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Author Topic: Ghosts of the Past  (Read 108216 times)

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Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #630 on: March 27, 2019, 01:03:28 pm »
Iain disappeared, as did Sidana, and Sextus. The two Haldane lancers stood opposite the portal, their interested gaze at the three who stayed behind, unwavering. Then Sextus was standing there beckoning the two guards to join him on the portal stone. In a blink he and the two red tunics with swords were gone. Anxious to leave too, Wash stepped up to the portal. To his dismay, Darcy and Aliset turned their backs to him and walked away. Wash looked around him. Other than some debris left from the stay here, he saw nothing of importance that needed to be collected.

“I would really like to be gone from this place,” he said trying to hide his growing tension.

“We do, too,” Darcy said as he waved Washburn to follow.

Hesitantly, Wash stepped off the Portal.  Where Darcy was heading was nothing but solid stone. “I don’t understand….” As he followed, the Lady Aliset stepped up to the tower wall, and then disappeared within it. “What?”

Darcy looked from Aliset to Wash trying to understand the knight’s confusion. “This is how we got in here and this is how we shall get out. It is a bit of a climb, but it is quite doable.“ Again he waved Wash to follow him. “My lady, let me climb up first,” he was saying as he rushed forward… into the stone.  “I can pull you up to the lip of the crevasse,” came his muffled voice behind the stone. Wash raced forward; he spread his hands across the stone face. His right hand hit firm against the solid tower wall.

((1:44 <laurna> Rolling disadvantage Save Test- can Washburn walk through the veiling over the opening. Even though Wash has Resolute trait, this save test is disadvantage because the veil has been spell cast by Feyd, exclusively to keep Wash from seeing through it. No one else can even detect that the veil is there.
21:44 <laurna> !roll 1d6
21:44 <•derynibot> 2 == 2
21:45 <laurna> Darn it,  poor Wash))

Washburn’s left hand pressed against more stone in exactly the place Darcy had disappeared. Wash pushed both hands against the grey wall. It did not budge. He slammed his fist against it. “Don’t leave me here!” He beseeched. Panic was starting to catch in his throat. He squelched it and brought his mind down to focus. Magic had to be at play, could he sense it?

((21:51 <laurna> Can Wash at least tell if it is magic before him? disadvantage save test.
21:51 <laurna> !roll 1d6
21:51 <•derynibot> 1 == 1
21:51 <laurna> Nope))

Nothing out of the ordinary. The wall was solid. There was no escape from here! He had not seen a hole in the wall the first time he was here and he did not see one now. Because it didn’t exist. This was all Feyd’s doing. A trickster playing his tricks. His friends were nothing but illusion to let Lord Iain feel confident that he could leave  Morgan here, and now his supposed friends just up and disappeared. “Feyd!” Wash yelled, “Come out and show yourself!” The knight’s hand was on the hilt of his sword. He was drawing the blade when a hand reached out from within the wall and firmed in a grip over his wrist. He was readying to punch whoever belonged to that hand, when the face of Lady Aliset appeared half in the wall.

“Calm,” commanded her feminine voice. “It is I, Aliset. We won’t leave you behind.” She stepped out of the stone, keeping one hand on his wrist and then touched his forehead with her off-hand.

Fearing that this was Feyd in disguise, Wash thought to strengthen his shields to resist, but his need for this person to really be Aliset overrode his resistances. If this was really Feyd and not Aliset, he was doomed no matter what he did; if that were the case there was nothing left to save him. In his new state of calm, elicited by the command Aliset gave, Wash could think of only one save. His hand reached to brush the top of the girl’s head.

She had no notion of what he could do. But in that second, she had sent a wave of images of their week long escape from Meara. Images from Aliset’s point of view, including moments that he had only glimpsed from afar. Feyd could not have extrapolated those images from his own experience. This was the real lady, the real Aliset.  Both his hands dropped to his sides, even as his shields eased to let more of her images pass to him.  Truly calmed by more than just her command, he asked, “How do I get out of here?”

Keeping her Rapport with him, Aliset looked back at the break in the tower wall and the crevasse beyond it. Her own eyes saw Darcy standing but a step away, his hand re-sheathing his sword. He was her protector, and she knew that, even against Wash, he would do what was necessary to do just that; protect her. As soon as the sword was away, she shifted her gaze to see what Washburn saw. He saw only stone, nothing of Darcy standing there. Surrounding him with her powers, as she would to take another through a portal, she drew him to her and showed him what she saw. “Let us step through together,” she answered him.

The space was tight, they each brushed shoulders against the stone, but in three steps they were through and Darcy was giving one hand to Aliset and one hand to pat Wash on the shoulder. “I swear, I would not leave a member of my crew behind,” the seaman said.

Wash had to laugh to release his tension. “I am a member of your crew, now?” he asked. It didn’t matter that the crevasse they stood within was high and narrow. It wasn’t the bell tower and that was all that counted.

“Until I say otherwise, you are my boatswain, first mate.”

Washburn relaxed even further. Feyd would have never thought of nautical terms. “That would make you the Captain, then?” the knight asked this with tilt of his head and a half smile.

“Aye!” Darcy nodded, liking the idea. “Captain Darcy Cameron. I always wanted that title. Not quite the way I had planned on getting it, mind you.”

Darcy then turned to the crevasse wall. He climbed up the shortest side of it, straddle  the top edge, a leg on each side, then reached down for Aliset. Wash put his hands together so she could step there and rise up to her husband’s grasp. When she was seated on Darcy’s far side, Wash found his own hand holds and climbed upward; friendly hands pulled him up the last bit of the way.

He looked around at the sight of the ruins, remembering the other time he had stood this high up. It was a spectacular view of the lake and the hills, and the back of the convent walls of St Brigid’s far above them. “We are closer than I imagined to the nuns. I heard them singing their offices one night. I thought if only I could yell out they would find me. But alas…” Washburn shook out of his momentary melancholy. This time he was free. Really and truly free. “Point me the way,” he said and before Darcy could scramble to his feet, the freed knight was climbing down the tumbled stone toward the ruins’ floor.

“This way,” Darcy yelled correcting the knight’s trajectory. In record time the three were through the ruins and looking at the ladder atop the cliff.

“Do we have horses?” Washburn asked. He looked across the causeway and at the road skirting the lake.

“Aye, we do. We even have your Shadow Dancer with us. Thought you would like that.”

“That is not my horse,” Washburn said curtly. “That is the duke’s horse, lent to me to win prizes. How did you ever pry that horse out of my brother’s hands.”

“What are you talking about? “ Darcy asked.

“He is your pride and joy,” Aliset said at the same time.

The couple looked at Wash concerned.  How should they approach this twisted memory?

“Washburn, he is yours. You have been riding him for the full length of time that we have known each other,“ Darcy was explaining.

Aliset added, “Shadow takes only commands from you. Well, Father Columcil has been able to ride him to get your steed to here; with the aid of a little Deryni Horse Whispering, I should add. But no one else has dared to climb on that warhorse’s back.”

“Are you sure? Because I see someone else climbing on his back at this very moment.”

All three turned and squinted their eyes at the distant road. Two horses were seen to be tied to a tree, but the third horse, a huge black stallion, was being lead away from the other two, toward a pair of riders up the road. As they watched, the man leading the destrier made a jump to scramble up into the saddle.

“Damn! Horse thieves!” Darcy yelled, jumping to the ladder, his feet around the outer poles to slide down fast like a seaman in the rigging. Aliset was quick to climb down after her husband. But she had to use each rung of the ladder. Washburn watched from the cliff side. If he had had a bow and arrow, he thought he could just hit the target from this distance. But he did not. Instinct overran his memories. Putting fingers to the side of his mouth he blew a shrill whistle.

The great warhorse bobbed his head up and down at the recognition of the sound. Wash focused on that head and the shine of the black’s eyes that he knew so well and felt rather than saw. Rear! he commanded Toss that horse thief on the ground and kick him clear of you.

The powerful black R’Kassi stallion gave a vicious warhorse scream. He reared up on his hind legs giving a great shake of his head and mane. Whatever grip the thief had on saddle and mane was lost in an instant.  He fell past the warhorse’s rump and onto the ground. As the stallion came down, the man was scrambling to get clear of the maddened beast. Kick! Wash commanded. Two back hooves launched back and out. For all his efforts to evade, the thief received a glancing blow to his side.  The pain of it knocked him to the ground.

Guard! Wash commanded of his war mate. Shadow was masterfully trained; he knew his rider and his rider’s commands proving their years of teamsmanship. The destrier spun and pranced before the fallen man. The two distant riders came near, but the great black horse nickered, tossed his head up and down, and viciously bit at the other horses. They would have to get past the black if they wanted to try for the other two horses tied to the tree. Neither seemed willing to risk that.  The man on the ground scooted his body away. Barely able to manage to stand, he raised up his hands for his buddy to reach down and lift him up. Enraged to have the other horse so near, Shadow charged toward them.

Wash gave a double whistle and a mental Whoa!, bring Shadow down from his gallop to a quick halt. A second single whistle and the black turned on his hind legs and trotted back to the edge of the verdant causeway. He tossed his head and whinnied at Wash still standing on the ruins cliff-side. Satisfied, Wash gave a triumphant smile, "That's my boy” he said both aloud and in mind-speech to his companion. 

The two men had rescued their hurt companion and they charged away from the ruins. Darcy was most the way across the land bridge. The lady was seen at the halfway point jumping the vines like a slender gazelle. Washburn climbed down the ladder, and strode through the wild growth like a free man; he felt renewed. When he reached the far side, Shadow Dancer nudged his shoulder and bent his head down to meet his rider eye to eye: they were a well worked team. Wash scratched the eye ridge and sunk his face into the black’s neck and mane. Nothing ever felt so much like freedom, than his horse did. 

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #631 on: April 02, 2019, 11:55:41 am »
Aliset Cameron looked at the scene before her with a welcome sense of relief.  Washburn was caressing the big black warhorse as if greeting his dearest friend.  It might be only a small breakthrough in helping to resolve the damage done to him by Feyd, but at least it was a start.

Darcy, having realized that pursuing the unsuccessful horse thieves would accomplish little, walked up to Aliset and gently rested his hand against hers. I need to show you what Iain sent to me right before he left, he sent, slipping into rapport with her easily.

I don’t think we need physical contact anymore for this, she responded, and Darcy could almost feel her smile through their link.

But it makes for such a convenient excuse to touch you.  Yes, he could definitely feel her eye roll through their link!  He relayed to her the quick message his brother had sent when he had grasped his shoulder in farewell.

”Darcy, there is something Aliset must do as soon as possible.  Grand Duke Valerian placed voice controls on Washburn shortly after Master Feyd delivered him. He did only a brief scan of Washburn’s mind, and I don’t think the controls are deeply set.  For Washburn’s own safety, and the safety of you and Aliset, she needs to remove them.  We cannot allow Valerian to take control of Washburn again.”

Aliset took a deep breath as Darcy withdrew from rapport.  Sir Iain was right; they could not allow Valerian to be able to control Washburn. She shuddered at the thought of what damage he could be forced to do, and what Darcy could be forced to do if that happened.  Darcy’s hand tightened around hers.  Aliset saw that Washburn was beginning to disentangle himself from Shadow’s mane; she squeezed Darcy’s hand before letting go to approach Washburn.

“Wash,” she said, using the calming tone that had worked before.  “There is something I should do for you before we leave.”

Washburn turned from his horse, stiffening.  Shadow, sensing the change in Washburn’s emotions, jerked his head upwards.  “Easy,” Washburn told the horse and patted the glossy black shoulder to reassure him.

“Yes, easy,” Aliset repeated.  She chose her next words carefully.  “Wash, you know that Grand Duke Valerian placed controls on you when you reached the fortress.  Sir Iain believes they were not deeply set, and I should be able to remove them, just like I did for Darcy.  Will you trust me to try?  I will not force you; it’s against my nature to do so, but I think you understand the necessity of ridding you of these controls.”

Washburn read the truth of her words, but he hesitated. He would be no man’s pawn again, and freedom from Valerian would be a blessing.  But with his shields now restored, he might be able to resist Valerian’s commands on his own, as he had Sir Iain’s. But what if he could not? What if he could be forced to harm his friends?  What if Valerian could force him to restore his powers?  No!  He would not allow these things to happen!

 ((Has Aliset convinced Washburn let her try to try to remove Valerian’s controls?
13:27   Aliset   !roll 2d6
13:27   derynibot   1, 6 == 7
Yes!))

