Author Topic: Ghosts of the Past  (Read 138808 times)

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Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #615 on: February 21, 2019, 12:35:55 pm »
Grand Duke Valerian opened his eyes slowly, knowing that the Healer had failed.

His body was healed; all traces of the pain he had endured from the injuries inflicted by the traitor guard and the Morgan whelp were gone.  Without his powers, he could not dampen the pain himself, and he was not willing to ask for assistance and have his greater infirmity known.  Once the Healer arrived from Byzantyun, the damage from the two deep physical wounds was healed, and flesh was now whole.  His Deryni powers, however, could not be restored.

“You have failed,” Valerian said to Father Andronikos as the old Healer rose from the side of Valerian’s bed where he had been kneeling.

“It is not a failure if one cannot do something in the first place,” Father Andronikos replied calmly.  As the personal Healer of Grand Duke Iskander, Valerian’s eldest brother, he was one of the few people Valerian could not intimidate.  “I can only surmise that someone has been able to block your powers.  The old scrolls tell us it could only be done by a very few Healers; not all have the talent or can learn it.  I know of no one who possesses this skill.”

“Well, I do, and he’s gone!”  Valerian sat up abruptly, anger and frustration evident in the movement.  “I want Washburn Morgan back within my grasp!”

“Your Grace,” said the only other occupant in Valerian’s chambers. “Sir Georgios and I have both tried to discover the signature of the Portal they travelled to.  The signature remained elusive; by now it will have faded completely.”

Valerian emitted an explosive sigh as he looked at the speaker.  Baron Vilmos had been one of his primary teachers in Deryni ritual; if Vilmos could not find the signature, it could not be found. “Vilmos, take Father Andronikos back to Byzantyun and then return.  Father, I need you to continue looking, discover whatever you can about this skill.  Find someone who possesses it!  And keep this situation to yourself,” he added. Both men bowed deeply and left the room.

Valerian leaned back against the intricately carved headboard of his bed and gazed at the tapestry hanging on the opposite wall.  How had his plan gone so far awry?  He had lost his valuable hostage as well as the Queen of Meara!  A vast amount of coin wasted, and the pretty puppet that would secure his rule over Meara was likely on her way to the Haldane king.  And a traitor guard, a Deryni no less, under his very nose!  Valerian resisted the impulse to rip the tapestry from the wall and shred it to pieces. 

Now he must salvage this mess.  Both Washburn and Sidana were beyond his reach for the moment. Brioc would be demanding that he focus on the return of Sidana, but he would be disappointed.   Valerian knew he must focus on taking Laas before the Haldane’s reinforcements could reach the Corwyn Duke and try to cut the rebels off.  The traitor guard knew his location and would report it to the Haldane.  He must make his move immediately.  If the fleet from Torenth was not in position yet, it would be soon.  Laas would get no relief from the sea.

As for the temporary loss of this powers -- this would not be permanent! --  he could trust Vilmos and Georgios to keep the secret.    He had been careful to avoid any blatant display of his powers before the rebels, including Brioc.  With a little cunning, he could keep the loss hidden, using Vilmos and Georgios to subtly do what he could not.  It only had to work until he could regain control of the Morgan whelp.

Valerian rose from his bed.  He would call together the Queen’s Council and give the necessary orders.  Once they captured Laas, he could exchange the deposed Viceroy of Meara  for the Mearan Queen.  If the Haldane had already executed her, it would be unfortunate, but a martyr could be useful, too.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #616 on: February 23, 2019, 04:03:19 am »
 “Your Majesty, as you can see, from the multiple situations that I have shared with you here on the borders, a quick response is necessary to keep the rebels from escalating their cause. Lord Jaxom should have the manor of Baron Stuart well in hand by tomorrow. As for Droghera, I can not allow Captain Stev to return to his town without a Deryni in his company. It is important that  this Linwood fellow is subdued. I do not know Linwood’s strengths, he will likely be more than the captain can handle on his own. Also too, I can not abandon Lord Darcy to his mission alone. I fear he and Lady Aliset may take undue heroic action if they discover the exact location where my brother is being held. I feel it is most important that I go with Lord Darcy, for the fortress is the greatest threat to the kingdom, and its location must be known.  To this end, I request permission to send Lord Sextus to Droghera to assist the captain there. Sextus will also have the majority of my men to help bring the rebels in that town into custody. The guarding of the Michaeline ruin’s Portal should become unnecessary as the trap Sextus and my mother set should be substantial enough to stave off anyone from using it.” Upon sending such a burst of information across the link to the king, Earl Brendan calmed his mind and bolstered his energy. His Rapport with Kelson was a long one, and when Kelson did not immediately give an affirmative to go ahead with his plans, Brendan knew something more was on the king’s mind. Pulling on reserved energy, he kept the link strong. 

“Brendan, I appreciate all your planning. I know the stress you are under with one brother marching on Laas and the other brother in a hostage situation. If I were to allow you to go to the fortress, I am less worried about Darcy taking undue heroic action to save your brother than I am that you would do so.” Brendan instantly objected, but his king stopped him short. “Don’t deny it. I know you far too well.” There was a feeling of deep friendship passed through the Rapport, an understanding from his king which allowed Brendan to withhold his protest and keep his objectivity. He and Kelson had always been close, ever since that assassin’s attempt at the Hort of Orsal’s winter palace when they were both young. “Let me be blunt,” his king said next. “I am cancelling Lord Darcy’s orders to find the fortress. Because… hear me... the keep has been found. Located and penetrated by Lord Iain, Baron of Isles. Lord Iain is not one of my usual courtiers, but you know the man and you know his capabilities, yes?”

“Aye, Sire, he was introduced to me by Duke Angus, years back. My prior dealings with him have proven him to be very resourceful. If he has learned the fortress location, I would very much like to know where it is and what he has found there.”

“What he found is the youngest son of Count Teymuraz comfortably nestled in with Brioc de Paor.  Valerian is the push behind this false Queen of Meara. He is also the one who hired an assassin to abduct your brother. His goal is to exterminate the Morgan line until only Washburn survives, then raise up his legal progeny to their cause, thereby absconding with Corwyn and tearing Gwynedd apart.” Brendan felt Kelson’s anger and knew his king paused to take in a calming breath. “I expect you and Kelric will offer Iain great reward when you hear what our resourceful Lord of Isles has accomplished. He has done more than we expected. Iain has liberated Sir Washburn from Valerian’s custody. Also, he has captured a hostage for our cause, and he, with Washburn fighting at his side,  wounded Valerian in the process. I do not hold it against Iain that neither he nor Washburn was able to defeat Valerian, given the dire circumstances they were in. What I will tell you is they have made good their escape and are at this moment in safe hiding.”

“Your Majesty, is this true? Lord be praised!”

“I know you want to hear the details of this encounter, but I can only share what I have told your mother. Washburn is reported to be in a fair state and is in good spirits.” Kelson forwarded a  familiar image from Iain of Washburn at sword practice. That was heartening for Brendan to see. But then a second image over-layed the first; Washburn brooding and angry when family was mentioned. Kelson softened his tone as he explained. “Brendan, your brother was drugged for four days without his shields or powers. We do not know all that he has been subjected to. It is fair to surmise that psychic damage has been done. Given that they wanted him to be the only Morgan survivor, I dare not allow him near family. The Will of others lingers inside him, and that makes him very dangerous. He is a lightning bolt poised to strike. I need him grounded far from family and under protection out of Valerian’s reach.  When I consider it safe to bring him home, I will have him assessed by the best practitioners. For now, he is to stay hidden.”

Brendan had been holding his breath; he felt his heart racing. The news was so much, yet so little.“Your Majesty, I am beholden to Lord Iain. I am not a Morgan, therefore I should be the one to protect Wash. No matter the danger, I would be his best guardian. My step-father would be rolling in his grave if family were to abandon family in such times of need.”

“Bren, I understand you in this. In the near future, I may ask this very thing from you. For now, you must trust my orders. I am ordering you and Kelric to stay away from your brother.  I won't fail Alaric’s memory and I won't fail his sons. Valerian has found a way to wound Gwynedd, and break those I hold most dear. We need to break him and we need to break this rebellion. First step is to stop this insurgence on the borders. My orders are for you and your men to accompany Captain Stev back to Droghera. At first light, when the town gates open, take the barracks and subdue the rebel leaders. Surprise them before they suspect they have been found out.”

“Yes, Sire, It shall be done.” Brendan replied, able to direct his anger away from that which he had no control.

“As for Lord Darcy, I am ordering him to rejoin with Father Columcil. If there are Deryni at Baron Stuart’s manor, then there may be greater resistance than Jaxom can handle.”

“That man is a cocky loot,” Brendan mind spoke with a snark. “Nonetheless, he is competent. I believe Lord Jaxom can succeed in the task that I set him.”

“I hope you are correct.” This was accompanied by a slight huff across the link. An unexpected show of emotion from Kelson who was usually very discreet about his personal opinion of his nobles, yet telling of the king’s trust and closeness to Brendan. “Regardless of Jaxom’s competence or incompetence, I would have more Deryni on the scene at Baron Stuart’s estate. Also, the presence of Lady Aliset should better protect Lady Fiona’s reputation. Better than even Father Columcil could. Iain has saved your half-brother, I would not see harm befall his cousin after doing so much for the kingdom.”

“Yes, Your Majesty, I will agree with that. This Lady Fiona is a brazen lass, much like the men of Isles. I will inform Darcy and Lady Aliset of their new orders.”

“Then it is settled. Inform me of your progress at sunset tomorrow.”

The Rapport ended. Earl Brendan had the distinct feeling that his king was pleased with the turn of events. That Wash was rescued was the greatest news Brendan could imagine. That he was not to discover the true condition of his brother, was a colossal frustration.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2019, 01:44:42 am by Laurna »

Online revanne

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #617 on: March 01, 2019, 03:56:39 pm »
Columcil wrapped his cloak more firmly around his shoulders and tried to get comfortable. The reason for his sleeplessness was not really the grass, or even the night air, chill in these hilly regions even in midsummer. He had slept like a log many a time far less comfortably as far as his body was concerned but now it was the discomfort of his head and his heart which were prodding him awake. And best not enquire into the state of his soul. Was it seventy-seven times, or seventy times seven Our Lord had enjoined that offences should be forgiven? No one seemed to know - and when Columcil had asked at Seminary it had earned him an extra fast day for his cheek and the cutting response that he had best hope his own sins were not being tallied. Either way, he was finding it impossible to forgive Jaxom even the smallest suggestion of arrogance - the very way the man breathed was an offence in itself!

The lassie knew how to handle him though, aye she was the one good thing. And she understood his own brogue readily enough - there were maybe a few words for yon empty-heided gowk that she'd be glad to learn. The thought brought a smile to his face but it could not lift the weight from his heart.

He had not wanted to leave Darcy and Aliset behind - they had become as close as kin these last days. Nor was he entirely sure that he trusted either of them not to do anything foolish in his absence. His anger flared at Jaxom, had the man no decency at all that even in the midst of a war the reputation of a brave wee lass like Fiona could not be trusted with him.

Earl Brendan he had wanted to dislike, but could not. There was too much of his half- brother Duke Kelric in him for that. And there had been just that touch of vulnerability, that came in Brendan from being the son of a traitor, that reminded Columcil  so poignantly of the Earl's other half-brother, Washburn. Oh God, what of Washburn? Was he even still alive? He could understand Fiona’s need to come to the rescue of her kin. But what of his own kin? Was that kinship with Washburn to be snuffed out before it could even be acknowledged, and Washburn abandoned as the helpless victim of Feyd's malice?

If his heart was sore, his head was even more troubled. Almost despite himself, he had come to feel great respect for his grandfather, Archbishop Duncan, feeling that with a man such as he with the King’s ear, the kingdom was in safe hands. He was cognisant, too, of the great privilege that his times of rapport were; that he, who still thought of himself as a rough and ready borderer, should be trusted with the thoughts of one who was a prince of the Church and, but for his calling, would have been a great noble. He had at first been unsure about initiating rapport  but, having been met with kindness and grace and the unmistakable sense that his contact was welcomed personally, he had grown in confidence. Until, that is, the early morning when contacting his grandfather as usual, expecting that early Mass would be done, he had been met with a cloud of anxiety and a hurried forgive me, I can’t talk to you now. Perhaps later, wait for me to contact you.

He had had, perforce, to swallow his own worry and continue with the day. The Archbishop’s worries were not his to share with any other, nor would it be helpful to spread more alarm by suggesting that all was not well in Rhemuth. But he had not been able to prevent his thoughts from circling like carrion crows over a dead animal. Had news reached Rhemuth of something terrible happening to Washburn? Had there been another attack, another poor soul captured from the heart of what they thought safety?

He had tried his best to put his fears out of mind during the day, for once his irritation with Jaxom had proved a blessing. Finally in the evening as he sat with his precious office book, more fingering his grandfather’s dedication than praying, the Archbishop’s voice had spoken into his mind, sounding tired and distracted.

Forgive me, it has been a long day.

Is all well? Nothing worse has happened?

No, well maybe, well to be honest, Son, I hardly know.

Duncan had seemed to realise that he was unnerving his grandson and his mental voice became stronger as he said again.

Forgive me. There have been no more attacks here, and to ease what I am sure you most want to hear, Washburn is still alive.

That’s aye guid news, but if ye’ll forgi’e me fer pressing ye, sair, I canna help speiring that there’s aye a “but” in what ye are no sayin’.

Believe me, I would like nothing more than to unburden myself to you. Fool that I was to send you off into the wilds when you could have been such a comfort to me many years since. But that’s by the by. Ease your heart concerning Washburn, there is good news though I tell you that under the seal of the confessional as it was told to me.

Ye do me mair honour than I desairve but have ye no orders fer me from His Majesty?

There had been a long silence and Columcil was beginning to wonder how he could have possibly offended in what he said when with hesitation in his mental tone Duncan spoke again.

I’m not sure that I should be saying this, and I only do so because I know that you are utterly honourable as a priest and loyal as a subject and will keep this in your heart. I have never seen the King so troubled in his mind, or not in very many years. He is heartsick and fearful - oh not of what may happen, but of what he has been forced to do and how he may yet betray his deepest heart. Pray for him and me. One day when this is over I shall ask you to hear my confession.

Columcil could only murmur, Yer Grace, but the silence which followed was not uncomfortable and he knew that they were both seeking comfort from the One who knew all hearts. Finally Duncan’s voice came strongly.

