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Pretender's Gambit- Chapter Five

Started by Laurna, April 19, 2017, 04:28:00 AM

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Previous Chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,2033.0.html

Pretender's Gambit -  Chapter Five
The fourth of September in the Year of Our Lord 983
Iomaire Plains, East of Grecotha

To the east, across the Iomaire Plains, the riders out from Grecotha watched the dawn break, but it was not a clear sun as was seen on a usual summer day. Rather, the horizon was blotted out by pillars of black smoke seen in several locales across the expanse of dry, rolling grasslands. These combined with the hovering haze spelled danger to anyone who was not aware of the devastation from the prior day—truly, had that only been the day before? Obviously, Imre had not been satisfied with his victory in battle. The Torenthi had been busy in the predawn hours: venturing forth from the Argoed Mine, traversing unprotected lands, consuming and then burning whatever resources they came upon. Wash mourned for the villages that stood in the Pretender's path. The lack of compassion Imre II demonstrated toward the common folk, the people who were the backbone of the kingdom regardless of who sat upon the throne, was similar to the cause that had ultimately deposed the Festilic Regime seventy-nine years before. Two generations after the Haldane Restoration, Imre proved once more that the Festils had neither respect nor concern for humankind. For that reason, and it was just one of many, the Pretender could not be allowed to gain Gwynedd's crown. No matter the cost!

And that cost in lives lost was already many. The Knight Captain feared thousands more would perish before this was over. For himself, this was his purpose: to protect Gwynedd. It did not matter that he could not remember the last time he had slept in a bed; it seemed a long time ago. What mattered was that he was alive and he was able to take the fight back to the enemy. To that end, he did not think on the comfort he left behind at Grecotha. He and Sir Krispin rode abreast, behind the point riders from Saint Willibrord, each of them balancing one of the Rhemuth ladies before them on their saddles. Taking these two noble women into the scene of a defeated army seemed negligent.  A chivalrous knight would have whipped his mount around and locked the ladies behind the fortified gates of Grecotha. Yet the hope for the kingdom lay in the delicate hands of one of these women. Wash could only pray that they got the Lady Healer to the king on time.

As the morning hours progressed, the Grecothan riders crossed the paths of the first dispatch riders bringing news that had already been given by the seven warriors who had found a faster means of travel.  By noon, new dispatches relayed far more distressing news of the army's defeat and the many wounded and casualties who had fallen in battle. Still the word was that the king lived, and thus the riders pushed harder still to meet up with the main host.

As they cantered near to galloping through the late afternoon, Washburn's focus began to wane. His shoulder ached from wounds not deep enough to hinder his progress, yet becoming inflamed from his constant motion and neglect. And then there was that ever-present pain in his head that drummed with every pounding of his horse's hooves upon the road. He had done his best to hide his discomfort, but finally he could not protect the lady from a jarring step his horse made over a small rivulet.  It was then, to his surprise, when he thought she was about to complain about his carelessness, that the fine, soothing fingers of a Healer brushed the side of his cheek. She gasped as their shields met. And then, as if his shields were as weak as a babe's, she was encircling the lump on the side of his head with her mind.

'You needn't waste your energy upon me," he muttered.

"I think otherwise, Sir Knight. If you pass out, then where would I be? I do not relish meeting the ground at this speed," she said with a voice light and yet not so teasing.

Washburn could not respond in time before his skin tingled and the pain behind his eyes eased.  The chain-mail coif he had redonned before they rode out no longer rubbed raw the lump on the side of his head.

"Thank you," he said hesitantly, then feeling a great relief from his pained shoulder, he exclaimed, "My... I'm...  grateful!" Then a sigh escaped his lips and he felt renewed. "Truly, my lady, hold your energies for those in more need than I. I am thinking we will meet up with them just at nightfall.  See the dust rising beyond the far hill? I think our King will be there."

"It is a gift I can offer for your continued protection," she chimed lightly. It was then that Washburn knew the identity of the lady in his trust. Jerusha Drummond, wife of the late Cathan Drummond who was brother to the Dowager Queen. The revelation was a surprise to him. He would never have guessed that Deryni blood had touched the Drummond family.