“Yes,” Washburn said.  “I need you to do this.”

“Let’s return Shadow to the other horses; it will also give us more privacy.” Aliset said.  Washburn nodded and led Shadow toward the other horses.

“Will you need me for this?” Darcy asked Aliset after Shadow was secured with the other horses.  “You know I will do whatever you need, but given our recent visit from the horse thieves, I think it would be better if I stand guard.”

“Yes,” Aliset replied. “I will be better able to concentrate if I know you have my back.”

“I will always have your back, love,” Darcy said. And all the rest of you, as well.  Aliset blushed, and Darcy grinned as he moved to a vantage point that gave him a good view of the road and the area around them. He adjusted his sword belt to make sure the weapon was positioned to his liking.

“Shall we sit here?” Aliset motioned to a spot at the base of one of the trees.

Washburn nodded and wiped his palms on his tunic. He was more nervous than he wanted to admit.  He trusted Aliset more than anyone else, yet the thought of allowing her in his mind was causing his heart to pound. 

Aliset looked at him sympathetically.  “I know this will be difficult for you.  Please trust me to be as gentle as I can, and know that I will not access any of your private memories.”

“You would not like them,” Washburn replied.  “And I do not want to relive them.”

“I would not either,” Aliset said as she settled herself at the base of the tree.  Washburn sat down cross-legged opposite her and took a deep breath, and then another, willing his shields to roll back. Suddenly unsure as to what to do with his hands, he reached forward and grasped his ankles firmly.  Aliset reached up and placed her hands on the sides of his head, her thumbs resting against his temples.  At first Washburn’s shields did not budge, but when he felt Aliset’s gentle mental touch, he willed them to recede.

((Will Aliset establish successful rapport with Washburn:
 13:27   Aliset   !roll 2d6
13:27   derynibot   5, 5 == 10
Yes!))

Aliset centered her concentration and extended her mind deeper into Washburn’s.  The turmoil she felt there was disconcerting, even though she had expected it.  I hold your friendship as deeply as I hold my love for Alister, she comforted.  I will not betray you.

Washburn relaxed a bit more.  Aliset, at least, understood his misgivings.  She knew too well what it was like to be forced to submit to the will of another.

((Will Aliset find Valerian’s controls?
13:27   Aliset   !roll 2d6
13:27   derynibot   4, 5 == 9
Yes!))

Carefully Aliset scanned Washburn’s mind, looking for the controls Valerian had set.  There!  Valerian had been confident that no one would look for them; from a Deryni point of view, they were in plain sight.

((Will Aliset be able to remove Valerian’s controls?
13:27   Aliset   !roll 2d6
13:27   derynibot   5, 6 == 11
Yes!  That’s our girl!))

Aliset focused in on the controls.  With a deft twist, she mentally flicked Valerian’s controls away. She felt Washburn’s sense of relief instantly. Perhaps she could use this moment to share the memories she had of the concern his mother and sister shared for his safety.  Would it help him to accept that some of his memories were false?  Wash, she sent.  Know the truth of the memories I will share with you now. Relax and try to accept what I share.

 ((Laurna rolls to see if Wash will accept Aliset’s memories as true.
Result of the throw of dice "2d6" :
5 + 2 = 7 Verification Number: 23cg4dl25w
Yes!))

Washburn sat very still as the memories Aliset shared entered his mind.  He saw the tears in his mother’s eyes and the distress on his sister’s face.  He saw them embrace as they tried in vain to comfort one another.  The sincerity of their emotions that Aliset remembered flowed across the link.  His own memories must be false!  I believe you, Washburn sent to Aliset as he blinked back sudden tears.

Encouraged by this success, Aliset extended her senses further, looking for other memories that she might be able to set straight.  She sensed the near hatred of his brother, Duke Kelric.  She reached further….

((Will Aliset reach the false memories of Kelric?
13:28   Aliset   !roll 2d6
13:28   derynibot   3, 1 == 4
Drat!))

NO! she cried out mentally and vocally.  A demon shrieked at her, warning her away, the mental pain mirroring the horrific image!

“Aliset!” Darcy exclaimed, rushing forward with his sword drawn.  When he saw Aliset’s ashen face, he fell to his knees beside her, drawing her into his arms as if his physical presence could protect her.

Washburn’s shields snapped into place, throwing out Aliset’s rapport. His own heart was racing as  the image of Feyd’s demon remained in his mind along with his warning:

Don’t be a fool!  You risk another’s life!  Desist and don’t try again!

“No!” Washburn shouted at the demon. “I will find a way to break free from your false memories!”  The apparition faded from his mind. 

“Aliset, are you hurt?”  Darcy asked her, holding her tight within his arms.  “What the hell just happened?” he turned his gaze to Washburn, a hint of belligerence in his tone.

“Aliset set me free from Valerian’s controls and proved that my memories of my mother were false. She found a warning from Feyd as she tried to dig deeper.”  Washburn grimaced and then stated firmly, the determination to fight back clear in his voice,  “A man who places demons in my head is not to be trusted.  He has proved that I can trust you.”

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

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #632 on: April 07, 2019, 01:45:29 pm »
Thankful for Lady Aliset’s restorative Rapport, Wash reached a hand out to the lady with concern. Quicker than he, Darcy was on his knees embracing Aliset in his arms. He was quick to question Washburn about what had happened. Wash had answered with concern for Aliset and anger toward his continued ordeal. It was fortunate that the lady had not fainted, she was made of sterner stuff than that. Nevertheless, she welcomed the safety of her husband’s arms. The beastly warning in the back of Washburn’s mind had been unexpected and disturbing. Most of all, it infuriated Washburn that Feyd would dare to harm anyone who would dare to help him. When Wash was assured that Aliset was unharmed, he closed his eyes, leaned his head back against the tree, then resettled his tension and his thoughts. One thing was certain, Lady Aliset had freed him of the Grand Duke’s influence.  No matter what that Master Spy-assassin claimed, Washburn Morgan was not owned by Valerian. That bondage was broken, and that was a massive step toward freedom. Yet this assassin, for some inexplicable reason, would not let him be fully free.

Washburn’s hand briefly touched on the flask under his tunic. Would the power within the flask bring him complete freedom or would it doom him to forever be afflicted and a slave? Master Feyd had implied that Wash was meant to be free of the Grand Duke’s influence, something about vengeance for his father would come after his escape. What was Master Feyd playing at? Was all of this part of the spy’s two hundred year vengeance? Washburn was determined more than ever to thwart Feyd at every step. Aliset’s sharing the distress of his mother for him was both surprising and heartening and another step toward freedom.When gaining knighthood, the young man who was Wash had thought he had grown beyond a mother’s care. Yet he now realized, no matter how old he became, his mother’s love would always be a healing bond. Aliset proved to him that the power in that bond could never be severed, what it did do instead, was break his mother’s heart. That would need to be remedied, soon.

Finding purpose in the wake of Feyd’s Demon, Wash shifted his position and opened his eyes. Before him, two people were lovingly entwined within each other’s arms; their eyes only for each other. The lady’s eyes closed and she leaned forward to meet her husband’s lips. The kiss was passionate and serene. The timid reticences that had once defined their relationship of a week ago had been cast aside.  Their kiss was impassioned, and their arms tightened, increasing their closeness. Wash ducked his head and considered the best path to sneak away. Perhaps if he scooted his butt along the root of the tree, he could get around them without bringing attention to himself. He wasn’t successful. His motion brought the couple up for air.  With a slight cough to hide a smile, Washburn managed to say,  “It is wonderful indeed to find that the news of your marriage is true. I am happy for you both.” Not knowing quite what else to say, Washburn remarked. “I am of the mind that an appropriate wedding gift would be a bed and a soft down mattress. That would be far preferable than this hard ground.” A smile crossed the lady’s lips causing her to laugh. Her cheeks flushed red as she tucked her head into her husband’s chest.  Darcy kissed her forehead not willing to let her go.

“Best make it a sturdy bed,” Darcy replied. “One that will last for decades and hold not just us, but a passel of children, as well.” Embarrassed not in the least, Darcy tightened his arms around his wife to encourage another intimate kiss. Then in a quick whisper that Washburn just managed to over-hear, Darcy said to his wife, “The heather is not so bad a mattress.”

Aliset gave an uncharacteristic giggle. Her eyes twinkled brightly to her new husband, but her words were the opposite of her thoughts, “Dear heart, now is not a good time.” Then she teasingly pushed herself away and was standing all business-like before either man could blink. “We should be riding out, or do you plan to waste the day sitting here.”

Washburn was quick to stand too, giving a friendly clap on the seaman’s slumped shoulders. “That bed will be made of strong Lendour hardwoods. Not those softwoods of the lowlands. And I will be sure that the pillows are stuffed well with the best of goose down and not just silly duck feathers. And too, there will be sprigs of Heather embroidered upon the coverlet.” Wash turned away toward his horse before his jocular smile destroyed the moment. Though he tried not to look, out the corner of his eye, he saw Darcy stand, brush back his hair then bring his wife back into his arms for another reassuring kiss. That they also shared in Rapport, Wash had no doubt. But that was a good thing and Wash would not look to interfere.

Upon Shadow’s back, Wash was heartened to see his old saddle and saddlebags. His hands went to release the stirrups and then to adjust their length. Father Columcil was a tad shorter in leg than he, and the stirrups had been set high. That done, his hand brushed past a bedroll, and his unstrung longbow. His quiver of arrows he saw sticking up from the off side. Not really hungry, he skipped the large knapsack which surely contained food and flint, along with rope and other travel necessity supplies. Instead he opened the smaller leather pack to see if any of his belongings remained. To his surprise he found there, neatly packed: extra clothes, a warm cloak, a hair comb, a shaving knife, a small bag of coin, and a leather bound book tied in a green ribbon.

His hand shook as he pulled out the book. This was his father’s journal. Where had he left it? He thought back to the night they had arrived in Rhemuth. He had left it on the table in his room. The ribbon was new, and there was a gold coin that dangled from the ribbon. Releasing the ribbon, Wash held it up to watch the coin sway back and forth from the shake of his hand. The coin was not a Saint Camber medal. Wash realized his mother would not know that his had been lost. The coin was a Lendour gold piece. Worth half that of King’s gold coin at market, but more valuable to Washburn than a king’s coin could ever be. He gathered his courage and clasped the coin within his palm. There was magic here. He opened his mind to read the message within.

The face was his mother’s, a tear on her cheek, yet a smile on her lips. “My dearest son. I pray that it is you who are reading this. I pray that it finds you soon and it finds you well. No matter the circumstances, know that I await for you to come home. Your family, I most of all, love you and miss you and want you to return quickly, no matter the condition you find yourself in. 
I will cast out at dusk every night until a time comes when we can touch minds once more. Please, my son, please contact me at the first dusk after your father’s journal is returned to you. Know that your father and I have and always will love you dearly. Never believe otherwise.”


Wash kissed the coin, he wrapped the ribbon over his neck, and tucked it under his tunic with the coin next to his heart. He then went to place the book back into the pack. That is when Darcy said from behind him, “Don’t you normally carry that next to your heart, also?

Wash turned around. The young couple were behind him, each reaching for the reins of their horses. “I am not sure why I would want that man’s words that close to my heart. It is my mother who sends a message in the coin and that I will gladly wear near, thanks to what Lady Aliset has shared with me.”

“Don’t you remember what is written in the journal?” Darcy asked.

“No, not really,” was the knight’s quiet remark.

“Perhaps if you carry it with you,” Aliset ventured with encouragement, “then whenever there is time, you could read a passage or two and see if it sparks any memories.”

“I doubt any of those memories will be good ones, my lady.” Wash said, but her look was one of mixed sadness and encouragement. “For you, I will do as you ask. Though, I do not know if I will like it.”

“Give it a reading, I have faith it will help.”

Wash tucked the book between his shirt and his tunic held there by the tightness of his belt. Then he gathered Shadow’s reins in his hands. “We have horses and we have roads. Which way do we ride?”


“We ride south, to meet up with Father Colucmil,” Darcy answered. “He left our company yesterday to assist my cousin whose uncle was in dire straights from the actions of a rebellious son. The sooner we get there, the sooner we will know how the good father fares.”

