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



Chapter  25 

Rememberance of Things Past

Dutifully Geoffrey settled the bed tray so that Derry could eat. Both Geoffrey and David settled on stools near the bed, and the squire launched headlong into an account as hair-raising as any Derry could have dreamed up.

"Well, m'lord, you know I wanted to go with you when you left to go after the ladies. I mean, I am your squire and all, and I wanted-well, you know. Anyway, I was there in the courtyard when Master San Te gave you that staff--" As he spoke, he glanced toward the fireplace, and Derry followed his gaze to se the staff itself leaning on the mantel; he hadn't noticed it earlier, but it seemed right that it was there. Geoffrey nodded in apparent agreement and went on. "Anyway, Master San Te watched you ride out and then he came right across the courtyard to me and said, 'Come, you must not waste time and energy on wishing for what is not possible. There is much else that must be done,' or something like that, and he took me into the armory and we had a lesson with the sword and the dagger. I was about ready to collapse when David and Rolf rode in, and Master San Te told me I should see to my friend's needs, meaning David, of course. So that's what I did."

David picked up the tale. "I was still fairly groggy and ill from the merasha, m'lord. But Geoff and I were both wishing there was something we could do. I mean, Katie's my sister, after all! And it rankled like anything that those Tolanese took her when I was supposed to be protecting her! It seemed so unfair I shouldn't get a chance to help at all in getting her back or defeating Henrik."

"We were trying to think how we could help when Master San Te came to David's room and told us we were both wanted right away," Geoffrey continued. "Lord Michael had sent for everyone who could bear arms, m'lord. Henrik had sent all his troops down the passes at one time, and the patrols were all fighting, everywhere along the border. So David and I rode out with Sir Lucas, and that's how we got into the fight. It was splendid!"

Derry winced at the boy's enthusiasm. Could this be the rather timid boy he recalled from just a few months past? "Ah. Well, I'm sure it was. But how did David win his spurs in the field?"

"Oh, that was mostly just luck," the young knight said modestly, his cheeks flushing a bit-but with pride, Derry thought, not embarrassment.

"It wasn't luck!" Geoffrey protested. "He was terrifically brave. We came up on Lord Michael's patrol at the Eldar Dun, and they were fully engaged. They would have been able to hold the Dun for a good while, I guess; you know it's just that hill of boulders and two sides a sheer drop. They'd have been fine but for sending a sortie out to aid the advance troops from the royal army that had come up on the fight and got trapped between two of Henrik's bands."

"Royal troops?"

"Yes, the King was coming in from Marley and Lord Dhugal from Cardosa, so they would soon have rescued all of Drumaere anyway, but these were the first ranks, and they got caught in Henrik's' troops before they could reach the Eldar Dun."

David nodded. "And so Lord Michael had led a party out to try to rescue the men the Tolanese had caught. Sir Lucas signaled us to flank the Tolanese on the east side and draw them off, and that's when we realized it was Sir Adam, Geoffrey's father, commanding the troops that were caught between the Tolanese."

"Papa was fighting off four men at one time, m'lord, and I thought surely I could take one of them out of his way by surprise. So I plunged into the fight and knocked one off his horse before he even saw me. And then one of the others turned to fight me, so that left Papa with only two to deal with, which was much better odds."

"Much better indeed," Derry agreed. "And I take it the fight went pretty well from that point on?"

"Well, yes. The second fellow knocked me off my horse, but I managed to catch his stirrup as I went down and pulled him off his horse as well, and he lost his sword trying to keep from falling. I rolled as I hit the ground and came up in a horse stance before he came at me, and he wasn't expecting me to use my feet, I guess. By the time Papa had finished off the two he was fighting, I had the Tolan man on the ground with the blade of my dirk at his throat."

Derry closed his eyes for a moment. "I see. What did your father have to say?"

"Well, he didn't realize at first it was me, since I had a helmet on, you see-but when he came over and recognized me, he was a little surprised, I think. He just sort of stared at me for a long moment, and then he put his arm 'round my shoulders and said something all mumbly. He-he seemed rather pleased, though."

