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Healer’s Inheritance- Chapter 10- Bewitched

Started by Laurna, December 23, 2014, 04:33:46 AM

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Previous Chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1372.0.html

986, January 2

Hiding her face within the fur edgings of her cloak, Lady Jessamyn gave her horse the free rein to follow the squire back to Castle Cynfyn. Her thoughts were plagued by her private discussion with Bishop Michael. She was not sure what answers she had hoped he would give, but what he had said did little to calm her inner turmoil. Had she really expected anything different? Although his attitude was friendly toward the Deryni cause, he was still a man of the clergy, trained to the notion that fewer Deryni born meant fewer troubles with them in the future. Whether because of this, or because he was a man unfamiliar with the bearing and raising of children, he'd shown Jessa no outward concern for her fears that she might not be able to bring children of her own into the world.

It had not been her intention to speak to him when she had set out for Cynfyn Cathedral that Saturday morning. She had meant to seek out her mentor, Sister Vivian. More and more, Jessa felt the need for an impartial friend who could listen to her troubles and, just possibly, help her come to terms with how to deal with them. Sister Vivian, however, had gone out to attend a birth somewhere in the city and would likely not be back for hours. Feeling distressed from the thoughts that were whirling around inside her head, Jessa inadvertently walked into the colonnade just as the bishop was passing by. His presence gave her a shock and he offered an apology for frightening her. She apologized in turn for being lost in her thoughts and not mindful of where she stepped, which brought the Bishop to inquire what it was that had her so preoccupied. Unwilling to elaborate, Jessa asked what she thought was a simple theoretical question. The answer she was looking for, she hoped, would give her husband a choice when her disability became known. For the one thing in life that she never wanted to be was a burden. A childless wife must be a burden to any man; how could anyone think otherwise?  Therefore, she posed her hypothetical question to Bishop Michael: If a wife proved to be infertile, would the Church grant a husband, if he requested it, an annulment from his marriage?

Bishop Michael's response surprised her. He emphatically said, "No!"  After such a question, the bishop led her to his office and resorted to interrogating the newly made bride about her position and her Deryni husband's treatment of her. She was mortified by his questions. Several times, he asked if she had reason to deny the sanctity of her marriage and if she wished to return to the fold of the Church. No, absolutely not, she assured him. She loved her husband devotedly, but feared her body was unfit to give him heirs to his estate. The bishop did not understand how these fears came into being so soon in her marriage, and Jessa dared not explain. She wasn't even certain he knew she was Deryni, and certainly he knew nothing of her Healing talent, unless the Abbess of Saint Clair had told him. Otherwise, she was fairly certain that her secret was still well kept.

The Bishop's final lecture left no room for further discussion. Lord Washburn was a Cynfyn and not the last of his family's name. It mattered not in the eyes of God, nor in the secular passing of titles, if he had children or not. On his passing, his estate would stay in the Cynfyn line by reverting to his brother's children. Therefore, it was irreverent for her to fret over a future which would happen or not happen as God willed it.  He suggested she seek the grace of the Holy Mother, to give Her her prayers, and then to return home to fulfill her marriage vows. With God's love and good time, she would have Sir Washburn's children. Nearly in tears, Jessa did just that, lighting a candle and giving her prayers to the Virgin Mary.

During the week that had followed Christmas, with her husband gone, escorting her mother and brother to their ship in Coroth, Jessamyn had turned her efforts to finding friends among the women of Cynfyn. She had hoped that Lady Lisa would continue to give her guidance, but the dowager baroness seemed to be frequently busy with duties elsewhere. Each afternoon, it had become customary for the ladies to gather in the warmth of the countess's solar where fingers worked upon delicate stitches of embroidery and tongues made light of whichever stories were in the air. Jessa had been accepted without question, but to her it seemed that everyone was trying a little too hard to not give her offense. She realized her own name was no longer heard in the whisperings and the story tellings, and she wondered if the countess had put a stop to such gossip. In a sense, however, it seemed to exclude her from the comradery, and she was uncertain just how to breach this new obstacle. She was afraid to speak of her concerns with the two Deryni ladies of the castle. They were both intuitive enough to figure out that she felt troubled. If Jessa spoke to them first, before she could speak to her husband, then she was afraid that his brother's wife might turn against her when she discovered her inability to perpetuate the Cynfyn name. For the talk of becoming pregnant and the bearing of children seemed to be the most common subject among the women. The men had been home about three months, and already many of their wives were openly flaunting their conditions. Outwardly, Jessa was happy for each one of them. Deep behind shields, she buried her concern that she might never be able to make the same announcement.

