collapse

Author Topic: Balance of Power--Chapter Three  (Read 7265 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Duke
  • *
  • Posts: 4371
  • Karma: 29
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« on: August 18, 2015, 09:49:00 pm »
Previous Chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1563.0.html


Chapter Three


Afternoon
A safe house somewhere near Rhemuth
December 16, 2021


The former Dr Formacek, now Queen Sophia II of Gwynedd, rested in a well-secured private residence in the countryside a short distance outside of Rhemuth. The room she took refuge in was luxurious nearly to the point of being palatial, and under different circumstances this might have stirred more curiosity in her about its owner, but she was still lost in a fog of private grief.

A knock sounded on the door. Michael Prior, her junior armsman, stirred from where he had nearly fallen asleep in his chair, but Henry Carlisle, the older of the two men who had been assigned to protect her as she carried out her medical duties, was the first to respond. A quiet exchange of words through the door, then Henry opened it to allow another man to enter. The well-dressed man carried a large tray of food, which he set down on a nearby table. Stepping forward and bowing deeply to Sophia, he asked, “Your Majesty, I had some changes of clothing selected for you while you were still sleeping. I hope the items will fit and will be to your liking; if not, I’ll arrange for them to be exchanged for more suitable clothing. You’ll find them in the chifforobe over there.” He pointed out an impressive antique in one corner of the room. “Is there anything else I might bring you? Anything I might do?” As he addressed the new Queen, Michael slipped discreetly behind him to sample small portions of the food offerings, testing its safety before plating it for Sophia, Henry, and himself.

Sophia shook off her mental lethargy with an effort that was almost physical, forcing herself to respond. “Thank you.  I can’t think of . . . ” A sudden thought occurred to her. She looked around the room, hoping to spot the item that had just sprung to mind, but if one was present, it was cleverly hidden behind some cabinet door or framed artwork.  “You wouldn’t happen to have a spare television set handy?”

The man--her host?--bowed again. “I could have one brought in, Ma’am, although I should warn you that if you plan on watching the news channels, I’m afraid you shall find the present coverage rather distressing.”

She nodded. “I am certain I shall, yet I need to know what is happening.”

“We could simply brief you on the latest updates, Ma’am,” Henry interjected, a look of concern crossing his features.

Sophia wavered. It would be so tempting to go back to sleep, to allow her staff to coddle her and shield her from the worst of the horrors that she knew awaited her if she were to switch on the evening news broadcasts. But she was Queen of Gwynedd now, and as such, it was her responsibility to know what was happening in her kingdom. Mum would have wanted to know. She blinked back the tears that threatened at the thought of her mother. She needed to be strong now, no matter how very weak she felt on the inside.

“Thank you, but I wish to see for myself.”

Henry recognized the resolute expression on the young queen’s face; he had seen the same expression many times on her predecessor’s features.  With a quiet sigh, he turned back to the butler and nodded in acquiescence.



Early afternoon
The Royal Astari Hotel
City of Rhemuth
December 16, 2021


“Well, is that it, then?” Eilonwy Adams rolled Dr. Jennifer DeLisle’s small suitcase over to the hotel room door as Jen finished gathering her toiletries. “You certainly travel light.”

“I try. I wasn’t sure how much of the trip I’d be making using conventional means of transportation, or if I’d need to use the public Portal system, but I didn’t want to pack more than I could conveniently lug around in either case.” Jen zipped up her carry-on bag and slung it over her shoulder.  “So, back to your flat now, assuming we can get back there through the insane levels of traffic out there? Have you looked out the window at this outbound traffic?”

“I thought I might make a side trip to Mum’s town house in case she might be there and just has her phone ringer off,” Eilonwy said. “She might know if there’s any way to get a message to Sophia right now, or where she might be located.  Besides, that would let us bypass some of the more congested streets.”

Jen raised a dark brow. “Maureen has those sorts of connections?”

“I honestly don’t know, but if she doesn’t, it’s likely Mr Astari does, and wherever Mum is, Peter Astari has a habit of turning up these days.” Eilonwy gave her a wry smile.

Jen gave her a startled look. “Lady Maureen has started dating again?”

“Well, I don’t know if I’d go that far yet. But I think Mr Astari is hoping to talk her around to it eventually. He’s certainly made no secret of his interest.”

Jen pondered the idea for a moment. She wasn’t sure why she was so surprised by the thought of Lady Maureen having a romantic life after Sir Will’s death; Maureen was far from an old woman, after all. Of course other men would take an interest in an attractive--not to mention wealthy--widow who looked to be hardly into her middle years! But still, it felt a bit unsettling to think of some other man taking Will Sheehan’s place in Maureen’s life. “How do you feel about that?” she asked their daughter. “Do you like Mr Astari?”