"My Lady Drummond, please forgive my ignorance. I had no idea you were Deryni, much less a Healer." He paused for a long breath before he exclaimed, "That day my Camilla died... you must have considered me a madman!" He sighed, afraid of the memory. "I could not understand how she lay dying when she seemed so free of pain.  Did you ease her suffering?"

"I did all that I could. You must know that I tried." The Healer bowed her head with a tear in her eye.

"I never guessed." After reflection, he said, "I know what I said afterward was hurtful; I regret my words to this day. Forgive me, I was angry. Not with the women who had sat at my wife's side that whole day while I paced the floor in the adjoining room. I was angry because I should have been with her through all of it. Not just at the end." In a long pause, all that could be heard was the thunder of horse hooves pounding the road to close the distance between them and their destination. In a louder voice, Washburn declared, "This time, I won't just sit back. I will be there, whatever you need. Your son is a valiant man. He was unrelenting in his protection of our king. He was wounded, but I do not know how badly. I pray that we meet up with the army soon."

"As have I been praying this whole day," the lady said, then in rapport she added Would you mind if we made our entreaties together?

In affirmation, he partially dropped his shields. Tentative at first, recalling how Rhylen had overwhelmed him even with his benign intentions to escape through the Portal, Wash found it difficult to fully initiate rapport. Jerusha did not insist. The words of her prayer simply echoed with a clarity that he used to center. He repeated the Lord's Prayer with a calmer mind, and then in unison they said the last phrases. As the day passed, she recited to him another prayer, a Healer's Prayer called Adsum Domine. He had never heard it before, and he was intrigued when she talked on about how her brother had sung it to her back in the days of her childhood. The ride through the late afternoon passed quickly in a mix of calm reflection and high motivation.

As the grey sky darkened, the Grecothan monks and the Rhemuth party came upon a makeshift encampment of an ever-growing size as men stumbled in from the east.  Prince Jasher rode through their midst with his pendant flapping in the breeze, held by the man riding before him. Thus, as he passed by, every soldier who was able first stood and then bowed low. This reception of full honor did not bode well, and indeed when they dismounted before the one tattered pavilion at the very center of all, they were greeted by men with downcast eyes. All silently knelt before Jasher, as he and his party dismounted from their exhausted, sweat-soaked mounts.

"What's this, where is Nygel?" Jasher bellowed when none would rise to meet him face on.

"Your Majesty, our late brother is within," said the only man willing to come forward. Prince Cluim pulled back the covered entrance and then led his brother inside to the back, where the royal figure was seen lying upon a table. Even from the entrance it was clear to see the likeness of Nygel Haldane: black hair, shoulder length, splayed across the pillow; strong nose and chin in profile; eyes closed as if in sleep; hands folded on his chest over the pommel of the king's bare-bladed sword held like a cross in prayer. So still, too still to be asleep.

"Damn Torenth!" Jasher cursed as he rushed forward only to fall to his knees at the full realization that his brother, his king, was dead. Following Jasher within the pavilion, Washburn mourned his recumbent king, his knees also buckled in defeat. At his side the Lady Healer let out a gasp, her hand reaching out from her cloak to grasped Washburn's shoulder and steady her own weakened legs. All their efforts had been in vain: the war council, the secret strike, the battle, the retreat, and all that it had taken to bring the Healer here. Could Gwynedd succumb so easily to the Pretender's will? 

The men arriving from Grecotha understood only part of the loss that shadowed the faces of those who regained their feet and crowded within the royal pavilion. The monks of Saint Willibrord looked around them in disbelief, staring at the figure of their king, not fully grasping the army's loss, while the warriors of the army could do no more than lower their faces to look down in shame. No one dared to look upon Jasher in this moment of his severest grief. Only one woman, the boldest of them, dared to step close to Jasher, her hands visibly shaking as she stepped past him to stand close to the pall of King Nygel. This was the lady who had ridden with Sir Krispin. Her aged fingers reached out and touched the cold forehead of the king, then pulled away as if wounded. For a long while the cloaked lady stood silent. Then, with a heave of her shoulders and a straightening of her back, the lady turned to face the kneeling Haldane brothers. She pushed back her cowl and lifted the white veil from her face. Many gasped when they realized who she was.

