Author Topic: Ghosts of the Past  (Read 88055 times)

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Offline DerynifanK

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #645 on: May 18, 2019, 09:08:46 pm »
Sir Washburn threatened Lord Jaxom with his cold, hard anger. Everyone in the courtyard seemed frozen in place unable to respond to the threat. Jaxom's hand hovered over the hilt of his sword. Dare he pull it from his scabbard? Jaxom was proud of his swordsmanship, but was he good enough? The reputation of the man challenging him was of an undefeated champion. ((11:13  <Derynifank>  does Jaxom draw his sword? !roll 2d6
11:14  <Derynifank>  !roll 2d6
11:14  <•derynibot> 3, 4 == 7  Nope!))

Jaxom hesitated.

"Defend yourself, scum!" Washburn threatened his betrayer advancing a step closer and gesturing in a hostile manner with his sword.

"I've been pardoned," Jaxom claimed. His hand hovered over  his sword hilt, braced to draw in defense if need be.

"What?" Washburn was incensed by the mere idea. It had to be a lie! Yet, he did not detect it as so. "You abducted a maiden from the Queen's garden! You drugged her senseless and took her to a man who was contracted by Oswald, the man who murdered her whole family. He planned to force her to marry him so he would have her father's lands to use in a rebellion against Gwynedd. That is Treason!" Washburn yelled out advancing on the young lord.

((20:06 <Laurna> !roll 2d6
20:06 <•derynibot> 3, 6 == 9  this time , yes. ))

Thus threatened, Jaxom drew his sword, prepared to fight for his life.

Through this challenge, Darcy was the only one moving. Bloody hell, he thought, we don’t need this. All too aware of the bloodshed about to erupt, he leapt from the back of his horse. He landed within reach of Washburn, and his hand grabbed the knight's sword arm. "Damn it Wash, hold and listen to me!"

Feeling his anger to be just, Wash shook Darcy's hand off. "I know what I saw! I know what I tried to stop, and I know the price I paid for it. What price has this fop paid?" Wash demanded.

“Hold!” Aliset’s voice rang out from behind him. Wash froze, his eyes never left Jaxom's face; his heart wanted to avenge the terrible distress which he knew she had endured. Unbelievably, it was she who called to stop him from dealing out retribution. Her voice echoed in his mind, There are circumstances of which you are unaware. You must hold!

The nearest of Jaxom’s soldiers were shifting closer to the two men, not sure what was happening but ready to defend their leader. The Baron quickly asserted his authority shouting, “Stop! What do you mean by dashing in here and attacking my guest?  Who are you and why are you here? I demand to know what is going on!” The scene was becoming chaotic. As the baron demanded answers,  Fiona ran forward throwing her arms outward coming to a halt between Lord Jaxom and this unknown knight, thinking she could stop the violence.

Wash maintained  his menacing stance; he did not lower his sword nor turn away from challenging Jaxom. Only for a moment did his gaze flit over to the pretty blond girl between them, amazed at her bravado.

He heard Aliset’s voice in his mind. Wash I need you to not attack Lord Jaxom. Lower your sword. Resentment flared in Wash, his heart was racing, he didn’t understand how everyone could let this man get off so easily from what he had done.
((01:14 <Laurna> Save test to resist Aliset's orders
01:14 <Laurna> !roll 3d6
01:14 <•derynibot> 2, 3, 3 == 8))

 Washburn found her entreaty one he could not disobey. Slowly he lowered his sword, although he continued to glare at Jaxom.

 “How can you defend him? He caused injury to us both!” In a harsh voice, Wash repeated his accusations of betrayal. His tone threatened to expose the torment he had felt for the attack on Aliset and for what he himself had endured.

