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A Time To Heal Chapter 14

Started by Evie, November 02, 2010, 12:28:27 PM

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   Chapter Fourteen

   February 13, 1133
   Rhemuth Castle, Duke of Cassan's apartments

   "Why do they hate us, Mama?"  Mikhail's brown eyes stared up at Mirjana in confusion.

   She pulled her son into her lap, stroking his raven hair.  "They don't know any better, son."  She thought for a few moments, trying to figure out how to explain.  "A very long time ago, before you were born, when I was just a little girl, there was a war.  The war was started by one of our distant cousins, a Furstán King named Wencit.  He believed that he was the rightful King of Gwynedd as well as Torenth and that King Kelson, who was just barely past being a boy himself at the time, should not be a King at all.  And so he fought a war, but he didn't fight fairly according to the usual rules of war, and as a result of that a lot of people from Cassan and Kierney died.  Their families still hate us because we remind them of King Wencit."

   "Was he the rightful King, Mama?"

   The Torenthi woman gave a rueful sigh.  "Oh, son, I doubt it.  It's true that his line of the Furstáns had a claim to the throne once, but their reign in Gwynedd ended over two-hundred years ago, and the simple fact is that the Haldanes ruled Gwynedd before their time and ever after then.  So Kelson is the King of Gwynedd now probably just as much in right as in simple fact.  I don't think anyone truly disputes the truth of that anymore in Torenth—at least not King Liam-Lajos, and if any man in Torenth had a legal right to the claim, he would."

   "Duke Teymuraz does, though."

   Mirjana's eyes darkened.  "Yes.  Teymuraz will grab at power any way he can get it, though, and as high as he can possibly reach.  But just because he wants to be King of both lands does not mean he has a lawful right."  She glanced at Duncan Michael, who had fallen asleep in a corner of their solar, one hand clutching his favorite wooden horse.  "If a child wished to have a wooden horse, and he saw Duncan Michael's and did everything he could to take it from him, even to the point of harming him, would that be right, my love?"

   Mikhail's eyes lit with outrage.  "No, Mama, and I would kick him if he tried!  Duncan Michael is little, and I told the Duke I would help take care of him!"

   Mirjana suppressed a smile.  "And you would be right to take care of your little brother, though in that particular case I would hope you would seek out a nursemaid's assistance instead of simply settling the matter with your feet.  But I only mention that example because that is very much like what King Wencit, and now Duke Teymuraz, have tried to do with the Kingdom of Gwynedd.  But they have not the right."

   Mikhail frowned, thinking over the situation.  "If I were King Kelson," he finally told her, "I think I should want to give King Wencit and Duke Teymuraz a hearty thrashing."

   Mirjana choked down a laugh.  "Well, King Wencit is dead now, so I suppose his fate is up to God to decide, but yes, I am certain King Kelson would love to give Teymuraz a right good thrashing."


   February 13
   Ballymar Castle, Cassan

   Lord Deveril looked as if he'd aged twenty years in just one day.  His last remaining son, Lord Daivi, stood beside him, occasionally giving his sire a look of concern.

   "Your Grace, in light of my heir's recent actions against you and your house, my household and I would beg for clemency.  If it is your pleasure, and our lives not be forfeit, we shall retire to our family's manor at Grangegaeth."

   Dhugal sighed tiredly.  "You are welcome to retire to Grangegaeth if your family needs some time to yourselves to mourn for Deasun, of course.  But I still have need of you and your household, Deveril, even more so now than ever.  I know the reasons Deasun acted as he did, and don't hold his actions against you."  He shook his head.  "He was far more affected by the war with Wencit than I ever realized, nor do I think you suspected the depth of his mind-sickness either."

   Deveril shook his head in sorrow.  "I did not, my lord.  Had I known, I most certainly would have warned you.  I never dreamed my own flesh and blood would be a danger to you and yours.   Deasun was ever bred to his duty, but beyond that, I believed that he shared my own love for your House...."  The older man choked back tears.

   "Be at ease, Lord Deveril.  I do not blame you for your son's choices, nor have I ever doubted your loyalty and love."  Dhugal leaned back in his chair, studying the quiet man standing beside the seneschal.  "Lord Daivi, you are now your father's heir, yet I would not bind you to your hereditary post if your future duties would be odious to you.  So I will ask you plainly, will you be willing to serve me as my seneschal of Cassan once your lord father passes on or grows too old for the task?  Your manorial lands at Grangegaeth shall be your inheritance regardless, so long as you continue in fealty to me, but if you feel you would not be able to serve me as seneschal with good conscience, I would know that now."

