• Welcome to The Worlds of Katherine Kurtz.


Latest Shout



July 19, 2024, 11:45:01 AM
Is RC on a Windows server?
  • Total Members: 178
  • Latest: Zorro
  • Total Posts: 28,056
  • Total Topics: 2,752
  • Online today: 45
  • Online ever: 930
  • (January 20, 2020, 11:58:07 AM)
Users Online
Users: 0
Guests: 18
Total: 18
Welcome to The Worlds of Katherine Kurtz. Please login.

July 20, 2024, 10:59:18 AM

Login with username, password and session length

A Leap of Faith - Chapter 19

Started by AnnieUK, January 07, 2011, 02:10:29 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


July 1st  (later)
Llyndruth Plain

How was it possible for a person to be more at peace, yet more mixed-up than ever?  I knew I loved Alaric, and was now allowing myself to believe that he loved me, yet the situation with Bran confused me so much.  

Did my first loyalty lie with my husband, or with my King?  If Bran had gone over to Wencit some other way, taking Brendan and me to Torenth and rejecting his oath to Kelson, I would have been duty bound to go with him.  Yet for it to happen like this, in blood and treachery... would Brendan and I ever be trusted again, or were we destined to live with Bran's taint?  

I went to check on Brendan.  He was my one constant in this upheaval and I was his, and nothing and no-one could be more important than him.  

There was a noise outside – surely not Alaric back again?  A figure stood silhouetted in the doorway, but not tall enough to be Alaric.  I had a moment of blind fear, then realised that the guards would have challenged an intruder - he must be known to them.  "Who are you?  Have you a message for me?"

The man dropped to one knee and explained that he was Lord Derry, Alaric's aide.   I was hugely relieved - of course, the friend that Alaric had risked so much to save.  He told me that Lord Warin was ill and would I attend him as Alaric could not.  I thought it strange that I was being called upon to help, for I am no physician, but maybe I was the only person of any standing with no role to play that night.  Derry said that Warin was feverish and delirious – heaven knew my last attempt at treating a fever had not gone well, but maybe this time would be different.

Although it was the height of summer, the night was cool and I fastened a cloak about myself and prepared to leave with Lord Derry, but he hesitated.  He asked if we could bring Brendan, that the King was concerned that Wencit would try to snatch him if he were left unattended.

I shivered, despite the cloak.  It hadn't even occurred to me that my boy might be in danger while he slept.  Oh my poor baby.   Yes, I must keep him with me.  Bran would certainly be anxious to get his son back, and if he were capable of impaling bodies on spikes, a kidnap was surely not beyond him.
I wrapped Brendan in a fur-lined cloak, nudging him into deeper sleep – using magic again despite myself.  He should sleep till morning now, whatever went on around him.  I certainly didn't want to have to deal with a four year old while I nursed a sick man.  Lord Derry offered to carry him, and I was grateful for that, as asleep Brendan is a dead weight and he was heavy for me to carry any distance.  

We ducked inside the royal pavilion and Derry gently placed Brendan on a pile of furs in the centre of the room.  Strange that the furs were in the middle of the floor – wouldn't Brendan have been less in the way off to one side?  Still, maybe he wanted to keep him well away from Warin, in case of contagion.  

I crossed to Warin to see what I could do for him.  For someone in a delirium and with a fever, he was still and lying awkwardly.  Rhiannon had tossed and turned in her fever until near the end – something I would never forget.  I reached out to feel his brow, and stared as I saw that he was bound and gagged.  Something was very, very wrong and my son and I were somehow involved in it.

My questions froze on my lips.  The feel of magic prickled down my spine and suddenly Derry had a glow around him, like a Deryni aura – but surely he was not Deryni?  Then my heart missed a beat as I felt it - energy accumulating around Brendan.  I screamed at Derry, sweet heavens, he had put Brendan on a transfer portal!  They were trying to kidnap my son, and Derry was helping them.  They had got me to bring him here with the story of a possible kidnap, and they were stealing him right out from under my nose.