The Knight Captain's wife dismounted before the castle doors. She thanked the squire for his escort and let the young man take her palfrey to the stables. Resolute to put her concerns aside until Washburn could return, Jessa entered the main hall. All seemed quiet; the luncheon had not yet begun. She climbed the main stairs at the rear of the hall, intent on seeking the warmth of the countess's solar, and she hoped, to find a few friendly faces. The guard was just opening the solar door for her when a shrill laugh stopped her from stepping forward. She could not see those inside, behind the screens, but she could clearly hear their harmful words.

"As you say, this convent girl is not lively enough for him by far. She will embarrass him with her pious ways when he presents her to the crown. Mark my words! He will regret having married her. Why, oh why, did he not marry Lady Evelyn? I mean to say, for over a year the dowager countess was being encouraged to become his wife. I don't see how Lady Melina's plans went so awry."

"Shush, May! If the countess heard you, it would upset her."

"My lady won't hear these words from me, unless one of you snitches on me. She has gone to the nursery to see Euan, and Lady Evelyn has gone with her. Besides, don't you think they are discussing the same thing? I just don't understand what sway this convent girl has over the earl's brother! Why did he marry her?" May complained.

In the doorway, Jessa turned her pale face up to the guard. The guard could only return his apologetic gaze. She turned to go, but the mocking words froze her feet to the floor.

"Her brother's a baron," snarked one of the older girls. "That's nobler than you. And I'm sure Lord Washburn finds her looks quite pleasing."

"A lamb for the wolf," cackled May.

"You're just jealous," called another voice over the laughter.

"Well, if Lord Washburn wasn't going to marry Evelyn, then I'd have made him a good wife. That I would! I would do him proud at the queen's court, just the same as Camilla, may her soul rest in peace."

"Amen," whispered several voices.

In jest, a voice broke the momentary silence. "Your wardrobe would show rightly well at court. Undoubtedly, your bright raiment would stand out against the black attire of our Knight Captain. Although I doubt even Sir Washburn's income could afford all that silk and velvet. Perhaps you should set your desires higher; nothing short of marrying a prince will satisfy your tastes."

A snicker from many followed that call as May sniped back, "At least I wasn't raised wearing the rags of a sack-dress habit."

Horrified, Jessa stepped back from the door. The guard quietly closed the door, and shook his head at the hurtful words. The young lady tried her best to hold her head high as she walked away. Her mother had called these women a company of busy bees, bees that would sting a newcomer rather than let her within their hive. She'd been stung; these women would never accept her. They thought Evelyn should have married Wash. Why had she never guessed? When she had finally managed to walk past the turning of the corridor her tears streamed down her face and her feet made a frantic retreat toward her own lonely room. Unwittingly, at the landing of the main stair which led both down to the second floor and up to the fourth, she collided into the dark-haired, handsome Sir Artimus who was coming up from below. Bracing her elbow with a steadying hand, the gallant knight helped her recover from the near fall.

"My Lady, my apologies. Are you well?" The sight of him caused her stomach to churn, his face was so like his sister's, though hers always seemed more sad.

"Please excuse me, Sir Artimus," she said, trying to wipe back the tears. "I seem to have made a bad habit of running into people today." Jessa curtseyed deeply, head low, unwilling to look into the pair of eyes that so looked like his sister's.

"That is quite all right as I am practicing my stealth." He was teasing her, as his spurs clicked against the stone and his chainmail 'shushed' as he moved. "May I escort you somewhere?"

"No, good sir... I... I was just going to my room." She tried to recover her wits. "Thank you, but I am fine," she finally managed at his look of concern.

He bowed to her with a light smile and took his leave, heading in the direction of the earl's office. Unwilling to follow him so closely to her room, she stood at the top of the stairs trying desperately to calm her emotions. But her mind was in turmoil. How was it that all this time, Arty could be so kind to her, knowing that it was his sister, not her, who should have married Sir Washburn? She had not seen it before, but now she saw it everywhere, in every face that had looked her way. Her love had made her blind; her happiness had made her foolish enough to think her dreams had come true. 