Here stood the King's grandmother, the fiercely defiant Dowager Queen Michaela Haldane, her cheeks wet with tears. "Gwynedd has lost a good King," she proclaimed, turning to look over the assembled men. "I am saddened for us all." Then resolved in what she must do, she reach her hand forth, palm up, to the older of her two living grandsons. "Even in our moment of loss, we must not give up all hope. For before me is one who I know will take up the sword and the crown and defeat the one who would seek to overpower us. Jasher Owain Cinhil Haldane, hear me now! My beloved Rhysem gave his life to see Gwynedd free. My sons Owain and Uthyr made that dream reality. Though I have lost one grandson this day, you are the next of my grandsons who must step forward to take your place on the throne of Gwynedd. Will you be that man? Will you lead your people? Will you retain freedom which has cost so dearly? I am asking you to take up Gwynedd's crown!"

Jasher was moved by the entreaty of the Dowager Queen. At first his eyes had gone wide in surprise to discover it was she who had traveled with them this last day. As her hand came to rest upon his head, he bowed down, allowing the moisture from his eyes to fall upon his cheek. Brushing the wetness away with a fist clenched in conviction, he then lifted his head and straightened his back to give his grandmother a proper reply. "Madame, I am and always shall be your servant and the servant of Gwynedd. Though I am saddened at the circumstances that require this of me, yes, I will wear the crown as is my rightful duty to Gwynedd." Jasher stood in acknowledgement of his new responsibilities. He then turned to his younger brother with stern determination. "I do not intend to fail in this task that has been thrust upon me, but if I do, Prince Cluim, I will demand that you, my brother, seek vengeance for us all. You shall follow as my heir until such time that I can make a marriage and beget a rightful son of my loins."

"I will, Sire," Cluim announced boldly. He remained kneeling before Jasher. Raising up both hands joined, he pleaded for his oath to be heard. 

Tall beside the petite Dowager, Jasher followed the form of those who had gone before him and surrounded his brother's hands in both of his. "Cluim, am I to understand you freely desire to pledge your fealty to me?"

"I do," Cluim said. At the new king's nod, Cluim raised his voice for all to hear. "Hear me, Jasher Haldane, rightful King of Gwynedd. I, Cluim Michael Reginaud Haldane, Prince of Gwynedd, Earl of Carthane, do become your vassal of life and limb, and enter your fealty, and do homage for all the lands of Carthane. Faith and truth will I bear unto you, to live and to die, against all manner of folk, so help me God."

Jasher's gaze locked on that of his brother, feeling for the first time the immensity of the weight that had unexpectedly been placed on his shoulders. Leaning a little closer, accepting his brother's oath as his ally in these troubled times, Jasher responded emphatically, "This I do hear, Prince Cluim, Earl of Carthane, and I, for my part, pledge the protection of Gwynedd to you and all of our people, to defend you from every creature with all my power, giving loyalty for loyalty and justice for honor. This is the word of Jasher Owain Cinhil Haldane..." Jasher paused for a minute holding his breath as he looked into the eyes of his grandmother. She gave him a nod and a smile, assuring him that his next words were his to say. He took in a breath and then loudly proclaimed, "King of Gwynedd, Lord of Meara and Mooryn and the Purple March, and Overlord of Eastmarch. So help me God."

All who looked on stood taller in appreciation of this oath. A voice called out "Long live the King!" and all the men followed the chant calling "Long live King Jasher!" The call was echoed by the soldiers beyond the canvas walls. When the chant settled, one by one, the noblemen who could, followed Cluim in their pledge to their new king. The Duke of Cassan, the Duke of Claibourne, the Earls of Rhendall, Kheldour, Sheele, Transha, Carcashale, and Lendour pledged their fealty without hesitation. The men newly made as lords, having inherited their titles in this last day, came forward then: the new Laird of Leanshire, Andrew McLain, as loyal as his father had been to the Haldane line; and next the Earl of Pelagog, Abner Heavysege, who appeared as bitter as his father had proven to be two days before. The Lords of Eastmarch, Lindestark, and Rheljan were still unaccounted for as they had headed north and east in the last daylight hours. Very few others of the king's lords were hale enough to make the pledge there and then. Far too many lay upon cots outside in the coolness of the night's breeze. For these men, the priests of Saint Willibrord spread out to assist the camp followers who were overwhelmed by the number of wounded. The abbey's knights would soon make their way to the east flank to help guard against a strike that many feared would come at any time from the enemy. 