Amen. Thank you, Son. Just to be able to say that and know it heard safely was a blessing. In the meantime, Brendan’s orders are to be followed - he’s a good lad. If I can tell you more, trust me I will. And the blessing of God almighty…

Columcil had bowed his head to the blessing, wondering what his grandfather had been hinting at. He had not liked to even try and guess what was troubling the King. There had been no further contact from his grandfather and he had done as instructed. Perhaps the likelihood of action in the coming days would distract his mind from worrying but in the quiet of the night it seemed that sleep had too much to keep it at bay.

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 DerynifanK

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #618 on: March 01, 2019, 07:49:41 pm »
Fiona shivered a little in the predawn coolness as the party saddled their horses and mounted preparatory to moving out. Jaxom was in the lead. Fiona and Columcil moved up behind him, with the rest of the party falling in line. Jaxom turned to Fiona, instructing her in a whisper to move to the rear where she would have more protection. She was starting to protest when hoofbeats were heard approaching from further up the trail. Jaxom held his hand up for silence.

The hoofbeats came closer, then a sturdy brown pony burst from among the trees. Mounted on the pony was a small figure wrapped in a cloak. Two of the lancers quickly bracketed the pony, one seizing its bridle, forcing the rider to halt. The cloak fell apart, revealing a young boy about eight years old clad in the Baron’s livery.  He looked warily at the men who surrounded him.  Then his eyes fell on Fiona. “Lady Fiona, it’s you!” he cried breathlessly.

“Gavin, what are you doing riding away from the manor at this hour? What has happened?” She turned to Lord Jaxom. “This is Gavin, son of Lord Ross, who recently entered my uncle’s service as a page to begin his training.” She turned back to the young boy. “Gavin, I overheard Michael’s plan to seize control of the manor for the rebels. I rode to try to find help. Do not be afraid, these men have been sent to help the Baron. Lord Jaxom is the leader.” She indicated the young lord. “Tell us what has happened. Why are you fleeing?”

Gavin’s voice trembled as he answered, “My Lady, my Lord, the baron’s son did lure him to a distant attic, and he has been confined there ever since the lady disappeared. Late yesterday a new rebel reached the manor, a man named Drago. He tried to convince the baron to throw in his lot with the rebels, but the baron refused. His response angered this man, who struck him. I was hiding outside the room, and I heard him fall. Lord Michael tried to go to him, but this Drago dragged him out of the room, relocked it, and forced him back to the main part of the house. After they had gone, I got up close to the keyhole and listened, but I heard only a moan, then silence. I called to him but got no answer. I had managed to get the key to the room as the baron had asked, but what good would it do to open the door if he was too badly injured to stand or walk? I couldn’t carry him. I thought my best course would be to ride to the closest estate  and ask Lord Graham for help.”

Fiona spoke, “Lord Jaxom, it is even more imperative that we move quickly. We know the baron is injured, but we don’t know how badly. He needs our help.”

Jaxom turned to Gavin. “Do you know if this Drago brought any more men with him?”

“I don’t think so, my Lord. I only saw one new horse in the stable, and I have not heard any of the other servants mention any other new arrivals.”

Jaxom turned to his men to give the order to move out. He directed Fiona and the priest to move to the rear for more protection. Fiona protested, “You need me to show you the way. I will be of no help in the rear.”

Jaxom replied impatiently, “This young man will ride with me, and you have already shown me the route on your map which I remember in detail. I don’t expect any difficulty in reaching the manor. Once we have secured the manor and rounded up the men we find there, then I will need you to identify which ones you recognize as the baron’s retainers and which are most likely rebels. We can then separate them and secure the likely rebels. Gavin can lead us to where the baron is being held, and hopefully the priest can heal him of whatever injuries he sustained in the attack on him.”

Fiona was not happy with the idea of trailing along in the rear. She addressed Jaxom. “My Lord, I can provide further help. You have no archers among your men. I am an excellent shot with a bow and have brought both my bow and my quiver with arrows. I can cover you against attacks by the rebels there. We can’t afford to lose you.”

((!roll 2d6 does Fiona convince Jaxom?
Derynibot 1+1=2.)) Drat, no luck. Hope I did this right.))

Jaxom’s expression was stubborn, “I do not feel that is wise. I need you to move to the rear as I ordered. Having you beside me as we attack will cause distraction and make things more difficult.”

Columcil placed a hand on Fiona’s arm and leaned toward her, “Dinnae fash yersel, lassie. We’d best do as his lordship orders. Remember yer oath to the Earl. We canna be interferin’ wi’ his plan. It’s best that we get movin’ now for the baron’s sake.”

Fiona subsided and followed Columcil to the rear of the group. Jaxom raised his hand and the party moved silently along the path  toward the manor.

The sky lightened as they approached the point where the path split off to the right, away from the main road and the more open area in front of the manor house. They followed the path to the right, moving silently among the crowding trees and bushes. The men began to separate, each moving toward his assigned part of the manor. Jaxom had been careful to ensure that each man knew exactly where to go and how to reach it.  They could see little movement about the stable yard. Most of the men were still inside, preparing for the day.  As Jaxom’s men moved into place, two men came out and headed toward the byre. They were quickly confronted by the soldiers, their brief cries of surprise silenced by the sight of mounted men with weapons drawn.

Another three men appeared from the backdoor of the manor and all were quickly herded into the stable enclosure. Two men approached, coming up the path from the nearest pasture. They were added to the first group in the fenced enclosure. There was muttering among the men, not knowing what this invasion meant. A tall, thin man with an air of authority appeared, demanding to know what was going on and why the men had not gone about their duties.

This man  quickly took in the scene before him, including the mounted and armed men surrounding the area and keeping watch on the servants clumped together in the paddock enclosure. He glared at Lord Jaxom, the presumed leader of the raiding party.  “What is the meaning of this? Who are you, and why have you drawn weapons on our servants?  This is the estate of Lord Stuart, and your actions will certainly bring the law down on you. The baron is an influential noble and a friend of the king! You will find yourself in great trouble if you do not release these men and leave immediately!”

Jaxom replied haughtily, “I am Lord Jaxom Trillick, son of Baron Adam Trillick,  a close friend of Lord Stuart. Who are you? I need to know with whom I am speaking. There have been reports of rebels in the neighborhood, and my father was concerned about the baron as he had not heard from him in some time, and he knew of problems between the baron and his son concerning the rebellion. The king was also aware of potential problems here, and I was sent by one of the king’s representatives to speak with Lord Stuart and to assess the situation. Please inform the baron that I would speak with him about the situation here.”

The man stood stiffly as he answered, “I am James Maclin, the baron’s steward. I can assure you there have been no problems with rebels here. However, the baron is not here. He left late yesterday on an important errand, and I do not expect him back until late this evening. When he returns, he will be most displeased with what has happened here.”

“What about his son? Call him, that I may speak with him and collect the information I was charged to communicate to my father and to the king’s representative.” Jaxom eyed the man sternly.

“I am afraid he is not available either. He left at first light to meet a man bringing some newly purchased cattle that his father was anxious to see safely delivered.”

“That’s a lie!” declared a voice from behind Lord Jaxom. A brown pony was nudged up beside the young lord. “The baron has not left the manor but is being held in confinement in one of the far attics. Not only is he locked in, but he is also injured from a blow from a rebel who tried to force him to join their cause!” Gavin stared at the man, Maclin, defiantly.

Maclin shouted, “He is the liar! He is naught but a new page, and he has been reprimanded already for making up stories to make himself important.” He glared angrily at Gavin. “You need to go to your quarters. I will deal with you later.”

“He is not lying!” Lady Fiona and Columcil moved up closer to Lord Jaxom, Fiona with her bow in her hands.

Maclin’s face turned white when he saw her. “L... l... lady Fiona!” he spluttered.

“There seems to be some disagreement as to the exact situation here.” Jaxom moved his horse closer to where the steward stood. “I think we should search the house and grounds to determine exactly what is happening.”

As Jaxom moved to dismount to enter the house, one of his men cried out, “Look out, milord!” One of the men standing among the servants had eased to one side and was poised to throw a dagger at Lord Jaxom. The soldier whirled his horse toward the man, intending to seize his arm and prevent him from throwing it. At the same time, Fiona had quickly nocked an arrow and shot at the man with the dagger.

((!roll 3d6  does Fiona hit him before he can throw?
Derynibot 6,3,5=14. Got him!))

Her arrow found its target before the man-at-arms reached him. The man dropped the dagger, grabbing his shoulder where Fiona’s arrow pierced his flesh. At Jaxom’s command, his men drew closer to the servants, with swords drawn, ready to strike any one of them who drew a weapon or made a threatening move. Most of the servants drew as far as possible from the wounded man, leaving two standing between them. Maclin had quickly turned as if to run into the manor, but Jaxom shouted “Stop him!” One of the soldiers reached down from his saddle and grabbed Maclin’s arm, pulling him back from the door.

Instead of dismounting, Jaxom moved his horse toward the enclosure and motioned for Fiona and Columcil to join him. “Thank you for your quick action, Lady Fiona. I am sure my man would have disarmed him in time, but your action was effective. I think that I must ask you to now identify those men among these servants whom you do not recognize and whom you suspect might be rebels. We certainly have identified one of them. Point out to my men any others you are suspicious of.”

The men in the enclosure shifted their feet uneasily, eyeing Fiona warily. Fiona studied the men closely and pointed out three more she did not recognize as servants she knew and who were therefore suspect. These three plus the injured man were to be isolated from the baron’s retainers.  Fiona addressed Jaxom, “There is a storeroom with a sturdy door that can be locked that should suit your purpose. They can be confined there until we have time to deal with them.” Jaxom frowned at Fiona’s use of “we” but ordered his men to move the suspects into the room Fiona suggested. He ordered that these men be searched for any more weapons, which the soldiers moved quickly to do. He also ordered that the wounded man be tended to, the arrow removed and a bandage applied.

Columcil offered to look at the injured man’s wound to see if he could help.  He moved over to where the man lay on the ground with the arrow still protruding from his shoulder. One of Jaxom’s men knelt on the other side to provide help if needed. The wounded man looked up at him apprehensively. “Dinnae be afraid, laddie. We need to get tha’ arrow out, stop the bleedin’ and bandage up yer wound tae keep out infection. Just keep as still as ye can and this will soon be done.” Columcil placed his hand over the man’s eyes and he relaxed. Taking out his knife and showing the soldier how to hold the arrow steady, he pushed the arrow through until its barbs were visible. He cut the barbed part away, then quickly pulled the arrow out, inserting two fingers into the wound. As he slowly withdrew the fingers, the wound closed, leaving only a little dried blood where it had been. He applied a small bandage over the point where the arrow had penetrated.  The four men were then taken away to be locked in the storeroom until they could be questioned.

((!roll 2d6. Does Columcil heal the man?
derynibot 3,6=9. Success))
((!roll 1d6. Hit points healed
2==2. 2 hit points healed I think))

Jaxom gestured to two of his men to follow him as they prepared to enter the manor house to begin their search. “You will accompany us,” he ordered the steward. He suspected that the steward was also one of the rebels and did not trust him out of his sight. At Jaxom’s direction, one of his men moved up directly behind the man. He also indicated that Gavin should accompany them.

Lady Fiona had dismounted and was tethering her horse. Columcil had returned to her side. “We should also accompany you, milord. I know the house well and can help guide you.” Jaxom looked doubtful for a moment but then agreed. They set off.

The indoor servants had been confined in the kitchen for the time being. They appeared anxious and afraid, but Fiona reassured them that all would be well and that these men had been sent to help the baron. She asked the housekeeper where the family was. She was told that Lady Olivia was in her rooms, the baron had not been seen for at least two days, and Lord Michael had not been seen since the night before. He had not come down for breakfast and had not left any orders for the day. Nor had anyone seen the stranger who had arrived the day before. Fiona asked that the housekeeper surrender her keys. She complied with Lady Fiona’s order and they moved on through the house.

They found nothing unusual on the first floor, but as they mounted the stairs and moved toward the family’s wing, they heard someone banging on a door and demanding to be let out. They followed the sounds, and when they reached the door, Fiona said, “That’s Michael’s room. “ She selected the right key and unlocked the door. Michael had moved back into the room a little, not sure who was at the door. He stared in amazement at the people standing outside his door. “Who are you?”  he demanded. His eyes surveyed the group in front of him quickly. He focused on Jaxom.  “Why are you here, Lord Jaxom?” Then his eyes fell on Fiona and then on Maclin. “What is going on?”

Jaxom replied, “It seems to me that you need to explain what has happened here. Lady Fiona overheard your plan to seize control of the manor and hand it to the rebels you planned to join. She sought help and we were sent by the king’s representative to assess the situation, secure the estate, and provide the baron whatever assistance he needed. We found men here that we believe to be rebels, and we have locked them up for now.  We are now searching the manor, but have failed to find your father.”

Michael answered reluctantly, “I will answer your questions, but first let me take you to my father. I am afraid he is injured and I know he needs help. Yesterday, a rebel named Drago arrived and tried to force my father to join their cause. When he refused, this Drago attacked him, knocking him down, and he hit his head. I tried to go to him, but Drago forced me out of the room where my father lay and locked me in my own room. I have been there since. I don’t know where he is, but I know he is dangerous. And I don’t know my father’s condition.”

“Very well,” Jaxom agreed, “You still have much explaining to do, and you will remain in my custody until more is known and I receive orders from the king. Conduct us to your father.” Michael led the way toward the attics.  Jaxom, Fiona, Columcil and Jaxom’s men followed with the steward, Maclin. When they reached a heavy door in the back part of the house, Michael held out a hand to halt them. “This is the room where I last saw my father lying injured. We need someone to go get the key to open it.”

“I have the key.” Gavin spoke up as he held out the key. Jaxom took it from him and inserted it in the lock. The door swung open. In the dim light, they saw a figure lying on the floor, not moving.

“Father!” Michael cried out, starting toward him.

Jaxom grabbed him by the arm, holding him back. The figure on the floor stirred slightly. “The priest  here is a healer. Let him examine your father first to determine the extent of his injuries and what should be done for him. We should not move him until that is done.” Fiona agreed, watching anxiously  as Columcil moved forward and knelt beside the prostrate man.  He spoke to him gently, calling him by name. The baron mumbled a little but did not really arouse. Columcil felt his head, finding blood matting his hair and, on closer examination, a laceration about two inches above the ear, running towards the back of his head. It had bled freely but was clotted now. He felt the skull, pressing gently for any breaks. There was swelling, but the bone seemed to be intact. He reached out with his senses to check the inside for anything pressing on the brain. He checked the eyes and the pupils appeared to be normal in size and equal. “I feel no break, but there is bruising and swelling. Also he is cold from shock and needs to be warmed and given fluids. It is safe to move him if it is done carefully, and he would be better in his own bed.”

