Role-Playing and Other Games > Semi Free-Form Deryni Gaming

Ghosts of the Past

<< < (2/156) > >>

**Darcy Cameron casually approached the man Lord Alister had indicated, hoping to avoid calling too much attention to their meeting.  Not that it would go unnoticed; who had not noticed the tall knight dressed in black with the red Lendour stag emblazoned on the tunic as he came through the inn’s door? The serving wench had approached is table far quicker that she had theirs!

Darcy initially approached from behind, but changed his direction to ensure he was clearly seen.  Few people, no matter what their rank, appreciated surprises.  And if he remembered correctly, Lendour was a Deryni holding.  All the more reason to be cautious.  Darcy had nothing against Deryni in general; other than a vague envy of their powers.  Actually, the only Deryni he had ever met had drowned at sea, so the man’s magic hadn’t helped him much.

Darcy stopped in front of the knight’s table, made momentary direct eye contact, and bowed politely, keeping his hand well away from the hilt of the short sword hanging from his belt.

When the knight nodded briefly, Darcy straightened.  “My lord, I believe I am escorting the nobleman you are seeking.  We sit at the table in the corner; he asks that you join us.”**

**The man who approached, was not a fellow Washburn had originally considered as his contact for the Lady de Mariot. This man in nondescript, serviceable brown garments could barely be distinguished from the shadows of the corner he had come out from. Washburn had been aware of the two men there in his periphery. Still it seemed to him that this fellow’s gaze followed the tavern girl too keenly as she served Washburn his stew, as she teased a different fellow at the next table, and then when she retreated back through the kitchen door. What seemed to bring the man out from his shadows was a loud banging of kettles and a shout from the back room. As Washburn took a spoonful of hot stew, he was certain he was about to witness the shadow man intervene in the kitchen on the girl’s behalf. Perhaps he was her amore and was coming to her rescue. Somehow Wash got the impression that it might be the cook who would soon need rescuing.

Not his problem, not today; though the cook did put up a stew better than most inns could brag about.

Washburn took in the full make of the man. A sturdy man with a wide walk who balanced well from heel to toe. It came to Wash where he had seen that walk before. On the docks of his home city. Here was a man well accustomed to life on the deck of a seaworthy vessel. The thing was, Culdi was in no way near any harbor. Why was this fellow so far inland. For the Mearan girl Perhaps?

Best to mind his own business. So he hunkered down to fill his empty belly with a spoonful of the stew before it had a chance to cool down. Therefore, when Wash looked up next, he was surprised to find the seafarer, a man actually about his own age, who had turned and was approaching the Lendour Knight. Giving due to the man’s bravery, there weren't many who would approach a Deryni Knight of the realm, Wash did little other than lower his spoon and shift his feet to a better place. Just this subtle motion brought the sea man to a halt where he gave a respectful bow. Only after Washburn acknowledged him did he come closer and announced his true intent.

“My lord, I believe I am escorting the nobleman you are seeking….” the man said. "...

Washburn furled his eyes. “Nobleman….?” he repeated not really hearing the rest that was said. “But I was told....” He turned to the seaman’s companion sitting at the corner table. A familiar face in the shadows watched for his reaction. Washburn mouth fell agape in surprise. Was he seeing a ghost? Here was the friend he had been told was dead, murdered by foul hands. Yet he was hiding, so very unlike the friend he had last seen at twelfth night when he had stood witness as Lord Dhugal presented squire Alister Mariot for knighthood to the king. That evening which had followed Alister's knighting had lead to quite a row involving Alister, Washburn, young Arilan, and the McLain cousin’s all in tow.

Aware that everyone in the tavern was watching, Washburn was careful to not jump up too fast nor pace to the corner table with too much jovial relief. Still he could not keep the wide grin off his face. Finding a friend alive was just too much good news.

“Khardasha! But it is good to see you,” he said emphatically but in a low tone, “Kelric’s news had me grieving your sorry corpse the whole way here.” Wash sat down in the chair opposite. “I am sorry for what happened to your father,  but... my God it is good to see you.”**                                 

**Aliset's mind whirled as she pondered how to respond to the knight's greeting, considering the implications of her different possible courses of actions.  How well had her twin brother known Sir Washburn anyhow?  She and Alister had been close in their childhood years, but his squiring to Duke Dhugal, followed by his knighthood, had caused an inevitable separation between them during the latter halves of their lives, and although they had retained close emotional ties, they'd hardly had enough time together in the past few years to be able to share every aspect of their very different lives.  She knew that her twin had admired and respected the man before her, but were they close?  Were they merely friendly acquaintances, or so close that she had little hope of pulling off her current masquerade?

Perhaps she should go ahead and reveal herself now, sad though it made her to dash his false hope at finding 'Alister' alive.  It might be easier on him to discover that now than to find it out later, and perhaps be angry at her deception.  But on the other hand, would knowing he had a lady to escort cause him to alter his dealings with her, perhaps slow down their progress towards Rhemuth by insisting on hiring proper chaperones for her first?  Time was of the essence--even now, she suspected her cousin Oswald was beginning to call his allies to himself, spreading word of his treacherous victory over her family to the Mearan separatists whose cause he supported, informing them that they could call upon the greater support he could manage now that he had his hands on Caer Mariot's resources.

Over her dead body! She was the legitimate heiress to the Mariot lands now, and her loyalties were to Kelson of Gwynedd.  And this knight before her was her best chance of getting to her liegelord alive.

Alive and perhaps all the more quickly if she could but keep up the pretense just a little longer.

Aliset rose and favored Sir Washburn with a sweeping bow.  "My Lord, well met! I have much news to tell you, but not here." She swept a quick glance around the room before meeting his eyes again.  "Someplace more private would be best, methinks." **

**“I can get us entrance into my family's garden.  There is enough privacy there for you to tell me what in the name of Hell happened to you. And where is your sister?”

Washburn was so intent on his friend's presence that he did not register the commotion behind him nor the awful scream that echoed from beyond the kitchen door. At least not at first. **   

**Aliset jumped at the scream, startled, one hand automatically straying to the hilt of her belt dagger.  She cast a wary glance at Darcy Cameron, taking in his reaction before glancing towards the kitchen and looking back up at Sir Washburn with a questioning look.**


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page

Go to full version