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Healer’s Inheritance- Chapter 8- A State of Dreaming

Started by Laurna, November 18, 2014, 01:18:16 AM

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Previous Chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1330.0.html

985, December 25
Christmas Feast

A dish of berries and chilled cream gave a sweet, final taste to put to rest the senses that overindulged through the multiple courses of the feast. The countess had delayed her departure during Troubadour Harlow's heroic tale, and now that his last gallant phrase was sung and the applause for his talent had died down, her guilt pried her to stand and make her excuses. "My lord Earl, my honored guests, I must take my leave of you for just a while, for there is one little stomach who has not had the pleasure of this feast." Those at the table, all feeling quite full after such a repast, gave a mild laugh as the countess curtsied to take her leave. The men stood and bowed as she stepped away. She turned back for a moment. "Lady Evelyn, Lady Jessamyn, I would dearly love both of your company, if our good knights can bear to be without you both for just this short time."

Evelyn stood with ease, accepting the bow from her brother before she left the table. Melina noticed how Jathurn was quick to take this opportunity to move down the table toward Sir Artimus. She would love to overhear that conversation. She wondered just what Arty would say to this unexpected bid for his sister's hand. She was anxious to discover Lady Evelyn's feelings on the subject. A Deryni husband with a special gift just might be the kind of man her friend needed to be happy and secure once more.

As Evelyn joined her, the countess looked back and held out her hand to Jessa. The younger lady had stood, but her uncertain expression indicated her reluctance to leave the comfort of her husband's side. "A little reprieve from this crowded room will do you good, my dear. Come, we will let the men talk and plan while we see to more personal needs."

Washburn squeezed Jessa's hand as she turned from him. "My dear Countess, you will promise me that you will return with these lovely ladies before the carole begins, for I am sworn to no less than three dances tonight."

"I do promise to return, good sir, with the ladies in good time. So I will ask it of the earl not to begin the dance without us."

"Our glory will not shine so bright until you are back among us," declared Muir. "Until then, we will rely on the acrobats to keep us entertained. And I promise, not one step will I dance until you have returned to my side." He finished his declaration with a flourished bow.

All three ladies barely hid their delight at the earl's extravagance. With smiles hidden behind hands, the three ladies departed the festivities for the supposedly quieter nursery on the third floor. Though, indeed, as they opened the door to the nursery, the noise within proved there was no quiet to be found here.  Just as they stepped within the room, they were greeted by a high squeal of "Mama, Mama!" Evelyn managed to brush past the countess and bend down just in time to stop a little girl from crashing into everyone's knees. Nanny Nilla scurried forward, full of apologies. She only relaxed after Evelyn's smile turned from her daughter to assure her all was well. 

Melina patted the little girl's dark hair before she turned to Taria, who held out Melina's child for her to cradle in her arms. She felt a rush of pleasure as she hugged her son. "There you are, my little man," she cooed, rubbing her nose with his. His little face turned up, mouth open in hunger. He whimpered a sound when his lips met his mama's fingers; his hands making little fists in frustration when his meal appeared delayed. "Just a minute, my son, you must have just a little patience with your mama." Moving toward the side of the room, she let Taria loosen the back of her gown. As the fabric slipped away, her baby had no further obstacle to easing his hunger.  The countess laughed at his greediness. Balancing her son just so, she moved to the chair and settled into her role of motherhood. After a moment, the squealing sounds of glee caused her to look back over her shoulder. Evelyn was there whirling her little girl around, swinging her in a dance while singing a playful song. Sigheria sang giddily with her mama. Then the lady hugged her daughter close, carrying her over to sit near the countess.

Evelyn, I have news from Baron Jathurn, Melina's Mind-Speech announced. She was barely able to contain her joy for her friend. I want to hear from you how you feel about his bid on behalf of his brother, Lord Ellison.

Evelyn's face lit with excitement. Did he ask you? I wondered if that was why the baron was taking my seat next to my brother as we left! The two ladies seated near the hearth giggled in excitement as they imagined what this match could be.