Eilonwy shrugged. “He seems nice enough. He’s certainly quite charming, although he’s nothing at all like Da. I suppose it’s Mum’s choice, really, if she wants to get involved with someone else, but all the same, I hope she keep Peter hanging a bit longer.” She gave Jen an impish grin. “I’m not ready to have a dating mother yet.”

“You could always set her up with one of Patrick’s friends,” Jen teased. “You told me just last night he knows several hot Deryni guys who are looking to be hooked up with Deryni brides . . . .”

Eilonwy laughed. “Shut up, you!”

Jen thought back over their conversation. “You said that Mr Astari probably has the necessary connections to help us find Sophia.  What does he do, besides presumably own this hotel?” She looked around at the well-appointed hotel room she had booked before her arrival in Gwynedd. “Or is that a different branch of the family?”

“No, you’re right.  He owns this hotel, as well as the rest of the Astari chain throughout Gwynedd and in parts of the Forcinn Nations, not to mention several five-star restaurants in most of our major cities. He’s only one of the wealthiest men in Gwynedd, love; where have you been all these years? And don’t say ‘languishing in Americia’!”

Jen laughed.  “You know me: nose in a book, butt in a library chair, and my mind in the Kelsonian period. I don’t suppose the Astaris owned an inn back then, did they?”

Eilonwy grinned. “It really wouldn’t surprise me.”




Early afternoon
A pub near St. George’s Square
City of Rhemuth
December 16, 2021


Father Devlin sat toying with his half-eaten Carthmoor pasty and nursing a pint at his customary table in the corner of his local as he thought back on the discussion earlier that morning at the Camberian Council meeting. The pub was unusually full, given the time of day, and no wonder, with most businesses closed for the day--if not the entire week--due to the national emergency. A motion at the door caught his eye, and he looked up to see a man enter.  The man spoke briefly to the pub owner, then looked over his shoulder, caught Devlin’s eye, and walked towards him. He stopped at the priest’s table, flipping his wallet open to reveal police ID.  “Do you have a few minutes to talk, Father O’Shiele?” the man asked.  Despite the polite phrasing, Devlin was fairly sure that the query was not a request for his clerical services, nor was it even so much a request as a courteously worded demand.

Devlin cast a quick glance around the room. Although it was yet early, too late for most of the lunchtime customers but too early for the regular evening crowd, there were more witnesses to their quiet exchange than there normally might have been, including a few faces he recognized from his St. George Street mission, watching the encounter with expressions ranging from mild curiosity to barely disguised fear. Interesting, that. He restrained the impulse to send a questing mental probe in that direction, instead turning his attention back to the police officer with a smile. “Not here, Detective Inspector . . . Adams, is it? My office would be more private. It’s about halfway down the block and around the corner.”

The detective’s eyes did a quick scan of the room before lighting on the priest once more. He flashed a quick smile in return. “Sounds good. You lead the way, Father.”

Father Devlin stood. He exited the pub, stopping only to pay for his meal on the way out, and turned down a narrow street that was one of the city’s oldest paved roads, built many centuries earlier when the whole of Rhemuth was contained within the confines of the tall city walls which now remained in only certain areas of the downtown perimeter, historical curiosities and scenic attractions for the tourist trade. Here and there the asphalt was worn through, showing hints of the original cobblestones underlying St George Street.  The Cathedral loomed large in the distance behind the two pedestrians, surrounded by crowds of shocked mourners, with portable screens that had been erected above crowd level sometime earlier in the day to display government announcements interspersed with endless news coverage about the Castle attack, the Royal Family, and the national outpourings of grief, but Devlin’s steps led the pair in the opposite direction, nearly a block closer to the section of city wall and the ancient gate visible at the other end of the street.  He turned down a side street, making for a large brick building built sometime in the previous century.  “Almost there,” he told the detective, pointing out the building’s entrance. “Inside, up the stairs and to the left.”

Devlin led the detective inspector up a short series of steps to a doorway that looked surprisingly clean and well maintained despite the nearly ubiquitous grime that seemed to permeate most of the neighborhood.  Inside, the entryway admitted a view of an interior that seemed at least to be tidy, if a little dated and shabby.  A delicious aroma drifted towards the front rooms from someplace out of sight down the main hallway of the ground floor. The priest gave an appreciative sniff and called out, “Smells lovely, Maggie!”

A stout woman with her hair bound in a kerchief emerged from what was likely the building’s kitchen, holding a wooden spoon slightly aloft in one hand while wiping the other hand on her linen apron. “Thank you, Father. It’s the Fallonese sauce for the pasta we’ll be having at tea.  Will you be coming back downstairs to join the lads for the meal or taking yours up in your rooms tonight?” Noticing the visitor standing next to Father Devlin, she gave him a bright smile. “Have we an extra guest at table this evening?”

Devlin gave the detective an inquiring glance. Detective Inspector Adams answered with a wistful sigh.  “I’m afraid not; my wife will be waiting supper on me, and we’ve a house guest as well. Though it does smell wonderful. Thank you for asking.”

