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A Time To Heal Chapter 6

Started by Evie, October 05, 2010, 01:19:00 PM

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Chapter Six

   December 8, 1132
   Rhemuth Castle

   Dhugal stared unseeingly out the window as he outlined the difficulties of their position to his young bride.  Once he'd finished, he turned slightly to glance back at her.  She sat quietly considering what he had just told her, her face nearly expressionless, eyes downcast.  At last she turned her clear green eyes up at him.

   "But...I am only distantly related to the late King Wencit!  I barely even remember him anymore."  She looked back down at her hands, looking slightly dazed.  "I remember hearing about the battle, of course, and his loss at Llyndruth Meadows.  But I was only eight years old when Wencit died!  I never knew anything about...about what happened to your people in that war, not until years later.  And what little I heard then was mere rumor, and not the sort one repeats in front of young children."  She shrugged helplessly.  "There are so many things that are said that no reasonable person could believe.  Is it true that King Kelson killed Wencit by means of treachery?  Having met him now, I can hardly believe so, yet that is what was said afterwards.  Is it true he held a young child hostage in order to make one of Wencit's generals turn against the rest?  It hardly seems credible, yet there are those who say they saw the boy after he was rescued, and how he clung to his father in fear.   It was said after that the boy's own mother tried to kill him to prevent his rescue.   Again, I cannot imagine your Kelson allowing such a thing, now that I have met him, yet there were many survivors of Llyndruth Meadows who swear it is the truth.  There were also stories about one of Kelson's own Earls being so outraged by the injustices of his own kingdom against our Deryni people that he turned to join Wencit's side, and that his anger against Kelson was so great that when Wencit asked how he might bring the people of Gwynedd to justice, he suggested...certain penalties far harsher than are common in Torenth, executions of a sort normally reserved for the most heinous of criminals, carried out with such relish that even Wencit was surprised by their brutality."  She bit her lip, drawing back from the rising fire in her husband's eyes.  "I do not mean to anger you, my lord, but these are the things that were said afterwards, and also in later years they said that your King had our young King Alroy murdered, and that Liam-Lajos and his mother were taken as hostage afterwards, that they would likely never return alive to Torenth, or if they did, Liam would come back so changed he would no longer be Torenthi, and that Torenth would forever be a vassal state of Gwynedd until a King strong enough to overthrow it could rise up again."  She shook her head.  "I know now that Duke Mahael killed Alroy, not your Kelson, and your King returned our Liam-Lajos to us safe and whole, restoring his full rights as sovereign to him at his majority.  But wars breed rumors, my lord, and I was not even there at Llyndruth Meadows!  I was just a girl, not knowing what to believe."  Her eyes shone with unshed tears.  "And now I am to be blamed for the excesses of a war I am only barely old enough to remember, for actions I never committed, simply because I am a Torenthi?  And my son—my baby who was not even born in Wencit's lifetime—he is to be considered equally guilty against any crimes a former King might have committed against the people of your Ducal lands, simply because he is a boy of Torenthi parentage and bears the Furstán name?  He is but four years old; does any man truly believe he would be capable of war crimes?  Where is the justice of that, my lord?"

   Dhugal sighed.  "There is none.  There is about as much justice in it as there is truth in all those rumors you grew up hearing about my King and my people of Gwynedd, although some of those were at least based on seeds of partial truths, however wildly distorted.  I simply explain how things are, and what we can expect from the people of Cassan and Kierney once it becomes commonly known that I bring home a Torenthi bride."  He sighed.  "If I bring you home, that is.  You have the option of remaining in Rhemuth.   In fact, that's likely the safest course for you and Mikhail at present."

