Webmistress's Drawing of a Sculpture.  Artist Unknown.
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Derry's Wedding



Chapter  14

The Way of the Rogue

Derry bowed to both San Te and Lord Michael when he entered the study. He felt a little better now after having cleaned up and eaten something, though he was still extremely upset over the dreams. San Te had spoken of his need to speak with Lord Michael at the same time, so he hoped to learn more now.

He had not yet taken the seat the older earl waved him toward when another knock sounded and Dacia entered. He was surprised, as she seemed to be to see him and San Te there. "You sent for me, Father?"

"Aye, daughter. On the as yet unexplained request of San Te here. Or is it Lao Tsu today?"

"You were ever perceptive, my lord," the small man smiled, bowing to Dacia. "It is true that I seek Lady Dacia as well as Lord Derry, and fortunate for my weary feet that both are presently in the same place, for it saves me an additional journey. Please, Lady Dacia, to be seated, and we shall speak more."

They all sat as Dacia took the chair beside her father, facing Derry and San Te. She gave Derry a questioning look, to which he could only reply with a shrug and a slight head shake. He had no more idea than she why San Te was seeking either of them, though the knowledge that it was purposeful, not accidental had inflamed his own curiosity as well. Lord Michael's words did nothing except make him even more curious.

"I can guess why ye might seek ma daughter, honorable San Te, but I admit to some questions about Sean here. Lots of them, in fact."

"This is so? But he has told you already that I had begun to teach him."

"Aye, and I've seen that for m'self. And I understand even less after seein' what I have."

Derry blinked in surprise at that, and turned curious eyes to San Te, who nodded at him. "Nor does he fully understand, I think. But now he wishes to learn more, and I think must learn more than I had thought to teach. My lord Derry has an enemy."

"I do? I mean, I thought my own fear was my worst enemy. That's what you told me, Master."

"That is so. But now there is one who stirs the fears deliberately, my lord. The dreams that have come to you are not from your memory alone, but from the mind of another who wishes you harm. The son of the one who tormented you once now torments you with those memories."

Derry felt himself go pale. Henrik. Of course, he was Deryni, and he had horrendous powers. . . "Then I must leave," he said. "I'm a danger to everyone."

"No! You are a danger to him. He knows this, and so he torments you, to weaken you. You must fight him."

"But-but, how? How can I possibly fight a Deryni sorcerer when I'm only human? He's already ripping my mind to shreds when I'm asleep and he's miles away--"

"Calm yourself, my lord. As I have taught you. Close your eyes. Breathe in deeply--"


"Hoi! Do you wish to learn? Then do not argue with the teacher." The words were firm, but a gentle smile lingered in San Te's eyes. Derry capitulated after a few seconds and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. He listened to San Te's instructions, visualized the light spreading out from his heart as he had learned to do before. He felt the tension draining away, felt himself relaxing.

San Te's gentle voice continued to speak, adding new instructions. "Hold out your hands as for water, Lord Derry, and let the light collect there. See it as a globe of light." Derry cupped his hands and visualized the light. He had on occasion seen Morgan summon hand fire, and that is how he saw it, except that his light was not greenish, but a very pale blue, almost white. He wondered why it should be a different color, but he was too relaxed to worry about it.

"Now, Lord Derry, I wish you to open your eyes. You will remain at peace, but open your eyes."

Derry opened his eyes and met San Te's. Again he felt that curious sense of looking into a well of time in those ice-blue eyes.

"Now hold forth your hands, my lord, and see what is there."

Derry raised his cupped hands and came out of his peaceful state with an exclamation of alarm. The globe of light disappeared as he jerked back in his chair, but he had seen it. And so, by their expressions, had the others. "What the?" he gasped.

San Te just smiled at him. "You see, my lord, you are not so defenseless against this Henrik. You have a way to fight him on his own terms."

"But I'm not Deryni! No one has ever said I was Deryni! My lord Morgan and the Duchess and the king--they all say I'm human. How –?" He turned to Lord Michael, perhaps more shocked to see that the older man was not surprised than he had been to see the globe of light in his own hands. "M'lord–I'm as human as you are!"

"Weel, I don't know about that, boyo," Lord Michael said. "Not that it matters a whit, Sean. I knew ye could do that, y'know. We saw ye do it before, when ye hurt that shoulder the second time. That's what had us askin' questions about how ye blocked the pain, lad. An' it was plain as day ye had no idea ye released a psychic aura at the same time." He shook his head and turned to San Te. "I still don't understand how he does it, San Te. Ye haven't told us that yet."

