Author Topic: Pepper and Lace: Chapter 10 (Conclusion)  (Read 7711 times)

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Offline MerchantDeryni

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Pepper and Lace: Chapter 10 (Conclusion)
« on: October 28, 2018, 02:46:07 PM »
Chapter 10: The Dedicates

   The island of Kerkyr was nestled in the warm waters off Ionia. Dhyrucc looked across the incredibly blue waters to the mainland and sipped again at his glass of wine. The patio wall was whitewashed and scrubbed clean by the staff of the guesthouse. The sounds of the warm surf and seabirds carried on the air. He idly watched the sails of the fisherman and their boats dotted across the sea.   
   A young man came onto the patio. He was tall, broad shouldered with large hands. He gave a small bow and spoke with a slight accent,  “Pardon me Sir, but are you Dhyrucc?”

   “I am. Are you my guide for the day?”

“Yes Sir. I am Stavros. Would you follow me please? I will show you the Healer's Hall and the Infirmary, then the training academy.”

“Please lead the way.” The pair walked out of the patio through the halls of the guesthouse, exiting on the front laneway. They walked a block up the narrow winding street of the town.  The gate to the grounds of the university was well made of local limestone and embossed with the crest of an old ruler. The grounds had been granted for a schola many years ago and had grown into an excellent school. The arrival of the network was forcing changes to the curriculum.

   “Are you attending the university? I notice you are wearing the uniform.” asked Dhyrucc. The guide wore a simple jacket and pants with a crest sewn onto the breast.

“I am in a way sir. I work at the university but also take classes, and work hands on with the Healers as they work on patients. I will at some point, attend formal classes and become trained.”

“So you are Deryni?”

“Not at all sir, pure human, my whole family is for many years. We only started getting Deryni here when the troubles began in Gwynedd, then a lot more settled rather quickly and made a fair sized community of their own.” Stavros answered.

“So what did your family do before?”

“Stone cutters and masons sir. My father and older brothers are working on the University and homes of the newly arrived. It's a good time to be a builder, lots of expansion.”

“And you decided not to stay in the business? I am of like story myself. My oldest brother runs the land, I am at loose ends myself.”

“Well sir, I was a good mason, but when the Healer's needed some help I turned out to be a little useful in that area, and one thing led to another. Here is the Healer's Hall.”

   They toured the Hall. Simple in design and layout it was prettily made with local stone and lumber. The hospital accepted all patients and they were examined by both human and Deryni. Ailments that did not require Healing were treated with by the human doctor's. Where Healing was required the Healer's would work on the patient as needed and then send them to the infirmary for rest.

   The infirmary was a large open room with wide windows to let in the light and breeze. Dhyrucc had been to the island several times, helping Alicia and Victoria as they forced their vision on the school. The climate was hot enough to scorch if you shuttered a room closed. The patients here were kept as comfortable as possible.

“Patients stay here as long as they need to. Healer's see them each day and the patients improve rapidly.” Stavros said as he pointed and gestured to the various features of the room and building. As the pair passed by a bed a man looked up and grinned.

“They have you doing tours now Stavros? Do you ever do an honest day's work now? Or is it just walking and talking, or sleeping for a living?”

   Stavros reddened. “My apologies sir, this man is my brother, and is impertinent to a guest.”

   Dhyrucc grinned, “Well then let us pause a moment so I can ask a user of the facilities if the University is providing good care to him. And you can catch up with your brother.” To the patient he asked. “What misfortune brought you here? Were you injured?”

The two men grabbed visiting stools and sat next to the bed. The younger man sat up and adjusted his covers a little awkwardly. His right hand was heavily bandaged, and he was clumsy with his left. Stavros tried to help him and the younger man waved him off with a good natured growl.

“I was sir, and sorry for speaking out of turn. It just tickles me to see my brother dressed as a student and walking about doing the work of a clerk. I grew up used to seeing him in working clothes and a mason's apron chiselling and squaring blocks. I am Alexis, his younger brother.”

“What hurt did you sustain? And are you well now?”

   Alexis raised his right hand, now covered in bandages. He raised his left and wriggled his fingers. “In truth sir I broke my left hand a week ago, an accident with a falling chunk of limestone. It's a common enough injury in a quarry. I smashed a couple of fingers. So rather than  simply binding them myself and letting them heal I let my brother drag me here. Now they are all healed as good as new.”

