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Author Topic: Ghosts of the Past  (Read 129523 times)

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Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #555 on: September 17, 2018, 03:50:59 pm »
*My thanks to revanne for getting this started on a better path after setting the stage with her previous scene, and to Evie for skillful editing, insights into Aliset, and for knowing how to spell "braies." *

Darcy Cameron sat astride his horse, his mouth still agape, watching Father Columcil ride on ahead of them when Aliset reined in Spean beside him.

“You’ll catch a fly soon if you sit like that,” she quipped.  Darcy’s mouth snapped shut.  “What did you say to annoy him so?”

“I told him what I thought was the truth, but nothing is what it seems to be….”  His sentence drifted off.

“And that was?”  Aliset prompted, uncomfortable with the confused look on Darcy’s face.

“It’s not my right to tell,”  he said firmly.  “We’d best not let him get too far ahead, but we’ll give him some space for now.”   He fought down a momentary urge to turn Sigrun around, head for Desse, and sign up on the first ship that would take him.

They rode that way until Columcil slowed Shadow as they approached the valley.  Darcy drew alongside and said simply, “Beg pardon, Father, for my presumption.”

“Nay,” Columcil said.  “I’ll fault no man for speaking his mind.”  Darcy nodded and urged Sigrun forward, resuming his place in the lead.  Aliset looked at the priest questioningly, but when he said nothing more, slipped in behind him in her proper place as squire.

The sun was grazing the tops of the trees as they approached the church with its square tower.  The valley seemed peaceful, washed clean of the mayhem that had occurred on their last visit.  Much quieter than the current turmoil in Darcy’s mind as he tried to make sense of everything and finally gave up.  His life would be what it would be.
 
Darcy could not stop himself from scanning the grounds for man-traps and trip wires as they dismounted.  He detected nothing amiss, to his heartfelt relief.   They tended to the horses’ needs first, and Aliset retrieved the script she had brought from Rhemuth.  She then walked toward the church with the others.
 
“You’re still minded to become formally betrothed?” Father Columcil asked as they reached the steps leading into the church.
 
“Aye, Father,” Darcy said and looked sidelong at Aliset, feeling a pang of guilt for his earlier temptation to flee.
 
“I believe we have already stated so, Father,” Aliset said formally.  “I would like a few moments to prepare myself and make some…adjustments, if you don’t mind?”
 
“You can slip around the corner near the tower.  I’ve a few things to tend to myself,” the priest replied.
 
“I’ll keep watch,” Darcy said.  “From here,” he added quickly, in case he had given offense again.
 
Aliset nodded and moved off toward the tower, caught up in her own thoughts.  Suddenly she turned and said, “I promise not to run off.”
 
“Nay,” Darcy said.  “You run towards trouble; I’ve never seen you run away.”
 
Aliset’s eyes lit with unexpected humour.  “And you are trouble?”
 
“Usually,” Darcy admitted.  For the first time in that long afternoon, Aliset smiled at him.
 
Columcil reflected that they deserved each other, but kept that thought to himself.  He opened the church door and entered to make his own preparations, including a moment of prayer if he had the chance.

Darcy looked in the direction of the tower, but Aliset had already disappeared around the corner.  He stood quietly for a bit, gazing across the valley to quiet his thoughts.  After partial success, he removed his cap and laid it to one side.  He used both hands to sweep the numerous strands of pale hair away from his face and then slapped hose and tunic vigorously to remove as much travel dust as possible.  The noise prompted the priest to come to the door to see what was amiss.

“Beg pardon, Father,” Darcy said for the second time that day.  “I was just trying to make myself a bit more presentable.”  He straightened his plain brown tunic.

“You look better than the last time we were here,” Columcil suggested.

“Aye, not so torn and bloodied, for sure.  Still,” Darcy added wistfully, “I should be wearing an Isles’ kilt and doublet. Of course, it would help if I actually owned both.  When all this is over and Sir Washburn safely rescued, I may have to make a few adjustments of my own.” 

“There is something to be said for adjustments,” the priest said, looking beyond the younger man.

Darcy turned and looked at the woman who approached them.  Aliset wore a blue linen gown, still wrinkled in places from being crammed into her script.  Around her slender waist she had tied a simple girdle.   She had released her hair from her border braid and it cascaded in brown waves to reach below her waist.

“Breathe,” Columcil said softly.

“I’m not sure I dare.”   Darcy bowed deeply as Aliset joined them before the door.  She nodded and held her hands loosely clasped before her.

“Shall we proceed?” Columcil asked.

“Wait,” Darcy said suddenly.

“Lord Darcy?” Columcil asked, the incredulity clear in his voice.  Aliset looked startled.

Darcy turned to face her, took both of her hands in his own and went down on one knee before her.  Aliset’s eyes widened as Darcy took a deep, steadying breath.

“Aliset de Mariot,” he said.  “I can only offer you what I am.  But I pledge to you to do my best to make you happy, even if we don’t always agree.   And I pledge to do my best to keep you safe from harm, even if at times you make it a bit difficult.”  He paused for breath.  “Most of all I pledge to love you with all of my heart, for the rest of my days and beyond, if you will consent to walk beside me as my wife.”

Aliset looked at the man kneeling before her, his face serious, his sincerity clear to be seen in his pale blue eyes, and felt a sudden surge of tenderness.  She had not anticipated this moment when she’d left Rhemuth, but now that it was upon her, she realized she wanted nothing more than to be this man’s wife.

“I will,” she said.  “I freely give my consent to walk beside you as your wife.”

Darcy lifted her hands to his lips and kissed each one.  He rose to his feet.  “Let us proceed, good Father.”

Father Columcil studied them both for a long moment.  “I’ve a mind to just go ahead and marry you and be done with it.  You’ve both declared your intentions clearly enough.  I see no good reason to drag it out, and God alone knows what the next days will bring.”

Darcy and Aliset looked at each other, both hesitating to answer first.  This was unexpected, and neither of them were prepared for it.  Shields snapped into place to hide their innermost thoughts.  Aliset took a deep breath and answered first, lowering her shields as she did so.

“I am willing,” she said. 

Darcy lowered his shields as well, not realizing at first that he had raised them.  “Aye, I am willing.”

Father Columcil opened his cherished prayer book and began, hoping God would grant this couple contentment in the lifelong commitment they now made.

 It all proceeded smoothly, until Columcil asked for the ring.

Darcy looked startled.  “Ring!  I need a ring.”  He looked down at the Heir’s ring on his right hand and started to remove it.

“No,” Aliset said.  “You need to keep your ring, in case we are separated.”  She pulled the small ring on its chain that he had given her out from the front of her tunic. “This one will do.”

“But it’s so small; it won’t fit you.”

 “It will fit well enough.”  She slipped the ring off the chain and placed it on Columcil’s prayer book. 

At the priest’s nod, Darcy took the ring and slid in on the little finger of her left hand.  It made it as far as the second knuckle and lodged firmly. “We never do anything quite the normal way,” he said.

Aliset laughed.  “I doubt we ever will,” she replied.

Amen, thought Columcil.

Then it was done; they were rightfully married before God.  Darcy hesitated a moment to kiss his bride once he was given leave to, not sure how she would react.  His kiss was gentle, and if it lasted a little longer than he intended, Aliset did not object.  Father Columcil led them inside the church to the altar which he had already prepared for the wedding mass.

“Father Columcil,” Darcy said as they left the church.  The day had passed into twilight.  “Will you join us for our wedding feast?”

“You brought us a feast?”  Columcil asked.

“Well, not exactly.  I did not manage to find us a fine wine, or any wine, for that matter. I did manage to convince one of the kitchen staff that we needed a meat pie for our travels.”  Darcy looked at Columcil.  “I might have mentioned that I was travelling with an aging priest.”

Columcil looked heavenward and then asked, “I don’t suppose you brought ale as well?’

“I might have a drop or two somewhere.”  Darcy retrieved his sea bag and carefully withdrew a large, cloth-wrapped meat pie. 

“How do you do it?” Aliset asked.

“The Quartermaster taught me well.”  Darcy grinned at her.

They sat comfortably on the grass before the church.  Darcy served them large portions of meat pie and cups of ale.  At first the conversation was awkward, but Columcil told them some amusing and slightly scandalous tales of his childhood in Transha, resulting in giggles from Aliset and chuckles from Darcy.  As the conversation began to fade, Aliset noticed Darcy staring beyond them into the darkness.

“Do you see someone?” Aliset asked quietly.

“No one here,” Darcy replied.  “I was just imagining that Sir Washburn was here and wondering what he would say to all of this.”

“He would congratulate you both,” Father Columcil said, “And give you his best wishes.”

“Maybe,” Darcy said.  “Or be telling tales not fit for a bride.”  At the look on Aliset’s face, he added contritely, “Or maybe not.”  After a moment he said quietly, “Aliset, if you would prefer, we could wait until we find an inn with a private room….”

“Nay, Darcy,” Columcil said into the silence that followed. “‘Tis better not to wait.  An unconsummated marriage can be challenged.  Best not to take the chance that Oswald turns up to make a claim to her.”

“I’d kill him,” Darcy said.

“You still might, when all is done, but not tonight.  There’s nothing wrong with a soft bed of heather, and I’ll bed down out of the way with the horses.”

Aliset realized that what Columcil said was true, and she wanted Oswald to have no claim to her!  She wished she had more time to prepare, to calm the nerves that almost had her shaking.

“I will never force you, Aliset,” Darcy said softly.  “You have my word.”

“I know you would not,” Aliset said.  “I must agree with Father Columcil; we should...um...proceed.”

Darcy found a secluded spot near the square tower and spread a blanket over the heather.  Father Columcil blessed the simple marriage bed and then withdrew as he had promised.  Darcy produced a second blanket to lay over the first. 

“I’ll be over there until you are ready.”  He pointed generally at some trees and walked quietly away.

Aliset’s hands were shaking as she removed her clothes and slipped between the blankets.  She was beginning to wonder if Darcy was going to return when he reappeared wearing only his braies, the rest of his clothes draped over his arm.  With his pale colouring, he could have been a ghost, but his muscular chest and arms, scarred in several places, reminded her that he was not.

He deposited clothes and braies not far from the blanket and slid in beside her.  She felt the warmth of his body as he lay there.  Quietly, he slipped his arm under her shoulders and moved to pillow her head on his arm.

“Do you remember how to find the North Star?” he asked her.

“Yes,” she replied, her voice puzzled at the question.

“Tonight, I’ll show you how to find south,” Darcy said.

Aliset stared at him, wondering if he had gone mad!  A lesson on the stars on their wedding night?

Darcy was undeterred.  Soon, the quiet assuredness of his voice encouraged Aliset to relax, and by the time he completed the lesson, and it had been a short one, Alset was feeling much more comfortable.

Darcy shifted his position to look into her eyes.  “Precious Aliset,” he said as he gently kissed her left eyebrow.  “You are the only star in the night sky I will ever need,” he kissed her right eyebrow,  “To always guide me safely home.”  He kissed the tip of her nose and then kissed her lips.

The night unfolded as it should.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline revanne

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #556 on: September 20, 2018, 04:12:38 pm »
Columcil slipped away, quite content to make his bed among the horses. What he had not altogether counted on was that Shadow Dancer, sensitive and feisty stallion that he was, should have apparently decided that the night was propitious for a closer acquaintance with Sigrun, though the lady herself appeared unimpressed by his attentions. Whether it was that Shadow was unsettled by the absence of his master, or the proximity of untoward activity a short distance away,  or it was simply co-incidence, Columcil had no means of knowing, but it took all his skill as a beast handler, and a fair amount of physical restraint too, before Shadow finally settled.

Finally able to relax, Columcil found that his mind was now too active to sleep. His grandfather would doubtless say that it was fitting penance for his flash of angry pride to Darcy. He would have to apologise, at an appropriate moment, and reveal his parentage to Aliset while he was at it.  It was not fitting that he should be the cause of husband and wife beginning married life with his secret between them. At least he would not be burdening Aliset with the need to share her magical training between him and Darcy,  for his grandfather had taken the oppurtunity of their last hours together in Rhemuth to give him some intensive training to enable him to better use his powers as a Deryni.  He offered a prayer of true gratitude for the Archbishop's forbearance and generosity towards him, and he blushed again in the dark as he thought of the insolence he had too often shown. He prayed fervently for the grace to amend his manners, and then, less selfishly, for the two he had just joined in wedlock, and, most fervently of all, for Washburn, before at last he fell asleep.
Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
    let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
    as wax melts before the fire,
    let the wicked perish before God.
(Psalm 68 vv1-2)

Offline revanne

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #557 on: September 21, 2018, 03:10:48 pm »
Dhugal forced himself to turn away from the sea and made his way down the narrow stone steps spiralling back to the castle Bailey.  It had been borne in on him, as he had stared out towards the hidden waters of Loch Mhor that others, as well as Seamus, would have been distressed by the sights they had been forced to witness and he must do what he could to assuage some of that, though God alone knew how he could possibly hope to comfort so many. Especially where there was no true comfort to be had in the face of such savagery.  And God help poor Washburn in such bloodstained hands.

He forced his head up and his shoulders back as he walked down yet again to the harbour,  acknowledging the reverences of those he met with a smile. He could show neither fear nor distress, for his men would take their tone from his demeanour, and the last thing he needed was to spread panic. As he neared the harbour, he was at first inclined to be angered that he could see no signs of the busyness that should surely have been evident, but then he heard the murmur of voices speaking in a familiar pattern though the words were too indistinct to make out. A little further on and he could see hundreds of men kneeling in the heather behind the little church where he had prayed earlier, and Father Nicholas, vested behind a portable altar, in the midst of saying Mass. Moved almost to tears, and recognising that in the holy magic of the Mass there was to be found a comfort beyond anything he could offer, he slipped to his knees beside a startled seaman, and bowed before the Lord who had taken all pain and horror upon Himself.

When the time came to receive Communion he refused the privilege of precedence which those around would have offered, and humbly awaited his turn, a clansman among his brothers. As a Duke, with absolute power over the lives of others, he had tried to rule with both justice and mercy, and Seamus' words, spoken at no little effort to himself, suggested that he had not entirely failed, but, although he abhorred the cruelty he had witnessed, neverthless he could not but wonder how many of these men amongst whom he knelt he was sending to injury and painful death. He was grateful for this brief chance to lay aside both privilege and the responsibility that came with it. Once the Mass was ended though, he must again be the Duke.

The short time he could spare to speak with Father Nicholas reassured him that the pastoral and spiritual care of his men was being well taken care of, and the needs of the injured enemy too. At some point he would need to interrogate those who lived to ensure that christian charity did not lead to them harbouring spies, but for now he could concentrate on making sure that all was ready for the morn's departure. Here again, thanks to the calibre of those who served him, he found that there was little for him to actually oversee, but it was good to be able to spend time with the captains and men who would treasure even the most casual of his words in the days ahead. All would be ready for the morning ebb tide, which would be on the turn shortly before Terce.

