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A Leap of Faith - Chapter 8

Started by AnnieUK, December 27, 2010, 03:25:03 PM

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Marbury and Rheljan
March 1121

Bran wrote to my uncle Cardiel to let him know of our plans, and that I would be arriving at Stonelyn late in March.  As a compromise, we arranged that Brendan and I should leave Marbury early in the month, and spend a few days with my family in Rheljan, before continuing down to Dhassa.  It kept all sides happy and broke the journey somewhat, for I was not looking forward to such a long journey with Brendan in the carriage, even with Joan to entertain him.  

A letter soon came back from Dhassa, in which Uncle Thomas looked forward to seeing me and the children, and asked us to visit him in late March, by which time he hoped we would be settled in Stonelyn and ready to pay him a visit.

Children?  I could hardly believe it.  So Uncle Thomas had obviously kept up the correspondence with my father long enough to know about Rhiannon, but no-one had thought to tell him of her death?  Once again, I was amazed at just how thoughtless Bran could be.  Why had he not mentioned Rhiannon's passing in his first letter?  Now I was faced with either writing to Uncle Thomas to correct him, or turning up in Dhassa with one child and explaining to him then.  Either way it would be awkward that no-one from the family had thought to tell him sooner for all he was a distant relation, and only by marriage, rather than by blood.  

I decided that since it was three months since Rhiannon had died, it would add insult to injury to tell him by letter now.  I would tell him in person when I saw him in Dhassa, no matter how painful that might be to me.

We made our planned stop in Rheljan and my father and Murdo were overjoyed to see us.  They exclaimed over how big Brendan had got, of course, and made a big fuss of him.  He had brought his toy wooden sword with him, an absolute essential for him, and Murdo play sparred with him for as long as he could spare, enjoying spending some time with his nephew.

I spent as much time as possible with my father and we dropped into the old familiar closeness straight away.  Once I'd arrived he came to my old room and sat on the edge of the bed beside me.

"How are you bearing up, my darling?"

"I manage.  Some days are better than others."

"I know how that feels."

I took his hand and we shared our memories of mother and Rhiannon together for a while.  It meant so much to me to be able to do this.  Not being able to mind link while in Marley was like having a sense taken away and I could only be my true self around my own family.

"How has Bran taken it?"

We were still in rapport when my father asked me that, and although I brought my shields up to hide that part of my thoughts as fast as I could manage, my father caught a glimpse of what had happened over the past four months, and drew in a sharp breath.

"Richenda, I'm sorry.  I knew things weren't perfect for you, but I hoped they'd work out in time.  Is he ... does he ... take good care of you?"

"Bran loves Brendan.  He's a good father to him."

"That's not what I asked, and you know it.  I truly did think he would be a good husband for you, Richenda, child.  We only wanted you to be happy."

"I know, Papa.  It's no-one's fault.  He just doesn't ... want the same things I do.  I suppose I wanted what you and mama had, and Bran just isn't equipped to offer me that.   I'm not unhappy.  He cares for me in his own way, and I haven't had women turning up at my door with Coris by-blows, so as far as I know he is faithful to me, and if he isn't he's discreet about it."  I suddenly became awkward, to be talking like this to my father, so I smiled and squeezed his hand.  "I'm fine, Papa.  I'm doing just fine."

That night, back in my old room, I slept more peacefully than I had for ages, and I thought I had left some of my troubles in Marley.  But on the third night the nightmares came again.  Rhiannon calling for me, as she always did.  "Mama!  Mama!"

"Rhiannon!"  And I was awake and sobbing into my pillow.  The door quietly opened and a figure slipped in, a candle lighting his way.  His familiar arms wrapped tight around me.

"Hush, Richenda, darling.  Hush, my child."

I turned my face into my father's chest and let the pain of the last few months flood out of me.  It felt so nice to be held tight, and he poured every calming and reassuring thought my way that he could.  It was like being a child again, and I clung to him as I had done when I was small.

"Oh, Papa.  I miss her so much."

