The Worlds of Katherine Kurtz

FanFiction => Evie's FanFic => Visionaries => Topic started by: Evie on March 23, 2012, 10:36:54 AM

Title: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Evie on March 23, 2012, 10:36:54 AM
   Chapter Twenty

   Eddington Manor
   November 5, 1136—a few hours before dawn

   Ĉdwige wiped her brow with a fold of her cloak, upset by her lack of progress.  Finding Sister Helena in the Eddington crypt had upset all of her plans.  While it was true that stumbling upon her there was a fortuitous find—not discovering what she was up to until their return to Rhemuth together, where the magistra would have been able to disclose Ĉdwige’s hard-kept secret, would have been catastrophic!—Ĉdwige was at a loss as to what to do with her now.  It was obvious that the magistra would need to be silenced, and the most certain way to do that would be to just do away with her and hide her body someplace where it would never be found, but as Ĉdwige was belatedly realizing, this was much easier decided than accomplished.

   Not only was she discovering that it was much harder than she’d realized to dig a hole in the ground deep enough to hide a body in without any risk of scavengers detecting it and digging it back up again, she’d had time to realize as she continued tossing shovelfuls of dirt aside that even if she could manage to kill the magistra and bury her in this makeshift grave, then hide it and return to the manor house in time for her own absence to go unnoticed, how would she manage to hide Sister Helena’s disappearance from her household?  Granted, they had planned to leave together for Rhemuth quite early, at first light, so it was possible that Ĉdwige could slip away virtually unnoticed by most of her servants and they’d simply believe the magistra had gone with her.  Later, upon arriving in Rhemuth, Ĉdwige could concoct some story about having been accosted by brigands upon the way, or something of the sort, and say she’d managed to escape but that they’d fled into the woods carrying poor Sister Helena off with them.  Or something along those lines; she was sure she could manufacture a believable enough tale on the ride back to Court.  But no, that would only work if she and Helena had planned to slip off with absolutely no one to see them away, or to offer them safe escort back to Rhemuth, and that was hardly the case.  Martin Steward would know immediately that his mistress was missing her chaperone, and so would the stable grooms and the two or three men Martin picked to join their escort back.  And Mistress Nell might also notice the magistra’s absence and remark on it.

   So no, that would hardly do.  Sister Helena would have to be seen alive, but then once the small band of travelers started off together towards Rhemuth, how could she work things out so that Helena never arrived there without raising any suspicions among her men-at-arms?  Of course, they were all merely human; was it possible that she might somehow manage to gain control over them along the way, so that when a suitable time came along the route, her servants could overpower the magistra for her somehow, or help her to do so, and even find a way to dispose of Sister Helena, all without realizing what they were doing?  Afterward, she could alter their memories of the event to make it even more plausible they’d been attacked along the way.  Their stories would even stand up to a Truth-Reading, and as for herself…well, it might be riskier for her, but if she acted distraught enough and clearly in no frame of mind to be questioned about her ordeal, then perhaps she’d not be questioned at all.

   Even that risk was more than she really wanted to chance, but it was a far better risk than allowing Helena to return to Rhemuth alive, so she might have little choice now.  She uttered an unladylike curse under her breath as she shoved the shovel into the soft ground in disgust.

   But wait….What if she told a half truth, and let others believe what would seem to them more plausible than any notion that their mistress might kill one of her teachers in cold blood?  What if she told them that she’d headed for the stables to make sure all was ready for their departure this morning, and when she’d happened up the garden path, she’d noticed the mausoleum’s doors ajar, and upon investigating she found Sister Helena in the act of trying to desecrate the tomb for some reason?  She’d given chase, but Helena had slipped off into the forest, and afraid of getting lost if she ventured too far beyond the manor, Ĉdwige might say that she’d returned to the manor house to raise the hue and cry.  But what if they should ask her why the magistra would wish to break into the family tomb?  Would that point too much of their attention towards her late husband?  Maybe not, if Ĉdwige could convince them she’d found Sister Helena in the upper vault trying to open the Lady Catherine’s coffin instead.  Her mother-in-law had been buried wearing her marriage ring, after all—an emerald of rather fine quality.  Ĉdwige had been quite aggrieved by this at the time, wanting the heirloom for herself and believing it was her due as the woman’s daughter-in-law, but it had apparently long been known among the household servants that her dearest wish was to be buried with this love token given to her by her late husband, so there had been no graceful way to convince the entire household differently.  She had originally planned to claim the ring later, once Lady Catherine’s body was decomposed enough to be removed to an ossuary, but for now perhaps it was just as well the old biddy had been buried with it.  Ĉdwige could claim that Sister Helena had been motivated by greed to try to steal the ring before they left Eddington, and that fortunately she had arrived in time to catch the magistra at this heinous act of grave-robbery.  That was a motivation they could easily believe, and it would also serve to explain why the magistra would have fled once she was caught in her act of thievery.

