Author Topic: Legacy - Part 2  (Read 5250 times)

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Offline Alkari

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Legacy - Part 2
« on: February 25, 2012, 10:12:31 PM »

Part 2

Coroth Castle, four days later.

They passed under the castle gatehouse, emerging into the main courtyard and hastily moving to one side at the sight of armed men and horses milling around.  Shouted orders; the patrol quickly formed up and clattered out. Simon counted two dozen men in the green and black of Corwyn, with a bearded officer at their head and the last two riders leading packhorses.   Tough-looking men, he thought, and wondered where they were going.   Somewhere along the eastern border with Torenth, perhaps – there were always skirmishes, and common folk murmured approvingly that the duke himself sometimes led patrols.  

“That wasn’t the duke, was it?” asked Joseph Markham worriedly.

“No father,” smiled Simon, taking Joseph’s arm and helping him start up the stairs to the great hall.  Today his satchel was much heavier, as it held three books, while Joseph carried a smaller sack with two.  “The duke’s much younger.”

Simon knew they were early – better be early than late when meeting a duke – and was relieved to find that they were expected.  He’d spent much of their walk to the castle reassuring his father that Duke Alaric had definitely been interested in the books, whilst himself inwardly worrying that the duke may have forgotten such a minor appointment.  But the squire who was quickly summoned greeted them politely.  

“Good day, Masters Markham,” the lad said, bowing slightly.  “His Grace has been delayed this morning but will be with you soon.  This way please.”   He led them forward through the hall and directed them to a bench set against the right hand wall.  

There was no formal court this morning but the great hall was still bustling with activity.  Servants cleaned, tidied and polished; liveried men and courtiers came and went; two well-dressed men were ushered to where several officials sat at a table partly hidden by a painted wooden screen; various dogs and children were scolded or shooed out of the way.   Simon felt very small and insignificant.

They didn’t have to wait very long before the squire returned and escorted them past the dais, through a heavy door to the left and up several stairs to where two guards stood on duty outside another door.  “Back again, are you,” nodded the taller one with a slight smile, and Simon recognised the man who’d told him about Master Fitch’s case the other day.   “More books for the duke?”  

Simon barely had time to return the nod before being ushered into the room.  A brief glance took in stone walls, tall windows and a dark wooden table, then he and his father were bowing deeply to the man who’d been peering out the nearest window and now came towards them with a smile.

“My apologies for keeping you waiting,” Alaric Morgan said courteously, after Simon introduced his father.  “Unfortunately, I had to attend to some unexpected business.”  

“We saw the patrol leaving,” said Simon eagerly, immediately wishing he’d kept his mouth shut.  It was certainly not his place to comment.   But the duke merely nodded, apparently taking no offence at his boldness.

“Yes, that was part of it. Last year the Torenthis made several raids across the river before Christmas, and I spent much of the winter on patrol myself.  With such a good harvest this year, I’d rather they don’t get any ideas about a repeat performance.”  Morgan shrugged matter of factly.  “But now, let’s talk about books and other more pleasant matters.”

He gestured them towards several chairs set their side of the table, and Simon saw that another man was sitting opposite, regarding them with interest.  A priest!   The duke was going to look at Deryni books with a priest there?  He hesitated, sensing his father’s alarm also.

Morgan dismissed the squire and smiled reassuringly.  “Master Joseph, Master Simon, let me introduce Father Rafal Tagas, the chaplain here at Coroth Castle since last year.   He’s a keen scholar and is the assistant librarian, so he takes a great interest in any new potential acquisitions.  He’s also my confessor,” he glanced meaningfully at each of them, “and you may trust him absolutely.”

“Father Tagas,” Simon murmured, still wary as he studied the priest who’d risen at Morgan’s introduction.  Thirtyish perhaps, stocky build, dark hair and eyes, and an aquiline nose.  But his quiet welcome was as friendly as the duke’s, and Simon made himself relax as he and his father took their seats at the table and placed their book satchels in front of them.  

No court finery today for the Duke, Simon noted, as Morgan settled into a high-backed chair.  Plain linen shirt under a black tunic, with a simple silver border worked around neck and sleeves, black breeches and boots, and his sword just visible hanging from a dark leather belt.  A flash of green fire on the duke’s left hand drew Simon’s attention to his only jewellery – a magnificent gold signet ring with a seal of onyx and green.

