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Healer’s Inheritance- Epilogue - Cara Mia

Started by Laurna, December 29, 2014, 12:36:24 PM

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Previous Chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,1378.0.html

986, January 5
Twelfth Night
Cynfyn Castle,
Earldom of Lendour

The red-slate towers of home were a welcome sight after eleven days of travel. Even the Knight Captain had to admit to earning the saddle sore on his behind while trying to race home for Twelfth Night. The roofs of Cynfyn were blanketed in snow, all but for those two conical towers, which would not hold ice until the deep freeze of winter had set in. Any gleaming sunlight no matter how pale held enough warmth to keep the snow from sticking to the steep rooflines. The pair of towers shone in the morning sunlight like beacons calling lost travelers home. Sir Washburn was glad to find that home.

He and his small band of men first stopped at the granary within the city to confirm that the grain had arrived safely two days before. All was well. The grain master assured Wash that his shipment combined with their own provisions were enough to see the city through the winter, even a long winter, if the predictions held true. Wash was pleased. With a hearty thanks, he ordered his men to disperse, to find their families and their homes. This day was the last of the holiday feasts, and they had made good time and arrived before the earl's afternoon court. The road up the steep grade to the castle gates, Washburn took at a canter. Of the few men that followed him, none but his squire could keep the same pace. As he reached the opened gates, he called forth a cheer, happy to hear his voice echoed against the stone of the main portico. He loved that echo, it meant he was home.

No sooner was he off his destrier than he was racing up the steps into the great hall. "Where is my Lady Jessamyn?" he asked the first person he met. Before he received an answer, a bold voice called out to him from the opposite end of the hall.

"It is good to have you home, my lord," came a greeting from Lord Ohlin. The steward stepped closer, pointing up the stairs. "Your lady is in the countess's solar. There are a few hours yet before the commencement of court. I am certain the earl will be glad you arrived in good time to attend. Shall I see that a bath is readied for you in your chamber?" Wash looked from Lord Ohlin to the changes across the great hall. As the castle's steward, Ohlin was overseeing the preparations for the afternoon's Twelfth Night Court. Fresh banners of all the estates of Lendour were newly arranged along the walls, reflecting the changes after Rengarth.

"Thank you, Lord Ohlin," Wash said with an agreeable nod. He glanced up at the great white standard with its red rearing stag and heavy checkered red and white border, which had been unfurled to hang behind the earl's and countess's chairs on the dais. On the left wall at the head of the hall was the standard of green with golden sprigs of wheat symbolizing the estate of Baron Donneral. Wash took note that the orange pennant of Drellingham had lost a position and was two down the wall from Donneral.

He raised a brow in question and got an odd answer from Ohlin, "Lady May has been sent home to her father; she has disgraced the house of Drellingham, my lord." Wash turned a quizzical eye to the steward and perceived that the demotion had been justified, but got no further explanation.

His own heraldry hung proudly along the right wall in the premier position, before Arty's sapphire blue standard of the house of Cavalien. His red on black standard stood in contrast to the earl's pure red on white. None the less, the rearing stag embroidered in deep red was as proud on the black ground as his brother's was on the white. In a loud voice Wash proudly proclaimed for all to hear, "It is good to have a place I can truly call home. I would not trade Cynfyn or its people for any other place in all the land." With a flourish he gave his brother's heraldry a deep bow. Out of respect, the men and women working in the hall followed in kind.

Then, Wash stepped closer to Lord Ohlin and privately requested, "Please, have it be a very hot bath, good sir. My bones are weary after so much travel. Will it be a long court? Do you know how many knights the earl will be confirming this day?"

"Only one is to receive the accolade, my lord, as most who were eligible were knighted last fall on the field. But we have three youths to become squires. One of them is the second son of Lord Donneral. I also suspect that Lord Muir will ask Robby to become his personal squire, since his prior squire, hmm, the young McLain, has been taken on by the King. And then Lord Muir will ask you to take on the second son."

Taken aback, the knight captain withheld his protest. "Robby most certainly deserves the promotion; he has been the best squire I have had in years," Wash declared, wondering how he was going to manage without this young man who was even now seeing to his steed and then, after both had cleaned themselves of the ice and mud from their long road travel, Wash trusted that Robby would personally ensure that the second son of Erwin Cynfyn would not arrive at the afternoon's festive court looking like a rogue warrior.

"Lord Donneral's second son seems as responsible as his first born, my lord," Ohlin said with a hint of a jibe. "He should serve you well. Although, I understand the third Donneral boy, the mischievous one, is to become a page. Robert is hoping that you will personally take him on as well and be a good influence to that boy."

Wash rolled his eyes, "In the name of the heavens, what did I do to deserve that?"

The old steward grinned back. "You seem to have a knack for handling even the most pernicious ne'er-do-wells..."

