collapse

Author Topic: Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 1  (Read 4530 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Duke
  • *
  • Posts: 4371
  • Karma: 29
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 1
« on: June 27, 2010, 09:14:48 am »
Chapter One

   “So, let's try this again, shall we?”

   Contessa Constanza watched as each of her young charges produced handfire.  Celsie, frowning a bit in concentration, managed to produce a brief flare of soft blue that flickered out almost as soon as it was produced.  “That's good, it's a start.  Control will come with practice.  For now, though, concentrate on your focus.”  She extended her mental touch to probe gently at one of the training controls she'd set in Celsie's mind, sending the unspoken 'how' of the working to her again.  “Like so.  Now, try again?”

   Celsie cupped her hands again.  This time she was able to generate the handfire with less effort, holding it for a few seconds before it flickered out.  “Like that?” she asked excitedly.

   “Exactly like that!” her mentor said.  “Brava!  Now keep practicing.”  Stanzi moved on to the next pupil.  “All right, Sophie, let's see you try.”

   Sophie's greenish-gold handfire was steadier, if less bright.  “You've done this before, yes?” the Contessa asked.

   “Yes, my lady.”  Sophie smiled. “I wasn't supposed to, but sometimes I used it to read late at night.”

   Constanza chuckled indulgently.  “Well, I'll certainly not tell your father, but I'd appreciate it if you don't do the same while in my care.  You need a full night's rest.  Ailidh, your turn.”

   The border lass promptly produced a bright orb of red-gold light, lifting it up and then slowly pulling her cupped hands away to leave the ball of light suspended in mid-air.  

   Celsie giggled.  “Show-off!”  

   Ailidh shrugged, grinning.  “I've just practiced more is all.”

   “All right,” Constanza told them.  “Keep practicing for a few minutes more, and then I think that's sufficient for one evening.  You've all done very well.”

   “I don't know why this lesson seems so much harder for me than some of the others,” Celsie said.  “I caught on to Truth-Reading right off.”

   “Probably because you've been doing it all along, at least to some extent,” Sophie ventured, with a glance at Stanzi for confirmation.  “At least that's how it was for me.”

   Stanzi nodded.  “Sometimes one learns things on a subconscious level before they're known on the level of conscious thought.”  Looking at Celsie, she continued.  “You, for example, knew instinctively how to defend yourself from your former steward using your innate powers, even though you didn't realize until then that you had them.  However, being untrained, you lacked control, or even the conscious knowledge of how you managed to defend yourself.  It's that knowledge that I hope to both unlock and impart.  Some skills, like Truth-Reading or producing handfire, you already have the full ability to do; you merely needed to learn how to access that innate knowledge.  Other skills, like how to create a ward, are learned skills.  We will get around to those in time.  But for now....”  She reached into a pouch, pulling out a small gift for each girl.  “I had these rings crafted for you in Fianna.  Notice the cabochon stone set into each ring.  Can you tell me what that is?”

   Ailidh glanced at the golden stones.  “Amber?”  She touched one of the stones, then looked puzzled.  “No, not exactly....”

   Sophie picked hers up, examining it closely.  “Is it shiral?”

   “Yes, very good!”  Constanza smiled.  “And what benefit might there be in a shiral ring over, say, moonstone or garnet?”

   “It's an aid in focusing, isn't it?” Sophie asked.

   “Yes.  It can also be used for scrying, among other things, but for now we'll just learn about using it as a focus.  I would like for you to wear these rings at all times.”

   Ailidh picked up her ring, studying the shiral with a smile,  then slipping it on her finger.  “It's almost the same color as Dhugal's eyes,” she mused.  “I wonder if he has one?”

   “His Grace of Cassan probably does,” allowed the Contessa, her words serving as a pointed reminder to the young lady-in-waiting that she needed to remember her childhood friend's proper rank here in the lowland Court of Rhemuth.

   Ailidh flushed.  “'His Grace of Cassan' said I needn't stand on ceremony in private,” she reminded her mentor.

   “True.  But until you've become more accustomed to using the title, I'd like for you continue using it even in private.  That way you'll be less likely to slip up in public.”  Her eyes softened in sympathy.  “I know there's a lot to learn all at once, and some of it might seem unnecessarily...restraining?  But there's a Court in Rhemuth that at times has more power than even the Court of King Kelson, and that's the Court of public opinion.  Even the King's favorites have at times fallen afoul of it.  One of my jobs is to help you learn how not to make the sort of missteps that will make your life more difficult in Rhemuth society.”