   Lord Daivi swept the Duke of Cassan a deep bow.  "I have no such qualms of conscience, Your Grace.  I grieve for my brother, aye—how could I not?—yet I know full well how greatly he wronged you.  I shall do my utmost to always render you good service as has my father before me."  He glanced at Deveril.  "Though if you would grant our family grace to retire to Grangegaeth for a fortnight, we would be grateful.  My lady mother has taken Deasun's death very hard."

   Dhugal nodded.  "And your sisters?"

   Daivi gave him a wry smile.  "Domenica and Daireen grieve also, of course, but they are more...resigned?  It was no secret among us that Deasun has not been fully himself these past dozen years, although we did not know how dark his mind-blight had become.  I believe he sought his death, and that he saw the final strike that ended his life as a kindness.  Though I am profoundly sorry he used an attack on your lady wife as the means of bringing it about."

   The Duke knew the truth of both men's words.  He had been Truth-Reading both as they spoke, although he had never truly doubted either man's loyalty.  Still, under the present circumstances, he could hardly afford to be less careful.  He had also believed Deasun, for all his emotional pain, to be as loyal to him as the rest of his family had always been, and his Duchess had nearly died as a result of his negligence.

   Then again, a simple Truth-Reading might not have revealed Deasun's treachery either, unless Dhugal had known beforehand the right questions to ask.  After all, the man had probably believed himself to be fully loyal to the House of MacArdry McLain even to the end; had probably thought ridding the duchy of a Torenthi duchess and a potential heir to be the ultimate proof of his fidelity to the ducal line, undesired though he surely must have known his actions would be to his liegelord.


   February 14
   Bishop's Study, St. Hilary's Basilica

   The bishop's kindly blue eyes looked startled to see Mirjana, though they swiftly warmed as his grandson's hands tugged at his cassock in his eager joy to see his 'Papa Duncan' again.  He bent to scoop Duncan Michael up into his arms.  

   "Welcome back, my lady!  I had not expected to see you all back from Cassan until closer to Easter."  He grinned as his son's heir planted a sticky wet kiss on his cheek.  "Come in."  Duncan stepped back from the doorway to allow Mikhail, Mirjana, and the heavily blanketed baby she held through.  "Is Dhugal with you?" he asked Mirjana.

   "No, he...had matters to take care of at home.  He sent us ahead."  Her green eyes swept over the boys' heads.  "I will explain more later."

   "Ah."  Duncan nodded, setting Duncan Michael down.  "Well, lads, have you two seen Albin since you've been back?"

   "No, my lord bishop," Mikhail answered for both of them, looking eager.

   "Oh?  Well, doubtless he's been rather busy eating that large batch of gingersnaps that his lady mother made yesterday evening.  She was supposed to be making some for me as well, but they haven't been brought down yet.  Maybe you two boys could go check on that?"

   Mikhail barely stopped himself from bouncing with excitement.  "May we, Mama?"

   Mirjana bit her lip.  "I suppose it would be...all right, so long as you don't pester."  

   Despite her words, Duncan sensed unspoken worry.  "I could have one of the clerks escort them, if you'd like."

   His daughter-in-law looked relieved.  "Please?"

   Duncan took in her tired expression, the protective way in which she watched both boys, and his concern grew.  "Wait right here; I'll be right back."  He stepped out of the study briefly, returning in a few moments with a young man dressed in the gray robes of a Servant of Saint Camber.  "My lady, this is Brother Everard."

   The young woman's eyes lit with recognition.  "Yes, I remember him from my days with the Servants of Saint Camber before my marriage to your son."  She smiled at the clerk.  "Good morning, Brother Everard."

   "Good morning, my lady.  Hello, boys!"  

   "Hello, Brother Everard," Mikhail said, bowing dutifully.

   Duncan Michael bowed also, studying the clerk curiously.  "I have a brother too!  I have two brothers, but one's not borned yet.  He's coming to my birthday."

   "I see!"  The clerk grinned at Duncan Michael's blushing stepmother.  "That should be quite a celebration, then.  And speaking of celebration, I believe a fresh batch of gingersnaps just came out of the oven...."  Brother Everard led the boys away, leaving Mirjana and baby Trina with the bishop.

