Author Topic: Seven swans a-swimming  (Read 3022 times)

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Offline revanne

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Seven swans a-swimming
« on: January 01, 2016, 03:57:19 pm »
 Link to the sixth day of Christmas,1652.msg14484.html#msg14484

"Besides I’d had an idea. One of the manor lords had called a meeting of the local villagers and I decided that I could usefully form part of the discussion.

Duncan rolled his eyes, “will you never grow up? You went in disguise, of course!”

“Well I could scarcely go to a meeting of villagers in my ducal coronet and best silks and velvet. Besides my people have seen me often enough in simple riding leathers to know me, and once their initial awe had worn off they usually speak readily enough. This was no exception.

“It had occurred to me that what was needed was to put the fear of God – or at least the King (Morgan studiously avoided looking at Kelson) – into those responsible. With any luck they could be scared into changing their ways rather than just moving on elsewhere. The only problem was that it would involve magic; in the end I decided to be totally honest about this aspect of my plan but insisted that if anyone was not happy we would seek another way of resolving the issue. I saw a few furtive signs of the cross” - Morgan chose to ignore Duncan’s muttered comment that signing oneself against Alaric with a plan, was a wise precaution unrelated to suspicion of his Deryni powers – “but most were reassured by my promise that they would not themselves be touched by any magic. I rather gained the impression that some of the younger ones were even a tad disappointed, especially when I declined to reveal what was in my mind. All I would say was that they would not be the losers, and I hoped that we could end the thefts without danger of any further loss or injury.”

“In hindsight, Kelson, I confess I should have sought your authority for what came next but at the time it seemed more important to act as soon as possible.”

Kelson caught Duncan’s eye and privately sent: Rather, he was too carried away by his own cleverness and enjoying himself too much.

Duncan concurred: I don’t think he’ll ever entirely shake off his image of himself as the daring darkling Duke.

Caught up in his tale Morgan continued, “I had my herald instruct the local town criers to announce that the King wished all to be reminded, as the festive season approached, that all swans are the sole property of the Crown and that the killing or eating of them is prohibited to all but the nobility and even then only with the express permission of His Majesty. The laws and penalties to be enforced with full rigour. There had been no reports of outlaws living rough so it seemed likely that the poachers were respectable citizens by day and would get to hear the proclamation one way or another. Incidentally Kelson, you might want to review those laws, they’re unchanged since the time of the Festils and pretty savage they are too.”

Kelson ignored this extraneous advice for the moment and commented, “I feel sure that the average citizen must have thought that I had lost my senses if the contents of my subjects’ Christmas dinners had become my most pressing concern.” However he was clearly beginning to be amused as he half-guessed what was coming.

“And you just happened to have a few swans at Coroth castle, which…”

“…a Deryni glamour made into geese. Indeed, Sire. Seven of them happily swimming on the lake just beyond the moat.  They were full grown, but young enough not to have mated and we placed one of them in each of the village ponds that seemed most likely to be amongst the next targets of the poachers. Their wings were clipped so they wouldn’t be able to fly away.”

Duncan interjected, “It must have been a quite a task keeping them calm enough to place the glamour on them in the first place. Have you met an angry swan at close quarters? Let alone seven!”

“There are ways,” countered Morgan evasively but refused to be drawn further .

I’ll wager he had help from Briony, sent Duncan, she has her Aunt Bronwen’s gift of calling birds to her.

She does indeed. Responded Kelson, I wonder what Richenda made of Alaric involving their daughter in one of his schemes.

Best not to ask!

“The swans were bigger than the average village goose and so much more appealing as a target for the poachers, who must have thought their luck was in as the next night’s visits revealed such a prize. But of course as soon as the bird was shot – suddenly the goose was revealed as a swan and as good as stamped with the royal crest.”

Morgan looked up and saw that the eyes of both Kelson and Duncan were dancing with mirth.

“And this happened how many times before their nerve finally failed and they gave up?”

“Four and each time they fled leaving the carcase behind. I’ll say this for them either they were remarkably brave or else totally thick-headed.  Faced with the taint of magic, an unsaleable kill and the threat of dire penalties, if caught, I'm amazed they kept going that long. I only wish I could have found a way of being there to see their faces. We’ve had very little trouble with poachers in those parts since.”

“I don’t doubt it,” Said Kelson dryly, “and in the meantime several dozen villagers have acquired the taste for royal swan?”

“Hardly. They were almost as scared of being caught with crown property as the poachers and though they've come a long way in regard to magic, bless them, it’s not to the extent of eating enchanted food. My men were around before first light to allay their fears and the dead swans and the three still alive and pretending to be geese were each  exchanged for a couple of plump geese from the castle flock.”

Morgan stood and stretched. “Am I forgiven, Sire?”

Kelson nodded though he was unable to resist adding, “I’ve been forever grateful that you are unassailably loyal to me. I would hate to have such deviousness working against me.”

“The penitential manual hasn’t been written which includes half your misdeeds, so you’re safe from me too,” put in Duncan “unless you would like me to check with Denis?”

Morgan put out his hands in a warding off gesture then stood and stretched, turning with a glance of mischief towards the King, “I can fully recommend roast swan if you are not familiar with the taste.”

Then his expression turned sombre again and he sighed, “I only wish there was as easy a way to get out of the current crisis. There’s not much to smile about at the moment. Keep us all in your prayers please.” And with that he turned towards the portal and was gone.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 03:59:31 pm by revanne »
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 Jerusha

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Re: Seven swans a-swimming
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2016, 07:40:43 pm »
So glad to see that Briony's talents were put to good use! :)

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 Evie

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Re: Seven swans a-swimming
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2016, 12:27:02 am »
LOL! An ingenious ploy, and at least the prospect of roast swan would help keep Briony's partridge safe. ;)
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Offline Laurna

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Re: Seven swans a-swimming
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2016, 03:04:40 am »
Interesting tale.
Have I ever mentioned I am an Ornithologist at heart.  :o 

I do hope we hear more from Morgan on how he solves his duchy's winter supplies trouble. I do wonder if that will be where Nine lords a leaping will come in.  ;D


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