Jessa didn't immediately follow the countesses to the hearth, nor did she realize they were conversing as they settled close together. For a long moment instead, she stood in the arched doorway, containing the tears that threatened to spill forth as she witnessed the show of motherly devotion. Did she dare to let these feelings of motherhood into her heart? Within the convent, those feelings had been suppressed as a dream for others to experience, but not for her. When the miracle of her beloved knight and her marriage came, those motherly desires had broken free of their confinement. Could she deny them and cage them up again? Could her new life find its full potential if she did not allow herself to give her heart to children? No! She loved children. She realized this answer even as the screams and giggles of other children startled her. The sounds of more children made her step in past the threshold to see the room's far side filled with the castle's youngest inhabitants. These toddlers and youngsters were gathered together under the watchful eyes of a few nannies, which then allowed their parents the freedom to enjoy the Christmas feast.

"Come, Jessa," the countess called to her. "Come sit near us. Enjoy a few minutes reprieve from the crowds down in the hall."

Overwhelmed, Jessa didn't immediately respond. Instead, she watched the children play. She smiled to herself, not finding this scene at all a place of respite, but rather a room filled with exuberant energy; more energy than what she had felt in the hall downstairs. It came to her how she had missed the giving of gifts that morning. Each child had a new toy in their hands, for even at this late hour, they seemed to not have tired of playing with them. The nearest girl combed the hair of her doll, the next boy pranced a wooden pony across the floor. Without warning, a hide-covered ball scooted across the room, bouncing off pallets of bedding, and passed Jessa's feet. A pair of boys chased after the ball, deflecting each other's balance in the pursuit of the runaway toy. One of the boys veered to miss the toddler with his horse, falling instead into the girl, his weight knocking her down and accidentally pushing the doll from her hands. He was up and running again with a squeal, but the little girl sat in a heap on the floor crying.

Jessa was quick to kneel at her side, gathering up the doll and placing it back into the child's hands. "Are you all right?" she asked as the girl whimpered, squeezing the doll to her chest. Jessa patted the doll's hair back into place. "She is a pretty one, this doll of yours. Have you given her a name yet?'"

"Chrissy," her shy voice said. "Papa gave her to me this morning."

"You must have been a very good girl to receive such a wonderful gift," Jessa said, holding back the small pain she felt in her heart. "Give your sweet Chrissy a kiss on the cheek for me, and tell her how pretty she is and how lucky she is to have you to protect her."  Jessa touched the child's hand as the girl kissed her doll, and the Healer knew no harm had come from the boy's roughhousing. The ball came rolling their way once more, and with a quick lift Jessa had the girl in her arms and away from harm. The boys ran by, oblivious to the nanny who scolded them from behind. Jessa turned with the child in her arms as the door opened, admitting a stream of women dressed in festive attire. One of them bowed solemnly before Jessa, her arms up to take back her daughter. Jessa kissed the girl's cheek before handing her across. "She must give you great joy," she managed to say as the mother nodded in agreement and took her child back.

The mothers of the castle had followed the example of the countess to take a respite from the feast to come check on their children and then find a pallet on which to put them to bed. There were nearly twenty children that four nannies shared the duty of caring for. It was obvious that the children had played hard while everyone else was feasting, for at first the room was filled with youthful voices sharing their adventures with their mothers. As Jessa watched, she was amazed by these mothers' abilities to calm their young ones and bring about an eased feeling across the room.

The nursery settled and servants doused the candles in the wall sconces to help bring about sleep. Jessa, so unused to this show of motherly affection, watched the scene in wonder. Love spilled over the room, the kind of love Jessa had little experience with, and it left her in a state of admiration. And aloneness. She now realized she was the only one here without a child in her arms. Almost dazed, she wandered over to the side of the countess and took a seat near her. She was torn, not knowing if she should drink from the flask of motherly love or hold it at arm's reach to keep from feeling grief if it never passed her way.

Melina and Evelyn must have been conversing silently, for in that moment Evelyn blushed and laughed out loud. Both women smiled at the attention Jessa turned toward them, but no explanation was offered. They returned to light conversation about how well the men were dressed that night, admiring Muir's new tunic and the splash of white showing through the split sleeves of Washburn's tunic. Evidently he had chosen to wear the same fine, lightweight shirt of white silk that he had worn on his wedding day. This small departure from his normal black and red attire, they attributed to Jessa's ability to lighten the warrior's outlook. The ladies teased Jessa over it and she smiled back, her eyes falling to Muir's infant son in Melina's arms. She must not have hidden her emotions completely, for the countess leaned over to her, placing a hand on hers.   

