The Worlds of Katherine Kurtz

FanFiction => Alkari's FanFic => Topic started by: Alkari on January 07, 2012, 04:48:58 am

Title: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: Alkari on January 07, 2012, 04:48:58 am

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.   Ezekiel 36: 26-27

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Formal gardens, Rhemuth castle, 6 September 1128

The box hedge has been neatly trimmed but behind it roses and honeysuckle tumble over the tall arched trellis in glorious late summer profusion. I stroll along the shaded path, pausing to run my fingers over a low stone urn set into a small alcove.  The gardeners have been busy here too, removing spent plants and cultivating the soil: I wonder if they’ll plant it with early spring-flowering bulbs.  

A flash of red at the base catches my eye and I stoop to investigate.  It’s a small wooden toy soldier that I recognise as one of Kelric’s: he and Albin have spent many happy hours playing with them these last few weeks, making castles out of blocks or stones, and fighting battles to save kingdoms.  Or rescue maidens from dragons and other monsters.  

Smiling, I resume my walk, absently turning the little figure over in my hands.  While Kelson and Araxie settle into married life and snatch what privacy they can between formal court duties, Meraude and I have been spending more time with the children, enjoying their company and taking pleasure in their games.  I’ve even told a few more bedtime stories.   To the boys’ great delight, Nigel himself has given them several riding lessons, walking beside Albin to steady him occasionally, with Payne escorting Kelric and two squires carefully leading the ponies.  

My wandering has taken me past the summer house towards the large reflecting pool in the centre of the gardens.  I settle onto a wooden bench and gaze out over the water before glancing down again at the little soldier.  I wonder who he is.  All the soldiers have names, Kelric told me one day, solemnly introducing the blue-painted “Sir Robert” he was holding at the time.  I’m not sure why he seems to have adopted me, but whenever Meraude has paid particular attention to Albin, Kelric has come to me, chattering away happily and even taking my hand as if to make sure that I am included too.  He’s such a funny, sweet natured little boy: he asks all sorts of questions, and I’m rediscovering the world through the eyes of a very bright three year old.  

A Deryni three year old.  After all these years the thought doesn’t trouble me.  Does Kelric know he’s Deryni?  When do Deryni children discover who they are, and start to realise that they have special powers and abilities?  When do they start their training?  I must ask Barrett: what do Deryni parents tell their children?  What would I have told Kelson, if I’d been able to accept my own identity and powers?  How much difference would that have made ...

A leaf blows down from somewhere and settles lightly, sending tiny ripples across the mirror surface that spread and disappear into the reeds on the far side.  Ripples across a pond – ripples across the years.  

Alaric Morgan.  Is Kelric like his father was at the same age?   How old was Morgan when I first met him?  Twelve - thirteen ?  I know he was Brion’s squire by then so he must have been with the party when Brion first came to Bremagne, but of course, what young girl notices a mere squire when a King is paying court to her?  I put the little soldier in my belt pouch and lean back, letting my mind drift and remembering those happier days.  

I’m not sure how long I sit there, but a sudden chirping rouses me from my reverie.   Two small wrens have emerged from the shrubbery and are splashing in the shallows at the edge of the pool.   The day is warm and they are obviously enjoying their bath, so I keep very still as I watch their antics.   Suddenly they take alarm at some unseen danger and disappear in a whir of brown wings as quickly as they arrived.   Almost regretfully I get to my feet and continue my walk.

My thoughts elsewhere, I round a corner and check my stride as I see two figures approaching.  We recognise each other at the same instant.  

“Queen J’ana!”  Kelric cries joyfully, launching himself towards me at full speed, and I brace myself to catch him.

“Kelric!  NO!”  Alaric Morgan covers the distance in a few swift strides and swoops on the renegade.  He skids to a stop barely an arm’s length away, swinging his son high up out of my way and taking a hasty step back.  “Please excuse us, Queen Jehana,” he apologies politely even as Kelric squeals with delight at this unexpected game.  “He didn’t get mud on you, did he?  I’m afraid it was easier to bring him back this way rather than through the main courtyard and the great hall.   They’re unloading wagons and it’s very messy.”  
“No – no he didn’t,” I assure him.  Morgan adjusts his hold and it’s only then that I realise Kelric has muddy legs and is wet from the waist down.   “Oh, Kelric!” I exclaim ruefully, forgetting for a moment that he’s with his father and that it’s not my place to chastise him.   “Have you been in the pond again?  I thought we’d agreed that dragons don’t go swimming?”

Whatever Morgan had expected from me, it was certainly not this.  He raises an eyebrow, glances at Kelric and then back at me.

“Not a dragon!”  Kelric beams.  