“Then lead on and let us make a quick ride of it,” Wash said bounding up into the saddle with ease. Shadow tossed his head, happy to have his rider upon his back.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 02:13:57 am by Laurna »

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #633 on: April 10, 2019, 12:17:06 pm »
Lord Oswald, the self-styled Baron Mariot, watched from the ramparts of Ratharkin Castle as the scene in the market unfolded below.  The number of stalls and carts in the market square were fewer than one would expect.  The number of beggars, on the other hand, had increased.  They begged for whatever those more fortunate would give them.  That generosity was drying up as food became more scarce within the town, and the townspeople tightened their belts.

Technically, they were not under siege.  Prince Javan had moved his forces toward Laas to prevent or break the siege of Duke Brecon’s capital, depending on how quickly Grand Duke Valerian had moved north under the banner of Queen Sidana of Meara.  The problem was that Prince Javan had left just enough men behind to harass the farmsteads that attempted to supply Ratharkin with food.  Some got through, but Oswald did not have enough men to guarantee safe passage for all those that tried to make it to the gates. The garden plots within the walls were gradually becoming depleted. It didn’t help that Prince Javan’s men paid those outside the city wall well for food and other supplies; many turned their wares over to Prince Javan’s men in exchange for a guaranteed sale.  Easy money seemed to overcome loyalty to the queen far too readily.

As Oswald watched from the ramparts, a scuffle broke out at one of the stalls.  A beggar had attempted to steal a sack of food from a woman who was better able to defend herself than the beggar thought.  She kneed him in the groin, and the stall owner grabbed the beggar as he staggered back.  While the stall owner’s  attention was thus diverted, another beggar pilfered some of what was left in the stall and hurried away.  Oswald shook his head; if Valerian had provided the reinforcements he had promised….

***

Madon the Beggar watched the fray from the edge of the market square.  He had the good sense to beg as people entered the market, before they spent their coin on their purchases.  Before they realized how much prices were increasing as shortages continued, and they were left with little coin to spare. As he shuffled away, he felt a warmth beneath the rags he wore.  He furtively put the few coins he had collected into a pouch that he wore around his neck and made his way to an alley not too far away.  Halfway down the alley, he pushed aside a large, upright barrel and opened the wooden door hidden behind it.

The undercroft Madon entered was dim.  A ball of blue handfire quickly rose from his upturned palm, and he made his way in the dim light to a simple bed along the wall.  He sat there and pulled a medallion from under his rags.  He focused his mind and gazed at it intently.  Master?

After a brief moment, another mind touched his in rapport.  The mind was familiar; though his last contact with it had been at the beginning of summer. A word was sent across the link that confirmed the contact was a Master of the Order.

I have a contract for you, the Master sent.  You must eliminate Lord Oswald of Mariot.  I care not the method, so long as it is effective.  I will pay you the customary rate.  I will contact you again in three days to confirm your success and arrange the payment.  The contact was broken.

Madon was not surprised at the curt conversation.  Agents of the Order like himself were expected to obey the Masters.  While a Master might negotiate the payment for a contract, agents accepted what was offered.  The Order rewarded their own quite well, so there was no need to haggle.  Madon extinguished his handfire and sat quietly in the dim room.  This contract would take careful planning.

***
Master Feyd slipped the medallion back underneath his cassock, satisfied with his brief conversation with the Order’s agent in Ratharkin.  He had promised Sir Washburn that Oswald would never marry the Lady Aliset.  A contract was a contract, and Feyd always fulfilled his contracts. Besides, he had grown fond of Sir Washburn Morgan in their brief time together.

***
The following morning was a bright, sunny Sunday.  Madon the Beggar stood among others at the bottom of the steps that stretched down from the massive double doors of Ratharkin Castle.  His cup was in his left hand, ready to receive any coin Lord Oswald and his party might be willing to part with on their way to mass at the cathedral.  Oswald was not a generous man, but occasionally he would part with a penny or two for appearance’s sake on a Sunday.  Madon’s right hand was poised and ready; a flick of his wrist would release a fine, slender needle with its deadly poison. 

Madon’s skill with poisons was what had originally brought him to the attention of the Black Order of Death.  The poison in the bulb at the needle’s base was his masterpiece, and there was no antidote.  The needle itself was so finely crafted that the victim would never notice when it pierced the skin.  The poison did not act immediately,  but within a quarter of an hour the victim would notice a burning sensation as the poison began to destroy muscle tissue.  Loss of muscle control would come quickly after, getting steadily worse as the poison worked its way through the body.  Once the poison reached the heart, death quickly followed. 

The castle doors were flung wide open, and Lord Oswald, accompanied by two guards and a few nobles, began his descent down the stairs. Madon recognised Lord Giles as one of the noblemen at Oswald’s side.  Dismissed from Prince Rory’s court for cheating on his annual tithe, he had quickly insinuated himself into Oswald’s inner circle.  Madon edged his way closer to where they would reach the bottom.

((Will Madon successfully stab Oswald with his poison?
2:30 PM J<jerusha> Jerusha !roll 2d6
2:30 PM D<@•derynibot> I'm back! 2, 2 == 4
Not this time.))

Madon was just about where he wanted to be when Lord Giles shoved him roughly out of the way.  Mordan cursed inwardly and did his best to protect his right arm.  The needle did not move in its sheath, and Madon began to breathe again.

All was not lost.  Lord Oswald was very much a creature of habit.  Most men were, and it made it much easier to successfully plot their demise.  Oswald would leave the church after mass and pause at the top of the steps to survey the town before him.  Typically his retainers stayed back, allowing him to be the centre of attention.  Many beggars would arrange themselve on the steps, hoping to benefit from their overlord’s largesse.  Madon would be among them, ready to strike at the right moment.

((Will Madon stab Oswald on his second attempt?
2:31 PM J<jerusha> Jerusha !roll 2d6
2:31 PM D<@•derynibot> I'm back! 2, 6 == 8
Nice roll!))

Madon placed himself strategically among the other beggars, about halfway down the church steps.  As at the market, the number of beggars was growing, and Madon blended in among them.  He did not become impatient as the mass dragged on; he knew how to bide his time and wait until the right moment.  That moment was here at last.

Lord Oswald stopped at the top of the church stairs and surveyed those before him. Oswald reached into his belt pouch and drew forth a small handful of coins.  He tossed them in the direction of the beggars below him, and they immediately scrambled for the coins.  He did not notice the beggar who stooped and drew alongside him as he descended the stairs, his retainers now beginning to follow him.

Madon released the needle from its sheath and drove it into the back of Oswald’s knee, just above the top of his boot and through the finely made hose.  He squeezed the bulb and withdrew the needle in one swift motion.  Oswald continued down the steps, oblivious to what had happened.  Madon dropped the needle under the foot of the guard who followed Oswald, pretending to grope for a coin as the needle was crushed under the heavy boot. He moved farther back into the throng of beggars, his gaze following Lord Oswald and his retinue.

Oswald was well on his way back to the castle when he stumbled the first time.  Lord Giles gripped his arm, but Oswald shook it off as if nothing was wrong.  Two steps later, he stumbled again and almost went down.  Now the nobles and guards swarmed around him, concerned for his safety.  Lord Giles grasped Oswald to hold him up, and the guards drew their swords, shouting to the townspeople to stand back and give them room.  A second nobleman grasped Oswald’s other arm and they hastened him to the castle.

***

Lord Oswald lay on his bed, his legs trembling beyond his control. His legs felt like they were burning, and the burning sensation continued to creep upward, now as far as his groin. The physicians had found nothing, and now they stood conferring just beyond his hearing. They had poked and prodded, smelled his breath and checked the whites of his eyes.  They had stripped him and searched for any sign of injury.  Only a small swelling behind his left knee was found. 

“You!” Oswald called to one of the Deryni guards Valerian had included in Oswald’s contingent of men.  “Contact the Grand Duke and ask for a Healer be sent at once!”  The guard saluted and withdrew from the room. 

Oswald felt a wetness as the muscles that would have prevented him for soiling himself stopped functioning.  He cursed aloud, and one of the physicians sent for the items needed to bleed him.  What could have caused this?  No one had been near him, except for the filthy beggars.

The Deryni guard returned.  “My Lord,” he said.  “I could only reach Sir Georgios, who reported that Grand Duke Valerian is marching north and has no Healer he can send at this time.”

“Does he not understand I could be dying?” Oswald shouted.

“He is aware of the gravity of your situation, my Lord,” the guard responded calmly.

Oswald cursed again.  “Round up those filthy beggars.  One of them must have done this!  The beggar must be found and tell us what he has done!”

“Yes, my Lord.”  The guard looked to Lord Giles, who nodded, then saluted Oswald and withdrew.

***

Madon watched as guards swarmed out of the castle.  He drew back into the shadow of a doorway to remain unseen.  The guards grabbed the few beggars that had remained near the castle steps. The beggars were marched away, and the remaining guards continued on, searching for more unfortunates to haul away.  Madon had hoped to wait outside the castle until Oswald’s death was announced; now he retreated to the alley beside the nearest tavern. Beggars knew all of the alleys in Ratharkin; this one was little used.  He could bide here for now.  The guards’ activity was an unexpected complication, and Madon did not like complications. 

***

Lord Oswald said nothing as the physician passed the bowl of his blood to an assistant. Oswald struggled to draw breath.  The burning sensation had moved up to his ribs, and he could no longer move his body from the waist down. Lord Giles had sent for the Bishop of Meara to perform the last rites, doubting that the bleeding would provide any improvement to Oswald’s condition.

The Bishop of Meara entered Oswald’s chamber, followed by Lord Giles.  He set the required items on the small table beside Oswald’s bed, withdrew his stole from his sleeve, and with proper reverence, placed it around his neck.  He accepted the stool brought forward for his use and sat beside the bed.  The others withdrew to a respectful distance where Oswald’s confession could not be heard.  The bishop leaned closer to catch Oswald’s words.

((WIll Oswald survive Madon’s poison?  This is a Save or Die roll.
2:31 PM J<jerusha> Jerusha !roll 2d6
2:31 PM D<@•derynibot> I'm back! 3, 1 == 4
RIP Oswald))

The Bishop of Meara had only just completed the final anointing when Oswald gasped for breath and lay still.  The bishop motioned for the physician, who tried to find a pulse and found none.  The bishop studied the shell that had been Lord Oswald and sighed.  He had heard many distressing confessions in his time, but few had been as grim as this one.  He was glad to leave the man’s judgement to God; mercy might be beyond him in this case.  He pulled the sheet over Oswald’s face.

Lord Giles moved toward the bed, took a look at the still form and motioned for the Deryni guard to come forward.  “Inform the grand duke that Lord Oswald has died.  If it please him, I will assume command until other arrangements can be considered.”  The guard saluted and left.

He returned a few moments later.  “Sir Georgios relayed Grand Duke’s Valerian’s orders.  You are to handle the situation as you see fit.”

Lord Giles smiled and nodded. “We do not need to spend much effort on this; holding Ratharkin is our primary concern.  Pick one of the beggars and hang him for this offence.”

“How will we know we have the right one?” the guard asked.

Lord Giles looked once more at the body of Oswald and shrugged.  “It matters not,” he said.  “We just need to make an example of him.”

***

Madon heard hurried footsteps along the street in front of the tavern several times.  The local Watch had been recruited to help with the roundup of the beggars.  Madon could not afford to stay in this location much longer.

((Will Madon escape the guards and the Watch?
2:33 PM J<jerusha> Jerusha !roll 2d6
2:33 PM D<@•derynibot> I'm back! 2, 6 == 8
Lucky beggar!))

Madon saw a man leave the tavern, notice the increased activity of guards and the Watch in the street, and turn instead into the alley.  Madon waited in the shadows; the man’s eyesight would not have adjusted to the dimness of the alley yet. As the man moved past him, Madon reached out and locked the man’s neck in a choke hold, immediately extending his powers to establish control.  Madon pulled him back into the shadows.

Be still and don’t struggle.  Remove your tunic, hose and boots and give them to me. Quickly!  Madon released his grip on the man and swifty removed his own rags.  Put these on. He handed the rags to the man and quickly donned the man’s clothes.  They smelled a bit of ale, but Madon had no intention of keeping them for long.  The man, now clad in Madon’s rags, looked at him blankly.  Your name is Madon, the former beggar told him.  Now run as if you life depends on it!  Madon shoved the man toward the street.  The man shot out from the alley and was greeted by shouts from the Watch.

Madon made his way down several alleys until he reached the barrel hiding the door to his undercroft.  Once inside, he conjured handfire and retrieved a ladder that lay near the bed.  Carefully, he fitted it against a square in the ceiling and climbed upwards. Opening the trap door above his head, he climbed into the tailor’s shop above.