The Healer, unnoticed during the oath taking, gravitated to the side of the tent where four men lay on cots shivering from their wounds. She cried when she touched the feverish forehead of her son Corwin Drummond. His right leg was a stump; bloody rags tied off what had been cut off by surgeons below the knee. Upon hearing the lady's quiet cry, Washburn came to the Healer's side. He helped her shaking hand pour medicine from a small blue vial into cup of wine.

"What is this?" Wash asked.

"Talacil, it's a medicine for fever, taught to me by my brother, Lord Tieg. He learned the complexities of creating it from his Gabrilite teachers. And yes, some Gabrilites did survived the destruction of Saint Neot's, but they were forced into hiding."

"Aye, my lady, I know of one or two places where many went into hiding, but I did not know any Healers had survived."

"There are only a handful of Healers alive today. Many succumbed in the plague year. As did my brother and his teacher, a man named Dom Queron. He had been the last Abbot of Saint Neot's." Washburn nodded, knowing of whom she spoke.  "I, too, trained under Dom Queron, in my youth. I have tried to pass on what I know to my children, although only one of my daughters retained the Healing gift. Alas, Corwin did not inherit that ability." She looked anxiously down at her son, whose forehead was damp with sweat and whose eyes only barely showed recognition of his mother. "Help me lift his head, if you will, and see that he swallows this. It will take down his fever and augment that which Healing alone can not completely cure." Washburn raised the nobleman's head. He encountered impenetrable shields, and therefore could do no more than hope Drummond was conscious enough to swallow. The older man sputtered at the taste, but he seemed to understand that what he had been given was necessary for him to drink. When the Talacil was swallowed, Washburn offered whatever assistance the Healer needed to bolster her abilities. With a slight hesitation, she nodded her acceptance, and then more confidently, let his hand rest upon her arm. She let his energy merge with hers to succeed in this task which could not be done alone.

In a separate place behind his own shields, Washburn considered how little Corwin Drummond had trusted Lendour. Perhaps this had been a ruse to keep his Deryni heritage secret. Association with a known Deryni family such as the Cynfyns was bound to bring suspicion onto those they befriended. The Deryni men who ruled Lendour had never been many, but they were strong, as strong as the walls of their castle.  Six and sixty years ago, when warning had come of the destruction of the Abbey of Saint Neot's, the Cynfyns of old, unable to stop the slaughter of so many, slammed shut their castle gates, opening them for very few for the forty years thereafter.  The gates took a beating many times in the earlier regency era, but the Cynfyns prevailed where many families had not. Unbeknown to most, the Cynfyns did whatever they could by protecting and supplying several safe havens that had filled with refugees from the savagery of the child king's Regents. These places were hidden away among the rugged mountain terrain of Lendour. Washburn himself had been to such secret places in his youth with his father. As far as he knew, to this day Deryni existed within those mountain hideaways. Muir's inheritance included an oath to keep these places supplied and secret.

If there was mistrust of their surname within the hidden Deryni community, then it must stem from more than just their family's appearance of seclusion these last decades. Washburn's task put to him by his father eight years before had been an attempt to re-earn the Cynfyns a place at council. He being the younger of the Cynfyn boys, he had been placed to squire in King Uthyr's court at Rhemuth. In the intervening years, Washburn thought he had succeeded by making friends at court, by achieving his knighthood, and by marrying well a courtly lady. That changed upon his wife's death; he hadn't realized how angry at the world he became.  He had railed at others over his loss. Then came spring and the tournament games, where he had been stupid enough to step into the competitor's ring! His dethroning of every knight of good family had certainly succeeded in capturing the attention of everyone at court, but the way he had gloated over his rivals' incompetencies afterward had also succeeded in turning friends into enemies. At the time he'd been too angry and too immature to realize how much damage he was doing to his family name. Time was at hand to make amends, time to reestablish the loyalties of the Cynfyns. Washburn was determined to prove Lendour was as much a vassal of Gwynedd as any of the estates represented here. To that end, he offered all the energy he had to assist the lady Healer in her task.

