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Author Topic: Demoiselle in Distress Chapter 2  (Read 3818 times)

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Offline Evie

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Demoiselle in Distress Chapter 2
« on: June 21, 2010, 05:03:10 pm »
Demoiselle in Distress--Chapter Two


       Sean Earl Derry rounded the corner at a dash, nearly bowling over the Duke of Corwyn in his haste to escape the Coroth Castle garden.  Alaric took a hasty step backwards, grabbing Derry's arm to steady him as, in his efforts to avoid crashing headlong into the Duke, the young Earl nearly ricocheted into a wall instead.

   Alaric smiled, a knowing glint in his gray eyes.  “Is there a problem, Derry?  Another Torenthi invasion, perhaps?  Or foul murder afoot?  Do I have need to raise the hue and cry?  Or are the ladies just out enjoying the fresh air again?”

   Derry gave his liege lord a sheepish grin, mildly embarrassed at being caught out.  “The latter. “

   Alaric Morgan laughed, knowing full well which of the ladies his lieutenant was studiously avoiding.  “You know, Lady Celsie doesn't bite.  And she might come from somewhat humble origins, but they're not too humble.  Would it hurt you to spend a few minutes in conversation getting to know the lass?”

   “I already know her!  I spent a week in Chervignon with her, re-establishing her household, remember?”  Derry shrugged, looking uncomfortable.  “She's a sweet lass, I'll admit, and an eager learner as well.  But she's simply not my type, Alaric; you know that!”

   “Good God, I'd hope not.  Not your usual type, at any rate!”  The Duke gave Derry a teasing grin.  “She's my ward, don't forget.”

   Derry was in absolutely no danger of forgetting that.  In truth, that was part of the problem.

   Alaric's grin faded into a speculative smile.  “Sean, don't you think it's about time you started to think about settling down?  Not that you're an old man yet, but you're certainly not getting any younger with each passing year, and your heir to Derry is practically ancient.  He's almost certain to predecease you.”  

   “Yes, I know...it's just....”

   The Duke raised a golden eyebrow.  “Just...?”

   Sean Earl Derry risked a quick peek around the corner at the sunny garden in the near distance.  Keeping his voice low, he hissed, “Sweet Jesú, Alaric, what the hell am I supposed to do with a virgin?!”

   It was all the Duke of Corwyn could do not to fall on the ground laughing.  “Well, the usual, I would imagine, Derry,” he finally managed with a valiant attempt at a straight face, “so long as you wed her first!  Or is that the real problem?”

   Derry blushed.  “I know I'm going to have to settle down sometime,  You're right, I do need heirs.  But still, I'm just not ready.  And besides, I hardly even know the chit!”

   “And if you keep avoiding her like the plague, you'll never know her,” Alaric said, “though I suppose that's your choice.  Still, you'll need to get used to seeing her around; she'll be accompanying us back to Rhemuth.”  He smiled as Derry favored him with an expression the Duke was more accustomed to seeing on a horse about to bolt.  He clapped the younger man on the back.  “Come on, man, buck up; it's not as bad as all that!  Besides,” he teased, “a little bit of wholesome feminine companionship is good for the soul!  Or at the very least, all that shy adoration has got to be good for the ego.  What in the world did you do in that week in Chervignon to make such an impression on her?”  The gray eyes regarded Derry speculatively.

   “Nothing!”  Derry blurted, turning scarlet.  He honestly had done nothing; nothing in the least bit improper, at any rate.  He'd simply worked diligently to gain the lady's trust as they worked together to seek out a new staff who would keep her demesne operating smoothly and who could be relied upon to be loyal to their new Lady.  “She's not exactly had the kindest of treatment in the past two years, after all, Alaric.  If you'd been the one to rescue her from that hellish existence Master Rannigan had planned for her, you'd be her hero.”

   Morgan shrugged philosophically.  “True.”  He sighed.  “Well, I'm certainly not going to try to force you to court the lass.   At any rate, chances are she'll be over you soon enough.  Still, in the meantime, do try to at least be properly cordial when she's around.  She'd be mortified if she realized you were avoiding her.”  He left Derry then.  The Earl watched him leave, suddenly wondering why the thought of being soon gotten over left him feeling unaccountably empty.  

#

   “And how are the fairest flowers in Coroth's garden today?”  Alaric asked his Duchess with a smile as he greeted her.  His young ward, seeing him approach, set her needlework to one side and stood to offer him a deep curtsey.  He returned the courtesy with a respectful, if less deep, bow of his own.

   “Quite well,” Richenda answered, beaming at Alaric.  “Lady Celsie and I have been talking about the finer points of stitchery.  Her mother's mother, it seems, was a guildmistress in the silk-worker's guild.”

   The younger woman blushed slightly at this mention of her much humbler origins, though the Duke looked unexpectedly impressed.   “Was she?” he asked, making no mention, if he were thinking it, of her mother's good fortune in having married up into the landed nobility, even if Celsie's father had been at the lowermost rung of the landed classes.  “And did you inherit her talent at it?”

   Celsie gave Alaric a shy smile, and shrugged.  “I'm not half as good as she was, or even my mother, though I'm trying to learn.”