By the time Dhugal was again on the quayside, in the bright light of a midsummer morning, all was busy with the bustle of impending departure. Men stood ready to unfurl the sails, to weigh the anchors, and to cast off the ropes. The captains had paid their individual respects to their Duke and were now on board, with the exception of Seamus and Sir Richard whom Dhugal had held back for a final private word. When Dhugal had arrived he had found the two deep in conversation, very much at ease with each other. He supected that Seamus had in fact sought out his Captain General before seeking his own bed the day before, but though technically he supposed it was a breach of discipline, he was hardly going to cavill at this further sign of Seamus loyalty to Richard, the more so since Richard first word's to him had been to signal his approval of the link which Seamus' medallion would provide.

Father Nicholas had been making his way down the line of boats, asperging each one with holy water and he now stood ready to pronounce the parting blessing, only waiting for Seamus and Sir Richard to board. Dhugal found that he was choked by emotion and took refuge in a jest that was nevertheless half-serious, and try as he might he could not quite keep the border brogue out of his voice.

"Seamus, I should be reminding ye t' mind that ye obey Richard here, but t' tell truth I'm thinking it should be t'other way aboot. Dinna be lettin' him get inta any more trouble than ye can help."

He would have like to have embraced the pair of them but protocol demanded that they should go to a knee and take formal farewell. But after all, he was about to say farewell, perhaps for the last time, to a man who had been a good friend for the best part of two decades, and another who he would now want to claim as friend, so protocol be damned.

So thinking, he embraced both Richard and Seamus in turn with a hug made clumsy by emotion and then stood back as the two men, Captain General of the fleet, and Captain of the Rose, boarded the flagship to the resounding cheers of those both on board and the considerable number of bystanders who had now gathered. Then Father Nicholas raised his hand in blessing, and one by one the ships turned and, unfurling sail, slipped out of the harbour on the receding tide.


« Last Edit: September 21, 2018, 03:12:46 pm by revanne »
Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
    let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
    as wax melts before the fire,
    let the wicked perish before God.
(Psalm 68 vv1-2)

Online Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #558 on: September 22, 2018, 04:43:13 am »
“Afternoon yet?” Washburn asked into the darkness.  His voice didn’t travel far with the thick stone all around him. Even the sound of the bells did not penetrate this deep into the rock palisade. There was certainly no light to suggest the passage of time. The only means of counting were the passages of the guards before his cell. Eight times he had seen a torch pass the door grill, eight times a pair of eyes lit by the torch had stopped to stare at him. The ninth time, Washburn missed it. He had dozed off; exhausted from all manner of abuse. A great bang on the grill startled him to wakefulness. “No sleeping! Hear me! I’m supposed to be off duty, in my bed right now, but NO! That assassin fellow stabbed the Baron, and until he lives or dies, I’m not allowed off duty. See here, if I don’t sleep, you don’t sleep!” The anger in the guard’s tone gave Washburn a shiver. The darkness was exhausting. Then there were the drugs, the lack of good food, and the pain in his ribs, which had subsided for a while--Feyd must have added a pain reducer to whatever other mystery substances he had added to his prisoner's morning drink. The pain reducer was warring off; the anti-magic drug seemed to be working overtime. Nothing unusual about that, Washburn thought.  Desciding to think of more positive reasons for his exhaustion, Wash considered the energy he'd used to Heal his and face and his jaw... and... this thought brought on a faint smile...the lack of sleep while in the hands of a loving, warm woman.

The guard must have missed it; his torchlight moved on.  Back in full darkness, Washburn found himself dreaming pleasant dreams of the girl who had touched his soul. Her hands were both delicate and strong, her kisses, angelic. She was back in the circle of his arms, kissing his lips, when the startling sound of metal banged against his door, tore him away from his dream-filled bliss.  “I told you, no sleep!” It was obvious this angry guard needed his own bed. Again the guard moved away, bashing other’s doors and yelling at other prisoners.  Washburn wasn’t sure if he found solace in the fact that he was not alone down here. Far down the cells, the noise echoed through the place. Apparently no one was going to be sleeping this day.

Being watched so frequently, Wash was fearful that his partial recovery would be discovered. Purposely he sat with his left side against the wall. He hid the Healing of his face from the door by resting his left cheek against the shackle around his wrist. As to the bruises on his face, he had no idea if they remained. For certain the pain had gone. But did Healing clear up bruising too? He didn’t have enough experience to know. Best to hide his face when the torchlight came near.  Also this position availed him to wrestling with the ring in an attempt to loosen it from the wall, but even after hours of pitting his strength against it, the ring was as tight as the stone it was embedded in.  Considering the heft of these iron shackles and the thickness of this chain, Washburn wondered if they were meant to hold a bear. When it physically could not be budged, angry bouts had Wash searching for magic to free himself from the shackles. Master Feyd had done his job too well. His magic was non-existent. Fingers sore from scratching at the stone and mind numb from the lack of sensory that he had been trained to use all his life, Washburn finally gave it all up and turned to sleep. He shifted his legs out on the floor and tilted his head against the wall in attempt to sleep and perchance to dream of her.

The echo of bars rattling beyond his cell kept sleep at bay. The oppressive small space and the surrounding dense rock filled him with increasing doom. He was cut off from everything he had ever known. The world that existed above ground was untouchable down here. He was trapped between the world of the living and the world of the dead. How do you keep from going mad? he thought. Hold memories of life close, was his first answer. Trouble was, all the memories in the forefront of his mind were memories of resentment for being ill-used by his family and his king. Those memories seemed detestable to him, even alien in their nature. Yet even though the memories felt contrived, they still raised his ire and overwhelmed him with resentment for the abuse they showed he had suffered. Memories of estranged family will only put you closer to the grave, he thought in resistance.

The lesson the saint had taught him was that he would gain no ethereal help if he relied on hate. His memories of resentment weren’t the key. The key was his faith. Believe in the light, he told himself. Yet, hate and resentment were ever present in his mind. How can I believe in Light when i’m buried underground? Did he dare plead for help from the saint when he surely had already been given his quota of miracles? He wanted to scream that he didn’t deserve what was happening to him, that God owed him, but then he ducked his head in shame. One did not expect to merit miracles from heaven or from saints. They gave only to the worthy and the devout. In his bitter mind, he had become neither. Seek the light should be his new mantra. In this total darkness it was hard to envision Light: Light of the heart, light of the soul. On a whim, he wondered if he could manage the light of hand fire.

Wash could not see his hands as he brought them together before his face. He cupped them upward like in the days his maman had first taught him to spell-craft Handfire. His test surprised him! ((Washburn handfire testing to see if he can do it. /r 2d6 @Laurna: 2d6 = (5+6) = 11)) The flare was instant, and as instantly he extinguished it, suddenly fearful the light had been seen. Washburn waited in the black silence, anxious for a repercussion. ((Guard at the other end of the dungeon, could he have seen the flash? Disadvantage roll /r 1d6 @Laurna: 1d6 = (1) = 1)) The sound of the guard harassing other prisoners did not change. Washburn sucked in his breath, letting it out slowly. Idiot, do you really want to get dosed with drugs again or something worse! he scolded himself.

Now that he thought on it, he didn’t remember Feyd passing across any vial of drugs to his new captors. Maybe...now that he was securely chained... they wouldn’t waste effort on such exclusive drugs. Merasha would hold him powerless just as easily, with longer duration times. That gave him a chill of what to expect in the near future. But then it occurred to him, they might be thinking of duration effects in terms of merasha, something like a full day, not the drug that eased off after eight hours.  What had Feyd given him just before arriving here, anyway? He just used his powers to create handfire, so the drug could not have been the same.  Knowing he should hide his gradually reforming powers, Wash tried to raise his shields; previously they had been the first of his powers to returned. This time, he could not find any shields. Washburn panicked. They weren’t just dampened by Feyd’s insistent orders. No! He just did not have them. “Khadasa!” he exclaimed under his breath.  What was Feyd playing at this time? No shields left him helpless to mind control. Why? Who needed to control him now and in this place?

Deep breath. Think this through. Bide your time, Washburn encouraged himself, If fledgling powers are returning; stronger energies will soon be mine. I can find a way out of here before they drug me again.

No need to fight for wakefulness anymore, his mind was racing.  Optimism! Think of the best way out of here! You’ve beat many an opponent just by planning ahead and knowing you were the better man. Wash considered his successes of the past. Of course it helped that his reputation preceded him. Wash didn’t have that here. Yet, put a sword in his hand and he was the best in the land. Trouble was Washburn’s sword had been taken by the guard who had shackled him up in this cell. That guard would have considered it justifiable loot. The knight of Lendour frowned. That was the last time he would see any of the three pieces of the Lendour weapon set. Why had Master Feyd even bothered with securing the sword to him? He had some devious plan; what would it be?. Think best case scenario. I get my powers back, I use my powers to unlock the shackles, then I unlock the cell door.  Up the ladder, into the guard room. I find a sword to win my freedom. Pretend to be a noble of the household and escape out the gate, or better, climb down unseen over the wall.

Washburn laughed at the joke of it. Even I am not that optimistic. If it happened that way, it wouldn’t be just the saints on his side but the devil would be there too. That would not bode well. Think this through realistically. He would have to overpower the guards quickly so that they could not call the alarm.  He would need to have his hands free to do that.  Washburn tested his mind on the shackles about his wrist. His magical senses were starting to emerge. He could see the pins in the lock, but could he move them? ((13:56 Washburn Washburn first attempt at Telekinesis with his emerging powers. Still at disadvantage. 13:57 Washburn !roll 1d6 13:57 derynibot 2 == 2)) Sweat covered his brow, his powers were coming back, but they were far from full strength just yet  Hold on a little longer, he told himself. Perhaps a little prayer to the powers that be would not go amiss here.

Think of the light of heaven, not of the light of Handfire, he jested to himself. Ironically the darkness around him was complete. Again he put his hands before him, clasping them in prayer. What prayer would Uncle Duncan offer at a time like this? He considered for a moment, then began a prayer in a minute whisper, gaining strength as his faith filled each word.

A torch thrust through the grill in the door, giving light to the darkness. There was a great clang on the grill behind the torch. “No sleep, and no groveling to God!” growled the angry guard. ”Heaven doesn’t have time for men who are already condemned to Hell.” Washburn did not pause his words, rather instead, he rushed them, wanting to get to the “Amen.” The Guard rattled the door disruptively, “Do I have to teach you who’s boss? You’re new, so I guess I do! Archer!” the guard called down the dungeon corridors, “Help me teach a lesson to this buffoon.”

The torch withdrew, the lock clicked open,and the door swung wide. A pair of torches, almost blinding to Washburn, filled the tiny cell with light. Wash had to squint hard to sense the two guards entering behind the light; one was mindful, one was angry, both held clubs. Washburn’s prayer fell silent with a hesitant “Amen”. Had he just condemned himself to more abuse. Tensing at their dominating postures, Wash recognized one guard as the one who had brought him down here hours ago. That man looked none too pleased to be following his partner’s whim. Both guards appeared strained in the flickering torchlight, both looked like they had not seen sleep in days. That made both of them a danger. Wash chastised himself for having drawn their attention, he had just wanted to say a simple prayer before he attempted greater magic. Now he did not dare to show that magic for fear they would drug him before he had a chance to make an escape attempt.

 “Archer, I’ll show you how ta handle these pretentious king’s men. They think themselves better than us. No way! They ain't nothing but worn out flesh by the time they get down here. Grab that arm firm. Guid’! Now stretch it hard, like so. See the chain stretches his chin up, forces his head back. Ya, just like that. Hold him tight!” The two guards wrestled Washburn’s right hand tell it was stretched as far the the chain allowed. His left hand pulled painfully into the ring. Their paired strength was greater than the knight could fend off. His right hand smacked against the wall. The chain between them pulled taut across his larynx.

“I got ‘em, Piers.” Archer claimed, holding Washburn’s hand outstretched.

 “You don’t get to bother God any more!” Piers hissed. He dangled a leather strap before him. ((Rolling for guard /r 2d6 @Laurna: 2d6 = (6+3) = 9)) “This will not only keep you from bothering God, but it will keep you awake until I tell you otherwise.”  ((Rolling for Washburn disadvantage save test. /r 1d6 @Laurna: 1d6 = (4) = 4)) Wash held his jaw closed until the guard purposely kicked him in the ribs. The intake of breath was all the guard needed to stuff the strap into Washburn’s mouth. “Ha, you can’t best me!” the guard laughed. The strap was pulled tight to the back of the knight’s head and buckled to the ring. “That will take care of you. Should have done it when you first came in.”

Washburn had squirmed but to no avail.  His upper torso was trapped.  His assailants were too close for him to kick. But then the angry guard stupidly backed off a pace. Washburn timed his kick well, his boot hit the man’s inside thigh.((Washburn Kicking, standard attack with his boot toe /r 2d6 @Laurna: 2d6 = (5+4) = 9)) The kick made a clean connect and the guard fell back, cursing. With adrenaline rushing, Washburn tensed every muscle in his shoulder to thrust his hand against the short guard who held him. ((Washburn thrusting his arm out against the guard named Archer /r 2d6 @Laurna: 2d6 = (3+5) = 8)) Archer may have been short but he was fast, unable to hold the arm by himself, he danced away before being bruised.

“Damn you, Archer! See that spike there? Why didn’t you put the chain over the spike, that would have spread his arms taut. Didn’t they teach you anything?”

Belatedly the short guard pulled the torch over to see the spike in the wall. “You didn’t tell me that before!” he sneered. Now that Washburn had the motion of three full feet of chain, neither guard wanted to get near to him.  Piers hefted his club and swung it into the knight’s pained side. ((The pissed guard attacks with a club at the prisoner’s wounded side. /r 2d6 @Laurna: 2d6 = (4+4) = 8)) Quicker than the guards thought he could respond, Wash blocked the blow with the shackles and chain on his left wrist. ((Can Washburn twist the club out of the guards hand. /r 2d6 @Laurna: 2d6 = (1+6) = 7)) Attempting the trick he had missed that morning with Otis, Wash twisted the chain around the club and pulled if from Piers’s hand. Pulling the chain through the rings quickly, he managed to get enough slack for his right hand to grab at the falling club. Suddenly, the knight had the weapon well balanced in his right hand.

((Can Archer retrieve the club from Washburn's hand using hidden magic /r 3d6 @Laurna: 3d6 = (5+4+1) = 10)) Archer wasn’t about to make a grab for the club, he knew better than that. “Wait. Valerian gave me something better than a weapon.” With a devious smile, Archer stepped into the reach of the club. Wash began the weapon’s swing.

Piers yelled, “Are you mad?”

Archer yelled out a forceful, “Hold!” Without Piers knowing it, Archer put magic into the compulsion, just in case he was wrong. He wasn’t wrong. Washburn’s every muscle froze unmoving. Piers tapped the prisoner’s feet, then he poked at the strap over the cheek bone.  Other than glaring eyes, the prisoner made no move. “Our grand duke gave me his voice controls, Hah!” the guard claimed.

 “You didn’t tell me this before,” Piers accused his partner.