   Mirjana considered the option for a long moment, then closed her eyes briefly, letting out a heavy sigh.  "But my place is by your side, my lord, not hiding away because I am afraid of our own people.  How can they ever get to know me, to know the truth about me, if I am to be kept stored away like some shameful secret you must forever hide?  I did not ask to be the Duchess of Cassan, my lord, but I was offered for in marriage by Cassan's Duke, and so I must learn to be a proper Duchess and not a craven."  She lifted her chin to look him in the eye.  "I am Furstána.  We do not shrink from our duty, come what may."  She studied him for a long moment.  "Why did you pick me to marry, of all the women you might have chosen?   Surely you must have seen the difficulties and known I would be a poor choice for you?"  Mirjana smiled sadly.  "And I know better than to think you saw me and fell instantly in love.  Why did you choose the one woman in all Gwynedd who could bring such disaster upon you?"

   "I...."  Dhugal stared at his new wife's face, a dawning realization growing within him.  He turned pale.  "Oh, God, that can't be it."

   She tilted her head, puzzled.  "What can't be, my lord?"

   He fumbled for a chair, sitting heavily.  "You have her eyes," he told her, his voice hollow with grief.  "You were in need, and you looked at me with those eyes, and.... Sweet Jesú, I've been such a fool!  Such a fool, for all these months...."  He closed his eyes tightly, reopened them a moment afterwards, their bronze lashes damp.  "I am so very sorry, Mirjana.  Sorrier than I can ever express for dragging you and your son into all of this."  He looked down at his boot tops.  "It was...grief, I suppose.  Grief and stubborn pride.  And...the Cassani are my people now, yes, but I was ever first and foremost a Transha man.  More so than I ever realized, I suppose.  I never knew how much so until now."

   His bride studied him for a long while, attempting to decipher his train of thought, so puzzling to her without the foundations of prior knowledge to rebuild it upon.   At last she ventured, "Your first wife had green eyes?"  She thought back on what she had heard about the late Duchess, thought also of how very young their infant daughter was even now, that tiny babe who had been cut from her dead mother's womb, and how much younger still she would have been on that first fateful day when the Duke her father had come to Mirjana in Rhemuth's Keep to offer for her hand.  Jesú, if the gossip about his first marriage was even half true, he must have still been half-crazed with grief when he made that offer!

   He nodded numbly.  "Like green ice.  Like Duncan Michael's."

   She absorbed this revelation quietly, then reached across to take one of his hands in hers.  "And how is it that you are more a man of this Transha than of your own people?  Were you fostered there?"

   The question shook Dhugal out of his first shock and plunged him into another, but after a brief moment of considering it, he realized how very little she truly knew about him or his earlier years.  "No.  It's...complicated, my heritage.  It would be far easier for me to just show you, if you'll allow."

   "Of course, my lord.  I am your wife, after all, and I must know these things."  Her lips turned faintly upwards at the corners in a wry smile.

   "Aye, that you are."  He returned the look, squeezing her hand lightly, opening the link between them.  He shared memories of childhood in Transha, then at King Brion's Court, returning home to Transha only after the death of the heir he had believed to be his brother, and the growing illness of the man he had known as his father.  Memories of his discovery, after that man's death, that the old MacArdry chief had been a grandfather instead, his mother's sire, and that his true father still lived, was both a priest and yet—due to the winds of war and ill fortune—now also the Duke of Cassan.  Learning of his birthright not as a child growing into it, but as an adult thrust into it of a sudden, during a time of upheaval in Gwynedd.  Learning to take on new responsibilities after the Mearan War—different ones from those he had been born to.  Learning them quite well in many ways, yet in other ways not well enough, for despite the years he'd had to acclimate to his new duties since peace returned to Gwynedd, far too few of them had been spent in his new lands, among his new people.  And even when he walked among them, he was not fully of them yet, for though Cassani blood flowed through his veins, he was born a Transha lad, and still thought more like a man of Transha than of Cassan.

   "I imagine in some small way, it would be like being Liam-Lajos newly returned to Torenth and now having to rule there, I think, but with even less of an advantage than Laji had," Mirjana mused.  "That is, as things might be if Laji had been born in exile here in Gwynedd, and suddenly found himself King of the people of his own blood, knowing he must rule but still learning the heartbeat of his own land.  Even a wise man would make some missteps in such a situation, even under the best of circumstances, not knowing the political terrain as one born into it.  And you did not offer for me under the best of circumstances, did you, my lord?"  She sighed.  "I do not envy you this task of learning how to be Cassani even as you learn how to lead them, my husband.  Though now that we are wed, I cannot help but think this must now be my task as well.  At the least, I must learn how to understand our people too, if I am ever to become a help to you and not a hindrance."