   Ailidh nudged a knee closer to Sophie to establish contact, then mind-sent, Screw Rhemuth society.  

   Sophie's lips twitched in suppressed amusement. Ailidh!  I do believe that's language unbecoming a lady!

   Screw being a lady then.


   “All right then, ladies, you're free for the rest of the afternoon.  If you wish, you may explore the castle grounds, though I want you all to stick together.”  She smiled.  “I believe Duke Nigel is training some of the young men in archery over on the practice grounds this afternoon, if you would like something interesting to watch.”  She laughed as three sets of eyes lit up.  “Yes, I thought that pastime might meet your approval.  Just be back by sundown.  We will be dining with the Duke of Corwyn's household tonight.”

   Sophie edged a hand over to make contact with Celsie's. Maybe your Lord Derry will be there!

   Celsie's cheeks turned pink as she sent back, He's not my Lord Derry.

   Sophie smiled. Umhmm.  Yet, she teased.

   Whatever, Your Future Majesty, Celsie teased back, watching Sophie stifle a laugh in turn.

#

   The three young ladies-in-waiting clapped politely as the last of Duke Nigel's squires finished his turn on the archery field.  The young men began to pick up their equipment to clear the field.  Ailidh stood suddenly and headed for the exit stairs of the viewing stand.

   “Where's she going,” Celsie said in confusion.  “We're supposed to stick together!”

   “I don't know.  But we'd better go catch up with her.”

   Sophie and Celsie rushed to follow.  Ailidh, meanwhile, had moved to the center of the field near where Duke Nigel stood.  She stopped several yards away, awaiting acknowledgement that he was aware of her presence before dipping into a perfectly proper curtsy before him.  “If it please Your Highness,” she said, fighting back an unexpected wave of shyness, “I used to practice with my brothers back home in Marlor, and I'm a little homesick.”  She smiled winsomely.  “Might I try my hand at a bow before you put them all up for the afternoon?”

   Sophie and Celsie almost skidded to a stop, mouths agape, as they realized who Ailidh was  talking to.  Duke Nigel looked down at Ailidh, then behind her at her friends, with an amused twinkle in his gray eyes.

   “I don't suppose there'd be any harm in that, as long as you're very careful with the equipment.  These are practice arrows, so they're blunt enough.  I can't stay to oversee you, though; I've a prior appointment.”

   “Oh, we wouldn't wish to delay you, Your Highness!” Sophie hastily assured him with a warning glance at Ailidh.”

   Nigel looked from her to Ailidh, nearly quivering with eagerness, and suppressed a smile.  “Oh, I have a few minutes.  And Rory might not mind sticking around a bit longer, especially if I tell him three lovely young ladies are wanting to try their hand at archery.”  His smile broke free at Ailidh's grateful grin.

   “Thank you, Your Highness!”

   “Let's see....”  Nigel fitted Ailidh's forearm with a leather bracer to protect it  from the bowstring, then took a look at the selection of bows on hand.  “Would you happen to know how many pounds you can draw?”  He examined one bow, stringing it for her, then gave Ailidh's form a considering look.  “Try this one.  Go ahead and nock an arrow and draw, but don't release.”

   Ailidh tried the bow he handed her, but wasn't able to draw to full extension.  “This one's a little too heavy,” she said.  

   The Duke nodded.  “Yes, I was afraid of that.  No matter; I think this one will work better for you.”  He handed her another bow.  This time she was able to draw the bowstring into proper position, sighting down the arrow at the target.

   “Not bad,” Nigel said.  “Your stance is decent, you're side-on to the target...this foot could stand to be just a bit farther back, though.”  He nudged the foot in question with his boot, and Ailidh moved it as instructed.  “How does that feel?”

   Ailidh nodded.  “More comfortable, Your Highness.”  

   “All right.  If you feel ready, go ahead and shoot once.  Let's see how you do.”

   Sophie and Celsie watched in awe as their friend nocked the arrow and then drew the string again, focusing intently on the target for a moment before releasing.  The arrow flew across the gap between archer and target, managing to hit it, although landing a handspan outside of the coveted innermost circle.