Jaxom ordered two of his men to devise a stretcher with blankets and two sturdy poles from outside. They placed the baron carefully on it and carried him to his room, Gavin showing the way. There he was placed on his bed, wrapped in blankets, and a basin of warm water was brought at Columcil’s order to clean the laceration as well as some mulled wine. Columcil began to tend to the baron, assisted by Gavin while Jaxom turned to the others. He told Fiona, “You should go to the Lady Olivia to inform her of what is taking place and reassure her. She could be brought to her lord as soon as Father Columcil indicates that he is ready.” Fiona nodded agreement and walked toward another room near the Baron’s.

He then ordered his men to continue the search of the manor. He detailed one man to escort Maclin to the estate office, and hold him there until he could be questioned.  Next he addressed Lord Michael,  “How many rebels are present here, and where will they be found? Lady Fiona identified four men among the servants whom she did not know and who were likely rebels. I need to know the exact number of rebels present and what was planned for the manor. I strongly advise you to answer me honestly and to assist me in putting a stop to any rebel action here. It would benefit you to be seen as reconsidering where your loyalty lies. You have had the opportunity to see what kind of men these are that you aspired to join. It appears that you did attempt to oppose the man Drago and that may help you. Do you know where he is? We have found no sign of him thus far in our search.”

Michael studied Lord Jaxom apprehensively. “I will give you all the assistance I can, but I have not seen him since he locked me in my room last night. I believe his mission here was to get my father to join the rebel cause and to support their efforts to gain a presence in Gwynedd. I now believe he was just using me to get to my father, and I regret I ever had any dealings with the rebels. There were four men plus Maclin who are members of the rebellion, but this Drago was the first one of influence that I had met. His behavior makes me think I made a mistake in thinking that they had the interests of Meara at heart. I do not know where he might be hiding or whether he might have escaped when you arrived. I do know that he is very dangerous.”

Lady Fiona entered, having escorted Lady Olivia to her husband’s side. “Father Columcil is remaining with the baron for now, unless you have need for his services elsewhere. I can now assist you in completing the questioning of the prisoners and securing the manor. What do you plan to do with Michael?”

Jaxom replied, “I have done some preliminary questioning, and he has thus far been cooperative. He will remain confined to his room while we complete our search and secure the manor. You will return to the baron’s quarters and remain with Father Columcil. His main task here is to protect you, and for that to be accomplished, you need to stay together. With the information I have obtained, I can complete the mission and do not need further assistance from you. Your safety is an additional concern, and I need you to follow my orders. If I have further need of your help, I will send for you.”

Fiona stared at him in disbelief. “So you have decided you have no further need of my help or support. I disagree with you. I know the manor grounds and you do not. This Drago could be anywhere, and we know he is very dangerous. I think you should accept all the help available to you. My bow was not an unwelcome aid in the stable yard.”

“I am sure that my man would have disarmed him in time without your help. I need you now to follow my orders and rejoin the good Father.” Jaxom gave her a disdainful look. Fiona stared at him a moment, then turned and stormed out of the room.  If he thought she was going to sit tamely by while he pursued his plan, he was greatly mistaken. Perhaps she would find the rebel leader first.

"Thanks be to God there are still, as there always have been and always will be, more good men than evil in this world, and their cause will prevail." Brother Cadfael's Penance

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #619 on: March 06, 2019, 10:05:27 am »
Sir Iain Cameron slipped the medallion that enabled his rapport with King Kelson back inside his shirt. Only the faintest light creeping through the edges of the shutters indicated it would soon be dawn.   He now had the signature of the Portal in the ruins and had been ordered to transport Washburn and Sidana there later this morning.  He would have time before leaving to strengthen his controls over Sidana and lessen the chance she might try something foolish. If she cried out for help, even in that remote location, some noble knight would try to help her first and ask questions later!  As for Washburn, it would be best if he did not know where they were going, but at least revealing that they would be meeting up with Darcy and Aliset should ensure he would go willingly.  Iain would prefer not to challenge Washburn’s shields unless he had to.  Lady Maev, on the other hand, had suggested a way she could ease past Washburn’s shields, and she would try that in the morning.  He had agreed and wished her luck.

Iain shifted his position on his bed and lifted his right hand to focus on the Ring of Isles he wore on his index finger.  Now he needed to contact Darcy to relay the additional orders from the king.  The medallion would be no help with this, but if Darcy still carried the miniature heir’s ring with him, or better yet, had discovered and now wore the ring of the Heir of Isles, he should be able to reach him.

((Iain rolls to establish rapport with Darcy.  Ritual trained, so 3 dice
9:42 Jerusha !roll 3d6
Derynibot  5,5,5, == 15  Success!))


Darcy Cameron opened his eyes briefly to ensure his “squire” still slept close by.  Not too close, of course!  Any closer, and Darcy was not sure he could keep himself from drawing his wife into his arms, even if she did still wear the form of Robert.  She’d stick him with her dagger for sure if he tried.  That would be an interesting injury to explain in the morning!  He smiled, noting her deep, even breathing.  At least she was getting some sleep.

He rolled onto his back and stared at the fading stars as sleep continued to evade him.  Washburn was free!  Iain had somehow freed him from the fortress and had taken him to a secure place.  Thank God!  In the privacy of Earl Brendan’s pavillion, Aliset had been so happy at the news that she had impulsively hugged Darcy, much to his delight.  With Washburn safe, there was no need to find the fortress; Darcy and Aliset were to leave in the morning to catch up with Father Columcil, Fiona, and Lord Jaxom, providing what assistance they could to secure Baron Stuart and his manor from the rebels.  Thoughts of Jaxom would do nothing to help Darcy get a few moments of sleep, so he firmly put Jaxom out of his mind and closed his eyes. 


Darcy’s eyes shot open and he reached for his sword.  Who the hell was in his head?

Easy, little brother. Don’t you recognise me?

“Iain?” Darcy didn’t realize that he had spoken aloud.  Aliset stirred and looked over at him.

Darcy, if you have the Heir’s Ring, use it to focus and hear what I have to say.

((Darcy spends 2 xp for 1 extra die and 3 xp for success on 4, 5, 6
9:44 Jerusha !roll 2d6
Derynibot 4,1 == 5  Success!))

Darcy sat up. Aye, I have it.  I found it in your box.   He rested his hand on his raised knee so he could concentrate on the silver band.  It flashed as it caught the first rays of the rapidly approaching dawn, helping him to focus.  He slipped into a faint rapport with his brother.

Aliset, now fully awake, realized what Darcy was attempting to do and rose to sit beside him, placing her hand which wore the miniature ring on his to strengthen the contact.

((Darcy and Aliset have previously charged their rings for rapport, so no dice roll required for Aliset to join in.))

That’s better, Iain sent. I sense another has joined you.

Aliset, Darcy confirmed. 

Excellent.  The orders I received from the king are for both of you.

Aliset’s hand grasped Darcy’s more firmly.

You are to wait until after Earl Brendan and his men have left for Droghera.  The earl must know nothing of your orders.  Once he is gone, proceed to the ruins and make sure you bring Master Feyd’s ward cubes with you.  You still have them?

Yes, Aliset answered.

Lord Sextus Arilan will meet you at the ruins.  He will guide you to the Portal. You will wait there until I arrive with Sir Washburn and another.

Another? Darcy asked.

Washburn and I managed to secure a hostage of our own.  I will transport our hostage and the ward cubes to the king.  You will take charge of Washburn and proceed to join up with Father Columcil.

Take charge of Sir Washburn? Aliset asked.  Is he injured?

Not physically, but he was kept in a totally vulnerable state while a prisoner.  Lady Aliset, you are unfortunately familiar with the drugs used.  Iain hesitated a brief moment and then shared his  images of Washburn that the king had shared with Earl Brendan.  The only people he appears to trust are the two of you and Father Columcil.  Mention of his family sends him into a barely controlled rage.

Aliset shuddered; she understood all too well the vulnerability the drugs induced.  Washburn would have had no defence against any intrusion into his mind.  What are we to do to help Sir Washburn? she asked.

You must keep him away from his family, including Duke Kelric and Earl Brendan in Meara.  He is not to return to Rhemuth until King Kelson grants him permission to do so.  His Majesty hopes that Father Columcil, as both priest and Healer, can help reverse at least enough of what has been done to Washburn to negate him as a threat.

Darcy and Aliset exchanged glances, remembering a previous conversation.  And what if Father Columcil can’t help him? Darcy asked, even though he knew what the answer would be.

Those orders from the king have not changed.  You will do what needs to be done, if Washburn becomes an active threat.  Iain’s tone was firm, but there was a note of compassion in it.  He harboured no ill feelings against Washburn, having witnessed for himself the damage caused by his imprisonment.  Let us hope it will not come to that.

Aye, Darcy said, equally firm.  We’ll find another way. Aliset’s grip on his hand tightened in both agreement and reassurance. 

There is more you should know for your own safety.  Washburn has learned how to switch off a Deryni’s powers.  I assume he can also switch them back on, though I must admit I have not seen him do it.  I placed controls on him to prevent him from trying it on me, but now that the drugs have worn off and his shields have returned, I don’t know that I can extend my controls to protect you.  And I can’t blame him for resisting any more tampering! His trust in you may be all the protection you need, but be aware of the danger.

At the edge of his consciousness, Darcy heard the sounds of men rousing and beginning to prepare to depart.  The earl will be leaving soon, he sent.

Aye, and I have my own preparations to make.  I’ll see you in the ruins, little brother.  Iain broke the contact.

For several moments, Aliset and Darcy sat quietly, still in rapport, reviewing what Iain had told them.  As the sounds of the camp grew louder, Darcy withdrew both mind and hand.  He stood up and looked around, reassured that no one was paying any attention to them.

“I’ll be back in a short bit,” he said to Aliset.

“Where are you going?” she asked.

“It occurs to me I should find an excuse to negotiate with Earl Brendan for an additional horse.  Sir Washburn will want Shadow back.”  Darcy gave her a mischievous grin. “Unless you want to ride double.”

“You’d best find another horse,” Aliset said as she rose to stand beside him.  “You’d be embarrassed sitting behind your squire.”

His grin widened.  “Not if I get to hang on tight.”

Aliset looked for something suitable to toss at him, and Darcy hastily departed, still smiling.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #620 on: March 07, 2019, 12:26:44 am »
There is something so very reassuring about the heat dancing off a freshly stoked hearth, about the smells of last supper’s roast mutton simmering in a kettle of spiced wine, and about the sound of yesterday's bread, sliced and soaked in egg batter, set to sizzle on a griddle over the hearth flames. Breakfast was rarely a full meal, but on this day their hostess planned to feed her guests well. The sounds, the smells, and the warmth soothed the Lendour knight. The addition of a feminine voice softly singing of the heather flowering on the hillsides and the birds whistling among the barley stalks enticed Washburn to stay snug in his blankets on his pallet before the hearth and to let the world go about the start of the day without him. He was content. For the first time in weeks. Content to keep his eyes closed in the rising morning light, content to enjoy the normalcy of activity around him and not be a part of it, content to let his shields ease and to allow the essence of calm from his hostess allay his inner turmoil.

Her song enveloped him. The song of Lady Maev lulled him to breathe easily with the rhythm of her melody. It freed him from the anxiety that followed his fevered dreams. Dreams of captivity, dreams of a black abyss and the fetid smells of death in a cold, hollow tomb. His need to embrace the living world around him, to touch the warmth and the smells with his mind and his heart allowed him to soften his shields; the more he lowered them, the more he received a sense of safety from the caring soul seated beside him. His hostess was on her knees, so close to him that he could feel her with her back to him just beside his shoulders. She had opened her mind to him and was sharing through her eyes as she turned the slices of bread over allowing the raw battered side to sizzle against the griddle anew. The simple joy of cooking lessened his resistances.

When she had completed the task at hand, her song subsided; she sat back on her heels, and her hand reached back and brushed against his forehead. But she did not turn to look at him, she stayed looking at the fire, and she shared with him the light of each flame as it licked the side of the kettle and sizzled under the griddle.  And he was content, content to let her fingers brush over his eyes; to let her mind touch his mind. She sought to see the horrors of the dreams that haunted his dark hours, and at first he resisted to show a woman these things. But like a mother’s touch, she was deftly calm and reassuring. If she could see what troubled him, she could help ease these horrors away from him. She did nothing to provoke his defenses and nothing to frighten him. He was falling deftly under her spell of protection. She turned her shoulders and looked down at him. In that moment he saw himself in her eyes. She thought him handsome, yet he was more attentive to the details: the darkness around his eyes, the hollowness of his cheeks, and the bristle of a day’s growth of beard marred the appearance of his former affable self.  When he sent a suggestion that he should get up and shave, she forestalled him with a hush; had he opened his own eyes then, he would have seen her smiling. With a lightness of thought she said his scruffiness was appealing. To strengthen their growing Rapport, her off-hand put aside her cooking utensil and in a calm turn, she fully knelt facing him. One hand still over his eyes, her other hand touched the back of his head. Willingly, he let her lull his mind to quietude. So willing was he to be free of the horrors. So willing to let another take these memories away from him….

A shrill scream broke the reverie.

With a warrior’s reflex, not knowing the danger, Washburn’s shields came down in defense. Startled and unable to react as fast as he, Lady Maev floundered, caught on the bridge she had built between them.

 “A rat!” yelled a girl, “A rat as big as a cat!” she screamed, then the girl squealed in a very high pitch. “Over there!” she continued to yell, “There!” Following her scream were the sounds of scooting furniture and the tumble of feet climbing onto the table.

Wash felt a need to be free, to see what was going on for himself. For a few harsh seconds Maev denied him that freedom, using her controls she tried to calm his panic, too rebuild their Rapport. It is nothing, she reassured him. You are safe. Yet with the tightening controls over his mind, Washburn felt fear anew and pain from that small breech she held in his shields.

((13:00 <LaurnaAFK> Washburn Save test- does he free himself of Maev’s control? Wash now has the Resolute trait so Save test is at advantage.
13:00 <LaurnaAFK> !roll 3d6
13:00 <•derynibot> 6, 4, 4 == 14
13:02 <LaurnaAFK> Thank you Derynibot, you help alleviate my fear of Torenthi dice.))

With a warrior's strength, defying the sheer pain of it, he pulled himself free. She had not meant to hurt him, and in that second, she realized she had to let him go. Her departure allowed his shields to slam down, like the portcullis closing the gates of a fortress. In panicked defense, he jumped up and ran away from anyone who would dare to control him. In a sudden sweat, he stood with his back against the wall, his hand on his sword hilt, not yet drawn, but tense and ready to do so. He relaxed some when no one came near him. Before him were the four people he expected to see in the room and no one else. The enemy wasn’t here, he breathed easier. Lady Sidana was kneeling on the table, wide eyed looking between him and a dark corner by the door. Lady Maev was still on her knees shaking her head, “I am sorry.” she whispered. But Wash was not certain if she said it to him or to Lord Iain who looked like a man who had been holding his breath and was suddenly remembering he had to breathe.