“Another night, then,” Maggie responded before turning her attention back to Devlin. “Father, Mr Carter stopped in with an estimate for the roof repairs; I’ve set the memo on your desk.  Mrs Royce came by with a donation of used clothing and to dangle her daughter in front of you again; I took the donation but said she needn’t wait, as I had no idea when you’d be back and it might be quite late. And a James Arilan asked if you could ring him when you get a free moment. He didn’t say what it was about. He said he’d tried your mobile earlier but couldn’t get a ring tone.”

The features that had expressed momentary amusement at the mention of the summarily dismissed matchmaker and her dangled daughter shifted in mid-spiel to speculative curiosity, but Devlin simply nodded as Maggie finished her recitation. “Thank you. We’ll be upstairs for a bit, although to answer your earlier question, I’ll be down for tea later.”




A town house in Kingsmeade
Southwest of downtown Rhemuth
December 16, 2021


Maureen greeted her daughter and her late husband’s protegée with a warm smile before enfolding Jen in a maternal embrace.  “I don’t get one of those?” Eilonwy joked as Maureen pulled back to allow both young women into her home.

“I see you all the time, dear,” Maureen teased back. Her smile evaporated a moment later. “I saw Patrick on the news earlier this morning.  He looked tired.”

Eilonwy nodded. “He’s been working all night ever since his Chief called him in just after the Castle attack. I imagine he’ll be straight off to bed after supper tonight, then back on the job first thing tomorrow until the case is closed, or at least until they run out of fresh leads.” She took a deep breath. “Actually, that’s sort of why we’re here. Related reasons, that is, not necessarily looking for a fresh lead for Patrick, although if one happens to turn up while you’re looking . . . .”

Maureen studied her daughter’s face, then Jen’s. “You want me to look for Sophia,” she guessed.

“Could you?” Eilonwy asked, hope in her eyes. “We’ve been trying to text her all last night and today, but there’s been no answer. I know she’s probably in some safe house--Paddy may even know where it is, for that matter, not that he’d be authorized to tell me--but the thing is, I don’t think she’s ever had any arcane protections activated, and . . . well . . . .”

“And you two thought she might trust you enough to allow you to help her through the empowerment ritual?” Maureen supplied. Peter, your instructions at Council this morning may be easier for me to carry out than either of us dreamed, and perhaps without me even having to mention the Camberian Council’s interest, she thought to herself, carefully shielding the thought from the two younger women. “That would certainly be worth a try, if I can find her. However, her security team has surely got anti-scrying measures in place,” she cautioned.

“Oh, we know,” Jen said. “We tried that first. But Loni says that what you do isn’t quite the same thing as scrying.”

“No, it’s a rarer gift,” Maureen acknowledged, “but they may have protective wards against it as well.  Still, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to try.”  She led the two upstairs. “You’ve not seen my new town house, have you, Jen?  I have an in-house studio now.” Maureen opened a door to reveal an upper room with a large window at one end. Bright sunlight illuminated several colorful canvases.  She walked past these to grab a sketchbook and some colored pencils instead of paints and brushes.

The three women settled down at a small table near the window. Maureen flipped open the sketchbook, lightly sketching in an oval shape and adding a few guide lines.  “Do either of you happen to have anything with you that used to belong to Her Majesty? Or at least a photo of her, perhaps?”

Eilonwy skimmed through the photo gallery stored in her smartphone until she came upon a photo that was several years old in her downloads folder. “Here, I downloaded this one from my online photo archive last night,” she told her mother, handing her the phone. 

Three young university students looked up from the screen image at Maureen.  Eilonwy stood on the left and Jennifer stood on the right. Between them, her arms casually looped around the shoulders of the young women flanking her, was a younger, more carefree Princess Sophia, her lips parted in a laugh and her raven hair ruffled by a light breeze. Maureen began to sketch, concentrating on this central figure.  After a few moments, she closed her eyes, allowing her inner Sight to guide her pencil’s strokes.




St. George Street Mission
Father Devlin’s rooms
City of Rhemuth
December 16, 2021