   Ailidh glanced up at the Iron Duke.  “Might I try again?”

   “Of course.  Try six more shots, and this time, remember your follow-through. You took your eyes off the target too early that last time.  When was the last time you practiced with your brothers?”

   “About two years ago.  Before my mother decided my time would be better spent poking fabric with needles instead.”  She wrinkled her nose at the thought.  The Duke suppressed a grin.

   “All right, try again. Go ahead and take all six shots while I watch.”

   Ailidh took a deep breath, released it, then drew her first arrow, nocking it and pulling the string taut.  She took careful aim and then released, this time careful not to take her eyes off the target even as the arrow struck home and she reached up to take the next one out of the quiver.  Five more time she repeated this process, until the target was studded with six arrows.  Two made it into the edge of the red circle at the center, although the other four missed it, coming fairly close on either side.

   Nigel nodded.  “That's not too bad, especially if you've not held a bow in two years.  You need to work on your anchoring, though.  You're inconsistent in your anchoring point, and that's affecting your marksmanship.  Also, once or twice you looked like you might have been moving your head slightly down towards the string as you were drawing, rather than drawing the string fully to your face.”

   “My anchoring point, Your Highness?”

   “The point you're drawing the bowstring back to.  It needs to be the same point each time.  Try the center of your chin; that works for a lot of people, though if you find it's not working for you, you might need to pick another point that works better.  The main thing is that you need to be consistent.”  Nigel smiled.  “All right, I'm afraid I need to go, but I'll see if I can find Rory to take over the lesson, now that I'm reasonably confident you actually have some notion of what you're doing and won't accidentally shoot holes in my son.”

   Sophie and Celsie giggled.  Ailidh pretended to glare at them.  “They might!”

   The gray Haldane eyes crinkled at the corners.  “I'll warn him to armor up, then.”  He bowed courteously over each lady's hand, then left the field.

   “He spoke to us!”  Sophie whispered, still in awe, once Nigel was fully out of earshot.  “And he gave you an archery lesson!”  Her eyes were shining with excitement.

   “Yes, I know,” Ailidh whispered back.  “I was there!”  

   Celsie giggled at the two of them.  “Do you think they'll let us try too?  Not that I'd have any clue what to do.”  She smiled.  “I thought you did really well, though; much better than I probably will.  I'll be lucky just to hit the target!”

   “Oh, it's really not that hard, once you've got the hang of it.”  Ailidh put the bow down to unlace the leather bracer on her arm.  “Here, someone else can have a turn.  You want to go next, Celsie?”

   The blonde shook her head swiftly.  “No, I'll just watch first.  Sophie, why don't you have a go?”

   Sophie looked nervous, but she nodded, offering her left arm for Ailidh to cover with the bracer.
 
   “I don't suppose you should actually try shooting until Prince Rory gets here,” Ailidh said, “but there'd probably be no harm in me at least getting you in the right position.  Here's how I stand.”  Ailidh resumed her shooting stance, standing side-on to the target.  “Make sure your feet are in this stance, and you don't ever want to turn your feet or your knees forward.  And don't twist your upper body either.  Only your head and arms should move.”  She handed Sophie the bow.  “Now you try.  But whatever you do, if you pull back on the string, don't just release it unless you're actually shooting an arrow.  That's bad for the string.  My brothers jumped all over me for that once.”

   Sophie nodded, taking the bow.  She drew the string experimentally.  “Oh dear, it's harder than it looks!”

   “Is it too hard for you to draw, or do you think you can keep holding it in that position?” Ailidh asked.

   “I think it's all right, if I don't have to hold it this way for too long.  Now what?”

   “I'm no expert, but I think you might need an arrow,” Celsie teased.  

   Ailidh laughed.  “Yes.”  She pulled an arrow out of the quiver, showing Sophie how to nock and hold it.  “All right.  Now you need to learn how to sight down it to the target.”  She took a step back, bobbing a deep curtsy at someone approaching from behind Sophie.  Behind her, she heard Celsie's quick intake of breath.

   Sophie hesitated, thinking she should acknowledge Prince Rory's approach, but not sure she dared to move at that moment, with an arrow nocked and ready on her bow.  Before she could consider what to do, a touch under her right elbow nudged it up a few inches as a male voice said, “Keep this elbow raised.  Your forearm should be in a straight line, like so.”