 Jaxom began to protest, but the baron called out “Silence! I am Baron Stuart and this is my manor which was threatened by a rebel infiltration and attempted seizure. Lord Jaxom and his men were sent by the King’s representative to provide assistance, and they have freed my land from this threat. They have also captured several rebel prisoners”.  The baron looked across at the wagon that held the prisoners. They were whispering among themselves and he suspected they were thinking of using this distraction to attempt an escape. He gestured to two of Jaxom’s men to move nearer prevent any escape attempt.  As the men kneed their horses closer to the wagon he turned back to Darcy, satisfied  “I am grateful for his assistance and I need an explanation of this attack from one of you.” He pointed at Darcy. “You,” he said in a stern voice, “explain this clash. I will tolerate no fights or settling of private scores here. The rebels are threat enough to deal with.”

Aliset had dismounted and came to stand beside  Darcy; her hand tugged at Fiona’s sleeve to pull her out of harm’s way. Darcy again touched  Wash’s arm and spoke to him while keeping his eyes on Jaxom. “Sheathe your sword,” he said softly. “We do not need complications here any more than we did in Cuiltiene. We do not wish to alienate any of the landowners here who are still loyal to Gwynedd. Baron Stuart is an influential man in this part of the borders and we need him on our side.”

Wash nodded slowly and returned his sword to its scabbard although he continued to focus his hard stare on Jaxom. In response to the baron’s words, Jaxom also sheathed his sword. “I apologize for this unseemly fracas, but I really had no choice but to defend myself against an unprovoked attack.”

Darcy muttered to himself, “that depends on your point of view.”  Aliset sent him a sharp look of warning.

The baron nodded, then beckoned to Fiona. “Tis foolish to put yourself between two armed men with weapons drawn. You could have been seriously hurt if it had escalated to a fight between them. Return to your aunt’s side and stay there.”

However, Fiona, instead of returning to the side of the baron’s lady, moved to stand facing him.
“I have information to share with you, and it’s important that you listen. Please Uncle Mac.” She pleaded.

The baron studied her face then nodded briefly. “What is this Information you have for me?”

“I do not know the identity of the knight, but the other gentleman is Darcy Cameron. He is Sir Iain’s  brother and therefore, also my cousin.”

“Impossible!” said the baron. “Sir Iain’s younger brother died of an illness when very young and he had no other brothers. This man must be an imposter.”

Fiona shook her head. “That was what Sir Iain’s stepfather gave out when the younger boy disappeared.  Actually his stepfather sold the boy to the master of a passing ship. His mother, my aunt, was in no position to challenge him, and Iain was in Rhemuth serving as a squire and undergoing his training. He never knew his brother was actually still alive.  Darcy spent 12 years at sea and only recently returned to seek employment as a man-at-arms. I met him at the Micheline ruins where I was seeking help to deal with the rebels here. He and Father Columcil were there with the squire on a mission from the King to locate a hidden fortress in the  Ratharkan mountains.”

The baron looked doubtful but Fiona continued. “Look at him. Can you not see that he is the image of Iain?”  Darcy removed his cap and Mac studied the shorter of the two men standing before him. He certainly looked very much like Sir Iain. He shook his head as if trying to clear it.

He shifted his gaze from Fiona to Darcy. “Explain yourself and why you arrived here so abruptly, precipitating this confrontation. And who is this knight who travels with you and who was ready to attack my guest?”

Darcy stepped forward and, bowing to the baron, began to speak. “I am indeed Darcy Solveig Cameron, brother to Sir Iain Reyvik Cameron; and it is true that I have been many years at sea, learning a mariner’s skills. How I came there is a story for another time. I had advanced to navigator of a trading ship when the master died. The new master preferred his own navigator so I was forced to seek new employment. I decided to seek my fortune as a man-at-arms. My first job was escorting a young lord who was in a great deal of danger to Rhemuth. The knight was also assigned as part of the young lord’s escort. He is Sir Washburn Morgan, youngest son of the late Alaric Morgan, Duke of Corwyn and brother of the present duke, His Grace Kelric Morgan. It was he who sent Sir Washburn to join the escort. We met the good father who was also traveling to Rhemuth, and he joined our party. Lord Jaxom’s father had sent him to find Sir Washburn because of concern for his safety and that of his party. He and his men joined the escort when he learned how dangerous the mission was, particularly with the rebellion spreading”.

