous growl.  The tall lord with his deadly sword was far more than he wanted to contend with. No, not that sword. But the priest? He was in range, he only had a staff, granted it was a mean staff, but the thug had a sword. Damn if he was going to use it before they took him down.  And use it he did. He lunged at the priest making a viscous swing,  he was low, the strength of his arm was strong, more desperate than he ever remembered attacking before. It hit the priest in the thigh. A good solid bit. The thug felt the exhilaration of success.

The first guard to follow the young lord named Morgan was there ready to jump into the fray.  The man closest to him was the man hunched over, garbing his side after Morgan's attacking blade. His back was clearly open, an easy mark for a guardsman trained to do battle. The guard's sword was in hand, his swing was good. His blade came down hard across the street thug's back. As the street thug crumpled to the floor, the guard recognized the man's face. These men were the bad-blood that hassled the merchants in town. He had wanted to take them down for a long time, but had no reason to do so until now.

The motion in the room did not still. The biggest bully thug at Culumcil's feet was stirring, his pray was wounded, he would be pleased if he could add to the Priest's pain.

((restart the order of fighting that I listed in How some of this works, listing hit points remaining next to name:    1.Lead bully 1hp  2. Columcil 5hp. 3. Washburn 6hp. 4. Kieran 1ph 5. 2nd thug hitting Kieran 2hp. 6. 3rd thug, 1hp. 7. guard 1 3hp, then the other three guards,3hp each, if the fight persists, which I doubt.))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 14, 2018, 12:54:55 pm
(( Revanne can you roll for the bully thug, then roll for your own attack. Please if you would hold your Healing until Wash can be at your side. That is if you are willing to try and show a young lord how you use your gift. That is also if your are willing for forgive your forum friend Laurna for her bad luck with the dice. :-[))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 14, 2018, 03:57:43 pm
((Thug 1 2d6 roll 2+6=8 1dxf56665m (hmm that treble 6 is sinister)))
((Columcil 3d6 roll 5+4+4 =10 185d19g76t))

Columcil reeled backwards the pain shooting through his thigh like the touch of red hot metal. He lurched against the wall and put his hand back behind him to steady himself. There was no time for a healing even supposing that he could gain the necessary focus. He drew a deep breath and closed his eyes for a moment willing himself to dispel the faintness that was threatening. He whispered a quick prayer of thanksgiving that Sir Washburn had returned in time and, please God, with enough help. Even as he thought this he was reminded that the fight was not yet over. A blade sliced up the inside of his calf and, his eyes bursting open, he saw that the man he had felled with his staff had revived enough to seek revenge. Sliding along the wall away from his assailant, the pain driving everything but thoughts of his own survival from his head, he swung his staff again and heard a sickening crunch as the man's skull cracked. The thug collapsed and lay still. Columcil sank to the ground and bundled his cloak against the wound in his thigh hoping to slow the bleeding.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 14, 2018, 04:43:11 pm
 Hell and Damnation!

"Columcil!" Washburn yelled. The priest was hit, not once but twice. The older man crumpled against the wall, hands on his leg. Redness quickly staining his robes. The street thug who had attacked the priest first was still standing. As was the man standing near Kieran. Both men looked in need of his help, they were too far apart to hit both with one swing of his great sword. Sir Washburn balance on his heels and swung strong at the man before Columcil. ((3d6 3,4,&2 Verification Number: 33dlszmbzq. What have I said all along, the dice hate me!)) A masterful dodge came from the enemy. Wash had rage in his veins as he made a cut back, using all his body's force into the blade's momentum. ((3d6 4,4,&3 Verification Number: 36gfp7d78q. I think I am going to go cry into my sewing project now)) The blade whizzed just over the man's head as he rolled far away to the far side of the room, thankful that sword had not cut him again.

 :'( :'( :'( :'( :'(
((Can someone else roll for Kieran, I would end up being his demise if I rolled.))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 14, 2018, 05:48:22 pm
Kieran had at first lain still, rolling aside to avoid his attacker had made his head swim with renewed pain from the savage beating he had received. As his head cleared a little, though the throbbing in his arm was beginning to really pain him, he looked around. He saw the good father hit once, no twice. Though he was lashing out with his staff his hands were not made for combat, thought Kieran. No, he was a man of God and a healer too. This was wrong, and Kieran's thoughts flashed back to the horrors he had seen as a child inflicted on the good sisters. Kieran balanced the dagger in his hand and determined that if he must die he would take one of the traitors with him. He saw the young lord swing his sword - he was a good fighter but somehow his opponent dodged and Kieran threw his dagger with all his strength at the twisting back, ((1d6 3 2wdm3knvrs  >:( )) but his strength was failing and the weapon fell short. His intended victim swung round, picked up the dagger and with a cruel grin drew it across Kieran's throat ((1d6 6 295mlntgf7)). Kieran's eyes sought those of Father Columcil who despite his own increasing pain and horror made the sign of the cross, again mouthing the words of absolution watched by Kieran's agonised gaze. Then his eyes glazed over and his spirit was gone.

((possibly not what you had in mind, Laurna.  :'( :'( :'( - we might need some help down here.))

((modified because I had forgotten that the thug slit up Kieran's arm not his leg))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 14, 2018, 11:37:06 pm
((I would add a scene, but I am quite thoroughly lost as to who is still left standing and attacking whom, and with how many hit points left.  LOL!  But don't we have three guards who ought to be showing up at any moment now to put an end to any thugs left standing?))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 14, 2018, 11:46:45 pm
((Next turn, Guard 1 3hp. He is already in the fight and ready to swing.  Guard 2, Guard 3, and Guard 4 have arrived in the room just in time to see their friend, a man whom they likely admired, taken down.  The bad guys are: Thug 2 who just took out Kieran, who still has 2hp, and Thug 3 who has 1hp remaining, and had just injured Columcil.
Be my guest to make an end of this, so Wash can help Columcil.  My personal need to see people well and healed is coming through. ))

[Edited to add double parentheses since this isn't actually a story scene.--Evie]
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 15, 2018, 12:12:22 am
((LOTS of loud cursing because I just did a metric crap ton of dice rolling to set up the scene I was about to write, only to accidentally close the tab and lose all of the stuff I copied and pasted into it! Arrrggghhh!!! Let me see if I can look in my email and salvage all of that roll info.  :(  ))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 15, 2018, 12:35:19 am
((Par for the course)) :-\
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 15, 2018, 12:51:54 am
((OK, let's try to set up this scene, shall we?

First, rolling for my guards (2d6 x 4, v#4|2r8x3w05):
G1--3 & 5 -success
G2--1 & 1 (uh oh!)
G3--5 & 2 -success
G4--4 & 4 (better luck next time)

Rolling for my thugs (1d6 x 2.  IIRC, their leader is already dead, so these two are less well trained, hence the 1d6 rolls.  V#15203r4zxk):
Thug who killed Kieran--4 (hah!)
Thug who attacked Columcil--6 (oops!)

Guards 1 and 2 are going after Kieran's attacker. Roll to see which side gets initiative. 1 to 3=Thug, 4 to 6=Guards.  Result=1. V#3xx7t00p42.

Guards 3 & 4 are going after Columcil's attacker, same initiative roll criteria. Rolled a 5. V#2gz9w29kb4. 

One more roll--did that guard who rolled snake eyes end up injuring one of his own comrades with that attack?  1d6 test roll. 1 to 3=Yes, 4 to 6=No. Rolled a 6. *sigh of relief!*

And now I'm going to save draft before writing the scene so I won't do something stupid and lose all this again! *dark muttering*))

Three guards burst into the room just in time to see their comrade slain, his blood spurting across the stone floor.  With mutual cries of rage, they sprang into action.  One of the guards leapt towards their leader, who was already facing down Kieran's killer, sword in hand, but before either of them could strike him down, the killer swung his weapon in a wild arc, attempting to strike down the man facing him with cold fury, but his swing was uncontrolled and he missed, if only narrowly.  The guard entering the conflict struck with zealous anger and with his full strength behind the swing, but in his grief over Kieran's death he missed his target entirely, instead slamming the edge of his blade into the wall behind the thug's head. The thug's startled leap away from the vengeful guard who'd nearly decapitated him proved to be the distraction needed for the leader of the guard to get in a solid blow of his own. The thug screamed in dismay as his weapon arm suddenly went numb, pierced to the bone on the guard leader's sword point.

Nearby, the other two guards coming through the door launched themselves at the other thug standing over the fallen priest. The first of the guards to reach them swung out at the brigand, who nimbly stepped just out of range of his sword swing before closing on him, landing a glancing blow on the guard's shoulder before the guard's companion managed to make it to his side to dispatch the foe with a killing blow.

The wounded guard turned his attention to Father Columcil, standing protectively over him as his friend who had just slain the thug at their feet turned to assist their other comrades. They surrounded the one remaining brigand, weapons prepared to strike him down if he tried any further attacks.

"My Lord," the guard leader said, "Shall we keep this one alive for questioning?"
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 15, 2018, 02:12:40 am
“Tie him up!” Wash said in a dangerous voice.

He cast his gaze about the room. There was nothing to be done for the old guardsman Kieran. A ping of regret made the knight suck in his breath.  A younger guard, who obviously knew the older man, leaned over and closed the vacant eyes.

Wash then looked over the room to find Columcil sitting against the wall. Their eyes meet, “I don’t suppose you could lend me a hand?” the priest asked with a half cocked smile. The priest eased his back to the wall, his hand holding his robe tightly around his thigh.  The smile morphed to a half grimace mixed with a laugh. “Thought you were never coming.”

Washburn took the three long steps to knell at the priest’s side. “Almost didn’t, but hay, I’ve gotten to like you, old man. I know I should have let you taken those four on by yourself, I mean, I see you were holding your own there for a bit. But honestly don’t do that again, not without me at least being somewhere nearby. I didn't expect you to come back here, you know.” Wash shook his head with a faint smile. “Not that I was much help. Let me see if I can be better help to you now. Let me ease your pain, than let me help you with your focus.”

The amber eyes gave the Corwyn knight the go ahead. Wash placed one hand on Columcil’s wrist and one over his forehead. He steadied his mind and wished the priest’s torchered nerves to ease. To release the pain.  ((Power trait 1d6 success is a 4,5,or 6.  Rolled 4,Verification Number: 2rxfz25pkj)) Wash let his shields fall away, he felt Columcil’s shields, with their sense of familiarity; they too fell away. What followed was a shallow Rapport, smooth enough under the circumstances. Wash as a knight had helped his injured fellows in the field with this same ability. He knew how to help men sleep and how to ease their pain. This was a little different, however, Columcil needed to stay awake. The priest needed energy to find his own balance. Wash had been a recipient of the man’s Healing abilities only a couple hours before.  He owed the man a debt and he would pay it anyway that he could.

Show me what you need me to do, he sent in mind speech across the link.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 15, 2018, 10:40:43 am
Darcy Cameron stretched, trying to relax the tension in his shoulders.  He had stood many watches in his life, but the feeling that something might happen and not knowing what it would be was beginning to take its toll on his nerves.  Maybe he would check on Simon at the back gate.  Again.

Darcy moved in that general direction, but when he reached the infirmary, he saw through the open door that Lady Aliset was resting on one of the cots.  He decided not to disturb her; so far as he could tell Simon had been bearing up well and Darcy had no real cause to be concerned.

He changed his direction and strolled toward the main gate.  The labourer, now known to Darcy by the odd name of Patch, stood up from the chair he had been sitting on.

A sharp knock sounded on the gate.  “Who goes there?” Patch called out.

It was a member of the watch sent by Sir Washburn to update Darcy on what had happened in the town below.  Darcy was glad to hear that Sir Washburn was unhurt, and Father Columcil was recovering.  Darcy asked the man to let Sir Washburn know that they were still secure, and they would remain vigilant until they received further instructions from him.

One of the sisters came out from the nun’s dormitory and walked over to the bell tower.  It was probably time for the last of the night offices, but Darcy had lost track of time and was not sure if it was the last or the first of the next day.  Such things were a little outside his areas of expertise.  He thought briefly of suggesting they dispense with the bell ringing but changed his mind.  He could not think of a good reason to not return to a small degree of normalcy.

He watched as the sisters, including the infirmarian and her assistant, filed into the church.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 15, 2018, 04:22:08 pm
Father Columcil had leant back against the rough stone of the wall, his emotional state almost as bad as the physical pain he was suffering. He had seen death before, many times, sometimes hard, painful death. But he had never before taken a life, and he had never, even for the few condemned men he had accompanied to the gallows, seen life taken with such vindictive enjoyment as poor Kieran's had been. But Sir Washburn was looking over towards him and, besides, he needed all his energies to focus on his own physical healing. He put his emotional and spiritual turmoil into the part of his mind where he kept that which was confided to him under the seal of the confessional and drew a mental veil over it, then turned to greet the knight with a smile, even managing a joke.

He was surprised at the warmth of the other's tone and at the gentleness of his touch; even more surprised at the ease with which the other's mind enfolded his as he felt renewed energy flow into him. Maybe he could even share what he felt as he healed. Close as their minds were it seemed natural to speak directly into the other's thoughts.

Place your hands on mine, and allow yourself to sense the energies. ((rolled to see if Columcil can mindspeak Washburn since they are in rapport 1d6 4,5,6 is "yes", 4 2r8xz1hjmw - yes!))

If Washburn was surprised by his use of mindspeech he made no sign but obeyed as Columcil pushed aside his gathered robe and placed his hands into the wound in his thigh. He focused on the torn blood vessels and sinews being rejoined and then withdrew his hands a little to allow the skin to knit. (( 2d6 3+6=9 17c4jvw8mp)) Then he slid his hands down his leg but the wound there though painful was little more than a scratch and required but little healing. Throughout it all he was aware of Washburn's hands on his and the touch of the other's mind and as ever the sense of another presence touching his at the moment of healing.

Columcil shook the skirts of his habit down and as he did so Washburn's touch gently withdrew from his mind. It crossed Columcil's mind to wonder whether he had been foolish to allow so close a touch from one so nearly related if he were to protect the secret of his parentage but without the energy so generously given he doubted that he would have had the strength to heal himself. This whole journey was taking a direction so far out of his hands that he would be best simply to trust that he was being led.

Turning to Washburn he said simply "Bless you, my son". Then more formally, "I'm rather out of my depth here, my lord, what happens now? Do you suppose it is safe to try and join Darcy and the Lady Aliset in the nunnery." He smiled and added, glancing down at the mess of clotted blood that was now the skirts of his robe, "I hope their Laundress will be as able and as welcoming as the Infirmarian."

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 16, 2018, 05:09:28 am
Wash starred a long while at the folds of cloth caked in drying blood. His hand been where the cloth now lay.  Only a few moments ago, blood had oozed from a cut, a cut that had severed skin and muscle of the Priest’s upper leg.  He had never followed a Healer in Rapport before. He had given energy to help a family member find the proper balance, yet he had always been the rascal baby brother, the fighter, the protector, the ornery one. No one had taken him in hand and showed him the mechanisms of Healing.  Even sitting here having witnessed it, he didn’t understand it. What he sensed more than anything was a deep trance which opened a place deep in the Healer’s mind, deeper than normal Rapport, deeper than spell workings, a place he had never thought existed before.  He tried to follow how Columcil did it. The Priest was evoking energies that were fiercely strong, yet delicately held in balance. Wash lost his identity  in that moment. One moment he was merely a vessel to draw upon...

((02:07 laurna This is a test of the rolling system on the chat board, but I am also testing 1d6 to see if Wash felt how Columcil could do Healing. This will not go toward the success/ failures for Healer. Yet if it is a success it will open Wash up to the possibility of Healing. If it doesn't succeeded, he will wait to try at an other time.
02:08 laurna !roll 1d6
02:08 derynibot 6 == 6
02:10 laurna Now that is AWESOME, Bynw you see this right. LOL! love it! P.S This does not count other than to awaken a feeling that Wash has the Healing gift deep inside.))
((Love you, Derynibot))

And… and… the next moment… a sensation bewildering and intoxicating sent his head to reeling. Something shook, something opened, and… and...  what followed...  a need to sooth away the other’s pain… a strong need.

He was so overwhelmed by just that feeling, he missed the delicate balance that Columcil used to accomplish his task.  He missed it all. He was dazed and breathless as the Healer moved his hand to the second wound. Wash just sat back, unable to help with that. And then the robes were thrown back over the leg, the leg that was whole.  Columcil was talking something about Darcy and Aliset, something about a laundress and an Infirmarian.

Wash pulled himself to sit up straight. Now was not the time to show his weakness. Wash realized their small corner of the room was the only place of some calm.

Guards and town’s men, men of authority, were crowding into the gate house. Someone was yelling off orders, another was cursing at the man tied up, and and there was general swearing in disgust at the bodies of the dead as they covered. The exception was the old guard Kieran. His body was carried away on the cot with care by six guardsman. The others were left where they lay.

Pretty soon eyes were moving to Wash and Columcil to ask questions, questions neither man had the energy to answer. Better to get some rest and tackle that problem with a clearer head.

“Yes, we need to find Aliset and Darcy. Can you stand?” He asked, finding the energy to stand himself. He bent over with a strong hand and pulled the priest to his feet.  The two escaped the gate house before the town constable had seen them go. 

They made the best pace they could manage uphill in the dark. Columcil carried his staff and Washburn his bear blade. Both bloodied in appearance, the townsfolk let them go, no one dared to stop them. 

They didn’t get lost this time.  The men before the nunnery gate stopped them only long enough for Wash to yell out. “In the name of Lord Morgan, I ask that you permit us entry within. I must see that our companions are safe.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 16, 2018, 09:26:35 am
“In the name of Lord Morgan, I ask that you permit us entry within.  I must see that our companions are safe.”

At the sound of the voice outside the Nunnery’s gate, Darcy Cameron sprinted across the courtyard.  Patch was moving to open the gate, but Darcy laid a hand on his arm to stop him.

“Sir Washburn,” he called through the gate.  “Is it only you and Father Columcil?”

“Aye, Darcy,” the knight replied.  “We are alone except for the guards stationed outside.”  Darcy could be annoying, but Washburn would not fault his caution.

Darcy nodded, and Patch opened the gate, closing it quickly behind the two dishevelled men once they were through.

“Sweet Jesu,” Darcy said, taken aback for a moment.  “You look awful.  Did you leave anyone alive?”

“Glad to see you as well, Master Darcy.”  Washburn grinned. “You don’t look that much better.”

Darcy sheathed his sword and rubbed his hand along the several days of stubble on his jaw.  Loose, pale strands of hair from his border braid stirred in the faint breeze.  He held out his hand, grasping Sir Washburn’ elbow as the other man grasped his.  Next Father Columcil.

“How fares Lady Aliset?”  Washburn asked.

“Follow me and ask her yourself.”  Darcy lead them across the courtyard to the open infirmary door.  Lady Aliset was standing in the doorway, and the look of joy on her face at the site of her companions nearly stopped Darcy’s heart.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 16, 2018, 01:39:58 pm
It was all Aliset could do not to launch herself across the courtyard and shower hugs and kisses on her approaching companions--and Master Darcy too, for that matter--from sheer relief at seeing them all together again, not to mention safe and relatively sound, if rather the worse for wear by all appearances.  Their bloodied and torn clothing spoke of dangers perhaps only barely survived, yet neither of them appeared to be injured now, so Aliset surmised that Father Columcil must have used his Healing gift on himself as well as perhaps on the good knight as well.  Surely all that blood had not simply come from their enemies, much as she might wish it?

But as she crossed the courtyard, she managed to maintain a proper sense of decorum, only her joyful smile belying her feelings. It would hardly do for her to scare poor Father Columcil back through the gates to seek refuge in the village from such feminine assaults, after all, and Aliset was certain the Reverend Mother would take a dim view of such an unseemly display towards men unrelated to her by bonds of blood or marriage.   Indeed she had already expressed a reluctance to allow Aliset to continue her journey with them unchaperoned on the morrow, and had offered to send a couple of the more matronly nuns along to serve as a more suitable escort for her upon their departure. Aliset's protests that haste was needed, an escort of nuns would both slow her party down and endanger the good sisters, and that Father Columcil, respectable priest that he was, would surely serve as a fit chaperone, had all fallen upon deaf ears until Aliset had been forced to reveal her means of disguise to the Reverend Mother in the privacy of the good abbess's study.  Afterwards, the abbess had grudgingly relented, allowing that if Aliset kept to a man's form for the rest of her journey, that ought to suffice to keep virtue and reputation untarnished until she arrived in Rhemuth.

But those watchful eyes were on her even now, so as Aliset reached her companions, she favored them with nothing more than a demure smile and polite inclination of her head in welcoming greeting.  "You are well come, my friends!  Come inside and rest.  I've arranged for some light fare, since I'm certain you must be hungry after our journey and all your recent exertions, and your clothing must needs be laundered and mended, if not replaced, before we can travel further." She grinned. "Don't worry, I've managed to secure a few clean tunics for you to change into.  I can't promise they'll fit properly, but at least you've been saved the need to wear nuns' habits while your clothes dry."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 16, 2018, 04:19:31 pm
As the fight in the gate house drew to a close and it was clear that the loyalists had been defeated, one of the guard slipped quietly out of the room as others were pouring in and let himself out quietly through the postern in the barred gate. He shut it quietly behind him; he knew of a way back in where the town wall backed onto a garbage strewn alley, little overlooked and even less traversed, though he doubted that would be using it. Some he knew would call him and his fellows separatists and traitors, but he preferred to name things as they were, if only to himself. They were loyalists; loyal to the ancient house of Meara, to the memory of Ithel strung up like a common felon, without trial, by the accursed Haldane so near to here that it was a wonder his ghost did not walk, and loyal now to his blood and the man who would see Ithel's grand-daughter rightfully crowned.

Not that those he had left behind deserved the title - useless as they had proved to be. Let them do as they would with Tomas, there was little enough that he could tell and at least those who had died had taken Kieran with them, old fool with his craven allegiance. The priest too seemed to be on the point of death, good riddance to him.

Besides he had worries enough of his own - he must contact his lord and face what surely would be his rage at being thwarted once again. As he walked towards those encamped just within the thickets at the side of the road he held his hands out to show that he bore no weapon but his demeanour was not one of submission. Showing the token common to those who served Grand-Duke Valerian and casting his eye somewhat disdainfully upon the ones shown in return, he spoke brusquely.

"It has not gone well. I shall need one of you to lend me energy to seek further instruction, and it is to be hoped, for all our sakes, forgiveness, though I do not say that we shall find it. Come! Quickly!" he ordered as those to whom he spoke huddled together in consternation, "It matters not who it is." With every word the manner of a subordinate was dropping from him, but he offered no explanation as to who he was or how he came to be a guard in such a town. It was enough that he was clearly Deryni and in touch with Grand Duke Valerian for the others to obey without question. It was likely their hope of mercy lay with him.

At a nod from the band's leader a man stepped out and allowed himself to be led away and seated not ungently with his back against the bole of a tree. The Deryni laid his hand on the other's forehead until his head nodded on his breast, then settled himself on the ground and pulled the other against him. Sinking into trance he reached out with his thoughts until he reached the one he sought and, with as much humble remorse as he could put into his mental tone, he made his report.

It was some while until he returned to the band now gathered anxiously together and they were reassured neither by the whiteness of his face nor the absence of their comrade. His voice, however, was somewhat softer as he said, "He will sleep until morning but he will take no harm." He would now be relying on these men for his safety, after all. He continued, "Well we are not dead yet, but there are to be no more mistakes. We are to withdraw from sight of the town keeping watch until we see how and when those his excellency seeks leave. The girl is to be taken alive, but we have bigger prey. Corwyn's brat is there and my lord wants him alive at all costs. The Haldane would pay dearly for his safe return.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Bynw on January 16, 2018, 05:41:47 pm
Grand Duke Valerian sat at a great desk contemplating what was in store for the future. Speaking his mind out loud into the shadows as he did. "It doesn't really matter if Oswald's men manage to capture the girl or not. Our agents in the Rheumth Court will tell us what happens to the girl and her lands when it is decided. Even loosing them back to the Haldane can be part of the plan. Let him win a few so he feels like he still has control of Meara. The Haldane will not know of our involvement. But." He says standing up and pacing the floor. "But, the Duke of Corywn's brother. Now that is a prize worth having indeed."

"Go by Portal to make that happen." The Grand Duke speaks again to the shadows in the room. "And this time take the Merasha with you for your crossbow. Rob him and any other Deryni that gets in our way of their power. Take no chances. Hit them all with a bolt or two. Even a human will loose his edge while under the influence."

The shadow moves wordlessly out of the room while Grand Duke Valerian returns to his desk and gazes out the window overlooking the courtyard in thought.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 16, 2018, 06:13:23 pm
((Hit us with one or two crossbow bolts rather than just regular arrows shot from a longbow?  Dang, that man hates us! LOL!))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 17, 2018, 09:49:17 pm
Darcy Cameron carefully poured the warm water over Sir Washburn’s head.  The Deryni knight, sitting in the tub of bath water, enjoyed the warmth as the soap was rinsed off of his body.  He stood up, stepped out of the tub and accepted the rough, clean towel Darcy held out for him.

“You’ll go next, Father?” Darcy asked.

“You go ahead,” Father Columcil said generously.

They were in the room the nuns usually used for their own ablutions.  Patch had carried in several bucket of steaming water, filling up the wooden tub.  He had also brought a large basket for their dirty clothes.

Darcy did not hesitate.  He stripped off hose, shirt and breeches, tossing them into the basket.  As he stepped into the tub, both of his companions noted the numerous scars across his back.

“Discipline at sea must have been harsh,” Father Columcil said gently.

“Not so much,” Darcy replied.  “Half of them were from my stepfather.”

“Is that why you ran away to sea?” Columcil asked.

Darcy barked a sharp, bitter laugh.  “The bastard sold me to sea.”

Washburn started to say something, but Columcil shook his head.  He had heard of such things before.  Sometimes general talk, sometimes under the seal of the confessional.

Darcy hesitated for a moment, grasping the worn leather pouch on the cord around his neck.  It would not do to get it soaked with water.

“I’ll hold it for you,” Father Columcil offered.

Darcy hesitated for several long moments.  Then he removed the pouch and handed it to the priest. “Sorry, Father, but it’s not mine.  I made a vow to a dying man to deliver it to a nephew in Desse.” Father Columcil noted the small, tarnished silver ring hanging from a newer silver chain around Darcy's neck that he did not remove.

“I can respect that,” replied Columcil.  “It will be safe with me,”

Darcy lowered himself into the water.  With a practised move, he untied his border braid, ran his fingers through it to set the pale hair free, and dunked his head under the water.

Washburn felt a pang of envy.

Columcil held the pouch in his hand.  He could feel square cubes inside the leather.

Darcy surfaced, water streaming from his hair.

“Do you know what is inside this pouch?” Columcil asked carefully.

“Aye, funny dice.” Darcy said.

“You looked inside?” Washburn asked.

“Of course,” Darcy replied. “I want to know if I’m carrying anything that might get me killed.” He scooped a handful of soft soap and scrubbed.

“May I have a look?”  Columcil asked.

Darcy hesitated a moment in his scrubbing, but could not think of a reason to deny the request.  He nodded agreement.

Columcil opened the pouch and poured the contents into his hand.  Four obsidian cubes and four ivory cubes tumbled out.

“Ward cubes! Washburn exclaimed, and forgetting himself, engulfed Darcy in the bucket of rinse water.

“Hey!” Darcy sputtered.  “Have a care, man!”

“Sorry,” Washburn said.

“What are ward cubes?” Darcy asked cautiously.

Columcil fingered the cubes in his hand.  They were old, very old.  He could feel a faint tingle of power. “They enable powerful ritual magic,” he said.  Darcy gave him a blank look.

“Was the man who entrusted these to you Deryni?’ Comuncil asked carefully.

“Aye,” Darcy replied.  “They belonged to the Quartermaster.  I knew he was Deryni, but I don’t’ think many others knew.  The Captain might have, but it was not a question I was going to ask.”  Darcy stepped out of the wash tub and accepted a towel from Washburn.
 
“Darcy, this could help us greatly if we are in need.  Will you let us use them if we need to?”

Darcy considered for a moment, dimly remembering something odd the Quartermaster once said. He could not quite it remember it clearly.  “If they are needed to get Lady Aliset to Rhemuth, use them as needed.”

Columcil nodded, returned the ward cubes to the pouch, and handed it back to Darcy.

“You’re next, Father,” Darcy said, stepping away from the tub.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 18, 2018, 02:42:59 am
((Lovely little episode, Jerusha))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 18, 2018, 05:18:40 am
Senses open-- pathways searching-- time progressing-- no response.

An ancient family relic which had passed from generation to generation was cupped front and back between his palms. This large coin-like pendant was one of the few original Saint Camber medals to survive from the time of Camber’s first canonization; it was two and a half centuries old. Its power was subtle, not easily recognized by someone who was not of the family line. For a descendant of Camber, such as Alaric had been ( Duchess Richenda had discovered that connection in their family line back when Kelric was just a babe), this silver medal held knowledge and powers that opened pathways that few other spell-casted objects could achieve. Kelric touched the face engraved on the medal’s surface. Using his focus, he centered down to search deeper. His brother once again was not contacting him during their scheduled Rapport. Compline had come and gone. It had been three days since they had last made contact.  They had agreed a week ago that every three days they would make contact at the hour of nine. Kelric felt blind about what was going on. His brother should have more respect than to leave him dangling like this.  The distance between them was great, too great for any one person to make. Kelric centered deeper….

((01:20 laurna Hello Bynw, I am here to make a dice roll.
01:24 laurna It is just after compline, Kelric is casting out with his Saint Camber Medal to make a scheduled contact with Wash. Only Wash is occupied in combat in the gate house, 2d6 roll to see if he can sense anything from his brother.
01:25 laurna !roll 2d6
01:25 derynibot 3, 6 == 9
01:25 laurna I love these dice.))

...fleeting sensations: rage and exhaustion... fleeting images: a flash of a sword, a dagger slicing flesh, blood pooling on the floor under the fallen man, rage at a man who dodged away… “Kel”... another man, a priest by the look of him, taking a wound in the leg... “Kel”... anger flared, unable to prevent the wounding of a friend… “Kelric, come quickly!”

An anxious feminine voice broke his trance. The urgency of his wife’s Mind Speech caused Kelric to turn his full focus upon his beloved. “It fell!” she called desperately, “I can’t get them out! Help us!”  The vision she sent was of the twins’ bed, the mattress lying askew against the floor. The heavy canopy and curtains crumpled down over something that moved underneath.
 
The Duke of Cowyn ran faster through the family’s residential rooms of Coroth Castle than he ever had before. He shoved the door aside which led through to the children’s playroom. His youngest boys’ room was across from the entrance, the door wide open. Araxandra Haldane Morgan was standing there, one arm up, straining to hold the broken canopy rail; her other hand searching beneath the fabric for a squirming, crying child. From the amount of movement seen,  both the boys must be trapped underneath.

“Oh Lord!” Kelric exclaimed, grabbing with both hands the crossrail that Araxa could no long hold high. Seemingly uncaring for her own safety if the canopy should fall, the duchess dove headlong into the fabric pile, pulling forth one crying child. She placed him at his father’s feet and then reached back into the fabric, farther this time to come up moments later with their second twin boy. Alain’s face was smeared in blood from a cut over his left eye. He didn’t cry; only his arms wrapped firm around his mother’s neck showed his distress.  Araxa enfolded him in her arms. Speaking softly to him, she carried him over to the hearth and the settle before it, nestling down onto the cushioned seat to comfort her six year old.

“Is that all” Kelric asked, afraid to let the canopy fall too soon. “Bisket! Get Bisket too,” Alain yelled over his mother’s shoulder. That would be the new puppy’s fate to be in the middle of this mess, mayhaps he had been the catalyst to this disaster.

Kelric turned his mind’s eye to find the black and gold bundle of fur. Sure enough, his psychic senses touched on the puppy’s fear, “Come to papa,” Kelric called, using his talent at establishing animal rapport. One hand let go of the beam, lifting the fabric up in time to see a black nose appear. “Duncan, pull Bisket free, save him for papa.” The boy at his feet stopped sniffling and pulled at the puppy’s front legs until the dog was free.  With a sigh of relief, Kelric let the canopy rail down.  It made a final crash as it came to rest upon the floor. The duke scooped his six-year-old son up into his arms. He paced quickly over to the settle, noticing just then his elderly mother, the Dowager Duchess Richenda, enter the room. She had his two younger daughters under each of her arms. Richenda reached Araxa’s side at the same time Kelric did, taking the uninjured grandson from him into her arms.  The boy was getting to be a big boy, almost too big to carry for a lady in her sixties. She settled on the far end of the settle, keeping the boy in her lap, soothing his fears.

Kelric’s fingers touched Alain’s forehead. The duke, who had inherited so much from his father, had inherited his Healing gift as well.  He was shaking a little to see his son injured, but Araxa was already soothing her young Alain with her words and bringing down his pain so his papa could clean the blood away and see the full length of the gash. Kelirc as quick to fall into his Healer’s trance, it rarely failed him after so many years of experience. His wife and his mother were there to help if that was needed. Neither lady could use the Healing powers themselves, yet both were as familiar with the power as if they could. The briefest sense of another’s hands and the boy was whole, resting his head down, letting his mother encase him within her caring arms.

“That old ducal bed should have been tossed long ago.” Richenda sighed. “Nineteen years ago, I had them remove it from my room. I could not sleep in it, I just couldn’t, the memories….” The dowager enfolded the three grandchildren in her arms.

Araxandra looked shamefaced. “It was the only bed big enough, with the two boys growing so fast. I am sorry, maman Richenda.” 

“We’ll have a new one built for them, stronger than that old beechwood. At least my family is safe.”

Though the dowager was sure her words were true, her son sunk down to his knees before her. “Maman, I fear that not all the family is safe.”

“Not safe? Your four are here before me. Your two eldest are at Rhemuth, part of the King’s household. Nothing could have happened to them.”

“Kenric and Kelsonie are fine. It’s not my children that I worry for, but rather my brother. Wash was in a fight tonight, somewhere on the Mearan border. It looked far more serious than a brawl.”

“Show me!” Richenda requested, her hands grasping her son’s wrist, her shields dropping away. Kelric revealed all that he had seen, showing her also how her youngest son had gladly accepted the quest to go to Meara to escort a baron’s surviving daughter to Rhemuth to make her plea with the king for her murdered family and captured lands. 

“How could I refuse a friend’s dying request? I know, I know, I only heard Lord Alister in a dream, but I did hear him. He needed his sister to be saved from the man who had giving him his death wound. I couldn’t save Alister, but Wash was closer than I was. He could reach Aliset far sooner than anyone else I could send.  He knows what is at stake. He will see her honorably to the gates of Rhemuth.”

“We’re going to Rhemuth!” the dowager declared suddenly. “All of us!” She nodded to the whole ducal family.

“Maman, the Rhafallia II isn’t due in port for another two days,” her son said.

‘Not by ship, by Portal. The three of us can bring the children though. I want my whole family together. I don’t know why, but I feel a storm is brewing. It is not a good feeling.” The lady’s blue eyes had a haunted look, like she had just seen a ghost walk before her as she stared at the bed curtains that were crumpled in a heap. Curtains that at one time had been a part of her happiest days. 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 18, 2018, 10:43:16 am
Aliset sat on her bed in the small chamber the abbess had thoughtfully provided for her apart from her male companions in the guesthouse.  In her hands was a goblet of wine, although thus far it had remained untouched. She stared into its depths, watching the flicker of nearby firelight shimmer on its dark surface as she focused intently, attempting to conjure up a vision of those remaining pursuers who meant her and her fellowship harm.

((Test to see if Aliset can scry for enemies.

Evie    !roll 2d6
@derynibot    5, 1 == 6 ))

As she watched, the surface of the wine began to shimmer, the firelight replaced by a vision of another fire...a bonfire?  She sensed it was nearby.  Was that the silhouette of the village walls she could see in the distance?  Aliset attempted to get a closer look at the men she could see seated around the fire. She got a vague impression of faces in the firelight's glow before the scene shifted.

Another man, darkly handsome. She had seen this face before, when she'd gained impressions from the dead man's amulet, and seeing it again made her recoil in revulsion at the evil she sensed from him.  He was speaking to another man, giving orders from the look of things, although she could not hear him. The other man turned to leave.

((Check to see if Valerian senses her attempt
!roll 2d6
2, 3 == 5

Check to see if Aliset sees anything else
!roll 2d6
2, 1 == 3 ))

Sensing the handsome man's power, Aliset feared he might detect her scrying and attempt to track it back to its source, so she quickly returned her consciousness to the here and now, downing the contents of the wine goblet.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 18, 2018, 05:23:21 pm
Columcil rose quietly from his bed, pulled on the worn, patched,  but clean cassock that the convent's priest had brought across for him the previous evening and slipped out of the room before the other two were stirring. There was the faintest hint of dawn in the sky and as he passed the church he could hear the voices of the nuns singing lauds. He arrived at the Convent gate, and found, as he had expected, Patch already up and waiting for the priest who would shortly arrive to say the first mass of the day. As he had hoped when father Eifion arrived he was full of news; the bandits who had been threatening the town from beyond the gates had, it seemed, gone in the night. The good father was inclined to thank the efficiacy of all the prayers that had been said, but Columcil feared that the experiences of the last few days were having a bad effect on him and he wondered to himself whether they had not just disappeared to appear again once he and his companions had left the shelter of the town. However there was no sense in worrying about that now. Of more immediate concern was the news that Kieran was to be buried that morning, his body having lain in the town church overnight. That was what had brought Columcil out of his bed.

The church was obvious enough, between the convent and the town gate in the main square and as Columcil lifted the latch the door opened readily enough. Before the altar, in a hallowed space marked with a tall candle at each corner, lay the shrouded body of Kieran, his face as yet uncovered. Columcil knelt at his feet and said the prayers for the departed, his conscience pricking him to include prayers for the man he had killed. He suspected that he and his comrades had been buried with precious little ceremony. Rising to his feet, he crossed himself and then knelt at Kieran's head to bend and kiss his forehead, "God speed, my brother, and thank you. May your soul find healing at the hands of the Almighty." Then turning to the altar he prostrated himself asking forgiveness for all he had done amiss and guidance in the unfamiliar paths he was now treading. Aware that others would be coming in soon he clambered rather stiffly to his feet, bowed low to the Presence and slipped out of the church as quietly as he had come.

There were earthly matters to deal with and urgently too. He wondered whether he would be able to call Darcy's missing horse to the postern gate, always supposing that the poor beast hadn't ended up as last night's supper for the bandits. Not wanting as yet to risk drawing the attention of the guards he sat down with his back against a tree at the edge of the street and reached out with his mind, firmly focusing on the mental imprint that he had received from Darcy's horse as they journeyed and ignoring all the other life teeming outside the gates. ((2d6 4+5 =9 1js7g1khhc)) It was not, after all so difficult, and within a few minutes he sensed the animal. There was a sense of the  contentment that comes to most animals, humans included, with a full belly but some discomfort which increased as the horse reacted to the priest's mind call and began to move. Hopefully, thought Columcil it was nothing worse than the soreness caused by a unprotected hoof over rough ground.

Soon, as he had hoped he would, he heard a whinney outside the postern gate which drew the attention of the guard and he went quickly to speak to him, not entirely sure of the reaction he would get.

"Oh it's you father!" - said, thank God, with no hostility, and indeed he was being favoured with a smile of welcome. "You put up a good show yesterday, for a man of the cloth, and an old 'un at that. Kieran's family know it's thanks to you he had a clean death, and well they're grateful." Columcil was saved from answering by the now frantic whinnies of Darcy's horse. The guardsman turned towards the postern saying over his shoulder, "Orders are not to open, though as far as anyone can tell them bandits upped and went in the night, but the beast'll wake the whole town if something's not done. I could shoot it but I mislike killing an animal in cold blood."

"No, stay your bow." Columcil broke in urgently, "Climb up the ramparts and see if anyone is out there and if it's safe call down and I'll open the postern and call her in. That way you're breaking no orders." The man stared at him, but clearly something had to be done before he horse injured itself in its frenzy so he went as bid, though Columcil thought he heard him muttering something about "fierce wild priests from the back of beyond."

"There's none here that I can see." The call came down softly and Columcil moved swiftly to lift the bar and swing the door open. He moved back swiftly but even so he was barely in time to avoid being knocked aside by rapidly moving horseflesh as Darcy's horse suddenly barged through the gate and stopped as suddenly, dropping her muzzle into Columcil's outstretched hand.


Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 18, 2018, 08:06:55 pm
In the early light of dawn, the young man approached and bowed respectively.

“What have you learned?”

“The men have withdrawn, my Lord.  The left ashes from a campfire behind.  I think they have moved forward; I saw no trace of them returning this way.”

“You have done well.” The man nodded, laid his hand briefly on his squire's shoulder and said, “Now get yourself a bite to eat.  I must think on what we should do next.”  The young man bowed again, then joined the others in their small camp.

Lord Jaxom Trillick, son of Baron Trillick of Trillshire, sighed and looked thoughtful.  When he had returned home to the Trillshire manor, later than he had planned, his father informed him of Lord Morgan’s visit and the treachery that had befallen the de Mariots.  God’s blood it was a nasty business!  The old baron had instructed his son to select a small band of armed men to follow Sir Washburn.  Unfortunately, due to the lateness of the hour, they had had to delay until the next day.

Lord Jaxom had formed a band of five men:  two men-at-arms, two bowman, and his 15-year old squire.  They had set out briskly the next morning, following the road that would lead out of the hills toward Rhemuth. But the delay in their departure put Jaxom and his men two days behind Lord Morgan. 

It was on their second day out that one of Jaxom’s men had noted the two men riding ahead.  Jaxom kept his own men back far enough to follow unseen.  He had been dismayed when one of his men pointed out the signs of a stumbled horse, then tracks of another that was carrying a heavier load.  They were travelling fast, followed by two others.  But Jaxom had been told that Lord Morgan travelled alone.  Had his father been mistaken?

When they neared the town, Lord Jaxom had sent a scout ahead.  The scout reported that two men watched carefully, hidden outside of the town gate.  Later the men had been joined by other, furtive men who kept to the shadows.  One man had drawn another apart, but his scout could not determine why.  Lord Jaxom had decided to watch and wait.

Now it appeared the watchers had moved on.  Had Lord Morgan left the town earlier, or was he still within?  Had he ever been there at all, and this was a wild goose chase?

Jerusha   !roll 2d6
20:55   derynibot   1, 1 == 2 ((catastrophic failure.  So much for reinforcements!)

Lord Jaxom of Trillshire decided to return home.  There seemed to be nothing more he could do here.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 19, 2018, 04:09:24 pm
Aliset sat on the edge of her bed, pondering how she was going to manage to convince her very protective hostess the abbess to allow her to leave the convent walls to enter the village.  There were some items she wanted to buy at market, if she could, before she and her companions traveled on any further.  Nearly losing her dagger the day before when she'd thrown it at an enemy in a moment of panic without any clear plan for how she meant to get it back had set her to thinking.  They could hardly wait around the village long enough to get weapons specially made, of course, but perhaps the local blacksmith might have some ready made daggers better balanced for the purpose?

But first, there was the matter of escaping the abbess' gimlet gaze.

Perhaps she could shapeshift herself back into Alister's form?  She needed to anyway, and as the Reverend Mother was aware of her ability to shapeshift now, and what guise she wore, surely she wouldn't object to allowing her to slip out the gates in that form, would she? But then again, what might the villagers make of an unknown man slipping out of the convent, given the heightened tensions after the violence of the night before? Maybe that was not such a wise idea after all.

A thought occurred to Aliset, causing her to brighten.  Perhaps Master Darcy would escort  her to market?  Surely there were items he'd want to procure also, not the least of which might be a horse, if his own failed to turn up.  She'd ask him.

Her indecision settled, she left the dormitorium of the convent to cross the small courtyard in the direction of the guest house. As she did, she spotted a familiar figure approaching from the opposite direction, leading an equally familiar mount.  She gave Father Columcil a relieved smile as their paths crossed.  He returned her smile, but continued on towards the nearby stables, the limping mount following docilely behind him.

Looking around quickly lest the abbess be observing her and chance to object, she noted that she appeared to be unwatched for the moment, so she let herself into the guest house.

Sir Washburn and Master Darcy sat on the edges of their respective beds, facing each other. They appeared to be deep in conversation, and at her entrance both turned towards her, looking startled. As her eyes adjusted to the dimmer light of the room, she realized she'd caught them still dressed for bed rather than for a day's outing. Well, that was awkward!  She politely fixed her gaze somewhere above Master Darcy's head, wishing she'd transformed her appearance to her brother's guise after all.  The situation would still be awkward, but at least if anyone else chanced to enter at that moment, at least she'd look like she fit in!

"Master Darcy  . . . or Sir Washburn . . . or both of you, would either of you do me the favor of escorting me into the village? We need to replenish our supplies before we set out, not to mention figure out what changes of clothing might serve well to throw our pursuers off our trail.  We can hardly continue on in a set of badly tattered monks' robes and not attract attention, after all! Assuming we can come up with an escape plan at all, but I'm thinking perhaps one of the village merchants might be able to assist with that."  As sunlight streaming through a window gleamed brightly off the top of Darcy's head, she added. "And you could do with a hat, if you please, Master Darcy.  Or some black walnut juice to dye your hair. It's lovely hair, but it does rather stand out, you must admit." Staring at the wall was beginning to feel even more awkward than simply looking at the scantily dressed men head-on, so lowering her gaze to Darcy's eyes, she added, "Father Columcil found your horse, by the way."

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 19, 2018, 06:28:39 pm
Darcy Cameron stared back into the lovely brown eyes and felt a warm blush creep across his face. 

“I, ah, I have a serviceable cap specifically for that purpose,” he said.  “Sometimes it’s best not to be noticed.”  Sometimes it’s best to be fully dressed, he added to himself.  “No need to do something rash like dye, or a tonsure.”

Under other circumstances, the look Darcy got from Sir Washburn could have led to death.  Darcy was pleased to see the knight’s face showed as much colour as his own probably did.

“If my Lady would consider withdrawing,” Darcy continued, relieved that his voice sounded calm, “we could ready ourselves for the excursion.”  Or immerse themselves in a tub of cold water.

“Thank you,” Aliset said carefully, turned and hurried from the room.

Both men looked at each other.  Finally Darcy said, “Might be best if she transforms back to Lord Alister.”

“For both our sakes,” Sir Washburn replied.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 20, 2018, 12:13:22 am
Sidana, rightful Queen of Meara (or so she had been brought up to believe), slipped into the hedge labyrinth at the center of the castle's courtyard garden.  Breena, the lady who had been chosen to be her governess and chaperone, had finally fallen asleep in the summer's heat, and so Sidana was taking advantage of her warden's unexpected nap to steal away for a few minutes of privacy.

Perhaps "warden" was a bit strong. After all, she was Queen, wasn't she? So hardly a prisoner here, in this mountain fortress that was her new home and the center of her fledgling court! It was unfair of her to think of Breena so, yet Sidana couldn't help feeling restricted now that she had moved past the comparative innocence of girlhood into the expectations not only of young womanhood, but of a woman born to be Queen. Why, after all, was all this hovering over her considered necessary? Of course she'd been told since earliest childhood that her family had enemies, that the Haldanes, among others, would like nothing better than to see her dead. But wouldn't they need to know of her existence first? It seemed like a lot of silly bother over nothing, to keep her confined to her chambers in what was allegedly her own palace, after all, but Papa had insisted. One never knew for certain who was a loyalist and who was not, and even the most loyal among her family's following might have traitorous relatives eager to curry favor among the Haldanes. So Papa had explained when he insisted on her remaining within the castle's well-guarded walls, hidden out of sight of the outside world, until the time was right for her to claim her rightful place in the world.

And so she would remain within the castle walls.  But what harm would it be to explore the courtyard garden?  Did anyone honestly think Rory Haldane's searching gaze was so deeply penetrating as to be able to see through multiple solid stone buildings and walls?  Pfffft!  That Haldane wasn't even Deryni, unlike his cousin the King of Gwynedd, horrid man! And even if he could, what would he see but a maiden like any other, clad in a simple linen gown and tending to her embroidery in the garden, minding her own business? It's not like she had the words "Queen of Meara" branded on her forehead!

Sidana, holding her embroidery frame close to her chest, crept along the narrow passageway between the hedges, winding ever closer to the center of the labyrinth. She wasn't afraid of getting lost; unlike a maze, there was only one way in and out of a labyrinth.  But from her bower window, she had seen that at the center of this one was a quaint arbor, with what had appeared from above to be a bench seat.  It was there that she hoped to find some moments to herself in the shady retreat, left alone for a bit to embroider and think. And more importantly, to not be told what to think. She knew they meant well, but she was growing tired of that.

Through the foliage around her, she heard low voices. She had not expected that.  Sidana grew still, trying to determine whether the voices she heard were coming from deeper within the labyrinth, or from courtiers outside of it.

"And what of Trurill?" one voice asked. She recognized that one instantly. It was Papa.

"I'm working on that," said the other man. "Within the week, it should be back in your hands.  There are still men of your clan who remember your father fondly and have no love for the MacArdry supplanter."  That, Sidana thought, was Valerian.  Her heart beat a little faster at the sound of it, and a warmth crept into her cheeks that could not be attributed to the summer heat.

"Good, good!  And that damned MacArdry is dead?" her father asked.

A quiet sound Sidana couldn't quite decipher. Disgust, perhaps?  "No such luck," Valerian answered, "since Jass MacArdry isn't in residence at Trurill just now. He left mere hours before we closed in, it seems. But if anything, that made our infiltration easier."

"His wife, then? God knows she's just as much of a nuisance, if not more!"

Valerian laughed outright.  The merry sound caused an odd fluttery feeling inside Sidana. Her blush grew.  "I've heard tales of Baroness Ailidh. Now there's a woman who ought to be shown her place.  No, Brioc, you'll have to wait a bit longer to quench your thirst for vengeance--she's gone with Baron Jass, more's the pity. But....!" Sidana could hear the smile in his voice. "They're in Cassan at the moment, well out of our way, without any way of learning of our plans for Trurill until far too late."

"Ah." Sidana could feel her father's satisfaction from here.  "And Rory Haldane is currently in Laas along with his duchess for the christening of . . . what was it, a grand-niece?  At any rate, it's a relief to have them off our back doorstep, so to speak.  Who's minding things in Ratharkin? Their heir Bearand, I imagine?"

"No, the entire family's gathered in Laas, Unfortunately, their steward is incorruptibly loyal to that treasonous lot of your late wife's wayward kindred who've sided with the Haldanes, so he can't be bribed. But if we can take Ratharkin during the so-called 'viceroy's' absence, we'll have a strong enough base of operations to begin moving openly. Once we've taken Ratharkin, we can set our sights on capturing that rabble in Laas. Alive or dead, although Rory Haldane would be a handy bargaining chip."

"Along with the Morgan whelp, if your hirelings manage to capture him," Sidana's father mused. "Yes, that would put Kelson at quite the disadvantage, wouldn't it?  What about the de Mariot damsel? Is there any advantage to us to capture her alive as well, or is she really worth the bother? She's merely a knight's chit, after all, and loyal to the Haldane, not to Sidana. Probably more bother than she's worth, taking pains not to harm her."

"True," said Valerian. "But Oswald wants her. I honestly don't care if she lives or dies, but a happy Oswald is a loyal Oswald. And right now we need as many loyalists as we can muster, especially if we're to gather enough military support to take Ratharkin."

"And Laas. Traditionally the Quinnells ruled from Laas. I mean to see my daughter crowned there."

The Grand Duke laughed good-naturedly. "All in good time, Brioc!  All in good time."





Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Bynw on January 20, 2018, 07:43:01 am
Feyd was already on his way. Well accustomed to long and multiple Portal jumps in day. The plans for taking Meara back from the usurpers were started years ago. And secret Portals were constructed to make the task of communication easier. Part of a greater net that just needs to be hauled up when the time is right.

But Feyd didn't care one way or another about Haldane's or Mearan Independence. He was in it for the money and the Grand Duke paid a substantial fee to acquire his services. And there was a greater reward to be had if he brought in Washburn Morgan alive. Failure of course would not be good, this particular client might take greater offense at failure than others before him.

No matter though. The escape route had already been planned as well should it be needed. If he could not capture the Morgan whelp alive, killing him would still gain additional wealth. Failing at both would earn the wrath of the Grand Duke and Feyd knew he would flee home to Torenth to lie low for a bit with the halls of his family.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 20, 2018, 04:12:16 pm
Columcil took the injured mare into the stables and let her into a stall making sure that she had fresh water within reach. He rather suspected that an infection was starting in the hoof that had shed a shoe; it should be possible to draw it out by packing the hoof with a poultice but that would delay their journey by a day or two unless Darcy was willing or able to negotiate for another mount in return for leaving the injured one behind. Hopefully though it shouldn't come to that.

He gathered a handful of clean straw and put it around the injured hoof, then drawing his hand down the animal's fetlock, and lifting up the hoof pierced the swollen centre with his knife allowing the puss to drain away into the straw before centering himself and entering into a light trance ((3+5 = 8 14w7x8dmlw)). He could sense the blood flowing strongly into the hoof to carry away the last of the infection then he visualised the bruised and cut flesh healing. As the mare whickered with pleasure and turned to nuzzle him Columcil picked up her hoof and bent to look inside, though he could already tell by the feel that all trace of the injury was gone. All that remained now was for Darcy was to get the animal reshod. He had best go and tell him what he had done; he had seemed somewhat leery of magic although, given the events of the last few days, it seemed unlikely that he would be spooked by a gentle healing practised on his horse.

He picked up the dirty straw, threw it on the pile of rubbish gathered ready for burning and plunged his hands into the water trough. As he withdrew them he caught sight of two figures, both female, and neither looking at ease with the world. The Abbess had just come out of the convent dormitorium and was looking around as though she had lost someone. Out of the corner of his eye Columcil saw the Lady Aliset standing in the doorway of the guest lodging evidently struggling to regain her composure - what in the name of all that was holy had possessed her to enter there alone? If the Abbess were to catch sight of her there would be hell to pay, and the exalted rank of two of the guests would make little difference if Columcil's experience of religious superiors was anything to go by.

Striding towards the Abbess, he called out "Reverend mother, a word if I may?" and simply courtesey meant that she moved a little way to meet him. He made something of a fuss of his concern about returning his borrowed clothes, and hoping that his own were now clean and saw to his relief that Aliset had taken the chance to rapidly regain her composure and position herself to look as though she was returning from the Church. Bowing to the two ladies he made his excuses and headed back to the guest house, entering to find Sir Washburn and Darcy both flushed and in the act of hastily dressing.

Columcil sat down on his bed with a thump and ran his hands through his hair in irritation. Didn't they have enough problems? "Please don't tell me that she saw you both like that?" The silence that met him was answer enough and a flash of anger crossed Darcy's face. "Don't go thinking things, Father, she just walked in here and asked me to accompany her to market. And to cover up my hair?" The humour of the situation began to strike him and he had difficulty in getting the last word out.

Columcil held up his hands in a gesture of peace. "I'm not thinking anything, Son, except that Lady Aliset all but got caught by the Abbess and I wouldn't have given much for your skins, either of you if that had happened. She'd be able to flay you with her tongue alone, I make no doubt."

Struggling to regain his composure, and not in the least helped by Washburn's silent convulsions, Darcy tried to find another topic of conversation and, thank God, remembered what Aliset had said about his horse. "I believe you've found my horse, Father? Is she much hurt?"

Columcil smiled, with perhaps just a trace of apology. "She's fine, Son, eating her head off all night by the looks of her, all she'll need is a new shoe. I ...er...took the liberty of drawing the infection that was starting and healing her cuts."

Darcy looked a little nonplussed for a moment as though he wished that his companions wouldn't keep springing surprises on him, then he smiled a genuine smile and grasped the priest's hand in thanks.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 20, 2018, 05:00:56 pm
Darcy Cameron entered the stable with Father Columcil.  The horse whinnied when they approached and extended her nose toward both men.  Darcy thought the mare favoured the priest, but since Columcil had healed her foot, he couldn’t blame her. He untied his sea bag from the saddle.

“Father,” he said.  “You didn’t sense anything evil, such as an amulet that might have gotten placed in the bag?”

“No son, I didn’t, but then I was more concerned for the horse and wasn’t looking.” Carefully he added, “I can have a closer look, if you’d like.”

Darcy hesitated.  More magic was not to his liking, but his bag had been out of sight for some time.

“If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, I’d be obliged,” Darcy finally said.

Columcil extended his senses, not only to the bag but also the saddle and the padding beneath it.

Jerusha   !roll 2d6
16:34   derynibot   5, 4 == 9

Columcil did not sense an evil presence, not like the amulet, but something did not seem to belong.

“There is something odd,” he said.  “I don’t sense anything evil, but something feels a bit off. You didn’t stuff one of the meat rolls inside, did you?”

Darcy managed a slightly nervous chuckle. “No,” he replied.  “I ate every bite.”

Darcy started to open the bag and reach inside, then decided against it.  He untied it, upended it and dumped the contents onto the straw.  He unsheathed his sword and used the tip to sort through the small pile.  There were two pair of breeches; two shirts; one pair of hose; a fair-sized length of line, neatly coiled; a small book; a well-worn leather cap; and a medallion on a chain.

“That,” Darcy said firmly, pointing at the medal, “is definitely not mine.  I’ve never seen it before.”  Using the tip of his sword, he lifted it carefully.

Father Columcil, careful not to touch the medal, looked more closely.  “It’s fair worn, but it looks like Saint Christopher.”

“Not mine,” Darcy said again.  “If I had one, it would be Saint Nicholas.  What should we do with it?”

“We could just leave it here,” Columcil suggested.

Darcy looked around; there was the pile of soiled straw ready for burning, but he was not quite comfortable leaving the medallion within the Nunnery walls.  He looked outside the stable and noticed the barrel waiting to be carried away by the gong farmer.  Darcy dropped the medallion, grasped a substantial handful of straw to wrap around to avoid touching it, and with his sworn once again sheathed, casually walked over to the barrel.  He opened the lid and dropped the straw inside.

“That was probably not necessary,” Darcy admitted when he returned to the stable.
 
“Probably,” Columcil said.  “But somebody put it there, and I doubt it was with the best of intentions. I doubt your horse needed Saint Christopher’s help to find her way to town.”  He did not mention is own encouragement.

Darcy began to return his belongings to his sea bag. Father Columcil picked up the small book from the floor.  The pale green leather that bound it was tooled with an assortment of flowers.

“I’ll take that, if you please,” Darcy said, reaching to take it back and then regretting his hasty words.  He said contritely, “It was my mother’s.  She never read it after my father died.  It was one of the few things I had time to grab before I was hustled out of the house. “

Father Columcil nodded and handed him the book.

***
Later that day, the gong farmer arrived and loaded the Nunnery’s barrel on his cart.  This town was his last stop before he returned north to dump the barrels.  Once outside the town, he clucked at his horse and set off at a reasonable pace.  He was anxious to get back home.

((edited to include Darcy's cap))

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 20, 2018, 06:44:26 pm
Aliset was glad of the slight breeze in the morning air, because it helped to cool the warm flush in her cheeks. How stupid it had been of her to just go barging into the guesthouse like that!  She hadn't given it a moment's thought; apparently one of the perils of growing up in a household full of brothers was that she had grown so accustomed to walking into chambers and finding one or more of them in varying states of relaxed undress, she hadn't given a second thought to how different it would be to walk in on Sir Washburn and Master Darcy in a similar state until she'd actually done so and seen their shocked stares back at her.  Well, she supposed it might have been worse. She might have caught them at their bath and startled them so badly as to run screaming for the Reverend Mother's protection of their manly virtues....

The whimsical daydream brought a giggle to her lips, followed by a groan. How was she ever going to manage to look them in the eyes again and manage a straight face and normal composure?

The amused look on her face faded away as she considered her future. Provided she had a future, that is. Provided it wouldn't be summarily snuffed out by one of Oswald's hirelings, or perhaps worse, by that mysterious Deryni she'd seen in her scrying visions on two occasions now.  Who was he? What interest did he have in her, or was it one of her other companions he was after? How was he connected to Oswald?  Was he connected to Oswald?  She had so many questions, and not nearly enough answers.

And another thing she had was fear.  Not just fear of being pursued or even killed, although certainly those were pressing concerns at the moment. More frightening was the thought of being captured and brought back to Caer Mariot, defenseless and alone, to be used by Oswald to secure his hold on her lands and get an heir on her who would have unquestioned rights to the Mariot lands.  She would rather marry anyone else but him!

Well, nearly anyone else.  The thought of that dark, mysterious stranger in her visions returned to her, and she shuddered. She supposed, upon further reflection, that there were worse fates.

And yet who might Kelson give her to? Aliset trusted the King, else she would hardly be trying to escape to him, yet that thought filled her with a little trepidation also. She hoped against all hope that maybe he would be content to allow her to simply remain a ward of the Crown, to be married later at her own time to a man of her choosing, so long as she chose wisely and responsibly for the sake of her people. Aliset was bred to duty; she knew better than to allow emotions to cloud sound thinking when it came to marriage, though she also hoped that she could learn to love whatever man Fate had in store for her.  She wasn't afraid of marriage in and of itself.  She knew she had been well trained to handle a manorial household, and as for more intimate matters, one could hardly have grown up in a manor as small as Caer Mariot, and seen the number of siblings who had been born to her mother through the years, without having some inkling of the delight her parents had found in each other, although one might have wished their bedchamber had had thicker walls!  The thought made her blink away hot tears.  They were all dead now, of course, between childhood illnesses that had taken the lives of her younger two sisters and a baby brother well before their time, the death of her mother in childbed not long afterwards, and now the violent bloodshed that Oswald had visited upon her remaining family.  But what would it be like to be given to a stranger, and have to learn how to adapt her life around his? 