"Oh, Jessamyn, you needn't look sad. Soon you will know what it is like to be a mother, and you will wonder what ever happened to your youth and your freedom. Now is the time in your life to enjoy the undivided attention you can give to your Knight Captain. For it doesn't take long for the belly to swell to ripening and for your life to be forever changed. I promise you that this special love will grow from what your first love begets." She smiled down at her son as he finished his meal and fell asleep in her arms.

"Aye," Evelyn whispered, having kissed the cheek of her daughter who too had fallen asleep in her lap. "Never waste happiness. For the heavens test us, but I believe that light is offered when our way seems darkest. Just open your eyes and it will lead you to a good path." 

"I have always had faith that this is so." Jessa responded, warming to the thought that she would not have been led to this path if utter darkness were in her future.

Melina stood to place Euan in his cradle, and Evelyn lifted her daughter to place her on the nearest pallet. Each countess kissed her child's forehead before standing. Taria adjusted Melina's gown for her, tightening the lacing at the back, and then she fingered the countess hair and veil back into place. Taken this as their cue, the other ladies about the room tucked their children into bed and kissed them good night. All the mothers in a group tip-toed from the room, hopeful that the children's quiet would remain after they had left. A thankful smile from the nannies proved they appreciated the reprieve, and that they had everything well in hand. Melina was the last to leave, closing the door behind her. "They should all sleep well. Without guilt, I think we can happily rejoin the feast and make merry like we were once more free to be as young and carefree as our Jessamyn." Both Lady Melina and Lady Evelyn kissed Jessa's cheek with a 'Thank you' before making their way back to the feast. Jessa was left to wonder what it was that they had thanked her for.

All the ladies returned to the feast, refreshed and in good spirits. A call went out for the carole, and with a wave of his hand the earl signaled the musicians to play. The center of the hall had been cleared with the tables pushed off to the side, leaving an open space to enjoy the dance. With a bow, Muir took the hand of his lady and guided her down from the dais. At the head of the dance floor, he bowed low, offering his lady his respect and his devotion. As he straightened, the musicians took up their mark and Troubadour Harlow began the ballad of Galyenne.

"Se j'ai grant joie enz, enz mon cuer, Ne demandez dont elle vient!" the tenor's voice filled the room. If I have great joy in my heart. Do not ask whence it comes!

Melina laughed at the choice of songs and heartily answered the call as if Muir had been the caller. "Gallyennne, tres douce suer." Gallyennne, my sweet sister. The countess bowed to the Ladies Jessa and Evelyn before taking Muir's hand. "Se j'ai grant joie ens, enz mon cuer, ne veul que nuls en sache fuer!" If I have joy in my heart, I do not want anyone at all to know about it!

Muir gallantly turned her around in the first steps of the dance.  And then to everyone's surprise, he sang in a voice deep and steady the answer to the countess's call, "Que j'iang du cuer vous saves bien." That I love with all my heart, you know full well.

Melina gave a laugh of joy and a sweeping curtsy to her husband. "Se j'ai grant joie enz, enz mon cuer," she sang in a pleasing voice the answering phrase. "Ne demandez dont elle vient!" If I have joy in my heart, do not ask whence it comes!

"Que j'iang du cuer vous saves bien." A harmony of devotion filled the hall as together the earl and the countess repeated the last phrase. That I love with all my heart, you know full well. **

The stanza ended with Muir stealing a kiss from his wife, and the people cheered.  As the noble couple curtsied and bowed to each other, Wash guided his golden bride to stand at the hall's center beside his liege lord. He bowed deeply, honoring the blush on his angel's cheeks.  As the second verse of the ballad was called by Harlow, other dancers filled the floor. The voices in the hall answered the tenor's song.

Melina giggled like a girl as Muir lifted her high and turned her around in the dance. She stole her eyes away from her husband to see that her new sister had brushed away her insecurities. A refreshing exuberance of youth had returned to Jessa's face as her knight's strong hands lifted her up and turned her round in the dance. Beyond the couple, Melina could see Baron Kyriell asking permission to dance with Evelyn. Artimus seemed to have no objection as he handed across her hand to the Baron. With the promise of another happy match, Melina laughed aloud as her husband once more lifted her high over the heads of the crowd.

