Both Derry and Dacia would have preferred
a far less formal setting for dealing with the Camberian Council
members and their objections to Dacia marrying Derry, but the chapel
at Caer Dinan had been Bishop Arilan's choice.
"We are, after all, discussing a wedding, which is a Holy
Sacrament," the bishop had pointed out to Derry and Lord Michael.
"It seems appropriate that we meet on consecrated ground so that
all present remember that marriage is, first and foremost, a
Derry had been forced to agree to that, especially as he had already
wrung from the bishop a concession of his own. "No one is
questioning Lord Michael's right to be present at our
discussions," Derry had pointed out. "But as Dacia owes a
duty to her father, I also owe a duty to both the King and to my liege
Lord Morgan. They have a right to be there as well."
Lord Michael had supported Derry. "That's so, Excellency. We all
want to know what manner o' man Lord Derry is now; that's the sum and
total question so far as I can tell. Lord Sextus is adamant he'll wed
no one but Amalie, so it's only for the Council to agree or not to
Lord Derry in his stead for Dacia. Isn't that the way of it?"
"There are a lot of unanswered questions regarding Lord Derry at
present," the bishop had countered.
"I'm willing to answer any you choose to pose, Excellency. I know
there are a great many doubts about my abilities and my
memories," Derry had said.
"There are indeed.}
"I hope you will agree that Master San Te should also be present,
then. He can explain a great deal to all of us."
Arilan had nodded slowly. "Perhaps he can. But will he agree to
come to the chapel? It is not a holy place to him."
"I think that is not so, Excellency. While the Eastern people do
not follow our Christian traditions, they are if anything more
tolerant of the beliefs of others. Master San Te will tell you that a
holy place is one where people worship a higher power, whatever power
that may be."
"And what tradition do you follow now, Lord Derry?"
"As Derry, I am a Christian, baptized and at least relatively
devout in my religious duties. You may ask Bishop Duncan. He has been
my Confessor for many years now whenever we have been in Coroth or
Rhemuth at the same time."
"Perhaps he should be present as well then."
"I have no objections to that, certainly, Excellency," Derry
had murmured, hiding a small smile of triumph. In fact, he had hoped
for just that; he had known Duncan McLain for years and trusted him
more than any other Christian priest he knew to be fair and
tolerant. Having been tortured for his own faith, Duncan was unlikely
to allow Derry to be persecuted for any aberration from the strictly
proscribed path of religious belief.
The chapel at Caer Dinan was not large; as household chapels went, it
was very adequate, though it was in fact seldom used. The family
generally walked down the causeway to the church in the town except in
the very worst weather. The whole chapel was only a little larger than
a good-sized bed chamber, with a functional but plain altar of dark,
polished wood. Several wall niches held carved wooden statues of
various saints; at one time Derry had known why each of them had taken
a place of honor at Caer Dinan, but he had not been so attentive as a
boy that he remembered offhand why St. Elfrida and St. Brigid were
there as well as St. Michael and St. Andrew.
The chapel had plain benches without backs, and these had been
arranged so that everyone could sit facing the center. A chair had
been brought for Lady Vivienne, another for the King. Dacia sat beside
her father to Derry's right; on his left were Morgan, then the King,
then Duncan. To Derry's surprise, Sextus Arilan was also present,
along with two additional Council members who, Dacia had told him, had
arrived via transfer portal the previous night.
He had been first of all a little surprised that there was a transfer
portal at Caer Dinan, but secondly that the Council was apparently so
seriously concerned with the whole matter. Still, the scholarly
looking Laran and the elegant Princess Sofiana had seemed pleasant
enough when he had been introduced to them just moments before. He
should not have been surprised that San Te immediately struck up a
conversation with Sofiana, obviously an acquaintance of long standing,
nor that his Master had taken a seat between her and Bishop Arilan.
.The king had taken his seat, and Bishop Arilan stood with a nod to
Kelson. "Sire, I hope you will not be offended, but since this is
a Council function, technically, we should begin by warding the chapel
to prevent any untoward influences or incidents."
"I have no objections at all, Excellency. I think there are none
here who would wish any untoward occupancies of any sort."
"True. Lord Laran, ladies. . ."
Sofiana stood, waving Arilan to silence. "Why not let the
'accused' set the wards to start our tribunal?" she asked with a
glint of amusement in her eye.
"Now see here, Sofiana," Vivienne interrupted.