"I should think so. Well, that accounts for you. What about young Sir David? And how was it that Lord Michael came to have his sword broken? He's one of the finest swordsmen in the Eleven Kingdoms!"

"Oh, aye, and he was a sight to see, m'lord, in a real fight like that!" David agreed. "But the Tolanese were easy three or four to one, even with Sir Adam's men and Sir Lucas's, and one man can only fight so many. They were all afraid of Lord Michael alone, so there must have been half a dozen at once went for him from all sides, and one huge man with a horse the size of a small mountain just smashed right into him, and down he went, horse and all. That's when his arm must have got broken, for he switched from right hand to left, but he must not have had a firm grip yet when another man with a battle-ax came at him and hit the sword, and that's what broke it. I had just got close enough to thrust my sword up under the arm the man had raised to hit Lord Michael with the battle-ax again, just where the armor doesn't protect the armpit. I didn't get in a killing blow, but Sir Lucas was right behind me and he did!"

"Well, that explains why Lord Michael might feel you had earned your knight's belt, then. But how did it happen that the King showed up in time to knight you?"

Geoffrey chimed in. "We were regrouping when a troop of the royal lancers came up behind the Tolanese, and together we managed to get the enemy in a pincer movement, and when we met up with them, the King was there! He said something like, 'Well met' to Lord Michael, and that's when Lord Michael told the King that they would never have met at all, except for David saving his life, and he asked the King to knight him then and there. It was absolutely splendid!"

"And that's when General Morgan arrived," said David, "with Master San Te, although I'm not exactly sure where they met up, because General Morgan had gone with another troop to help Sir Gregory further along the border. But anyhow, the Duke said he knew where you and the ladies were, and he and the King and Master San Te rode off up the pass and left Bishop McLain and Duke Dhugal to see to the prisoners and the wounded."

"We all came back here the next day, and the day after that, they came back with you in a horse litter and Lady Dacia in a fit of temper over them not wanting to listen to Master San Te and the Council being so stubborn about the two of you getting married."

"I was not in a fit of temper then at all, compared to what I am going to be if you two don't get out of here and let Lord Derry rest," said a familiar and beloved voice. Derry had not heard her enter but smiled up at Dacia's approach. Geoffrey and David rose hastily, bowed to both Derry and Lady Dacia, and beat a hasty retreat.

Derry's smile faded a bit at Dacia's stern look.

'What have I done?" he asked plaintively. "I just wanted to hear what had been going on."

She sighed and sat down. "I know. And I'm not angry with you or them. I'm just worried. It seems as if the Council still wants to be a problem, and my father is being stubborn, and this business with this foreign monk and you having his memories and all is not helping any, because the priests are half convinced you're possessed, which is apparently worse than being Deryni, if anything could be. What are we going to do, Sean?"

Derry's smile faded, as Dacia had thought it would, but not into an angry expression as she had expected. His face seemed instead a bit sad and contemplative. In a voice softer than was normal, he said, "We must be together in this lifetime, My Lady, for you are my lady, and I am your lord." She looked into his eyes and saw that they were a bit different than they had been before. A strange mixture of wisdom and youth was there now, as if Derry had come to grips with what was inside him.

He smiled slightly, as if he knew what she was seeing, and continued, "Life is a series of lessons to be learned. Each situation, good or bad, must be taken for what it really is, a lesson. Shying away from things because they make you uncomfortable or doing something solely based on what other people think or expect is no way to grow and change." His voice was calm and soothing as he went on. "Each experience, each situation must be cherished and given our attention so that we may learn and grow and change. Most experiences are not as drastic as mine. though," he finished with a slight laugh.

"I want to show you something; I want you to lower your shields and allow me to 'touch' your spirit for a moment." He looked at her expectantly. As Dacia hesitated, he spoke once more. "I am open to you, as you are to me. I would have you for my wife, as I would offer myself for your husband." Dacia thought she detected an openness now in Derry where before there had been a barrier. She sensed a new closeness now available to them. Whatever experience he had undergone, it had changed him but not, she sensed, for the worse.