Madon the Beggar would now become Donald the Tailor.  He would open his shop and gossip with his customers; news of Oswald’s fate would soon reach him.  Here he could safely wait for the Master to contact him and receive the good news, for good news it surely would be.  His poison never failed.  He ran his hand over one of the bolts of cloth at the back of his shop near the trap door.  He was fond of cloth, as he was fond of the many sharp needles he used to sew the simple shirts for the townspeople of Ratharkin.

From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Bynw

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #634 on: April 11, 2019, 01:27:16 pm »
All totaled the guards and the Watch had rounded up over 30 beggars. If there were any others in the city, they could not be found and would not be seen for several more days afterwards.

It didn't take long for Lord Giles and his men to announce the passing of Lord Oswald and hold a quick trial for one of the unfortunate beggars of Ratharkin who was the scapegoat in this case.

The whole affair was over within a span of 48 hours. A confused and befuddled beggar named Madon, who the others pointed out, was charged with the crime and hanged for it.

He received no burial. His body was divided and placed on the appropriate city gates in all directions. His head was placed at the in the center of the market square as a reminder to any other beggars who might believe in doing anything more foolish.

And Lord Giles got to the business at hand of protecting his city.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2019, 02:24:41 pm by Bynw »

Offline DerynifanK

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #635 on: April 16, 2019, 01:13:19 pm »
After Columcil left the solar, promising to contact the Earl as soon as possible, Jaxom paced the room restlessly considering the several problems he needed to deal with while awaiting orders from the Earl.  The rebels had been secured, and he could release the servants to resume their duties.

He was certain that Earl Brendan would want to interrogate Drago and Maclin himself. Maclin had not responded to his questioning as well as Jaxom had hoped. He tried to maintain that he had not joined the rebels voluntarily but been forced to follow their orders. He kept insisting that he knew little of the rebels or their plans.  Jaxom did not find that believable. He thought that Maclin had been ordered to take the retiring steward’s place as part of the plan to infiltrate and seize the manor. He had not yet confronted Drago, but he did not expect to get much information from him.

The other three rebels who had been found among the servants were peasants, lured into the rebellion by the promise of rewards for signing on as soldiers in the Mearan queen’s cause. Maclin had acted as their superior and had given them their orders. They appeared to know little. They had provided the names of a few possible sympathizers among the  villagers but none who had actually joined the rebellion. News of Ratharkin’s fate and the treatment of its people had travelled fast here in the borders, and most people wanted only to avoid them.

Lord Michael, the baron’s son was another problem. Jaxom had questioned him at least twice. His answers were consistent. He gave every appearance of being sincere in his assertions that his decision to join the rebellion had been a big mistake, and that he was willing to do anything required of him to salvage his reputation, make peace with his father, and renew his fealty to the king. He had shared several names of young men he  knew who were considering becoming part of the rebellion. Jaxom considered asking Columcil to truth-read the young man to be sure that he was being honest about his intentions. If the priest was willing, that would be of great assistance to Jaxom in his planning.

A bigger problem was how he could ensure that the manor remained secure after he and his men left. He did not have enough soldiers to be able to convey the prisoners to whatever location Earl Brendan ordered as well as allow any to remain for the security of the manor. He needed to speak with the Baron if he was now sufficiently recovered to reassume control of his lands. Jaxom sent Gavin to the Baron’s quarters to inquire of Columcil or Lady Fiona whether Lord Stuart was able to take part in discussing how they could protect the manor from future attacks by the rebels.

Gavin returned to the solar and bowed to Lord Jaxom. “Baron Stuart is much recovered and is anxious to talk with you, my lord. As he is still a little weak from his ordeal, the priest asks that you attend him in his room.”  Jaxom responded, “Tell the baron and Father Columcil that I will join them as soon as I have checked on the prisoners and seen that the servants have returned to their duties and that things are running smoothly.” Gavin bowed and left the room.

When Jaxom arrived in the baron’s quarters, he found him sitting up, looking much restored and anxious to resume control of his demesne. Fiona was sitting on a bench along the wall and Father Columcil was standing behind the baron’s chair. Jaxom bowed and addressed the baron. “My lord, after learning of the situation here from Lady Fiona, who had left to try to secure help for you, the king’s representative, Earl Brendan Coris, sent us to relieve you, prevent the seizure of the manor by the rebels, and to secure it. On our arrival here, we found you confined, lying injured and with a head wound that caused loss of consciousness. We also found several rebels here, including your steward and three of your retainers. All of these the lady Fiona was able to identify as new or unknown to her and probably rebels. They were quickly rounded up and confined. Your young page alerted us to the presence of another rebel, apparently a person of some influence in the insurrection. He is a violent and dangerous man. We were eventually able to also catch him, and he is currently confined here. I am awaiting orders from the Earl as to the disposition of the prisoners. I believe the Earl will want to interrogate them himself and will direct us to deliver them to him. Unfortunately, I do not have enough men to be able to leave any here for your protection. We will need to devise a strategy to keep the manor safe.”

The baron considered Jaxom’s words, then responded. “I wish to thank you for coming to our aid. I, too, am concerned with preserving my lands from the rebels. I realize that you have a limited number of men, and I have not previously employed men-at-arms. Until this rebellion arose, we did not feel threatened here, and I did not feel the need. However, things have changed, and I will need to reconsider that decision. I have given some thought to our present needs, and I plan to reach out to several of the holders of neighboring estates that I know to be loyal to the king to determine whether we could devise a mutual defense plan for the benefit of all.” 

The baron continued. “I am concerned about my son. I know that his actions have made him at risk for a charge of treason as he was supporting the rebellion. He has been impatient to have more responsibility here, and he felt I was holding him back unfairly. He is just turned eighteen and thinks he is more mature than he is. I am afraid he was easy prey for a rebel recruiter promising him land and position. He is impulsive and did not give sufficient thought to the consequences of what he was doing. I also do not believe that he was really aware of the kind of people he was dealing with. He was appalled at the actions of the rebel, Drago, as well as at what happened in Ratharkin, and I believe he bitterly regrets his actions on their behalf.”

Jaxom replied, “I understand your concern but he has committed a grave offense, and it will be the decision of Earl Brendan as to what will become of him now. I am sure that the Earl will wish to speak with Lord Michael himself before he makes any decision about his future.  As you know, I am awaiting orders from him as to our next movements.”

He turned to Columcil, “Father, I need you to try to contact the Earl as soon as possible. Tell him I have completed my mission here, and I need his directions as to what he wishes me to do now.”

Columcil studied the young lord sternly. “I hae agreed to try tae reach the earl as soon as I judged ta time was right. As soon as I hae further orders for ye, I’ll let ye know. As ta baron is much improved, I’ll gae ta my quarters tae see if I can reach him.” Columcil turned on his heel and marched stiffly from the room.

Fiona spoke to her uncle and Lord Jaxom. “I think perhaps some dinner would help all of our nerves. Hungry men tend to be irritable. Shall I go and speak to cook about preparing suitable refreshments? Afterward, I would like to talk with Michael about what has happened and ask if he truly regrets what he has done and what he would be willing to do to redeem himself, if that is truly his goal.”

Both men indicated that dinner would be welcome. Jaxom’s reply to Fiona’s proposed visit to Michael was less agreeable. “I have already questioned him twice and he insists that he wishes to redeem himself and renew his fealty to the king. What do you expect to find out that I do not already know?” he said haughtily.

Fiona stood erect and looked him in the eye. “You had mentioned asking Father Columcil to truth-read Michael as he is questioned again to be sure that he is sincere. The good father is already much occupied in trying to reach Earl Brendan, as well as caring for my uncle. I suggest that I can talk to him and obtain the same knowledge. I can always tell if he or anyone else is lying to me.”  The baron was nodding his agreement. Jaxom shrugged his shoulders, “Very well.’ he said. Fiona turned and left the room.

Jaxom addressed the baron, “I suggest you rest now while dinner is prepared. You are still recovering from your ordeal, and I’m sure the good father would concur in recommending rest. I will return to the solar to await additional developments I will call your page to assist you back to bed.”  With that he also left the room.

After talking with the cook and giving orders for dinner to be prepared for the baron and his family and guests as well as food for Jaxom’s men and for the prisoners, Fiona went up to Michael’s room. She knocked quietly on the door. “Enter.” she heard him moving toward the door. Quickly, she opened the door and slipped in. Michael gave her a slightly hostile look. “What is it now? What does Lord Jaxom want of me now? I have answered all of his questions. What else can I do to convince him of my honest intentions?”

Fiona smiled at him. “Would you be willing to repeat your story to me and allow me to read the truth of what you say? You know that I am Deryni and I can do that. Your willingness to submit to the truth-reading and my assurance of your sincerity would, I believe, go far to support your cause in the eyes of the Earl. Are you willing?”

Michael studied her for a few moments, then seemed to relax and asked her to be seated, indicating a chair by a nearby table. After she took her seat, he seated himself beside her and began his recital of all that had happened. Turning on her truth-reading ability, Fiona listened attentively. She could hear the genuineness in his voice, and her senses told her that he was being truthful. When he was finished, she reassured him. “You know that by your actions you have left yourself open to a charge of treason for helping enemies of the king. However, I am able to assure the Earl that your repentance is sincere, and you are willing to do anything asked of you to restore your reputation. Also, I can support you in your quest to renew your loyalty to the king. I will certainly tell Lord Jaxom that your word can be relied on.” With that, she rose and left the room.

Jaxom had returned to the solar where he seated himself in a comfortable chair and considered all that had happened and possible future courses of action. He needed further orders from Earl Brendan. He felt pleased with himself. He had completed his assigned mission successfully and captured several prisoners including at least one high ranking rebel. He was sure that both the Earl and the king would be pleased with him. He was looking forward to praise and advancement.

Afternoon sun was slanting through the tall solar windows when Father Columcil again entered the room, Fiona following him. Jaxom looked up, “Have you news for me.?”

“Aye,” Columcil replied. “I hae reached the Earl and reported yer mission outcome. Ta Earl hae gi’en  these orders. Ye are tae convey the prisoners tae Droghera where ta Earl will assume responsibility for them. He says ye should leave early in the morning so ye can reach Droghera afore dark tomorrow. He also asks that ye bring Lord Michael Stuart along wi ye. Ta Earl will decide wha’s tae be done wi him. He is pleased wi yer results”

Jaxom preened as he turned to Fiona. She addressed him. “I have spoken with Michael and I can assure you and Earl Brendan that he is sincere in his assertions that he no longer supports the rebels, that he regrets his actions in their support, and that he will do anything asked of him to redeem his reputation. His father has spoken with him and also believes that he wants to restore his place in his father’s affection. I need you to convey my findings to the Earl.” Jaxom inclined his head to indicate that he would deliver her findings to Brendan.

Fiona addressed both men, “The cook indicates that dinner is ready. If you will join me in the dining hall, we will eat. I will send Gavin to assist my uncle to table and Aunt Olivia will also join us.. If you agree, my Lord, I will also have Michael join us at table. Food has been taken to the prisoners and their guards.” Jaxom agreed and the party followed her in to dinner.

"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

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #636 on: April 18, 2019, 02:43:13 pm »
The ride to the estate of Baron Stuart would have been much quicker if the three riders had navigated the forest trails and stayed off the main road. But these lands were not familiar to Darcy, to Aliset, nor to Washburn. The directions they had been given were to travel the Cuilteine Road south until they came upon a west road a mile north of the Cuilteine city gates. Darcy had the image from his cousin of the landscape, so he knew what to look for. As luck would have it, they found the intersecting road easily enough, as too did a patrol of armed men easily find them. The men were a group of locals, lead by a sergeant out of Prince Javan’s forces. One who had been enjoined to stay in Cuilteine with responsibilities for holding the roads open against rebels. A task he seemed to attend to with excessive zeal. A lord, a lady, and a knight looked nothing like local farmers. Many questions were asked about where they were going and what they were doing.  If they were loyal to the king, than why was a lord and his knight not in the royal army? To Arms had been called days prior. Immediately suspicious, the sergeant demanded the three dismount and walk into Cuilteine where the lieutenant could question them.

“I am Lord Darcy Cameron, on the king’s business. You will let us pass.” Darcy produced a letter from inside his tunic with an unmistakable royal seal upon it. The sergeant grilled Darcy as to how he came upon such a letter. He believed not a word that these three people could have gotten such a letter from the king. When the sergeant would take the letter, Darcy was quick to retain it, reading aloud the contents that allowed the one named Lord Darcy Cameron, Heir of Isles, and his company to be free to conduct his business in the king's name.

