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Offline Evie

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Balance of Power--Chapter Eight
« on: September 12, 2015, 09:18:09 pm »
Previous chapter:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1573.0.html


Chapter Eight

Morning
Tre-Arilan--The Queen’s chamber
A short distance west of Rhemuth
December 18, 2021



“Your Majesty, I have some good news and some that is not so good, but I think we can fix that in short order.”

Sophia II of Gwynedd toyed with her hot buttered croissant as she looked up from a news article reporting the known casualties and survivors thus far from the Rhemuth Castle bombing.  Her appetite, it seemed, had become a casualty also.  “What sort of good and not-so-good news, James?” She waved the croissant in the vague direction of an empty chair. “Don’t hover. I haven’t had my morning caffeine yet.” She displayed a wan smile to take the sting out of her words.

James Arilan laughed. “Don’t tell me that Carbury forgot to offer you tea or coffee?  He’s slipping! Shall I remedy the lack?”

“He’s had a great deal on his mind,” said Sophia, “what with queens and other home invaders landing on his doorstep, but no, he brought me some coffee earlier.  I’ve just let it get cold, I’m afraid.”

“Well, that’s something I can handle readily enough, even if I’m not Carbury. I’ll get you a fresh cup. But before I do, I think you’ll want to hear the good news.”

“Yes, please. I’m in desperate need of some.”

James wore a beatific smile. “Your Lord Chamberlain survived the Rhemuth Castle attack. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t on the premises at the time, so once he discovered what had happened, he went straight up to Eirian House in order to prepare it for your presumed arrival. He figured that’s where you would be headed as soon as your armsmen deemed it safe for you to make the brief journey north. He and Henry are coordinating the last of the security upgrades right now, but suffice it to say we are several days ahead of schedule.”

“My Lord Cham. . . “ Sophia blinked away sudden tears. “The Earl of Culdi is alive?

“Alive and quite well, Ma’am. He’s sent you a message; Carbury has it. He’s downstai--” James broke off as the Queen leaped out of bed and launched herself at him, planting a delighted kiss soundly on his cheek before flying out the door and down the corridor. He blinked in startled bemusement before turning to see Michael Prior’s amused look.

“I’d say Her Majesty is pleased,” Michael joked before heading out the door at a somewhat more sedate pace.


Morning
Patrick and Eilonwy Adams’ flat
December 18, 2021



Maureen McLain-Sheehan reclined against several plump pillows on her daughter’s sofa as Eilonwy fussed over her. “Could I get you more tea, Mum?” she asked, a concerned frown furrowing her brow.

“No, sweetheart.  Sit.” Maureen smiled encouragement at her daughter. “Relax.  I’m perfectly fine now; I just need to take it easier than usual for the next day or two, but I’m hardly an invalid!”

“You could have been. Mum, you could have died!”

“Well, I haven’t, now have I?” Maureen said practically. “So stop fretting.” She stifled a yawn.

“Still tired out from yesterday, or did you have trouble sleeping last night?” Patrick asked, seated at the dining table with a scone in one hand while scrolling through a data file on his laptop with the other. “I certainly did.” He had pled a sudden illness to explain his abrupt departure from his official duties the afternoon before, a ruse that his Chief had evidently discovered no reason to doubt. It did not, however, seem to have excused him from his current assignment of sifting through Captain Coris’s forensics report for evidence of Unregistereds at Rhemuth Castle. His supervisor had helpfully encrypted and uploaded the report to him via their office’s secure server to work on from home while confined to his sick bed. Lucky him.

“Actually, I didn’t have any trouble falling asleep, despite all that’s happened in the past few days,” Maureen answered. “It’s staying asleep that’s been the problem, and I’m afraid it’s been going on for several days now. I keep having nightmares.”

“About the Castle bombing?” Jen asked, looking sympathetic. “That one’s been waking me up at night too.”