If Wash had loved Evelyn, then why, oh why, had he not married her? She was Deryni and the widowed Countess of Eastmarch. It was said Evelyn's dowry had been depleted in the war, but her daughter still received an annuity from her uncle, the current Earl of Eastmarch. Wash did not seem to care about small dowries. Jessa's original dowry had been small, indeed. Although, before he left, Baron Jathurn had made a generous gift to correct that detail. Nevertheless, it proved it wasn't a lack of money or the want of titles that had kept Sir Washburn from marrying Arty's sister. He had not even become betrothed to her during that six week period after the battle at the Festil Pass. There had been plenty of time for them to consent to the arrangements the countess had begun. So then why was the Lendour commander uncommitted to Evelyn by the time of Euan's birth?

"She could give him children," Jessa said aloud as she stared down the empty hallway where Arty had gone. There was little doubt over that fact. In dismay that she might have been overheard, Jessa looked around and was thankful no one was within hearing range. Quickly losing herself in a maelstrom of worries, she stepped close to the wall and pressed her forehead against the cold stone. In truth, Jessa had never seen her husband look at the dark beauty of Lady Evelyn. She never felt Wash desire anything but her own love. The love between them was true.

But... what if it wasn't, what if it was a lie? What if somehow when Jessa had Healed the Lendour knight months ago, she had unwittingly spellbound him to love her? Perhaps it was false love, the worst kind of love, a bending of his desires and free will to deny him the choice to make for himself. 

Dear Lord, were Deryni capable of such evil? The abbess had lectured her often enough that it was so. A touch, any touch, from a Deryni could be a touch of corruption. It was seldom that the abbess allowed Jessa to touch anyone. Was she right; had she managed this evil deed? Was Washburn only hers because she had ensnared him and corrupted his soul? Sudden fear consumed her mind. The steepness of the staircase called her down. The one for sure cure to a curse was the death of the one who had brought the evil spell to life. With a simple fall, Wash would be free of the compulsion she was now certain she had cast upon him. He would be free to return to the plans of marrying Lady Evelyn and together they would have many children. She stepped toward the brink of the cold void. The solution to her problems would easily be resolved by her body tumbling to the bottom of the stairs. Her head swam dizzily, leaning forward a little, and...

She grabbed the wall at her side. The suicidal thought, although fleeting, terrified her soul to its core. With fingers gouging into the mortar between the stones, she held tight until the dizziness subsided.

Then she cried, unsure if her tears were for her own weakness to really do it or from the fear that she could even think such a heinous act was in the right. Her conscience felt guilty either way. If she really had ensorcelled Sir Washburn, then that was something that she needed to cure. It was time to find someone to confide in, someone who could learn the truth and resolve it. Lady Lisa was human and had grown distant, and Jessa certainly could not speak with Lady Evelyn; she felt she had betrayed the dowager countess with her marriage. She prayed Countess Melina would accept being her confidante. In this, Jessa knew she had no choice. Melina was a trained Deryni. She would know how to discover if Jessa had bewitched Sir Washburn with a love spell, and how to break that spell if it were so. If their vows had been made under duress, then the Church would grant Washburn an annulment. He would be free to marry Evelyn. Knowing her own love would be forfeit, but determined that this was the answer, Jessa straightened her back and pushed away from the wall. She turned toward the stairs leading to the fourth floor to find Melina in the nursery. She had gone up half of the flight of steps when a noise from above made her look up to see Lady Lisa coming down.

Lady Lisa was carrying a young girl in her arms and was escorting two mischievous boys who danced around her skirts. Sigheria giggled at the boys, encouraging them to dodge back and forth, slapping each other.

"You're it!" one boy yelled.

"No, you're it!" the other boy yelled back, punching his friend.

Lisa tried to scold them as they played around her feet, but with her arms full, her voice was not enough to make them stop. The sight of the children lightened Jessa's mood. A faint smile parted her lips as she moved quickly up the steps to help the dowager handle the boys.

