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Heirs of Ghosts Past- Book One - Book Cover and Part One

Started by Laurna, January 03, 2022, 12:05:17 PM

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Lady Aliset de Mariot is desperate to reach the king in Rhemuth after her family is cruelly massacred by her cousin, Lord Oswald, in an attempt to lay claim not only to Caer Mariot but also to Lady Aliset herself!  She hires Master Darcy Cameron, a former sailor returned from the sea, as her man-at-arms.  Their journey south takes them to Culdi, where they rendezvous with Sir Washburn Morgan, youngest son of the legendary Duke Alaric Morgan, who has been sent by his brother, the current Duke of Corwyn, to ensure Lady Aliset's safety.  A fire in the tavern they are meeting in causes them to add another to their journey, Father Columcil, parish priest of St. Melangell.  The rugged highland priest,  a Healer with a secret he holds close to his heart, has been bid to travel south on a task set by his bishop, and finds his attachment to these travelers may be a blessing, guided by the highest hand. 

Their journey will not be a peaceful one, for unrest in Meara festers among the young people who only know of the old stories of Meara's Independence.  The four  travellers are stalked at every turn; some are injured, some are captured. Will determination, faith, and Deryni skills enable them to reach Rhemuth, King Kelson, and a long sought after place of safety?


As a Twelfth Night gift from us to the Rhemuth Castle Forum, we would like to offer Book One of the Ghosts of the Past Series.

Who are We you ask? We are the game master and the player/writers of the story/game that had played out on this forum for over three years. We became friends through our love of the Eleven Kingdoms and through the hardship and triumphs that we shared together, we are Bynw, Evie, Jerusha, Revanne, Laurna and DeryniFanK.

Maybe you read along with us as we played. Maybe you joined us late in the game and only read parts of our story. Or maybe you never heard of it and are curious to know what I am talking about. Well, that is why we offer a better way to read what we wrote in a better presented format. We have edited our game/story (to our best ability) to offer a completed version with even a few small additions.

Eventually all four novel length Fan Fiction stories will be offered here in PDF form for you to download and read at your leisure. (P.S. Due to the nature of Fan Fiction, these stories may not be commercially printed in any fashion.)
  Book One    Heirs of Ghosts Past  Part One
 Book Two    Ghosts of Rebels Rising
 Book Three Ghosts in Checkmate
 Book Four  Ghosts Laid to Rest

Today and over the next few days leading to Twelfth Night I will offer our first novel
with Book cover Title page and Detailed map:

Heirs of Ghosts Past - Book One- Cover, Title Page, Map.pdf

Please click on the attachments below to download part one of book one Heirs of Ghosts Past.

Heirs of Ghosts Past Introduction Chapter One -Nine.pdf

Please feel free to let us know what you think by responding to each topic in kind as you read along with us.
Thank you dear Katherine Kurtz for letting us play in your Sandbox!


Chapter One
18th of July, 1164 Saturday

Jerusha    « Reply #2 »

Darcy Cameron surveyed the tavern area of the inn they had arrived at the night before.  Coming down from the private room Lord Alister had paid good coin for (extravagant as far as Darcy was concerned, but it was the young lord's coin to spend) he had selected a table in a far corner out of the direct light of the large fireplace with a good view of the rest of the room.  The tables were gradually filling with patrons he did not recognize.  Good. No one appeared to be following them.  Lord Alister seemed withdrawn, but that was not unusual.  Darcy suspected that he surveyed the room with as much interest as he did.

The tavern maid planted two bowls of stew, two mugs of ale and a loaf of bread in the center of the table.  Her strong arms and ample cleavage were clearly in view and Darcy tossed a coin into the cleft.

"We'll have the better ale," he said for himself and Lord Alister.  Alister gave him a withering look.

The stew was a bit thin but appeared to contain a reasonable portion of meat.  Lord Alister broke off a piece of bread and passed the loaf to Darcy.  Darcy broke off a chunk and examined it carefully, looking for the weevils that were too often present in the loaves served at sea.  Lord Alister looked amused; Darcy scowled and took a large mouthful of bread.

A loud crash sounded from the kitchen area, followed by a shout and a wail.  Lord Alister startled, then looked to investigate.  Darcy laid a restraining hand on his arm.

"No good comes from interfering with the kitchen,"  Darcy said quietly.  "Unless you want to be poisoned in the morning."

Lord Alister looked like he might object, but instead turned his attention to the stew.