   Dhugal's amber gaze met Mirjana's.  "Can you forgive me for this predicament I've placed us both in, my lady?"

   "I shall have to, shan't I?  If you are to be the father of my future sons and daughters, we shall both have to learn how to live with one another, and I'd rather be a friend to my husband than an enemy."  Her face grew shadowed.  "I've known what it is to live with an enemy.  And no matter what mistakes you have made, you are a good man, Dhugal of Transha, Kierney and Cassan.  It is not as if you wed me because you wished to hurt me, as did Nikos."  She smiled faintly.  "Nor, I think, because you were so despondent, you had a death wish and chose a novel way to provoke your own people into killing you.  Though I must give you points for creativity, were that the case.  Even a Furstán would not plot a suicide attempt so convoluted."

   He gave a reluctant laugh.  "No, I'm afraid I'm not quite that creative.  To my very great shame, I didn't even consider the possibility that my own people might not accept you until Kelson brought the matter up."

   "And he allowed the marriage anyway?"

   "We were already betrothed before he brought up the difficulties."

   She frowned, considering the implications.  "You married me against his will, then."

   He reluctantly nodded.  "He had come to tell me not to wed you, that he had other plans that would satisfy your need for security, but I had already betrothed myself to you several days earlier."

   "So he allowed our marriage, but only because he had no choice."  Mirjana bit her lip. "Does the entire Court know?  Is that why they stare and whisper when they see us?"

   Dhugal shook his head.  "Maybe a few, but as for most here in Rhemuth, I think that's more due to Lord Nikos's actions this past summer."

   "Ah.  Then just the reasons I'd originally feared for their suspicion and spite. 'She was an assassin's wife.  He is newly widowed.  They married too soon.'"  Mirjana sighed.  "Suddenly those seem like such petty reasons to worry about the stares and whispers of others, now that I have so many new reasons to be stared at!"  She gave a rueful laugh.  "I think maybe I shall have to learn how to navigate the perilous waters of Rhemuth's Great Hall and Court ladies' solars after all, my lord; they shall doubtless prove a most valuable training ground for navigating the greater hazards of our own Hall in Cassan."


   December 10
   Queen's Solar, Rhemuth Castle

   "Is that who I think it is?"

   "Yes, that's the assassin's wife!"

   "What is
she doing here?"

   "Shhh!  Keep your voice down; she might hear."

   Mirjana glanced around the Queen's solar.  The furtive whispers came from the near corner of the room, close by the entrance to the chamber, and just slightly out of earshot of the Queen and Duchess Meraude, conversing quietly together on the far side of the room.

   Araxie looked up at the sound of the opening door.  Seeing Mirjana peek in, she rose with a welcoming smile to greet her.

   "Duchess Mirjana!  Do come in.  I trust you received your present?"

   The Torenthi bride offered a deep curtsey to her hostess.  "I did.  Thank you very much for sending it over.   I was surprised to discover that Liam-Lajos even remembers me."

   The Queen of Gwynedd laughed softly.  "Well, you might wish to send him a portrait to show him what you look like now.  Duke Matyas says that Liam-Lajos has only a vague impression of some skinny little girl cousin with pigtails."

   Mirjana smiled.  "I have no idea what he looks like now either.  For me, he's still a busy little boy with scabbed knees.  Not a very Royal impression, I'm afraid."

   Duchess Meraude looked up from her embroidery with a reminiscent grin.  "Oh, I remember that energy, if not the scabbed knees.  I think those were replaced by training bruises once Nigel got hold of him.  So, he sent you an early Twelfth Night present?"

   Mirjana shrugged.  "Well, I think it was meant as just a small token of remembrance, actually; some little reminders of my homeland.  Fragrances, spices, hair combs, things of that sort."  

   " 'Torenthi saffron,' do you think?"