"Wait a minute," Derry objected. "You–know about auras? You're not afraid of them?"

"Father, you're going to have to tell him," Dacia said. "Otherwise he's not going to let us hear what San Te has to say, and I for one want to know."

"Aye, that's so. Sean, lad–don't be angry we never let ye know. Old habits die hard, and there was a time–when ye first were coming here as a boy–when knowin' the truth could have cost ye yer life. There's hardly a family in these hills doesn't have some Deryni blood, nor was it safe to let that be known. There's some would have slit yer throat to keep it quiet. So we just didn't tell ye. Ye must forgive us for the legacy of fear." As he spoke the last words, a faint haze of silvery light seemed to collect about his head like a halo. Derry looked from him to Dacia and saw a similar light flaring on her golden hair. He realized his mouth was hanging open and closed it with an audible swallow.

Lord Michael was Deryni? Dacia was Deryni! Derry was incapable of speaking. He turned wide eyes on her, and she met them calmly. "I was bound by promises, Sean, made to my parents and others. I could not tell you." She did not drop her eyes. Finally he nodded.

"All right. I understand. But--" he turned back to San Te. "That doesn't explain any of--" he waved his hands vaguely--"this. How I did it What I am."

"Aye," Lord Michael agreed. "That's my question as well. He's human as they come, San Te. I'd stake ma life on it."

"You would lose," San Te smiled. "He is human, but not as human as they come. He is–something more. I have known this since I met him, and another had told me so before that. Will you hear?"

"Yes," Derry said. "If I'm not Deryni and I'm not human, just what am I? Some sort of freak?"

"Call it rather an unclassified talent. You are not the first. Listen." The small man composed himself to speak, and the others settled themselves to listen to his soft voice.

"In the far East where I was born, there are many orders of–well, you would call them monks, although they are not exactly the same as your own Christian monks. They share a spiritual interest, but that is the end of the similarity. The brothers of my order are but a few among many who seek the path of light. We have known for many centuries of the Deryni peoples, and some of us are descended from those peoples. You see my light eyes; among my people they are not common,; those with light eyes are mostly descended from the forefathers of your own Deryni, and we have many of their abilities, though of course since we are not Christian, they take a different form in places. Faith is part of the expression of one's being, so different faiths create different manifestations of being."

"My own order discovered long ago that among those on the path of light, there are some who do not possess the Deryni blood, but yet have many powers of the Deryni. Some are like your Haldane kings, who can have aspects of power placed upon them and function as Deryni in most instances."

"But there are others as well, who have no such capability and yet can learn most of the Deryni skills and use them, through discipline and hard work. They are not common, this is so. But their power is very great if it is tapped, and they are capable of great harm to themselves or to others if untaught, though the talents themselves may never be manifested unless some terrible thing happens to tap them."

"The goal of my brotherhood has been for centuries to seek out and train these rogue talents in the use of their powers, that they may avoid harm to themselves and others. Lord Derry is one such, and I was sent to find him when it became obvious to one able to recognize the signs that what Wencit had done had stirred the power within him."

"Who sent you to find me?" Derry asked.

"Someone you do not know well. It was Prince Azim, your Duchess's kinsman. When he met you at Coroth the first time, my lord, he felt the dissonance in your spirit and asked the Duchess of your experience. When he had heard of it, he came to me and asked me to seek you out. That is why I came to Coroth, and it is why I am back now. Then you needed only control your own fears. Now you must learn to use your power to protect yourself from another." He glanced briefly at Dacia. "There are other reasons as well, but primarily that is why I have come."

Lord Michael gave San Te a speculative look. "So, ye'll need Sean to stay close, to teach him how to defeat this Henrik?"

"It will be best if he has no patrol duties to distract him, so that we can work more intensely, Lord Michael. Make him garrison commander here if you will. Our studies will not consume the entire day. The body and mind must both rest to assimilate what has been learned," San Te suggested.

Lord Michael looked at both Sean and Dacia before he nodded. "Aye, that'll do, I expect. We'll just have to redo the patrol schedules. Sean, ye'll have to help me with that."