   She froze, recognizing the voice, then turned her head slightly towards the speaker.  “You're not Prince Rory!” she managed.

   “No, I'm not,” the voice said, sounding almost apologetic, “though he should be along presently.  There was an errand he needed to attend to first.  Your eyes should be locked on the target .”

   “My eyes....Oh!”  Sophie returned her attention, or tried to, to what she was doing, sighting carefully down the arrow towards the target.  In the periphery of her vision, she caught a glimpse of a black sleeved arm and a ringed hand reaching to correct her grip on the bow.

       “You're gripping a bit too tight, my lady.  Relax.”  After a moment, he took a step back, away from her, giving her form a quick perusal before saying.  “All right, when you're ready, go ahead and shoot.”

   She tried to ignore the nervous flutter in her stomach as she released the arrow.  It flew from the bow, cutting a wobbly path through the air before grazing the edge of the target and flying past it.  Sophie winced, then lowered the bow and turned to dip in a belated curtsy at the King.  He nodded absently, though his gaze followed the path the arrow had taken for a moment before he turned his full attention back to her.

   “Did you notice that fishtailing when the arrow was in flight?  That's why you want to relax your grip a bit more next time.  Otherwise, when you release, your bow is going to tilt slightly and hit the arrow before it's fully cleared, which knocks it a bit off course.”  He smiled.  “Your first attempt at archery?”

   “Yes, Sire.”  She swallowed.

   He nodded.  “Don't worry, I've seen far worse.  You actually hit the target, even if it was a glancing shot.  The first time I tried shooting an arrow, it hit the ground and then came bouncing back at me.  Disconcerting, that.  And that's why you keep that right elbow raised.”  He smiled, looking past her as another person approached.  “Ah, it looks like Rory is free now. If you ladies will excuse me?”  Kelson bowed graciously, then turned to his cousin.  “I think the lady needs a slightly lighter bow.  Perhaps your old one would work.”

   Celsie edged over to Sophie as the two men spoke, nudging her elbow at the same time she reached out a hand to brush Ailidh's.  He spoke to us!  Celsie mind-spoke, deliberately echoing Sophie's earlier words to Ailidh with a mental giggle.  And he gave you an archery lesson!

   Ailidh barely stifled a laugh.

   “All right, whose turn is it next?”  Prince Rory asked, looking delighted to have been chosen to play archery tutor for three of Rhemuth's newest ladies-in-waiting.  His eyes lit on Celsie.  “Have you tried yet?”

   “Um...not yet....”

   Kelson deftly extricated himself from their company, allowing himself an amused grin as he heard the giggling ladies behind him attending to his cousin's tutelage.


Chapter Two: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=546.0
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 02:46:30 pm by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

Offline Alkari

  • Community Supporter
  • Grand Master Knight
  • *
  • Posts: 820
  • Karma: 7
  • Gender: Female
Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 1
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2010, 09:45:36 am »
Quote
But there's a Court in Rhemuth that at times has more power than even the Court of King Kelson, and that's the Court of public opinion. 
Oh dear - and getting an archery lesson from the Duke, then the King, and then Prince Rory is going to enhance their public standing as suitable young ladies?  Sure it is ....  :D


Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Duke
  • *
  • Posts: 4371
  • Karma: 29
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 1
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2010, 09:54:16 am »
LOL!  Oh, I can imagine very mixed reactions.  There'd be the other young ladies suddenly developing a heretofore unsuspected interest in archery in hopes of getting up close and personal with eligible young Haldanes, and then there'd be the ones to look at the three newcomers disdainfully, thinking "Oh, how unladylike!  I'd never be so uncouth as to do that to get attention!" (assuming, of course, that that was their true motive), and then you'd get the shy admiring sort who'd never work up the nerve to do such a thing themselves but silently applaud those who do....

Oh goodness, it's like being in high school all over again!   :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

Offline Gyrfalcon64207

  • Page
  • *
  • Posts: 69
  • Karma: 2
Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 1
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2010, 12:09:38 pm »
But it would've been so much fun!