“You didn’t tell me about the spike in the wall!” Archer countered. “Not like I can see a black spike against black stone.” Without further fighting, Archer retrieved the club from the knight’s clenched fist, then he hefted the chain and jammed a link over the spike on the wall. Washburn swore he saw pity in the guard’s eyes as a mind brushed his mind. Finding no shields, Archer turned away from the prisoner to return the club to its owner. Piers would not have guessed there had been magic in Archer’s words, but Washburn knew it for what it was. “Look Piers, he’s a trained warrior, how do you think I got him down here so easily?”

“No food. No water for you, warrior. That is the last fight you will ever have,” Piers snapped at the chained nobleman with a triumphant smile.

The Deryni guard watched his partner go. When he was sure he was gone, his hand touched Washburn’s forehead, covering his eyes.  Your controls will help me immensely for what is to come. Feyd is indeed a Master at what he does. Impressive to me that he could set your controls so absolute. Must be frustrating for you, if you’re in there somewhere. Are you? We’ll figure that out later. I have a mission; I need your body, your warrior skills, not your mind. Afraid you won’t like me much in the hours ahead, not until your shields return. Until then, we will make a good team. Free the world, we will, of injustice. I’ll go now and take care of Piers. Get yourself prepared. The time is soon when we have a job to complete. As Archer pulled away, Washburn’s eyes followed his every move. Archer nodded assuredly, then left the cell, locking the door shut behind him after he left.

A Deryni! Was he Valerian’s? No! Was he Feyd’s family? Oh! Perhaps a family member looking out for that 200 year old revenge? Hidden in Valerian’s nest?  A coup was underway, and Feyd wasn’t going to take the blame for this murder. No! Washburn Morgan got to do the deed, under the guise of revenge for his father’s murder.  Wash considered his next moves. It didn’t take much to know this Archer could force him to do the deed. That is why Feyd had made sure he had no shields, so Master Feyd’s accomplice could control Morgan’s every move. Valerian had it coming to him, Washburn was sure of that. It would even put an end to the rebellion, and save Gwynedd’s king no end of trouble. Not that Washburn cared about that. But what was Feyd’s real motivations? Wash wouldn’t live long enough to find out. Archer would be here to see to that.  Very well, best take Archer down before he was compelled to do Feyd’s dirty work. 

Washburn realized the guard Archer had probably only tested for his shields and not for his returning powers. The adrenaline rush had been enough to clear the cobwebs from the magic of his family’s race. While Archer was stopping Piers, Washburn needed to get out of his confinement before the assassin guard returned. ((Washburn uses telekinesis to unlock one shackel. /r 2d6 @Laurna: 2d6 = (6+2) = 8)) A mind trick more precious than any he had ever learned, opening locks, came to him with practiced ease. The pin in the lock turned the shaft. It slid opened just like someone had turned a key. One hand came free.  Washburn turned his mind to the second shackle. The lock was just in his peripheral range. ((Second shackle unlocked. /r 2d6 @Laurna: 2d6 = (6+2) = 8)) With the same ease, the second shackle fell away. Both hands free, it was a matter of fumbling with the strap holding his head firm in one place. ((Unbuckling strap with telekinesis. faster than if he used his hands. /r 2d6 @Laurna: 2d6 = (4+3) = 7 Ok not faster.)) Unable to visualize the buckle behind him, Washburn spent precious long minutes fumbling with tense fingers to release the buckle.

Could he get free before Archer returned?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2018, 09:01:10 am by Bynw »

Online Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #559 on: September 23, 2018, 03:57:04 pm »
Iain’s feet were racing, as was his mind-- could he pull this off? It would take all the experiences of a lifetime to reach his end goal. His orders from his King were to spy on Valerian and to disable him by any means possible. That means was locked up in a cell behind him. And that was one big angry man he just left there. He needed more time to gain Sir Washburn’s trust, even if he had that time, he had doubts he could get passed the facade of hate that Master Feyd had overwhelmed the Lendour knight with. There certainly was no time to deal with that now, It would take considerable time and energy to undo what had been done, and that would have to be after they escaped. 

Iain ran up the corridor. He jammed his torch in the bracket opposite the torch that Piers had just placed there. Then he ran around the last bend, which put him at the base of the ladder. The only other light came down from the shaft opening above.  Silhouetted against that light, Iain could see Piers climbing; he was a third of the way up. He had to be stopped before he got the attention of the senior guard in the entrance guard room. Iain started his ascent, faster than his partner. Piers felt him on the ladder, slowed his climb, and called down. “Only one of us is allowed up top at once. It is my turn and you know it.”

“Haven’t we both been down here long enough?” Archer said disgustedly. “I could really use some grog.”

“You and me both,” Piers replied. “You go back down and I’ll bring you some. In about an hour. I need a break.”

“Dang man! An Hour?” Archer exclaimed as he reached the rung just below Pier’s feet, “Not good enough by half.”

Piers put a hand down and pointed below. “Get back down there and do your job, or I will report you.” He was reaching for the club at his belt to enforce his command. That’s when the Deryni Baron Iain Cameron, known here as the guard Archer lunged upward and grabbed Piers’s hand. ((Jerusha> !roll 2d6 roll for Iain. 12:35 PM <•derynibot> I'm back! 1, 6 == 7)) That was the contact Iain needed. In a flash of thoughts, the baron had control of his guard-duty partner. You left your club in the prisoner’s cell, remember?. You need to go return for it. Don’t want the senior guard to find out what happened down there, Iain insinuated the idea into Piers’s mind. The guard made an exasperated sound like he had just remembered something, he reversed his climb and started heading back down. Iain hung off the edge of the ladder to let him pass. As he came to eye level, Iain’s hand touched Piers’s forehead. You don’t see me. Follow my orders. Climb back down and retrieve your weapon. Then he pulled the club from the guard’s belt and let him descend. Archer descended when Piers reached the floor. Then he followed behind his partner, hefting his own torch from the bracket after Piers had his. One behind the other, they entered the cell block and walked back to Valerian’s special guest’s suite. Not paying any attention to Archer behind him, Piers had his keys in hand. Under mind controlled he found the correct one, placed it in the lock, and turned it.

As the bolt came free, Iain gave a small smile and slid his hand back over his partner’s forehead. He checked his manipulations. If time came when Piers was Truth Read, the guard  would admit to returning to Washburn’s cell to get his club. In the confrontations of before, Archer had pulled the club from Washburn’s hand, but had put it down on the floor where it had been forgotten. Piers would freely admit this is why he returned. The thought of retribution for giving the prisoner the same injurious kick he had received was already in Piers’s mind. Iain didn’t have to contrive that retaliation, he just removed any restraint Piers might have had for causing Brioc’s prisoner more injury. Brioc was nearly dead anyway, he wasn’t going to come down here and find out anytime soon.  This let Piers’s blood boil with anticipation of retribution. Of course, Archer would come in and stop him from it hopefully winning him some trust in the prisoner’s mind. A small plus he hoped. A Truth Say would find Piers at fault for Washburn’s escape and not Archer’s. Of course, a full mind reading of his partner would discover the truth. But who would honestly want to mind read a guard. That might happen, but long after Iain and Washburn had escaped.

Certain that his controls were set, Iain let Piers enter the prisoner’s cell.

------------------
Washburn turned frantic as he saw torch-light nearing the grill. Damn, he had to get that buckle loose. (( 12:52 PM<•Washburn> !roll 2d6  12:52 PM  <•derynibot> I'm back! 5, 2 == 7)) It came free just as he heard the fumbling of keys. Still in the dark, he jerked the strap off his head. And pulled it from his teeth. Now was his chance, Move or die! he yelled at himself.

((•washburn>  washburn standing and getting to the door before it opened  3:25 PM !roll 2d6  3:25 PM <•derynibot> 6, 3 == 9))

He was far less agile than he should have been. Pain ripped through his ribs. He repressed a grunt and stood, pushing off the wall to run at the opening door. A guard walked in and Washburn tackled him. ((3:31 PM  <•washburn>  tackling guard to the ground, if failed guard does not fall. 3:31 PM !roll 2d6  3:31 PM <•derynibot> 6, 3 == 9))

The guard Piers took the assault full in the stomach. Both men tumbled to the stone floor of the cell doorway. Washburn tensed for a fight. The guard kicked at him but otherwise did not respond in the way a normal man would by rolling aside or striking back; Piers did nothing in his defense.  Even when Washburn raised his fist, intent to knock the guard’s teeth out, there was no recognition from the guard that he was in danger. That is when Washburn realized there was a second torch over them both.  He held his fist and looked up from the floor at Archer who was smiling mischievously over them.

Angered by the assassin Deryni’s cleverness for evading his first attack, Wash jumped up to attack his  intended target.
((Washburn's initiative roll vs Archer. 1:18 PM !roll 2d6 1:18 PM <•derynibot> 4, 1 == 5))
((Iain’s initiative roll vs Washburn 4:49 PM <Jerusha> !roll 2d6 4:49 PM  <•derynibot> 3, 4 == 7))

Archer was quick to sidestep and to call out “Morgan, Hold!” and that was all it took to stop the mountain of anger from crashing down on the shorter man. Watching the blood throbbing in the knight’s neck, Iain breathed out “Thank you, grand duke,” knowing Washburn would pulverize him if had not been for the use of those voice controls. He walked over to Piers, “Get up you fool!’’  Piers stood awkwardly, he shook from the blow, but it wasn’t he that Iain kept his eye on. No, it was those pulsing blue eyes that were a full head higher than his own. Eyes that ragged in anger. Washburn was a big man. That Morgan blood was telling and hard not to respect. Iain did respect the Morgan’s, yet that was not what was going to win this Morgan over, nor calm him down, not at this moment.

“Look, Sir Washburn, I’m on your side! I want to get you out of here. You have to trust me in this. If you want freedom, don’t fight with me. This will be a lot easier on both of us if you willingly follow my lead.” Showing good faith, Iain eased up on his mind control, letting Washburn move and settle from his attacking stance.

Tense as a bear, Washburn straightened his back and squared his shoulders. “Your Feyd’s man, Yes?” The tall knight accused, certain in his mind that Archer was.  “I don’t willing follow anything Feyd asks of me.” Morgan flexed his arms in defiance. He stood even taller than Iain remembered see him in Rhemuth.  Remembering well that day the knight had won the Elven Kingdom’s Tournament, he’d out fought every foe who had entered the arena with a sword that day. Including some men of Norse who stood as tall as ancient evergreen trees. As they had been taller than Washburn by a head, the Baron of Isles felt Wash towering over him by equal amount. Size wasn’t everything, the Lendour knight had gained victory over both Norsemen, just as Iain knew he could win if he and Wash came to a fist fight. Not a prospect he looked forward to. Talk first, win him over with words.

“I’m not an accomplice of Master Feyd,” Iain asserted. “You rest easy on that account.  Let us just say, my employer wants to take Grand Duke Valerian down, even more so than you do.” Iain used his own council deciding not to mention Kelson; he did not know just how much hate for Kelson, Feyd had instilled in Morgan.

“You don’t know what I want,” the prisoner hissed.

“You want freedom, and you want revenge for those who put you here. It was not I. I swear on my mother’s grave. With me you can get free. Without me you don’t stand a chance.” Iain stared at the blue eyes, recognition of truth seemed to show through. How Washburn could truth read without his powers, Iain didn’t have time to contemplate.  “Piers,” Iain called using his magic as persuasion. “Sit yourself where the prisoner sat.” Archer pointed to the back wall. Giving one last assuring look at Washburn, he stepped passed the knight into the cell. He found his own key ring at his belt, then knelled over his old partner. One wrist he shoved into the shackles and gave the key a twist, the second wrist he did the same, locking it down. The fact that the shackles had simply been unlocked and not broken was a fact that Iain did not miss. It forced him to keep a wary eye on the knight by the cell door. But there was one thing he could not resist. “Ah yes, I have not forgotten about the spike on the wall.” He lifted the guard’s right shackle and slapped the chain over the spike. “No harsh feelings about this, but I think you deserve a taste of your own medicine.” Iain put his hand over his old partner’s eyes, “Sir Washburn attacked you and took your keys and locked you in his place. Be thankful he didn’t kill you. Well, on second thought, you might not see the sun again, so you might wish he had. You’ve wanted sleep for hours, here is your chance, Sleep!” Iain commanded.

Washburn’s thoughts were rampant. He did not trust this Archer, who ever he was. It was truth enough that it would take both of them to escape this place. Never was Washburn one to take orders from a man not his superior. The best way to assure his escape was to switch their rolls. Washburn needed to be in control, not let this Archer fellow control him. Archer’s momentary concentration had turned to the chained guard. Washburn took the few paces very slowly to approach Archer from behind. He had never tried what he had read he could do. Could he find the spot? Would it truly work? Only one way to find out. If he failed, it was his freedom on the line. ((Does Washburn succeed in blocking Iain. 2d6 standard test,  results = 4 + 4 = 8 Verification Number: 1xfvdrst6z Nope))

His hand missed the assassin's head, for Archer was not so trusting as to have turned a blind eye to the angry knight.

Archer ducked down, jumping up squarely in the cell’s corner with both feet facing his opponent, his balance was well trained. Iain didn’t know what the knight had just attempted, but his gut feeling was that it was no good. He could wrestle this huge man down if he needed to. He had the advantage even if it wasn’t size. The knight was a warrior, his strengths were with swords, there were no swords here. Only two clubs in the room and Iain had both of them on his belt. Iain wanted to negotiate Washburn’s compliance, else-wise this was going to be a hard escape.  “You attacked me, why? You know I could make you kill yourself with just a few words. I don’t need you to do the job I was employed to do. It just makes it easier for both of us if you’re the one. Perhaps then you'll earn the trust from your brother. Become a hero in your family's eyes. Then the Duke of Corwyn will reinstate you back into the line of inheritance.”

“What? reinstate?...I was never disinherited.” Washburn’s anger peaked.

“As of this morning, you were.” Wrong thing to say to a man who was six foot three inches and as broad as a horse, iain chided himself.

Washburn lunged.
((Bynw” Fist fight is 1d6”
6:37 PM  <•washburn> Laurnarose ok thanks
6:38 PM Fist fight Washburn against Iain Add three XP for 1d6 success 4,5,6.
6:38 PM !roll 1d6
6:38 PM  <•derynibot> 3 == 3))

The lunge wasn’t precise, even fully angered, the knight protected his right side. Fast with a sword wasn’t the same as fast with his fists. The space was small, yet the guard Archer rolled decisively out of the knight’s reach. He jumped up to his feet at the cell door. The two had just switched places. To Washburn’s own horror, he realized Archer could so easily just slam the door and lock him in. His anger might have just cost him everything.

Iain desperately racked his brains for something that would stop the angry man in front of him from exploding and bringing the wrath of God, or more accurately the Devil down upon them. Any more disturbances and they were likely to incite the other prisoners who were surely listening. Piers had made it quite apparent that no one had been allowed to sleep. Having the upper hand standing at the door, gave Iain a chance to again scan through Washburn's unshielded thoughts. Damn, did the man trust no-one. Feyd had done his job too well. Strands of loose pale hair fell over Iain’s face. Distractedly, he dashed them aside, realizing in the roll that his cap had come off. When he looked back at Morgan there was the strangest look in the man’s eyes. A recognition of a friend that seemed to calm the bear inside.