With skilled hands, the aged Healer drew aside the bloody bandages that wrapped the stump of Corwin's leg. Delicate fingers probed the raw wound. As soon as she understood the fullness of the damage to the remaining tissue, she cupped both her hands over the severed limb and Healed the wound until fresh skin covered all. She then moved her hands upward to her son's head and chest, shifting Healing energy to regain him his health. Through the procedure, the link between Jerusha and Washburn had deepened. He could feel the mother's tears when she could not fully cure her son. Her thoughts showed him the depths of her concern. If only she could have been here sooner, she would have saved his leg. Although, she could not say so with certainty.  She felt confident that she could have saved her son and her King in those first hours after their wounding, but once so much blood was lost and bad humours had settled in the flesh.... She was not sure the outcome would have been different from what it was.

As the two re-awoke from their trance, they overheard the talk around them. The Lady Jerusha and Wash learned that Nygel had died in that first night. The festering piercing of the dart to his belly had done irreparable damage. Grieving for Gwynedd's loss, Washburn stood, then offered both hands to help the lady come to her feet. She had tears in her eyes for their king who had been lost, yet she kept a tender hand on her son's brow, knowing that at least he would survive. That was what allowed her to brush away her tears and straighten her shoulders. She looked across his cot to the next wounded man, knowing she had much yet to do. The man she looked upon was Stuart MacAthan, his face pale as a ghost, his body shivering. Sir Krispin knelt at his father's side. His look toward the Healer was one of hope. To Washburn's own dismay, his hand shook as he led the lady to Krispin's side; she had taken much from him, and he found his mind spent and his energy depleted. He understood her need, for she had many Healings yet to accomplish. To achieve what she must, she dare not deplete her own energy. Only now he was of little help to her.

To the Deryni captain's approval, Sir Krispin stepped forward, taking the Healer's hand and kneeling again as she knelt at Lord MacAthan's side. The young man freely gave his human energies to the Healer without fear. Wash considered Krispin very brave, for most humans feared a Deryni's touch. Then with a sudden revelation, he remembered what he had completely forgotten—Sir Krispin was Lady Jerusha's grandson. With a quarter of her Deryni blood, was it possible that Krispin MacAthan retained some of her ability? Washburn had known Krispin for several years, and he now considered how much effort the young knight had taken to hide his bloodline. The same as had Corwin Drummond, a man who had inherited his father's title of Lord Constable of Gwynedd. What a quiet coup! Deryni in positions closest to the late king.  And here Washburn had thought that he and Muir would be the only Deryni to seek positions within the royal council after the Statues of Ramos had been enacted all those decades ago. Nygel most assuredly had accepted the men closest to him for what and who they were. But this led to the speculation of how tolerant their new King, who was a man of the Church, would be to the Deryni question. Washburn turned to look over his shoulder in Jasher's direction, but instead of his king, he saw his brother coming toward him. Muir gave Wash a hard look, one that demanded his brother's full attention. 

"I have a crucial task for you," Muir confided. Wash turned to acknowledge his brother, and found his balance unsteady. He was about to protest, claiming exhaustion, when Muir touched his hand and renewed some of the energy he had given away to the Healer. Best we step outside where we will not be observed so closely, Muir passed along in that same link.  Wash followed his brother outside. The air was turning cold like the night before, causing Washburn to briefly wonder if this was a foretelling of the coming fall and winter seasons. But then there was no more time for any of his prior concerns, for Muir demanded his full attention as he stopped in an empty space far enough from the pavilion walls for voices to not be heard.

"When Nygel lay dying, there was little I could do," the earl confided, keeping his voice extremely low.  "I eased his pain, but at the last our king knew he could not hold out for the Healer. He gave me instructions then." Muir looked again around to be sure no one could hear him.  "He told me something he could tell no other. I know what must be done. With the threat of Imre closing in on us, we dare not delay. I would have us all rested before we attempt that which has been laid out for me, but there is no time. What Nygel requested of me must be completed before dawn."

"Tell me, my lord. Your task is also mine," Washburn vowed. With a hand over his brother's hand, the earl transferred his instructions. Ritual magic was involved; a study that Muir had much interest in, but one in which the younger brother had no time to pursue. What was revealed was a sequence of events balancing the arcane with the ecclesial; a combining of forces which should be only attempted after much thought and preparation.

