• Welcome to The Worlds of Katherine Kurtz.


Welcome to The Worlds of Katherine Kurtz. Please login.

November 30, 2023, 03:01:29 PM

Login with username, password and session length
  • Total Members: 344
  • Latest: Tono63
  • Total Posts: 27,216
  • Total Topics: 2,695
  • Online today: 42
  • Online ever: 930
  • (January 20, 2020, 11:58:07 AM)
Users Online
Users: 0
Guests: 7
Total: 7

Latest Shout



November 24, 2023, 08:47:23 AM
Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered--Chapter One

Started by Evie, April 25, 2011, 09:17:15 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

   Chapter One

   April 1, 1134
   The Fox and Hounds, Nyford

   I sipped at the sour ale, the best available at the Fox and Hounds, belatedly remembering why I had been so glad to leave this inn after my previous stay in this beneath-humble establishment eight years earlier.  I'd not visited this den of dubious quality since, even though I'd been sent to Nyford on the King's business a time or two since that January when my brother Seisyll had sent me on a quest to discover which band of brigands had been responsible for a lady's father's untimely death and her brother's grievous injuries, and to bring them to the attention of the Earl of Carthane so he could administer the King's justice.  That wronged lady was now my sister-in-law, and her brother Sir Stefan and I had both narrowly escaped our own untimely demises just one brief year ago at the hands of another in-law who was not nearly as pleasant to be around as our sweet, gentle Sophie.

   Eight long years, and the ale at the Fox and Hounds had not improved one whit.  One good reason I generally spent my evenings at the King's Arms Inn, if I had business in Nyford that prevented me from simply begging a pallet by the hearth at Kestrel Mote, Stefan's nearby manor.  But the King's Arms had been full when I'd arrived the night before, and I knew Stefan and his family were currently in Rhemuth, so I'd returned here, thinking perhaps conditions might had improved since my last visit.  I was wrong.

   The ale had not been the only deterrent, either.  The sounds of loud shrieking burst forth from the adjoining kitchen, again reminding me of the gracious hospitality I had enjoyed—or not—during my last visit.  "Bloody 'ell, y'brat, ye've burnt th' stew again!" I couldn't see the harpy who was yelling, nor could I see the hapless cook who was, from the sounds of things, getting the crap beaten out of him.  The scorched taste had been the least of that stew's problems, I had thought.  I'd had a bigger problem with the large bit of moldy...something...I'd had to scoop out of the bowl with the crust of stale bread I'd been served along with it.  But to each his or her own, I supposed.

   Another voice wailed briefly then uttered a string of profanities so impressive even I had rarely heard and even more rarely used a word or two in the long outburst.  I was shocked.  Not by the expletives themselves—I had to give credit for creative flair for those—but by the youthfulness of the voice bellowing them.  Far too young to know such language, I'd have thought, unless those high tones belonged to a castrata.

   I craned my neck around in curiosity, hoping for a glimpse of the poor lad beyond the open kitchen door.  What I saw made me leap from my bench in reflexive protectiveness, for sprawled across the floor wasn't the lazy youth I'd half-expected to see, but a child.  A girl-child, disheveled and—by the look of her—half feral, glaring up at her oppressor with fangs bared like a trapped mink's.  She looked to be no more than half a decade old, though I might have laid odds on her nonetheless, given her fierceness, had I not seen the woman standing over her,  iron fry-pan in hand, arm poised to strike at the fallen child.

   I leaped through the doorway, reacting without thinking first, sword half drawn, the knightly code to protect the defenseless too ingrained in me to resist.  I got a bite on the shin for my pains, and as I howled in outrage, the woman gazed at me in shock and dropped her fry-pan.  "You!" she bellowed, one skinny finger pointed in my direction.  "You did this to me!!!"

   I stared back.  Say-huh-what?  What in the hell was the slatternly shrew on about?