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Duke
  • *
  • Posts: 4371
  • Karma: 29
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 1
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2010, 02:54:45 pm »
Wouldn't it?   ;)

Personally, I'd gladly settle for one Haldane tutor.  I realize Kelson, being King, has a lot of demands on his time, so I won't be greedy.  And Rory probably wouldn't want to hang out with an old gal like me unless I had my daughter along.  So I'd settle for a few minutes of tutelage from Duke Nigel, because I'm all altruistic that way.   :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

Offline Gyrfalcon64207

  • Page
  • *
  • Posts: 69
  • Karma: 2
Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 1
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2010, 03:29:40 pm »
I wouldn't mind getting to know Prince Rory.

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Duke
  • *
  • Posts: 4371
  • Karma: 29
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 1
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2010, 05:02:10 pm »
Well, I wouldn't either, but given the age difference between us (Rory is only 14 or so at the time of this story, I think), I'd have to settle for offering him a plate of cookies and some milk, so he doesn't think I'm a creepy stalkerish type.   :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

Offline kirienne

  • Requiem
  • Royal Squire
  • *
  • Posts: 108
  • Karma: 4
Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 1
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2010, 08:09:26 pm »
This is a very fun chapter.
While it would be most grand to have archery lessons from the three Haldane's like the ladies -in -waiting, I'd prefer both archery and sword lessons from His Grace, Duke Alaric --not that I'd be able to pay much attention to the actual lesson, mind you :-)

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Duke
  • *
  • Posts: 4371
  • Karma: 29
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 1
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2010, 09:57:31 pm »
Just remember, if you swoon backwards into the archery tutor's arms, that's likely to be the last lesson.   ;)
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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

 


* Discord

* User Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

* Recent Posts

Re: Season of the Sword (Part 2) - A Revision by DoctorM
[December 05, 2019, 05:55:29 pm]


Re: Season of the Sword (Part 1): A Revision by DoctorM
[December 05, 2019, 05:52:49 pm]


Re: Happy Birthday, Evie! by Shiral
[December 05, 2019, 02:18:53 pm]


Re: Happy Birthday, Evie! by Laurna
[December 05, 2019, 11:48:15 am]


Re: Happy Birthday, Evie! by Bynw
[December 05, 2019, 09:04:19 am]


Re: Happy Birthday, Evie! by DesertRose
[December 05, 2019, 08:36:45 am]


Re: Happy Birthday, Evie! by Jerusha
[December 05, 2019, 07:45:29 am]


Re: Season of the Sword (Part 1): A Revision by Laurna
[December 05, 2019, 01:49:10 am]


Re: Rest in Peace: Susan Werner, Zipper Sister, Mistress of Complications by HoundMistress
[December 04, 2019, 09:11:21 pm]


Re: Season of the Sword (Part 2) - A Revision by Jerusha
[December 04, 2019, 02:23:42 pm]

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 26
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 0

There aren't any users online.

* Discord

* Top Poster

Evie Evie
4371 Posts
Laurna Laurna
2257 Posts
DesertRose DesertRose
2025 Posts

* Most Karma

Evie Evie
Karma: 29
DesertRose DesertRose
Karma: 24
Jerusha Jerusha
Karma: 24
Laurna Laurna
Karma: 17
revanne revanne
Karma: 17
Bynw Bynw
Karma: 12
Shiral Shiral
Karma: 11
derynifanatic64 derynifanatic64
Karma: 9
Elkhound
Karma: 8
AnnieUK AnnieUK
Karma: 8

* Online Time

DesertRose DesertRose
124d 21h 1m
Evie Evie
123d 9h 12m
TheDeryni TheDeryni
116d 1h 15m

* Forum Staff

Bynw admin Bynw
Administrator
DesertRose admin DesertRose
Administrator
Evie admin Evie
Administrator
Shiral gmod Shiral
Zipper Sister
Unicorn636 gmod Unicorn636
Requiem
Laurna gmod Laurna
Community Supporter
revanne gmod revanne
Community Supporter
DerynifanK gmod DerynifanK
Community Supporter
gmod Jax
Community Supporter
HoundMistress gmod HoundMistress
Community Supporter
KK gmod KK
Our Queen
gmod Alkari
Community Supporter
AnnieUK gmod AnnieUK
Community Supporter
Jerusha gmod Jerusha
Community Supporter

* Board Stats

  • stats Total Members: 332
  • stats Total Posts: 22555
  • stats Total Topics: 2262
  • stats Total Categories: 14
  • stats Total Boards: 136
  • stats Most Online: 581

* Calendar

December 2019
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31