   A stifled snort, and whispered reply.  "Doesn't the Queen realize who she is?"

   Araxie stiffened slightly, turning towards the ladies in the corner with a coolly reproving look.  "I most certainly do recognize our Duchess of Cassan," she told them, one blonde brow lifted in censure as she pretended not to understand the underlying implication of the overly loud whispers.  She hoped that the questioner would take the unsubtle hint and drop the topic of her own volition rather than force her Queen to reprove her publicly.

   Mirjana, however, gave the women a cool smile of her own.  "I think, Your Majesty, that their concern was meant as a reference to my first husband and not my second.  Certainly no one could think to question the Duke of Cassan's loyalty to the King your husband, I would hope?"

   The three women glanced at each other nervously.  "Of course not," one finally ventured.

   "Excellent!  It is good that we can agree on that much, at least.  Then I must assume your concern must lie in the mistaken assumption that just because I was once married to Nikos von Brustarkia, I must also have shared in his loyalties and been complicit in his deeds."  The smile turned icier.  "On the contrary, I wasn't even complicit in the matter of my own marriage to that man.  At least I certainly don't recall ever giving my consent to the murder of my own father, nor to my abduction, rape, and subsequent five years of imprisonment in my own home, nor to the murder of my daughters.  No, I owe my first husband no loyalty at all, and feel no need to honor his memory, for he deserved no such honor.  On the contrary, I am extremely thankful to be freed from that demon-spawn and his cohorts, and His Majesty of Gwynedd has my undying gratitude for that."  She crossed her arms, giving the gaping women a thoughtful look.  "But I am certainly glad you are not questioning the honor of His Grace of Cassan, for that I would absolutely defend with all fervor!"

   The room went absolutely silent after the Torenthi bride's quietly spoken words, no one quite certain of what to say.  Araxie regarded the aghast ladies who had provoked Mirjana's tightly-restrained ire with just the faintest of smiles lurking at the corners of her lips, then after a long moment turned away from them.  "Come, dear," she told Mirjana.  "Show Meraude that reversible embroidery stitch you were adding to little Mikhail's shirt cuffs when I saw you last.  I tried to copy the technique, but I think I must have missed a step, because the backside pattern of my stitchery doesn't quite match up with the front...."


   December 11
   The Parklands, Rhemuth Castle

   Rothana laughed quietly as she stood next to Mirjana in the Castle parklands watching their sons play together.  "So, I hear you felt the need to add new life to the Court gossip about you, did you?"

   Mirjana shrugged.  "They were starting to repeat the same old things. It was growing repetitive.  At least now they have some new gossip to dish out."

   "Well, I suppose that's one way to look at it!"  The princess from Nur Hallaj gave her Torenthi friend a wry smile.  "Though they may not dare.  Queen Araxie blistered their ears in private afterwards for their discourtesy."

   Mirjana chuckled.  "Fortunately this is Gwynedd, so she only did so with words.  In Byzantyun I would take that to mean hot irons were used.  And people think the Torenthi are ruthless!"

   Dhugal's page Aidan unfolded a fauldstool for Mirjana and placed a velvet cushion upon it for her to sit upon, then did the same for Rothana.  The mothers sat, thanking the page and granting him leave to join Lady Mhairi in supervising the younger boys at their play.  Soon all three younger boys were floating boats in the parklands pond, the older Aidan using a long stick to keep any of their boats from wandering too far out from the shore, while Lady Mhairi kept a careful eye on all three to make sure none of her young charges tumbled into the water.

   "How is Mikhail settling in?" Rothana asked.  "He seems to be playing quite nicely with Duncan Michael."

   Mirjana sighed.  "He does well enough, most days.  He's quite comfortable speaking Gwyneddan now, even more so than I am.  Playing with your Albin helped a great deal with that, of course.  He still has days when he gets homesick for Byzantyun.  And sometimes he still asks if Nikos is coming back, though that doesn't happen so often anymore.  I don't think he truly understands yet what happened to his father, though."  She bit her lip worriedly.  "He asked me a few nights ago what a regicide was, so I know he must have heard something about what Nikos did."