   Duncan chuckled as he closed the door behind them.  "I hope you meant for that news to get out, because telling Duncan Michael about it is as sure a way of making a public announcement as having the herald cry it out from the watch towers!"  He offered his daughter-in-law a seat.  "So, I'm to be a grandfather again in the autumn?"

   "Yes," Mirjana confirmed shyly.  Trina stirred in her arms, and she unwrapped the blankets from around her.  The infant sat up, looking around at her surroundings with confused green eyes for a moment before her gaze settled on Duncan.  She gave a gurgly giggle, her rosebud lips widening to a grin, revealing a few pearly teeth beginning to emerge.

   Duncan sat across from the pair, holding out his arms to the baby.  "Hello, heart.  Do you remember your Papa Duncan?"  Cherubic arms reached for him and he scooped her up, cradling her on his lap and brushing a brief kiss on her tawny fluff of hair.  He looked back up at Mirjana.  "I know you've only been away a month, but she seems to have grown."  He sat back in his chair, absently lending his granddaughter a knuckle to teeth on.  "What's wrong, Mirjana?"

   Mirjana glanced instinctively behind her, as if to ensure the boys were still out of earshot.  "It is not safe for us in Cassan right now.  There was...an incident."

   Duncan's brows rose.  "What sort of incident?" he asked sharply.

   She turned downcast eyes to her lap.  "A man tried to kill me.  And before that, my son overheard one of the grooms say that the only good Torenthi is a dead Torenthi."  She lifted her eyes to his.  "I am afraid for Mikhail.  I do not believe Duncan Michael or Trina are in any danger, but...."  She sighed.  "I am not completely certain.  So we are here for now, at least until the Duke my husband can determine if the man who tried to kill me acted alone or with the assistance of others."

   Duncan looked shaken.  "I'm very sorry, Mirjana.  You are very welcome to stay here as long as you need to, either at the Castle or with the Servants of Saint Camber, if you would prefer to return here to the Basilica."  He studied her carefully.  "Were you harmed?"

   She shook her head.  "Not much.  I had a head injury, so I have no memory of what happened after the initial attack, but Dhugal healed me.  Aside from the blow to my head, I had a small cut on my throat, but nothing very deep."  Mirjana shrugged.  "He did not survive, though, my attacker.  I worry for his family.  They must be grieving his loss and feeling quite torn in their loyalties right now."

    "Are you worried that they might try to follow his example?"

   "Oh, no!  No, my father, I hope not.  Lord Deveril has always seemed most honest and faithful, at any rate.  I should hope he will not turn against your House now.  No, it was his heir who turned.  From what I've been told, he believed himself to be back in Llyndruth Meadows again."

   Duncan stared at his daughter-in-law a long moment in shocked disbelief before closing his eyes in sorrow for his former seneschal's loss.


   February 15
   Rhemuth Castle, the Royal Withdrawing Room

   "Oh, Mirjana, the Queen just informed me of your return and of the circumstances behind it!  I am so sorry you've had such difficulties."  The Duchess Richenda's blue eyes were filled with compassion for the younger duchess.  "Are you faring well enough now, or are you suffering from troubled sleep?"

   Mirjana settled on a bench by the fire.  "I dream, but...the dreams are very vague."  She shrugged.  "There is always some faceless threat lurking behind every shadow, but rarely seen.  And when it does show itself, I wake up.  But when I fall asleep again, it's just more of the same."  She turned troubled eyes up at Richenda.  "I am sure it will pass.  It must pass.  I cannot afford to remain scared of my own home and my people forever."  Tears filled her eyes.  "But I am more frightened for my son.  He is trying to understand why people in Cassan despise us, and I have tried to explain it in terms he can relate to, but still, he has no notion of the true depth of it, I don't think."  Mirjana sighed.  "I have not told him the details of what happened to me, of course.  He would only be frightened by it.  But he is bright enough to know that something has happened, and that there is some danger that has caused us to leave Cassan suddenly and return here, even if he is not aware of all the reasons behind that return."

   "Yes, children are often much more perceptive than we give them credit for."  Richenda looked troubled.  "And if he suspects that you are both in danger, he might not be willing to confide in you for fear of worrying you.  Little boys sometimes try to turn into little men that way, even when we mothers try to shield them enough so they can remain children.  He should have someone he can talk to, though...."  The Duchess of Corwyn tilted her head consideringly.  "Perhaps, if you wouldn't mind, my son Brendan could get to know your son?  He's been busy getting established in Marley, but he's due to arrive in Rhemuth this week, and I'd be glad to arrange for an introduction.  Nothing too obvious, of course."  She chuckled.  "I'd hate for Mikhail to turn mulish and refuse to open up because he thinks we're being a couple of worrying old hens and making him talk to a man he's just met because we're frightened women who think talking will solve everything."