Darcy did the same but looked up as another entered the inn.

Laurna    « Reply #3 »

Washburn Morgan had been riding several days when he rode through the streets of Culdi looking for a particular inn.

A late-night Rapport from his brother had sent him out on this latest quest. He had been at the University of Grecotha representing Corwyn's Patronage of the Schola there, a school sponsoring the brightest human students in Gwynedd. His welcome in this forty-third good year of King Kelson's reign had been far more accepting of his family's known Deryni blood than that described by his father in his personal journal. That was back when Alaric had first sponsored the Schola to match the Royal sponsoring of the Deryni Royal Schola in Rhemuth. The suspicions and fears of the Grecothan human clergy and professors had finally been proven unfounded after the Morgan family's thirty years of patronage.

Washburn smiled briefly, checking that his saddle packs were still closed.

The contents of the bag were minimal, nothing much of value. Except... for that precious journal that his mother had always nagged his father to keep. He had not known his father well. That man had been no other than the great Alaric Morgan, Duke of Corwyn. He had been and had done so much in his far too short life: he had been king's champion, a general in the wars, the first to rediscover healing, a hero, nay, a legend in the eyes of Deryni and human folk, alike. Washburn had only a few precious memories of the tall golden-haired Duke of Corwyn, glimpses of happy moments of father and son: riding a big black stallion on the saddle before his father in a parade beside King Kelson who sat astride his royal white stallion; and that time reenacting a battle scene with wooden horses and wooden warriors within the castle gardens of Rhemuth. Washburn had only a few memories of his father in their home of Coroth Castle... only that last one... that last memory of the great warrior riding out the gates to meet an invading army. Washburn had been only seven.

The knight let out a great sigh.

If it hadn't been for his brother gifting him his father's journal upon his knighthood, he wouldn't have learned of the personal thoughts of the man who was a legend. The journal gave him a goal to strive toward. If only he could be half the champion his father had been. Or even half the nobleman his two brothers had become. It was hard living in the shadows of the current Duke of Corwyn, Kelric, his elder brother and the Earl of Marley, Brendan, his eldest half-brother. They were truly great men. Wash felt the eyes of the court were always watching him, they expected so much from a Morgan. Perhaps that is why he was just as happy in the saddle doing the king's business and/or his brother's business rather than playing courtier at either Coroth or Rhemuth Castles.

Washburn rode past the family gardens where he knew his grandmother and aunt had been entombed.

That was decades before he was born. He had seen the tombs upon his last visit here. There just wasn't time for that on this visit. He had promised to be at the inn by noon and it was already two hours after. He was late, and that was a poor showing on his part. Especially to the young lady who had been much distressed by circumstances beyond her control. Kelric had requested that he escort this young lady to the king. If they started out right away, they had several good hours of daylight remaining. Trouble was, he did not know if the lady in question was willing to camp out under the stars. Perhaps she traveled by carriage with a retinue of women; in which case their travel to Rhemuth would be very slow indeed.

Washburn dismounted before the inn indicated by his brother's Rapport. He unbuckled his one personal saddle bag, then handed his horse's reins over with a small coin to the inn's stable boy. He walked into the inn, his eyes ever vigilant of his surroundings. There were no noble ladies seated in the main room. He did not think this unusual, as a baron's daughter would not have waited for him in such a public place.  There were several men seated at various tables, every one of these men seemed to mark his entrance. He was used to that. He was not here to hide, so he sat at a good table with his back to the fireplace and a good view of the entrance door and a door that led to the kitchens.

Moments later, a serving wench burst out the kitchen door, she yelled some rude words in Mearan-border tongue which were incomprehensible before coming over and plopping down a large wooden mug filled with light ale on the table before Wash. "Wha' can a get fa' ya'," the girl asked.

"The pottage I see your other patrons eating would be good enough, lass. I'd like it hot." Wash put an extra small coin in the buxom girl's hand. She almost seemed disappointed that his gaze stayed on her face and not lower. But then she saw the coin. She smiled happily and returned to the kitchens, bellowing some coarse words and hopefully fetching his meal.

Evie   « Reply #4 »

Lady Aliset glanced up as the handsome blond knight entered the inn. He looked familiar, although she was fairly sure she had never met him before. She felt certain she would have remembered. No, if this was the man the Duke of Corwyn had arranged to meet with her here, their paths had not crossed before, but his resemblance to his elder brother was unmistakable.  There was no hiding a Morgan, Aliset supposed, no matter how much he might try to blend in with his surroundings.  Unless, of course, Lord Washburn knew how to shapeshift also.