Morgan leant back and regarded the two of them calmly before focusing on Simon’s father.  “Well, Master Markham,” he said pleasantly, ignoring the books, “I gather you’ve only recently arrived in Coroth.  Tell me something of yourself.  Where are you from?  Your accents are northern - Claiborne perhaps?  Or maybe Rhendall?”

Joseph cleared his throat and managed to find his voice. “Rhendall, Your Grace – we come from Rhorau.”    

“They say it’s a pretty town, though I’ve not been there.  Do you have family with you, apart from Simon?”

“My wife Ruth and two younger daughters, my lord, aged eleven and five.”  Encouraged by Morgan’s easy manner, Joseph began to talk more freely.   He was a silversmith, he explained – a master craftsman, a member of the jewellers guild in Rhorau.   The Markhams had been gold- and silversmiths for several generations, living quietly and being well-respected in the community.  Rhorau was a prosperous town and had been largely spared the worst of the anti-Deryni persecutions over the past hundred years or more, and any Deryni families remaining in the earldom were law-abiding and outwardly kept their identities secret.  

But that had changed with the appointment of the new Archbishop of Valoret and Primate of Gwynedd some six years ago.   “Oliver de Nore” murmured Morgan grimly, glancing at Father Tagas, ”and Edmund Loris was already Bishop of Stavenham.”    He sighed.  “Go on please, Master Joseph.”

Joseph hesitated, and Simon could sense his reluctance to speak of that terrible time.  “Things – changed.  Some priests began to speak of the Deryni evils once more, warning people to be on their guard for the slightest sign of – the Devil’s work.   We heard of persecutions in Stavenham and other towns to the north. Messengers were sent out with letters and edicts from the bishop, and they were read out in all the churches.”

He cleared his throat and swallowed before telling the duke what had happened.  They had decided it was no longer safe to stay, had made their plans carefully, telling people they were going to try their luck in a larger city like Grecotha, or even travel to Rhemuth.   Joseph’s youngest brother had urged them to leave, saying he would follow them in a few months’ time, after his wife had given birth to their second child and the two of them were able to travel.

A day out of Rhorau they had left the party of merchants they’d been travelling with, and turned aside towards Eastmarch and the mountains of Rheljan.  It was more than two months later that they heard the news, brought to Cardosa by a party of hunters heading for the mountains to hunt winter game.

“They were killed, my lord. Friends in a nearby village were taken - someone denounced them to the bishop when he was in Woodbourne and accused them of harbouring Deryni.  They weren’t Deryni but they were tortured anyway.  We heard that – that they said that the Markhams might be Deryni, and that was enough to send the guards after them too.”  His voice quavered.  “We don’t know what happened, just that they were taken to the bishop.  We were told they’d been shut in a barn with others who’d been accused – and that night the barn caught on fire.   The guards had locked the doors and wouldn’t open them.  They couldn’t get out.”  
The duke closed his eyes briefly and shook his head; Father Tagas looked shocked.  “Even the children?” he murmured.

“Yes.” Simon put an arm around his father’s shoulders and looked at the priest.  “The baby was only a few weeks old.  My other cousin was three.  How can God allow babies to be burnt alive?”

"My son, that was the work of men, not God.  And alas, sometimes men do terrible things in God’s name, or because they believe they are doing His will.”

Simon met his eyes defiantly.  “Please Father – where does the Bible say that men should murder innocent babies and children?  Doesn’t it say that children are a gift from God, and that we should bring them to Him to learn His ways?”  

The priest was about to reply but Morgan held up his hand.  “Peace, Simon, peace,” he said gently and Simon subsided, belatedly realising that criticising a bishop to the duke’s own chaplain was probably not the best idea.  “You’ll get no argument from either of us about that, or your anger.   I’m truly sorry for what happened and the loss of your family.  Alas, they are not the only ones.  I have – seen such things myself.”  The duke’s voice was carefully controlled, and Simon suddenly wondered how much Alaric Morgan may have been the victim of Church persecution.  How had he managed to survive as a known Deryni?  Did being a duke and the King’s favourite make a difference?  Did it protect you from archbishops?   There was a moment of silence before the duke continued. “How long did you stay in Cardosa?”
Simon continued the tale   “Not long, just over the winter while my younger sister was born, but we moved in the spring when she and mother could travel.   There were rumours that King Hogan was going to attack Gwynedd.   We didn’t want to be in Cardosa when that happened.”

“No indeed,” agreed Morgan dryly.  “A summer I remember very well.  So you kept going south?”  