“So why are you still here and your right hand bandaged?” Dhyrucc asked.

Stavros cut in. “Well because I got him drunk the other night and broke every bone in his right hand. The Healer is setting it all together correctly. He will be healed in a few days.”

Dhyrucc turned to look at Stavros. “You say you intentionally broke your brother's hand? On purpose? Why on earth?”

“Well you see sir, Mason's hands get a little hammered over the years. If you look at the hands of a work you will see joints swollen and bent from getting hit with hammers, or pinched between blocks. The skin gets stippled and scarred from fragments slicing them as the chip away at the stone. My right hand was an ugly thing I must admit, rope scarred and dinged up. So was my left truth be told. It seems unreal seeing it like a normal hand. I am still getting used to it.” Alexis flexed his left hand again and stared at it, turning it over and looking at one side and then the other.

“So the Healer can mend your hand and skin, after so many years of injury?”

Alexis grinned, well that is where my brother the Dedicate comes in, and why I am here now. The Healer's have developed a new trick or two and Stavros here is one of the better helpers. I get to try the procedure since I am family.”

“What is a Dedicate? Are you a monk in service here?”

Stavros answered. “No sir. A Dedicate is one of the people, human or Deryni, that a Healer uses as a source of energy to perform extended and rather draining rituals of Healing. As you know sir, being Deryni and all, a Deryni can augment his power with power from another person, human or Deryni. I was used as a source of energy once, and it went well. They asked for me again and I agreed, then they offered me a job. It pays better than stonework, and I do not have to smash my hands each day.”

“But what do you do?” Dhyrucc was still confused. “How do you help in a Healing?”

“Well a lot of Deryni abilities drain energy from someone else, so I understand. I've heard the Healers talk to one another about it. Instead of Deryni providing the energy I do. I can't give it myself, the Healer takes it, but it works out the same.” Stavros paused, trying to think of an analogy. “It's like a cow. You feed it and every day and it gives milk. You can drink from it over and over again, just be careful to keep it fed and healthy and you have milk for a long time. I am just the milk of loving kindness.”

“Well I've called you a big tit for years, so that is an apt expression.”

“The Dedicates provide energy to the Healers during a Healing, or even a surgery if there is something to be removed from a wound. This allows the Healer to provide more care and energy to the patient than he or she normally could. It means the room gets a little crowded because the Dedicates may need a Healer themselves to prevent from being drained too deeply. You can milk a cow to death if you take too much every day. But with care a Dedicate simply comes out of the Healing Hall a little tired, and a day or so of rest and I can help again. That is what I am doing for my brother. Balancing the scales.”

Dhyrucc was again confused. “We went from milk to scales. What is this image now?”

Alexis took up the tale. “I am hurt, broken bones, and they peeled skin back. My milk jug as it were is half full. As a cow you could take very little from me. So Stavros and the Healer come to my bedside each day and the Healer takes a glass of milk from Stavros and feeds it to me. Stavros is down a bit of milk, I am up a bit. In a week we will be about the same level in our jugs. My hand will be healed and I will heal the rest of the way, back to a full jug of milk in a few more days, even without a Healer. So we balance the scales by putting his milk on my side of the scale. Not all at once mind, but day by day It speeds healing.”

“In the old days the Healers knew more and could do this themselves I think. But this way we now have a whole hall of Dedicates who help out around the site, and I get to attend classes. When Healing is needed we all take turns and people Heal so much faster by sharing. I want my brother to try out for it. It is easier than being a mason. Healer Jacob says he has the same touch as I do, and would do well.”

“I am thinking about it. Not sure if I am cut out to be learning and cleaning rooms and such. I will see how things turn out.”

Dhryucc nodded to both men. “It warms me that humans and Deryni can work together with magic and not be afraid of one another.”

“Oh yes, there are those that call it soul sucking and blood magic. They will change their tune when they get injured. Nothing like blood pumping out of a person to get them to ask for any advantage.”

“Well gentleman, Alexis, it has been a pleasure speaking with you, but could I impose upon Stavros to continue my tour? I know we are supposed to meet with Lady Victoria and look at the plans for the expansion of the university.

“This way then sir. Alexis, I will see you later, and again in the morning for more healing.”  said Stavros and led Dhyrucc from the room.