The door to the guesthouse opened, and the knight and the seaman stepped out, blinking in the bright sunlight as their eyes adjusted to its brightness.  Aliset smiled at them, taking comfort in their presence, the sight of them returning her thoughts to the here and now, her earlier embarrassment forgotten in the light of greater matters to worry about.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 21, 2018, 03:34:23 pm
Darcy Cameron blinked in the bright light, waiting for his eyes to adjust.  Lady Aliset was waiting for them, ready to venture forth to the town below.

“I’ll get my horse,” Darcy said to the tall knight beside him.  “I’ll just be a moment.”

“See if you can round up Father Columcil,” Sir Washburn said as Darcy turned toward the stable.

Darcy found his mare ready to go with a borrowed halter and sturdy lead rope.  He looked around and made sure his saddle, bed roll and leather cloak were where he had left them.  She followed him readily, content to be free from the saddle for a while.

Father Columcil had already found his own way to the group.  He stood with his staff strapped to his back.  Darcy bowed to Lady Aliset when he reached them.  “Satisfied?” he asked her.

Darcy had tucked his pale hair under the cap from his sea bag.  He had clubbed his braid tightly up close to the back of his head.  You would only notice it if you were looking for it.

“Well done, Master Darcy!”  She favoured him with a smile.  “Shall we go?”

As they departed through the Nunnery gate, Darcy wondered if, in spite of his own slight disguise, they were still too obvious as a group of four.  He voiced his concern, and Sir Washburn nodded thoughtfully.

“Actually,” the knight said, “I was thinking I should pay a visit to the guard captain to find out if he learned anything useful from our captured assailant.  I’d also like to pay a visit to Kieran’s family, make sure they are being looked after.”   

“Aye, that would be good,” the priest said.  “We owe Kieran much.”

They had reached the town below; it was busy today.  Darcy spied the stalls set up in the town square.  Market day!  There would be throngs of people.  It would make them less obvious; it would also make someone watching them harder to notice.

Sir Washburn left them and turned off to the guard house.  Darcy, Columcil and Aliset picked their way carefully through the crowd, heading toward the blacksmith’s forge.  Darcy’s mare remained calm as various children scampered by.  Aliset eyed several of the stalls displaying bright cloth and ribbons.

“Might look a bit out of place once you return to your brother’s form,” Darcy said to her quietly.

“I am aware, Master Darcy.”

Darcy thought he detected a hint of sadness in her voice.  Of course, she was still grieving her loss. “Dolt!”  he said to himself.

The blacksmith was finishing with a customer when they arrived.  On market day, he was not as busy as usual.  Darcy explained the need for a shoe; Father Columcil asked to have his staff iron-shod.  The blacksmith gave the priest an odd look, but money was money, and it was no business of his anyway.

Lady Aliset looked at the daggers the blacksmith had available for sale.  Darcy looked at several himself, but did not find any with the balance and weight he was looking for. 

Lady Aliset, on the other hand, found a pair that suited her.  “You’ll bargain for these?” she asked Darcy quietly. 

“Aye, and my pleasure to do so for you.  Yon blacksmith already wonders why a priest needs to arm himself so well.”

Darcy’s horse was finished. “What do you ask for the shoeing and these two small daggers?” Darcy asked.

“Two gold pieces for the shoe, three for the pair of daggers.”

Darcy gave him an astonished look.  “That’s a bit high for a poor sailor.” Darcy sounded aggrieved. 

Jerusha   !roll 2d6
15:57   derynibot   5, 3 == 8  (to bargain successfully for a lower price)

The two men haggled a bit longer.   The blacksmith, perhaps knowing he still had the staff to charge for, settled for three gold pieces.  Darcy shook his hand, paid the fee, and once the blacksmith returned to his work, grinned at Aliset and the priest.

“I hope he doesn’t overcharge me to make up for the loss,” Columcil said.

“Why, he wouldn’t overcharge a priest, would he?” Darcy responded, managing to look shocked at the thought.  Columcil snorted.

“My Lady,” Darcy said.  “May I entrust you to our humble priest while I take my horse to the town stable?  I might as well leave her with the others; no need to take her back to the Nunnery.”

“Of course.  We may be finished here before you return.  Shall we meet at the village well?”

“As you wish, my Lady.”  Darcy gave a brief bow and led his horse away.

It did not take him long to make the arrangements to stable his horse until they were ready to leave.  On his way back to town square, he looked through the various stalls.  One caught his attention; it had several swords, knives and daggers for sale.

Darcy looked through the daggers.  Several were more to his liking.  He was about to settle for one in a scabbard a bit too fancy for his tastes when he spotted another.  He forced himself to remain calm as he reached for it.

It could not be, but he was sure he recognized it.  The scabbard was new, plainly stitched, but the hilt was as he remembered it.  In its centre was a large, round, obsidian stone.  He pulled the dagger form the sheath, tested the balance.  It was the same as when he had held it before.  How could it possibly be the Quartermaster’s?

The Quartermaster had had a pair of daggers, one with the obsidian stone, and one with an ivory stone.  Once, just once, he had let Darcy examine the dagger to understand what a proper balance and weight felt like.  Young Darcy had wanted to try a test throw but had been denied.

Darcy sheathed the dagger, then looked casually to see if he could find the second.  He found nothing.

“How much for the dagger,” he asked the merchant. 

“Two gold pieces,” the merchant responded.

Darcy would have paid five for this particular dagger but not negotiating a better price would be unexpected.

Jerusha   !roll 2d6
16:19   derynibot   5, 1 == 6  (dice roll to bring down the price.  I hope I haven’t used up all Darcy’s luck!)

The merchant settled for one gold piece.  They shook hands, and Darcy paid one gold coin.

With the dagger securely settled in his belt, Darcy went to find his companions.  So far, it had been a fine day!
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 22, 2018, 03:27:52 am
Two letters of great importance nested between the front breast fabrics of his linen shirt and woolen tunic. The letters were held in place by a leather jerkin, laced snugly and belted at the waist. The courier out of Trillshire had one mission: to deliver the two letters into the Duke of Cassan’s hands. There was to be no delay in getting the letters to his grace.  To accommodate his haste, a third letter from Lord Trillick was to be shown at every way station. This letter allowed the bearer an exchange of horses on business for the Duke of Cassan. In the remaining daylight of his first day, Master Pearson had traversed the highland road to Culdi, giving the town a wide berth on orders of the baron. He had changed horses at a small town north of Culdi and had continued on thru the night, passing into Kierney. His next change of horse would be at Castel Dearg, the seat of the Earl of Kierney.  He would have to make two, possibly three, more change of horse before he reached Duke Dhugal at the seaside Castle of Balamar, Cassan’s summer retreat. 

Master Pearson had experience with the roads in Meara and Cassan. He had been running messages for five years. For three years as a guard quartered in Culdi.  He’d risen in the ranks and became noticed by Lord Adam Trillick when he had ridden a letter from Earl Duncan Michael McLain to Trillshire in twenty-six hours. Baron Trillick paid well for his transfer of commission to his own small estate.  The work had been mutually beneficial. Pearson got a little more leisure time. And Trillick got his information sent and received by the fastest courier south of Kierney. On this trip, Pearson was determined to beat his own best time. It had been just twenty-four hours and the seat of Kierney was just passed that thicket of trees and over that next rise.

((13:09 laurnaRoll to avoid being seen
13:09 laurna !roll 2d6
13:09 derynibot 1, 2 == 3))

Did he expect to see that glimmer of shine just inside the tree line off to his left? He didn’t see it at first, but that didn’t stop him from keeping his eyes attentive to such detail, even as he rode abreast of the spot that worried him most. Along this road, this was the best place for an ambush. Close enough to the red castle to spy on the comings and goings, yet still in the woodlands and hidden from the ramparts by the small hill up ahead.

((13:22 laurna 1st roll initiative for  Pearson
13:23 laurna !roll 2d6
13:23 derynibot 5, 5 == 10
13:23 laurna initiative for mearan
13:23 laurna !roll 2d6
13:23 derynibot 3, 1 == 4))

There was that glimmer of a weapon he was looking for. He was ready for it when he saw it.   
The dagger was in his hand, his throw was fast and straight.

((13:35 laurna Throwing dagger at Mearan
13:35 laurna !roll 2d6
13:35derynibot 4, 2 == 6))

The blade skimmed just passed the man in the shadows and landed somewhere beyond.

“Curses!” Pearson yelled as he kicked his mount into a full run and ducked low on the horse's off side in an evade.

((13:35 laurna Mearan shooting arrow at evading Pearson
13:35 laurna !roll 2d6
13:35 derynibot 6, 2 == 8  Yep my luck for the enemy’s attacks has not failed them yet. Dang it.
13:36 laurna roll for evade to worked
13:36 laurna !roll 1d6
13:36 derynibot 4 == 4  Nope! That is my luck. I need to stop writing events that require rolling.
Actually, I need to stop writing events that require combat of any kind. I should write fun things like shopping in the marketplace. Why didn’t I just make a female character that likes to buy fabric and sew things. That is way more my speed.))

The ambusher took his time to draw and aim. The courier had left him only a small moving target behind the horse’s neck. That target was moving away quickly as the horse ran up the last hill. Not quick enough it seemed.

A weight slammed his shoulder! A pain sent him reeling! Nearly did he lose his footing in the stirrup. Pearson hung on. For life and limb, he had to hang on. He was at the top of the hill. Below him the valley opened to farm lands and the red walls of Castel Dearg beyond. He scrambled back into the saddle as best as he could. He was over the ridge. Out of the sights of the archer. Ride hard! His mind screamed Ride hard!  There, at the highest tower, a flag rippled in the breeze. The flag of the Earl of Kierney in residence on this day. Master Pearson dug in his spurs and hung on.

The gates of the great red stoned keep were wide open for the daily business of the Earl of Kierney. The guards on the gate saw the lone rider long before he galloped into the courtyard. Calls and whistles had been made and men were there to stop the wild run of the animal and to catch the man who hunched low, an arrow sticking up from his shoulder. The lieutenant made his orders and the courier was pulled down and held from falling by two guards. The badge of his occupation was in one bloody hand as the courier desperately stayed conscious.

“I have missives for His Grace of Cassan: they must reach him!” he uttered between gasps of breath.

“Bring him into the hall! Call the physician,” the Lieutenant ordered.

The great hall was crowded. It was a day for local grievances to be heard by the earl. Duncan Michael McLain sat on the dais, his McLain plaid over his shoulder, his copper hair tied back in a thick border knot. He was quick to stand when the men brought the wounded courier before him. The commoners making their case, stepped back, as their earl came down the steps to the main floor.

The lieutenant stepped forth with the wounded man’s badge. “Courier from Lord Trillick, my lord. He was ambushed just outside the valley.”

Duncan Michael was none too pleased by that news. “Send out a squadron, clear the roads. I’ll have no more brigands on my land,” he ordered. He made note that the Lieutenant followed through, instantly gathering the guards at the back of the hall, the commander's orders echoing off the stone entrance as he returned outside. 

The earl bent down to the courier, his hand on the man's wrist, his mind already easing the pain. Pearson’s eyes widened for a moment, than eased, knowing the Deryni’s touch was not an evil thing. Shaking, Pearson's hand loosened his jerkin and feebly  pulled forth a parchment. One guard holding him took that as Pearson reach again to get the second letter.

“I am ordered to see that your father gets these. I give them to you. Will you see it done.”

“I will,” replied the earl. Noting the two letters were addressed in different hands. The second he recognized as Lord Adam, but the first he could not discern. “This, who is it from.”

“Sir Washburn Morgan,”  the man said as he passed into unconsciousness.  The physician was rushing in. With a signal from the earl, the courier was moved to the withdrawing room where he could be better attended.

Duncan Michael did not follow. With both letters in his hand, he left the great hall, leaving others to dismiss the court for the day. His seneschal followed after him as they marched through the back corridor, down the tower steps, to a private room in the cellar. “If a Morgan is in Meara, there is trouble afoot. I don’t like that someone is keeping a watch on my roads either. Be vigilant. Learn all you can. I will return as soon as I learn what these are all about.” He waved the two letters in his hand.

Duncan Michael stepped onto a square stone in the center of the cellar floor. He closed his eyes and he was gone. The seneschal of Castel Dearg gave a nod, turned, and then returned to the main floor, with more orders to secure the keep.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on January 22, 2018, 07:32:22 am
As Darcy rejoined them and he and Lady Aliset began to compare purchases, Columcil wondered if he could take the chance to leave them. Cautiously he extended his senses ((6=4=10 7qqdhgnnbj - the dice are being kind, perhaps Columcil has exorcised the evil spirit?)) but he could sense no particular threat. There was a sense of disquiet, hardly surprising given the events of the last day or so, but no overt hostility. It should be safe enough and there were things he wanted to do before they rode out, which was surely likely to be sometime that day.

First he needed to clear his conscience in confession, he had already intimated to Father Eifion that he would be grateful for his services in that regard if the opportunity arose. Knocking at the priest's lodgings he was welcomed in and ushered into the little oratory. There was much he could not share, but he poured out his confused feelings about the man he had killed, and that he had just spent good gold in making it more likely that he would kill again. There was something in Father Eifion's response which suggested that there was a memory of desperate violence and fear in this place and he left, absolved, but with a sense that what he had unwittingly become involved with was in some way part of a greater struggle. He had an increasing fear that sooner or later he might end up face-to-face with his father and grandfather, but that fear, and the anxieties it brought, he could share with no-one else not even in the confessional.

His other duty was much more pleasant and knocking at the back gate to the infirmary, which he was pleased to see was still locked and guarded though known townsfolk were admitted, he gained admittance to the infirmary where he expressed his thanks to Sister Rosa the Infirmarian. Hesitantly for fear of giving offence, but knowing too that generosity of spirit such as the nunnery showed did not always indicate a bottomless purse, he offered two of his gold coins, hoping that his companions would do likewise.

Unoffended but smiling refusal Sister Rosa drew him into her dispensary. "Thank you Father but I doubt that you can truly spare them, and besides we are not badly off."  Inviting him to take a seat she told him swiftly of the history of the nunnery, how it had been despoiled by Ithel and the nuns taken under the protection of the King himself. The Lady Rothana, you've heard of her and the Servants of St Camber ?" Columcil nodded, all priests in training, whether human or Deryni, had for many years been obliged to spend a month on retreat with the Servants, to ensure that the old anti-Deryni prejudices were thoroughly rooted out. "The Lady Rothana has continued to be generous to us here, we are able to give as freely as we have received." She looked searchingly at him and seemed to come to a decision.

"I am not asking what it is not yours to tell but it is clear to me that you and your companions are in real danger and that perhaps it may become a danger to us all. Most in this town will have nothing to do with Mearan traitors, but not all, as poor Kieran found to his cost. Lady Rothana has been generous in more than money, many years ago she gave me an introduction to His Grace the Archbishop and with the permission of the Lady Abbess I correspond with healers attached to the Schola in Rhemuth. I would like your permission to include a letter to his Grace with a letter that by chance," she smiled wryly, " I am writing today. It will not get to Rhemuth the quickest, but perhaps the least likely to be intercepted."

Did the whole world know his Grandfather, Columcil wondered, but the offer was sensible and generous and he thought that the others would have no reason to object. He nodded gratefully and, taking her rising as the dismissal it was, said. "Thank you, Sister. Now I must leave you to your patients."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Bynw on January 22, 2018, 12:22:07 pm
Pearson drifted in an out of sleep. How long had it been he did not know. But he sleep was peaceful and without pain or dreams. In him brief moments of wakefulness gentle hands touched his head and smooth words lulled him back into his dreamless sleep.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 22, 2018, 01:23:43 pm
The guard on the ramparts of the town looked down at the market below him.  He was tired after his exertions the night before.  His master had been none to pleased with him, but the events had been out of his control, so he would get a second chance.  His men remained on watch, out of sight, waiting for Lord Morgan and his party to depart and resume their journey south.  Given the bustle of activity caused by the market, he had instructed the men to watch carefully; the ones they sought might decide to leave separately, blending in with the many merchants who would leave once the market was over.

He had also accomplished the final task that his master had given him.  It had not been difficult to catch the lame horse and place the Saint Christopher medal that the master had given him in the bag tied to the saddle.  His master had not told him exactly what it would do, but he hinted that it could effectively eliminate the bearer of it when he chose to do so.  The guard had some misgivings that the medal had been around is own neck, but that wasn’t his problem anymore.

His mouth drew into a sneer as he studied the people below.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 22, 2018, 03:46:58 pm
((14:34   Evie   Rolling for Duncan Michael to have sheer dumb luck and find an extra person he's not expecting to see when he gets to Dhugal....
14:34   Evie   !roll 1d6
14:34   derynibot   5 == 5
14:35   Evie   YES!))

"The Earl of Kierney!"

The unexpected announcement of the new arrival was made hastily, but not before the personage referred to made it through the doorway of Dhugal's withdrawing room. With a nod to the flustered page, Dhugal dismissed the lad.  Mirjana sprang up with a joyful cry to embrace her stepson, who returned her show of affection, albeit distractedly.  Dhugal, on the other hand, studied his eldest son warily, instinctively realizing that Duncan Michael's surprise visit to Ballymar was no mere act of spontaneity. "What's happened?" he asked without preamble.

Mirjana, sensing in that moment that there was something wrong, stepped back, affording Duncan Michael a clearer view of the other occupants in the room.  Baron Jass MacArdry, he had expected to find here, as well as Baroness Ailidh.  His grandfather Duncan, on the other hand, was a surprise, but at the moment an extremely welcome one.

Handing the letters the injured messenger had been conveying over to Dhugal, he informed them all, "The courier tasked to bring you these messages was ambushed in the valley just beyond the walls of Castel Dearg.  One of these letters comes from Adam Trillick; the other comes from Washburn.  Cousin Wash is in Meara traveling en route to Rhemuth even now...assuming no ill luck has befallen him such as Trillick's messenger encountered." His lips tightened. "Any idea why Kelric would have need to send Wash into Meara? It would appear someone didn't wish you to receive these missives."

Duke Dhugal quickly perused both letters, handing them over to Jass to review as he finished reading each.  Looking up with a frown, he said, "It would appear we have a problem on our hands." Glancing at his father, he added, "Father, would you share with Duncan Michael what news brought you to Ballymar mere minutes before his arrival?"

Duncan McLain, Archbishop of Rhemuth, nodded, his blue eyes lacking their customary warmth for once.  "Kelric arrived in Rhemuth late last night.  It seems he attempted to make contact with Washburn around Compline on the schedule they had previously arranged, but was unable to establish communication with him. Instead, he picked up fleeting impressions that Wash was at that moment under some sort of attack. I offered to come through the Portal to inform Dhugal of Wash's mission to rescue the Demoiselle de Mariot, and to secure his aid in determining their whereabouts and what has happened to them." Looking at his son, Duncan added, "It seems to me there is something more going on here than the takeover of one small manor in Trurill, given how much effort has been taken to prevent the maiden and our cousin from escaping to Rhemuth, not to mention the fate of the messenger tasked to deliver these letters to you.  I doubt that ambush was mere happenstance. Richenda has also had a premonition that some sort of grave trouble is about to break out, and has moved the family to the safety of Rhemuth Castle."

Baron Jass spoke up. "Trurill is my responsibility. By your leave, Your Grace, I will head to Caer Mariot as soon as my men are assembled and provisioned."

((Evie   !roll 2d6 for Dhugal's perception/gut insight
15:26   derynibot   5, 4 == 9))

Dhugal nodded. "I will send an escort of twenty men-at-arms to accompany you. It might be overkill, but something tells me this small coup is part of some greater plot at work.  If no other trouble happens after a fortnight to materialize once you get Caer Mariot sorted, you can send them back to me.  Until we know more about what is going on, I'd like you to report to me nightly.  Just after Compline would be best. "

Jass raised an inquiring eyebrow. "Aye, Your Grace. In person, or by Mind-Link?"

"Mind-Link should suffice, unless you feel a need to use the Portal." Dhugal transferred his attention to his father. "You'll bring word back to Kelson and Kelric about this new development?"

"I will," Duncan affirmed.

((15:34   Evie   !roll 2d6 again for Dhugal's perception/insight/"I gotta bad feeling about this"-ness.
15:34   derynibot   3, 5 == 8 ))

"And in the meantime," Dhugal added, "I'll try to establish contact with Richelle in Laas. Perhaps she and Brecon have heard murmurings of similar coups taking place in Meara, or other indications of increased troubles in that region.  It could just be a rise in banditry we are dealing with, but if there is any chance it might be more than that, we need to know.  Or perhaps Rory and Noelie have heard whispers of unrest, but I'm more likely to be able to get a message into Richelle's dreams, since she's Deryni, than make such a contact with either Rory or Noelie. If I can't contact her that way, I'll send a courier, but under the circumstances I'd rather attempt a mind-link first.  In any case, I believe they are all together in Laas at the moment."

((No time to write a second scene at the moment, but I went ahead and rolled to see if Dhugal succeeds in that attempt to contact Richelle, although that scene will need to wait until late at night after she's asleep. I rolled it at a disadvantage since I doubt Dhugal is in the habit of linking with Richelle, but since the dice are smiling upon me at the moment....

15:57   Evie   !roll 1d6 for Dhugal to contact Richelle
15:57   derynibot   6 == 6

So someone else can take that ball and run with it, or I'll pick it up again when I have time.))

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 22, 2018, 06:28:06 pm
(( Your luck has been much better than mine at the dice.  I'll leave it to you.  ;)))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 23, 2018, 05:52:02 am
It was a bit unnerving to see the town gates open, allowing all manor of folk to enter and leave as they desired. The guards were attentive, waving through the locals that they knew, questioning the drivers of carts which were stacked with goods, giving warnings to young men who on other days had been the cause for trouble, but generally, they turned no one away. It was market day. The town relied on the trade of goods to stay independent of the political currents.

Washburn walked the square  wondering if he had been noticed with so much else going on. He entered the gate house, that room which had been the center of last evening's ordeal.  The room had been cleaned, the floor spotless, his belongings missing: the Lendour tunic gone, his chain-mail gone. He turned to leave when the guard captain entered behind him. At least someone was paying attention. Washburn thought.

“My lord, you should have come to see me first,” the captain declared.

“Aye. I was on may way to do so,” Wash replied casually. “I have questions for your prisoner. Have you learned anything from him?”

“Not anything that you wanted to hear. Tomas, doesn’t seem to know too much.”

“No? Certainly, he has told you why he and three others were determined to kill me, and why they marked a good man like Kieran with such zeal?”

“Poor Kieran, he was a good man. A man most loyal to the nunnery and to the kingdom. Just hearing you were a Morgan set his pride on the line. That line got him killed.” There was anger in the captain’s words.

Wash nodded in understanding. “He was your friend.”

“He was.” The captain’s stern glare challenged Wash.

“I owe him my life; a debt I can not repay in full today, but one that I will not forget.” Wash sighed. “Will you take me to see Tomas?”

“I already told you he has little to tell. He and those other three were bully’s, trouble makers in these parts. Hassled the merchants for protection fees. The town guards did their best to keep them controlled, still those boys were known to beat up a man or two who did not pay.  This is the first I heard of them killing.”

“Oh, they didn’t seem strangers to the notion, if you ask me,” claimed the knight.

The captain grimaced at that. After a moment, he seemed to have made up his mind. He waved Wash out the room. “Follow me.” He lead Sir Washburn to the barracks and down into the dungeon. Tomas was chained to the wall. He looked like he had gotten a beating since last Wash had seen him. An uncivilized brutal form of interrogation. Wash considered his Deryni methods far less barbarian, though he knew few humans would think so.

“May I question your prisoner?” Wash asked, knowing that what he asked may be difficult for any human to accept. “I need to know what he knows.”

The captain's fists clenched and released. “His soul isn’t for you to steel. He must face God to earn his judgment. Not  be condemned by your mere touch before he can get there.”

Wash took a deep breath and steadied his ire. Here on the border’s of Meara, the old ideals of fear of his race, had not fully given way to tolerance and knowledge.

“I don’t have the means or the time to convince you that my abilities are not evil. Seeking the truth is far from evil, in my book. I will Truth read the man, for I want justice for Kieran, as I am certain that you do too.”

The captain said nothing but he did step back a pace to allow Wash to move within arms reach of the prisoner. The young man looked up with a determined arrogance, which disappeared with a single touch of the knight's finger upon his forehead. Wash hadn’t the need to do that, yet sometimes for the captain's sake, it was better to make it look like such a touch was necessary.

((02:20 laurna Wash Truthreading Tomas.
02:20 laurna !roll 1d6
02:20 derynibot 5 == 5))

“Tomas who ordered you to kill me?”

“Kyle,” the man answered. 

The captain’s eyes rolled. “Kyle’s dead, he’s the one who killed Kieran.”

“How did Kyle get his orders?”

“Phyer made the order for Kyle to kill you.”

Wash looked over at the captain, but the man had no idea who Phyer was.

“Tell me about Phyer, who is he?"

Tomas squirmed under Washburn’s touch. There was a trigger there, one placed by a Deryni.

Before the trigger could released, Wash had both his hands over the man’s eyes; he delved deep for that block.

((02:36 laurna Wash overpowering a trigger in the prisoner
02:37 laurna !roll 1d6
02:37 derynibot 4 == 4))

Wash found the trigger, it was sloppily placed. He removed it, freeing up the memories of a man named Phyer. It was a code name. Phyer had contacted Kyle only a few months before. They had done odd jobs for him. Mostly brutalizing the citizens who were most loyal to Gwynedd. Leaving those who were Mearan born alone. Tomas had never seen Phyer’s face. He had heard his voice often enough from a man behind a brown cowl. Wash placed the memory of that voice in his mind. If he heard it he was certain he would recognize it. There was little else that Tomas could show him. Wash released the prisoner, who looked at him wide eyed. 

“That man Phyer, would have seen you dead,” the Corwyn knight said. “Be glad I just released you from his influence, you may yet live another day.”

“To see the hangman's gallows,” the captain decreed.

Returning back to the main floor of the barracks, Wash was intercepted by a lanky fellow carrying a shirt of chain-mail. His chain-mail; he recognized it by the buckles. “My lord," the man bowed. “By orders of the captain, I spent the night mending the rents in the links. It is whole and ready to be worn again.”

A smile passed the knight’s lips as he handled the mail, all signs of damage removed. “You have a talented gift, my friend. I thank you.” He was quick to pass two gold coins over to the man. Wash left the barracks with a word that he would make a prayer at the Church for the departed guard’s soul.

True to his word, the knight was soon kneeling in prayer beside the pall that Guardsman Keiran laid upon. If this man had not opened the gates when he had, Wash may very likely be dead.  Keiran had also helped in his healing and his prayers reflected his thankfulness to the soul of such a good man. He had two coins in his hand as he stood to leave, he had meant to give them to the priest for the widow. But it was the widow who caught his eye as she sat very quietly off to the side, her head draped in black, a youth was seated beside her.  Wash waved the boy over.  The boy of twelve or so came forward, bending a knee to the tall lord. “How do you know this man?” Wash asked.

“He is my father,” the boy said proudly.

“Aye, then, I will tell you that your father was a great man. He was loyal and honorable. I want you to be proud of him. I want you to know that he died in his duty, serving his king. I will tell King Kelson what your father has done. And his name will be spoken well of at court. If the day comes that you want to serve the king like your father did, you can come to Rhemuth, speak his name to the captain of the guard, and he will see that you get the training that you seek.” He took the two gold coins he was holding and placed them in the boy’s hand. “Give these to your mother and thank her for me.” The boy was wide eyed for a moment.  He bowed and then scurried back to his mother. Wash gave her a respectful node, and then he left the church.

He had one last duty to make this morning. He walked back up to the convent. Gaining entrance from Simon, he asked the nun who came to greet him for a private moment with the abbess.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 23, 2018, 02:05:14 pm
Darcy Cameron looked around the town square at the crowded market stalls.  At this hour, activity was at its height.  No one seemed to take note of their presence, but if someone watched from the shadows or a nearby building, he could not tell.

“My Lady,” he said quietly to the woman beside him.  “Father Columcil said he would head back to the Nunnery on his own?”

The woman beside him nodded.  “He thought we would be safe enough.”

“The Reverend Mother may be the greater danger when you return alone with me.”

Lady Aliset laughed lightly.  “Just don’t throw me over your shoulder to add to her current level of concern.”

Darcy grinned and they made there way back up the street leading to the Nunnery.  They spoke little, neither one wanting to say anything that might catch someone’s attention.

Simon let them in the gate, and when asked, told them that Sir Washburn was with the Reverend Mother.  Father Columcil might have returned, but he was not sure.

“Let’s check the guest house to see if he’s there,” Darcy suggested as he started in that direction. “If he is, he’ll be chaperone enough we can sit inside.  With the door open.”

Father Columcil was in the guest house.  He had secured a small pitcher of ale and several cups.  Aliset seated herself on the room’s only stool, positioning it so she could be seen from the doorway.  Darcy sat down the on his bed from the night before, removed his leather cap and scratched his head with both hands.  Several strands of pale hair came loose from the braid, falling along the sides of his face.  He brushed them back and accepted the cup of ale offered by the priest.

“Do we have a plan?” Father Columcil asked, seating himself on the bed opposite Darcy.

Darcy took a healthy drink of his ale.  “Not really, but Sir Washburn and I came up with a few possibilities.”

“Yes?”  Aliset asked eagerly.

“All have some risk. There may be a tunnel or passage under the town wall; they are not uncommon where I come from, and Sir Washburn is familiar with the one at Castle Coroth.  If there is one, and right now it’s a big if, it’s not likely we could get the horses through.  Someone would have to bring them round to meet us, and that is a risk.”

“Other possibilities?” Columcil asked. 

“We thought about trying to get someone to smuggle us out in a wagon or two, but unless our horses draw the wagon, there is still getting the horses brought to us to deal with.”

“That’s all?” Aliset asked.

Darcy smiled ruefully.  “Other than those two, everything else we came up with was pretty much garbage. Sir Washburn,” he added, “did intend to ask the Reverend Mother about a tunnel or passage.”

Aliset looked thoughtful but said nothing. 

Suddenly restless, Darcy drained his cup, stood and walked over to the door.  They needed to be on their way soon; they didn’t dare stay here much longer.  Yet he also knew that the danger would increase as soon as they left.  He spotted a familiar figure approaching from across the Nunnery courtyard.

“Ah, here comes Sir Washburn,” Darcy announced. “Whether the Reverend Mother knows of a tunnel, or if she will tell us if she does, is a roll of the dice.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 24, 2018, 04:37:30 am
“...is a roll of the dice,” Darcy was saying as Wash entered the guest room.

“Master Darcy, I know there is little to do on shipboard during your off-hours, but Dice? Certainly by now, you have learned that those are always a bad prospect. Dice rarely roll to your benefit. At least they have most certainly given me bad percentages of winning. I can tell you, I am not lucky at dice.” Wash laughed as he pretended to roll a set of dice onto the floor. He looked at the invisible dice and laughed again. “Ah a good roll! For the first time in a long time.” He gave his companions a broad smile. “Now, give me four white and four black dice and I can have the power of the Gods’. Sorry Father, just saying hypothetically,” he laughed at Columcil’s chagrin. “If only one young nephew of mine had not Borrowed,” he stressed the word, “my dice, I might actually wield said power.” He poured himself some of the ale and sat down on his bed. “Your stuck with me the way I am,” he added in a demur tone. One hand brushed across the back of his head. “Owy! Starting to feel like a mowed church lawn. Do you have to shave your tonsure every day to keep it?” He asked the good father with a happy jest. Happy that his was going to grow out soon, that is.

Father Columcil only shook his head. “Doesn’t take long before it stops growing and you rarely have to shave. You certain you don’t want to be a monk a little longer. One or two more shaves is all that it might take.” The good father laughed at the horor that crossed the young man’s face.

“Ah no. I will leave that for men with true vocations. That would not be me. Forgive me Uncle Duncan.” Wash said to the ceiling.

“So…?” Master Darcy asked as Wash took a long drink.

“Yes,” Wash said in answer.

Darcy looked pleased.

“Learned a little something from Tomas. It seems those four were hired by a man using the code name Phyer. I want to show you what I learned. Yet...”

((02:20 Laurna Wash sharing what he learned.
02:20 Laurna !roll 1d6
02:20 derynibot 1 == 1))

He stumbled over the memory like it hurt him. Had some of Phyer’s shielding of his identity come across to Wash during his Truth Reading? Wash put his head in both hands and concentrated.

((02:30 Laurna new roll to shield the information in his mind to keep it contained.
02:30 Laurna !roll 1d6
02:30 derynibot 1 == 1
02:30 Laurna What did I just say about dice rolling))

It was no good, his head hurt more than ever. “Aliset…I...” He couldn’t say more...
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on January 24, 2018, 09:27:34 am
"Sir Washburn?!"  Aliset stared at the knight in alarm. Something evidently was blocking his ability to share what he had learned, but what new twist of magic was this?  She knew, of course, of ways to block someone's memories from being accessed in the first place, but blocking another person from being able to share memories gleaned from someone else was new to her.  She searched her minds for what might be causing this even as she reached her hands out to lay them on either side of his head, making soothing noises as she probed gently within his mind in an attempt to see what was causing his distress.

((09:22   EvieAliset   !roll 2d6 to get past Wash's block
09:22   derynibot   4, 6 == 10))

How curious!  There was some sort of compulsion to remain silent there, even though Aliset could not figure out how one might have been transferred from one Deryni mind to another. But that was something to ponder at leisure some other time.  It was sufficient that she managed to find and eliminate it.  That task done, she gave a sigh of relief and stepped back, smiling encouragement at Sir Washburn and awaiting what he had to share.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on January 24, 2018, 03:11:31 pm
"Aaah!" Washburn sighed. "My thanks to you can not be expressed enough. I am guessing the trigger this man called Phyer set in Tomas was not as sloppy a setting as I had thought. I really do need to go back to the Schola to finish my training." He looked sheepishly at the lady, hating to admit his own weaknesses. "What I wanted was to share with each of you was this man's voice. If you hear it anywhere, I want you to be able to recognize the man were up against. At least the local one from Droghera." He looked around at the four seated before him. "Let us try this again." Wash lifted both hands palm up before him. "Touch my hands if you will, Darcy you may join us. If you think you can drop those shields long enough to do so. If not, I understand. Aliset should be able to share with you what she learns separately. No judgement from me either way. All right?"

Aliset stayed standing behind Wash, her hands on his head, just in the case he still felt distress from the sharing. Columcil joined his hand to the knight's right hand. After hesitation, Darcy grasped Wash's left hand. Though dropping those shields of his was not an easy prospect. He didn't completely. If he dropped them enough for get Washburn's information of Phyer, Wash honestly could not tell.

Wash opened to the memory of Phyer giving his orders to Kyle, Tomas, and the two others. The voice was deep with a very slight Torenthi accent. Almost a fake border brogue added, though it was not a born Mearan brogue.

After a moment, Wash himself pulled away. "My brother makes Rapport look so easy," he said with a slight shake of his head.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on January 24, 2018, 06:42:31 pm
Darcy Cameron hesitated a moment and then grasped Washburn’s left hand.  He barely knew what shields were, how was he to lower them?  Bloody hell!

Darcy felt a reproachful whisper in the back of his mind.  A woman’s soft voice, admonishing that such language was not proper from a Son of Isles. Gently, she encouraged him to lower the barriers, like the tide rolling back from the shore.

It did not come easily, but he pulled them back just enough to receive Washburn’s remembrance of the voice.  Darcy accepted it into his memory; he would not forget it.  Just as he had not completely forgotten the voice of his mother.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on February 02, 2018, 11:34:37 am
A day later

It had not after all been the same day that they rode out; it had proved too difficult to decide on the safest way of leaving their refuge. Columcil had even suggested, only half in jest, that they should wait where they were in the hope that Washburn's message had got through and even now half the Cassani army were thundering towards their rescue. It had not gone down well with the youthful ardour of his companions, in fairness he had had to agree that their continued presence would sooner or later put the townsfolk in even greater danger than they had already. He did not want another Kieran on his conscience.

However perhaps there was something to be said for giving the appearance of staying a little longer, to put those who were watching them off their guard if only slightly. He had breakfasted with Father Eifion after morning Mass and had relished the ample fare, the first really satisfying meal since they had left Culdi. The meal provided in the nunnery guest house, though sufficient for bodily needs, lacked both variety and taste. Father Eifion, noting his guest's enthusiasm, had given the name of an alehouse in the town which had a name for both the quality of its ale and its venison pies. It might, of course, be a trap but if Eifion was in the pay of the separatists then their chances of getting out alive were slim anyway. Better to face your Maker full of good ale and meat. As Columcil made his way back to the guesthouse, he prayed earnestly that he would not find Aliset there this morning and, thinking that, fell to wondering whether it would be possible to find a way for her to accompany them on their foray into town. Otherwise he feared it would fall to him to be left behind while Darcy and Washburn took full advantage of his intelligence.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 02, 2018, 01:45:59 pm
“I think she should come with us,” Darcy Cameron said as he shoved his foot into his boot and tapped his heel sharply on the floor a few times to make sure the fit was correct. Father Columcil, Sir Washburn and he were in the Nunnery guest house. He reached for the second boot.

“I’m not sure the Reverend Mother will allow it,” Father Columcil said thoughtfully.  “Perhaps if she shifts into her Lord Alister disguise….”

“I’m of two minds about that,” Darcy admitted.  “I wonder if it might be better if she came with us as herself.”

“I’d say that’s a bit risky, Master Darcy,” Washburn interjected.

“If we hope to give the impression that we are not in a hurry to leave, it might be better if she goes as herself.”  He held out his hand to forestall the objection he was sure Sir Washburn was about to make.  “I carried a young lady up to the Nunnery; if we show up with a young lord, that will raise questions and perhaps give away her ability to be someone else.”  Darcy firmly moved his mind away from the memory of that particular warm body in his arms. 

“We cannot risk her safety,” Washburn said firmly.

“I agree.  We can make it an early night and be back well before dark. Whatever plan we decide on to get us away to Rhemuth, we need to make an early start.”  Darcy paused a moment.  “Father Columcil, if you asked Father Eifion to join us, Sir Washburn and I would each have a priest to ensure we are honourable in a public house.  Do you think the Reverend Mother would object?  She can’t very well keep Lady Aliset a prisoner here.”

Father Columcil looked doubtful.  “I think what we must do first is ask Lady Aliset what she would like to do.  There is no point in annoying the Reverend Mother more than we already have if Lady Aliset doesn’t want to come with us.”

“Aye,” Darcy agreed.  ‘I have noticed that Lady Aliset knows her own mind.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 02, 2018, 02:20:18 pm
((Technically these scenes would all go before revanne's scene above. Dhugal would have made his contact after bedtime, when he would be most likely to be able to get a message through to Richelle in her sleep.  Dice roll was done on 1/22 when I did the other rolls for him, but just as a reminder, I am copy/pasting those results here:

No time to write a second scene at the moment, but I went ahead and rolled to see if Dhugal succeeds in that attempt to contact Richelle, although that scene will need to wait until late at night after she's asleep. I rolled it at a disadvantage since I doubt Dhugal is in the habit of linking with Richelle, but since the dice are smiling upon me at the moment....

15:57   Evie   !roll 1d6 for Dhugal to contact Richelle
15:57   derynibot   6 == 6


Duncan would have left Ballymar to return to Rhemuth after receiving Duncan Michael's news, and Jass would have ridden forth with his retinue the following morning at daybreak.))
======================================
Early evening ((I don't recall what time the messenger arrived, but I'm guessing this timestamp would work.))

Duncan McLain stepped out of the Portal niche in what had once been his study before he became Archbishop of Rhemuth and Father Nivard had taken his place as the Rector of Saint Camber's Schola.  John looked up in mild surprise as Duncan entered the room.

"You're early," John remarked with a welcoming smile.  "We weren't expecting you back for another day or two."

Beside John, Sister Helena--better attuned to Duncan's moods even though he made no conscious attempt at rapport with her at that moment--met Duncan's eyes with a concerned frown, laying the scroll she was reading on her lap absently. "What's wrong?"

"Something seems to be afoot in Meara," he answered as he crossed the room towards the door, "but at this point it's still hard to know what. I need to consult with Kelson, though." He paused at the door to spare them a brief glance over his shoulder. "Not meaning to sound so mysterious, but this feels urgent. I'll try to get back later tonight with a fuller explanation. I understand Richenda is here in Rhemuth?"

Helena nodded. "She and the rest of the family arrived last night."

"Good. Apparently she's sensed...something.  It would be good to know more particulars. And the more Deryni minds we can turn to putting together the pieces of this puzzle, the better."

"Ours are at your service, Your Grace, if you have need of them," Father Nivard reminded him.

Duncan grinned back at him before continuing out the door.  "I was rather counting on that!" he assured them both.
--------------------------------------------------

Two hours after midnight

Duchess Richelle awoke with a start, the images of her vision yet so vivid that her first impulse was to survey her surroundings in alarm, making sure there was no signs of danger in close proximity.  As her extended senses detected no nearby threat, her heart rate calmed, and she took a deep breath, exhaling it slowly to cleanse her inner turmoil from her system.

Beside her, Brecon stirred.  "What is it, love?" he murmured sleepily.

She blinked away the lingering fog of sleep.  "Duke Dhugal...sent me a message, I think."

Her husband looked puzzled at first, then understanding dawned in his eyes. "Through some sort of dream vision, you mean?  Some Deryni thing?"

Despite the gravity of Dhugal's message, Richelle had to smile at Brecon's phrasing.  "Yes, love, a 'Deryni thing' indeed!"  She frowned. "He asked if we have heard any whispers or rumors of unrest here in Meara, or of a rise in banditry recently."  Taking his hand, she Mind-Shared the Duke of Cassan's communication with her. "Apparently Baron Jass is on his way back to Trurill to take care of a coup against one of his vassal's manors by an alleged Mearan separatist, and the messenger tasked with getting the news to Dhugal and Jass barely made it to Castel Dearg alive."

Brecon's frown echoed her own. "I've not noticed any increased activity of that sort, but then again, if there any anything stirring, I imagine the leaders of such rebellion would attempt to keep any hints of it from us for as long as possible."  He looked out the window. It was still full dark, a few hours from dawn.  "Rory and Noelie should be arriving sometime in the morning; perhaps they've heard something.  In the meantime, I suppose we can merely watch and wait."

"And make careful inquiries," Richelle added.

"Definitely," said Brecon.  "I'll send my best scouts out at first light."
---------------------------------------------
Dawn, the next morning

Sir Jass, along with a company of twenty-five men-at-arms--some his own MacArdry retainers, and others of the Duke of Cassan's retinue--mounted up and rode out towards Trurill.  Baroness Ailidh, after watching the departing men ride off, retreated back into Ballymar Castle, but not to remain closeted in the ladies' solar until Jass's communication with his liegelord later that evening.  Instead, she descended the stairs to the hidden Portal room, stepping onto the center stone to return to her home keep at Trurill using a much faster method of travel.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 02, 2018, 02:42:04 pm
Even as the good Father arose from his cot to get ready for his morning office, Washburn awoke, fully refreshed from having a good night's sleep. He dressed quickly in trouse, linen shirt, chainmail and his Lendour Tunic. If they were staying put for at least the morning, better to make it appear he was causally using his rank, than to appear he was trying to be secretive. Unless he learned how to use Alisets shapeshifting spells, he doubted that that by now there would be anyone in this village who did not recognize him.

With a little worry for the Noble lady who was sleeping in separate quarters than their own, but who was well guarded by the Infermariana, Wash cast outward with a focused “Good Morning”

((11:48 Laurna mind speak to Aliset.
11:49Laurna !roll 1d6
11:49 derynibot 5 == 5))

“My lady, good morning, I hope it is a refreshing morning for you?” He heard her good morning in return though it still had a bit of sleepness infused in her words. “No need to get up too quickly, all is well here. The good father is going to church this morning and I will make the rounds of the town. I will see what can be happening in the village today. I will return to you with a full report.”

“Very well,” the lady Aliset replied, much more awake with this reply.

"There is some discussion here about you being yourself the morning. I will allow you your own mind on that subject for today. As long as you remain in our company with all of us, it will be acceptable for you to stay yourself. Your true guardian, Master Darcy, is very protective of you. You know that?" Wash smiled inwardly. "Now if you plan to go about secretively with just Darcy. Do Not do so as Aliset. or even as Alister. Find another guise if you must. Be well until I  return."

Wash finished arming himself; he walked with Columcil as far as the church. Then he continued on to the town walls. He greeted the gatekeeper who had not yet opened the big gates but was getting ready to do so. Wash climbed the steep steps up to the top of the wall.  He greeted the guard standing there, and then walked over to the stone Merlon, leaning out to peer over the crenel.

There was good cleared space of flat land beyond the walls. Well maintained. Only a low hedgerow of brush could be seen beyond the flat land, before the forest began. The road they had traveled up two days ago was clear, no foot traffic, no horse or carts waiting to enter the town. Yesterday had been market day. Today would be a quiet one.

Even in this still morning, it was not completely quiet. There was a very faint rustle among the hedges. Wash watched it for a moment. Yes, indeed something was there.

“Would there be any children picking berries out there this morning,” he asked the local guard. “Any reason for a child to be within that hedge?”

“No, my lord,” replied the guard. He had not noticed the movement until the tall Knight pointed it out. After a moment the guard nodded that he saw it to. “Been having trouble with the wild boars coming close to the gates. Especially after market day. They look for the leavings our vendors tend to throw aside on their way back home.”

“Aye, I see.” Wash said, having heard Father Columcil say he saw such a beast on his when here. Nonetheless, Wash could not be certain that was all that it was. “Would you mind?” he asked pointing to the guards long bow.

The guard smiled. “The hedge is out of range,” he said. Though he did as the lord asked and handed bow and quiver over.

((12:14 Laurna Shoot a longbow; advantage
12:14 Laurna !roll 3d6
12:14 derynibot 2, 5, 2 == 9
12:16 Laurna Focused Telekinesis
12:17 Laurna !roll 2d6
12:17 derynibot 2, 4 == 6))

Wash lifted the bow with appreciation, the town did not sherk it’s duty to have good weapons. He aimed high, marking the light breeze, and the movement in the hedge. He was not convinced if the motion was caused by man or beast. Something lay low out there. With a sharp focus he let the arrow fly. The arrow landed tip in the dirt right where he had intended it to be, just inside the hedge, just before the thing that was routing there.

((12:25 Laurna 1-3 a wild boar, 4-6 a man from the bad guys.
12:25 Laurna !roll 1d6
12:25 derynibot 1 == 1))

A wild boar squealed and ran back away from the hedge and into the forest.  Wash nodded, well satisfied that it had not been a scout watching for their departure. He handed back the bow and arrows. “Thank you, my good man.”

The Knight left the walls to find the stables and check on his gear and on their horses.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 02, 2018, 04:45:48 pm
((OK, not entirely sure who is still in that guesthouse, since Jerusha's scene has all three men still in it, but revanne's scene has Columcil out to morning Mass already (or maybe he's just returned?), and Laurna's scene is evidently set just before Columcil's, but was posted afterwards.  But I'll assume that at least Darcy is still in the guesthouse and attempt to make this fit. Somehow. If one takes heavy drugs before reading today's posts.  I'm so confused! ;D ))

Aliset waited in a shadowed corner of the courtyard within sight of the door to the guest house.  This time, she knew better than to simply walk in!

She considered whether she should simply approach the door and knock, or if perhaps it might be more prudent to attempt a mental probe to detect Darcy's presence, and then speak directly into his mind.  On further reflection, she decided against that course of action. The poor man seemed spooked enough by the frequent use of Deryni magic he'd witnessed from his companions without adding psychic intrusion to his list of startling experiences.

While she pondered, the door opened, rendering further contemplation a moot point.

Aliset smiled as Darcy exited the building, approaching him to speak quietly.  "If I must spend one more minute in that dormitorium, I shall scream," she murmured, her voice pitched to be barely audible. "Rescue me! Don't we have something outside these walls that desperately needs doing?"  As she spoke, she gradually began to walk towards the gates, Darcy falling into step beside her.

"I was just on my way to seek you out, my lady," he replied.  "Are you hungry? We were just discussing grabbing a bit of tavern fare . . . and, um, making other plans."  He added the last bit in an evasive whisper as they drew near to the gate sentry.

"Sounds lovely," Aliset whispered back. "I'm famished." They continued their approach to the convent gate.

"Ah...Will the Reverend Mother object to you being seen out alone with me?" Darcy asked as he risked a surreptitious glance back over one shoulder.

"In truth, I don't intend to ask," Aliset replied as she continued to walk, one guard bowing as he hastily opened the gate before her, perhaps fearing she meant to walk headlong into the barrier if he lingered too long at the task, since she made no effort to slow her pace as she approached it.

Darcy, ever protective of her, managed to slip past her to exit first, his pale eyes quickly surveying their surroundings to ensure there was no immediate threat in sight.  This quick survey done, and after Aliset had extended her own senses to check for danger herself, she held her hand out and looked at him meaningfully until he caught the hint and offered his arm. "Shall we?"

She allowed him to lead her towards their destination, not knowing what it was and in truth not really caring, so long as it got her out of the overly sheltering confines of the convent, though once they reached a sheltered doorway that hid them from view of any passers-by, she gave his arm a slight squeeze to get his attention before releasing it. "One moment," she whispered.

((16:20   EvieAliset   Rolling for Aliset's shape change
16:20   EvieAliset   !roll 2d6
16:20   derynibot   4, 6 == 10 ))

Muttering the words of a spell under her breath while tracing around her face in an oval, she focused on transforming her features.  Darcy was no longer startled to find a total stranger standing before him, only this time the young lad with auburn hair and a sprinkling of freckles bore no resemblance to any other guise he'd yet seen Lady Aliset wear.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 02, 2018, 07:04:12 pm
Darcy Cameron surveyed the transformation beside him.  Sweet Jesu, would he ever get used to this magic? 

“You might have warned me,” he said, careful not to sound too reproving. 

“Does the magic disturb you?”  the young man who used to be Aliset asked.

“In truth, I’m not sure.  But no need to worry about it now.  I am told by Father Columcil there is excellent stew and good ale waiting for us in a tavern below.”

“I’m all for it!” the young lad declared.

“So who is it I should now address?” Darcy asked.  “Stable boy, pewter’s apprentice, cut purse?”

“Hardly cut purse, unless you want to bail me out of the gaol!” The lad beside him grinned a mischievous grin.  “Alfred should do.”

“Very well then, Alfred.  We are off to the tavern!”

Darcy was sure it was the calm before the storm.  A few moments of relaxation, a short respite, before they travelled back into the lion’s den.

Darcy noted the intense look of one of the town guard as they walked past.  There was no look of recognition.  Darcy had donned his leather cap before they left, hiding his pale hair.  No one would have seen the red-haired lad beside him before.  Nevertheless, without being obvious, Darcy noted the guard’s appearance and committed it to memory.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 03, 2018, 04:42:58 am
The stable yard and barn were far to the left of the town square. A short six foot tall brick wall surrounded the yard and butted up against the blacksmith’s building. One side of the smithy opened to the yard with a tall awning to allow a horse to be shod underneath it, close to the anvils and furnace. The opposite side of the smithy opened on to the square proper to allow for the weapons master to sell his wares. That was where Aliset's new daggers had been purchased. Lord Washburn fingered a plain brown leather bridle hanging on a near post. It was sized for a small horse. Not large enough for Shadow's muscular build. “Do you have a bridle that would fit my stallion?” he asked of the man who was at the anvil.

The man looked up. He knew exactly which horse Wash was talking about. “Not many steeds of that quality in these parts, my lord. I could make you one, although, it would take two days.”

Wash sighed, “Two days? You can do no better?

“No my lord, Your destrier deserves the finest leather, My apprentice and I would be sewing all day and night to have it done by then.”

“I will consider it, Master Smith,  yet I am thinking I will not have that time to spare.” Wash walked away.

He walked down through the barn isle, looking at all the plowing and driving horses stabled there. None had the head size  of Shadow, none would have a used bridle large enough that he could even trade. That red leather had been a showy sign of his rank. Come the time his fellowship would want to leave, a time far sooner than two days, he needed a more unobtrusive look for his horse. He arrive where Shadowed Night's was stabled. In a larger manger than the others, with a huge pile of hay and oats that the stallion was happily munching upon. “You eat all that and you’ll be too fat and lazy to leave,” he chided his horse. Shadow nudged him, happy to see him, but the horse whinnied when Wash took a large armful of the hay and moved it down to where the other smaller horses ate their meager portions.  As he pushed the fodder into the other mangers he spied two boys soaping down a pile of leather gear and oiling the leather with a dark stain.

“That is a lot of work you have there,” Wash said to the boys. At least eight bridles and eight full harness were among the items hanging from a cross beam.

“Gotta ‘ ready for ‘marrow morn,” one boy said.

“Father riding out to Rhemuth; wants his gear clean, no grim on his horses when he rides for the capital,” the second boy said.

“Is he now,” Wash inquired with interest. “Seeing as how you boys are doing such a fine job, you wouldn’t think it a problem if I add one more bridle to your workload, for two silver each.” He added to the incentive.

The boys lifted their heads at that. Dad wasn’t paying them for any of this work. That is the trouble with family chores. A little coin would be welcome.

Wash went back a few stalls, retrieved the red bridle, reins and martingale. Then returned to where the boys were working. “If you can use that black stain and cover all the red, I’ll give you three silver a piece.”

Both boys eyes grew wide. “Yes, my lord,”

“We have a deal?”  Wash asked, handing each boy one silver each. “The rest when I come back this afternoon.”

“Now tell me why your dad is going to Rhemuth, and perhaps you could arrange for me to talk to him when I come back to pay you this afternoon.”

Ideas of how to escape this town were starting to form in Washburn’s mind. He returned back to his gear to retrieve his bow and his quiver and that heavy cloak he had in his bags. His hand touched his father’s journal. He felt instant shame that he had left it here unguarded and very thankful that no one had pilfered it. He placed it under his tunic and chainmail, near to his heart.

He would need to find Father Columcil soon and perhaps find something to eat. His stallion had had too much food, but he himself had had very little so far this day.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on February 03, 2018, 08:00:57 am
((Doing a bit of sheep dog here and rounding us all up into that tavern))

Columcil watched Darcy and lady Aliset leave from the guesthouse window. They seemed to be discussing something animatedly but Columcil made no doubt that the lady would win the argument and not just because Darcy deferred to her rank and gender. She was brave and true-hearted, not unlike, he reflected, his mental idea of St Melangell as she faced down the evil of her own day. So thinking, he sighed regretfully for a moment as he thought of his remote parish and the peaceful little stone church containing the saint's shrine, then recalled himself to his present duty with a mental slap.

He had agreed to wait for Sir Washburn but on reflection the stables seemed a better place to wait than the guest house. - Given the good knight's attention to detail it was almost certain he would want to check on their mounts and gear. As he entered the stable his own Spèan and Darcy's mare whickered in greeting and Sir Washburn whirled round his hand already on the hilt of his sword.

"The peace of the Lord, be with you too, my Son!" Said Columcil with a smile, though in truth he was glad that they had such a one with them. Washburn did not look the slightest abashed as he returned the smile but merely asked,

"What of Darcy and my lady?"

"They were heading down to Father Eifion's tavern, I watched them leave past the gatehouse. But whether we'll find a lady or a lad is anyone's guess." Then, with a courteous gesture which was half nod and half bow, he added, "Are you done in here, my Lord? Shall we go?"

"For now, yes. But we need to decide soon what we are to do."

Washburn looked far more worried than was right on a young man's face and Columcil forgot for a moment that he was in the presence of the great Duke Alaric's son and put his hand on his shoulder in reassurance as he would have done with any young man of his parish.

The tavern was only a few minutes walk away, tucked just behind the market square. There were few patrons this early in the day but away in a corner sat a man-at-arms in a leather cap and a young red-headed lad. As Columcil and Washburn made their way across they were pleased to see that there were four mugs of ale waiting on the table."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 03, 2018, 04:16:45 pm
With a good meat pie covered in a healthy portion of bubbling cheese and a hearty ale in his hand, Sir Washburn let the troubles of the past few days dissipate. Just enjoy the moment and the camaraderie, he told himself.  The serving girl was pretty, no trouble at all to look upon. And look upon her both Wash and Master Darcy did aplenty, at first. That is until Alfred cleared his young sounding throat and Washburn turned his attention  back to his pie and the seaman backtracked embarrassed, remembering the company he kept. He mumbled something about being so long on shipboard, that distractions such as the pretty lass were difficult to look past. That brought a smile to Washburn’s lips, for he didn't have that excuse. He dared to look up at his friends. Columcil was being far more discrete. He most likely was as offended by the remark as Aliset appeared to be, yet he hid it well. A red tinge of anger erupted on Alfred’s face. Or was that a young lady’s blush of embarrassment. Wash was not sure. Both younger men sobered up quickly, not wanting to offend the noble lady who was in disguise in their midst.

A definite change of subject was required at this point, to keep civility among their small group. So, Wash ventured to ask his companions the most neutral question he could think of. “I am sure we have all noticed the statue of Saint Brigid’s in the village square; the lass holding a Croix flambee above her head, she appears to be leading a gentle looking cow to the milking pens. So, I must ask; If Saint Brigid’s is known for her good works in dairy and for alleviating starvation in the countryside by the giving of cheese to the poor, then why such a harsh name for a town such as this, to be called Droghera? Shouldn’t it take on the name of the convent? I mean to say the date on the statue states Saint Brigid was born in the year 450. Seven hundred years is plenty of time to change the village name, at least I would think so.” He was just trying to make a trivial inquiry to give his friends something else to think on.

His companions didn’t quite get the point to all that. They looked at him for a moment quizzically. None had an answer, and truth to tell, they likely didn’t care. At least the inquiry eased the prior tension, and all turned back to enjoying their tasty hot meal. The normalcy of a quiet tavern afforded each of them the moment to relax. There were only a few other villagers at other tables, also enjoying a good meal. This tavern's reputation seemed well founded.

It was a man at a near table with a lyre set beside him, who perked up at the knight’s question. “Tis a very old town, this is, with a very old tale all its own. Older than our mistress saint, and there be a monster at the heart of that tale.”

“A monster?” Alfred could not help but ask. “Like a bear, or a cat, or a wild boar? I would hardly call the fauna of the wilds monsters.” She looked dubious at the man, whatever fiction was in his story, no monster was worse than the real man who murdered her kin for the sake of a piece of land.

The tavern guest, caught the edge in the young man’s voice, and responded gingerly, at first. “Perhaps monster is too strong a term if referring to the wild creatures of the forest, but nay this is not one of them." his voice perked up to a sing song tone. "This monster is far, far worse.  This monster kills and eats for pleasure!  This monster is a Troll!”

The little man ignored Darcy’s snicker. He sat himself on the edge of the table nearest the four companions, he brought his lyre to his knee and strumming a chord with a dissident flair. And with this cord echoing across the tavern, the room hushed, all turned to listened to what the troubadour would sing.


In the deep rills of Culdi Highlands
Near the waters of Drogh island
Tis where you find a mountain troll
Guarding his cozy evil black hole
His eyes orange in the light of the Sunderlands

B‘ware you should be for you and your kin
if ever you find him and see his sharp grin
Tis the sun you must seek
Or your future shall be bleak
Run, run, run fast, save the skin that you live within.

For whether cooked as stew or as roast,
You'll have little chance of your ventures to boast
When Drogh’s has had his meal
There will be nothing left to heal
Not but a bone and a soul wandering the deep rills, you a ghost.


When his song was sung, the troubadour batted not an eye as he turned from the small band of travelers to address the whole room. “I have seen this monster, I know it exists. Shall I tell you what awaits beyond Drogh island?”

A roar of cheers and encouragement went up though the few that watched. The tavern girl and the owner had come out from the kitchens. They had all heard this tall tale before, it was not new to the locals. Nevertheless, it was a favored story, for it was their own, and they loved to hear it told again, and again.



Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 03, 2018, 05:15:34 pm
The little man adjusted his position on the corner of the table so all in the tavern could hear his story.  He set his lyre aside and waited for the tavern to grow quiet. 

“Now listen closely,” he said.  “To this day it is a difficult tale for me to tell, remembering the terror of that night.”

Darcy Cameron leaned back and rested his back against the wall of the tavern, crossing his arms across his chest.  Father Columcil gave his a stern look, and Darcy shrugged.

The little man cleared his throat and began his tale. 

Deep in the bowels of the earth lived a nasty troll named Drogh.  In the dead of night, he would climb up out of his cave deep in that hill on the edge of our town and prowl the forests, snatching unwary travellers or young children if they played outside at twilight.  He would drag them into his cave, stick them on spits and roast them alive over his fire, using their bones to pick his teeth after he had eaten them.  Sometimes, the local villagers would see wisps of smoke escaping from the ground and know another poor soul had perished.

Women of the village lived in fear for their children.  No one dared travel to or from the village at night. 

One night, I, a poor minstrel, approached the town. I had not eaten in several days and hoped to find food and lodging in the village.  I had heard the tales of Drogh, but I was desperately hungry.  Suddenly before me appeared Drogh!  He was an ugly sight, with a bald head and dripping nose.  His legs were gnarled, his back was hunched, and he carried a huge club.

“You are my dinner tonight!” Drogh snarled as he reached toward me.

My legs seemed to turn to water; I could not move.  How could I save my poor skin?  Then I had an idea. “I will sing for you first,” I said, though my throat felt dry and tight.  “I’ll sing and play until I repeat one song.  Only then will you have me for your dinner!”

“You’ll choke on your own fear,” Drogh told me. “But play on!  I’ll take this wager.”

I played on and on and on.  I played every song I knew and made up a few more. Never did I repeat a song or sing the same verse twice!  At last, the sun came up and Drogh uttered an agonized scream!  Drogh turned into that rock you see as you enter the town.  I had won the wager!