   And of course, they would search for Sister Helena, but they’d not find her, for she’d be dead by then, lying deep underground in a concealed grave.  Ĉdwige would ensure its secrecy by means of concealing wards until such time as the search died down completely.  For that matter, she could ensure no one else discovered the secret of Gilrae’s stubbornly undecomposing body by casting a glamour upon it which would make it appear just as everyone else expected it to look three months after interment.  It was true she might have to alter the memories of the few men who knew that he was still well preserved, but that would be something easy enough to do later.  Or perhaps she might even convince them that their accidental dropping of the coffin lid had somehow exposed him to enough light and air to hasten the decomposition process again.  At any rate, within a year she could simply order him removed and boiled down to bone, and placed in an ossuary where he belonged, and he’d no longer be a threat to her safety.

   She would still need an accomplice for all these plans, of course, but she would need only one, and controlling Martin Steward would be far more manageable than trying to mind-control an entire escort of guards.  

   There were those in Rhemuth who might question her story, of course.  But with the entire household of Eddington ranged against them, angry at the magistra’s perfidy and well able to withstand any Truth-Reading due to their sincere belief in their mistress’s story, and Ĉdwige herself locked away in her bedchamber refusing to grant anyone an audience, so deep would be her own distress, any questioners from Court or the Schola would eventually have to reach the reluctant conclusion that perhaps Sister Helena was not quite the shining light of virtue that everyone had assumed her to be.    Especially if…yes, what if she were to allow Helena’s body to be discovered someday after all, the incriminating ring still on her person rather than remaining safely on Lady Catherine’s finger?   The forest was a dangerous place, as everyone knew.  It could be made to appear that she’d fallen into a boar trap and died there, still carrying the evidence of her greed.   She knew there were some nearby, already dug quite deep and lined with sharp spikes meant to impale unwary beasts who fell into the traps, though of course they would serve to create a plausible means of death for an unwary fugitive just as well.  The ring would then be returned to Ĉdwige, and rather than risk it being stolen again, she would lay claim to it as she’d wanted to all along, saying she had no intention of allowing it to serve as bait for future robbers to try their hand at desecrating the family tomb to gain it and that she intended to lock it away for its protection in future.  No one in her household would blame her for keeping it then, especially if she told them she meant some day to give it to Lady Catherine’s grandson.  Which she supposed she might actually do someday, in her will at least.  Unlike that idiot Catherine, she hardly supposed she could take the jewel with her into the afterlife!

   Yes, that plan seemed best of all.  She hardly had time to accomplish setting it all up in one morning, but she could at least suborn Martin to help her hide the magistra’s body for now, secure the ring, and then leave the rest to be done later, perhaps late tonight.


   Helena leaned her head against the locked doors, trying not to weep.  She had tried to use her Deryni gifts to access the locking mechanism in the padlock hanging on the other side of the door, but without direct access to the lock, she could only summon up the vaguest of visualizations.  Something else seemed to be directly interfering with her ability to focus on its workings.  She suspected that Ĉdwige had added her own protections to the lock, not trusting in the inherent difficulties of unlocking a hanging lock one had no direct access to, when it came to guaranteeing the security of her makeshift prison.

   There was no help for it, then.  The mausoleum doors were too thick for her to break through, even if she had some suitable tool which might be used for doing so, and attempting to burn the metal-clad wood down would more likely use up all of the air in the small confined chamber before the fire could eat through the doors enough for Helena to crash through them that way.  No, her best hope of survival at this point was for her to conserve what energies she had left, in order to maximize her chances of making some swift bid for escape once Ĉdwige returned to let her back out.  For Ĉdwige would certainly need to return sometime soon.  After all, by daybreak the household would be stirring, expecting their mistress and her guest to be readying for their journey back to the Schola, and if Helena had failed to put in an appearance by that point, the servants might start looking for her.  It would only be a matter of time before one came close enough to hear her shouts through the locked door, might even come close enough for her to touch his mind directly with a plea for help.  True, she would have to explain how she'd ended up in the crypt, but hopefully whoever found her would be someone whose loyalties to his late master were far stronger than to his present mistress, and her attempts at explanation for her actions would not fall on deaf ears.  She could at least ask to make appeal to the Earl of Danoc for a hearing.  