Into the night the people of Cynfyn, men and women alike, noble and poor, joined in the dance and the carole. Their feet moved to the music and their voices sang to the night. Making merry of the holiday, many chose to dance until dawn. For the few who would be making their departure in the morning, they turned in just before dawn to find their beds and get at least an hour or two of sleep.

985, December 28
Road north of the Lendour River

Three nights of travel passed, and the joy of the feast was still a warm memory, but the most recent news threatened to hamper Washburn's good mood.

You're saying the royal messenger has not arrived? The Knight Captain's irritation transferred across the long distance link.  But I received confirmation he'd ridden out of Nyford yesterday.  That letter should have been in your possession today. Damn, this could mean trouble.

There's been no word from Nyford or from Rhemuth.  I am having difficulty keeping a man on watch at the city gates. Two have been recognized and arrested, so far. We've barricaded ourselves in this store room. My men slip in and out through a low hole in the wall, which is best done under the cover of darkness. Sir Dillon told his captain.

Have them hold tight one more day. If a mishap with the royal messenger has occurred, then Rhemuth will hear of it; though I fear not in time to help us. Wash shook his head, working through the problem. Letter or no letter, I intend to lead the Tralian delegation to Abbeyford crossing at mid-morning. I'd like to expect the ferry to meet us on the north bank. Do you have the means to hold the store room and get the ferry across the river?

Aye, Captain, I'll have the ferry there if I have to bribe, or if that does not work, cajole the ferryman at sword point. The lieutenant's image of cajoling was not without threat since their attempts at bribery to this date had been met with resistance. Today, we had an altercation with the abbey. Seems information travels faster than our messenger; rumor has it that the grain will be released to us by royal decree. So you won't believe the abbey's response. Dillon's long pause marked his control over his anger. Monks walked the town warning people of a possible threat of coastal marauders moving inland. For protection, they ordered all goods to be stored within the abbey walls. The merchants that tried to resist were locked in the magistrate's cells. And of course, the villagers panicked. They helped the monks move nearly everything behind their walls. Dillon sent an image of a great gathering of men and clergy confiscating the contents of nearby buildings. Their attempt to claim our grain was quelled; seems they had not counted on the full complement of soldiers that I had posted. Claims of heresy were issued at the sight of the Lendour swords, but smartly, they backed off. The trouble is, it only doubled their reinforcements on the barricade at the end of the way.

South sea raiders? Dillon continued with a scoff. Sure, there have been small raids across the coastal villages during the last year, but can you rightly imagine the Moors coming this far into Gwynedd? These villagers are gullible beyond compare. Dillon's disgust came clearly across the late night contact.

Sir Washburn sighed. It was easy to foresee that the morrow was going to be a trying day. Our grain, you have it secure? 

Oh, aye, we do.  We'd gained entrance to the storeroom on Christmas Eve. Seemed the monks on that day were more vigilant to their prayers than to their guard duties. We've owned the building since. We'd have quit this town days ago, if you had permitted my sword to cut a swath through that barricade. We can work the ferry ourselves if we have to. This business is nonsense.

Be careful, my friend. A blood bath on Christmas will not help our reputation, not in the least, Wash said with disgust at the situation. He was well aware that his actions on the marrow could have long lasting repercussions. Stay alert tonight. If they've managed to waylay the messenger, then they know we are coming. They may try something more. Meet me at the river with what men you can spare; keep everyone else alert on guard duty. Once we've crossed, we will bring this nonsense to an end.

I'm at your command, Captain, Dillon acknowledged. I'll be there on the north bank in the morning.

The link ended. Wash took a breath, letting his energy unfocus and fall away. In the lamplight, he glanced down at the only other person inside his small tent; his squire slept peacefully on the pillows near his feet. He had not pulled too much energy from the willing young man. Wash grabbed a blanket off his cot and laid it over the heir to the Donneral estate. As with all the Donnerals, Robby held no qualms when it came to magic. Although there were no Deryni in the Donneral family line, their loyalty and friendship to the earls of Lendour was renewed afresh with each generation.

During that first night out from the mountain and valley of Cynfyn, the travelers had found a welcome respite under the roof of the baronial manor of Donneral. Robert had brought his family home in the accompaniment of the Tralian contingent, along with Sir Washburn, his squire, and the twenty Lendour guardsman who all traveled down the icy road. By sunset, everyone had warm stews in their bellies, with beds ready upstairs for the women and pallets in the hall for the men.