In all this, Sir Washburn sat very sedate in the saddle. He said not a word, relying on Darcy to handle the situation, yet his eyes fully surveyed and assessed every man that surrounded them. Lady Aliset was silent too. Wash could see that she was considering a little mind bending on the sergeant to get him to accept the letter for what it was.  Darcy had other ideas, and in no way would he let his wife get that close to the man. No, both Darcy and Washburn were diligent in keeping the lady safely between them. Finally, unless they chose a three to ten fight, which they did not, they agreed to ride into the city of Cuilteine to clear up the matter. They were not about to dismount and walk as the sergeant first demanded, so they rode south to the city surrounded by armed men.

Once in the city walls, they was no choice but to dismount; their horses left tied to a rail near the barracks. They were escorted into a cordoned off square where near on fifty farmers and citizens huddled waiting to be questioned and then allowed into the city. It was market day and with eminent war, everyone was securing their provisions.

“We will roast in this damnable sunlight, if we have to wait in this queue,” Darcy mumbled under his breath. Irritably, Darcy pushed back a strand of hair and stuffed it under his cap. A drip of sweat was noticeable on his forehead. This stagnate heat inside the city walls was doing Sir Washburn’s mode no good, either. His hands never strayed far from the hilt of his sword, yet he did not touch it. Patiently, like a bird of prey, he  bid his time and watched everyone around him, poised for action to any sign of trouble.

“Your name and your business,” the officer at the head of the line growled to each person as they came forward.  He looked over each man. Sized them up. The women, the men old and frail, he let pass. Of any young men, he demanded that they state their allegiance. A pair of young men he decided would be better in the army than in the fields and conscripted them, then and there. Another unfortunate fellow got dragged away to the stocks, his offense to the officer could not be discerned.

That stirred Sir Washburn's ire. If that happened again, Washburn was very near to jumping forward and defending any man from such captivity. The tension of the tall black knight was palpable. Those who had been huddled near shrunk away, leaving a full arm and sword distance of clear space around the three. That in itself was inviting trouble. Washburn could draw his sword very easily, without endangering the innocent. And that would not be well for Darcy nor Aliset if they got involved in an ensuing confrontation.

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #637 on: April 23, 2019, 02:44:57 pm »
Darcy Cameron sensed the sudden tension in Sir Washburn as one of the locals was led off to the stocks.  He saw that the lieutenant in charge of the questioning noticed it too. This would not do; they did not need a confrontation here that, despite his letter of safe conduct from the king, could hold them up indefinitely.  The lieutenant turned toward them and studied them carefully.  Darcy thought for a moment, stepped forward and nodded in deference to the officer’s authority.

“Lord Darcy Cameron,” Darcy said in introduction.  “Might I have a word with you in private?”  The lieutenant gave him a stern look,  and Darcy cleared his throat.  “It’s a somewhat delicate matter,” he added and cast a look behind him at Aliset.

“Is that so?”  the lieutenant asked.  He looked back toward Aliset, who looked genuinely confused, and motioned Darcy to one side.

What in the world is he up to now? Aliset sent to Washburn.

I have no idea, Washburn sent back.  But I hope he has a plan.

Darcy turned his back to the others and addressed the lieutenant as if he shared information of a most confidential nature.  “The knight and I are tasked by the king to be his eyes and ears behind the lines.”  He reached inside his tunic and pulled out the letter from King Kelson.  He did not open it, but he made sure the royal seals were clearly displayed.  “We were proceeding north and stopped for the night in Droghera at the inn. The food was most satisfying, and the ale was excellent.  We were just finishing up when another knight wearing the colours of a border lord entered escorting a young woman. The same woman that stands behind us now.”  Darcy did not turn around, but he noted the lieutenant took a long look over his head at Aliset.  Darcy continued on.

“It turned out that our knight was acquainted with the border knight; they had fought in the tournaments together.  The woman turned out to be his sister.  He was escorting her to Saint Brigid’s in the hope she would find her vocation there.  The hour was late, and the gates to the nunnery were closed for the night.  They also decided to spend the night at the inn.”

“Our two knights spent an hour or two sharing good ale and stories of the tournaments.  The lady soon grew bored, and I escorted her outside to sample the night air. She was much distressed, and I was only too willing to listen to such a lovely young lady.  She explained that she had no desire to take the veil, but if she did, it would save her father pledging a substantial dowry for her.  She had a younger brother who still needed to be financed through his quest for knighthood, and her father cared little for her personal feelings. I sympathized as best I could, but what started as simple comfort progressed father than it should have. She was more than encouraging, and on my honour, I never forced her!”

“How convenient for you,” the lieutenant said dryly.  “‘And her brother extended his congratulations to you both?”

“I would not put it quite that way,” Darcy responded and winced.  “But his sister dissuaded him from attempting to kill me on the spot.   I pledged to marry her, and her reputation and the family finances were saved.”

The lieutenant shook his head, and Darcy shrugged his shoulders.  “I am the second son,” Darcy said.  “I have no lands of my own and until now, few prospects for a wife. The arrangement suits us both.  She promises to be a good and loyal wife, and I will do my best by her.”

The lieutenant snorted.  “A tidy little solution for both of you.”

“Aye,” Darcy said.  “But she does seem to fancy me.”  He made a depreciating gesture.  “Nevertheless, I have my mission for the king to fulfill.  I am therefore taking her to my cousin’s household west of Cuilteine.  There she can remain safe until these troubles are over.  They will make her welcome.”

“You do not take her to your own household? And she wears the clothes of a lad?” the officer questioned.

“As I said, I am the second son; all the lands belong to my brother.”  Darcy gave the officer a rueful look.  “I need to consider the best way to introduce my new wife to him.  I have given him enough surprises lately,” he added dryly. “ As for her clothes, I am embarrassed to say her gown was not in wearable condition by the end of the night.  Since she did not pack additional gowns to take to the nunnery, between her brother and I, we managed to clothe her discreetly. My cousin will be able to find her more appropriate attire.”  Darcy gave the lieutenant a more direct look.  “I ask your permission to be on our way.  I would like to reach my cousin’s before nightfall.”

“I will consider it,” the lieutenant said.  “Step back into line now.”

Darcy nodded and turned to return to Aliset and Washburn.  As he approached, he established rapport with Aliset and relayed what had transpired.

You said WHAT? Aliset sent back to him.

It’s what came to mind at the time.  It’s actually not that far from what could have been the truth.  Darcy’s expression gave no clue as to what he meant, and Aliset, realising she had a part to play, entwined her arm around his, gripping him tightly and looking at him dreamily.  Darcy blushed a bright shade of crimson and knew he could not evade her questions for long.  Washburn looked at them both and wondered if the heat had gotten to them.

((Will the lieutenant believe Darcy’s story enough to allow them to travel on?
12:22 PM <jerusha> !roll 2d6
12:22 PM <@derynibot> 6, 4 == 10
Thank you, dice!))

The lieutenant shook his head and waived them on.  “Get on with you and try to stay out of further trouble.”  At least they would be someone else’s trouble and not his.

Darcy, with a nod to Washburn and still gripped by Aliset with enough force to make his fingers  feel numb, moved toward their horses.  He made a bit of a show of helping Aliset to mount and then, as feeling returned to his fingers, quickly mounted Sigrun.  Washburn already had Shadow moving forward.  Without looking back, all three headed back north on the Cuilteine road toward the turnoff to the west.

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

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #638 on: April 29, 2019, 11:40:37 pm »
 
Lord Darcy, secure in his saddle, led his wife and the knight in single file out of the city at an easy pace. Washburn on his tall warhorse followed at the rear, looking at every face that turned to look at him as he passed them by. A quick glance up at the towers guarding the portico showed the faces of the watchmen, archers to be sure, studying the people who came and went through the open gates. At this slow walk, the black stallion gave a prancing step echoing his rider’s need to move out and be gone from this place. “Hold tight,” Darcy said over his shoulder, making it an order. So chided, Sir Washburn relaxed his legs at his stallion’s flanks, and Shadow Dancer subsided back to a following walk. They reached the apple orchards to either side of the road, and Darcy allowed his group to move out at a slow trot. The number of wagons on the road thinned, allowing his wife to move up beside him. Her back was stiff and her eyes would not meet his. She was angry, to be sure. Washburn made note of it, but did not know why. All he wanted in that moment was to be free of the watchful eyes from the towers behind him.

They passed a cart path to the east that headed to the local farms down the valley. Here was where most of the commoners on the road came and went from. The main Cuilteine road north was clear, only the rise of hills and dense forests to either side gave it a congested feel. It would be miles before the next valley and farmland. Those farms would look to the town of Droghera instead of Cuilteine. Darcy kicked Sigrun to a canter, and Wash came abreast with the other two now that they had the road to themselves. It wasn’t a conscious effort, but slowly and gradually Wash let Shadow have his head. The speed of their passing increased until the three abreast were in full gallop towards freedom.

The lady with them had no trouble keeping up with the racing knight. Her thoughts were not on the landscape streaming by them.  Aliset put heels to her horse’s sides and gripped her reins tightly. Though the two men would not know of it, she used their flight through this borderland wilderness with a sense of grim pleasure, imagining her fingers twined around her husband’s neck and her heels digging into the tenderness of his sides.  What, by all the imps of Hell, had he been thinking, casually sullying her reputation so, even if simply before some unknown guard she would likely never see again?!  At least she certainly hoped not! 

How mortifying would that be?

She took a deep breath and then another, willing herself to calm down if for no reason than for her mount’s sake, as her agitation was beginning to communicate itself to the poor beast who was doing his best to keep the pace, even without her desire to kick at his sides. It was, Aliset decided, merely a spontaneous jest on Darcy’s part, meant to extricate them from a sticky situation and not meant in any way to hurt her. Part of her knew that. But what idiots men could be sometimes, to not stop and think of how their words and actions might affect a woman living in a world where ladies were all too readily catalogued, contained and dismissed into neat little categories of “doxies” and “saints” rather than seen as men were, as people who might make good decisions or poor ones in the course of their day to day lives, but needn’t fear being considered disreputable forever in the eyes of society on the basis of one single tall tale!

She wouldn’t kill him, of course. But just now, she needn’t speak to him either. An easy enough vow to keep as they bolted up the road at this breakneck gallop that the knight at her side seemed to push, to gain a freedom he already had. Or did he?  Bloody idiots, men are! she inwardly hollered to the heavens, giving way to the satisfaction that at least God had heard her.

 “Can we bloody well slow down already?” she yelled, proving her ire was now aimed at both men in her company. Purposely she slowed her poor horse down to a more manageable canter, letting the dark-clad knight race on ahead of her. Despite her anger with Darcy, she found some satisfaction in her husband’s need to be at the side of both the knight and her, and finally choosing his wife. Together, they let the distance lengthen between them and the galloping knight.

((Thank you to Evie for her most enjoyable contributions to co-writing Aliset’s reaction above. ))

 It was only when the stallion reached the intersecting road that led off to the west that the great war horse slowed to a canter. The rider looked back over his shoulder, suddenly concerned that he had far outpaced his companions.  The destrier shared that concern with an arched neck and a deep throated nicker at his slower friends. Why had they not kept up with him? Shadow Dancer cantered a full circle around the road crossing.  His rider held a firm grip on the reins to hold the warhorse to this agitated pace. A second time they circled the cross road, giving the lord and lady a chance to come abreast.

“Is this the road?” Wash yelled out to Lord Darcy. Shadow finally slowed to a trot as the other two came to a full stop at the crossroads’ center. Whether it was warhorse or knight, or both, who chose not to stop as the others had, was hard to tell.  Wash looked over his shoulder to see Darcy’s response. Instead of a confirmation, Darcy raised his hand to hold up.

“Sir Washburn, please, have a care for my lady. We need to ease up on the pace,” Darcy called out. Lady Aliset sat beside her husband, patting the neck of her winded horse, but said not a word. Darcy felt her cold eyes, but had no time for that just now. “We are not outlaws,” he exclaimed to the knight, “nor are we being chased by such men. My lady is on a courser of older stock, one not accustomed to such a pace, and my Sigrun is loath to leave the gelding behind.” Darcy did not see, although Washburn did, the hard glare from the lady toward her husband as he talked on. “We have our freedom, without threat of capture.  I beg a reprieve from such unnecessary exertion.”

