Author Topic: Ghosts of the Past  (Read 92228 times)

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Online DerynifanK

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

Jaxom hesitated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Offline revanne

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #646 on: May 26, 2019, 03:56:34 pm »
Before he did anything else, Columcil knew that he must seek forgiveness for the lie, but he could not have borne the explanation which his high and mightiness, milord Jaxom, would have demanded had he revealed that he was contacting Archbishop Duncan. Worse still would have been the raised eyebrow and patronising smirk which made his fists ball in anticipation of unpriestly retaliation. Contacting Earl Brendan was a plausible excuse, and if there were fresh orders from the Earl, then doubtless the  Archbishop would know of them. He would, in any case, as soon not contact Brendan, for in their last Rapport Duncan had confided in him, in strictest confidence, that there had been no choice but that Washburn should be disinherited by his brothers till he could be freed of the evil spells which twisted his memories and bound his soul. And God alone knew when that should be. Duncan had been palpably distressed and, though Duncan had shared nothing he should not, Columcil had sensed the burden of others’ distress held in his grandfather's heart. Brendan, too, must have been torn apart, and Columcil felt for him, but he felt more for his friend and he was not entirely sure that he could keep his anger from lashing out at the Earl.

And he had best seek God's pardon for that too, so once he was alone in the manor chapel, he sank to his knees and, bowing his head, beat his breast, repeating the ritual words, "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa." The baron was a devout man, and the peace coming from regular faithful prayer which filled the chapel felt like absolution, though the formal words must wait.

The scent of the pinewood panelling calmed him too, on a more earthly but no less needful level, and Columcil allowed himself to slip gently sideways until he was half sitting and reached out with his mind for his Grandfather.  He felt affection, love even, as his mind's touch was welcomed and accepted, but there was new disquiet too. His heart was warmed that Duncan made no attempt to veil this disquiet from him, but the sense of yet more terrible tidings came quickly with cold dread.

Yer Grace, what is't?

The formal title was a plea for reassurance as horrible imaginings ran through his head; Washburn had been recaptured, had run amok, had harmed Aliset and been killed by Darcy. Or - this as the tolling bell from the tower on the outside of the chapel reached to him even in trance - the King himself was dead.

His thoughts whirled at the forefront of his mind and, though he did not of intent share them, they were easily read.

Slow down, Son, it's not as bad as that. Though in truth we can spare no good man to death, the coil we're in. But he was an old man, even for a Deryni, and he had fought the good fight, harder and longer than any of us knew. And he'll be glad to be reunited with Jorian. I just wish I had ever properly told him that I came to know how much I owed him. And how sorry I was for my arrogance towards him.

M'Lord I'm gey sorry but ah dinna ken who is't tha's died. Or why ye o'a' folk could aye think ye ha’e the need ta say sorry.

Even in the other’s sorrow a gleam of humour came through.

Where do you suppose that arrogance of yours, aye and insolence too, came from? I doubt it was your mother, and of a certainty it was not Maryse, God rest their souls. I like to think you got your vocation from me, I fear you got more than your fair share of my sins too. But that’s a conversation we must have another time.

The one whom we mourn is his Grace of Dhassa, Bishop Denis Arilan. Of your charity pray for him - it’s thanks to his courage and faith that Deryni can again respond to the call of God to holy office without facing the stake and the flames.

A shudder shook Duncan’s mental tone and there was a long silence before he continued.

He was the first Deryni that we know of to make it alive through ordination, and though I did not know it at the time he brought me and others safe through too.

Columcil had of course met Bishop Arilan who had made a point of visiting the seminary several times a year, and like many younger priests, viewed him with great respect but as a visitor from a distant past. For Columcil personally there was fear mixed in with that respect; the learned and austere Bishop had not taken kindly to the uncouth lad from the borders and several of Columcil’s harshest penances had been meted out during his visits. Now he brought to mind the long hours that the Bishop had spent in prayer before the altar, often seeming shaken and drawn with emotion when he finally rose, and a connection that he had never before made began to form.

Ye mentioned Jorian, are ye saying that his Grace o’ Dhassa kenned that puir sainted lad?

There was another long silence and Columcil began to fear that he had somehow offended, though again it was sadness and not withdrawal that he could sense.

Yes. They were friends. Denis was forced to watch him burn - Now it was anger that burst through - as was Alaric, to show him what became of Deryni who didn’t keep to their place.One day I’ll tell you that story too, for now it’s enough to know that I have long believed that it was by the prayers of Jorian that the mercy of God protected Denis and made him a priest. He was a brave man, and an honest one, though not an easy one. And now he’s gone, another one whose wisdom will be sorely missed. And the timing could not be worse, for us at least, though maybe not for our enemies.

There was just something in Duncan’s mental tone that made Columcil dare to ask,

“Ye’re no tellin’ me tha’’ he didna’ die o’ natural causes, yer Grace?

Oh it was his heart that stopped without doubt, and that’s a merciful way for any to go. I just cannot help remembering…

Duncan seemed to recollect himself suddenly and now Columcil heard Archiepiscopal authority in the other’s mental tone.

You are not to repeat any of that, or even think any further of what you and Dhugal would call my maundering.The truth is that in such times I begin to suspect everything. But nothing will be helped by spreading idle rumours, even if they come from the Archbishop. Especially if they come from the Archbishop. You may of course tell the news that his Grace of Dhassa has died - indeed it is important that you so, to stop others, like you, from fearing the worst.

Columcil understood that there was only the mildest of rebukes in his grandfather’s tone, and that was as much for himself as his grandson and he was emboldened to ask:

And wha’ o’ Washburn, sir?

“Nothing as far as we know has changed there. Someone has worked black mischief and as yet no-one can see a way to free the poor lad. It occurs to me now that Denis might have…

Duncan’s mental voice trailed off and the sharp mental shake that he gave himself jerked across Columcil’s psyche before Duncan began again.

There are no new orders concerning Washburn. Just try to help him understand that the memories of his ill-treatment at the hands of his family are false, even if he cannot yet find the true ones. Heal what hurts you can, using the way we have discussed and pray for him. And for me, as I will pray for you. Bless you, son of my son, he could ask for no better friends than you and Darcy and Aliset.

Columcil found himself swallowing the lump in his throat, and it cost him an effort to mention the name of one he detested.

I’m supposed ta be askin’ th’ Earl o’ Marley if there are new orders for Jaxom. Beg pardon fer ma cheek, but would yer Grace ken if any there are any such?