   But Ĉdwige would also be aware that if Helena could catch the attention and sympathetic ear of one of her household, she might be set free, so it was almost certain that she would be first to return to the tomb, to do whatever plan she had cooked up in the meantime to rid herself of the magistra who had become too much of a danger to her.  For Helena realized that Ĉdwige surely must have guessed her purpose for being in her husband's family's crypt, and if she had not hesitated to kill once, she would probably not hesitate to do so yet again.

   Helena longed to try to call out across her link to Duncan, yearning for the comfort of his mind-touch to calm her fears, but she dared not expend the energy.  Every bit of power she could spare must be saved up for survival now.


   Ĉdwige barely managed to suppress her annoyance by the time she returned to the mausoleum, her steward in tow.  He’d been harder to locate than she’d counted on; rather than being in his own bed convenient to her chambers as he ought to have been, he had been curled up on his wife’s pallet instead, the old lecher, not to mention stark naked, which was a sight Ĉdwige could have spent the rest of her years quite content never to see.  So she’d had to take steps first to make sure Mistress Nell remained asleep before turning her attentions to securing her controls deep within Martin’s sleeping mind, by which time, having spent most of the night awake, she’d needed to do a fatigue-banishing spell on herself before awakening the steward to do her bidding.  But he was responding well enough now, if looking rather more like a sleepwalker than his normal alert self.  Given the early pre-dawn hour of the morning, though, at least that would hardly be surprising if anyone should chance to spot them walking the grounds together so early.


   Helena's heart gave a sudden leap of hope as she recognized the presence she felt approaching the mausoleum.  It was not Ĉdwige after all, as she'd feared, but Martin the steward whose proximity she felt coming closer with every step.  Did she dare call out to him, or did his presence mean that Lady Ĉdwige was also waiting someplace close by?  She considered trying to cast her senses further outward in search for her, but before she could do so, she was distracted by the sound of the padlock  latch becoming disengaged.  Martin was coming back into the tomb, then.  Had he been sent here, or was he just doing some sort of routine check for reasons of his own?  

   The door opened, and the steward entered, looking unsurprised to see her staring back.

   "I'm sorry, m'lady, but I'm to take you into custody," he told her, his voice sounding curiously flat.

   "I can explain my presence here," Helena supplied hastily, attempting to touch the man's mind in hopes of swaying him into giving her a fair hearing.  Her hopes that she could persuade him to allow her to escape whatever vengeful plan his mistress undoubtedly had in store for her vanished as she realized that his mind was shrouded from her touch.     

   "There's no need, Magistra Helena.  I already know why you're here.  You're after the Eddington emerald."

   "I…I'm sorry, what?"  Helena stared at the man, bewildered, caught off guard by the wholly unexpected reply.  "But…I don't understand…."

   "Aye, you do."  The steward tilted his head towards Lady Catherine's coffin behind her.  Helena glanced in that direction, a move she realized a moment later was a mistake.  A glimpse of movement caught out of the corner of her eye heralded a sudden change in Martin's posture, but before she could turn her full attention back to him, something hard slammed into the side of her head and she crumpled to the ground, fully unconscious.


   "Oh, nicely done, Martin!" exclaimed Ĉdwige as she entered  to find her steward standing motionless above her magistra's limp form, the shovel she'd handed him earlier still held at the ready.  "Now, we need to check Lady Catherine's tomb, don't we?  We need to show the rest of the household what naughty Sister Helena was caught doing."