“Lady Maev, are you well?” Sir Roland asked concerned for his wife.

“Aye, I am. We were both startled. Neither of us wanted to hurt the other. Lord Iain, I did try; I was so close to succeeding.” Then again she said, “I am sorry.” Only this time she turned back to Washburn and entreated him to forgive her.

“It is I who should ask for your forgiveness,” Wash whispered to his hostess, knowing that his panic had spoiled their Rapport and possibly hurt her as it had him.  Yet, he now suspected that there had been more to it, “I think I must know what you would have done to me, had you succeeded?” The thought of anyone else doing anything else to his mind served to increased his panic. Unnerved, likely not aware of it, his hand still gripped the hilt of his sword.

Maev could say nothing, she could only look down at her hands. Lord Iain bit his lip. With his hand out in a staying gesture, he replied, “There was no harm intended, Sir Washburn. Listen to the truth in my words. I asked Maev if she could help me to see if we could help you. There was no malice in our attempt. We wanted to fix what Feyd has done to you. To reverse it, we need to understand it. You don’t want those nightmares forever, do you?”

“Of course I do not want them. You say I should trust you. But how do I really know that I can? I don’t want anyone playing in my mind.” Even as the tall knight voiced his doubts his hand nonetheless fell away from his sword, and moved up to his head to covered his eyes. “How can I trust anyone, ever again?”

“You are going to have to trust someone if you want to be whole,” Iain said pleadingly. Frustrated, Iain feared he was not the one to gain that trust. He came no closer, leaving the tall knight to his inner demons.  Instead, he turned back to his hostage. “Lady Sidana, get down from there. You are very trying on my nerves.”

“I am not coming down!” she yelled, “Not with that rat on the floor.”

Sir Roland had been looking where she was looking and suddenly he walked across the room, bent down and scooped up a four legged fur-ball with a long fluffy tail. The cat happily purred and brushed her head against Roland’s hand. “See here! This is SiSi. You scared her more with your scream, than she scared you. Because of her, we don’t have any rats.” He petted the cat and then took her to Iain’s room. “I will leave her in here for now, until you leave.”

“That will do,” Iain agreed.

“We are leaving? Where are you taking me?” Sidana called out.

Iain stepped up to her, he reached out to her, and touched her hand. “Never mind that. Come off the table. It is better to eat breakfast if we sit at the benches, rather than on top. That is a good child,” he instructed her. Instantly obedient, she dangled a foot down to slide off the table’s top. When her foot slipped against the bench and she looked to take a tumble to the floor, Iain entwined his hands about her waist and lifted her up. He held her up for a moment until she had her feet free of the bench, and then using restraint, he sat her down. He was gentle in his handling of her, denying himself the joy of plopping her down, like she deserved. “Please stay there until I tell you otherwise,” he commanded of the pretender queen. With a shake of his head and an exasperated breath, Iain turned back to their hostess. “Lady Maev, how can I help serve this hearty breakfast you have prepared for us. I am sure we would all be better people with food in our bellies.”

With that reminder, Maev turned to the bread on the griddle and hastily moved the slices onto a platter before they had a chance to burn. She handed the platter to Iain to place it upon the table. Iain did so, bringing him back to scowl at the girl.  “Sidana, would you please apologize to Lady Maev for acting like a spoiled child and disrupting Maev’s  conversation with Washburn.”

“Lady Maev, I apologize for acting like a spoiled child, ” Sidana repeated in a compliant monotone. So very unlike her normal self and obviously at odds to what she truly wanted to say.

“I accept your apology,” Maev said with sigh and a side look at Washburn.

Washburn was not pleased to see such controls over the young woman. He knew she was trouble, and would be impossible to handle if not for those controls. Yet the wrongness of it yelled at him. He had been brought up in a strict code to never interfere with another’s free will. Standing far from everyone, Wash toyed with the idea of resetting her powers, giving her back her ability to resist such controls. Would she then be better off? Or would it only make matters worse? Just like he had been prisoner, she was a prisoner ,too. And just like his captor had made him defenseless, he had made her defenseless. At least his method did not make her violently ill like Feyd’s drugs had made him. At least no one had to prick her with a needle every few hours to enforce her vulnerability. She was hostage and though it was a harsh reality, just like he had been, it was better for her that she remain compliant. He understood this, just like he understood why Feyd did what he did. The understanding did not make it any easier to bear.  Where would he draw the line. He concluded the line would come down if he ever saw Iain attempt to change her memories or her individual thoughts. That would be when he would give her back her shields, so that she could resist being tampered with, as he now was certain that he himself had been.

Tensions calmed in the small manor house, and the host and hostess went back to serving up a hot breakfast. The mutton was put on a platter and sliced. That platter was then placed on the table beside the Bremagne toast. The thickened spice wine was poured into a serving jar to be poured over the meat and the toast alike, making a fine sweet syrup to cover it all. Five trenchers were passed out along with five goblets filled with a good Ale. At the last Sir Roland gestured that Washburn should join them. Sensing no further malice, Washburn complied of his own free will, knowing that none of them controlled him as he did so. The morning prayer was said over the food by Roland, and then everyone filled their trenchers and ate their fill.

The breakfast was hearty and not a crumb was left, even off of Lady Sidana’s plate. Only when the trenchers were cleared away,  then did Iain make his announcement. “We shall be leaving by Portal in a short while. I have good coordinates to where we will meet up with my brother.”

“With Darcy? We are going to see Darcy and Aliset?” Washburn asked a bit surprise-- surprised in a good way.

“Yes, we are, I am glad that this pleases you. We have an hour or so, in that hour I would ask that you settle your thoughts and calm your mind. You will have to trust me to get us to where Lord Darcy is. I will need to take both you and Sidana through; you will not be able to reach this portal on your own. Do you think you can do that?”

Hesitant at first, Washburn finally replied, “If you don’t threaten to drug me, or rip my mind, I will do my best to let you take us through.” For he knew what the alternatives for his refusal would be.

Offline DerynifanK

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #621 on: March 11, 2019, 11:26:17 am »
Fiona stormed out of the room and down the corridor, fuming. Of all the arrogant, insufferable men! She would show him! She marched right past the baron’s quarters without stopping and on to the rear of the manor house. When she reached the door leading from the kitchen quarters to the barns and stable yard, she started to push the door open but then paused. Where exactly was she going and what did she intend to do?  Her temper had begun to cool and she hesitated. Perhaps charging out of the manor with no real plan was not the best idea. She needed to think this out.

She wanted to find the rebel’s hiding place before Jaxom did, but was she even sure that he was still on the grounds? He could have slipped away during the initial confrontation between Jaxom’s party and the other rebels. How could she determine whether he was in hiding or gone?

In order to escape, he would have needed a horse. Perhaps she should start by checking the stable to see whether his horse was still there or if one of the other horses was missing. She did not remember Jaxom having his men give more than a perfunctory pass through the stables. Did they even know which horse had belonged to Drago or what other horses should be there? She didn’t think so. Jaxom had concentrated his initial search on the manor house. He had not yet widened the search to the surrounding buildings and grounds.

Fiona slipped out of the house and walked softly toward the stables. She did not want to advertise her presence nor give the impression that she was actively searching for someone. She loosened the tethers that held her own and Columcil’s mounts and began to lead them toward the stable. She led them inside, looking around as if deciding which stalls were best.  She did note a well bred roan she did not recognize as belonging to her uncle. She suspected that it belonged to the man she was seeking. If the horse was still here, that would indicate that his rider was still somewhere about but where. She unsaddled the horses and led them into adjoining stalls.

Fiona climbed the ladder leading to the hayloft and surveyed the space as if looking for feed for the horses. She did  not see anything suspicious; there was nothing out of place, and she heard  no movements. The only sounds were the horses moving in their stalls and snuffling for feed.
She climbed back down and walked around the stalls but saw nothing. Everything appeared quiet and in order. She gave the horses water and put feed in the trough for them.

((Does Fiona find any signs of Drago? !roll 2d6
Derynibot 5,5==10. Yes!))

As she explored further, she noticed a rough wooden door partially hidden in a dark corner. She remembered a little used storeroom where tack and farm implements needing mending were kept. The door was slightly ajar which was unusual. As she moved a little closer, the door was pushed open and she saw a stocky, rough looking man dressed all in black.

((initiative test for Fiona. !roll 2d6.
Derynibot 2,4==6.
Initiative test for Drago. !roll 2d6
Derynibot 3,4==7. So Drago makes the  first move))

The man reached toward her to grab at her arm with one hand. In his other hand he held a sword. He lunged at her but was off balance and missed.

((Drago attacks !roll 2d6.
Derynibot 2,3==5. He misses.))

 Fiona whirled to try to elude him and began to run. She tripped and stumbled, almost falling to the ground.

((Fiona’s action, move to try to run away from him.  She has the trait Fleet of foot so her speed in increased to 30 feet.
!roll 3d6
Derynibot 2,1,2==5. I think I got those torenthi dice))

She caught herself on the wooden post of one of the stalls but he was almost upon her. If he could capture her, he could use her as a hostage to enable him to escape. He reached for her again.

((Drago’s 2nd action, attack again. !roll 1d6
Derynibot 3==3. Well at least he isn’t having any better luck))

Fiona dodged to put the partition of the stall between them, hoping for a chance to put more distance between the rebel and herself. The horses were disturbed by the noise and movements around them and were neighing and shifting restlessly in their stalls..

((second action for Fiona, move again. !roll 1d6
Derynibot 4==4. Oh dear))

Drago was nearly upon her again when voices sounded outside the stable. Two of Jaxom’s men had heard the commotion and were coming to discover the cause. Fiona stumbled toward the open stable doors calling out to the soldiers, “Help! Quickly, the rebel leader is here, he is right behind me!”

One of them grabbed Fiona to steady her and thrust her behind him. Both men drew their swords and moved slowly through the stable. The horses were still disturbed and moving about in their stalls. The two soldiers moved cautiously past the stalls, examining each one carefully, looking for any sign of the intruder. As they passed the last stall, Fiona spoke up, “He was in there,” she says pointing to the open wooden door. “That’s a storeroom where broken implements are kept while awaiting repair. I’m sure he was waiting for the cover of darkness to get to his horse and escape.”

“Which horse is his?” one of the men asked. Fiona pointed to the roan, “That one I think. I have never seen him before and he doesn’t belong to the baron.”

The young man turned to Fiona. “What were you doing out here alone, my Lady?”

“I was caring for the horses Father Columcil and I rode here. They needed water and feed, and I was under the impression that we would not be leaving here anytime soon, so I decided to tend to their needs. Father Columcil is still with the baron tending to his injuries, and Lord Jaxom said he had no need of my services. I certainly did not expect to find a rebel in here or to be attacked. Thank goodness you heard the commotion and came to see what was going on.”

The two soldiers, keeping Fiona with them, proceeded to search the rest of the stable but found no further sign of the missing rebel. They did find an open door at the rear of the stable through which he might have escaped. They quieted the horses, searched the storeroom which did reveal signs that someone had been in there recently, secured the open door, then turned to Fiona. One of them addressed her. “Please come with me, my Lady. We need to report this to Lord Jaxom and receive his orders. Patrick will remain on guard here while I escort you to his lordship and make my report.”

The young man offered her his arm, and they returned to the manor house. They found Jaxom in the baron’s solar where he was again questioning Lord Michael. He interrupted what he was saying and turned as they entered the room. “What is the meaning of this?” he asked. He looked quite displeased at the sight of Fiona, looking somewhat disheveled, accompanying his officer.

“Patrick and I heard a commotion in the stable, milord, and went to determine the cause. The young lady came running toward us saying that she had encountered the missing rebel leader and he was pursuing her.The horses were agitated, neighing and stamping and rearing. Something had disturbed them. Keeping her with us, we searched the stable but did not find the man. We did find signs that someone had been hiding in a rarely used storeroom, and we also found an open door at the rear of the stable where he could have escaped. He might have been trying to get to his horse.”

Jaxom glared at Fiona. “What were you doing in the stable? I told you that you were to return to  Father Columcil and remain with him. He cannot protect you unless you stay with him. Instead you go wandering off by yourself  and nearly get yourself caught by a dangerous rebel. Have you forgotten your oath to the Earl to follow my orders?”

Fiona returned his stare defiantly. “And have you forgotten your oath to attend to my information and advice? Why was there no guard in the stable? Surely it occurred to you that the rebel leader would try to get to his horse in order to escape, yet the horses were unguarded.  When I offered my services to assist with the questioning of those we have confined or to help with the search, you brushed me off and said I was no longer needed. Father Columcil was still occupied in caring for the baron. So I decided that I could at least care for our horses.”

Jaxom gave her a haughty look. “I intended to post a guard in the stable as soon as we completed our search of the manor where it seemed most likely that he would be found. My men would have found him and most probably captured him. Instead he has escaped us again, temporarily. It was not even certain that he was still on the estate. I do not need you to tell me how to carry out my mission. I do need you to follow the orders I give you which are intended for your protection. Otherwise I will have to detail one of my men to follow you, and that will interfere with other duties I need them to perform. If you have additional information or suggestions, you need to bring them to me, and I will consider them. Do not go wandering off by yourself. You need to now join Father Columcil and remain with him.”

Fiona gritted her teeth but saw no advantage in arguing with him at this time. She would figure out a way to pursue her own agenda in dealing with the rebels. “Very well,” she said and dropping a curtsy, she left the room to rejoin Father Columcil in the baron’s quarters.
"Thanks be to God there are still, as there always have been and always will be, more good men than evil in this world, and their cause will prevail." Brother Cadfael's Penance

Offline Bynw

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #622 on: March 13, 2019, 10:04:12 pm »

In the early morning hush the monk made his way out of the gates along with, and unnoticed by, the other pilgrims leaving this morning. He would ride with them, for a time, giving blessings along the way. Then he would depart their company and travel alone.

He knew he would have until at least the hour of Terce, the mid-morning prayers, before someone took note  But by then any trace of his passing would be long gone. The monk knew his craft and performed it well. And he mused he wouldn't need hours to reach a Portal that he could use and be half way across the Kingdom in a heartbeats time.