“Darcy?” Wash stammered, knowing it couldn’t be, yet in the torchlight this man could have been his friend’s twin.

Continuing his scan of the warrior before him, Iain saw an eerily familiar face jump out at him. Darcy! It had to be. His little brother grown to be a man, in company with a rugged country priest and a slender figure that blurred between that of a man and a woman in Washburn's memory. In all the hate and anger, they were the only three who filled Washburn's memory with trust, them and a servant girl; Iain didn’t explore those memories. Well, he wasn't any sort of priest, nor yet a woman, but Iain looked as like to his grown up younger brother Darcy as two peas. That then was the key.

“I’m Iain, Baron ‘o Isles, Darcy’s brother.” Iain brushed his hair back again. It wasn’t going to stay back without his cap. “Darcy and his companions are in route to here, if we can get you free, we will meet up with them. I can feel your powers returning. So, read the truth and trust what I say. I’m not Feyd’s man. I am here to spy on the leaders of the rebellion and to thwart them if possible. We work together on this, we can do the job I need to to. That will get us both out of this hell hole, and into the company of my brother and your friends.”

Washburn’s stance eased considerably. “I read your truth and I trust that your blood ‘o Isles be as honorable as the blood in your younger brother. Darcy is a good man.” Washburn took a step forward, then cringed, holding his right side. His ribs had become aggravated by all the motion. He held out a hand when Iain would come closer.  “I need a moment or I will never get back up that ladder.” He unknotted his belt and loosened his tunic, pulling the green silk and the black linen shirt up, exposing his ribs that looked angrily black in the torch light. He flattened both hands over his ribs. His eyes unfocussing into a trance state.

(( Washburn healing self healing test 1d6. 11:20 AM !roll 1d6  11:20 AM  <•derynibot> 6 == 6. Hit points healed self healing =1d6/2 (round up)!roll 1d6 11:22 AM  <•derynibot> 5 == 5. That is 3 hit point healed.That puts Wash back to full health. I must thank our GM for using non-torenthi dice for these rolls.))

Words come to Washburn as he performs the skill that had passed down to him from his father. A hand not unknown to him warmed the top of his own hands as power and health restore what was broken and abused.
We go out in the world and take our chances
Fate is just the weight of circumstances
That's the way that lady luck dances
Roll the bones

Why are we here?
Because we're here
Roll the bones
Why does it happen?
Because it happens
Roll the bones”


Camber smiles at him as he says the last words almost in song. Washburn’s tension eases, feeling better than he had in days.

Iain watches, amazed. As the big man’s hands fall away, the flesh had returned to whole, no markings of injury left to be seen.  Just before Washburn settled his shirt, Iain saw a flask hanging from the knight’s neck. ‘What is that?” he asks.

Washburn’s hand moves his shirt up again exposing a green caped flask. But his hand will not touch it and as quickly he pulls his shirt down and then his tunic, hiding the flask. “That is a gift from Feyd. A gift of power and of madness, one that only a madman would dare to take.” Washburn retrieves his belt and knots it back on. “Let’s get out of here.”


Thank you muchly goes out to Revanne and Jerusha for helping me with Iain's thoughts and words.
*Roll the bones lyrics by Rush. Sung in honor of Bynw’s rolls for me.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2018, 04:04:36 pm by Laurna »

Offline Evie

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #560 on: September 25, 2018, 09:12:29 am »
Valerian checked in briefly with the lone guard left standing watch in the Portal room. “I am going to Ratharkin to get the latest reports from Baron Oswald. I shall not be gone for very long.”

“Aye, Your Grace,” the guard replied. After a moment’s pause, as Valerian strode past him to stand upon the Portal stone, the guard dared to ask, “And how is Lord Brioc faring, Your Grace?”

“Still alive,” came the brusque reply as Valerian prepared to balance the energies between the portal he stood on and the one in Ratharkin. “But should that change, assure Her Majesty I shall return shortly.” With that, the Grand Duke disappeared.
#
Not very long thereafter, Grand Duke Valerian took a few sips of a fine Vezairi port from Prince Rory Haldane’s special collection. He smiled sardonically at Baron Oswald. “Didn’t waste any time locating the Haldane usurper’s stash, did you?”

Oswald shrugged philosophically. “His loss is our gain.” He grinned. “I doubt he’ll miss it much, given his much greater loss of Ratharkin!”

“True.” Valerian savored another sip of the ruby red wine. “And now on to the business at hand. How soon will we be ready to march on Laas?”
#

((In the meantime, Brioc has already rolled 3 of his 4 rolls to see if he gets any more damage from Feyd’s poisoned dagger.
<Brioc> !roll 2d6
<derynibot> 6, 5 == 11 This is his fourth roll, so I guess he is past the worst and will make a full recovery.))

Sidana lifted her weary head from her arms as she sensed a subtle shift in her father’s breathing. Lifting a shaky hand to his brow, she was relieved to discover his fever had broken. His brow was slightly moist with perspiration, but it was cool to the touch now, and as her hand rested upon it, she was relieved to see his chest rise and fall in the deep, rhythmic breaths of normal sleep. She sensed that he was over the worst of it now.

Relief flooded through her, lending her a brief surge of energy to replace that depleted by the traumatic events of the day. Rising, she opened the door. Peering out at the guard, she informed him in the most commanding, self-assured voice she could muster, “Our Lord Father seems to be through the worst of things, but We would like his physician’s opinion on that.”

The guard hesitated, unwilling to leave his royal charge unguarded for even a moment, for he'd been given orders never to leave the vulnerable young Queen unescorted, but as she raised an imperious eyebrow at his hesitation, he had second thoughts about the wisdom of disobeying his Queen and scurried down the corridor, glancing back towards her to assure himself of her safety as he knocked on a nearby door. Sidana, guessing the reason for his protective backwards glance, rolled her eyes and stamped a dainty foot in exasperation. “For heaven’s sake, would you stop imagining demons under every doily?!” she exclaimed. “Just do as I say!”

Blushing, the guard turned towards the opening door, and after a hasty whispered conference with the physician within, both men returned to the bedchamber in which Lord Brioc lay. The physician slipped past the young Queen to assess his patient’s condition, the guard starting to follow in curiosity.

“His Grace will want to hear the wonderful news at once!” Sidana exclaimed happily. The guard turned, starting to offer her an escort to the Grand Duke’s chambers, but she waved him off. “We will certainly be safe enough with the Grand Duke. Your place is with Our lord father. Do you think Us so helpless that We cannot manage a single flight of stairs unescorted? We have not relieved you from your post!”  His cheeks stinging with shame at the second dressing-down, the guard resumed his position by the door as his Queen joyfully struck off down the corridor and took the stairs two at a time down the stairs. He told himself he was being overly cautious--after all, with all the entrances well guarded, what could possibly happen to Her Majesty in her own home?

Sidana, free at last of the encumbrance of her constant, annoying escort, went straight to the chamber that Grand Duke Valerian had set up as his private study and ritual chamber. To her consternation, he was not there when she arrived. But after a moment’s thought, she realized that mattered little. What mattered was that he was certain to return there soon, and when he did, she would be there to tell him the wonderful news.  With that happy thought, she sank down onto the comfortable cushions of his window seat, her weariness returning, and fell asleep with a happy smile on her face.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline revanne

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #561 on: September 25, 2018, 04:44:14 pm »
After the day he had had, and then the tussle with Shadow, a man surely deserved that what little sleep he could get should be undisturbed? That at least was Columcil's grumpy thought as he woke in the early morning light. He could not immediately remember what had woken him, but then he realised that his sleep had been disturbed by insistent dreams of his grandfather. Oh merciful heavens! He supposed that he would have been expected to contact him to report back on Darcy's reaction to Aliset's deception. God above! Did the man never sleep. Somewhat sheepishly, Columcil reminded himself that it was not unreasonable to suppose that the Archbishop of Rhemuth would be punctilious about his early morning devotions and neither was it unreasonable to suppose that he might expect the same of one of his priests.

His reasoning did not, however, make him feel any more good natured with himself or the world and it was with an ill grace that he reached into the neck of his cassock for the shiral crystal which lay against his chest, and sitting up focused his eyes as best he could on it, muttering the words which would enable him to enter into rapport with the Archbishop ((5+5+4 = 14 68006d4cpw)).

And a good morning to you.

If ye say, so yer Grace.

Is all not well?

Aye, if ye dinna count bein' kept awake half th' neet by that bloody randy stallion we're tekin wi' us whae doesn'a ken why he's no gettin' his share o' the action!

With utter horror Columcil woke up properly just too late to realise the thoughts he had just shared and with whom. Had the Archbishop been present in the flesh he would have fallen on his knees, even prostrated himself, the better to hide from the look of shocked disapproval that must surely being directed at him. As it was, all he could do was to mentally send a gabbled apology. He was relieved, if somewhat disconcerted, to sense nothing but laughter in return. And indeed Duncan, sitting in his study, was laughing so much that it was as well that, this early, none of his chaplains were yet present. Finally he got enough of a grip on himself to Send,

It's as well you have your father's way with beasts.  Though I've no doubt you're not finding it funny, especially since I then woke you at the crack of dawn. Forgive me for finding it so, there has been little to laugh at of late.

There was gentle sympathy in Duncan's tone, but his next question was sharper, though no means accusatory.

Am I to take it, then, that things have moved rapidly beyond a betrothal?

Being careful this time to censor his thoughts, or he would have replied, If I'd no wed them I'm no sure which o' them I'd 'a' bin buryin', Columcil replied,

Aye, ma lord, gi'en as they were both willin', and seein' as we dinna ken whae's ta happen ta ony o' us. I hope that I've no done wrong and tha' his Majesty will no' be angered wi' Darcy,

This time it was Duncan's turn to guard his thoughts, given that Kelson's decision to grant Darcy's request for her hand had been accompanied by a snort and the words, "I'm only grateful that it will be Javan who will have to deal with any children those two will produce."

They need have no fear of that, his Majesty will simply be grateful that Lady Aliset is being taken care of.

There was a short silence in which the words, "And no longer his responsibility," hung between them before Duncan continued.

Is there any thing else, or shall I leave you to continue your much interrupted sleep? I'll absolve you from saying any of the offices until Sext.

Best get it over with. Maybe one day he could converse with his grandfather without having to beg pardon.

There is one other thing, your Grace.

What have you done?

Duncan's mental tone was caught between amusement and exasperation. Columcil was downright alarmed at the thought that his Archbishop could Read beyond what he had offered in rapport, and his alarm gave an edge of anger to his thought.

"How did yer Grace ken tha' 'twas aught t' do wi'me when I didn'a say so?"

Now Duncan was simply amused.

Because you only call me, "your Grace", outside of formal occasions, if you are feeling angry or guilty.

Columcil had long respected the man who was both his Archbishop and his grandfather and was coming to love him, but did the man always have to be right?

Aye, well this time I'm askin' yer pardon agen. Darcy was worrit that he was no doin' th' reet thing in weddin' wi' Aliset. No for himself but in case his Majesty would be angered wi' Aliset and he didn'a want tha'. He douted tha' a wee country priest like ma'sen would ken as well as I claimed what the King's mind was in the matter. An' well I'm sorry ta say it but he got ma dander up and I up and tellit him that his Grace o' Cassan is me Da and ye me Grandsire. I'm sorry I lost ma temper wi' him, and I confess t'a lettin ma pride get the better o' me, but t' tell truth I'm no sorry tha' I was honest wi' him. He's a guid friend ta me.

There was a silence which no doubt seemed longer than it actually was, but when Duncan's reply came it sounded resigned rather than angry.

It's a pity you and your father both are not as good at calming your own tempers as you are at soothing fractious beasts, but I think that I and your mother were wrong and it is for you to tell who you chose. But Lady Aliset should be told too, either by you or Darcy, I would not have you be the cause of a secret that cuts between husband and wife. Ego te absolvo.

Columcil crossed himself at the words of absolution as his grandfather continued

I rather think I gave you your penance already by waking you at such an hour. before breaking the contact.

Columcil tucked the shiral slowly back into the neck of his cassock then wrapped himself back in his cloak and lay back down. They could not afford to linger on this journey but he was not about to be the one who woke a newly married couple after their wedding night. Soon he was sleeping again.
Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
    let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
    as wax melts before the fire,
    let the wicked perish before God.
(Psalm 68 vv1-2)

Online Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #562 on: September 26, 2018, 11:50:27 am »
((Just so readers are aware this is the mid afternoon of Tuesday, July 28. Darcy and Aliset will be married later on this same day. We are all writing as our hearts lead us, not necessarily in perfect chronology. Which makes it all enjoyable, We will get it all together if/when we finally meet up.))


Brendan was glad to be away from the main Gwynedd army. Not that he was happy about being in the company of Lord Jaxom. Be that as it may, the man at least knew this area like the back of his hand.

They had left Prince Javan and Prince Alban at mid afternoon. The army had reach Cuiltriene. They had inserted the locals who had meet them there into their numbers. The plan was for the army to continue West to Pardiac through the Cloome Mountains and down the valley toward the coast line to the city of Cloome.  They would then turn north toward Laas. Some might even take ship to Laas if the weather held. The army would be skirting across the north of the Connait, which required permission of those principalities. The emissaries of Pardiac  and Travelga meet with Javan in Cuiltriene and assured him that the roads were clear. For a small fee of course. Information also came that some of the smaller Principalities of the Connait had hired out to the Mearan rebellion and were already joined North with the forces in Ratherkin. This news was disheartening, but not surprising. The independence of those men who ruled the small principalities, fiefs, and baronies that made of this western part of the continent could never agree on anything. Even Kelson could not combine them into a single treaty with a single overlord to deal with. He had given up the cause years ago and had tried to keep their loyalties through trade agreements and good faith. Apparently the Grand Dukes coin meant more to some than Kelson’s forty years of faithful treatment.

Lord Brendan, Lord Jaxom and fifteen men road out north on the Cuitriene road. Their first stop was to be the old Micheline ruins that lay in a valley along the river, halfway between Cuiltreine and Droghera. They should reach it in about an hour.  The team that had struck out to rescue a knight seen in those ruins the day before had still not been heard from. Despite orders that they were supposed to join the Javan’s forces when their efforts were complete. Brendan knew from news from Laird Arilan that that team had meet with failure. Just how much failure, Brendan and Jaxom were about to find out.

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #563 on: September 26, 2018, 01:03:32 pm »
Darcy Cameron felt the warm sunlight on his face and stretched, feeling the warmth of his wife’s body beside his.  His wife!  Feelings of pride fought with awe at the thought of it.  He opened his eyes and pushed his pale hair back from his face.  He couldn’t quite remember when his border braid had come undone, but his attention had been directed elsewhere at the time. 

He saw the position of the sun in the morning sky and sat upright.  He had overslept!  He should have had them on the road by now.

“Up,” he said aloud.  “I must get up….”

“Darcy!” said the woman beside him.  “That wasn’t a concern I remember you having earlier.”