   It took me a few moments, but then I recognized her.  I had actually—God help me!—bedded this frightening parody of so-called fragile womanhood before...once, on my last evening of that ill-starred visit to Nyford, the night before she'd thrown crockery at my departing back for being a penny short her usual fee.  I wondered what attractions I had seen in her during my callow youth.  It could hardly have been her gilded beauty or her soft, melodious voice.  Oh wait...I remembered now, she'd been willing.  That in itself would have excused a multitude of flaws.  I offer in my own defense only one excuse—at the time, I was nineteen, she was swivable, and if she were only slightly less prickly than a hedgehog, at least I'd saved myself the bother of hunting down a hedgehog.

   I stared down at the little girl.  Blue-violet eyes stared back up at me from under a shock of jet black hair.

   Oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap....

   It couldn't be.  And yet it was.  I had made only one mistake during that other brief stay eight years before at the Fox and Hounds, and this, apparently, was the result.

   Maybe I had misunderstood.  Yes, surely so; sweet Jesú, a benevolent God could not possibly have a sense of humor that warped and wicked!

   But no, He did. 

   "Take her, she's your daughter, you pence-pinching whoreson!" the tavern-keeper's daughter growled at me, kicking at the child.  I interposed myself between her and the little girl before the foot could make contact, catching the toe of her boot beneath my right kneecap instead.  "Take the sniveling little brat; I'm done!"

   Aye, I had no argument with her on that score.  I might not have come to Nyford in search of a child—Jesú knows I'd have no clue what to do with one!—but I'd not leave even a mangy cur in the hands of a harridan like the one before me.  There had to be some place that would take better care of her.  I'd ask Sophie; surely she'd know.

   I took a step back, suppressing a wince as a twinge of pain shot through my bruised shin, and helped the little girl off the floor.  "Do you have any belongings to pack, child?" I asked awkwardly.

   She shook her head, studying me mutely for a moment.  "Yer no' a buggerer, are ye?" she asked finally, her Arilan eyes wary.

   "I... bloody hell, no!"  I stared at the pint-sized poppet in shock.

   The cautious little wench assessed me with a tilt of the head that looked uncannily like my brother's.  "A' right, then," she finally said with a shrug, "ye can't be no worse than me Mam, but if ye are, I s'pose I can run off."  She gave a feral grin, displaying a nearly perfect set of baby teeth.  "Don't try no funny stuff, though, or I'll bite."

   I nodded, too stunned to think of a reply.  She followed me out into the common room, where I tossed a penny onto the table—three farthings more than my meal and ale had been worth, in my estimation.  Even a single copper farthing seemed excessive for that quality of fare; I should have demanded payment for eating it!  But I wasn't inclined to haggle.  God knows what else might have been tossed at me if I had!


   "So."  I glanced down at the pint-sized urchin trotting along beside me.  "What are you called, then?"

   The girl's thin shoulders shrugged.  "Brat."

   "No, seriously.  What's your name?"

   The child looked up at me, confusion on her face.  "I said it's Brat.  Are ye half deaf, or jus' tetched in th' head?"

   I took a deep breath, summoning up patience, and released it slowly.  "What name was given to you at your christening?"

   She stared up at me blankly.  "What's that?"

   I stopped in my tracks, turning to stare back down at her.  "You know, your baptism."  A horrible thought struck me.  "You were baptized, weren't you?"

   'Brat' continued to stare up at me, perplexed. 

   "Jesú....Denis will crap bricks!" I muttered.  This was a situation that had to be remedied at once, I knew.  How this child had survived seven years with her Gorgon of a mother, I had no clue, but thank God she had!  I didn't even want to imagine what sort of penance my uncle might exact on me for having a bastard child who'd died unbaptized.  We were not taking another step further from Nyford until that had been remedied, at least.  I glanced around, wondering where I might find a source of clean water.  Or did it actually have to be holy water, blessed by a priest?  I knew in cases of need it was acceptable for a lay person to perform the rite, but I couldn't remember all the particulars anymore.  What did midwives use?  Denis had explained all this to me once, years ago; too bad I'd not been paying heed to him that day any more than I usually do.