With a start, she realized that the lord in question had probably been told to expect to meet with a young noblewoman on the road, not a nobleman.  She suppressed a rueful smile. It had not seemed entirely safe to head out towards Rhemuth on her own—well, nearly on her own—in her true form as a young maiden. Not to mention how her reputation might suffer were it to get out that a noblewoman was traveling across the kingdom without any maidservants to help safeguard her reputation. But she no longer knew whom she could trust at Caer Mariot, nor in the village below her family manor, now that her cousin Oswald had replaced so many of her household with his own supporters and cowed the villagers into grudging acceptance of their new de facto overlord.

The King, of course, would hardly allow that situation to stand for long, especially once Aliset had a chance to inform him of Baron Oswald's true allegiances. But first, there was the problem of getting to Rhemuth.

She turned to the traveling companion she had hired to escort her this far. "Cameron, I believe that's the man we're looking for." She pointed out Lord Washburn to him with a subtle glance in his direction and a slight tilt of her chin.  "Would you let him know we're here? I . . .doubt he will recognize me."  Especially not in a young lord's guise!  Unless . . . Had Lord Washburn ever met her twin brother Alister? That thought had not occurred to her before now.  Had his brother informed him of Alister's death along with the rest of her male kindred?

This meeting might end up being more awkward than she'd anticipated! She hoped not.  Maybe there was some way to discreetly inform him of her true identity once he grew close enough to touch. She dared not attempt a mind-link with an unfamiliar Deryni, even an allied one, from across the room. There was no telling who else might be capable of sensing the attempt, even if they couldn't actually intercept the message.  And she didn't want to risk him giving her away with a startled reaction if she spoke into his mind unexpectedly.  Not only did Darcy Cameron not know the noble lord who had hired him was actually a noblewoman, she had also neglected to inform him she was Deryni.  How might he react to that if he knew? While there was a greater tolerance towards Deryni and magic in the Kingdom in her generation than in her parents' day, a few people still regarded Deryni with suspicion, and a few days of acquaintance had not been enough to let her know if Darcy Cameron fell into this category or not.

Aliset hoped for the best as she watched her hired escort approach the Deryni from Corwyn.

Jerusha   « Reply #5 »

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 his table far quicker than 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."

Laurna   « Reply #6 »

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 from which he had emerged. 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 man from the shadowed corner intervene in the kitchen on the girl's behalf. Perhaps he was her amore and was coming to her rescue. Somehow, Wash got the premonition 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 fellow 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 seaman 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 fellow announced. "...

Washburn furled his eyes. "Nobleman....?" he interrupted, 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's 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 gotten in trouble with that Twelfth Night, more than a year ago, after he had stood witness as Lord Dhugal presented squire Alister Mariot for knighthood to the king. That night which had followed Alister's knighting had led to quite a row involving Alister, Washburn, young Arilan, and the McLain cousins. Good memories!

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.

"Khadasha! 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."                                 
Evie   « Reply #7 »
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 liege lord 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."

Laurna   « Reply #8 »

"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.   

Evie   « Reply #9 »

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.

Jerusha   « Reply #10 »

Darcy drew his short sword more by instinct than desire.  Not necessarily the best reaction in a crowded inn.  He did not charge toward the kitchen door, but moved quickly towards it with his back against the wall.  As he reached the door, he drew back as hot flames surged from within.  He had no desire to become scorched meat, but the scream had died to a soul-wrenching wail....

Laurna   « Reply #11 »

Washburn too reacted. He was quick to stand, his eyes following Alister's man and the flames bursting from the kitchen door. He leaned across the table and handed his saddlebag to Lord Alister. "Take this, mind you don't lose it! Get to our horses! That stable's too close to the kitchen; if the roof goes, they'll both go. Mine's the black stallion with the red bridle. Meet you out front."  Wash didn't wait for his friend to move. Rather quickly he spun on his heel, pacing to the kitchen door, stopping shoulder to shoulder with Alister's man. "Friend, follow me! I hear her crying, too. Let's see if we can get to her." Wash hoped the young seaman chose to follow at his back.