The understanding in Duncan’s voice brought the tears back into Colcumcil’s eyes.

I understand why you will find it hard to bespeak Earl Brendan, just remember how much he is grieving too. And yes, Lord Jaxom is to take his prisoners as soon as he can back to the Earl. For a number of reasons, not least that Washburn is likely to kill Jaxom if the two have any length of time together.

That thought had occurred to Columcil too and he realised that it was high time for him to return outside and see what was happening in his absence. Darcy and his party, including an angry and unstable Washburn must surely have arrived by now. His concern must have transmitted itself for in the next instance his grandfather said,

Yes, you must go as must I. In nomine, Patri et Filii et Spiritu Sancto…

With that blessing Duncan broke the link. Columcil got slowly to his feet and made his way outside, where he feared that he might be too late as all hell had apparently broken loose in his absence.
Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
    let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
    as wax melts before the fire,
    let the wicked perish before God.
(Psalm 68 vv1-2)

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #647 on: May 27, 2019, 01:12:18 pm »
Washburn settled his horse and his gear in the barn, not too far in from the doors, just in case a quick departure was required. He was tense, far more so than he should have been. He had not expected to find Jaxom here. Hadn’t Darcy said something to him about Jaxom escorting his cousin, but he hadn’t used Jaxom’s name, he had said the heir of Trillik. Wash had been so preoccupied that he hadn’t realized who Darcy was talking about.  Wash growled and knotted his hands up in Shadow’s bridle as he hung it up. Frustrated, he clenched his fingers and pounded his hand against the stall partition. When he hadn’t acknowledged the name of Jaxom in their conversation, Darcy must have thought everything would be alright, and he had not pressed the matter further. Just now,  Aliset was likely berating her husband for that lapse. One more knot he had caused between the happy couple.

“Agh! How do I screw things up so badly?” Wash asked of Shadow. “I am going to be the death of my friends if I don’t watch this temper of mine.” His hands adjusted the saddle to rest on the railing, that’s when the idea of escape came to him. Other than the two boys, no one else was in the barn. He could just ride out, and leave everyone behind. His friends would be far safer without his troubles on their hands, that was a certainty.  A fresh determination gripped him and his hands lifted the saddle off the wooden partition.

“I would miss ye greatly if ye left afore we cuid talk,” said a borderman from the barn entrance.

Undone by the familiar brogue, Wash settled his gear back onto the rail. Ashamed, he turned with his head hung low. “Ah, Father Columcil, I admit I would miss you as well. I had hoped for a better meeting between us. Not one where I have lost my temper and near-on skewered a former comrade. Not that in my eyes he didn’t have it coming, yet I see where others might think differently.” Wash looked up to see the amber eyes gazing across at him, trying to read him. Ashamed of all the trouble he had caused, Wash could not drop his shields. Instead he turned away. “I am not worthy of your attention, good Father.”

“What ‘tis it ye ha’e done to be considered unworthy? Was it no’ yer hand that saved Lady Aliset from her abductor? Are ye no’ worthy because ye survived four days in the enemy’s clutches and then escaped; an heroic escape as was tel’t to me by His Grace, Archbishop Duncan, who heard t’accountin’ directly from Lord Iain?”

‘That was not me, that was Iain who saved my hide.”

“And ye his, as I were tauld.”

“Hardly! So, everybody in Rhemuth knows I am a blundering fool. I will never be able to show my face there again. Columcil, honestly, leave me be. I will go find a rock to hide under and not come up for a hundred years. Maybe by then, I will be able to face my fears.” He buried his face in Shadow’s mane.

“Tis nae shame in havin’ fears. Capture yer fear, hold it close, use it tae keep yer attention keen, tae keep from becomin’ complacent.” Columcil quoted words he had heard from his grandfather years ago.  While saying this, he extended his mind across the space between them, to establish a mental contact.

((16:42 <Laurna> Columcil rapport with Washburn
16:42 <Laurna> !roll 2d6
16:42 <•derynibot> 3, 1 == 4, no))

Startled by the familiar phrase, Washburn looked up at the priest.The knight’s shields remained closed, his eyes narrow and his lips pressed together. At length with some distress, he said, “I have been told those words before, but I can not recall by whom.”

“Mebbe’s ah can help ye tae bring it ta mind?”

Columcil walked over to the offside of Shadow and looked straight over the horse’s withers at his friend. “Rapport hae been easy between us. Do ya recall, like when I was teachin ya tae heal?”

Columcil didn’t touch Washburn, instead he placed both hands on Shadow’s neck. He sent a calming thought filled with images of the times they had healed together.

((16:44 <Laurna> Columcil attempts contact again
16:44 <Laurna> !roll 2d6
16:44 <•derynibot> 3, 2 == 5))

He knew these thoughts bounced off of closed shields. Yet in another way he sent calming energy from his fingers into the stallion’s sinew, muscles, and bone. Reaching through that medium toward the unwary fingers of the man who also openly sought energy from the horse he leaned upon, the priest sought to make a connection.

((17:02 <Columcil>  One last chance. Does Columcil make contact with Washburn through Shadow?
17:02 <Columcil> !roll 2d6
17:02 <•derynibot> 2, 6 == 8  yes))

Columcil had discovered his talent with beasts allowed him to do this. The knight had closed himself off to the world, all but for the support he gained from his horse, the only one he trusted who would not abuse him. Columcil felt guilt using this trust. There were times, however, when it was necessary to breach a man’s defenses to heal him. His grandfather had been the one to suggest this means of Rapport. Duncan had stressed the importance of learning how much damage was done to the younger son of Alaric. No one since his rescue had been able to make deep Rapport with the freed man.

Purposely changing the subject, Culumcil commented, “Tis sad news indeed aboot Bishop Arilan. I’m worrit that ta stress o’ ta Mearan uprising undid him. I know he put much effort toward findin’ ya when ye were first taken.”

“I... I had an odd dream about him last night,” Washburn said looking up at the rafters trying to recollect part of his dream.

((Wash save test from Columcil’s touch. Roll "2d6" : 3 + 3 = 6 Verification Number: 2wf7zslfdn, failed to resist Columcil.))