Considering the implications of what he just learned, Washburn countered, "I had thought the Haldane powers came to the king upon his anointing? We cannot hope to have Jasher anointed on this night."

"I do not know how it will be, I only know what must be done." Muir responded. "Wash, this is the most important thing that we can do for the survival of our kingdom and for our race. We cannot fail in this task!" Muir waited until his brother fully comprehended the implications. When Wash finally gave a grim nod, he continued his instruction. "We are on the outskirts of Shanbogh, are we not? There is an ancient chapel in that village which will suffice for our needs. Go there now. Secure it for us and get the few Items that I have requested." Muir looked back at the pavilion. "We will need four Deryni to attend our new king, men that not only we can trust but that Jasher will trust as well. I am thinking Rhylen can help, but he is young."

"The Healer will join us, surely."

"No, I will not ask this of her. The Lady Jerusha has many to attend to this night. I will not see her drained of energy for this task."

"Have you thought of asking Sir Krispin? He is family to the Haldanes. A secret of this magnitude should not readily be let out," Washburn offered, wondering if his brother had made the connection between the Healer and the young knight.

"What? How do you figure that?" Muir inquired and then suddenly an understanding lit his eyes. "Do you think so?"

"In the midst of battle, I learned there are far more Deryni in this kingdom than you and I. It just surprises me to find them so close to the royal court."

"Aye!" The earl pondered the implications for a moment. "I'll discover what I can." Then he urged Wash to go. "Prepared the chapel for our arrival around the hour of matins."

"It will be done," Washburn assured.

Determined, the knight captain walked away from the pavilion, through the midst of Grecothans disseminating their supplies of bandages and food to the warriors in need. He almost did not see the four guardsmen whom he'd ridden with this whole last day, until Vince called to him from the side. "Captain, is it true then, King Nygel has died? When the chanting went out, I felt lost!"

"Aye, as did I," the captain replied, wondering if Vince was going to condemn their use of magic as the reason for this punishment on Gwynedd.

"Prince Jasher is now our king?" asked the soldier.

"That he is," Washburn stated. 

The young man reached into his belt pouch and brought forth the Bishop's ring he had liberated from the Torenthi. "Do you think then that I should give this to King Jasher?"  Vince held the ring out. "Perhaps you should return it."

Wash knew better than to touch the gold ring with its large amethyst gem. He had no desire just then to open himself up to the slaughter of the Bishop of Marley. He was angry enough with the Torenthi over Nygel's death and all those who had died on the battlefield. Just now, he did not need this too. Vince did not understand his hesitation. "Vince, that ring is for you to return," Wash tried to explain. "But not to Jasher. Find Father Gilrae d'Eirial. He is Archbishop William's designated representative for all matters of the episcopate. I saw the good Father briefly in the pavilion, though I do not know where he has gone just now. At dawn, he'll be leading us in Mass before we resume our retreat to Grecotha. Perhaps he'll give you time afterward, once he sees what you will return to him." Wash stepped back from the soldier, not wanting to be further distracted from the task he had been given. He was a little irritated to find the young man following him. 

"What do you need, I'll do it for you," Vince offered.

Not breaking stride, the captain shook his head. "What if magic is involved?"

"Perhaps it is time I determine for myself the morality of magic."

Washburn's eyebrows raised up. "Do you think that's a wise choice?  You were a little shaken by that first Portal jump."

"As I recall, you were as well." Vince dared to say to the Knight Captain.

Wash turned an appreciative smile to the young man. "Don't go letting that about, my fierce reputation will be marred."

"Then let me come with you. I am a good swordsman, if that's what you need." Vince's face was bright with expectation to prove himself worthy.

"My hope is we will not need your sword where we are going," the captain said. "If you can handle magic, then I am willing to let you come along. Though what you will see, you are to never reveal to anyone." Washburn touched the soldier's hand, sending just such a compulsion into the young man's mind even before Vince agreed to come. What Washburn intended to do was not his secret, and he dare not take that chance that word of it got about.