The flame at the door had subsided to black smoke.  Wash took a deep breath and entered, following the sound of the girl's wailing. He found the tavern girl before he had to take in another deep breath, but this breath was hot and smoky and it stung at his throat. The tavern maid was bent over a thick broken beam, the one that should have held the kettles inside the hearth but had burnt at the center and weakened to splitting like a twig. Stew from the first kettle had spilled over the girl's dress and onto the floor. Less fortunately, it was cooking lard and oils from the second turned over kettle that burned across the floor and had set sacs of goods at the back wall to flaming. The girl cried, her hands blackened as she continued to pull at the broken beam. She couldn't lift it. Try as she might, she couldn't budge the broken shaft off the man who lay beneath it. Here was the tavern cook, who still held the ladle in his hand. "Hurshell wake up," she cried, "Hurshell! I told you to fix that, over and over. You never listen, I told you! Get up!"

Washburn pulled the girl to her feet, she wailed at being handled, but he ignored her. He pushed her to the back hoping Alister's friend was there to take her in hand. In the flame-lit kitchen Wash now saw that only the wetness of the stew had kept the lard and oils from burning the clothes of both Hurshell and the tavern girl. Hurshell was breathing, but he was pinned down and the flames were moving in faster than before.

Wash took in another smoky breath.  Steadied his heart rate, then searched for that spell he had always played with in his youth. Move an item with more than just hands. Let the powers of his Deryni blood help lift the beam up to free this man Hurshell, so they could get him to safety before the building burnt down. 
Jerusha   « Reply #12 »

Darcy Cameron recoiled as the tavern wench careened against him.  He grabbed her by the arm to keep both of them upright.   He sheathed his sword and pulled the woman along with him as he turned back into the dining room.

The inn patrons were jumping to their feet as the smoke billowed out from the kitchen.

"You," Darcy shouted, "all of you!  Get outside and grab whatever buckets you can find!  Form a fire line, fast, or this whole place will go up in flames!"  Darcy had spent too many years at sea to ignore the imminent danger from the fire.  It had been one of his duties to lead the fire brigade on the ship to put out any fire as quickly as possible.  Jumping overboard into the frigid Northern Sea was not a pleasant option if they could not get a fire under control.  Hopefully Lord Alister's friend could look after himself for a moment or two.

More orderly now, men and women dashed from the inn and began to form a line to pass the buckets filled with water from the nearby well from person to person.
Evie   « Reply #13 »

Grabbing up Sir Washburn's saddlebag along with her own travel gear, Aliset dashed out of the building and around to the stables behind it. Alerting one of the grooms to the danger of the kitchen fire spreading, she left them to water down the stable roof in preparation for the imminent emergency as best they could while she dashed inside to assist with leading the horses to safety.

The horses, with their keen senses of smell, had already sensed the danger, for indeed even the humans around could now easily pick up on the smell of smoke emanating from the burning kitchen next door. As she watched, a tongue of flame rose up from the nearby building. She forced her attention back to the horses, saddling them as quickly as she could, for she didn't know if there would be time to lead them out of the stables first and then return for their gear. This was quickly enough accomplished with her own horse and with Darcy's, both of which were accustomed to her, and she allowed them to be led out of the threatened stables by one of the stable lads while she turned her attention to Washburn's mount.

"Whoa, steady lad!" she whispered as she approached Washburn's horse, who regarded her warily. She could tell the rising excitement around them was beginning to spook the large destrier.  Hopefully his training would help keep his mounting agitation in check, although knowing that she was completely unknown to him, she approached him with alert caution as she continued to murmur soothingly as she reached out a hand towards him in hopes he would allow her to saddle him and lead him out to safety.

Laurna   « Reply #14 »

Uncle Duncan had taught him the art of focus. Kelric had drilled him in moving objects; pushing a thing away or throwing something further and with better aim than was normal, such as an arrow, a rock, or a javelin. This skill needed now, though similar, was to hold an object high while staying aware while in deep focus to physically pull the man out from underneath the raised beam.

One hand encircled the wood's splintered end, as if the hearth beam was no more than a plank, the nine foot piece raised upward. ((Washburn Telekinesis- Standard 2d6: 1 & 6; Success.))

In this partial transitive state, Washburn heard Hurshell groan, "Help me."

"I got ya! Take my arm!"