Bishop Arilan spoke quickly. "Please, ladies. Let's at least keep
it civil." He gave Sofiana a long, measuring look, then nodded.
"Very well, your idea has merit."
Arilan turned to Derry. "Will you be so good as to prove the
point by warding us please?" Derry detected a slight note of
disbelief in his tone but rose and walked to the center of the circle,
bowing slightly to San Te and gesturing the monk to come stand beside
him. San Te bowed slightly to Derry, then spoke to the group at large.
"If it is proof of talent or power that you desire, then so be
it. Would you like me to describe what we are doing as Derry wards
Arilan nodded slowly. "Will you require anything? Candles?
San Te only smiled and shook his head. "Those are symbols only,
as you know well, Lord bishop. Other traditions use other symbols, but
in truth the wards lie in the power alone and the intent, as you also
Lady Vivienne gave an audible snort as Arilan sat. Laran shifted
slightly forward in his seat, looking intrigued. Sofiana smiled and
San Te spoke to the group at large, but especially to the Council
members. "Long ago, I learned the form of warding you will see
from the teacher who lives again in your Lord Derry. It is not a
complicated form, but it is a very powerful one, since it relies on
the balance between the persons performing the ritual. In our belief
system, we teach that all things must be balanced, and it is that
sense of balance which draws two souls together in each incarnation.
In this form of casting, one person controls the yin, or the positive
forces, and the other the yang, or the negative forces. Both
forces must be in balance or chaos will ensue. In our past
relationship I was the learner, he the master. Now we have passed
through another stage where I was the master and he the student. Now
we are equals at last."
San Te turned back to Derry and asked softly, "Will you cast to
Derry nodded slowly. "Yes, my trusted friend, it would be my
honor." He assumed a relaxed horse stance, hands fisted at
this waist, eyes closed. As he began to center, San Te moved to
the eastern point of the circle made in the room by the benches.
After several long deep breaths, Derry stirred and, though his eyes
remained closed, said softly, "Let this place be guarded."
San Te closed his eyes, intoning in a low voice that nevertheless
echoed in the still chapel, "As the sun rises, I am the guardian
At San Te's final word, Derry assumed a more relaxed stance, his hands
now cupped before his waist. A light began to grow there until
it was gleaming brightly green. Shifting his body forward and
thrusting out his hands, Derry exclaimed, "Eyah-sah!"
The green ball shot across at San Te, who had dropped into a spread
leg horse stance. He "caught" the ball and was
immediately surrounded by a column of green light. Derry bowed deeply
to the column of light and spoke reverently. "Ea!"
He then turned to the south, and San Te stepped out of the column of
light and also moved to the south to stand just before Lady Vivienne's
chair. Derry nodded and again San Te spoke. "As the
sun peaks, I am the guardian of Fire."
Derry's posture changed to Cat Stance with his right leg drawn up in
front of him, toes touching the ground. As he shifted forward,
the drawing in of power was noticeable to those seated around
them. As he thrust out both arms in front of him, a ball of red
fire glowed between his clenched fists, and he exclaimed "Kiyah-sah!"
The red ball shot up to curve down upon the crossed hands which San Te
had raised over his head. Again he appeared to "catch"
the ball, and a red column rose around him. Derry stood up
straight, saying, "Hii!". His voice seemed to
have taken on an echo from the power being gathered in the room.
He bowed again and turned to his right, facing West.
San Te stepped from the column, his eyes almost glowing with the red
fire that had surrounded him minutes before. He moved to the
west and established what is known as a Crane position. He
closed his eyes and spoke in a voice almost dripping with power,
"As the sun sets, I am the guardian of Water." Derry,
standing in the center of the room, flanked by the glowing green and
red pillars, also assumed a Crane position. He brought his
arms together in front of him; a ball of deep blue formed and grew
more intense as he moved his hands closer together.
Derry exclaimed, "Niyah-sah" as he hopped slightly upward,
landing squarely on both feet, hands formed into tiger claw strikes,
pushing the ball forward at San Te. San Te dropped into a right
leg fighting stance, raising one hand up and lowering the other.
He seemed to "catch" the blue ball in his left hand; then it
flowed upward to his right hand and formed into a dark blue pillar of
light. Derry straightened and spoke again. "Mizu!"
San Te emerged from the dark pillar moving to the northern quarter.
He closed his eyes, saying in a low voice, "As the sun floats
below, I am the guardian of Earth."
Derry's stance was now different from the others he had taken.