San Te rose. "I will leave you to your work. If you will permit, may Lady Dacia accompany me to the herb garden? I would replenish my supply of certain herbs I use to make a most beneficial tea."

"Aye, of course, honorable San Te. I have no objections. Daughter?"

"I'll be glad to, of course. I should like to learn about this tea of yours."

"Then we shall both learn much. My lords, we will leave you." So saying, San Te bowed to Derry and Lord Michael and escorted Dacia from the room.

"Now what was that all about?" Derry asked Lord Michael.

The older man turned thoughtful eyes on him for a moment, then shrugged. "I could guess, but given what's already passed today, I'd likely be wrong. Here now, lets have a look at these schedules and see how we must change them to leave ye here for yer lessons, boyo."

Dacia led San Te down the newel stair and out into the garden, where he admired not only the herbs but also the flowers and collected leaves, stems and roots from a variety of plants, speaking easily and knowledgeably of their uses, some known in Gwynedd, some not. Dacia was interested, for she kept the still room and made most of the medicines for the castle. She was always interested in new uses for her many plants. However, she had a feeling. . .

"This is fascinating and useful, honorable San Te, but it's not really why you wanted to talk to me is it?" she asked after several minutes.

He smiled briefly as he straightened from gathering the leaves of low-growing thyme. "You are as perceptive as your father, my lady. No, there is a further purpose. Though I did need the herbs. Shall we sit?" He indicated a bench beneath the arbor where roses twined.

"You told Father you were seeking for me as well as for Sean. But I've no rogue talent like his. I've always known what I am," Dacia said as they sat on the bench.

"And have been trained most thoroughly in the use of your Deryni powers, yes. This I know quite well. Also of the marriage you were to make to Tiercel de Claron before his untimely and senseless death."

Dacia gasped. "How could you know about Tiercel? Almost no one did!"

San Te shrugged. "Tiercel was also my pupil once. I have told you, my ancestors were related to your own Deryni ancestors. Many of the same talents are part of the training of my order. I teach many young men and young women in the basics of the Eastern techniques. Tiercel . . . was very curious about the rogue talents and the different degrees of Deryni talent. We often spoke of many things."

"I thought our betrothal was a Council secret." She could not keep the bitterness from her voice.

"Ah, well. Tiercel was always very–shall we say--liberal in his views about what was Council business and what was not. He was no more enthusiastic about an arranged marriage than you, I think."

She nodded. "In all fairness, I suppose even less so. I at least knew from the beginning that they wanted me to marry a powerful Deryni lord. I was fifteen when Father agreed to the arrangement, young enough to be flattered that they thought so much of my talent. I know they sort of sprang the idea on Tiercel after they had bound him to the Council."

"And yet you did not love Tiercel, nor did he love you."

"That's true. I think Father feels he mad a bad bargain, after all."

"Because Tiercel taught you to be independent? Yes, perhaps so," San Te smiled briefly. "Your insistence on retaining that independence must be trying for a father as protective as Lord Michael."

She laughed and nodded. "Aye, I think it drives him to distraction at times. He can't treat me like a child anymore. But you still haven't told me why you came seeking me."

"That is so. Can you not guess? It is no coincidence that I have found you and Lord Derry in the same place, I think. You are part of his healing. In the East we speak of yin and yang, the two parts of a whole. To defeat this Henrik, Sean must be whole; you are a part of that wholeness. You have sensed this already, is it not so?"

"Well, I–I hoped so. But the Council--"

"If Sean defeats Henrik of Landur, the Council will yield. His power will be as great as any Council lord's, though somewhat different in nature."

"You think so?"

"Yes. I do not fall under the aegis of the Council, but I know many of its members well. They are not entirely without feeling, my lady."

"How do I help Sean, then?"

San Te smiled. "I do not think you need my instruction in that, my lady. As you have begun, so continue. He will discover his need eventually. Like so many men, he wishes to think himself quite independent and self-sufficient." His eyes narrowed as he grinned broadly. "That self-sufficiency must be shaken loose a little, I believe. Today was a beginning. Tomorrow will be worse."

"Worse? But I thought you meant to teach him."

"Learning from one's mistakes is always humbling, my lady. And humility is necessary for the learning that is to follow." His voice was calm and gentle, but in it there lurked–yes, definite amusement.

Dacia raised her eyebrow, definitely curious now. 

"Master San Te, just what are you planning to do to poor Sean?"



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