As the man reached out, the knight grabbed the man's arm above the elbow.  It was a good hold and Washburn pulled the man out of danger.  The beam fell to the floor with a decisive k'thunck. Wash left Hurshell sitting against the open frame of the door, letting the cook catch what breath he could.  Wash then spied a stack of gunny sacks near at hand. His dagger was quick to slice the top sack open. Nodding with satisfaction, he saw the contents was ground-down-wheat and he tossed the powdery stuff over the burning oil on the floor.  He repeated with a second sack of flour, dousing the flames that were near. It might not help the building as the far wall was aflame, but it gave the two men time for the one to lift up the other, for the cook to lean hard on the knight's shoulder, and for the two to find their way through the smoky kitchen out into sun-filled daylight and fresh air.

Evie   « Reply #15 »
Aliset sighed in relief as Wash's destrier calmed down enough to allow her to lead him out of the stable. ((Aliset calming spell- Standard Plus 2d6: 4 & 6;  Success.)) A passing stable lad accompanied her, assisting in carrying her gear long enough for them to get to the other horses in her care, standing a safe distance away from the burning inn.  Just in time, it appeared, as a plume of smoke began to rise from one corner of the stable roof despite the frantic efforts of the grooms to douse it. A spark must have caught on some spot they had managed to miss.  Hastily securing Morgan's saddlebags upon his destrier, she mounted her own horse and the stable lad handed control over the other mounts to her before dashing off to assist his fellows. Muttering a quick prayer of thanksgiving that horses were herd animals and thus—hopefully!—inclined to follow when led, she made her way around the burning buildings towards a spot in line of sight with the entrance, where Sir Washburn Morgan and Darcy Cameron would easily see her on their way out.

Laurna   « Reply #17 »

Washburn stood in the middle of the street holding tight to Hurshell who was barely conscious of the chaos all around. Far more denizens of Culdi had appeared to help douse the flames than had been in the tavern. Good. They seemed to have most of the kitchen roof fire contained.

But, Hell and High Water, there went up a flame on the stable roof.

The knight looked up frantically to find Alister; was he out of the stables yet? He did see Alister's seafaring friend at the head of the water brigade in full command of the crowd. There was a good man who knew how to keep his head in a crisis. Washburn was beginning to like him.

He would have set the cook down softly on the ground, out of the way, if it had not been for a racking cough that seized him; his tortured lungs suddenly had the need to expel all that pervasive smoke. He let Hurshell down onto the cobble stoned street as easily as he could manage, and then put both hands on his knees, bowing low just to keep from falling over himself as he tried to refill his lungs with fresh air.

Laurna   « Reply #18 »

The Lendour knight, to his dismay, felt light headed and had to drop to his knees to keep from passing out.  ((Washburn can overcome the smoke- Standard 2d6: 4 & 2 ; Failure.)) The oily black smoke seemed to claw at his throat like a vicious animal. 

Chapter Two
18th of July, 1164 Saturday

Revanne   « Reply #19 »

Columcil made his way out of the common sleeping room as soon as it was light enough to stir. God's bluid! How yon mannie 'a' snored.  He cursed inwardly, then dousing his head under the pump in the inn yard, rebuked himself soundly and headed towards the local church where he said the first office of the day with the parish priest. There was even time to make confession of his ill-humour before attending Mass  and accepting his fellow cleric's offer to break his fast. The priest had offered him hospitality after Vespers the night before, but there being no stabling at his house Columcil had been reluctant to abandon his mount to the Inn's stables and so had condemned himself to an irritated night of little sleep.

As he returned towards the inn, he became aware of the smell of burning; more worryingly he could feel the stench of animal fear. As he rounded the corner a plume of smoke rose from the stables and without thinking he ran across the stable yard and into the building. Thank God there were as yet no flames inside, but the thatch was smouldering and the few mounts that remained inside were mad with fear. Even his own stolid gelding, of placid mountain bred stock, was rearing in its stall, the whites of its eyes showing.

Och. Those puir young stable lads, they couldn'a deal with this. So thinking he pushed the terrified lads behind him and reached for his pony with both his hand and mind, allowing the trust he had built up over the days of travel to calm the trembling and sweating beast. Taking the halter, he led the sweat-leathered beast through the door, extending his mind to ensure that the other horses followed into the yard where there were willing hands to receive them. He caught the piece of sacking thrown to him and with firm gentle strokes wiped the sweat-leathered marks away from Spéan's side, before leading him out into the street, wondering as he did so how much of his precious gold coin he would need to spend on replacing the saddle and bridle and thankful that his own precious pack and staff were on his back.