Distracted, he never sensed the mental touch that lingered through his hands on his horse’s neck. “A younger Bishop Denis was in my dream. As he had in days of my youth, he whacked his baton on my knuckles and told me I was unteachable. Then, mysteriously, it was as if the ageing bishop was with me, touching my mind, saying he was wrong, asking for my forgiveness. It was so real. And now to learn that the bishop has died.. it is...bewildering.”

“...bewilderin’…” Columcil echoed Wash’s words as his mind deftly slide over the other. “Sleep noo me friend, sleep. Ye’re safe with me.”

Columcil almost wasn’t fast enough to dodge in front of the horse’s chest and catch Washburn’s shoulder as the larger man was falling to the barn floor in an imposed sleep. Fortunately, there was a pile of hay there for Shadow to eat. The two men fell upon it in a heap, Columcil under Washburn’s sudden dead weight. Even in sleep, the knight’s tension was great and he was impossible to shift aside.

Soothingly, Columcil said a prayer to calm himself and to ease the mind under his touch from fighting back. The knight’s muscles relaxed. Less trapped, Columcil managed to squirm out from under the knight without taking his hand off the man’s wrist. He had gained access behind Washburn’s shields, he dare not lose that contact after all he had just done to gain it.

Columcil pressed his free hand over Washburn’s eyes. He did next what he had heard that Duchess Richenda had done for her son the night before. He shared with Washburn what he had done in the last few days. Then Columcil used the familiarity he had gained in their Rapport to quest through Washburn’s recent memories. His grandfather had said the Duchess had requested to learn these memories, but as Columcil filtered through memories of drug-induced helplessness, nausea and physical abuse, he understood why Wash was reluctant to share this with his mother. Would Wash have openly shared this with him? Perhaps not... Wash didn’t fully trust anyone at the moment. “Ye can trust me,” Columcil said as he knelt over the knight. “I am yer shepherd and ye are one o’ ma flock. I would see ya well again, ma dear friend.”

After that statement, it was like a dam giving way, Wash accepted Columcil’s presence and he voluntarily shared the events of capture, of the villain Valerian’s control, of Valerian’s dungeon, then of his escape and of Iain’s safe house. All of it flooded forth without restraint. Columcil took it in and placed it to the side where all confessions went. There he could decipher and filter the important parts at a later time. He verified that Valerian’s controls were gone for good. He found no other controls; only those of Iain and Aliset remained. He doubted Iain would ever need those controls again, so he shifted that control over to himself and then eliminated Iain’s control over Wash.

When he tried to dig deeper, to learn more about the scholar who had controlled Washburn in his first days of capture, he felt something strong that lurked in the pathway. Turning aside, he considered what to do next. He had promised to find out who had used the phrase about keeping fear close and not becoming complacent. He found that Wash had recalled that phrase during the deepest fears of his confinement. As Columcil reached deep to witness this memory which seemed placed in deep fold of the mind, a place where the most protected ideas were stored, he found not only this treasured memory of the Duke of Corwyn, but a shocking detail of words deciphered from an illegible scroll and a talent born to block Deryni racial powers. Columcil quivered at the discovery of in this untaught manifestation of the healing gift. He considered the ramifications, did his grandfather know about this?

Caught unaware, the thing that had lurked on the edge of Washburn’s old memories burst forth like a beast, all claws and fangs.The priest of many years experience mentally made the sign of the cross over himself and Washburn praying fervently "Merciful Lord, by thy passion and the prayers of our blessed lady and all the saints preserve us thy servants from all evil,” Then Columcil clutched that part of the memories he had gained; quickly he sought to withdraw from Washburn’s mind. Angered at what Columcil had seen, this vicious creature chased him down,  tried to trap him, tried to devour the mind that interfered, and stop the theft of the memories the priest had gleaned.

You were warned to not let others pry! No more warnings!” the beast howled.

Washburn attuned to the internal struggle. This thing was an affront to his freedom. It’s second appearance did not shock him, it invigorated him to fight. Wash forced his own energy between the beast and Columcil’s presence. Then he yelled I will hold it off! Free yourself! Go my friend! Go!”

Reality in the mind is not akin to real life. The mind is filled with inlays and turns, Columcil mentally tripped over suplanted tortured memories of family disapproving of Washburn’s actions. Caught in this unnatural vicious circle in Washburn’s mind, Columcil became unable to retreat from their Rapport. This was the danger of deep Rapport, he had been warned by Deryni instructors in seminary of this possibility. It required a delicate balance to not force a departure that might damage the mind of either of them.

((18:23 <Laurna> save test, Is Wash unharmed by Feyd’s demon and therefore able to free Columcil.
18:23 <Laurna> !roll 3d6
18:23 <•derynibot> 3, 4, 5 == 12))

Washburn wrestled with the energy as he might fight a rapid bear; he locked it in his mental grasp, his arms around the beast’s throat, his legs braced to hold it in place to keep the creature from leaping after his friend. “Father, please go!” Wash pleaded in desperation. It wasn’t the delicate exit the priest sought, not with the way the knight pushed at him. It caused both of them pain, yet it worked, Columicl was free. Columcil woke in the real world, his hand instantly rubbing his temples to ease the headache behind his eyes. After a quick assessment, he leaned over Washburn, to waken him. The knight’s shoulders were stiff with a long withheld breath, nigh on to giving out. Then Wash opened his eyes wide in triumph, and he took in a great gasp of air. “It is contained!” he managed to say in his next outward breath. He lay for a long time taking in deep breaths, his eyes wide, staring at the thatched roof.  Desperate, Columcil called on his healing gift. Without retouching the tortured mind of his friend, he eased the knight’s muscles and replenished his energy.

Wash whispered with a half smile of thanks upon his lips saying, “If you had told me of what you intended, I would have given you fair warning about that thing.” He blinked a few times and then closed his eyes, easing his tension with the warmth of the healing. “Thank you, my friend, for trying.” Wash finally said.

“It wasna so unsuccessful as all tha’,” Columcil replied. “I learnt who twas who said tha’ phrase tae ye so verra long ago. A decade later twas repeated tae me by th’ cousin of th’ man who said it tae you.”

“Really, who said it first?” Wash turned his head to look directly at the priest desperate to know what he could not remember.