No one anticipated both boys leaping behind the older lady's skirts, tagging each other with a shrill laugh, and then falling into Lisa's knees. In mid-step, Lisa gave them a scolding, but suddenly, she shrieked as she lost her balance and slipped. The little girl cried out as arms loosened their hold, and the child was tossed in the air to fall down the stairs. Jessa leaped upward, horrified. Her hand snatched the girl out of the air, and then desperately, Jessa pulled her tight to her chest. Even as she twisted to keep the child from the floor, she too slipped on her skirts and fell forward onto the sharp edges of the steps. Above her, the two boys cried out as Lisa continued her fall. All three of them slipped down the steps on top of Jessa and the precious Sigheria. In a bundle of bodies and skirts, five people hit the third floor landing, where they came to a halt. Both ladies were too stunned to move. It was the boys who squirmed and cried. They were the first to be pulled out of the mass by the guards who were quick to react to the screams. 

Under fabric, just able to catch her breath, Jessa's first concern was for Evelyn's little girl who lay upon her chest. Already a bruise was forming on the girl's arm where Jessa had snatched her from the air. Sweet Mother, had she done the child harm? Jessa pressed her right hand to the child's head and felt for any indication of other injuries. Although the girl had rudimentary shields, they did not stop the Healer from making her examination. No other injury had been incurred. Thankfully, Jessa touched the bruise, closed her eyes, and Healed the arm where her grasp had done harm.

When Jessa opened her eyes, the child's mother was leaning over them both. Evelyn's dark eyes had a frantic look about them as she pulled her daughter from Jessa's grasp. As any mother would, Evelyn quickly assessed her little girl. Her palm covered the girl's forehead as a Deryni parent might when she needed to know just what had happened. After a long moment, Evelyn's eyes grew wider, she turned to the countess to confirm what she had just learned. What passed between them, Jessa could not say.

The young lady felt dazed and newly aware that she was pinned down. Lisa's full weight was upon her and covered her off side. The dowager's breathing was coming out in harsh gasps, her body unmoving. Afraid to push out from under her, Jessa's could only reach over with her right arm to assist Lisa if she could. Only Lisa whimpered at the touch, alerting the Healer to her pain. 

"Where do you hurt? Lisa, tell me where."

"My back! Oh, my back," Lisa whispered with a hiss.

Jessa's left arm was numb, unfeeling and pinched under Lisa's weight. With a slight shift, Jessa slipped her good hand under the other's back. Through the fabric of Lisa's gown, the Healer sensed a contusion in the older woman's lower spine. She twisted to make her palm flatten over the area. She wished she could see her Camber medallion, but the best she could manage was to feel the cool silver against her breast. Calming all thoughts, focusing on Lisa's need, Jessa summoned up the image on the face of the coin from her memory. The image of the long ago saint soothed her mind and allowed the Healer to find that place in her soul where she could help another who suffered from pain. Eyes unfocused, she slipped into Healer's trance. Warmth surged through her hand; the lady caught her breath and then calmed. Lightly aware of a pair of mystical hands covering her hand, Jessa felt the shattered vertebrae knit together and Heal.  And then the warmth was gone and the energy drained away from her hand and out of her mind. The working done through the layers of fabric cost the Healer dearly.  Losing consciousness, Jessa slipped into blackness. 

The young lady was jolted back to awareness from a pain in her arm. Guards were helping Lisa to stand, and another one was trying to help by pulling Jessa away from them, to the side. All too quickly, that armsman raised Jessa to a sitting position. Instantly, the motion caused her to shudder and her stomach to churn queasily. She was slipping back to the floor when another person came up behind her and scolded the guard for moving her so fast. This new man's strong arm was quick to brace her shoulders, and to hold her securely from falling back to the floor.

After a long moment of trying to settle whatever it was that made her so ill, Jessa managed to open her eyes to see several faces leaning close to hers. Some like Lady May had a quizzical smirk, but most others seemed genuinely concerned. Carefully, the man behind her moved his hand down her shoulder and pulled her arm forward to rest it on her lap. The crowd gasped, even Lady May, as Jessa's left sleeve was pushed back to expose her forearm and hand that were turned unnaturally at the wrist in a direction that was wrong. Jessa blinked at the sight then squeezed her eyes shut afraid that what she saw was real. Even as she tried to deny it, the throbbing of the broken bones told her it was so. A strong pair of arms lifted her from the floor and a calming voice spoke in her ear. She realized that it was Sir Artimus who carried her away from those who looked on with concern and curiosity.