   There!  Nyford Cathedral's spire lay just to the west, not more than a quarter mile distant.  I altered my course and made for the comforting landmark.


   I saw no sign of bishop or priest as we entered the main entrance to the Cathedral.    Perhaps they'd sensed our unholy presence approaching consecrated ground on a day that wasn't Christmas or Easter, and had fled forthwith to seek out their missals and study up on exorcism.  My child looked around, her awe over the majestic surroundings making her go slack-jawed.  Glancing about, I saw the stoup of holy water just inside the door we'd just entered.  Tipping the girl's head back, I quickly scooped up a handful of water, pouring it over her head while muttering, "Ego te baptizo in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.  There, that's done!"  If I'd mucked it up, hopefully God would understand, and Denis could always fix things later.  He was good at that.

   Brat's response to this sudden drenching was unrepeatable even in impolite company.  I learned a few more new words that day.


   "So, what's yer name?" she asked me once we were on our way to Nyford Market.

   "Sextus," I told her.  "Sextus Arilan."

   "Sextus?"  She wrinkled her nose.  "What sort o' queer name is Sextus?"

   "It's a perfectly respectable name, I'll have you know!"

   "Well, I sure wouldn't go short'nin' it!"

   I rolled my eyes.  "It's Latin for 'sixth.'"

   The girl tilted her head curiously up at me.  "And are ye?"

   "Am I what?"

   "Are ye th' sixth o' somethin'?  Th' sixth son? Th' sixth baby?"   

   "Am I...?  Oh!  No, I'm named for my father and grandfather.  He was Jamyl Sextus Arilan, the son of Michael Sextus Arilan, and I take my name from them."

   She pursed her lips, considering this.  "So, was either o' them th' sixth o' somethin'?"

   "Well...no, I don't think so."

   "So it's just stupid, ain't it, bein' th' sixth o' nothin'?  Where's th' sense in that?"

   I sighed and shut up.


   The square was filled with market stalls, people, wares and livestock, for it was a market day.   I perused the offerings at hand, more out of a need to kill time than any actual interest in what was for sale or trade, for I was there to meet a man at an appointed hour.  One merchant dealt in used goods, however, and after glancing at the grubby waif following along behind me, I decided she could use a lightly worn gown or two, if there were any small ones to be had.  It would be bad enough showing up on my brother's doorstep with a by-blow in tow; having her show up wearing what looked to be an old feed sack tied at the middle would be even worse. 

   There wasn't any place I could bathe her before our return to Tre-Arilan, aside from a nearby horse trough, but that would hardly be doing a favor to the horses.  No, there was no hope of presenting the urchin to my family completely clean and prettied up, but at the very least I could make sure she didn't look like she'd spent every moment of her seven years of life in a hog wallow.

   I dug in my belt pouch, counting out a few coins.  "What do you have that would fit a small girl?" I asked.

   The man turned from arranging his wares, glancing at me and my young charge.  "That 'un?"  He gave a piglike snort.  "Not much.  Lemme see here...."  He dug around at the bottom of a bin, eventually coming up with a couple of small tunics that looked like they might have been designed for older boys.  "These might work, if ye belt 'em up good an' tight an' roll up th' sleeves a bit."

   I held them up to her skinny frame.  They looked to me as if they might swallow her whole, but even that was an improvement over the tattered rags she'd left the Fox and Hounds in.  "How much?" I asked the merchant.  He quoted a figure, I gave a counter-offer, and eventually we settled on a price.  I handed the tunics to my foundling.  She stared at them in disbelief.

   "Here, put these on."

   She gave me a wary look.  "You ain't plannin' on sellin' me here, are ye?"

   "No, of course not!  I'm just trying to make you look a bit more...presentable."