   Rothana nodded, a shadow crossing her features.  "I'm so sorry.  How did you answer his question?"

   "Fortunately, I didn't have to.  His Grace came home just at that moment, and the boys were too distracted to pursue the matter.  All I've been able to bring myself to tell Mikhail thus far is that Nikos is dead, but he doesn't know the full details of how or why"

   "Well, God be thanked for your husband's timely arrival home, but you know the question will come back up at some point."  Rothana sighed.  "I remember how hard it was for me, having to figure out some way to explain to Albin what Conall had done once he was old enough to hear the Court gossip and understand."  

   "How did you tell him?" Mirjana asked.

   "One small piece at a time.  Sometimes I'd wait until he brought up the topic, but sometimes I had to find occasions to bring it up myself, especially as he got older, understood a bit more, and grew more reluctant to discuss it.   I had to make certain he understood that the shame was not his.  It helped, though, that Albin never knew Conall, so there wasn't the emotional bond between son and father to deal with either, aside from the natural desire of a posthumous son to have and to know a father's love, of course.  Mikhail knew and loved his father, so telling him the full truth of his father's death is likely to be an even more delicate undertaking."  Rothana looked thoughtful.  "Have you gotten to know Duchess Richenda yet?"

   Mirjana shook her head.  "Only a little.  She showed me how to cut clothing in the Gwyneddan style, but then she had to return to Coroth a few days later."

   "Ah.  Well, she'll be back in time for Christmas Court and Twelfth Night, I expect.  The reason I ask is that her Brendan was around the same age as your Mikhail when his father died, so she might have some more helpful advice to offer on your situation." Rothana gave Mirjana a sidelong glance.  "Richenda's first husband was Bran Coris, the Earl of Marley who defected to Wencit's side."

   "Oh!"  Mirjana looked astonished.  "I never made the connection.  I know her present husband is the Duke of Corwyn, though, isn't he?"

   "He is."

   Mirjana looked thoughtful.  "Then if you're recommending that I seek her out to ask how she handled her son's questions about his father, I must assume it's not true she tried to kill her son to prevent her late husband from getting him back?"  She gave a rueful smile at Rothana's shocked look.  "Forgive me, but that was the rumor we heard back in Arjenol afterwards."

   "Gracious no, she's devoted to Brendan!  To all of her children.  And, for that matter, to Duke Alaric."

   "Was her marriage to Bran Coris a bad marriage?"  Mirjana asked hesitantly.

   Rothana shrugged.  "I don't know that it was all that bad, really.  It wasn't a love match, though, unlike her present one."

   "I...suppose I could ask her how she told her son about his father.  That might be a bit awkward, though...for her, I mean.  Her husband is the man who killed Nikos, after all.  Not that I hold that against him—or her—in the least."  She studied her folded hands.  "Is it very wicked of me, Rothana, to be glad that Nikos is dead?"

   The lay sister regarded her with gentle sympathy in her dark eyes.  "It's quite understandable, under the circumstances, Mirjana.   But you mustn't let your feelings fester into bitterness and hatred; all that will do is continue his hold over you.  His death has given you the chance to move on with your own life."

   "I know."  Mirjana sighed.  "Still, it's hard for me not to hate him."

   "Yes.  I imagine forgiveness will be a long-term process for you.  At least it is for me."  Rothana's gaze flitted to her son.  "Though I have my brief marriage to Prince Conall to thank for my son, and I can never regret that, no matter what other regrets I might have.  I hate what Conall did, but as far as hating him goes, I think that has turned into more of a feeling of pity now.  And some regret that I did not see through his deceptions sooner, that I never had the chance to try to dissuade him from his course and to counsel him to make whatever amends he could rather than defying Kelson to the end."  She smiled sadly.  "He might not have avoided a traitor's death at the end, but still, he might have been able to die with at least some small shred of honor left intact. It would've been something for a son to hold on to, knowing his father tried to make things right, at least at the end of his life."