So chided, Wash slowed the war stallion to a walk and then with ease came to a full halt before the other two, proving it was not the horse but rather the rider who was agitated by the events in the city they left behind. Abashed, Sir Washburn took up a great breath and then let it out slowly, calming his tension. A long look back at the road proved they were not being followed. “I won’t be held captive again, and I won’t easily tolerate others being held for no apparent cause. I know not exactly what was said to get us out of there, but I thank you for whatever truth or untruth that you managed to contrive. I realize now how close I was to losing my temper. I was counting the guards and had them all numbered as to whom to take down first. I am not fit for civilization, that much I can feel. Never before have I become so angry, nor so quickly, as I did back there. I would have gotten us all killed if not for your quick wits.”

“Aye, I sensed it coming on. You are not subtle in your temper. In this, you have changed. It is understandable,” Darcy placated with an upheld hand. “Just hold tight as best you can, and trust that Aliset and I will always see you to the right of it. Sword play is not always the answer. Nor is running like the wind. Trust me, I can bring my crew though any storm.”

“About that, we shall see. Later, when it is just you and me,” the lady said as an aside to her husband. She ignored the wince from Darcy’s features and the bit of his lip. She walked her horse closer to the knight, straightening her back as she did. Both men seemed to notice that she had just taken charge of the situation. “Lord Darcy was right to get us out of there quickly. Let us not jeopardize our health, now that we are free. I shall set the pace, if you don’t mind.” So saying, she set her gelding down the west road at a good walk. The two men watched her go, noting the swaying of her braid of long hair down her delicate but determined back.

“Why is she mad at you?” Wash commented when he and the seaman shared a glance.

“You finally noticed that, did you?” With a little irritation, Darcy flipped his cap up and wiped his forehead with the back of his hand before resettling the cap over his hair. “Hopefully, tis nothing that an explanation can’t cure.” The two men kicked their horses to a trot to catch up with the lady and then slowed to a walk on either side of her. 

“I thank you again for getting us gone from both the ruins this morning and from that city just now.” Wash could think of no other way to smooth the lady’s ire.  “I am in both of your debts, and it has only been a few hours since we have come together again. I know I am changed in ways I have yet to even fathom. For this, I am very sorry. Yet I am still me, and I will do my very best to be the friend you once trusted.”

The two both looked at him with accepting eyes. “Yes, you are still you,” Aliset tried to say in reassurance.

“Within reason, we do trust you,” Darcy said, his eyes looking ahead for a moment before he turned full face back to his companion. “I count on your loyalty and that light-hearted attitude that I still see. These traits are a part of you that remain even after the difficulties that we have endured.  That is what made us friends. All the rest of it can settle to the bottom as this storm starts to pass and these turbulent seas start to calm. When we rejoin with Father Columcil, I am certain he can help you sift through it all.” Darcy looked at his wife and her determination to not move faster than this fast walk. He realized they would not be at the Baron’s manor until long after the sun set. Washburn had told him of his mother’s contact, and Darcy would not be the one to cause Washburn to miss that. “We will rest up at dusk. Have you thought what you will tell your mother when you contact her?”

“Khadasa!” Washburn exclaimed and then let out a great sigh. “No storm will ever be as turbulent as the one where I face my mother.”

“Wash, your mother will be desperate just to touch your mind and hear your voice,” Lady Aliset said to him with all tenderness. “You can tell her as much or as little as you like. It will not matter. She is desperate just to know you are alive and free.”

“I hope you are right,” Wash said very quietly.

They rode on through the afternoon and even a little longer until the sun was setting behind the hills before them. The long summer dusk gave enough light to see by, allowing Darcy and Aliset to find a clear spot by the river to water their horses and to rest for a meal. Washburn fingered the Lendour coin on the chain he had around his neck, growing anxious over the promised contact with his mother.  He refused the proffered ale skin, saying only the words, “Later, if I survive this.” Then he walked away from his companions and the horses to settle on the river’s edge with his back against a tree. He looked out over the rippling water and took in the stillness of this place. There was little light left to play upon the water, yet once, then twice, there was a splash in the river’s center as a fish would jump to catch at a bug on the surface.

Everything had to eat. It was always the way that the stronger ate the lesser, and then something even bigger and stronger came along and ate that which thought itself to be strong enough to survive. Washburn had always thought himself strong enough. A man born of a noble family, a man capable of beating his foes in tournament. Yet that was all just show. The real Washburn had become complacent. Complacent! What a word. It stung at his heart and he did not know why. Complacent, Never be complacent! Someone had once said this to him. Who had that been? He knew he should have known, but it would not come to him. Biting his lip, he let that lapse, and looked down at the Lendour coin. What could he possibly say to his mother to make all this right? He could think of nothing. Perhaps just a...Hello, I am here... would suffice.

He cleared his mind and tried to think only of his mother. She was an amazing lady. One he greatly admired and sometimes he remembered even being loved by her, when his father or his brother’s were not around, that is.

((12:42 <Laurna> rolling. Does Wash contact his mother?
12:42 <Laurna> !roll 2d6
12:42 <•derynibot> 2, 2 == 4
12:42 <Laurna> thought that would happen))

Was his failure to make contact with his mother, because his thoughts turned to his brothers who often ordered him about in servitude? How could he think of her without thinking of them? Where were his brothers now? He had not wanted to ask, and his companions had not been forthcoming on telling him. Agitated he leaned his head against the tree, he watched the birds, or were those bats, flying over the tops of the trees? The coin still cupped in his palm, he took several deep breaths attempting to reach out with his mind. Finding no contact after a passage of time the son of the great lady gave up the search and instead fell into an exhausted sleep.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2019, 12:02:05 am by Laurna »

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #639 on: May 03, 2019, 03:08:03 pm »
Darcy Cameron looked at the stars overhead as they gradually came into view in the deepening summer dusk.  They had always been a comfort to him, constant in their presence and cheerfully twinkling.  They, at least, never snapped at him.

In truth, Aliset had not snapped at him.  Instead, she maintained the cold silence of a Northern Sea iceberg;  dangerous to approach and with no welcoming harbour.  Darcy sighed and turned back toward where she sat unpacking their provisions.  The ale skin remained available for Washburn, once he returned from trying to make contact with Dowager Duchess Richenda.  Though at the moment, he looked to be asleep, leaning against a tree near the riverbank.

Aliset did not look up at his approach.  So be it.  Darcy sat down just near enough to be beyond her reach, one leg crossed in front of him as he rested his arm against the upraised knee of his other leg  with its foot planted on the ground.  It was an old habit; he had found it easier to be up and quickly away if one foot remained firmly planted on the ground. 

“Will you at least hear what I have to say?” Darcy asked her, keeping his voice as calm as he could.

Aliset gave him a withering look.  “Do you have another tall tale to tell at the expense of my reputation?” she asked coldly.

“We needed to be away before Washburn took matters into his own hands.  There was some truth in it; I just spun it to our advantage.”

“OUR advantage?”  Aliset said hotly.  “I hardly call sullying my reputation advantageous to me!”  She glared at him, her lips pursed in a tight line.

“You are my wife, and no one will sully your reputation on my watch.” Darcy said firmly.  He held her gaze and did not look away.  “There was truth in the story I told; it just wasn’t your story.

‘Then whose was it?”  Aliset asked, looking skeptical.

“A novice from a convent in the Kheldish Riding.”

“Pray continue, if you must.”

“I must,” Darcy said simply. “And you can read the truth of it.”  He cleared his throat and plunged ahead. “ We had laid up in port on the eastern shore of the Kheldish Riding  for some minor repairs and to negotiate our next cargo.  I was fifteen and quite full of myself; a full year into my majority and rising up the ranks faster than most.  Oh yes, I was a bit on the cocky side.” 

“Shocking,” Aliset said dryly.

Darcy chose not to comment on that.  “There was a convent near the port that included a hospice for injured or ailing seamen.  The Quartermaster tasked me with going there and purchasing the herbs and medicines we normally stocked for a voyage from the sisters.  Not only did he trust me with the coin for the purchase, he included a bit extra for a nice meat pie for my trouble.  In truth, I think he wanted me out of his hair for awhile.”

“Imagine that,” Aliset said, but Darcy thought he detected the slightest of smiles.  Or was it a smirk?

“By the time I found a suitable meat pie and ate it down to the last crumb, I was running a bit later than I intended.  I was at the rear of the convent, so I cut across the grounds to reach the front gate where I would be granted admittance.  As I hurried along, I ran into a novice running away from a side gate, literally!  I knocked her flat to the ground.  I helped her up and steadied her until she regained her breath.  She asked me to let go of her so she could continue down to the docks.”

“Why did she want to go there?” Aliset asked.

“I had no clue, but I knew it was NOT a place she should be.  She seemed to be a year or so older than me, pretty enough from what I could see of her face that was not hidden by her white wimple and veil.  She would not have lasted five minutes on the docks before the dock hands would be all over her.  Then they would have hauled her off to the local brothel to be shared with others.”

“Darcy!”  Aliset exclaimed.  “You exaggerate!”

“I do not,” Darcy replied firmly.  “I didn’t let go of her arm, and I asked her why she wanted to go there.  She replied that she was running away, and I needed to step aside before she was found.  But I had already delayed her too long, and sisters were running toward us to reclaim her.  She was led back to the side door in tears, and I was hustled away to the main gate.  Trust that I was thoroughly questioned by the abbess, a right formidable woman. Fortunately, she was acquainted with the Quartermaster from when he had brought one of our injured crew to the hospice, and I was allowed to purchase what we needed.”

Darcy looked thoughtful, as his mind played back what had happened.  “The sister in charge of the hospice was friendlier than most, probably because she was used to dealing with men of the sea.  I asked her about the novice and was told that she had been given to the convent as an oblate at the age of three.  She was to take her final vows in the fall and had been helping with the patients in the hospice.  The stories they told as she saw to their care had opened her eyes to a wider world, and she had begun to question taking final vows.  The sister assured me that this sometimes happened, and all would be well.”

Darcy  looked away, thinking of the headstrong novice looking for a way to freedom.  “I wondered afterwards how she fared, wondered if there could have been some other way out for her, or if there was something I could have done.  I had the world opening up before me; her life would be lived forever within the confines of the convent.  I wondered if she ever found peace.”

“And so her story became my story,” Aliset said.  “But with a different ending.”

“Aye, a happier one, I hope,” Darcy said.

Aliset refused to take the bait.  “Did you tell the Quartermaster what happened?”

‘Oh, aye; there was no reason not to.  He lamented that only I could visit a convent and land in the middle of such a disturbance.” 

A smile twitched at the corners of Aliset’s lips. “Did you ever find out how the novice fared?” she  asked him.

“Nay, I did not.  It was well over a year before we docked in that port again, and nothing would change from what was, so I let it go.”

“You never really let anything go, do you?”

“I expect not.”  Darcy took a chance and reached across to grasp her hand.  ‘Especially you;  I will never let go of you.”

Aliset shook her head, but did not withdraw her hand.  “You are so exasperating.  What am I do with you?”

Darcy chanced a smile.  “Whatever you decide will suit me, love, so long as you are by my side.”

“My decision is to start our dinner,” Aliset announced.  “But you can help me.”

Darcy was happy to comply.

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

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #640 on: May 04, 2019, 10:19:44 am »
Braced against supporting pillows, the Lady Richenda sat upon her bed; a soft glow of luminescent green curtained her off from the room around her. For this connection, considering the distance and their enemy’s resourcefulness, she thought it wise to use the protection of a ward while she cast outward to find her missing son. The appointed time was dusk. Due to the long summer days, dusk was not a precise moment in time. She did not know exactly when or even if her son would make contact with her this night.

Lord Iain had arrived during the morning hours with his surprising guest. The lady hostage had been given into the queen’s care and installed in a secure warded room in the queen’s tower with all the amenities a noble lady should desire. The girl’s harsh words and curses toward her confinement could be heard for some hours down the hall, until she had subsided into a torrent of tears. Richenda’s daughter, Grania had gone to her then and listened to her complaints of abduction and ill treatment, to which Grania reflected back to her that Lord Iain, under the circumstances, had treated her well enough. If her temperament improved, Grania assured her she would be treated with even greater care. Richenda gauged that with time, without the rebel men guiding the young Mearan lady, she would come to understand that her pretensions were not legitimate. She was of noble birth, yet no higher than others in the eyes of those in Rhemuth.