“Yes.” Joseph found his voice again. “We reached Rengarth by mid-summer and decided to stay there.”  

They’d remained more than four years.  The fortress town with its garrison was a summer crossroads for traders going to and from Medras in Torenth; there were merchants and travellers, with sheep herders, woodsmen, hunters and prospectors in the hills.  The Markhams had settled in, with Joseph slowly establishing his business and Simon working at whatever jobs he could get, helping to support the family.  He’d had basic schooling in Rhorau, and in Rengarth he found another willing teacher in an elderly priest.

“I often worked for him my lord,” explained Simon.  “He had a bad leg, so I chopped wood, carried water, did some gardening, helped him lift heavy things – work like that.  Sometimes I helped him prepare for Mass.”

“He didn’t pay you very much though,” grumbled Joseph good-naturedly. “Not for all that work.”

“But he did pay me something.  And he helped me read more and taught me some Latin.  Besides, when I was working as your apprentice, you didn’t pay me anything!”   Simon turned to smile at Joseph.  

Morgan and Father Tagas were listening with obvious amusement.  “Work in exchange for learning sounds an excellent arrangement,” remarked the priest.  “What made you leave and come to Coroth?”

Joseph took a moment before answering.   “Last year one of the itinerant bishops came to Rengarth.  At first he stayed at the monastery outside on the hill.  Folk said he was ill and had come for treatment there.  But after Michaelmas he began to preach in the town, and he warned against the evils of the Deryni.   There’d been some trouble with some of the Torenthi traders – rumours had them being Deryni spies – and feelings got bad.  There were some fights and the bishop’s preachings didn’t make things easier.  He moved on before winter set in, but we decided we’d have to leave.

“I’d done business with some of the traders coming up from Corwyn and they talked of Coroth, said it was a rich city, there’d be opportunities for me.  They ...” he hesitated, “they weren’t worried about you being Deryni.  They said it was like all the Corwyn dukes.  A few remembered your father when he was regent - most were just glad to have a proper duke anyway and said you are the King’s friend.  And that you don’t allow persecutions, my lord, and that people can live here peacefully.”

“Quite a journey from Rhorau.”

Joseph nodded.   “Yes my lord.”

It was Father Tagas who continued.   “It would have been difficult, with your wife and three children.  You must have left most of your possessions behind in Rhorau.  Yet you brought your heavy books with you all the way.  Why?”  He gestured to the two satchels on the table.

Morgan chuckled.  “Well, let’s have a look at them, and perhaps that will answer you.”
Carefully, Simon unpacked their satchels and passed the first volume across to the duke.

Meditations on the Trinity - Hilarion de Lorda.”  Morgan examined the book, turning the closely-written pages and scanning several passages in detail.  “Nothing controversial at first sight – except that Hilarion was supposedly a Deryni priest, wasn’t he?”

“I believe so,” said Joseph.  “At least, that’s what I have always been told.  The book belonged to my great, great grandfather.”

Father Tagas chuckled and accepted the book from Morgan.  “Well, he might still be controversial to some.   He was Abbot of St Mathias’s monastery up in Marley in the ninth century.  Disagreed rather strenuously with several bishops, including the Primate, and carried on a lengthy and outspoken correspondence.  I’ve seen some of his letters in the library at Valoret.”

Morgan rolled his eyes and grinned. “Arguing with bishops? I like the man already.  What’s the next one?  Ah –Visions of Darkness, by Giles of Arboath.  Hmm, didn’t he become Saint Giles the martyr?”  He examined the book, starting to frown a little as he skimmed through it.  “This one might have got you into trouble, Master Joseph.  Some of the imagery is – questionable.”

“They say he was a sorcerer and dabbled in black magic before he repented of his sins and converted,” murmured Joseph, darting a worried glance at Father Tagas.  

“Are you saying this book contains magic of the – darker arts?”  Father Tagas looked troubled.  

“Not spells as such,” replied Simon. “At least not that we can see.  I think the book was written after his conversion, but he describes some of his – mystical experiences – in a way that sometimes makes you wonder whether he still believed in them a little.”

“So you’ve read it, young man?” The chaplain seemed surprised.  

Simon nodded.  “I found some of the Latin passages a little hard though.”

Morgan had picked up the third book, and gave a low whistle as he read the frontpiece.  “Where did you get this?” He looked up, amazed.  “The Prophecies of Nesta – I’ve heard of it of course, but never seen a copy.   How long have you had this?”