"Forgi'e me ma friend, but ah'm desperate tired. It's quiet in here and maybe's ah can sleep a wee bittie ta regain ma strength. Ah promise ye ah'll tell ye later." The exhaustion in Columcil's face as he fell back against the hay gave the truth to his words.  Could he help his friend to remember the love of his father without triggering that evil spirit?  There had to be a way. Columcil vowed he would find it. Then his eyes closed and he fell asleep where he lay.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 02:21:57 am by Laurna »

Offline Bynw

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #648 on: May 28, 2019, 10:46:30 am »
For several months the priest had stayed in the village. At first the people were a bit weary of a foreign stranger among them, but as time went by they had grown not only to trust him but to rely on him as much as they relied on their village parish priest as well. From time to time a messenger would arrive in the village with orders from a far away Bishop in Beldour recalling the priest so he could report on how Gwynedd and Torenth were different in their practices of Faith. He would be gone for a few weeks and then return. He always promised he would return if he was able to do so.

Hours ago he returned again from being recalled to Beldour. The people of the village and the village priest were over  joyed at his return. Tired from the road and travel he took to his room and closed the shutters to meditate and pray from his journey. He would be undisturbed until the next day.

In the small room the priest sits on the floor. It has been swept clean of any debris and distractions. A single candle burns in a holder a few feet away and between it and the priest is a basin of water with a large ruby at the bottom.

The priest finishes his prayer and picks up a jar of ink and pours it into the water of the basin. It swirls around for a moment both clear and dark until the ink has colored all of the water black.

Placing his palms flat on either side of the basin he leans forward and stares into the inky blackness. The flickering candle light dances across the surface of the dark water and the priest's reflection moved with it and on its own. Changing. And finally showing another man and face all together.

If anyone else were to see the image as it rippled through the water they would recognize the blond hair of the House of Morgan instantly. For the man in the inked water was Washburn Morgan, younger brother to the Duke of Corwyn.

The priest concentrates at the image while he barely vocalizes his magic. Washburn is in a barn and a priest sleeps on the hay nearby.

With a smile the priest leans closer to the basin and whispers into the dark waters. "Come to this place." He knows his compulsion spell will work, even if it resisted it will eat at the back of the Washburn's mind until it is satisfied. He wont know why he wants to go there or who has called him (( Save Test at 2d6 to Resist but the Test must be made every day, futher attempts will be at Disadvantage and will only last for 3 days. Also another 2d6 Test can be made, if successful, Wash will know that Feyd is responsible. There is only one attempt at this one.))

The priest is indeed tired. With a thought he extinguishes the candle and the room is plunged into darkness.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 12:58:15 pm by Bynw »

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #649 on: June 03, 2019, 08:19:41 am »
Darcy and Aliset followed the baron, his wife and Fiona into the manor house and toward the solar. Columcil was hanging back, his gaze following Wash as he led Shadow toward the stable. The two young grooms were ahead leading the other horses into the stable. There was a look of concern on the priest’s face. He moved up beside Darcy and said something quietly in his ear, Darcy nodded.  As they approached the door to the solar, Columcil hesitated and addressed the baron. “Me lord, I dinnae wish ta delay yer conference, but I am that concerned aboot yon knight. He hae joost escaped a harrowin’ experience and he’s no too sure o’ hissel’ yet. I hae not seen him sin’ afore his ordeal.  I feel I need tae check on him tae see how he is and tae offer him any healin’  I can provide. Lord Darcy can tell ye more aboot wha’s happenin’ wi th’ rebels noo. We will join ye soon.” The baron did not look pleased but he nodded his assent. The priest left them, hurrying toward the back of the manor and the stable.

As they entered the solar, Lady Olivia spoke quietly to her lord, pleading fatigue and asking to be excused to go to her room to rest. “I will speak to the cook about sending some refreshments for your and your guests.”

 Mac studied her anxiously. “Are you sure you are alright? Should I send the priest/healer to you when he returns?”

“I will be fine. I just need to rest. It has been a very stressful time for all of us.” With a smile, she slipped out of the room and turned toward the kitchen.

Fiona clasped the Baron’s arm. “Is  Aunt Olivia feeling unwell? Should I go to her?”

Mac replied, “She insists she is fine, just tired and in need of rest. She doesn’t speak of it but I know she is most worried about Michael. Although she knows that going to plead his case to Earl Brendan is a right and necessary step, we don’t know how the earl will respond.  And if he accepts Michael’s expression of regret for his actions and allows him the chance to redeem himself, he may join the earl’s forces. That means going to war. If he does not, it  could mean a trial for treason. Either outcome is very frightening for her, the possibility of losing our only son. She is trying to be brave, but it is difficult and she is in great need of support. She is going to lie down for a time. Perhaps you can check on her in an hour or two to be sure all is well. I will also ask the priest to go to her later when she arises.”

Mac gestured toward Darcy and Aliset, indicating that they should take seats. He seated himself in a large chair with carved arms next to a round oak table near the fireplace. Aliset and Fiona seated themselves on a cushioned bench along the wall. Darcy hesitated, then bowed to the baron. “I owe you more explanation of what happened this morning and why we arrived after Jaxom and his men.” Mac nodded to Darcy to take a seat and proceed with his account.  Darcy seated himself facing the baron and began his explanation  “As I had said, I and my party had orders from the king to locate a hidden rebel stronghold in the Ratharkin mountains where they thought the missing man might have been taken. Our orders were just to locate it and communicate where it could be found, not to try to enter it.”

“We had reached the Michaeline Ruins where we encountered the Earl of Marley who also was seeking the missing knight who is his half brother and had been abducted from Rhemuth.  The earl was there with Lord Jaxom and his men seeking  to find out more about events there that had involved both guards from the garrison and citizens of Droghera. These men from Droghera went to the ruins because a young man had sighted a knight standing atop the ruins, looking as if he intended to jump. However, he quickly disappeared as though he had been pulled back. The captain of the guard, with a couple of his men and several citizens of the town decided to mount a rescue effort to free this captive. They had not been heard from since they had begun their attempt. They were supposed to join Prince Javan’s army the  next day Cuilteine, but none of them had returned.  When they were found in the ruins, several were injured, and  they told of encountering traps, obstacles, and frightening creatures placed there by the kidnapper. They had made a gallant attempt but were unsuccessful. There was strong evidence that Sir Washburn had been held there but had been moved just ahead of the attempted rescue.”

“ Did my cousin Fiona or Father Columcil already tell you how she came upon the earl’s men at the ruins?” The baron nodded, indicating that he had indeed been told of Fiona’s effort to secure help to free the manor from the rebels who were attempting to seize it. He studied Darcy as he talked, listening quietly and combining what he had been told earlier with what he was hearing now. The baron responded. “I am thankful for Fiona’s bold action which brought help to the manor, but I am concerned that her independent spirit might lead her into serious trouble in the future.”