The town welcomed me and gave me food and drink.  They gave me the hand of a fair maiden, and I have never left.

 Few remember Drogh the terrible troll now.   But sometimes, the ground shakes, and the town folk remember. They know it is Drogh trying to break free to snatch another unwary traveller.

The tavern erupted in shouts and the clanking of mugs on the tables.  Columcil, Washburn and Alfred clanked their own mugs.  The little man left his perch on the table and came toward the strangers.  Washburn congratulated him on an excellent tale.

The little man eyed Darcy carefully.  “You know about trolls, don’t you?”  he asked.  “You know my tale is true.”

“Nonsense!”  Darcy replied, but with enough sense to keep his voice low.  “Trolls are myth and legend.”

“Not where you are from,” the little man said sagely.  “You believe.”  He left them then, to accept a mug of ale from the tavern wench.

Only Father Columcil noticed Darcy surreptitiously cross himself when the little man’s back was turned.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 05, 2018, 03:34:08 pm
((Since no one else seems to be jumping to get us out of the tavern...))


The Lendour knight let his companions delay in the tavern, for as long as they liked. The conversation was light. A few smiles lit their faces with the occasional jest. At least no one dared to jest over Washburn’s haircut. Not this time.  When the tavern started to get more customers who seemed to show some interest in the four, Washburn perked up with a voice a tad louder than he had used earlier. “Father, and you too my young seamaster, go see our lady back at the convent. I pray she is feeling better by now and she is likely anxious for news. Take a piece of this berry pie, that should brighten her outlook for being left behind. Our new young friend showed some interest in the R’kassi stallion; have you ever seen one, son?” Washburn looked over at Alfred, “Care to join me back to the stables, I forgot to get one more thing I need there.”

Darcy was not too pleased at the idea of leaving ‘Alfred’ behind. Also he would have liked to remind Wash that returning to the convent without the lady he had left with, could lead to questions from the Reverend Mother. He was about to say something, when he remembered Morgan’s rank. Father Columcil saw the small defiance in Darcy’s eyes and cut him off. “The lady will be happy for the desert. I doubt the convent would offer such a fair as this.” The two men departed first. Columcil checking at the door that all seemed well in the town square. When Washburn was sure the two had left peacefully,  he stood and beckoned the youth to follow him.

Again, as they left the tavern, the town square carried on with its busy normal atmosphere. He  and Alfred crossed to the stables, stopping only for a moment to pat Shadow’s rump. The black had succeeded in eating every last oat in his grain bucket. “I have a little business with the folks yonder. Can you brush Shadow down for me.” Stay in my sight if you please, he Mind Whispered to his young companion. And think you, on how we can disguise Shadow to look like a normal horse. Then he continued down to the end of the barn where the two boys were still working on all that harness. His red bridle was nowhere to be seen.

“Did you do as I asked?” Wash asked the two boys.

“Aye, my lord,” the taller claimed. He jumped up and lifted a horse blanket off a peg revealing a large black headstall with matching black reins and breast plate.

“Well done,” Wash said admiring the evenness of the black tone. As he handed over the promised coin, an older man, who had been checking the feet of his driving team, walked over and greeted the tall Lord with a respectful bow. “I am the boys’ father, Master Stanly. I run the cheesery here. How can I be of service.”

“Ah, good day to you Master Stanly, well met.” Washburn started. “Your boys have said you are leaving for Rhemuth. Will you be leaving soon?”

“Aye…” the cheese master said with a quizzical inquiry in his tone. “I am taking two wagons of cheese to sell at market in the capital. I can get the best prices there. We will be joining a number of farmers who will be taking their steers to market along with a few choice bulls for sell. A quality dairy bull fetches a good price in Rhemuth.”

“Very good, then,” Washburn let a smile pass his lips. “May I request that a few be added to your numbers as you leave the village, added discreetly.” Washburn emphasized the last words.

“We won’t be traveling very fast,” the master said with some concern.

“No need.” Wash said with a shrug. “My Friends, my two companions Father Columcil and Master Darcy, are looking to go to Rhemuth ahead of me. But they would like to leave the town with as little notice as possible. Can I make this arrangement with you?”

“You’ll not be coming as well , my lord?” the older man inquired.

“I intend to stay at the convent until the young lady I came to town with is well enough to ride. The Infirmarian said she had a small relapse this morning after wandering through the market square yesterday. The infirmarian has her resting. But I hope to see her well soon.”

“Aye, our infirmarian is the best in the land. Following her instructions is always the best recommendations,” agreed Master Stanly. “We leave at first light, have your companions ready before the gates open. I can not delay if they are late,” he said this with a deep bow.

“Thank you, you have my word they will be ready.” Wash handed the man a gold coin. He then returned to the youth brushing his horse. His hand moved to take the brush from him, but instead as their hands touched, he sent a quick Rapport. I will ask you to be in disguise as either Columcil or Darcy, whichever one will be staying with me. You’ll take all four horses with you. Therefor, Shadow will need to be in disguise as well. Do you think you can manage that?

I can replied the lady's voice in Washburn's mind. Although, could we move them back to the nunnery stables to make it that much easier.

I'll make it happen, Wash replied. "Son, it was so good of you to agree to help me today. The lady did ask that we bring Papillon, her horse, yes that one there, and her things to where she could reach them. walking this far is too hard for her just now. So if you don't mind assisting me further, let us get all the horses up to the nunnery stables for the night."  So saying Wash reached over to saddle up Shadow, while Alfred saddled Papillon. Spean and Baldilocks (was that really the Darcy's horse's name, Washburn wondered) would be next.

((Edited  on 2/9/2018 by Laurna to get all four horses back to the nunnery stables.))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 07, 2018, 04:26:27 am
((that same afternoon))

Duchess Mirjana bit her lower lip, distressed by the squire’s account, or rather his lack of account. Her guest, nay, her friend, was missing. This was the third squire to returned with no news; the missing Baroness was neither on the south nor the north facing rampart walls; nor in the seaside tower nor the rockery in the south tower; nor had she passed through any of the gates. Before the squires had been sent out, the pages had confirmed that they had not found the lady in the lemon groves nor in the gardens. The pages had been sent on thier searches when the handmaids had returned to tell the duchess that the baroness’s rooms were unoccupied. The Baroness of Trurill had supposedly taken to her rooms upon her husband's leaving for the South. She was supposed to join the duchess at luncheon. She had not appeared. This missed moment of friendship was what had started the whole cascading search involving more and more castle servants, yet no one could find her. Baroness Ailidh MacArdry was no longer in Ballymar castle.

Mirjana was a lady breed to her station since the day she was born, raised in a man's world where they dominated everything that a women was allowed to do or even think. The Duke of Cassan had rescued Mirjana from that loveless world. He had given her more love and more freedoms than she had ever imagined that a woman could have.  And respect; the men of Gwynedd truly respected their wives. A thing unheard of in her home country. But with all this freedom to be herself, Lady Mirjana could never imagine being as feistily independent as Lady Ailidh choose to be. The Duchess loved and even admired Ailidh for her candidness, her open wit, and her sense of freedom. Yet her proclivity for independence from this man’s world had at times set the Duchess’s values upside down. Mirjana controlled her world in soft touches, with strong maternal guiding hands. Not the abrupt, do as she pleased, strong will of Lady Ailidh.  And now, trouble was in the air. Independence did not always mean doing things alone. In situations like these, making a team that would have your back was far better than taking on the fight by one's self. Whether Ailidh even considered the notion, the Duchess considered herself the matriarch, the team leader.  She felt a strong responsibility for all the ladies within her duchy including the vivacious Baroness of Trurill.

Leaving the ladies solar, the Duchess lifted layers of saffron skirts to ankle height and paced down the breezy hall of their rebuilt seaside castle. The breeze felt good in the afternoon heat. She was only a little dismayed that the breeze seemed to follow her as she entered the duke's study; a parchment on his desk blow upward. A hand caught the inkwell before it could blow over. Lord Dhugal was not easily upset by such mishaps; he merely set the bottle to the side and awaited a squire to close the door behind the duchess to allow the pages on his desk to subside. He smiled at his lady and waited, it was clear that she was upset over something, something troublsome enough that it required his attention.

“My lady, may I be of service?”

“Yes, my lord, it does not please be to tell you this. But, it appears that the Baroness of Trurill has left the castle.”

Dhugal’s amber eyes opened wide. “She went seaside for a walk on the beach?” He knew before he even said it that this would not be the case.

“Nay, my lord. She has not exited the gates in any proper fashion. Though she has left, in some fashion or another.”

“Lord have mercy, Not again!” Dhugal exclaimed in disbelief. “Lord Daivi, have the horses counted! Have the squires look to see if there are any missing Cassan tunics or MacArdry tunics. I want proof before I have to contact Jass and tell him to find his own wife hidden among his retainers. He will be furious with her.” Dhugal shook his head, a sudden smile crossed his lips remembering a time long ago when he had discovered the young lady dressed as a man, hidden among his men. “I just don’t understand why she would do that now.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 07, 2018, 09:42:42 am
Darcy Cameron walked beside the priest in silence as they made their way back along the street to the Nunnery.  They had used up most of their small talk in the tavern, and they could not discuss their plans for departure in case they might be overheard.

Darcy was annoyed.  He was a man slow to anger, a strength he has learned the hard way in his years at sea, but he had come close this afternoon.  He was not used to being so readily dismissed!  At least not in the last several years while serving as a ship’s officer.  He had had a good Captain, one he could mostly trust, and he was used to being in his confidence.

All that had changed; he admitted to himself that some of the changes in his life were easier to bear than others.

He casually surveyed the people around them.  No one appeared to be paying any attention to them. 

When they reached the Nunnery gate, Father Columcil turned to look at him.  “You know you can trust Sir Washburn with her safety,” the priest said quietly.

“Aye, I suppose I do,” Darcy responded and sighed.  “I’m not so sure Sir Washburn returns that favour.”

“I’m sure he does, though I doubt he’ll tell you that himself.”

Darcy snorted.  “Now that I believe.”  He looked up at the priest carefully.  “Tomorrow I will have to trust you with her safety.  Are you up for that, Father?”

“Assuming you don’t mean her spiritual safety,” Columcil replied dryly and paused.  “Yes, I believe you can trust me to keep her safe.  Both her physical safety and her reputation.”

“Could you kill a man to insure her safety?”  Darcy asked, careful to keep his tone neutral.

“Son, I’ve already killed one man in this town.”

Darcy was not sure if that answered his question, but he let it go.  “Go on inside, Father. I’ll wait out here until the others return.  I’m sure Simon told the Reverend Mother that Lady Aliset and I left together.  I don’t fancy trying to explain why I’ve come back without her.”

Columcil smiled and knocked on the gate for admittance to the Nunnery.

Darcy leaned casually against the Nunnery wall.  He did not have to wait long before spotting the Lendour knight and his red-haired companion strolling along the path.  As they continued to approach, Darcy noticed a man following behind, the same man he had seen when he and “Alfred” had walked to the tavern.  It was too much of a coincidence for Darcy’s liking.  He moved casually to cut off Washburn and Alfred before they reached the gate.

“You took your time getting back,” Darcy said in a voice just loud enough to carry beyond his companions.  Washburn gave him a sharp look.  “I think you have been followed,” he said in a much lower voice.  “I marked the man earlier when Alfred and I left.” 

“It’s a pleasant afternoon,” Washburn replied, matching Darcy’s original volume.  “Was there a rush?”

Still keeping his voice low, Darcy said, “I’ll distract him.  You and Alfred can slip around to the back gate.  You should be hidden well enough so Alfred and switch his appearance to enter as Aliset.”

“Are you sure that is wise?” Alfred asked him. 

“We don’t have time to think of anything else,” Darcy said, gave Washburn a clap on his back as if they were the best of friends, and strode toward the man who had suddenly become interested in a tree along the wall.

“You’ve got a good tavern in town,” Darcy said companionably as he approached the man.  He unfastened his trousers and relieved himself against the wall.  With a look of disdain, the man turned to look the other way, away from Washburn and Alfred. 

By the time Darcy was finished, being careful to take his time adjusting his cloths, Washburn and Alfred were nowhere to be seen. With a nod to the man, Darcy walked back to the Nunnery gate, rapped sharply, and entered when the gate opened.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 07, 2018, 02:23:36 pm

Baroness Ailidh stepped off the Portal stone at Trurill and was appropriately greeted by a man-at-arms wearing the Trurill colors and a wary scowl. The scowl cleared as he saw who the unexpected arrival was, and he inclined his head in greeting. 

"My Lady...." As she stepped off the Portal stone, he instinctively glanced away from her face to the stone floor as if expecting another arrival at any moment.  "We weren't expecting you back yet."

"My lord husband and our retinue will be arriving separately," she informed the man, knowing what other arrival he was expecting.  As a second man entered the room, she greeted him with a nod of acknowledgement as she continued speaking.  "We received word at Ballymar from a courier that there has been foul murder done at Caer Mariot, with Lord Oswald Mariot from a cadet branch of that family usurping that manor and its lands, and that there might be Mearan separatists involved in the deed.  I thought it best to return quickly and assist in raising Trurill's defenses, should there be any additional troubles, and to determine if any of our other knights and manors have encountered similar difficulties.  Jass is also bringing back a number of men-at-arms from the Ducal household, but in the meantime, how many able-bodied men do we have at our disposal here if we should need to mount a defense quickly?" The question was addressed to the man who had just entered the room.

Sir Cillian O Ruane, grandson of the late Ciard O Ruane who had once served the Duke of Cassan loyally, fell into step beside his Baroness as the lady exited the room.  "Here in the keep? Many of our men rode out with you and Sir Jass, but we still have about a score in the keep who could readily muster up a defense if need be before reinforcements arrive. And of course we could call a muster from those knights and men-at-arms who owe fealty to you, as well as the able-bodied men in Trurill village, though it might take a few hours for messengers to get word out to them all, and if this is not an isolated incident, those in our more distant manors will wish to hold a few men back to look to the safety of their own lands and families as well."

"Of course. I am hoping this trouble is confined to Caer Mariot alone, but we couldn't take chances, with Prince Rory's presence and attention on the other side of Meara at the moment. And we still have Oswald to call to account, if the news we received is true. He cannot possibly think we would have turned a blind eye to this injustice done to one of our loyal knights, so I surmise he must have reason to think he has protection from our justice, to act with such impunity."

"Shall I raise a call to readiness then, my lady, just in case the tales of murder and revolt are true, and the troubles spread in this direction?"

"Yes, inform the household men to make ready." Her mind considered the domestic side of preparing for an impending conflict. "And have our womenfolk report to me. If we need to ready Trurill for the possibility of a siege and the common folk of Trurill seeking the shelter of our walls, I'd rather not leave that off to the last minute. Better to be overprepared than caught off guard."

"Aye, my lady." At her nod of dismissal, he turned and headed off with brisk steps to inform the guards and men-at-arms of Trurill of the possible danger at hand.




Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 07, 2018, 03:36:33 pm
As Sir Cillian went to inform the men at the gatehouse of the Baroness' arrival and news, the man-at-arms who had originally been assigned to keep watch at the Trurill Portal made his way in a different direction as soon as the knight and the lady were both out of sight.

Ruick, we will need to move up our plans.  The Baroness has returned from Cassan by means of the Portal, and Sir Jass is riding back with his retinue as well as reinforcements from the Duke.  It seems they somehow caught wind of our plans here too early. If we're going to make our move, it needs to be now, before the Baron and his forces arrive.

Bloody hell, the reply came back almost immediately. The additional men the Grand Duke promised us haven't arrived yet, Simon!  We can spring a surprise attack on the guards at the main gate and secure the Keep, but we can't hold a large force off for long. Is there any chance of taking the Baroness hostage? Maybe we can use her as a negotiating tool.

She's fully trained, Simon Mind-Spoke curtly. I'm not.  Maybe we should withdraw while we can, and save our attack for when we've got sufficient force to succeed.  There are still some loyalists in Trurill who remember the old days fondly, and who will rally behind Brioc de Paor when he makes his move openly.  Especially when they discover he is sire to our rightful Queen.

You may be right.  But I don't want to be the one to break the news to the Grand Duke, if we have to delay our plans.

Simon pursed his lips as he considered that.  Ruick had a point. Have we heard any word when the additional forces will arrive?

A mental shrug from Ruick.  Could be any time now.  All I can tell you for sure is that old Gareth in the watch tower hasn't seen any sign of them yet.

Simon sighed. All right. No open moves for the moment, then.  But if they do show up, I want to know immediately.  If we can't get them past O Ruane's loyal men at the main gate, perhaps we can let them in the postern gate under cover of darkness.  Or I might be able to work out how to get a few through the Portal, especially if the Grand Duke sends one or more of his Deryni to assist us.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 08, 2018, 04:47:01 am
The three male guests of Saint Brigid’s Convent sat practically knee to knee in the guest house working through the particulars of the next 24 hours and the contingency plans for any number of things that could go wrong. All three men prayed that none of those plans would be necessary. Their goal was to arrive at Arx Fidei by the end of the following day.   And then the city of Rhemuth by the end of the day following that. The beautiful city of Rhemuth...  the son of Corwyn never thought he would long to see those high walls and tall towers with as much longing as he did now. He had spent years running from the fancy fashions of high court and the undercurrent of intrigue that followed every conversation. Well, he still didn’t like that part of Gwynedd’s capital, but the Queen’s gracious smile was enough to look forward to tolerating all the rest of court life.

The compline bells rung, the nuns walked through the court yard and into their small church.  Columcil went to stand to join them, but Washburn put out a hand  and asked him to stay. “I have need of assistance if you would not mind helping me.” Wash pulled forth the Camber Medallion from his tunic. “It is the time Kelric would be listening for a call from me. I really need to contact him and tell him of our present situation.” Washburn looked at the seaman apologetically. “You don’t have to witness this if you chose not to.” He gave a understanding node to the man. “If you would rather, could you watch the door and be sure we are not attacked.”

“That I can do,” Darcy said emphatically, standing and moving toward the door.

He actually is getting better about magic,
Columcil mind spoke to Wash as they moved their chairs even closer together and touched hands.

Father, I know you will protect Aliset, but you must understand how hard it is for both myself and Darcy to leave her behind, even for just a few hours. It goes against every fiber in my body. And her Protector over there, is feeling it too. Can you protect her?

I make you an oath that I will protect her with my life.
the clergy man said.

I can ask for no more than that.
Washburn accepted.  So saying he turned his focus upon the silver medal in his hand. The Rapport from Columcil was shallow, yet even so it had that familiar feeling. Washburn was getting use to that; he gave it little thought. Instead he was looking for that which was even more familiar, the strong connection he held with his brother.

((01:48 Laurna Contacting Kelric
01:49 Laurna !roll 2d6
01:49 derynibot 3, 1 ==4))

Wash centered and cast outward. There was a long silence, no hint of his brother waiting to hear from him. The priest had stayed on the very edge of their rapport, not wanting to commit himself. But he understood the need and decided he could offer more than just his energy. Show me His Grace Kelric. I have never meet your brother, perhaps I could reach out for him if I know who I am seeking.

This was an easy task, Wash shared the communications he had set between his medallion and his brother's medal. There was strong magic there, if Columcil could link into it.

((02:01 Laurna Rolling for Columcil to contact Kelric via the Camber Medals
02:01 Laurna !roll 2d6
02:01 derynibot 1, 5 == 6))

The priest had a calming way of building focus, nothing rash, instead very slow, deliberate and balance. It comes from Healing, my son, the older man said. If you want to learn that you must learn the balance of your energies first.

The pair of callers linked closer focusing on the mind they touched far far away. That mind when they sensed it was anxious, he too was having his own trouble completing the link. It was a woman’s touch that evened Kelric’s energies. Princess Araxandra was much like her parents, ready and able to handle the most stressful situations with prompt expertise. “Little brother, thank the Lord, tell me what is happening.”

Just hearing the Duke's voice was the most reassuring sound. It allowed Wash to calm further. Through his link with Columcil, he sent a swift but brief accounting of all that had transpired. Then he passed forward the planes they had for this night and the next day, leaving out the details but giving assurance that everything had been well thought out. “Can you meet us at Arx Fedei. It would be much relief to have an escort from there.”

“I’ll be there,” the duke assured him, “I expect you and your three companions to not disappoint me.” Wash smiled; his brother was always telling him to not disappoint a duke of the realm. 

“Give mother a kiss from me,”
Washburn said before letting the link dissipate.
 
Columcil removed his hand from the knight's forehead and leaned back against the chair. "So that is the Duke of Corwyn."

“Aye, and he will reward you for all that you have helped me accomplish.”

"it is not reward that I seek," the priest stated.

"That much I know, What does drive you to endure all of this, I can not guess. but what ever it is. I want to thank you for it." the nobleman commented humbly.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 08, 2018, 01:33:00 pm
It was some time before the midnight hour, before the bells toll, before Washburn considered it the best time to leave when a faint knock came to the guest door. The three men inside heard if even for its faintness. They had each been resting in their own way, for everything was already done, they were dressed, their things packed they just needed the appointed bells to ring to move. Master Darcy was cautious to open the door. “Who’s calling,” he requested of the knocker.

“Sister Ann Marie,” came a quiet voice from the other side of the door. “Sister Margaret asks if Father Columcil can join her in the infirmary. She is in need of his services.” Darcy looked back at his companions, this was not an expected request. He was given a nod from the priest even as the knight lifted his sword which had been lying beside him. Darcy opened the door a crack. Indeed there stood a pitie nun, head low.  “There has been an injury. A father brought in his boy, who was pinched under a cheese crate. The injury is in such a delicate place that our infirmarian thought it would be best to be handled by a man.” Darcy opened the door a little wider. There was no one else about in the courtyard.

“Sister, I will come,” the priest said as he stood.

“We will all come,” Washburn added. He grabbed up his bow and his quiver, slung them to his back, then picked up his travel bag and balanced the strap across his other shoulder. Father Columicl tossed Darcy the bag that the seaman had intended to take with him. The rest of their gear would be going with the good father and his companion in the morning on one of their pack horses.

The three men were ever watchful as they followed Sister Ann Marie into the infirmary. All was dark and quiet, except for Simon who stepped out from the gate house door, watched the men for a minute, and than returned to his watch duties.

Within the infirmary, two nuns and a man bent low over a boy who whimpered in the fetal position, his hands tucked between his knees. The father was trying to coax the boy to allow them to remove his breeches so as to allow to see the injury. The boy was old enough to know better than to appear unclothed before a nun and was having none of it regardless of the pain he was in.

Father Columcil took the lead allowing the nuns to step back. Wash recognize the boy and the father almost instantly, “Master Stanly, how did this happen?’

The cheese master shook his head, “My fault, I thought to add a few more crates of aged Manchego to the wagon, only we were all tired and the crates were heavy. One slipped and caught David in the groin. I fear for my boy, but I may have delayed your plans too, I am sorry, my lord.” The father was clearly distraught.

“Let us take care of this before any other considerations are taken.” Washburn bent down to help Columcil ease the boy’s pain.

The priest gave a prayer asking for the Lord’s care and mercy, his hand covering the boys eyes for just a moment. David’s tension eased allowing the father and Washburn to loosen the leggings and pull them free of the area of pain.  There was no cut, but already the right groin was bluish/red and hard swollen. A hernia with bleeding under the skin was surely at the boys hip. Washburn followed Culumcil's hand and placed his own beside his. May I ask that you show me where you get this power that you have, let me see if I can go there too.

Aye, I will let you try but only one try there is little time for more if this child wants to have children when he grows up.


The seriousness in the priest's tone sobered the Corwyn knight. This was not a mere game, lives stood in the balance. A balance that he was not certain he himself could achieve. Opening fully to the man beside him, he let the priest guided him into the place where his healer’s gift had laid hidden all these years.

((11:08 Laurna First try at learning the new Healer trait
11:08 Laurna !roll 1D6
11:08 derynibot 1 == 1
11:08 Laurna All I ever get is ones, never anything else. ***Deep sigh***))

Wash thought he had touched on the gift, but alas, he could not bring it forward in his mind. Quickly, he backed away allowing the master of Healing to complete his task. Wash stayed poised to give energy, recognizing that a third party had entered their Rapport. Lady Aliset had entered the infirmary. she too would give Columcil energy if he would allow it.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 08, 2018, 02:47:09 pm
Darcy Cameron wanted to pull his eyes away, to not watch the magic that was happening in the room.  The boy’s injury made him wince inwardly, almost physically, in fact.  He had stepped aside when Lady Aliset entered the infirmary, and he saw that she did not hesitate to assist.  Sir Washburn had tried to do something, but he had pulled away while the priest seemed to go deeper into whatever it was that was transpiring in this room.  Had he noticed a fleeting look of frustration on the knight’s face?

In these short few days he had seen magic kill; now he watched as it tried to heal.  Darcy was not sure if he could come to terms with the two extremes. 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on February 08, 2018, 04:43:51 pm
Columcil's thoughts were in a turmoil and once again he wondered how in heaven's name he had allowed himself to get embroiled in this situation. At worst he would get himself killed, at best be drawn into an even closer relation with those he had spent his life being happy to ignore, namely his noble kin. Or maybe he had the worst and best the wrong way round there.

He wished that Darcy were not so wary of him, understandable though it was. Darcy was a hard-working man, the sort amongst whom Columcil ministered, and around whom he was far more comfortable than the gentry and nobility. Just being a priest could be enough to make a man leery, Columcil knew all too well, when you added magic into the mix.... Then it was clear that neither Darcy nor Sir Washburn really trusted his ability to protect the lady Aliset. Well he could hardly blame them for that since he didn't entirely trust himself. Given the unconscionable amount of time it had taken them to come up with this plan, and the lack of any other, he thought it best that he kept that worry to himself.

Most of all though he was unsettled by the rapport with Washburn which had drawn him into contact with the Duke of Corwyn himself and her highness his Duchess. Neither had Washburn's innocent talk of reward helped. He was not offended, he recognised that Washburn's knightly vows gave him a sense of obligation towards others, but how was he ever to disentangle himself and disappear back into obscurity when, if, they reached Rhemuth.

So he was relieved rather than otherwise when the knock came on the door, though the relief soon turned to dismay when he saw the lad's injuries. He had to work hard not to speak harshly to the boy's father, whose lack of concern for the safety of tired workers was at fault, and then young Washburn insisted on sharing in the healing. He was being unfair, he knew. Washburn was motivated purely by compassion but he was not sure he could handle another rapport with his kin just then. Struggling to focus as Washburn laid his hand alongside his, Columcil managed to put the injured lad into a sleep deep enough to enable his tightly curled body to be straightened and reached deep within himself for his healing powers. At the vital moment he was aware that Washburn had faltered and drawn back; at the same time, "Blessed Jesus preserve him!", Lady Aliset entered the infirmary. With her, the knowledge of their desperate peril came flooding back and the moment was lost ((3+3 = 6 26nkl0knzh - those dratted dice - it's all their fault I had to give Columcil such a long winded crisis)). Before he could even withdraw his hands, however, Sister Margaret was at his side and, placing her hands over his, the healing power flowed from her into the boy's body.(( rolled advantage with two healers and two known Deryni in the room 6+1+5 =12 64xxhkjvh0))

He turned and smiled shakily at her. She returned the smile and said gently, "I rather feared that this might happen with all that you have on your mind, so I was just outside the room." Her voice as she spoke to the merchant,  on his knees by the pallet, was rather more stern. "Your son will make a full recovery, I hope you will value him rather more than your cheeses in future." More gently, for tears were streaming down his face, she added, "You can take him home to sleep the night now. No need to tell him that he was seen by a woman, in all honesty you can tell him that he was touched only by the good father's hands here." The merchant bent to kiss her hands and then those of Father Columcil and picking up his son as gently and easily as though he were a new born left the room. Sister Margaret made to leave too, then from the doorway she turned and said "What you must do is safe from being shared by any here. My prayers are with you. God speed." With that she was gone.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 08, 2018, 05:16:21 pm
As Columcil had attempted to Heal the cheese merchant's lad, Aliset pondered how she might help, wishing that she hadn't been so quick to drop her Alfred guise as soon as she'd entered the convent gates.  Having grown up in a household of brothers, not to mention raised with the expectation that one of her roles as a future lady of the manor was to look after the sick and injured members of her household, she didn't shrink back from the task at hand out of any misplaced sense of maidenly modesty, but she hesitated to openly volunteer her aid because she did not wish to embarrass the boy by seeming to hover too closely while Father Columcil attempted to use his Healing gift on such a delicate portion of his anatomy. Yet if the good priest should have need to draw upon her energy while he worked, she wished to be close enough for him to be able to easily do so.

An idea came to her, and she moved discreetly to one side, ostensibly to avoid blocking the source of light so that the priest would be able to see the injury more clearly, but her change of location brought her to the other side of Sir Washburn.  As Wash was also in contact with the patient, perhaps the Healer could draw upon them both if she simply maintained contact with him.  Laying her hand upon the knight's shoulder, she politely averted her eyes from the patient, not wishing to add to his distress.  Instead, her eyes fixed upon Darcy.

She studied his features briefly, committing them to memory before casting her gaze demurely downwards, not wanting to be caught staring. But she needed to be able to reproduce those features accurately, after all, if she was going to attempt to disguise herself as him successfully before they all left Droghera the following morning.  She briefly wondered if he might find it useful for her to transform his likeness to her own as well before they parted ways in the pre-dawn hours.  The thought nearly made her giggle. How would she broach the topic to him?  "Master Darcy, how would you like to masquerade as a lady for a day or two? More specifically, as me?"  She fancied he'd like that idea about as much as he'd favor slipping out of Droghera in a nun's habit!

She glanced back up at him, only to find him regarding her with an expression that looked half puzzled, half amused. Had he caught some vestige of her thought, perhaps, or had he simply noticed she was hiding her own amusement at something? She glanced away again, her cheeks warming slightly.  All right then, perhaps she'd best find some safer line of thought before she burst out laughing.

A furrow of consternation marked Columcil's brow, and she could sense through the tenuous link between them that his efforts had failed.  But at that moment, another pair of hands--not those of the ephemeral Saint Camber, as Aliset had half expected to see, but those of the infirmarian--came to rest gently upon his. It was then that Aliset detected the shift of energies that confirmed the Healing power had been manifested, and with that shift came the visible transformation of bruised and internally bleeding flesh to healthy wholeness.

Aliset breathed a quiet sigh of relief.  She had feared the boy's injury would mean another delay in their departure from Droghera, as she and her companions scrambled to form some other plan.  But now they must use what precious time they could to preserve their remaining energies for the journey ahead.  With a nod to Columcil and a quick burst of focused thought to Sir Washburn to inform him of her intentions, she slipped out of the room, making her way to the nearby stables.  There were horses to disguise, after all, and that was best done now, under cover of darkness and while no one else was likely to be around.

((17:02   EvieAliset   Roll 3d6 (spending a hero point) for creating illusion to disguise the horses (esp. Shadow).
17:03   EvieAliset   !roll 3d6
17:03   derynibot   4, 6, 4 == 14))

Concentrating most of her focus on Shadow, but sparing a little attention to their other horses' appearances as well, Aliset murmured the words of a spell to cast a glamour over them that would hide their true form from the eyes of any onlookers seeing them depart from Droghera with the rest of the merchant's horses leaving alongside them tomorrow.  The change in Shadow was the most remarkable--instead of a showy black destrier, before her now appeared to stand a small dun mare. Their other horses were less changed, yet a slight tweak of color on one and a shift of markings on the others made them less recognizable, or so Aliset hoped, to those who might be keeping a close eye out for their departure.

And now it was time for rest, to catch up on what little sleep she might be able to muster before she and Father Columcil must ride out together on the morrow. 

Turning towards the guest house, she shifted her own appearance into that of Master Darcy and made her way across the courtyard under the cover of darkness.




Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 09, 2018, 04:38:22 am
Wash was disappointed in himself. Not so much for the failure to heal, for he wasn’t even certain that gift had passed on to him from his father. Although, he still held hopes that it was there. He was disappointed in his failure to protect those who trusted him to get them safely to Rhemuth. So many of his small tasks had been failures, at least from his point of view.  He was so fortunate to have such trustworthy persons in his company to cover for his lapses. At every turn, for four days there seemed to always be something hindering his progress. He didn’t believe in luck, per say. He believed in hard work and practice. Repetition, in theory, should allow an outcome to become predictable, and not a providence of luck.

The three people with him were good people. They weren’t the type to use his lapses for their own gain. To gossip behind his back or to abuse his rank to get what they wanted. They would never voice their disappointment. Yet, in subtle ways, he knew he wasn’t coming up to the expectations that they needed him to meet. The more he failed, the more the others seemed to  strengthened their own barriers to kept their own council. Wash did not fault any of them for doing that, it was just that getting out of Droghera, had its own difficulties. Trying to lead four independent souls to openly trust one another to get out safely was going to end in either stupendous success or utter failure. And it seemed only luck held the answer.

Failure was not an option, he told himself

Aliset had left to see to a few chores. Darcy had shadowed her out of the infirmary. Wash knew they were headed toward the nunnery stables and he let them go. Darcy would see to Aliset’s safety. Columcil meanwhile had closed down to Wash, he was upset and understandably so. He didn’t think anyone trusted him. The truth was, neither Wash nor Darcy would be leaving Aliset behind if they didn’t trust him. And he needed the priest to understand that. “Father, I well know that you have had my back since we first meet. You have helped me in far more matters than I have been able to offer back. Not the least of which, you have saved my life. I want you to know, I trust Lady Aliset to your care. The lady... well... she is an independent soul... I am starting to believe that of most Deryni women. My faith tells me that you are able to protect her in our absence.

Columcil nodded.  “I appreciate that, if you mean it.”

“I do,” Washburn affirmed. His hand grasped the priest’s shoulder in confirmation.

Perhaps this didn’t solve all that was troubling Father Columcil, but it did some good at least in the man’s outward facial expressions.

“Now, if I can just get Darcy to allow a little magic in that damnable tunnel. Do you think he will balk at handfire?”

“After everything else he has just seen?” the good Father returned.

“Damn,” Wash jumped up. “Aliset went to do her magic on the horses and I allowed Darcy to follow her, not thinking of the consequences.” One more lapse to add to all the others, which could push luck to the unfavorable side.

Wash raced out of the infirmary, over to the side door of the barn. Darcy was standing there, his eyes open wide, his face pale, the color of his hair. Yet, he could not look away. Aliset was patting the neck of a horse, a horse Wash had never seen before, a horse in the place where he had left Shadow. She is good. Wash thought, but he had to distract Darcy before the man saw more than he could handle. “Ah, there you are my friend. Are you ready to join me to stake out a good spot in the woodlands to watch everyone leave the town gates in the morning. I want to be well positioned before any of Oswald's men can move in.” Wash had stepped before Darcy to cover the lady’s exit from the barn.

“Yes, if you still think this is the best plan.” the seaman asked unsure.

“I am open if you have a better solution,” Wash said honestly.  He stepped aside now that Aliset had left the main barn door and could not be seen from their particular vantage point. “You have to admit she creates an excellent illusion. It is just illusion, you know. Just a trick to confuse the eye. Not black magic or anything.” Wash caught a glimpse of the illusionary Darcy that had been Aliset walking toward the guest house. The real Father Columcil joined him and the two entered the building and closed the door. It was some relief that the real Darcy had not seen that, at least Wash hoped he had not just seen himself walking away.

Wash flashed a key that was on a chain about his neck. “I would be honored if you would join me in a path through the underworld of Droghera. Truth is that I welcome your company in a place I would rather not walk alone.”

Darcy doubted the knight was claustrophobic, yet he did sense there were some truth to the knight’s words. Odd that he could sense that.  But then that second sight was something he knew he could trust. Just not all this magic, illusionary or not.

They walked together to a small supply room at the back of the infirmary. Wash pushed back a stack of crates revealing a narrow panel in the wall with a small hole above head height. Wash inserted his key into the hole. The panel slid free and opened to a blackness within. The knight walked in first, he started to cup his hands to make handfire. He saw Darcy’s eyes open in recognition and therefore changed his action to reach for a torch held in a bracket next to the opening. With a snap of his fingers the torch lit with a small flame.  The real flame brightened and the small room behind the wall was illuminated with a slight wave of the flame from a breeze. That was good, it meant there was movement of air where they intended to go. He handed the torch to Darcy. “Shall I led or would you like to be the one who proves there is no village Troll down here. It’s a jest only, honestly!” he said quickly, regretting his last words.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 09, 2018, 10:08:51 am
Darcy Cameron accepted the torch from the tall Lendour knight.  He had to admit the last bit of magic he had just seen had merit.  It didn’t help the sick feeling in the pit of his stomach though.  Darcy swallowed.

“I’ll go first,” he said.  “You can see around my back better than I’ll be able to see around yours.”  Darcy moved past Washburn and went through the doorway.  “But if there is a troll, don’t block my path back out of here.”

Darcy held the torch far enough ahead to illuminate the steep stairs leading down from the door.  The light it cast flickered a bit, casting eerie shadows on the damp walls.  Darcy hoped they wouldn’t find water at the bottom.  His foot slipped a bit on the next stair; he reached out to the rock wall to steady himself.

“Careful,” he warned Washburn.  “Some of these are slippery.”

The reached the bottom of the stairs without further mishap.  The torch continued to flicker, indicated there was still a flow of air at this level.  Darcy took a moment to survey the surroundings before moving forward.

A fair-sized tunnel had been carved into the rock, wide enough for a man to move through carrying supplies and high enough that Washburn only had to stoop slightly.  It stretched forward into darkness.  He moved forward, and Washburn followed him. 

Darcy was straining all his senses to help him navigate through the darkness.  It looked like there was something large looming ahead; Darcy hoped the tunnel wasn’t blocked.  Something skittered past his boot.

‘What was that?” Washburn asked.

‘I’m not sure,” Darcy responded.  “Probably a rat.”

“I don’t like rats,” Washburn muttered.

“Better than trolls.”

They continued forward.  It was darker here, Darcy noticed.  Perhaps there was a turn ahead.  He started to touch the wall with his free hand, then snatched it back before touching the spider that lingered there.  He moved on.

“Jesu!” he exclaimed, coming to a dead stop and almost dropping the torch.  Washburn collided against his rigid back.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, grasping the smaller man’s shoulder to steady himself.

In answer, Darcy raised his torch higher. 

Before them was a solid chunk of rock, evidently too hard to cut through.  Some long-dead miner had taken the time to carve the outline of a large troll on it.  A bit of crystal in the rock looked like a single glowing eye in the light of the flickering torch.

Darcy let go of the breath he was holding.  “This is not funny,” he finally said.

Washburn, who had also taken a moment or two to recover, looked at it carefully.  “Someone did a good job on this. They must have meant it to frighten, maybe as a warning.”

“That’s not helpful, Sir Washburn!”

‘Sorry.  Want me to take the lead?”

Darcy shook his head.  “Nay, let’s just hope there isn’t worse ahead.”

There was a turn in the tunnel, probably to avoid the large rock.  Darcy squared his shoulders and moved forward.

 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 09, 2018, 01:24:04 pm
Aliset studied her reflection in her polished brass mirror with a critical eye.  Master Darcy's face stared back at her. She turned towards Columcil.

"Should I wear the leather cap pulled completely over Master Darcy's hair or not?" she asked.

"Hm. That depends." The priest tilted his head to study the illusory features before him. "Do we want to draw our enemies off Sir Washburn's and the real Master Darcy's trail and divert them into following us instead, or were you rather hoping to slip out of town entirely unnoticed?"

"Ah, good point."  With a whispered word and a wave of her finger, Aliset altered her appearance slightly to conceal the gleaming silvery-blond hair completely, also changing the familiar cap's color while she was at it.  That was easily enough managed.  Turning to look back at the priest, she asked, "How's that?"

Columcil studied her with a slight frown.  "Well, you look less like Darcy now, but on the other hand it occurs to me, if our enemies think we're still in Droghera after we've made our escape, won't they grow impatient with trying to wait us out and come in looking for us instead? I'd hate for them to sack the town thinking we're still here! Maybe we shouldn't try to hide who we are after all."

Aliset nearly threw her mirror at him in exasperation.  "Well, I can hardly disguise us and not disguise us at the same time, now can I?  And don't you think they might still wonder where the other half of our company is?  Besides, how many pursuers do you think are actually hunting for us? Not enough to sack the entire village, surely!  Even if Droghera has a few Mearan sympathizers, these are their friends, families, and neighbors we're talking about."

Columcil looked chagrined. "Well, all right, you have a point. Probably there aren't that many enemies looking for us anyway, though it certainly feels that way, when you're the prey."

Aliset only half heard him, suddenly considering another notion. What if there was some way to be disguised yet not wholly unrecognizable?  After all, she didn't wish any repercussions to fall on the villagers of Droghera either, and even though she figured a wholesale reprisal against those who had been kind enough to shelter them was unlikely, perhaps there was some way to slip past watchful eyes with just enough alterations in their appearance to make their pursuers doubt it was actually them leaving, but still retain enough similarities to their true forms that they might belatedly realize those they were seeking were no longer in Droghera?  It would be a tricky balance, but perhaps not impossible.

"Do you have any secular clothing, Father?"

Columcil shrugged.  "Well, I'm wearing breeches and a jerkin under my cassock. I suppose I could just leave the cassock off and put it in my travel bag."

"Good, good...."  Aliset studied him carefully.  "Perhaps I could make your hair appear completely gray also, and...oh, hang on for a moment...."  Rummaging through her bag for Alister's old clothing, she drew out a russet wool hood.  "That could work. Even if it gets too hot at midday to wear the hood over your head, it's an article of clothing our pursuers wouldn't be looking for on you."  Looking up, she asked, "Would you mind looking a little older than you actually are?"

The priest's lips twitched in a hint of a smile. "You're asking permission to make me gray beyond my years? Seems to me this adventure is already doing a good enough job of that without additional help, but if you think that will help...."

Aliset laughed, tracing an oval in the air around his face and murmuring the words to the familiar spell.

((12:47   EvieAliset   Rolling for casting illusion on Columcil
12:48   EvieAliset   !roll 2d6
12:48   derynibot   3, 5 == 8 ))

Columcil's hair appeared to turn steely gray. With an additional tracing of her finger, she also added another couple of inches to its length before deciding she was satisfied with his changed appearance.

As she turned to repack her other items in her bag, Columcil removed his cassock and packed it away in his own, then donned the borrowed hood. When Aliset looked back up, she smiled at the difference the small changes to his usual wardrobe and appearance had made.  "I think that works.  Hopefully we're just enough changed that no one will think twice about our departure until after the fact, once they realize there haven't been any sightings of us in the village in some time.  Between that and the story being put about that I'm still in the infirmarium, having suffered some sort of relapse, I think it might be another day or two before our pursuers put two and two together and realize we've slipped out from under their noses. And then, even if they do remember two merchants leaving this morning who might possibly have been us in disguise, we'll be long gone, and they'll still have doubts because there would still be two of us unaccounted for." She sighed. "Let's hope the ruse works, anyway. I really don't know what else we can try."

The two of them gathered their belongings and headed out to the stables, Columcil coming to a dead stop just before they reached the door, reaching out to put a hand on her arm, stopping her in her tracks as well.

"What's wrong?" she asked, casting out with her senses to see if she could detect some nearby foe whose presence he might have sensed before her, but if there was such an enemy close by, she felt no sign of him.

I just realized, he Mind-Spoke, you've changed Shadow's appearance already, haven't you?

Yes, Aliset replied. What of it?

Well....  The priest blushed.  He's a large horse, Shadow. What does he look like now?

A dun mare, Aliset replied.  Why, is that a problem?

I don't know.  Maybe you ought to change him back, at least until I can mount him.  Or should I lead him? I could ride Spean instead and just lead Shadow, if that would be easier....

Aliset stared at him, puzzled. I don't suppose it matters which one you ride, though if we end up coming under attack despite all our precautions, wouldn't you rather be riding the horse that is battle-trained?

Well, yes, but . . . won't anyone watching us ride away think it strange if I'm hovering several inches above what looks to them to be a smaller horse?  And how would I even mount him? Not knowing how high his back actually is, what if I accidentally kick him....

It was all Aliset could do not to burst out laughing.  I've made him look different to others, Father! I've not turned him invisible!  Since you know I've cast an illusion on him, you should be able to see him perfectly well.  Just look at him with your Deryni senses, not just your eyes.  Close your eyes while mounting him, if that helps.

She was still giggling quietly to herself as they rode out of Droghera together with the rest of the merchant's horses, riders, and goods.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 10, 2018, 05:50:38 am
In the predawn hours, Washburn and Darcy had settled in the crooks of the branches of a grand old Mearan oak tree. They were some twenty feet off the ground resting comfortably among the leaves. The branches they rested against were as wide as a horse’s backside and easy to either stand or sit upon. This had been Darcy's idea, he liked the height to see up the road which   was barely visible in the darkness. The road lay at a distance of about a dagger's throw. Darcy had made the climb up the gnarled tree trunk so easily. Washburn had needed a hand up to get from a lower branch to the one eight feet up which he now sat on.  The vantage was a good one. It did give Wash the consideration that highway banditry might have been in the seaman’s past.  But he would never suggest that.

Instead, as they waited for the sun to rise, the knight gave a smile thinking back on that Troll in the cave. For after they'd past the rock carved troll, the tunnel opened to a natural cave with water-warn walls dripping with stalactites. One had a constant drip of water that had warn a bowl shape into the rock below giving off the effect of a bubbling cauldron. For a moment, Wash could not resist lighting his handfire to look into the depths of the small pool of mineral water. It was murky white and reflected the light for all the salts that it held. Then he looked to the back of the cave and could see the glow of the crystal Troll eye, a fat shape of a nose below that, and row of carved pointy teeth. From this vantage the tunnel entrance was well hidden. Who would get closer to that troll to discover it. Not after the stories told about Drogh-the-troll wanting to eat you. 

Darcy had proved his worth when he had looked back and seen what had interested the knight. “A hoax,” was all he mumbled as he returned to finding their way out of the cave. They snuffed out the torch and the handfire before the exited the rock crevice and entered the wilderness just above the river.

From there they had stuck to the trees, angling toward the road going south. They had walked about two miles before they edged closer to the road to find a good vantage point to wait. Wash had his bow strung with arrows ready.  Darcy had his daggers readily available; he cleaned his finger nails with one of them as they waited.

The jingle of wagon harnesses, cow bells, and the calls of men warned them that the merchants were making their slow  pace upon the road. They heard the sounds long before they saw the first riders come around the bend which had blocked the view of the road by a knoll covered in thick trees. They would soon know if their ruse had worked, or if Oswald’s men stalked the merchants looking for their prey.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 10, 2018, 03:58:09 pm
Darcy Cameron shifted his position in the tree to get a better look at the travelers on the road.  Their progress was slow but steady.  Older boys on foot drove the cows forward; the bulls were handled by men.  The wagons followed, along with the riders.  Darcy scanned the riders to locate Father Columcil and Lord Aliset, since he was sure Lady Aliset would not travel in her true form.  A man in a russet wool hood looked familiar; could it be Father Columcil?   Beside him rode another….

“Bloody hell, Sir Washburn!”  Darcy exclaimed in a low voice.  “You could have told me what she was up to!”

Belatedly, Washburn realized he had not considered that Darcy would recognize “himself” among the riders.  Although the cap was a different colour, Darcy knew his own face.  Washburn sighed.

“I thought we had distressed you enough for one day,” he replied, his voice equally low.

“And this is not distressing?” Darcy hissed back.  Annoyed, he turned away from Washburn to scan the group and then look behind them.  A figure on horseback was approaching, moving faster than the group ahead. Idiot, he berated himself mentally.  If he had not been distracted by Aliset’s disguise, he would have seen him sooner.

“There,” he said urgently to Washburn.  “A rider coming up fast.”

(Roll to see if Darcy recognizes the rider)
Jerusha   !roll 2d6
16:46   derynibot   1, 1 == 2
(Spectacular failure.  For crying out loud! )

Darcy stained to get a clear look at the rider.  The merchants moved toward the side of the road to let the man pass.  The man gave them a curt nod and kept riding.

Sir Washburn had his bow ready.  “Do you recognize him?”

Darcy shook his head.  “No, I’ve not seen the man before.”

Washburn lowered his bow.  He would not risk killing an innocent man.  He hoped the man was truly innocent.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 11, 2018, 01:30:44 pm
Washburn lowered his bow.  He would not risk killing an innocent man.  He hoped the man was truly innocent. 

Yet, just as that man was riding past at full gallop, beyond the congestion of cows and men on the road, Washburn could swear the man turned his head, looked straight at him in the trees and smiled. That’s when Wash got a quivering sensation of warning. He was sitting on the tree limb, with bow in one hand, arrow in the other, he could not turn about in time as he heard the faintest sounds of distant crossbows releasing at his back. Even as he heard one, he heard a second one release. How had the enemy gotten behind them? His first concern even as he turned, was that they were aiming at his two companions on the road below.  He was forming the warning in his mind to call Aliset, when the bolt slammed into his side, just under he left arm which still held the longbow up to go over the tree limb.

((I am told Bynw’s bad guys have rolled successfully to hide themselves from Washburn’s magical surveillance,(like Aliset had done the other day for are group hiding from them.) And that they have rolled a successful attack upon Washburn. I am conforming to that roll. Better me writing about it, than Bynw, I say.))

Washburn’s eye’s turned to see three men running toward him from deep in the forest, two with crossbows, the third with the Droghera guard’s sword.((Meresha attack roll disadvantage. a 6 does not affect a 1 means convulsions. results = 2, Verification Number: 74mqjg7xw7 at least it wasn’t my normal roll of one, there is some mercy in the world)).  Then… fire burned his lungs, explosions of colors seared through his vision. He grabbed at the tree limb, at anything that would keep him from falling, it was a long way down. His fingers opened, releasing the bow, nails caught on the oak’s rough bark, but that didn’t stop his fall. His hand holding the arrow spiked the head into the tree bark to keep what precarious hold that he still had. But the oak was a very old hardwood and the arrow head only skimmed across the surface of the bark. Sir Washburn Morgan fell... eight feet and landed hard against the lower branch. There he managed to clutch his thighs around that and hold tight. A wave of nausea and pain brought his empty stomach to retching. He had little to eat sense the day before. He dry heaved, nothing, then heaving again. Only the pain in his side catching on the motion, stopping his heaving short. A second implosion enveloped his brain and he suddenly knew the cause. Meresha! He screamed within, knowing he could not pass on the warning. Darcy was still on the limb above him, the man had his own concerns. Fear for the others was his greatest concern. He had failed! Failed completely, he thought as he blacked out.

________

Feyd was so very pleased with himself. This had been his day. He would be a wealthy man after this. He had been lucky enough to spy two men coming up from the river in the dark. As he had gotten near to follow them, he had successfully cast a concealment spell upon himself and followed his pray to the large tree that they had chosen to hide in. Then he had backed away. Returning to the camp of separatists watching the road nearer to the town walls. Phyer had just arrived, telling them that he had learned that two of their marked numbers would be leaving in the morning. The two they didn’t care about. They would let them go. That left the noble lady and the high ranking knight far less defended. They should try to take them the coming night by infiltrating the convent  during the daylight hours when the gates would be open.

Feyd had smiled merrily at that news. “I know where the lady and the knight are. We can take them now and not worry about the others.”

“Oh, do tell.” Phyer was quite pleased to hear what Feyd had learned. But when Feyd showed the special bottle of drug laced oil, a special compound of Meresha, sedatives, and convulsants. Phyer backed away. He was Deryni too and had no desire to handle such heinous poison. He allowed Feyd and the other separatist to dip their crossbow bolts into the thick viscous drugs. The drug would not drip off or dry anytime soon. So Rayne had been instructed to get the attention of the men in the trees, when the time was right to do so. And the others walked back through the forest coming at the two in the tree from a good distance away, once again using that same concealment spell.

It went exactly as Feyd had planned. Rayne’s run through the merchants had caught everyone’s attention. In the noise of the wagons and cows, no one had heard them come forward through the trees. A good solid focused aim on Feyd’s part and his target was impaled. The Meresha would do the trick to stop any repercussions. The human separatist next to him was an expert crossbow man, his reputation had that he never missed. He too let his bolt release, aiming at the lady disguised as a man.

((Separatist shooting at Darcy with focused advantage. 3d6 success on a 4,5 or 6. rolled 4, 1, 2 = 7 Verification Number: 1wz327zgfz))

True to his word, the second crossbow bolt flew as accurate as Feyd’s had. The back of the person in the tree arched as the bolt struck home.  The only unfortunate was that this second person twenty feet up managed to hold on with all his or her might and stayed high up in the tree. As the three men ran forward, they knew there was no time to climb up and get him. For even as the Meresha took affect the man did not change into a women. They had the wrong target then. There was nothing for it to do but grab at the feet of the heaving unconscious knight, pull him from the tree and run back like hell for their horses tied back in the forest. They had mostly been quiet. No one on the road should have been able to see them through the brush or hear them over the noise of the cows. They would be well back to Valerian with their prize fairly caught.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 11, 2018, 03:49:10 pm
Jerusha   !roll 1d6
16:28   derynibot   2 == 2

Pain!  Pain and an awful, wrenching dizziness followed by nausea.  What was happening to him?

Darcy Cameron clung to the tree branch.  He vaguely remembered a commotion behind him and bolts hissing through the tree they had perched on.  He had turned to look at Sir Washburn, only to find him falling from the branch to land on another one.  Men had come and were dragging him away.  Darcy could not summon the strength to try to stop them.  All he could do was grab the branch and hold on.

The pain in his side was intense.  If he had not turned to look at Washburn, the bolt would have caught him square in the back.  At the moment, he thought that a swift death might have been preferable.

He needed to alert Father Columcil and Lady Aliset.  Even if he called out, he was afraid that, in his current condition, his voice would be too weak to be heard.

In spite of the pain it cost him, Darcy managed to move his arm and reach into his belt pouch.  He found what he was looking for.  A sailor’s tin whistle.  Please don’t let me drop it, Saint Nicholas.

With painful slowness, he managed to raise it to his lips.  With blackness swimming perilously close, he blew as hard as he could.

A shrill blast went forth.  He blew again and again, until the blackness finally overcame him.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on February 11, 2018, 04:49:26 pm
When Columcil had allowed himself to fantasise about riding Sir Washburn's wonderful stallion he had never imagined that the animal would be disguised as a dun mare. He could not quite understand how this all worked - he only hoped that the poor beast had no idea of the indignity practised on him. Still all seemed to be going well. Sir Washburn and the real Darcy had left the previous evening under cover of darkness using the hidden passageway. At first light he and another Darcy had risen from their beds in the guest house preparatory to leaving - Columcil tried not to imagine his next confession: "Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I slept alongside a woman but we did not touch and she bore the shape of a man".

As they left sister Margaret had detained them in loud voiced concern, "Father, and good Sir, the lady is feverish this morning, she cannot ride with you. Your errand is urgent, you say. Well maybe it is but you cannot just abandon her. Sir Washburn will remain? - well thank God at least for a true knight and a gentleman. Will you not at least come and give her your blessing, Father." She had bustled off into the infirmary, and Columcil had followed, wondering what she had in mind but thanking God for her ready wit and her willingness to play a part without asking questions.

Riding out through the town gates admidst the noise and dust of the cattle and horses Columcil thought again of Sister Margaret and the unexpected gift she had given to him.

"My heart tells me you may yet need my help. You are in need of haste but will you permit me to establish a rapport with you? I pray that it may serve for you to reach me if need be." The country priest that had been Columcil would not have understood but days alongside Sir Washburn and Lady Aliset had taught him much and he had allowed her to take his hands and lead him into rapport. ((dice roll 5+2 =7 1nhgjhhz00 Sister Margaret and Columcil establish rapport)). As he turned to leave she had pressed into his hand a small brass medallion with a woman's head embossed upon it. "Use this if you need to contact me and may the blessings of St Brigit, and your own blessed Melangell be upon you".

As the drovers moved out of the town gate and out along the path Columcil found that his attention was dragged forcibly back to the present. His own Spean and Darcy's mare were biddable enough but Shadow clearly longed to stretch his legs in a good gallop and it took all Columcil's skill with beasts to restrain him. He only hoped that his pride in riding such a spirited animal would not come before a fall, but Shadow would not have endured to be led like a common pack animal.

They had covered possibly a couple of miles when a scream echoed through his mind followed almost immediately by the sound of a whistle being blown repeatedly with the most desperate urgency. The noise was shrill enough to penetrate the noise of the cattle, something was obviously badly wrong. Looking at the disguised Aliset he saw the same look of horror on Darcy's face as must be on his own and her lips shaped the words, "Darcy and Washburn!"

Columcil knew already whose the scream had been. It had come again, once the whistle had fallen silent, slicing through his head like a knife, but much fainter. Either Sir Washburn was weakening or he was further away. Likely it was both. God help them, their best protector must have been captured. Praying hard Columcil extended his senses. Yes there were presences both human and ...more horses ((dice roll 6+2 =8 3wdbltnsnj Columcil senses Washburn's captors)). He felt utterly helpless; under him Shadow reacted to his emotion and reared, his forelegs hitting back down to earth with a bang which jarred him in the saddle, and almost as painfully sent a thought seering through his mind. He did not know whether it would work, but it was worth a try. Begging all the Saints and Angels he could think of, and a few he did not know for good measure, he reached out with his mind to the horses that were there at the edge of his consciousness, putting into the uncomplicated equine minds  thoughts of fear and pain and freedom. Pray God they would be driven into enough of a frenzy that at least some would break loose and Washburn's captors delayed. ((2+6 =8 3gf9r3w3n1 - thank you lovely dice!!)). He breathed a silent prayer for pardon to St Melangell who had allowed no harm to living creatures from humankind and turned again to Aliset, hoping that she would be able to make use of the time he had hopefully gained. As he did so an oath all but escaped his lips. Washburn's scream had driven all thoughts of the real Darcy out of his head.


 

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 11, 2018, 05:37:21 pm
Aliset's nerves were already on edge when she heard the shrill whistle.  She had been watching out for Sir Washburn and Darcy for some minutes before that happened, knowing that she and Father Columcil had been drawing close to the spot where the knight and the mariner would be emerging from the tunnel route and hiding themselves nearby at the edge of the forest, awaiting their passing.  She was not sure  whether they meant to join her and Father Columcil or if she and the priest were meant to rejoin them--a lot depended on whether the two men hiding at the forest's edge had managed to spot any signs of their pursuers behind them on the trail.  So she had been keeping an eye out, waiting for some sign that they had emerged from the tunnel unscathed and that her full company would be reunited soon.

Another rider had galloped past her and Columcil suddenly, spooking some of the cattle and nearly causing Papillon to throw her off in her startlement, so that she'd had to refocus her attention to controlling the startled horse. She prayed that Sir Washburn's battle-trained mount was causing Columcil less of a problem. Just as she'd begin to recover her equilibrium, she'd heard them--not the signal she'd been waiting for, but a psychic scream that made her blood run cold, followed almost immediately by a shrill, piercing sound. 

Fighting to retain some vestiges of calm so she could focus, she extended her senses in the direction of that sound. 

((16:51   EvieAliset   Sensing test
16:51   EvieAliset   !roll 2d6
16:51   derynibot   1, 6 == 7))

She sensed Master Darcy immediately, though she nearly recoiled from the brief brush of her mind against his, for at that brief contact she could sense tattered shields and a psychic disruption in his mind that could only be from merasha. Forcing down her terror, she continued casting her senses beyond Darcy, until she detected Sir Washburn, even now moving further away, although at that moment she detected a flurry of activity that abruptly halted his retreat, at least momentarily.

A glance at Columcil told her that she was not alone in sensing the danger their companions were in. Gathering her courage, and refusing to allow herself to dwell on the folly of rushing headlong towards an enemy armed with merasha, she cried out, "Our companions are under attack, Father!  For Gwynedd and Saint Camber, we must help them!" 

Wheeling Papillon around towards their friends in need, she rode at a gallop, hoping Father Columcil was close behind and whatever other allies might see fit to rush to their aid, but she did not look back to see who followed after her.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 11, 2018, 07:40:09 pm
Grand Duke Valerian tapped his finger against his desk in irritation.  It had been too long since he had heard anything from his agents in the field.  Surely the cursed Morgan was not still hiding in that wretched Mearan town!  On the other hand, perhaps he was.  Perhaps this seed of Alaric Morgan had fallen too far from the tree.

Well then.  He would stir things up a bit.  With a smile, Valerian reached into a box on his desk and withdrew a large medallion.  He stood up and carried it over to the window and held it in the sunshine that streamed though.  The words of the spell he murmured caused it to glow briefly.

The next time the medal he had directed be hidden in the bag on the horse left behind saw the light of day, well, the Lady Aliset would have one less protector.

***

The gong farmer turned his wagon toward a fast moving stream.  As he had so many times before, he stopped his wagon at an angle to the stream.  One by one, he unloaded the barrels, removed the lids and poured the contents into the stream. Where the contents ended up from there was not his problem.

Finally, he lifted the last of the barrels from the wagon.  This one had come from the Nunnery at Droghera.  He edged it toward the stream and removed the lid.  Absently, he noted a metallic object that seemed to catch the light of the sun….
***

Lord Trillick road with his small party back north.  In the road ahead, a dishevelled cart horse stood harnessed to the remains of a wooden cart.  One side of the cart had broken off, witness to what appeared to be some sort of panicked run.  Aromas of excrement assaulted his senses.  His squire beside him held one sleeve across his nose. 

Lord Trillick moved forward, his squire followed.  As they neared the stream, they saw several barrels strewn along the bank.  One lay splintered, planks of wood strewn about.  His squire’s horse suddenly moved sideways as something fell down from a nearby branch.  The liquid “plop” and the smell told them what it was. 

“My Lord,” the squire said hesitantly, pointing to something by the stream.

Lord Trillick and his squire dismounted, moving forward to determine what was lying beside the stream.  Lord Trillick’s squire retched, then moved quickly away to be violently sick.  Lord Trillick almost joined him.