   She stared up at me a long moment, then shrugged, snatching the tunics out of my hands and wriggling her skinny little eel-like body into both, wearing both garments over her original clothes, long sleeves dangling down nearly to her ankles.  Not exactly the look I had in mind, but this didn't seem to be the place or time to argue the point.  I studied the child, tossing an extra farthing at the merchant to purchase a linen sash and tying the length of fabric around her waist, hitching up the extra length of the tunics so she wouldn't trip and rolling up the sleeves until they ended in thick cuffs at the wrist.  "That should do for now," I told her.  "I'll see if your Aunt Sophie can alter them to fit once I get you home."


   The man I was to meet finally showed up, nearly an hour late and without the information I'd come to collect.  Oh, he claimed to have it, and for almost half an hour I wasted my time listening to him blow a lot of hot air at me—garlic-smelling hot air, at that—but only half of what he had to say was actually true, or at least not an outright fabrication.  Still, he expected payment at the end of the long spiel.  I had to admit, his tale seemed to hang together well enough and he told it quite convincingly.  If I weren't a skilled Truth-Reader, I might have actually believed him.

   "What sort of fool do you take me for?" I asked him once he was done.

   "It's the God-honest truth, may God blind me if it ain't," he told me, looking affronted.  "And you promised me two marks for it; that was the deal."

   "Half a mark ought t' buy ye a right good cane an' even a beggar's cup, wi' coin left over t' put in it," Brat wisecracked, her expression skeptical.
   I fought down the urge to laugh, simply raising a brow at my informant.  "See?  Even a child can see through your story.  Sorry, better luck some other day, when you can be bothered to bring me news worth paying for."  Still, some of it had been useful.  I flipped him a vice-royal from the royal purse, since the few bits of truth he had thrown in with his lies might be of interest to Kelson.  He bristled and blustered a bit, but after realizing he would get no more out of me, decided to call it a day.

   Once he had gone, I turned my attention to the girl, studying her speculatively.  How had she known? 

   "He was gulling you," she told me solemnly.

   "I know.  Question is, how did you know?"

   She shrugged.  "I just do."


   There was nothing left to do in Nyford besides wait until late night, when we could slip undetected into Nyford Cathedral to access the Transfer Portal there, returning to Tre-Arilan the same way I'd arrived.  It was either that or walk the short distance to Kestrel Mote—not too distant for me, that is, though considerably longer for a child's shorter legs—in hopes of borrowing a horse there and taking a few days to ride back.  I had no idea if my daughter had ever even been on a horse before or not, though I doubted she had;  horses were costly to buy and maintain, and no one working at the Fox and Hounds out of necessity would be able to afford the luxury of one.  And if one could afford a horse and still chose to work at the Fox and Hounds...well, I don't think even Brat's mother was that mental.

   "Are you hungry?" I asked the child.  She looked at me as if I'd said something irredeemably stupid, which—after a moment's thought—I realized I had.  "Of course you are!"  I stopped by a hot food vendor, reaching in my pouch for a penny.  "Would you prefer the soup or the stew?" I asked her, pointing to two pots set into the low counter.

   The girl looked as if she could hardly believe her luck.  She pointed to the stew.  I nodded to the cook, handing him the penny.  "Two, please."

   He pocketed the coin, ladling out two bowls of hot stew.  The fragrant steam made my mouth water, helping to banish the memory of the dismal fare I'd broken my fast with that morning.  We withdrew to a trestle table and devoured the meal in silence.


   We killed time in the streets of Nyford until well past dusk.  I was astonished to discover that the child was less familiar with her own town than I was; clearly she'd not been allowed to venture far from her birthplace at the Fox and Hounds in her short lifespan, though the stories she told me about her life in that godforsaken establishment were horrific enough to make my blood boil.  I briefly entertained the notion of going back and torching the place, but that would have left several rats homeless, and I had no desire to be needlessly cruel to the rats of Nyford.  Besides, I doubted I could wield a half-mile long torch with any great skill, and I had no great longing to approach any closer than that to the harpy who'd flung this child at me earlier in the day.  With my luck, there'd be a twin in hiding somewhere just waiting to receive his patrimony.