   Mirjana nodded.  "There was nothing that Nikos could ever have said or done to make up for the death of my father and my daughters and the innocence that he stole from me, the years lost, but if he'd had time to show any signs of penitence for his actions towards King Kelson at least—if perhaps he could have made some sort of reparation by handing Teymuraz over to them or...well, something, I don't know what—perhaps it would be easier for me to find something to tell Mikhail that might ease the pain of learning what sort of man his father was.  How do I ever explain to him that the father he loved was an evil man?  Or that even such a man as Nikos was can sire a good son?"

   "You can say the words until you're tired of repeating them, but in the end, I think Albin has come to understand it more by being shown good men to emulate, and encouraging him to pattern his actions by their example.  He is learning enough discernment now to see the differences between his father's actions and the ones of men he truly admires, like the King or his grandfather Prince Nigel.  At his age, he wants very much to please them and to pattern his own behavior after theirs, and hopefully that will continue as he grows older.  Even when he was very little, we talked about the importance of always trying to do the next right thing, even if that thing that needed to be done is something difficult, like admitting when he's done something wrong and trying to make it right again.    You have the advantage of marriage to an honorable man now, at least.  Hopefully in time, Mikhail will be able to form a bond with him and learn from his example.  Richenda's son by the Earl of Marley is quite devoted to Duke Alaric now, although I'm sure they must have had some difficulties adjusting to each other at the outset of Richenda's marriage."  Rothana smiled.  "And remember, even a boy's heroes may make mistakes of their own from time to time, but when that happens, the boy can learn as much from what that man does to try to rectify his error as he does from seeing how he avoids falling into error in the first place.  It is important for any child to learn that it is all right not to be perfect, and that a few bad choices need not doom him to a life of failure or wrong-doing.  It is an especially essential lesson for sons such as ours to learn, though.  I would hate to think that Albin might grow up believing he is doomed to follow in Conall's footsteps if he should happen to make some bad decisions when he is still learning how to be a man."  Rothana sighed.  "It was a long series of wrong choices that proved to be my husband's undoing.  Had he not been too proud and too fearful to admit his earlier errors and ask forgiveness for them, he'd not have compounded betrayal with more betrayal, and lies with more lies, until it all snowballed past the point of pardon."

   The boys briefly rejoined their mothers, regaling them with tales of their boat race.  "Mikhail's boat is fastest, Mama Miri!" Duncan Michael told Mirjana.  "But I'm still gooder with fishes!"

   Mikhail started giggling.  "Duncan Michael's sail wouldn't fill, so he kept trying to get the fish to bump into his boat to make it go forward, but instead they just knocked his boat into Albin's."

   Albin grinned.  "It was pretty funny, Mama!" he told Rothana.  "But I think Duncan Michael's boat will be all right once the sail's fixed.  It's come partly unstitched, so Lady Mhairi's trying to fix it."  He grinned at his younger friend.  "I think Duncan Michael wants to be a fish-herder when he grows up."

   "Well...that sounds like a very interesting vocation," Rothana mused, her dark eyes dancing.  "Perhaps he might want to discuss that plan with the Duke his father though."

   "I'm going to be a Duke when I grow up!" Mikhail proclaimed.  "My Papa said so."

   Mirjana glanced at her friend, stricken.   The mirth in Rothana's eyes subsided to sympathetic acknowledgment of the unspoken truth they both knew.

   "Well, there'll be years before any of you are either fish-herders or dukes, but in the meantime, I believe Lady Mhairi is finished sewing your sail, Duncan Michael," Mirjana said quietly, glancing up at the young woman walking their way along with her husband's page.  The boys' faces lit up, and they rushed back towards the lady-in-waiting, eager to begin their boat races again.

   "I'm sure Duke Dhugal will make some place for Mikhail in his service, when the time comes," Rothana assured her distressed friend quietly once the boys were out of earshot.  "If he shows an aptitude for the martial life, there are always situations for knights errant, and if he ends up being of a more scholarly bent, there's the Church."

   "I know.  But Nikos filled his head with such notions; how do I destroy his dreams and tell him the reality?  And once he knows, how can I teach him not to envy Duncan Michael?  He's so competitive...."