“No, it's not that at all, although I have the strangest feeling that they're connected!” Maureen closed her eyes. “In this nightmare, I dream that I’m a small child--a boy, I think he is--and I’m trapped in a dark, damp place.  I’m hungry and terrified, and every once in a while I can hear voices, but there’s one voice in particular that I keep listening out for, only it doesn’t come. It hasn’t come for a while, and I’m scared that it will and even more scared that it won’t.” She opened her eyes again to look at her son-in-law. “I’m starting to worry that it’s more than just a dream, but I don’t know what it means. Yesterday’s events had almost driven it from my mind, but Peter mentioned something just before the gas attack about a missing person’s case involving a little boy. O’Marley, O’Malley . . . .”

“Colin O’Malley?” Patrick sat up a bit straighter. “It’s him you think you’re seeing?”

“Well, not seeing exactly,” Maureen said, grimacing slightly. “If I could see him, I could draw him and perhaps see where he is. It’s not seeing him that’s been driving me half mad! But that sounds like the right name. Are you working that case?”

“No, I don’t do Missing Persons, but I know someone in the Rhemuth bureau. Maybe I could get you connected with whoever’s on that case up in Marbury.”

“I think--”  Maureen’s thoughts whirled furiously. Before yesterday, anything brought up in a Council meeting was considered privileged, not to be discussed with others outside of the Council, even close family, without the express consent of the group, unless perhaps it was a matter that one could disclose without mentioning the Council’s interest and involvement. But now, with the Council’s existence no longer deniable, given that Patrick at least had been inside the Council chamber itself and now knew all of the Councillors’ identities, the rules had shifted dramatically. She wished that Peter were here to consult with, but she hoped he would accept her judgment call.  She felt sure that if this missing child was in some way connected to the man who had entered Rhemuth Castle through its Transfer Portal in order to destroy it, then he had to be found quickly, both for his own safety and in order to bring whoever had been behind that plot to swift justice.

“Patrick, it’s just a hunch right now, but I believe that your case and this one might actually be connected.  I believe Colin O’Malley’s father is--or at least was--a man named Lloyd O’Malley, the same Lloyd O’Malley who was fired from the Royal Treasury a year or two ago for embezzlement.  If that’s the case, then Mr O’Malley might have had motive to destroy Rhemuth Castle, even at the cost of his own life--especially if his son was being held hostage in order to ensure his cooperation.”

"But surely, if someone kidnapped the boy just to gain his father's cooperation, they'd have let him go by now.  He's served his purpose," Jen ventured.

"That’s one way of looking at it. Unfortunately, another way to see it is that he's outlived his usefulness," said Patrick.




Morning
Coroth Castle’s dungeon
December 18, 2021



“I haven’t seen anything like it before,” Morgan Haldane admitted to Healer Dr Karim Al-Sayid as they descended the narrow stone staircase that led down to Coroth Castle’s ancient dungeon. “Even though Carbury and I caught her in the act of trying to break into Tre-Arilan, she has no memory of the event. Even when I use Truth-Say on her, she denies any knowledge of trespassing or of what she has done to Mr Whitfield. Everything she has told me under questioning stands up to a Truth-Reading, so she clearly believes it.”

“After seeing the damage done to Mr Whitfield’s mind,” Karim replied, “it’s pretty clear from piecing together his memories that she was the one who violated his psychic defenses. Does she remember any of that?”

“Not one bit, from what I can determine. She claims to be happily married to Tom Whitfield, and that she last saw him on the morning of the 16th. Incidentally, she also seems to be missing a day.”

“Hm. Interesting.  Perhaps Mr Whitfield’s is not the only mind that has been tampered with.  Let’s have a look, shall we?”




Morning
St. George Street Mission
Father Devlin’s flat
December 18, 2021



He was back, finally, at the mission where despite the usual cascade of crises and even downright mayhem he felt most at peace. Maggie had wondered about his overnight absence, so atypical of him (at least without him calling to check in with her), but he had explained it by telling her that he’d received a middle-of-the-night call from a friend requesting pastoral care, and that there had ended up being a severe illness involved with an uncertain prognosis, so he had not been able to break away until early this morning.  It was the truth, for the most part, although Devlin felt guilty about the lies of omission nonetheless.