Over the clamor of the gathering people of Lendour, the countess took charge, ordering the guards to hold everyone back and to move the injured to her solar. She had Carl help Lisa, who seemed wary to walk on her own. The two mothers of the boys had pushed through the crowd and were now pulling their sons aside. The boys were found to be unharmed, so quick enough, their mothers took them away from the happenings. Evelyn held her daughter tight as she followed her brother, and Carl supported Lisa moving her safely to the solar. Melina came last, purposely closing the door to her rooms after she entered, leaving everyone else in the hall to speculate at what had happened.

"Arty, would you please place Jessa on the chair near the fire," Melina requested. "Help Lisa sit there, if you would, Carl." Jessa blinked as Lisa was helped to sit beside her. The Healer tried to summon energy to reach out to Lisa, but a flash of pain stopped her from moving.  Arty's hand covered her eyes, his energy eased the pain back to a tolerable throb. "Thank you, Carl, you may go," Melina was saying to the guard to get him away before he could realize what the lieutenant was doing. "Find Muir and tell him what has happened, if you would for me, please," the countess requested as she waved him out the door.

The dowager baroness looked on with wide eyes that kept flitting to the Healer, to Arty, and then back to the floor. She felt only a small soreness across her back, nothing like that momentary crippling pain she had felt only minutes before. Fear for what might have been made her cry. Melina came to her and held her for a moment, soothing the shudders of delayed reaction. "I'm so sorry," Lisa finally managed to say. "Lady Evelyn, please, is Sigheria well? I lost my footing, I do not know how. It is not the fault of the boys. I should have stopped them... I am so sorry.... If Lady Jessamyn had not caught Sigheria... Oh dear! She could have hit her head... and my back! For a moment I thought it was broken... but Jessa..., sweet lady, Jessa... Is she unwell? She looks as white as a ghost!"

From her chair, Jessa attempted to protest. "Lady... don't fret... I just..." Unable to form the words, she leaned back dizzily. Arty eased her head to lean against his arm. His touch helped her refocus her eyes. When she opened them, she noticed everyone was watching her.

"Sigheria is safe?" Jessa managed to ask, voicing her first concern.

Sigheria's mother had tears on her cheeks as she hugged her daughter close to her chest and said, "Yes, she is, with my sincere thanks to you."

'Maman, maman, I fall down. Don't cry." Sigheria pressed her hands to her mother's cheeks, pushing aside her mother's tears. 

"Yes, you fell down. You scared your maman when you fell.  But you're safe now, my love," Evelyn reassured her daughter. After a moment, she turned toward Jessa, her hand pausing over the twisted wrist laying in Jessa's lap. "You caught her and Healed her. She showed me. Thank you. Let us help you with your pain so we can straighten that before you Heal it."

Jessa nodded, hiding her fear.

Almost instantly Arty came before Jessa, studying the broken arm and how best to straighten it. But Evelyn was quick to brush her brother aside. "Oh no, you don't. I have seen how you men straighten bones in the field. You have the touch of an ox, and the bones would never mend straight. This lady needs to use that arm again, and that requires the delicate touch of a woman." So saying, to Artimus's surprise Evelyn placed Sigheria in his arms and pointed to the far window. "Take your niece and shield her from this, if you would for me, please." Resigned, Arty covered Sigheria's head with his hand and she fell asleep in his arms.

Melina moved to stand at the young lady's side and placed her hands at her temples. "I can not put you to sleep, because we need you to help us in this. But if you lower your shields and let me try, I will help distance you from what is to come." Showing her trust, the injured young woman lowered her shields, letting both Deryni women enter into rapport. As a kindness, Jessa nodded to Lady Lisa and Melina invited the dowager baroness to join them. Shyly at first, Lisa placed her hands over Melina's hands. The ease of rapport between the four women was surprisingly smooth. Jessa shared the event as she saw it, and Lisa was able to add what had happened from her point of view. 

The accident, seen from both women's perspectives, proved that no one was at fault and that the nearly devastating injury to the older lady was corrected almost immediately after it had happened. In the accounting, the countess didn't fail to catch the Healer's despondency just before the accident occurred. Melina took their rapport deeper, shielding what she found from Lisa, and witnessed Jessa's nearly suicidal act.  Evelyn had stayed in the link; both countesses were stunned by what they learned. The young bride was about to give up everything she loved. Melina gently pushed to understand why. The reasons came tumbling through their rapport-- this young Deryni, barely trained in the art, believed she had unwittingly cast an enchantment that ensnared her husband to love her.