   Mirjana laughed.  "Yes, I can imagine him thinking that.  He is four now, and so grown up!"

   Richenda smiled.  "Oh, you think it's bad now?  Just wait until he turns fifteen—old enough to be truly grown up, yet still young enough to assume he knows more than his parents, who cannot possibly understand what he's going through because we are far too old!"  She shook her head.  "Fortunately Brendan hasn't been hit with too bad a case of that, but it surfaces from time to time, even if he's got the good sense not to express the opinion aloud, at least not in front of Alaric.  Men!"  She grinned.  "There's a reason boys are so cute when they're small.  It's so that their fathers will remember them as they once were and won't choke them when they're older."  The grin faded slightly as she gave Mirjana another considering look.  "How are Mikhail and Dhugal getting along?"

   "Quite well, thanks be to God!  I had worried they might not accept each other quickly, but I think Mikhail is quite eager to have a father, and as for my husband, he has been very patient with my son.  Mikhail has started to look up to him, I think.  I am glad; he deserves a better father than Nikos was."

   "Yes.  Bran was devoted to Brendan, but still, a boy needs a man he can emulate, and Bran was hardly that."  Richenda fell silent for a short while, lost in thought, then spoke again.  "I believe Brendan will be arriving sometime tomorrow.  Would you and the children care to dine with our family the following evening?  That would at least allow our sons the opportunity to meet.  I can have a quiet word with Brendan beforehand, and if he thinks he might be able to help Mikhail, he can issue whatever invitation he thinks might please a little boy before the night is over.  Maybe they can go for a pony ride, if the warming weather holds and if Mikhail is as pony-crazy as Brendan was at that age."

   "Oh yes, very much so.  Though if possible, he'll need a very gentle pony with a suitably fierce name.  I am informed that 'Blossom' is no fit name for a man's steed."  Mirjana's lips quirked, and Richenda burst out laughing.

   "So noted.  I'll inform my son."


   February 19
   Rhemuth Castle, King's Tower

   "Look, there's the Keep!"  Mikhail pointed out the military tower of the Castle to his new friend from the top of the King's Tower.  "Mama and I lived there when we first moved to Rhemuth."  He frowned.  "We forgot our clothes, though, so Mama had to wash my tunic in the basin until we got new ones."

   Brendan chuckled.  "That sounds very inconvenient.  You weren't there long, I hope?"

   "No.  We moved over there later."  Mikhail pointed towards St. Hilary's Basilica.  "We stayed with the people with the gray robes, and I played with Albin, and then Mama married the Duke and we moved back into the Castle."  He frowned slightly, looking down at the apartment block below as if trying to figure out where his current lodgings might be.  It all looked so much smaller from up here.

   "Over there, I think," Brendan supplied, pointing a finger downwards and at the approximate section of rooftop.  "So, how do you like Rhemuth now?"

   "It's all right."  Mikhail shrugged.  "But it's too cold."

   Brendan nodded.  "It's very cold in the winter here.  But probably not as cold as Cassan."  He glanced at the boy he was holding slightly aloft so Mikhail could view the castle grounds and the city of Rhemuth below over the tower parapet.  "Do you like Cassan?"

   Mikhail frowned.  "I like playing with the toys there, and I like riding our pony, and I like the Duke my new papa, but not everyone likes us there and it makes my mama sad.  And that makes me mad."

   "I imagine it would!"  Brendan set the boy back down.  "It used to make me mad too when people said mean things about my mama, and even when they'd say them about my real papa, even though he'd done something that was very wrong, so they were right to be angry with him.  Sometimes they'd say mean things about my new step-papa too, even though he hadn't done anything wrong, but they just didn't like him because he's Deryni."

   Mikhail looked incredulous.  "But that's silly!  Everyone's Deryni!"

   Brendan chuckled.  "Well, no, not quite everyone.  But the thing is, sometimes people don't like other people because they have good reasons not to like them—if, like my papa, they'd done bad things they shouldn't have done—but sometimes people don't like other people just for silly reasons, like because those people are different from themselves somehow."  He shrugged.  "It's sad, but not everyone is going to like you, Mikhail, or your mama, or me.  We can't help that.  We just have to be the best people we know how to be, and hope that the people we respect the most can like us for who we are."