While San Te stood speaking with his arms stretched out, feet flat on
the floor, Derry stood in a tense fighting stance, to the point where
his left knee touched the ground. Bring his hands from his hips
to cup once more in front of his body, Derry gathered the energy into
a golden ball. Leaning back, and then shifting his weight and
hands forward, Derry exclaimed, "Eyah-sah!"
The golden ball shot across at San Te, who had not moved at all.
The ball "smashed" into his chest, engulfing him in a golden
pillar of light. Derry bowed deeply to the column of light and spoke
San Te bowed to Derry as he stepped out of the pillar. To those
seated, the colors were almost alive in that there were lights
glimmering and moving about in the pillars. Derry walked over to
the bench to retrieve his staff. As he walked back to the center
of the circle, he spoke in Kelson's direction. "The staff works
like the sword does in your own rituals, ire; it is a tool, nothing
more." His words were deep and crackled with concentrated power.
San Te's posture was relaxed yet ready as Derry resumed his place on
his immediate left.
The two men faced the pillars, San Te facing east and south, Derry
facing west and north. They both closed their eyes as they took
a deep breath. Holding the staff in his right hand, Derry
extended his arm out to the side so that one end of the staff
rested on the floor and one pointed towards the
ceiling. San Te reached out with his left hand and grasped the staff
at its midpoint. Derry murmured something as San Te nodded, saying
"Hai!" sharply. Taking a step forward, staff in left
hand, San Te spoke with authority: "I¼Am¼.Yin!"
His voice echoed off the sides of the room as he brought right hand
and left together. As he did this, the two pillars merged into a
glowing white-gold pillar. San Te nodded, stepping back to stand
back to back with Derry once more. Footing the staff loudly on
the floor, Derry then reached out and placed a hand on the staff.
San Te said, "Thou art Yang," and Derry responded by
saying "Hai!" with the same inflection as the master; he
took the staff forward. Holding his arms out at his sides
at shoulder height, he spoke: "I¼.AM¼.Yang!" He
pulled his hands together, and the pillars warped to merge into a
pitch black pillar of night. Nodding, Derry stepped back.
The spectators looked on in amazement, feeling the power of the two
men, the two pillars, and sat forward in anticipation of what was to
come. Derry and San Te turned to face one another, each putting
his right hand on the staff, holding it so it rested about a foot off
the ground. Slowly they stepped away from one another, toward
their respective pillars until they let go of the staff. The
staff did not fall as the two walked into the Pillar of Day and Pillar
of Night, the Yin and the Yang.
The energy in the room began to crackle as the pillars started to move
toward the upright staff in the center of the chapel. As they
came together, they slowly merged, until one pillar, half black
and half white, brilliantly shone in the room. San Te and Derry
slowly emerged from the opposite sides of the single column of power.
Stepping back from the center of power, the two men dropped into low
horse stance and spoke together. "We stand before the
pillar of Heaven and Earth, of Might and Mercy. Let all those who
stand before the pillar feel its protection and benefit. It is
the positive and the negative, Yin and Yang, that make the universe,
the universe of the spirit." Both men shifted forward to touch
the pillar with their opposite hands. Together they cried,
Those in the room felt a wrenching as the two sides, white and black,
merged into a golden shaft of light that expanded to encompass the
entire chapel before they could react. As it passed over them,
they felt lightness, energy, goodness, love, and strength. Derry
and San Te stood with legs spread, hands at their hips. They brought
their feet together and bowed to the east from whence their journey
Turning as he rose from his deep bow to the East, Derry bowed slightly
to the King, who looked impressed but not inclined to speak at the
moment. San Te rose from his bow with the staff in his hand and handed
it to Derry, who took it with a nod, then returned to his seat beside
Dacia. Her eyes were wide, her cheeks flushed with pride. "That
was . . . remarkable, Sean."
"Indeed," Sofiana said rather dryly. "I think
there can be little doubt that the wards are there. Do you wish to
test them, Lady Vivienne?"
"Casting wards is not a final proof of power!" the elderly
lady snapped. "Much less that whatever power is there is
permanent or beneficial."
"What proof would you have me offer, my lady?" Derry asked
quietly. "I am entirely at your disposal although I certainly
hope it does not come to either of us being disposed of!"
"Are you challenging me to a Duel Arcane, young man?"
"Certainly not!" snapped Laran. "We are here to
determine whether Lord Derry is sufficiently powerful to marry Lady
Dacia to the benefit of any children of such a marriage. That is the
only issue at hand."