The body by the stream had fallen backward away from the water.  His face, chest and arms were blackened by whatever force had killed him.  The vacant eyes gazed skyward.  Lord Trillick crossed himself, but could not quite bring himself to move forward and close the vacant eyes.

White-faced, his squire returned to his side. 

“My lord?” he asked.

Every sense told Trillick this was terribly wrong, and that it must be tied to whatever Lord Morgan was involved in.

“Mount up,” Lord Trillick commanded.  “We ride back south, quick time.  We’ll stop only long enough in Droghera to have them send someone back for this poor soul.  Quickly!  I fear we have little time to lose.” 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 11, 2018, 08:31:14 pm
Even as Aliset pulled her horse up close to where she had sensed Master Darcy, another rider approached, though he retained a wary distance from the tree line. She turned her head, half expecting to see Father Columcil, but while the good priest had indeed followed close behind her, the first man to catch her attention was the leader of the group they'd been riding with.

"My good man, we don't know how many brigands we might be dealing with," the man exclaimed. "Surely it would be better to send word back to the village of what has happened here?"

"An excellent idea," Aliset agreed, "but I dare not wait until reinforcements arrive. My friends are in too much danger.  But I understand if you feel it best not to venture any closer to unseen dangers in such small numbers. Still, if you could return to Droghera for help...."

((Aliset   Roll for number
19:52   Aliset   !roll 1d6
19:52   derynibot   3 == 3 ))

With an assuring nod that he would do exactly that, the man turned away, signaling for three of his party to return to Droghera to summon assistance.  With Father Columcil now beside her, Aliset dismounted, casting out with her senses briefly to ensure there was no foe in extreme close range before dashing the short distance to Master Darcy's side. Father Columcil following with the horses.

"Wards...we need to set up a circle of protection around him--around all of us, and quickly! We'll be of no use to Wash if we are wounded or captured before we can come up with a plan...." She reached into her bag, rapidly flipping through the pages of her family's grimoire.  "I would use the Border-style warding I used before, but if our enemy is using merasha, they might have a Deryni among them. I wish I knew stronger warding magic, or had my Ward Cubes with me...."

Father Columcil's eyes turned to hers briefly in startled realization before he turned his attention back towards the forest shadows as he stood guard over her and Darcy to the best of his ability given their circumstances. "Master Darcy has Ward Cubes!"

She stared up at the priest a long moment, wondering how long he'd known that and why he'd never thought to mention it before--God knows they could have stood to have used them long before now!--then shook her head and returned her focus to the attention at hand.  Doing her best to shut out outside distractions, she rummaged through Darcy's pouch, murmuring words of apology to him in case he still retained enough consciousness to be aware of her actions, and came up with the cubes.  Centering herself, she carefully placed them in their respective positions as she set their potentials.

In the meantime, Father Columcil continued staring into the distant underbrush, doing God alone knew what.  There were odd noises in that near distance--Aliset thought she heard a horse's whinny at one point, and a muffled curse--but then she blocked it from her mind entirely as she finished murmuring the words of the spell, naming the joined oblongs in turn before quietly speaking the final words of power, "Fiat Lux!"


((19:52   Aliset   warding
19:53   Aliset   !roll 2d6
19:53   derynibot   6, 2 == 8 ))

The Ward Cubes felt unfamiliar to her, unlike her family's set, yet she managed to coax the magical protection from them nonetheless.  Setting the four corners of the Wards Major around them all, she tweaked the ward to dim any visible energy, turning it into a cloaked dome instead, one which would still allow them to see out, but would hopefully conceal them from those who wished them harm.

Aliset breathed a sigh of relief.  They were hardly safe, but at least they were safer now than they had been up to this moment.  Now she must see what could be done for Master Darcy.

He seemed to be coming to consciousness again. She was not sure whether that was a good thing or a bad one, under the circumstances.  He would be aware of his torment now (assuming one might have a moment's respite from it while unconscious), but being awake and aware might also allow her to give him some small measure of relief.  No cure, for alas, there was no cure for merasha's disruptive effects except time.  Had he any formal Deryni training and a previous exposure to merasha's effects, he might have learned some means of coping with the disruption enough to function, but alas, up to this point Aliset had not been entirely certain he even was Deryni, and Darcy himself had not seemed to realize that at all.

((19:53   Aliset   test roll--medication in pouch that might reduce the merasha effects
19:54   Aliset   !roll 1d6
19:54   derynibot   4 == 4))
She dug in her pouch for some of the medications she had retrieved from the infirmary during their stay, extracting a small vial of a tincture that was said to help to alleviate the worst of the merasha symptoms.  Whether it would help Darcy function through his pain, or simply knock him out until the merasha finally wore off, Aliset couldn't say.  Holding the vial to his lips, she poured a few drops onto his tongue before stoppering the vial carefully and returning it to her pouch. They might yet have need of it again.

And now for treating his physical wounds.  Aliset studied the injury closely, careful not to touch the bloody clothing around them.  Father Columcil might not be able to risk a Healing while Darcy was still under the influence of merasha, and she was afraid to remove the crossbow bolts until Columcil could safely Heal, but maybe she could at least bandage around them and stop the bleeding that way.

Tearing a linen shirt into strips, she donned leather gloves first and proceeded to do just that.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 11, 2018, 11:18:18 pm
The instant Cheese Master Stanly heard the whistle, he knew there was trouble.  That trouble must have to do with the two outsiders, he just knew it. He threw the brake on his wagon, even before he turned back to see the two men on horseback nearest his wagon concentrating on the forest beyond the road. They had saved his son from injury just the night before. He owed them an indebtedness. He knew well enough that Deryni were not immortal. He had seen their race harmed often enough by bullies and men who still thought of Deryni as devil’s practitioners. He was not Deryni, but neither was he Mearan. He had been targeted by those same bullies over the last year or so. He certainly did not like where the town ethics were separating into two factions.  Bullying and banditry was the devil’s work, in his mind.

Stanly handed the reins of his four-horse team over to his younger son. “Keep them calm,” he told his boy. Then he jumped from the multi- crate high wagon to point to Talbert, his journeyman from the shop, to join him. Talbert likewise threw the brake on the second wagon and let his master’s older son take the reins.

The two men on foot followed the two outsiders on their galloping horses into the forest. From a distance, they saw them pull a third man, a familiar looking man, from the tree. But before they could reach those three, a glimmering dome went up around them, and then the men and the dome disappeared, completely.  That spooked the journeyman enough to have him back away. “Talbert, just stay here. When they appear again, and they will, offer what help you can for them. Things must be desperate indeed if they are using a ward.” The journeyman was a little wide eyed. But when he nodded that he would comply, Stanly was assured; Talbert was a man of his word.

There was a ruckus of horses whinnying further back in the trees. Warily, Stanly slipped from behind one tree to the next. What in the name of Saint Brigid’s is going on, he thought to himself.

_____

An anvil with a blacksmith’s hammer pounded again and again on the red hot metal that was nestled somewhere behind his eyes. Washburn swore at the hammer, yet it would not let up. Maresha! Think you, you’ve experienced… experienced this before. Think you!

That day, the day before the celebration of his reaching manhood, when he was just about to turn fourteen, his brother had taken him by Portal to the Rhemuth Basilica, there to see his uncle Duncan at the schoola. Wash had no inkling of what lay in store from him that night. He would never have gone if he had known. Duke Kelric simply stated he had to pass a test to be confirmed as an adult on the following day. The test of Merasha had been furthest from his mind until the few moments before they had handed him a glass of tainted red wine and told him to drink it all down. What occurred then would never be forgotten. It most certainly sobered up a rascal fourteen year old to the dangers of the adult world.

Between the pounding in his head, the pain in his side and the rough handling of the two men carrying him, Washburn remembered every last detail that his brother and his uncle had used to help him get through that night. There was a way to focus past the nausea, past the pain. It wasn’t a Deryni focus, but it attested to nearly the same thing. Mediation of the human sort, if he had the Camber medallion against the skin of his chest, his brother had told him, use that to bring about mediation. Slow your racing heart. Ease the tension of muscles and lungs. Washburn did as his brother's voice had encouraged him to do. Wash felt the warmness of the medal, he concentrated on what he knew it looked like. He listened to his brother's voice.  Relax, ease the muscles just enough to seem like he had gone unconscious to those holding him. Just maybe, they would relax their grip on his arms as they drug him through the forest floor past bushes and roots catching on his dragging feet.

The mediation didn’t stop the pain, but it lessen the intensity by just a bit. Enough so that the knight could open his buzzing ears to concentrate on the sounds around him.

Horses, three by the sound of them, were making a desperate fuss to be free.  A man, not one of the ones carrying him, was cursing loudly at the beasts as they came up along side where they had been tied. Surely the harsh tone of his captor, was not helping the horses calm down. Think you, think! Would they have had time to disarm him. His dagger and short sword had been at his side, his long sword, where was that?

He chanced a glance with unfocused eyes.Through a red-hazed blur he could see the hilt of his great sword over the back of the man cursing at the horses. No help there. Another quick glance and he saw his dagger and short sword in the belt of the man carrying him on the right. Steady... steady... prepare… you will have one chance and one only. He knew the truth of it. A wave of dizziness gripped his mind. That was the cost of opening his eyes. Use your ears, not your eyes, he scolded himself.

Then he heard it. A horse rearing with a squeal and breaking free. The other horses squealing and kicking to follow their mate. The man on his right loosened his grip trying to grab at the wild horse as it ran by.

Every once of training went into the Corwyn knight’s next move.

((Under maresha influence "All other tests are at 1 pip higher." Therefore 2d6 roll, as he has proficiency with daggers. Success on 6, add a hero point to make success on 5 and 6.
rolled 2+ 5 = 7 Verification Number: 6qp0trps3f))

He pushed the man away, daring to open his eyes for a moment to snatch for his dagger and rake it across the man’s side as he pulled it free. In the same full motion he used all his weight to swing his dagger into the waist of the second man holding him on his left.

((Second action. 2d6 roll for dagger attack. Stab at the second man holding him. test one pip higher. Rolled 5+6= 11 Verification Number: 4dn0d7xk1k))

His dagger enter flesh and then came out, with all his might, he daren’t lose his grip on his one weapon. In that second, with the horses squealing, he was free.

Run, he told his weakened body, run!
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on February 12, 2018, 07:01:06 am
((Columcil was going to use his medallion to contact Sister Margaret to bring help for Darcy. Dice roll 1+1 =2 xt5qdqtxs7))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Bynw on February 12, 2018, 07:29:22 am
Feyd watched as the Duke's brother made his excape into the woods.

<feyd> !roll 2d6
<derynibot> 6, 3 == 9

Calming his own horse he mounted up. And shouted to the other 2 men. "After him. He is drugged. He cannot get far."

With his men chasing after the running Washburn, Feyd himself put spurs to his horse in another direction.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 12, 2018, 09:46:39 am
Darcy Cameron knew he was being moved.  Sharp pain sliced along his side and up to his head, centering behind his eyes.  He could not hear properly; was he drowning in the sea?  Was this the final turn his life would take?

He was not in the sea; now someone laid him gently on the hard earth.  He tried to open his eyes, but the pain and dizziness increased, so he closed them firmly again.  Someone rummaged inside his shirt, and he thought a familiar voice said she was sorry.  He needed to fight his way out of this blinding, painful fog that kept him from thinking straight. 

Someone lifted his head slightly, and he felt a few bitter drops of liquid pass along his tongue.  He began to feel numb, except for the pain in his side as someone worked at his wound.  That pain he could endure.

Hesitantly, Darcy tried opening his eyes again.  Dimly, he saw himself tying off a strip of linen.  He closed his eyes.  Someday this would all make sense.  If he lived that long.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 12, 2018, 02:28:00 pm
Master Stanley stood behind a thick tree trunk, watching the scene unroll before him. He couldn’t possibly help in any way, not with what he saw happening before him. He was a cheese merchant, he was not trained with at anything better than dagger throwing, a Sunday afternoon game. But he had trained many a journeyman in his time, and now he had his own boys. Boys who, no matter how good they were, had to deal with fist fights and bullies. He was no stranger to a good fist fight.

Trouble was these men were playing with the hard toys: Crossbows, swords and daggers. By the look of their victim, the tall blond knight who was a Morgan, by the way that he wobbled even as he grabbed the dagger from his one assailant, slashing him, and stabbing the other to get away, Stanley knew that was not an alcoholic daze but a drugged one of some kind. Deryni drugs were efficient at whatever tasks they needed to achieve. For that reason most apothecaries reserved them at only the highest prices and for select members of the community. Far above the rank of a cheese merchant. Advice had always been, don’t get involved. Why he was involving himself now, he could not honestly say. But someone had too. Someone had to help or a good man would die.

The knight was staggering, attempting to run. Stanley bit his lip as the one assailant mounted one of the two remaining fractious horses. The cheese master pulled his dagger from his belt. What was he thinking! He couldn’t possible make a difference; he was likely to only get himself killed. Then where would his family be, a wife with two boys and three girls, trying to run a business without him. The thought stayed his hand, he hid behind the tree, and bit his lip hard. He did not want to see the rider run down the escaping knight and slaughter him, cold-blooded, before his very eyes.

Yet, the howl of a dying man didn’t come. The sounds of horse hooves moved away, not nearer. Could it be true? He had to see. Lord Morgan was still on his feet running and stumbling in the direction of the big tree. In the direction which would guide him very near to where Stanley stayed hidden. Belatedly, back a few paces the two assailants on foot, with their own blood on their hands, sprinted forward to regain their captive.

One man took a leap forward, diving at Washburn’s feet. Attempting to trip the fleeing man up and take him down to the ground.

((1d6 disadvantage roll with a hero point for Washburn to not stumble and fall. Rolled 5, Verification Number: 49hdbck48l ))

How the knight did it, Stanley could not guess. Lord Morgan’s years of training in balance must have stayed him in good stead even in this drugged haze. For the knight was slowed, but just for a moment, he somehow managed to pull free of the hand around his foot. Spurs may have had some small part to play in that. Regardless, Washburn was still on his feet, still able to run, gaining some momentum from his success. He was finally passing Stanley's hiding place. The cheese merchant ran out, grabbed the nobleman’s arm and pulled him more upright, so that the two could run faster. Almost as fast now as the man who was still chasing them down. Stanley saw Journeyman Talbert waving them to go to the hidden spot where the nobleman's friends had disappeared. He had no way of knowing if there was a chance to breech that warding. Else wise, they would both be dead soon enough.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 12, 2018, 02:54:35 pm
Aliset saw Sir Washburn continue to stumble towards where she and her other companions waited in concealment.  It appeared that the cheese maker was attempting to assist him, yet Aliset worried that they might not make it to the shelter of the ward before they were either killed or captured.

Unless, that is, she could come up with some means of diversion for their enemies, or better yet, some form of barrier to prevent them from reaching Washburn and Master Stanly.  But what?

Suddenly she had an idea. Glancing back at Father Columcil, she asked, "If I open a gate in these wards, and for whatever reason something were to happen to me, do you know how to close them again?"

Columcil gazed past her at the scene playing out before them as he answered, "In theory, I do. It would be the same as closing any other ward, wouldn't it be? Just retrace the open segment of the ward circle to close the gate again?"

"Exactly!"  Aliset summoned up her courage, now that she knew she would not be leaving her companions entirely defenseless if something were to go wrong with what she planned.  "All right, if this is going to work, we shall have to be quick."

Motioning to Columcil to take a position to one side of where she planned to create an opening in the ward, and holding her index and middle finger together, blade-like, she swiftly traced a high arc in the ward dome surrounding them, creating a doorway in the side facing the approaching men.  Careful to keep her body as shielded as possible behind the warding energies to one side of the open gate, she cautiously aimed beyond the approaching men to the area just behind Sir Washburn, between him and his pursuers, sweeping her hand to trace a line behind him as she muttered the words of a spell.

((14:38   Aliset   barrier
14:38   Aliset   !roll 2d6
14:38   derynibot   2, 1 == 3))

Nothing happened.  Aliset bit back an unladylike curse in her frustration.  Centering herself as best she could, and willing a fleeting urge to panic back down, she focused her mind on a second attempt, this time visualizing the barrier of illusory fire she had intended to throw up between Wash and Stanly and the men chasing them down.  It would not burn, for she was certain calling up a real fire wall was beyond her potential just now, and it would not deflect the bolts of a crossbow if either pursuer were to stop running and actually aim their weapon before letting one fly, but just maybe it might at least cause them to hesitate before plunging through the illusory barrier, buying Wash and Stanly more time to reach the safety of the warded space.

((14:41   Aliset   Second attempt
14:41   Aliset   Using hero point 
14:42   Aliset   !roll 3d6
14:42   derynibot   4, 4, 4 == 12))

For a moment Aliset was afraid the spell was not going to work, but then an illusory wall of flames sprang up before their pursuers. She ducked back fully behind the concealment of the ward barrier, silently urging the fleeing men onward; Sir Washburn and Master Stanly were nearly upon them now, and she would need to move quickly to close the gate behind them once they were inside the ward dome.  There would only be a few scant seconds at best to spare for closing the gate again before the enemy would be upon them.

She whispered a quick prayer to Saint Camber that the knight and the cheese maker would manage to make it to the sanctuary of her warded circle in time.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 12, 2018, 04:11:18 pm
Washburn Morgan, through the haze of Maresha disruption, looked up from the ground to see just where it was that Stanly was guiding him.

Lord have Mercy! There was a head, shoulder, and arm of Master Darcy waving his hand in the air with a swish and defiant set  in his eyes.

Fire erupted behind him. The cheese master cursed and jumped forward away from the flames, pulling Washburn a little off his feet.

((1d6 disadvantage roll for not stumbling. Meresha- disadvantage, one pip higher. Success on 6 only.
Rolled 6 Verification Number: 5mt0rkdtbd, Yes for a 6, awesome!))

The knight regained his footing without losing momentum.

“Get the wagons rolling,” Master Stanly yelled to Talbert.

The pair ran hard toward the ward, just as Talbert dash away, back to the road. Their assailant, only momentarily slowed by the flames, dove forward with all his strength, to make a last ditch effort to catch Washburn and bring him down to the ground.

((13:58 Laurna Rolling for man closest to Washburn to dive and catch him up.
13:59 Laurna !roll 2d6
13:59 derynibot 2, 6 == 8
13:59 Laurna Rolling for Stanley to attack with his drawn dagger.
14:00 Laurna !roll 2d6
14:00 derynibot 3, 2 == 514:00 darn))

Phyer succeeded in tackling the knight, knocking the wind out of his captive's lungs, both men hit the ground hard. They landed just outside of the ward opening.

Phyer planned to pull the winded knight from safety, recaptured him, and remake him his prisoner. But for Stanly, who was right there. The cheese master made a desperate swing at the Mearan. His dagger swung, but missed as the guard dodged to the side. 

((Washburn with hero point dagger attack on assailant  success with a 5 and or 6.
rolled 3+ 6 = 9 Verification Number: d34lk45k4z))

In that moment, as the Droghera guard evaded Stanly's attack, the black knight pulled his hand free, the hand with the dagger still held tight in his grasp. Desperate, unwilling to be captured again, he landed a good blow with the sharp edge slicing deep into his attacker's shoulder. He pulled the dagger out, knowing that he energy was spent. With sudden immense relief, he felt friendly hands pulling him away from his assailant, pulling him completely into the warding. He managed to tuck his shaking feet inside the opening, just as Darcy, no that had to be Darcy/Aliset, Darcy wasn't Deryni, just as Aliset swiped her two taught fingers to seal the warding solidly closed.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Bynw on February 12, 2018, 05:15:02 pm
Feyd watched from a safe distance. The Ward, the firey wall. All well played out. He hadn't had a Deryni in Gwynedd that was a worthy target for many years. Most bearly know that they were Deryni.

As he sat on his horse he knew this was a possiblity. That the Morgan would escape. In fact he had planned on it so it wouldn't take him by surprise when it did. But this Morgan could carry himself so well even under a dose of Merasha. Feyd thought next time it will be two.

One of Feyd's men paniced at the sight of the wall of flames and ran in the other direction. But the other tested it to see if it was real or only seen in the mind's eye.

This would become a waiting game. Feyd's men could hid again in the nearby woods in ambush. Those within the Ward would have to come out for food and water within a few days. They could keep on their tail nipping at their heals the whole way to Rheumuth.

Feyd of course already knew that the ambush here might not work, especially if the Morgan got away before they could put him on a horse. He knew what his next move would be and smiled before he continued to ride off.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 12, 2018, 08:03:43 pm
Aliset had managed to coax a few drops of the precious elixir she had between Sir Washburn's lips. She was tempted to split the entire amount between him and Darcy in hopes it might help them recover from the merasha poison in their systems faster, but she dared not.  There was no telling when she might be able to refill the vial, and they might yet need more of it in future.  Sighing, she stoppered the vial again and replaced it carefully in her bag.

Looking up at Father Columcil with a sad smile, she remarked, "I am so sorry you got dragged into all of this!"

Doubtless the priest was equally sorry he'd been dragged into her troubles, but if the thought crossed his mind, he was kind enough not to say so.  He smiled back sympathetically, declining to answer.

Looking outside the wards at the retreating foes, she noticed Master Stanly deftly sidestepping his attacker before dashing away towards the clearing beyond the treeline towards the road, two men riding forward to assist him to safety even as Talbert got the wagons on the move again.  The cheese maker was seemingly uninjured and unimpeded, much to Aliset's relief, his assailant having drawn back to rejoin his companion, no doubt still lurking just out of sight nearby, though just now Aliset was too drained to search for them.  Bit it appeared that Master Stanly would not pay the ultimate price for his assistance to Sir Washburn, and for that mercy Aliset offered up a silent prayer of thanksgiving. There was enough weighing on her conscience without adding an innocent man's death to her growing list of sins.

"I meant to allow that poor man into the wards with us," she confessed to Father Columcil, "but as it turned out, there was not enough time, and I had to close the gate to protect the others. I hope Master Stanly can bring himself to forgive me someday." She swallowed hard. "That is, if he lives long enough to do so. Do you think our enemies will go after the caravan?"

The priest turned up one palm in a "Who can say?" gesture.  "I can't think what possible advantage there would be to them to do so, but then again, I'm not entirely clear on our pursuers' motives in the first place. Is Caer Mariot so desirable a manor that there'd be this much effort put to capturing an escaped heiress just to secure it?  There is more going on here than meets the eye, I begin to think."

Aliset nodded.  "I begin to think so as well. I know that in addition to his crimes against my family, that Cousin Oswald is in league with certain others who wish to see Meara established as a separate kingdom once more. I had meant to warn the King of that when I make my petition for protection and justice to him.  But I think now that perhaps there might be more trouble brewing than the overthrow of just one family manor.  I have had little time to speak to you or the others of the visions that I've seen of a dark man--a man who has the look of a foreigner about him--who seems to have taken an interest in us.  The man whose amulet we destroyed was sent by him, not by Oswald, although they might be working in league with each other.  I did not recognize the face, but he seems a powerful Deryni, whoever he is.  Might I show you what I've seen?  I think it would be best if I show you all, for with so powerful an enemy, if aught should happen to me, hopefully at least one of our number might survive to warn the King."

Columcil looked outside the wards at the shadowy woods surrounding them.  "Aye, though first we need to figure out how to survive long enough to leave these woods again, much less continue on towards Rhemuth!  Although you might be heartened to know Sir Washburn managed to contact His Grace of Corwyn, who even now is riding this way with reinforcements to give us safe escort back to Rhemuth.  Unfortunately, we were to meet him in the lowlands beyond the borders of Meara, but whether we will be able to do so now, God alone knows."

Aliset stroked a sweaty lock of hair off Wash's brow as she contemplated the news.  "But His Grace would surely continue on in this direction if we don't meet him as scheduled, would he not? 'Tis cause for hope, at least.  And before coming here to shield Master Darcy, I sent riders back to Droghera to seek aid for us--perhaps you remember, if you were not focusing so much on causing panic amongst our enemies' horses to take note of it-- so hopefully help will arrive even sooner than His Grace of Corwyn could possibly get here. Let's hope so, anyway. I like not the thought of having to camp out here for days with naught to eat but the few provisions on our persons."

"Not to mention the lack of ... other conveniences," Columcil said drily. "Though I suppose things could be worse."

Aliset arched a brow at him, glancing down at their other two companions, even now moaning in troubled slumber. She looked back up at Columcil questioningly.  "Worse? How!"

"Well, we could be dead. Or you might be back on your way home to Oswald, which I'd gathered you would like nearly as well."

Aliset sighed. "You do have a point."




Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 13, 2018, 09:13:44 am
((Inspired by a dream I had last night.   ;D ))

Aliset pondered the lack of other conveniences the priest had alluded to.  Oh mercy, what if they were stuck in here for hours, or even days?  There was no certainty of help arriving from the village, after all; what if the gate guards decided enough trouble was enough, and simply shut and locked the gates to prevent further problems from descending upon the town? No, they needed some sort of a back-up plan, just in case the worst should happen and they were stuck in this ward longer than any of them had counted on.

Looking around her, she spotted a twig and began to scratch frantically at the dirt near the periphery of the shimmering dome wall surrounding them.

Father Columcil gave her a questioning look as she attempted to dig a hole. "What is it you are trying to do, my child? Perhaps I can be of assistance?"

She spared him a quick look over her shoulder, but continued digging.  "I've had the thought that we have no idea when rescue will come, or even if it will.  In the meantime, I think it would be best if we have at least the most basic of conveniences at our disposal while we wait to see how things play out."  As he continued to look at her with mild bafflement, she added, the color rising in her cheeks, "I'm digging a latrine."

He blinked owlishly at her. "A latrine?"

The blush deepened. "Aye, Father! We'll surely need one at some point." Scribing a small circle in the dirt before her with one finger, she explained, "I had thought I could raise a screening veil--similar to a ward, but not designed to keep anyone out, simply designed to screen the area from view...."

"Ah."  The priest's face cleared as he began to comprehend her plan.  "Yes, I can see how a latrine might come in handy while we wait. Might I help, though? I have some skill in woodcraft, after all."

She stared at him in horror.  "Oh no, Father! We need your hands!  You're our only Healer, after all, and we don't have so much water or wine to spare to wash the dirt off them once Sir Washburn and Master Darcy are recovered enough for you to Heal them!  And besides," she added almost as an afterthought, "they're consecrated!"

The priest's lips twitched in an effort not to laugh. "So they are, my child, although I assure you my consecrated hands have handled far worse jobs than digging a hole in the ground.  Though you have a point about keeping them as clean as possible until I can Heal our friends.  If I might offer a bit of guidance, though, perhaps I can suggest an easier method for digging that hole that will help the work proceed faster?  And I think it likely we'll only need a shallow pit, so there's no need to go at it like you're trying to get to the other side of the world."

A few minutes later, once Aliset had managed a hole in the ground that was not quite as deep as she'd planned to dig, but proclaimed deep enough for present purposes by Father Columcil, she spent a few minutes to restore her energies before tracing a circle on the ground around the hole, mumbling the words of a spell that caused a shimmering curtain of reflective fog to arise around it, obscuring the center of the circle from view.  Her work complete, she sat back to rest, looking satisfied.

"Let's see how our young friends are faring now," Father Columcil said as he passed a hand over Wash's brow, probing shallowly just enough to test whether the merasha disruption had already passed. "Ah, I think our good knight is past the worst of the effects now.  He still has the devil of a headache, and some lingering nausea, but it feels more like a bad hangover than the effect of a high dose of merasha still remaining in his system." He placed his hand over the knight's injury, but before he could summon up the focus necessary to work his Healing powers, the knight's eyes shot open.  "Garderobe?!" he croaked, looking around himself in a frantic daze, apparently still quite disoriented and confused.

Aliset mutely pointed towards the shimmering fog. "In there," she replied, her eyes widening as, without questioning, Wash simply nodded and practically dove head-first through the shining curtain.  A few seconds later they heard the sounds of heavy retching. 

Aliset winced, glancing over at Father Columcil. "Well, at least he's getting any remaining merasha out of his system. Let's see how Master Darcy is faring."  Crouching in front of the sleeping mariner, she gently shook him awake. "Master Darcy?"

The man in question stirred, then opened his eyes. He stared up at Aliset in shock before mumbling, "Holy crap, I'm dead!"

The priest chuckled. "No, son, although I'll allow you probably feel like you'd rather be right now. Might I have a look at your wounds?"

Darcy reopened his eyes rather tentatively, staring up at Aliset.  "I am dead, and there's my ghost."  Sitting up, he looked puzzled. "No, wait, that can't be right."  Raising his hand to his forehead, he winced.  "I feel awful.  What happened?"

"You were hit by a merasha bolt," Aliset explained. "It's a drug that incapacitates Deryni."  She waited for the shock of realization to dawn on Darcy's questioning features.

"But I'm not Deryni!" he muttered, confused.

"Well, I'm afraid the merasha in your system begs to differ."

He stared back up at her again. "You're Lady Aliset?"

She nodded.  "Yes. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. I forgot I was wearing your form. We've been...a bit busy."

He wasn't looking past her, though, but beyond her now.  "Why is there a ghost me sitting on Sir Washburn's head?"

She turned then, noticing Darcy's reflection in the screening mists around the latrine, and giggled. It did rather look as though Darcy sat cross-legged atop the knight, whose body emerged on their side of the foggy partition.  At that moment, the rest of Wash emerged, clearing up some, if not all, of the mystery. 

"Oh God, I want to die," he muttered.

"Not today, son," Father Columcil assured him.  Though perhaps sooner rather than later, if you two don't allow me to tend to your injuries!

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 13, 2018, 11:48:12 am
Lord Jaxom Trillick slowed his small party to a walk as they approached Droghera.  Nothing seemed amiss.  The gate stood open to allow travelers and townspeople to go about their business.  He noted that a large party had left the town earlier.  The ground showed telltale hoofprints from horses and cattle and ruts left by what must have been heavily loaded wagons.  They would not be travelling fast.

Droppings left behind by some of the animals reminded him of his task to have someone see to the corpse they had left behind.  He would do his duty. 

“Take a short time to see to your needs and that of the horses.  We will not stay long,” Lord Jaxom said to the senior man-at-arms.  “I’ll find the Captain of the Watch and inform him of what we found.”  Lord Jaxom dismounted and handed his reins to one of the bowman.   His squire did likewise.

The gatekeeper provided directions to the guardhouse where the Captain could be found.  It was not far.

Lord Jaxom found the door to the guardhouse open and a man he presumed to be the Captain seated behind a table.  He was studying a parchment and looked up when the lord from Trillshire rapped on the door.

Lord Jaxom described the grisly scene they had found and requested someone be dispatched to bring back the body.

“You did not bring it back yourself, my Lord?” the Captain asked with a hint of disapproval in his voice.

“The cart was in no shape to use,” Jaxom replied.  “In truth, without a cart, there was no, um, easy way to bring the man here.” 

The Captain snorted.  Whether the man before him meant easy or pleasant, he was not sure.  “This is normally a quiet town.  First it was the Lendour knight and his party that got our gatekeeper killed,” the Captain paused to cross himself, “and now the gong farmer is dead.”

“The Lendour knight was here?” Jaxom all but pounced on the words.

“Aye, he still is as far as I know.  He and the lady are staying up at the Nunnery.”

Lord Jaxom’s father had not mentioned that Sir Washburn travelled with a lady, but nevertheless, he would speak to Sir Washburn to find out what had happened.

Roll 2 dice to see if the men Aliset sent for help arrive before Jaxom goes to the Nunnery.

Jerusha   !roll 2d6
12:20   derynibot   2, 6 == 8
12:21   Jerusha   Oh, hallelujah!

Both men turned at a sudden commotion that seemed to be coming from the direction of the town gate. 

“Now what?” the Captain muttered as he rose to investigate.  Lord Jaxom and his squire followed the Captain, equally interested to find out what was happening.  They were met partway by a guardsman running toward them.

“Three of the farm guild masters have returned.  There’s been trouble.  Someone attacked Lord Morgan and another of his party.  There may be injuries.”  The guardsman, clearly excited by his news, followed them back to the gate.

Lord Jaxom grew impatient while the Captain calmly questioned the riders that had arrived.  Finally, he named off four men and gave them instructions to arm and mount-up.  The guild masters would accompany them to return to their group as soon as they were able.

Lord Jaxom saw that his men had reassembled at the sound of the disturbance and stood ready to leave.  He signalled for his horse and quickly mounted, as did his squire.  “Quickly, Captain.  We’d best not waste time.”

The Captain said something low under his breath about glorified young lordlings, but within a few short moments they were through the town gate and galloping down the road.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on February 13, 2018, 01:22:47 pm
Columcil felt a surge of warmth towards his companions. Inspite of everything he really was not sorry that he had become caught up in their troubles, though he devoutly prayed that they would be able to leave this benighted neighbourhood before long. Everything that they touched seemed to go amiss. God grant that he would not fail in healing his two brave companions, for his practised healer's eye told him that unless he were able to stop the bleeding once the weapons were removed neither would be long for this world. and if the weapons were not removed then they would most likely sicken and die anyway. Who knew what other contaminant might have entered their bodies along with the merasha?

He wished that he had been able to contact Sister Margaret but the medallion that she had given him had proved ineffectual ((2 dice rolls both snake eyes xt5qtxs7 & 2rs0v8fmss)), he was strongly tempted to douse it in his precious stock of holy water and see if that helped. Then he rebuked himself - what sort of priest was he to wish to bring another, and a Sister at that, into such deadly peril. He must simply get on with it himself and pray that God would not hold his sins against him.

He looked at the stricken Darcy, humbled at the man's courage. He wasn't at all sure how he would have reacted to seeing himself walking around, and then to see what he took to be his ghost as well. He spoke gently "Can you lie still for a little longer, my son, while I heal Washburn here. After all he has been through it's a miracle that he is still able to stand, let alone walk."

As he spoke Washburn gave the lie to his words and crumpled sideways - Aliset ran to grap hold of him, glad that she was, if only temporarily, possessed of the seaman's muscles which enable her to bear his weight and lower him gently to the ground. Columcil knelt at his side, then took his cassock out of his pack along with his prayer book. He brought the prayer book to his lips and kissed it reverently, praying once again that the healing power of his father and grandfather would flow true through his veins, and at that moment not caring if any saw and questioned. Then he turned to Aliset, "Once I am in healing trance can you pull the bolt out cleanly. You will need to cut room with your dagger, I will damp the pain as best I can, but God willing he will not regain consciousness until we are done. Wrap your hand in this robe first though, I wouldn't want to find out that there is still some trace of merasha on the blade." He smiled wanly, "I hope that we will all survive to be lectured by another laundress on our careless handling of our clothes."

Aliset nodded, not trusting herself to speak, though her lips moved in silent prayer as Columcil sank into a healing trance, then glanced at her. She was grateful that her father and brother had never prevented her from hunting with them and she silently asked for their guidance as she withdrew her knife from its sheaf and thrust it into the wound, turning the blade so that she could pull the bolt out cleanly. Fresh blood welled up almost immediately but Columcil's hands were there, plunging into the wound and bringing blessed healing. ((dice roll using hero point - we need Washburn to survive - 4+2+5 =11 603xfr9c5h))

Columcil sat back on his heels, closing his eyes in relief. But the task was not yet done. He scrubbed his hands on the rough wool of his cassock, signalling Aliset to throw the crossbow bolt on the ground and clean her hands likewise. Darcy would be more difficult; he was conscious for one thing, and there were two bolts. Besides he had already had enough shocks that day to fell the staunchest of men.

Again he knelt gently at the injured man's side. Darcy was white but bravely met his eyes. "This will be much easier if you will allow me to put you to sleep." Darcy nodded "Anything rather than see me poke around in my own wounds like that. I'll allow that her ladyship is a sight gentler than I am, but yes, Father, go ahead. Maybe I'll wake up in my bunk back at sea, wondering what I ate to give me such a dream." Columcil traced the sign of the cross on the other's forehead then gently laid his hand across the taut skin. Darcy gave a sigh and closed his eyes. Columcil glanced again at Aliset and twice more they worked together to remove the crossbow bolts and heal. ((another hero point we need Darcy too. 3+4+5=12 165ktmc234))

Once again Columcil scrubbed his hands, then with a sudden move he stood up and began to wander around as though looking for something.

"What's wrong, Father? Have you lost something?" began Aliset. She had expected that he would remain on his knees to give thanks, maybe even offer to celebrate Mass, though maybe he would wait until the others regained consciousness. "Water, lass, we need water," he replied distractedly, "and maybe I can just find us some." He stooped suddenly and picked up a twig which forked some half way down it's length. "I've not been Deryni trained like you and yon young lord, but there's many a border farmer who has saved his beasts from dying of thirst by being able to dowse."

((modified to roll to determine how many hit points were healed. Washburn 2, Darcy 3 362rm0qwk))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 14, 2018, 11:18:03 am
King Kelson of Gwynedd looked across his desk at the Archbishop of Rhemuth.  After the hastily convened council meeting had concluded, they had retired to Kelson’s study for a private conversation.

“I don’t like this,” he said. 

Archbishop Duncan nodded his head in agreement.  “This could get nasty very quickly,” he said.

“Or it could smoulder and explode when we least expect it and are unprepared.”  The king looked thoughtful.  “I need more eyes and ears in Meara.”  He motioned to the young page standing unobtrusively by the door.  The boy came forward and bowed.  “Bring Baron Iain to me.”

A quarter of an hour later, there was a knock on the study door.  At Kelson’s crisp command to enter, the door was opened and a man entered, along with the page.  The page resumed his post at the door.  The man came forward and bowed.  The light from the candles reflected brightly off his pale, silvery blond hair.

“My apologies for keeping you waiting, Sire,” the man said as he straightened.  “I was preparing to leave for Isles and was not in my quarters.”

Kelson gazed for a moment at the man standing before him.  Baron Iain Cameron had been his spy in Meara for nearly eight years.  How a man with such distinctive looks could be a successful spy, Kelson had never understood.  Nor had he ever asked.  He motioned the man to sit in the chair across from his desk.

“I’m afraid I must ask you to change your plans, Baron Iain.”

Baron Iain had worked for the king long enough to know that Kelson was being polite and there would be no question about the ask.  “Back to Meara?” he asked calmly.  Only Meara would prompt the king to go back on their agreement for a leave of absence, so Iain could take up his duties in Isles after learning of the death of the Dowager Baroness, his mother. 

“I have received disturbing news, more disturbing than your last report.  Archbishop Duncan, perhaps it would be best if you tell Baron Iain the message you have brought to me.”

Archbishop Duncan relayed all the information he had brought to the king.  Iain looked thoughtful, turning various pieces of it over in his mind and matching them to others.  The king was right; he needed to return to Meara. 

“What do you want me to focus on, Sire?  Lord Morgan’s safe return? The potential uprisings among the landholders?” he asked.

“Duke Kelric of Corwyn is moving north as we speak with a force of men to assist with his brother’s return.  I want you to concentrate on finding who is behind all this, and if you can stop him, do so.  I suspect that whoever is behind the disturbance in Meara has determined Sir Washburn is the more valuable prize.  If Kelric fails, though I doubt that will happen, I want you there as another option.  Send any information you gather directly to me as often as you can.   The more we know, the better.”

“As you wish, Sire.”  Iain permitted himself a slight smile.  “I left provisions and stabled a good horse near a Portal. I will leave at once.”

“There is one more thing you should know,” Kelson said carefully.  He caught a questioning look from Duncan, but he proceeded.  “There are several traveling with Sir Washburn besides the Lady Aliset.  She contracted a man-at-arms as her original escort, and he continues with them to Rhemuth.  His name is Darcy Cameron.”

It was not often that someone took Baron Iain by surprise.  Despite his respect for the man, Kelson savored the moment.

“The Darcy Cameron who would be my brother died almost eight, no ten, years ago of a fever,” Iain responded carefully.

“As reported by your stepfather six months after the boy’s death.  You never saw the body.   The same man now holds Isles in a grip you intend to break.”

“If you are intending this as additional motivation, Sire, it is not needed,” Iain finally said.

King Kelson nodded.  “I know that well,” he said.  “But if whoever is behind this succeeds in securing Sir Washburn, the man who may be your brother could be collateral damage.”

“If the man is my brother and is still as I remember him, whoever is behind this may find his task more difficult than he expected.” Iain smiled.  “My brother was a lot like me.”

“I hope he is a lot like you,” Kelson replied and gave the baron permission to depart.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 14, 2018, 02:32:30 pm
Baroness Ailidh awoke abruptly, but did not open her eyes. She had no need to do so to sense the man in her bedchamber.

She heard his quiet footfalls approach her bed. They were approaching from entirely the wrong direction.  He should have been coming from the door to her chamber, although to have done so, he would have had to pass through the antechamber where her maidservants slept, not to mention the man-at-arms on duty outside that antechamber, to reach the inner sanctum of her private bower, the room where she slept alone when Jass was not in residence to share the bed with her.  But no. Instead, he crept his stealthy way from the corner of her room where the secret passage behind the paneled wall opened up.  Few people knew of the passage which Jass had only recently installed in Trurill in order to allow a quick escape from this wing of the castle in case of an emergency. The new paneled facade had been installed a mere arm's length in front of the original paneled wall, creating a narrow corridor between the two.  From inside the room, it was difficult to tell the chamber was any smaller than its original dimensions.  And there had been only a small number of workers involved in the creation of the secret passage--fewer than could be counted on one hand.  Of those, two had been human, and their memories had been blurred after the construction was completed. In theory, they should only have remembered replacing the aged paneling in the great hall, not the narrow passage that descended from her bedchamber to exit near the Portal in the undercrypt. The third, whose memories had not been altered, was Sir Cillian O Ruane, whom she and Jass had no reason not to trust completely, having owed their very lives to him on several previous occasions, not to mention to his father and grandfather before him.

That left the fourth man, a man-at-arms named Simon, who was born and raised in Trurill, and at least up to this point had seemed to be equally loyal to his Baron and Baroness, if not quite as fiercely so as Sir Cillian...or at least Simon never given Jass and Ailidh any reason to believe otherwise. Simon had not been involved in the actual installation of the paneling concealing the new passage, but Jass had trusted him with guarding the areas where the new construction was being installed, and neither of them had thought to alter his memories of the event after the fact. Simon was Deryni, for one thing, and although he was not a particularly well trained one, it would have been much more difficult to alter his memories without his knowledge, and asking for his consent to do so when he had never given them any reason for distrust might have given inadvertent insult.

This, however, was not Simon in any case.  Ailidh was familiar with what Simon's presence felt like.  This man stealing towards her now in the pre-dawn darkness did not feel at all familiar to her.  However, she was certain that he was Deryni. He could not have entered or emerged from the secret passage unassisted if he was not.

He was almost preternaturally quiet, so much so that had she not had her Deryni gift to enhance already keen senses, she might not have heard the soft footfalls stop just at the edge of her bed, nor the nearly silent swoosh of fabric as the bedcurtain was pulled to one side.  He had the advantage of her, or so he might have, were it not for one thing.  Thus far, he had not yet sensed that she was already awake.  And that gave her the advantage of surprise.

((14:01   Ailidh   !roll 2d6
14:01   derynibot   5, 3 == 8 ))

She sensed more than felt the moment when he picked up the pillow beside her--Jass's empty pillow--moving it towards her face, presumably to smother her with it. Instead, she exploded from her feigned slumber like a fox leaping out of the underbrush ahead of a pack of hounds, one hand catching a descending wrist as her other, holding the sgian dhu she kept under her pillow at all times--for this was, after all, volatile Meara!--slashed a deep line across her attacker's throat.

He crumpled in a pool of his own blood, a warm crimson fountain staining Ailidh's nightrail as she watch him fall upon her bedcovers, then slide to the floor below. Leaping out of bed, she traced a glyph in the air to close the secret passage before cradling his head in her blood-slicked hands to Death-Read who he was and who had sent him.

((14:17   Ailidh   !roll 2d6
14:17   derynibot   5, 4 == 9))

What she discovered made her blood run cold.  It would seem more than Trurill and its allegiant manors were in grave peril. Jass must be told, and not him alone. Duke Dhugal must be informed as well, and through him, the King.

There was no help for it, she must leave at once, or at least as soon as she changed her clothing and informed Sir Cillian of what had transpired so he could report it to Jass upon his arrival if she had not returned by then.  But in the meantime, someone needed to clean up this bloody mess....

Throwing open the door to the antechamber, startling her sleeping maidservants to instant wakefulness in the process, she yelled, "GUARD!"
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 14, 2018, 03:23:13 pm
((Wow, Evie, good for Ailidh))

Archbishop Duncan had many pressing issues upon his mind as he returned to his study within the Cathedral after leaving the king's side. One item in particular nagged at him. Ignoring all the ceremony of returning and the many secretaries that had invaded his office to continue the days work. Duncan sat at his desk, pulling parchment and quill before him, to write a private letter.

Unto His Grace Stephen, Bishop of Cassan,

I am recently informed of small instances of unrest from the See of Meara. I would like to ask you to be aware of any transgressions that occur within our province of Cassan that may help us determine the intensity of this unrest. I request for you to report back to me that which you consider important on the matter. I value the safety of my Cassan and Mearan people. I do not wish to see a reprise of Mearan’s history in replay.

On a more personal note. It has come to my attention that a man of the church has enjoined with the son of my cousin in his travels to Rhemuth. The name I was given of this good priest is one Father Columcil. I do recall many years back ordaining a man of this name. I wish to inquire if this can be the same priest who presides in a country parish of Cassan dedicated to Saint Melangell. Can you give me some assurance of this priest’s good character. Perhaps you can determine for me what it was in the first place that has set the good Father with his feet upon the road to travel to Rhemuth. Be assured that I am grateful for the services in which I have so far heard that he has given to the members of the group that he travels with. I am told his deeds have been invaluable for their continued Health and Spiritual well being. I wish to learn the full details of how this all came to happen.


Signed with the flourish of the archbishops signature and the seal of his office.

Duncan reviewed the letter, folded it and sealed the outside and addressed it to Bishop Stephen of Cassan.

With a nod to his secretary, Father John, he handed across the letter. “Can you see that this reaches its intended? Today?

“Aye, your Grace, I will,” john said with a bow and departed for the nearest Portal.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 15, 2018, 12:17:28 am
Dhugal listened to his vassal's lady in silence, wishing he'd grabbed a linen shirt to wear under the itchy woolens he'd hastily garbed up in. He'd hardly had time to dress at all, given the unexpected arrival in the pre-dawn darkness, much less awaken his lady wife, now yawning sleepily at his side as they received Baroness Ailidh in their withdrawing room. He would have allowed Mirjana her rest, but it would have hardly been circumspect of him to have received a lady into the ducal presence at this hour of the morning without his duchess present, even if said lady was practically family.  Well, practically foster family, at any rate.

Ailidh had just come through the Ballymar Portal--practically tumbled through, to hear Sir Seamidh report it--looking as though she'd taken no more time in dressing than he had.  It was not the misaligned lacing of her bodice that bothered him nearly as much as the telltale smear of blood that still stained her collar bones and the tiny splatters that dotted one side of her jawbone where she'd managed to miss it in her hasty ablutions before returning to Cassan with her news.  The sight stirred Dhugal's protective ire. Ailidh's attacker would have met with swift and sure justice at the Duke's hand, had Ailidh not already meted out even swifter judgment herself.  Not for the first time, Dhugal had to wonder how Jass's bonnie lass could be so terrifying.

"So the man was planning on smothering you with a pillow, yet you say he didn't actually plan to kill you?" he asked, the point needing clarification. Or perhaps a decided lack of sleep was simply making him slow to catch on.

"Aye, his intent was clear enow, once I Death-Read 'im," Ailidh said, the stress of the past hour causing her to partially revert to the Transha dialect of her childhood rather than the more polished Court speech she'd learned as a young maiden fostered out for an education more befitting to a young woman whose mother had had the good fortune to remarry into the lesser nobility. "He meant tae put me out long enow f'r me shields tae drop."

"For what purpose, if not to kill you? To control you?"

"Aye."  Ailidh took a fortifying swig of Old MacRorie, having previously politely declined the darja tea Mirjana had originally offered her in favor of the stronger libation. The color began to return to her cheeks, and along with it, her composure and a bit more of her Court polish.  "Th' bluidy bastard wanted to set controls in my mind to betray Your Grace."  Dhugal hid an inward smile despite the grim recital she was sharing.  Ailidh's Court polish, such as it was, was a quite relative thing.

"Thank God it didn't come to that, then.  The last place I ever want to find myself is on the other side of a battle with Ailidh MacArdry."  He kept his voice light, knowing that despite the brave front his loyal friend wore, she was deeply shaken by the experience she'd just been through. He needed the levity to keep his own head clear also, to hold at bay the blind rage he could feel simmering just under the surface of his thoughts, that anyone might dare mistreat one of his own in such a way, but he needed his thoughts clear just now.

Taking a deep breath, now that the shock of Ailidh's news had blown away the last lingering cobwebs of sleep, he reached out a hand palm-up to her.  "Show me," he asked as he began to center himself in preparation.

Their rapport had the natural ease that came with decades of familiarity between them, and the images flowed from her mind to his like a rushing river, one image tumbling after the next in the space of a few seconds. And then she was done, her mental touch retracted, retreating once more behind shields even more ordered than before, now that the pent-up tensions had been released in that same flow, to be replaced by weary relief. Dhugal assimilated the memories, assorting them into an orderly pattern.  "So. It seems that you were to leave Trurill vulnerable to the separatists, so they could take over the keep and set up defenses before Jass's return later this morning.  That would have been a nasty shock."  Dhugal mentally reviewed the faces of the conspirators involved in the Trurill plot, and the associates the dead man had known, who took their orders from the same person.  That person looked oddly familiar, but at the moment Dhugal couldn't quite place him.  He turned to his Duchess, sharing most of Ailidh's information with her also, aside from editing out the worst of the gore.  Lingering on that last image, he Sent a silent question into her mind.

Mirjana paled.  "I have never seen that man before, but I can guess who he must be, for he bears a strong likeness to another man I can never forget, try as much as I'd like. But I never thought to see a son of Teymuraz of the House of Furstan extending his reach so deeply into the heart of Meara and even here in our more distant Cassan."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on February 15, 2018, 06:39:14 am
Aliset looked strangely at Columcil wondering whether the stress of the healings had all been too much for him.
"Your pardon, Father, but we have water. Leastways I've a couple of full waterskins strapped to Papillon's saddle and Washburn would not have survived with a whole skin as a squire if he had forgotten something so basic."

She got up and unstrapped the water skin and handed it to Columcil with a smile. He smiled sheepishly and took it with thanks.

"Aye, you can laugh at me for being daft, I'll no' mind. Mind if we canna leave here soon then we'll need to find more water for the horses, unless you clever folk have a way of getting them to drink from a water skin. We'll need water for when the other two wake up, I'd best see what else is in these saddle bags".

He went to the horses in turn and untied their packs. Rummaging around in them he was pleased to find that along with enough water for at least a day or two there were basic travel rations. They all needed something to replenish their strength, though he heaved a reminiscent sigh for the glories of the tavern's venison pies. As he approached Darcy's horse, Sigrun, the beast turned to nuzzle him happily, trying to eat his jerkin. He spent a few moments enjoying stroking one of less complicated of God's creations, a welcome change from the evil of humanity that he was getting all too well acquainted with. He unstrapped the water skin and opened it to make sure that the water was fresh. A strange smell assailed his nostrils and he took a sip. Hastily resealing the skin he began to laugh and as the strain of the last few days took him he found himself clutching Sigrun's side for support. He must get a grip on himself or Lady Aliset really would think he had gone daft.

At her quizzical look he managed to gain enough control to hand the skin over and get out a few words.

"Trust our Darcy. You best not drink this - he might forgive you for borrowing his shape, but drink his ale, never!".



Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 15, 2018, 09:34:21 am
Aliset giggled.  "Speaking of borrowed shapes...."  She closed her eyes briefly, murmuring the words of a spell while tracing the oval of her face with one finger, transforming her likeness back to Lord Alister.  With a smile at Darcy, she added, "I suppose you'd rather not have to deal with watching yourself for the rest of our journey, and wondering if you've still got some lingering double-vision!  And the disguise is pointless now; no one looking out for us is going to be fooled into thinking you have an identical twin who just happened to join you along the way to Rhemuth! For that matter, I suppose I could just drop the disguises altogether."

"Nay, my lady; you still have your reputation to maintain," Father Columcil reminded her gently.  "'Tis best to preserve appearances as best we can, given our extraordinary circumstances, though I think few would fault you for doing as you must to secure protection and flee to the King's safety." Gesturing towards Aliset's changed features, he added, "This likeness should serve."

"Aye." Aliset turned towards Darcy with a considering look.  "Master Darcy, I know you've seen far too much magic for your comfort of late, and perhaps this is not the best time nor the place, although in truth we can hardly count on safer shelter between here and Rhemuth than where we find ourselves now.  The truth is, whether you were aware of it or not before now, and even though you seem wholly untrained in your powers, you are Deryni.  But please don't let that frighten you!  Being Deryni is neither good nor bad in and of itself.  Even the Church has mostly come to accept that now, albeit some people of Gwynedd have been slower to come around, especially in the more distant corners of the Kingdom."  She picked up a twig, twisting it between her fingers before momentarily igniting one end of it briefly with a pass of her hand over the tip, holding the flame aloft for a few seconds before dousing it with another wave of her fingers.  "Think of the powers within you as being similar to fire.  When used properly and responsibly, it is of great benefit to mankind. We can cook with it, warm ourselves with its heat, see clearly in its glow.  But the same energy can be turned to evil purposes as well, in the hands of someone with darkness in their heart.  One might set fire to a house, or destroy a farmer's crops, or burn a Deryni at the stake with it." She met Darcy's gaze with a wry smile.  "The good or evil is in the man, not in the gift of power.  But with power comes the responsibility to learn to wield it well, and ever in service of the Light."

Offering her hand to him, she continued, "Master Darcy, if you would trust me to help you as I might upon our journey, I wish to do something that should hopefully enable you to come into your budding powers more safely, and if there is aught that I can teach you along the way, I shall gladly do so.  What I have in mind for now is something we call a training control.  You are not a child, and I trust your good judgment not to attempt to use your newfound powers wantonly, so I don't wish to set the sort of controls in your mind that we would use on a young child, to prevent the use of powers until a certain level of maturity has been reached. Instead, what I propose is a lighter control that would simply prevent you from accidentally doing something that might endanger yourself or others in your company.  You would still be able to learn and grow in your magic use, should you choose to do so--and I hope you do so choose--but in the meantime I feel it would be best if we minimize your chances of inadvertently doing severe harm with an attempt gone wrong, or even with some stray burst of energies inadvertently released during a moment of intense fear or panic, which has been known to happen in the past with Deryni just coming into the use of their powers.  Would you agree it would be best to minimize such risks, Master Darcy?"

Darcy looked wary, understandably reluctant to let anyone set any sort of controls in his mind. His gaze back at her reflected a momentary inner battle, but at last he sighed. "I've trusted all of you this far. I suppose it couldn't hurt to allow that. I wouldn't want to accidentally endanger you in any way, after all."  He favored her with a lopsided grin. "Would you mind leaving me enough control to wreak havoc on our enemies, though--inadvertent or not?"

Aliset laughed. "My good man, you may wreak all the havoc that you like amongst our enemies!"  She sobered. "Just try not to kill others, even our foes, unless you absolutely must.  We've worked so hard in the past few decades to show the human majority of mankind that Deryni in and of ourselves are not the enemy, and need not be the cause of mindless fears. But it is difficult not to fear what you do not understand, as you well know, Master Darcy, and so we must not feed such fears with our actions if there is aught we can do to prevent it."



Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 15, 2018, 12:40:10 pm
The younger Lord Morgan awoke from a nightmare that he swore should have been far worse than death if it had actually come to pass. The relief of hearing voices familiar and calming was unlike any he had ever experienced. For a moment, his hand pulled the Camber medallion from his tunic. Even without opening his eyes, he whispered words of forgiveness for his lapses and appreciation of the Saint’s way for allowing him such good fortune and such good people to have at his side.  When he opened his eyes, he saw the other’s watching him and he blushed. Self-consciously, he placed the saint’s medal back under his tunic.

He closed his eyes tight again, for a moment, assessing his condition. He was surprisingly pleased to feel a semblance of repairing shields that he could bring back into play. They were not anywhere near as strong as his normal state, but any strength to them at all at the moment was a blessing. He most certainly did not like this state of vulnerability that Maresha induced.

“If I never experience that drug again, it will be too soon,” he said aloud as he sat up pulling his knees to his chest and resting one hand under his chin there. The other hand rubbed his forehead. The headache was still there, but only a minor irritation. From experience, he knew that could last a day, possibly even two. Only time would fully return all his Deryni facilities to his control. Yet, he had better control now than he thought possible. 

“Aliset?” he was unsure if the man who had Alister’s face was really the lady, but it had to be, no one else would have taken that form. “What ever tanist drug you gave me, seems to do its job well. You were wise to have procured it.” Just seeing the three friendly faces watching him made him smile. “Bless you, Father, you are a miracle worker. I cannot even begin to express my thanks.” His eyes followed the priests to the pile of three crossbow darts lying together at the edge of the barrier. He shivered! Three? Damn!

He turned his head back swiftly to look at Master Darcy who must have taken two darts from the enemy ((the second non-maresha bolt must hadve been used to get Darcy out from the tree, that one had failed its purpose, however.)) The seaman sat cross-legged looking pale for his ordeal but as Healed as Washburn was. “I am sorry for what I have caused you to endure. Merasha is nasty even for humans…” Washburn set a reassuring hand on the mariner's wrist. He encountered the man's reforming shields and something more behind them finding its own recovery from the drugs effect, much the same as his own. Wash gasped for a moment. Human’s didn’t react that way to the Merasha, and the evidence opened the knight’s eyes wide. “You have Deryni abilities in your blood, did you know that?” He looked at the others, for each of them was nodding, having already discovered Darcy’s hidden traits.

“A true protector indeed!” he exclaimed with a nod,  accepting the man as Aliset’s guardian. “All of you…” he couldn’t finish the words. His relief was so profound.

“Now, if only we had some of that ale?” he managed to inquire instead. “My throat is parched.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 15, 2018, 01:12:32 pm
Aliset slanted a teasing grin at the knight. "Trust a man to awaken from being half dead when he hears someone mentioning ale!" Sobering and looking somewhat in awe, she added, "And speaking of Deryni powers and training, I'm quite impressed by yours, Sir Washburn! Two merasha darts would have felled most Deryni instantly, not merely caused them to stumble around a bit as they sprinted through dense forest.  Whatever your secret is for combating merasha's effects, I would dearly love to learn it!" She grinned once more. "Even if your coping skills weren't quite up to the task of preventing you from adding your own special touches to my lovely new latrine!"
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 15, 2018, 02:10:34 pm
Darcy Cameron reclaimed his water skin and the wrapped piece of berry pie he had somehow neglected to give to Lady Aliset.  “This is not water,” he warned his companions as he passed the skin around.  They took grateful, though small, drinks from the skin while Darcy withdrew his eating knife from his belt and cut the pie into four small pieces.  Never had so small a celebratory feast tasted so good!

But they were not out of the woods yet, both literally and figuratively.  They all seemed to realize it at the same time.  Father Columcil stoppered the “water” skin and returned it to Darcy.

Darcy cleared his throat reluctantly and looked at Aliset, now in her guise as Alister.  “Not knowing how much longer we can stay,” he began after a moment, “perhaps you should do whatever you need to do about those training shields now.” Darcy wondered if he sounded as nervous as he felt.

“If you are ready,” Aliset said. “Perhaps we should sit.”  Aliset moved toward the centre of the dome, sat, and patted ground across from her.   Darcy sat down on the designated spot, cross-legged as usual.  He noticed that “Alister” had assumed a more lady-like position.  If he survived this, he would mention it to her.

Aliset held out her hand, palm upwards. Darcy placed his calloused hand on top.  Father Columcil and Washburn moved to one side to watch.

“Roll back your shields,” Aliset said. They were still so fragile that she could have forced her way through them easily, but that would have severely impacted Darcy’s trust!  After a moment she felt his shields roll back, much smoother than they had previously.  “That’s much better, Master Darcy.  You are getting the hang of it.”

Darcy managed a small smile, wondering what would happen next.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 15, 2018, 02:41:02 pm
Aliset allowed her psychic touch to linger lightly just on the surface of Darcy's unshielded mind, giving him time to grow accustomed to the sensation.  "Do you feel this?" she asked him.

Darcy started to nod, but stopped, unsure whether moving his head might hinder whatever she was attempting to do. "Yes," he replied. "It's like...a soft brush of...maybe a butterfly's wing inside my head."

She smiled. "Good. There shouldn't be any pain, or even much pressure, but I'm glad you are able to detect something.  Now what I want you to do is try to follow that touch as I go deeper, and see if you can sense what it is that I am doing as I go. And it's fine to move your head; that won't affect anything one way or another."

"Um...all right." He felt a bit awkward, not knowing what to expect, but he trusted that Aliset knew what she was doing.

"Imagine a small child learning how to write his letters for the first time. Pretend I am tracing them in the sand, like so...."  She traced a shape along the surface of his mind.  "And now imagine that child following along with that motion, his small finger atop the one teaching him his letters. Only instead of using our fingers, we will be using our minds. Just try to relax and follow what I'm doing with your mind."

"All right." Darcy wasn't certain what Aliset meant, but he'd do his best to work it out as they went.

Sensing his readiness, Aliset began to probe deeper.  As she did, her eyes met his.  "I am just going to search for the spot where I need to set this training control.  I promise not to wander out of bounds, or go fishing for any thoughts or memories I have no business knowing. Lesson one on Deryni ethics--never go eavesdropping on others' minds without permission unless the need is great." She smiled. "And by need, I mean if lives are at stake, for instance. I'm not talking about simply wanting to discover some pretty barmaid's name!"