Richenda pushed those considerations aside, this was not her concern just now. What she was anxious over was whether her son had found the book she had placed in his saddlebags. She hoped her son’s companions had taken him into their protection and had given him back his horse. Had he yet had time to go through those bags? Perhaps he would not find the book until the following morning, and then it would not be until tomorrow evening that he would try to contact her. She didn’t think she could wait that long. If her son Washburn was free as Iain had assured her, then she had to find him tonight. She had to know.

She had bound two matching coins of Lendour placing one on her husband’s journal which had gone into her son’s bags in hopes he would find it. The other she had kept close to her heart. She had chosen these coins because they matched a series of coins that years ago had told her the story of another Washburn from a far distant past. The man she had named her youngest son after. The man who had been steward of the Earldom of Lendour even as her son is the current steward of Lendour. 

Seeking with mind and soul out through the ward which protected her from any enemies interference, Richenda reached out for her son. Just there, she could sense him; his agitation was great. In her scrying, she saw him seated on a river bank, he looked well, unharmed, though she knew that was deceptive. Try as she might, she could not make contact; his heartbeat was too rapid, his mind too occupied. 

“Mother,” came the soft feminine sound from the real world. Richenda opened her eyes to see her daughter standing beside her bed on the outside of the ward. “Let me help you, the energy drain is too much for just one,” Lady Grania added.

Richenda nodded knowing it to be true.  She arched her hand across the ward leaving an opening for Grania to climb onto the mattress beside her and then settle on the pillows, her head against her mother’s shoulder. The ward closed again and the two Morgan woman put both their energies to the task of contacting Washburn.

((12:44 <Laurna> Using her matching Lendour coin Richenda reach out and feel Washburn's presences?
12:44 <Laurna> !roll 3d6
12:44 <•derynibot> 1, 5, 3 == 9
12:44 <Laurna> better.))

Ah good, he has calmed and fallen asleep. We should be able to reach him now. she rapported to her daughter.

My beloved son, hear your mother and your sister, and know that you are loved by us. We want to know you are well, can you hear us?

((12:45 <Laurna> Is Wash able to feel his mother's presence and respond back?
12:45 <Laurna> !roll 2d6
12:45 <•derynibot> 5, 2 == 7
12:45 <Laurna> good. ))

To Richenda’s great relief, the dreaming voice of her son returned her contact. Maman, is it really you, or is this but a dream?

Hold our Rapport as you wake and know that it is truly I, your mother, who loves you.

Sir Washburn did wake, conscious now that he still sat beside the river cupping the coin in his hand, but also conscious of the two women who sat so very far away. Your Grace! Forgive me! Forgive me of everything that has happened, to be caught so off guard was my failure. I have paid for that failure, yet I fear I have not yet paid for the hurt I caused you. My brother’s are seeing to that, I am told.

That is far from true! Richenda wanted to scream at her youngest that his brothers were doing what they had to do to protect him, but she had been forewarned by Iain and refrained from talking of Brendan and Kelric. I have heard Lord Iain Cameron's accounting and I know some of what you have been through. You have acquitted yourself well. Know that I think you a good man and a capable man. And I would want you home as soon as circumstances allow it.

You mean the king, when he will allow it!  he declared with a cold tone. He regretted it instantly noting his mother’s hesitation. I didn’t mean that, I am sorry.

His sister’s voice and warm touch came through the link then. I want to thank you for my son, Kenneth’s birthday present. Kenneth and his cousins played with their wood shields and swords all day.

That took Washburn back. He struggled to remember his nephew and the present he had ordered to be made and delivered on his birthday. There was that memory, hidden behind so many others, and unlike the others this was a happy memory of good times, of the boys telling the woodcarver which shield they favored and which helm shape they each liked. None of the boys were  the wiser that the man was taking notes and sizing them up for the present he would present to them in their uncle’s name. It seemed strange that he had no trouble paying for such extravagant gifts, handing over the gold coins and still having some left in his purse. That conflicted with memories more demanding than this one. He pushed that discord away for another time. Grania sent the images of all the boys playing with Kenneth’s birthday gift, including a warm cheer when the boys yelled out, “Huzza for my uncle! Huzza for Sir Washburn!” The love from the young boys filtered across the link and warmed Washburn’s soul.

Using the calmness that prevailed, Richenda pushed through a mental embrace. That love has not diminished, not from any of your family. Please, my son, show me what you have been through. I know some of the horror of it. Yet, I am willing to have you share it all with me. You need hold nothing back.

No. Wash said almost too quickly.

I am you mother, I would know what my son has withstood.

Maman, I love you, was all Washburn could say. After the silence that followed, he whispered, I can’t….

Then it is I who will share with you some of what I know. Flashes of the aftermath of his abduction flowed across the link: the Duke of Cassan’s rescue of Lady Aliset, the Arilan men scanning the portal networks to discover the place of his first captivity, the commoners of Droghera finding his hiding place and their determination to rescue him, and then Richenda breaking the portal trap to get to the old Michealine ruins and jumping there, only to have just missed him.

Wash was taken back. That was a very dangerous thing to do.

For my children, I will do anything, returned his mother with intense determination.

Wash cupped the coin tighter in his fist. He had had no notion that so many had taken such effort to find him. It surprised him and made him think. Why would so many risk their lives for him? Thank you! he managed to say as unexpected emotion caught at his throat. 

This contact is draining us both and I suspect you are still in need of what energy you have. Nevertheless, I must ask of you one thing. Richenda hesitated, afraid of what she must ask. This afternoon, Lord Iain told me much of what happened at the Fortress of Grand Duke Valerian. There was something he said that not even he could explain. She passed the image of Iain restraining Lady Sidana in his arms and his surprise to find she had shields. Then Washburn coming forward, touching the woman’s head and suddenly Sidana’s shields were gone. What did you do? Do I need to worry that her shields will return?

There was a long silence and for a moment Richenda thought the Rapport was broken. When her son did respond, he was very quiet. Her shields will not return, unless I am there to return them... or someone like me, he added as an after-thought.

Can you tell me, please? She was not being aggressive in her asking. She wanted an answer, but was trying not to push him. Wash realized if he was going to trust anyone it would have to be the Dowager Duchess of Corwyn.

A scroll I read... called it Power Blocking. Do you know of it? Do you know anyone who can do it?

Richenda had guessed as much, but she was still shocked to hear it said. Azim sent me a scroll that told of the use if that ability to hide Deryni during the time of the Regents. It does not describe how it was done; it did state that less than a handful of Healers had this ability, and that was back in a time when Healers were far more plentiful than they are today. I know of no one in the eleven kingdoms in our time, who has this ability.

You know someone, now, Washburn said very quietly.

Richenda was crying, this is why the king would not allow her son to come home.

Know that I love you and know that I trust you to do what is right. That has always been your guide. It matters not to me that you have learned to do this thing.

Apparently, it does matter to some. I promise to do my best to do what is right.

In that moment he felt the hug from his mother and his sister over the long distance between them, and then the contact was broken. For a long time, Wash listened to the movement of the water along the river’s shore. He was tired beyond measure. Too tired to go any further this day. It would disappoint his friends, he was sure. They were hoping to sleep in a private bed, in a private room this night. Being in a manor surrounded by people was the last thing Wash wanted for himself. Determined to make his case, he walked back to the campsite where a fire was blazing. The newlyweds were cuddled together as if the disagreement between them had never existed.

“I’ll have some of that ale, if you have not drunk it all.”

Darcy happily handed across the skin. “We have dinner to go with it. We were waiting for you.” He pointed to a pot stewing on a stone by the fire.

“That would be perfect.” Wash stirred the pot with the big spoon, and smelled the good scent from it. Stimulated by his senses, he spooned out three full cups of stew and handed two of them to his friends. They all ate in silence, there was no need to talk.

At length Aliset was the one to speak. “We will stay here tonight and find the manor in the morning.”

Washburn looked over at the couple and could not help the laugh that came to his lips. “Making up is always the best part.” He gave Darcy a wink and ignored Aliset’s slap on Darcy’s shoulder for his returned smile. After another spoonful of stew and a small snicker, Washburn announced “I will sleep by the horses. Don’t suppose you could spare me an extra blanket.”

Darcy was quick to hand a rolled blanket around the fire’s edge. “We will only need the one,” he said giving his beloved a warm kiss.


« Last Edit: May 04, 2019, 10:37:48 am by Laurna »

Offline Bynw

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #641 on: May 05, 2019, 08:41:44 am »
In the morning the bells of every cathedral and church in Gwynedd began to toll in unison. For Sunday morning has come to the 11 Kingdoms, and the Priest and Bishops are mourning the passing of one of there own.

For Bishop Denis Michael Arilan had passed away peacefully the day before, aged 81 years. He had returned to Dhassa via Portal for a brief few days to attend to matters there with an informal meeting of several itinerant priests and Bishops.

His body is being persevered by a young Healer of Dhassa who has been given the honor so it may reside in state in the heat of summer at Dhassa, then on to Valoret, then to Rhemuth, before arriving at Tre-Arilan for burial.

The Arlian family is grieving the loss of it's patriarch but the rebellion in Meara is still the priority. They are focused on ending the rebellion and serving the King with all their energies and powers.

As is common with high ranked Deryni, a death reading was preformed by Sextus Arlian. Much was already lost by the time the reading was preformed. But the results were conclusive none the less. The good Bishop's time had come.

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #642 on: May 08, 2019, 12:44:49 pm »
Sir Iain Cameron stood at the window of his apartment in Rhemuth.  The bells of the cathedral and surrounding churches had finally grown silent after exhausting themselves announcing the death of Bishop Denis Arilan. Iain felt a profound sadness.  He rarely crossed paths with the bishop, but he respected the man. Arilan had been the first Deryni to gain entry to the priesthood since the Council of Ramos and then to be consecrated as bishop!  He had paved the way, though perhaps not as openly as some would have wished, to reinstating Deryni into the grace they had long been denied.  God rest his soul and give him praise!

Sidana of Meara was another matter.  His face still stung from the slap she had given him once he had turned his controls on her over to the queen.  Iain was certainly no innocent, but Sidana’s vehement curses for all things Haldane had almost made him blush!  Or at least wince.  She was locked away for now in a warded chamber in the Queen’s tower, looked after with the respect due to any noble lady.  But not the deference expected by a pretender queen.  Iain had done his duty by delivering her safe to King Kelson.  His responsibility to her was done.  Why did he still feel a nagging concern for her wellbeing?

What would Kelson do about her?  Her captivity is Rhemuth would be a blow to the rebellion.  And once Kelson had subdued the rebels, and Iain was sure that would be the final outcome, God willing, what would become of her?  Her existence would remain a rallying point for any who would challenge Haldane rule in Meara for years to come.  Kelson would be well within his rights to execute her for dynastic reasons, as he had executed Judhael after the last Mearan rebellion.  Surely he would not do so again?  Or would he? 

Iain sighed and turned from the window.  He had opened the wood box on his desk out of habit and checked the contents.  He knew that Darcy had claimed the Heir’s Ring.  He smiled again at the hastily scrawled note he had found inside the box.  I owe you two gold coins.  Darcy Solveig.  True enough, his count of coin was two short.  Darcy could have taken more, but he had not. His brother seemed to be confident in making his own way in the world.  Though now that way included a wife.

The bells of Rhemuth began to toll again.  Iain did not find comfort in the sound; there were too many pieces of Master Feyd’s puzzle that needed to be understood before he could find peace of mind.  And many pieces were still missing and needed to be found.  He had work to do.

From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline DerynifanK

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #643 on: May 08, 2019, 06:21:27 pm »
The dinner in the baron’s hall drew to an end. With thanks to Baron Stuart for his hospitality, the guests began to leave the dining hall to tend to other responsibilities. Lord Jaxom bowed to the baron and his wife, expressed his thanks for the meal, and left the hall to prepare for the departure of himself and his men with the prisoners early the next morning. Lord Michael bowed to his father and mother, stating that he too had preparations to make for the morning’s departure. Although he would remain nominally a prisoner until his fate was decided by Earl Brendan, he was submitting himself voluntarily to the earl for judgment. Therefore, he would be allowed to ride his own horse and would be treated with the respect due his station. Although he would certainly not be allowed to carry arms, he planned to ask Lord Jaxom to convey his sword, bow and arrows to Droghera for him. He hoped to be able to join Earl Brendan’s forces and prove himself as a loyal king’s man.