   The Torenthi boy considered this advice solemnly.  "My new papa likes me, I think.  He lets me ride his pony.  He won't let me be a duke when I grow up, though."

   The Earl of Marley nodded.  "Well, it's good that he likes you and that you like him.  It's important for papas and sons to get along, even if it's a new papa.  Maybe especially if it's a new papa, because you expect the papa you were born with to like you, but it's hard to know what to expect from a new one sometimes, isn't it?  Even if you like him and he likes you, you still have to learn how to live with each other, because you don't just automatically know how right from the start."  He smiled sympathetically at his young friend.  "And you know, Duke Dhugal really doesn't have any choice about the duke thing, no matter how much he likes you."

   Mikhail sighed gloomily.  "Oh, I know.  Duncan Michael's in for it, poor little thing!"

   Brendan stifled a laugh.   "Oh, yes.  Being a duke is a lot of hard work.  My step-papa is a duke too, just like yours, but my little brother Kelric is his firstborn son, so Kelric will inherit Corwyn someday." His blue eyes twinkled with suppressed mirth.  "Poor little thing!"

   Mikhail studied his new friend for a long while.  At last he ventured, "My real papa did a wrong thing too.  What did yours do?"

   Brendan met the little boy's steady gaze.  "Mine broke a promise to the King.  He had promised to always serve the King of Gwynedd, but instead he decided to fight on another king's side instead, and because a lot of people didn't know he had switched sides and they trusted him, they ended up dying.  Because of that, a lot of people used to think my Mama and I couldn't be trusted either, but now they've mostly decided that even though he did some bad things, that doesn't mean we will too."

   "Oh."  Mikhail bit his lip. "My papa made a promise to a king too, only his king wasn't a real one.  And he wanted to steal someone else's land so it could be his instead.  And...I think he might have done something even badder, but I don't know what it means."  He fingered the cuff of one sleeve, trying to remember the strange word he'd overheard.  "What is a reggieside?"

   The Earl of Marley raised a red-gold brow.  "Hm.  A regicide?"  He pursed his lips in thought, weighing his words carefully.  "If a man murders a king, that is called regicide.  Your papa tried to kill King Kelson last summer, but thankfully he didn't succeed, so technically he didn't commit regicide.  But yes, even just trying to kill him would be a bad thing."  He placed a comforting hand on the boy's shoulder.  "Do you suppose maybe he thought that if he killed King Kelson, his fake king might be able to become a real one?"

   Mikhail nodded, tears springing to his eyes.  "And he would become a duke, and then I would be one too when I grew up! But it's not right, becoming a duke that way, is it?"

   "No, it's not."  Brendan squeezed the boy's shoulder.  "I'm an earl now, but do you know what I really wanted to be when I was your age, just as much as I wanted to be an earl?"  He grinned.  "Maybe even more, because it was something I knew I'd have to earn, not just inherit?"

   The boy shook his head.  "No, what?"

   "I wanted to be a knight!  I had this wooden knight I would play with all the time, and I dreamed about the day when I would grow big enough to be a real one.  And then when my Mama told me she was going to marry Duke Alaric, I was so excited—not just because he was nice and he'd shown me how to fight with a sword properly, or because he lived in a big castle.  I was happy because he could teach me how to become a real knight.  And you know what?  I'm still waiting for that dream to come true.  I'm old enough to be an Earl now, but it will be a few more years before I can earn my spurs.  But they'll mean something extra special when I do, because I'll have worked hard for them—first as a page, then as a squire, and now as the King's liegeman."  He gave Mikhail a sympathetic smile. "I won't lie; it's nice to have a title and inheritance like Marley.  But the way to truly win men's respect is by your own deeds and skill.  A mere birthright won't win it. My father Bran Coris was Earl of Marley before me, but he lost the Kingdom's respect when he betrayed his King.  It's up to me now to redeem the Marley title and the Coris name.  But I fully intend to do so." He placed a finger under the boy's chin, raising Mikhail's face up to meet his gaze.  "If you loved your father, despite the wrong things that he's done, the best legacy you can give his name is to live honorably and redeem your family name instead of simply living down to what he's made of it.  If you live a life of integrity and earn your honors fairly, someday men will look at you and say, 'There goes Sir Mikhail Furstán von Brustarkia, a truly noble man,' and they'll see you as yourself, not just as your papa's son.  And that will mean far more to you than any title."