Darcy noted the baron’s response and continued with his narrative. “She did well in this situation, convincing the earl that the situation was serious enough to warrant a raid on the manor to free you and capture the rebels. She also convinced him to let her ride with the party to use her knowledge of the manor and its inhabitants to assist with the mission.  Father Columcil agreed to accompany the party to protect her and her reputation.”

The baron gave a rueful smile and looked over at Fiona on her bench. “Aye. She can be quite persuasive and very stubborn when she wants something.” Fiona studied her uncle’s expressions anxiously as he listened to Darcy. She very much wanted his acceptance of what she had done and his understanding of why she had done it. She was worried that he might feel he needed to restrict her choices more in order to protect her. She would need his help if she was to persuade Lord Iain to help her achieve her goal to attend the schola in Rhemuth.

Darcy continued. “The Earl had also devised a plan to find his brother but all plans changed when word came from Rhemuth that the fortress had been located by my brother, Lord Iain, and that he had managed to free Sir Washburn and escape with him to a secure hiding place where they awaited orders from the king. Since the fortress had been found, by order of the king my mission changed as well.“

‘In the meantime, we were under the command of Earl Brendan. The earl had discovered a rebel traitor among the men from Droghera and learned that there were more traitors among the guards in Droghera’s garrison. He and his men would proceed there accompanied by the Captain of the Guard and those who remained loyal. His plan was to seize control of the garrison there, and to identify and imprison the traitors before they could be warned that their treason was known.”

There was a knock at the door and at the baron’s call to enter,  Gavin came in with a tray of refreshments and set them on the table near the baron. Cups of cool ale were served and a plate with a variety of cakes was passed around. After a welcome draught of ale, Darcy resumed his narrative.

“My brother received orders to bring Sir Washburn to the ruins then to continue on to Rhemuth where the king had need of him. Sir Washburn was to rejoin my party and travel with us. Lady Fiona was most anxious that the relief party proceed to your manor and she persuaded the earl to agree. We needed to await Iain’s arrival.  We would follow Lord Jaxom to the manor as soon as Sir Washburn joined us.”

The baron frowned as he interrupted Darcy “You say Earl Brendan was seeking his half-brother, yet he left before Sir Washburn arrived? That doesn’t seem right. I know he is loyal to the king and his focus has to be helping to put down the rebellion as soon as may be, but should he not have waited to at least meet his brother? Surely, they would not have lost that much time.”

Darcy hesitated before replying. “Those were the kings orders. The reason for those orders is not for me to divulge, but I can tell you that Sir Washburn had been severely abused mentally and emotionally while a prisoner. The full extent of the damage is not yet known, but he is able to trust few people including his family. Father Columcil is one of those he most trusts and has been assigned to stay by him and to discover as much as possible about what was done to him and how he might be healed.”

“When we arrived here, we found that the manor had been secured and the rebels captured. Our assignment now is to offer whatever assistance we can in devising a defense plan that will keep you and your neighbors safe from the rebels.” Darcy took another draught of ale and waited quietly for Mac’s response.

As he sipped his ale, the baron considered what he had been told.  He gave Darcy a grave look then began to speak. “I have been giving some thought to my situation since I recovered my senses. The call to arms had gone out several days before the struggle here became serious. Many of the young men from the surrounding estates have answered that call and are gone to join the king’s army. However, there remain a number of dependable retainers who can be used to our advantage. There are three manors within two or three hours ride from here. Their lords are my friends and are loyal to King Kelson. At least two of them employ men-at-arms who are experienced in fighting. I have written a letter which is being copied and will be carried to them asking that we meet very soon, later today if possible, to consider our best course of action in mounting a defense against the rebels, especially since we are so near the Mearan border..”

“I do have some thoughts on this matter of how best to secure our estates.” Mac continued. “We are situated between Droghera and Cuilteine, both of which have well manned garrisons that may deter the rebels and should be able to provide assistance as needed. I thought we might create one or two roving bands, led by the most experienced fighters among our men, who would be able to respond quickly to any threat. They could mount regular patrols of our lands to look for any signs of trouble. I also propose that we devise a warning system, perhaps enlisting the aid of the priests in our churches to use their bells to sound warning when needed.  I will send Gavin to fetch the original letter for you to read.”

Darcy nodded his head in approval of the plans the baron had devised so far. “I have not had much experience defending estates such as yours from attack. Most of my experience has been at sea, defending our ship against pirates and raiders. This is a somewhat different situation. If your neighbors agree to this plan, we will need someone with more fighting expertise and familiarity with the defense needs of large estates to assist us. Sir Washburn seems the ideal person to undertake this effort.”

The baron looked doubtful. “After what occurred when you rode in this morning, I’m not sure that he can be relied on to fill such a leadership position. He appears somewhat unstable and apt to explode without warning.”

“As I told you earlier, his enmity toward Lord Jaxom results from events that occurred in Rhemuth during his abduction. There were circumstances surrounding Lord Jaxom’s behavior that to some extent excused it and led to his pardon by the king. However, Sir Washburn is not yet aware of  what happened after he was lost. That situation will be remedied immediately. You need to be aware that he is the most respected warrior in the kingdom and is undefeated in combat. He has experience in training young men in the skills needed to become knights. He was a sponsor for schools establish to train young men in arms and continues to support them. He is the ideal person to mold your men into a fighting unit.” Darcy hesitated, waiting for a response from Mac. 

“If he is willing to take this on, can we trust him to focus on the task and to control his temper in order to work effectively with our men?  And what of the priest whose task is to work with him? What will he say to this idea?” Mac looked at Darcy. “Where are they? It seems to me that it is taking a very long time to tend to the knight’s horse. What do you suppose has become of them?”

Fiona and Aliset had remained silent during the discussion between the baron and Darcy.. Before anyone could say more, Fiona jumped to her feet, addressing the Baron. “I will go down to the stable, find them and tell them of your need to speak with them about the plans for defense”. Fiona thought of the knight as she had first seen him, tall and blond, riding a big black warhorse. She also felt sympathy for what had happened to him, and she felt a desire to see him again. Aliset offered to accompany her to the stables to find the  two men. At the baron’s nod, the young women left the room and made their way to the stable.