After taking care of the most urgent matters at hand, Devlin had slipped upstairs to his rooms to spend a few minutes in prayer. After a short period of quiet communion with God, he felt the turmoil within begin to ease a bit, although he still felt that he had more questions for God than he’d received any answers for despite his attempts to still the roiling chaos of his thoughts and simply open his heart to receive guidance.  That was fine. He’d learned years ago to trust God to answer in His own good time.

He rose, slipping off his jacket and crossing the room to hang it on the rack just inside his door. As he turned, his gaze fell on the framed wedding photograph on the end table nearby.

He walked over to the sofa, sitting heavily on the edge of it, and picked the portrait up to study it more closely.  He looked impossibly young in that photo; he and Suzanne both did. It seemed half a lifetime ago, not just nine years since that wedding day. Neither of them had had a clue, had they, about what they were getting into. They’d thought they’d known, of course. He smiled in wistful memory as he traced the soft curve of Suzanne’s cheek with a fingertip, then closed his eyes.

They had only been at the St George Street Mission for a few short months before the first tiny fractures had begun to form in their relationship. Oh, they’d still loved each other madly, but love could not change the reality that their new lives here on the streets in one of the poorest neighborhoods of urban Rhemuth had been a far cry from what either of them had expected, given their more sheltered suburban upbringings.  Life and ministry at the mission were nothing at all like parish life at the Church of Saint Barnabas the Encourager, where they had first met and later married. Devlin had thrived on the differences, though, and found the mission rich soil for personal and spiritual growth.  Suzanne, unfortunately, had not. Eventually the fractures formed enough of a rift between them that both had attempted to bridge, but some days had been more of a struggle than others.

And then they’d learned there was a baby on the way. Devlin had been thrilled, yet his joy was mixed with a fair bit of trepidation, for he knew that even so happy an occasion as the birth of a child would bring with it more stress as well, and he was uncertain how much more strain his relationship with his bride could handle. Suzanne had felt overwhelmed by the news. She’d wanted to be overjoyed, but she found herself crying more and more with each passing day, then feeling guilty about not being able to live up to her own expectations of how she ought to feel about becoming a new mum. She’d also been worried about the environment they’d be bringing their child home to.

It had all come to a head one evening. Devlin had come home late one night, having been called away from the mission before the evening meal by one of his lads who had been picked up for shoplifting and taken down to the police station for a stern talking-to before being released with a warning into his custody. By the time he had brought the lad back to the mission and then returned to his upstairs flat, he had been hungry, weary, and quite cross. Finding Suzanne weeping and packing a travel bag had not improved his mood.

“I’m going up to Mum’s for a bit,” she’d informed him. “Mrs Munger rang, by the way, to chide me for not being in church last Sunday.”

“You were throwing up all morning, as I recall. Did she volunteer to hold a basin for you?”

Suzanne hadn’t laughed as she might have a few months earlier. She’d folded another blouse and placed it in the bag. “I’m tired of living in the fishbowl, Dev. I’m going home. I need some time to sort things out.”

He’d not had the patience to deal with her, not just then. “I see. Well, in case you’ve forgotten, this is our home now.”

“This is your home, maybe. I never signed on for this.” Tears had welled up in her eyes. “Maybe you can ring up the Bishop tomorrow. There’s got to be some other parish that can use a priest! Someplace more like Saint Barnabas.”

That, Devlin knew, might neatly solve some of his wife’s problems with his current assignment, but far from all of them. No matter where he served, there would be the Mrs Mungers of the world. But he’d said nothing, because he knew she had moved past the point of listening. Perhaps after the weekend, once she’d had a chance to calm down a bit, he could reason with her or figure out what might be done to make life at the mission easier for her to cope with. But not right then.

He’d heard her walk past him, had somehow mustered up enough energy and caring to mutter a quiet “I love you,” but as the words slipped past his lips,  he’d heard the door close. Had she heard him? He’d never known. She’d been hit by a drunk motorist while standing on the curb outside the mission,  killed instantly while waiting to hail a cab to take her to the public Portal down in Market Square.

