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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 26

Started by Evie, July 24, 2010, 10:50:20 PM

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Chapter Twenty-Six

   Dhugal's retinue pushed on towards Transha, not easing their pace in the slightest to make allowance for Ailidh's unexpected appearance in the group, for the Duke refused to be slowed.  And, for that matter, Ailidh wanted no special treatment, though by the third evening it was pride alone that kept her upright in the saddle, and upon dismounting for the evening, she found that her legs would barely support her.

   Old Lambert, chuckling, offered her some willow bark tea to help ease her stiff and aching muscles that evening.  "I've go' a bit o' horse liniment, if ye're wantin' a rub-down," Lachlan also offered with a laugh, though a warning look from Sir Jass soon shut him down.

   Her horse tended to, Ailidh dragged her weary body up the stairs towards the waiting bed that night, falling onto the mattress face-first, asleep almost before her body was fully horizontal.  A short time later, she was awakened by an odd sense of warmth suffusing each of her limbs in turn, moving then to her aching back and neck, accompanied by a growing awareness of the gentle kneading of fingers on her shoulders.  She stirred slightly, turning her head to one side to see a tartan-clad thigh sitting next to her, perched on the edge of the bed.  She followed the lean lines of the border man's form upwards until she saw amber eyes looking down at her.

   "You forgot to eat before you fell asleep.  Jass is bringing up a plate for you."  Dhugal stood, moved away to create a pallet by the fire, as he'd done the previous two evenings.  "How's that feel; any better?"

   Ailidh rolled over, easing herself into a sitting position slowly.  She was surprised to find the achiness had vanished.  Instead, a warm glow of well-being filled her.

   "Much!"  She stared at Dhugal.  "What did you do?"

   He shrugged.  "A bit of Deryni healing, plus just rubbing out some of the knots.  You might have said something sooner, Ailidh."

   "You'd not have slowed your pace," Ailidh said, "So why bother?"

   "True, but I'd not have let you suffer like that for so long if I'd known."  He quirked a smile at her. "Not much point in trying to teach you how to think before you act, if I kill you with the lesson, now is there?"

   She snorted.  "Oh, I wasn't even close to dead, Dhugal MacArdry."  Dhugal raised an eyebrow, and she gave a reluctant laugh.  "I just wanted to be!"  

   The door opened, and Jass entered, carrying a platter of food and a couple of trenchers.  "Ah, ye're up, then!  Good.  Eat up; ye'll be needin' yer energy for tomorrow."

   Ailidh's mouth began to water as she watched Jass carve the roasted meat and spoon a thick gravy over it.  Bread spread with soft cheese came next, along with some lentils and a bit of dried fruit.  "It's no' up tae Rhemuth's standards," Jass told her as he noticed her watching, "but for a roadside inn servin' winter fare, it's no' sae bad."

   She nodded, eagerly sampling the offerings, her appetite now fully awakened.  "What's tomorrow, then?"

   "We should be reaching Transha just before noon tomorrow," Dhugal informed her.  "We'll be staying the night at the Keep, getting fresh horses and more provisions before heading up through Cassan to Pelagog."

   "We'll be in Transha?"  Ailidh looked up at the men, her face aglow.  "Truly?"

   "Aye.  For one evening."  Dhugal raised a brow at her.  "You can stay there, if you like, but  if you're still hoping to continue on with us to Pelagog, you'd best be making up your mind on Jass's offer, because you'll not be setting foot out of Transha again until you're safely wed."  As he had on the previous evenings, he pulled a coin out of his pouch and flipped it.  "Jass?"


   Dhugal lifted his hand.  Kelson's likeness gleamed up at him from the stamped metal disk.  He shrugged.  "Ah, well...two out of three nights wasn't so bad."  He tossed an extra cloak on the pallet and prepared to bunk down.


   Are ye all right, Ailidh? Jass lay facing the lass, staring at her back in the darkness.

   After a moment, she responded.  Aye, why wouldn't I be?

   He edged slightly closer, moving the hand on her shoulder lower until it lightly encircled her waist. I know a weddin' wasnae what ye were lookin' for, when ye set off wi' us.  It's no' the way I wanted things settled between us either.  I wanted tae win ye, lass.