"Are you telling me that it takes one to know one?" Wash broke in, feigning offence.

"It's not I who would ever say such a thing, my lord," replied the old Cynfyn steward with a low bow, yet his face lit with a jesting smile.

Wash clapped the man on the back, laughing in turn. It was good that the two of them had finally come to understand one another. "I will welcome that bath, Lord Ohlin. If I am to lose my best squire and take on another, I cannot look like the rogue that you take me for. Besides, I must look respectable since I am blessed to have an angel standing by my side."

"She has been a good influence on you, my lord." Ohlin smiled in agreement.

"On that we can both agree." Washburn smiled as he turned toward the stairs, his long stride taking the steps two at a time. He was anxious to find a certain young lady who liked his roguish style, but whom he had been parted from for too long.

When he arrived at the main solar, his eyes were only for her. She sat in the sunlight between the Countesses Melina and Evelyn and before a gathering of the castle's women. Her hand held up a small book from which she read. Her sweet voice halted as he entered the room. Nothing could have pleased him more than to see the ladies of the castle intent upon the verses his wife shared with them. As he stepped closer, however, he was quick to note that her left arm rested in her lap and it was wrapped in white linen. His gaze turned upward in concern, to which her nod said more than her words. "It is on the mend, my lord. Please thank the fine ladies at my side for making it so." It is Healed, she Mind-Spoke.

He took in a breath, knowing that story had to wait. Turning to the women in the room, he made a reverent bow. "Countess Melina, Countess Evelyn and dear ladies of Lendour, I give you my humblest greeting and I thank you for caring for my wife while I was away. Would you ever be so kind as to allow me to borrow this sweet lady, for I have missed her so?"

Melina smiled at his brashness. "Perhaps you did bewitch him after all," she said in an aside, adding to the deepening color that crossed Jessa's cheeks. "Come ladies, let us give the newlyweds time to become reacquainted. I think they have been apart for nearly half the time that they have been married." Many smiled as they all took their leave. Only the grey-eyed blond stayed in the window seat, her golden hair glistening in the sunlight. She had set the book aside, trying to stay demure until the room had emptied. Then with a leap of joy, she was in his arms, her lips brushing his. I missed you so, my Cervus Delcis, my Sweet Hart! Her mind opened to his in passionate need.

Did you, now? he teased as he held her close. Seems you have found your place while I was gone. With joy in his heart he held her tight. He then set her feet back on the ground and fingered her soft cheeks. "If you never sleep, dear lady, it is hard for me to make contact to tell you how much I love you. You should be sleeping at night, so that I can know what it is that is happening at home," he admonished her, brushing one hand over the faint circles under her eyes and touching his other hand to her bandaged arm. 

When she took a guilty breath to try to explain, he held a finger before her lips. "I have a gift for you," he said, reaching for the soft leather bag slung under his arm.

Grasping his arm with her good hand, Jessa grew serious. "Wait!"  Her gaze searched the depths of his blue eyes, looking for her courage. "There is something I must tell you before we can go on. It is very important!" She took a deep breath; his shields touched hers, but this time she would not let him in. Instead she said, "I need you to consider what I say, and then tell me plainly, even if it is painful, the truth of what it means for our future." Her grasp on his hand was tight as she pulled him to sit beside her. He saw the deep pain behind her eyes, the same he had sensed two weeks before. "It has to do with the inheritance of Healers."

"Tell me," he pleaded, needing to know what could possibly be so wrong.

"I discovered a horrible truth on Christmas Eve. I should have told you then, but I could not... would not believe. I'm so sorry... I have prayed that it is not true... but you must know about it or else our love would be based on a lie. I promise, I will never lie to you."  Jessa stopped. She held her breath, searching in his eyes for her courage.

When she had held her breath for a long moment, afraid to speak more, he interjected his own feelings. "Love comes from trust, dearest Angel. Trust comes from truth. When two Deryni choose to fully share their lives, as we have, there can be no lies. That is what makes our love strong. Don't ever fear telling me the truth. Jessa, my Jessa, I love you; whatever you have to say won't change that."

She nodded but then looked down at the linen around her hand. "Love, however, is also knowing when that love is not enough. If you need something that I cannot give you, then I love you enough to step aside." Before he could question her, she opened her shields fully, breaking the shield her mother had hidden away. The past two weeks were laid out for him to see. In a rush came the realization that most Healing women were unable to conceive a child. Jessa paused only a moment to continue on with her mother's notion that there were exceptions to this fact. One exception just might run in the Thuryn bloodline. It was a thin hope, but the only hope Jessa could hold on to.