Darcy chuckled. "So noted."

"All right, we should be just about.... Oh, that's interesting!"  Aliset cocked her head to one side, studying him with a considering gaze.

Darcy felt self-conscious. "What's interesting?"

Returning her focus to the area, Aliset murmured, "Apparently someone in your early childhood was aware that you're Deryni, because there's already a training control in place!" Meeting his eyes again, she added, "It's a childhood control--the more restrictive sort I mentioned earlier. I will need to remove that block and replace it with one that is more appropriate to your age and current learning needs.  May I?"

Darcy nodded.  "Um, yes. Whatever you think best."  Her statement puzzled him, calling up vague, unformed memories just beyond his ability to grasp.

He felt a small psychic twist at that moment, followed by a sensation of something released, and with that sensation, a sudden clarity.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 15, 2018, 06:07:50 pm
Darcy Cameron sat very still.  The memories Lady Aliset had somehow released did not flood his consciousness.  Instead, they seemed to filter into appropriate corners of his mind.  Corners he could study in depth later. 

But on the surface, he remembered things that were long absent.  He had never questioned that his life before he was sold to sea was vague; it just was.  Now at last he remembered his parents; his father stern but readily forgiving, his mother an endless comfort.  He remembered the older brother he had practically worshipped. With an inward smile he remembered the pony he had inherited when his brother had moved on to a horse.  How many times had he been bucked off when he was riding it unsupervised when he was supposed to be in bed?  She had been named Sigrun; no wonder the name had come to mind when he purchased the horse grazing contently now within the dome.

Not all of the memories were happy ones.  The sadness he felt when his brother left for training at the court of Rhemuth.  Now Darcy remembered the small ring his brother had given him before he left.  The ring, far too small now to fit on his hand, which he wore on the chain around his neck.  He remembered his father’s death under circumstances so suspicious even the five year old Darcy had noticed.  He remembered the grief.

But it was good to know these things now.  He would study them more when his attention did not need to be focused on what needed to be dealt with today.

“Lady Aliset,” he said quietly.  “I am forever in your debt.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 15, 2018, 06:16:36 pm
Phyre surveyed the faintly glowing dome before him.  Sir Washburn Morgan had escaped their trap, and Phyre could feel his payment also slipping though his grasp.  His side hurt from Morgan’s desperate dagger slash; at least his wound was not as serious as the crossbowman’s.  He had had to leave him while he went after their horses.  He finally found the horses munching grass by the side of the road, now perfectly calm.  What had gotten into the beasts to make them so frantic earlier?

Now partly hidden behind a tree, Phyre watched the dome, looking for any sign the four protected inside were ready to make their break for freedom.  Despite being Deryni, Phyre had little knowledge of warding.  He could not see inside the dome, but he did not know if they could see out.  So Phyre kept himself at least partially hidden. 

The crossbowman sat propped against a tree where he could observe the dome from another angle.  Phrye had bandaged the wound in the man’s waist as best he could but had not spent a lot of time over it.  At least he had managed to stop the bleeding.  He needed the man to call out if there was any activity on the far side.  Phyre had left the man his crossbow.  Whether the man still had the strength to use it was another matter.

They continued to wait.  Eventually, when food or water ran out, or when they could no longer stand the confines of the dome, the four inside would leave.  Perhaps Lord Morgan and the other man had died from their wounds, increasing Phyre’s chances for success.  Either way, Phyre would be ready.

***

Lord Jaxom Trillick was impatient with the slower pace.  Although they left Droghera at a gallop, it soon become apparent that the farm horses could not keep up the pace.  While they could work in a field for hours, they were not bred to run for distance.  The group needed the farm guild masters to show them where the attack had occurred, so they must all stay together.  At least they were proceeding at a fast trot.

They rode two abreast.  One of the guild masters rode at the head of their small column with the Watch Captain.  Jaxom and one of his men-at-arms rode next, followed by his squire, the remaining guild masters and his other man-at-arms. His bowmen brought up the rear, placing them far enough back to have a little extra time to draw and fire.

They travelled several miles before the guild master in the lead pointed ahead and the Captain signalled them to slow their pace.  Jaxom looked ahead and saw a dimly shining dome in front of a large oak tree. 

Cautiously, the Captain led them forward.

***
Phyer signalled the crossbowman to keep still.  He could hear horses approaching; hopefully they would continue down the road.

They did not.  They turned into the woods to approach the dome.  Phyre recognized the Captain of the Watch and at least one of the farm guild masters.  Phyre had given him a hard time about one of the wagons he was bringing into Droghera; perhaps that had not been wise.  He counted the number of riders and the number that were armed.  If the crossbowman did not move and remained undetected long enough, Phyre could withdraw and make his own escape.

Roll 2d6 to see if Phyer escapes undetected
Jerusha   !roll 2d6
11:47   derynibot   1, 2 == 3

Phrye carefully began to inch backward, watching the riders.  He did not see what lay in the leaves as he set his hand on the ground.  The need for silence was forgotten at the sudden pain the snake’s fangs caused as they bit deeply into the back of his hand.  With a yelp, he sprang to his feet, shaking his hand to dislodge the creature.  It continued to hang on.

“Phyre!” the Captain called out.  “What in blazes are you doing here?”

Phyre thought desperately while trying to dislodge the snake.  Finally, it broke free, taking skin from his hand with it. 

“I was investigating the ward, I mean dome,” Phyre began.  “I thought it suspicious.”

“Investigating it from your arse?” The Captain motioned the rest of the column forward.

“Where is your horse?” Lord Jaxom asked. 

“I left him back there.”  Phyre waved vaguely toward the trees behind him.  “I’ll just go get him now.”

“Don’t let him go!  He’s lying!”

They all turned to look at the young man who was standing in a doorway that had opened in the dome.

“He tried to kill Sir Washburn and Master Darcy!” 

Several things seemed to happen at once.  The crossbowman suddenly rose from where was sitting, raised his loaded crossbow and aimed for the young lord standing in the doorway.

(Rolling 2 dice (focused would be three but the man is injured, so rolling at a disadvantage) to see if the man fires the shot successfully.)
Jerusha   !roll 2d6
15:17   derynibot   6, 4 == 10
(Drat)

Lord Jaxom’s squire was already moving, spurring his horse to run down the man with the crossbow.

(Rolling 2 dice to see if the squire charging on his horse can spoil the crossbowman’s shot)

Jerusha   !roll 2d6
15:18   derynibot   5, 6 == 11
(Oh yeah!)

The crossbowman flinched at the sound of the horse charging straight at him. The bolt was shot high and shattered where it hit above the door in the dome.  Someone inside the dome knocked the man in the door to the ground.  Phyre tried to run but was forced to stop by Lord Jaxom’s bowman, whose drawn bow was pointing at his chest.  The squire’s horse knocked the crossbowman down, but the squire managed to maneuver it to avoid trampling the man.  The man did not try to rise.

Father Columcil, watching from inside the dome, fell to his knees and said a heartfelt prayer.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 16, 2018, 05:48:26 am
Washburn truly wasn’t himself, not yet. The events were happening too fast. From inside the Ward, he was pleased to see Lord Jaxom Trillick ride up with the guard captain and a good contingent of men. For sometime, Washburn had thought he had seen a movement behind that near tree. It was none too surprising when Trillick’s men flushed Phyer out. Now, that snake was a surprise, a snake-in-the-grass to rat-out a snake from the village. It all seemed justice in Washburn’s mind.  The knight was rather pleased to see his sheathed short-sword still hanging on the man’s belt. That and the empty matching dagger sheath tied next to it. Washburn’s bare bladed dagger was in his hand. As soon as Trillick had the area secure, Washburn intended to retrieve his belongings. The trouble was there had been three assailants and only one man was accounted for.

His distraction was once again another of his bad lapses. He had seen Alister/Aliset use her fingers to make an opening in the ward, yet he had never imagined she would actually lean her body out beyond its protection. He wanted to tell her to come back into the safety of the ward. Then suddenly, Lord Jaxom’s squire was spurring his horse forward toward the big tree. Why? Washburn turned, that’s when he saw the second assailant with a crossbow. Damn the crossbow was aimed, the man’s finger on the release. He fired...

((02:02 Washburn disadvantage to use Telekinesis
02:09 Washburn !roll 1d6
02:09 derynibot 6 == 6))

Washburn’s instincts took over. With mind, not body, he pulled Lord Alister back from the door. The delicate control for handling a woman was overruled by his need to have Aliset out of danger. His abilities weren’t quite in full balance. His need had his mind pull just a little too hard. In an instant, Lady Aliset went from standing to falling backward. She yelled in astonishment, unable to save herself from the fall.

The crossbolt hit the ward and splintered just above where Alister had been standing. It wouldn't have hit her, but the splinters could have done some damage had they been near her face. Desperate to reversed his pull, Washburn tried to stop the lady’s fall with his abilities.

It seemed he needn’t have tried.

Darcy leaped forward, catching the nobleman around the waist and swinging him up to keep him from falling to the ground. He held Aliset close to his body assuring himself that she would not fall further. In that moment, she turned to look up at him with thanks. His gaze held her thankful eyes. Wash knew it wasn’t Alister that Darcy was seeing just then. Lady Aliset stared back at Darcy... neither seemed to move. Then Aliset was blushing, giggling in fact. “You can put me down now,” she said in a light attentive tone.

Master Darcy remembered himself then. He placed her feet on the ground. He stepped back making a deep bow, feeling a mix of gallantry and abashed impropriety.

Most of that little scene had happened inside the ward. Everyone outside was too occupied capturing the two assailants, to have noticed the small exchange within.

Embarrassed, Washburn walked passed them, “My apologies, my lady,” he said, ducking his head and then walking out of the dome to welcome the son of Lord Adam Trillick.

At the sight of Lord Morgan, Jaxom dismounted. In two steps he was grasping Washburn’s elbow in thankful comradely. “My father worried over your abrupt departure from the manor the other day. He had sent me to escort you to Arx Fidei. I had thought I had missed you, and that you would be well away from here by now!”

Wash nodded. “I knew I had not fooled Lord Adam.  Though I never thought he would send his son after me.” Washburn grasped the man’s shoulder. “Your timing is good enough. I would be ever grateful if you could complete the task given to you by your father. It would please me greatly if you could escort myself and my companions to Arx Fidei. I am to met my brother there.”

“It would be my honor, Sir Washburn,” Jaxom replied. He said nothing, but he did make note of the torn black tunic and the old blood dried on the knight's side.

Meanwhile, Morgan had his eyes on one of the captured men. “Phyer, I presume,” he said in a controlled low tone. Controlled because he wanted to strangle the man. “I will take back what is mine.” The captured guard’s hands were yet free, but with three arrows pointed at his chest, he daren’t try anything. Washburn almost wished he would, any excuse to take the man down. Instead, Phyer put his hands up, letting the knight unbelt the sword and dagger sheath.  Disappointed Washburn stepped back.  “Tell us, what is your real name?” Wash put force into the Truth Saying.

((03:15 Washburn Disadvantage TruthSaying. Washburn gets a 4,5,or 6 for success.
03:15 Washburn !roll 1d6
03:15 derynibot 2 == 2   Oh well, can’t win them all :D .))

But it was not enough, his energies weren’t yet back in balance. Not enough for that kind of interrogation, not against another Deryni with shields. “Never mind, don’t bother answering me. Your captain will surely have more appropriate means of interrogation than I have.” Washburn stepped back coming to level with Droghera’s Captain. “This is the man that ordered Kieran’s death.” He didn’t need to say more. The Captain would see that justice was done.

Washburn walked back to the dome, buckling his weapons to  his belt, back where they belonged. “Now, where did I drop that longbow,” he asked, while searching the ground. “Ah, there it is under the tree.” He reached down to pick up the bow and his quiver which had been resting in the tumbled grass. A silver glint caught his eye. A memory flashed. He reached down and picked up a boatman's whistle. “You need to be returned to you’re rightful owner, with much thanks for his ingenuity to use you.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 16, 2018, 09:22:20 am
Darcy Cameron hoped his deep bow to the lady before him hid the warm flush he felt creeping across his face.  With his fair skin, it was always so bloody obvious.  He stepped back to give Washburn room to pass through the opening in the dome and approach the nobleman outside.  Lady Aliset, in her disguise as Lord Alister, turned away to watch what was happening from a safe spot within the dome.  Darcy stepped to the other side of the open door, near enough to protect her again if need be.  But not too near.

Suddenly, he supressed a laugh.  What if Aliset had still been wearing his form?   He would have been holding himself close and gazing into his own eyes.  Now that would have been disturbing!

Darcy gave the scene before him almost his full attention.  His thoughts wanted to turn back to that brief encounter.  Aliset stirred feelings in his heart he was not accustomed to.  Twice now that had happened.  He was not a fool; he knew that she was beyond his reach.  He also knew that his duty was to stay by her side and protect her.  He would have to cope somehow.  Set those feelings aside.  Allow nothing to taint her reputation.  Nothing!

 On the other hand, he was glad he had had the good sense to avoid the brothels that were always close by to a seaman’s ports of call.  He was no innocent, of course, and liked a pretty face that had a nice body to go with it, but he had been careful with the occasional partner he chose.  He had seen too often what happened to men who were not!

What did he have to offer her besides his protection?  He would give his life if she needed it, but that was all he really had.   That might change, though, if he could find his brother once they reached Rhemuth.  He also realized it might not; he had been away a long time.

His thoughts were brought back to the moment when Washburn approached him holding something in his hand.

“I believe this is yours,” Washburn said, extending the tin whistle towards him.

“You found it!”  Darcy was genuinely pleased.  “Be assured I’ll be keeping this close by in case it’s needed again.”

Sir Washburn clapped him on the shoulder and moved on.  Darcy spotted Father Columcil.  The priest had saddled his mount and was beginning to tie on his belongings.  They would be leaving soon.

Darcy wondered if he might be able to catch a private word with the good Father after they departed.  Confession might lighten the weight of his current predicament.  Or not.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 16, 2018, 11:04:26 pm
Sidana Quinnell de Paor, rightful heiress to Meara (or so she had grown up being told, and had no reason to doubt), stood just outside the closed door, eyes wide as she listened to the shouting voice of her father just beyond it. She wasn't eavesdropping, not exactly.  In truth, she could hardly have failed to overhear what Brioc was saying unless she retreated clear to the other side of her bedchamber and climbed out her window, where maybe--just maybe--the thick stone walls might finally muffle the sounds of his yelling to something less distinguishable. But not having a death wish, and being too distracted by the sound to concentrate on any of the several boring pursuits she might instead focus upon in the security of her private bower, she stood just at the door trying to work out what had put her father into such a towering rage.

Grand Duke Valerian was speaking now, and while his voice was quieter--so quiet, in fact, that Sidana was forced to put her ear to the wooden partition between them to make out his response--it was no less furious for all that.  While she could not understand all the particulars of their exchange, she had managed to gather that some planned coup to retake Trurill had failed, a valuable retainer of Valerian's slain in the effort, Brioc's patrimony yet remained in the clutches of the treacherous MacArdrys, and therefore they were short the men and materiel they'd hoped to commandeer from Brioc's rightful barony to redirect to the war muster.  Brioc in his fury was all for retaliatory slaughter of Jass MacArdry's home clan in Transha, a plan Valerian coolly refused to countenance, reminding Brioc that they could hardly risk alienating any Mearans who might bear no love for Gwynedd or the Haldanes, but might hold sympathy for fellow borderers set upon by Brioc's small cadre of loyalists, and therefore might refuse aid to the separatists when it was time to move against their foes in Ratharkin and Laas. 

And some effort to retake the Demoiselle de Mariot and capture the youngest of the Morgan Lords had also suffered a setback, it seemed, although Sidana was less sure about what that effort was meant to accomplish. Something about placating the new Baron of Caer Mariot and providing him with the bride who would secure his hold on his new demesne.  Having met Baron Oswald when he arrived at her Court to swear fealty to her, Sidana could hardly blame the demoiselle for running away.  The man gave her the shivers, loyalist or not, and not in a good way!

But not all the news was bad.  Their forces were in position now to capture Ratharkin during the so-called Viceroy's absence, despite the fact that they would be moving to take that town with fewer men and resources at their disposal than they'd hoped to have. Oswald had supplied a score of men, despite not yet having his promised bride in hand, and from all across Meara the word had quietly gone out to those they knew they could trust that it was time to take up arms for Meara and the Queen.  For the past week, she had been receiving them, accepting the homage due her during the few hours per day that she was allowed down to the Great Hall to see and be seen.

One set of footfalls sounded like they were moving further away--to the door on the opposite end of the antechamber, Sidana surmised. Her guess was confirmed when she heard that door slam behind the departing man, presumably the Grand Duke.  Before she could straighten from her position leaning against her bedchamber door, it opened suddenly, nearly causing her to fall at the feet of the one who had opened it.  She looked up with a blush, expecting to see her father's scowl.  To her dismayed surprise, it was Valerian; Brioc, it seemed, had been the one who had just left!  Her blush deepened.

A dark brow arched as her foreign suitor surveyed her coolly. "Listening at doorways could get you in a great deal of trouble, Your Majesty. I strongly advise against it."

She shivered, feeling a trickle of cold fear down her spine at his words, although she could not think why she should react that way. Surely he meant no harm by it; why would he wish to threaten her? He was to be her consort someday, after all!  Still, a vague sense of disquiet came over her even as she summoned up an apologetic smile.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on February 17, 2018, 01:44:13 am
Father Columcil had watched the interplay between Darcy and Aliset with disquiet, for although she was disguised as Alister, he very much doubted that her adopted shape was what Darcy had seen or felt in his imagination. Oh, he had no fears for the lady's virtue, Darcy was far too honourable for that. No it was Darcy he worried for, the lad had had far too much to deal with already in learning that he was Deryni, and as his hidden past became clear to him doubtless there would be sadness and even horror to cope with. The last thing he needed was a bad dose of love that could neither be expressed nor requited.

Columcil would have hoped to lift some of the burden but nothing in Darcy's attitude towards him had suggested a willingness to confide in the clergy. The tensions of a few days ago - blessed saints it felt like weeks!- had gone but he suspected that Darcy's increased friendliness, even respect, had more to do with gratitude for Columcil's healing powers, and even he thought with a surge of guilt, his hitherto unsuspected skill of cracking people over the head with his staff. All he could do would be to wait and pray, and hope that if the opportunity arouse he would respond appropriately.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 17, 2018, 06:41:29 pm
“My Lord,” Darcy Cameron said, bowing to Lord Jaxom Trillick.

“Master Darcy,” the nobleman nodded in acknowledgment, then turned his attention to Sir Washburn and Lord Alister.

Carefully concealing the irritation he felt, Darcy straightened and made his way to his horse.  No trace of the protective dome remained.  Lady Aliset had dispersed it shortly before.  They were now preparing to leave.  She had returned the ward cubes to Darcy’s pouch, careful that their hands did not touch.  He was careful to avoid looking into her eyes.

Phyre was now securely bound.  His hands were tied behind his back and he sat mounted on his horse, his legs lashed to the stirrups of his saddle.  For good measure, in case he attempted to kick his mount into a break for freedom, a rope was tied around his neck.  The end was held by one of the guards.  A man who had been a friend of Kieran.  Phyre’s chances of escape were not good.

Perhaps the crossbowman had been more fortunate.  He had succumbed to his injury after firing his last shot.  Father Columcil had administered the last rights.  Now the man was draped across the back of his horse, hands and feet secured underneath the beast so he would not slip off.

A shaggy head poked at Darcy’s side.  Spean poked again, insisting that he be acknowledge and his muzzle be stroked.  Darcy smiled and obliged, which caused Sigrun to poke his other side. 

“Patience, my pet,” Darcy said.  “I’ve got two hands, you know.”

Father Columcil approached, whistling softly to his own horse.  “He is a bit demanding of attention,” he said. 

“Aye,” Darcy replied.  “I’ve no objection.”

Darcy looked back toward the Sir Washburn, Lord Trillick and Lord Alister.  They were in deep conversation, likely considering what should be done next.  Without his input.

Darcy mentally shook himself.  There was nothing he could do about it.  “Father Columcil,” he said quietly.

“Yes my son,  the priest responded.

“When we have a chance, could I speak with you privately?”

‘Of course,” Columcil assured him. “Perhaps we have the opportunity now, while the others of our party are busy in conversation.  I’m suspect God might allow us to dispense with some of the usual formality.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on February 18, 2018, 04:45:10 pm
Columcil traced the sign of the cross over Darcy's head and murmured the words of absolution. Darcy remained with his head bowed for a moment longer then said quietly. "Forgive me for teaching you your job Father, and I admit that it is some time since I last made my confession, but aren't you supposed to give me a penance?"

Columcil spoke in the driest voice that Darcy had yet heard him use, "You feel that your life has been too indulgent of late?" Then returning to the kindliness of the tone he had used in the sacrament they had just shared he continued, "The good Lord knows your heart my Son. I'm thinking that there's likely to be penance enough for all of us before this journey's done." Darcy lifted his head and smiled at the priest but the latter could not help but notice his sidelong look at the three nobles who still stood with their heads together in close counsel.

Suddenly a wave of anger flooded Columcil; not on his own behalf, he was content to let others lead while he mopped up the hurts where he could, but on Darcy's. While there were none other to help, the Lord and Lady had been happy enough to treat Darcy as one of their company and give him a voice, but now this young sprig from the Trillick manor had arrived it appeared that Darcy was to be dismissed back to his role as servant. Columcil admitted grudgingly to himself that the other's arrival, with his men, was timely and would make the rest of their journey, please God, easier than heretofore, and he knew well enough that once they arrived in Rhemuth they would all resume their allotted stations in life - in his own case he devotely prayed for nothing more - but though Darcy had said nothing his hurt was as tangible as a dagger thrust.

For a moment Columcil toyed with the idea of spooking young Trillick's horse as they rode out and seeing his nobility hit the dust, but sadly he dismissed that as unworthy. There was something that he could do, though it would take courage. As the three nobles finished their discussion and broke apart to give the orders for departure he went to Washburn, bowed deeply and said quietly, "My Lord, a word, if you would be so gracious."

Washburn looked shocked at the other's formality, even distressed, and Columcil realised that any slight to Darcy had been unintentional. The Lady Aliset surely too had intended no hurt and was wise to keep a distance for a while for both her and Darcy's sakes. The angry rebuke which he had been steeling himself to utter died on his lips, and he resolved on another way, although that would take even more courage. As Washburn moved aside with him he continued,

"My Lord, would you permit me to show you something?" Washburn looked puzzled for a moment then understanding dawned and the last of Columcil's anger evaporated as the young Lord trustingly laid his hand in his his own and allowed Columcil to Show him what he had seen in Darcy's face ((dice roll 6+4+3 =13, rolled advantage as they have already shared rapport 3hlbr4ft7b)). As Columcil withdrew his hand from under Washburn's and their rapport ended Washburn remained in thoughtful silence.

After a moment Columcil broke the silence and still speaking quietly said, "You are our leader, my Lord, both by birth and by your qualities, but if I can speak as a priest for a moment, Darcy has deserved better of you."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 19, 2018, 03:35:23 pm
Washburn had nodded at Father Columcil’s frank words. He had been so immersed in his own grievous errors that he had not seen how he had excluded a very important member of his party from the next group of decisions that need to be made. Actually, Darcy’s input was exactly what Wash needed at this moment. For Lord Jaxom and he had had differing opinions on what direction to take to get to Arx Fidei.

“Master Cameron, a moment if you would, please.” The young man was finishing the last buckle on his supply bags to the saddle. The look he gave the knight was grudging compliance. That look in itself, struck Wash for his remission in gratitude he had neglected to give the man earlier. “I did not thank you just a bit ago as I should have. I reacted too vigorously to protect a certain person in our company, only to find myself giving unintended harm. Your quick hand and dexterity kept said person from hitting the ground and for that I am most appreciative.”

“I am sworn to protect the heir of Mariot. I will not fail in my duty,” Darcy said with a stern face.

“In that regards, you are a far more successful than I am.” Washburn said with shame touching his voice. “Don’t think for a moment that I haven’t recognized this loyalty in you. And I know you will do right by the heir of Mariot, even after this journey has reached its destination.” Washburn perked up, than patted the man on the shoulder in acknowledgment of his loyalty freely given. “Now, Lord Jaxom and I are in different mindsets as how to get to Arx Fidei by the safest, fastest route. Would you wayin an opinion on the matter?” With that Wash turned to wave over Lord Jaxom.

Jaxom was just dismissing the guard Captain to return to Droghera with the prisoner and body of the accomplice. Washburn gave the captain a nod as the town guards were ready to depart. Wash was certain that justice would be swift in that town. The heir of Trillik gave his last command to the guard Captain and let them ride off. Than he walked briskly back into Washburn’s and Darcy’s presence. “Aye Sir Washburn, is the consensus that we take the main road through Cuilteine?”

“A moment on that, Lord Jaxom. First, I have been remiss in not yet introducing you to the other valuable members of my team. This young man is Master Darcy Cameron. He is ship’s officer and Navigator on board the Skjoldr. Master Cameron has impressed me at every turn with his quick thinking, and leadership skills. He was the one to organize the fire brigade back at Culdi, during the tavern fire. I presume you heard about that.”

“I did. The town constable was saying how pleased he had been that the fires were put out quickly and did not spread further. I heard something about a pale haired man leading the townsfolk that day. So then it was you Master Darcy? Well done!”

"Thank you Lord Trillick," Darcy said dipping his head in respect.

“Aye, it was him, to be sure. I was busy coughing my head off for having breathed in too much smoke.” Wash returned a gallant smile to Darcy’s grimace. Wash sobered up a little more. He still wasn’t winning Darcy over. “Now, to the business before us. Lord Jaxom, if we may have a look at that map of yours? I want Master Cameron’s opinion on the two routes available to us.”

Jaxom signaled a man to unpack the map and when he had it he passed it to Washburn. Wash unrolled it, handing one edge to Darcy while holding the other to see the full detail of the local area from Ratherkin in the upper north west corner to Rhemuth in the southeast corner.  With his free hand, Wash pointed to Droghera and then to Arx Fidei lying on the halfway point to Rhemuth. “Lord Jaxom would have us take the road to Cuilteine around these hills and then down to the lowlands here. He says there are at least two estates along the road that are loyal to the king and can be counted on to take in our numbers for the evening. For he is not certain that with our late start we will get to Arx Fidei before dark. 

"I, on the other hand, wish to avoid Cuilteine. I am thinking that it would be best to take this smaller path, here.” Wash pointed to the pass between the two hills going west. “It will allow us to reach the lowlands sooner. Although the road is almost non-existent. I am told there are only open fields and small farms all along this path. I have no qualms about sleeping under the stars tonight. But I need your opinion on this.Which direction would be best for our journey.” and for our lady he implicated looking at lord Alister. “Is the shorter distance, in the long run, the safest route or not? I know you don’t know these lands personally, but you know distances and maps far better than I. I trust your opinion on this.”

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 19, 2018, 06:38:23 pm
((No pressure here, Laurna. Aack!))

Darcy Cameron studied the map provided by Lord Jaxom carefully.  Whatever his personal feelings might be, seeing Lady Aliset to the presumed safety of Arx Fidei was his main concern.  His own pride was second.

Why did presumed come to mind?  Darcy studied the map closely. 

“Either route will work,” he said finally.  “The problem is whatever trap lies ahead of us.”

“Trap?” Lord Jaxom asked.  “Surely with the capture of these men the route is clear”

“And that might be exactly what they hope we believe.”  Darcy responded.  “Whoever they might be.” He thought for a moment longer.  They did not have time to consider every possible twist and turn.

“I must agree with Sir Washurn,” Darcy said at last.  “But we must been on our guard. It’s entirely possible that traps have been laid along both routes.”

“You are paranoid,” Lord Jaxom said. 

“I’d rather he be paranoid than careless,” Washburn responded. 

Lord Jaxom shrugged his shoulders and moved away to ready his men.

“Sir Washburn,” Darcy said in a low voice. 

“Yes?”

“Is there some Deryni way you can contact Duke Kelric?  Let him know the path we mean to take?”

“Yes,” Washburn responded.  “Though I might need Father Comucil or Lady Aliset’s help to contact him at this distance.  What troubles you?”

“Just about everything,” Darcy responded.  “Where did that third man ride off to?  The game’s afoot.  I fear we may be at the disadvantage.”

(Edited because I forgot about Feyd.  Or maybe I was trying to.)
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 21, 2018, 03:13:49 pm
The plans for the summer royal progress to the Isle of Hort was now postponed and most likely cancelled. While His Majesty Kelson was in council determining the degree of concerns coming from their western province of Meara, Queen Araxie was in the queen’s solar in conference with her stewards and chatelaine cancelling the travel plans that had taken all spring to prepare. If the court intended now to remain in Rhemuth, all sorts of new plans and schedules had to be reorganized. Kelson was even considering a progress to Meara, which might be necessary. In his mind that would be the wisest solution to remind the Mearan people that he was their King. That plan, however, had many of his councilors offering objection. Until it was certain just what was the situation in Meara, it seemed prudent to hold firm in Rhemuth and wait to learn more. Kelson continued to stress that plans should be made ready for any contingent that might arrive.

For the non-militant members of court, all thoughts turned to how best to confront and tolerated the upcoming hottest month of the year while remaining within the main castle walls. Whatever forms of keeping the castle cool would need to be implemented. Not truly a pleasant prospect as the humidity was already threatening to make for some blistering days and unbearably warm nights.

Dowager Duchess Richenda, at an age where she found herself more susceptible to extreme temperature changes, would have preferred an easy summer spent in Coroth with its light sea breezes and afternoon rains. She had been the first, however, to implement the gathering of the Haldane/Morgan families under the protection of Rhemuth’s secure walls and their loyal retainers. There was strength in the bonding of their two families. Strength that was recognized throughout the Eleven Kingdoms. A challenge had not come in over twenty years, not since the death of Teymuraz at the hand of her husband, Duke Alaric Morgan. May his soul ever rest in peace. Richenda whispered over her hands that clutched a needle and gold metal threads which were embroidered on an exquisite set of lions and gryphons Quartered on a tunic for Prince Rhys-Alaric Haldane's coming birthday of fourteen years

The two families tight bonding came from two marriages between daughters and sons. Not only had her eldest son Kelric married the strong and vivacious Princess Araxandra back in the summer of eleven hundred and forty-five, now with six strong, healthy children to pass on Alaric Morgan’s legacy. A second surprising and equally joyful marriage occurred a few years following between Richenda’s youngest daughter, the Lady Grania, and non other than the Crown Prince of Gwynedd, Prince Javan Uthyr Richard Urien Haldane. Their marriage had occurred upon Prince Javan’s Nineteenth right-of-birth on the fifth of May in the year of our lord eleven hundred and forty- nine. Their marriage had been bound under full splendor and regalia which the proud Royal parents, Kelson and Araxie, had arranged. With four children to blessed the royal couple, Grania was again to be seen in the fullness of begetting a fifth child, a third boy by all promise of the Healers who cared for her.

So it was in the late morning hours as the castle walls warmed and the king and queen were busy with business that Richenda was grateful for the time spent with her youngest daughter Grania. Both ladies sat under the trellises covered in blossoming wisteria vines and climbing roses. The fragrances of the garden were lavish and the colors divine. Children's joyous calls and screams were pleasant to listen too here in the great outdoors, where the sound was free to escape and not reverberate as they did within the indoor rooms.

Kelric’s middle daughter, Araxelle Jehane, sat under the lattice with Grania's oldest daughter beside the other women. Their fine fingers embroidering the small flourishes around the Morgan shield and The Haldane balzon. Delicate work that Richanda was all too happy to pass on to her granddaughters. Grania's youngest daughter of three was balanced upon her moma's knee. The only girl to play with the boys was Araxelle’s younger sister, Brownwen Alyce; she was running fast circles around her younger brothers and keeping them in line, so at least Richenda hoped. Duncan Sean and Alain Anthony were in rare form, whooping it up and playing stick fighting with soft twigs they had broken out of a bush. Prince Kenneth Brion, Grania’s second boy of just five years, was right there with his cousins as the third adversary. Richenda laughed as all three boys took to chasing each other. Alian running the fastest and dodging the others attacks the quickest. Just as her youngest son had done when he was that age.

Richenda sighed. Where was that youngest son of hers now. Kelric had sent that he had not been able to make contact the night prior, after the duke had arrived at Arx Fidei. There was no word of Washburn’s contingent arriving there. Kelric had said he would turn westward in the morning to go in search of them. That youngest son of hers, was giving Richenda new worry wrinkles about her eyes. That young man knew the importance of making contact. Why had he missed it?  Richenda did not want to think of the possible reasons that could have prevented him from doing so.

“Let's play hide and seek,” Duncan Sean yelled. “Bronwenie, your it.”

“Why am I it?” the girl called with a cry.

“Because your a girl.” Duncan answered. At that Araxelle jumped up to her sister’s defense. “I’m a girl and you better all hide good, because when I find you, your going to get it.” Richenda and Grania were both shaking their heads as they watched the older girl stomp to the middle of the grass, turn her back and started counting backward from ten. The younger kids scattered to the bushes and behind the rows of blooming roses. Richenda laughed. Kelric’s middle daughter of eleven had had her Deryni training controls mostly removed and the girl knew full well how to use her senses to find her siblings and cousins, but they did not know that.

((this story bit is only half done, I will post the rest later tonight. Not enough time now as I must get ready for work.))

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Demercia on February 22, 2018, 01:21:38 am
((Good to see Alain is not forgotten ))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 22, 2018, 05:31:24 am
Arexelle yelled, “One!  Ready or not, here I come!”  She circled the vacant lawn once, pretending not to know where any of the other’s had gone.

There was some giggling coming from a rose bush to the right, but Arexelle was not inclined to catch her sister first. She ignored the giggle and veered left passing a hedge row.  “Now where could that little brother of mine be hiding.” She headed left around the bush scarring young Duncan out to the right. He was preparing to dash home when she instead veered right and cut off his run. “Tag you,” she called, as she touched his arm.

With a false cry of anguish, Duncan fell to the grass. “Why do you always get me first. Not fair.”

“Because you need to be more fair to our sister,” the older girl told him with a scolding.

“Oh, all right! Sorry Browen!” The boy yelled to the bush on the right, trying to give away his sister’s hiding place, even if he truly meant the apology.  Arexelle ignored the “Shhhsh!” she heard coming from her sister’s hiding place. Instead, she stalked to a tall hedge covered in lavender flowers. The hedge was wide. How to scare out Alain and still catch him if he ran? It wasn’t possible. As she went one way, he came out from the other. When she tried to cut him off, he disappeared behind again. They played at duck and dodge two more times. Before the older sister dove to catch Alain. But the six year old was fleet and fast. He darted out of her reach and raced for home. He called “Home Free” as he made it there. Declaring himself the winner of the game and getting a hug from his twin brother for his success. Yet two children were still hidden. It took but a reach and a touch to catch Browen. The girl pouted for just a minute before running home to join her brothers; Duncan give her a hug of forgiveness. That left Kenneth for last.

Richenda had watched the game with giddy pleasure. Her own children had never been this close together in age and had not played in this way. The pleasures of being a grandmother were so much greater than the worries of being a mother.  As Arexelle frowned after looking around a few bushes, that sense of worry crept into Richenda’s mind. She had not seen where Kenneth had gone hiding. She could not sense him, either. “Grania, where is Kenneth?” The boy’s mother looked up in astonishment. Her worry was apparent upon her face. She passed her youngest daughter to a nurse, stood and paced quickly out into the garden. Richenda following right behind. Fear filled Grania’s eyes as she wildly looked around the garden. “All ye, All ye, come in Free,” she yelled, calling for an end to the game.

Silence.

Tears forming in her eyes, Grania was close to panicking. She could not feel her son. Servants were sent to guard the gates and search deeper into the garden. Richenda grabbed the wrist of her daughter, “Lets do this together,” she said, “we will find him.” She touched Grania’s forehead and let her daughter rest her head on her shoulders. “Focus.” Together they concentrated on finding Kenneth Brion Anthony Haldane.

((02:25 Grania mentally searching for Kenneth. 2d6 as she is Ritual magic user with success of 4,5, and 6.
02:25-!roll 2d6
02:25 derynibot 3, 4 == 7))

After a moment, Grania wiped her tears and looked straight at low row of rosemary bushes.  She led her mother across the garden, both women looking over the plants at the boy sitting low with his eyes closed. Each of his palms were open downward over stacked black and white cubes, one pair under his right hand and one pair under his left hand. Behind him, to each side was a third and fourth pair of cubes. Richenda reached for the ward cubes, her own hands shacking; thankfully the cubes weren’t activated. A five year old should never be able to do that magic, let alone know how to place them. Kenneth was clearly copying what he had seen some adult do. There wasn’t magic from the cubes, yet the boy did have some magic that he was casting as a weak concealment type spell around himself, almost like what a ward could accomplish. Grania was astonished. “Kenneth, Don’t do that!”  she called out waking the boy up from his focus. “Mommy couldn’t find you.”

Kenneth smiled “I was hiding. Cousin Arexelle'ye didn’t find me, I win,” he said plainly like he had done nothing wrong. His mother picked him up in her arms with a worried look. She touched the boy’s forehead. Her training controls were there, in place, yet the Haldane blood somehow was manifesting its own tendencies to know how things were done. “Ever since His majesty set his potential, he has been showing small aptitudes like this.”

“I think His Majesty Kelson will be the best one to reset his grandson’s training controls. I would not presume to touch on the Haldane’s potential,” Richenda said with a touch of awe. With Haldane blood running in half her grandchildren’s blood, the dowager duchess had deferred their training to the highest source, even though she was considered one of the most adept Deryni in the kingdom.

“How did Kenneth get these?” Richenda asked gathering all eight ward cubes into one hand. There feel was so familiar, she should have been able to guess whose they belonged to, but she was thinking they were Javan’s even though they didn’t feel like his. Grania asked her son pointedly to tell mama where the cubes came from. The boy’s response was “Uncle Wash.”

“He gave them to you? Tell me the truth.” Grania said more sternly.

“He showed them to me, then he put them away but he didn’t, they fell under his bed instead. He left them there, so I took them for safekeeping.” Grania turned a serious look back to her mother. “My brother doesn’t have his ward cubes!” Seeing fear in Richenda’s features, Grania turned back to her son. “You should have given them to me, Kenneth love, next time any adult drops something, don’t you go picking it up. You come tell your mama about it. Can you do that for mama.”

“Yes!” The young prince said, suddenly he nested his head against his mother’s shoulder ashamed.

Washburn hadn’t contacted the family and he didn’t have his ward cubes. Richenda felt a shiver down her spine. The women returned to the garden covering, with a nervous sweet beading the elder lady’s brow. “Will you help me cast out for your brother, I need to know where Washburn is,” Richenda finally said.

“Maman, I will gladly help you.” The two women instructed the nurses to take the children indoors. They remained on the bench sitting shoulder to shoulder. Richenda cupping the ward cubes in one hand and her camber medallion in the other. They formed Rapport and sent out tendrils of energy searching for the missing son of Alaric Morgan.

((03:11Richenda searching for Washburn she is spell master so 3d6 with success of 4, 5, or 6.
03:11Richenda-l!roll 3d6
03:11derynibot4, 5, 2 == 11))

The distance was great, the energy surged into her from her youngest daughter. There, right there, focus tighter, was that the touch of her son’s mind?
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on February 22, 2018, 07:32:30 am
((Oh help Laurna! I nearly choked on my lunch fearing some tool of Valerian's had somehow got into the garden and had kidnapped Kenneth. I think Grandpapa Kelson is not going to be pleased with his grandson.))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 22, 2018, 03:18:01 pm
((
12:22 Wash Wash contacting Kelric disadvantage roll of 4,5 or 6 success.
12:22 Wash !roll 1d6
12:22 derynibot 1 == 1
12:23 Wash There go those ones again. I get far more ones than 6, actually than anything else.

12:27 Wash second roll Washburn contacting Richanda. Richenda has already made contact and Washburn is in focus, therefore I am rolling standard 2d6 with success of 4,5 or 6.
12:27 Wash !roll 2d6
12:27 derynibot 5, 4 == 9
12:27 Wash better))

Sir Washburn had stood between his horse, Shadow, who looked once more like a big R'Kassi stallion, and Father Columcil's highland pony. They needed to be on their way, yet still, he needed to make contact with his brother. Everyone else except the good Father had mounted and was ready to move out. The route was chosen. Just a half mile ahead they would take the farm road west and not continue south to Ciulteine. With his hand cupped around his silver medallion, the young Morgan focused down. Finding a calmness he had not had experienced since leaving Droghera. A full day had past in the protection of the dome ward. A full day that Washburn recall but little of. He had thought the taint of Meresha gone from his body. Yet, he still could not contact his brother. Perhaps Kelric was already on the move, riding toward him. But would he be coming the wrong way, by the road and not the farm lands. Wash needed very much to contact him.

He centered down further. A hand touched his wrist. Father Columcil offered him a steadying source of energy. That was when Wash touched another. It was not Kelric. No indeed, the feminine sigh of relief was tangible in that first contact.

“Maman!” Washburn exclaimed, doubly surprised by the strength his mother used to tighten the link between them.

“You will be the death of me, young man!” was the first thing she claimed. “Are you all right?”

“Yes!” he knew she felt the lie the moment he said it. “Rather, I am now.” he said more correctly.
“I will tell you all when i get back, I hope that to be two days time.”

“Where are you now? Kelric should have met you at Arx Fidei last night, but he said you did not get there.”

“We are just on the road south of Droghera. Can you contract Kelric and tell him we will be taking the west pathways through the farm lands and will not be on the main road. Tell him to use the utmost caution. We do not know what is set between us to keep us from meeting.”

His mother was silent for a moment. Wash knew she was bravely putting aside her fears. He was doing his best to conceal his own concern from her. “Son,” she finally said. “Don’t be negligent. Pay attention to Everything that goes on around you. Do not do like you did, dropping your ward cubes and leaving them for Prince Kenneth to find. He did find them, you know. And he did try to use them. No harm, but you must be more diligent. I cannot stress this enough.”

Shamed, Washburn ducked his head. “Yes, maman. I will not make such a lapse happen again.”

“See that you don’t!”
With that his mother assured him she would contact Kelric.  She sent her love and he returned the sentiment and then the link ended.

Washburn had a tear in his eye. He looked up at Father Columcil. “It seems Father, that I deserve penitence. It was my fault that the ward cubes were left behind. Thankfully, Kenneth Brion was unharmed by such a lapse. I need to do much better than I have done up to this point in my life. Before anyone else becomes harmed. I must see us safely returned to Rhemuth. No more lapses on my part.” He held up his hand making it a valiant oath.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on February 22, 2018, 03:50:22 pm
Columcil traced the sign of the cross on Washburn's forehead, aware as perhaps not before of just how hard it must have been to grow up as a hero's son. Running wild amongst the other lads at Transha, and though studious he had been as wild as any of the others, he had no-one to be constantly compared to and found lacking. His step-father had been kindly enough - and ready enough with his belt when Columcil's quick intelligence led him into more than acceptable mischief - and he had not felt the lack of a father or a name but until now he had not thought that perhaps he and not his noble kinsman was truly the privileged one.

"My Son, do not take too much upon yourself," - as he heard himself speak Columcil realised how quickly he was returning to the more cultured speech he had learnt at Seminary and which he believed he had all but lost in his years in the borders. Irritated with himself for his irrelevant self-absorption at such a time he continued, "if failing to take care of your belongings is a mortal sin then hell's going to be a mighty busy place."

Washburn gasped at such irreverent language from a priest and then as Columcil had hoped looked up and returned the priest's smile, albeit weakly.

"I could not fail but hear, linked as we were, but rest assured that I shall regard anything I heard as sacred as if it were in the confessional. That was her Grace the Duchess I take it?"

"My mother, yes, the Dowager Duchess," Washburn swallowed hard, willing no more tears to come.

"Well she has a son of which she can be very proud." Seeing that Washburn seemed inclined to debate the point Columcil turned away and mounted Spean, though not without giving a glance of wistful envy as Washburn in his turn mounted. It had been wonderful to ride Shadow even for such a short time. Again he rebuked himself and patted Spean's neck, "Truth is, my beastie, you're more suited to an old priest, take no notice of my haverings."

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 22, 2018, 06:57:18 pm
Darcy Cameron sat astride Sigrun, absently stroking her neck.  It was more to calm himself that his horse.  Every nerve seemed to be on edge.  He did not share Lord Jaxom’s sense of relief.  He had an uncomfortable feeling that their foe, whoever he was, might be counting on that.

Sir Washburn seemed preoccupied with something, standing as he was between his own horse and Father Columcil’s.  The good Father had joined the knight and together they seemed to be concentrating on something.  Darcy hoped it had something to do with contacting Duke Kelric, but he had not been privy to what transpired.

A movement beside him caught his attention.  Lord Alister moved his horse into position beside him.  Darcy nodded, careful to avoid any presumption.  Lord Alister nodded, carefully neutral.

Bloody hell, Darcy thought.  It had been easier when he had only known her as Lord Alister.  This would not do; there was too much at stake to lose his focus now.

“My Lord,” Darcy said to Alister.  “I think we are ready to leave.”  He looked ahead to Lord Jaxom.  As they had agreed earlier, Lord Jaxom would take the lead along with one of his men-at-arms.  Sir Washburn would follow, with Jaxom’s squire riding beside him.  Darcy and Lord Alister would come next, followed by one of Jaxom’s bowmen and Father Columcil.  The remaining bowman and man-at- arms would come last.    Sir Washburn had not been pleased at first with the arrangement, but finally agreed when Darcy pointed out that he made too clear a target for a crossbowman if he took in the lead.

Darcy had argued that the Watch Captain could spare two of his men to ride with them, but the Captain had been adamant that their duty was to Droghera.  Sir Washburn had reluctantly agreed; the Captain would not budge, and they could not delay longer.  The Captain’s party had departed with their captive and the body of the dead crossbowman, wishing them Godspeed on their journey.

Now Sir Washburn and Father Columcil were mounted, and Lord Jaxom signalled for them to move out. 

Darcy was not sorry to leave Droghera behind, but he fervently hoped safety for them, and especially Lady Aliset, would be found ahead. 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: DerynifanK on February 22, 2018, 08:49:57 pm
((Have to agree with Darcy. This is scary, hope they make it ok.))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 23, 2018, 04:31:08 am
The riders turned off the main road onto the rutted county path.  They waded through two small streams and past a thick glen of trees which cleared suddenly to drop into a valley between two mountains; opening to an inspiring view of  Gwynedd’s grasslands.

(https://i.pinimg.com/564x/0f/96/84/0f96847f50af854292baa6e3a883261f.jpg)

As far as the eye could see, rolling green covered every inch of land. Tiny farmsteads dotted the countryside. Not a castle could be seen. This was the hidden heart of Gwynedd. This land belonged to the hard working common folk, who eked out a fair living by raising sheep and cows, and tilling small patches of land to grow their food.

Washburn had been tense through the denser tree cover as the narrow road ran through it. His senses were heightened as he look for any signs of the third man who had orchestrated the last attempt to capture him.

(( 1d6  success on 4, 5 or 6, rolled 3 Verification Number: gj2w728l5m))

He sensed no one, yet he didn’t trust his own powers at the moment to not have miss what might be hidden. Therefore, he kept a wary eye on their surroundings. Behind him, he noted that Lady Aliset was doing the same.  When they breasted the hillock and looked down over the valley, a small sense of relief swept through the party. Below was open country. A follower would have to keep a greater distance to not be detected by one of their group. Wash took a moment to slow Shadow and move back level to the two behind him.

“Master Darcy. You are probably thinking the same as I. I want it to be understood that if you are questioned about it later, what I say to you are my orders and if it comes to pass, you are doing as I requested.” Darcy’s lips pressed together, certain he was not going to like what he heard. “I believe there is safety in numbers, and I believe we need to stay together. However, there may be circumstances ahead where that may be an impossibility. Your priority is not to me. It is to Lord Alister.” Darcy was nodding with understanding, even while Alister/Aliset was preparing to argue the point against it. “Listen to me, Lord Alister. You and Darcy must escape whatever trap is laid before us. You must make it to the king.  Darcy will be certain that he gets you there. I have no doubt the man is a capable protector. If at all possible, take Columcil with you. He is a good man with more talent than one would expect from a borderland priest.  Lord Jaxom and I will fend off the best we can to be sure you get away.”

Even Darcy wanted to protest, even though he knew in his heart this was how it had to be. “I will be condemned for leaving you behind.”

“That is why I am enforcing that these orders come directly from me. I am not without my own defenses. I can handle myself. And it isn’t my intention to fall into the enemy's hands. Trust me! If I know the lady is safe, it will be far easier for me to do what needs to be done. Do we understand one another.”

“Aye, my lord, we do.”

“Lord Alister?”

She was none to happy, never-the-less she complied. “Aye.”

“Thank you,” Washburn said. “What I am counting on, is that we will meet the Duke of Corwyn at the base of this valley, before the end of this day.” Better assured Wash spurred Shadow to move back in line ahead.

Wash cast out his senses again. (( 1d6 success on 4,5,or 6  rolled 4 Verification Number: 7drh5lgr23))   This time, as they moved into the open farmland, he was more assured that if they were being watched, it was from a greater distance. One that could not do immediate harm.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on February 23, 2018, 10:10:20 am
((09:24   Valerian   !roll 3d6
09:24   derynibot   3, 3, 2 == 8
09:24   Valerian   !roll 3d6
09:24   derynibot   1, 2, 4 == 7

09:25   Aliset   !roll 2d6
09:25   derynibot   3, 1 == 4
09:25   Aliset   !roll 2d6
09:25   derynibot   1, 6 == 7))

Valerian watched from a distance, scrying for the Morgan stripling and the runaway de Mariot chit.  As the image of the travelers resolved into crystal clarity before him, he bit back a curse.  There, stretched out before them, was the wide-open vista of the beginning of the Gwynedd lowlands.  His minions had failed him, and he was beginning to run out of options.  He could not afford to stretch out his resources too thinly, after all; he needed to hold some reserves back for the taking of Ratharkin and eventually Laas.

But he was far from powerless to stop them, even at this remove.  He had a contingency plan. 

The table before him on which his scrying crystal sat also held an open map and a bowl of water.  Murmuring the words of an incantation, he began to sprinkle water upon the map, focusing his working over the stretch of terrain where the travelers rode, even now beginning their descent into Gwynedd.  As he sprinkled the parchment, he began to blow, his hot, heavy breath sweeping over the increasingly wet display before him.

================

Aliset surveyed the lowlands before her with a worried frown. Something felt...wrong somehow, but she could not say exactly what or why.  Those storm clouds in the distance were vaguely disquieting, though.  Summer showers were hardly a rare thing in Gwynedd or Meara, but what had started off as fluffy white clouds gathering like sheep overhead had begun to turn gray and ominous.  Could a storm be brewing?  She tried to cast out with her senses, wondering if perhaps they ought to find shelter, though she was loath to stop before their party reached the relative safety of Arx Fidei, or at least met up with the Duke of Corwyn's reinforcements.  However, distracted as she was by her growing sense of urgency to reach safety as soon as possible, she failed to detect anything unnatural about the gathering storm.

=================

Valerian frowned as he continued his weather working.  While the clouds looming above the escaping party grew darker and more ominous, large drops of rain beginning to fall upon them now and the grass bending under the winds he was creating, he had intended to wreak far more havoc upon them than that!  Slowly, never taking his eyes off the scene in the crystal before him, he stabbed one finger on the map above the unwary travelers, circling it above their heads, at first slowly but then with increasing fervor, attempting to create a vortex, a whirlwind to destroy all along its path.  But it was of no use.  With no one else at hand whose energies he might draw upon, the clouds in his view swirled uselessly above the escaping travelers, creating gusts and rain but little else.  All he had accomplished was a steadily more ruined map.  With a cry of fury, he hurled it across the room.

==================

With a cry of horror, Aliset saw the swirling clouds and suddenly realized this was no ordinary storm. 

"Sir Washburn!" she called out, pointing to the vortex attempting to coalesce above them.  "We must seek shelter, now!"

The knight, casting his gaze skyward, noted her cause for alarm. Searching the landscape below them frantically for someplace their party could escape to, the only shelter that seemed adequate was a stone-walled barn on a farm in the near distance.  Signalling to Lord Jaxom and Darcy, he indicated that they should all ride for cover to wait out the storm, hopeful that they might arrive in time to set up wards for additional protection, yet just as suddenly as the storm had arisen, it dispersed, leaving behind a cloudless, sunny sky.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on February 23, 2018, 12:03:15 pm
His Majesty the King ran his hands through his hair until it stood up on end. Dhugal and he had been friends for over half a century and sometimes his blood-brother was as exasperating now as he had been as a hot-headed young man.

"Dhugal, do you really need me to spell out for you the difference between a topic for discussion and an order!" But the expression in those grey Haldane eyes was less anger than frustration."

"Jesus Christ, man! - Sorry Duncan- Think, will you! I need you to return to Ballymar. I agree the rebels, whoever they are, are most likely to attack Ratharkin while Rory is absent, but sooner or later Laas will be in their sights. And short of a full scale invasion of Meara the best way of getting reinforcements to Laas is by sea from Ballymar."

Kelson looked at his glowering blood brother. "So I am not asking you, as you put it "to skulk like an old man by the sea while others have a share in the action" but ordering you to return home and ready that northern fleet that you and Richard Kirby have worked so hard to assemble."

Dhugal put down the goblet which he had been clutching tightly for fear he might succumb to the temptation to throw it at the King and, reaching over the small table which separated them, brushed his lips across the back of Kelson's hand.

"I'm sorry, Kelson and, to give you the answer I should have given ten minutes ago: as you command, Sire. I suppose I didn't expect to have to face this again. The fleet Richard and I have built has really been for trade with the Northlands. As you should know, my lord king, given how much more you've been extracting from my duchy in taxes." The red flush of anger and then embarassment faded from his face and his voice took on his normal teasing tone. Then more seriously he turned to look at borh his father and his king.

"How did we get here again though. Do you have any more idea of who is behind this.?"

Both men shook their heads and looked as worried as Dhugal felt.

Finally the king spoke. "There must be something that I am missing -some focal point but whoever is behind this has been far too clever. One thing though," and he paused as though thinking aloud. "Whatever the Mearan rebels may claim to think of Deryni, there is a Deryni behind this somewhere."





Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 23, 2018, 06:25:41 pm
Darcy Cameron had seen many storms during his life at sea.  Many had come up as quickly as this one, but never had he seen one that was so suddenly gone.  Totally gone.  Bright sunshine dried his clothes as he rode forward.

He glanced aside toward Lady Aliset, in her guise as her brother, riding beside him.  She looked as disconcerted as he felt.

“Lord Alister,” Darcy said in a tone just loud enough to be heard above the sound of the horses.

“Master Darcy?”

“I suppose that was magic.”

Aliset sighed and nodded.  “I think it was a weather working, but it failed, thank goodness.”

“Aye, or we would not be in Gwynedd anymore.” 

Aliset gave him a surprised look and realized they had finally crossed from Meara into Gwynedd.  “Gwynedd,” she said softly.  “Do you think we can reach Arx Fidei before nightfall?”

“It may be farther than we can reach before the horses need rest.  And ourselves as well,” he added.  “It would stand us well if Duke Kelric reaches us before then.”

“Yes, it would.”

They rode on in silence.  The awkwardness they had both felt seemed to drift away.  It had been a chance moment, nothing more. 

Lady Aliset turned toward her man-at-arms and favoured him with a smile.  Darcy nodded in acknowledgement.  All was well, at least for now.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on February 24, 2018, 04:13:25 pm
Dhugal stood as though to go, began to make his bow, half-straightened, and slumped back into his chair, looking carefully at his feet. Part of what he had to say was a tad sensitive; although he was almost certain that Kelson would not take it amiss, shouting defiance at one's sovereign, however close a friend, was probably not the best way to mention something which if Kelson were so minded could be open to misinterpretation.

Kelson allowed the silence to continue, honest enough to admit to himself that both the man and the king in him were enjoying the other's discomfiture but before it could become really uncomfortable he spoke.

"Whatever it is you have to say, Dhugal, just say it. I won't bite your head off. I even promise not to start shouting first. And Duncan here can administer healing, absolution and penance, as appropriate, if it comes to blows."

Smiling, Duncan made a 'keep me out of this' gesture with his hand but the king's tone of voice was enough to let Dhugal know that he was forgiven. With more confidence he began,

"We both think that Ratharkin is a likely target and if that's the case then whoever is behind this will have most likely infiltrated even those we think to be loyal. God, I'll never forget poor Istelyn left to the wolves with those who should have been his protectors turning on him." Kelson looked ready to speak but Dhugal forestalled him, remembered pain in both their eyes though the martyred Bishop of whom they spoke had been dead more than half a century.

"There was no way you could have known," and he grasped Kelson's wrist in sympathy. "There was no way you could have known, and Rory has done miracles in winning most of the Mearans over, but there are always those ready to be bought."

Catching his father's eye he added, "And I'm as ready as you are, Da, to think that some at least of Rory's success is due to the intercession of Saint Henry Istelyn, as he is now."

Kelson knew that even a recently angry Dhugal would not have re-opened the wounds of the past without cause but he could not see where this was going and despite himself he shifted restlessly in his chair.

"Bear with me, Kelson," Dhugal begged. "Do you remember a young lad called Andrew McGregor?"

Kelson looked momentarily puzzled but Duncan gave a very unepiscopal guffaw. "The lad whose hide you tanned for him? And if I remember rightly he had to do with raising that ghost at Valoret? Well I'm assuming he escaped the gallows, though the way he was going someone must have been praying hard for him, but what became of him?"

"Well there were times when I thought I should have thrashed him a lot harder, and he's always been too clever for his own good, but give the man his due he was always utterly loyal to Jatham, and to Jatham's son when he succeeded to the Earldom. He was Jatham's master of arms for a stretch, not the most popular because even the wickedest of lads couldn't get away with a thing, but his mercenary blood was always wanting to get out and Rory and I decided to put it to good use. And, well for the last ten years or so he's been wandering through the villages of Meara in one disguise or another keeping his ear to the ground."

Dhugal looked sideways at Kelson, and murmured, "Forgive me Sire, if we should have asked your leave..." but Kelson smiled reassuringly. "Dhugal, you might make me pull my hair out, but I would never doubt your loyalty, nor Rory's. What worries me more is that he has had no hint of the latest trouble. Either he is not as good as you hoped or we have real problems. And I hesitate to ask this, but you are totally sure of his loyalty?"

"He allows me to Read his mind," Kelson raised his eyebrows questioningly, and Dhgal added, "Oh he bears me no ill-will, even at thirteen he was canny enough to know I could have inflicted far worse on him, and though he is a powerful Deryni in his own way, I doubt that he is skilled enough to fool both myself and Mirjana. As a spy, he's good. So good that what I suggest is that, this time with your knowledge and leave, we send him to Ratharkin. At best we'd have enough advance warning of any attack to bring the troops under Duncan Michael's command there in time, at worst a point of contact within the town."

Kelson continued to look dubious then nodded, "Like I said, you have my total trust. If you are prepared to vouch for his loyalty, then I accept it too. How soon can he get there?"

"As it happens he is in Culdi at the moment, had he been out in the wilds I'd not have mentioned him. Assuming I can contact him once I return to Ballymar, he could portal into Ratharkin tomorrow."

"Do that, then, and Dhugal, I really would rather have you here, but I fear we might be needing those ships. I have a feeling this is more than just a few Mearan hotheads."

Kelson stood up and when Dhugal stood in his turn - Duncan claimed the privilege of age and remained seated - and again made to bow Kelson seized him in an embrace and hugged him tight. "Go with God, my brother."

((Rolling for Dhugal to contact Andrew 3+4 = 7 rl533dxzzs- rats Dhugal must be too tired, or Andrew too drunk. He'll have to keep trying)).



Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: DerynifanK on February 24, 2018, 05:54:03 pm
((What ghost at Valoret? Did I miss something?))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on February 25, 2018, 02:44:43 pm

Youngsters minding their flooks turned to watch the group of men as they trotted by. It wasn’t often that nobility passed along this route. The sight was something to give young boys grand dreams of growing up and of knighthood.  Far from the thoughts of their sons, the farmers who watched were more alert and concerned.They watched the men pass, but their considerations ran more to what trouble was coming around. No one waved to the men, this was not a pageant of richness. Here was an armed group, serious in their attentiveness to their surroundings with dower expressions under their helms. The few farmers on the road with hay waggons and such were quick to veer off the path to let the riders pass.

On a better day, Wash would have loved to walk slower and take in the beauty of the valley. On another travel perhaps, he would come this way and do just that. Today, he was tense, looking at the faces they passed, assessing that each one ment them no harm. He almost wanted to apologize to the common folk for even thinking one of them might be an adversary. They didn’t deserve that judgement, yet he daren’t let his observations slip. Life and limb were dependant upon his not miss calculating the capabilities of their enemy.

At late morning they had traveled a good ten miles or more down the valley path. Aliset, I am going to try to contract my brother. Be even more vigilant while I am in trance if you would. He sent her in quick Mind Speech.

After she acknowledged him. Wash turned his gaze one last time around the green pastured land. He then pulled the Camber Medal from his tunic. He focused on the silver cowled face looking up at him. “Blessed Saint Camber, I beseech the, allow us an uneventful passage through this valley, may we come upon my brother with our party whole and well.” He whispered bringing the silver to his lips. With it cupped in his hands, he closed his eyes and reach out to Kelric.

((Washburn contacting Kelric. No longer at disadvantage, Maresha influence gone. 2d6 standard roll. Results 1-5= 6 success. Verification Number: 6pvsz44642))

There you are little brother,  Kelric answered his call with a sense of relief in the link. You’ve given the lady dowager a great deal of stress. It seems I am to get your delinquent self home, like I had to do in the old days. If she dishes out punishment it will not be my fault.