“What?”  Confused, Darcy looked over and saw Aliset’s eyes dancing with mirth.  “That’s not what I meant, woman!”  He leaned over and silenced the laughter that was about to surface with a resounding kiss.  “Careful,” he said after a moment.  “Or we might not leave for days, maybe weeks.  And good morning to you, too, my love.”  He kissed the tip of her nose and rose, gathered his clothes over one arm and walked unabashedly to the nearby trees to look after his morning needs.

Aliset rolled to her side and watched him go, his pale hair reaching below his shoulders and swinging gently with his slightly rolling walk.  She saw clearly the many scars on his back that she had felt the night before.  Darcy has assured her they caused him no discomfort, and they were no worse than any other man’s who had served at sea.  She realized how glad she was that he would not be returning to that former life.  With a tad more decorum than her husband, Aliset quickly donned her own clothes to prepare for the day.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #564 on: September 27, 2018, 12:24:14 pm »
Sir Iain Cameron managed to retrieve his cap and secure it over his pale hair while Washburn Morgan settled his own clothes back into somewhat respectable order.  Iain knew the Healing trait ran in the Morgan family, but he had not known Washburn was a Healer.  Good to know that now.  Iain curbed his curiosity about whatever Master Feyd had given to Washburn.  He continued to wear the flask on its cord around his neck but spoke as if he would never touch it.  No gift from Feyd would come without dire consequences, and Iain had no desire to play with fire.  At least not right now.

Iain picked up one of the torches wedged into the holder; he hesitated for a moment and then handed the second torch to Washburn.  He did not know how far, or even if, he could trust Washburn, but on the other hand a torch remaining by the cell would cause someone to investigate if they came this way.

“Follow me and remember I can still control you.”  Iain led the way down the narrow corridor and stopped when they reached the ladder.  “I’ll go first.  The senior guard will be expecting Piers or me to show up soon.  With luck, I can immobilize him without any commotion.  Stay in the shadows and try not to draw attention to yourself. I’ll tell you when to come up.”  Iain stuck his torch in the holder near the foot of the ladder and started climbing up.

Washburn was still not pleased to be taking orders from this man, but he withdrew to one side and placed his torch in the holder beside Iain’s.

Iain ascended the ladder without trying to hide his approach.  As he had told Washburn, the senior guard would be expecting one of them to appear soon.  As Iain’s head appeared in the opening above, he saw that the senior guard was mixing something in a goblet.

“I expected you sooner,” the senior guard said. 

“Piers was having too much fun with our respected guest,” Iain replied as he climbed up the rest of the ladder and entered the guard room.

“You’ll need to go back down and give our guest his special treat.”

“Nay, I need some air, and sleep would be even better,” Iain protested.  “Let Piers do it later.”

“You’ll do as you are told or regret it,” said the senior guard with a sneer.  “This will keep our guest quite uncomfortable for a while.  Be glad you are not one of that race.”

Iain shrugged.  “Piers best not think I’ve given up my turn up here,” he said as he reached for the goblet.

“Not my problem.”  The senior guard held the goblet out toward Iain.

((Will Iain be able to take control of the senior guard’s mind?
Jerusha
!roll 3d6  (focused attempt to take control of the guard’s mind)
8:58:00 PM
@derynibot
2, 6, 3 == 11
 Yes!  (Oops, I rolled one dice too many, but Bynw said to drop the last dice and Iain still succeeds.  Bless you, GM) ))

Iain touched the guard’s hand as he passed the goblet to him.  With practiced ease, Iain took control of the man’s mind. Make no sound. Sit quietly and see nothing. He laid a hand across the guard’s brow, reinforced the controls and then moved to the open hatch.

“Come up now quietly, Sir Washburn,” Iain said into the gloom below.

Washburn lost no time climbing up the ladder and out of the dank dungeon.  Iain repositioned the chair with the unresponsive guard to one end of the table where the guard could only be partially seen if someone opened the door.  If a senior guard was accidently seen napping, most would hesitate to disturb him.  For a moment he looked at the goblet and made a decision. 

Drink this; all of it,” he instructed the senior guard.

Washburn, whose throat was parched from lack of any drink, raised a hand in protest.  “You would waste that drink on him?”

“The wine was meant for you and is likely laced with merasha.  Unless you desire that hell, let’s allow the guard to sleep it off.  All the more convincing.”  Iain placed the now empty goblet beside the guard’s limp hand.

Washburn shuddered. He had had enough of drugged drinks and food.

Iain paused to listen carefully for any sign they had been noticed.  There was none.  “Now we’ll leave here as we entered before, with you as my prisoner.  Valerian’s study is likely above on the next floor, near the portal room.  Be watchful, but give no sign that anything is not what it appears to be.”

Before they moved to the door, Iain glanced at the wooden weapons chest.  “Wait,” he said and opened the lid.  Inside was Washburn’s sword.  Iain hesitated and then retrieved it from the chest.  He handed it across to Washburn, hilt first.  “I am putting a fair amount of trust in this,” he said quietly.

Washburn looked at the sword, part of the Lendour set he thought was lost to him.  “Thank you.  I will not run it through your back.”

“One must be content with small gifts,” Iain said dryly.  He moved to the door and listened closely.  “There is no better time for this.”

Washburn secured his sword to his side and moved forward to stand beside Iain.  Iain grasped his arm and led him through the doorway.

They did not have to go far to reach the stairs leading to the upper levels.  Iain paused at the foot to let another guard descend.  Unlike King Kelson’s court, there was no sense of camaraderie here.  Each man kept his nose to the ground to complete his appointed task.  No one wanted to draw the attention of Lord Brioc or the grand duke.  All the better.

Iain and Washburn ascended the stairs, Washburn playing his part of the docile prisoner.  Iain judged that  Valerian’s study would not be far from the portal room.  There were only two doors that opened off  the corridor and both doors were closed. 

((Will Iain detect anyone in the first room.
Jerusha
!roll 2d6
7:53:40 PM
@derynibot
3, 4 == 7
Failure, no.))

He scanned the first room with his senses as they approached the door; it was empty.  The second door was more sturdily built.  He tried again.

((Will Iain detect someone in the second room
7:53:52 PM
Jerusha
!roll 2d6
7:53:53 PM
@derynibot
3, 5 == 8
Yes))

Iain detected a presence inside this room, but it was very still.  It might be Valerian, or it might not.  He would have to take the chance. He opened the door slightly; whoever was inside did not seem to notice.  He opened the door wider and slipped inside, Washburn behind him.

The room was empty except for an exquisite young woman dozing on the window seat cushions.  He recognized her at once - Sidana!  He moved across the distance to her as swiftly and quietly as he could.  He touched his finger barely against her forehead to take control.

((Will Iain be able to establish control over Sidana.
Jerusha
!roll 2d6
7:54:07 PM
@derynibot
2, 2 == 4
Oops!))

Iain gasped as his powers bounced off Sidana’s unexpected shields.  Sidana’s eyes flew open and she instinctively tried to rise from the window seat.  Iain clapped his hand over her mouth, and with limited options available to him, threw himself over her body to hold her down.

“Washburn,” he hissed.  “She has shields...ouch!”  He fought the impulse to withdraw the hand over her mouth as her teeth sunk into his palm.  “A little help here!”

For just a moment Washburn was torn in his decision, but Iain Cameron was his best hope of escape.  “Let me try this,” he responded.

((Can Washburn block Sidana’s powers
10:17 AM Washburn Rolls for Jerusha to use in her writing.
10:17 AM Washburn !roll 2d6
10:17 AM <•derynibot> I'm back! 6, 6 == 12
Oh yeah!))

Washburn extended his fingertips to the woman’s forehead, searching for the trigger point.  To his innermost joy, he sensed the proper location, as described in the scroll.  With gentle pressure, Washburn blocked whatever Deryni potentials she possessed, including her shields.  As Iain’s powers suddenly overwhelmed her, her cry of pain was muffled behind Iain’s hand.

“Sweet Jesu,” Iain said.   “What did you just do?”  Not waiting for an answer, he reduced the focus of his own powers to ease her distress. “You will relax now and do whatever I say. You will not call for help.  I will not hurt you,”  he added, noting the alarm in her eyes.  “Nor will I compromise you in any way.” Iain laid his hand across her brow to reinforce his controls.

“I blocked her powers,” Washburn responded.

Iain froze momentarily as he disentangled himself from the woman on the window seat, helping her to sit upright again, uncomfortably aware of Sidana’s attractiveness as well as her vulnerability under his controls.  “I have heard of such a skill but thought it lost.”  He turned to look at Washburn.  “Don’t even think it.  You need me to get us to a safe portal; you can’t do it on your own.”

Washburn considered the possibility of turning the tables but knew Darcy’s brother spoke the truth.  “Do you know who she is?”

“Oh aye, that I do,” Iain said.  “She’s a greater prize than you and may ensure our escape.  May I present Sidana de Paor, Pretender Queen of Meara.”
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #565 on: September 29, 2018, 02:37:44 pm »
Lord Jaxom, heir of Trillshire, proudly lead the Earl of Marley along with their combined force of men down a fork off the main Cuiltriene road which was a far less traveled path.  Three or four miles of rugged country passed by before they saw the broken tower of the ruins in the distance. They galloped the last way, watching for glimpses of the lake that filled this end of the valley and seeing the central island upon which once stood a grand cathedral and cloister for the House of Michaeline Knights. As they rode nearer, Brendan saw it really wasn’t an island. A verdant causeway connected the shattered ruins to the road. From their direction the causeway was  straight ahead and the road turned right just before the lake. In its time, there had been a great bridge to go over the expanse of water to the island. When the bridge was felled, sediment must have filled in around the stone and filled up with vegetation to bring about this swampy wilds that made a barely walkable passage to the roofless ruins.

Where the road turned, the Gwynedd soldiers slowed before four men who bravely approached them.  Two youths garnered the most attention, calling and pointing to the ruins. Behind the boys, two men who had been sitting off the road climbed to their feet, using each other for assistance. One was in a uniformed of a guard from a local town, his clothes were stained and torn. The second man in plain clothes limped forward, his calf splinted, his booted foot at an off angle. Jaxom showed his irritation as he shush the boys, for they were jabbering on incoherently about a father or uncle; Brendan figured it had to be the same man. The uniform guard was the one to succeed in quieting the boys. Jaxom address the guard asking what had happened here.

“T'is not but evil in these ruins. I say beware, my lords,” replied the guard who had introduced himself as Andrew. “Even so, we daren’t leave here, as there are men in there who need help. I have heard their voices periodically through the day, begging to be rescued from whatever hell they be caught in. I fear I am no use for doing the rescuing myself,” his gaze over his shoulder had a haunted look, his disability wasn’t from the abrasions up and down his legs. No his injury was more internal than physical. Brendan realized this as he could feel the man’s fear ten feet away. “Farmer Darius can vouch for the evilness there. He has an ankle swelled up tight in his boot, may like be broken. The boys are cousins, Raft and Todd. If they were but two years older, I’d have ordered them back to that evil place. I dared not, however, as Todd’s father is a respected man, he told them to get to the road and stay here. So I’m respecting his last wishes, if that is what they were.  Please, I’m baggin', can you go to the ruins and find the nine other men who went in there.”

As Jaxom got more details out the four, Brendan stood in his stirrups and scanned the tall stone walls of the ruins. He sensed a number of men scattered about the site. As he looked to the half fallen tower he felt a familiar presence within. So this was indeed the right place. Anxious to get to its center, Brendan mentally hailed Lord Sextus Arilan knowing he would answer. Took you long enough to arrive, the brash Arilan answered. I was hoping someone would come along and take care of the town’s folk stuck out here. We can’t get passed that hole in the tunnel roof, not without bringing more rubble down upon the men stuck in that tunnel. They refuse to come toward us and they refuse to go back.  Some horror that has them trapped in there. We dare not abandon the Portal long enough to make that rescue. Although, we did toss food and wine down the hole so they won’t be starving.  Perhaps you can get to them from the main ruins' floor.

We shall endeavor to try. Brendan responded noting the brush infested land bridge that had to be crossed even before getting to the ruins at the center of the lake. He briefly looked up at the sun. They had about three hours of light before it set behind the hills. Much to do in that time. Brendan waved for his men to dismount. He set six men to setting a camp on the road, to settle the horses for the night, and to care for the injured men. He then clapped his hand on Jaxom’s shoulder. “Feel up to leading the way?” he suggested with a gesture toward the causeway. Up until this moment, Jaxom had been so pleased to be leader. One look at the waist high brush and he back down. Brendan pretended he did not hear him. “Lead on and show us a good path through that swamp.”

Shaking his head in disbelief, Brendan watched Lord Jaxom maneuver three of his Tellik men out in front of him. One guardsman, who Brendan was beginning to respect over the others took the lead, finding the least offensive path for the young lord to not soil his quality clothes. The Earl of Marley snickered under his breath as he followed. Behind him, four guards came carrying supplies.

With no more than getting their boots wet, they reached the foot of the cliff-side, found the two ladders that scaled up to the ruins' entrance, and made the climb. Again the Earl of Marley let Lord Jaxom and his man go up first. He breasted the cliff top to stand firmly on the island before the old Cathedral side entrance to find Jaxom confronting two men who spoke in harried voices explaining what had happened.  These men were just as anxious about entering the ruins as Andrew had been on the road. “There be a nest of spiders in there!” one man was gesturing, he had a candlestick in his hand that he looked poised to smash some spider with; the candle had burnt down to a numb. ”Huge spiders!” the other man agreed. Both men pointed to the only opening in the ruins' wall, they shook their fists at it, and talked crazy about spiders the size of men. Brendan walked behind them to a third man leaning up against the wall. His face was black from bruises, both eyes near swollen shut. One leg was splint with a stick.

“What happened here,” Brendan asked the man.

“Captain Stev, at your service,” the guardsman introduced himself. “Never had so much bad luck in all my days!” he exclaimed. “T'is a fear ward over the entrance there.  Half my team could not get pasted it. Andrew went mad and gave me this shiner,” he added pointing to one of his swollen eyes. “Six men passed through and none of them have come out. I fear far worse than imagined spiders has captured them.  Last night there was yelling like a fight broke out. A few have answer my calls, but some have not. I ask you to find them.  Before it goes dark again and the evil returns.”

“Agreed Captain, that is what we are here for. I am Deryni, do you mind if I read your memories. It will help me identify your men.”

“Aye, you may, Lord Marley. It is said you are a leader of men, and a trusted vassal of the kingdom. I freely let you read whatever it is that can help you rescue my men and your brother. Though, I fear he whom we came here to rescue, is here no longer in this place.“

Brendan knelt next to the captain and placed his hand over the man's swollen eyes.  He read the memories of the teams creation to rescue the knight the boy Raft had seen standing on the tower wall. Then all that had transpired after. Brendan wasn’t a healer like his brothers, but he did know how to lessen pain, which he did for the captain. When he stood, he waved over two of his men. “See that these men are taken safely back to the road. Captain Stev, I will endeavor to find the rest of your team. On behalf of my brother, I thank you for your efforts.” Brendan would not say that those efforts likely moved his brother to a new location sooner than otherwise might have happened or that all this had been the catalyst to causing his mother so much pain.  Back in Cuiltrein, he had made contact with his mother, whom he knew was lying about her bolstered strength. He was hoping he could bring this split of his family back into quick oneness. Not an easy task with such a adversary in control.