We didn't speak of what had passed between us for the rest of my stay, and to the best of my knowledge Murdo remained blissfully ignorant of it.  The truth of the matter was that nobody could do anything: I was Bran's wife and therefore his property and all my father could do was watch from the outside and hope.  For my part, as long as Brendan was happy and well cared-for I could put up with a lot for myself.  I had known from the outset that arranged marriages didn't always work.  I had hoped for love, would have liked friendship and now was resigned to a distant tolerance.  As long as I made myself available for him, Bran didn't look too far beyond that.

The journey down to Dhassa was long and tedious.  At least travelling in March we did not have the heat to contend with, but we were all relieved to see Stonelyn.  It was smaller than the manor in
Marbury, but perfectly adequate for our needs, and with none of Marbury's unpleasant associations.

Bran had made a start on checking the workings of the Stonelyn estate when he visited before Christmas, but before that he had been absent for a long time, and quite prepared to take the reports of the steward at face value.  Some of the servants had become lax and I strongly suspected that the accounts were being altered to allow extra income for some of the higher-placed staff.  As the steward and his fellows realised that I was checking the books, the accounting became more rigorous, and a few staff being removed from their positions made the others more attentive to their duties.  At least, I thought, I can now justify being here rather than in Marley, where we had excellent staff who would look after the estates admirably in my absence.

Brendan thrived in Stonelyn.  Being that bit further south, spring had some earlier than we were used to, and he loved being able to get outside frequently, running around with some new playmates and exploring the barns and gardens of Stonelyn.  He missed Bran, though, and his riding lessons had to be put on hold for the time being, as I trusted no-one enough at Stonelyn to have them continue to teach him.  I knew if I let someone other than Bran teach him and Brendan fell into bad habits, that Bran would be unhappier than if he hadn't ridden at all.

Brendan was excited when messengers came from Marley, and eagerly asked after his father, but little in Bran's letters interested a small boy – or me.  He spoke of preparations for war, and before long his letters came not from Marbury, but from Llyndruth Plain where he was encamped with his soldiers and the Marley levies.    I was pleased to be able to send him back assurances that Stonelyn was getting back on a firm footing and that any hint of money being leeched from the estate was being seen to – at least I could be of use that way and put his mind at rest about this, at least, on the eve of war.

http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=621.0  Chapter 9


Bad luck, Christmas is over and I'm back. :P  Now, do I give you a bonus chapter today to get us to St Torins?  Hmm, decisions, decisions.


'Tis the season of goodwill and all that ...   All presents gratefully accepted  :D

Poor Richenda, only really able to share her grief with her own family.   Hiding her Deryniness must have been so hard for her, as it would have been for others in a similar position.  It would have been especially so for a person who had been trained and was used to using their powers, because they would feel the loss more acutely. 


I'm glad Richenda has that close relationship with her father to turn to for support.  Rhiannon wouldn't have had that with Bran if she'd lived, poor girl, and it's so important to a growing girl's self-image, and even a grown woman's.   Fortunately Richenda will be married to Alaric by the time she has another daughter, and it's obvious from the books that Alaric has a healthy father/daughter bond with his own little girl.
"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!


Pity she can't turn him into a toad and be done with it.


I'd rather turn Bran into a cockroach and just squash him with my foot.
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!


LOL!  Well, that would cut quite a few pages out of HD, not to mention a bunch of the angst!   ;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!


"She turned me into a newt!"
"A newt?"
"I got better!"


Now, if the knights of Cassan all ran around yelling "Ni! Ni! Ni!", that might be grounds for beheading and impalement....   ;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!


OK, so can we agree that she's turned him into a cockroach and crushed him?  Because then my agony can end right here. ;)


Alas, that wasn't KK's solution, so you'll have to wait for Llyndruth Meadows ...  :D


In the official version the cockroach didn't get squashed, he got poisoned.  His insides got squashed.
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!


Bran REALLY deserved to die painfully of that poison Stefan Coram gave him! So glad Richenda's free of him!

You can have a sound mind in a healthy body--Or you can be a nanonovelist!


Given the general 'survivability' of cockroaches over millions of years, I think it was probably just as well that Bran was not only poisoned but also killed magically by Kelson.   :D


ROFL!  Wow.  Given all the love shown to Bran in this string of comments, I can hardly wait to unleash my newest character Lord Walter upon the world....   ;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!