Devlin opened his eyes again, bringing the top edge of the framed portrait to his lips briefly, almost prayerfully, before setting it back on the end table. He had never made that call to his Bishop, of course. After Suzanne’s death it had been a moot point (not that he’d ever really wanted to make that call anyway). Ironically, it had been the Bishop who’d rung him up to offer him a transfer not long thereafter, concerned that keeping Devlin in the neighborhood where his wife had died might hinder his emotional healing.  Devlin had asked to stay.  By then, he had thrown himself completely into his pastoral calling at the mission as his way of working through his grief and feelings of guilt. With time had come some measure of healing, and somewhere along the way the work he had begun here as a labor of idealistic duty had transformed fully into a labor of love, as he poured out the passion he had once lavished on his young bride into his ministry instead. Life at the mission had become no less easy, certainly, nor was life as a young widower somehow without its own set of associated problems, though both had ended up drawing him closer to God. As the years had passed since Suzanne’s death, he had learned not simply how to be content, but how to be genuinely happy again.

And then James had rung him up at God-forsaken-thirty in the morning a day ago (had it only been that long?) and turned his world completely upside down again! Well, not James, precisely. No, it was that feisty, pint-sized Haldane who had managed to wedge her way in, turning everything topsy-turvy. But James certainly hadn’t helped with his request as Devlin was leaving Tre-Arilan at sunrise this morning. “I think Her Majesty could still do with having a chaplain handy, at least until things settle enough for her to seek out someone on a more permanent basis. Think you could get your Bishop to give you a leave of absence for the next week or two?” The question had been posed innocently enough; despite their close friendship Devlin had never told James about his late wife’s parting request, so James had had no way of knowing he’d brushed up against an old wound with the question--not that he’d proposed a permanent reassignment, but still, there’d been echoes of unwanted memories. But Devlin wasn’t so sure that he was the best person to provide pastoral care for the grieving young Queen, no matter how temporary.

It wasn’t simply that he found himself physically attracted to her. That by itself, he could handle well enough, he thought. He had the same drives as the next man, and his vow of chastity had certainly never meant the death of those desires, just a denial of them now that he had no wife to enjoy sharing those desires with. But while self-denial was occasionally frustrating for an unmarried priest barely into his third decade of life (and not to mention one who’d had to fend off an uncomfortable number of women on offer despite being a priest), he’d managed well enough thus far. No, it wasn’t just the attractions of her face and form that made him wary of a closer connection with the bereaved young queen, it had also been his powerful attraction to her intelligence, her compassion for others despite her own deep sorrows, and that flash of passionate response to her own Divine calling that he’d seen flare in her eyes as she spoke to the Council the evening before, that made her such a potentially dangerous distraction for him. Could he possibly keep his own selfish interest in check and give her the objective care he ought to give to a woman in such an emotionally vulnerable state as Her Majesty was in?

Her Majesty.  Devlin stifled a laugh. Certainly she was more of a threat to his emotional state than he could ever be to hers!  A mere Associate Priest at an urban mission would hardly even register on the Royal radar once the national emergency had passed.  No, now he was just being ridiculous. He’d probably cause her no harm by helping her through this early transitional period of her reign; the harm would more likely be only to his own peace of mind, that was all.

One thing was certain, at least. He’d never have to worry about how she’d react to being carried over the threshold of his flat here at the Saint George Mission. His humor restored, he chuckled over the mental image as he headed back downstairs to see if Maggie had anything left over from breakfast.




Later Morning
Coroth Castle
The Green Tower--Morgan’s study
December 18, 2021



“So, what’s your diagnosis?” Morgan Haldane asked Healer Dr Karim Al-Sayid once the two Deryni had reached the privacy of Morgan’s personal study in the Green Tower.

Karim took an appreciative look around the room before answering. Despite the comfortable modern furnishings, there was an aura of ancient power that seemed to permeate the very walls of this room, and enough remained of the personal decor preferences of previous Morgans and more recent Haldanes for him to feel almost as if he’d somehow managed to take a Transfer Portal back through an entire family’s history.