   Instead of just having me dumped in your lap, like a sack full of used goods? Ailidh's mind-voice was bitter.

   A chuisle mo chridhe, ye're far from that!  His arm tightened around her. I love ye, chuisle.

   Another silence.  You want me, you mean.

   Aye, tha' too.  Love's more than tha', though.

   A longer silence. I wouldn't know, she finally answered, curling up into a ball.

   Jass drew her against him, holding her close, trying to offer wordless comfort since he couldn't think of anything else to say that might help.  At last she relaxed slightly, the tension slowly leaving her body.

   It's not your fault, Jass.  It's my own. I just hope you don't come to hate me later, when you meet a woman who's worth you.

   Before he could work out how to respond to that, Jass realized that Ailidh had finally drifted off to sleep.


   They reached the village below the Keep in the late morning.  The men, their spirits raised by the prospect of a night in their own beds and—in a few cases—with wives they'd long missed, filled the air with lively banter, but as the day wore on, Ailidh grew more quiet.  When they'd reached the town square, Dhugal sent two men ahead with instructions to seek out Father Keegan.

   They returned a short while after with the priest, who didn't appear to be overly drunk yet so early in the morning, although he was a trifle unsteady on his feet and his breath bore the distinct odor of a breakfast of kippers and cheap whiskey.

   His rheumy eyes wandered over the assembled company, landing eventually on Ailidh. "So, ye're th' bride, then?"

   Her eyes darted uncertainly to Dhugal, then back to the priest again.  "Aye."

   "Comely wee thing, ain't ye?  If I weren't a man o' th' cloth, I'd do ye!"   He grinned.  "An' where's th' man 'at's marryin' ye?"

   Someone pushed Jass forward.  He glared behind him, then shot a look at Dhugal.  Dhugal was studying the priest tight-lipped, as if strongly contemplating the merits of asking his father the Bishop if the Church might send another village priest to Transha the next time such parish assignments came under consideration.

   "An' are ye willin' tae be wed an' bedded, then?"  He shrugged at the young chief and added in an overly loud whisper, "I havetae ask;  I'm no' really s'posed tae wed her if she's no' willin', though I s'pose I could jus' keep quiet about it."

   "Aye," Ailidh muttered, her face looking drawn and pale and not very willing at all.

   Jass took a few steps to one side until he brushed up against Dhugal.  Don't do this, Dhugal!  Look at her!

   "A' right, then, lemme get my missal an' I'll meet ye on th' church steps," the priest was saying, lurching a little bit to the right.

   Dhugal ran a hand over his face as if to wipe away a sudden tiredness.  "Wait."  He sighed.  "Give us a few minutes."


   Ailidh wandered over to the side of the small chapel, staring into the churchyard, her arms tightly folded around her body, tears streaming down her cheeks.  Jass walked up to her, turning her to cradle her face against his shoulder, kissing the top of her head gently.

   "Ye dinnae havetae wed me, lass.  I'll answer tae Dhugal for ye.  I'll nae force ye, sweeting."

   She sniffed.  "I'm sorry, Jass.  I want to, but I can't!  I'm so sorry."

   He puzzled over that, latching onto the one bit that he thought he understood...maybe.

   "Ye want tae marry me?"

   She nodded.  "Aye."

   "Then...what's wrong, chuisle?"

   The gray-green eyes looked up at him in despair.  "I'm too scared."  She looked back at the churchyard, blinking back tears.  "I want tae see Caldie, but...I cannae do this."

   "But why, Ailidh?  If ye want tae wed me, then there's nae problem...."

   She looked back up at him.  "Ye dinnae understand, Jass!  Everyone I've ever loved, I've lost."  She looked away forlornly.  "They die, or they leave, or they just dinnae want me."  She swallowed.   "I cannae do it anymore, Jass.  If I wed wi' ye, ye'll want tae bed me—it's only right, after all—an' if tha' happens, I'll only love ye more, an' I'm too scared to, because then it'll hurt all th' more when I lose you too."