   "But...." Mikhail studied his boot tips, a tear rolling down his cheek. "I think I might have killed my papa." He turned watery brown eyes up at Brendan.

   The young Earl stared at Nikos's son in shock. "Why do you think that?  I assure you that you didn't."

   "Because...."  The boy swallowed hard.  "Because maybe if it hadn't been for me, he wouldn't have done bad things trying to be a duke so I could have a title and lands!  And because I was angry with him for being mean sometimes, and I prayed to God to make him stop being mean to anyone ever again.  And then Papa died." Mikhail sniffed, ducking his head and blinking rapidly.

   "I--"  Brendan paused, at a loss for words.  "Well, even if your papa had hopes that you'd be a duke someday, it's not right to do a wrong thing just because you love someone, and even if that was his reason, he was old enough to know better, so that would have been his fault, not yours.  A papa who loves you enough to want the very best for you wouldn't want you to blame yourself for something that he chose to do.  And as for praying he'd stop being mean sometimes, I'm sure God would have understood that you were just angry and that you didn't mean that you wanted your papa to die.  God understands stuff like that even if we don't always know the best way to say things in our prayers, because He hears what's in our hearts, not just our words.  But...um...your new grand-papa the Bishop would probably be a better person to talk to about that."

   Mikhail grew calmer as he considered Brendan's words.  At last he looked up at the earl, a look of resolve on his young face.  "I know how I'm going to make up for my papa doing bad things."

   "Oh?  How's that?"

   "I'm going to be a hero."

   Brendan smiled at the little boy.  "A hero, hm?  Well, that's certainly an admirable goal."  He gave the landscape below one last sweeping look, then looked back at Mikhail.  "It's getting pretty breezy up here.  Why don't we go down and take a stroll over to the stables to look at the horses?  You can tell me all about what it was like living in Byzantyun while we're walking."

Chapter 15: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=595.0
"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!


Yay!  Nice seeing a grown-up well-adjusted Brendan, after what he went through.  I do like that he doesn't dare lock horns with Alaric too much, as well. ;)


QuoteMikhail sighed gloomily.  "Oh, I know.  Duncan Michael's in for it, poor little thing!"

Brendan stifled a laugh.   "Oh, yes.  Being a duke is a lot of hard work.  My step-papa is a duke too, just like yours, but my little brother Kelric is his firstborn son, so Kelric will inherit Corwyn someday." His blue eyes twinkled with suppressed mirth.  "Poor little thing!"  

ROFL at the hard lot of future dukes!   Nice chapter, and good scene between the boys.  Glad to see that Brendan is growing up into a pretty decent young man and - so far - surviving his teen years without too many hassles :D

ETA:  Very sad for poor loyal Lord Deveril, and for Daivi.  Glad they can get some time away to grieve, and that Dhugal showed how much he values them both.   But LOL at 'worrying old hens' and four year olds who are very grown up!

kirienne (RIP)

I like seeing this nearly grown up version of Brendan. I'm sure that since he's had such a good role model in his Step-Papa, that he'll turn out just fine. :-)
Reading of the future dukes, the "poor little thing's", had me laughing so hard that I nearly fell from my chair. I'm glad Mikhail has Brendan to talk to as he certainly needs someone he can confide in.


Mikhail is almost five, you know.  Isn't that practically grown up?   ;)

I worried a bit about the Brendan/Mikhail scene, because I knew I wanted that in the story, but Brendan had been so quiet in my mind that I was worried I'd end up getting writer's block when it came time to write the scene, because he just wouldn't speak up.  Couldn't hear the boy's voice at all, except the one time he ventured the completely unasked for and totally non-medieval opinion that, although he's glad the King's Council didn't decide to marry Mirjana to him, the new Duchess of Cassan is "pretty hot."  Not especially helpful input.   ;D

But then it came time to write the scene, and suddenly he had lots to say.  The words flowed pretty quickly and effortlessly.  (Wish I could say the same for the scene I'm writing now!)  And once the scene was finished, he shut up again.  I guess our young Earl of Marley is simply the quiet sort.    :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!


QuoteMikhail is almost five, you know.  Isn't that practically grown up?