At the ruins' entrance Brendan came shoulder to shoulder with Jaxom who looked a bit peaked about stepping across the rubble to enter. When Jaxom would have braved it, Brendan put his hand up and halted him. “Let me go first in this, if you don’t mind.”  Jaxom didn’t outwardly show it, but he his mind was an open book expressing his fear, and his relief at not lead the way. When Brendan approached the ward, he knew it for what it was. It gave off the slightest shimmer even in the sunlight. How to break it down. He considered the energy output and decided he needed to save his own for what else lay ahead. “Jaxom would you be willing to lend me a hand in a little play of magic. Nothing will hurt you, I promise.”

Jaxom shuddered but dared not back down, not before his men. Uneasily, he stepped closer to the Deryni lord. “I will help if I can.” he replied, his uncertainty was not too well hidden. Brendan momentarily touched the back of the man’s neck, gaining a touch of control and sealing a connection that would keep the young lord from retreating.

 (( Brendan to break the first fear ward in the ruins..
3:35 AM !roll 3d6
3:35 AM  <•derynibot> I'm back! 3, 4, 6 == 13
3:35 AM  <Brendan> Laurnarose I believe that will work ))

His right hand moved around in a circle, his palm flattening just a breadth before the shimmer of ward energy. A flash of a horde of spiders with beady eyes staring down at him from web covered stone walls filled his mind. Knowing it for what it was, Brendan ignored the creatures. In his connection with Jaxom, he realized he had not completely shuttered the human from the experience. If that had been on purpose, Brendan would never tell.

((Jaxom gets a save test from the spider ward.
10:25 AM !roll 2d6
10:25 AM  <•derynibot> I'm back! 5, 5 == 10))

To Brendan’s surprise the young lordling did not falter in his courage or pride. “Very good, let us take this thing down.”

Brendan’s hands searched for the controls of the ward. It wasn’t a strong ward. It was set with low energy draining off the land. It was meant to last for weeks, if not months at time, especially if bolstered once in a great while by a Deryni touch. Who knows how long it had already been here. Brendan spread his fingers wide, slowly bringing them into his palm, and then he tore the shimmer from the stone and pushed the energy back into the earth.  The ward was gone, perhaps not permanently but at least until someone came along to reset it. He released Jaxom and stepped forward into a large open space surrounded by four tall walls with sunlit grass across the floor and warm baked rocks scattered here and there. Brendan was quick to single out the haunted heart beats of three men down a side tunnel. They were unmoving and shivering in the dark.

You could have got these three out,  Brendan sent across to Sextus who had stayed in mild Rapport with the Earl.

Tried, the baron claimed. They wouldn’t come up out of the hole to join us. I think they thought we were more ghosts. Something is keeping them from going back, too. You will have to see what that is. Something like the ward you just released is my guessing. I hope they ate the food we sent them, otherwise they will be right hungry men. Like I said, they think we were banshees or worse. Sextus’s tone was not too forgiving of folk who didn’t accept help when it was given. Brendan sighed, he himself was more forgiving of men’s fears than most. Sextus had not caught the Earl’s discontent, as he continued his Rapport. I’m sending the three men I have here, down to you at the tunnel hole. They will have to shimmy back down through it. I don’t think a man of your stature would want to climb up it. The opening is narrow. Maybe you could blast the hole bigger, if you feel the need to get up here to the portal. No worries, I’m keeping the Portal well guarded.

I’ll see what I can do, Brendan replied. He did want to see first hand where his brother had been held, just in case his mother had missed some clue. Though he doubted that she had, not from what she had shared with him.

Brendan found the side tunnel and spotted the shimmer of the yellow glow from a ward halfway down the darkened tunnel. Just as the last ward, this one too was using mother-earth as it’s power source, recently augmented by the Deryni who had held his brother here. Three men stood beyond the ward, fearful to come near. They might not see the physical glow as a Deryni would, but they could feel that it was there.

((Brendan> Laurnarose Rolling to release second fear ward in the ruins.
1:22 PM !roll 3d6
1:22 PM <•derynibot> I'm back! 5, 6, 2 == 13))

Brendan again asked Jaxom to assist him in the energy drain to release the ward. Having success in the last ward had bolstered Jaxom’s pride. He would be unbearable after this success.  With one hand on Jaxom and one hand casting outward to the shimmering field, the earl grasped the ward energy and cast it back into the earth. As he did so he felt the unease of ghostly presence surrounding him in this darkened passageway. He had not thought it neccessary to shield the younger lord from the experience until it was too late.

(( Second ward for Jaxom
11:14 AM !roll 2d6
11:14 AM <•derynibot> I'm back! 1, 4 == 5))

Jaxom gave a shudder and would have bolted if not for Brendan’s tightening controls. Brendan scolded himself for his neglect. Shamed filled him, this was not a noble Deryni way of treating humans under his command. Brusquely, he quelled Jaxom’s fear and rebuilt the man up with courage. Jaxom was certainly a man of posturing. The lordling brushed off the incident like it had never happened, and beckoned the three men to come out of the tunnel.

“Come out now, you three, come out into the light were it is safe.”  Jaxom called. Brendan noticed Jaxom was the first of them to reach the safety back in the sunlight.

A man with a pitchfork was first to move out. Practically at a run, yelling “I’m Free, I’m free.” A young man came next guiding an older man who had a limp. “I’m Matt. Couldn’t leave John behind. But my friend is up there somewhere, I have not heard his voice all day.”  Matt pointed up the hole at the far end, up in the ceiling.

Brendan put a hand on the older man. “I take it you are John? Yes! Good to meet you. Your son and nephew are well, back at our camp on the road. Let Lord Jaxom get you back to them.”

“Thank you, my lord.” The older man said. “I’m sorry we could not do better for the knight we came to rescue.”

“Under the circumstances you did well enough.”

Before the men from above came too near to the hole, Brendan studied the opening. He decided if he broke off just one portion of the stone ceiling it would make the hole considerable larger.

((!roll 3d6 11:38 AM <•derynibot> I'm back! 2, 4, 6 == 12))

Brendan gave three tugs of his power, a skill that all three brothers had gained from their mother; to move objects with just the mind. A piece of  weathered stone came apart from the rest. With care Brendan let it fall the floor making an echoing “clunk!”, but not shattering apart as it might have without magic.

Soon enough a guard handed three wounded men down into the tunnel. One wiry fellow named Remy had a slight haze over his mind. Was that from Sextus’s attempt to blur the man’s compulsion to thwart the rescue attempt?  Brendan would have to teach Sextus how to do that right. But for now, Remy was harmless enough. Back at camp. Brendan would see the herdsman's mind cleared correctly. He let his guards take the last of the three man out. He put a thankful hand on the shoulder of the guard Hamish. “I thank you for all your efforts,” he said it with sincerity.

Hamish looked up realizing who he was talking too. “I pray that your brother will be found and returned home soon. I wish we had done more.”

“Thanks to you, we know where he has been and we now know where he is currently imprisoned. I promise you that we will get him out.”

Brendan didn’t watch them go. Instead he quickly climbed the rubble to the enlarged ceiling hole and followed the Rhemuth armsman up the rock debris field to come to the break in the tower wall and the Portal there where he hopped to learn more.


« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 01:00:39 pm by Laurna »

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #566 on: October 01, 2018, 01:53:35 pm »
Aliset smoothed the creases out of her blue gown before folding it and packing it away in her rucksack. She had put on Robert’s form and clothing again. Part of her wished to remain in her own form, but there was no telling what they might encounter on the road ahead, and she did not wish to cause any undue distractions for Darcy. Hopefully retaining the squire’s appearance would serve as an unspoken reminder that she was quite capable of holding her own in a fight and need not be treated like some sheltered Court maiden likely to fall into a swoon at the first hint of danger and require rescue.

Thoughts of Darcy brought back thoughts of the previous night. She might not have set forth from Rhemuth intending to become a bride, but now that the unexpected had happened, she thought she could quickly warm up to the notion! A blush heated her cheeks as her lips softened into a dreamy smile, which she hid behind a curtain of her hair as she inspected the contacts of her sack more closely to ensure everything was packed away securely. Nothing seemed out of place, aside from the thin strip of leather which she’d set aside to bind her hair back with. Deftly braiding the loose strands back into a Border braid, she secured it with the leather lacing and stood, hefting the sack onto her back.

As she straightened, she heard the familiar sound of a horse’s hooves cantering up the road towards them. The horse and rider were still hidden from sight by a curve in the road and a low hill, but the misadventures of her recent journey to Rhemuth had left Aliset wary, and she stepped back, hiding herself behind one corner of the stone chapel’s wall, one hand going to her belt dagger hilt. She wished she had some longer range weapon on hand. She had her new throwing daggers, only recently purchased in Droghera, but she did not wish to risk losing either unless the need was desperate.

A glance down at the ground near her feet reminded her of another possible means of defence, and she stooped down, quickly gathering up a few stones roughly the size of hens’ eggs to put in her belt pouch. Rising, she loosened the narrow scarf she wore around her neck. She had intended to use it later in the day to help wipe the sweat from her brow during the midday summer heat and keep her vision clear, but it would also serve nicely as a makeshift sling. Later, she might make a proper one from a scrap of leather and some braided cord.  Aliset was no stranger to using a sling; many were the evenings her family had dined on coney stew at Caer Mariot after she’d used one to take down unwary prey venturing too deeply into her mother’s herb and vegetable garden. And stones were much easier to replace than throwing knives if one were to find oneself in need of a weapon while traveling between towns and villages.

The approaching rider came into sight, and Aliset breathed a sigh of relief, for he wore Haldane livery. Father Columcil stepped out of the chapel to greet him. After a few more moments of wary observation, just in case all was not as it seemed, Aliset moved forward to join them. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Darcy emerge from the woods and head in their direction.

“Lord Darcy,” the courier said and dismounted. He bowed as the young man approached.

Darcy had not yet donned his leather cap, and the morning sun glistened on his pale, fair hair.  Who he was likely to be was unfortunately obvious.  He glanced at Columcil, whose slight shrug indicated he had learned nothing yet from the courier.

“Good day to you,” said Darcy.  “What brings you this way?”

“His Majesty sent me to find you, my Lord.”  The courier reached into his saddlebag and pulled out a small leather pouch, similar to the one Darcy carried in the hidden pocket of his sea bag.  Darcy accepted the pouch and opened it to reveal a set of ward cubes.  He quickly closed it back up.

“Did His Majesty send any instructions with this?”

“Nothing more than you would know who could make the best use of the contents,” the courier replied.

“He sent no other news or news from any others?” Columcil asked.

The courier shook his head and then nodded to acknowledge Robert, who stood quietly beside Darcy.  “His instructions were to intercept you as fast as possible and give Lord Darcy the pouch. The items it contains were discovered in Lord Washburn’s last known location. The Dowager Duchess of Corwyn was unable to use them to locate her son’s current whereabouts, but His Majesty hopes that perhaps you might have greater success, since presumably you will be closer to him in Meara than in Rhemuth.”

The courier stayed only long enough to rest and water his horse, gratefully accepting Father Columcil’s blessing before heading back the way he had come.

Aliset glanced at her new husband with a thoughtful expression on her face once the courier was out of sight. “How very curious!  I wonder what that was all about?” Holding her palm up, she asked, “Might I have a look?”

Darcy handed her the bag. “You can keep them, if you like. I already have a set, and besides, I suspect you have a better idea of what ought to be done with them than I do.”

Aliset nodded as she studied the ward cubes, pulling one out and sensing its energies. “I had hoped maybe these had belonged to Lord Washburn and we might find him with them, but they don’t have the right feel. They may have belonged to his captor, though. I could try to use them to scry for him, but perhaps not here. Maybe tonight, when we’re somewhere less likely to be interrupted.”

“And once we’re warded,” Columcil added.

“Aye, we’d certainly want that also,” Aliset agreed, slipping the ward cube back into the pouch and tying it to her belt.
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Offline Bynw

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #567 on: October 01, 2018, 02:28:37 pm »
It was the only day Feyd would get to relax for a bit. But truly this day had been full of work. With 2 contracts to fulfill he had been busy with various preparations.

After the early morning drafting of his letter, he had set it aside. To review or amend later if needed. Then he reached out to his agents in Ratharkin to have them report back on Lord Oswald and the fate of Lady Aliset. Likewise he had reached out to his agents in Rhemuth as well. Since the abduction attempt on Lady Aliset almost botched his own abduction of Washburn. He knew there was a chance that the King's men had prevented her escape through the Portal. That is why he went first after all. If caught, it would have cost the Moors life.

Feyd knew he would not hear back from his agents until the evening hours. Thus giving him time to work on other preparations and plans. His primary objective was to get his Ward Cubes back. Left behind in the hasty escape from the Michaeline ruined tower. Perhaps he would have a bit of luck and the Ward Cubes would be left undisturbed.

He had made his way across town, back to the Portal that was constructed here by his Order long ago. Funny how in the dark of night his Order managed to construct several ports across the 11 Kingdoms that they could use. Undetected and unknown by anyone else. Although now Feyd had begin to wonder just how long his Order would remain completely hidden from the eyes of Gwynedd and it's Haldane King. In the East and the south, his Order is whispered about. Some call it legend and others know it to be fact.

Once inside the protected chamber. Feyd slipped to his knees and placed his hands on the Portal square. Seeking out the Portal at the Michaline ruins. His mind recoiled in fear the moment he touched the Portal there. The trap placed by his Order had been removed. It could very well be re-trapped at this point. And possibly the cubes themselves discovered and moved. It was too great a risk to attempt to jump through at this point. Perhaps another day. Another Portal lost in the previous contract. That made at least 2 of them that he was currently aware of being compromised. But the great work is almost done and the time is finally at hand after 2 centuries of waiting and training. Vengeance will be had and the Deryni set free.

 While Feyd enjoyed his midday meal in safety he redrafted the letter he had written earlier in the day. Signed it. And stamped it with two seals. His personal on the left and the seal of his Order on the right. Setting both with a spell. He had carefully rolled up the parchment and placed it into a scroll case which was then sealed as well.

He had thought about Washburn, with a smile too. The fools at Brioc's castle had no idea about the Gwynedd spy among them. And the Grand Duke had handed Washburn over to the spy as well. He knew that at this moment back far to the north in Meara. Washburn was discovering his powers had returned but lacked the protection of his Shields, they would not return until later.

Through the streets he went about his day. Sending the scroll case off with a handsomely paid courier. He would see that the instructions were carried out on it's delivery.

Safely in for the rest of the day. Feyd makes his final preparations for the coming contracts. He made certain his hair was died the proper color. He made certain to acquire the proper clothing he would need. He maintains his look. Without the ability to shapechange, appearing as someone else is a bit more work but also not discoverable as quickly. He knew he would return to Gwynedd. So he must blend in. A foreign scholar would not due now. That is fine for appearing at Court. But now must in other places more. He would blend in well. Even as another foreigner. No one would take notice of him really. And that was the way Feyd wanted it. Blend in, vanish in a crowd, able to go to the places that were frequented by his next target.