   After the end of the tour Dhyrucc met with Alicia, Victoria, and the Regents of the University. The women were clear about their vision for the site, and they wanted frequent reports. Any resentment about taking orders from a woman, especially a Jewish one, was glossed over by the fact that it was Victoria's money that was funding this major expansion of the university.
   After the meeting the trio retired back to the guesthouse and sat down for a supper of grilled fish. The breeze off the ocean cooled the patio nicely and the group discussed their day.

“The project is advancing nicely, and we have a few more Healer's coming to study, and to teach. This is excellent news. I have even managed to find some scrolls on Healing and have purchased them. They are being brought here by network and should be here in a few days.”  Victoria said. She raised her glass in a happy salute and sipped.

“This is good news. Any word on how long the building will take?” asked Dhyrucc.

“Several months, and I will be forced to miss some of it. I need to get back onto the network to make more money. I will do another few runs to the silk land and back. I wish I could remain here to keep an eye on things, but in order to move cargo you need to be on the network line.” mused Victoria. “things will not move themselves.”

“I will come with you and we can double the amount we bring back. I will ask some of my friends if they will donate some cargo to pay for the school, university.” Alicia corrected herself. “There are never enough Deryni to do everything we want.”

Dhyrucc's glass shattered on the floor as he sat up straight in his chair. The two women looked at him in alarm. Their shields snapped rigidly in place against the sudden outpouring of exultation from Dhyrucc.  He turned, wide eyed and said in a strangled whisper. “God in heaven, that's it. That is how we can make money AND help Deryni and human alike. We let them make money, with our magic.”

“Dhyrucc my dear, contain yourself, give a thought to your shields I beg you. You are blinding us.” Victoria murmured. She raised a hand and a waiter came in and quickly cleaned up the mess and placed a new glass next to Dhyrucc. Dhyrucc remained frozen in place at the table, his eyes staring off unseeing, his mind seized upon an idea that was filling him. 

   He blinked and raised a hand in silent apology. He mastered himself and took a centering breath. “I've been trying to figure a way to bridge the gap between human and Deryni. The new guard,” a quick gesture to Victoria as he said this, “speaks about fostering learning and understanding between the two peoples. This whole university is an example of that. But today I met two humans who will do more to help bridge the gap between us than any other thing we do. They even have a name for it, Dedicates. They provide energy for Healing. The Healers here are exploring how to tap this source of energy and extend their Healing abilities.”

“I know of them. I signed off on their pay and admission to the school. They are incredibly giving folk. I think they will help save many lives.” Victoria said.

“But you missed the implication, or the application to the network. You've used humans to build the network. There are groups of riders with Deryni and human like. They are extending the network. The Deryni set up the wards and create the portal, and they do so with the humans in trance and giving energy to help form the matrix of a new portal. That has been done for years, but don't you see?”

“I am afraid not dear, spell it out for me. Humans can give energy to help make a portal, and even to Heal. This has been known for a long time.”

“Stavros, my guide today, he explained it with a jug of milk, but I can better explain it with coins, because we will all be rich because of this.
   Making a portal jump costs effort, energy, to balance the energies between two portals to step across safely. A Deryni can make 2 or 3 jumps per day, more if the jumps are short and less if the distance is greater between the portals. This hurts us because we are moving goods 2 or 3 jumps at a time, per day if we are carrying goods ourselves. If we are simply shuttling goods back and forth we may only move on lot of cargo one step in each direction. Agreed?”  Dhyrucc was sitting forward in his chair, his excitement was palpable.

“Agreed, where are you going with this brother?”

“Coins, say it costs us 10 pennies to balance the energy for a jump. We pay that from our purse of energy we each have as a Deryni. If it is a long jump we then likely retire to the Merchant House salon for a meal and a drink and rest for a few hours before doing it again. I used to Jump at 8, noon and then 4 in the afternoon when I was simply shuttling goods. When I walked the world I had much the same schedule. So did you.
   We can take people with us as passengers. We still pay the cost though. You pair shuttled across the world in sync and rapport and as the Adept can remind us, only one Deryni pays the cost. The other can be used to augment the cost but one person is always in control. So I could take the two of you and pay the 10 pennies for the trip. Instead of resting 4 hours, Alicia would then pay the price and control the jump, paying for all of us. Then Victoria would lead and pay the price. In this way a group of Deryni can travel some 600 miles in the space of a few minutes, then rest for 4 hours, and repeat the process so that in one day three Deryni can make nine Jumps and cover some 1800 miles between merchant houses. Assuming the survey teams have done their jobs and the houses are 200 miles apart. Or at least nine jumps from the starting point to the destination. Correct?”