“You’re not a dragon?”  Oh dear – so what is he today?  A dragon’s been his favourite, though he’s also been a gryphon, a brave knight, and a serpent.  One afternoon he decided to be a big rock, sitting down in the corridor and refusing to move.  Luckily, the Morgans’ redoubtable Nurse Evie takes three year old rocks in her stride ...

“No.  Not a dragon.”

I look up and meet Alaric Morgan’s eyes.   Wary, yet not unfriendly, with a lurking hint of amusement at his son.   Despite the mud, he seems in no hurry to depart.   Is it possible ....?

“So what are you today then?” I ask Kelric with a smile.   An olive branch?  No, not a branch, more of a twig – a very small twig.   Can you build a bridge out of twigs?

“A whale!”   He grins triumphantly at each of us in turn.

“A whale?”  Heavens – where did he get that from?  There’s been no lesson from the book of Jonah at Mass recently.

Morgan nods sagely, apparently heedless of the water soaking from Kelric’s tunic onto his own.  “Like the one that swallowed Jonah?” Twig accepted.    

“Yes.  A BIG whale.  In the sea.

“I see.”  

 “I eated the boat.  An’ the sailors.”

All the sailors?  Not just Jonah?”  

“Yes.”  An emphatic nod.  “I was hungry.  I eated them.  An' I spitted the bones.”

“Quite so.”  Morgan looks at me, the smile twitching at his mouth.  “It seems the Bible may have left out something, Queen Jehana.”   He holds out a slender twig of his own.

Kelric studies me, then starts to wriggle, fumbling at his belt.   “Down.  Put me down, Papa.”

“Please,” he is corrected firmly.

“Put me down.  Please.”

Morgan sets the boy down, checking that he’s not close enough to get my skirts dirty.     “What do you want?

Kelric opens his belt pouch, carefully examining several items before selecting one.  “That one.  For Queen J’ana.”

Morgan picks him up again, and Kelric holds out his hand.  “For you.”  

It’s a large oval river pebble, pale cream with several bands of gold.  “That’s very pretty, Kelric.  Thank you.”  I smile as I accept his gift.   Another twig.

“I got more.”  He reaches for his pouch again, but Morgan gently stays the rather grubby little hand.  

“I don’t think Queen Jehana needs any more pebbles today.   You’ve given her a lovely one.   Don’t you want to give one to Mummy too?  And put some in your special box, with your shells and treasures?”  

Kelric considers the matter.  “Yes.  One for Mummy.”  He looks up at me.  “You like shells?”

Shells.  I used to collect them when I played on the beach as a child while staying in our summer palace at Millefleurs.  How long ago that was!  I’ve never been to Coroth, but of course, it’s on the coast too.  

Travellers tell tales of distant lands, where there are towering mountains and people build slender rope bridges to cross deep ravines and raging torrents.  It is said that some are so narrow they look as though they are made of spiders' webs.  

Can I span twenty years with a bridge made of tiny twigs, of river pebbles and shells?  I take a deep breath as I step onto it: will it hold?  

“Oh yes, I love shells.  When I was a little girl, my mother used to help me find pretty ones when we walked on the beach.”  

Kelric frowns, as if trying to imagine me as a little girl.  “We get shells?” he asks his father.

“Shells for Queen Jehana?”  


“Well, when we get home, we’ll go to the beach and you and Briony can look for some nice ones.”    The bridge sways a little as Alaric Morgan takes his own small step.

Suddenly I remember the little soldier.  “Oh, Kelric – I nearly forgot.   I’ve got something for you too.   I think he must have fallen out of your toy basket.”  

“Sir Duncan!” he cries joyfully as I hand over the toy.   “You found him.  Look Papa – Sir Duncan!  He’s back!”  

“And what do you say?” Morgan reminds him gently.

“Thank you, Queen J’ana!   Thank you!”  He reaches out as if to hug me, but his father restrains him.

“You’re wet and very muddy, and I don’t think Queen Jehana wants to get her nice gown dirty.  Come along – we’re going upstairs so Nurse Evie can get you cleaned up.  You can say a proper thank you to Queen Jehana later.”  

Later ....  So the bridge is holding.

“I think Sir Duncan needs a bath too.” Kelric examines the toy critically.  

“I’m sure he does, if he’s spent the night out here in the garden,” replies Morgan dryly and turns to me.  “Please excuse us, Jehana – I think we’re both in need of a wash and clean tunics.”  

“Of course.”  I meet his eyes.  “Good bye Kelric.  Good bye – Alaric.”



Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: derynifanatic64 on January 07, 2012, 08:53:37 am
The tide has begun to turn for the good of all.
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: AnnieUK on January 07, 2012, 09:31:11 am
Like your bridge metaphor and the final use of his given name after years of "Morgan".