Darcy continued. “ After we reached Rhemuth, events occurred which led to the enmity between Sir Washburn and Lord Jaxom. Unfortunately, Sir Washburn was abducted by a man in the employment of one of the rebel leaders. He suffered a great deal, both mentally and physically. He was delivered to this high ranking rebel and chained in a dungeon. Fortunately, my brother Iain was able to free him and conduct him to the Michaeline ruins where he joined me .Much occurred after Sir Washburn’s abduction of which he is as yet unaware. There has been no opportunity to inform him of these events.”

“While we were still in Rhemuth, the king became aware of my skill as a navigator and ability to use the stars as a guide. That led him to assign to me the mission of locating this fortress which is known to be a major rebel stronghold. At that time we were seeking Sir Washburn, and it was thought he might have been taken there. Father Columcil was directed to join me as he had achieved his goal in Rhemuth, and his Deryni powers would enable us to maintain contact with Rhemuth and inform them of our progress. We had reached the Michaeline ruins in our pursuit of this objective. While there we learned that my brother had already discovered the location of the hidden fortress from which he rescued he had Sir Washburn. Since the fortress had been located, our mission changed.”

“There we met Lady Fiona who was trying to reach Sir Iain to ask his help in dealing with the rebels who had infiltrated the manor and were attempting to seize it in order to gain a foothold in Gwynedd. She had run afoul of thieves on the Cuilteine road and had ridden toward the ruins in an effort to escape. Lord Jaxom and his men were there and drove off the attackers. Lady Fiona told her story to the King’s representative and was able to convince him  to mount a rescue mission and to allow her to accompany them. Father Columcil was to serve as protector for the lady during this excursion, otherwise she would have to remain behind. I am sure her knowledge of the manor and its inhabitants was quite valuable in carrying out  their orders to free the manor of the rebels and prevent them from establishing a base here.”

Jaxom had been silent during Darcy’s explanation. However, when the baron asked why Darcy and the knight had followed them to the manor instead of accompanying them, he interjected, “Because they were not needed. As you have seen, I was perfectly capable of completing the assigned task without their help. I am not sure why they are here now!  And I don’t see why the knight is now part of the party. He was not present at the ruins when I left there, and he seems more likely to cause trouble than prevent it.”

Darcy began to reply, “We needed to wait for Iain to bring Sir Washburn to the ruins where he could rejoin us. Lady Fiona was very anxious to return to the manor immediately to interrupt the rebels’ actions to take over and also to protect you and your wife from harm. Therefore, the rescue party left…..”

Jaxom interrupted. “I still see no need for these others to be added to my mission, certainly not the knight!”

Wash stiffened, glaring at Jaxom. “I am here, no thanks to you, to offer my services to Lord Darcy and Lord Iain to help bring about the downfall of this Mearan rebellion. Do not get in my way again or I will  exact a price for the harm you have already caused.”

The two men began a shouting match, with Darcy trying to restrain Wash and the baron calling for an end to the disagreement when another voice was heard above the fracas.

“Wha is ta meanin’ of this bather and wha’s the shoutin’ aboot?” Columcil had come out into the stable yard unnoticed and now his own shout rang out over the clamor. In the sudden silence that followed, he said gravely, “I hae news for ye that is o’ impairtance ta us all.” All eyes turned toward him. “Ta bells were ringin’ tae mark the passin’ o’ Bishop Denis Arilan who passed a day ago at Dhassa. He weel be sairly missed an his loss felt throughout the Eleven Kingdoms. I also have other news. But first, what is ta cause of this brawl?”

His eyes turned first to Darcy and then to the baron, waiting for them to inform him of what was happening here. Those around him appeared stunned, saying nothing while digesting the news that Columcil had brought. The bishop had been loved and respected throughout the Eleven Kingdoms for as long as most of them could remember.  The good Father’s gaze scanned the men in the courtyard. His eyes stopped abruptly on the one face he had feared never to see again. As his eyes turned to Sir Washburn he declared, “Thanks be to God! I was afeared we might never see ya agin. How did ya ever regain yer freedom?”