"It is not the only issue," Arilan protested. "What
about these previous lives he claims to have lived?"
Dacia spoke firmly. "I don't care who he has been in the past,
Excellency. I refuse to jeopardize my future on the basis of the past.
Think what adhering to past errors has done to our kind already! The
past is past; it is the future we must think of now. I love this man.
I believe I have shared his love in past lives, but that is irrelevant
here as well. It is this man Sean Seamus O'Flynn, Lord Derry
that I would marry and I would want that if he had no powers
"What about your agreement with this Council?" asked
Vivienne. "Do those promises mean nothing?"
"Of course they do! Why else are we here? If honor and keeping
one's word meant nothing, we would be wed already, Lady Vivienne.
Don't look so scandalized! We could easily have eloped and been wed
months ago, and you all know it. Except that I would not dishonor my
father's sworn word, and Sean would not abandon the duty laid on him
by the King and my father."
Princess Sofiana gave Dacia a knowing nod. "That is very true,
Lady Dacia. What remains to be seen is whether lord Derry's power is
equal to your own, and whether it is power that can be passed on to
"Predicting the future is not one of the powers I know much
about, my lady," Derry said frankly. "Since I don't have any
children, I cannot tell you whether they will inherit my powers or
not." He turned to San Te. "Do you know?"
"It is probable that they will inherit the potential to acquire
power if properly trained, yes. The lines of power in our people are
less confined to a single race, though as I have said before, those
with pale eyes almost certainly are descended from the same ancients
as your Deryni. But many bear the potential for discovering the
channels of power. Whether they find it or not depends on whether they
find the proper training." He smiled at Dacia. "I suspect
that the children of this union would be offered every opportunity to
acquire proper instruction from an early age."
Lady Vivienne protested again. "Our whole point in
arranging a marriage for Lady Dacia was to form a strong Deryni union.
Lord Derry is NOT Deryni, even if he does have this power."
"Does it matter so much what the source of the power is,
Vivienne?" Asked Sofiana. "Power is power."
"I don't like it! You all know I don't like it, but do as
you will!" She glared across the room at Morgan who had as
yet said nothing. "I'm too old to change opinions that have
served me well for decades!"
"The question remains regarding the children. . ." Laran
"Our children are hardly the subject for question," Derry
said mildly, "until you have said whether or not you'll approve
the marriage. But there is an ancient ritual for forecasting the
outcome of a marriage. Is it not still performed in your land,
Master San Te?"
"That spell is only a legend!" Vivienne exclaimed.
It's pure poetry. . ."
San Te smiled and shook his head slightly. "It is truly the
stuff of legend, Lady Vivienne, and I too know the poems you mean.
But it is real enough, if somewhat draining for the participants. But
it is perhaps the surest way to solve this dilemma. If your lady
is willing, my friend?" He gave Derry a questioning glance.
"What must I do, Sean?" Dacia asked quietly, rising
and coming to join him in the center of the room.
He took both her hands in his and gave her a reassuring smile.
"It's a bit like sharing our memories, my love, except that we
cast forward into the future. Ummm...do we have all that we
need, Master San Te?"
"We do, for I thought it might come to this. I have asked
Lord Michael for the use of his great shiral. You have brought
it, have you not, my old pupil?"
"I have indeed," Lord Michael nodded, producing a large
shiral crystal set in a base of silver. It was a big as a large
man's fist and very clear. "This has been in our family for
generations." San Te took the crystal and set it on a small
table which Lord Michael brought forward..
"We will require also candles and the assistance of Bishop McLain
if he will agree? In your religion, the Mother Mary is revered
as a patron of women and of marriage. Lady Dacia will wish to
pray for her intervention in this ritual, Excellency. Will you
agree to that?"
"I see nothing wrong with that, certainly," Duncan said,
surprised. He came to stand beside the table, which San Te
draped with a white cloth, turning it into an altar. Duncan made
a sign of the cross over the heads of Dacia and Derry as they knelt
together, hands still joined but now enclosing the shiral crystal on
its small altar.
In this sacred place of your Christian religion, it is best if you
lead a litany to the saints honored here, as well as to the Holy
Mother, Excellency," San Te murmured. And when all have
centered, a general blessing and. . . we shall see what the crystal
reveals. Duncan nodded and bowed his head. The others did
the same as the bishop began his prayers with a litany of all the
patrons of the house.
"Sanctus Andreas. ."
"Ora pro nobis."
"Sancta Elfrida. . ."