I threw myself at Brendan.  Maybe I could somehow stop it - bend the energies back, so that the portal would stabilise.  I wasn't sure how long I could hold it like that, had indeed never attempted anything of the kind before, but it was worth a try.  I could feel the twist of the energy as whoever was at the other end tried to get through, but I forced it to stop, crouching over Brendan while I struggled to keep him with me.  At least if Brendan were taken I should be with him – they couldn't take him and leave me here alone.

That all took just an instant, and then I felt arms roughly around me, dragging me away.  In my panic I tried to scream Brendan's name, horribly aware that by deepening his sleep I had thwarted my own attempts to waken him.  A hand clamped over my mouth smothering my frantic cries and my only hope now was that the disturbance had alerted guards in the area.  

Thank heavens, a guard looked through the flap of the tent, and saw me struggling in Derry's arms, but I knew by then that it was too late.  I felt the surge of energy as the portal activated and saw a man appear in the circle –Wencit?  Lionel?  Then another figure materialised, and this time it was one that I knew so well.  Bran bent over Brendan and picked him up.  

He was taking Brendan away from me, and he didn't intend for me to get him back.

"No! Bran, no!"

Bran could not have my child!  I was prepared to do anything to protect him, however forbidden, however it might endanger me and mine.

I had never been taught what I did next, but instinct, rage and a terrible fear showed me how to send a killing blast.  I summoned all my energy and pointed at Bran, directing all the power at my disposal towards him.  I would have killed him, I know that, if I could.  I would have killed my own husband to keep my child, but Derry pulled me away so I could not direct the energy and the blast never reached its target.  When I looked up the circle was empty and Bran and Brendan had gone.  I gave one last, despairing cry –


The guards pulled Derry from me and I ran to the transfer portal, desperately seeking outwards for my son.  I tried to sense the pattern for the destination portal, so that I could follow him, but with no success.  Then I cast my mind out as far as I could for some hint of Brendan, but I couldn't find him –his mind was just too young or they had taken him too far away from me.

Then shock and loss overcame me and I sat on the furs and wept.  I was aware of Kelson and others entering in the tent, and through my despair I sobbed, "Do not approach me, Sire.  There is evil in this circle. They have taken away my son, and I cannot find him."  I heard Alaric saying "They've taken Brendan?" but everything else was a blur of hurt and loss.

Denis Arilan swiftly came to lift me off the floor, raising me gently, and Father Duncan led me away from the portal.  I suddenly realised that when Derry pulled me away and the energy blast went astray I could have hit Brendan instead, and the horror of what I might have done made my legs buckle beneath me.  Heaven help me, I could have killed my own child!  Father Duncan wrapped comforting arms around me and held me while I cried, there on the floor beside the king's bed.

Everything was confused then.  I knew others  were present in the pavilion - I could hear voices, was half aware that I could hear Alaric and Bishop Arilan speaking.  A light flared and I could feel magic being worked near me as the transfer portal was destroyed, and then there was the sound of a scuffle close by.  But all I was truly aware of was my loss and my hurt, and that I had tried to kill to protect my son.  The pain of his loss was almost physical, and I curled closer into Father Duncan's embrace.  I had lost my daughter, and now had my other child stolen from me, and I truly felt in that moment as though I had nothing left to live for.

As the flurry of activity in the pavilion died away, and calm returned, I felt Father Duncan loosen his hold on me slightly, and he spoke gently to me. "My lady?"

"I've done a terrible thing, Father.  I've done a terrible thing, and I can't even ask your forgiveness, because I'd do it again, if I had the chance."  

Even now I could hardly believe that I had tried to kill my husband.  I had not thought, only acted, although I could admit to myself that if the opportunity arose again, even after time to reflect on the act, I would do the same thing again.  If Bran had wanted to rescue us, I was sure, he could have contrived to have Derry get both of us onto that transfer portal.  But no, this was no rescue - this had been a kidnap.  He wanted Brendan, not me and like Rhiannon I had proved expendible.

Father Duncan tried to reassure me that I could not blame myself for anything that had happened.  He was so kind, and I felt I could trust him. I needed to confess what I had done, and if what I had heard was true then he was Deryni too.  Surely he would understand what I had attempted, if anyone would.