All dressed he admires the reflection in the mirror. He adjusts a bit of his attire that was out of place. His hair was put to the right color. And he could feel that the tonsure at his crown was the proper size and shape for a travelling priest of Torenth. A final addition was the simple wooden crucifix he added to his priestly vestments. And here Feyd was no more. Only Paulos, a priest on a pilgrimage across the 11 Kingdoms to bridge an understanding through Faith.

Just after his evening meal Paulos had heard from his agents in both Ratharkin and Rhemuth. The Lady Aliset's abduction had failed. She was safely cloistered in the Queen's Tower at Rhemuth. With that knowledge Paulos relaxes a bit. And spends the evening scrying for his Ward Cubes.

<bynw> !roll 2d6
<@derynibot> 3, 5 == 8

Online Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #568 on: October 03, 2018, 01:18:49 pm »

“Now that you’ve got her, how do you plan to get her and us out of here?” Wash asked in a very low, determined whisper. His eyes returned often to the door; so far, the door remained closed. The all too recent prisoner was certain that at any moment Grand Duke Valerian’s study would be overflowing with guardsmen, or worse, the grand duke himself. “It might be hours before they find Piers or even try to wake that senior guard, But her? They will be missing her like a half-hour ago, around the time she fell asleep in here. We have to go. You just tell me where and how.” He fingered his sword and moved toward the door impatiently.

Iain ignored the knight at his back while he finished establishing controls over his now human lady abductee. When he was certain he had established a mind set for her, he stood away from her. He gave her a deep respected bow. “My Queen, Guard Archer at your service,” he acknowledged her. In the next instance, he pushed the palm of his hand against Washburn’s advancing chest. The knight had rushed toward the girl with intentions of picking her up bodily and swinging her over his shoulder. When Washburn was stopped, Iain looked imploringly at the aristocratic lady. “Your Majesty, I am so sorry to interrupt your nap. The grand duke has asked me to find you. He requests that you join him in the audience room, there to meet with a guest of his. He promises to explain. Something about backing of funds from the east.”

“Does this guest offer my crown homage? I will meet him in my throne room,” the queen replied, nonplussed.

“Very well, Your Majesty, I am to escort you there.” Iain did not challenge her. Valerian’s audience room and her throne room were one and the same, also known as Brioc’s grand hall before the rebellion began. What was key about the room was the Portal stone situated in the center back half of the ornate floor.

“For appearances, I will allow your escort.” She said as she stood from the window seat. There was a moment where she gave both men a disquieted look, like they weren’t who she thought they should be, then the moment passed and she settled into her normal ways. “In my home, guards walk behind me. Three paces, if you will.”

“Yes, your Majesty,” Iain said with another bow. As she straightened her dress,  Iain pulled Washburn aside. “You’re still my prisoner as we follow her to the throne room.” Iain could not resist a lopsided smile for the room’s audacious title. “The corridor we came up leads along the length of the north wall. Turn the corner and you’ll be in the west wall passageway. There will be only one door off that hall, the door to our throne room. Beyond it will be the keep’s main stairs. Those ascend from the entrance on the first floor to all floors above us. Whatever happens, we won’t want to go up. Unless you know a way to fly off the roof, going up would get us trapped.”

“I do remember the details of the portal room. It was just this morning when you marched me from there as your prisoner,” Washburn responded with a low growl. He looked up to be sure Sidana could not hear him. She was busy pinning the edge of her veil in place, not noticing the two men nearby.

Iain appeased the taller man with a touch on his shoulder. “I will escort Sidana into the audience room.  She will be my decoy. When I have discovered how many guards are there, I will take care of them. If there are too many, I will signal you to enter. Make a big entrance, one that is distracting, and I will clear any guards remaining.

“What about the archers who were on the balcony?” Washburn asked. “Do we need to worry about them? I distinctly recall several up there when I arrived. One even loosed an arrow.”

“The senior guard told me those men were released back to the walls after Feyd’s departure. They should not be there.” Iain gave Wash an assuring look. “One more thing. Don’t use your mind speech. Your ability to tightly focus your powers is still returning. There is a risk you might broadcast your speech to far more than me. A sensitive Deryni somewhere in the keep might hear you.”

“Devil’s craw!” Washburn whispered. “Anything else? Have I already given us away? What of the power I used to block her?”

“I don’t think so. You’re not broadcasting when using trance-like powers, so long as it is only internal. But arcane attacks? Let’s not risk it. Use your sword, make quick, quiet kills if you must. Leave the arcane to me.”

Washburn nodded, liking this less and less. Freedom was so close, maybe seventy feet and one bend in the corridor away, yet it could have been miles. He fingered the knot over his sword hilt, assuring himself of it’s quick release.  Then he submitted himself once more to play the prisoner with Iain’s hand around his arm. Iain made a cursory search of the hallway before he opened the door for the queen.

((Is the hallway clear of patrol guards. 5 ,6 the way is clear.
2:04 AM !roll 2d6
2:04 AM  <•derynibot> I'm back! 1, 2 == 3))

His mental controls stopped both persons under his touch from moving forward. The girl didn’t notice it, but that control irritated Washburn, who knew it for what it was and was hating every minute of someone else controlling his actions.

((2:05 AM<LaurnaAFK> Laurnarose Waiting for the patrol to move on. Do they move on?
2:05 AM !roll 2d6
2:05 AM <•derynibot> I'm back! 5, 4 == 9))

After a long count of foot falls coming near and then moving away, both men found they could breathe again, for they had held their breaths during those many long seconds.

“Clear,” Iain whispered at last. He let the Pretender Queen march her pretty, majestic self out into the hall.  She turned decisively left along this north facing hall, away from the back corner stairwell Iain had used to come up from the dungeon. The three turned the bend in the hall to walk the west side of the keep. Here the afternoon sun spilled through several narrow windows. Across from one window was a single large door into the audience room, or to Sidana, her throne room. Currently the door was closed. A little beyond that door, the hall ended at the main stairs. This being the public portion of the keep, the archway at the head of the stairs was held up by ornate fluted columns, ones imported from the ruins of old Rűm. These columns signified status and wealth, a display of extravagance made by Lord Brioc de Paor.  As a recent addition they stood out from the wall in such a way that they did not meet the outer walls. Rather, instead they left perfect small indentations for a man to lean into. Apparently the architect never consider the blinding glare of the afternoon sunlight making wells of bright light and wells of shadow all down the hallway.  The space between the outer wall and that column was the darkest of them all. It was here Iain released his prisoner and bid Washburn to hide and remain vigilant. Iain knew better than to make a command like Wait here. For under Washburn’s current condition, the knight would have followed him to the word, no matter the circumstances. Instead he said, “Do what you need to do to not be seen. And If you are seen, take care of it promptly. I will call you when it is clear to come in.”

Washburn understood. He released the knot securing his sword, pulling the blade free from its scabbard, and held it low at his hip to hide the shine of the blade. Deep into the recess, he disappeared in the shadow.  If someone came straight toward him, the afternoon sunlight would blind them to his presence in the dark. As Wash settled there, he studied the profile of the Pretender Queen. She waited stoically for Iain to give her permission to enter her throne room. She stood in the well of light like an angel blessed by Heaven, her honey hair tinged with red streaks and her complexion as fair as a babe’s. As she straightened to her full height, Washburn mused that she and Iain were of matched height. That petite stature outwardly projected calm authority; inwardly, however, she was anything but calm. Sidana had the mental squeamishness of one whose normal sensitivities had gone strangely absent. Washburn knew that feeling all too well. He had been living it for three days. Iain just took it as unease from his controls. Now that Washburn’s powers were returning, he understood that discomfort he felt within her. The lack of extrasensory perception was as disquieting as losing a sense like touch or smell.

The Blocking trait had its uses. Indeed it did. But didn’t that scroll make several warnings about the moral and ethical necessity of using it? Taking someone who was Deryni, even someone untrained, and making them human was a cruelty nearly as much as putting someone in prison. It might not be a total blindness for someone untrained, but it was a loss of sensitivity for anyone who had the essence of power since birth, similar to the silencing of all background sounds from birds, and the wind, and the flow of water down rivers. Like the dulling of the vibrant colors of summer to that of bleak winter. A total disturbance in how the world is perceived. Warring with himself over the ethics of harming someone in this way, even the enemy, Washburn sank deeper into the blackness of the corner. The door to the portal room opened. The guard on duty had his full surprised attention on the queen. He greeted her with a bow and questioned her reason for being there. “The duke is away,” he said.  Iain must have mentally controlled her to walk inside, and he moved with her, closing the door behind him. Just before the door closed, Sidana was heard to say, “I have need of his company. My father is recovering and I want him to know of it.”

Wash eased his stance, yet stayed tightly in the corner. Was it really going to be this easy to escape? Wash considered his optimism. He hadn’t escaped yet. Those earlier pessimistic escape plans of his had been from a man with no hope, a prisoner who was looking at becoming a merasha-induced living corpse with no hope of survival beyond his ransom. Now, he had a sword in his hand and at least a fighting chance. He kept a wary eye on the hallway. He dared not even use his powers to scan if anyone was coming. His lack of shielding would certainly alert someone to his presence here. Again he wondered just what Feyd had been playing at. The time between his returning powers and the senior guard’s orders to dowse him with merasha had been minute. If not for Piers, he might have missed this opportunity. Was it truly an opportunity for escape, or merely a tease before being captured again? He watched the portal room door and wanted desperately to enter. However, he could not override Iain’s orders. I will call you when it is clear to come in. Damn that.

((<Laurna> Laurnarose  Does Iain call him before another patrol comes near. Success is yes.
2:45 AM !roll 2d6
2:45 AM  <•derynibot> I'm back! 1, 3 == 4))

Silent as a mouse was Washburn, then he heard a new set of foot falls on stone coming up the stairs behind the wall at his back.  He pushed his body deep into the corner recess, muscles tense, prepared to fight if he must. A guard entered the hall way within swords reach it was fortunate for him that he looked toward the audience room door highlighted by the light from the window.

((2:45 AM Laurna> Laurnarose Does Washburn stay hidden in the shadow. success is yes.
2:46 AM !roll 2d6
2:46 AM  <•derynibot> I'm back! 6, 4 == 10
2:46 AM <Laurna> Laurnarose cool.))

For a heart pounding minute Washburn watched him. The guard passed him up then continued on around the corner.

Come in! came the clear command of Iain’s mental voice. Thank the Lord it had not come a moment sooner.  Washburn would have followed those orders, possibly giving himself away to the last patrolling guard. With the way clear, Wash quickly stepped to the audience room door, opened it, and slipped inside. The queen was standing pale and forlorn in the center of the room. Iain was easing the body of the guard before him down to the ground. One last twist of a dagger through the guard’s back, then Iain pulled his dagger from the man’s heart, letting him fall dead at the queen’s feet. Stunned, Sidana gasped and readied to scream. Washburn jumped to her side and clasped a hand over her mouth.  Unperturbed, Iain wiped his bloodied blade on the dead guard’s clothes.  He looked up at the knight, “Release her. She won't scream, will you, my Queen of Meara?” Washburn did as he was told; whether he agreed or not, it was not his decision to make.  “My Queen,” Iain continued, “I just saved you from this man. He was a traitor. Wanted you for himself, he did. I made sure he didn’t touch you. Remember how he tried to touch you?”

Washburn watched the girl’s face change as her memories changed. She was filled with confusion. She knew what Iain said was untrue but could not refute the image he had planted in her mind. This gave the Lendour knight pause. Could he honestly believe anything that he thought he remembered to be true? Three men had been in his mind, and who knew what notions they had planted there. Was any of this even real? Or was it all contrived? Perhaps he was already in a merasha-induced coma and just making up this escape in his dreams. How realistic was it that they had actually captured the pretender queen? Wash didn’t know, all he could do was carry on. The ending would be the telling of it all.

“We are clear here. There was only the one guard. Lock the door.”  Iain tossed Wash the dead guard’s keys, then he took Sidana by the hand and together they walked over to a gold and black inlay set of cut stone.  The center was black only three feet square. Other similar squares were scatter about the pattern on the floor. But this square had an aura of a Portal recently used. Wash secured the door, then quickly returned to the proper square. His own palms itched to touch it and discover it’s signature. He stood opposite Iain, who had knelt beside the pattern of black stone. “Sure enough, Valerian has trapped the Portal, as he said he would. We can not call reinforcements to jump to here, that is a certainty. I do not have the skill to break such a trap. There is a chance it is not trapped for those leaving. Be watchful, this will take a moment to see if we can use it without triggering Valerian's trap.”

That anxious moment was the longest in Washburn's memory.

Online Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #569 on: October 06, 2018, 05:26:10 am »
The Baron of Isles had his full focus on the Portal stone under his palms for several minutes. Shaken by what he learned, he sat back on his haunches, his hands brushing his knees as if to wipe the filth of the stone off his hands. The trap Valerian had placed here had a bitterness in its essence. The grand duke had had cause; his future father-in-law had just been stabbed and poisoned by a man Valerian feared. It was a telling moment during the prisoner’s exchange and payment, where Valerian’s overt respect for the master assassin became clear. Iain wondered if the grand duke knew about the Black Order of Death. So very few did. Perhaps it was mere happenstance that the Order had picked up the contract for kidnapping a Morgan. He supposed that if another assassins’ guild had picked up that deal first, they would have backed out the moment the Order became involved. Most likely, Valerian had put out the word with his discreet underworld contact. It was a simple deal, a large payment for the kidnapping of a high noble, the target being the youngest son of Alaric Morgan. Upon successful delivery of this man, he would pay. No Morgan, no deal. Most likely Valerian experienced dismay over Master Feyd’s first response that he would complete the deal. At which point the deal was in play, impossible to stop. To Iain’s viewpoint, Brioc’s double-cross on the payment and Valerian’s quick responding over-payment proved to Iain just how unsettled Valerian had been by Feyd’s close proximity. At that point it had nothing to do with Morgan and everything to do with ridding themselves of Feyd. The strength in the trap on the portal stone was further proof of it.

Iain took in a steadying breath. What all this meant was that even with every effort he could muster, he would not be capable of breaking this trap. It would take a master of the arcane and several subordinates supplying energy to succeed.  Iain avoided Sir Washburn’s stare as he spelled out the problem. “Valerian has trapped the Portal in such a way that only himself and a few of his trusted advisors can leave here. I don’t think we can leave this way.”

“What!?” Washburn exclaimed, just remembering to keep his voice down. “This is madness! We need to be out of here before someone finds us!” Wash scanned the upper gallery. There would be an entrance up there from the third floor; a guard could patrol the gallery at any moment.

“Actually, we need someone who is attuned to this thing to find us,” Iain corrected Wash. ”What our lives will depend on is just how few we can attract as we bait the hook for the right man.”

“What about him?” Washburn asked, pointing to the felled guard.

“He’s a bit too dead and a bit too human. What we need is a Deryni, one who's been granted permission to come and go from here. We will need some part of him anyway: a hand, a finger, or a cup of blood should be an activating trigger to the portal. Just like what was used in the library annex when you were abducted.”