   Martin nodded slowly.  He set the shovel to one side, heaving at one end of the coffin lid to crack it open.  Ĉdwige followed suit from the other end, lending her natural strength as well as a little boost of Deryni-assisted power.  The lid shifted readily to one side, and Ĉdwige slipped a hand in the gap that appeared between coffin and lid, as if to check her theory,  She slid a hand over Lady Catherine's dead fingers, barely suppressing a gag of disgust as her fingers closed over the ring and tugged it off fingers swollen from the effects of just over a week's decomposition.  She drew her hand back out, quietly pocketing the ring in her belt pouch as she did so—both would require copious scrubbing later!—and shook her head sadly as she did so.  "Yes, it's gone, just as I thought.  We shall have to get it back from Sister Helena later, but for the moment, we've not got the time to search her.  Let's just go ahead and move her from here before the household awakens."

   "Aye, mistress," murmured Martin, under too much control to question his lady's rather unorthodox instructions.  He picked up Helena's limp form, hefting the woman over his shoulder like a sack of turnips, and carried her out, continuing down the path towards the forest as Lady Ĉdwige's control in his mind had directed him.


   Duncan fought down a surge of panic as he suddenly lost contact with Helena through their psychic bond.  He didn’t think she was dead—surely, deep down in his soul, he would know if she’d been sundered from him completely—but instead of total absence, what he felt seemed more like an unnatural quiet.  Perhaps she’d simply lost consciousness, then, although that in itself was a dire portent that something was terribly wrong.  

   How close was he to Eddington Manor now?  He knew that he and his small entourage had been traveling in the right direction, despite having little else to assure him of his proper course aside from the deep level of psychic bonding that had joined him with Helena both mind to mind and heart to heart.  But now, at least for the moment, he didn’t have even that connection left, or at least not on a level that he was able to consciously trace and follow anymore.  He knew he could not be too far off now, though.  He and his escort had had to stop at one of the royal way-stations that had fortuitously been right along the route, for their horses were exhausted and he’d had to arrange for the loan of fresh ones.   Fortunately the sight of his bishop’s ring and a letter stamped with Kelson’s seal had quelled any protest his unexpected appearance might have caused, and he’d been able to verify that he was on the correct route, but exactly how much further he had to go, he couldn’t guess.

   The party approached a crossroad, and Duncan's gut instinct prompted him to rein in his mount.  He signaled for the leader of his small entourage to join him for a quick conference.

   "Madoc," the bishop instructed quietly, "I need you and Eadric to ride on ahead to the Earl's Court and deliver my message to him.  Tell him I had to divert to Eddington Manor and why.   Otho and Eanrigh will remain with me."  Touching the man's arm, he Sent a brief but thorough explanation directly into the man's mind through the shallow link he'd just established.  

   Madoc's eyes widened slightly at the unexpected influx of information, but he'd known the Deryni bishop for too long to be alarmed.  “Aye, my lord.”  The senior man-at-arms turned to summon Eadric to his side.

   Duncan and his two remaining men-at arms continued on, remaining on the route towards Eddington while Madoc and Eadric turned towards Danoc.  He uttered a quick prayer, continuing onward by sheer determined faith, ever searching deep within for that tenuous connection with Helena to reappear again even as his eyes warily scanned his outward surroundings.


   It was her not too gentle landing on fragrant earth that jolted Helena back to semi-consciousness.  She sensed danger nearby, and the different smells and sounds around her told her that she was no longer in the Eddington tomb, although she didn’t think she’d been brought too far afield from the manor grounds.  Helena opened her eyes just the tiniest fraction, peeking through her lashes and nearly closed eyelids, but there was barely more than the faintest trace of light in the sky still, and that was mostly obscured by mottled shadows.  Somewhere close by, she heard a rhythmic sound, a scrape of some object against another surface.

   A faint tilt of her head in that direction brought a fierce twinge of pain shooting through her head, and she felt a quick dizziness and surge of nausea.  She suppressed both, barely able to hold back a moan of distress, but willed herself to stay silent, not wanting to call anyone’s attention to herself.  The slight change of angle showed her a glimpse of booted feet, not many steps distant.  The sound she’d heard was from a shovel, widening an opening in the ground.

   Ĉdwige stepped into view.  She carelessly tossed a basket into this hole, then tilted her head towards Helena, who swiftly shut her eyes again lest the young widow notice she’d regained consciousness.

   “All right, we haven’t time for more.  At least it’s deep enough to hold her for now.  Go ahead and put her in.”