Jaxom had found a cart with high sides, big enough to hold four of the prisoners with a driver to convey the other prisoners to Droghera.  The baron had readily agreed to lend him the conveyance and one of his draught horses to pull it.  He was anxious to have the rebels removed from his estate and placed in the custody of the earl and his men who were certainly better prepared to deal with them.  Only Drago would ride his own horse, closely watched by one of Jaxom’s men, with his hands bound and a rope running from his chest to the pommel of his guard’s saddle. He was being kept separate from the other prisoners to prevent him from stirring up any trouble.

Gavin was sent to assist the baron back to his own quarters. There Mac would begin to draw up plans for mutual defense against the rebels to keep his own lands and those of his neighbors safe.   He began to compose a letter that he would have copied and carried by Gavin to those neighboring lords who needed to be included.

Father Columcil accompanied the baron back to his quarters to examine his injuries and be certain they were healed with no lingering deleterious effects. He reminded Baron Stuart that he still needed rest to complete his recovery. After the baron promised to go to bed after he completed his letter, the priest left him to go to the church for vespers.

After conferring with the cook about preparations for breakfast and for food to be provided for the travelers the next morning, Fiona retired to her own room, feeling somewhat at loose ends. After a warm bath, she donned her nightdress.  However, she did not feel sleepy, there was much to think about.  She curled up on the window seat with her arms wrapped around her knees and gazed out the window at the scene below. The long summer dusk was drawing in and stars were beginning to appear in the sky above the trees. It was quiet. She heard only distant voices as the servants completed their tasks and headed to their beds. She had given little thought to what should come next for her own life. She had been happy here, but she was seventeen and changes were inevitable. What did she see for herself in the future? She had an independant nature and hoped to have some choice about what should happen next. She loved and respected the baron and his wife and she was devoted to Iain, but she hoped to have her ideas at least considered. She could not see herself remaining quietly at the manor, helping the baron and his wife like a dutiful daughter until a marriage was arranged for her.

Fiona was aware that Baron Stuart had hoped that she and Michael might wed. Though neither of them had any serious feelings for anyone else, they thought of each other more like brother and sister, and their relationship was like that of siblings. Uncle Mac had never actually proposed  such a match to her, but he had hinted that it would be advantageous for both of them. Much as she loved Uncle Mac and Aunt Olivia, she could not see herself married to Michael if there was another possibility. She had dreamed of a handsome knight on a charger who would one day appear and sweep her off her feet. But Fiona had a core of solid common sense which told her this was extremely unlikely.

 Fiona gave a deep sigh. She had long dreamed of being able to attend one of the king’s scholas. She knew she was Deryni, and she was able to use some of the basic powers she had learned when she was much younger, before Iain took her to live with the baron.  After that she had no one who could teach her. Iain, on his rare visits to the manor, had little time to discuss future plans for her. He mostly focused on her immediate welfare. She was not sure he even realized that she was no longer the little girl he remembered but a young lady who needed a plan for her future. With the eruption of the rebellion in Meara and his vital responsibilities to King Kelson, she was sure he had little thought or time to give to her beyond her immediate safety. She wondered whether the appearance of his long lost brother, Darcy, might make a difference. Perhaps she might be able to talk to her new cousin and his wife about her concerns if she could reach them. Aliset was a fully trained Deryni and might be receptive to providing training for Fiona herself or encouraging Iain to support her admission to the schola in Rhemuth. She so much wanted to learn more about her Deryni heritage and to learn to use her powers in the service of others.

She knew that marriage was in her future as it was for any young girl of her age and station. In fact, it was somewhat surprising that she had not already been betrothed to a young man of similar status. She was heir to lands in the Duchy of Claiborne that had belonged to her father. They had been managed by a steward chosen by Iain who oversaw her inheritance until she should marry. That certainly made her attractive as a marriage prospect. At least Iain was kind and had not been pushing the idea of marriage to her. She was sure he would never force her into a marriage, but her time as an unattached girl was surely limited. She had hoped that she would have an opportunity to at least meet and know others her age. Her acquaintances were mostly limited to Michael’s friends who treated her like a pesky younger sister. She considered them too young and immature to be of interest. She sighed deeply and leaned her head against the window. She saw no immediate solution to her problems. The rebellion made the future quite uncertain.  She felt very tired and gradually drifted off to sleep.

Fiona awoke to the sound of bells ringing, not just the bells of their own small church on the estate, but bells from nearby St. Brigids and from Cuilteine and Droghera. Something momentous must have happened. She quickly rose, washed, dressed for the day and made ready to descend.

As she hurried down the stairs toward the kitchen, she could also hear the stamping of horses, the jingle of harness and the sounds of men’s voices. It was apparent that Lord Jaxom and his party were getting ready to set out. She hurried through the kitchen and out the door to the courtyard. The wagon and horse were pulled up near the door that led to the barn, and the prisoners were being loaded into the well of the horse cart where they sat with their hands  bound. A rope looped through their tied hands, binding them together.  Drago was already mounted, his hands also bound and a rope running from his body to the pommel of the saddle of the guard near him. Michael was also mounted and ready to accompany Jaxom to Droghera.  Jaxom was standing with the Baron, watching the disposition of his men. 

Fiona hurried over to where Mac and Lord Jaxom were standing. “What is the meaning of the bells?”  she asked, “and where is Father Columcil?” 

Lord Jaxom turned to her, “We do not yet know the meaning of the bells, my lady. The priest has gone to try to reach Earl Brendan to find out the meaning of the bells and whether there is any change in his orders to me to deliver the rebels to Droghera by this evening. He also needed to clarify his own mission. Since his charge was to accompany you here to the manor and you are remaining here, he needs to know if he should also remain here or if he is to rejoin his companions and where he will find them.”

Fiona’s heart sank when she thought of Father Columcil rejoining her cousin and his wife while she was left behind at the manor. She wanted desperately to have another opportunity to talk with Darcy and Aliset about her desire for training, either from Lady Aliset or at the schola. If she was left behind, who knew when she would have another opportunity? With the rebellion requiring the services of all Kelson’s loyal knights and vassals, who knew when she would see Iain or Darcy again. She needed Iain to at least know her wishes.

Just then, they all heard the sound of horses’ hooves approaching the stableyard. As they all turned to see who was arriving, Fiona gasped. There were three horses. Riding two of them were her cousin Darcy and his wife. It was the third horse and rider who claimed her attention. He had appeared out of her dream of last night, a tall blond knight on a big black warhorse! Maybe dreams did come true after all!
"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

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #644 on: May 09, 2019, 06:03:53 pm »
“Are you planning on sleeping all day?” said the voice of Darcy, disrupting dreams filled with mixed emotions. Washburn was a page running errands through a large castle, a snippet of a hug from his mother, stern orders from his brother to be faster and better, a smack on his hand from a baton, the violet eyes of a bishop declaring that he was impossible to teach and that he gives up on him and would never again try and teach him. Then suddenly those violet eyes blinked and refocused and a hand touched Washburn’s forehead and the old voice of Bishop Denis Arilan said softly, “I was wrong, forgive me, as I forgive you.” There was a tear on the old bishop’s cheek as he fingered the cross on Washburn’s forehead, then he was gone. Shocked, Wash opened his eyes to see the pale blue ones of Lord Darcy leaning over him.

“You’re a heavy sleeper. Wake up, we want to be at the manor as soon as may be. We don’t know if we will find trouble there or peace. I would rather we surprise them, than they surprise us.” There was a stomp of horse feet near Washburn’s head and Darcy stood up quickly calling  “Whoa!”  Then he hefted his saddle over Sigrun’s back.

A bit dazed, Washburn sat up keeping one hand firm on the ground to support himself, the other hand brushed across his eyes wondering if his eyesight was failing him. That’s when he realized it was still pre-dawn. “Strange and otherworldly,” Wash said with a sigh. Shaking off the dream, he lit his handfire to see better. “Sleep all day? Hah! The day hasn’t even started. Why…? Did you and Aliset have another fight?”

The handfire gave light to the smile that crossed Darcy’s face. “Quite the contrary,” he declared. “We had a sumptuous…”

“No, No… That is none of my business,” Washburn interrupted him in a rush. Then he returned Darcy’s big smile. “Honest, my friend,  I heard and saw nothing; too tired for any of that nonsense.”

“Far from nonsense,” Darcy claimed with a happy slap upon his horse’s neck.

Ignoring that, Wash returned, “You know, I really could have slept this whole next day away, and you and your wife could have had all that time you needed to yourselves. But no..., here you are blowing it by waking me up pre-dawn so that we can get back to civilization. Again I ask, Why?  Just so we can eat a hot morning meal?”

“That’s not it. Aliset and I are a bit worried about my cousin and about Father Columcil. Both of them seem to me to be strong-headed and easily baited into trouble, I mean, Columcil followed us through our shenanigans didn’t he?  I am anxious to get us back together. Besides, we do better as a team, individually not so well.” Darcy gripped Washburn’s shoulder in a gesture of comradery.

Standing up, Wash copied the gesture.  “I can’t tell you how much I agree with you and appreciate that.” There was a nod between the two men and then both almost embarrassingly turned to their horses and their gear.  “It’s a bit of a brisk morning. I wonder if my mother packed me some clothes. I almost regret leaving that green tunic behind. I take that back, no I don’t.”

Darcy looked at his friend quizzically and agreed that his black silk under-tunic was not much for warm clothing. “I don’t have anything your size.”

Wash moved his handfire over to his saddle bags. He looked inside for black fabric. What he found, instead, was an uncharacteristic long sea-blue wool tunic with a fur neck line, sleeves cut out and a dagged hem with the metal-thread embroidery of two gold lines and a silver flory. Not quite the sable, double tressure or, argent flory of the old House of Morgan heraldry, but close enough.  Washburn instantly recognized the tunic as one seen in a grand fresco in the halls of his home. The subjects were of his grandparents, Sir Kenneth Kai Morgan and the Lady Alyce, kneeling on the steps before the Haldane King of Gwynedd, a young blond haired boy bowing on the steps above them.  Washburn bunched his grandfather’s tunic into his hands. This was indeed his mother’s doing, her subtle way of reminding him of the fealty of the House of Morgan to the crown.

Aliset unknowingly said, “Oh, that matches your eyes! And it should be warm enough for this morning and not too warm for latter in the day. Put it on.”

“This is older than I am by thrice, and it likely will not fit.”

“Your mother would not have packed it if it would not fit,” Aliset said with a quirk of a smile.

Wanting to prove the lady wrong, Wash jammed the tunic over his head. To his dismay the old style tunics were cut extra wide and extra long, which on him fit well and had a length just past his knees. The overlapped slashed openings front and back would make for ease of riding. Well at least the wool was soft and comfortable, Wash had to admit he liked the color, too.

“Not bad,” Aliset said with a girlish giggle.

“Like you can see in this light,” Washburn commented.

“I may be married, yet my eyes work just fine, even in this light,” She said giving both men a blushing smile. Then quick enough she was all business again, picking up the last of her things. Darcy saddled her horse and the two shared a loving touch as she added those things to her saddle-pack. 

It was still pre-dawn as the three rode out. They kept to an easy canter until the sun rose to show the road ahead of them. When the way was well lit, the not too distant sound of bells reminded them that a world still existed beyond this forest. When the bells continued to toll, they each searched the others’ faces for answers. Finding none, they pressed their mounts to canter faster, to get where they needed to be all the sooner.

Ahead of them was open ground and a stone and wood/stucco manor beyond. The open ground was not clear; men, horses and a wagon prepared to move out. From what his cousin had shared, Darcy recognized the baron and his wife before the manor's doors and knew instantly from their calm demeanor that all was well. Washburn saw no such thing.

The knight scanned the courtyard as the three cantered in. He saw the bound men in the wagon, the one man tied to his horse, the guards watchful of the their prisoners, the lord and lady of the manor with a young pretty woman beside them, and then he saw, just turning away from the manor’s lord, the one face that raised the bile into his throat. In an instant rage, he put spurs to his horse, charged ahead of his companions through the throng of horses and guards, catching all by surprise.  He wheeled the black stallion to a quick turn and a halt, then leaped from the saddle to land square with both feet facing his target, his hand drawing his sword in the same motion to make an ominous poise before the man he blamed for all his troubles.
 
“You! You’re alive and not rotting in some dungeon for your crimes?!” Wash yelled at the despicable lordling of Trillick. He took a step forward closing the distance between him and Jaxom. “We were friends and you betrayed me. You betrayed the good Lady Aliset, the woman you professed to love! I will slaughter you where you stand for what you have done! Draw your sword!”
« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 01:32:33 pm by Laurna »

 


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