As he came into the street, he saw a mounted young man holding two other horses and looking anxiously around. Without conscious thought he noted that he was noble, or gently born at the least, and had a fine seat on a horse. Fine horseflesh too, all three animals. But this was no time to be thinking of rank and circling carefully around so as to approach from the front - this was no time to affright a weapons trained young lad neither- he spoke gently, "Can I serve ye in any way, my son?"

Evie   « Reply #20 »

Aliset regarded the approaching priest with a grateful smile.  "As a matter of fact, I was just looking for...." She broke off suddenly as she spotted a familiar figure slumped over another man.  "Over there! I think my friend needs assistance."  With a look of appeal towards the priest in hopes he would follow, she led the way towards Washburn and the other man he had rescued.  As soon as they reached the side of the stricken men, Aliset asked Washburn, "Are you all right?"  The priest joined them, and as Aliset took stock of the situation, she could hear him beginning to pray.

Laurna   « Reply #21 »

**Cough** "I'm good" **cough**  "...give me a moment" **cough** "he's hurt"
Washburn manages to hold firm the shoulder of the downed cook.
Jerusha   « Reply #23 »

Darcy Cameron surveyed the smouldering kitchen, looking for hot spots to be doused to ensure it was under control. He turned at a shout from a man on the fire line and saw the flames on the stable roof.  With a heartfelt curse he redirected half of the line toward the stable.  If they could hold the fire in check, hopefully the stable boys could get the horses out.

He wiped the sweat from his eyes and saw that horses were being led away to safety.  Whether his own was among the group he could not tell; he would worry about that later. After giving instructions to one of the men he judged to be the most capable to handle the group still focused on the kitchen, he strode quickly to take charge of those he had redirected toward the stable.

He stopped at the sight of the group in the street.  "Sweet Jesu," he muttered to himself.  The Lendour knight was on his knees, alternating between gasping for air and coughing up a lung.  Lord Alister hovered beside him, concern showing clearly on his face.  A rugged priest Darcy had not seen before stood to one side and appeared to be concentrated in prayer.

Darcy wondered what he could do.  He was no physician, though he knew a few remedies for seasickness he was sure the nobleman would not appreciate.  Sudden shouts from the stable area turned his attention there; the flames were gaining ground.

He paused for a moment more, then touched Lord Alister's shoulder to gain his attention.  "Do you need me here?" Darcy asked.

Revanne   « Reply #24 »

((Columcil performing Healing Prayer- Standard 2d6: 4 & 4; Failure- Sadly, so that's not a healing prayer then.))

Revanne   « Reply #25 »

Columcil felt a rush of anxious compassion as he bent his head in prayer. Dare he try a healing? The lad looked bad; breathed-in smoke and heat could kill as surely as flame. But this was no common man, nor yet even a poor knight by the look of him, with his fancy gear and a blazon which he felt he should recognize. If it had just been the cook... but heal an important knight of the realm and awkward questions would most likely be asked. Back home he was able to give all the credit to St Melangell, and that was just fine by him. He was sure that her prayers were added to whatever healing gift God had chosen to give him. Well if he didna dare try healing he could pray with all the more fervour and he sank to his knees joining his hands in entreaty, and to avoid the temptation of touching the young lord.

Evie   « Reply #26 »

Her twin brother, alas, had been the Healer in the family, not her.  Or at least she'd never been given cause to believe the gift had manifested in herself also, and sadly Saint Camber had never put in a special appearance for her.  Still, a noblewoman's upbringing was not without its own storehouse of knowledge of basic healing skills of the more mundane sort, and it was possible she might have something in her travel kit that might be of use.  And at the very least she might be able to use her Deryni skills to help ease the cook's pain and perhaps even Washburn's breathing.  She had heard the late Duke had been a Healer, but if Washburn had inherited the gift, perhaps he was too worn out to maintain the proper focus. Or perhaps that talent had managed to skip him. So little was known about the Healing gift after all, since it was only so lately rediscovered.

Her keen eyes assessed the condition of the two men before her. The hapless cook's condition was far more grave; she would attend to him first.

She briefly turned to the priest beside her. "Father, is there a physician or Healer in the village who might be called upon to treat the wounded? Or perhaps an infirmarian at a nearby monastery?" Glancing at Darcy next, she asked, "Did you happen to notice one on our way here?"

As she spoke, she lay a hand upon the injured cook's brow, attempting to ease his pain. ((Aliset ease the pain- Standard Plus 2d6: 2 & 5; Success.))