“Yes dear, we have all done that for years now. This is not news.”  said Victoria. Still not sure where he was headed with his analogy.

“Yes, but what if a single Deryni too two humans as Dedicates, and the cargo they carried and drew the energy for each jump from one of them and then jumped from one portal to the next. Then he draws power from the other one, no wait! Suppose the Dedicates stayed at home like I did. They shuttle back and forth along the network only one stop. They spend one day in Rhemuth, the next in Dhassa for example. Someone coming back from Dhassa could ferry them home, even on the same day really.
   Every Merchant House would have fresh Dedicates. The arriving Dedicates would hand off their packs to the fresh ones and the Deryni would continue the journey by drawing energy from a fresh Dedicate. 
   Picture it. A Merchant House now hires a dozen Dedicates each, two dozen, a hundred. Who knows. Even if I can only borrow 9 coins and always pay a penny myself I could make half a dozen jumps or more before I needed to stop for a few hours rest. I could make twenty jumps in a day with the same rest times in between the clusters of transfers. Eight o'clock and six jumps made in half an hour. Rest until noon, another six before 1 and rest another four hours. Finally another half dozen jumps and I rest for the twenty houses away from where I started. All this while carrying three loads of cargo, one per person.”

The two women stared at him. They had travelled with humans before, taking people along the network as they moved to catch up to survey groups, or trade missions. This concept of building a new business model based on human energy to power the network was not something they had considered before.

Dhyrucc continued. “If I sent a letter along the network explaining this each House could hire Dedicates, even use some of the humans we have working for us now. Offer them the same pay rates as we pay ourselves. They would gain money, a lot of it. Their families would benefit. The important thing would be to train the Deryni to never take too much and harm the humans. The Deryni would become the operators of the network, and the humans the power. We the lamp, they the lamp oil. We guide the way and they provide the fuel for us to see, to stretch the analogy further.
   I bet that with the proper planning we could move an item across the world in under an hour. Have everyone be set for a certain time and shuttle things along in a heartbeat.”

“That is an intriguing idea Dhyrucc. We've all travelled with humans before, but this is a new twist on an old game. I am very interested. I think I will be talking with the Healer's here before I leave and have a quick lesson on energy monitoring and augmentation. But if applied correctly, this could very well increase the amount of material we can move along the network several fold. We may be our own worst competition.” Victoria saluted Dhyrucc with her wineglass, Alicia followed suit. The trio began to discuss the various aspects of the energy in portal use and the risks involved to everyone on the portal. The discussion lasted well into the night.

Epilogue: Two Years Later.

   Dhyrucc was looking out at the setting sun from the patio of his sister's house. She had settled on Kerkyr and built a home there. She shared the house with Victoria. Victoria taught at the University in portal construction and energy usage across the network, as well as teaching advanced courses in mathematics and the links of trade and economics. She was also a student of the Healer's in energy augmentation, although her knowledge of energy drain and portal construction had the Master Healer's asking her to teach classes on energy draw.
   Dhyrucc had not decided where he wanted to settle down yet. He had rooms in half a dozen cities. His family was purchasing land in Gwynedd, now that Deryni could once again own land. The Manor House had finally been remodelled to his mother's vision, but now all the children were involved in the network and hardly ever home. It was very vexing for his mother. His father was greatly amused by the whole thing. He spent his time on the estate, and occasional jaunts to far off lands.

   The network was changing the world more openly. With so many Dedicates making their own fortunes in trade and travel the use of magic was becoming more widely known. There were still problems, likely there always would be. Thankfully the power of money was a wonderful thing. People, humans and Deryni were always interested in improving their situation. While some rejected out of fear, others came forward and carried goods from place to place. Sea voyages over great distances were becoming less likely. It was easier to travel by network than sail. Voyages that had taken months now took only a few days. The world was becoming smaller, and more wonderful all the time.