   "I..."  He shook his head, at a loss to how to deal with her illogical stream of logic.  "Ailidh, ye're no' goin' tae lose me, sweeting.  I'm no' goin' anywhere."

   "Ye dinnae know tha', Jass!"  She clasped his hands, her slender fingers clinging to his as if for survival, and a stream of images and raging emotions flooded through his mind.

   Ailidh's father, walking out the door on a crisp autumn day, eager for the hunt.  He picked up his daughter, whirling her in his arms until she was slightly dizzy, then set her back on the ground, assuring her he'd be back that evening for dinner.  She'd spent the day playing by the shore with her friends, but as the sun began its descent in the late afternoon sky, she'd rushed home eagerly to help her mother prepare for her father's arrival.  He was already there, his body laid out upon the table.  It had been a wild boar, they'd said as they rushed her back outside.  A quick death.  He'd not had time to suffer, or so they'd assured the grieving child who sat on the front step keening....

   Sitting with Caldie on the side of Dhugal's bed, stifling their giggles as they wove purple flowers into his hair while he slept.  Already the downy hair growing over his lip was starting to darken, the planes of his face turning more angular with each passing month.  Ailidh wondered what he'd look like as a man grown.  She looked up to find Caldie staring at her, and blushed.  "I'm out o' flowers," she'd whispered.  "Pass me some."

   "Sweet Jesu, ye're no' sweet on Dhugal, are ye?" Caldie had asked, suppressing a snort of laughter.

   "O' course no'!" Ailidh had returned, but when Caldie had turned away to pull the flower basket closer, Ailidh found herself staring at the sleeping lad, wondering what a kiss would feel like, and if he'd ever show her someday.

   She'd gone home later that evening to find her mother wreathed in smiles.  "It's wonderful news, Ailidh!  The Baron o' Marlor has asked Earl Cauley for me, and we're tae be wed at Midsummer.  It'll mean a move tae Marlor, but dinnae fret, ye'll soon settle in there an' find new friends, an' we'll make a home of it together."

   Odhran, her mother's new husband, staring at her again with that unsettling gaze that made Ailidh worry.  Was he wanting her, or was he just wanting to be rid of her?  Or both?  She avoided him as often as she could, half afraid to find out.  Slipping out of the Great Hall to seek the solace of outdoors, she ran headlong into a younger man, just a few years older than herself.  "Ailidh nicArdry, is tha' you?"  She looked up into the grinning face of Callum MacInnis.

   Callum, randy young Callum whose ardent courtship of her had stopped at the church steps when they'd exchanged their wedding vows.  Gone was the gentle teasing and the ready jests, the stolen kisses and the light banter of a man trying to win over a maiden. Now she was just a prize to be claimed at his convenience, expected to serve him at table and in bed and to keep her sassy tongue silent, for if he'd wanted to know her opinions, he'd have asked.  She'd drawn the line at being used under a hedgerow, though. The brambles hurt.  Still, it had torn her half apart to discover she was still a free woman after all, that her marriage had been nothing but a sham.  Callum's betrayal had stung, but even more painful had been her sense of loss.  Not loss of her virginity—though that might matter more to society's censuring eyes, she knew she'd been blameless in that—but loss of her innocent trust.  How could she give herself up so wholly to another man, when she'd lost that essential part of her soul?

   So she'd returned home to her mother, seeking solace.  But her mother belonged to another man now, and her home wasn't her own.  And her stepfather, with his wanting/unwanting eyes, sent her away.  Another loss of a sort, though at least this time she was grateful, for at least in Rhemuth she'd found some happiness again, short-lived though it had been.

   Twelfth Night in Rhemuth, and Dhugal irrevocably slamming the door shut on all her childhood dreams and longings.  Not that she deserved a man such as Dhugal had grown up to be.  And now, with her running off from Rhemuth, she'd probably killed all hope of him ever even liking her anymore.  She'd never be anything more to him than a pest and a pain, a problem to be handled, passed on to somebody else.

   She was damaged goods now, unfit to be loved, for everyone she'd ever dared to love, she'd lost.  And now she'd lose Jass too, and probably Caldie as well, and would watch as helplessly as she ever had.  But she'd hold her heart back now, and try not to feel it anymore, because feelings hurt far too much.