   Put her in?  Helena’s mind screamed in silent horror as she began to understand what Ĉdwige intended to do to her.  She risked another peek through lowered lashes.  The steward appeared, his blank stare at her as he came into view convincing Helena that his mind was not under his own control at that moment, and that any attempt to appeal to him for mercy would be fruitless.  Was she in any shape to fight back at the moment, to escape being buried alive as Ĉdwige evidently planned on doing to her?  Or perhaps Ĉdwige had assumed she was already dead, and was simply disposing of what she believed to be a corpse?

   Martin lowered her into the makeshift grave which, to Helena’s vast relief, was not as deep as it ought to be.  Indeed, if only she could find some way of staying conscious long enough for them to cover her over, she might still be able to dig her way back up to the surface once they left.  The edge of the hole was no more than a few inches above her head, after all, from what she could tell when she risked another quick peek.

   But dared she risk that, or might she die in the attempt to fool her captors into thinking her truly dead?  Might it not be better to try to escape, to stumble away from them under the cover of dense forest that surrounded her?  Would her body, in its currently weakened and dazed state, allow her to even try?

   And then she felt her beloved Duncan—close by, so very close now.  Close enough?  She used the last of her fading energy to send him a burst of thought, sharing with him in that brief second of contact what was happening to her, and where.  She had just enough reserve left afterward to begin sinking deeply into a hibernation trance that she hoped would preserve her long enough to survive her shallow burial if Duncan could not reach her in time to prevent it.

Chapter Twenty-One: (   
Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Alkari on March 23, 2012, 10:47:37 AM
EEEEEK!!   :(
Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Evie on March 23, 2012, 10:50:29 AM
EEEEEK!!   :(

Such a heartwarming response....  *evil smirk*

Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Alkari on March 23, 2012, 11:03:44 AM
Such a heartwarming response....

Of course.  So let's add:  "I really hope that I am hearing the faint sounds of the McLain cavalry coming over the hill at full gallop just in time to save a lady in distress"   :D    (With or without appropriate banners!)
Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Evie on March 23, 2012, 11:11:42 AM
LOL!  No, I meant that "EEEEEK!" was music to an author's ears, given the cliffhanger ending.   :D

Though yes, Sister Helena hopes they'll arrive in time too.  Though it's not going to be the entire McLain cavalry, just one McLain accompanied by two of Archbishop Cardiel's men-at-arms normally garrisoned at the Cathedral (why yes, that guardhouse on the Cathedral of St. George map does serve a purpose!), which hopefully will be adequate for the task at hand.

Then again, they're going to be faced with a rogue Deryni who isn't all about playing by the rules, so we'll just have to wait and see how that goes....   ;D
Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Jerusha on March 23, 2012, 12:14:00 PM
Somehow, under the circumstances, I don't think Bishop Duncan is going to worry too much about playing by the rules.

And he has a bit of edge if he has to ask for forgiveness later.   ;)
Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Evie on March 23, 2012, 01:19:41 PM
That depends, of course, on what the rules in a particular situation might happen to be.  For instance, if it were something like "You must ask permission from the Camberian Council before assisting your cousin Alaric Morgan with building a Transfer Portal at Coroth Castle now that you know how it's done," then sure, Duncan might just roll his eyes and go on anyway, figuring it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission.  Especially since, you know, that whole bishop thing and all.   ;)

However, there are several rules governing ethical and/or safe use of magic that are designed to protect innocent bystanders and the like, and Duncan is far less likely to play fast and loose with those, because unlike his Deryni opponent, he does have well developed ethics and moral values.  He will occasionally go against his own values (for instance, in his anger and grief over losing his father, he killed the Torenthi hostage without awaiting any order of execution), but when he does, he shows regret and remorse afterwards.  Even in wartime, when he might have to do some things that might be considered to fall in a "gray" area, he may do them but he's not utterly heedless of the moral ambiguity of his actions; however, he's sometimes in the position of having to put the needs of the many over what's in the best interests of a particular individual.  (For instance, let's say Duncan is imprisoned and he can use his powers to pick the lock, but there's a guard on the other side of the door.  He knows he'll have to use his powers to overcome the guard.  While Duncan might feel a faint twinge of regret at having to tamper with his mind, he's not going to waste time angsting over the decision if his life--or even more compelling, someone else's, or the Kingdom's security--is at stake.  He'll do what he needs to do, hopefully stopping short of lethal force, but not excluding that if it should become necessary, in order to get away and get back to the King with...well, whatever he's learned during his adventure.  Yes, here I go plotting stories again and I've not even finished this one yet!) 