The news was so unexpected, it shocked the knight captain into silence. He could say nothing as she confessed her shame. Before him, she swallowed hard. Not understanding his intense stare, she declared the only choice that she felt that they had. She could return to the convent, allowing him the chance to find a real woman, one who could provide him with heirs. Her body was visibly shaking when she shared her conversation with the Bishop. How regardless of what he'd said, if Wash asked it of her, she would insist that the Bishop grant him an annulment of their marriage. To free him fully, she would retreat back into the fold of the Church. 

Washburn was stunned. He instantly balked at the notion, and the thought of her returning to the Church where she did not want to be filled him with revulsion. "I would never ask for such a thing! Never!"

"I cannot give you what you need..." Jessa tried to explain.

"Need?" Tension straightened his back as he stared disbelievingly into his wife's eyes. "You gave me life; there is no greater need than that!"

"That is the past, it is the future that we must now consider. What of your Cynfyn legacy? It is important that you have a son!"

The Knight Captain abruptly stood and paced the room to digest all that he had just been told. After two turns on the carpet, he stopped abruptly and looked straight at his beloved. "I'll admit to having the desire to have sons and grandsons. But a man would be a fool to make that his greatest need. Unless I were in Byzantyun with a harem of wives, having sons has never been one of life's guarantees. You ask me what I need, I will tell you truthfully. I need a wife I trust to run my household when the king calls me away. I need your arms to welcome me home, and I need your love to withstand the passing of time so that we can gracefully grow old together and share every bitterness and every happiness that is thrown in our path. Very few people get that much out of life. I foresee that you and I can make it happen." With conviction he knelt down before her. "You are my angel here on this earth. I am not so greedy as to insist upon more than what Heaven has granted me."

"Are you sure? We could move to Byzantyun where you could have that harem..."

Suddenly he laughed. "Would you be so willing to share me with others?"

"No! Never!" She stood tall over him, her hand reaching to his cheek but hovering there without touching. "Right here, right now, I am telling you that you can honestly break with me and there will be no repercussions." She held her breath, gathering the last thread of her courage. "But from this moment forward, as you just said, truth, trust, and love are what make two people one. Perhaps I am a silly girl with still much to learn about the world, but I would have no other than you to make me whole. And I do pray that you will have no other than me, for as long as we both shall live."

"The bond that makes us one is not one that can be easily broken," he declared in an earnest reply. He pulled her to her knees to kneel with him, his fingers brushing the dampness at the corner of her eyes. "I will have no other than you!" he declared before kissing her.

Dear Lord, you had me worried that something life-threatening had occurred, I apologize if your news took me by surprise. He pressed his face into her shoulder. Sweet Angel, how I missed you! Please, no matter what comes of our future, promise me you will always be here for my soul to come home to.

With the release of her tension, she softened into his embrace. Coveting every part of her, his held her close. She would have succumbed to his desire if something hadn't wiggled and whimpered in the leather satchel slung under his arm. "What is this?" she cried between curiosity and surprise.

"Oh! I nearly forgot! I have a gift for you. More than ever, I think, you will like this." He reached to the leather satchel that oddly shifted on its own. The knight's hand, big and strong, carefully lifted the flap of the satchel aside. Out popped a black nose, white cheeks, round brown eyes, tan eyebrows with a white stripe between them, and long fluffy, black ears. The puppy practically leaped from the confines of the bag into the waiting arms of the woman who stared in amazement. "She is a Comfort Spaniel from Corwyn. The duchess said they are becoming popular with the noble ladies of Bremagne. My hope is that she will keep you company on the nights when I am away. You need your sleep, dear love. How else can I contact you if you will not sleep?"

Jessa suddenly laughed as she held the puppy to her face and a little tongue licked her cheek, giving her puppy kisses. "You will promise me that you will always return to me?"

"My angel, I will promise that as long as there is air in my lungs and a beat in my chest, I will always return to your arms."

"Then I promise I will always await your return. She is so cute!" Jessa called out, the look of joy returning to her face. "My little Cara Mia, I think that is what I will call her. You, Cara Mia, will give me courage to sleep when duty calls our protective Knight Captain away from our side." Holding the puppy with the happy wagging tail, Jessa leaned into Wash and then whispered, "You, my lord, could use a bath." He laughed and grabbed her up in a full kiss. A kiss that stirred their hearts. A kiss that bewitched them both with the spell of Love.

The End
May your horses have wings and fly!


Don't quite see Wash coping with Byzantyun intrigues but the offer from Jessa made me laugh.

Glad to see May got her comeuppance.

Laurna, my love, you are not playing fair - is she or isn't she?. You are not allowed to go and play with pirates until my mind is set at rest over Jessa.

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


Quote from: revanne on December 29, 2014, 01:36:46 PM

Laurna, my love, you are not playing fair - is she or isn't she?. You are not allowed to go and play with pirates until my mind is set at rest over Jessa.