Onto the next one now, then. :)
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: bronwynevaine on January 07, 2012, 12:14:03 pm
Would love to hear Alaric telling Richenda what happened. She'd have it mostly figured out, but she'd still make him explain the dazed look on his face.

I still can't believe it, Richenda. Peace with Meara, Torenth, AND Jehana. Next thing I'll be getting love letters from Denis and the Camberian Council...

I don't know about love letters but there IS a package from the Bishop of Dhassa...
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: Evie on January 07, 2012, 01:21:47 pm
I agree with Annie, the bridge metaphor was beautifully done.  And LOL at Kelric the Whale!

So for the sequel, Alaric Morgan and Denis Arilan will end up holding hands and belting out strains of "Kum-ba-yah" over flagons of Dhassa ale, right?  ;)
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: Jerusha on January 07, 2012, 04:10:25 pm
A lovely ending, though I'm sorry it is over.

Kelric was the perfect catalyst to start the bridge construction. 

LOL at the redoubtable Nurse Evie understanding three year old rocks.  Even Morgan might have lost patience with that one!   ;)
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: Alkari on January 07, 2012, 04:35:24 pm
LOL at the redoubtable Nurse Evie understanding three year old rocks.  Even Morgan might have lost patience with that one!   
No, he would just pick the rock up and dump it on the 'rockpile' in the nursery.  And announce loudly (with a wink) to nurses and maids that as rocks don't eat, this one doesn't need any supper or bedtime stories ....  ;)    Though Alaric and Richenda do occasionally tease each other about which side of the family is responsible for Kelric's very vivid imagination!

So for the sequel, Alaric Morgan and Denis Arilan will end up holding hands and belting out strains of "Kum-ba-yah" over flagons of Dhassa ale, right?
You mean in that den of iniquity in Desse, The Green Barrel?  ;)   No, sorry, wrong nightmare!  :D
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: AnnieUK on January 07, 2012, 04:48:04 pm
Oy! Den of iniquity? Jon says it's a very nice place, and he should know, his girl works there.
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: Evie on January 07, 2012, 05:20:28 pm
Sextus says maybe you're thinking of that dive in Nyford, though he says that one isn't so much a den of iniquity as it is a cesspit of squalor.
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: Alkari on January 07, 2012, 05:33:34 pm
Denis Arilan wouldn't be seen dead in either place!  :)    And he's never going to be Morgan's choice as a drinking buddy.
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: Elkhound on January 07, 2012, 07:15:34 pm
"My prince, I am more and more convinced that we have an imposter in our midst; either that, or your lady mother is loosing her mind.  Although, if the latter is the case, I admit that Her Dowager Majesty's insanity is a pleasant, and I think a mostly harmless one."
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: Alkari on January 07, 2012, 07:33:13 pm
"Yes, it does indeed seem a very pleasant form of insanity.  Do you think if I pack her off to marry Barrett, she will enjoy her madness even more?"

"My prince, that seems an eminently sensible solution. Especially as I believe they will spend at least part of the year a long way from Rhemuth!"

"I am sure you and Richenda would love to attend the wedding."

"I would not miss it for the world.  As long as I can bring along a small whale or dragon!"
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: Shiral on January 08, 2012, 02:04:11 pm
Nice Finish.  =o)  I'll bet Kelson gave his mother some messy hugs in his childhood, though.

Alaric's head must have been absolutely spinning after that encounter.  :D

Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: Elkhound on January 08, 2012, 09:13:39 pm (

For "Dr. Millmoss", read "Queen Jehanna."
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: bronwynevaine on January 13, 2012, 07:50:06 pm
I'm sorry to see the story end.  :'( More please  :)
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: TKnTexas on February 04, 2017, 07:17:12 pm
I am not sure how I overlooked this story.  But I am so glad to have found it today.  I enjoyed the viewpoint through different eyes. 
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: LeDuc on October 13, 2018, 02:22:37 pm
It was nice to read something from Jehana's viewpoint, and showing the pain, love, even the wistfulness of past issues resolving and becoming the integrated person denied  by circumstances. I liked her thoughts about learning to love again, and her slow engagement and marriage thoughts with Barrett de Laney.
Title: Re: Forgiveness - Chapter 7
Post by: Kareina on October 14, 2018, 06:27:02 am
Oh, I am glad you commented on this story, I wouldn't have noticed it otherwise. I really enjoyed it, but would have dearly loved to have seen it continue all the way to her wedding with Barrett, I would love to see at what point they admit to one another that the attachment is more than just pupil to student, and how the details and implications for the court are arranged...