She took Derry's hands and rolled back her own shields slowly. She nodded even though she realized that Derry knew it was done. A gentle tendril of though quested towards her, again unlike what she was used to, yet unthreatening. As his thoughts quested into her mind, they went deep into her consciousness to touch the inner part of her being. Derry's voice spoke in her mind. Imagine that instead of one life, you have lived thousands of them. I am no longer one person, but many. I have lived many lifetimes and now relive them through the one you know as Derry.

That's the part that frightens me, Sean. If you aren't yourself, how can I know who you are?

She felt his slight smile and light headshake. You'll understand, Dacia my love. Just trust me.

I do, Sean.

Then stay with me. And with that, Dacia felt herself slip deeper and deeper. She had gone into deep trance before, many times, during her training. She had even done a deep trance mind-link with Tiercel, but this felt subtly different, more as if she were sharing the process rather than just passively following where Tiercel and others had led during her training trances.

Suddenly she was aware that she was remembering things she had experienced, but with a shock she realized that she had not experienced them as Dacia McKelvey. She could see a room she knew had been her own, a dress of ancient cut on the bed. "Sean?"

"It's all right, love. I'm there with you. Just outside the door." As he spoke the door in her mind-scene opened and a man entered. He bore no physical resemblance to Sean Lord Derry, but he was definitely the same man. He raised his hand to brush the hair back from her brow. . .

The scene had shifted. They sat above a yellow river under a tree with pink blossoms, and they were very young and strangely dressed. He held her hand in his and spoke comforting words. She knew that it was not she but he who was going away, but she wept bitter tears because she would miss her friend and companion. He spoke of his happiness at being chosen for training at the monastery, but she could only feel the emptiness his leaving would mean for her . . .

Another scene came into focus. They knelt before an altar of some sort, though it was not one she had ever seen before. Nor was there a priest, but a woman dressed all in white who presided over what she knew was a wedding between them. In utter shock, Dacia realized that in this memory, her mind told her that she was not a woman. The person with Derry's eyes was a girl who promised the man Dacia had been, "I will love you forever." And Dacia knew the answer had been, "In this life and all others we will share."

Finally, a memory she did not want to let run intruded. There was fire and terror in every fiber of her body, and she was shaking in remembered pain as Derry pulled her rapidly to the present and drew her into his arms, murmuring, " I'm sorry, love; I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have let it go there. It got away from me. I'm so sorry."

It took her a few minutes to control her shudders. Gradually, she calmed enough to speak. "My God, Sean, what was that?"

"Can't you guess?" he said sorrowfully. "You were dying, darling. And I couldn't stop them because I wasn't there. You had stopped at Dolban to make a pre-nuptial retreat before our wedding. I was to meet you there two days later, but all I found was death and ashes-and the guards that had been left to deal with anyone who was too curious about what had happened there. I had to ride away without even the chance to search for you-not that it's likely I'd have found you. I fled to the Forcinn and found some former Michalines who took me in."

Her voice was shaky. "How-how many times have our lives touched?"

"I don't even know. I can only catch glimpses of some of the lives I have lived. You are in most of them that I've recalled. That's mostly what I have been doing, I guess, since the fight with Henrik. San Te told Morgan that my spirit must heal before my body could. That's what he meant, I think. I am beginning to reclaim all that I have learned over many lifetimes. I didn't realize it when I first work up, but it seems to be getting clearer now. I may never recall everything, but I can remember quite a number of lives over several hundred years. And you are there, sometimes as my wife or lover, sometimes as my friend or teacher or student. Our lives have twined together for centuries." With a hint of a smile, he continued, "I don't think even the vaunted Camberian Council is strong enough to keep us apart in this lifetime, love."

"The two halves of a whole," she said.


"It's something Master San Te told me, the day he first came. He said we were meant to be together."

"Yes. He is very wise."

"I still don't know how we can convince the Council-and my father."

"I think his problem has always been that stupid agreement with the Council. He doesn't dislike me, Dacia. You know he doesn't."

"Well, no. Of course he doesn't."

"Well, then. It's time to tell the Council where their authority ends. I've lost you to war and regents and a dozen other things. I don't intend to lose you to a bunch of interfering busybodies!"



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