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,
"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
"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
"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
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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"Aye, of course, honorable San Te. I have no objections.
"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
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
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. . .
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
Dacia gasped. "How could you know about Tiercel? Almost no
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
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."
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."
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