Ora pro nobis"
And as the calm grew intense, finally, he intoned, "Ave Maria . .
. " Dacia's soft voice echoed his words, praying for the
intervention of the Holy Mother. As the prayer ended, Derry echoed her
"amen" and continued to speak:
"In the presence of these Holy Ones, examine my heart, My
Lady," he said softly, "and know that what I speak is
She responded in kind. "Likewise see my heart, My Lord, and
know that what I have spoken is truth as well."
San Te nodded, and Duncan laid his hand on their joined ones, where
they rested on the base in which the shiral was set. "Now
may the Source of all Life show these witnesses the proof of your true
union," the priest said. "In nomine Patri, et Filii,
et Spiritus Sanctus. Amen."
For a moment nothing seemed to happen, but then in the center of the
shiral there was a small spark that grew quickly into a clear image–a
child smiling up at both Derry and Dacia. Its head of wavy brown
hair was surrounded with a ring of glowing purple fire.
The image was gone in a split second, but there was no doubt it had
been there. The witnesses let out their collective breath as both
Derry and Dacia seemed to sway from fatigue. Derry caught
himself first and immediately reached out to support Dacia.
"Well?" she asked after a moment. "What
"You don't know?" Kelson asked, puzzled.
"I know that Sean and I were in a deep link, Sire.
Otherwise. . ."
"The participants are not given the chance to see the results,
" San Te said softly. "The reason the crystal is used
is to allow the witnesses to see them."
"Then. . ."
"We saw a child," Sofiana said with a smile.
"Yours and his, apparently, and with power enough to satisfy even
the stiffest purists." She looked at her fellow Council
members. "I think no doubt remains, does it?"
No one spoke for a moment; they all looked at one another, and
instinctively then, to Arilan. He was visibly moved by the
ritual and the revelation. "It would appear that our
protests go against Divine will, which has surely destineed these two
for one another, and had already blessed their union. No doubt
remains. We approve the formal marriage of Lady Dacia to Lord
Derry," Arilan said. "And the sooner the better,"
he added, "so we can all get back to our normal lives."
There was a general murmur of agreement and approval. Even Lady
Vivienne seemed to agree to that last statement. Everyone seemed
only too happy to have a decision made.
Derry rose and helped a still rather weak Dacia to her feet, handing
her into her father's arms and helping San Te and Duncan clear the
center of the chapel once more.
He and San Te returned to the center of the circle and assumed
positions facing East. They bowed to the east, then to each of
the other quarters in turn, then again to the east, raising their arms
as they stood. It was San Te who spoke first: "We
return the energy to the mother who bore us." And Derry
answered, "And may all within depart in peace once more."
As they lowered their arms to the ground, the wards seemed to shimmer
brightly, then sink slowly into the floor. When the pillar had
been pushed completely into the floor, a distant sound of deep chimes
could be heard. The candles flared brightly for a second, then
settled into their normal glow again. Derry stepped across the
circle and raised his smiling lady to her feet.
He started to kiss her, then and there, but she laughingly pushed him
away. "Now, then, none of that, Sean Derry. We're not
"Nay, ye're not," Lord Michael agreed. "The
ladies must have time to get their wedding finery ready and all, and
that will give us time for somethin' far more important."
"More important than the wedding?" Derry protested.
"Of course," Kelson agreed, coming to clap a hand on
Derry's shoulder. "We must consider some adequate wedding present
for you–some sort of new title, perhaps."
"And some new duties that will give you a bit more time with your
bride," Morgan added as he joined them in the center of the room.
"And even more pressin' than any o' that," Lord Michael
grinned, "we must toast the bride. I've a bottle o' whiskey
made the day she was born, lad! Ye've never tasted anything like
it in yer life!"
Derry cringed at the thought and turned to Dacia, hoping she would
protest. To his amazement, she just laughed and pushed him
toward the men. " Go on, then. Be a man among the men
tonight, Lord Derry, and drink your fill."
She gave him a sly grin. "Don't you worry love. I can
guarantee you'll be all right. I've got that hangover remedy and
"Ye'll no' insult the bride by not drinkin' her health tonight wi'
me, lad!" Lord Michael said sternly..
"Well, no, of course not, but--
"Go on then, Sean," Dacia smiled mischievously.
"But don't forget to eat as well. You're going to need your
strength tomorrow night. I can guarantee it."
And she slipped quickly out of the chapel., leaving her father and the
other men laughing at her now blushing bridegroom.