   Love hurt far too much.


   Jass held her close, whispering soothing words into her hair, but her shields had turned rock solid after that brief sharing, and he wasn't sure at all if he was getting through to her.  At last he left her there, sensing somehow that what she really wanted most right at that moment was to be left alone, and wandered back to Dhugal.

   Dhugal gazed across the narrow distance at Ailidh, his concern evident in his eyes.  "I can't bring myself to force her either, Jass.  And I certainly don't want him marrying you!" He flung his hand backward in the general direction of the drunken priest.  "I don't suppose there's any hope she'd be willing to be left behind in Transha, though?"

   Jass snorted.  "With Caldie in Pelagog?  No' a hope in hell."

   "If it's the priest that's the problem, we can find another one when we're passing through Kierney or Cassan."  Dhugal's amber eyes glanced back at Jass.  "It's not as simple as that, though, is it?"  He looked back at Ailidh's bowed form, slumped against a tree.  "Is she frightened?  If Callum's brutalized her, I'll kill him."   

   "It's no' as simple as tha', either."  Jass considered his options for a long moment, then sighed heavily.  "She's shown me wha' th' problem is.  She'll probably kill me for showin' ye, but I think ye ought tae know.  I dinnae know what tae do about it."

   Dhugal watched Ailidh a moment longer, then drew Jass into the shelter of a nearby alcove, out of sight.  "All right, then.  Let's have a look."


   "Ailidh, let's take a walk."

   She looked up in surprise at Dhugal as he laced his fingers in hers, leading her away from the churchyard fence, away from Market Square, and down a narrow cobbled street leading out of town.  He eventually stopped at a low wall behind the shelter of a small croft, and sat on it, motioning for her to join him.

   She sat beside him, glancing up at him warily.  He studied her face.

   "You won't be getting married today," he finally told her.  "I can't do that to you.  Not like that, and certainly not by him," he added, sending her a brief mental image of the grizzled priest at the chapel.  

   She looked down at her hands.  "Thank you."

   He took one of her hands in his again, stroking the back of it with his thumb.  "Jass loves you, you know."

   Ailidh nodded.  "Aye."

   He cocked his head at her.  "And I think, deep down, you love him.  Or at least you're starting to."

   She swallowed hard, looking away.  "Aye."  He almost had to strain to hear her.

   "Sweeting, there's something I think I ought to show you.  I probably should have shown you before now, when you came to me after Twelfth Night, but I didn't realize there was any need to."  He shrugged. "I just somehow figured you knew.  I have no idea why."

   She looked up at him at that, gray-green eyes puzzled.  "Figured I knew what?" she asked.

   "How I truly feel about you."  He smiled down at her.  "You think I see you as being something akin to the Great Plague, don't you?  'Oh God, here comes Ailidh; no telling what she's up to now!  Someone call a priest, because it's likely I'll have to strangle her....'"

   She gave a reluctant laugh.  "Well, it's true enough, isn't it?"

   He shrugged.  "Sometimes, on the surface of things.  There's more, though."

   He lifted her hand to his lips, kissing it tenderly as the memories began to flow.

   Two laughing girls peeking at him from around the corner of a building, erupting into squeals as he came flying after them.  Aye, he'd been irate at the time, but later on, lying in his bed, he'd laughed at the cleverness of the prank they'd played on him.  It had been no minor feat of engineering to rig up that bucket to pour icy water over him the moment he came through the door.  He had to grudgingly admire the mechanism they'd rigged up together to keep the bucket from falling or tipping over onto the wrong person.  He'd seen at least two other men walk through that door before he did, so he knew they'd waited for him specifically before pulling the string that triggered the pouring bucket.

   Caldreana was a bright lass, but Dhugal knew she wasn't quite that ingenious.  Nay, it had been Ailidh behind that prank.  Dhugal had known it at once, and while he was annoyed with them both, he was also, in some obscure way, proud of their cleverness.  They were pests, aye, but they were
his pests.