   At last the hour grew late, and we made our way back towards the Cathedral.  To my surprise, there was a priest kneeling before the altar.  I glanced down at the girl.  "Follow my lead," I whispered, "but hang back a short distance until I tell you to join me, and say nothing unless directly spoken to."  She nodded, again looking awed by the ornate surroundings.

   I moved forward to join the priest kneeling at the rail.  He seemed briefly startled by my sudden appearance, but he relaxed as I whispered, "Father, may I make my Confession to you?"

   "Of course, my son," he replied.

   I bowed my head, inching closer to him.  "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.  It has been...um...twenty-six days since my last Confession."  Less than a month; Uncle Denis would be so proud, if he knew.  "Eight years ago, I lay with a woman who was not my wife, and she bore me a daughter.  I just found out today."  I tilted my head to indicate the young girl lingering several feet behind us, tracing a pattern in the stone floor with her toe.  "Giving her a proper upbringing would be a just and fair penance, wouldn't it, Father?" I asked hopefully.

   The priest gazed at my daughter in dismay before turning stern eyes back to me.  "It's a start," he grudgingly allowed.  I didn't want to hear what else he might tag on to what already seemed like a quite steep price for absolution, so giving him a gentle mental probe, I swiftly added, "And there's one more thing, Father." There it was!  I touched the requisite trigger point within his mind, watching with satisfaction as he fell asleep, nodding forward slightly against the rail.  "I do apologize for making you sleep, but you'll wake up in a few minutes feeling quite refreshed and remembering only that...ah...you gave me whatever penance seems right to you under the circumstances.  Sleep well, Father!"


   It was easy enough to gain access to the Transfer Portal in the sacristy after that; a bit harder, I discovered, to bring the girl through it than I'd anticipated.

   "Now, this might seem a bit strange," I had told her in advance, not wanting to scare her.  "I'm going to take your hand and we're going to stand on this stone here," I said, tapping at the floor with my foot to indicate the stone in question.  "You might feel a bit of a tingle when you step on it.  If you do, that's normal."

   She just stared up at me.  "Ye're an odd duck," she told me.

   "Yes...well...so are you."  I stepped onto the stone, holding out my hand.  "In a moment, you might feel an odd sensation, but don't be frightened by it.  You might not see anything for a heartbeat or two, but when your vision clears, you'll see...a different place."

   The stare grew more incredulous.  "Man, are ye mental?"

   I choked back a laugh.  "No, truly I'm not.  Just trust me, all right?"

   She gave me a dubious look, but joined me on the Portal stone.  I took her hand, reaching out with my mind to establish a link between us, but came up hard against shields.  Not well formed shields, it was true, for she was very young and completely untrained, but the rudimentary beginnings of shields at any rate.

   "What th' f—" The rest of her exclamation was muffled by my hand, for I didn't want to think of what the penance might be for completing that utterance in a Cathedral sacristy.  She bit me.

   "Sorry, there; I wasn't expecting that clash of shields!  I should have, but I didn't."  I studied the girl in consternation.  "I'm new to this fatherhood thing.  All right, it would help if you could lower your shields.  Do you know how to do that?"

   She stared at me uncomprehendingly.

   "I don't suppose you know what we are?" I tried.

   She edged slightly away from me.  "O' course I do!  I'm a girl, an' ye're...ye're barkin' mad, I think!"

   There was no help for it.  "All right, let's try this another way."  I grabbed her wrist again, passing the fingers of my other hand quickly over her forehead, hoping to make her sleep.  Her shields reacted instinctively, deflecting my mental probe. 

   "Wha' th' hell are ye doin', ye nutter?" she asked, wincing as she tried to wrench free of my grip. 