“Nesta?” asked Father Tagas.  

“She was a Deryni seeress.  Five, six hundred years ago.  She prophesied the doom of Caeriesse.”   Morgan appeared fascinated by the book.  “I’ve read Lord Llewellyn’s account of Caeriesse of course – there’s a fine collection of his works here, as he was court bard to the first Duke of Corwyn.  But many people say Caeriesse itself is a legend.”

“The book has been in my family for many generations,” said Joseph, clearly pleased at the duke’s reaction.  “I don’t know where it came from – my grandfather told me that his grandfather was a scholar, and was a recluse in his later years.  It’s said he copied out many old scrolls and books, but when he died, his widow got rid of some of them.”

“Well, I’m glad she didn’t get rid of this one!”  Morgan’s pleasure showed clearly as he passed it to his chaplain.  

The next book was also old.   It had a brown cover, with no lettering; the frontpiece had been badly damaged and various pages had been roughly torn out.  Morgan frowned.  “Prayers and essays – but no author.  And pages ripped out.  Do you know anything about it?”

Joseph shook his head.  “No, my lord.  It’s supposed to have been written by a Deryni priest, but my father didn’t know who.  He thought some of the prayers may have been to – to Deryni saints.  And that was why some of the pages had been torn out.  But he liked the remaining ones.”

“Deryni saints,” murmured Father Tagas. “Yes, I can see why those pages would have been removed.”  He leant across, reading over Morgan’s shoulder.  “But the writing is very beautiful – these prayers are the work of a devout man with a gift for poetry.  Mmmm, I see there is one to St Michael.  Perhaps I should use it for Mass next Michaelmas.”   He smiled briefly at Morgan, who chuckled.  Simon wondered what the joke was.

The last book also brought an appreciative sigh from Morgan:  Legends of the Old Ones, by Pargan Howiccan.  “There’s some of his poetry in the library here, but not the Legends.  And this is a better copy than the one in Rhemuth.”  He shook his head, placed the book back on the table, and then picked up the Prophecies again, gently turning the old pages.

“And you really carried these books all the way from Rhorau?  One of them on its own may not have been incriminating, but as a collection, if you’d come under any suspicion ...   All books are valuable, but why?  Why did you risk it?”  Grey eyes studied Joseph intently.  

“I – I don’t quite know, my lord,” whispered Joseph. “They – they have been in my family for years – they ...  they are old knowledge.    There was nowhere I could leave them, and I could not bear to throw them away.  I could earn money to buy food and more clothing, but I could not buy books such as these.  Our cart had a hidden compartment in it – for these and some of our other valuables. ”

“Yet your son says you are offering them to me?”

“If you will have them, my lord.   Please ...  I – they will be safe – here in your library.  I won’t have them, but they won’t be lost.  Please take them, my lord.   God willing, we will make a new life here in Coroth, and we will be safe.  My wife and I – we have had some training in Deryni ways, but I do not want my children to know.  What they do not know cannot hurt them,” he looked at Simon sadly, “and I would rather we live as ordinary people.”

“Father ... “ began Simon, for this was an old argument between them and perhaps now with the duke here, his father would listen.   But the duke was nodding slowly.

“I don’t necessarily agree, but I can understand.  Do your daughters know of their heritage?”

“I don’t know if they suspect, but we have said nothing.  We don’t want them to live in fear as we have done.  Elsie thinks she’s good at judging whether people are telling the truth, but we’ll just let her believe that.”   Realising he may have spoken of things prohibited by the Church, he looked warily at Father Tagas again, but Coroth’s chaplain appeared unworried by this reference to Truth-reading.    
“That is a decision for you and your good wife, Master Joseph.  Perhaps one day ... “  Morgan smiled faintly.   “As for the books – yes, I would be delighted to have them here in the library.  But please, you must allow me to pay for them.  They are very valuable, and you are just starting out here.  Shepford Lane is hardly the best place to raise a family, or have a silversmith’s workshop.  You won’t find too many merchants or nobles braving that area!”  

Let him pay for them!  thought Simon, even as he marvelled that the duke had checked where they lived.  We can do with the money – we can rent a better place, you can get a proper workshop, Mother and the girls can have new clothes.

But Joseph Markham lifted his head proudly.  “No, your grace – please take them as a gift.  I would be honoured, and I know that you will look after them.”   He met the duke’s eyes, holding them until Morgan nodded.