So I told him that I had tried to kill Bran, and when he realised what I meant he eased us further away from the others in the tent and continued in an urgent whisper.  "My lady, are you Deryni?"

I nodded.  Aware that as I did so, I broke the faith again that I had held with my father and brothers.  Now two people knew our secret, but I was sure that these cousins would not betray my trust in them.   Indeed, after so many years of hiding, it had become a relief to share my secret with someone who understood.

"Does Bran know?"

"He does now."  Oh, what irony.  That I should have kept my secret so carefully from him for all these years, and reveal it in such spectacular fashion.  I wondered what Wencit's reaction had been when they got back to their portal and he had time to absorb the fact that Bran's wife had used Deryni magic against them.  Had I signed my own death warrant?

Then I realised that I had to confess all, not least to myself.  That I hadn't just tried to kill Bran to save Brendan.  That at least in part I had tried to kill him because of my feelings for Alaric.  I could tell the tears were trying to flow again.  

I started to tell Father Duncan of my feelings for Alaric, and his for me, and as I spoke I wondered if I was even making sense.  The words tumbled out one after the other, and I hardly knew what I was saying.  It was a jumble of my feelings, my guilt for loving another and my confusion over Bran.  I finally admitted, as I had not done even to myself, that I wanted Bran dead, so that Alaric and I could have a future together.

And then the enormity of what I had just admitted hit me, and I cried again.  This time for Alaric and me and the situation in which we found ourselves.  And again the anguish wrenched at the pit of my stomach – my son is taken.

Father Duncan drew me close once more and eased us to sit on the king's bed.  I sensed him thinking over what I had just said.  Had he realised what had been developing between Alaric and me, or had this been a bolt from the blue for him?  And how could he advise me, knowing that his cousin's honour but also his happiness hung in the balance?  He was showing the equanimity of the priest, though, not reacting or chastising, merely hearing me out, however hysterical I might sound to him.

At last a bleak peacefulness came over me, and at least some composure returned.  I felt so lonely, an empty shell, as if I had no tears left to shed.  I was aware now of Alaric, the king and Bishop Arilan, crouched around a motionless Derry and I could have reached out for Alaric so easily, but I was not ready to share how I felt yet, even with him.  I had told Father Duncan much of what I had to say, but I needed to do it formally, under the seal of the confessional and to fully acknowledge the thoughts and actions of the past few days, and be forgiven.

"Have you forgotten that I am suspended, my lady?"

Did he truly still believe that?  What was holding him back from resuming his office?  Uncle Cardiel had maintained that since the penance in Dhassa, and Alaric and Father Duncan being received back into the church, that there should be no barrier to him resuming his priestly functions – that the only impediment was in Father Duncan's own mind.  I said as much to him, wondering briefly what he thought of the fact that I had obviously discussed him with my uncle.  Could it be the Deryni issue that was stopping him taking his duties back up again?

His next question confirmed that to me.  "Does the fact that I am Deryni mean nothing to you?"

Oh, Father Duncan, it means everything to me.  It means that I can confess to someone who truly understands some of the conflict and uncertainty in my life.  Someone who understands my fears for my son, my difficulty living with a human husband and my years of concealment.  You of all people would understand having to deny who you really are.  

For did it matter that he was now known to be Deryni?  If he had had an honest vocation, and had been a good priest, then why should his exposure as Deryni have changed that?  

So I knelt before him and crossed myself.  And as I clasped my hands and began to whisper all the secrets that had been a burden on my heart I felt that this confession might help the priest as much as the sinner.

http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=634.0  Chapter 20




The perfect time to find a Deryni confessor...just when she feels the need for one most.  Poor Richenda!
"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 both of them.   That must surely have been the lowest point Richenda had ever reached.


Probably the only way it could have been worse would be if she HAD been able to incinerate him.  She'd probably have felt even more guilty, and there would have been lots of awkward questions asked.

Altered to add:

And, whatever Alaric & Duncan had done, they never killed anyone directly by using their Deryni powers.  If Richenda had successuflly incenerated her husband--no matter how justly--she would have been the first fully authenticated in the "modern" era of a Deryni doing so.