   I sighed, releasing her.  It was clear I'd make no headway—no jest intended—going that route.  What I needed was some way to get her to lower her shields, but I didn't think this was the appropriate time or place for the all-important 'Did you know that you're a Deryni?' question.  Almost certainly the answer would be no, and there was no telling what her mother might have told her—if anything—about our race.  She was Nyford bred, after all.  The last thing I needed on my hands was a terrified child screaming her head off in a church sacristy where we had no business even being, drawing attention to us and to the sleeping priest in the nave.

   No, I certainly didn't want to try talking her through, not until we knew each other a bit better and I was fairly certain she wouldn't panic at the mention of the "D" word.  Subtlety would be required here, but I hadn't much time.  Soon, I knew, the priest would awaken.  We'd need to be gone from Nyford before that happened.

   I'd need to find some way to render the child unconscious, or at least relaxed and sleepy enough to roll back her shields on her own, but I couldn't bring myself to simply cosh a seven-year-old over the head.  I glanced around the room, seeking some source of inspiration.  My gaze landed on a nearby wine bottle.

   No. No no no no no!  I could not get the child soused on sacramental wine!  Denis would slay me before he even thought to assign a penance or absolve me.

   Still, now that the idea had formed in my head, it would not let me go.  Surely it was merely a bottle of wine, not pre-consecrated, right?  Did wine come to the Cathedral already blessed, set aside from the very start for its holy purpose, or was that something a priest did after pouring it into the chalice?  Oh, Jesú, why hadn't I listened properly when Denis had nattered on about this before?  I was sure he must have done so at some point, even if I couldn't remember such a conversation anymore.

   I uncorked the wine and took a cautious sniff.  It smelled like Fianna.  Right, then.  Just regular, if quite divine-smelling, Fianna—nothing at all out of the ordinary, at least for men with a deeper coin-purse than mine. 

   I realized belatedly that it was the Eucharistic rite that consecrated the sacramental elements.  So in that case, it wouldn't be sacrilege for us to drink this fine Fianna, would it, since I had no intention of assuming a priestly office?  It wasn't consecrated yet, nor could I make it so, not being a priest, therefore it was not yet the Holy Blood of Christ.  It was merely Fianna—lovely, conveniently located Fianna.

   Safe enough, then.  I took a cautious sip straight from the bottle, for I knew better than to compound my transgression—if I were committing one—by sullying the Chalice.

   I waited for heavenly lightning to strike me dead for my presumption.  It didn't.  I took that as permission to proceed.  Crouching in front of my child, I held the bottle out to her with a winning smile.  "Here, sweeting.  I'm sorry if I made your head ache.  I never meant to, but this should help take the edge off."

   She took a cautious sip.  "Ye're sure 'bout this?" she asked me, handing the bottle back. 

   "Absolutely," I told her with a conviction I was far from feeling.  I took another swig, watching her face, and returned the bottle to her.

   She took another deep swallow, and then another.  After a fourth gulp, she gave me a tentative smile.  "It's a bit warm goin' down, ain't it?  But it's right nice.  Though I'm startin' t' feel a bit queer...."  Her eyelids drooped.

   "Sleepy, are you?"  I took the bottle back from her, corking it and starting to return it to the table where I'd found it, but hastily reconsidered.  No, better a missing bottle of wine than one returned half empty with the mouth covered with Deryni spit!  I'd best finish this off myself later. 

   I tucked the bottle under one arm and took the child in hand, leading her drowsy form to the Transfer Portal, gently probing at her mind as I did so.  As I expected, her shields had quite fallen away.  I established a link between us and carried her through the Portal into inky blackness and, a heartbeat later, the comforting sight of Tre-Arilan's hidden ritual chamber.


   She threw up Fianna wine and bits of stew meat all over Seisyll's feet.  It wasn't the best of first impressions.

Chapter Two: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=709.0
"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!



Well, we know that his heart is in the right place; some men would have just left the girl on the doorstep of the nearest convent and trust the good sisters to take care of her.


LOL @ was either of them the sixth of something?  Yes, poor Sextus has been lumbered with a pretty silly name, and I have the distinct feeling that despite her lowly beginnings, Brat has the wits to run rings around him.