   The summer of their thirteenth year arrived.  Dhugal rode out with the men one morning, riding the borders, when they happened upon the girls wading in the shallows, their lightweight gowns cast aside in favor of lighter chemises, the hems wet and smeared with sandy mud despite having been hitched up to reveal bare feet and calves.  "They're getting' a wee bit old tae be doin' tha'," Ciard had muttered under his breath to the young tanist.  "Ol' Cauley needs tae have a word wi' them, or you do.  They'll be women soon, an' it's no' safe for 'em tae be showin' themselves off like tha'."   Dhugal had been startled, but a closer look had shown him that Caldie was already starting to blossom, soft curves visible under the damp fabric.  Ailidh, to his relief, was still skinny as a stick, but an appreciative chuckle behind him had given him pause.  "Yer sister's a bonny wee thing, but it's th' feisty one I'm wantin' when she's ripe enough.  She'll be a right proper wildcat in bed, I'll wager!"  Dhugal had turned to glare at the speaker.   "No' tha' you'll ever know, Callum MacInnis, if I have any say in it!" he'd told the young man, his protective ire up.  He hadn't had a say in it, as it had turned out, for by that time Ailidh had moved to Marlor.

   Ailidh's leaving had been hard on Caldie, who'd cried for weeks before getting back to her old devilment, though never again with the same enthusiasm as before.  Dhugal had felt the loss as well, but there didn't  seem to be much he could do about it.  He was kept busy by then, learning all the things necessary for a chief's heir to know, training as a battle surgeon, riding borders.  He'd tried writing a letter once, like Caldie sometimes did, but he didn't really know what to say in it, so he just  wrote down what he'd done that day.  Likely to bore her mindless, he'd thought, but he'd ended up sending it regardless.  At least he'd tried.  And she'd been more Caldie's friend than his, so she'd not be looking for more letters from him anyway.

   And then seeing her again, hanging upside down in a tree outside of Rhemuth, wearing one of her brothers' cast-off clothes, bright curls flying, eyes sparkling at him with sass and mischief.  Dear God, she'd grown up beautiful!  He'd not been prepared for that.  He was, of course, also quite aware that Caldie—whom he still thought of as his sister, despite the slightly more distant blood-kinship he'd since learned lay between them—was considered quite pretty as well, but Caldie he viewed simply with a brother's protective fondness, nothing more.  Ailidh had been equally like a sister to Dhugal; surely he shouldn't be unnerved to discover she, too, had become quite lovely?

   But it
was different, somehow.  Never mind that his heart already belonged to another.  He loved another woman, aye, but someone had forgotten to inform his body.  So he found himself torn—half wanting to see more of Ailidh, to renew the old acquaintance, this time as adults, but also half needing to avoid seeing too much of the lass.  Not with his mind all muddled as it was around her now.  His heart had already made its choice, and even though he had no idea yet how that would all turn out in the end, he wanted to be faithful.  And even if he hadn't, Ailidh was far too precious to him for him to want to risk hurting her with a mere dalliance.  So with the same discipline and diligence he'd set to learning Transha's borders, he carefully maintained the boundaries of their renewed friendship.  Until Twelfth Night.

   He'd been desperately lonely at Twelfth Night, hiding behind the laughing, carefree mask everyone expected to see him wear during the evening's revelry, but despite the crowds of people in the Great Hall, the one woman he desired most had been far distant, off at St. Kyriell's.  He didn't even know if she felt the same way for him anymore, if things would be the same once she returned.  If he'd ever be able to offer for her hand, or if he should just give up his suit and move on with his life.  But no one else had seen through his masquerade—not even Kelson, although Kelson had probably felt much the same way that night, with Rothana gone to St. Kyriell's as well, and even less hope for a happy ending to that romance than Dhugal had.

   The minstrels called the next dance, and he realized it was the one he'd promised Ailidh.  They began to dance through the set, palms brushing, moving smoothly through the Hall together as if they'd practiced for years.  They'd ended up under her damn mistletoe, although she hadn't noticed, and he hadn't called her attention to it, knowing if he kissed her, he might want more, and for all the wrong reasons.  So they'd merely stood there, both catching their breath, her laughing eyes shining up at him admiringly, making him feel—for that brief moment, anyway—almost whole again.