Detective Inspector Patrick Adams swept a curious glance around  the priest’s personal rooms as Father Devlin motioned him toward a worn yet comfortable-looking sofa. Like the rooms downstairs, this private area looked well used but also well tended. Papers piled on a nearby desk hinted at a somewhat less disciplined side to the man before him, yet even the arrangement of those showed some haphazard attempt at a semblance of order.  A small table nearby might have been a shrine, perhaps even a prie-dieu of sorts if the small, padded footstool tucked away beneath it was any indication. A lace-edged linen table runner covered the table’s surface, and on top of that were what appeared to be an imported tryptich (Torenthi iconography, by the look of it, although his dossier on the priest had shown him to be a man of Gwyneddan high church sensibilities rather than Eastern in his faith tradition) with an unlit votive candle before it. On an end table beside the sofa, a few framed photos were arranged. One showed a much younger Devlin O’Shiele flanked by a couple that Patrick surmised must be his parents, one appeared to be a candid shot taken of him at his ordination, and the third showed him in formal attire smiling down into the starry-eyed gaze of a young woman in a wedding dress. Odd. Patrick didn’t remember any mention of a wife in Father O’Shiele’s file, although granted, the information he had quickly pulled up and reviewed before heading out on this call had consisted primarily of recent information. It wasn’t unusual for priests in the Church of Gwynedd to marry, of course--this was hardly Bremagne, after all, nor the Middle Ages, and Gwyneddan priests had been permitted to marry since the 1300s--but normally those sorts of details tended to turn up in a personal background check, no matter how cursory.  On the coffee table lay an open Bible, beneath which a few scrawled notes on notepaper peeked out.

“Sermon outline?” Patrick asked, indicating the handwritten pages as he took a seat.

“Meeting notes, actually,” Devlin replied as he took a seat in the wingback chair opposite him. “So, how may I be of assistance?”

Patrick flipped open his tablet’s keyboard cover and logged on. “Mind if I record this interview, Father?”

“Go right ahead.”

“As you’ve probably surmised, I’m here as part of the investigation into the attack on the Royal Family.  I’d like to ask you more about the events leading up to your report yesterday evening, in case there are any additional details you might remember now that might be helpful..” He tapped an app on the tablet. “Sixteen December, twenty-twenty-one. DI Adams, Patrick Traherne, interviewing O’Shiele, Father Devlin Mihall. Father, would you confirm your consent to record this interview?”

The priest, looking somewhat self-conscious, leaned forward slightly over the tablet. “Confirmed.”

“Thank you. Now, in regard to the report that you called in to the Anti-Terrorism Division on the evening of Fifteen December, I believe you originally stated that you were called to the bedside of a young man who was dying.”

“That is correct . . . . ”

As Devlin spoke, Patrick automatically began to Truth-Read him. The clash of shield against shield came as a shock to both. The priest’s voice trailed off as Patrick shook off his momentary startlement. He tapped the Stop icon on the recording app before leaning back with a surprised laugh. 

“You’re Deryni, Father?”




Maureen’s home studio, Kingsmeade
Southwest of downtown Rhemuth
December 16, 2021


Jennifer DeLisle stared at the image taking shape on the paper before her, fascinated. Maureen, eyes still closed, added a series of deft strokes to an object in the background, further defining it. Beside Jen, Eilonwy also studied the drawing intently.

Jen picked up another sheet of paper, the first of several that Maureen had hastily sketched and then torn from her notebook only to begin another as a quick succession of images processed through her consciousness.  In this sketch, Sophia’s frightened features stared back at her from what appeared to be an office, possibly at the Royal Hospital given the young woman’s medical attire. She was seated, an older man bent solicitously over her while a younger man appeared to be speaking to someone in a lab coat. There was a clock on the wall. Jen noted the time on the clock.  Shortly after the attack on the Castle, then; no more than half an hour afterwards, if she remembered the exact time of the explosion correctly according to the news reports.

The second sketch showed Sophia, her expression vacant with shock, curled into a tight ball on the rear seat of a private car driven by the older man seen in the previous drawing.  The younger man sat beside the new queen, eyes focused outside the window as if maintaining a wary vigil against unseen threats. There was a sign atop a tall building in the background skyline. Jen had seen it before, but just at that moment she couldn’t place it.

She reached for the third sketch. It was more baffling than the first two. The car was someplace outside of the city, but possibly not too far outside of it. There were signs of habitation in the distance--the rooflines of a small village in a shallow valley--but the car’s exact destination was shrouded in a fog. What could be dimly glimpsed appeared to be the vague outline of a house overlooking the valley . . . no, that didn’t do it justice. More like a mansion, really, or at least far more palatial than any home Eilonwy had ever lived in aside from Ballymar, and she was a duke’s granddaughter. Could it be one of the royal residences?  No, doubtful.  Judging from the darkness of the sky surrounding the scene, they had arrived late at night or very early in the morning. Sophia hadn’t fled to Valoret or Coroth, then, or if that was her eventual destination, she and her guards had stopped at a temporary refuge along the way. At any rate, whatever refuge she had found was undoubtedly owned by a Deryni.  That was no natural fog--Maureen’s Sight would have easily penetrated that.  The property was evidently warded.

So the question was, how many wealthy Deryni lived within a quick driving distance of Rhemuth?  And which one had Sophia entrusted with her life?




