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.


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.

" 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))

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.”