“Is my green gryphon tapestry that fascinating, Karim?” Morgan asked with a chuckle in his voice, recalling Karim back to present-day Corwyn.

“Well, I’ve always thought you had something of a medieval presence about you, Your Grace, and now I know why,” Karim replied with a grin, sinking into a green sofa so comfortable that he half wished he could remain seated for the rest of his life. “My diagnosis?  Well, it would seem that we are dealing with a case of severe dissociation--an unusual sort of dissociative identity disorder, or what used to be known as multiple personality disorder--but it’s further complicated by having been magically induced.”

“I see. So which personality is her original one?”

Karim grimaced. “Hard to say, since it's not quite that straightforward,  but ‘Caroline,’ I think. She’s the one you’ve got in your dungeon at the moment, not the crazy bitch who lobbed a gas grenade into a room full of people before trying to take on Tre-Arilan’s defenses. The other personality calls herself Alisandra. She’s been dormant for years, but there have been verbal triggers set to call her forth. Some have been activated quite recently, and I managed to deactivate some others, but I’d really like O’Flynn to take a closer look at her and see if I’ve managed to miss any. Whoever did this to her was highly skilled. This divergent personality has been a very long time in the making.  I don’t suppose you happen to have any contacts in the Camberian Police Force?”

“No, I’m pretty lacking in Camberian contacts. Most of Camberia has a bit of a chip on the shoulder when it comes to Gwyneddan nobility and Haldanes in particular, so I’m not very high up on their list of Gwyneddans to cultivate a friendly acquaintance with. Why the Camberian Police Force?”

“Because a peek at their Missing Persons records might be useful, particularly around the  early to mid-1990s time frame. From what I’ve gleaned from her memories, the child Caroline Alisandra Sheraton was abducted at a very young age and carefully groomed and tampered with to create her alter persona. Neither personality has a conscious memory of this, by the way, so it’s a bit harder to bring the pieces of her history to the foreground.”

“That’s . . . beyond vile,” Morgan managed.

“Isn’t it, just? That should tell you something about the sort of man we’re dealing with.”

“Definitely a man, then?”

“Oh yes. I caught several glimpses of him, but I’m having to work around lots of blocked memories, and I’ve had to neutralize a fair few Death Triggers to get past them, which is not unlike waltzing through a field of landmines whilst catching a flying grenade in mid-air to put the pin back in, so it’s been fiddly work; I don’t highly recommend it. His name is Malcolm--or at least that’s the name she knows him by--and ‘Alisandra’ fancies herself in love with him. He’s father, teacher, trainer, confidant, and lover, all wrapped up in one convenient package.”

Morgan arched a blond eyebrow. “Well, that’s dysfunctional as high-octane hell, isn’t it?”

Karim chortled. “That’s one way of looking at it. ‘Caroline,’ on the other hand, has been drawing from a deep well of artificial memories to fill in the gaps between her abduction and her arrival in Gwynedd. Finding out she’s been hosting this second personality all along has come as a severe shock.”

“I would imagine. So is there any way of eliminating the . . . shall we say, parasitic personality without killing off the host?”

“Well . . . it’s not quite so simple as all that, unfortunately. While it might be possible for us to remove the ‘Alisandra’ personality altogether, it might actually be in the patient’s best interests to attempt reintegrating the personalities, if that can be done safely and without blending back in the destructive elements of the ‘Alisandra’ side. We don’t want her to remain a radical Camberian terrorist, of course.”

“Why would you want to reintegrate her at all?”

“Because this really isn’t as simple as merely removing ‘Bad Alisandra’ from ‘Good Caroline.’ During the original splitting of the young girl’s psyche into two separate individuals who happen to inhabit the same body, quite a few positive traits ended up dominant in ‘Alisandra’ and a fair few weaknesses ended up dominant in ‘Caroline.’ So rather than keep one and eliminate the other, if at all possible we’d rather look at only removing the parts of her psyche that are damaged beyond any possibility of repair--like excising a tumor, let’s say--and restoring what’s left over to become a whole individual again: someone approximating the adult that the original Caroline Alisandra Sheraton might have grown up to become, had she been left untampered with from the beginning.”