Later in the afternoon
Tre-Arilan
A short distance west of Rhemuth
December 16, 2021


James Arilan arrived home via the same Transfer Portal he’d departed from earlier in the day. With him was Morgan Haldane, the Duke of Corwyn. Tom Whitfield looked away from the data mining he’d been doing in the Camberian Council’s genealogical archives, standing to greet the new arrivals. A raised, shaggy eyebrow was his sole reaction to his host’s new guest. “Took you long enough to get back,” he told James. With a respectful bow of his head towards the duke, he added, “I trust you are well enough to be out and about, Your Grace?”

“The hospital discharge process is a pain in the arse, and James didn’t have a spare Portal in his back pocket, nor did it seem quite circumspect to return through the hospital’s public Portal, so we had to get back here via the Cathedral sacristy. After making our way through half the population of Gwynedd crowding the streets, James dragging me into some alley to cast a glamour on me to prevent me being recognized, and spending the past half hour listening to the Archbishop dither over arranging suitable memorials for inconveniently vaporized Royals and angsting over whether or not I’ve died yet, although at least that issue kept his mind off his usual diatribe about scheduled hours of use,” Morgan groused, ignoring Tom’s question.  He looked around the room.  “Impressive setup, Arilan.” Turning his attention back to Tom, he asked, “I’m sorry, have we met?” He extended a hand. “Morgan Haldane.”

“Our paths have crossed on occasion, but I don’t believe we’ve ever been properly introduced. Pleased to meet you, Your Grace,” Tom replied, grasping the offered hand in a firm handshake. “Tom Whitfield.”

“My apologies,” James interjected. “I had thought you two already knew each other. Tom, if you’ll excuse us, I think His Grace could use a bit of extra bed rest before he assumes regular activities.” At Morgan’s glare, he added “Healer’s orders.” An almost beatific smile crossed James’ face as Morgan’s glare grew even stormier.  “Trust me, if you think my undercroft is impressive, you’ll absolutely love what I’ve got upstairs.”




St. George Street Mission
Father Devlin’s rooms
City of Rhemuth
December 16, 2021


“You’re Deryni?” Detective Inspector Patrick Adams grinned, looking oddly elated.

“Yes,” Father Devlin replied, baffled and somewhat amused by the detective’s reaction.  “The Statutes of Ramos were repealed centuries ago, you know. Since apparently you’re Deryni too, I presume this isn’t a problem for you . . . ?”

“No!” Patrick laughed.  “I’m sorry.  It’s just . . . Sweet Saint Camber, I’m exhausted!” He gave the priest a sheepish smile of apology. “We’ve been working this case throughout the night, see, every last man and woman in the division, hoping to catch any leads while they’re still fresh. I’d just got home yesterday from a long shift, had just enough time for a wee visit and a bite to eat when the attack took place and I got called right back in. I figured this interview was likely to last a good half hour or so done the standard way, before I could get back to the station, fill in whatever poor sods got sent home for a brief nap before relieving my shift, then drag my weary bum back home to a quick meal, my wife, and my bed--and not necessarily in that order!” Devlin gave him a sympathetic chuckle and nodded. Patrick sighed and continued, “But since we’re both Deryni, would you mind too terribly much if we just dispense with the formal interview and do this the quick and easy way?”

“You’re asking if I’d mind letting you Mind-See what happened last night?” Devlin asked.

“Yes. I hope it’s not too impertinent to ask, but it would give me a much clearer idea of what happened than any interview could. I’d hate to think we might miss some key detail because I didn’t ask the right questions, or you didn’t realize something might be relevant to our investigation.”

“Part of what I disclosed last night was information gained under the seal of the confessional. I had permission to disclose that information, but I don’t believe that permission extends to disclosing the identity of the informant.”

“You have my solemn word I won’t probe for any more information than you would willingly share.”

The priest studied the detective for a long moment, then his lips twitched in a suppressed smile. “I should hope not; I wouldn’t fancy being Mind-Ripped!”

Patrick looked startled. “No, I simply meant . . . !” Another twitch of Devlin’s lips clued him in that he was being teased. He shook his head.  “Damn it, Father, have mercy on a man!”




Later in the afternoon
Tre-Arilan
A short distance west of Rhemuth
December 16, 2021


Tom Whitfield scoured through the list of names that had come up in his search of the Camberian Council’s genealogical banks.  He had spent the earlier part of the afternoon compiling the list, keeping in mind the criteria discussed in Council earlier that morning, excluding no possibilities, however unlikely. In the past hour (and several cups of Arilan’s amazing blend of coffee later, for which he had the attentive Mr Carbury to thank), he had been cross-referencing these names with every source he could think of.  What motive would a Deryni have for assisting a human supremacy organization, or was it possible that Father O’Shiele was completely off track with his suspicions and that the shadowy “Eric” mentioned in the dying penitent’s confession was a different Eric altogether, wholly unconnected with Humanity Ascendant? Or was his gut hunch correct?