The first thing they saw was Shadow standing quietly pulling hay from a pile on the floor. When Fiona looked  more closely, she noted a pair of boots protruding from the pile of hay. As they moved closer, they saw both men apparently asleep in the hay. They were puzzled. Why should the two men be sleeping instead of returning to solar as the baron had expected them to do? Had something happened to them?

The priest  stirred and Aliset moved closer and spoke to him in a low voice. He sat up and replied. “There was’na any problem. I was verra tired and thought to lie down a bit. I dinna mean tae fall asleep.  We’ll joost put Shadow in his stall and then present oursel’s to apologise tae ta baron.”

Wash also stirred and sat up, appearing somewhat dazed as he tried to get his bearings. He found himself looking up into the face one of the prettiest girls he had ever seen. He beheld two celestial blue eyes gazing at him, very fair skin with a rosy glow, a long braid of pale blond hair reaching almost to her waist, and a slender, erect figure. He became aware that he was staring at her with his mouth open   She asked, “Are you alright? Did someone attack you and render you unconscious? My uncle is quite concerned at your failure to join him and Lord Darcy in the solar as he expected. They have been discussing the defense of this manor and surrounding estates and are seeking your advice.”

Before he could answer, Father Columcil responded. “T’was me fault, milady. I was seeking answers aboot what had happened tae him durin’ his captivity. I put him ta sleep as a help ta establish Rapport and healin.  Rapport, especially deep Rapport, can drain yer energy, I found mesel’ exhausted after and fell asleep after the Rapport had ended. We will join ta baron and Lord Darcy in ta solar immediately.” The priest rose quickly to his feet. Wash also arose and led Shadow into a nearby stall where he left him provided with fresh water and more hay.  Both men
brushed off and straightened their garments and followed Aliset and Fiona back to the manor and toward the solar.

As they entered the solar, the two men bowed to the Baron. Columcil quickly offered their apologies for failing to return sooner. Before he could offer his explanation, Fiona spoke up. “Uncle, it has been some time since  Aunt Olivia went to rest and I feel that I should go and see whether she is feeling better and whether she needs anything.” Mac readily agreed to this. Fiona turned to Aliset.“ Perhaps I could also show you to the quarters you and your husband will be sharing. I am sure you would appreciate the opportunity to freshen up and to change your clothing before lunch.”  Aliset indicated her agreement with a graceful nod. The two ladies curtsied to the Baron and left the room.

Baron Stuart gestured to Columcil and Sir Washburn to take seats and Columcil repeated his explanation for their delay in returning and Washburn added his regrets for his tardiness. Gavin returned with the letter which Darcy quickly read. “I agree with what you have written and I think this should be sent out immediately.” Gavin was sent to summon the two young grooms. The three of them would deliver the letters to the lords of the surrounding estates asking them to attend the proposed meeting later that day. They were to wait for answers from the lords.

The men returned to their discussion of the proposed defense plan for the manor and surrounding estates. If successful, the region between Droghera and Cuilteine would be held secure from the rebels. Both Columcil and Washburn listened attentively as the plan was explained to them.

Darcy turned to address Wash. “We feel that you can play a critical role in the establishment of our proposed plan. You have experience, not only with arms and defense, but also with training men in the skills they need to form an effective force for the defense of the region. I hope you will agree to remain here, at least until we receive new directions, and assist with the building of this much needed force.”

Wash looked first at Columcil, then at Darcy with doubt in his face. It would be wonderful to feel useful again, to feel in control of his future, at least his immediate future. Here was something that he had the ability to do, something that would help others who felt threatened by the Mearan rebels. But could he remain focused on the task, control his temper and be the leader they needed?  He had promised his mother in their Rapport that he would always try to do what was right. He truly meant that. But he was still afraid that he would not be able to do so, that his control of his mind and emotions was still precarious.  He felt a warmth in his mind as Columcil sent reassurance that he and Darcy would be with Wash to help him.  Wash took a deep breath, relaxed his rigid muscles, and nodded his assent. “If you feel I am able to provide what you need, with your help I am willing to try.”

Darcy addressed the Baron. “Father Columcil and I feel that Sir Washburn is the best person to lead this effort. Both of us will provide support to him in his mission. But this is your decision. We need to meet as soon as possible with those who are lords of the neighboring estates and determine whether they are willing to be part of it. Once we have their agreement, we can begin. Do you feel able to entrust us, especially Sir Washburn, with its execution going forward?

((!roll 2d6, Does the Baron accept Wash
derynibot  6,4==10
Yes! ))

Baron Stuart was silent for several minutes, then he nodded his head, indicating that he accepted Wash’s role as leader for the institution of the defense plan. “I feel sure that, with the help of both Lord Darcy and Father Columcil, you can be successful in your  task.”

Sir Washburn stood and bowed to the baron. “I will do my best, my Lord.” With this new mission and responsibility to focus on, he found it possible to ignore the odd feeling that told him he should be moving on to another place.

While the discussion was continuing in the solar, Fiona led Aliset to the room assigned to Lord Darcy and herself. “I am looking forward to a wash and change of clothing.” she said as she began to rummage in her saddlebags for her needs.

 “I am going to look in on Aunt Olivia to see if she is feeling better. Uncle Mac is concerned about her. The episode with the rebels was very stressful and she found Drago very alarming. And she is frightened about Michael and what will happen to him.”  Fiona started toward the  door, then turned back briefly. “If all is well with Aunt Olivia, I should like to come back and talk with you if you will permit.”

“Of course, you may return and we can talk.” Aliset smiled at her.

Fiona tapped on Lady Olivia’s door and opened it. She saw her aunt sitting in her favorite chair near the window. She smiled at Fiona. “Come in, my dear. It is thoughtful of you to check on me but I am feeling better. I expect to come down for lunch. You must tell your uncle, he worries so.”

“Is there anything you need, aunt?” Lady Olivia shook her head no. Fiona curtsied and left the room.

Aliset had washed and changed and was brushing her hair. Fiona went to sit in the window seat. “As you know I am Deryni but I have had little training. My mother died when I was very young, and once I came here to live, there was no one to teach me. I have always dreamed of attending the king’s schola and learning more about my powers and how to use them wisely. Sir Iain is my guardian, but he has had little or no time to discuss my future due to his commitment to the king’s business. Do you think you could help me?”