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #623 on: March 15, 2019, 04:02:37 am »
((This post is moved to it's proper location.  After Jerusha's post.))
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 02:01:32 pm by Laurna »

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #624 on: March 15, 2019, 08:31:01 am »

Darcy Cameron watched as the last of the Earl of Marley’s soldiers set off on the Cuilteine Road toward Droghera.  Tucked in among them was the traitorous Remy, riding with his hands tied to the pommel of a saddle on a horse led by one of the soldiers.  The additional horse Darcy had persuaded the earl to leave behind with them was tethered with Shadow and Sigrun.  The only excuse Darcy had been able to come up with for asking for the additional horse was the truth; neither Darcy or Aliset wanted to ride the spirited war horse.  Earl Brendan had wondered why Darcy didn’t want to have a go at Shadow, and Darcy had replied the he preferred to make it to Baron Stuart’s manor in one piece.  That had been the truth, too.

Aliset, who had spent a little time getting acquainted with the new horse, gave her a final pat on the shoulder and walked over to stand beside Darcy.  “We should be going soon; I got the impression Baron Iain would like us to be there when he arrives in the ruins.”

“Aye, I thought the same.”  For a moment, Darcy studied Aliset thoughtfully.  “I’m wondering if it’s the right time to change back to your true form.  Lovely true form, if I may be so bold?”

“I’ve rarely known you not to be,” Aliset returned and then smiled at him.

Darcy smiled back. “It occurs to me that Sir Washburn is expecting the two of us, not squire Robert.  And your presence will be a greater comfort to him than mine, I suspect.  It will prove to him that you are safe.”

Aliset nodded.  “I agree; it will also be a relief to be able to stop pretending to be someone else.”

“I assure you, I won’t mind giving up a squire for a wife,” Darcy said with mock solemnity. 

Aliset rolled her eyes.  “I’ll stay in Robert’s clothes for the journey, and definitely for the climb into the ruins.”  She looked away toward the ruins, where one of the ladders had been left behind to climb the cliff. 

Darcy watched as she gathered her thoughts and focused on changing back to Aliset.  She etched a circle in the air in front of her face, and the transformation was complete.

“That’s much better,” Darcy said. He stepped toward her and quickly kissed the tip of her nose.  “That was for luck,” he announced before she could protest.

Instead, she smiled at him, and his heart skipped a beat.  “We’d best get started,” she said.

Darcy led the way as they started across the causeway to the ruins.  There was a hint of a path through the thick plant growth, but the way was far from clear.  Several times he looked back to make sure Aliset followed safely, until finally she admonished him to look to the path and not her.

“Don’t worry, love,” Darcy replied.  “If I can stand the deck in a raging sea, I’m certain I can manage to avoid a puddle or...BLOODY HELL!”  Darcy’s right foot slipped sideways on a mossy root and landed in the adjacent water hole, sinking a good inch into the mud.

“Pride goeth….” Aliset began. 

Darcy glared at her and tried to pull his boot free, but couldn’t find a solid grip on the mossy ground with his left foot get the leverage he needed.  Any weight he put on his right foot drove his boot deeper into the mud.

“Here,” Aliset said, coming up alongside.  “Grab my shoulder.”

Darcy placed his hand on her shoulder, and with a little more force than he intended, used her to support himself and lift his boot free.  It dislodged with a loud, watery pop and Aliset steadied him before he moved forward to solid ground.  Darcy muttered words she chose not to hear as he pulled up a good-sized handful of brush and used it to scrape the mud off his boot. Finally satisfied, he wiped his hands on his tunic.

“I don’t fancy climbing a ladder with a mud slicked boot,”  Darcy said and paused, looking at her suspiciously. “You aren’t going to let me live this down, are you?” he asked and then noted her disapproving look.

“Likely not,” she replied, still looking at his now mud streaked tunic.  “You don’t stay clean for long.”

“It will all brush off when it dries,” Darcy said.  “At least it’s not blood this time.  Let’s press on, and you might not want to follow in my footsteps.”

“Have no fear of that, Darcy!”

They made it to the base of the cliff with only one or two minor missteps.  Darcy surveyed the cliff face and checked to make sure the ladder was steady.  “Do you want to go first?” he asked Aliset.

Aliset nodded, checked for herself that the ladder was steady and began to ascend.  Darcy soon followed, but he drew her attention when she heard his deep chuckle. 

Aliset paused in her climb. “Now what?” she asked, turning her head to look down at him.

He was looking up at her, merriment showing in his ice blue eyes.  “I’m thankful you are not wearing a gown; I would lose my grip for sure!”

“Darcy!  I’m going up; follow as best you can!”  She faced forward and climbed the rest of the way quickly.  Darcy was still smiling when he joined her at the top.

Together they looked across to the side entrance of the old cathedral.  A tall, dark haired man leaned against the doorway and straightened as they began to walk towards him.  Darcy immediately noticed the similarity to Lord Seisyll Arilan, who had helped him straighten out his provisioning before the departure from Rhemuth.  Nevertheless, he made sure his hand had an unobstructed path to the hilt of his sword.  The man noted it and nodded.

“Lord Sextus Arilan,” he said with a slight bow to Aliset.  He gave no indication of finding it unusual for a woman to be wearing a man’s clothing.

“Lord Darcy Cameron,” Darcy replied.  “May I present my wife, Lady Aliset Cameron.”  He realized as he said it how good it felt to finally be able to say it.  Aliset made a slightly awkward curtsey, and Sextus smiled. 

“Follow me,” he said and led them into a roofless space surrounded by four strong walls.  Boulders were strewn across the sunlit grass.  “There is a tunnel through the wall over there,” Sextus motioned toward one of the walls. “At the end we’ll have to climb up a rock fall and through a hole in the roof. It’s a bit of a strenuous climb, but my men and I have been up and down a few times safely enough. He looked at Aliset.  “Are you willing to attempt it?”

“I’ll be fine,” Aliset replied without hesitation.  “I tagged after my brothers often enough when we were young, and they never shied away from the occasional adventure.  I was never left behind.”

Sextus nodded and crossed the open space to the tunnel entrance, Darcy and Aliset following.  Once inside the tunnel, he casually produced violet handfire to light their way.  Darcy caught Aliset’s nod in his direction and produced a second sphere of silver handfire. 

He was not quite prepared for the twelve foot rock climb that awaited them at the end of the tunnel.  Sextus moved his handfire upwards to reveal a large hole in the ceiling. 

“I’ll go first,” he said.  “It’s not as difficult as it looks; the next one requires more care.”

“Next one?” Darcy asked, but received no answer. 

Sextus started up, familiar with the best route to take.  Aliset followed a short distance behind him. Darcy, unsure how to send his handfire higher to help light their climb, managed to at least make it hover over his head.  Aliset looked back once, amused at the shining blond beacon that was following her.  At the top, Sextus heaved himself through the hole and then extended an arm down to assist Aliset.  Darcy scrambled through on his own.

Bright daylight illuminated the scene before them, and Sextus and Darcy extinguished their handfire.  A short distance away, a mound of stone and rubble continued up the side of the bell tower. 

“The stones are not as solid here, so you will need to take extra care,” Sextus announced as he moved toward the mound.  “Once at the top, there is a crevasse in the wall that will take us to the tower floor.”  Without further comment, he started to climb.

“I’d feel better if we had a rope,” Darcy said quietly to Aliset.  “But there’s no help for it.  You go next; I’ll be right behind you.”

Aliset nodded, trying not to acknowledge the tightening she felt in her stomach.  Resolutely, she reached for the first stone.

Sextus was just about at the top when the stone under Aliset’s foot slipped.  Aliset tightened her grip on her hand holds and felt Darcy’s hand catch her foot and hold her steady.

“Don’t fret,” he said gently, his voice sounding calm and assured.  “You won’t fall.  Take a deep breath.”  Aliset did as she was bid, calming her momentary panic.  “Now, look to your next step.  When you see the one you want, move on up to it.  You will be fine.”  Cautiously, Aliset left the safety of Darcy’s hand and pushed herself up one more step.

Sextus, once he was sure Aliset was secure, climbed the short distance remaining to the top.  Once Aliset and Darcy were up beside him, he sat on the edge of the wall of the crevasse. “Lower yourself into the space,” he instructed.  “There’s loose gravel at the bottom, so brace yourselves against the walls to keep from slipping.”  He lowered himself into the crevasse. 

Darcy kept a steadying hand at Aliset’s side as she moved over to sit on the edge.  She took a deep breath and lowered herself in.  Darcy heard her feet slip as she landed.  He hesitated only long enough to look down, see that she had recovered and then dropped down beside her.

Emerging into the bell tower was a relief after the closeness of the crevasse, yet the relief was short-lived.  The sunlight did little to dispel the bleakness of the place where Washburn had been held captive.  The rumpled sleeping fur was especially disturbing.  Aliset, remembering the helplessness induced by the drug and knowing too well the bleak coldness in mind and body that Washburn had experienced, shivered as if she felt the cold again.

Darcy took her hand in his.  “I owe him much for saving you from this.”  He squeezed her hand gently. “We won’t fail him.”

Aliset nodded, not quite able to speak. She hoped her husband was right.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 02:30:29 pm by Jerusha »
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

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Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #625 on: March 15, 2019, 02:00:40 pm »
((Sorry about jumping ahead, I thought Jerusha's post was already here.  Crazy to find out that it had not been!  So I am moving my post to after Jerusha's. Dear Readers, please go back up a post and read about Aliset and Darcy making their way into the ruins.  I love that chapter. ))

Anticipation was at once both exhilarating and terrifying. This event, most coveted during the last tenuous days, was about to happen. The expectation of meeting friends, of rejoining a life of normalcy, of returning to the trust of fellowship put Sir Washburn in an eager mood, matching the exhilaration of a tournament game. This anticipation also terrified him. Would the people he cared for be disappointed in what they saw in him? Would they find him changed, damaged, not the same man they had welcomed into their comradery the weeks before?  He so wanted to recover his prior self. Yet he knew some things about his personality were indelibly changed. If he could mark all the changes and put them back the way they were, he would have. He knew that Iain, Roland and Maev meant well by him, and given time, he may have willingly submitted to their touch and their administrations. For a moment, just hours before, he had been willing to do so. That moment was torn away by Lady Sidana. He suspected that the child pretender had thrown her fit because she had not been the center of everyone’s attention. Only now was Wash beginning to realize what that spoiled girl’s tantrum had cost him. Had he submitted fully to Maev, he just might have found a foothold toward recovery. Could he submit so easily again to another’s intrusion over his mind? Unwavering trust was a necessity, and that type of trust was hard to accomplish.

Iain was right, he had to trust someone. The trust he had with Iain was enough to allow the Baron of Isle’s to take him through the portal to where his friends awaited. He only needed to lower his outer shields to make that portal jump. Still, he questioned whether he could submit even that much. For heaven's sake, he thought Iain saved my life, I owe him so much, I should trust him implicitly. Then it came to him, his fear had nothing to do with Iain, nor the baron’s abilities. It had everything to do with the the terror of losing one’s self and becoming a pawn of another’s will. Feyd’s words were indelibly embedded in his mind. "Oh, my dear Washburn. I am not selling you to the Grand Duke. I am merely delivering you to him. He already owns you.” 

Washburn fought this proclamation, though even now it seemed inescapable. To himself, he exclaimed, I am a free man! No one owns me!

So why did Feyd’s words hold him so firmly? Because Wash knew the man had done something to him, even if he could not pinpoint what it was. Something about him had changed, but did that change redefine who he was? What Washburn Morgan was and had always been, was a knight of the realm. Not a free man, but a man bound of his own free will to greater men giving them his loyalty and honor.  He owed his fealty to his lords, those being two men: his brother and his king. Just as he thought this, a series of memories flooded him with past episodes of abuse and harsh censure from those two very same men. Memories that wanted him to turn on them and become a real free man out from their control.

The center of Washburn’s soul had to fight these memories. I am a chivalrous knight, vowed to live and to die in the pursuit of honor and justice. I am the protection for the people of this land from its enemy, as my father was before me. It matters not how harshly life tests me, my values can not be shaken!  As if to fight his conviction, past events of unforgiving treatment played out in his mind. Events that encouraged him to rebel, to throw honor and loyalty to the wind.

Forget what has been! he yelled at himself. I know right from wrong. Live by what is right! This seemed definitive, a straightforward path to walk upon. I swore vows and I promised to never break them. I will make it through this! Denied attention, his memories quieted in temporary defeat.

As the weight of doubt was lifted, Washburn opened his eyes to see where he was and what he was supposed to be doing. He was kneeling on the storeroom floor, looking across at the red glow of the Ward Major which covered the ground where the Portal lay. All this inner turmoil had been triggered by the fact that removing this ward was his first step to returning to the outside world. Was he ready?

Iain watched his hesitation with growing concern. “Sir Washburn, after two days, no one can discover this portal’s signature; it is safe to remove the ward. As soon as you do so, we can use the Portal to get to Darcy.” When Wash still hesitated, Iain added. “Is there something else worrying you, something you want to discuss?”

Yes, everything, Wash wanted to yell out. But instead he simply said, ”No.”

“Darcy and Aliset will be waiting for us. Trust me to get us there, I promise you a safe jump,” Iain said this with encouragement as he stood at Washburn’s side.

“I trust you to get us there,” Washburn responded, wishing he could share his concerns.

Pushing aside his fears, Wash put his hands over the corner of the ward. He could feel the pulse of energy and knew the Ward Major had been made well, and that it had done its job for two days without failure. He tuned his mind to the energy and whispered the words recanting the power. The aura of red flickered and faded. In each of the four corners, two cubes reverted to their neutral state: one white and one black. Each set toppled over and settled on the dirt floor.

“Well done,” Iain encouraged. Iain stepped to the center of the open space where the portal square could be felt. He reassured himself that the signature extending into the earth was still viable and ready to use. He then beckoned Lady Maev to guide his hostage to him. Washburn tried to look away, busying himself with the collecting of the four pairs of cubes, and securing the pouch that held them inside his tunic. As busy as he tried to be, he could not help but notice that Sidana was completely subdued. She went precisely where they guided her, she did not smile, nor frown, nor say a word against her treatment. Treatment that was gentle but wholly against her personal will. Wash tried very hard to not recall being Portaled through to Valerian’s keep in this very same condition. To be handled like an object, a prize, and not a human being at all made his ability to trust all that much harder.

Maev and Sir Roland stepped back, holding each other’s hand as they said their goodbyes. Feeling ashamed, Washburn crossed over to the couple and bent down on one knee. “Forgive me! I beg of you…” he stuttered wanting to say more. They both, especially Lady Maev, said they wished him a swift recovery, and he was welcome to return at any time. Wash thanked them, “Someday, I may return. Right now I need to know Lady Aliset is truly well and happy in her new marriage.” He left them with a half smile, then stood and turned to face Iain. He was so much taller than the Baron of Isles, there was only one way to make this work. He turned his back to Iain, knelt on one knee besides the man’s boot, then took in a deep breath and whispered, “Please take me to where Darcy and Aliset can be found.”