Neither noble lady had an immediate response to Jessa's reasoning. In distress, Jessa cried aloud, "Can you make it right, Please!" Lisa and Arty may have thought she was talking about her arm, and both leaned in to help. The two ladies in rapport knew better, but they had to put that knowledge aside to first ease Jessa's physical injury before they could help her with this other matter. Evelyn slid a chair close to the injured arm, her fingers sliding down the blackening skin to meet the break in the bone. Melina stood at Jessa's back, her thumbs on the Healer's temples and her fingers along her neck. As if in a dream, as if it weren't her arm at all, Jessa showed them how to straighten it and pull the bones into alignment. Evelyn grimaced as her gentle moves did as the healer bid her to. The Healer in turn did not call out; they had successfully taken away her pain. Then together, all four ladies experienced what it was to Heal.

In awe, when all was done, Evelyn took a deep breath and hugged Jessa warmly, and then helped her to find a more comfortable way to sit. "That is what Healing feels like? I had wondered. I think I would like very much to help Lord Ellison do his work."

"You know about my brother?" Jessa said, catching her breath and wiggling her fingers to feel them once more. The deep purple of her skin was fading even as she moved, although it would be days before the bruise would be completely gone. 

Evelyn smiled up at Arty and took back her reawakened daughter. "Baron Jathurn has asked my brother for permission for your other brother to write to me. Arty has given his consent. Do you mind?"

"I'm sorry," Jessa did not understand the reference; the countess realized the Healer was still intent on her own worries. "Lady Evelyn, I have wronged you. I stole your future husband from you. I believe I bewitched him... I didn't mean to do such an evil thing... I don't know how to make it right."

All three Deryni looked at her with concern. "How could you possibly imagine you bewitched Wash with a love spell?" Melina asked. "Love spells, though they exist, do not work as the stories say they do." Melina sat in the chair Evelyn had just vacated and took Jessa's healed hand into her own. "That kind of spell binds a person's will to the caster, and makes it impossible for the victim to do other than parrot the spellcaster's desires. Strong shielding of the mind prevents most but the strongest attempts."

"But Wash was dying, his shields were down," Jessa cried at Melina's protest.

"So Muir has told me. In that moment, wasn't Muir part of the rapport? Don't you think he would have known if you had done as you say? No Jessa, there was no bewitching in your Healing of Wash. What there was, was a meeting of two souls. Two souls that recognized each other as who they truly are and fell in love with what they saw. The sort of bewitching that is as old as Adam and Eve. Without it, men and women would have long since perished from loneliness."

"But if he was to marry you..." Jessa broke off, turning a desperate gaze to the widowed countess.

Evelyn may have only been five years older than the Healer, but her maturity shown in her eyes. "You needn't ever worry that Sir Washburn and I would have married. That was never meant to be." Evelyn's features softened as she explained. "No, there was never love between us. Admiration, yes. Please understand, there might have been a time when his image filled my dreams, but that was when I was a girl, before he married Camilla and I married Sighere. Then, for a while, I thought we'd both been widowed for a reason, that we were meant to be together, but the love wasn't there. I feared for him; he's a warrior like my husband, bless his soul. Always charging into danger when a lesser man would run. I have lived with the fear that one day my husband would not return.  And then... one day... he did not...." Silence prevailed in the room. Tears filled Evelyn's eyes and she kissed the forehead of the little girl named after her lost father. "I can't live that way again."

There was a long silence as each woman said her private prayers. Before too much silence set in, Evelyn smiled at the recent bride. "Love is precious, it takes work to keep it alive, but it makes every hard moment in your life worth living. Besides, your marriage has brought to light a suitable match for me that just might give me back that same feeling of love that you have found. I would be honored if you would help me win the heart of your brother, Lord Ellison. Jathurn has said he is in need of a Deryni bride." A smile lit her face. "I believe I could help him in his profession, if he will have me. I would be honored to stand beside a Healer and be his wife. You wouldn't mind us being sisters, as you and Melina are?"

"Truly?" Jessa said, amazed. "I haven't even seen my youngest brother in twelve years. My mother has given me glimpses of him..."

"Jathurn gave me some glimpses too. Perhaps we can share what we know, and when the time comes, I would love it if you stood beside me when we first meet."

"I would be honored to do that," replied Jessa. Melina watched the stress wash away from the young woman's features. Jessa's smile returned as she looked across at Lady Lisa. "Please forgive me for my deceiving you these last few months. I wanted to tell you what I am, I just didn't know quite how."