“Sounds like a pretty tall order.”

“Yes. Fascinating case, really.”

“You’re sure you’re the man for the task?  From what Carbury has told me, the ‘Alisandra’ half of her very nearly killed your lady love, after all, or might have at least if Lady Alicia hadn’t been late for that meeting.”

“Not all of ‘Alisandra,’ just the parts of her psyche that I prefer to think of as ‘the tumor.’” Karim flashed a feral grin. “Once I’ve consulted with O’Flynn and we figure out some strategy for how to do that safely, I’m looking forward to obliterating that nasty tumor all to hell and gone.”

Morgan smiled back. “Good man! Can you do me just one little favor, if at all possible?”

“What’s that, Sir?”

“Before you cut out that ‘tumor,’ see if there’s any way to track it back to its source. I would dearly love to ensure that diabolical bastard never causes harm to another living soul--not even in thrice-bedamned Camberia.”



Next chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1579.0.html
« Last Edit: September 17, 2015, 09:15:55 pm by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Offline NavaWazr

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Eight
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2015, 10:53:30 pm »
Hooray, a MacRorie lives! I have faith that Saint Camber will come through and make this better, although the road may be a bit rocky.  Thank you for the backstory on Father Devlin. Is love - fulfilled, devoted, thwarted, twisted- a key theme in your story? I'll check back on this at the end.  I am worried about the child, about the vulnerability of the people of Rhemuth, but this is unfortunately reality as I read of horrors and tragedies in the news.  I imagine the castle is covered in flowers and tributes, and that Sophia cries in secret for her family, for everyone she knew who is gone. Will the Earl know where the jewelry is? Will he know the triggers for activating the Haldane Potential in Sophia? I looked at the character list and most players are in place now.

I could ask many questions; instead I thank you for the story and will reread to quietly pass the 10,080 minutes until I hope you post again.
I realized that I wanted to be Deryni, would have loved to be another niece of Uncle Azim, perhaps living on a Fianna vineyard.... but I'm a never wazzer

Offline Evie

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Eight
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2015, 11:49:02 pm »
Yes, there might well be a speed bump or two along the way, this being an Evie story. ;) Father Devlin's backstory sort of sneaked in there on me. I hadn't originally planned on him being a widower, but then that wedding photo popped into the story demanding an explanation, and before I knew it he was telling me lots of detail about his backstory that I previously had no clue about. Much of it turns up in this story, though some may need to wait for some future tale in order to be revealed. The same thing happened with other characters as well.

Is love the theme of this story? You know, I never consciously set out to write this story with love as the theme, but thinking back through it now, I think love in its many permutations is at least one very strong thread that runs throughout it. So I'd have to say yes. Thanks for pointing that out!

You might have good reason for those worries for the child and the people of Rhemuth, this being an Evie story . . . .  ;) 

Right now, the castle and the area of the city immediately surrounding it are both strictly off limits to anyone but emergency personnel, but yes, the people's outpouring of grief has resulted in huge masses of flowers and other tributes left at the Cathedral and various other locations throughout Rhemuth. And you're quite correct that Sophia's grief will not resolve itself overnight, though like most people suffering a great loss, she has moments of strength when she appears to be coping well and other moments of vulnerability when her coping mechanisms seem to be falling apart.  Becoming Queen is no antidote for vulnerability.

As to your other questions, I suppose you'll be seeing those answers appear as the story progresses.  Check back on Thursday night for Chapter Nine!   ;D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Offline Laurna

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Eight
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2015, 12:52:03 am »
Did you say 10,800 minutes. :o Well maybe just a few less minutes now, but, that is still a lot of minutes. I definitely will give this another read through before then.