   “Well, keep at it, then.  Like anything else, I suppose, I'm sure your needlework will only improve with practice.”  He turned his attention to Richenda then, drawing her a little apart from Celsie to discuss a few of the upcoming arrangements necessary for their return to Rhemuth together before Christmas Court; the very matter, in fact, he'd been heading out to the gardens to discuss with her before Derry had come barreling around the corner at him.  They talked about the trip preparations for several minutes, Alaric occasionally catching a glimpse of Lady Celsie out of the corner of his eye as she bent over her embroidery again, taking stitch after impossibly tiny stitch, her lips moving in some soundless utterance as she worked.

   He touched his wife arm as if to draw her attention to something, and mind-spoke, What is she doing? A brief visualization to her of what he'd just seen showed her what it was he was referring to.

   She stifled a laugh.  She's embroidering Derry's arms on the corner of a handkerchief.  In his mind, the image formed of a delicately hemmed square of snowy cambric, with the Derry arms skillfully sketched out on one quarter, the color on the device worked in silken stitches so small and closely set together that Alaric wondered that the demoiselle wasn't half blind yet from her efforts.  It's meant to be a token of gratitude for his recent efforts on her behalf at Chervignon.

   It's exquisite, Alaric replied, but what is she whispering?  

   Richenda's smile softened.  Oh, that!  She's praying.  They're prayers for Derry's safety, set into every stitch.  Quite powerful prayers, I might add, from the feel of her work, if you know what I mean.” She glanced up at her husband meaningfully.

   He met her eyes, startled. I thought she was completely untrained?  I'd gotten the impression from her that she wasn't even aware she was Deryni until she accidentally killed Master Rannigan!

   She wasn't.  She has no idea she's doing a powerful working...but she is.  Celsie thinks the prayer setting is just a family tradition her mother taught her.  Alaric, she needs proper training!

   I agree.  That's why I agreed to have her come with us, remember?


   Alaric returned to the center of the garden where Celsie was working, peering over her shoulder until she noticed his presence and hastily stood to bob another curtsy.  He waved her back down with a grin and, to her consternation, sat on the bench beside her.   “May I take a look at your work?” he asked.

   Blushing, she handed the handkerchief in its stiff embroidery frame to the Duke for his inspection.  He looked over the neat craftsmanship, careful to say nothing about the Derry arms for fear of embarrassing the demoiselle, simply saying, “It's beautifully done.  I'm certain your grandmother would be pleased by your progress.”  He handed it back to her with a smile, the brief perusal having been sufficient to feel the inherent power worked into the silken stitches.  “Just make sure you only work on it when you have sufficient light; I'd hate to see you get eye strain at such close work.”  He stood, waving her back down when she made as though she meant to rise and curtsy yet again, then turned to give his Duchess an affectionate smile and discreet kiss of parting before leaving on his next errand of the day.
   

Chapter 3: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=579.0
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 04:55:34 pm by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

Offline AnnieUK

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Demoiselle in Distress Chapter 2
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2010, 05:28:20 pm »
LOL @ "the usual, I would imagine".   And "not his type"?  HELLLOOOOO,  Derry, look at the picture up there ^^^ she is drop dead gorgeous!  Picky, much?  LOL.

Offline Alkari

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Demoiselle in Distress Chapter 2
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2010, 05:36:08 pm »
Poor Derry!  Seeing the man is still unmarried in KKB, he is clearly going to endure a lengthy period of suffering ...

 
Quote
“Is there a problem, Derry?  Another Torenthi invasion, perhaps?  Or foul murder afoot?  Do I have need to raise the hue and cry?  Or are the ladies just out enjoying the fresh air again?”
And I bet the Duke himself knows exactly what it is to flee young ladies, though possibly he did it with some more style than Derry.  A horse about to bolt indeed!  

Quote
... what the hell am I supposed to do with a virgin?!”

   It was all the Duke of Corwyn could do not to fall on the ground laughing.  “Well, the usual, I would imagine, Derry,” he finally managed with a valiant attempt at a straight face, “so long as you wed her first!  Or is that the real problem?”
*snorts into her coffee*   DO with her?!  At least Alaric won't be required to have the same sort of conversation with Derry as he had with Kelson he day of Kelson's wedding to Sidana ...

And I love the idea of protective embroidery, with spells woven into the stitches.

Offline Evie

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Demoiselle in Distress Chapter 2
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2010, 05:39:47 pm »
In this case, I strongly suspect "Not my type" = "You must be married to ride this ride." A terrifying thought, for the commitment shy.  :D

And yes, it's going to be a long three years. Derry will not go gently into that good night. Not that marriage is akin to death, but to ask him.... *eyeroll*
« Last Edit: June 21, 2010, 05:46:05 pm by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

Offline kirienne

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Demoiselle in Distress Chapter 2
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2010, 09:32:43 pm »
LOL, seeing Derry run from a lass is priceless. I love how she is unknowingly using her powers for a strong working  with *prayers* for his safety in each tiny stitch. I'm glad you posted more and may I be so bold as to ask for more still? It gave me a smile and a warm feeling in my heart. Wonderously done, this.

Offline Evie

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Demoiselle in Distress Chapter 2
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2010, 10:35:19 pm »
Oh, you'll definitely see Celsie again.  She and Sophie (plus another friend as yet unintroduced) will both soon be learning more about their powers once they get to Rhemuth and start spending time with more experienced Deryni who can see to their training.

And yes, Derry can run but he cannot hide....   :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

 


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