"That you are Deryni and a Healer-- please do not apologize for that. I admit I was upset from the deception, but now I see that this was necessary. Besides your talents are the very best reason for Sir Washburn to have brought you into our home. I thank you for saving me from..." Lady Lisa couldn't voice the concern that she could have been crippled for life. She kissed Jessa's forehead, and then she stood and hugged Evelyn, happy to hear her friend was looking forward once more. "Dear ladies, what we need is a portrait; one that shows Evelyn's charisma and her beauty. One of your daughter too. Then my lady, you could have your likeness sent to Jessa's brother straight away. If the man has any wits about him, he will either be here by spring or you will have a proposal to travel to Tralia. Although, I will miss you dearly if you move so far away."

"If it brings happiness, no distance is too far to go," said the Countess Melina.

"Do you think it will be so?"  A wistful smile returned to Evelyn's face. "Then, Jessa, I would like to ask if you would teach me midwifery. I think that knowledge would help me the most as a healer's wife."

"Noblewomen aren't supposed to have the stomach for such events," Jessa teased.

"I nearly gave birth on the back of a horse," replied Evelyn. "Contrary to what our mothers told us, knowledge is the key, not ignorance. Wouldn't you agree, my lady?"

"Indeed," replied the countess, "we could all use more knowledge in that area of our lives."

Jessa gave a shy smile. "I think I would very much like to teach you, and I would be happy to call you my sister." She did not voice her deeper concern about her own deficiency to have children. That information had stayed hidden behind strong shields and had not been seen in their earlier rapport, for which Jessa was glad. Her desire was to share that knowledge first with her husband, to see just what he thought they should do. 

Next - Epilogue: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1383.0.html

(Evie ETA link to Epilogue)
May your horses have wings and fly!


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)


Well done, well done!

Jessa's emotions are in turmoil, and she has an upset tummy;  hmmmm.   ;)
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: Jerusha on December 23, 2014, 09:48:27 AM
Well done, well done!

Jessa's emotions are in turmoil, and she has an upset tummy;  hmmmm.   ;)

I wondered too if her worries would prove to be unfounded ;)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)


I want something very unpleasant to happen to those *itches. 


Oh a Merry Eve, to Christmas Eve to everyone this morning. Sorry about the Prologue, Epilogue miss-wording at the bottom. I have now fixed it.  I have just a little bit more to go,(an Epilogue) LOL.  and then we can be all done. I thank all of you for your continued support, that is the best Christmas present of all.

May your horses have wings and fly!


Quote from: Laurna on December 23, 2014, 01:29:08 PM
. Sorry about the Prologue, Epilogue miss-wording at the bottom. I have now fixed it. 

Oh Curses! I thought that it meant that we were going straight to the prologue to another story  :'(
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)


Quote from: revanne on December 23, 2014, 02:50:56 PM
Quote from: Laurna on December 23, 2014, 01:29:08 PM
. Sorry about the Prologue, Epilogue miss-wording at the bottom. I have now fixed it. 

Oh Curses! I thought that it meant that we were going straight to the prologue to another story  :'(

I had the same hope, revanne....
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany


QuoteOh Curses! I thought that it meant that we were going straight to the prologue to another story  :'(

I had the same hope, revanne....

Oh dear No! I do not write that fast. And I am certain that Master editor Evie would like her life back. Let me finish this little life growing, romance for our young lady, and then I plan to move on to more adventurous stuff. Two chapters are already written and the plot is starting to come together. But don't look for it for about a year. Then we shall see where our Deryni from Lendour find themselves and what trouble they have to fight out of.

Elkhound. A good morning to you. It was so cute, when I first read--
Quotethose *itches".
--I was thinking no one was itching that I could remember. And then I read it again and I had to laugh out loud.  Ahh-- Those *itches!  ;D  I have to agree!
May your horses have wings and fly!


I so loved this chapter.  Such emotions.  So much so fast.  I was really caught up in the accident.  Thank you for sharing more of their story.
Thomas Hill


Thank you TKnTexas, always glad to see you on the forum. The last little bit of this story is done and I will post it soon. I am so, so glad I had the week off from work. Not only did I have nice time with family for the holidays (three days of mom and dad in my house), but I found time to do a little bit of rewriting.
May your horses have wings and fly!