   And then, in the wee hours of the following morning, she'd come to him, broken-hearted, pouring out her soul upon his shoulder.  And he hadn't known what to say, what to do.  She'd needed him, and the one thing she'd wanted from him was the one thing he couldn't give her.  He loved her, aye—he realized now he always had—but he wasn't in love with her in the way she wanted him to be, and he couldn't simply summon up that sort of love as if it were handfire.  She was neither sister nor lover; Dhugal had no idea how to think of her anymore, except just as Ailidh, as much a part of his life as his own shadow.

   But Jass wanted her; that much was clear.  And Jass was a good man.  He'd give Ailidh the love she deserved, the happiness Dhugal wanted for her.  If she'd let him.  Dhugal hoped she would.  He wanted to give her that much, at least, if he could.

   Ailidh drew back slightly, tears in her eyes.  "You don't hate me?"

   Dhugal laughed softly, shaking his head.  "No, I don't hate you, chara.  I just want to shake you sometimes until your teeth rattle."

   She gave a hiccupy giggle.  "I usually deserve it."

   "Aye, you do."  He hugged her close, kissing her damp cheek.  "Will you please marry Jass when we get to Kierney?  Put the man out of his misery already."

   Ailidh stared at her hands. "I'm scared, Dhugal," she admitted finally.  "I seem to lose everyone I love.  What if I lose him too?"

   "We lose everyone eventually, Ailidh, if they don't lose us first.  Some die, some end up traveling down different roads.  Some mean to leave, some don't.  I can't guarantee you'll never lose Jass, though I'm pretty sure if you do, it won't be because he wants to go."  He stared out into the distance.  "Love hurts sometimes, but that doesn't mean it always has to.  And sometimes it might look different from what you're looking for, and that makes it hard for you to see it, even when it's there."  He squeezed her hand.  "Take your mother, for example.  Do you know why she accepted Baron Odhran?"

   Ailidh shook her head.

   "The Baron met her when visiting Transha Keep and took a fancy to her.  She saw it as a way of making a better life for you and your brothers.  I heard her discussing it with my—with Cauley when he told her the Baron had offered for her.  It might have broken your heart, leaving Transha when all you knew and loved was here, but she meant well, and was hoping to give you a better life."  He sighed.  "I was trying to care for you when I had Father Keegan called out to marry you on the church steps, but I was going about it all wrong, wasn't I?"

   Ailidh's mouth twitched.  "If I'm going to marry Jass, can it please not be done by a priest who reeks of kippers and stale whiskey and wants to 'do' me?"

   Dhugal laughed.  "Aye."  He stood, offering Ailidh a hand up.  "I'll find you a proper priest when we go through Kierney.  Assuming you're coming with us the rest of the way?"

   "Aye, of course.  Sticking to you like a leech, I'll be."  

   The grin flashed, then faded.  "You don't mind marrying Jass, do you?  Aside from the circumstances, I mean?"

   She shook her head.  "No.  I want to."  Ailidh blushed.

   The smile returned.  "Good."

Chapter 27: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=571.0
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


Wow!  A lot of emotional fallout in that one.

And Callum deserved all he got the ******!! LOL.


I feel sorry for the people of Transha with that sort of pastoring.

Don't the Borderers have the concept of marriage de verbis praesentibus?  In Scotland at one time a valid marriage was accomplished by the couple exchanging their vows before any reliable witness; this was for villages that were to small to have a resident clergyman.

That's how the custom of English elopements to Gretna Green came up.  G.G. was a village just on the Scots side of the border, and eloping couples would exchange their vows over the blacksmith's anvil.  (The blacksmith, although working class, was considered a 'reliable witness' because he was a skilled craftsman.) 


Quote from: AnnieUK on July 25, 2010, 07:19:52 AM
Wow!  A lot of emotional fallout in that one.

And Callum deserved all he got the ******!! LOL.