Now, as for Neville MacRorie, Earl of Culd, Lord Chancellor to the Royal Household. Yes I had to look him up in the Dramatis personae. No picture. :P (Therefore, I am picturing Neville from Harry Potter. This is not a bad thing. Far from it. Have you seen the recent photo's of the actor shirtless.  ;D)  I digress. I suppose as Lord chancellor, Neville MacRorie will be a bit older than my image. I am curious how the surname MacRorie reemerged. I do not think there were any MacRories left in King Kelson's time. Queen Araxie's  older sister, Richelle was the Countess of Culdi through her father Duke Richard Haldane in that century.  Did an unnamed descendant of Stuart MacAthan remarry into the Culdi line?  There were diffidently a few floating around not mentioned by KK. So I am hoping Sief was not the last male MacAthan ever.
 My curiosity just likes to discover these things.

If nothing else, it sounds like James will be getting his house back to himself soon enough. Or did he promise to perform the assumption of power ritual there.  I guess Carbury will be busy awhile longer.

Offline Demercia

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Eight
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2015, 03:47:06 am »
The best chapter yet, though I do hope Sophia had a suitably regal dressing gown to fling on before she careered down the corridor.   I love the way that you move between humour, goodness, grief and heart-chilling evil so convincingly.  Re Macrories,  perhaps a descendent in the female line reclaimed the name in honour of our favourite saint?
The light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

Offline revanne

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Eight
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2015, 01:26:36 pm »
"Karim replied with a grin, sinking into a green sofa so comfortable that he half wished he could remain seated for the rest of his life."

It occurred to me to wonder whether the sofa was the same one that Duncan had collapsed into after his disconcerting encounter on the road back to Coroth in DC. Perhaps a wooden settle appropriately re-upholstered for the more sensitive anatomies of the 21st century.
Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
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As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
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    let the wicked perish before God.
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Offline Demercia

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Eight
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2015, 01:40:53 pm »
It would have to have been extremely well constructed to have survived a Millenium
The light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Eight
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2015, 02:05:41 pm »
Another fascinating chapter! I liked the backstory on Father Devlin, and am curious to see what type of relationship he establishes with Queen Sophia.  I would think she is very emotionally vulnerable at the moment and probably for some time.  His would be a very comfortable shoulder to lean on.

'Morgan arched a blond eyebrow. “Well, that’s dysfunctional as high-octane hell, isn’t it?”'  Nicely put, Your Grace!  :)
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

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Offline revanne

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Eight
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2015, 02:16:46 pm »
It would have to have been extremely well constructed to have survived a Millenium

But perhaps the magical protection on this private chamber of the Dukes of Corwyn would act as a preservative
Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
    let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
    as wax melts before the fire,
    let the wicked perish before God.
(Psalm 68 vv1-2)

Offline Evie

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Eight
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2015, 02:57:35 pm »
Now, as for Neville MacRorie, Earl of Culd, Lord Chancellor to the Royal Household. Yes I had to look him up in the Dramatis personae. No picture. :P (Therefore, I am picturing Neville from Harry Potter. This is not a bad thing. Far from it. Have you seen the recent photo's of the actor shirtless.  ;D)  I digress. I suppose as Lord chancellor, Neville MacRorie will be a bit older than my image. I am curious how the surname MacRorie reemerged. I do not think there were any MacRories left in King Kelson's time. Queen Araxie's  older sister, Richelle was the Countess of Culdi through her father Duke Richard Haldane in that century.  Did an unnamed descendant of Stuart MacAthan remarry into the Culdi line?  There were diffidently a few floating around not mentioned by KK. So I am hoping Sief was not the last male MacAthan ever.  My curiosity just likes to discover these things.

If nothing else, it sounds like James will be getting his house back to himself soon enough. Or did he promise to perform the assumption of power ritual there.  I guess Carbury will be busy awhile longer.