She felt the cook begin to relax beneath her hand.  Aliset looked up, wondering if she could assist Washburn as discreetly. "How are you doing, my lord?" She reached out a hand as if to steady him, and lent him a bit of her energy as her hand made contact with his arm, peering at his face in concern. "Able to draw a proper breath yet?"

Bynw   « Reply #27 »

The flames are mostly under control and being extinguished by the people of Culdi and Darcy's quick thinking to organize the fire brigade. No lives have been lost due to the flames, not even a single horse. But many are coughing due to the smoke in their lungs. And the property will need to be torn down and rebuilt.

Revanne   « Reply #28 »

Columcil looked up as the young lord spoke to him but, seeing that his attention had already returned to the injured, made his reply to the man addressed as Darcy. "Aye, there is. The priest here, Father Andrew, was after telling me o'how his Grace the Duke tha' was, an' is noo his Excellency th'Archbishop, had gi'en siller fer a healer t'serve the folk hereaboots. He stays outwith the monastery but tends those within the infirmary, as well as in the toon, as needed." He crossed himself and got to his feet. "I'll go and talk to Father Andrew, he'll know how best to deal." He hesitated then briefly touched the young lord's shoulder, "Well done, lad, ye've made right use of your powers the day." As he walked rapidly back towards the Parish Church, Columcil felt shame that he had allowed his fear to prevent him from using his powers aright.

Laurna   « Reply #29 »

Washburn mentally calmed the tension in his chest. Slowly breathing out, taking in a shallow breath, then breathing out again. The technique for entering a trance-like state was the key. He just had to maintain his focus. ((Washburn focusing spell- Standard 2d6:  6 & 3; Success.)) People were arriving all around him. A good priest was there beside Alister. His soft-spoken words of prayer helped Washburn find a good place in his mind to will his lungs to take in fresh air. Experimenting with a deep breath, he was pleased to find it worked. His cough eased and receded. The tension in his chest relaxed and he was finally able to think clearly again.

Archbishop McLain, the man who was not really his uncle but one that was as close to him as any uncle could be, would have been pleased. He might have said something like, "Washburn, son, as the youngest Morgan, I would have loved if you had chosen the church; if it hadn't been for your need to be so like you father, dashing about sword in hand or arrow nocked to a bowstring, meeting every challenge your weapons master gave you. Some day you will find that that is a waste of a good mind. Then you will come back to me for real training." Perhaps uncle Duncan could teach him a thing or two more about his Deryni powers.

He looked up, saw everyone watching him. He put out a hand, "I'm much better. Everyone else good? Yes? Well done... Master....? We've yet to be properly introduced, yet I feel we will be friends before the day is done." He nodded to the seaman with a smile of respect.

Jerusha   « Reply #30 »

"Darcy Cameron, M'Lord," Darcy responded.  "I'd extend my hand, but I'm afraid it's a wee bit grimy at the moment."

Laurna   « Reply #29 »

"Well met, Master Darcy. That was a job well done."

Then Washburn turned his attention to young Alister. He placed his hand over the young man's wrist and shared a little of the energy he had remaining to help the wounded cook. It had been five months since he had shared Rapport with this man who was now rightful Baron de Mariot. Back in early spring, even then it had only been a brief Rapport to inform Alister that they were being watched by a gaggle of women on the balcony above and that he had better make his next training moves good ones. Alister's remarks would not have been chivalrous if they had been spoken aloud. So if the Rapport Wash opened with Alister now was just one sided, he understood. He was too tired himself to question the shallow link. Just enough to help Alister help the wounded cook.

Evie   « Reply #31 »

Aliset risked a surreptitious glance across at Darcy to see what, if any, reaction he might have to the priest's mention of her powers. While she was hardly ashamed or embarrassed about using her talents, especially during times like this, enough people in the kingdom still existed who distrusted Deryni and overt use of their powers, and she had not known the man for long enough to know what he might think.  Evidently the priest himself must be Deryni as well, else he shouldn't have been able to detect anything unusual at all in Aliset's actions.

Darcy seemed to have either not noticed the priest's statement, or else he didn't care what Aliset was or what powers she might have brought to bear upon the situation, for no flicker of reaction towards the priest's words seemed to cross his features as he introduced himself to Sir Washburn.  Aliset herself, however, had to force her own features not to betray her consternation as she felt the knight touch her wrist, initiating rapport.  It was but the shallowest of links, but it startled her nonetheless.  She sensed this was not the first time the Lendour knight had shared rapport with Alister; the main problem was, she was not Alister!  Would he be able to sense that?  Perhaps trying to maintain the illusion of being the Mariot heir rather than an heiress might not be the best of ideas for much longer, but in truth this hardly seemed to be the right moment to spring a surprise on a man who must have been a closer friend to her brother than she'd originally assumed.  She kept her musings well shielded, simply absorbing back the energy he was restoring to her now that the worst of the crisis seemed to be behind them.