Aliset studied the young woman sitting before her. Certainly she deserved a chance to develop her Deryni powers. Of course, Aliset could certainly assess what she already knew and explore her potential. She could even provide some training herself. From what she had seen at the Ruins, Fiona was a bright and determined young lady who deserved a better future. Aliset’s husband was also mostly untrained although he certainly displayed potential. Perhaps she could start her own small schola, providing training to both. When the opportunity presented itself, she could talk with Sir Iain about Fiona’s future. She turned to Fiona. “ I think I will be able to help you. It’s nearly time for the noon meal and I need to talk with Darcy. We will talk again in this afternoon.
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Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #650 on: June 23, 2019, 11:35:10 pm »

For an anniversary feast, the guest list was small and the repast modest. But that wasn’t important. What mattered was that two dukes of the realm, who, related by marriage and good friendship, shared their duel 38th wedding anniversaries with their respective beloved duchesses. Both couples dined at the head table within the great hall of Laas, their first sons and heirs sat to either side of them, and joined in the celebration were their loyal retainers, many of whom were natives of Laas and who would never subvert their loyalties away from the King of Gwynedd, nor away from the solid trust in the current Duke of Laas. Of those who sat in the hall, most were men; few women of any station remained within the city walls of Laas. Walls that were certain to be under siege by the week’s end. In recent days, many families had been separated, as wives, daughters, and children had fled by ship from the Bay of Laas to find safer harbors as far away as Dessa or even the Isle of Orsal. The bay had emptied of all but its smallest fishing dories; the emptiness in the usually bustling harbor seemed surreal. The one Portal within the castle of Laas had been used as often as could be determined safe, but truth to tell there were few Deryni within the Castle who even knew of the Portal’s existence. And at least three jumps were necessary to get to far away Rhemuth.  Duchess Richelle Haldane and her son Richard had used this form of travel to the extent of their abilities. It was exhausting transporting family and close friends out of Meara. But to her credit, Duchess Richelle had not failed to returned to her husband’s side in Laas after she was assured the members of her family were safe. This was her home; not for a rebel scare would she abandon it.

So it was that the anniversary feast was served on Saturday evening of August 1; a day late, actually, as the dukes had been married on the thirty-first of July in the Year of Our Lord Ten Twenty-eight. Trouble was, everyone had been busy on the true anniversary date, so it was thought that a postponement for the celebration would not go amiss. Duchess Richelle sat to the left of Brecon Ramsay, Duke of Laas, her husband of thirty-eight years, and to her left sat Prince Rory Haldane, Duke of Ratherkin. Next to him sat his wife, Duchess Noelie. Noelie had too refused to leave her husband’s side in this time of conflict. Rory and Noelie had already lost their home of Ratherkin to rebel separatists. Rory was none to pleased about Noelie’s choice to remain, but once it had been decided upon, he held her in high regard for her bravery. Noelie was Brecon’s sister, she proved the Ramsay bloodline was made of sterner stuff than most. But then that was a known trait of the Mearan nobility for centuries past. The very reason why the splintered bloodline was once again in contention.  Thus the feast was a subdued event highlighted by a few shared laughs and stories of old times.

As the evening wore down, tensions in the hall eased. Many excused themselves early for early morning mass was a necessity, as rebellions did not take the liberty of Sunday's off. Wine flowed freely for those who remained at table. A harpist played somberly in the corner, and more and more the two noble couples clasped hands under the table, where few others would notice. Time was getting late and soon it became apparent that the evening should end in more private comforts. Rory’s son, Earl Bearand stood to give final orders to his father’s men on duty. Brecon’s son, Earl Richard took the cue to do the same. A moment later, both dukes stood to close out the evening with a gracious thank you to those still within the hall. That long awaited moment for the rebel strike had come. All four men standing made for easy marks from the two skilled archers hidden in the gallery above.

Two arrows, shot with deft precision, pierced tunics, chain-mail, and flesh of both incumbent dukes.  Few heard the sounds of the bow strings, but all stood witness to both men falling back into their high backed chairs as if a giant hand had pushed them down at the same time. The piercing scream of the duchesses in unison echoed through the hall. In a time span of three heart beats, two more arrows flew. Only this time the Deryni powers of Earl Bearand, son of Lady Richelle, daughter of Prince Richard Haldane and Princess Sivon von Horthy used his trained ability to deflect the incoming projectiles. One skimmed just passed his ear and the other smashed into the stone just above his cousin’s head. The rebels intentions were clear,  to rid Meara of its Haldane influence. **

Everyone was moving then. Earl Bearand took swift command of the castle guard. He and a handful of men were quick to bound up the gallery stairs and to corner the two assassins who had little time to flee. Their capture was eminent. Earl Richard cast out with his powers to determine if any others in the room sought to take his family's lives. He found no others broadcasting such ill will. The noble ladies were quick to regain their wits, both kept their husbands in their chairs and surveyed the damage done. The wounded men were conscious, neither wound fatal, but time was telling. It was fortunate that the battle surgeon was in the hall at a lower table. He rushed forward to attend to the dukes’ wounds.

In the turmoil, the two rebel archers were dragged down to the main hall. The first questions put to them by Earl Richard had powerful persuasion behind it which in turn caused both men to convulse in seizure. All to quickly both assassin’s were dead. The only glimpse in their minds that Richard could ascertain was that a Deryni death trigger had been placed upon each of them. Who had placed these could only be a high Deryni practitioner. It was more than rumor that the sons of Terymuraz led this current unease among the Mearan people.

Proof they had now that is was more than unease. The quiet of Laas was shattered. The war was officially begun.