“Then I most gladly accept your gift, Master Markham, and thank you for your generosity.”  A swift grin.   “His Majesty will be very envious when I tell him about the Prophecies.  He doesn’t have a copy in Rhemuth.   Perhaps I’ll get one made for the Royal Library.

“But if you will not let me pay for them, then please let me help you in a more practical way.  If you’re going to set up business in Coroth, you’ll need to become a member of the Silversmith’s Guild, and they are jealous of their reputation and status.  They can sometimes be a little slow in assessing new applicants for membership.  

“You have evidence of your guild membership in Rhorau and Rengarth?  Certificates or letters?  Evidence that you're a master craftsman?”   At Joseph’s nod, Morgan went on.  “Good.  Obviously I haven't seen any of your work, so I can’t vouch for your actual workmanship.  But I can give you an introduction to the Guildmaster that should smooth your way.  I’ll tell him that you have done me a great personal favour, and that I would be very pleased if he would give prompt consideration to your application for guild membership.”  A quirk of an eyebrow.  “It may still take a couple of weeks, but that is fast for the guild.  Some people wait for months.” He smiled, waving away Joseph’s thanks.

 “And now, what of you, Simon?”

“Me?” Simon was startled.

“Yes, you.  How old are you?

“Seventeen.   Last August.”  

“Are you going to become a silversmith like your father?”

Simon took a deep breath.  “I was his apprentice in Rengarth, my lord, but I’m not sure I have the talent for it.  My father is gifted, but I don’t seem to have the same ability.”    

“Or the desire?  Forgive me, but do you want to become a silversmith?”

Simon stared at the duke.  It was true: he didn’t really want to become a silversmith, but that was the family business, and he hadn’t yet thought of what else he could do.   And until now, his father had needed him.   Perhaps in Coroth he could go into trade, get an apprenticeship with one of the merchants; after all, he could read and write and keep books of account.  If he trained as a silversmith, he knew he’d only ever be a journeyman at best, would never make a master craftsman like Joseph.  He swallowed.

“No, I don’t want to – but I don’t really know what else I can do.”   He hoped the admission didn’t hurt his father too much, but then, maybe he'd noticed his son’s lack of ability.  And lack of interest:  the duke was right.

“Dawkins said you were interested in the case the other day.  The guard you spoke to,” added Morgan, seeing Simon’s mystified look.  “And I noticed you too, watching and listening to everything at court.   What did you think of it all?”

Simon swallowed: he’d found it fascinating, but was unsure just how to answer Morgan.   He did have one or two questions though, and the duke had asked him ....   “I think I understand why you set such a heavy fine on Master Fitch.  But in that dower case, why did you have to send the matter to the Bishop’s court?”

“It’s one of those cases where two jurisdictions overlap,” explained Morgan.  “It is up to the secular authorities to enforce payment of any dower, but first I have to be sure that there was a proper marriage in the first place, and that the woman wasn’t merely the old man’s mistress.  In most cases there’s clear evidence of a marriage, but not always, and in this one there’s some argument about that, as you probably gathered.  It’s up to the church courts to determine if there was a valid marriage, and once they give that decision, I can determine her entitlement to a widow’s allowance and dower payments.”

“I see.  Thank you, my lord.”  He frowned.  “Though it seems a lot of time and trouble, having to go going to two courts like that.  And – and my lord, what happens to the widow and her children in the meantime?”   He wondered immediately whether he’d overstepped the mark, but to his astonishment the duke and his chaplain started to laugh.  They held a whispered conversation before Morgan turned back to Simon.

“Have you ever thought of studying for the law?”

Studying law?”  Simon almost squeaked.  

“Yes, why not?”  

“But I have to have proper schooling for that, go to university, become a clerk with a master lawyer.”   Simon shook his head. “I’ve never even thought about it.”

“You can read and write,” remarked Father Tagas.  “If you can read these books, you are more advanced than many.   You say you know some Latin too.   That is an excellent start.   You can do your sums, can’t you, you know your figures?”   Simon nodded, speechless.

“So - are you interested?” Morgan’s clear gaze held Simon, who suddenly felt as though the duke was looking right inside him.    

Interested?  Of course he was interested – but there was his father and his family, how could they afford the fees at present, and it would leave his father with no one to carry on the business, the craft that had been in the family for generations.   He had a thousand questions, but the duke needed an answer.  Simon swallowed.  “Yes, my lord.  I am.”  