Given the genealogy that she laid out for Wash and Jessa at the end of her last story, and their connection to Alaric Morgan, I think we can safely put any fears about Jessa's possible barrenness and her future domestic happiness to rest.  Although given Jessa's age (she's just in her teens, IIRC), I can easily imagine herself angsting herself half silly over even the possibility that she might not be able to bear heirs for Wash, even though she's barely had more than a few weeks of marriage to find out if she's fertile or not.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


A cute little tri cavalier puppy - I wonder who the inspirations for that was?   ;D

Nicely wrapped up, though like revanne I'm still wondering "is she, or isn't she?"  Although we know she eventually will.

Now, on to those pirates!
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany


Yes -weknow but she doesn't poor lass -maybe I'm getting a wee bit too engaged with the characters here
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)


I had to go to work early today and stay late, so I had thought it best to post the last bit before I left or I would not have the energy for it tonight. However, now that I am home and have read the comments I am quite awake.  Thank you ladies.

QuoteLaurna, my love, you are not playing fair - is she or isn't she?.
Quotelike revanne I'm still wondering "is she, or isn't she?
Oh dear, I fear that the answer is...(I was thinking that I could withhold that answer, but seeing as how it will be forever before I can answer it in story form, I think I had better tell you the truth now)... No, she is not. Not yet anyway. :o

Quoteshe's barely had more than a few weeks of marriage to find out if she's fertile or not.
That is just it. The timing just does not work out. Wash was not there when the timing would have been best- Right after Christmas. We will let the poor girl suffer through winter and get used to the idea, before the coming of spring. Nothing like contending with a new King at Easter in Rhemuth and Pirates south of Dessa during an early spring storm to make the stomach turn all queasy and upset, perhaps caused by more than just seasickness.  ;D

I fear that in the last chapter, I had miss-spoke a few words, which errantly lead you ladies astray. I had not realized that a turned stomach at that point would lead to that (obvious, now that you have pointed it out) conclusion.  ::) I had recalled the day I broke my arm and how sick I felt: getting all clammy, nauseous, and nearly passing out about fifteen minutes after it happened. Silly me! I do apologize.

Quotemaybe I'm getting a wee bit too engaged with the characters here
I will take that as a complement Revanne, that my silly words can be engaging--  Well that just makes this all a lot of fun. At least for me. Thanks.

QuoteA cute little tri cavalier puppy - I wonder who the inspirations for that was?   ;D

;D ;D ;D You will never guess! ;D ;D ;D

P.S. Jessa Mia is sitting on my Christmas present from my sister. A roman folding chair! You can not see it in this picture, but the center back has a letter "L" in the center.  Lots of love for both my puppy and my chair.  :)
May your horses have wings and fly!


I think that puppy has claimed that chair for herself!
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!


I like how the story was resolved.  A very nice ending.

I don't care for little dogs, though.  I prefer a dog that is a DOG--a German Shepherd, or an Akita, or a Siberian Huskey or (especially) a Norwegian Elkhound.


Only just looked at the chair properly. Its amazing - what a wonderful gift.                                                                     

Quote from: Elkhound on January 09, 2015, 09:06:03 PM

I don't care for little dogs, though.  I prefer a dog that is a DOG--a German Shepherd, or an Akita, or a Siberian Huskey or (especially) a Norwegian Elkhound.

Our Cassie (Springer Spaniel,  Retriever cross) is a big dog who thinks she's a little dog. I'm covered in bruises from the times she turns around on my lap trying to get comfortable.

And I believe medieval ladies carried little dogs in their sleeves - I now have an interesting mental picture lol
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)


Quote from: revanne on January 10, 2015, 02:38:30 AM

And I believe medieval ladies carried little dogs in their sleeves - I now have an interesting mental picture lol

I know that Chinese ladies did; that's what the Pekingese was bred for.


A lot of big dogs think they're lap dogs.  One of my SCA friends has several Rottweilers (five total, IIRC), and the last time I was at her house and sat on the couch, one of them, Erin, decided she wanted to be in my lap.  It didn't work very well, LOL.  This dog must weigh something around 100 lbs, and she thought she could climb up in my lap and lay there.  I'm tall and not a petite person at all, but even I don't have enough lap for an adult Rottweiler to curl up in.  :)
"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.)


DF64! hehe if only you knew how long it took just to get that one picture, she kept jumping at the camera. ;D  I am so glad to hear for you. Great!.

Elkhound! I will try to give some one a big DOG, perhaps the Duke of Cassan should have an ELkhound. lol.

DR! lol Dogs will be dogs whither they be 10lbs or 110lbs, but alas, the 10-20 pound dog is easier on the lap.

Medieval ladies should delight in having toy dogs and comfort spaniels around their feet and in their laps to ward off the cold and the tension of everyday life. But I have to laugh at hiding them in your sleeves. Can you imagine that?
May your horses have wings and fly!



Oh my!  Is that a real dog or a bear in disguise?
May your horses have wings and fly!