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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 27

Started by Evie, July 25, 2010, 10:26:35 PM

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Chapter Twenty-Seven

   The next day dawned fresh and fair.  The Transha men, newly provisioned, soon rode westward from the village, following the coastline westwards towards Kierney.  Ailidh rode with them, enjoying a place of honor between Dhugal and Jass with a far more cheerful countenance than she'd had for much of the day before.

   "We should be reaching Drumlithie sometime in the early afternoon," Dhugal told her.  "I'd originally planned on continuing straight on from there and not stopping again until we reach Duncarrick, but Jass would hardly thank me."

   "Why's that?  What's wrong with Duncarrick?" Ailidh wondered.  Jass, on her other side, merely grinned.

   "Not a thing, lass, except that we're not likely to get there until quite late in the evening if we push straight on, and you'd likely be needing Lachlan's horse liniment after." A amused gleam shone in Dhugal's eye.  "I don't think that's quite what Jass is hoping for in a wedding night."

   "I was rather countin' on a different sort o' ridin' later," Jass agreed with a laugh, keeping his voice low, though not quite low enough to avoid being overhead by the men riding immediately behind him.

   Ailidh blushed profusely, to the delight of the Transha men riding close by.  One of them started up a Border wedding ballad that was more than a bit on the bawdy side, the others soon joining in as well.  She rolled her eyes, then kept her eyes fixed on the path straight  ahead, trying to ignore them, but after a while she gave up.  Her gaze drifted over to Jass, who smiled.  She smiled back, feeling unaccountably shy all of a sudden.


   The priest in Drumlithie, much to Ailidh's relief, did not have to be fetched out of a pub this time.  Instead, the man was found crouched behind the small chapel's rectory, puttering about in a tiny garden.

   He stood when he saw the mounted band arrive, brushing dirt stains off the knees of his plain black cassock before straightening fully, and shading his eyes with one hand to see them more clearly in the glare of the afternoon sun.  He smiled in recognition as the Duke hailed him.  

   "Strange time of year for you to be traveling, Your Grace," Father Stiobhan said with an easy smile.  "Welcome back to Kierney, though."

   "And it's an odd time for you to be gardening as well, isn't it?" Dhugal countered with a grin.

   "Aye, just laying down an extra layer of mulch over some of the perennials to help protect them from the next frost and snow.  I'm sure there'll be more coming just around the corner."  He smiled up at Ailidh.  "Your message arrived this morning.  Is this the bride, then?"

   "As I'm the only lass traveling with this rowdy lot, let's hope I am," Ailidh joked.  

   Father Stiobhan chuckled as he surveyed Ailidh's recently shorn locks.  "Are you certain you're a lass?  Looks like you tried for a Border braid quite recently.  I imagine that was rather difficult, with all those curls."  He glanced back at Dhugal.  "I'll need a private word with the bride and groom, if I may, Your Grace."

   "Certainly."  He glanced at Jass, who dismounted, handing his reins over to old Lambert before assisting Ailidh.

   The two followed Father Stiobhan into the chapel.  "Duke Dhugal explained the circumstances behind his request in the message he sent  along this morning.  I'm not in the habit of performing weddings between people I don't already know, so I hope you don't mind if I take just a few minutes to get to know you first?"

   "Not at all," Jass said, with a surprised  glance at Ailidh.

   "Good.  First off, while I understand the Duke's reasoning behind wanting this marriage to happen, are you two willing to be married?" he asked, smiling at both of them.

   "Aye," Ailidh said, smiling up at Jass.

   "Very," Jass agreed with a grin.

   "Excellent."  The priest grinned.  "This is a love match, I take it?  I enjoy those.  So many people marry for other reasons—often quite excellent ones—but they're really not that well suited for each other on a more personal level.   I imagine that makes the journey more difficult.  Now, I'm sure you'll think this is blindingly obvious, but I don't know if you've given the matter much consideration or not yet.  This marriage is  going to last far longer than any horse ride to Pelagog.  It's not the sort of thing one should enter lightly.  Marriage might seem like a neat and tidy way to solve a bit of a problem you're having at the moment," he added with a grin  at Ailidh, "but it's more than that, it's a sacrament.  Are you prepared to make a lifelong commitment to each other, knowing you'll still be bound in covenant  to each other long after any hint of gossip has died down in Rhemuth?"

   Jass looked down at Ailidh, hardly daring to breathe.  She nodded.  "Aye."

   "And you, Sir Jass?"

   He gave a relieved sigh.  "Aye."

   Father Stiobhan smiled.  "All right, then give me a few minutes to change into vestments that don't have garden mulch all over them.  I'll meet you and your kin on the church steps."


   The exchange of vows was brief.  At the end, Father Stiobhan pronounced Jass and Ailidh to be man and wife, and Jass let out an exuberant whoop, lifting his new bride high and whirling her about while the rest of the Transha men roared with laughter and Ailidh giggled.  Thankfully, he'd remembered to bring her down from the church steps first.

   The small band of riders next ventured down the street to a pub with an inn above, Jass still carrying Ailidh reiver-style, much to Dhugal's amusement and Ailidh's mild but still laughing dismay.  There, once the horses had been stabled, they took over the cozy establishment, filling the room with loud laughter interspersed with song.

   "Ye know, Ailidh,  they're all about th' four W's, Border songs are," Jass informed his new wife with a twinkle in his eye after a couple of hours of dining and drink while being regaled with ballad after increasingly bawdier ballad.

   "Oh, are they now?" she said, humoring him.  "And what four W's are those?"

   "Well, there's  wenches, war, whisky, an'...oh, wha's th' fourth one, Lachlan?  I had it jus' a moment ago."

   The other man studied his fourth ale thoughtfully.  "Wanderin'?" he asked after a bit.

   "Aye, tha's it!  Wanderin'.   See, Ailidh, ye pick any song in th' Borders, an' it's goin' tae be about at least one o' those W's, an' possibly more."

   "All right...."  Ailidh searched her memory for an exception.  "How about 'The Selkie Bride?'"

   "It's about a wench," Jass said with a grin.

   "No, she's not, she's a seal," Ailidh countered.

   "A wench, a seal, it's all th' same tae a Norseman once he's had too many ales," Jass joked.

   "Speaking of which..." she said, pulling his tankard away.  The other men laughed.

   "Ye'll no' be wantin' tae many ales tonight, Jass!  Ye've a bride tae bed," Lachlan said.

   "Aye, I do."  He grabbed the tankard back for one last swallow.  "I'd best be gettin' on tha', aye?"  Jass set the tankard back down on the counter and started towards Ailidh, a wicked gleam in his eyes.

   "You are not going to carry me up those stairs like a reiver," she said giggling, catching a fleeting vision of his intent.  She began to back away slowly, coming up short as she collided with Dhugal, who caught her up in his arms.

   "No, I am."  The Transha chief grinned at his knight, then headed up the stairs with the knight's bride slung over his shoulder.  "And I need just a moment alone with Jass before you two disappear for the rest of the evening."  There was a pause at the top of the stairs.  "Damn, did you just bite me?"


   Ailidh entered the top floor room that had been set aside as a bridal suite.  Dhugal stopped Jass just outside the door, closing it behind him to give Ailidh her privacy while the two men conversed in the corridor just outside.

   "I thought about pulling out a coin to flip," Dhugal admitted, "but I was half afraid you might kill me before I had time to say I was just jesting."

   Jass grinned.  "Aye, this time it's my turn tae flip th' coin."  He pulled one out of his pouch, doing so.  "Now--'heads,' I win; 'tails'; you lose."  

   Dhugal chuckled, then turned serious.  "Before you go in there, I need to tweak your mental shields a bit.  Ailidh probably should do this as well, but you can just show her what I did for you, and she should be able to see what to do from that."

   "My shields?  All right, but what for?"  Jass followed Dhugal into the adjoining  chamber.  

   Dhugal rested his hands lightly on Jass's head.  "You know how I've enhanced your shielding so that other Deryni who might be working against me won't be able to piece together my secrets based on what you know?  Or, for that matter, find other ways of using you against me?"


   Dhugal began to extend a mental probe into Jass's mind, which opened up readily to him.  "Well, your shields and the controls I've established are only set up to deny other Deryni access, not me.  So I'm going to help you establish an inner set of shields—think of it as the inner ring of a keep's fortifications—for those things you need to keep private from me as well."

   "All right, but why would ye want me keepin' secrets from you?"  Dhugal's loyal knight looked utterly baffled.  Dhugal grinned.

   "Because, Jass, the next time I have to go poking around in your mind, the last thing I want to worry about is running across some memory of you poking around in your wife!  Now, shut up a moment and let me focus here."

   Jass stifled a laugh.  "Well, when ye put it tha' way...!"


   Jass opened the door of the bridal chamber.  Ailidh sat by the fire, though she rose as he entered the room, looking a bit shy.

   "I didn't know if....well...it's only just now sunset...."  His young bride's cheeks turned rosy.

   "Ah, yes.  Well, nothin' tae do up here, I'll jus' go down an' hae another pint wi' th' lads," Jass teased, turning as if to walk away.

   "Don't you dare!" Ailidh crossed the room swiftly, grabbing at his sleeve.  He laughed.  

   "Or mayhap there's some other way tae pass th' time...."  He scooped Ailidh up in his arms, crossing the small room to drop her onto the bed.  Something—part of the bed frame?--fell to the floor with a loud crash, leaving the mattress half-supported at a precarious angle.  Ailidh rolled down it gently until she reached the floor.

   Jass stood over her, mouth falling open slightly.

   Ailidh chortled from where she lay.  "Did we break it?  Did we break the bed?"

   He grinned.  "Sweet Jesú, I hope not; we've no' even started yet!  Lord love a duck, think o' th' teasin' we'll hear all th' way tae Pelagog."  He dropped to his knees to study the bed frame.  "Get up, sweeting."  She moved aside to let him inspect the damage.

   There was none.  All Jass found was that the wooden slats supporting the mattress were a bit shorter than the width of the frame.  One end of the lone slat which remained fully suspended by the frame showed that it had been nudged almost completely off the near supporting edge.  The other slats now had their near ends resting on the floor, which explained why that half of the mattress had dropped when they fell.

   "Did they all work their way over to one side by accident?" Ailidh asked.

   "Oh, I doubt it,"  Jass said with a suppressed laugh, pointing out something next to the one slat that had held in place.  Beside it lay a gleaming coin, Kelson's profile shining up at them.

   "Dhugal!"  Ailidh muttered, her eyes flashing.

   Jass grinned.  "After th' hell ye and Caldie put him through, be glad he jus' did tha'!  He couldhae taken all our clothes instead.  Here, help me set th' bed tae rights.  Nay, better yet, let's jus' set th' mattress on th' floor instead.  It'll save us th' bother o' having tae pick it all back up if th' slats come crashin' down again.  Ye know he's probably listenin' for tha', an' laughin' his arse off."


   The moon had risen high in the sky by the time the new couple fell asleep.  Before then, Ailidh had discovered several quite interesting applications for her Deryni powers that had met with her new husband's enthusiastic approval.  

   Dhugal, too, found a use for his own Deryni powers even later that evening.  Long after midnight, when not another person was to be found stirring in the Inn, and after a careful mental probe had assured him that Jass and Ailidh lay soundly sleeping, he quietly unlocked the door and retrieved the objects of his search.


   "Jass, where are my clothes?"

   "Over by mine, on the chair."

   "No, they're not."

   Jass peered across the room in the early-dawn light.  "Jesú, they're no', are they?"

   "He.  Is Going.  To Die."

   Ailidh stared out the window at their clothing, flapping on the clothesline in the wintry breeze.

Chapter 28:
"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!

kirienne (RIP)

LOL, I really love Dhugal here, and his pranks, I nearly fell from my chair laughing so hard that he tweaked the bed slats, and then taking their clothes was perfect.
I'm glad Jass and Ailidh were married by a decent priest, and not a drunkard smelling of kippers :-) and I'm releived that Ailidh realized finally that she loves Jass, and consented to wed with him, he's such a good man!


Yes, I was hesitant about the second prank at first, because under normal circumstances I just can't imagine Dhugal sneaking into a married couple's bedchamber, even if he knows for certain they're asleep.  But then I remembered, this is Ailidh's bedchamber, the girl who stole all of his clothes (not to mention Jass's and several other lads in the same age range, some of whom are probably traveling in this party now!) and left them starkers for several hours on a cold September night when they were out for a last-swim-of-the-season.  So yeah.  Revenge is a dish best served cold.   :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!


Quote"He.  Is Going.  To Die."
ROFL.  Looks forward to Kelson hearing that he's lost a Duke because of an unfortunate case of Justifiable Homicide ...

Great chapter, and the understanding priest was excellent.

kirienne (RIP)

This reminds me of a prank I had a tiny part in, many , many years ago at a  Renaissance Faire. I belonged to a guild which had a mixture of Celts and English characters. (I was among the Celts) anyway, one of the English lads was a bit into his cups and we convinced him to try on a great kilt, once we had him dressed in the kilt, we ran his trews up the flagpole at the event sight.


Love this chapter, and hope it's not going to be the last we see of Jass, because as I warned you, I *will* be the saddo with bookmarks for all his *best bits*

"An' ye can tak' tha' any way ye' want, too, aye?"


Quote from: AnnieUK on July 26, 2010, 04:25:32 AM
Love this chapter, and hope it's not going to be the last we see of Jass, because as I warned you, I *will* be the saddo with bookmarks for all his *best bits*

"An' ye can tak' tha' any way ye' want, too, aye?"

"Och, lassie, ye're wantin' tae bookmark me 'best bits'?!   Whatever happened tae jus' visitin' 'em often enough, th' cover falls tae th' right place naturally on its own?...."    ;)
"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!


"And another one bites the dust."


Quote from: Elkhound on July 26, 2010, 10:34:08 AM
"And another one bites the dust."

*dies*   :D

Such a romantic softie you are, Elkhound.   ;)
"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!


LOL Elkhound - the girlies among us are enjoying the romance!


When that song first came out, I was a high school student working in a veterinary clinic over the summer.  I forever associate "Another one bites the dust" with the parvovirus epidemic that was sweeping through the canine population in our area that year.  That's what we used to sing while mucking out the blood-drenched kennels; the sort of morbid humor that keeps health care workers sane during times of crisis.

Needless to say, I'd rather not have my lads and lasses falling out from parvo.   ;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!


When I was in college, the tradition was that if a guy got engaged, his fraternity brothers would throw him in the river.   Sororities would hold a candlelight vigil and sing romantic songs for an engaged sister.

What customs pertain in Gwynnedd?  So far the engagements in this story that we've seen have been so rushed that we haven't had time for the usual preparations.


That's an interesting question.  I don't recall seeing much mention in the books of traditions surrounding the betrothal, just the wedding preparations and the wedding itself.  Duke Jared's courtship of Vera was somewhat prolonged, but aside from seeing them share a trencher at feast and perform in a Twelfth Night play together (which, as I recall, ended with a kiss), I don't recall anything in particular happening to celebrate the betrothal itself.  There wasn't much time between Araxie's betrothal and her wedding, and that time was pretty full of Other Things Going On, so all we hear about there is the preparation of "fripperies" (presumably the wedding dresses and accessories and the bride's trousseau).  I don't recall even that much mentioned with Alyce's and Zoe's weddings.  Jatham's courtship of the shy Janniver begins in QFSC, as I recall, but the next time we see them together is on their wedding day.  So there might not be any particular traditions surrounding the betrothal, aside from putting together the wedding preparations.
"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!


I was looking for at least one of the guys getting thrown into the river.


Better be Seisyll then.  :)  Wash some of that Arilan smugness off him ;)