Before Wash could reply, Darcy intervened. “That is also a story for another time. Right now, we need to resolve this squabble and determine what actions are most appropriate for each of us. Our main goal has to be to do what is best for Gwynedd and what is needed to help defeat the rebels. Personal quarrels have no place in this present crisis”

Washburn, appearing much calmer, stepped forward and bowed to the baron. “I regret that my unseemly behavior has contributed to the development of this brawl. It was never my intent to insult or offend you. I was not expecting to see Lord Jaxom, and at first all I saw was a person who had caused great harm to both the Lady Aliset and myself. However, since both Lord Darcy and the lady are defending him, there must be reasons of which I am unaware. My argument with Lord Jaxom began with events in Rhemuth, and I admit that this is not the time or place to pursue it. I certainly do not want to interfere with whatever must be done to defeat the rebellion.”

Washburn looked sadly at Columcil. “I am also grieved to hear of the passing of Bishop Arilan. He was close to my family and will be greatly missed.”

Lord Jaxom had remained standing stiffly near the baron, facing Darcy, Washburn, and Lady Aliset, his hand still poised near the hilt of his sword. ”I too wish to do what is best for Gwynedd. However, I have the right to defend myself from attack. I had no private quarrel with this knight, and I feel that his attack on me was unprovoked. It was shown that I was not at fault for what happened in Rhemuth.”

Darcy could feel the anger rising again in Wash as Jaxom sought to deny all responsibility for what had occurred and the effects. He spoke up quickly, “This is not the time to allocate responsibility for past acts. We need to decide on our best course of action.”

Columcil spoke, his eyes on Lord Jaxom. “Lord Jaxom, ta Earl has confirmed his orders to ya tae deliver the rebel prisoners tae Droghera witout delay. He is most anxious tae question them. Ye appear ready to leave. Mayhap, ye moight move tae carry out yer instructions tae go now so ye can still arrive afore dark.”

The baron was nodding in agreement. “I thank you for your actions to free my manor. I  feel that your best course now is to set out for Droghera immediately, before more of the day has passed.”

“I agree that my party needs to be on its way. Is there any way I can serve you before we leave?” Jaxom addressed the baron, pointedly ignoring the others, as he mounted his horse.
The baron shook his head as Jaxom’s men formed up to leave. Jaxom took the lead with his standard bearer close beside him. Lord Michael followed Jaxom. Two of Jaxom’s men followed with the bound Drago between them followed by the wagon with the driver perched on the front The driver was the baron’s man and would return the wagon to the manor after the prisoners had been delivered. One man rode on either side of the wagon and lastly, one followed behind. The party circled the house and took the main track leading to the Cuilteine Road.

Those remaining behind turned their attention to determining what their actions should be. Fiona spoke quietly into Mac’s ear. The baron turned his attention to the three latest arrivals and spoke; “Will you join me in the solar where we can better discuss the reason for your arrival here. Father Columcil, please join us as I am sure you can add to the discussion”

“Gladly,” said Darcy,  “but we must see to our horses, first.”

Mac beckoned to Gavin who was standing nearby. “Go quickly and have two of the grooms to come and tend to the horses.” Gavin bowed and trotted off to the stables to summon the men. In a very short time, he returned with two of the baron’s grooms. They took the reins to lead the mounts to the stable.

However, Washburn resisted surrendering Shadow Dancer to anyone else.  The great black warhorse stood quietly by Wash’s side but began to pull at his reins and fidget restlessly when one of the grooms sought to take him toward the stable. “I beg  your pardon, milord, but I have only very recently been reunited with my mount, and he does not readily accept any other person’s hand. Begging your pardon, but I think it would be best if I tended to him. I will not delay your discussion long.”  Mac hesitated briefly but at a signal from Columcil, he agreed.
Wash led his horse into the stable as the others followed the baron and Fiona into the house and to the solar.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 09:18:55 pm by Bynw »
"Thanks be to God there are still, as there always have been and always will be, more good men than evil in this world, and their cause will prevail." Brother Cadfael's Penance


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