Absolutely!  "My" Brendan is four and a half, and he knows he is very grown up, especially when he is wielding his sword.   :D   After all, one afternoon Duke Alaric trusted him to escort his mother safely back to their apartments.  Not to mention that he has written a grown-up letter to his grandfather, which he sealed himself, plus he can ride a more advanced pony.   (Which is thankfully called Joker and not Blossom - Brendan understands Mikhail's objections to that, even if the pony is a mare, LOL)

But as for Brendan being the quiet sort - hmm, you just haven't seen him with Payne and other friends of his own age.  ;) 


Well, that's true.  He's several years older than Kelric and the small horde of young lads who have been kicking back in my brain ever since I wrote The Rustic Prince, so I probably just haven't encountered him in his more natural environment.   ;) :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!


I believe that Brendan would be an excellent friend/mentor to Mikhail because of their shared background concerning their fathers.  Brendan knows what Mikhail is going through and will be able to guide the boy as he grows up.  No 5 year old boy should ever have to go through the triails that Mikhail is experiencing.
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!


* Evie goes through major panic

As a result of a comedy of errors tonight, involving my cat Luke getting outside and my family having to stalk and recapture him (Luke goes from the ultimate teddy bear to Feral Kitty the moment he steps outdoors), and my DD taking my LED flashlight off my key holder to search for him, and that LED flashlight happening to be on the same keychain as my USB drive that this story is stored on, and my DD also having ADHD and forgetting where she leaves things once she's done using them, I currently have a missing USB drive.  Oddly enough, she managed to remember where she'd left the flashlight (on the grass in some bushes near our back door, which is where we finally managed to catch Lukey), but the USB drive is no longer on the chain, so it is probably lost outside in either the back or side yard, in the pitch dark, probably under some bush. 

And so that means that if I can't find it (preferably before the files on it are weather damaged), there will be a delay in posting Chapters 15 and 16, as I will need to reconstruct both from scratch.  (Ironically, I first missed the drive when I started looking for it in order to back it up tonight! *sigh*)

* Evie headdesks
"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!


* Sends Evie a large bottle of McRorie's Old in sympathy.*
Hope you find the missing USB drive.  Of course, you know it will turn up about five minutes after you have just completed reconstructing both missing chapters from memory ...  :D


Sure, if DH doesn't pulverize it with the lawnmower first.   :'(
"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!


Don't let DH mow the lawn until you've found the USB drive.

I hope you find it soon.
"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.)


*Has alarming visions of Evie and family disappearing into a 6 ft high lawn jungle, and USB key still not found*.    Perhaps scan lawn with metal detector before mowing?!  Of course, it won't be on the lawn at all - it will have fallen on or into some obscure spot that you never would have considered searching!


ack, hope it turns up (makes note to self to make backup)

These things have just got so small, though, they are hard enough to find at the best of times.

Reminds me of the time when I worked in the Ministry of Defence many years ago and we were still using disc packs for backups.  They changed to these snazzy new drives about the size of a cigarette packet, so we were thrilled we weren't going to have to lug disc packs around.  Trouble was, the security guys threw a total wobbler about how easy it would be for someone to pocket one and walk out with secure information - their solution? - chain the new drives to the old disc packs!  D'oh!


Well, there was about a 1% chance that the USB drive never actually made it home from the office, and that I'd find it when I got to work today.  No such luck.  So that means unless I find it obligingly sitting on the grass or under some bush when I get home this afternoon (I'm hoping, since I'm leaving early today to pick up my daughter from her field trip, that there will still be a little daylight when I get home), Chapter 15 will not be posted tonight as originally planned.

Now, aren't you all glad I didn't lose this one just before I'd planned to post Chapter 13?   ;)

Don't own a metal detector, unfortunately, nor do I know of any rental places in my area where I could get my hands on one for the weekend.  But maybe my DH would know.

Part of the problem is that, since Luke goes all terrified and feral the moment he gets outside (which makes me wonder why the furry little idiot insists on trying to get out in the first place), the first place he heads to is either the dense shrubbery/tree fence between our house and our neighbor's, or else underneath the prickly shrubs at the back of our house, which means searching for a missing USB drive out there is going to be an adventure in dodging twigs and thorns.

In addition to all my Deryni fanfic stories and my timeline that has all my characters' birth/marriage/other important dates, my entire (original, non-fanfic) novel manuscript was on there as well, though at least I'm pretty sure I've backed that up elsewhere since my most recent changes!
"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!