Washburn and Vince walked through the camp, passing hundreds, nay, thousands of men gathering beyond the pavilion, all seeking some hope that they would survive. They had to survive. Gwynedd must not fall into the hands of tyrants, not ever again. Washburn found Sir Artimus and Sir Dillon with the Lendour levies at the very back of the camp, ushering in the stranglers as they arrived.  Leaving Sir Artimus in charge of the levies, the captain recruited Dillon to join the task at hand. Once more in the saddle of his trusted warhorse, Washburn led the way as he, Dillon, and Vince rode out of camp and then galloped west to the small village of Shanbogh and the thatched-roofed, rock chapel standing there.

Next Chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,2042.0.html
May your horses have wings and fly!


The light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.


You made me cry.

Wonderful chapter but so many more questions raised.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)


It's  good to hear of Gilrae d'Eirial again. Strangely enough a descendant of his brother will appear in the story I am writing at the moment, although at the speed I write it'll be a while before anything is posted.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)


Fascinating chapter! Can't wait to see what happens next. Just when you think the Festils can't get any worse, they do! Methinks Imre will pay for his acts against the people. Not a good idea to make all the citizens of a kingdom hate you. This is a wonderful story!
"Thanks be to God there are still, as there always have been and always will be, more good men than evil in this world, and their cause will prevail." Brother Cadfael's Penance


A moving chapter, Laurna. I'm still not sure what to think of Vince, though.  I fear there is something he is hiding.

(And "squeee" for a new story from revanne!)
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 Ladies, I thank you for your reading on and your continued support.
Quote from: Demercia on April 19, 2017, 06:50:31 AM
Better and better
Thank you, Demercia
Quote from: revanne on April 19, 2017, 09:24:01 AM
It's  good to hear of Gilrae d'Eirial again. Strangely enough a descendant of his brother will appear in the story I am writing at the moment, although at the speed I write it'll be a while before anything is posted.
I hope you will see Bishop Gilrae d'Eirial more in the following story after this, (which may be a while yet in posting).
Your writing, neat!  I understand the speed, or lack-there-of. so no worries. But writing is GOOD!
And sorry if I made you cry.  ;D

Quote from: DerynifanK on April 19, 2017, 10:51:56 AM
Just when you think the Festils can't get any worse, they do! Methinks Imre will pay for his acts against the people. Not a good idea to make all the citizens of a kingdom hate you.

Imre II is a 55 year old bitter man brought up to think he should have more than he has. This Event and then the Killingford event (which is completely in KK hands) were the Festils major attempts to steal back the throne. (Before Kelson and Charissa). No caring for the common folk in any of these events.  :'(

Quote from: Jerusha on April 19, 2017, 11:16:10 AM
A moving chapter, Laurna. I'm still not sure what to think of Vince, though.  I fear there is something he is hiding.

(And "squeee" for a new story from revanne!)
Jerusha, Washburn has much to thank you for. You introduce him to Healers. Now,Vince too has much to thank you for.  I will explain later.  ;D

I will ask for a little of your patience for the next chapter.  I may be a bit late in posting it, there are rewrites involved.
When I first showed this to Evie, it was only a prologue for my other story. The trouble was it was two chapters long, and Evie was like: "You can not have a two chapter prologue." and it also ended in an abrupt spot. I had intended to tell the full of this story in flash back scenes throughout the later story, but then it became clear this was a stand alone. So thank Evie for all of her hard work in making me make this readable. And I thank you for indulging in my summery of all the info gathered from the Codex. I know I add a lot of people, but they are all there in the codex and they all wanted their moments on the page.
May your horses have wings and fly!


Your story is wonderful.

We will wait on your convenience, my lady.

How you keep all these characters in your head is an amazement to me.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)


Patience is freely given, for we know it will be well worth the wait.   :)

I'm glad I was able to provide what assistance I could for Sir Washburn.  After all, he got me to our destination without falling underneath the horse's hooves!  If only we could have arrived sooner....

I am wondering, of course, what it was I did for Vince....

All will be revealed when the time is right, I am sure.   :)
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany


Will try to compose myself in patience but it is really hard. Wonderful writing, enjoying every minute
"Thanks be to God there are still, as there always have been and always will be, more good men than evil in this world, and their cause will prevail." Brother Cadfael's Penance