Ĉdwige, on the other hand, is more like "What?  WHAT?  So what if I pushed that maidservant down the stairs?  She shouldn't have been standing there, should she?  And if she'd been more competent, I'd not have been mad enough to shove her, so it really wasn't my fault that she broke her leg!"  The concept of "You shouldn't have shoved her in the first place, no matter how irritated you were with her, not simply because it's a socially-unacceptable behavior that would be looked down upon by those you wish to impress, but because physically abusing your servants is a wrong thing to do" would never occur to Ĉdwige.

So basically, Duncan and Ĉdwige would approach a potential conflict with two very different mindsets, because Duncan has a well-developed conscience, whereas Ĉdwige's conscience--assuming she has one (which is debatable)--is extremely underdeveloped.
Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: derynifanatic64 on March 23, 2012, 07:29:54 PM
Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Elkhound on March 23, 2012, 08:51:34 PM
A. is a nasty little piece of work, but I doubt that she's been taught combative magic; Duncan will be able to mop the floor with her in a duel arcane.
Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Evie on March 23, 2012, 11:34:21 PM
Maybe, maybe not.  As a final year student, she would at least have been taught the rudiments of combative magic by now, such as how to cast the protective circle, what the standard ritual and permutations would be for a Duel Arcane, what the ground rules are, etc., and she may even have done a few 'practice bouts' of some sort, though certainly not anything that would come close to being to the death.  Enough, though, to give her some idea of what to expect if she's ever challenged to a Duel Arcane, or if she's ever in such a position where she might have to challenge another Deryni.  After all, the Schola wouldn't want to have its students leaving to go out into the world completely unprepared to deal with hostilities that might arise from rogue Deryni, Kingdom enemies, etc.  Granted, she lacks Duncan's greater combat and life experience, and nothing but time and practice can lend her those.  (Though on the flip side of that, how often have we seen Duncan in a Duel Arcane?  Kelson, yes, but in HD that Duel was resolved by Stefan Coram before Duncan ever had a chance to do much more than show up for it and do his part in raising the Circle.  Has Duncan ever actually been in a high-stakes Duel Arcane himself?  As experienced a warrior as he is when it comes to regular combat, he might be nearly as much of a theorist and inexperienced at this form of ritual magic as his student!)  Also, keep in mind that even a completely untrained Deryni is hardly a defenseless one, as we saw when Jehana instinctively tried to defend Kelson against Charissa.  Granted, she wasn't able to use her powers very effectively, but that could be in part due to her deep-rooted inhibitions against using her gifts, even though at that moment her maternal instinct to protect her son by any means possible managed to overcome that aversion enough for her to at least make the effort.  Ĉdwige is formally trained, plus she has no such aversions and inhibitions against using her powers, so she's far more likely to be able to deal with combative magic than Jehana was, despite her lack of prior no-holds-barred experience with it.

While Duncan does have a definite edge over Ĉdwige due to his greater experience in general, he'd be a fool to become overconfident and assume he'd have an automatic victory.  Even when a warrior shows due caution and care, accidents, mistakes, and freak mishaps can still happen, and if he lets down his guard assuming he can't possibly lose, that's practically issuing an invitation for defeat.  So while the odds are somewhat in his favor, the last thing he's going to do is go in assuming that.  And the reason I say "somewhat" is that one thing that Ĉdwige is very talented in, which I doubt she learned at the respectable Rector's Schola, is how to fight dirty.  I'm sure Duncan can fight dirty, but he'd be acting against his natural instincts and inclinations to do so.  In that area, at least, Ĉdwige would have the clear upper hand.
Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Shiral on March 24, 2012, 12:58:52 AM
Now Evie, we KNOW you won't let a little termite like Aedwige have the ULTIMATE win over Duncan.  ;) Not after the spiffy new wardrobe you made for him! She might gain a temporary upperhand through dirty fighting, but a truly ANGRY Duncan is not going to let harm come to anyone he loves.  She has only the compulsion of her steward at her disposal, and if she's having to defend herself in arcane ways against Duncan when he's feeling his least chivalrous, she might not be able to maintain her control over the steward. Who will be able to tell Duncan some highly incriminating things. And Duncan has his two men at arms along with him.  The sight of Helena still alive in a shallow grave  is not going to improve Duncan's mood,  either.


Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Evie on March 24, 2012, 01:08:34 AM
Now Evie, we KNOW you won't let a little termite like Aedwige have the ULTIMATE win over Duncan.  ;) Not after the spiffy new wardrobe you made for him!
/me dies laughing!   What, have I not mentioned his spiffy new burial clothes yet?   ;)  ;D


Already written.   :D  Although it's still not going up until next Friday, because the chapter after that one is the one I've been stuck on for a month or more now, between the bronchitis and then a bad case of writer's block which just cleared up a few days ago, so I'm going to need every free moment between now and then to regain enough lead to keep to my regular posting schedule.  I hope.
Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Alkari on March 24, 2012, 01:22:31 AM
I would hope that Duncan, as rector and one of the teachers in the Schola, would still know a good deal more about the subjects being taught than a pupil like Aedwige.   Certainly some classes such as Healing would be a matter of mutual learning and sharing given that there are so few known Healers at all, but if the schola is going to teach more routine subjects such as combative magic, I reckon Kelson would certainly want to know exactly 'what' was being taught, and would insist that his own senior Deryni were very well trained before any lessons were given to young pupils.  

Besides, I am quite sure that Duncan will manage NOT to get into any sort of magical duel with dear Aedwige: assuming he rescues Helena, Aedwige is not going to be able to take out both of them as well as impose controls on her own men at arms.  Given that Duncan has an escort (even only a couple of men now), I doubt that the Eddington retainers are so desperately fond of their sweet little lady that they would want to tackle a fighting bishop and his men.  After the way Aedwige's treated them, they'll probably grab the chance to help Duncan  :D

Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Evie on March 24, 2012, 01:32:03 AM
I would hope that Duncan, as rector and one of the teachers in the Schola, would still know a good deal more about the subjects being taught than a pupil like Aedwige.   Certainly some classes such as Healing would be a matter of mutual learning and sharing given that there are so few known Healers at all, but if the schola is going to teach more routine subjects such as combative magic, I reckon Kelson would certainly want to know exactly 'what' was being taught, and would insist that his own senior Deryni were very well trained before any lessons were given to young pupils.

Of course.  But no matter how much theory you learn and no matter how much ritual you practice in a teaching situation, no practice session is ever going to fully prepare you 100% for the realities of a true combat situation where your life actually depends on those lessons you've learned and those rituals you've practiced.  It's just like no amount of boot camp and training scenarios and simulations will substitute for actual combat experience, and it's in that "trial by fire" (or perhaps in that example, "trial under fire" that you truly discover what you know and where you're still weak, assuming you live long enough to assimilate those lessons.  In the novels, I don't recall Duncan ever having had to face the ordeal of a Duel Arcane in the same way that Kelson did twice.  (I don't count the one against Wencit; that Duel never actually ended up happening.)  If he's been in one--a genuine Duel, and not simply a lot of practice ones in which he worked through the theories--between QFSC and 1136, then yes, he'd have more than theoretical expertise.  But I suspect he hasn't been in that actual situation yet, and practice bouts with Alaric or even with Kelson wouldn't be the same, no matter how many years of experience he'd accrued in those.  His life didn't truly depend upon the outcome in those.
Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Alkari on March 24, 2012, 05:32:00 AM
That's true.  But he has cold hard battle experience of the ordinary kind.  Aedwige has never (yet) been forced to stare death in the face, or had to face down opponents and fight, literally, for her life.  Duncan has.   Low cunning and sneakiness doesn't give you courage and a cool head in a battle situation, whatever the type of battle.    
Title: Re: Visionaries--Part Two--Chapter Twenty
Post by: Elkhound on March 24, 2012, 01:33:18 PM
And if Helen manages to get out of the grave, A. will have to face TWO very angry highly-trained Deryni.  Granted that Helen as a Healer is essentially a woman of peace, but under the circumstances I think she'll put that aside.  And, as in normal medicine the same substance and be a drug or a poison and a scalpel can cut to cure or kill, so Deryni healing techniques can be used as weapons; in my karate club we had a lady who was a physical therapist---you did NOT want to spar with her, as it was her JOB to know where to hit you so that it would hurt the most.  "Anger not a physician, for he who knows how to put you together knows how to take you apart."
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