Father O’Shiele’s gut hunches usually were, especially when supported by outside sources as the priest claimed, but knowing that was of little help to Tom, since a human supremacist/Deryni connection merely added another wrinkle to the mystery. If such a connection did exist, then why?  The benefit for the terrorist organization was clear; they needed access to the Rhemuth Castle Transfer Portal.  A human couldn’t get through the Portal alone, and given the outcome for the bomber--who was most likely the first person killed in the blast--going through the Portal alongside the Deryni may have been the last thing in their plans. But what benefit would there be for the Deryni, especially one who must have at least suspected that he or she would never get out alive? Fear? Unlikely, unless it was fear for someone else. There, that was one possibility. Financial gain? Again, the Deryni infiltrator could hardly have hoped to benefit from that, unless the windfall had been paid well in advance.  But no, if money was the motive, the most likely beneficiary would not have been the infiltrator, but that person’s family.

What other possible motives might there have been? Love, perhaps? One of the strongest motivations ever, yet that didn’t seem to fit.  A Deryni so in love with a person who hates his kind that he’d make the ultimate sacrifice?  For what reason? Or was this a case of unrequited love...that could be it, perhaps someone who had been romantically involved with one of the Royal Family and been rebuffed. Might someone seeking revenge for a relationship gone sour have joined forces with unlikely allies also seeking to bring their royal adversaries down?

Tom shook his head. There was a piece missing here, but God alone knew what it was. God and perhaps modern journalism.  When it came to poking through other people’s financial records or shadowy Internet trails, James was the expert there. No, recent news reports would be easier to cross-reference with the list of names he was searching for.  Crime reports, missing persons, society gossip pages--those sources might provide the missing piece of the puzzle.

He could only hope.  And hope he found it quickly, for his gut instincts told him that time was running out.  For whom, or for what reason, he had no clue yet. But he hoped to find one soon.




Early morning, Camberian Standard Time
(Afternoon, Rhemuth Standard Time)
A private home
St. Michael’s Province, Camberia
December 17, 2021 (December 16, 2021 in Gwynedd)


“What about the child?” The caller pictured his Gwyneddan pawn sitting in the lap of luxury in his fancy Americian hotel, thinking he was pulling all the strings, that he had gained an ally in his war against the Deryni race.  Idiot!  Although there was one loose end that the man held, and it was this loose end which concerned him now.

“What about him?” The voice on the other end of the line sounded completely indifferent. “He’ll die, I suppose. Not my concern. He’s served his purpose.”

The caller’s lips tightened. He should have realized that the human would be unconcerned over the fate of a Deryni, although he’d hoped that the fact this particular Deryni was a young child would have been occasion for some modicum of compassion, however limited. Ah, well.  Hopefully his allies in Gwynedd--true allies whom he could actually trust--would find the boy before it was too late.  If not . . . well, every war had its collateral casualties.  This one certainly would be no different. The end result was all that truly mattered.

“True enough, then.  Well, I’m sure you must be jet lagged, so I’ll let you get your rest.  Ring me when you’re up tomorrow and ready to discuss Phase Two.”



Next chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1567.0.html
« Last Edit: August 23, 2015, 10:03:16 pm by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline drakensis

  • Fanfic Author
  • Royal Squire
  • *
  • Posts: 195
  • Karma: 5
  • Gender: Male
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2015, 05:31:50 am »
Well that sounds ominous. Using a child suggests certain things about how this was arranged (Although some of the logistics still puzzles me).

Offline Jerusha

  • Community Supporter
  • Baron
  • *
  • Posts: 1973
  • Karma: 24
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni
  • Favorite Character: Alaric Morgan
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2015, 01:33:08 pm »
Interesting chapter - Sophie is hidden from the people who can help her, a Deryni child caught in the middle, and an unknown villain behind it all in Cambria, who surprising has a least a little sympathy for the child.  Looking forward to the next chapter.

BTW, how is Eilonwy pronounced?
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Laurna

  • Community Supporter
  • Earl
  • *
  • Posts: 2207
  • Karma: 17
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Character: Alaric Morgan & Rhys Thuryn-May they be Family.
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2015, 02:08:24 pm »
i agree this is all ominous. A Haldane child at that. One who is not known to be missing. Leads me to suspect the child, nor the child's parents/guardians, know of their own Royal linage, yet he was trained enough to know the signature of one particular portal. My curiosity is peeked.

I am sorry Evie, and I truly hope this is totally wrong of me to think so. but Jen has me feeling suspicious.  She arrives from America at just the right time and then even after a horrible event, she still stays at the Astari hotel? For comfort sac and the fact that the city would be in complete hysterics. I can not imagine her actually going to the hotel. That and the fact that she is now being involved in very private royal affairs has me on edge.   I really, really hope I am wrong about that.

I love Maureens "rare" talent. very cool.