   Rothana nodded.  "Yes, little boys are.  And big ones as well, I fear.  Maybe Richenda can help you there as well.  Her firstborn wasn't stripped of his birthright, but he has grown up knowing his destiny was to be an Earl, while her second son was destined at birth to become Duke of Corwyn one day.  I'm sure there must have been times, at least when he was younger, when Brendan had a bit of trouble coping with the idea that his younger brother will someday outrank him."

   Mirjana sighed. "I suppose.  And at least Mikhail isn't baseborn.  He can still aspire to knighthood, at least, and hopefully someday win greater honor and renown.  If five years of hell with Nikos produced any good result aside from my son, it was that."

   "There is that much to be thankful for, yes."  Rothana squeezed Mirjana's hand.  "Although I'm sure that must seem like scant consolation for you at times."

   "It is enough."  She turned bleak eyes to Rothana.  "It has to be."

Chapter 7:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=506.0
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


I like Mirjana.  Such a strong will.

Thanks for another great chapter, Evie.  :)
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)


She's had to be strong--and strong-willed--to survive the life she's had in recent years.  But "that which does not kill you makes you stronger".   :)
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


Poor Mirjana, but as you say, she is a very strong person and is a 'chin up, we have to deal with this in the best way we can' type of person.  In the books, it's good to see how so many of KK's women can be very strong in their various ways, yet all within their appropriate role in that society.  Even just the strength of character required to cope with 'marriages of state' without all the Mirjana/Dhugal complications, where the best many couples could hope for was a 'reasonable' accommodation and friendship, if not love.   (We can only hope that the eventual Payne/Stanisha and Lliam/Erian marriages work out well and are happy.)

Interesting Torenthi perspective on Wencit, Bran and the situation at Llyndruth Meadows.   The dastardly Richenda we see in the books was just SO likely to kill her son or other children, LOL! 


Yes, Richenda is such a femme fatale....   ;)
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


Femme fatale?!   Richenda?   * sporfles and chokes on coffee*

It is probably just as well then, that Mirjana's plans for continued seduction of Dhugal are unknown to the Cassan /Kierney populace ;)   Otherwise they would really be muttering about her motives and a likely 'fatal attraction' for their Duke ...  


I think they might catch on when she uses her Deryni wiles to have her wicked way with Dhugal in the middle of Ballymar Town Square....

Oh, wait, that's the Alternate Universe Mirjana.  Never mind.  This isn't the evil Torenthi femme fatale you're looking for....   :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


" the Alternate Universe Mirjana."  Oh yes - that's the X-rated version of your fic, I believe?!   ;)


ROFL!  Um, not unless the Alternate Universe Me is writing it!   ;D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


Go, Mirjana!  You tell 'em like it is, girl!


Mirjana really gave those gossip-mongering ladies-in-waiting a good tongue lashing.  I can only imagine what talk-down Araxie gave those (hopefully former) ladies-in-waiting.  You should never ASSUME about someone's character because, as Benny Hill once said, you make an ASS out of U and ME.  Mirjana is definitely in for some rough times because of Nikos, but she has shown that she can take care of herself.
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!


Quote from: derynifanatic64 on October 06, 2010, 06:05:09 PM
Mirjana is definitely in for some rough times because of Nikos, but she has shown that she can take care of herself.

Not to mention the rough time she'll have in Cassan simply for being Torenthi!  :(

BTW, was Mirjana's 'plan' in Ch. 5 pretty much what you'd expected? :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


Yes it was.  As Jeff Foxworthy once said on the "Blue Collar Comedy Tour" movie, "Women are smarter than men!"
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!


LOL!  Mirjana just had to learn to speak in a language Dhugal could understand.  ;D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


Quote from: Evie on October 06, 2010, 08:05:12 PM
LOL!  Mirjana just had to learn to speak in a language Dhugal could understand.  ;D

Hmmm - I'm sure most men would manage to understand the language of "utterly gorgeous lady clad only in a soft fur blanket which she somehow manages to drop"  :D