I assure you, I have endured punishment enough for my late coming. I will welcome maman’s punishment with a warm heart. Washburn replied. We are a third of the way down the valley. Did Her Grace contact you. Are you on the same road.

We are now, I recon would should meet you in less than two hours. Are you being followed?

We believe that we are, but that person has yet to show themselves. I do worry for Aliset’s sake. Baron Oswald means to make her his bride. And for some reason this man after us seems to think I would make a wealthy ransom. Who ever he is, he is a strong Deryni. Did you see that little storm dance earlier? I am glad that it failed.  Oh, and he plays with Maresha. Be wary.

Is that why we missed meeting you at Arx Fedei, last night? Concern tinging the duke’s words.

Aye it is.  Washburn said without elaborating more. We will step up our pace and met up with you as soon as can be. I need to go back to my surveillance.

Very well,  I will stay attentive if you need to contact me, the duke of Corwyn relayed.

Thank you, big brother, this isn’t the first time you've pulled me out of trouble, but it is the first time I will thank you ahead of time for doing so. Wash laughed thinking back on other times he had been in trouble-- better times.

Hah! I’ll take that. Just remember to thank me in front of maman. I want to see you be that humble.


Your rescue has a high price
. Wash said with a laugh. Very well, so be it.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on February 25, 2018, 03:28:21 pm
Feyd had positioned himself behind a small copse which kept him hidden from view but allowed him a good view of the path winding down the valley.  He had guessed correctly that they might come this way.  Nevertheless, he had left his few remaining resources along the road to Cuilteine, armed with merasha dipped crossbow bolts.

His own crossbow was propped against one of the trees.  He had thrust several of the tainted bolts into the ground beside it, ready for reloading.

He would have to make each shot count.  With luck, we would be able to get off a second shot before the others either ran for cover or charged his position.  He would aim his first shot at the Morgan whelp; the second would be for Lady Aliset; as lord or lady he would recognize her. 

Feyd saw the sudden buildup of dark, ominous clouds. The wind picked up and he caught his crossbow before it could be blown out of his reach.  The leaves of the trees gave him some shelter from the rain but not much. 

He had not expected the vortex that opened up in the sky between his position and Droghera.  It never touched the ground, instead it quickly dissipated along with the rest of the storm.

Feyd recognized it as a weather-working, one that had not succeeded.  No one in Meara could have produced that but the Grand Duke.  And he had failed.

Feyd considered his options.  Finally, he retrieved the bolts, put them back in their case, and with his crossbow still in hand, turned to retrieve his horse.  The plan had not gone well from the start, and the Grand Duke could not blame him for the final failure.  Nevertheless, he would not hurry to return to Grand Duke Valerian.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on February 25, 2018, 05:44:09 pm
I've realised that these scenes with Dhugal should really be happening the day before the latest action involving our characters. Please adjust your imaginations accordingly

(( First failed Roll for Dhugal to contact Andrew 3+4 = 7 rl533dxzzs. Second successfull roll 4+5 =9 7cvpf6z3m8))

Dhugal stepped out of the portal in his summer residence at Ballymar, pleased to note that the guard whom he had ordered to be in place at all time in the portal's antechamber had jumped to attention and stood with his hand on his sword hilt. Recognising his Duke he took his hand away and bowed deeply, beginning to apologise.

Dhugal gave him time to straighten then clasped his shoulder, "Padraig, never apologise for doing your duty. Understood."

"Aye, yer Grace. Thank ye - I didn't want ye to think I was aboot ta run ye through."

Dhugal smiled and continued through to the Ducal quarters, with a word for each of the guards he met on the way, thanking God as he did so for their loyalty. He was thankful, too, that though Ballymar was the place where he, Mirjana, and the family could relax away from the pressures of court life, being where it was up on the northern shore of Cassan and at the edge of the highlands, it was more castle than palace and accordingly defensible.

He knocked on the door of Mirjana's solar, and entered at the sound of her voice to find her sitting alone save for a maid who was dressing her hair ready for bed. The maid curtseyed deeply, and rose, flustered, when Dhugal gently took the brush from her hand and dismissed her with a "Ye can go now, lass, I can see to her Grace's hair." As the door closed, Mirjana teased gently, with that trace of a foreign accent which Dhugal had come to love, "I'll thank you not to scandalise my maids, my Lord," but one look at his face showed her that he was in no mood for jest or indeed for dalliance.

Briefly Dhugal told her of his conversation with Kelson and of the orders he had received. "Och, I shouldna 'a shouted at him like that, but he worries me when I'm no there to protect him. Wi' Alaric gone these many years and Duncan an old man,"

"And many good young men there, as loyal and as ready to die for their King as you," Mirjana interjected gently and took his head onto her lap. Dhugal lay there, as she gently brushed his hair back from his forehead with her hand. She was right. His head knew it, his heart just had difficulty accepting the fact that he was no longer the young warrior Duke who had saved the lives of both his father and his king and he wondered, as he had wondered before, whether Alaric was not in fact the most fortunate of them all, to die in his prime in the service of the liege Lord he had served so faithfully and loved more than life itself. As he was drifting off to sleep he forced himself awake with an effort.

"Andrew, I'm supposed to be contacting Andrew.!" He sat up, rapidly explained to Mirjana what Kelson had agreed to and began to hunt for the medal, the twin of which Andrew held, which would enable him to make contact even over the miles which separated Ballymar from Culdi where Andrew currently was, enjoying what was supposed to have been a few weeks of summer leave.

"My love, think! I think he'll not be expecting a contact at this hour, no? And he'll most likely be in a tavern somewhere, yes? And how will he get access to the portal in Culdi Castle, even with your token, at this hour of the night even supposing he is sober?

Dhugal was forced to agree (( failed roll)), he would try again at first light which came early enough in these summer months, when Andrew would be alone in his lodgings, and if past experience was anything to go by, none the worse for the copious amounts of ale he had drunk.

                                             ***************************************************
Dhugal rolled away from Mirjana and sitting on the edge of the bed held a small brass medal in his hand. He allowed himself to drift into a trance and reached out with his thoughts, far away, and then further still until he reached the mind he sought, the touch made familiar with long years of contact. He sensed drowsiness, a gradual awakening and then the sudden jump to full alertness of the trained spy, whose life might depend on his ability to regain his senses in a instant. ((successful roll for contact))

"My Lord? Is aught wrong?"

"Aye, least ways something's afoot. As soon as you can the morn come here to Ballymar."

"Aye, Sir. 'Tis near enough morn now, the castle'll be stirring within the hour."

The contact was broken but Dhugal knew that Andrew arrive through the portal before most folk had broken their fast. He'd best make sure that the guards knew to expect him.

       ************************************************************
The two men sat in the Duke's private withdrawing room behind the Great Hall, supplied with bread, meat and ale to break their fasts. Andrew McGregor was a very different man from the lad he had thrashed all those years ago, thickset and weathered rather than slender and raw, but the most important change was that he was comfortable in his own self and in his identity as Deryni. He might use his gifts in ways that largely went unnoticed but here was a man who had found his place in life.  As the Duke explained the nature of his task to Andrew, the latter frowned looking worried.

"I dinna ken how I've no heard nothing of this, my lord". And I'm not liking either of the reasons which I can speir. Either I'm losing ma touch at this game, or yon's a verra powerful deryni wha's ahint a' this."

"The last is my fear, and that of his Majesty the King. But maybe Ratharkin will be where ye can find something to gie us a clue."

Andrew stood, bowed and then hesitated, the scene reminding Dhugal of his own hesitancy before the king the day before. He gestured the other to speak; Andrew took a deep breath and began as though he already knew what the answer would be but felt he must speak anyway.

"Your Grace." - Another deep breath -"If we're dealing with yin as powerful as ye speir, maybe now tis the time for ye to set a death trigger. I'd sooner that than betray any of yous." ((Rolling to see whether Dhugal sets a death trigger in Andrew. Dice roll 3+4=7 5ts3wp3gdj))

This was an old argument and though Dhugal could see the sense behind the request he was no happier with the idea than he had been when Andrew had first mooted it. It smacked too much of dark magic for his liking, and his father had been vehemently opposed when he had mentioned the suggestion to him.

"I understand why you ask, but there is one thing about having an Archbishop for a father, you're left in no doubt as to what would be mortal sin. His Excellency says no, and so do I, but I make no doubt he'll be praying all the harder for you."

Whether or not Andrew found that a comfort, he was far too wise to say. Bowing again he merely said, "As your Grace decides," and went on his way back to the portal and thence to Ratharkin. Dhugal feared for what he might find there.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Bynw on February 26, 2018, 08:02:43 am
Feyd was well versed in the old portal locations. He would use them again and take the nearest available portal to Rhemuth and wait.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 01, 2018, 04:11:23 am
Huntsman Rayne Lanackie could not appreciated Master Feyd’s order to be the one to race south on the road to Cuilteine. The orders were for him to contact the Mearan loyalists in that town; enlist them to detain any of the southward travelers until Master Feyd could interrogate them. The orders did not end there. Rayne was to travel further on the road to an estate near Arx Fidei activating the loyalist there. The huntsman considered these orders a poor use of his talents. He wanted to be in on the current action. But Feyd wasn’t the type of man you held your ground against. Rayne had said, ‘Yes sir, I will do that, sir,’ even if it went against the huntsman’s instincts.

Rayne was Sir Oswald’s man, Baron Oswald now. He had helped his master take down the old Baron de Mariot in an ‘accident’ that no one suspected to be fowl play until other family members started to die off too. Rayne was proud of his accomplishments. Oswald paid him well for those past deeds. But then the daughter got away.  T’was fortunate that the escape had not been Rayne’s responsibility.  The person’s whose responsibility it had been, had met with a nasty demise. Soon after the girl’s escape, Baron Oswald had come to Rayne demanding, “Find her, bring her back to me!  Harmed is fine, Dead is Not! Just don’t maim that pretty face of hers. My wife needs to be pretty. Use this and she won’t give you any trouble.” The baron had handed him a strange looking device. It was a hollow needle made of gold, shaped like a curved barb, attached to a tube with rings that fit on the inside of the index finger and a bulb at the end of the tube that rested inside the palm of the hand. A Deryni pricker the baron had called it. The bulb was full of Maresha. Touch any Deryni with the hooked needle, squeeze a little on the bulb and the drug would render the victim insensible. Rayne rather relished the idea of giving it a try. The device was in a tin canister in his bag, just waiting for a time when he could use it.

Master Feyd, however, had taken control of Oswald’s small group and Feyd’s instruction came from a Grand Duke. Rayne’s personal tasks would have to wait while he did as Feyd ordered. So on that morning, he had galloped his horse though the farmers and their herd of cows, causing the necessary distraction to bring about the capture the Lendour knight. He hated missing out on the excitement of capturing the enemy. So much so, that once he was out of sight of those on the road, he doubled back through the trees to see how it all played out.

Ha! Good, that arrogant knight was down. Two of Feyd’s men were dragging the unconscious nobleman to his doom. That would make his job of catching the girl so much easier.  He had a good notion that she would not get herself captured as easily as that knight just did, so his time to catch her himself would be forthcoming.

Oh! Look there, a wounded man was up in the big tree. This man, although weaving unsteadily, was holding himself firm to the tree branch out of Feyd’s reach. Rayne recognized him as the girl’s first protector. He would have happily taken this man out of his misery, if it hadn’t been for more men coming up the hill on horseback. Time it was to leave. Rayne raced his horse away, smug in his knowledge that the man in the tree would be soon dead and the knight wasting away in a dungeon cell. The Huntsman could complete his orders and then he would see to his real task of capturing the girl.

He galloped onward to the the town of Cuilteine. It didn’t take him long to find the contact Feyd had in that town. Feyd’s orders were passed along to the few loyalists there. They would stop anyone who managed to escape the ambush that had happened on the road. Rayne’s orders were not done, yet. Much as he wanted to stay in Cuilteine, he had one more place to ride to; he was to stop at a small estate outside Arx Fedei. This was the furthest out that the loyalists had infiltrated. As a last attempt, they needed to be aware of the game that was afoot. So Rayne had spent the night sleeping in that estates gate house, dreaming of using his pricker and seeing the effects of Maresha on that willful de Mariot runaway.

The sound of horses and men trotting up the main road had woken Rayne up to the first light of the new day. He had looked through the estates bared gates to see twenty or more riders. The banner was black with a green gryphon. Everyone knew the blazon of Corwyn. What in blazes was the Duke of Corwyn doing on the fringes of Meara? Feyd had to be warned.

There would be no passing the riders on the main road. Only one other way would get him to Droghera ahead of those riders and that was the Gwynedd Hidden valley road. Rayne’s mount was quickly saddled and he was off, up that road at a full run.

The huntsman made good time. By noon he was more than half way up the valley. That is when he saw the glints of shine on metal far ahead of him. The cloud cover had dissipated quickly to let the sun illuminate the zenith. Those strange clouds had been an oddity. But Rayne thought little about it. He was just glad he saw that helmed group of riders while he was some ways down the valley from them. It wasn’t hard to surmised that they weren’t loyalist. No they had to be more of those dratted king's men. Hum, think, he had time, if he could stop them, even slow them down, he would be doing his Queen a great favor.

Rayne veered off the road to enter an open barn on one of the larger farmsteads. Up in the vally's side hills, he had seen a man and several boys moving their cattle from one field to another. They would be too busy to notice him. He entered the barn and looked around. All sorts of tools and instruments hung from the walls and rafters. What would be a simple effective trap. With more time he could imagine several ways to take out riders. But what he had to do, he had to be fast and unobtrusively. He looked in a wooden bucket on a high shelf. Hah! That would do!

Still seated on his horse, he stood in the saddle and pulled the heavy bucked down. Cobwebs and dust came way with the bucket. It had not been moved in decades. Balancing the bucket before him on the saddle he examined one of the caltrops. Roughly made, not quiet as glorious as the old Rum war-caltrops with their barred ends. But these would do just as well. They had likely been made during the last Mearan wars. The farmers may have thought to use them to hold the Mearan army's back in the old days. There were at least two dozen of the four-pronged star devices, each metal prong three inches long. 

Rayne carried his toys back out onto the road. The upper edge of this farmer’s land was marked by a hedge three feet high and a gate that could be closed across the road. Rayne leaned over to closed the gate. Then at about three to six feet out, on the east side of the gate, he began to evenly spread out his toys. He knew many horses preferred jumping the wide hedges rather than the taller gate, so he tossed several caltrops into the grasses, both north and south of the gate.  All thirty devices were spread out, all standing with a deadly point upward to catch horses hooves, most were hidden in the grass and the few on the road would not be seen from the upside of the close gate. The huntsman looked about, assuring himself that no one had seen him, and then he galloped back down the valley, past the barn and past the next farmstead, he then ducked into a copse of trees to watch.  He waited about thirty minutes before he saw the riders as they galloped down the road. They most certainly looked to be in too much of a hurry to stop and open that gate. Most soldiers and nobleman would happily challenge themselves to a good jump; the sport of hunting necessitated the polishing of such a skill. Whether they jumped over the gate or the hedges, it mattered not to Rayne. Either way they would land right on top of his scattered little toys.

The hunter smiled with pleasure at the prospect of squealing tumbled horses and thrown injured men.

((Unless something occurs to stop the first two or three pairs of riders in the galloping group, a nobleman who is a good rider and knows how to take jumps rolls a 3d6 to see if they get over the hedge or gate. A soldier or less skilled rider rolls a 2d6 to get over the jump.  If a successful jump is made, a disadvantage 1d6 is rolled, 5 or 6=avoid injury.  2, 3, or 4= horse is lamed up. 1 horse goes down. Then if horse goes down, roll another 1d6  If 5 or 6 =rider is uninjured. 2,3, 4=rider takes one hit point. 1=rider takes 2 hit points because he lands on one of the caltrops. It will take two or three injured horses before the riders behind pull up and not take the jump.))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 01, 2018, 02:34:28 pm

The Gwynedd men were making good time at a good canter now that they were half way down the valley. Duke Kelric would not be too much further ahead, yet so far there was no sign of him. Just ahead there was a closed gate across the road, but that didn’t deter Sir Washburn in the least. If anything it caused the men around him to straighten their riding positions and to tighten their spurs against their horses flanks. Nothing like an invigorating jump.  Wash made a last sweep of the countryside looking for adversaries just as they were coming upon the closed gate.

10:11 Laurna Washburn seeking for adversaries anywhere near 1d6 roll succeed on a 4,5, or 6
10:11 Laurna !roll 1d6
10:11 derynibot 6 == 6
Wash detects an adversary far ahead.

There far ahead, much further than the range of a bow-shot, was an adversary in the distant trees. The group was nearly upon the gate. In the few paces before jumping, Washburn decided the barn ahead would be the best place to pull his group up, and decide then, how best to handle the enemy ahead.

“To the barn!” the knight yelled to everyone, just as Lord Jaxom prepared to jump the gate and the first man-at-arms moved to the hedge to make his jump.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 01, 2018, 06:46:15 pm
Darcy Cameron had to admit to himself that he was enjoying the ride beside Lord Alister.  In spite of the increased vigilance they all felt, it was almost like their initial trip down to Culdi.  Easy camaraderie, no complications.

He spied the closed gate just ahead, and felt a small knot develop in his stomach.  “Lord Alister,” he said.  “They aren’t planning on jumping that, are they?”

Aliset, not realizing her man-at-arms discomfiture, nodded. “It’s not a very high gate, and one could always try the hedgerow instead.”

“I think that will be me then,” Darcy replied.  Aliset looked at him in surprise.  “I’ve been at sea for 12 years,” Darcy said.  “I’ve not been jumping many horses.”

Aliset smiled and nodded.  Darcy guided Sigrun toward the hedge, farther down from where the leading man-at-arms intended to jump.

Dice role for Lord Jaxom, 3d6 for an experienced rider.
Jerusha   !roll 3d6
15:50   derynibot   5, 5, 4 == 14

Lord Jaxom, in the lead, lined up his approach and jumped well clear of the gate.

Dice role for an uninjured landing.
Jaxom : 1d6
Jerusha   !roll 1d6
15:51   derynibot   5 == 5

With a somewhat undignified whoop, Lord Jaxom landed clear and continued onward.

Dice role for the jump of the man-at-arms.
Man-at-arms  2d6
Jerusha   !roll 2d6
15:52   derynibot   1, 1 == 2

With a shriek, the man-at-arm’s horse stopped in front of the hedgerow, pulling to the side and almost dismounting his rider.

Roll for injuries.
Man-at-arms 1d6
Jerusha   !roll 1d6
15:53   derynibot   3 == 3

The horse stopped, refusing to move further, one leg held above the ground.

Darcy had no time to wonder about what had happened.  He had Sigrun in position.  “Easy you go, Pet,” he said to his horse.  “You can do it.”

Dice roll for Darcy’s jump.  2d6, inexperienced rider.

Jerusha   !roll 2d6
15:54   derynibot   5, 2 == 7
 
Sigrun cleared the hedgerow easily.

Darcy roll for a safe landing  1d6
Jerusha   !roll 1d6
15:56   derynibot   1 == 1

 Jubilant at their success, Darcy was unprepared for Sigrun’s unexpected scream. In a moment, exultation shifted to despair as Sigrun fell forward.  Darcy managed to kick himself free at the very last moment.

Roll for injury. Darcy 1d6
Jerusha   !roll 1d6
15:56   derynibot   1 == 1
(Oh good grief!)

Darcy hit the ground hard, his breath completely knocked out of him and experiencing a sharp, deep pain in his thigh.  He did his best to roll with the momentum of the fall, but it didn’t help much.  Gasping, he turned his head and saw Sigrun struggling to her feet.  He felt along the side of his leg and was surprised to feel warm blood. “Sweet Jesu,” he muttered when he saw the caltrop embedded deeply in his thigh, blood seeping around the edges of the wound.

Still not recovered of enough breath to call out, he did his best to tap into his fledgling Deryni powers.

“Stop! Don’t jump! Caltrops!"
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 02, 2018, 04:42:54 am
Lord Jaxom made that jump like an expert houseman, for indeed the nobleman surely was. As for the son of Corwyn, he had done this often enough with several horses of various abilities. None with the competence and vigorous desire as had his current war horse. Given a free reign, Shadow would happily rush the fence and bound upward with a force great enough to jump a six foot fence. Shadow didn’t understand moderation. Washburn had learned to hold his stubborn beast back, to steady him on his hind quarters, and to fit a perfect set of strides into the short distance before the jump. Following Lord Jaxom, Shadow fought for his head, he wanted to run. “Easy, boy,” Wash said soothingly, making the stallion pace himself perfectly to the exact spot where Wash knew his steed would get the best send off to leap over the four foot gate.

Then, suddenly, the horse ahead, carrying the man-at-arms, bulked. Horse and rider crashed into the hedge. The squire riding near Wash didn’t slow. He had hoped to follow close on the man-at-arms heals, over the hedge, but that space was suddenly blocked. Instead the Squire veered, crowding Shadow as both prepared to take the gate together. Trained as a warhorse, Shadow took the crowding with displeasure. He nipped at the squire’s horse, backing the boy off, ruining Washburn’s strategy to take the jump cleanly. Spurring Shadow to pay attention, Washburn nearly missed Master Darcy's brave rush at the hedge with his fine legged mount making a clean long jump. Washburn was impressed. Until he heard the horse squeal on the landing. In the glint of sun just as Shadow was pushing off, Washburn saw one, on the far side of the gate, right where he would have chosen to land.

Nasty iron spikes there on the ground. Holy damnation! “Hold!” Washburn yelled.

((Wash jumping gate 3d6 roll= 2,2,3=7 failed Verification Number: 55ltpp7dkz))

Even as Darcy was falling to the ground, unsure of his companion's condition, the Lendour knight threw all his weight onto his horse's neck, pulling the destrier’s head hard over and breaking the stallion’s center of balance. The stallion reared and screamed, his side chest slamming the gate, his sudden stopped motion launched his rider hard against the wood slats.

((Wash staying on horse after refusal 1d6 roll 4  failed Verification number 3n2mg52b0p))

There was no staying in the saddle, not with Shadow’s hind feet slipping sideways and his front legs sliding across the top of the gate.  For a moment, Wash thought he would be squished between horse and wood. But then the big horse reversed his fall and staggered back a pace. The squire’s horse nearly ran through the gate then, unable to stop or jump. In that instant, all Wash saw was a chestnut in too close a proximity. Then he was grabbing at the smaller horse's bridle and keeping him from the danger on the gate's far side.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on March 02, 2018, 08:52:33 am
((Edited to slightly modify beginning, since I just remembered Darcy had attempted a Mind-Speech warning, and wanted to see if Aliset would pick up on it. 

08:56   Aliset   !roll 2d6
08:56   derynibot   4, 2 == 6))

Stop! Don't jump! Caltrops!

Aliset heard an unexpected voice within her head, but did not know what it meant, and at that moment was too distracted to give it much thought.  Papillon whinnied in confused fear as she lurched to one side to avoid the chaos suddenly springing up before her, nearly throwing Aliset out of her saddle. Aliset scrambled to regain control of her panicked mount, her attention fully on that task for the next few seconds, although once Papillon recovered from her momentary alarm and grew less agitated, Aliset was able to rein her in and take full stock of what was happening.

Sir Washburn had suddenly stopped his horse rather than attempting the leap over the gate, that much had seemed clear to Aliset in that brief moment before all hell had broken loose. What she couldn't tell was why, although now that she surveyed what was happening on the other side of the fence, she thought she saw at least one reason.  Master Darcy appeared to be injured, as did his horse!  How or why, Aliset did not know. Had the horse stumbled on the landing after the jump? Aliset couldn't remember; that would have been right around the time all the confusion began.

Her keen eyes searched the other side of the fence, trying to spot whatever it was that Sir Washburn saw that had caused him to halt suddenly rather than attempt the jump. Had it been a viper, perhaps, or maybe a peasant's scythe left out in the grass rather than carefully put away?  Even as she had the thought, she knew how unlikely that was.

((08:42   Aliset   !roll 2d6
08:42   derynibot   5, 5 == 10 ))

There!  She did not know what it was, but it looked nasty and altogether unnatural. Most likely a weapon of some sort.  Were there more of them out there? Had they been scattered deliberately to injure and lame unwary riders?  And for what purpose?

Aliset shuddered as she drew alongside Father Columcil, who had also managed to halt his own Spean mere moments before following headlong into the fray.  Dismounting, she pointed out the spiky object to him.  "Master Darcy appears injured, but it might be best if we approach him slowly. There might be more of those things in the grass beyond the fence.  Maybe we should use your staff to part the grass for a better view of where we're stepping." 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 02, 2018, 10:39:55 am
Rayne Lanackie almost cheered at the mayhem his toys had caused at the gate down the road, but he decided it was best not to make his presence known.  Not that anyone would have heard him above the noise of the squealing horses and general shouts of the men.  The lead man had jumped clean; the first to try the hedgerow failed and now had an injured horse.  The other man to try the hedgerow had jumped clean, but horse and rider had fallen immediately after.  The horse struggled to its feet; the man took a bit longer to rise and limped over to comfort his horse.  Rayne looked more closely at the man.  Had he seen him before?  He shielded his eyes from the sun with one hand and strained to get a better look.

Does Rayne recognize the man he had seen in the tree at Droghera.
Jerusha   !roll 1d6
16:05   derynibot   4 == 4
(Failure is not always a bad thing.)

Rayne dropped his hand and shook his head.  No, he had not seen the man before.

No matter.  He watched as the mass of men and horses tried to disentangle themselves at the gate.  He was in no hurry to leave; it would take them a while to resume their journey, and they would be travelling much slower.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 02, 2018, 11:50:33 am
All was chaos at the gate as Columcil pulled Spean to a halt. Riding somewhat behind the others he had been irritated by the speed at which they approached the barrier in front of them. Blessed Mary Mother they were not in that much of a hurry! Had it not occurred to their Lordships to untie the gate and go through like sensible folk? As Lord Jaxom sailed gracefully over the barrier, horse and rider making an elegant arc, he had had his answer. Of course not. Untying gates was for lesser folk who could only gawp as their betters showed off their horsemanship. Angrily Columcil shook his head as if to dislodge his thoughts - he had better get this growing dislike of the gentry out of his head before they met up with some real nobility or he was like to find himself in trouble. Maybe it was just Lord Jaxom that got under his skin, he had respect enough for Lord Washburn and Lady Aliset. But the sooner he could fulfil his own mission on behalf of St Melangell and return home the better.

Muttering under his breath to himself Columcil saw a man-at-arms fail to jump the hedge for no reason that he could see but a stab of pain from no-where made him wince. Then Darcy went forward and he was over, but Sigrun had fallen! The pain this time was blinding ((2bxfgf7bgf 4+5+2 =11 rolling advantage to sense Sigrun's pain)), even before Sigrun screamed. Ack, the poor brave beast. His previous bad mood was swallowed up in real rage, a rage only intensified as a faint voice said something in his head about caltrops. He slipped his feet out of his stirrups and hastily dismounted, aware that Aliset was saying something to him but too angry to listen properly.

Turning to her he said tersely, "It's caltrops, some b***," he bit off the epiphet with difficulty, "has seeded the ground around yon hedge." Someone needed to do something to stop any more riders going over but they were not going to take notice of him. They would of Lord Washburn though. Pushing his way heedlessly through the horses and riders milling about in front of the gate, Columcil reached through to Washburn who was trying to calm both his own Shadow and a squire's horse. 

"Leave the beasts ta me, My Lord, and do summat wi these fools!" As he spoke Columcil had taken the reins Washburn was holding out of his hand, slipped them along his arm, and had a hand on each horse's muzzle speaking words of comfort and sending calm into their thoughts. "Cum on na, ma bonnie lads. Nae need ta fret." Washburn straightened at Columcil's calm assumption that he was the one to take charge and called out in a commanding voice for all to dismount and hold their horses still. Both horses and riders were keyed up by the speed at which they had been travelling and the shock of their sudden halt but in a short time Washburn's authority had re-established order.

The squire whose horse's reins Columcil was holding had with a sheepish expression regained control of his mount and when Washburn returned it was to find Columcil with his arm around Shadow's neck and the stallion nuzzling into the neck of the priest's robes. "I'll thank you, Father, to stop making love to my horse before he forgets he's a fierce war horse!" Washburn spoke sternly but his grin belied his words and Columcil grinned back. Aye, the lad would do, would do very well indeed.

"Aye, he looks better in his own shape." Then, serious again, he added "Well done there, My Lord. We'd best be seeing what we can do for the poor beasts over yonder. Sigrun's pain is like a knife in ma head." He hesitated for a moment, wondering if he was about to be overly presumptious then decided that this was no time to be worrying about such things. "By your leave, My Lord, I'll tether Shadow's reins next to Spean, I could do with your help with the wounded. You've healer's blood in you right enough." He could not restrain the thought And I should know, since it's mine too, but it most certainly was not the time for that comment.

((All four following dice throws have validation 63xnqpl4nm)). 

Columcil and Washburn went to the gate. Columcil was unsurprised to find that the latch was long gone but he had hoped that the replacement rope could be easily lifted over the post. To his frustration it was tied in a succession of matted knots. Muttering about poor husbandry he tentatively tried to extend his powers to prize the knots apart but Sigrun's pain was like a burning brand in his head ((1+3=4)) and he could not focus. To his relief Washburn had his sword out and with deft strokes cut through the recalitrant strands and lent a willing shoulder to help Columcil lift the sagging gate far enough out of the mud for the two of them to squeeze through.

Columcil wanted to run to Sigrun but the beast was already afrighted enough. Instead he walked slowly, his hand out and said quietly to Darcy, "Hold her still, if you can. I wilna hurt her." He did not know whether Sigrun knew that he had healed her before but she allowed him to lift her leg and bend over her hoof. The caltrop was still there, one of its upturned points embedded into the soft frog of her hoof. "Sweet Jesus!" he swore, not caring if anyone heard him, "these bloody things are evil. Hush now, ma lassie, we'll ha it oot."  He firmly grasped the wicked thing and gently pulled it out, giving it to Washburn who at Columcil's nod put it into his belt pouch. "Follow me if you will my Lord."  ((roll for rapport with Washburn 6+6 =12)). Columcil felt Washburn's mind join with his in a close rapport, evidence perhaps of all that bound them, then he forgot all else, running his hand down Sigrun's foreleg and cupping her hoof in his hand. As he felt the healing energies he could feel Sigrun relax and coming out of his healing trance he saw that all trace of the cut, and the bruising that had surrounded it had gone. ((roll to heal Sigrun 5+1 =6)).

"Bless you lad. It'll no be long before ye're doing this yersen." Columcil spoke almost absently to Washburn, there was still pain in his head, for another beast had been injured, though not one as well known to him as Sigrun. Still he must see if had the energy to heal again, this time without Washburn who was talking earnestly to Darcy. Walking back through the gate, ((as I read it the man-at-arms didn't actually jump the hedge)) he found the man-at-arms whose horse had refused the jump bending anxiously over his mount's foot. The horse having baulked at the jump and therefore not landed so heavily, this time the caltrop had not inbedded itself and Columcil found that he could slip easily enough into trance and guide the blood around the injury to bring healing. ((6+3=9)). The man-at-arms looked a little startled but grateful and managed a few words of thanks before taking refuge from the unknown by burying his face in his horse's mane to comfort them both.

Taking a deep breath Columcil began to turn towards where Spean and Shadow were grazing peacefully, but glanced towards where he had left Washburn and Darcy on the other side of the hedge. As though he felt his glance Washburn began beckoning urgently, and Columcil noticed for the first time that he was supporting Darcy. What a fool he was, he had been so taken up with Sigrun's pain that he had never thought to ask if Darcy was injured.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 02, 2018, 03:14:50 pm
There was a rush Wash felt as Sigrun’s hoof was healed clean. The good father’s Healing abilities were keen; he had knowledge of how animals sensed pain and how their body's healed. Even without his Deryni talents, Wash was certain Father Columcil would have made an excellent animal physician. In their Rapport, Wash could sense Columcil’s true compassion for easing the injured horse’s pain. Perhaps that was half the key to bringing forth the Healer’s ability within himself. ((1d6  rolled 1 Verification Number: 7hzmdt79vl)) yet he still could not find it. He failed miserably to help Collumcil heal the horse hoof. Somewhere, deep within himself he knew the ability was there. Columcil showed him that, yes, it was there. Both men suddenly knew it. But how to tap into it.

The priest could feel the second animal’s pain from even this far away. Having successfully Healed one horse, he quickly moved on to the second injury one.

Washburn straightened as he placed Sigrun’s good foot upon the ground and rubbed his hand down the knee feeling the past tension of the animal release and go away. Yet, there was still pain in his mind from somewhere. Instinctively, Wash looked up at Master Darcy. The man was standing against his horse's flank, his face as pale as a ghost, his eyes shut tight. Darcy was braving that which he could barely take, with short intakes of breath. Wash looked down to see the seaman’s hand pressing his thigh, blood oozing down the leg, a beastly device of Iron puncuted breaches and skin.

“Holy...No you don’t…” Wash gasped, grabbing Darcy’s shoulder as he felt the man grow weaker and start to black out. Wash tried to encompass Darcy’s mind and send him energy, but even in his weaken state those shields of his were strong.  ((1d6 rolled 1 Verification Number: 4ln7skq57z)) ((Darn, he best leave off, afore he turns Darcy into a toad.))

Wash had to give that up and go straight to the wound. Darcy had one firm grip on the saddle, which was all that was keeping him standing. Apparently at sea, a death grip on a rope might be all that could keep a man from being washed overboard in heavy seas. Darcy had that grip now.

Washburn ran his hand over the device. Angrily he pulled it out. Blood ran over his fingers, Damn! Columcil was too far away. “Saint Camber, help him!”

Calm down, center, find the key. Darcy needed him. He liked this man, too much so to let this wound take him down.  Washburn pulled forth his medallion; found his true focus. Center... Caring... Compassion.. Love of life. Those were the key.

((12:12 Wash-laurna !roll 1d6
12:12 derynibot 6 == 6))

A hand, eitheral in form, not really there, yet an embodiment of compassion covered Washburn’s hand. Without really knowing why, the knight pushed his index finger deep into the wound. He thought to squelch the flow of blood. What he felt from himself through the hand over his, was so much more. The blood vessels were made whole, the muscles knotted together, slowly as he withdrew from the wound tissues were repaired... and…. Healed… “Gades!”

“Bless you Camber!” Washburn said as he opened his hand over the leg. He knew the saint had come and had gone, leaving his blessed touch behind.

((edited for hit points healed.
1d6 rolled 5 Verification Number: 2v5zr5r5gc))  good! 3 hit points total healled
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on March 02, 2018, 04:01:33 pm
As Father Columcil headed forward to speak to Sir Washburn, then to tend to Healing the injured horses, her words to him apparently having fallen on deaf ears, she shook her head in disbelief.  Horses? thought Aliset. What about the injured MAN lying there!  MEN!!!  Heavens above, she would never understand the lot of them!  This was why God created women--not as an afterthought, but because He'd realized the world needed more sensible creatures than this flighty lot to serve as stewards of His creation!

Well, at least since she'd managed to avoid injury herself, and had no Healing gifts to offer, and at any rate Sir Washburn and Father Columcil seemed to be getting that end of things well enough in hand now--Aliset breathed a sigh of relief as finally someone had taken note of Master Darcy's predicament without her having to rush blindly across a field of spiky metal things to his aid!--so she decided to turn her irritated attentions to helping out in some other useful way.  Ridding their path of those accursed hazards might be one way. What had that voice in her mind called them? Caltrops?

Walking cautiously through the gate, she picked up a twig and began parting the long grass with it, peering carefully at the ground before her before placing each step forward, searching for the metal objects in question to remove them from their path. As she found each one, she carefully set it to one side, the caltrops forming a small spiky pile next to the fence.  Perhaps they should take them with them once everyone was Healed and they left this place to continue their journey towards Rhemuth.  They might come in useful against their pursuers, after all, loath though Aliset was to injure anyone's horse, no matter how foul its rider. 

As she searched, she pondered that mental warning.  Who had sent it? It didn't 'sound' like Sir Washburn's mental voice. Had that been Master Darcy's? Yes, it had to have been, unlikely as that seemed.  Having learned he was Deryni, it made sense that he might have tried to reach out with his fledgling powers at a moment of crisis.  Aliset smiled, feeling proud of him for having attempted to call out a warning to them, and even more so that he'd succeeded in his attempt, however belated it might have been.  She glanced in his direction. It appeared he'd been successfully Healed after all.  Looking at his bloodstained clothing, Aliset suppressed a sigh. More tattered laundry.  It would be a wonder at this rate if they didn't all turn up before King Kelson looking like beggars!  She would see if she could find a packet of needles and some thread the next time they found themselves someplace civilized. Perhaps there'd be supplies of that sort at Arx Fidei. 

Assuming they managed to meet up with His Grace of Corwyn and made it alive to Arx Fidei, of course.  These caltrops had not grown in this field on their own.  With a frown, Aliset looked around at the surrounding countryside, casting out with her senses for any signs of the enemy close at hand, watching them.

((15:54   Aliset   !roll 2d6
15:54   derynibot   5, 5 == 10 ))

There!  As she looked in the direction of a wooded area just at the edge of the grasslands, she thought she spotted some movement, then was sure of it as the light caught a reflection off something hidden in the trees and brush.  Quickly, she looked around for the nearest armed warrior.  Spotting Lord Jaxom close by her, she discreetly pointed him towards the motion and murmured, "We are being watched."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: judywward on March 02, 2018, 06:06:45 pm
((You are all doing so well! I'm so glad to have some new pieces to read. You are all so talented!!!))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 02, 2018, 06:40:52 pm
“You can let go now.”

Darcy Cameron opened his eyes to see Sir Washburn smiling at him.  The intense pain in his leg had gone.  Muscles that had started to stiffen from bruising relaxed.  Tentatively, Darcy released his death grip from his saddle.  There was no dizziness; his legs, both of them, stood firm.

“You did this?” Darcy asked quietly. 

“Aye,” Washburn said, gripping Darcy’s shoulder in quick reassurance.  “Thank you.  You showed me I could Heal.”

“You are thanking me?”  Darcy asked incredulously.  “Sweet Jesu man, you saved my life.  I owe you much.”

“Perhaps we owe each other,” the Lendour knight responded, still on a bit of a Healing high.  But he sobered quickly.  Healing was not a gift to be flaunted, and he was not a man to boast of such a blessing.  “We need to regroup and move on.”

“Aye,” Darcy said simply.  Sigrun’s head nudged his shoulder as if to make sure he was well.  “Come, my pet.  This journey is not done.”  After a quick caress of his horse’s head, he followed Sir Washburn back to the group.

In their absence, Aliset had gathered a disturbingly large pile of caltrops.  Darcy winced at the sight.  Now she was motioning to Lord Jaxom, pointing at something in the trees farther down the road.

Aliset turned as they approached.  “There is someone watching us from that direction,” she said. 

“Lord Jaxom could take a couple of men and flush whoever it is out,” Darcy suggested.  “I could go with them,” he continued hopefully.  He had a score to settle.

“Nay,” Washburn said.  “Whoever it is, he is too far ahead of us.  We’ll ride out, but watch to see if he moves on.  When we are close enough, Lord Jaxom, have two of your men ready to ride out fast and hard. If we can catch him, I want to know what this was about.”

Lord Jaxom nodded his agreement; Washburn’s plan made sense. Darcy turned to Lord Alister.

“My Lord,” he said.  “You are unhurt?  No injuries?  Papillion is well? ”

Lord Alister smiled at him.  “Yes, Master Darcy.  No worries here.”

Darcy hoped he disguised his relief.  God help anyone who hurt Lady Aliset.  Or tried. They would find him a very determined protector.

(Edited last sentence when I realized it could be read that Darcy would not protect her.  Eek!)
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 03, 2018, 02:09:02 pm
Columcil watched his three companions but made no attempt to join them. Let Sir Washburn enjoy the elation of his first healing and the knowledge that the healing blood of his father ran true in him. He would have to find a time  to apologise to Darcy, though for the young Lord's sake he was glad that he had not been there to share in the seaman's healing, but not while the feminine irritation of Lady Aliset was looking daggers at him out of Lord Alister's eyes. He had seen that look too often in the eyes of his own housekeeper not to recognise it for what it was.

It was true that he had forgotten Darcy, and he would need to make reparation for that, but he would have defied anyone to think of anything but Sigrun, the way the puir wee beastie's scream had been burning in his mind. And truth be told had he remembered Darcy, who after all though he had been in pain had hardly been in mortal danger, he might still have chosen to put the horses first. His love and care for animals came he supposed from having St Melangell as his patroness who had outfaced the Prince of Meara himself, so they said, and protected the hare that he was hunting under her skirts. Given the valley for her own, all living things had come under her protection, and though she was gone these many centuries still the folk of her valley, that was now his parish, looked more kindly on living things than was commonplace. Or perhaps, he wondered for the first time, it was the other way round and his affinity with animals was part of his father's Deryni heritage and that was what had drawn him to the service of St Melangell. Ah well, best leave well alone, he had managed well enough without asking such questions.

 

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 03, 2018, 03:18:50 pm
 ((Revanne's references to Saint Melangell church and valley and the similar setting to which our characters are traveling through.))
http://www.st-melangell.org.uk/English/Church/stmelangellchurch.htm. (http://www.st-melangell.org.uk/English/Church/stmelangellchurch.htm.)

(http://snowdoniavans.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/PennantMelangell.jpg)



(http://www.st-melangell.org.uk/images/stmelangell.jpg)

((Valley from St Melangell near Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant which is just a little North west of Shewsbury))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Demercia on March 03, 2018, 03:24:07 pm
(( It's a beautiful peaceful place, but despite the link definitely not English.  Welsh😀  ))

Double parentheses added by DesertRose
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 03, 2018, 03:28:21 pm
(( Thank you for posting the pics, Laurna. It is a beautiful spot which I have visited several times and entirely devoid of lurking assasins with crossbows or caltrops. ))

Double parentheses added by DesertRose
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: DerynifanK on March 03, 2018, 04:42:06 pm
(( A beautiful  place, can see why Columcil  loves it. Near Shrewsbury  which is in Shopshire near the Welsh border, home of Brother Cadfael.))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 03, 2018, 06:37:58 pm
Darcy Cameron nodded to Father Columcil as the priest approached. He was getting ready to mount up and continue the journey to Arx Fedei. 

“Master Darcy,” Father Columcil began, “If I might have a word.”

Of course, Father,” Darcy replied.  “But first I must thank you for healing Sigrun.  She was sore distressed; I am grateful you were able to help her.”

“I should have looked to your injury first,” Columcil said, beginning what he thought would be an apology.

“Good heavens, no!”  Darcy replied.  “I was in pain, ‘tis true, but my Sigrun needed help first.  She may not be the grand noble steed Sir Washburn rides, but she’s a good, steady horse.  She’s the first I’ve ever owned, except for a pony by the same name long ago.  I quite fancy her.  And she puts up with me.”

Sigrun turned her head toward the priest and nudged his shoulder.  Columcil stroked her soft muzzle.

“She knows a friend, Father,” Darcy said with a smile.  “We both thank you.”

Columcil watched as Master Darcy mounted his horse, no trace of previous injury or stiffness marring the smooth ascent.

“God go with you, Master Darcy,” Columcil said. 

“Thank you, Father,” Darcy replied and guided Sigrun to take their place beside Lord Alister.

Father Columcil gazed after them a moment longer and then turned to retrieve Spean.  Sometimes it was best to accept what was and put aside guilt that was not needed.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 07, 2018, 04:14:23 pm
“What devil’s magic is this?” Rayne cursed. The riders who had stumbled into his trap were preparing to ride out.  They had milled around for a while, in small groups; some even searching the grasses for the Caltrops. A couple horses and a man had even looked injured. But even that horse and rider, with the greatest injury, were among the rest preparing to move out. How could that be? He had witnessed the calamity of that horse landing on his toys and seen the rider all bent over in pain. Yet… there they were... whole and riding out. The devil indeed took care of his minions by giving them the impossible ability to Heal. Healing was just a wives- tale, so he believed; was there really such a thing? Would God stand by and let these demon spawn steal his gifts? Apparently so, because they were coming this way.

Suddenly, Rayne knew he had to move out. He daren’t get caught, he would not be able to complete his mission and see his master happy; nor help his Queen if he were caught.  Rayne turned his horse into the woods and up the hill. There was no going up the valley until he had escaped these devils. He would have to stay ahead of them and go back down the valley while staying in the woodlands. He was hoping he could find a path over the hill into the next valley. All he needed was a deer trail. His mountain pony could handle any terrain. He was a true hunter after all. He just didn't like the thought of the hunter becoming the Hunted. Perhaps he could devise a quick trap or two to dissuade pursuit.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 08, 2018, 08:55:00 am
Darcy Cameron scanned the valley before them for what must have been the hundredth time.  At least it seemed that way.  They had lost almost an hour back at the gate, and Sir Washburn had them riding at a brisk pace.  The Lendour knight wanted to meet up with the Duke of Corwyn before nightfall, and Darcy was in total agreement.

The tension within the group was almost palpable.  Darcy began to feel a dull ache across his shoulders; he ignored is as best he could.

“Master Darcy,” Lady Aliset in her Lord Alister voice, loud enough to be heard above the jangling harness and the horses.  She had been scanning ahead with her Deryni senses but had not detected anyone directly in their path.

“My Lord?” Darcy replied, diverting his eyes from the path ahead of them to look across at the man riding beside him.

“Do you think we will run into more trouble?”  Aliset asked as she attempted to ease the tension in her own back.

“I have no idea,” Darcy said after a moment.  “I feel we must be ready for anything.  I certainly didn’t expect to find caltrops strewn around a country gate!  In fact,” he continued, pointing forward,  “for all we know there may be a herd of killer coneys hiding in the bushes just ahead, ready to dash out and trip us!”

Aliset’s sudden laugh caused Sir Washburn to turn and look back at her.

“Master Darcy is suspicious of killer coneys ahead,” Aliset said after catching her breath.  Washburn gave Darcy a stern look.

“Aye, it could be,” Darcy said and grinned.  “But look at it this way.  After we defeat the demon foe we can roast them for dinner!”

Aliset laughed again, Washburn rolled his eyes heavenward, and the squire riding beside him chuckled.

“Quiet up there, Master Darcy,” called Father Columcil.  “You are making me hungry.”

Sir Washburn shook his head and refocused on the way ahead.  Had Darcy allowed himself to seem ridiculous to ease the strain for just a bit?  He wouldn’t put it past him.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 08, 2018, 03:04:44 pm
“It’s a wonder the Norse folk ever come out of their homes; what with folk tales of Trolls under every bridge and mountain cave, and these ‘killer coneys’ hiding in the bushes, a herd of them no less.” The knight tried to suppress a smile, but failed. He looked out over the bare fields to the right. He could swear he could see a few of those long eared hares near a hedge row. Fat ones by the look of them.

Wash turned his focus to see if he could call one closser.
((12:39 LaurnaWash calling out a rabbit.
12:39 Laurna !roll 1d6
12:39 derynibot 1 == 1))

Quite the opposite. The hare jumped back, making a dash for the hedge like a fox was on its tail. The knight had to laugh. He would have to leave beast-calling and the like for Father Columcil. That talent he had just discovered was enough for him to learn. Again he tried to suppress the elation of making a  successful Healing. That was a wonder from the heavens indeed.  Shadow whinnied, seeming to agree with Washburn’s thoughts.  Wash patted the big black’s neck. “Good Shadow,  and don’t you fret those killer coneys won’t be tripping you up, I assure you.”

Washburn turned his focus back to the trees ahead of them to the left.

((Roll 1d6 success on 4,5,or 6  rolled 4 Verification Number: 1b9qtz5zlg))

Sure enough they're adversary was still ahead moving at a good pace. Wash wanted to catch that man. He didn’t want to pass him up or have him double back on them. But he also didn’t want to send Jaxom’s men into the tree cover prematurely. No knowing what tricks this fellow had in mind. So their group stayed on the main road keeping tabs on the man in the trees ahead of them. Master Darcy may have thought they were moving quickly, but truth was they were going at a nice steady pace. One that allowed for a constant surveillance, yet one that did not allow the man in the trees to get too far ahead of them.

The talk of rabbit for lunch made the knight swallow, he was hungry too. Catch this man up and then they could hunt for a yummy coney to roast.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 08, 2018, 04:26:44 pm
Father Columcil caught the direction of Washburn's glance and it did not need Deryni powers to work out what the knight was contemplating doing. An empty stomach, the meagre travel rations in their packs, and the prospect of austere Friday fare should they reach Arx Fidei before nightfall, gave enough of a clue. The imagined smell of roasting meat tantalised his nostrils and for a moment he considered giving Washburn a nudge in the right direction. He had no idea whether his companion could call beasts, he knew that he could.

"Lead us not into temptation", he muttered under his breath. These were not the "killer coneys" of Darcy's lurid imagination, nor even the wild coneys of the fields and warrens that saved many a poor family in a hard winter. No, these were St Melangell's sacred hares, and as such best left alone. They were not out of danger yet, nor like to be even once they had met up with his Grace of Corwyn; if the ferocity and ingenuity of the foes they had met were any indication then there was far more at stake than the fate of one heiress. They could not afford to offend any Saint whose aid they might need, still less one to whose service he was sworn. ((Rolling to see whether Columcil acts- 123, Wash fails by himself, 456, Columcil warns the hares away. 6!! 7924gr7qlf))

With a mental "Begging your pardon, my Lord,", a thought that he was careful to keep well shielded, he waited until he saw Washburn's focus sharpen, then sent a flash of warning out to the nearest hare. With a jump it moved back into the hedge as though the fox that Columcil had pictured was indeed on its tail.

Washburn laughed, and bent to pat Shadow's neck. Columcil hoped that his lordship would be as tolerant if he ever brought himself to make confession of his interference.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 09, 2018, 02:59:47 pm
The forest ahead was thinning, and that spelt doom for Rayne. Without the trees, he would be seen, and then his pursuers would surely chase him down.  He would double back if he could, but these men seemed to know exactly what pace he kept. They stayed just enough behind him that if he turned, they would have time to run up into the tree-line and catch him. He even tested the theory once by slowing. They seemed to slow too. He felt like he was being herded forward. Why?

Just ahead in an open space there was a small church with a short square tower and a bell perched atop it. He climbed higher in the hillside trees to keep out of the clearing. That is when he saw the glint of metal in the afternoon sun. The were still a little off, far down the valley road. Yet sure enough, he sharp eyes spied a small army of riders. “Curse me!” He groaned, was that the black and green pinion he had seen at the break of morning down by Arx Fidei. Why are they on this road? One guess. The huntsman thought as he looked back over his shoulder at the the riders on the same road, just up the valley behind him. If ever he needed to get out of this valley and over the hill to the next one, it was now!

With the church building below him, he finally found what he was looking for. A walking path that went from the church yard, and headed north up into the trees and north over the hill. This was his escape. If he was to make it, he had better slow his pursuers down. He had formulated two ideas, he had just been waiting for a chance to use them.

He carried two iron beast traps; he pulled them from his bags before he jumped to the ground. He found a good spot to lay them just inside the tree line where the wind had swept the debris to cover the path. Opening the round jaws with their sharp pointy teeth, the hunter set each one on the diagonal across the path about three strides from each other. He didn’t bother spiking the chains into the ground. He wasn’t coming back for meat. He just didn’t want to be pursued any longer. Grabbing an arm full of debris, he strune the leaves across the traps and all across the path. Hiding his work.  Then, if that wasn’t enough, about fifty feet up the path he set a trip line a few inches off the ground, tying each end securely to a tree. He was running out of time. The riders were coming up to the church.

Quickly mounting, Rayne, trotted his pony up the steep incline of the path.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 10, 2018, 03:46:01 am

((again keeping track of the adversary  success on 4,5,6  rolled 2 Verification Number: 5jbv387j1j))

Unlike the several times before, the Deryni knight cast forth his ability to keep track of the man they were chasing and just how far ahead of them he had gone. This time, Wash could sense him not. Wash looked around with his eyes. He could not see any motion ahead of them. Where did the man go?

((seeking the adversary, Rolled 1 Verification Number: 3mpxnl5m8t))

Wash rubbed an eye, trying to refocus. I am so hungry, I am losing my focus? he considered the notion for a moment. No, he couldn’t sense the man ahead, because he no longer was ahead. But where?

The Rhemuth bound rider’s cantered along the valley road as it curved around a gathering of trees. On the far side, a long wood fence separated the open field from the road. What at first looked to be odd shaped gray colored sheep, turned out to be several rough cut standing stones, many with the cross engraved on the flat side. Here was the valley residence graveyard. Up the hill a pace was a low church built from the same grey stones as the grave markers.

“Whoa!” Wash called to the men before him, signaling the men behind with a held up hand. “Lets halt for a moment.” He brought Shadow down to a walk and then pulled a little more firmly on the reigns. All the other horses were happy to take a break, Not Shadow. The black pranced in agitation for a second before settling to a stop.  Master Darcy and Lord Aliset came up level with Washburn. Jaxom turned his horse to the side. Half looking at the knight while still keeping a wary eye on the road.

“What is it? not more of those evil iron stars?” Darcy asked. The tension in his shoulders was keen, an hour was not enough time to forget the pain of falling, literally, into the trap set for them before. He didn’t even want to contemplate more trouble, yet he was sure it was there. As they all were.

“I sense a change, but can not make it out.” Wash said. “Alister can you find our man? I’ll not run us into more trouble if we can avoid it.” Wash didn’t have to ask twice as the heir of Mariot was already meditating on her ring and seeking the creator of the caltrops trap.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 10, 2018, 10:00:18 am
Columcil was glad to see Darcy included in the leaders' deliberations and even more glad that he was not. The life of a country priest had not prepared him for decisions about strategy and his own leadership, though confidently exercised, was of a different realm. He was content enough to remain in the background and pick up the pieces, though he would have been even more content if there were no pieces to pick up. Somehow he doubted that would be the case.

He patted Spean's neck in appreciation of the pony's courage and stamina and cast a wary eye at Shadow's impatient prancing. "Aye, we're best off knowing our place, you and me, eh Spean." But that did not mean that he did not have skills that he could offer in addition to his healing; most of his life had been spent finding his way outdoors, with a freedom that he could daresay that their lordships would have envied. He slid off Spean's back and loosely looped the reins over the saddle bow. Spean was uninterested; he was going nowhere beyond the low growing blaeberry bushes with their succulent leaves to the side of the road.

Walking up to the leaders, he bowed respect and asked, "Wi' your permission, my lords, I'll just tek a canny look around yonder." Washburn nodded, his mind still on Aliset, but added, "Don't go out of bowshot range though, we don't know yet where our friend with the caltrops has gone"

Columcil bowed acquiescence and carefully sweeping the ground in front of him with his staff he moved forwards alongside the path, as he did so he allowed his senses, both human and Deryni, to likewise sweep across his surroundings. Suddenly he recoiled. A sense of something wrong, something hidden, something put there with evil intent assailed him ((rolling for Columcil to sense danger 6+5 =11 3w58pddw45)). His hand went automatically to the cross around his neck "deliver us, Lord from all evil!" and he tightened his focus. It was there ahead of them on the path. Suddenly he saw it, about fifty yards further on. A rope tied across the path, just a few inches above the ground. He shuddered at the thought of Shadow, cantering proudly out in front, tangling his legs in that and being brought down. He heard in his imagination the splintering of bone and the mental scream of pain which would go through him, and he made no doubt Sir Washburn, like red-hot metal.

Forgetting all else he turned to go and stumbled in his haste, his staff slipping on the piled leaves. ((Columcil avoids the mantraps, same validation as above, 2+1 =3!! I hope Wash can remember how to heal)) Fearful of loosing his balance he took three falling steps to the side before managing to jerk himself upright and put his foot firmly down. For a moment he did not know whether the pain belonged to him or someone else, then as the fiery agony took hold he could be in no doubt. Shards of white hot pain were shooting through his right ankle; he tried to lift it and could not. Looking down he saw that he was caught in that most evil of things, a man trap, the cruel metal teeth biting through his ankle and blood beginning to spurt from the wounds. Loosing his balance entirely he toppled over, the intensification of pain made everything around him begin to pulse with a pale bright light. Just before he passed out he was aware of his shoulder hitting something hard.

((I do love my character really.))



Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on March 10, 2018, 12:50:18 pm
((Evie snickers a bit at the reference to "Lord Aliset" above. I imagine it's pretty hard for our poor guys to keep track of whether "Alister"/Aliset is a lord or a lady at any given moment!

OK, dice rolls.  Soooooo close on both, but sadly Mibbit declines to cooperate with me today:

<Aliset> !roll 2d6
<derynibot> 4, 2 == 6
<Aliset> !roll 2d6
<derynibot> 2, 4 == 6 ))

Aliset looked up from her scrying with a frown.  "I can't tell for sure where our enemy has gone, Sir Washburn.  I think...northish?  But I couldn't say exactly where with any certainty.  I'm sorry.  The best I can suggest is that we continue in our present direction, as he seems to be heading away from it. I think he's trying to escape us for once, instead of the other way around."

She extended her senses outward, still wary, her instincts not trusting that their foe would be giving up his harassment of them so abruptly without any more of a fight. Why would he do so? Surely not just because he was out of caltrops?  Or perhaps he was retreating to safety because he knew himself to be outnumbered--or at least Aliset hoped that was the reason!--but would he have simply left, or would he have left some other traps behind to hinder their progress?  Unfortunately she could not tell.  She could sense something of his evil intent, but that was hardly helpful; it wasn't as if she hadn't known of that already!

What she could easily sense, however, was a burst of white-hot pain emanating out from a familiar presence just at that moment.  Breaking out of her trance, she searched around her wildly for the source of it, finally spotting him lying in a pile of leaves.  "Father Columcil!"  She began to run towards him.

((<Aliset> !roll 2d6
<derynibot> 5, 3 == 8   Finally!))

As she ran, a reflected glint of light peeking through a similar pile of leaves caught her eye, causing her to stop abruptly.  She extended her senses in that direction, recoiling at what she discovered.  Whirling, she threw up a hand in a halting gesture towards Wash and Darcy, who had started to follow her. "Hold!" she yelled.  "There's a trap of some sort in those leaves!  And I fear Father Columcil must have fallen prey to another."  Picking up a sturdy branch, she proceeded towards the priest with increased caution, prodding the ground in front of her as she went to ensure she was not walking into a trap herself.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 10, 2018, 03:58:08 pm
Wash was concentrating with Lord Alister, could she find their missing adversary. She was having as little success as he was. Absently Wash looked up. Where had Columcil gone? He thought he left strict orders to stay in line-of-sight and not go wandering off. Yes, it was lovely country churchyard, but did the man really have to go visiting just now?

((Rolling for find Columcil  1d6  rolled 3 failed. Verification Number: 5z8nt78mvf))

Washburn cast outward. The priest was usually well shielded but surely he should be able to find him. There was a faint snapping sound, a sound which triggered Washburn’s alertness, he turned quickly from the church building to look out over the headstones toward the trees.

“Father Columcil!” he called out. Even as Washburn cast outward, he saw Alister’s shoulders tense. Then the young lord was running, jumping over the low graveyard border fence, and charging passed gravestones heading toward the tree-line.

((10:50 Washburn !roll 1d6
success on 4, 5, or 6
10:50 derynibot 4 == 4))

Washburn’s mind wrenched at the nauseating pain. Columcil’s agony was so acute, Wash stumbled forward as he started to follow Lord Alister. Darcy was there with a quick hand under his elbow, allowing the knight to catch his footing. Together the two men leeped the  low fence poles and raced after Alister, followed her through the long grasses and around a few tall headstones.

Damn! There just under the shade of the trees was a blood soaked foot, partially covered over by a priest’s habit. The man the foot belong to was arched back his eyes wide his breathing haggard. Beneath the hem of the wool was an metal device, a device of the most evil trappings.

Darcy and Wash both rushed forward together. Only to be stopped by Alister’s sharp yell of “HOLD!” She picked up a branch and prodded the ground. SNAPE. A second beastly leg trap released, biting the stick with a daunting force. Hatefully, Lord Alister tossed the branch to the  ground.

The caring heart of Lady Aliset had her dropping in the form of Lord Alister, to his knees alongside Father Columcil’s shoulders. She had her hands over his eyes attempting to ease his pain.

((13:03 Washburn need a roll for Aliset 2d6
13:04 Washburn !roll 2d6
13:04 derynibot 3, 2 == 5 ))

She did her best to ease the pain, but it was so sharp, it seemed impossible to erase the pain completely. Washburn gave a quick prayer that he would be able to help with that in just a moment. But first there was this mettle monstrosity that had to be opened. He knelt at the fore of the foot and pointed Darcy to go to the back. Both men nodded to one another, knowing they had to open the jaws together to free the wounded leg. “On three!” Wash called. Placing a hand over each jaw of the bloody iron. Darcy did the same on his side. “One… two… three…” with force the two men spread the jaws wide. The pin to hold it open was on a small chain and Darcy was the one to slip the pin into the evil device. With careful manipulations they were able to slip the trap off the man’s ankle. Blood soaked the ground as they did so. The foot hung off angle, as they carefully lifted it free, and finally laid the leg back to the ground.

Washburn’s heart pounded in his chest, he had to be quick, he had to use every once of power that he had. But first he had to steady his mind, he had to focus. Focus deep, find his center,  the medallion had helped him before. His fingers fumbled around his neck, finally finding the chain there. Pulling the medallion free, he looked at the face that seemed to frown at him. “I am so sorry, Saint Camber, But I need you again. So soon, I know, but I need you to help me. I know you will help a good man of the cloth. You will not make him suffer after all the good that he has accomplished.”

Wash took a deep breath and centered, he calmed, he  really did care for this man and that helped him find a place deep in his mind where his father’s talent began to steer to life. It didn’t want to come out at first. The Healing gift was slow to manifest, until Wash doubled his efforts by adding his full effort into the mix.

((Washburn 1d6Healing (6) deep deep focus(one pip lower, 5,6), hero point( one pip lower 4,5,6) rolling healing Columcil  rolled 4 Verification Number: 12bg2fwnrm))

What had troubled him most was the angle of the bone. With one hand on the foot and the other cupped around the ankle, Wash had to straighten that which was broken and heal the bone when it was finally correctly positioned. If he just had the training to know when that was. Miraculously a eitheral hand covered his hand and a mind guided his hands to make the brake straight. “Your sure that is good?” Wash asked the other; getting back an assurance that was sensed but not seen. He extended his Healing, he felt the bone knit back into wholeness.

((Healing points 1d6 rolled 2. 2/2  = 1 healing point. Verification Number: 36lcqnj8p7))

The bone felt good under his hand, but still a warmth seeped out between his fingers. The bleeding had slowed but the wounds from the teeth were quite deep. Again Wash focused on the flesh, using every once of energy that he could muster.  He was happy to accept Master Darcy’s hand on his. The seaman was allowing him to draw energy from him and that was as much a miracle as any other.

((11:27 Washburn !roll 1d6  healing on(6)  Hero point on(5,6)
11:27 derynibot 5 == 5))

That bit of added energy did the trick. Washburn breathed out as flesh repaired itself under his hands. There was a sense of the saints pleasure at helping even as the saint disappeared. And then Wash was looking at Darcy’s concentrating face. “Thank you, I needed that.” Wash said. He removed his hands, he used the hem of the priestly robe to wipe the remaining blood away.

((13:49Washburn opps forgot to make one more roll for healing points. I will get this posted yet. 13:50 Washburn!roll 1d6
13:50 derynibot 6 == 6
So 6/2= 3 three healing points.))


“We really do need a laundress,” he quipped looking up at the pale face of his patient. “Aliset, is he alright?” he asked all concerned. forgetting to use the lady’s brother’s name. He twisted his face up for a moment at the lapse.  Lord Jaxom who was standing near, but not to near. Hopefully, he had not heard him.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 10, 2018, 06:41:01 pm
Darcy Cameron sat back on his heels, feeling drained, but glad he had been able to assist.  He could only wonder at magic powerful enough to save a man’s life.  Or destroy it.  The concept of a death trigger still disturbed him. 

Father Columcil stirred, opened his eyes, and after a moment, tried to sit up.  Lord Alister helped him, murmuring quiet words of encouragement.  Columcil shook his head and then tentatively reached toward his ankle, looking relieved that all was well.

Darcy stood and withdrew a pace or two.  Lord Jaxom and his men milled about, apparently having failed to catch the man who had done this.   Darcy hoped the man would eventually be brought to justice.  Given the chance, he would be more than happy to administer that justice himself.

Good and evil, evil and good.  Aliset had told him it was the person that turned the magic to evil, not the magic itself.  Father Columcil had said much the same during Darcy’s confession.  Was it that simple or that complex?  Darcy sighed.  It was what it was, and he would have to deal with this new hand he had been dealt.

Lord Jaxom seemed to be studying Lord Alister.  For no good reason, Darcy felt a vague disquiet.

“Lord Alister,” Darcy said in the old voice that carried well across the deck of a ship.  “Let us help Father Columcil back to the horses.”

Between them, they helped the priest up on his feet, and supporting him between the two to them, guided him away from the traps that had been laid.

Lord Jaxom followed, still thoughtful.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on March 10, 2018, 08:58:56 pm
"I think he'll be fine," said Aliset, only vaguely aware of Washburn's momentary slip of the tongue as she took stock of Father Columcil's condition, marveling anew at the Healing gift that her twin brother had once used and which it seemed Lord Washburn had now managed to learn. Oh, how she wished she'd shared her twin's talent in that area, although the time or two she had attempted it in the past had yielded no result.  Ah well.  It was said the gift was rare, even in this new generation of increasing openness and learning about how to use Deryni gifts.  She would simply aspire to find other avenues for increasing her skills in the innate talents she did have.  She felt for her water flask, unstoppering it and handing it over to the priest as she continued to indirectly address Lord Washburn's question as she spoke to Columcil.  "Here, Father, drink this. It should help your body make up for the lost blood in due time. You need to keep your fluid intake as high as possible in the next few days until it's fully replenished. Deryni Healing can only do so much." As she realized she was probably informing the most experienced Healer of their group of something he probably already considered blindingly obvious, she blushed. "As you doubtless already know."

"Lord Alister," Darcy said, "Let us help Father Columcil back to the horses."  Aliset glanced up at the man with a ready smile, thankful for the distraction from the momentary awkwardness.  With a nod, she rose, assisting the good Father to his feet.  "Steady?" she asked him, and after Columcil had a moment to get his balance and give her a confirming nod, she and Master Darcy escorted him back to Spean's side.  Looking around again to catch Lord Washburn's eye, she noticed Lord Jaxom watching them--or was he looking at Master Darcy?--with an oddly intent look, and wondered why, but it would hardly be ethical of her to use her Deryni powers to pry. They had more important matters to concern them than satisfying a momentary curiosity, anyway.  She looked around at the others.  "Has anyone had a chance yet to ensure the rest of the path forward is clear of other traps?"
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 11, 2018, 01:25:08 am
Columcil felt the healing warmth, that he was accustomed to sense leaving his being into another, this time entering into his body bringing a blessed end to pain and restoring flesh and bone to their proper place. He thought he caught a glimpse of a grey cowled face giving him a compassionate but reproving shake of the head. He must be still half in a swoon he thought. As Lord Alister helped him to sit up and he turned to look at him he half expected to see Lady Aliset smiling down at him; more peculiar still, as his eyes regained their focus, he was sure that there was a young woman in a nun's habit walking away from him a couple of hares gambolling at her feet. He took the water that was offered to him and drank gratefully. Quite obviously he needed to clear his head. Seeing visions was all very well, not seeing danger was more to the point in their present predicament. No wonder St Camber, for it could only have been he, had administered a gentle rebuke.

Thank God and his saints for these his companions who had come to his rescue; he would need to make both thanks and apologies for his stupidity, but now was not the time. He had turned back and lost concentration for a reason, what was it? Blessed Saviour, yes, the rope!

As Lord Alister and Master Darcy helped him back to Spean's side, his eyes urgently sought Lord Washburn. "My lord! Further up yon road, there's a rope. It's stretched across to trip our horses. It's what I was coming to tell ye, when..."

His voice trailed off, he would readily humble himself before Lord Washburn but not before Lord Jaxom's watchful eye nor that of his men.

Lord Washburn nodded somberly -was there no end to the malice of their opponent? - and turning to Lord Jaxom he said, "Yet more trouble! Can I ask you to send a couple if men ahead on foot to investigate. And from past experience, best have them covered by a couple of your best archers who can be clearly seen"

Whatever was puzzling Lord Jaxom he laid it aside and went to give the necessary orders.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 11, 2018, 03:39:19 pm
“Did you pick up Father Columcil’s staff?” Darcy Cameron asked Lord Alister.

“No, I didn’t,” Alister responded.

“I should have thought of that,” Father Columcil said.  “I seem to be causing no end of trouble.”

“It’s not you that’s causing trouble, Father,” Darcy said.  “I’ll fetch it.”

“Master Darcy, please be careful.”   Alister looked beyond him back towards the spot the staff was likely to be found.

“I think I’m a match for any killer coneys,” Darcy said with smile.  Surprised at the angry look Alister shot at him, he hastily added, “In truth, I can’t believe the man who set up the two traps and trip wire could have had time to do much more, but I’ll be careful.  You have my word on it.”

True to his word, he jumped the graveyard border fence and proceeded slowly forward.  As he neared the bloody ground around the trap the priest had sprung, he was even more cautious.  He spotted Columcil’s staff to his right and carefully picked it up. He hefted it with renewed respect for the man who wielded it so well.  The added weight of the iron was impressive.

Darcy turned carefully to return to the group when something a little farther ahead caught his eye.  He took a cautious step forward and nudged it with the staff.  It was a metal tin.  He picked it up carefully and shook it; something inside rattled.  Dolt!  That had probably been a foolish move; anything could be inside this tin.

Darcy wondered if he could sense if it was safe or not the same way his Deryni companions did.  He tried to extend his senses, concentrating on the tin in his hand.
 
Rolling two dice, since Darcy is untrained in his powers
Jerusha   !roll 2d6
16:17   derynibot   3, 5 == 8
Success!

Darcy almost dropped the tin as a sense of foreboding filled his mind.  Whatever was inside the tin could stay there.  He looked toward the trees away from the path.  That line would do well; no one would be likely to be passing that way when there was a good path.  He drew back his arm and hurled the tin.  It flew true and far enough away that he did not hear it land.

He turned and made his way carefully back to the horses.  Columcil, Aliset, Washburn and Jaxom were all staring at him as he leaped back over the fence.

“What was that about?” Washburn asked.

Darcy took a moment to hand the staff back to Columcil before answering.  “I don’t know, exactly.  I found a tin with something inside that rattled.  It may have been dropped by the man in his haste to set the traps.  Whatever was in it, I’m sure it was evil.  So I chucked it away.”

The four faces staring at him displayed a variety of emotions.  Washburn annoyed, probably because he had not been consulted.  Columcil seemed to understand; Alister looked to be somewhere in between.  Jaxom was mystified.  Darcy remembered Aliset’s rebuke for not asking questions before charting his course.  How long ago was that, back in the Nunnery yard?

“Beg pardon that I acted without consulting you,” Darcy said, although not looking very contrite.  “For all I knew it might have blown up when opened, and I didn’t think we had the time to destroy it like you did the amulet.  If I have erred, the fault is mine.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 12, 2018, 12:50:59 pm
Columcil found himself warming even more to Darcy. He took the staff gratefully, and when Darcy felt obliged to mutter words of contrition for what seemed to Columcil a very sensible action - he was no seaman but surely if you stopped to consult your betters whenever danger at sea loomed the entire crew risked being drowned and the ship lost whilst honour was being satisfied - he put his hand briefly on the other's shoulder in a gesture of support.

He supposed that their journey together had been a little like being being at sea, each becoming dependent on the other for their very survival and the normal rules of protocol and deference to an extent set aside. This had inevitably changed with the arrival of Lord Jaxom and his men; he really must get over his dislike of the man who was harmless enough though he did, in Columcil's not nearly humble enough opinion, seem a bit gormless. ((Quick translation. Gormless is a British word which avoids the stigma of bad language but is very expressive. It means daft, or dozy - someone who is a "few sandwiches short of a picnic."))  It would change even more once they arrived at Arx Fidei and thence, he supposed to Rhemuth. And even before they got to Arx Fidei, the Duke of Corwyn was riding to their rescue, with the might and authority of the Crown of Gwynedd, and the boundary between noble and commoner would become absolute.

Ah well, it was as it was. But surely they did not need to appear before him as ragged vagrants. He had never thought of vanity as one of his sins; he was learning a lot about himself not all of it good. Maybe there was a solution though.

Quietly turning to Lord Alister he said with a formal bow, "Might I have a private word, My Lord?"

Lord Alister looked a little bemused but agreed readily enough. Walking far enough to be out of earshot Columcil continued. "Actually it's Lady Aliset I need, my Lady, or at least her skills." He added the latter quickly as the male face confronting his looked askance. "We're out of the wilderness now, and belike to meet with his Grace of Corwyn. I'd no like him to think us a pack o'beggars. D'ye no have some spell that can tidy us up a bit?"
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on March 12, 2018, 01:31:48 pm
Aliset gave Father Columcil a sympathetic smile.  "Well, I can try, at least."  Murmuring the words of the spell, she waved a finger in the priest's direction.

((13:11   Aliset   !roll 2d6
13:11   derynibot   2, 3 == 5))

His clothing appeared to shimmer briefly, stains and tears fading out of sight, but alas, the illusion lasted only for mere moments.  Aliset shook her head.  "I'm sorry, Father. I think perhaps if I were better rested, but I'm having trouble maintaining enough focus for the task at the moment.  But I'd be glad to mend your cassock once we're able to stop for rest, and perhaps we can find more suitable clothing in Arx Fidei."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 12, 2018, 02:00:32 pm
Darcy Cameron pushed back too many strands of loose, and now rather damp, pale blond hair.  As he watched Father Columcil and Lady Aliset walk back toward the horses, he realized how ragged they looked.  How ragged they all looked. He rubbed his jaw; many more days of this and he’d have a fair beard grown.  He had worn a beard years ago; the Captain said he looked like a snowball.  Darcy had promptly shaved it off.

Lord Jaxom and his men, although dusty, looked positively dapper.  Jaxom was saying something to his squire, who listened intently.  Darcy sensed as well as heard Washburn move up beside him.  Darcy was beginning to become more comfortable with the added dimension to his life.  At least a little.

He turned to look up at the Lendour Knight, whose tunic was torn and bloodied in several places.  “Your orders, Sir Washburn?” Darcy asked.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 12, 2018, 03:39:34 pm
Washburn had heard the report to Lord Jaxom from his men. The footpath that lead from the church graveyard to the the top of the hill had been used by a horseman since the morning rain. That was most likely the man who had set these last traps to forestall any followers and capture. To Washburn's dismay, he appears to have succeeded and was well away by now.

((Sensing how far away Rayne had gotten up the trail. Rolled 3, Verification Number: 23wnkbjsck))

Washburn shook his head. Where the man had gotten to, he could not tell. He just prayed he was far, far away and no longer a threat. This cat and mouse game was getting tiresome. With a wave of the hand, Wash tried for a fatigue banishing spell.

((fatigue banishing spell. Power trait with standard usage. rolled 6, 4 Verification Number: 1pwmwj0px4))

With a sigh of relief, he at least knew he could continue on without losing his step or concentration. At least for a while longer.

Comments were going around in whispers about their baggardly apparence. Sir Washburn had to smile at that. So long as it wasn’t the king who came riding up. He thought their ragged look was well earned. He had never been the courtier type, in need of looking dashing and impeccable at every instant. Muddied and torn was just fine with him, to his mother’s severe disapproval on several occasions. Looking bloodied? Well, they all did rather look to have come from a battle scene.  At least from the skin layer down, they were all hail; that is what counts.

Wash even afforded Master Darcy a broad smile when the stepped together. His orders? Humm, Wash wanted to be far far away from here the faster the better. Just in case that trap man decided to turn around and follow them.

“Let us take a moment to water the horses at the church well. Perhaps clean our hands up a bit. Father,” Wash yelled out across the graveyard. “Perhaps you can go within, umm with an armed escort, I fear, and make a beseechment to whatever saint visits this house and ask for a clear path to Arx Fidei. I think a little thanks would not go amiss after what has been granted to us. I will join you shortly after I see to Shadow’s needs.”

Wash turned back to the young seaman. A smile caught his lips. “That beard gives you a rather dashing maturity. Perhaps you will think twice before shaving it.” His hand brushed the back of his own head and his smile faded. “I think my own shaved head is growing in more slowly than your beard. Dang, I can explain the rugged cloths to my brother but not that stupid tonsure.  Lord Alister, can I have a moment of your time?” He was wondering how he could properly ask the noble lady, without looking like a fool,  to make an illusion to bring back his hair.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on March 12, 2018, 04:02:51 pm
"My lord?"  Aliset regarded Sir Washburn with a quizzical look.

He sidled closer to her, his voice kept low as if he didn't wish others to overhear.  "Do you think maybe you could use some of your illusion magic to do something about...."  He appeared at a loss for words for a moment before waving his hand across his body to indicate--Aliset supposed--his appearance.  "Could you maybe do something to help us look a bit more presentable before His Grace my brother arrives?"

"Ah." Aliset gave him a sympathetic smile. "I'm sorry. Father Columcil already asked me to try, but I'm afraid I might need a bit of rest first.  At any rate, surely His Grace will understand what we've been through to get to him?"

"Well, yes, that's true," Sir Washburn admitted with a sheepish smile.  "But still...." He took a deep breath.  "Do you think you might be able to do something about this, at least?" He made a quick, pointing gesture towards his hair. At least that's what he appeared to be pointing to. Or maybe it was his forehead.  Yes, that might make more sense. 

"You have a headache, my lord?"

"No, no!" Washburn glanced back over one shoulder, again as if to ensure no one else was in earshot before blurting out, "I meant the tonsure."

Aliset frowned, puzzled.  "The...tonsure?"

A slightly impatient expression crossed the young lord's face. "Yes! You know...the bald spot?"

It was all Aliset could do to hold back a laugh.  "Do you mean the almost imperceptible spot at the top of your crown that you can't even notice unless you stare directly at it?  That tonsure?"  Mischief lit her expression; she couldn't help it now. "I'd be glad to help.  Shall I just trim the rest of your hair to match, my lord?"  She attempted her most innocent expression, no doubt failing dismally. 
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 12, 2018, 04:44:40 pm
"Oh... No...never mind..." Wash said seeming entirely too flustered for such a little defect. He felt ashamed for even bringing the matter up before the young lady. "Let us water the horse's quickly." Then more loudly he said to Lord Jaxom who was coming up to him. "We need to be back on the road before more mishap finds us." Rather before Lady Aliset finds a pair of sheers, he considered internally behind tight shields, yet he was not quite able to hide his dismay.  The Lord Alister seemed all too happy to disappear into to the church to retrieve Father Columcil. The reason might likely have been to escape the knight's presence before she got caught laughing out loud. So much for vanity, Washburn thought.

The baron's son, Lord Jaxom Trillick, hadn't understood all the delays in the first place, and he was more than happy to reorganize his men, most of whom were already at the well giving their mounts a much needed bucket of water to drink.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 13, 2018, 02:43:38 am
Columcil was glad to obey Sir Washburn's request. Lady Aliset had been nice enough but the understanding smile on her face had made him realise what a fool he was being. As if his Grace was going to be interested in what he looked like.

The small grey church looked reassuring like his own at home, and it was with a sense of coming home where he belonged that he pushed open the oak door, faded by the elements to a soft silver grey. His fingers reached almost of themselves into the holy water stoup and he blessed himself, feeling a sense of pure joy at the simple gesture of his faith.

There was no shrine within, but to the side of the altar stood a homely wooden statue of Our Lady with a jug of hedgerow flowers in front of her, the simple loving offering of country folk. Moved to tears, the thrust of homesickness which shot through Columcil had, for a moment, the white-hot intensity of the physical pain of the man trap. Not usually overly emotional in his prayers he laid himself prostrate in front of the altar and wept.

Almost at once he felt comforted, that his grief and penitence had been accepted, but was there also just a hint of impatience? As though just beyond the edge of his hearing someone had coughed dryly. Of course. He had been sent in here with a task to do, not just to indulge himself, so he had best set about it.

Pushing himself up to his knees he scrubbed his face dry with the sleeve of his cassock - really it could hardly make it look worse - and looking up at the rood above the altar gave thanks for their protection thus far, for the kindly intervention of the Saints and humbly asked that future guidance and protection be given. Then he reached into the inner breast pocket, where it was safely stowed, brought out his grandfather's precious prayer book, and lost himself in the psalms and prayers of the daily office.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 16, 2018, 12:58:03 pm
“Riders a half league ahead,” announced the scout as he galloped back into the presence of his commanding lord. 

With those words, the Duke of Corwyn felt a surge of relief. The tension in his back eased and he sat up straighter in the saddle. Kelric Alain Morgan was not the eldest child of the renowned hero of Gwynedd, Duke Alaric Anthony Morgan. His sister, Countess Briony, was that. Kelric even had an older half-brother, Lord Brendan Coris, who was Duke Alaric’s step-son from his wife’s first marriage. Though Kelric grew up with two older siblings, it was always known that he was the rightful heir to the Duchy of Corwyn. Even so, it came as a shock that the responsibility of the Morgan legacy fell so suddenly and harshly upon the then Sir Kelric’s shoulders.

Kelric had been eighteen when his father took the Corwyn army east to confront the threat of Byzantyun hordes who had already usurped the principalities of Vorna, Vechta and Lorsol. The massive eastern army had marched on Tralia, pushing the Hort of Orsal to his island summer palace, and then burning the winter palace to the ground. The horde were like locusts feeding on that which they touched. The armies of the Forcinn States and of R’kassi managed to hold their lands, keeping the horde from ravishing the south. King Liam of Torenth held the north against his own uncle's ambitions. But it was neither north nor south that Grand Duke Teymuraz set his greedy eyes upon. He wanted Gwynedd for his own and for his kin. He would settle on nothing less than crossing the twin rivers by barges and then landing in Coroth to steal her riches and to destroy any who did not bow down to him. From there, he held plans to march on Rhemuth, to finally take what belonged to Festil’s descendants: the crown of Gwynedd and the destruction of the House of Haldane.

The combined armies of Corwyn and Tralia met the enemy very near the burned winter palace. The battle on the shore line had been both ferocious and brief. In the midst of the tempestuous bloodbath, the Champion of the Haldane challenged the Grand Duke in single Arcane combat. The Grand Duke agreed. Yet Teymuraz never intended to play fair. Even as Teymuraz cast his half of the warding, his orders had the four Camberian Councillors who were there to moderate the duel slaughtered by merasha cross bolts. Duke Alaric escaped the mass slaughter, but just by the quickest of actions. He finished his half of the dueling ward, encircling himself and his opponent from the armies that surrounded them. In a battle of wit and power, it was Alaric who summoned the greatest energies, and it was Gwynedd who defeated the eastern foe. Only when the arcane wards fizzled away, leaving the champion vulnerable in that moment of his victory, Alaric Morgan was pierced through the heart by a merasha arrow. Who shot the arrow? No one knew. Kelric and Brendan were the first to their father’s side. Their efforts were for naught. Alaric Morgan’s bloody hand blessed his sons, and then the greatest hero of Gwynedd was gone from this world.

Rage filled the Corwyn and Hort’s men then. Without the guiding mind of Teymuraz, the horde faltered.  Teymuraz’s sons could not take the controls in the midst of battle. In the shortest time ever, the horde were no more.

The sorrow and grief of that day and the days that followed had never eased from Kelric Morgan’s mind. Though his birthday had come and gone in the short spring season of war, Kelric at the mature age of nineteen was not prepared for the day he escorted the body of Gwynedd’s hero and savior back home.  So much responsibility tempered the new Duke of Corwyn. His eldest brother Brendan, Earl of Marley, had stuck close to his side in those first horrible days. Elsewise, he didn’t think their mother could have made it through the initial grief. The two sisters were there for their mother too. No one left Duchess Richenda alone, in those first few days. The Morgan family survived. The highest honor of a state funeral was bestowed upon the hero and Champion of Gwynedd. King Kelson Haldane was as bereaved as the Morgan family to have lost his dearest mentor and friend. In time, after the funeral processions  had crossed the land, with much weeping by the common folk, the Champion of Deryni and Humankind alike was returned to his home and laid to rest. Only then did the Kingdom of Gwynedd turn its heart toward peace and prosperity. 

The youngest child of Alaric Morgan was fourteen years Kelric’s junior. Suddenly this five-year-old was without a father, yet he was the remaining happiness in their mother’s eyes.  To say that Washburn was spoiled was likely an understatement. The boy had all he asked for and more. Kelric had taken on his brother’s care like Wash was his first child.  It was fortunate that Duke Kelric already had the love of his heart. Two years following, on the anniversary of his parents’ wedding day, he made his own happiness with his marriage to the Princess Araxandra Haldane. Having gained some wisdom in raising his brother, Kelric was an even better loving father and husband.  If he had known what he knew now, he likely would have been both more strict and more lenient on his brother as he grew. Letting Washburn have all the battle training that he could stand, yet little of the schola’s training, had likely been a mistake. The Duke of Corwyn was thinking it was time he taught his little brother that the name Morgan implied responsibility too.

Meanwhile, the scout had halted just the other side of the Duke’s squire. He did not approach until he was given permission to do so. Then he made his report. “Your Grace, I made count of ten horses before a local church. The guardsman seemed at ease, giving water to their mounts from the church’s well and some taking food from their packs. I took note that not one man seemed to guard the road. Although, at the far side of the church, far enough away that I could not discern who they were, I saw several men walking back from the trees edging the gravesite. I could not discern the reason; I hesitate to say that I thought perhaps they were relieving nature’s call. All in all, not one seemed to have noticed my watching them. I returned to you before they might have learned of my presence.”

“And a blazon?” the Duke of Corwyn asked, holding back his liver chestnut, who fussed at the tight reins that kept him from moving forward.

“I only saw the colors of blue on white, my lord. No blazon was displayed,” the scout answered truthfully, knowing he had looked but had not seen one in his short perusal.  His Grace’s silvery gaze held the scout’s eyes for just an instant before releasing the man with a dismissing nod. The scout backed his horse away, not deterred by the Deryni lord’s Truth Reading. It was a necessity that came with his position, and he had long ago accepted that.

The scout took his place on the far side to the Duke of Corwin’s squire. The youthful squire, Sieur III de Vali, son of the Baron Sieur II de Vali, who was riding behind the Duke, made room on the narrow valley road without crowding the duke’s warhorse. Rexxar was an amazing R’kassi stallion, bred from the Earl of Derry’s lead stallion and star mare. Squire Sieur knew well enough that Rexxar would tolerate the closeness of his own mount, but the Duke’s sudden taut shoulders told the squire it was best not to crowd the duke himself. It was clear that though Duke Kelric Morgan was relieved to have finally found that which he quested for, his normal mood of forbearance was upset by what the scout reported. 

How could his brother be so lax, hadn’t he taught him better than that? The threat of treason and insurrections occuring in Meara had been emphasized by his king. This ‘rescue’ of his brother was much more than that; it just might prove to be Gwynedd’s opening martial move into the Mearan province. The Duke of Corwyn was to make a commanding presence to the people without appearing overbearing. The king’s hand was a just hand, and Kelric was here in the King’s name. His own personal concerns and that of the Dowager Duchess of Corwyn came second. And that had been a hard balance for Kelric to make after receiving Duchess Richenda’s rapport at mid-morning. Kelric wondered again just why it was that his brother was having such a difficult time with this simple task? If he was in as much trouble as he had relayed, then why was he stopped at a church in the mid-afternoon when he knew he was supposed to have met up with Kelric... yesterday!

Suppressed anger prompted the Duke of Corwyn to put spurs to his stallion’s flanks. He wanted to see for himself just how lax the men under his brother’s command truly were.  Squire Sieur balanced the pole in his stirrup and leapt his horse forward to match the duke’s pace. The honorable pennon of Corwyn rippled out with the speed. The great gryphon flew, green on a black field, the embroidered gold threads of the flory-counter-flory glistening in the afternoon sunshine. The twenty men behind, in battle gear and bright colored caparisons draping their steeds’ backs, were a sight this valley had not seen in years.

The pounding of horses’ hooves and the jingle of harness was heard by those in the church yard well before the duke and his men charged into view. The guardsman were mounted, quickly forming up in a small defensible line halfway between the church yard and the road. After a row of trees, the Duke of Corwyn slowed his stallion at the sight of the four mounted bowmen in front and the lord and squire behind. As the Corwyn’s blazon was recognized, the young lord behind called for weapons lowered. He trotted forwards between his men, giving the duke a deep bow in the saddle. “We are well met, Duke Kelric. Your presence has been greatly anticipated.”

Duke Kelric did not know the nobleman who addressed him, but he had learned from his mother that a baron’s son had joined Washburn and his companions. “Indeed, then we are well met. Whom do I address?” Kelric asked, keeping it civil while his mind and his eyes searched the churchyard beyond the riders.

“I am Jaxom Trillick, son of Baron Adam Trillick of Trillshire. My father sent me to escort Sir Washburn to Arx Fidei.”

Kelric wanted to burst out, Then why were you not at Arx Fidei yesterday? but he withheld his anger. These men looked more flustered than they should be. Up by the church well, there was one man holding the reins of four horses. This man had the palest blonde hair, his looks familiar in some way, but Kelric could not recall at the moment why that should be. The man was looking at the church door nearby. 

“Then I must inquire,” the duke said, “just where is Sir Washburn? I see his destrier, but not him.” The terse inquiry was meet with dutifully bowed heads, but no answer.

Before Sir Jaxom could look up and give that answer, a loud voice called out from the church. “I am here, Your Grace! I am most grateful for your coming. I thank you from my heart.”

Washburn paced forward to stop ten feet before his elder brother, where he went down on one knee. The relief playing on the younger brother’s face turned to a frown when he noted Kelric glaring at him. “I owe you the greatest of apologies, my lord. I fear I have not succeeded in doing as you requested of me. I have the heir of Mariot under my protection, but our path to Rhemuth, which should have taken but five days, has been hindered multiple times. It is now seven days and we have but traveled two-thirds of the distance. I am sorry that I have failed you.”

The Duke’s eyebrows furrowed as he looked from his brother to the other two men coming out of the church. An older man in priest’s robes, worn and blood-stained, he did not know. As for the young man who walked shoulder to shoulder with the priest, Kelric knew him almost immediately, yet he knew it could not be. The death of Sir Alister de Mariot was the instigation of this entire event. Here before him that young man went down on his knee and bowed his head. Kelric sent out a focused Mind speech, “Sir Alister, is that you?” What he received was a humble feminine voice.

“Nay, Your Grace, I am Lady Aliset, the twin sister to my beloved brother Alister. I have taken his form to travel with these men. My apologies for the deception.”

“Ah, I see. Under the circumstances, my lady, no need for an apology,” the duke replied through their rapport.

The duke looked over the four companions more closely as they were all now kneeling shoulder to shoulder. What a tired, gruff looking group of men they appeared to be. “Sir Washburn, attend me. Tell me how it is that we come to meet here in this way?”

Wash was instantly obedient. Even as he stood and walked toward his elder brother, Kelric had to comment, “Sweet Jesu, what in the world happened to you? You look like you’ve been dragged through the forest by wild boars.”

“Aye, something akin to that,” the knight humbly replied. “Though wild boars would have been more pleasant.”

Kelric’s features softened instantly as Washburn placed his hand in his. “Wait, not here.” With practiced grace, the duke was dismounting, his squire taking the reins of his stallion. “Let us retire to the church for a moment of privacy.” Belatedly, he motioned for the others to be at ease.

The two brothers standing side by side were so much the same, it astonished those who had not met them both before. Kelric’s hair shined a yellow-gold in the sunlight, while the younger brother’s was barely a shade darker. Kelric was a tad taller while Washburn was a tad broader of shoulder.  Both had the Morgan bearing that had been noteworthy of their father in his time. Both wore a black tunic, only one displayed a green gryphon and one displayed a red stag. The gold flory-counter-flory was embroidered on the hem of the duke’s tunic. Washburn only had that embroidery at the neck-edge and edge of his sleeves.

Dutifully, when they reached the church inner sanctum, Wash bent down on his knee once more. “I beg your forgiveness. We have met with many difficulties along our route to Rhemuth.”

“I can see that….” The elder brother placed both hands over the younger brother’s head. "Show me," he whispered as full rapport formed between the two siblings.  There was a long pause, and then Washburn let the fullness of the last week play out, holding nothing back. There seemed no point in doing so. Kelric recoiled at the memories of merasha; his mother had not relayed that to him, so he was taken by surprise. The healings of the priest in their company seemed to be God-sent, for there seemed no other explanation for the man to have fallen into their company. The last shock was Washburn learning to Heal the injuries that had occured this day. That took Kelric by surprise. “Didn’t Father Duncan ever test you for that trait?” the duke asked as he pulled his hands away.

“I don’t believe I ever sat still long enough for him to do so,” Washburn responded.

Kelric burst out laughing in his relief. “I do believe you are right.” His hand curved under his brother’s elbow, beckoning him to stand. He looked over the younger man as if seeing him for the first time.

“I do believe you have changed, little brother. Perhaps I should not be calling you that any longer.”

“In private, I will cherish you calling me ‘little brother’ until the day we are both so stooped over, so much so that we can not tell which one of us is the tallest.”

“Oh, so you think I will be stooped over first and then you will be taller than I? I will make you a bet that I will always have that inch over you. Even stooped over as an old man, as you say.” Kelric clapped his brother’s shoulder in familiar comradery.

“I’ll take that bet,” Washburn replied, knowing he had somehow passed his lord’s scrutiny. Though with all his lapses, he did not see how.

The two gave a donation to the church, and then together they exited the door to their awaiting men.





Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 16, 2018, 02:31:18 pm
Darcy Cameron glanced up at the sound of horses approaching at a quick pace.  Lord Jaxom immediately motioned to his men, who mounted up and formed a line half-way between the church yard and the road. Darcy stood with the horses, ready to quickly mount, draw his sword and position himself farther back between the line and the church. He glanced toward the church door as the mounted men stopped short of Jaxom’s defensive line. 

Darcy searched back through his memories to the heraldry of Gwynedd that his tutor had drilled into his brain so many years ago.  The pennon was that of Corwyn; Washburn’s brother had arrived!  Darcy secured the horses’ reins to the graveyard fence as Sir Washburn emerged from the church, called to his brother, approached the mounted duke and went down on one knee before him.

Darcy wiped his hands on the sides of his battered tunic and tried to straighten it a bit, although he knew it was a lost cause.  Aliset and Columcil emerged from the church shortly after Washburn, and Darcy fell into step beside them as they approached the duke. He noticed that the Duke of Corwyn seemed surprised at the sight of Lord Alister, but the moment passed.  Almost as one they lined up beside Washburn and each went down on one knee before Duke Kelric.

At his brother’s command, Washburn rose and went forward.  As the brothers moved toward the church, Darcy wondered if they were to remain kneeling. Duke Kelric released them as he strode by, and Darcy rose and rubbed his knee.  In his haste to show proper respect before the duke, he had managed to kneel on a rock. 

He surveyed the group before him; twenty men were mounted and well armed, and there was a young squire holding the Corwyn pennon.  That should get them safely to Arx Fedei and then to Rhemuth, although perhaps Jaxom and his men would turn back to Meara.  Somehow Darcy did not think Jaxom would turn down the opportunity to ride to Rhemuth with the Duke of Corwyn. 

“You look thoughtful, Master Darcy,” Aliset said.

“I’m thinking our odds of reaching Rhemuth just got better.  Though whether it will be smooth sailing remains to be seen.”

“You won’t relax yet, will you?” Aliset asked with a smile.

“While riding with the Duke of Corwyn?  Not a chance of that.  And if I look about to do something totally improper, please kick me or something before I disgrace myself!”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 16, 2018, 05:05:31 pm
Columcil got slowly to his feet as Washburn and Duke Kelric entered the church where he himself had so recently found peace. He turned towards Aliset and Darcy to find the two of them engaged in conversation so looked instead towards Lord Jaxom. It wasna the man's fault that he looked relatively neat and clean, nor yet that, being mounted, he had contented himself with a deep bow rather than going to his knee. But he had not liked the way the man had looked down at them kneeling before the Duke.

His attention was drawn back to Darcy as the latter spoke to him. "You're more used to kneeling than I am Father, but I can tell you I was glad when his Grace gave the word to rise. I was kneeling on a dam... er blessed stone." Darcy looked somewhat shamefaced as though expecting a rebuke both for his levity and near profanity but Coluncil scarely gave him time to finish before bursting out:

"I'll kneel to my Lord in heaven, aye and his blessed Saints if any so desire. I'll kneel before our Lord the king and any that bear his authority as does his Grace the Duke. But I've no liking for kneeling in the muck so yon bitty gowk can stare doon at me, nor at the rest of yous neither. His heid is aye twa seezes ta big nor his bonnet wi'out us mekin it swell aye mair!" He drew breath, glad to have his anger off his chest, only to find Darcy staring at him in blank astonishment.

"I'm sorry Father, I'd not like to be looked at the way you were just looking at Lord Jaxom, so I'm getting that you are upset with him, but I didn't understand one word in two of what you were saying!"

There was a barely repressed snort from behind them and both men turned to find Alister's face contorted in his efforts not to break out in unseemly laughter.

"I don't come from as deep into border country as our good father here, but I think I can translate well enough. With your permission, of course, Father."

Columcil nodded, feeling more embarassed by the second, and Aliset complied, though in a sufficiently low voice that they had to bend close to hear her.

"He'll not kneel in the dirt so that that bit of a youth can stare down at us. His - that is Lord Jaxom's -head is already twice as big as his bonnet without us making it swell any more."

It was perhaps just as well that it was at that precise moment that the church door re-opened and they all composed their features into an expression of solemn respect.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on March 16, 2018, 11:02:11 pm
Aliset was still giggling quietly to herself over Father Columcil's outburst nearly an hour later, after she and her companions had taken a few brief moments to tidy themselves as best they could using water drawn from the nearby well to clean the dirt and bloodstains off their skin as quickly as they might manage before setting forth again on the road to Arx Fidei, for even with the arrival of the Duke of Corwyn and his men, none of their party had any desire to be outside the relative security of town walls come nightfall, given the tenacity of their foes. Still, they had no wish to arrive at such sanctuary without having at least made an attempt to look more presentable than they'd been when His Grace the Duke had found them.  Alas, laundry and mending must wait yet a little while longer--or better yet, a complete change of clothing!

Aliset caught a glimpse of the comparatively more dapper Lord Jaxom out of the corner of her eye as their party rode forth from the church grounds, which caused a burst of inner amusement again briefly, though she quickly sobered as a sudden realization struck her.  On one hand, she could sympathize with Father Columcil's opinion of the man.  Borderers and Lowlanders tended to mix about as well as water and oil, unfortunately, and while technically the heir of Trillick was border-born,  he was far more Court-bred than border-bred.  It was a common enough problem among the nobility of the borders.  The border dukes and earls, and sometimes even barons, often found it desirable to send their sons, or at least their heirs, to Rhemuth to learn such court polish as might be useful in forging alliances with the lowland regions, yet in some cases those sons were away from home for so long that they had difficulty relating well with the common folk once they returned home, or at least it became more difficult for the common folk to relate to them.  Some managed to relate to both bordermen and lowlanders with ease--Duke Dhugal, for one, not to mention her own rightful baron, Jass MacArdry.  But then, on the other hand, there were the Lord Jaxoms of the world who sometimes came across as being out of touch with the common folk of their homelands, having taken on high and mighty lowlander pretensions, though they might genuinely have all the best of intentions and still think of themselves as being bordermen, little realizing how their words and actions might sometimes be off-putting to others around them.

But that, in turn, made Aliset wonder--how well would she, a born and bred Border lass, fit into Court life in polished Rhemuth?  Oh, she'd had the benefit of a nobleborn lady's education, and had even visited Gwynedd's fair capital a few times, the last being for the occasion of Alister's knighting, although that had seemed such a grand spectacle that she had scarcely managed to take it all in, and could remember little about what had happened and who else had been there anymore. Despite the grandeur of Rhemuth's Great Hall, her full attention had been on her brother that evening, so suffused she had been with her pride in him.  And too shortly afterwards, she'd returned home along with her family. But she had little knowledge of what Kelson would expect from her now that she was the King's ward, or how well she might fit in with the other ladies at court. Would she be welcomed there, or viewed as a socially awkward outsider from a backwater manor, orphaned and stripped of her rightful dower lands, little more than a beggar living off the King's charity? Then again, it was entirely possible she need not worry about fitting into Court life overmuch; after all, the King would be within his rights to simply marry her off to whichever strong warrior lord he felt might take back Caer Mariot from her cousin, winning a reward for loyal service and a bride who happened to go along with the property.

Something of her worry must have shown on her face, for Master Darcy moved his horse closer to hers to whisper, "Are you all right?"

She shrugged, at first not wanting to confide her fears to him, but after a moment they burst forth from her anyway. "Do you suppose I'll end up stuck in the Queen's bower," she whispered back, "or just get bartered off to the highest bidder?"  Mercy, she hadn't meant to express her worries quite as starkly as all that, but the words were out now, and she could hardly call them back. She stared at Papillon's mane in misery as they continued to ride onward towards her uncertain future, unable to meet her man-at-arm's concerned gaze, a rising blush staining her cheeks.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 17, 2018, 03:34:08 pm
Over my dead body! Darcy Cameron wanted to declare, but he knew he could not.  It was a promise he could not keep.  The king’s will would be done whether he liked it or not.  Lady Aliset continued to stare at her horse’s mane, blushing in embarrassment at her sudden outburst.  Her inner turmoil pulled at Darcy’s heart more than he wanted to admit, and he found the blush, even though it spread across her brother’s visage, most appealing. 

He leaned closer and said quietly so only she could hear, “I’ll not abandon you, no matter what.  You won’t be alone to face whatever is to be.”  Aliset nodded and turned her gaze to the road ahead. 

It probably had not been the right thing to say, but he had felt the need to say something. Offer some comfort, no matter how small it might be.  Now that Darcy remembered his life before the sea, thanks to the lady who rode beside him, he might be a contender for her hand.  But only if he found his brother, if he still lived, and his brother acknowledged him.  Would he want to?  Darcy had been all but dead to him for over 12 years.  Maybe he would rather ship him back off to sea and have him out of his life.  By God there would be a fight if he tried it!

What if the king refused to consider him at all?  What if he couldn’t find his brother in time?  Could he stand by and watch her wed another?   Could he offer his congratulations and wish them well?

Maybe the sea wasn’t such a bad idea.

With his own thoughts in a turmoil, Darcy noticed the light was beginning to fade.  It would be well past dusk before they reached Arx Fedei; he hoped they would make it there before dark.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 17, 2018, 04:46:27 pm
Columcil kept as far back as he could to be out of the dust of the pounding hooves, though he was glad of the two archers at his back, their watchful eyes would, he knew, be constantly scanning their surrounds. So placed, he was able to see what the Duke was doing and, somewhat reluctantly, he found himself growing in genuine respect for the man, as well as the dutiful honour he owed for the high office he held. If he had thought about it at all he would have expected the Duke to ride out in front, his squire beside him, with his pennant flying proudly, making clear his rank and the distance between himself and those who followed.

Once started on their way, however, and having assured himself that all precautions against ambush or attack had been taken, the Duke had bidden his squire furl his pennant and had given the leadership of the column to his brother. Even from his distance Columcil could see the pride shine from Sir Washburn and his heart warmed to see the trust between the two brothers. He had feared from the Duke's first expression on seeing them that young Washburn was in for a royal dressing down, but their demeanour on leaving the church had suggested that whether or not a rebuke had been administered they had come to an understanding.

But it was not just to his brother that the Duke showed himself gracious. Although they were moving at a steady canter, he slowed his stallion, who without doubt would have outpaced them all given his head, and allowed himself to move back through the ranks with a word for all who had joined with his company. He had a kindly word and a pat of approbation on the shoulder for the young troopers of Lord Jaxom's company, doubtless knowing that anything more lengthy would petrify them with awe, and spent somewhat longer in conversation with the more seasoned men whose military experience gave them at least a modicum of common ground. Lord Jaxom seemed to grow half a handspan taller with pride as the Duke spoke words which were clearly of thanks and commendation but even Columcil's dislike of the man could hardly fault his pride in a duty well done and acknowledged as such. As the Duke spoke first with Lord Alister and then Master Darcy, Columcil found a knot begin to form in his stomach. He knew that Washburn had sensed something of their kinship, the eldest son of the great Duke himself would surely have awesome power, probing maybe beyond Columcil's ability to protect the secret that was not his to share.

Spean was nearly along side the Duke now and there was no avoiding. Columcil bowed as low as he could over Spean's neck, and voiced a deferential  "Your Grace."

Kelric could tell that the priest had some fear related to himself, though he could not imagine what. The man had saved his brother's life and more than once, and as a healer it could not be that he feared his Deryni powers. But he was doubtless the highest ranking nobleman he had met. The man had a way with beasts, did he not? That would give him the best chance of putting him at his ease.

"Please straighten up, your bonnie little pony will wonder what you are doing and I'd hate for him to miss his footing and brain you if his head comes back suddenly."

Whatever Columcil had thought the Duke might say, it was not that and he sat up with a jerk, though he avoided meeting the Duke's gaze as the latter continued.

"I and my lady mother owe you our thanks, Sir Priest for the saving of my brother's life. He tells me that you have been of great blessing to him and the rest of your companions. He's been in sore need of your guidance."

The words were spoken without any hint of criticism and were doubtless a gracious means of putting him at his ease but Columcil's own fear of the Duke was suddenly swallowed up in his need to put the record straight.

"Forgive me, your Grace, an I speak out of turn. But it's me that is beholden to his Lordship, your brother. He's a canny leader of men, aye and brave too and we'd all a' bin in our graves these many days syne wi'out his Lordship. And I dinna ken if ye knaw but he's shaping to be a bonnie healer."

As he spoke, his speech becoming broader in his passion to make the Duke understand, Columcil met the other's gaze, his amber eyes flashing. There was something familiar both in speech and gaze which Kelric knew he should recognise but before he could cudgel his memory his squire was cantering back towards him.

"Lord Washburn's apologies for the interruption, your Grace, but he fears we'll not reach Arx Fidei before nightfall. What are your orders?"
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on March 17, 2018, 06:52:10 pm
Aliset watched as His Grace of Corwyn moved down the line of the company, his charm putting even the most lowborn commoners at ease.  Granted, she'd experienced a few mild flutters when he'd stopped to speak with her, though those weren't so much from anxiety as from sheer feminine attraction. Jesu, but God had favored the Morgan men with handsomer than average features and an amount of natural charisma that was simply unfair, but awe-inspiring to behold!  She normally had little use for the sort of empty-headed, giggly lasses who simpered at the sight of any well-favored male in their midsts, but Heaven help her if she hadn't practically had to sit on her own hands to stop from fussing with her hair when she saw him heading towards her to exchange polite greetings, and her still in Alister's guise!  Wouldn't that have looked odd--a man with such a keen eye for the fairer sex as her brother Alister had been known for, appearing to greet Duke Kelric with a flirtatious mien? Aliset nearly laughed out loud at what conclusions Lord Jaxom might have drawn from that!

Yes, His Grace was quite soundly and, by all reports, happily wed, and to no less a personage than the King's own daughter, and Aliset was under no illusions that she would be given to any lord of such high rank and station anyway, not even a younger son such as Lord Washburn, sadly.  Oh, not that she harbored some deep (and most likely quite unrequited) tendresse for the youngest Morgan son either, but at least he was someone she knew somewhat better, given all they'd experienced together during the past week, and had grown to like and respect a great deal in that short time. But certainly the Morgan brothers were very little hardship on the eyes, never mind that the younger of the two could definitely do with a proper bath, a change of clothing, and a comb at the moment.

And then there were her other two companions-in-adversity, Master Darcy and Father Columcil. After all they'd been through together in the short time she'd known both, she could hardly bear the thought of being parted from either once they all reached the King's court. She could hardly do much about being parted from the priest, unfortunately; the Church would decide where he went, and when, and she was hardly in any position just now to beseech his superiors to grant her the boon of assigning him to be her chaplain. Nor would she wish to, if his heart remained in his parish church of Saint Melangell. And she certainly did not wish to get on the wrong side of a saint either! No, God had sent Father Columcil into her life at a time of desperate need, and either God would find some way to keep him close by her afterwards or would send him on his merry way to help others according to his divine calling, and either way, may God's will be done.

But Master Darcy's offer--that had touched a chord deep within her. She realized suddenly that if, at the end of their journey together, she were to lose his loyal companionship also, that would be the keenest hurt of all.

But that, mayhap, might be the only one of the three bonds grown between herself and her companions that she might have some hope of continuing to keep close by even once they all reached Rhemuth. She had hired him as her man-at-arms to keep her safe, after all, had she not? And would she not still need his services as her loyal retainer even once she'd reached the King's Court, where she would know no one else? She would need someone she could trust, someone who was loyal to her personally, no matter what, and who could follow her anywhere, no matter what Kelson Haldane might ultimately decide about her fate. And Darcy himself seemed willing to continue in her service.

I’ll not abandon you, no matter what.  You won’t be alone to face whatever is to be.  The words echoed deep in her soul long after he'd finished whispering them, easing the tightness in her chest and giving her comfort.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 18, 2018, 03:08:27 am

Sir Washburn Morgan felt a sense of pride as he headed the columns of 30 strong knights and armsmen south on the valley road. The majority of Kelric’s men were a mix of Corwyn and Lendour lords and guards of several good families. Many Washburn knew by name. A few he had even trained alongside of. Washburn was of course the brother of the Duke of Corwyn who was both overlord of the Duchy of Corwyn and the Earldom of Lendour. On the day of Washburn’s knighting, Wash had been awarded as Knight Protector of Lendour for Kelric’s first born son, Lord Kenric, until the time the boy reaches eighteen. At which time Kenric would gain the title of Earl of Lendour from his father. That the duke gave Washburn lead of not just Lendour’s nobility but over the two barron's of Corwyn was an honor the younger brother would not soon forget.

They cantered for a good part of the afternoon. Slowing to a walk as they neared several farmers bringing their herds across the road for the evening. Then when the way was clear, they were back to an easy canter to get as much distance under their feet as they dared as the sun lowered in the sky. Even at the good pace they were making, it became clear that they would not come to the gates of Arx Fedei before nightfall. The monastery was not accustomed to opening their gates in the full of night. Washburn was sure that for the Duke of Corwyn, they would make an acception, but that decision would need to come from the duke himself. So he had sent Squire Sieur to request the duke’s orders.

Duke Kelric sprinted forward, marking several men as he passed them to follow him. Baron Sieur was one, as was Lord Jaxom, as well as Lord Alister and master Darcy. Washburn was please to see the addition of the last man, even if Darcy was take back by it and Alister was pleasantly amused. Washburn brought the columns to a walk allowing for the viewpoints of Kelric’s advisors to be heard. Most were in favor of continuing on into the night to reach Arx Fedei.  Kelric himself was not of that mindset, for he knew the abbot would comply, yet would be much displeased to accommodate so many at such a late hour. It was Lord Jaxom who offered the name of Lord Buckley, whose manor house was just where the valley road and the main road came together. His gate house was of stone, with a walled court yard, and a great hall that could easily sleep the thirty of them.  Lord Jaxom admitted that his father knew Lord Buckley and that he did not, but he knew the man to be King Kelson’s vassal here in the upper lands of Gwynedd. It was quickly agreed by Duke Kelric that this would be the best alternative.

They rode for another hour. The sun having set and the moon just rising above the trees, when they saw the torches that lit the gate house just off the main road. The guards at the manor took little time getting permission to allow the travelers within. The courtyard quickly became a staging area for all thirty horses; allowing twenty men to see to all their mounts while ten men entered the manor, to greet the local lord and have accommodations made up in the main hall. It was passed the supper hour and not much more than stew and bread could be offered, but that was enough. Duke Kelric was happy to have a roof over their heads for the night and a warm hearth to sit beside.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 18, 2018, 09:31:09 pm
Darcy Cameron sat at the end of the trestle table set below the high table. In spite of their late and unannounced arrival, Lord Buckley and his lady wife had set out an evening meal on the hall’s high table for the Duke of Corwyn and his men.  It was not exactly a “high” table, sitting on a single step above the main floor of the hall, but the symbolism was still there.  Lady Buckley had retired shortly after they were served, not knowing another noblewoman was among her guests.

The duke, his barons, Sir Washburn, Lord Jaxom and Lord Alister sat above with Lord Buckley.  Darcy did not mind sitting below; he has positioned himself so that he could both survey the hall around them and reach Aliset’s side immediately if needed.  Father Columcil sat next to him, seeming uncomfortable to be so close to the head table.  He had been called upon to say grace before the meal; it had been simple and brief, and Darcy thought it most fitting.

In spite of the peaceful setting, Darcy felt restless.  Perhaps the concept of feeling safe had become too foreign.  He needed to stretch his legs.  With a nod to Columcil, he rose and bowed to the Duke of Corwyn, who looked up at the movement below.

“With your permission, your Grace,” Darcy said after bowing.   “I thought I would check our horses one more time.  Our four have had a trying day.”

Duke Kelric nodded his assent.  Darcy left the hall and stopped beside the weapons that were propped beside the main door.  It was not proper courtesy to bear arms in the hall of their host.  Darcy retrieved his sword and buckled it around his waist.  There was probably no need to do so; he did it anyway.

The courtyard was quiet but not silent.  Servants, stable boys and others were up late due to their arrival. The night was clear; Darcy looked at the stars above.  How he liked the twinkling lights above!  He could chart his way anywhere he wanted to go based on their positions.  It was a comforting thought.

He entered the stable quietly, not for any good reason other than he saw need to announce his arrival.  He nodded at a stable boy laying out harness and moved farther within; their horses had been stabled toward the back.

He spied the man ahead in a closer stall.  He was rummaging in his saddle bag and seemed agitated.  Darcy drew back into the shadow of another stall, empty except for bags of feed.

Whatever the man was looking for, he was not finding it.  Finally, with a muttered curse, he removed the saddle bag and dumped the contents on the ground.  Kneeling down the man examined each item that had fallen to the floor.

Darcy felt he had seen the man before.

Roll to see if Darcy recognizes the man.  Success on 4,5 or 6
Jerusha   !roll 2d6
21:27   derynibot   5, 1 == 6
Success!

Darcy tensed; he knew the man.  It was the man who had ridden past their group of master farmers and cattle in such a hurry on their way out of Droghera.  This was not coincidence!

For a moment Darcy wanted to confront the man, but in truth, he had nothing against him but suspicion.  Was he searching among his belongings for the tin Darcy had chucked away? Even if he was, there was no way to prove it.  And even though his senses had told him it was evil in some way, there was no way to prove that either.  Plus the man was either a guest or a member of this household.  It would not sit well with Lord Buckley, or even more so with Duke Kelric, to accuse without proof.

 So Darcy waited in the shadows to see if the man would find what he was looking for.  Belatedly, he realized he had not thought to wear his dark cap to cover his hair.  The moon was bright and most of the shutters were open.  Darcy spied an empty feed sack on the stack of full ones.  The man before him was making enough noise going through his belongings that Darcy did not hesitate to quietly drape the sack over his head.  If the man spotted him Darcy would be hard pressed to explain why he was wearing a sack on top of his head.  He’d deal with that if he had too.

‘Master Darcy, are you within?”

Father Columcil!  The man Darcy had recognized looked up, reaching toward some weapon, possibly a dagger, as he stood erect.

Darcy quickly moved away in a direction that would make it look like he was approaching from farther within the stable, discarding the feed sack as he moved.

“Father Columcil, well met!” Darcy called as he strode boldly forward.  He nodded to the man he had been watching.  “Misplace something?” he asked mildly as he moved toward the stable door.

“No, found it,” the man said curtly.

Darcy continued through the door, grasped the priest’s arm and turned him back toward the hall.

‘Problem?” Columcil asked quietly.

“Aye, I fear so.  The man inside is the same man that rode past us on the way out of Droghera.  We need to have a word with Sir Washburn and Lady Aliset.  Be on your guard.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 19, 2018, 11:03:32 am
Columcil had very much wanted to get to Arx Fidei for the night although he accepted without demur that the Duke had not only the authority, but the knowledge and experience, to make the decision not to ride on into the dark. He had hoped though, to be able to pray at the shrine of St Jorian. The story of the martyred Deryni saint, burnt for the "heresy" of seeking to obey God's call to serve Him in the priesthood had first been told to him by his grandfather (though surrounded as he was by such powerful Deryni he told himself he had better discipline himself to think of him only as Archbishop Duncan). As the Archbishop had explained why he would override the bar to ordination which Columcil's illegitimancy presented there had been tears in the old man's eyes as he spoke of his own call which could abide no rules laid down by men and of the terrible price paid by others before him of which Jorian was only the last and best known. Throughout his training Columcil had spent many hours in front of the statue of St Jorian and he had hoped to be able to spend the night there in vigil, praying for guidance for the future. He was still willingly bound by his allegiance to St Melangell but these comrades of his had become far more than the mere chance acquaintances of their first meeting and surely God had not led their paths to cross without some purpose of His own.

He had hoped that he would be able to find a quiet corner in the manor chapel to say his office and pray but found himself expected to sit at table right up against the high table. The meat and root vegetable stew that they had been served was warm and filling and Columcil knew that the rules for Friday abstinence were relaxed in cases of travel, but tucking into the rich succulent fare did nothing to alleviate his spiritual unease. Darcy, too, seemed ill at ease and soon made his excuses to leave the hall. Columcil was searching around in his own mind to find an equally plausible excuse when the chapel bell rang discordantly for Compline. Lord Buckley seemed oblivious but when Columcil rose and made his bow before Duke Kelric he received a nod of understanding dismissal without having to offer any word of explanation.

Once out of the hall however he offered a hasty prayer of fervent contrition to the Almighty and headed towards the stable where he found, as he had expected, Master Darcy. He had not expected the urgency of the other's response though, as he found his arm grabbed and himself turned back towards the hall "...We need to have a word with Sir Washburn and Lady Aliset. Be on your guard."

So speaking Darcy propelled him with haste towards the entrance to the great hall and it took all of Columcil's strength to bring them both to a halt. "Not so fast Master Darcy. If it is the man you say it is -and I make no doubt you are right for you have an astounding memory for such detail - we cannot arouse suspicion. None of us knows this Lord Buckley, even Lord Jaxom admits that he does not and that his father has not seen him much in recent years. If this man that has intended us so much grief is at home here, who knows where the loyalty of this house lies? We must think of some way of attracting our companions attention without bringing suspicion on ourselves or them. We must think of a diversion."

Darcy stared at the priest, forced to admit that he was right. He was learning a lot about priests but nevertheless looked rather oddly at Columcil who, realising what he was thinking, smiled and said, "I wasna always an old priest. Learning how to distract attention from myself or a friend saved us many a beating as tearaway lads in Transha or bread-and-water penances, aye and the stripes to go with them, as young seminarians. Hush now and let me think a wee bit."

Maybe he would be able to reach out to Washburn's mind, after all they had shared rapport and at a deep enough level for healing to take place. He stilled himself into a light trance ((4+2=6 7r4t54db0 - grrr)) but whether it was his fear of revealing too much about himself, or that Washburn himself was uneasy in this unknown place and keeping his mind tightly shielded, he could find no posibility of contact. Perhaps, loath though he was to do it, he could create sufficient agitation in Shadow for one of the stablehands themselves to run and fetch Sir Washburn. But no, he could not do that ((rolled advantage 4, 5 or 6 - 2+3=5 jfc72v360k grrr, grrr)), their mounts had suffered enough stress and deserved better of him. Besides if Shadow became really agitated he might injure himself before his master could reach him. He would simply have to think of something else.

Darcy was standing still enough but clearly barely restraining his impatience. "Quickly!" urged Columcil, "Go and tell them that you found me in the stable yard being ill. You think I am unaccustomed to the mead they served at supper after having little to eat all day." As Darcy stared at him appalled Columcil swiftly traced the sign of the cross on the other's forehead "Ego te absolvo. That's for the lie, though that mead could well have made anyone ill. Now, go! Have no fear, I can act a part if I have to, though 'twould be best if only Lord Alister and Sir Washburn came."

Somewhat stunned, Darcy did as he was bid and hurried back into the hall while Columcil positioned himself against the outer wall of the stable ready to double over if necessary.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 19, 2018, 08:31:52 pm
Darcy Cameron paused just inside the door to Lord Buckley’s great hall and took a steadying breath.  Father Columcil was right; charging head first toward the high table would not go over well.  Nor would running in armed.  In spite of his own reservations for doing so, he unbuckled his sword and laid it against the others by the door. 

As he approached the high table, he saw that Washburn was in conversation with the duke.  Lord Jaxom was immersed in lively conversation with Lord Alister.  Lord Alister looked politely amused and slightly bored.  Darcy forgave himself for his inner smirk.

It would be best if he approached Washburn quietly but with some degree of concern.  He did not want to embarrass the good Father, but he needed to secure assistance.

As Darcy approached the high table, Duke Kelric looked up.

“Beg pardon, your Grace,” Darcy said as he rose from his bow.  “If I might have a word with Sir Washburn?” Washburn gave him a curious look.  Darcy cleared his throat delicately.  “Father Columcil is feeling a bit indisposed.  Nothing more that mead on top of too empty a stomach after the day we’ve had I’m sure, but if Lord Alister and/or Sir Washburn could spare a moment?”

Aliset, who overheard the request, rose immediately.  “Of course.”  She knew immediately that her man-at-arms words did not quite ring true. 

Washburn stood as well.  “I’m sure it’s nothing, but I could use a bit of fresh air myself.”  At his brother’s nod of agreement, Washburn joined Darcy and Aliset and withdrew from the hall.

Once at the door, Washburn turned to Darcy.  “What is this about?  What are you up to?”

“Let us join Father Columcil, and I’ll explain.  I suggest you bring your sword.”  Darcy lifted his own sword from the stack by the door and led the way outside.  “There is one who has joined us here that bodes ill.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 20, 2018, 04:47:53 am
Washburn was only too happy to follow Master Darcy and to retrieve his sword. As he clipped the sword and scabbard on his belt hanger, he suppressed his anger for having lost part of the Heirloom set. This sword was not meant to be carried alone. Its big brother was his favored great-sword, which had gone missing the day before. Even in an alternate state of merasha induced delirium, Wash had not mistaken the sight of his great-sword on the back of that man who orchestrated his attempted captured. That man had not succeeded, yet he had commandeered the Lendour heirloom. Grateful for his escape, Wash had not complained, yet the reminder of the loss gave him a moment to swear he would find a way to get it back.

At this moment, however, he had to put that anger aside and refocus on his friends. Something was up and he had yet to get a clue just what that was.  “So our hosts meal wasn’t very good. Are we out to hunt killer Coneys to sate our appetites?  Or at least clear the throat of that poor mead. If Columcil is truly ill, I will gladly stand before Lord Buckley and forcefully request that he open his wine cellar. Certainly, he must have better than what he served the duke of the realm at table-side.” Wash was not really joking as his eyes scanned the moonlit courtyard looking for the good Father.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 20, 2018, 05:49:14 am
Duke Kelric realised how much his opinion of his brother had changed in so short a time. Just a few days ago he would likely either have refused his brother permission outright or at the least demand that he explain himself. Worse still he might have chided Washburn for the lack of manners shown by him and his companions.