When all had bedded down and his responsibilities for the night were done, Wash discovered a loneliness he had not expected to come upon him. Because of the war at Rengarth, he was used to living in the company of his men, sleeping on cold cots under canvas roofs or hard pallets in manor halls. Along with this arrangement always came the long-running jokes about the comforts of a soft bed and a good wife. Wash would smile with his men, but never joined in. He had known of that comfort before and remembered those days with a feeling of loss. That first night in the Donneral manor when the jokes began, he realized how his feelings had changed. All his thoughts turned toward his new bride and the painful regret of not having her at his side.  He'd been so preoccupied that morning, getting the entourage ready for travel, that he scarcely made time for his wife. It wasn't until long after he had kissed her goodbye, told her how much he loved her and would miss her, that he came to realize what that emotion truly meant. His thoughts could not let go of the memory of her hands firmly grasping his hands, and of her face smiling bravely up at him. She had shed no tears when she said goodbye to her mother and her brother, yet he saw tears in her eyes during her ardent farewell to him. There was something more she had wanted to say to him, something that needed sharing. Was there a hint of unspoken pain behind her smile? Afterward, he regretted that he had not taken the extra time for a private leave-taking. He realized they had not had a solitary moment since before Christmas Eve Mass, and now that lapse on his part was nagging at him. His attempt to contact his angel on that first night out from Cynfyn had met with failure. If she had slept, he could have spoken into her dreams, but she had not, and he had not taught her the means of speaking over long distances in spells. How stupid of him to forget to teach her that magic!

The road south during the next two days had greeted the travelers with periodic dusting of snow. That at least was better than the rain storms they came across at the end of the third day. They met few lowlanders upon the road; every Gwyneddian from noble to farmer had found a host for the Epiphany, places of warmth and welcome. It was not just once that Baron Kyriell apologized for choosing these days to return home. Lord Washburn discarded those apologies, stating once more the necessity of retrieving the grain he'd purchased to feed the city of Cynfyn through the winter. The road would soon be impassable; by early January there would be no more travel until spring.

As the rain pattered against the tent roof over his head, Wash assured himself that Robby slept. He needn't bother his squire for his next mind link; he wouldn't want the boy to experience any stray emotions that might overflow from his heart. Wash leaned back, made himself comfortable on his cot, and then exhaled a deep breath, focusing on the remade ruby ring on his finger, the one that matched his bride's wedding ring. As with each of the last three nights, he cast the spell to reach out to his beloved. He found success. Finally she slept; in her dream state, he sent her his love. Sleep on, my angel, don't wake. Know that I love you and I miss you, I wish I could hold you in my arms.

"Wash!"... Wash are you here? She stirred in her sleep, grasping for his presence.  I miss you! she called out dreamily as she realized he talked to her from a place far away. Are you well?

Aye, all is well. Your mother and brother are fine, as am I.  We're just north of the river and we'll be crossing it in the morning.

Oh! Stronger than he thought, she held his connection, waking as she did so. You expect trouble, I can sense it.  How had she sensed that, he wondered. Probably the same way he could sense she was hiding some pain. Do what you must, but please stay safe— for me.

Nothing to worry over. I make that promise to you, my angel.  And you, are you well?

Yes... I desperately miss you, I miss your arms holding me.

He sent across a mental embrace and she hummed at the sensation. I will contact Muir as soon as the grain is on the road north, and I will call you again when we reach Coroth. We may be traveling at night, so I may not be able to contact you before then. Will you promise me to get your sleep?

I will try, she said, knowing that she would likely not sleep the rest of that night.

Promise me. It is easiest for me to call you in your dreams.

Then I will do nothing else but dream.

Wash laughed. And that is why I love you.

With all my heart, I love you. He felt her smile as she turned in the bed and hugged his pillow close.

** This medieval carole can be found at http://www.medievalists.net/2013/09/25/how-did-medieval-people-dance/

Next Chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1372.0.html
May your horses have wings and fly!