There, he’d done it.  Beside him, Joseph gave a soft sigh, and Simon suddenly wondered whether perhaps his father had always known that he would not make a silversmith.  Would he feel betrayed, or would he understand that Simon wanted to walk down other paths?  

It was as if the duke was reading his mind.  “Master Joseph, I don’t set my best courser to pull a plough.  Or ask a packhorse to carry me into battle.  If I have judged him correctly, your son’s true talents and interests lie elsewhere than in your workshop.”

Joseph paused, apparently choosing his words before replying.  “I think I have always known it, my lord.   He has always been more interested in working with words than with silver or jewels.”

“Then perhaps we should allow him to develop his skills in that direction,” said Father Tagas.  “Our good Lord does not always give the son the same gifts as He gave to the man’s father.”

Another short silence, then Morgan straightened in his seat and leant forward slightly.   “Master Markham, there is an excellent school here in Coroth.  St Matthew’s school, attached to the Cathedral.  Your son could finish his schooling there.”  He turned to Simon.  “Simon, I don’t know how advanced you are in your education – I will leave that to Father Tagas here to determine – but I am offering to pay for a place at that school for you, to finish your basic education.  And after that, there is Saint Jerome’s university here in Coroth.   It was established by the first duke of Corwyn, and offers very fine legal training.  There is always Grecotha of course, but its pupils are mainly those destined for the Church and church administration, or for life as scholars – and somehow I doubt that you have any ideas of becoming a priest!”   His eyes twinkled mischievously before becoming serious again.

“It will be a lot of hard work, and you may find the law does not suit you.  But I will pay for the first year, and then we shall see how things stand – if you do well and are still interested, then I will pay for you to continue and finish your training.  You will also need to find a place with a master lawyer for some practical training, but that won't be too hard.  And when you have finished, I think you will find many opportunities.  Having a lawyer in the family may not be such a bad thing for a silversmith, after all, and my chancellor keeps assuring me that we need plenty of good lawyers for my courts and administration, to help keep the duchy running smoothly.   Well?”

Simon swallowed.  “I – I don’t know what to say, my lord,” he whispered.  

Yes would be a very good start!”  A very boyish grin from the duke.

“Oh yes, my lord.  Yes!  And – and thank you, my lord.”

“Master Joseph, I hope that is acceptable to you?”

His father looked completely stunned by the offer.   “Your grace, that is more than either of us could ever have dreamed of.  I cannot thank you enough, and yes, I accept most gladly.”

“Excellent.” Morgan turned to his chaplain.  “Now Father, when would you be able to spend some time with Simon, and see what standard he has reached?”

“Tomorrow is possible – no, better on Monday.   Can you come back here on Monday, Simon?   At sext, same as today?”  Father Tagas asked.  “I’ll need to provide a proper report to Father Barnabas at St Matthew’s.”  

Simon nodded, but a knock at the door prevented further reply.  A squire entered and bowed, crossed to Morgan and held a murmured conversation with the duke and Father Tagas.   The priest rose to his feet and looked at Simon.   “Then I’ll see you here on Monday at sext, Simon.  Good day to you, and to you, Master Joseph.”

“Tell Lord Robert I’ll be with him shortly,” called Morgan as the priest followed the squire to the door.  “I won’t be too long.”

As the door closed behind them, Morgan turned back to Simon and Joseph.  “I have another meeting, but there are a few things I need to say to both of you in private.

“First, no-one will know anything about you being Deryni, and no one ever need know, unless you choose to tell them.  You will be just another pupil at the school.  The duchy has occasionally sponsored others there, so my payment of your fees will not cause questions.”

Simon nodded, and the duke went on, his voice and expression suddenly serious.  “You may also be wondering why I am doing this, wondering why the Duke of Corwyn should take such an interest in a mere silversmith and his son.  What I’m about to say to you is in complete confidence, but I know you will understand that.

“The fact is, there is very little I can do openly as yet to help the Deryni in Gwynedd, or even here in Corwyn..   You’ve experienced the Church’s opposition and hatred, and it’s an open secret that there are those in the Church at present who would very much like to get rid of me.  The Archbishops were certainly not happy about King Brion confirming me as duke here before I turned twenty five!”