With great effort he dropped his outer shields, only the image of his friends kept them from snapping back in place when Iain touched his forehead and encircled him with his silver aura.

Very quickly they were in the void; one second passed, then two. Then they were in the light with the radiant heat of the sun touching them as it bounced off the surrounding stone. As they recovered their balance, Iain’s fingers continued to cover Washburn’s eyes. “Be still,” came Iain’s quiet command. “You are safe. Keep your eyes closed just a moment more.  Aliset and Darcy are here. I am giving you over to them.”

((01:50 <laurna>  Does Wash resist Iain's control with a successful save test?
01:50 <laurna> Resolute makes this an advantage roll
01:51 <laurna> !roll 3d6
01:51 <•derynibot> 3, 4, 5 == 12
01:51 <laurna> yes, Wash  resists the command to keep still.
01:52 <laurna> Iain makes a second attempt at control for his two turns. Does Wash still resist.
01:52 <laurna> !roll 3d6
01:52 <•derynibot> 6, 2, 6 == 14
01:52 <laurna> yes. Wash resists the command to keep his eyes closed. ))

“I am my own man,” Wash responded quietly, denying the restraints that Iain tried to place upon him. “Why should I keep my eyes closed?” he asked as Iain’s touch firmed to keep his hand over the knight’s eyes.

A little irritated, Wash brushed Iain’s hand aside. Directly before him was the one person he most wanted to see. Truly, here was Lady Aliset. ”Sir Washburn, you’re alive!” she called as she rushed forward and hugged him about the shoulders and head, keeping him in his kneeling position as she crushed him into the folds of the man’s tunic she wore; fabric that held the scent of a woman. “We have been so worried about you,” she cried not releasing him. “We were sent to rescue you, if we could. And we are here to help you now.”

“ I have been so worried about you,” he returned, barely able to speak because she held him so tight. “I would have sold my soul to the devil to save you, if I could have,” he whispered as his throat caught on sudden tears. Lady Aliset was safe! In his moment of need, his shields softened to her, he let her comfort him. In that moment, Iain used the distraction to join with Aliset and transfer his controls to the lady. Wash could have resisted, but he saw no reason to. He accepted it as a necessity. Truth was, he trusted Aliset with his life. Funny how it did not frighten him at all that she now held the controls of his body and mind.

When she released him, Darcy was standing there. “She was rescued from the library and did not fall into evil’s hands. Be easy on that account.” Darcy said as he clapped the shoulder of his friend. “I too am happy to see you.” Darcy followed his words with a seaman’s firm hug. Wash then knew their comradery had never been lost. He closed his eyes and felt the warmth of the two people before him, they surrounded him with protection. All was right! Tears blinded him as he finally stood. The sun gleamed through the tears, leaving his surroundings a blur. He could only see the shine on the stone; here were walls but no roof above him. As his eyes cleared, he realized they weren’t the only ones here. Men from Rhemuth were here too. Some with swords, one was drawn. Wash recognized Lord Sextus, who gave him a greeting and a pat on the back. The other men wore Rhemuth livery, Haldane Knights. One he recognized from training who gave him a welcome nod. The one with the sword drawn, who looked menacing, he did not know.

“Is Columcil here?” Washburn asked, turning himself around to look for the priest. That is when he saw the sleeping fur on the ground. Recognition set in, he hadn’t sensed it because the last time he was here, he had no ability to sense the stones. The warmth of the people had covered up what the coldness of this place had been. He was back in the ruins. Back in Feyd’s hidden tower. How could they have known of this place? Feyd had assured him that no one knew of it, and there were protective wards around it. How could his friends have gotten into here? How indeed? Was this all a deception, to get him to open his mind? Like what he had just done?

“Oh, no! No! You liar, you do work for Master Feyd,” he claimed as he spun to face Iain.“You freed me from Valerian just so you could return me to Feyd. Is he here? Am I nothing but his pawn? I won’t be that!” Washburn felt trapped with people all around him. He dropped down to one knee, his hands went flat on the portal stone, and he searched for a signature to let him escape. But the signature was silent to him; not letting him attune to it. Unnerved, he looked up at the low spot on the wall where he had jumped to before, and he considered what it would take to make that jump again.  But Sextus and one guard stood in his way for that; the other guard, the one with the sword, was coming around behind him. Threatening if he made any move. There was no escape.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 04:12:40 pm by Laurna »

Online revanne

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #626 on: March 17, 2019, 02:25:12 am »
My thanks to all my fellow conspirators for their support of Columcil, and especially to Evie for taming those commas for me. The dice shall remain unthanked.

Columcil took a deep breath. Much though he admired Fiona, he was finding it a strain to have to constantly remind her to mind her behaviour towards Jaxom. Not least because although he was urging her to be properly submissive to his lordship’s authority, especially given the promises they had all made before Earl Brendan, what he really wanted to say was “Ye gi’e it ta him, lass. And when ye’ve done, I’ll clout his heid fer ye.” It was at such times that the wild borderer warred fiercely with the priest in him, and this time he was none so sure that the priest would win out.

He tried to focus on the task before him. Never mind bluidy Jaxom, Baron Mac needed and deserved his attention. The man had done nothing to deserve what had been done to him, and both as a loyal subject of the King and a priest it was his duty to heal him.

(( Does Columcil heal the baron at once. Apparently not. 4+ 1+2 = 7 6c9qpn9892. Glad to see the Torenthi dice have not gone awol in my absence!!))

Despite these pious and dutiful reflections, he knew that he must calm himself before he would be in any fit state to attempt a healing, and the baron, thank God, was in no immediate danger. Once brought here back to his own bedchamber, he had been swathed in a brychan of soft wool, his wounds gently bathed and loosely dressed. He had even managed to swallow a few mouthfuls of a warm clear broth before his eyelids had closed in sleep. It would do no harm for him to rest a while before he was healed.

Columcil did not thereby excuse his own agitation, and he crossed himself and dropped to his knees, bowing his head in acknowledgement of his own unworthiness, and began the words of the morning office - words which should have come to him as naturally as breathing. Unfortunately, rather than focus his mind on worship, they only served to remind him of his grandfather and how unwontedly distressed he had been the last time they had spoken. Columcil pulled out the shiral from the neck of his cassock, that which had been given in love to both his grandfather and father and now to him, and held it tight, tears pricking at the back of his eyes. This really would not do.

He focused his thoughts on the sternest of his superiors at seminary and the penance that such failure in discipline would have earned him. Perhaps it was his imagination, but his knees twinged at the thought of the hours he had spent kneeling penitentially on the stone floor of the cold chapel, so pulling himself together mentally and spiritually,  he prayed the morning office. Much calmer, he remained kneeling for a while after the final versicle and response had been spoken, then crossed himself and got resolutely, if stiffly, to his feet. Time now to attend to his other duties.

He crossed to the baron’s side and was relieved to note that the latter was breathing more easily. Columcil was tempted to reach out to the other’s mind and send him into a deeper and more restful sleep, ((2d6 3+1 =4 1jt2l4r371)) but though it would have been a kindness, it was a kindness that they could not yet afford. There were things that only the baron could tell them; besides which, Columcil thought that he himself would not trust young Michael any further than he could throw him, and the sooner the baron could pick back up his authority, the better.

He was just reaching out his hand to gently remove the dressing from the wound, and preparing to enter into healing trance, when the door was pushed open and Fiona strode in, speaking in an agitated tone as she entered without looking at the bed or its occupant.

“Uncle Mac! I need your help”

Shocked back into normal consciousness (( 2nd attempt at healing 4+4+4 rk1gng5znp)), all Columcil’s pent up emotions erupted into anger and, stepping hastily away from the baron’s  side, he chivied Fiona before him into the far corner of the room before hissing angrily, “Has nae yin ne’er told ye ta show mair respect t’yer uncle and him a sick man? Me ma would’a skelped ye for less.”

But the blood of the Isles was every bit as fierce as that of the Borders, and Fiona shot back,
“With respect, Father, I understood that you are a healer, and I thought to find him the hale man who has taught me to bring all my troubles to him.” She too moderated the volume, if not the tone, of her voice.

“Aye, well. It's none sae easy as a’ that. Though had ye no’ cum in like the de'il hisself was after ye, I'd mebbes bin able fer ma duty.”

But Columcil's shock was ebbing, and with it his anger. He gently put his hand on Fiona's shoulder and eased her down onto the wooden bench which lay along the wall.

“Och lassie. I'd nae call t’be sae fashed wi’ ye. It's ma ain lack o’ discipline that’s hamperin’ me. I ask yer pardon.”

He tightened the grip of his hand for an instant. He intended to take it away but did not. Fiona had begun to tremble in reaction. The anger came back into Columcil’s voice,

“Mayhap I was nae sae far wrong in speiring that the de’il was after ye. If tha’ ...tha’ has done aught ta ye, he’ll ha’e me ta answer ta, Earl Brendan or no.”

Columcil could not think of a bad enough word that would fittingly describe Jaxom, if what he feared was right. Sweet Holy Mother!

Fiona was quick to understand what was going through Columcil’s mind, and knew that she must be as quick to disabuse him, though she was sure that he would not like what she had to say. Kindly he might be, meek and mild he was not.

She was right at that. Columcil listened in silence to her tale, making no sound, but withdrawing his hand from her shoulder, clasping both of his hands tightly together lest he give way to his impulse to shake her for her folly.

“I’ll mebbes tek ma request fer yer pardon back. Ye ken wha’ meks me sae sore angered?” His voice was rough with emotion and he neither wanted, nor waited for, an answer to his question. “‘Tis tha’ yon toom-heided gowk has the recht o’ it. Ye canna gan traipsin’ all o’er th’manor on yer ain. D’ye no ken wha’ manner o’folk we’re dealing wi’? And dinna be tellin’ me tha’ ‘tis on account of ye’re a lass. If ye were a braw laddie it wouldn’a mek no difference - it didn’a save puir Washburn - and if ye were a laddie, I’d be sore temptit ta tan yer arse fer ye.”

Columcil drew breath. The lassie had courage all right, but the last thing they needed was to have regained one captive just  to lose another. And he doubted whether Fiona was worth enough, to any save her kin, to merit decent treatment should she be taken. But, aye, she had courage. She sat straight-backed, her gaze not quite meeting that of his flashing amber eyes, but she had her trembling in hand and there was no sign of tears.

There was a long silence and when Columcil spoke again it was much more gently.

“Well, nae harm’s done, praise God. Sit ye there, and dinna move whiles I try ta heal yer uncle. An’ I’d be gey thankful if ye’d pit up some prayers fer a cranky old priest.”

As he spoke, he smiled at Fiona somewhat sheepishly and moved over to the baron, going to his knees at the bedside and once again extending his hands. (( using an XP this time. 2+5+1 =8 z2b9sl9pfh. Yay!!)) He could sense the healing warmth course through his patient’s body, and after a moment, Baron Mac opened his eyes. There was no hint of pain or exhaustion in them, just a not unexpected confusion. ((hit points healed 4 7mxr584t7)).

The Baron’s eyes moved in perplexity from the unknown priest kneeling by his bedside and came to rest on Fiona.

“Fiona lass, mebbe you’ll tell me what’s been going on?”

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 DerynifanK

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #627 on: March 19, 2019, 11:55:40 am »
Fiona paced around her room in frustration. Her visit with Columcil had not gone as she had hoped. It was reassuring that he said that Uncle Mac was improving, albeit slowly. He had regained consciousness, although the events of the past few days were still fuzzy. And he still had a bad headache. She had thought to find Mac already healed and could not understand why not. Columcil spoke harshly, “Yon baron needed tae be stabilized physically first. He wasnae in any immediate danger o’ his life. Warmin’ and feedin’ him woulda improved tha chances o’ success.”

However, Columcil had felt that he was stable enough to attempt to heal the head injury. While she was there, he had proceeded with the healing which, to her delight, had been successful. Uncle Mac was awake and his voice sounded stronger. He also told the priest that his headache was better. He was, however still hazy about what had happened and why he was in his bed with a strange priest at his side, a bandage around his head, and a lingering headache.

Fiona had given him an abbreviated story of what had occurred, explaining why she had run from the manor to find help and how she had met the Earl of Marley and some of the king’s men at the Michaeline ruins.  The earl had sent men to secure the manor and capture any rebels found there. She also told him about Drago still being on the loose and the encounter in the stable.

Columcil had listened without comment to the account she was giving.  He noticed that the baron was  looking tired and told Fiona she needed to stop for now. “Yer uncle is nae all the way recovered. He needs tae rest.” He turned to the baron, “ye need tae sleep a bit. Th lassie can come back in a bit and tell ya more.” Columcil placed his hand over the baron’s eyes and willed him to sleep. Mac’s eyes closed and his breathing deepened as he relaxed into healing sleep. 

Columcil beckoned her back to the corner of the room. He had studied her face as he asked, “And how was it tha’ ya were in th’stable when th man revealed hisel?” 

“It was not planned. Jaxom refused to listen to any of my suggestions and ordered me to stay with you, like a little girl who was being a nuisance! He was focusing his search entirely on the manor house. It wasn’t even certain that the man was still here! If he intended escape he would need his mount, so I thought I would look to see if his horse was still in the stable.  I could do that while caring for our mounts, so I led them into the stable and, while feeding and watering them, I looked around.  I certainly didn’t expect to actually find him!” Fiona looked at the priest defiantly.

“And did it no occur to ya what might happen if he was there? Ya went in alone, wi nae plan. What were ya thinkin, lass? Ya could hae made things much worse. Can ya no see that havin’ a hostage would make his escape easier?.”

Fiona had to admit that she had not thought things through. And now Jaxom threatened to detail one of his men to follow her everywhere she went if she could not be trusted to remain with Columcil as she had been instructed. The most galling part was that the priest agreed with him. He had managed to extract a promise from her that she would remain in the manor and would not venture out alone again. So here she was, pacing her room in frustration and unable to help with the mission. There must be something she could do that would not involve breaking her oath.

 She sat down to think of some way she could help locate the rebel without putting herself at risk or breaking her oath not to leave the manor house unaccompanied. Was there someone she could trust to help her without giving her away?

She reviewed the men she knew were either in the house or about the grounds carrying out their duties. Though most of them were loyal enough and would follow any orders she gave, she did not feel that they were prepared to participate in a search for such a violent man. They were not trained in fighting or the use of weapons nor did they have access to such things.