This is delightful!  I can hardly wait for the family reaction to the newest Arilan!
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany


Ah yes, lots of youthful chickens coming home to roost!  :D  Poor Sextus - couldn't happen to a nicer young fellow ... ;)

Quote"I don't suppose you know what we are?" I tried.

She edged slightly away from me.  "O' course I do!  I'm a girl, an' ye're...ye're barkin' mad, I think!" 
Sporfle.  And yes, poor Denis's reaction is going to be 'amusing' at the least.


It's too bad that TV doesn't exist at this time.  Sextus would probably wish he could have a tele-conference with Uncle Denis from very, very far away.  At least he's taking responsibility for Brat--change her name fast please!!
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!


Oh, no worries, I assure you Sextus isn't fond of the nickname "Brat" either.  She'll get a proper name quite soon, and in time might end up with another nickname altogether, but it would be a nickname of affection, not derision.

Though given the child's personality, I'm sure there will be moments when "Brat" is still fairly fitting....   :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!


Dear Denis will probably spend weeks asking God "why" he was inflicted with a nephew like Sextus  :D   And he's probably thrown out one book of penances ("well, they didn't work too well, did they!  So dear Lord - what is your next suggestion?" )  and is searching for another ...


Now, now, he only gave Sextus those penances just under a year previously, in May of 1133.  He can hardly hope for them to have somehow affected Sextus's behavior eight years before they were even prescribed.  No penitential is that effective!    :D  Or are you referring to something besides his unexpected paternity?  What, you really think he's going to confess all of his little peccadilloes (especially his quandary re: the wine!) to Denis?  Nah, I'm sure someone else will get that dubious honor.  Preferably someone with a sense of humor.  Maybe Bishop Duncan; hopefully Duncan can hold back the laughter until Sextus has left the building....   ;)

You'll notice that Sextus said it had been only twenty-six days since his previous Confession, so at least the lad is adhering to that part of his penance.  He didn't tell the priest in Nyford, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned, and God only knows the last time I went to Confession...."   ;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!


QuoteNow, now, he only gave Sextus those penances just under a year previously, in May of 1133.

Oh I know.  But he is probably now thinking that those may have been quite insufficient, and that he has been extremely remiss before that!  So he will still be looking for a bigger better book  :D    And may send copies of certain pages to Duncan and Cardiel ...


Can you imagine Sextus confessing to Fr. John?  That nice young man would probably faint dead away.


LOL! Oh, I'm sure by now even "sweet and innocent" Fr. John has heard much worse in the confessional than anything Sextus has to offer up, as have most priests if they've been at the job a while, so Sextus would have to be making extraordinary efforts to come up with something that would shock him.  For one thing, Sextus's rep is far worse than his actual behavior (remember, he actively cultivates his "wastrel" image because he figures he can't possibly live up to his family's hopes for him, so he may as well pretend to live down to their expectations....  ;) ), but for another, Sextus's vices are fairly standard ones, and I'm sure John's heard confessions from many a nobleman at Court who is a bit overfond of the wenches, whisky and wine.  It's not like Sextus is engaged in the slave trade, embezzling from the King, and carrying on a torrid affair with his horse, which is pretty much what would be required these days to raise Fr. John's eyebrows into his curly hairline.   :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!


Oh yes, John Nivard has probaby "heard it all" by now at Court.   It's possibly more likely that Sextus would generally prefer to confess to an older person - Nivard is only 4 years older than Sextus. 


That's possible. Though on the other hand, since Fr. Nivard is so close to Sextus's age, he's less likely to come across as a "stern authority figure," and since Sextus has a few issues when it comes to authority, that might well be an asset.   :)
"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!


LOL @ authority figure 'issues'.   Though having a young priest struggle to maintain decorum and contain his laughter at some of Sextus's er, "exploits" may not be entirely conducive to appropriate penitence at confession  ;)