The realisation that had been creeping up on him since their conversation in the Church, and having spoken with his companions, now hit him with full force though nothing about his demeanour showed anything. He trusted his brother, utterly and completely. Washburn had been sent to do a simple task which had turned into a nightmare in the fulfillment of which he had handled himself well and won the loyalty of his companions. Whatever was going on, and Kelric was certain that it had nothing to do with the supposed overindulgence of the priest, he would not help matters by interfering unless he was specifically asked to do so. One of the burdens of his rank was that he could do nothing discreetly - even going to the garderobe would have had the whole hall on its feet until he had rapidly waved them down. Until he was asked, or unless he knew that Washburn was in serious danger when his love for his brother, always there but masked perhaps too much by his sense of responsibility and irritation, would be shown in all its intensity. Then let others beware.

For now though his task was to continue as though nothing of note had happened. He cast his senses discreetly outwards to feel if there was any other Deryni present ((123 yes, 456 no 4gt1833bmn)) and being reassured that there were none he risked Sending to Washburn

"No need to explain but I sense something's wrong. I'll cover for you here but keep me informed. Be safe."

Washburn gave no outward sign that he had heard but replied "Yes. Something's afoot and I'll wager that it's not Father Columcil. And thank you, My L... brother."

Kelric was hard put not to smile as his brother signalled his recognition of the change in their relationship by his change of address but turned towards Lord Buckley and said by way of explanation. "My brother met up with Father Columcil on his journey, it seems that the country priest is not used to such good fare as you have provided."
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 21, 2018, 05:14:49 am
The figure of a priest was standing in the shadows of the stable wall. He held one hand to his belly as if it hurt and one hand to the wall as if to hold himself from falling. A stable boy was standing next to him looking concerned, but uncertain if he could even touch the priest and lend a helping hand. For the priest did look ill.  When Washburn saw him, he almost believed Columcil’s act. Forced to playing the part before the stable boy, Washburn paced over to Columcil’s side and put his hand under the good priest’s elbow. “You don’t look well, Father.”

Columcil gave a belch that could turn the stomach of anyone in hearing range. The boy turned pale, not knowing  how to help the master’s guests. Washburn sympathized. “Lad, go on, go back to taking care of the horses, I can see to the good Father.”

The boy appeared to not have heard, “I can get you water to drink,” he offered trying to be helpful.

“Nay, laddy,” Columcil said while scrunching his shoulders high and squeezing his eyes shut for a moment. “Wha’ I nee’ is sa’ peppermint leaves for boilin’ w’t a wine in my wine skin. Both wil’ a be found in me’ saddle bags. But I am nat’a sure I can’a walk that far myself.”

“I will get them for you.” The knight turned to the boy, handing over a half cent. “Thank you, lad, we got it from here.”  The boy didn’t question; once the coin was in his hand, he ran off. Washburn turned to Darcy and Aliset. “Stay here with Columcil. I will retrieve that which Darcy saw inside.” Washburn’s hand brushed Darcy’s wrist. “Can you show me what he looks like,” he asked very calmly, not wanting to frighten the seaman’s fledgling use of powers.

((02:23 Wash Shallow rapport between darcy and wash 1d6 4,5,6 success.
02:23 Wash-darcy!roll 1d6
02:23derynibot1 == 1))

Unfortunately Darcy had not been prepared to drop his shields in order to share the information so readily. Apologetically Darcy instead whispered, “Same man we saw yesterday riding hard. He’s wearing brown leathers, has black hair and mustache, a heavy belt over his jerkin with several daggers and a long cleaving knife.”

Wash nodded, “Our trapper then.” Wash scowled. “He is human and very dangerous. Lets not all walk into his traps, let me go first.” The knight stepped toward the stable entrance.

((02:28 Wash, Wash sees Rayne when he walks in the stable 2d6 5,6 yes.
02:29 Wash-darcy!roll 2d6
02:29 derynibot 6, 5 == 11))

Half way down the stable yard, Wash was certain he saw the man Darcy had seen. The man was bent down tucking a dagger in his boot. When Washburn started walking his way, the trapper made the pretense of tying his saddle bag on his horse’s far side. Hiding himself behind his mount while keeping an eye on the entering knight.  Washburn paid the trapper no mind as he walked passed him down the aisle, looking for his and Columcil’s mounts. When he reach Spean, he pretended to look into the Priest’s belongings bag. All the while trying to make contact with the Trapper’s mind.

((02:56 Wash Opening his senses to make contact with Rayne 2d6 success 5,6
02:56 Wash-darcy !roll 2d6
02:56 derynibot 1, 1 == 2))

After a moment that seemed useless. He was going to need physical contact to read the man or to influence his actions. All of Washburn’s senses were focused. One hand pulled his own dagger free, hiding it well between the horse and himself, while his other hand seemed to rummage through the bag on the saddle.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 21, 2018, 12:09:21 pm
“I don’t know that Sir Washburn walking into a possible trap by himself was such a good idea,” Darcy Cameron muttered as he stood beside the much-recovered priest.  He looked at Aliset and asked, “Did you bring your dagger?”

Aliset nodded.  “I picked it up as we left.”

“But you don’t have your staff, Father.”  Darcy unsheathed his dagger and passed it to Columcil, who took it with some reluctance.  “Just in case, Father Columcil.  I hope you don’t need to use it.”

“So do I,” Columcil replied, “but I will if I must.”

Darcy stood at the ready, uncertain whether he should stay with his companions or go after Sir Washburn.  After all, Washburn had said “Let me go first,” not “Wait here.”

The sound of a startled horse made up his mind.  “Keep her safe, Father,” Darcy said as he drew his sword and darted toward the barn.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 21, 2018, 03:55:15 pm
Master Rayne was furious with himself. Where was that dagnabbit trinket Lord Oswald had given him? The lady was nearly within his grasp. He was certain to capture her tonight. The lady had remained in that poor disguise of her brother, whom Rayne knew full well was long dead these past weeks. She would find a way to sleep in a seperate room from the rest. Lord Buckley’s steward had already assured Rayne that he would give Lord Alister the corner room, the one with the passage into the secret stairs. Together the steward and he would slaughter that man-of-arms of hers and Rayne would be off with his conquest with none being the wiser until morning. Trouble was, without the drug, he would have a harder time with her. Well, he had handled feisty women before. He knew their weak points and he would use everything he knew to accomplish his task.

But then that man-at-arms walked right past him. Rayne cursed himself for being so careless as to think Lord Buckley would let one of his guests out of his sight from the main hall. Buckley was not a too brilliant fellow, even if he was a Mearan loyalist. When the man-at-arms left, he had encountered someone else outside, and then the two of them had walked away. Rayne was certain he had been compromised. He repacked his belongings in his bags fast, then he reached up to the saddle for his crossbow and loaded an arrow into it. He hung the loaded crossbow back on the off-side of his horse.  He tightened his horse's saddle girth back up and readied the horse to make a speedy get away, if need be. The gatekeeper already knew to open the gates for him when he was ready to leave. So that wasn’t a bar to his escaping. The man would be watching out for him. Grabbing two more throwing daggers, Rayne placed one in his belt and was bending down to put one in his boot, when that lord-ling knight entered the barn.

The man must have nine lives, like a devil cat, Rayne thought. He knew Master Feyd wanted the knight alive. Why? He was too much trouble alive, better dead and out of the way, so he could get to his lord’s future lady. Rayne considered his options as he hid behind his horse and watched the knight walk further down to the horses stabled there. The knight was so foolish as to turn his back on him. Foolish indeed.

Rayne brought the cross bow up and balanced it over the saddle. That wide back was an easy target. His finger pulled the trigger. Then he was moving. Horses were nayying, but he didn’t look to see if he had hit his mark. He mounted up quickly and spurred his horse for the barn entrance. A throwing dagger was readily in his hand when that damned man-at-arms ran up and tried to block his path.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 21, 2018, 06:55:33 pm
Darcy Cameron ran forward and saw the horse and rider bursting forth from the stable.  The man’s hand was raised, and Darcy barely had time to see the moonlight flash off the dagger’s blade.

Roll to see if Rayne’s dagger injures Darcy
19:28   derynibot   4, 1 == 5
19:29   Jerusha   !roll 2d6
Failure!
 
The uneven pace of the horse racing forward caused the dagger to go wide.  Darcy heard it singing past his shoulder.  Horse and rider were charging ahead; Darcy had no choice but to dive to the left.

Can Darcy avoid the charging horse?
19:29   Jerusha   !roll 2d6
19:29   derynibot   4, 2 == 6
Oops.

The horse’s flank caught Darcy on his shoulder, but it was his left shoulder, and Darcy focused and swung his sword across the horse’s flank, aiming for the saddle girth, as he fell to the ground.

Darcy, precise attacker, focused attack; success on 3, 4. 5, 6
19:31   Jerusha   !roll 2d6
19:31   derynibot   1, 4 == 5
Yippee

His sword struck true.  The saddle girth split, and rider and saddle spilled to the ground.  But the horse was between Darcy and the man.  Darcy rolled and gained his feet quickly, but the man was already up and running.  Darcy sprinted after him, and saw to his alarm that the man was heading straight toward Colmucil and Aliset.  Sweet Jesu, let him get the man before he could reach Aliset!

Father Columcil moved Aliset behind him and raised the dagger in defense. 

The noise in the courtyard had roused the guests within.  Lord Jaxom emerged, looking confused at the scene before him.

“Lord Jaxom,” Darcy yelled.  “Stop the man! Take him down!”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 22, 2018, 04:02:46 am
Sir Washburn may have had his back turned to his adversary, a thing every fighting master warned that one should never do, yet his mind’s eye was deliberately focused on every action the man behind him made.

((00:31 frogzilla (kind of a cool alias, don't you think?) Rolling for Washburn- focused sensitivity 2d6 4,5,6 success
00:32 frogzilla !roll 2d6
00:32 derynibot 3, 4 == 7  success))

The man behind him was most definitely the same man he had been sensing all afternoon as they had followed him down the valley. Wash had not seen the man in the trees, but he knew the man’s life force which was filled with purpose and hate. If only he could subdue the man’s mind from this distance, but the trapper’s hate was strong, almost like a shield. In his sharp focus, the knight felt rather than saw the ranged weapon drawn. Wash sucked in a breath knowing the bolt was already loaded and at close range. He had but a split second to turn. He daren’t duck down as then the horse would become the weapon’s victim. Yet, he had to see the arrow to deflect it with his powers. He turned, breaking his deep focus in the instant that the twange of the crossbow released it’s bolt.

((00:31 frogzilla Rolling for Washburn’s unfocused Telekansis 2d6 success on 5,6 
 00:32 frogzilla !roll 2d6
00:32 derynibot 3, 4 == 7, failure))

That split-second of turning stole his opportunity to Push the bolt away. The projectile was a blur as it flew toward the knight.

((13:47 frogzilla Laurna is rolling for Rayne using his crossbow on Washburn at close range 3d6 success on 5,6.
13:47 frogzilla !roll 3d6
13:47derynibot 4, 2, 4 == 10
13:48 frogzilla Rayne missed Washburn.))

It was only sheer luck that the projectile missed its mark. The mettle point skimmed the black tunic of his shoulder.

((00:34 frogzilla Does the bolt hit an animal? 5,6 hit
00:34 frogzilla !roll 2d6
00:34 derynibot 2, 2 == 4 failed))

The bolt Flew clear over Spean’s shorter back. It skimmed across the hairs on the rump of the black stallion, causing the war horse to jump and squeal like he had been bitten by an animal. With a thud, the arrowhead embedded itself in the partition between the horse stalls.

“Curses!”  The trapper was getting away! Nothing for it until Shadow was calmed, else the great beast would splinter the stall apart in his panic to be free.  Wash dodged around Columcil’s pony, freed the lead rope tying Shadow to the railing.  He yanked the rope down stopping the stallion from a full rearing up. A hoof kicked out, missing Washburn’s chest. The knight yanked the rope again. This time he was able to touch a calming hand to the great black’s nose.

((01:36 frogzilla Washburn's Rapport with Shadow- does the horse calm instantly Advantage roll for the long time established report between rider and horse.
01:36 frogzilla !roll 3d6
01:36 derynibot 5, 4, 2 == 11))

The Lendour knight established the rapport he had long ago trained into his favored mount. Shadow settled with a knicker and a few backward steps and then willingly was led forward to be tied securely, once more.

There was noise in the courtyard. Anxiously , Wash ran after the fleeing trapper. He feared he would be too late to assist in the action sounding off ahead of him.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 22, 2018, 12:22:44 pm
“Lord Jaxom,” Darcy yelled.  “Stop the man! Take him down!”

Lord Jaxom Trillick gave Darcy a startled look, not comprehending why Lord Alister’s man-at-arms had his sword drawn and was chasing after another man in the courtyard. “Sweet Jesu,” Jaxom muttered when he realized the priest was standing with a dagger to face the man, who was quickly closing the distance between them.  Lord Jaxom drew his own sword and moved forward.

Darcy saw Lord Jaxom finally react, but he feared it would be too late.  The man he was chasing stooped down and grabbed a dagger tucked into his boot.  It caused him to slow his pace, but would it be enough?

As the man raised the dagger to throw it at Father Columcil, Darcy put all his energy into a burst of speed.

Will Darcy catch Rayne in time to stop the throw
Jerusha   !roll 2d6
12:08   derynibot   5, 6 == 11
Success!

Darcy slashed the man’s side with his sword, cutting through the man’s tunic and into flesh and bone.  The man stumbled, and Darcy grabbed for his arm.

Will Darcy disarm him
12:09   Jerusha   !roll 2d6
12:09   derynibot   1, 2 == 3
Failure.

Darcy grabbed the man’s arm and twisted, but Rayne did not release the knife.  Instead he twisted his own body, trying to trip the smaller man and send him to the ground.

Will Rayne trip Darcy
Jerusha   !roll 2d6
12:32   derynibot   2, 2 == 4
Failure!

Darcy moved in closer to restrict the man’s movement, deliberately digging his elbow into Rayne’s injured side.  Lord Jaxom, reaching them at last, forced the dagger from Rayne’s grip.  Darcy twisted Rayne’s arm behind his back and forced him to his knees.

Darcy’s chest was heaving from the exertion.  He wanted to ask Lord Jaxom why it had taken him so bloody long to do something.  Instead, in between gasps, he said, “Lord Jaxom, much obliged; well done.”
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 22, 2018, 02:14:08 pm
Lord Jaxom had barely scuffed his tunic as he had wrestled the dagger away from the captive's hand, yet he gave it a brush and a straightening before he waved his two armsmen, who had followed him out into the courtyard, to secure the man twisting to get away from Master Darcy.  Jaxom nodded to the navigation's officer taking his praise without a second thought. It was well known that ships officers had to be good at grappling down bigger men, else-wise mutiny would be more prevalent. Darcy was just doing his job. Belatedly, Jaxom, realized he had to reward lord Alister’s man-at-arms with a return praise. “Thank you for apprehending this attacker. What was he after?”

The eyes of the captive had been staring at the priest and the lord just out of reach. At Jaxom’s question the man’s eyes turned away. It was Jaxom’s turn to look over at the old priest and the young lord. A queer look crossed Jaxom’s features. Why was it that the old priest, with not but a dagger, stood in protection of the lord whom had recently made knighthood; wasnt that just this last twelfth-night? Lord Alister did indeed have his dagger in his hand, but not his sword. Jaxom realized for the first time that Alister hadn’t ever even carried a sword. No knight would have walked freely without sword at his side. Even if he had lost it, just has Sir Washburn had nearly lost his to that captured man Phyre earlier this day ((yes it is still the same day as than)), a real knight would have commandeered a weapon from a guardsman. It was the right of nobility.

Suddenly, the name Washburn had used earlier this day, the name Aliset, stung Lord Jaxom’s mind. Wasn’t Alister a twin and wasn’t his sister's name, Aliset. The reason for the discomfort of his dining companion at the high table came clear. Lord Jaxom gave a wide smile to the young man standing at the back side of the old priest. The lady of de Mariot is said to be a beauty. He imagined just what hid behind those brown eyes.

"Let us get this man into the presence of the lords in the hall. His Grace, I am sure will want to know the meaning of this assault." As Lord Jaxom assessed the courtyard for any other altercations, he nodded to Sir Washburn, who was just stepping out from the barn. The knight was nodding agreement to going back to the main hall, even as he slipped his dagger back into his belt sheath. The trouble was secured, for now.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 23, 2018, 12:56:34 pm
Lord Jaxom made his way proudly into the hall but made a deferential enough bow to Lord Buckley and a deep obeisance before the Duke of Corwyn before signalling to his men at arms to force their captive to his knees in front of the high table.

"Your Grace, My Lord. I found this man engaged in violent affray in the courtyard, and I believe that without my timely appearance the good Father here would have likely been run through. Is that not so, Father?"

Columcil nodded curtly, not thinking it seemly to contradict a member of the nobility in front of His Grace. Inwardly though, he seethed. Yes,  Lord Jaxom had been the one to finally bring their tormentor down, but yet again he could not help but feel that Darcy had been treated unfairly by this lordling. Columcil wanted to Mind speak Darcy in commiseration ((2+2 =4 3gh00h4qz5)) or to reach out in the same way to Washburn to beg him to speak up for the man-at-arms (( roll advantage for all the good it did 3+4+4=11)) but, aware of Lord Brackley and Duke Kelric's eyes upon him, he feared that he could not produce the necessary focus without appearing to be vacant and ill-mannered. To be thought of as a drunken sot was bad enough, he had no wish to add insolence to his list of sins, still less be publicly rebuked for it. Perhaps in a moment of quiet, if one ever came, he could ask Lady Aliset to help him slip into rapport without making it so obvious.

As he thought of her, the look that Lord Jaxom had given to Sir Alister in the yard flashed back into his mind and its meaning hit him. Dear God, no! The man knew that they had been riding in company with a young unmarried woman. Blessed Saints! The damage a man with mischief on his mind could do with that knowledge.

His thoughts were interrupted as those around him sank again into obeisance and he hurriedly bent his knee with the rest. Duke Kelric had risen from his seat and walked rapidly around the table to join them, beckoning several of his men to draw their bows and be ready to aim at the prisoner, and distractedly waving a end to the varying gestures of respect. Columcil felt sure that the Duke was Mindspeaking his brother though he listened with apparently full attention to Lord Jaxom as the latter gave his report. Quite casually Duke Kelric placed his hand on Darcy's arm to draw him into the conversation, a gesture that Jaxom could hardly object to, as in fairness to the man he had made passing reference to Darcy's actions. Columcil was again sure that more was happening than met the eye, as Darcy stood a little straighter and prouder, and he began to feel ashamed of his somewhat grudging respect towards the Duke.

"I trust you are recovered from both your indisposition and the violence you have witnessed, Father?"

Columcil had not expected to be directly addressed and he felt himself colouring. "Aye, Your Grace." Something seemed to compel him to lift his bowed head and dare to look into the Duke's eyes, where he saw, - did he see?- the very slightest suspicion of a wink. Praying desperately that he was not about to make a terrible mistake he bowed over the Duke's hand and brushed it with his lips.

His voice said "Thank ye for your concern, Your Grace."

((Columcil Mindspeaks Duke Kelric rolled disadvantage 5. 12c4gglhm5))

His mind said "Your Grace, I fear I am breaking confidence but there is something you should know."

"If it is about the Lady Aliset, I already know. Is there something more?"

"Sir Jaxom kens. I dinna ken how, but he kens awreet."

"I trust you in this, though that's a complication we don't need. You see a lot for a 'drunken old priest'. That was quick thinking out there.". As Columcil straightened, relieved and pleased to have been so commended he felt the Duke's gaze upon him and briefly met it, unaware that his amber eyes were flashing with emotion.

Something jiggled at the back of Duke Kelric's mind triggered by that voice that became broader in its speech with emotion and those unusual eyes, but there was no time to pursue it. He wished that he had had the opportunity to contact Kelson, the man kneeling sullen and silent at his feet was at home here and it seemed unlikely that his actions and loyalty could be totally unknown to the Lord of the manor. He took a deep breath, in truth he already knew that the King would not want him to publicly accuse one of his barons of being complicit in treason even if only by passive collusion. Not this side of the border, at least not yet. His hand went instinctively to his father's St Camber medallion which never left his neck and closed around it as Kelric prayed that Lord Buckley would not betray himself not yet be betrayed by his underling.  and thus force the issue.

He turned back to Lord Buckley who had risen as the Duke did and remained standing, his face impassive.

"My Lord, do you have somewhere private to secure this man? I think he will have much to tell us."

Did Lord Buckley turn a shade paler? It was hard to tell. At any rate he gave no hint as he replied,

"Of course, your Grace. If you would give the order for the prisoner to be brought, I will lead the way." Lord Buckley included both Lord Jaxom and Duke Kelric in his words but at a sign from the Duke it was his own men who took charge of Rayne, pausing to tie his hands behind his back and loosely tie his feet so that he could still walk but with difficulty. Kelric glanced at the bowmen to follow but when Lord Jaxom made to follow stayed him with a look which then moved towards Washburn.

"My Lord Washburn, would you attend us in this?"






Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 24, 2018, 05:07:04 pm
Darcy Cameron was quietly pleased at the chagrined look on Lord Jaxom’s face.  The man was a peacock; prettily dressed and utterly annoying.

Now that Duke Kelric and the others had left the hall, people began to move about, some gathering in small groups to speculate on what had happened in the courtyard.  Darcy saw more than one man glance in their direction, then look away.  Belatedly, Darcy realized that his tunic was stained with blood, again.

Aliset had also noticed.  “I hope that’s not your blood, Master Darcy,” she said, looking concerned.

“Nay, it’s not mine,” he reassured her.  “But I seem to be a bit hard on my clothes.”

Father Columcil snorted and Aliset managed a smile.  Darcy was about to suggest they sit down at the table when he saw that Lord Jaxom was heading toward them.  There was no polite way to avoid him, and Darcy contemplated doing something impolite but thought better of it.

“Lord Alister,” Jaxom said as he reached them.  “After that fight in the courtyard, I could use some refreshment.  Would you join me back up at the high table for more of Lord Buckley’s mead?”

Sweet Jesu, Darcy thought.  Hasn’t Lady Aliset been through enough without having to endure more of Lord Buckley’s ghastly mead?

Jaxom motioned toward the high table as he spoke, making his intention clear to the rest of the room.  Aliset hesitated a moment, then nodded, unwilling to offend him, at least this time.

Jaxom smiled and allowed Lord Alister to precede him.  There was something about his smile that Darcy did not like.  Before Lord Alister could be seated, one of the Corwyn guards returned and said something to him.  The young Lord nodded and preceded the man from the room.  Again Lord Jaxom attempted to follow, but he was waived back.
 
Father Columcil tapped Darcy lightly on the arm.  “We might as well be seated ourselves.”  Darcy nodded absently and sat beside him.  “Can you lower your shields a wee bit?”  Columcil asked quietly.  “There is something you should know.”  Columcil moved his hand so it barely touched Darcy’s on the table. 

Darcy gave slight nod, and after a moment of concentration, rolled back his shields.  It was not as easy this time; he had not realized how solid they had become during what had recently transpired.

The “sound” of the priest’s words in his mind was odd, but not uncomfortable. Lord Jaxom knows she is Lady Aliset and not her brother.  I don’t know how, but he knows.  I have informed his Grace.

Roll to see if Darcy can mind speak
Jerusha   !roll 1d6
17:36   derynibot   2 == 2
Sigh….

The implications of Columcil word’s alarmed Darcy enough that his shields snapped back into place. “Sorry, Father, I didn’t mean for that to happen.”

“I understand, son; this new development concerns me as well.”

Now that Columcil no longer spoke directly into his mind, Darcy resisted the temptation to shake his head the same way a wet dog shakes. He supposed he would have to get used to this new form of magic. “We’ll need to ensure we keep a close watch to ensure her safety.  I don’t trust him,” Darcy said in a low voice. 

Father Columcil nodded, but wondered how they could keep a closer watch on Lady Aliset than Darcy already kept.  Darcy wondered if he should attempt to follow Aliset, but since she had been summoned by one of the Duke's men, he decided to remain, carefully watching, his senses alert for any sign of trouble.

((Edited to put Aliset in the right place at the right time.))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 26, 2018, 03:54:27 am
Nine men filed into the private room at the back of the great hall. Lord Buckley, the first to enter, stepped all the way to the back of the room to stand beside his working-table.  Duke Kelric followed, yet he choose to stand near the hearth at the side, his back warming with the low fire. Washburn and Lord Alister respectfully followed the duke to stand at his side. Two of Lord Buckley’s men stood to either side of the entrance; one of these men was the Steward Dolin of the Buckley Hall. 

((Washburn Rapport 2d6  success on 5,6   rolled 1: 3 + 6 = 9   Verification Number: 3kw1kqt97r))

From the moment he had entered the hall after the altercation in the courtyard, Sir Washburn and been passing along snippets of information through the brother’s well established rapport. His Grace was therefore informed of all that his brother knew about the man whom the Corwyn guards, entering last, pulled non-to-willingly into the center of the room. Once there, they forced him to his knees. The trapper’s gaze had locked onto those of the manor lord’s for just a instant, almost pleadingly, but he was met with a hard look of castigation.  Then after, the prisoner looked only at the black knight with a seething hatred.

Lord Buckley was the first to speak out. “If you will allow it, your grace. I can have my steward beat whatever answers you need out of this man. You needn't waste your valuable efforts on such as he.”

The duke considered the manor lord’s request for just a moment before shaking his head. “Under normal circumstances, I would allow you to do just that, Lord Buckley,” Kelric replied, “The trouble being that nothing about any of this is normal.”

Sir Washburn got a mental request from his brother to prepare himself for the interrogation.  Washburn stepped forward to stand over the accused man. As was the duke’s right, he choose to preeminent the authority over the lord in his own home. Washburn knew his brother would never have done so had he but trusted Lord Buckley. “I believe this business is a concern of the King’s, I would know what this man knows. As lord of the manor, I request you to bare witness to all that is said and done here. I trust that you will not object to what I consider a necessary means of discovering the truth.  I am sure you are aware that I and my brother have … certain abilities... which allow the questioning of this man to be both painless and informative. I am looking for justice, are not you also?”

Lord Buckley had very little control over the situation, he knew it full well. He inclined his head in agreement with the duke. “I will thank you for allowing me to witness your questioning of this man,” the manor lord said.  “Proceed.”

Did Wash just see lord Buckley’s hand tighten on the edge of his desk. Wash was quite glad he had not given up his sword when he had entered the hall this time.

Kelric turned his full attention on the prisoner. “In the name of King Kelson of Gwynedd, I stand in judgement of the accused. Have you anything to say before we begin?” the Duke questioned. The prisoner’s lips remained pursed together, he offered nothing, his dark eyes burning with hatred.

“Sir Washburn…” the duke gave the questioning over to Wash. Let us refrain from questions that might implicate our host, Kelric mind spoke. I don’t relish the idea of fighting our way out of here.

I understand and concur, Washburn replied in kind.

((Washburn Truth-Saying the Huntsman  2d6  success on 5,6   rolled  2: 5 + 6 = 11 Verification Number: 3kw1kqt97r))

The Knight of Lendour looked straight at Rayne. In that minute. the trapper thought he was going to lose his soul. He started to object to the Deryni’s touch, when he found that even without being touched, he could make no such objection. The hated Deryni didn’t need to touch him to capture his gaze and his mind.  Rayne tried desperately to look away, only to find himself drowning in the knight’s intense sea blue eyes.

“Tell the duke your name and position?” the knight asked with a quiet calmness that was disconcerting.

“Rayne Lanackie, master huntsman.” Rayne found himself saying, unable to disobey.
A series of short questions followed asking pointedly about the setting of leg traps near the church graveyard, and caltrops set on the ground along the valley road. With each question, Rayne could only say “Yes,” as if he were a raven calling for scraps of food.

“What was your purpose for setting these traps?” the knight finally asked.

Rayne wanted to hesitate to not answer at all. It was not a yes or no answer and surely he could get around it in some fashion of blathering a nonsensical excuse.  But then the blue eyes held him and he could but only comply. “To injure the king’s men, to delay them.”

The knight’s eyes only intensified all the more. “What is the reason that you needed to delay the king’s men?”

“To capture the girl.” Rayne spit out. He would have turned to Lord Alister if he at all could turn away from the knights questioning.

“Whom do you work for?” The knight asked quickly, avoiding the question of what girl.

Rayne so wanted to blurt out the girl’s secrete and let shame fall upon her head, but he could do no more than answer the posed question. “Baron Oswald de Mariot!”

The Deryni’s gaze burrowed deeper into Rayne’s soul and Rayne hated him all the more for it. “Did you shot me with a crossbow bolt?” the knight suddenly asked.

“Yes!” Venom filled that one word like the bit of a snake. There was a gasp from someone in the room. They probably just understood what had been the cause of Sir Washburn’s ripped and soiled clothes.

“Did you shot me when I was in the tree, yesterday?”

“No.” came a regretful reply.

“No?” the knight looked away for a moment, yet his gaze returned before Rayne could blink.

“Did you shoot your crossbow at me on the Cuiltrien road, near the town of Droghera?”

“Yes,” Rayne offered, “Twice!” he announced, clearly pleased with his accomplishment.

Washburn shook his head, pushing past the memory of that pain. He turned to look at the duke for instruction. Clearly, Lanackie had confessed enough to get himself hung, but certainly that wasn’t all the man was guilty of. Can you glean Oswald’s plans? Kelric asked. Washburn most certainly didn’t like that this trapper job was to capture “the girl” for the usurper of the manor of Mariot. He wouldn’t want to pursue a line of questioning which might bring Lady Aliset’s secrete into play, certainly not in front of Lord Buckley. If Lord Buckley was complicit in these acts, the lord couldn’t learn that “the girl” in question was standing right here beside them.

((Washburn Rapport continuing Truth-Saying 2d6  success on 5,6   rolled 3: 2 + 6 = 8 Verification Number: 3kw1kqt97r))

Washburn was careful how he phrased his next question. “Do you receive money from Oswald de Mariot; the man who has become Baron de Mariot?”

“Yes.”

“In your duties to Lord Oswald de Mariot, have you killed any man, woman, or child?”

“Yes!” Wash saw a burning fever in the hunter’s eyes. Deryni Truth-Saying forced the man to answer honestly, but it didn’t mean that the huntsman did not know that he was betraying himself and his master. Lanackie wanted so very much to see the death of the man who questioned him.

“Can you name this man you have killed. And name any others that have died by your hand?

Suddenly a flood gate of names, rolled off of Lanackie’s tongue. Names that Washburn tucked away in his memory, most were guardsman and merchants, but then the name Baron de Mariot crossed the huntsman’s lips, quickly followed by the name, Baylyn de Mariot. Washburn knew Baylyn to be the eldest brother and first heir to Lady Aliset’s father. 

Washburn was horrified by the names. The one name he was grateful not to hear was Alister de Mariot.  But then he already knew Alister had been murdered by that other man, the one they had encountered their first day on the road.

“There was another man tracking us that day we left Culdi. Give me his name?”

“Master MacInnis.”

“Was he under Oswald’s order’s.”

“No,” Lanackie answered truthfully.

“Humm, you sure? Where does MacInnis’s loyalties lie?”

“Royal princess of Meara.” That took Washburn by surprise. He looked up at his brother.  What had he stumbled onto?

“The royal house of Meara is extinct.” the duke stated, he stepped forward, focusing on truth saying the prisoner himself, preparing to mind read the man to get an answer.  “Which princess is this that you refer to?”

“Princess Sida…” the name was swallowed by a throat full of blood, which erupted from the prisoner’s mouth. It soaked the hem of Kelric’s tunic and boots. The Corwyn men who held the prisoner were slow to react holding the body up from falling forward. Washburn was instantly out of his focus and staring across at Lord Buckley’s steward, whose sword point was exiting Master Lanackie’s chest. Washburn’s own sword was instantly drawn, using the point to push the man away from the prisoner. Kelric’s own dagger was in his hand, turning to protect himself if Lord Buckley attacked.

The lord of the manor, moved not from his place. He merely gave his steward a barely seen node, then yelled, “What is the meaning of this? Dolin what have you done?”

Steward Dolin, jumped Sir Washburn. The weight of Dolin's body rammed into Washburn's unmoving sword. The sharpness cutting from breast plate to spine.

((Edited last sentence to be more clear that it was Dolin skewered by Washburn's sword.))
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on March 26, 2018, 12:54:08 pm
Lady Aliset, still wearing the guise of her late brother (though it was anyone's guess how much longer that disguise would serve her), leaped forward as the body slumped to the ground before Sir Washburn, ostensibly in an instinctive move to catch the dead steward's body, but the swift movement provided cover for her to both make contact with the slain man and establish a brief contact with the knight beside her. 

((12:07   Aliset   !roll 2d6
12:07   derynibot   4, 3 == 7 ))

As she caught Steward Dolin's falling body, she attempted to establish a rapport with Wash, but he seemed preoccupied.  Understandably so, under the circumstances! Perhaps he was already in rapport with His Grace.  But for whatever reason, she could not make the required psychic contact, and if she couldn't reach his mind despite the familiarity between them engendered by the events of the past week, she had little hope of establishing rapport with the Duke himself, standing beyond his brother.

It was up to her, then, to do what must be done, unpalatable though it was to her to delve deeply not just into a dying mind, but that belonging to her brother's murderer. Yet they must discover who was the driving force behind all the enmity that had been brought against not just her family, but now against all the companions who accompanied her.

((12:08   Aliset   !roll 2d6
12:08   derynibot   2, 5 == 7))

Aliset pushed her mental probe deeply into the dying man's mind, sifting for information about the Mearan princess that Rayne had mentioned in that brief moment before the steward had taken the life of Oswald's henchman.  The steward must have wanted to protect that information at all costs; therefore it stood to reason he also had known the information which she and her companions needed.

There it was!  Dolin had never actually laid eyes on the Mearan claimant himself, but he knew of her existence and her name. The Princess Sidana Quinnell de Paor, descended from some heretofore unsuspected daughter of the late Ithel of Meara.  De Paor....Oh, now there was a surname familiar enough to one whose manor was on Trurill lands!  And seen in the distance in one memory, a castle situated on a mountain top high in the Mearan range where those loyal to the ancient Mearan line were being called to muster.  She tucked the image away for further reflection, certain she could identify it later. If not her, then perhaps one of her companions could.

Who had the steward been answerable to? Who was his direct link to the Pretender's throne, since it appeared he'd had no direct contact with the Pretender himself?  Even as Aliset tried to gather that information, the man's remaining memories dispersed into foggy darkness.

Aliset lay the man's body on the ground and straightened, absently wiping his blood off her hands. She glanced at Sir Washburn with a faint nod, but decided it would be better to wait for more privacy before attempting to share what she'd learned. She did not trust Lord Buckley.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 27, 2018, 04:04:39 am
“Demon’s and Hellions, will the Devil never be sated,” Sir Washburn cursed under his breath. Two dead men lay at Washburn’s feet, when just moments before, he had thought he had complete control of the situation. He’d been utterly wrong. Had he put all their lives in danger? His brother’s life too? Lord Alister was absently wiping the blood off her hands after she’d laid the steward’s fallen body on the floor. Alister’s nod told Sir Washburn that she had achieved some form of Death Reading in the brief seconds that she had made contact. First things first, they had to survive this debacle and not be ambushed by Lord Buckley’s men.

Washburn Morgan was quick to assume a guarding stance in front of the Duke of Corwyn. His sword at the ready and his dagger in his off hand. No matter the odds he would protect his brother and his friends from any foe. The two Corwyn guards were quick to follow suit. They left the body of Rayne Lanackie on the floor and stood protective from anyone who might enter the room. They, however, had no more than long daggers to hold in tense hands. Stay between the guards and me if we have to fight our way out, Wash sent to both Kelric and Aliset.

Yet Kelric was already sheathing his dagger. His face as serious as Washburn had ever seen the Duke of Corwyn be.  Kelric was watching Lord Buckley from his periphery, trying hard not to walk straight over to the man and Mind Read him. He knew he dared not. Without looking up from the bodies on the floor he asked, “Please, tell me, Lord Buckley, that you knew nothing of this man,” he pointed to Rayne Lanachie, “nor of your henchman’s allegiance?” Everything hinged on Lord Buckley’s response, would he play his part? Would he act shocked and dumbfounded by his steward’s actions even if he was not? Would he lie to the duke? Kelric wished that he did so. Honor be damned, an admission of treason would lead to a bloodbath in the halls of Buckley manor. The victor uncertain.

Lord Buckley’s face twisted. He may not be the smartest man, but his family had lived between two politically varied lands for centuries. In secrete their allegiances may have swayed back and forth from generation to generation. But for survival, they had learned how to lie and how to lie well. Lord Buckley put his hands in the air and dropped to one knee. “All that I know of that man is that he came here yesterday eve. He bunked in the gate house and left in the early morn. i did not know that he had returned this evening.” Kelric accepted that, for some of that was said in truth. Buckley did play his part as he said. “Steward Dolin’s actions have me flabbergasted! How could I have known he harbored such alliances?”

“How, indeed.” Kelric agreed hearing the lie beneath the words. But outwardly accepting them at face value. “Then you know nothing of this Princess of Meara?”

“I know nothing, Your Grace. You must believe me.”

“I think that I must,” the duke said, knowing all was a lie. He motioned for Lord Buckley to rise. “At ease men.” Kelric indicated outwardly, but inwardly he said We are a lion in a trap! Make it look good, but don’t You ease up for one moment” he sent to Washburn and Aliset.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 27, 2018, 02:34:36 pm
Darcy Cameron did not need his fledgling Deryni powers to know something was amiss the moment Duke Kelric, Washburn and Aliset re-entered the hall, followed by the Corwyn guards and Lord Buckley.  The bloodstained hem of the duke’s tunic would have been disconcerting enough, but the bloodied sword in Washburn’s hand drew the eyes of the entire room.  All those in the hall rose and bowed as the Duke of Corwyn entered; Darcy used the moment to quietly move forward to take his place beside Aliset.  He did not allow his hand to hover over the hilt of his sword; an aggressive move on his part could ignite the tension in the room like a flame ignites a tinderbox.  Instead he took a towel that rested beside the fingerbowl on the high table and handed it to Washburn to wipe down his sword.  The tension eased slightly once Washburn had returned his sword to its sheath. 

“Lord Buckley.” Duke Kelric turned to look back at the manor’s lord, demanding his attention as well as effectively blocking him from signalling to any of the others in the hall. “Although I greatly appreciate the hospitality you have extended to us this evening, especially without notice, we must continue on our journey.  We will depart at once.”

The expression on Lord Buckley’s face shifted from consternation to guarded relief.  “The hour is late, your Grace, would you not prefer to wait until first light?”

“Thank you, Lord Buckley, but no.  We have a full moon to travel by and should make good time.  Lord Jaxom, have your men assemble our mounts in the courtyard.”

Lord Jaxom bowed, looking puzzled but asking no questions.  He motioned to his men to carry out Duke Kelric’s orders. Darcy noted that one or two of Buckley’s men shifted warily as Jaxom’s men passed.  Duke Kelric did not linger in the hall and Darcy and the others followed, joined by Jaxom and Father Columcil.  Father Columcil retrieved his staff as they left the hall and returned Darcy’s dagger.  Darcy noted that several of Buckley’s men also rearmed themselves as they left.  It did not please him.

It did not take long for Jaxom’s men to bring out their horses.  Except for the jingling of harness, the courtyard remained eerily quiet.  Darcy appreciated the duke’s foresight in having the horses brought out to them, avoiding the possibility of someone trapping a large part of their group in the stable.  More by instinct that conscious thought Darcy retrieved the dark leather cap from his sea bag and pulled it over his hair.  He mounted quickly and brought his horse into position beside Aliset. 

This time Duke Kelric lead their party out of the manor gate.  The archers brought up the rear, bows strung and at the ready as one would expect of a party travelling at night.  At least Darcy hoped Lord Buckley took it that way.  No blessing was said as they departed, no wishes for a safe journey.  Darcy was glad to be gone.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 28, 2018, 02:27:15 pm
Lord Buckley was glad to see his guests gone!

As soon as the lord of the manor was certain all thirty-two of the king's men were down the road, beyond his sight in the dark, he ordered the manor gates closed and bared. He spared no time in rousting the house. He ordered his chaplain to see the mess in his withdrawing room. He ordered the captain of the guards to make the castle ready for abandoning. He ordered his wife to prepare the family for leaving. They were to only bring the most essential items and the items of most value. By the midnight hour, wagons were loaded, guardsmen were mounted, and no one but the lowest servants were to stay behind.

Lord Buckley would escort his family to his wife's grandfather on the boarder of the Connait. Then he and his men would turn north and join the rebellion in Meara.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 28, 2018, 05:02:22 pm
When all was ready Lord Buckley drew one of the mounted guards aside and spoke in a low voice:

"Ride as fast as you can - but safety is of more worth than speed- to the priest at Trillshire and give him this letter. He will get it safely where it needs to go."

The man bowed his head in acknowledgement but needed no further instructions. He had made this journey before. The summer nights were short and it was not yet mid-morning on the second day when he dismounted before the church just as the priest was coming out from Mass. He slipped from the saddle then, somewhat stiffly, to his knee. He spoke loudly for the benefit of any within earshot.

"A blessing father, of your charity, for a weary traveller who is unsure of his road"

The priest's hand touched his head in blessing then slipped down his arm and smoothly, for this too had been done before, palmed the letter marked in the corner with the stylised letter M that the supplicant held out.

"You'll be glad of something to sup and a bite to eat. I'll have my man bring you something out, and then if you tell us where you are bound, he can set you a pace or so on your way."

"Culdi, Father."

"Why then you are in luck for Jehan has kin there and is always pestering me for leave to visit. He'll do more than set you on the road, he'll ride with you." With the bluff good humour he affected he pulled the man to his feet and turning shouted, "Jehan! Hey there, Jehan!"

Soon the two were on their way, but there was only one who rode later into Culdi, for once they were out of sight of habitation Lord Buckley's man had turned east and ridden by little known tracks that led at length into the heart of Meara.

Jehan made his way to the Rose and Crown, where he made sport of the soft touch of a priest for whom he worked who could always be swayed into giving him leave to visit his kin. "You'd a thought e'd a sussed me Nan would 'a bin 6 feet unner be naw, the times ah've visited 'er on 'er death bed. Soft as butter, the old man is!" Guffawing he downed his ale. "Ah well, best be on me way to a good meal an a soft bed at our Mam's." Catching the barmaid's eye he stumbled, as though outside of one ale too many, and she, good-natured lass that she was, put out her hand to steady him, deftly palming the letter that he slipped from his hand to hers. Then he was gone and she went to see if her master had anything more he needed with his dinner. Bobbing a curtsey she placed the letter by his plate then went out. What she did not know she could not be asked, and her master's business was none  of hers.

As many times before a cloaked messenger took the same letter to a house elsewhere in Culdi, where he handed over his message and waited only to receive his usual coin before disappearing into the darkness of the night.  The recipient read the letter, swore under his breath then went into a inner room, carefully locking the door behind him and equally carefully setting wards. Then, and only then, did he allow himself to swear long and fluently in a tongue which was not that of Gwynedd. He blew out the candle he had brought with him and opened his hand to release a ball of silver handfire. Then he unlocked the chest which stood in one corner of the room and withdrew an amber coloured stone. He would have to make his report to his Lord, but terror seized him. The Grand Duke's anger was known and feared even by those who served him best, for his punishment of the most trivial failure could be swift and cruel. And his anger now must surely be beyond bounds. How could those fools have had the two cursed Morgan brothers within their grasp and let them ride out unscathed? He tried to focus and could not ((1+3=4 3sfs3lvxfq)); he wiped his sweating face with the sleeve of his robe and tried again. Still he could not focus ((2+4=6 356h5mkkrd)). He might be marked for death, but if he failed to pass on the message that death would be slow and agonising. He went to the little altar which stood at the side of the room and prostrated himself in anguished supplication. Finally he rose, crossed himself and taking a deep breath managed to still his thoughts enough to allow the shiral crystal to draw him into a deep enough trance to reach out to his Lord((6+4 =10)).

"My Lord Duke. There is news." As their minds touched he gave way to his fear and prostrated himself once more upon the floor in abject submission.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 29, 2018, 10:27:53 am
Darcy Cameron scanned the night around their party as they travelled south along the road.  The full moon shone brightly, lighting the way ahead.  Nevertheless, they were not travelling as fast as they would have in daylight. They had been travelling for almost an hour, and Darcy was feeling the fatigue from a day that had stretched far longer than it should have.

Not too long after they were away from the Buckley manor, Duke Kelric had motioned Sir Washburn forward and turned the lead over to him.  He had moved back to position himself beside one of his barons riding several horses ahead of Darcy and Aliset, who was still disguised as her brother.  Darcy wondered how much longer she could maintain the ruse.

As he had several times since they resumed their journey, he looked over at the rider beside him to check how she was holding up.  There had been no discussion about what had happened in Lord Buckley’s withdrawing chamber, but Darcy could see that she was very tired.  More than once he saw her rub her forehead and then sit a little straighter in the saddle.  He would have to ask her later about that; the movement was too consistent to not have a purpose.

This time when he looked at her, her head had fallen forward, and he saw her grip on her reins begin to loosen.  Immediately he moved Sigrun closer, reached across and gently gripped her arm.  Startled, she jerked upright.

“Do you want me to ask for a halt?” Darcy asked her quietly.  “We might all appreciate a short rest.”

“No, please, I’ll be fine.”  Aliset would have reached toward her forehead again, but Darcy held on to her arm.

“Are you sure?” 

“Yes really.”  Aliset saw the concern on his face and managed a small smile to reassure him. “It can’t be much farther to Arx Fedei.”

Darcy released her arm and studied the stars above them.  “I think it should be just beyond the next rise in the road.”

“I will definitely be fine, if we are that close.”

“Aye, I hope so.  I don’t want to have to throw myself on top of you if you fall off to protect you from the horses.”  The minute he said it, Darcy realized it was not exactly the right thing to say.  Aliset looked aghast.  “No, no, that’s not what I meant,” Darcy said hastily.  “I mean, I would protect you, of course, but…oh bloody hell!”

Aliset started to laugh and Duke Kelric turned to look at them.  “Is everything all right back there?” he asked.

“Aye, your Grace,” Darcy responded, hoping the duke did not notice how red Darcy was sure his face was.

“It’s my fault, your Grace. Master Darcy was doing his best to keep me awake.  His tales from his life at sea often make me laugh, except for the ones that horrify me.”  Aliset smiled serenely in Darcy's direction.

Darcy sighed inwardly. Eventually this day, now night, would have to end.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Laurna on March 29, 2018, 01:45:45 pm
The man leading the Corwyn and Trillshire men, was a man filled with self-reproach and exhaustion. Yet Washburn dearen’t let either show, for the danger was not fully over, and the day was not fully closed. Every fatigue banishing spell had less and less effectiveness and that in itself was troublesome. 

((10:08 ArxFidei Rolling for Wash being able to sense if they are followed.
10:08 ArxFidei !roll 2d6
10:08 derynibot 3, 6 == 9))

It was fortunate that he still had enough energy to seek if anyone followed on the road behind them. The scene they left behind could have been brutal. Lord Buckley could have ordered an ambush on his unarmed elite guests at dinner. If it hadn’t been for Darcy’s discovery of Rayne, would Buckley have ordered an ambush while the king’s men slept? They might have had their throats slit by now. Wash was rather disturbed by his part in the outcome, yet he would take that over whatever Rayne’s intentions had been. Still, given everything that had happened in the last week, he was in awe that they actually got out of Buckley Manor with nary a scratch.  Wash doubted Buckley’s men would attack them on the road; especially once the duke’s men were fully armed and anticipating trouble, but it didn’t pay to let his guard down. Would Buckley have them followed to see where they would go. As yet Washburn had sensed no one on the road behind them.

What if danger lurked ahead?
((10:23 ArxFidei Rolling for sensing the road in front of them.
10:23 ArxFidei !roll 2d6
10:23 derynibot 5, 4 == 9))

Wash was happy indeed to once again sense no one on the road ahead of them. For this night was getting on, and the full moon was starting to lower in the sky.

The Lendour Knight turned to the nobleman riding beside him. “Lord Jaxom, you know this road better than I. Will we make the abbey before the moon leaves  us in full darkness?”

“Aye, we are close. The path will be to the left, just ahead.”

“Good, I will trust you to make sure that I do not bypass it up.” Wash tried to make it a jest, but his tired expression was too obvious to the man riding next to him.  Once more the knight brush his hand over his eyes.

“Are you having trouble seeing my lord?” the Trillshire heir asked.

((10:39 ArxFidei Fatigue banishing spell
10:39 ArxFidei !roll 2d6
10:39 derynibot 3, 6 == 9))

Surprised to find the spell still worked, Wash returned an energized smile. “No, no trouble at all. I just don’t want to be looking the other way and canter right past our destination, only to be embarrassed by you pointing it out after the fact.”

“I would never dream of causing embarrassment to you, my lord.” Jaxom said sincerely.

“Than I can count on you. Good! Now, find us that path.”

True to his word, a short time later Jaxom pointed out the crossing in the road that would lead to the abbey on the hillside. The stone walls were a heavenly sight, the shale roof lines gleaming in the last of the setting moon. The gate was dark, the torch there, burned out for the night. Sir Washburn dismounted, found the bell-pull rope at the side of the gate and gave it a strong pull. A small bell rang out somewhere on the far side of the wall. A long silence and nothing. The horses mulled around behind him unsettled in the delay. Washburn pulled the bell again. A small gate-grill opened and a monk peered out. “Who ever goes there, you should know well that these gates will not open until dawn.”

“It is the request of the Duke of Corwyn that we seek shelter under your holy roof. Do not turn us away, I plead of the, as we have been seeking your sanctuary for what has seemed to be the longest day of our lives.”

“The Duke of Corwyn? He just left here this last morning.”

“Aye, and he seeks you hospitality once more.” Wash stood aside to let the gatekeeper see the duke sitting patiently on his sorrel steed just behind.

The grill closed, the sound of the bar on the gate lifted, and on well-oiled hinges the double gate into Arx Fidei opened wide. A welcoming sight indeed. Washburn stepped aside, letting all the travelers ride into the courtyard. Lastly, he led his stallion into holy refuge. When the gates shut close behind him, he wanted very much to go to his knees and collapse. Not quite yet, he told himself, not quite yet.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Evie on March 29, 2018, 02:12:08 pm
Aliset was so, so tired!  She had kept up her energies by using fatigue banishing spells, but each had been less effective than the last, so by the time the company rode through the gates of Arx Fidei, she struggled to maintain consciousness.  Yet although guest rooms for the travelers were quickly enough acquired, there was one thing necessary for her to do before she could finally seek her rest.

Approaching the Duke of Corwyn, she waited until she caught his eye before giving him a respectful bow.  "Your Grace," she murmured softly so as not to attract the attention of those around them readying beds and pallets for slumber, "Before we retire for the night, there is something you must know. It concerns what I was able to glean from Lord Buckley's steward's mind as he was dying. I would simply wait until morning, once all our energies are restored, to share what I learned, but what I learned seems urgent enough that I feel I ought to share it with no further delay, especially if you have made arrangements to contact His Majesty tonight." 

The man standing before Aliset neither confirmed nor denied her supposition regarding any plans of communicating with King Kelson, but he held out a hand in invitation.  "If you feel it is that urgent, then let us not delay any further. Show me."

((13:53   Aliset   !roll 2d6
13:53   derynibot   1, 1 == 2
13:54      Aliset mentally utters unspeakable language her mother never taught her))

Even as Aliset was reaching forward to lay her hand upon the Duke's, her shields beginning to roll back to allow the mental sharing, the last vestiges of her fatigue-banishing spell wore off with a suddenness that caused her to stumble, falling into the startled Duke's arms, almost knocking him into the wall behind him. Had Aliset still been conscious, she would doubtless have been mortified, but as it was, she fell limp in his embrace, sound asleep.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 29, 2018, 02:50:39 pm
Father Columcil knew he should not find the scene playing out before him amusing; it must be the exhaustion he felt permeating his entire body.  Aliset had turned to speak to Duke Kelric and suddenly collapsed into his arms.  It was Darcy and Jaxom darting from opposite sides of the courtyard at the same time toward the young lord in the duke’s arms that was amusing, as well as alarming.

 Roll at a disadvantage due to exhaustion to see if Darcy gets there first.
Jerusha   !roll 1d6
15:24   derynibot   6 == 6
Success and a hero point, too!  Woo hoo!

Darcy reached her side first, said something to Duke Kelric and lifted Aliset up into his own arms.  One of the monks motioned for Darcy to follow him, presumably to one of the guest rooms.  Father Columcil quickly caught up with them, mummering something about lending Darcy a hand.  As had become their custom, he would share the room they were assigned as chaperone, and Darcy would sleep on a pallet across the inside of the door.  Lord Jaxom stood to one side looking dismayed but saying nothing.

 A little less drama and a bit more discretion would have been preferred, but tomorrow was another day.  Or was tomorrow today? Sweet Jesu, he needed sleep!
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on March 30, 2018, 02:15:29 am
Father Columcil was both touched and dismayed by the tenderness with which Darcy laid the limp and exhausted Alister down. He knew, with no need to even touch the other's mind, that, as far as Darcy was concerned, it was Aliset that he held and Columcil's heart ached for the man who had become his friend. Surely he must know that nothing could come of this. Darcy gently wrapped the blanket around the sleeping form and made as though to bend down and kiss its forehead but thought better of it or perhaps sensed Columcil's warning glance. Without a word the men laid themselves down on their pallets and were themselves soon themselves in an exhausted sleep.

But, though he was more tired than he could ever remember being, Columcil woke while it was still dark. Although Aliset was young enough to be his daughter, and he had truly come to think of her with a father's affection, and though he was and always had been very content in his celibacy - listening to the confessed sins of marital disharmony for half-a-lifetime had left him on many occasions going home in great content to his solitary bed - he was not unaware of female beauty. "I'm celibate, not dead!" he muttered to himself, though he had no doubt that both Washburn and Darcy would have laughed themselves silly at the thought of the old priest being discomfitted by the close presence of a young woman - though they would be far too kind and well-mannered to be so rude to his face.

But that was the least of his worries- and in truth one he could have laughed at himself, muttered a prayer of apology to St Melangell for an old man's foolishness, and gone back to an untroubled sleep. His real fear was how long he could keep his true identity hidden in the presence of two Morgans. Sir Washburn had been worrying enough but his brother the Duke was another matter entirely. He had assumed that his dislike of Lord Jaxom was evidence of a dislike of the nobility in general - Sir Washburn's diffidence and courtesy being the exception - which would create a psychic barrier between himself and the Duke behind which he could hide. O sweet Jesus! Why did the man have to be so honourable and considerate so that Columcil found his respect, at first given grudgingly and out of duty, had turned to real honour and even liking. The Duke said little but he watched and Columcil worried about what he thought behind the few words. Ah well, it was in the hands of the Good Lord, though He too saw all and said little, and His plans were not necessarily in accordance with His servants' intentions. Tossing and turning was not going to resolve this and risked waking his companions for all that they were sleeping like the dead to all appearances. He rose as quietly as his aching body would allow and, taking his shoes in one hand and his pack in another, he stepped carefully over Darcy and went to find St Jorian.

Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: Jerusha on March 30, 2018, 12:26:37 pm
“What do you think, Goodwife?”  The old tinker finished polishing the edges of the cooled solder he had poured inside the tin pot to cover the gaping hole.  He then pried out his tinker’s dam of mud from the outside and held out the pot for inspection.  The gaping hole in bottom of the pot was now repaired and the pot was ready for the goodwife to scorch another batch of pease porridge. 

“Bless you, Master Tinker,” the stout woman said.  “It’s as good as new.”

The tinker smiled and accepted the coins the woman counted out into his hand.  She was pleased enough at the repair work that she added a small piece of meat pie for the tinker to take with him.  The tinker thanked her, packed up his tools, and returned to his modest cart parked outside of her door.  He untied the reins of the old horse, waved farewell to the Goodwife and moved on to seek his next customer. 

As the tinker munched on the meat pie (he had eaten worse and he had eaten better), he studied the small knots of men and boys that gathered in doorways or around the town wells of Ratharkin.  In the week he had been in the town, the gatherings had become more numerous.  Talking among themselves in low towns, glancing up at the tinker but taking little notice of him.  He was not a stranger in Ratharkin; he visited the town periodically plying his trade. 

It was the new men on the town walls that troubled him.  Not many, but enough that he noticed they were not the same ones that often greeted him when he arrived, asking if he had a good dagger or two or a length of harness chain. 

It was late enough in the afternoon to pay a visit to the tavern near the city walls, the tavern that served the soldiers when they went off duty.  Or sometimes before.  The tinker halted and secured his cart at the side of the tavern and entered.  He was no stranger here, and the proprietor’s wife greeted him warmly.

“Good to see you, Master Tinker!” she called as he entered.  “You have been long absent.”

“Aye, that I have,” the tinker answered.  “I caught a rheum in the spring, it laid me up for weeks.  Only now am I back on the roads of Meara.”

“Glad you are now well, Master Tinker.  I’ve several pots that could use your mending.”  The woman set a mug of ale on the table before him.

“My pleasure to be of service,” he replied.

Settled on his stool, the tinker took a long drink of ale.  If you wanted to ensure the patronage of the local garrison, you served good ale, and it was good.

A middle aged man approached him.  Ah, Tinker,” he said.  “This is not the Meara of the old days.”

The tinker took another drink of his ale, giving him time to decide how to reply.  “Aye,” he said.  “Not like the old days.”

“Rightly spoken,” the man said.  “Those were the days we had our own true queen!”

The tinker looked sorrowful.  “Aye,” he said.  “I was there when Queen Caitrin gave up her crown to the Haldane.”

The man gripped his shoulder and said, “Never fear, old man.  We will have our queen again.”

The tinker nodded, noting the man’s appearance for future reference, then returned his attention to his ale.

Not too long afterwards, he retrieved his cart and returned to the room he had rented in a conveniently located inn.  He had paid fair, but not extravagant, coin for the corner room that gave him a good view of the gate of Ratharkin’s castle.  He was not as concerned about a breach of Ratharkin’s town gate as he was that of the castle gate.  Every instinct told him something would happen soon.

He stood by the windows of his room after darkness fell, watching the town below.  While he could not see the city gate from this location, the increasing groups of men moving toward the castle told him the plan was in motion. At least fifty men stood outside the castle gate.  He saw a lone torch shine briefly; then the main gate of the castle was opened, and the men poured inside.

The tinker sighed.  There would be death in the castle this night, but there was nothing he could do to prevent it.  He moved back from the window and reached inside his battered tunic to retrieve his ward cubes.  He performed the familiar ritual and the protective arc rose above his head.  He sat and grasped a medallion that was attuned to the man he needed to reach.

Sir Iain Cameron, still in his guise as the old tinker, reached across the miles to contact Kelson Haldane, rightful King of Gwynedd, to inform him that the Mearan rebellion had begun.
Title: Re: Ghosts of the Past
Post by: revanne on April 05, 2018, 06:03:09 am
Columcil made his way out of the guest quarters of the Abbey and into the silent church. Matins was over by some hours and though there was the faintest of silvery glows over to the east he judged that there would still be the best part of an hour until full light when the brethren and students would fill the church for Lauds.

He paused just inside the door, feeling calmed simply by the lingering smell of incense and the faint glow of the presence lamp by the high altar. His fingers felt automatically  for the holy water stoop and he blessed himself then genuflected towards the Presence with a sense of home coming. Walking comfortably in the dimness he slipped into the side chapel dedicated to St Jorian and was dismayed to find that another supplicant had got there before him. St Jorian, for all he was barely a generation raised to the altars, must surely be a comfort to many a young man struggling with his vocation given that he had been a student here himself before being revealed as Deryni and suffering the cruellest of deaths.

Columcil began to turn making to move back into the nave, but even that slightest of movements betrayed his presence. The figure crouching before the likeness of the saint turned his head and spoke, "Don't go! There is grace and enough for both of us here. He never got to be a priest in life, let him bless us from heaven."

"Your Grace, forgive me! I would not have presumed. Pardon my intrusion I beg you." Columcil knew he was babbling but he could only think of getting out of there. He bowed and again made to go but was again forestalled as the Duke got to his feet in one smooth movement and reached out a hand to draw him closer in. "Please, save your obeisance for Saint Jorian. Here I am just a humble petitioner. "

Kelric sighed looking younger than Columcil had seen him, then smiled. "There are times I miss my father so much. He could have advised his Majesty, and reassured mother so much better than I. And it was he that first told me about St Jorian.'

Columcil should have felt honoured by the casually revealed confidence that the Duke had been in conversation with both his Majesty the king and her Grace the dowager duchess this night. His priestly instincts should have been responding sensitively to a soul revealing its vulnerability. But, O God, it was fear of closeness to this very man that he feared and had brought him from his bed. He would have damned protocol and simple courtesy and walked away but for the terrible dawning fear that this untimely encounter might just be an answer to his prayer. 

Kelric had returned to his knees and since there seemed no alternative -he could after all hardly stand while a noble Duke knelt- Columcil knelt beside him. It was not for him to break the silence, besides which he felt strangely at peace.  After a while the Duke spoke again in a low voice.

"They took my father to watch him burn. A warning of the fate that would befall a Deryni boy who stepped beyond his bounds. He was only a boy and Jorian wasn't much older. And then when uncle Duncan choose to go into the priesthood, the fear my father suffered...." Kelric spoke almost to himself and seeming to realise this he turned