   He thought back over the last few years and smiled to himself. Jobless third son with no prospects to landowner, world traveller, and merchant entrepreneur. Now he was sitting on an island in the middle of nowhere that was becoming the center of all things Deryni and trade related. With everywhere now reachable there was a strange change happening in the world. Geography was less a factor in trade now. Producers and buyers were forging relationships and changing how the money was moving in society. Victoria had taken to writing philosophical treatise's on the subject.

Alicia stepped out onto the patio. She was carrying a piece of paper, of Chinese origin by the looks of it, she waved it at Dhyrucc as she went across the patio to stand next to him. “There's news just come along the network. They've found new land.”

“Where?” asked Dhyrucc. “More spice islands?”

“No, far to the north and east of the land of Wa. One of the mapping groups has been talking with the natives in the north and were told of a bridge to the eastern lands. The team has mapped all along the eastern edge and then found islands in the frozen sea. They crossed over and have sent back maps. Isn't it exciting? They have no idea how big the land is, but it seems massive, and they have discovered people there. So now there will be a network trade mission to see what is available.”

“I may well have to go an see it for myself.” answered Dhyrucc. Alicia nodded in agreement. He poured a glass of rice wine for her and they stood silently side by side watching the sun set.

“It could be the start of something really interesting.”

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Pepper and Lace: Chapter 10 (Conclusion)
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2018, 03:37:24 PM »
Oh, well done!  I have enjoyed this immensely. 
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

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Offline Evie

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Re: Pepper and Lace: Chapter 10 (Conclusion)
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2018, 10:38:38 AM »
Nicely done, MerchantDeryni!  :D
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I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

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Re: Pepper and Lace: Chapter 10 (Conclusion)
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2018, 02:30:39 AM »
Fun story MD,  with all kinds of implications.
Does this mean they found the equivalant to Alaska and will work there way down the west cost of the new conenent, about 300 years earlier than if it had been found by ship. Does the gold rush happen earlier in their history.  That would be interesting.

Offline revanne

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Re: Pepper and Lace: Chapter 10 (Conclusion)
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2018, 06:57:58 AM »
Interesting implications. I very much enjoyed these stories and the thought that has gone into them.
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Offline MerchantDeryni

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Re: Pepper and Lace: Chapter 10 (Conclusion)
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2018, 03:54:17 PM »
Thanks all. It was a lot of fun to write.

My island of Kerkyr is Corfu, a nice island with an interesting history of being able to withstand damn near anything. As a base for a new Deryni outpost I thought it fitting.  Not sure where that puts it on the map of the world, but I left as much of the world as vague as possible on purpose.

Portals and fast information transfer makes for fast journeys of discovery. The discovery of the land bridge to Alaska and the east coast could open up the new world for colonization centuries early.

The clocks and the mapping allow for an accurate portrayal of where things are. The Deryni network control could have the most accurate map in the world, with new additions to the map coming in on a daily basis.

This could make for a smaller world. A team of Dedicates in each transfer house could allow a Deryni to wrap the world in a day, a little more than teh Shakespeare quote at the beginning, but a lot faster than boats, trains, and even planes. This too could really shift the perception of the Deryni, and the world.

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Re: Pepper and Lace: Chapter 10 (Conclusion)
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2018, 10:07:17 AM »
Interesting story.  Like Laurna, I'm now wondering about exploration of North America, but also other areas.

One thought that occurred to me earlier today is that once the exploring teams had crossed to the east coast of this new land, then they'd know roughly how far that was from Gwynnedd (from all the lat/long calculations).  So maybe someone would then be willing to fund a sea-based expedition to see if there was anything interesting in between?

The other main one was wondering how far apart N America, Greenland, and Iceland are - couldn't work it out on the maps I have at the mo - and if portals are possible on that route.  I think Iceland is too isolated...  (OK, I had too much time to think when stuck in a traffic jam this morning).

Offline MerchantDeryni

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Re: Pepper and Lace: Chapter 10 (Conclusion)
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2018, 12:23:52 PM »
I did a map across from Cape Dyer in the Nunavit Claimed Lands across to Grenland at Kangaamiut. Then around Greenland and a 200 mile hope across to Iceland.

SE to Faroe Islands, then across the island to the southern tip and you can transfer across to Northern Scotland. So a link around the world is possible, just cold. :)


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