She considered trying to reach Michael. She knew he said he regretted his decision to join the rebellion and wanted to redeem himself, both in his father’s eyes and the king’s. He might be willing to collaborate with her in finding Drago and turning him over to Lord Jaxom as a way to salvage his reputation. But she wasn’t sure that she trusted him not to push her aside and take all the credit to himself if they were successful. The good Father did not trust him at all. Michael’s  insistence that he had been wrong to try to join the rebellion and he wanted to right the wrong he had done might be true, or it might be just a ploy to get himself out of the jam he was in. No she could not trust him to help her find the rebel or to take actions that would lead to his capture.

Then she thought of Trevor. Trevor Fraser had been her uncle’s head huntsman. He had retired several months ago to a cottage on the estate provided by the baron as a reward for many years of faithful service. Trevor was devoted to Uncle Mac, and he knew every inch of the estate like the back of his hand. He was also a fine tracker, having often hunted with the baron and his son.  He would be just the person to help her uncover the hiding place of the rebel if she could reach him and he would agree to help. She left her room and descended the stairs, looking for Gavin. She could send him to ask Trevor to meet her in the old dairy. She found him in the kitchen just finishing his lunch. She signaled him to follow her, telling the housekeeper that the priest had an errand he needed run. Gavin rose from the table and quickly followed her from the room. Once out in the hall, seeing no one near, she gave him his instructions to run to find Trevor and tell him to meet her as soon as possible. He was to return as soon as he had delivered her message to Trevor. Gavin bowed and quickly ran out.

Fiona returned to the baron’s quarters to check on him. Lady Olivia had returned to her lord’s side and was sitting on a bench near the baron’s bed. Columcil was sitting quietly in the corner, his head resting on his arms. She thought he might be sleeping, but as soon as she came near, his eyes popped open. She put a finger to her lips asking for silence and gestured for him to follow her from the room. Once they were out in the hallway, she led him to her own quarters, where she asked for information about Mac’s condition.

“Aye, lass, yer uncle is healed and wha he needs most is a bit o’ sleep. He’ll soon be gey fit to tak control o’ his estate again.” Columcil looked pleased at the progress of his patient.

Fiona stood and began to pace again. “But what about finding and capturing this rebel? What are we going to do to help?  Jaxom says that if I have ideas or information, I should bring it to him and he will consider it. You know very well he isn’t about to listen to me. He is so arrogant and cocky, he is sure he knows everything and doesn’t need any help. He wants all the credit for capturing a rebel leader, if we do find the man, for himself.”

Columcil studied her as she paced. “An have ye any ideas or information tha might hep?

“I might but I’m not sharing it with him yet. He wouldn’t listen to me anyway. Uncle Mac’s retired head huntsman still lives in a cottage on the estate. He knows the land around the manor better than anyone and he is an excellent tracker. I’m sure he could help us locate this man.”

Columcil looked at her and shook his head. “And if ye should find tha rebel, what da ye plan to do? We have nae weapons tae use tae subdue him. He’s more likely tae overcome us. If he can tak ya hostage, he’ll greatly increase his chances of escape. And ya will ha put yersel and any tryin’ tae hep ya in great danger.”

Fiona looked the priest in the eye without flinching. “I have no intention of trying to catch him; I just want to locate him. I will then inform that popinjay where the man he seeks can be found and leave the actual capture to him and his men.  But all will know that we are the ones who found him and made his capture possible. At least listen to what Trevor has to say when he arrives.”

Columcil reluctantly agreed, thinking to himself that if he refused, Fiona would go anyway. At least he could restrain her from doing anything too risky, he hoped. And he agreed with her assessment of Jaxom and his likely reaction to her advice. It was all too likely that he would either not take it seriously or that he would try to take credit for any success himself.

After a period of time that seemed to drag on much too slowly, there was a quiet knock at her door. Fiona opened it to admit Gavin. “I found him and told him of your need of his services. He knew of the presence of rebels and the arrival of the king’s men to capture them. He was not aware that the worst of them was still loose on the estate. He did ask about the baron and why these orders did not come from him. I told him of the baron’s injury.  He said he is at your service and will meet you in the old dairy as you asked.”

Fiona thanked Gavin and dismissed him back to his regular duties after instructing him to tell no one of his errand. After the boy had left, she turned to Columcil. “Are you at least willing to come with me and hear what he has to say?” Columcil nodded his agreement and followed her out of the room, along the corridor, and down the back stairs. They tiptoed past the kitchen and out the rear door leading to the byre and its attached dairy. Entering the dairy, they found a stocky, older man dressed in homespun waiting for them. He rose and bowed to Fiona who quickly introduced him to Columcil. “Gavin brought me your message my Lady. I am worried that such a violent man is on our land. In what way can I serve you in delivering him to the king’s men? Are they not searching for him? What can we do that they cannot?”

Fiona replied. “The lord who is leading this mission is focusing his search on the manor house. He has not been able so far to extend the search to the grounds. There are many hiding places near but outside the house. The one sighting we had of him was in the stable where  I’m sure he intended to get to his horse. I thought, with your help, we could discover his location and direct the king’s men to where he can be found and taken.”

The man looked at Fiona and Columcil consideringly. “If he wants to escape, he will still need a horse. I noted that there is a guard in the stable but if he is able to surprise the soldier, he might be able to overcome him and take the horse. He also needs food and will want to stay close to a place where he can steal it.. So I don’t think he will be hiding in the more distant parts of the estate. I think he will stay away from the village as there are too many people who would recognize him as a stranger.  There are other places near the house where he might hide until night when darkness would help conceal his movements and make it escape easier.”

“Could we not explore these places to see if there are signs of him?” Fiona asked anxiously.

Columcil spoke up for the first time. “Ye ga’e yer word that ye wouldna leave the manor. Should ye nae inform Lord Jaxom of the hep Master Trevor could provide in the search?”

“No!” Fiona stamped her foot. “Lord Jaxom has made it very clear that he is not really interested in my ideas. I am willing to leave the capture of the rebel to him, but I want to find him first. I promised not to leave the manor unescorted but I didn’t promise not to go out at all. If you and Trevor are with me, I should certainly be safe enough.”

“Nae, lassie.” I dinnae think it a good idea fer us tae be looking insted o’ the soldiers. They have the trainin’ an the weapons to deal wi such a dangerous man. I cannae think we should be takin’ chances.” Columcil had a stubborn look. Fiona did not think he would be easily persuaded.

Trevor spoke up. “Mebbe I could just have a look around to see if I see any signs of the man. If I go alone he will not be alarmed and we’ll have a chance of cornering him.”

Fiona was  not pleased, but she could see that Columcil was not leaning toward allowing her to continue to search for the rebel. She agreed to allowing Trevor to do a preliminary search for signs of the man they were seeking. With his knowledge of the grounds and his superior tracking skills, he certainly had the best chance of finding their quarry. As Trevor left the room, Fiona followed him out into the hall. She returned in a few minutes, but Columcil suspected she had given him some additional instructions of which the priest would not approve.
It was some time later when Trevor again presented himself to Fiona and Columcil. “I think I have a good idea of where he is holed up. I have seen definite signs of someone concealed in the small barn that we only use at the height of the harvest. Shall we go report my findings to the Lord leading the mission?”

“No!” Fiona was adamant. She turned  to Columcil with appeal in her eyes. “At least let me see for myself this hiding place that Trevor has found. I promise I will do nothing rash, and I will stay with you and follow your orders. I need to do this.”

Columcil looked very doubtful. “I dinnae think ya should put yersel at risk by goin after him agin. If he gets his hands on ya ta use as a hostage he will nae treat ya kindly. I cannae see puttin’ ya in danger. Ye thought of callin’ on Trevor an it would be ta your credit if he is indeed found there.  We need tae tak our findin’s tae Lord Jaxom? ” 

Fiona reluctantly agreed to the priest’s demands, and they went to seek out Lord Jaxom. They found him in the solar with two of his men. He was giving instructions for extending the search. He turned as they entered and addressed Father Columcil. “What can I do for you, Father?”

Columcil replied, “Ya can listen tae what the lassie has tae tell ya. She had tha idea of askin’ the baron’s former  head huntsman to scout around tha grounds lookin fer signs o’ that rebel. An he has information fer ya.”

Jaxom turned to Fiona, “And what has your man found?”

Fiona stood rigidly, “Master Trevor found signs indicating where the man, Drago, is hiding. If you move quickly you will be able to capture him. He will be able to provide much information about the rebellion and its plans.”

“Ya need tae listen tae the lassie.” Columcil intervened. “Remember yer promise tae the Earl tae listen tae the information she has for ya. If ya miss tha chance tae catch him by not listenin’ an he escapes tae return tae the rebels, the Earl will be most displeased. Master Trevor has found signs tae lead ya tae him. Ya need tae tek heed.”

Jaxom turned his head to study the stocky man dressed in homespun who stood slightly behind Fiona. “You are one of the baron’s retainers?

The man inclined his head as Fiona addressed Jaxom. “This is Master Trevor Fraser, head huntsman to the baron until his retirement several months ago. He knows this estate like the back of his hand. I thought if the man is hiding in the grounds near the house, Trevor might be able to find some signs of it. And he did!”

Jaxom spoke to Trevor. “You have information for me about where the rebel may be found?”

“I do, my Lord. Lady Fiona asked me to search the grounds around the house for any signs that the man was hiding somewhere nearby and try to determine his location. I have found signs that he is concealed in the small barn. It’s a good hiding place because it is a short distance from the manor but mostly hidden in a copse of trees. And it is only used at the height of  the harvest so it is not in use now and no one would have cause to go there.  It is close enough to the manor kitchen that he would be able to steal food as needed and to sneak into the stable to get to his horse.” Trevor paused, looking at the young lord.

Jaxom studied the three people standing before him and addressed Trevor. “Can you lead my men to the place, hopefully without being seen?”

Trevor bowed, “Yes, my lord”.

Jaxom gave instructions to the two men to take their weapons and follow Trevor to the rebel’s hiding place. “If he is indeed there, you need to capture and bind him and bring him to me” Turning toward Fiona and Columcil, he spoke. “I need the two of you to remain together in the house. I want no chance that he can get to you or gain a hostage by taking you”

Fiona and Columcil followed Jaxom’s men down to the kitchen where the two manor dogs greeted them enthusiastically, wanting to go out with them. Fiona held the dogs while the men exited the door, following Trevor. They remained there with Jaxom, waiting to hear the outcome of the effort to corner the rebel leader.

They heard the men returning. Lord Jaxom also heard them and returned to the kitchen. Fiona approached them anxiously. “Where is he? Did you  find him?”

The men bowed to Lord Jaxom, the taller of the two reporting,  “He managed to slip out of a small door in a back corner of the barn. We caught a glimpse of him as he ran through the thick bushes. Should we continue the pursuit? I am sure we will have him in a short time.” Jaxom told them to continue pursuit, turned on his heel and stalked back toward the solar.

Save test for Drago. Does he escape?
!Roll 2d6.
Derynibot  4,5==9
Yes he does. Oh well. Further pursuit indicated.

Fiona turned to Columcil . “Let us return to my quarters. We need to talk.” Once they were back in her room, she turned to Columcil. “Well, I tried it your way and that didn’t work. I am going back to my way to see if I can at last see him captured before he does more harm.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2019, 05:33:26 pm by DerynifanK »
"Thanks be to God there are still, as there always have been and always will be, more good men than evil in this world, and their cause will prevail." Brother Cadfael's Penance

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #628 on: March 21, 2019, 08:56:32 am »
“Hold! There is no need for that!” Darcy Cameron commanded and waved back the guard with the drawn sword.  Iain Cameron looked a bit startled but said nothing, watching both his brother and Washburn warily.

“Wait, Sir Washburn,” Darcy said in a more calming tone, both hands held away from the hilts of his sword and daggers.  “On my honour, you are not a prisoner here. You know the truth of my words.  These ruins are not as impregnable as your captor led you to believe. Aliset and I climbed the same path that the townspeople followed when they tried to rescue you.”

Washburn looked at Darcy suspiciously, wanting to believe him, but belief was warring with the memories of his torment in this place.

“It’s true, Wash,” Aliset added.  “Someone did see you when you were standing on that wall behind you.  A young man reported it, and a small band of men volunteered to try to rescue you.”  She touched his shoulder gently, and Washburn rose to stand cautiously beside her.

“They very nearly managed it,” Darcy continued.  “Feyd’s wards delayed them long enough that he got you away.  As it was, only two of the fourteen of them managed to make it this far, but they did make it.”

Washburn turned an accusing look toward Iain. “How did you discover this Portal’s signature?  Feyd had it warded just as I warded yours, plus the Portal was trapped!  How did you get us here, if you are not working with Feyd?”

Lord Sextus responded before Iain had a chance to reply.   “My nephew Jamyl discovered the signature in the brief moment when Feyd kicked the ward cubes away.  Archbishop McLain tried to break the trap, but was injured in the attempt.  It was your lady mother who broke the trap, and before Seisyll could stop her, she made the jump here. She also just missed you, but the two men she surprised said they were visited by a veritable banshee.”  Sextus managed a wry smile.

Washburn stared at Sextus, his altered memories of his mother fighting with the truth that she had come to rescue him.  Banshee.  That had been his father’s pet name for his beloved wife; Washburn dimly remembered it making her laugh.

“Archbishop Duncan has recovered?” Washburn asked.

“Yes,” Sextus replied.  “Seisyll delayed his jump to the ruins long enough to see him safely in the care of a Healer.”

Washburn turned his gaze back to Iain.  “Why bring me back to this cursed place?”

“Dowager Duchess Richenda recovered Feyd’s ward cubes,” Iain answered.  “It was decided to send them back north to Darcy in the hope that Aliset could use them to scry for Feyd’s whereabouts and through him locate you.  Unfortunately, you were at the fortress by then, and Feyd was long gone.”

Washburn turned a panicked look toward Aliset.  “Do you still have Feyd’s ward cubes?  Get rid of them!  It is not safe to have them!”

“And that is why we were sent here to retrieve them from her,” Iain countered.  “I’m taking them with me when I leave with our true prisoner.”  He nodded in the direction of the silent Sidana, standing like a statue but listening to all that was said.

“Feyd could return at any moment.” Washburn looked around the ruins, his body tense with apprehension.

“The Portal has been trapped again so he cannot use it.  Only someone with Morgan or Arilan blood can use it now, and the signature has been obscured.  You were my passport here; Sextus will be my passport when I leave.  And that must be soon.”

“Wash,”  Aliset said gently.  “I know what I endured from the drugs; I would never allow  anyone to do that to you again and hold you captive against your will.  You have my word, based on the friendship you shared with Alister and now with me.”