Yes, Carbury will be busy for a little longer, though some peace and quiet is in sight at last. I don't know about Neville MacRorie looking like Neville Longbottom, though, unless you age the lad another half century.  The Earl of Culdi is in his early 70s or thereabouts, so Edward Woodward might be a better model for him:



As to the MacRories regaining Culdi, the current Earl may or may not be in the direct line from Camber. I haven't worked out his ancestry, but I am pretty sure there would have been other MacRories connected to Camber's branch of the family (but not necessarily mentioned in Codex since their existence had no direct bearing on the canon) who had to go underground after the Statutes of Ramos took effect, perhaps with a name change for a few generations, but after the Statutes were repealed, the nearest remaining next of kin to Camber would have been eligible to reclaim lands taken away from their family, including Culdi. It may have even been restored to some future-to-Kelson's-time MacRorie for loyal service to the Crown, especially if the earldom had gone into abeyance before that time, given the known historical association between Culdi and Camber MacRorie. We also know there were distant relatives of Camber in Torenth during Kelson's era--the Makrory family, which was the original form of the name before Camber's ancestors moved to Gwynedd. So unlikely as it might seem, the present MacRorie might even descend from a Torenthi Makrory. Stranger things have happened.

The best chapter yet, though I do hope Sophia had a suitably regal dressing gown to fling on before she careered down the corridor.   I love the way that you move between humour, goodness, grief and heart-chilling evil so convincingly.  Re Macrories,  perhaps a descendent in the female line reclaimed the name in honour of our favourite saint?

LOL! I don't think the state of her wardrobe was uppermost in Sophia's mind when she delighted James with that spontaneous kiss and went tearing off down the corridor, but given that she had allowed him into her bedchamber in the first place, let's hope she was wearing her dressing gown already. For that matter, this is December in Gwynedd, so whatever she was wearing, I assure you Carbury would have selected nightwear for her with warmth in mind rather than anything too alluring for a brief display in mixed company.  :D

"Karim replied with a grin, sinking into a green sofa so comfortable that he half wished he could remain seated for the rest of his life."

It occurred to me to wonder whether the sofa was the same one that Duncan had collapsed into after his disconcerting encounter on the road back to Coroth in DC. Perhaps a wooden settle appropriately re-upholstered for the more sensitive anatomies of the 21st century.

I'm sure Morgan Haldane still owns an ancient article of furniture or two, lovingly restored, but I doubt a 900 year old settle would be up to daily use, no matter how many comfortable cushions were added in subsequent centuries, so no, this is almost certainly a custom-made sofa made for the comfort of modern-day backsides, but perhaps with fabric specially chosen to go with the eclectic decor in the room.

It would have to have been extremely well constructed to have survived a Millenium

But perhaps the magical protection on this private chamber of the Dukes of Corwyn would act as a preservative

Maybe to some extent, but since styles and fashions change from generation to generation, I hardly think that furniture that Alaric and Richenda considered stylish and top-of-the-line would have been considered so by their grandchildren and grandchildren, who would have wanted to put their own personal touches on their home. So over the centuries, I'm sure various pieces here and there were replaced with more modern pieces throughout the centuries, until by the 21st Century Coroth Castle would look like an antique collector's or museum curator's fantasy showroom. But yes, I made sure to keep at least a few of Alaric and Richenda's things in decent shape, as you'll see later in the story.

Another fascinating chapter! I liked the backstory on Father Devlin, and am curious to see what type of relationship he establishes with Queen Sophia.  I would think she is very emotionally vulnerable at the moment and probably for some time.  His would be a very comfortable shoulder to lean on.

'Morgan arched a blond eyebrow. “Well, that’s dysfunctional as high-octane hell, isn’t it?”'  Nicely put, Your Grace!  :)

LOL! I thought you might like that line, Jerusha. Morgan Haldane is very much a 20th/21st Century man, but glimpses of Alaric still shine through his personality.  :D

Yes, Sophia is quite vulnerable right now. Thankfully Devlin is the type of man to be well aware of that and too much a gentleman to take undue advantage. If anything, he may be a little too modest to quite understand how much she needs the support of someone like him just at the moment.
"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 DesertRose

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Re: Balance of Power--Chapter Eight
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2015, 08:40:44 pm »
"Morgan arched a blond eyebrow. “Well, that’s dysfunctional as high-octane hell, isn’t it?”'  Nicely put, Your Grace!  :)

That was one of my favorite turns of phrase so far.  :D
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)

 


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