She would need to tell him the truth, then, and fairly soon.  But not here.  And there was still the matter of whether to let Darcy know.  He seemed a trustworthy sort, but a woman without a protector could hardly be too careful, and at least Sir Washburn Morgan's reputation as a man of honor was well known throughout the kingdom.  Darcy Cameron might well be just as honorable, but that was as yet less proven to her satisfaction, though she admitted to herself that he had acquitted himself well in their current situation, certainly doing nothing to disprove that she could put her trust in him.

If she revealed her secret, then, it would be to Sir Washburn first.  And then once she discovered his reaction to the truth, perhaps that would help her decide what she might reveal to Darcy.

She looked over at Washburn. "Where shall we stay tonight, then, since it would appear our inn is rather the worse for wear? Had you thought that we ought to press closer to Rhemuth before nightfall, or should we perhaps spend an evening recovering our energies in the village, or perhaps at that monastery guesthouse our helpful priest just mentioned, where the Healer serves in the infirmarium?"  Aliset glanced into the distance, in the direction the clergyman had wandered off, presumably to hunt down a 'Father Andrew' for assistance, before looking down at the injured cook.  "This man needs more assistance than I am able to render, I think, so at the very least perhaps we ought to see him into the Healer's care before we go any further."

Laurna   « Reply #32 »

Sitting back on his heels, taking in the fullness of their surroundings with what seemed to be the entire population of Culdi crowding the streets to get a glimpse of the happenings, Washburn wanted with all his heart to get on the road, but he knew that was a bad idea. The young baron was too out in the open. If he had escaped the attention of his cousin's men they most assuredly would have noticed him as he sat here, out in the middle of the street. Therefore, they daren't leave on the road just now. Even begging for a room at the Culdi castle seemed a bit too conspicuous.

Washburn was nodding as he considered the monastery and the privacy there. "My lord Alister, I think you've made a good choice. Let us get this man to the infirmary and perhaps from there we can disappear unseen into the monastery for a good night's sleep before we rush to Rhemuth. I for one could use a bath and a good meal, seeing as how my last meal was never completed." He made a jesting smile to the men around him. "And you know, a good blessing from that priest who was just here would not go amiss."

The knight took note that no one seemed to object. So, he stood and waved at a carter who had paused at the side of the road; he was seated before a single rouncy pulling a light wagon. "You there, master driver! Would you be willing to help us take this man to the Infirmary?"

"Aye, my lord!' the man hollered back. Between the baron and himself they carried the cook, who only gave a light groan, to the cart. They placed him beside a bale of goods.  Wash gave the man a coin and Alister told him where to take the injured man.   

Master Darcy came up behind them with the horses.  As they were mounting up, Washburn spied the tavern gal off to the side.  She had her arms around a young boy, the same boy who had taken his destrier to the stables earlier that day.  Wash walked his horse over to the woman. "We are taking your man to the infirmary; you can follow us there. You should have your hands looked at, as well." Then he turned and followed his companions and the cart toward the monastery.

May your horses have wings and fly!



Laurna, Love what you did with it. Very impressive. Hope readers will enjoy reading it as much as we loved writing it.
"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


DoctorM, I do hope you enjoy or story, even if it is the second time you have read it.

DeryniFank, It has been a lot of fun getting this together. I am learning more and more about formatting and editing. But I am so thankful to you and to Jerusha and to Revanne for doing the real word editing.
May your horses have wings and fly!


Woot! Thanks so much! Should make it much easier to find art details now. :)
Now is life, and life is always better.


So happy to hear this!!Love you all!
Judy Ward
You can buy a pretty good dog with money but you can't buy the wag of its tail.


Quote from: Laurna on January 04, 2022, 03:03:06 PM
DoctorM, I do hope you enjoy or story, even if it is the second time you have read it.

DeryniFank, It has been a lot of fun getting this together. I am learning more and more about formatting and editing. But I am so thankful to you and to Jerusha and to Revanne for doing the real word editing.

Happy to have been able to help, but the bulk of this excellent work was yours!
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany