01 - Jesse's Wedding - Chapter 1 - By: Rita Caywood
Webmistress's Drawing of a Sculpture.  Artist Unknown.
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Jesse's Wedding



Chapter 1


The purplish light emanating from the portal site set alarm bells clamoring in the mind of the young Gabrielite whose turn it was to pull guard duty. He had been half-dozing since it was past compline and no portal traffic was expected. The sudden activity sent him scurrying to find one of his superiors. As he hurried out of the chamber and into the hallway, he ran headlong into Father Joram MacRorie.

*Oof!* “Whoa, steady, there! What’s the hurry?” Joram exclaimed as he automatically put his arms out to stop the young man’s forward motion. “Oh! thank the Lord, it’s you Father Joram! There’s someone at the portal and it isn’t the time for the Lord Ansel to return yet!” he breathed out. “Well, let’s go see who it is, then. There aren’t too many people who know about this portal’s location.” Joram smiled, trying to calm the young Gabrilite down.

As he approached the trapped portal, Joram noted that the unexpected occupant was slight in build; features and form silhouetted in the dim light. That bespoke of only a handful of young women who would arrive unannounced at Saint Michael’s Sanctuary. Fearing that it might be Rhysel fleeing from Rhemuth, Joram quickened his pace and covered the remaining distance to the portal in short order.

As he silently released the trap, Seanna MacGregor stumbled out of the portal. “Father Jorarm!” she exclaimed as she rushed over to hug him. “Seanna! What brings you here so urgently?” asked Joram, surprised to see the young, dark-haired daughter of Gregory of Ebor.

“’Tis Father. He’s taken ill. He has a very high fever and the healer at Trevalga can’t seem to break it. He’s become delirious and he’s started launching objects in his quarters again! I--I didn’t know what else to do, except come here.....” she finished with a sob.

Joram’s shoulders stiffened as he silently took in the information that Seanna had just imparted. He well remembered the other time that Gregory had taken to mentally throwing objects around his chambers. That time it had been due to a head injury incurred as a result of a fall from a horse and Seanna’s brother, Jesse had been the one requesting the help that day. The discoveries that had ensued had helped Joram and his kin uncover many secrets of their heritage that had been assumed lost forever.

Composing herself again, she quietly asked, “Are Jesse and Tieg here? I fear Father may not survive, and Jesse should be there if--if that should happen.” she managed to stammer out without crying this time.

Joram held the nineteen year old Seanna in his arms for a moment longer before he stepped back to face her and carefully chose the words that he knew she did not want to hear. “Seanna, Jesse is still out yonder with Ansel and Tieg; they aren’t expected back for a few days still. I can Call them tonight, but it may still take them a couple of days to make it back here even if they hurry.”

“Then, I will wait for their return. I promised Mother I would bring Jesse back with me.” Seanna said resolutely. Realizing that there was no reasoning with Seanna in the mood she was in, Joram smiled gently as he led her the library where Fiona was tutoring the twelve year old Jerusha Thuryn. “In that case, we’d better find you quarters where you can rest until your brother can get back.”

“Tonight, when I’m sure they will be resting, we can try to contact Jesse and Ansel. They should be nearing an accessible portal since Ansel reported last night from near Dolban that they had found a Deryni family in trouble on the King’s road.” Seanna shuddered at the thought of being a fugitive on the run from the former Regents and their soldiers. Luckily, her father had seen the backlash and persecutions coming and had moved the family to the Connait when it became necessary to quit Gwynedd.

Both Fiona and Jerusha looked up in surprise as they heard approaching footsteps. Since most of the Sanctuary’s inhabitants knew that this was the time of day that Fiona and Jerusha pored over ancient manuscripts in the library, they mostly kept away from it to keep from disturbing them. First Jerusha, then Fiona gasped in surprise as they saw Seanna enter the room followed by Joram. After getting re-acquainted, Fiona left Jerusha with the scrolls while she showed the tired Seanna to her quarters.

Later that night, after Seanna had fully briefed both Joram and Queron on Gregory’s condition, the two priests quietly made their way to the Keill as the Sanctuary’s other residents slept. They took their customary places at the south and west sides of the eight-sided table. Joram looked over at Queron and at his nod, he lifted his gaze up to the great silvery crystal hanging above the octagonal table and concentrating on it, sent out his call to Jesse.





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