Offline Demercia

  • Knight
  • *
  • Posts: 213
  • Karma: 3
  • Gender: Female
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2015, 03:59:37 pm »

I am sorry Evie, and I truly hope this is totally wrong of me to think so. but Jen has me feeling suspicious.  She arrives from America at just the right time and then even after a horrible event, she still stays at the Astari hotel? For comfort sac and the fact that the city would be in complete hysterics. I can not imagine her actually going to the hotel. That and the fact that she is now being involved in very private royal affairs has me on edge.   I really, really hope I am wrong about that.

Surely Evie couldn't be so mean to her characters (or readers).  Surely!!.   I read it that she and Eilonwy had gone to the hotel together to collect Jen's things not that she had necessarily stayed there. 
The light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

Offline Demercia

  • Knight
  • *
  • Posts: 213
  • Karma: 3
  • Gender: Female
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2015, 04:01:36 pm »
Sorry, I didn't manage to show that the first paragraph above was a quote from Laurna
The light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

Offline Laurna

  • Community Supporter
  • Earl
  • *
  • Posts: 2207
  • Karma: 17
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Character: Alaric Morgan & Rhys Thuryn-May they be Family.
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2015, 04:55:05 pm »
Thanks Demercia, that helps,
Now I don't want  any spoilers. NO SPOILERS! I am waiting excitedly for all this to play out.

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Duke
  • *
  • Posts: 4371
  • Karma: 29
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2015, 05:05:49 pm »
Well that sounds ominous. Using a child suggests certain things about how this was arranged (Although some of the logistics still puzzles me).

You should see some clues in the next chapter that might tell you if your guess about how that child was used is on the right track.

Interesting chapter - Sophie is hidden from the people who can help her, a Deryni child caught in the middle, and an unknown villain behind it all in Cambria, who surprising has a least a little sympathy for the child.  Looking forward to the next chapter.

BTW, how is Eilonwy pronounced?

I tend to pronounce it like "ay-LON-wee," with the ei pronounced as in the word veil. But I've also heard "eye-LON-wee."

And by the way, it's Camberia, named for Camber (though he might well wish otherwise!) and Americia with a second "i" in the name, as opposed to our world's America.  I took the idea from KK's use of the Atalantic Ocean in place of our Atlantic.

i agree this is all ominous. A Haldane child at that. One who is not known to be missing. Leads me to suspect the child, nor the child's parents/guardians, know of their own Royal linage, yet he was trained enough to know the signature of one particular portal. My curiosity is peeked.

I am sorry Evie, and I truly hope this is totally wrong of me to think so. but Jen has me feeling suspicious.  She arrives from America at just the right time and then even after a horrible event, she still stays at the Astari hotel? For comfort sac and the fact that the city would be in complete hysterics. I can not imagine her actually going to the hotel. That and the fact that she is now being involved in very private royal affairs has me on edge.   I really, really hope I am wrong about that.

I love Maureens "rare" talent. very cool.

Yes, the missing child is of some degree of Haldane lineage, though I wouldn't say that no one knows he's missing. It's just no one who happens to be one of our POV characters has happened to make the connection yet. That should all come to light for our characters very soon. Though I never said that it was the child who went through the Portal, now did I?  If it was the child, I'm not sure our mysterious Camberian would have any question as to his current whereabouts or well-being, given that Ground Zero of a bombing is hardly a healthy place for a person of any age.  ;D

Several million people come from Americia (unlike our Gwyneddan terrorist, who just happened to escape to there), and several thousand people probably stay in the various Astari hotels on any given evening, that being their equivalent to a major hotel chain like the Hilton or the Marriott might be here. The fact that Jen was booked to stay at an Astari hotel needn't cause any particular concern; remember, Peter, Maureen, and Devlin were in the penthouse suite of that same hotel at the time the bomb went off, and none of them were responsible for the bombing. Demercia is correct in her reading--Jen was booked to stay at the Royal Astari Rhemuth because she wasn't entirely sure of how welcome she'd be to stay with Eilonwy after her precipitous departure not long after Eilonwy's father's death (people grieve in very different ways, and Jen's grief caused her to return home until she could get her life and emotions back in order), but Jen didn't actually stay in the hotel room because Eilonwy and Patrick offered her their guest room. So she and Eilonwy were just going back to the hotel for her belongings and to officially check her out of the hotel.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline Shiral

  • Zipper Sister
  • Grand Master Knight
  • *
  • Posts: 681
  • Karma: 10
  • Gender: Female
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2015, 12:57:37 am »
Ve-ry intriguing!  Is Sophia safe...or are her apparent "protectors" not all that they seem? Or do they mean well toward her, and are doing what they believe to be the best thing in the immediate term considering the disaster that has just overtaken her family, but their protection might not be enough from the enemies who will be after her? I like Maureen's talent, too--she has some Peregrine Lovat in her, it seems.  ;) And the terrorists either have a less than enthusiastic member, or else they have been infiltrated by someone in Camberia who has his own agenda, at very least.