Yes.  This was supposed to be a nice and more-or-less lighthearted wedding chapter, but would my characters cooperate?  Noooooooo!!!  First, Ailidh went bitter on me, then totally silent, and once I finally got her to open up, I had two bewildered men gaping and thinking "NOW what?"  And then Dhugal went silent on me for a bit, and I was beginning to wonder if the chapter was ever going to get finished.  I was half ready to stick them all together in a locked room with Father Keegan until they all sorted it out, but I couldn't do that to Father Keegan, even though that probably would make him hit rock-bottom and seek out help from the local AA group....   ;)
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


Quote from: Elkhound on July 25, 2010, 07:51:34 AM
I feel sorry for the people of Transha with that sort of pastoring.

Yes; I suspect the Earl of Transha will be having a quiet little talk with his father the Bishop in the near future about the possibility of having Father Keegan quietly transferred to some duties aside from pastoral care or, better yet, sent into retirement.  I don't suppose they have chemical dependency intervention programs yet in the Middle Ages, especially in a culture where alcoholic beverages were often safer to drink than the local water. *sigh*  

Don't the Borderers have the concept of marriage de verbis praesentibus?  In Scotland at one time a valid marriage was accomplished by the couple exchanging their vows before any reliable witness; this was for villages that were to small to have a resident clergyman.

That's how the custom of English elopements to Gretna Green came up.  G.G. was a village just on the Scots side of the border, and eloping couples would exchange their vows over the blacksmith's anvil.  (The blacksmith, although working class, was considered a 'reliable witness' because he was a skilled craftsman.)  

I briefly thought about that, because that's pretty much what Duncan's marriage to Maryse was, except that the "reliable witness" they chose was God (which, of course, caused Duncan a few headaches later on, since you can't easily call God to the witness stand to ask, "So, were You there and did they really marry?"  :D).   The reason I ended up steering away from that was that I'd gotten the impression (don't recall now if it was from the KK books or from the Deryni Tales story about Duncan's and Maryse's wedding) that even though they practiced that form of marriage in the Borders, the usual practice was to follow up the informal vows with more formal Church vows as soon as that could possibly be arranged afterwards.  My guess is that the follow-up vows would be officiated by one of those itinerant Bishops KK frequently mentions, whenever one happened to come through town.  Given the circumstances Ailidh is in, I think Dhugal would want to "cut the middlleman," so to speak, and go straight for having Ailidh married in a way that even the lowlanders in Rhemuth would accept straight off as a "proper" marriage, even though the less formal form would certainly suffice if Ailidh and Jass intended to remain in Transha rather than returning to Rhemuth.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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


Author Evie = Complete and cruel torturer of poor characters.  Thinks a new form of title should be awarded ... :)

Heavy chapter, but very nicely handled, and I'm glad the Dhugal / Ailidh situation is now being gently sorted between them.   And yes, I'm certain that Jass, Dhugal and Ailidh would want the marriage celebrated with due formality by a 'proper' priest or wandering bishop, especially after all the angst surrounding Dhugal as Duncan's son.  Dhugal and Jass would not want any more scandal or rumours with respect to the marriage (apart from Ailidh eloping of course!) but that will fade in people's memories.


Quote from: Evie on July 24, 2010, 10:17:08 PM
True.  And only in the most technical sense.  She didn't run off to marry Jass; she ran off to be with her friend Caldie.

She isn't stupid.  Growing up in the society she did, she had to have known the implications and probable consequences of her act.  Anyone who wasn't a total moron would have been.


Quote from: Elkhound on July 25, 2010, 09:23:01 PM
Quote from: Evie on July 24, 2010, 10:17:08 PM
True.  And only in the most technical sense.  She didn't run off to marry Jass; she ran off to be with her friend Caldie.

She isn't stupid.  Growing up in the society she did, she had to have known the implications and probable consequences of her act.  Anyone who wasn't a total moron would have been.

No, she's definitely not stupid, but she's highly impulsive.  She tends to act first and think things through later.  So she was probably more hyperfocused on getting to Caldie and not thinking about what the consequences of her actions were likely to be until her plan was well under way. 

I'm the mom of two gifted learners who also have ADHD, which they got from their mother.  *raises hand*  Trust me, it's quite possible to be smart, even brilliant, and still have moments of 'walking-around stupid' due to impulsivity.   :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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