**((10:03 <Laurna> Rolling dice to see who might have been injured during an attack on the dukal families in the city of Laas during the 38 wedding anniversaries of Brecon/Richelle and Rory/Noelie
10:06 <Laurna> Brecon's son is Richard and Rory's son is Bearand, they would also have been in the attack. So I will roll for all four men to see if any were injured.
10:07 <Laurna> A roll of 5,6 means injured. In this order Brecon, Richard, Rory, Bearand
10:07 <Laurna> !Roll 2d6
10:07 <•derynibot> 5, 4 == 9  Duke Brecon injured
10:07 <Laurna> !roll 2d6
10:07 <•derynibot> 3, 2 == 5  Earl Richard not injured
10:07 <Laurna> !roll 2d6
10:07 <•derynibot> 5, 4 == 9 Duke Rory injured
10:08 <Laurna> !roll 2d6
10:08 <•derynibot> 1, 4 == 5 Earl Bearand not injured))
« Last Edit: June 23, 2019, 11:42:27 pm by Laurna »

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #651 on: Today at 01:54:30 am »
The Duke of Corwyn had ample warning about the blockade on the road before the city walls of Laas. His army was prepared to handle these rebellious Mearan sepratiest. In the predawn hour his scouts informed him that the Duchess had not embellished on their numbers and that they did indeed intend to stop him from entering the city. Yet enter the city he must, as quickly as possible. In a Rapport from the Duchess of Laas, Richelle Ramsay-Haldane had shared the dire situation within the castle of Laas.  Not only were rebels at her gates, but two assassins had infiltrated the castle during the dinner feast of her wedding anniversary. Both Duke Brecon, Richelle’s husband, and Duke Rory, her brother-in-law had been wounded by assassins’ arrows. The need of the army of Corwyn, Kierney and Truill to arrive sooner than later was an imperative. Most importantly the need of a trained Healer was required. Just as his father had had such a gift, Duke Kelric had acquired this same gift. Kelric had been giving the understanding that a schola healer had arrived at the castle by Portal, but there was only so much an apprentice healer could manage. Kelric’s expertise would be much looked for.

So it was that Duke Kelric of Corwyn commanded his army to march out several hours before dawn. As the sun began to lighten their backs, they crossed the last of the arid plain of Meara to come upon the rugged hills leading down to the great bay of Laas. It was good that the sun was behind them and that its blinding light hindered those who headed the blockade. The city walls stood high on a great bluff overlooking the bay with one long rampart road leading up to the pastern gates. Scouts announced the marauders long before Kelric knew they would attack. Arrows launched from the blockade flew high and short of their position. The sun was sure to be the cause of those wasted projectiles. The foot men of Gwyenedd moved forward in a shield wall position with shields not only held before them but also held over head. The turtle it was called back in the days of old Byzantyun. A solid maneuver when dealing with undisciplined men such as these villagers and seaman. For no skilled soldier seemed yet to be among the rebels blocking the gates. Kelric had been told that this would soon change. Valerian’s army were no more than two days behind him. He needed to have his men within the city walls to help fortify Duke Brecon’s garrison.

Kelric thanked the heavens that he had beaten Valerian here. His men defended well against the first two lofts of arrows, and then scales of the turtle parted by mere inches allowing for a volley of his Gwynedd arrows to be launched at the blockade before them.  In this method they marched right up to the blockade. The common folk of Meara scattered, non willing to face long swords and armed men. They ran toward the plains and toward the badlands along the shore line, where boulders and crags would allow them to move on foot faster than a mounted horse would dare to move through those treacherous cliffs. Only the open sand beach remained clear of men, they would be too easy a target to run along there. The cliffs above the beach was what gave Laas such a good advantage, the city could be approached by one lone road or by cliff-side climb up from the sea. This also lent for the city to be so easily cut off from the world around it.  The past days had seen the uprising of the Mearan separatists cutting off the main road. These commoners had become embolden by stories of the fall of Ratherkin. Ratherkin had been the newest Duchy of the split of the old seat of Meara. With Ratherkin taken, only the taking of the old capital of Laas stood in the rebel's way. Or so the common folk of the land had been told and believed, for a new queen had been presented to them and their independence had been promised. 

Duncan Michael did not order pursuit of the rebels, now that they had dispersed. Instead he ordered the blockade dismantled, pushed to the side and set a flame, so that it could not be used again. Free of further hindrance, the army moved up the road  and through the gates that opened for them. With cheers they were welcomed into the city by its remaining inhabitants. Earl Duncan Michael McLain and Jass MacArdry turned to the captain of the guarison and soon plans were solidified to house the new men and to fortify the walls with the new soldiers. Duke Kelric trusted them to make it good. He continued up to the castle where he was met by Duchess Richelle, who gave him a dutiful curtsy and then an unaccustomed hug.

“Thank you for coming to our rescue to quickly. Brecon and Rory are being attended to, but I am told that a deep healing for Rory is necessary, if he is ever to use his sword arm again.  The healer Kelson sent us, says he is not experienced enough to handle such delicate manipulations.”

“Certainly his majesty would have sent only the best to heal his cousin?” Kelric responded to her as they walked up the backstairs to enter the family residence.

Her grace looked down cast before she responded. “But there were none to be had. As you know, healers are still so few and all the trained Healers are marching to here with Prince Javan. Only the untrained have remained in Rhemuth.”

“The archbishop?” Kelric had to ask suddenly concerned.

“I am told that he is being retained in Rhemuth, for the King fears to send him out. I got the impression from my sister that His Grace is none to pleased with this arrangement, but due to the things that have happened at the capital, he understands the necessity that at least one trained Healer must remain beside the king.”

“Aye there is that,” Kelric had to agree.

“Here we are, your grace. I pray that you can help Rory and Brecon to recover fully.” Richelle opened to door to a sleeping room where two beds occupied the opposite wall.
Two men of similar rank to his own greeted him with pale faces and guilty smiles. These men were friends and it hurt inside to see them in their sick beds. Both men had right shoulders wrapped in gauze and arms held in a sling. “Do you always do everything the same?” Kelric had to ask as he stepped between the beds.

“It does seem that way.” Prince Rory replied.

“Not always.” Brecan returned. But then he gave a perplexed look to think of some way that he differed from his brother-in-law. “I can not think of anything just now, but I am sure it will come to me in time.”

“If we live that long.” Rory said with side smirk. But then he shifted his shoulder and he winced at the pain. “I don’t mean to sound facetious, but I really do want to hold my sword up against the rebel leaders when they come. I owe them much for the taking of my home.”

“Let me see that wound and I shall see what I can do for you.”

Kelric found the wound itself healed on the outside at the least. But the damage inside, to muscle and bone, was not so easily discernible. He spent the morning making small manipulations and small healings to repair the damage done. The trouble was men in their fifties already had age damage to the joints. Kelric took the extra care to see that repaired, as well. With Rory sleeping, Kelric took a moment to eat a noon meal, and then he spent equal time Healing the injury for Duke Brecon. It was important that both men were returned to full health and that they could once more walk among their people. It was the reminder that Meara had seen forty years of good rulership and prosperity at the hands of these two men that would ultimately win back the people and end this rebellion.
« Last Edit: Today at 02:05:07 am by Laurna »


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