“A hand, you say.” The knight raised in a chivalrous court winced at the prospect. Killing in battle was one thing. Taking off a hand was punishment meted out by prison guards, not knights of the realm. “If it means our escape, then I can get that if there is no other way.” Washburn considered the methodology. “Who will our target be? How do we get them in range of being abused?”

“We use her,” Iain nodded toward SIdana. She was standing silent and still, outwardly as pretty as a doll, inwardly as ferocious as a caged lion. “Let’s pray we can handle those who come when we have her make the call. We can’t afford to waste too much time either. We need to escape before Valerian returns and finds us. I don’t relish an arcane battle with him.”

“He murdered my father,” came the dangerous clear tone of Washburn’s low voice. He would take up that battle in an instant. Yet after a moment, he brushed aside that vengeance. “We are better off making our escape with her than taking the risk of battle with Valerian.” He settled on agreeing to Iain’s plan. “Could we kidnap the girl’s father? Lord Brioc might not be as human as he claims. His daughter surely is not.”

“Wouldn’t want to attempt kidnapping him. When the girl left her father’s side, he was protected by a guard detail and a physician. Like I told you, we don’t want to go up the stairs. We need the right person to come to us.”

“You’re certain we can't break the portal trap with our combined efforts?” Washburn knelt down with his knees at the edge of the stone. He placed his sword on the floor beside him and then set both palms flat against the cold black granite. Using every effort that he had, he focused on the stone and searched for the portal’s signature.

He got nothing, other than knowing a portal was there; the signature itself evaded him.

“That is a waste of your energy,” Iain chimed in. “We don’t have the stamina to break down this portal trap. There are two knights with the grand duke and a lady or two close to Sidana. I am betting they are Deryni and they each can use this portal.”

The thought of harming a woman did not set well in Washburn’s mind. “Two Deryni knights, you say? I can best two at once. Would be better if you can manage to get the attention of only one of the two. If they bring the guard detail with them, that could be our downfall. Would it be easier to escape out the window?” Washburn sighed.

Iain considered that option for a moment. There were windows along the length of the south wall.  Windows that faced the courtyard and the gate house of the fortress. No one was scaling that wall without being seen. Iain could see Washburn making the calculations of escaping by foot. Both men came to the same conclusion at the same time. That was impossible. The portal was their only means of escape.

The Lendour knight took in a deep breath and let it out. “There is one other solution we have not considered. I swear to you that I will never be a prisoner again. Death first, or Madness!” He hissed the last word under his breath. His left hand reached into his tunic and fished out a leather cord. At the end of the cord was a smallish green-capped wine skin. “I don’t think this is the right time in which Feyd meant for me to use this. I think he wanted me to use it against the Grand Duke Valerian. Yet, I can think of no greater need than escape. One drink….” He caught his breath as he said it, then bolstered his determination. “One drink might give me the power to diffuse the portal trap. Two drinks would for sure. I could take on both knights at once if I had to after drinking two gulps of Blue Fyre.” He backed off a little from that thought. “Two is madness for sure. I’ll drink one gulp then and take my chances.  If it were just me, I would not take the risk at all. Easier to fall on my sword and be done with all this.” His sense of chivalry kicked in; he looked up at the pretender queen. What he saw was a beautiful woman in need. Not the enemy, but a pawn of the enemy.   “We have her, a great prize, indeed. If I do this, you can get her away, yes?”

“Wait, I’ll take the drink.” Iain held his hand out for Washburn to give it to him. Even under Iain’s compulsion to follow his orders, Wash hesitated. Something in the back of his mind kept him from handing across the wine skin. “Damn Feyd! Unless you want to fight me for it, I don’t think I can let you have it. I am not even sure I am supposed to have it just now; again something tells me ‘No’.” Almost fighting with himself, Washburn brought the flask to eye level. He closed his eyes, concentrated on steadying his racing heart beat and put his fingers over the cap, willing his fingers to pull out the stopper.  The madness that Feyd had described could not be worse than his last day spent back in that dungeon. He wouldn’t live long in anyway, he had made a deal with the assassin to kill him if madness was to be his fate.

His fingers never pulled the cap free, for in that second a current of air stirred above the stone. Where there had been no one a heart beat before, now a man was standing there-- a dangerous man that both Iain and Washburn instantly identified. The arriving Deryni was a few heart beats behind the other men to realize what was happening. It took those few seconds for him to recovered his equilibrium from the portal jump he had just made. Those seconds cost him much. The man before him was leaping forward; a man he knew as one of his guards. Still sharp from the necessary focus of making the jump, Valerian’s perception bounced off the guard's shields. This guard had not declared himself as Deryni to the captain. An enemy hidden in his ranks? There was another man kneeling behind Valerian, apparently human and harmless for he felt no shields there. In time that man could be handled. But not the charging spy, Valerian could not pull his sword before the guard crashed into him. ((-1-))

Iain was sharp and fast, taking advantage of the confusion in the grand duke’s arrival. Before anyone could pull weapons into play, Iain tackled Valerian's knees and knocked him to the floor. ((-2-))

The son of Teymuraz slammed his back against the polished stone. His landing put him within arms reach of the kneeling Lendour knight. It was then to his chagrin that Valerian recognized Morgan. Fury was in Morgan’s eyes. The sight of his father’s murderer sent Washburn’s heart to pounding. His mind screamed, Take the blue Fyre, take it now! Only he knew right well it was too late for that. The drug didn’t act instantaneously. This second was all he had to correct the horrors of the many days just past. The element of surprise would be lost if he didn’t attempt that which he could do. If the man recovered his wits before he tried, he may not get that chance again.

Washburn dropped the wine-skin back on its cord. His sword beside him wasn’t what he sought. His bare hand grabbed what he needed, the back of the enemy's collar. With a fist full of fabric, Morgan hauled his father’s murderer closer to him. Knowing his new talent well enough, he touched the top of Valerian’s head and searched for the trigger point. ((-3-))

He was too anxious, he needed his Healer’s calm. A man unconscious would have been easier to work with, or so had said that deciphered scroll. Calm was evasive, and so too was this man whom he was holding. Washburn clenched his fist to stop Valarian’s struggle to get away. Valerian didn’t make it, Iain pounced on the duke with determination and agility. ((-4-))
__________________
Rolls for round one of the fight:
((-1- Initiative test between Iain and Valerian. Rolled during second writing. First rolls were a tie. Second rolls in play
Iain   12:19 PM !roll 2d6
12:19 PM <•derynibot> I'm back! 6, 1 == 7 gains initiative
Valerian  12:20 PM !roll 2d6
12:20 PM <•derynibot> I'm back! 5, 1 == 6))

((-2- Iain’s attack Rolled during first writing
12:52 AM !roll 2d6
12:52 AM  <•derynibot> I'm back! 3, 5 == 8, successful hit))

((-3- Washburn’s attack from behind with 6XP success on 3,4,5,6
12:52 AM !roll 2d6
12:52 AM  <•derynibot> I'm back! 2, 2 == 4 failed blocking attempt, darn))

((-4- Valerian struggles to get in an attack on either man
12:25 PM !roll 2d6
12:25 PM <•derynibot> I'm back! 1, 3 == 4 failed hit))
______________________

Iain was fastest again. His palm slammed over the grand duke’s eyes.  The full might of his mind slammed against Valerian’s shields. ((-5-))

Valerian’s body tensed as he strengthened those shields against this new attack. ((-6-))

Iain’s bombardment was as insistent as a battering ram against the gates of the mind. Valerian cowed by the pain. But the pain itself was not debilitating. Valerian reestablished his focus. He stilled his body, gathered his strength, and struck back like a cobra with a single shock wave that scorched the hand of the man who had been touching him. ((-7-))

 The Deryni guard was thrust away, his bombardment had come to an end. Paces away, he staggered to keep his feet under him. His hand cradled to his chest his head pounding from the blast.

A break in the violence prevailed for a second.  Valerian strengthened his shields and recovered from the full energy outlay of his attack.  In that second, Washburn's nemesis was distracted. That was all that Washburn needed. Focusing down with every ounce of calm he could muster, Washburn touched the side of Grand Duke Valerian’s head and released the blocking trigger. ((-8-))
____________________________

Rolls for round two of the fight:
((-5- Iain still has initiative. He is ritual trained. If he uses arcane power to attack Valerian, 2d6 roll success on 4,5, 6
12:28 PM !roll 2d6
12:28 PM <•derynibot> I'm back! 3, 6 == 9 success hit))

((-6- Valerian save test from Iain’s attack
12:29 PM !roll 3d6
12:29 PM <•derynibot> I'm back! 2, 1, 4 == 7 failed save test))

((-7- Valerian is spell master 3d6 arcane attack
12:30 PM !roll 3d6
12:30 PM <•derynibot> I'm back! 5, 5, 3 == 13 success hit))

((-8- Washburn;s attack from behind. Rolled during first writing. 6XP to block Valerian success on 3,4,5,6
2:05 AM !roll 2d6
2:05 AM <•derynibot> I'm back! 4, 6 == 10 successful blocking))

_______________________________

For a moment in time, all three men froze. Iain assessed his injury and began to stand, bringing the girl over to stand behind him. Valerian lay still as a dead man in that moment.  He could not comprehend the sudden lack of shields and magic that prevailed through his body. And Washburn pulled himself back out of his Healer’s trance.

Iain was the first to move. His dagger was pulled from his boot and held firm in his hand as he once more used his lean agility to leapt at his enemy. He would take Valerian out, here and now and complete the job Kelson had paid him for. ((-9-))

Unsteadily the duke clawed his way back to his knees and braced himself to stand. His mind was filled with confusion; what had just happened to him? The dagger plunged into the duke’s side, then was pulled out, dripping in blood before Valerian could react. Staggering away, he tripped into Morgan. Horror filled his eyes, and he realized it was the son of his old enemy, who had done this to him. Morgan by some ancient mythical power had stripped him of his magic. ((-10-))

Valerian’s need to recapture Morgan and make him reverse what he had done gave him berserkers’ strength. ((-11-))

The clout of his fist caught Morgan hard in his ribs. Ribs barely Healed splintered anew. Morgan fell back in a breathless huff. Knowing he still carried Morgan's voice commands, Valerian leapt at the man’s throat and yelled, “Return to me my magic.”

Washburn struggled for breath, as hands clasped his throat. The fortunate thing was he couldn’t center into his Healer’s trance to comply to the command of the Grand Duke. That calm was an impossibility. “Get free of him!” was a second command from Iain. Neither command had president over the other, yet only one could be achieved in that instant. Washburn rolled to the side to free himself of man’s hold. Iain stood at the Portal Square, he kicked Washburn’s sword within reach of the knights outstretched hand. His fingers grasped the hilt, thrusting it up between himself and his attacker. ((-12-))

The blade missed its mark but it forced Valerian to jump away. 

The return swing of the blade was fast as lightning. Even before Wash had found his feet to stand, the sharp point pierced silk and chainmail and slipped through the ribs of his father’s murderer. “For you, papa,” Washburn yelled, pulling the blood-covered blade free of the man who staggered back to escape the sword’s reach. ((-13-))

_________________________

Rolls for round three of the fight:
((-9- Iain still has initiative. Dagger mastery 3d6 roll.
12:44 PM !roll 3d6
12:44 PM <•derynibot> I'm back! 5, 4, 4 == 13 successful hit))

((-10- Initiative tests between Washburn and Valerian
Washburn first 12:41 PM !roll 2d6
12:41 PM  <•derynibot> I'm back! 6, 1 == 7
Valerian 12:42 PM !roll 2d6
12:42 PM  <•derynibot> I'm back! 5, 4 == 9 wins initiative))

((-11- Valerain only has his fist to fight with so disadvantage 1d6 roll
12:47 PM !roll 1d6
12:47 PM <•derynibot> I'm back! 6 == 6 Great successful hit))

((-12- Washburn attack with his sword 3d6 mastery
12:53 PM !roll 3d6
12:53 PM <•derynibot> I'm back! 1, 2, 2 == 5 Failed hit,  really?))

((-13- Washburn  Sword Mastery gets second attack with 6XP success on 3,4,5,or 6
12:55 PM !roll 3d6
12:55 PM <•derynibot> I'm back! 6, 5, 3 == 14  successful hit))

_________________________________

Fists on the door were pounding with a horrible racket.  Above in the gallery, feet were heard to be coming across the floor, faces were seen to  look down upon the chaos. There was no time to make a grab for the retreating enemy. For a moment, Washburn feared he had failed. He had not managed to sever the man's hand, nor even a finger. Had he failed in supplying their escape? He would have chased after Valerian, if not for Iain’s yell. 

“I have the portal signature, come away NOW!”

Wash jumped up from the floor, grunting as he did so. No time for the pain, no time! A quick glance at the gallery showed men moving into place, a short bow or two were being fitted with arrows. With great effort, Washburn leapt the few feet to land on his knees within the square of the Portal stone, falling against Darcy’s brother. The girl was already braced against Iain’s chest, his left hand firmly placed over her eyes. Blood of the trap’s maker was smeared across the faces of both of them. Washburn got the idea instantly. He rubbed his fingers along flat edge of his bloodied blade, then smearing the redness over his face. He had no shields to worry about, which reduced the timing of their escape. In the instant Iain’s hand touched him, the spy balanced the energy of the portal stone and wrapped it around all three of them. The trap was misled into accepting the three as the one attuned to it.  In that instant, vertigo swarmed Washburn’s mind. The jump was made. One heart beat, two heart beats, and suddenly they were standing somewhere else.

Iain collapsed as they reached the new place. Washburn already on his knees fell forward, both hands grasping at the reed carpet which hid this new portal’s edge. He daren’t waste time, not if he wanted his escape to succeed.  In a rush of what seemed like madness he pushed everyone away and then tugged at the reed matting until if was free of a chair’s feet that had held a corner down. He pulled the mat to the side, and then dropped back to his knees, desperately pulling a small bag from his belt. From it he spilled out four white and four black cubes. A deep breath and then another, and he willed himself to an inner calm. They had a minute, maybe two, before Valerian would find one of his Deryni knights and have the portal scryed for their escape route.

Calm, he told himself, calm. The Healer’s training from Father Columcil had taught him how to center even when emotions were high.

The thought of the good father did wonders for his nerves. Think of each cube and give them their name. Place them just so, then touch the corner to its opposite. What mattered here were opposites. The positive and negative of power. Nothing was good or bad on its own, all things could be brought into balance with the effort of the mind. The blocking power was the same as this. It was bad to have blocked the girl, and he knew he would reverse that soon. Blocking Valerian, that had been the greatest achievement of his life. Building confidence in himself, he placed the four shining ovoids onto the corners of the portal stone. With the powers of his ancestors, he called out the words, “Primus, Secundus, Tertius et Quartus, Fiat Lux!”

The shimmer of red glowed over the portal stone in the center of the room.

“What have you done?” Iain asked, having used the time of the making of the Ward Major to recover his own strength.

“A trick I learned from Feyd,”  Washburn replied. “I am giving us a chance to keep our new found freedom.”
« Last Edit: October 10, 2018, 01:39:51 pm by Laurna »

 


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