Beautiful as ever. Just one complaint - you have lured me into a sense of well-being with your sumpuous mind-pictures. I had forgotten the grain. Something tells me Wash and Jessa have some more darkness to endure before the light comes.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)


Just like Revanne, I had almost forgotten about that grain shipment.  After the portrayal of such a happy Christmas, suddenly it's back to reality.  :o

I have a feeling our Knight Captain will meet with some challenges trying to rescue his grain.  And he doesn't have much patience left, methinks.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany


Good morning Revanne and Jerusha,
Glad to have you here this morning.
It looks like I messed up a couple of the italics when I transferred this to the forum last night. I hope I have it all edited correctly now.
There is a lot of mind speech at the end of this chapter.

I probably should have put a word or a sentence about the grain somewhere in the last chapter or two. I forgot this side plot would be out of sight for too long. Something to remember when writing.
Quotehe doesn't have much patience left, methinks.
Jerusha I am smiling at your comment. A new wife and a complete change in his life from what it had been, I'm surprised he has any patience left too. However, he is thinking that he is Commander of Lendour's army, and he has had to handle a lot of trouble over the last few years. For him, this is only a little inconvenience after dealing with a Festilic Pretender and two Haldane Kings. A new wife and mislaid grain should be easy after that. Shouldn't it be? ;D

Thank you Ladies
May your horses have wings and fly!


"I probably should have put a word or a sentence about the grain somewhere in the last chapter or two. I forgot this side plot would be out of sight for too long. Something to remember when writing"

Not sure about that, my comment wasn't meant as a criticism. There's something very real about the way the outside world doesn't intrude over the Christmas season. For all medieval people and in KK's universe especially for Deryni times of respite must have been few and far between and doubly precious. I'm sure Wash tried very hard not to think of the grain.

I had got so engrossed in the inside world, especially from Jessa's perspective that I was brought back to reality with a jolt.

It's like when we are on holiday we deliberately don't access the news -coming back and finding what has been going on can be a bit of a shock.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)


Quote from: revanne on November 18, 2014, 07:59:26 AM
Beautiful as ever. Just one complaint - you have lured me into a sense of well-being with your sumpuous mind-pictures.

I actually really like it when a writer suddenly smacks me back to reality. Shows that you have a talent for immersing us in your world, and makes it more like life..
"Loss and possession, death and life are one, There falls no shadow where there shines no sun."

Hilaire Belloc


Thank you Aerlys, Thanks Revanne
I am happy you are still reading, for I do have fun writing, and I would hate to think it is all silliness.
Which of course it is, but that is the fun of it. So after we get to read the Kings Deryni. We will need more fan fic to read from you ladies. Yes?
May your horses have wings and fly!


I want to thank each and every wonderful person who has followed Jessa and Wash up to this point. Due to the upcoming holiday week and KK's new long awaited novel, The King's Deryni, my last two chapters will be somewhat delayed. As soon a little bit of rewriting and editing are complete, I will post them.
Thank you gang! Your comments (both supportive and instructional, and sometimes even critical) are always the best!
May your horses have wings and fly!


*Jerusha pauses after chasing the dust bunnies away from her laptop in preparation for the Tuesday chapter*

Well, that is OK, Laurna - some things are worth waiting for.  I hope you have a very happy holiday!

*The dust bunnies squeal happily, and nestle down back around the laptop.*

Jerusha wonders if there is a Deryni spell for herding dust bunnies....

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

 -- Old English Litany


Quote from: Laurna on November 19, 2014, 01:07:55 PM
Thank you Aerlys, Thanks Revanne
So after we get to read the Kings Deryni. We will need more fan fic to read from you ladies. Yes?

Working on it...but still can't work past this one @*#$*@*%@ scene.

Quote from: Laurna on November 22, 2014, 06:42:47 PM
Due to the upcoming holiday week and KK's new long awaited novel, The King's Deryni, my last two chapters will be somewhat delayed.

Completely understandable, Laurna. It's that crazy time of year when everything kicks into high gear. (unless you're a kid, and time just drags until Christmas  :) ) It's just as well, since as of two hours ago, we are having company for Thanksgiving, and fanfic is far too tempting a diversion from herding dust bunnies...or in this house, dust hippos.

*Aerlys wonders if the aforementioned dust bunny spell could also work on laundry trolls...*

"Loss and possession, death and life are one, There falls no shadow where there shines no sun."

Hilaire Belloc