Police interrogation through shield reading. Well that's got to be a time saver. =o)

Melissa

You can have a sound mind in a healthy body--Or you can be a nanonovelist!

Offline Demercia

  • Knight
  • *
  • Posts: 213
  • Karma: 3
  • Gender: Female
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2015, 08:15:13 am »
No one with a butler like that can possibly be a villain ;)
The light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Duke
  • *
  • Posts: 4371
  • Karma: 29
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2015, 12:08:54 pm »
LOL! I wish I had a butler like that!  ;D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline Shiral

  • Zipper Sister
  • Grand Master Knight
  • *
  • Posts: 681
  • Karma: 10
  • Gender: Female
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2015, 03:05:29 pm »
No one with a butler like that can possibly be a villain ;)

So we can extrapolate the idea that "Bad guys don't have butlers?"  :D

But darn, now I'd like a butler.

Melissa
You can have a sound mind in a healthy body--Or you can be a nanonovelist!

Offline revanne

  • Community Supporter
  • Baron
  • *
  • Posts: 1721
  • Karma: 17
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Book: King Javan's Year
  • Favorite Character: Father Joram MacRorie
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2015, 03:19:45 pm »
I think it's more that Guys who have super efficient butlers learn to tread very carefully.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 03:39:07 pm by revanne »
Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
    let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
    as wax melts before the fire,
    let the wicked perish before God.
(Psalm 68 vv1-2)

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Duke
  • *
  • Posts: 4371
  • Karma: 29
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2015, 05:05:27 pm »
I dunno, some villains might find it handy to have someone available to clean up their messes and take care of all the fine details for them.  ;)
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline drakensis

  • Fanfic Author
  • Royal Squire
  • *
  • Posts: 195
  • Karma: 5
  • Gender: Male
Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Three
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2015, 02:05:40 am »
I dunno, some villains might find it handy to have someone available to clean up their messes and take care of all the fine details for them.  ;)
See Artemis Fowl for an excellent example.

Butler (that's his name) has served Fowl practically since birth. He's superb. Fowl, for his part, is a villain. A sympathetic villain, but nonetheless...

 


* Discord

* User Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

* Recent Posts

Re: Comment on the Two Kingdoms fanfic by DoctorM
[Today at 07:23:23 pm]


Re: Should we make Deryni Archives available as an online download? by JediMatt1000
[Today at 02:52:14 pm]


Re: Should we make Deryni Archives available as an online download? by Kareina
[September 20, 2019, 05:00:57 am]


Re: War of Three Kings - Prologue by drakensis
[September 19, 2019, 11:51:48 pm]


Re: Master of the Hunt terminology by JediMatt1000
[September 19, 2019, 10:26:26 pm]


Re: Master of the Hunt terminology by JediMatt1000
[September 19, 2019, 10:24:02 pm]


Re: Master of the Hunt terminology by DesertRose
[September 19, 2019, 10:18:39 pm]


Re: Master of the Hunt terminology by JediMatt1000
[September 19, 2019, 10:11:02 pm]


Re: Master of the Hunt terminology by JediMatt1000
[September 19, 2019, 10:07:16 pm]


Re: Master of the Hunt terminology by Shiral
[September 19, 2019, 09:44:27 pm]

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 14
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 1
  • Dot Users Online:

* Discord

* Top Poster

Evie Evie
4371 Posts
Laurna Laurna
2207 Posts
DesertRose DesertRose
1993 Posts

* Most Karma

Evie Evie
Karma: 29
Jerusha Jerusha
Karma: 24
DesertRose DesertRose
Karma: 24
Laurna Laurna
Karma: 17
revanne revanne
Karma: 17
Bynw Bynw
Karma: 12
Shiral Shiral
Karma: 10
derynifanatic64 derynifanatic64
Karma: 9
Elkhound
Karma: 8
Alkari
Karma: 7

* Online Time

DesertRose DesertRose
123d 21h 8m
Evie Evie
123d 8h 30m
TheDeryni TheDeryni
116d 1h 15m

* Forum Staff

Bynw admin Bynw
Administrator
DesertRose admin DesertRose
Administrator
Evie admin Evie
Administrator
Shiral gmod Shiral
Zipper Sister
Unicorn636 gmod Unicorn636
Requiem
Laurna gmod Laurna
Community Supporter
revanne gmod revanne
Community Supporter
DerynifanK gmod DerynifanK
Community Supporter
gmod Jax
Community Supporter
judywward gmod judywward
Community Supporter
KK gmod KK
Our Queen
gmod Alkari
Community Supporter
AnnieUK gmod AnnieUK
Community Supporter
Jerusha gmod Jerusha
Community Supporter

* Board Stats

  • stats Total Members: 332
  • stats Total Posts: 22208
  • stats Total Topics: 2235
  • stats Total Categories: 14
  • stats Total Boards: 136
  • stats Most Online: 181

* Calendar

September 2019
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 [21]
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30

No calendar events were found.