Simon stared at him: so his earlier thoughts about the duke’s own difficulties had been correct.  “The best I can do at present is to administer Corwyn properly and work with the Bishop here to ensure there are no persecutions such as those you have suffered.   Fortunately, the See of Coroth has a degree of autonomy, and the current bishop is a moderate and reasonable man.  And of course, I can work with His Majesty to try and change things very slowly.  But we cannot change two hundred years of hatred overnight, and it will be a long and slow process to alter the thinking of the Church as regards our race.”

The duke paused.  “One day I hope that the laws against the Deryni will be changed, and all Deryni will be able to live openly without fear.  But it won’t be easy, and indeed it may not even occur in my lifetime.  But we have to make a start somewhere.  Meanwhile, if there are small ways that I can quietly help any Deryni here, then I will always try to do so.

“Master Joseph, I can understand why you would want to forget about even being Deryni, why you don’t want to train your children, and why you want to give your books to me.  But please – never forget your heritage and who you are.  Some day, you or your children or your grandchildren may be able to acknowledge it proudly.

“As for you Simon – I’ll keep in touch with your progress, and our paths are sure to cross again.  Even if you don’t get any other Deryni training, you should try to develop your skills in Truth Reading.  A very handy talent for a lawyer, I suspect!”   Again that sudden smile.  “And perhaps one day you may find yourself working for my chancellor, or I may have need of a lawyer who can keep a secret and who won’t mind working with a Deryni duke!”

He rose, with Simon and Joseph hastily following, just as the squire poked his head around the door again.  “Coming, Selby, I’m coming now.”

Simon collected their satchels, and he and Joseph bowed deeply.  “I’ll have my letter to the guild master ready for you to collect on Monday, Simon.   Dawkins will see you out, and you are very welcome to stay in the hall for the noonday meal, as they will be serving it shortly.   Good day to you both.  And thank you for the books!”

The duke collected a black cloak from a nearby side table, slung it around his shoulders and strode to the door.  He turned, giving them a friendly parting nod, and vanished.


« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 07:34:09 PM by Alkari »

Offline Evie

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Re: Legacy - Part 2
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2012, 11:21:25 PM »
Matters quite satisfactorily resolved on both sides of things, it seems!  Quite a generous offer to both in exchange for the books, but especially for young Simon and his future prospects.  I imagine Master Joseph will have good reason to be glad he didn't just accept coin--not that he was looking for and expecting anything at all--and Alaric may be equally glad in future to have invested in the young Deryni lawyer's education.
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Offline Alkari

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Re: Legacy - Part 2
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2012, 11:29:32 PM »
Often, investing in people can yield a much better return than merely getting an annual percentage rate on coin.  It's only a few years later that Alaric 'invests' in the young Earl of Derry, who of course repays him many times over.  

Besides, darkling Alaric, that youthful and terrifying Deryni sorcerer, would also find his own quiet amusement in sending Simon to school and ensuring he gets a proper education and career despite all the Archbishops' rantings and hatreds.  And in another dozen or so years, the Duke may also find it handy to have a grateful master silversmith whom he can commission to make the odd birthday trinket for a lovely duchess ...  ;)
« Last Edit: February 25, 2012, 11:41:54 PM by Alkari »

Offline derynifanatic64

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Re: Legacy - Part 2
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2012, 01:22:48 PM »
Very good ending!  Can't wait for a follow-up to see how Simon and his family are doing now.
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Offline Jerusha

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Re: Legacy - Part 2
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2012, 07:42:48 PM »
I enjoyed this very much.  The young Duke of Corwyn showing maturity and insight into the larger scheme of things - a future lawyer with loyalty to Corwyn and its Duke, and a proponent for justice for Deryni in the future.  A satifactory bargain for all. 

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Re: Legacy - Part 2
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2013, 03:48:36 PM »
Ah... Nice tale of Simon in the presence of our illustrious Duke of Corwyn. Alaric is most appreciative of his new books for his library.  I wonder what the “The Prophecies of Nesta" say about current era of Gwynedd and the future yet to come. Would there have been any hints to King Brion's tragic demise?

Is there more stories with Simon?  There are so many great stories here on this forum. I have only just begun the enjoyment of so many tales.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 02:47:15 PM by Laurna »

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Re: Legacy - Part 2
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2020, 05:27:21 AM »
I see that this was written some 7 years ago but I still would like to say thank you to the author. You write so well that I was able to be right there in alongside these characters - hearing and seeing and laughing.  Well done.

Offline DoctorM

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Re: Legacy - Part 2
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2020, 08:41:35 AM »
Good story!


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