Washburn took a deep breath.  Aliset’s words were true; all of what had been said was true.  Why was it still so difficult for him to trust them, including Darcy and Aliset, his truest friends?  “I want to be away from here as soon as possible,” he finally said and relaxed his tense stance a bit.

“Agreed,” Iain said and nodded.  “Lady Aliset, you have the ward cubes?”

“Yes, she does,” Darcy answered before Aliset could speak and reached his hand across for her to give him the pouch with the ward cubes.

Iain stepped forward to take the pouch.  “So this is your Aliset,” he said and, after he took the pouch from Darcy and secured it to his belt, gave her a slight bow.

“She is not my Aliset, but she is the love of my life and now my wife.”

Aliset smiled; reticence was not a part of Darcy’s nature! She studied both of them and noted that Darcy was just a tad taller and broader of shoulder than his brother, but otherwise they were nearly identical.  Darcy was a bit rumpled after the climb up to the ruins, with several stray blond hairs escaping from his braid, while his brother, though dressed in equally serviceable clothing, was more carefully groomed.  Iain possessed an air of calm assurance that may have come partly from rank or greater years, but Darcy faced him squarely with no thought for propriety.

Aliset watched as Darcy pushed the strands of pale hair back from his face.  There was no sudden rushing into a brotherly embrace; they had been apart for too long.  One had returned from the dead, and the other had been completely unknown until Aliset had accidently restored her husband’s memories.   Aliset reflected that even though she and Alister had drifted apart as their lives followed different paths, they still shared the memories of growing up together and a special closeness.  Would Darcy and Iain ever be able to recover the brief memories they had shared?  Would they now be willing to share some part of their lives?

Iain looked thoughtfully at his brother.  “There is something I should do before I leave.”  He turned to Aliset.  “Would you please stand beside Darcy and join hands?”

Darcy gave Iain a questioning look as Aliset moved closer and took his hand.

Iain turned to Sextus and Washburn.  “Will you both stand witness to this?”  Both men nodded.  Iain turned back to Darcy and Aliset and took their hands in both of his.

“I, Iain Reyvik, Baron o’ Isles, acknowledge you, Aliset….”  He paused and looked at Darcy.  “She’s Aliset…?”

Darcy gave him a blank look.  “Aye, she’s Aliset.”  Sudden realization struck him and he asked her, “What is your middle name, love?  Isles is funny that way.”

“Yvaine,” she replied.  “Aliset Yvaine.”

“Aliset Yvaine,” Darcy repeated, as if making it official.

Iain gave Aliset an amused look.  “He always has to have the last word.”

“I have noticed that,” Aliset replied. Iain looked up and noticed a brief grin on Washburn’s face.

“Let’s try this again.  I, Iain Reyvik, Baron o’ Isles, acknowledge Aliset Yvaine as the lawful wife of Darcy Solveig and rightful Heiress d’ Isles.”  Iain released their hands and then kissed Aliset on each cheek. 

“Hear hear!” Washburn said.

“Now I must go,” Iain said and started to draw away.  Darcy reached toward him and grasped his elbow.  Iain followed suit, and for a moment they stood united as brothers.  Iain reached up with his other hand and gripped Darcy’s shoulder for a moment and then withdrew.  “Lord Sextus, are you ready?”

Sextus nodded and moved toward the Portal.  Iain retrieved Sidana from where she stood, taking her gently by the arm and moving her to the Portal stone.

“Wait, Sir Iain,” Washburn said.  The sight of the complacent captive disturbed him, bringing back memories of being helpless in the same state himself. “You won’t keep her like this, will you?”

Iain shook his head.  “No, I will not.  Once she is safely delivered, these controls will be removed.  On my word, I will do my best to ensure she is well treated; she will not need to endure this longer than absolutely necessary.”

Iain shifted the energies, and they were gone.

For a moment, there was silence.  Darcy looked at the empty stone and said, “There was more I should have said to him, but I did not.”

“Perhaps this was not the right place,” Aliset replied, laying a hand on his arm.  “There will be another time.”

“Aye.  Maybe in some place that serves an excellent tankard of ale.”  He sighed.

“Actually, Sir Iain is fond of a good port,” Washburn interjected.  “But now, let us get away from here.”

“He would be,” Darcy said with a snort and turned toward the crevasse.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline DerynifanK

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #629 on: March 26, 2019, 08:05:48 am »
Fiona and Columcil talked over what they might do to finally see the rebel leader caught. Jaxom was little help because he continued to fail to take Fiona’s ideas or suggestions seriously. Trevor had gone with the two soldiers to continue the search of the grounds near the manor. There were so many possibilities. The man could have doubled back to the stable, thinking that since it had already been searched, it would not be searched again. Only one soldier was on duty in the stable, and it would be easy to slip past him and hide there.  He could have chosen to hide in the main barn which was large, had many dark corners, and was filled with crops that had recently been harvested and were drying. He even could have doubled back to the manor and hidden himself in a distant part of the building. They were guessing as to his next move, but it was important to find him as soon as possible. This was made more difficult by the lack of cooperation from Jaxom and the lack of men to participate in the search.

Columcil called a break in their deliberations saying he needed to go check on the baron. It was getting late in the afternoon, and Mac should be waking up. Columcil would reevaluate his head injury to be sure he continued to improve and that there were no signs of more swelling or pressure inside his head. He would also need to be fed and to have water. They would want to assess his strength and his ability to get up and move around and resume control of his estate.

“While you tend to Mac, I will go get some food and drink both for him and for us. I am quite hungry. I am sure you would also appreciate some refreshments.” Fiona turned toward the door of her chamber.

“Wait a bit, Lassie.” Columcil placed a hand on her arm. “Come wi me tae see how he is. Then we can decide wha’s best to do for him.”

Fiona reluctantly agreed, and together they entered the baron’s room. His eyes were open and his voice was stronger as he asked what time it was and what had been happening while he slept. Columcil examined his head where the laceration had been and found it fully healed. He pressed gently on the areas of the skull under and around the injury and found it to be intact with no evidence of a break. The baron assured the priest that his headache was completely gone and he felt much better. A gentle Deryni probe revealed no swelling or pressure. Mac was anxious to get up and to resume control of his manor.

The good father restrained him. “Ya need tae hae some food an’ water tae build up yer strength. Yer still nae fully recovered from yer injury.”

The baron insisted he wanted to get up so Columcil and Lady Olivia assisted him to sit up, then stand and move slowly to a chair. He was weak but reasonably steady on his feet, able to walk with assistance.

“I am going to the kitchen to find some food and drink for you Uncle, as well as some food for us. I will find Gavin and have him help me carry the trays upstairs. I don’t think you are ready to try the stairs yet.” Fiona again started towards the door.
“Wait, Lassie. I need tae come wi ya.” said Columcil. “Gie me a minute tae finish wi yer uncle, then we’ll go down tae the kitchen and see wha is there. We still dinnae know where that outlaw is, and I dinnae want ya goin alone, een inside.”

Fiona was tapping her foot impatiently, “I am going ahead and you follow as soon as you can. I don’t see any reason for delay. I’m not leaving the house, and there are men inside so help is near if I should need it.”  She left the room, leaving the door partly open.

Columcil sighed as he had the baron flex his arms and legs and tested his strength. He also checked for any other lingering injuries due to his ordeal. “Tha’s one stubborn lassie.”

“That she is.” replied the baron with a rueful smile.

 Fiona descended the stairs toward the back  of the house where the kitchen and storerooms lay. Past the kitchen down a short hallway lay the storeroom where the captured rebels had first been confined. They had been moved to another, little-used room near the estate office where one of Jaxom’s men stood guard.  As Fiona came down  the last few steps, she saw the back of a man going toward the storeroom. She started to call to him, thinking it was one of the servants. But she hesitated. Somehow, the figure she had glimpsed did not move like a servant carrying out his duties. There was something furtive about his movements that roused her suspicions. She passed the kitchen door and moved quietly down the hallway toward the storeroom.

Columcil, satisfied that the baron was strong enough to be left while they secured food and drink for him, exited the room after Fiona, telling the baron they would return as soon as they had fixed a tray for him. Columcil was descending the steps when he heard a scuffle and a sudden, sharp cry that was cut off.

As Fiona neared the storeroom, her attention on the door, an arm reached out from a small alcove and seized her, pulling her toward the dark form that stood there. It was him, the rebel! Before she could react, he had turned her around and pulled her against his chest with his arm across her pinning both her arms against her body. She started to resist but a rough voice rasped in her ear; “If you want to live, stop resisting and do as I tell you.” She felt the cold touch of steel against her throat. He began to move her toward the kitchen and the door to the outside.

That sharp cry caused Columcil to stop about two thirds of the way down the stairs. From where he stood, he could see the man holding Fiona in front of him with the knife at her throat, forcing her step by step toward the door. He could not reach her without attracting the attention of the man holding her. He heard someone running down the corridor toward the kitchen area. Jaxom appeared with sword drawn.

“Stand back. Don’t come any nearer or I will slit her throat!” the rebel snarled. “Put away your sword if you want her back alive.”

Jaxom sheathed his sword and remained still, watching the rebel as he forced Fiona toward the door and escape. Columcil, still on the stairs, had a sudden thought. Where were the dogs? They hadn’t barked or sounded an alarm when the man seized Fiona. Were they near enough that he could summon them? He hoped they had not been shut away. He stood quietly and reached out with his mind to find the dogs.  He did not sense them. Maybe they were too far away. He edged back up the stairs, careful not to attract Drago’s attention. He reached the front stairs and hurried toward the solar.

((Does Coluncil reach the dogs?
! roll 2d6
Derynibot 4,3==7. Darn dice)).

Columcil paused near the solar and reached out again without success

((!roll 2d6
Derynibot  3,1==4  Must be Torenthi dice.))

As Columcil circled silently through the main hall back toward the kitchen to try another attack, he reached out again to try to touch the minds of the dogs. He sensed them quite near. He reached into their minds and summoned them.

Has he found the dogs?  Adding 3 XP to increase chance of success Success on 4,5,or 6.
!roll 2d6
Derynibot 1,4==5 Success at last

 He heard scratching and whining behind a closed door just ahead. When he opened the door, the dogs rushed out. He grabbed them quickly, then used his rapport to tell them to attack Drago. The dogs ran silently ahead of the priest toward their target. Drago was focused on Jaxom and did not see them until they attacked, one from the rear, pulling him backward, while the other grabbed the hand holding the knife. Darago staggered backward as the first dog snapped and pulled at him. He dropped the knife as he tried to free his arm which the dog had clamped in his teeth.

 As Drago fell back under the dogs’ attack, Fiona twisted away from him, staggering toward Jaxom who had drawn his sword and was rushing toward them. Columcil reached them, caught her and gathered her in his arms while Jaxom pointed his sword tip at the rebel’s throat. “Call off the dogs!”  The priest recalled the dogs to his side.

((Save test for Fiona. Does she escape Drago?
!roll 3d6
Derynibot 1,6,2==9 Success!))

Gavin had followed Jaxom from the solar and had been watching the confrontation from the corridor. “Go find the two men I sent out with Master Trevor and tell them to return here immediately. Our quarry is found,” Jaxom ordered him.

“Yes, my Lord.” Gavin ran out the door to find the soldiers.

Columcil felt Fiona trembling in his arms.  “Dinnae fash yersel, Lassie. Yer safe now. Jaxom is holding him at swordpoint. As soon as Gavin returns wi ta soldiers, he will be bound and confined. He cannae hurt ya now.”

Fiona’s voice shook a little as she replied. “ Father, I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you. I was in a hurry, and I never thought he would be in the house. Even when I followed the figure I saw to the storeroom, I didn’t really think it could be him. Why would he come back to the house? Wouldn’t that increase his chance of being caught?”

“Aye, it would but he was hungry an’ needed food. Jaxom dinnae have tha many men an they were spread out guardin’ tha rebels already caught an searchin’ fer him outside. Ta house is big wi lots o’ empty rooms an I’m sure he thought he could get away wi it. An he needed food an he could steal it here.” Columcil explained.

They heard rapid steps approaching and the door opened to admit Jaxom’s two men and Gavin. Trevor trailed behind them.  One soldier stood guard over Drago while the other wrapped a rough bandage around his bitten hand, then bound him.. They raised him roughly from the floor and, at Jaxom’s direction, marched him toward the locked room where the others were being held. Jaxom sheathed his sword and approached Fiona and Columcil. “Are you alright, milady? He didn’t injure you did he?”

Fiona replied, shaking her head. “I am not injured. I am grateful to you and Father Columcil for coming so quickly to my rescue. I don’t know what he would have done to me if he did manage to escape, taking me with him.”

Columcil directed her back toward the stairs. “We should return ta the baron an let him know tha yer safe. He will have heard tha fight an will be worried about ya. He also needs tae know tha tae rebel was caught an his manor is now secure.”  Jaxom agreed. Columcil and Fiona climbed the stairs and returned to the baron.

The dogs followed the captured rebel and the soldiers to where he was to be confined with the others. All of the rebels at the manor were now captured and under control.. While Fiona reassured the baron as to her welfare and described the capture of the final rebel, Columcil returned to the kitchen and, with Gavin’s help, assembled food and drink for both the baron and themselves. Before taking it to the baron’s room, he went to the area where the captured rebels were being held and placed the two dogs on guard, telling them to stay and to obey commands from the soldiers. The soldiers guarding the door grinned, a little extra help in holding these rough and dangerous men was very welcome.

After eating, Columcil left Fiona with the baron and Lady Olivia and sought out Jaxom, who had returned to the solar. He had completed his interrogation of Maclin, the steward, and of Michael. Drago, Maclin and the other rebels would be kept locked up until Jaxom received orders as to their disposition. He still needed to question Drago. But he was not certain what should be done with Lord Michael, who insisted that he regretted his intention to join the rebels now that he had seen what kind of men they were. He would do anything required of him that would help him clear his name. He wished to renew his fealty to the king and to make his peace with his father.

Columcil proposed that he contact Earl Brendan to advise him that the manor was now secure and to request orders concerning what should now be done with the rebels who had been captured. He was sure that the Earl would wish to question Drago himself. He would also be the best person to determine what should be done with Lord Michael. The problem was that Lord Jaxom had a limited number of men and would need all of them to convey the prisoners to Earl Brendan. That would mean he could leave no soldiers to ensure that the manor remained secure. The priest did not know how the Earl would decide to handle that. Perhaps, Darcy and Aliset could join him here to help the baron until other arrangements could be made. Jaxom requested that Columcil contact the Earl as soon as he could to secure orders as to their next moves.
"Thanks be to God there are still, as there always have been and always will be, more good men than evil in this world, and their cause will prevail." Brother Cadfael's Penance


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