03 - Chapter 3 - The Madness of the Wicked By: Martine A. Lynch
Webmistress's Drawing of a Sculpture.  Artist Unknown.
          Hall of Seasons  


The Madness of the Wicked  



Chapter  3  


Duncan had arrived shortly as promised, as the sun was starting to dip to late afternoon, and after a brief refreshment Caulay Howard Jared MacArdry McLain was baptized by his grandfather in a small ceremony at Transha’s chapel, with only Dhugal and Ailín present in addition to Kelson standing as godfather to the infant boy. Afterwards, they celebrated in the Laird’s chambers, where Duncan monopolized his tiny grandson, fascinated with the infant’s every frown, twitch, and yawn. Dhugal and Kelson retired early, though, to wake before dawn for the morrow’s patrol.

Dhugal did manage to round up a set of Connaiti armor for Kelson, which was ill-fitting compared to his own custom-tailored suits, but Dhugal had been right, they would brand him visibly as a lowland royal. At least these eclectic pieces seemed serviceable, and allowed enough freedom of motion. One of Dhugal’s own broadswords added to the costume, slung between Kelson’s shoulder blades in its great scabbard. To complete the look, Dhugal had selected a spotted border pony for his blood brother’s mount. Kelson took one look at it and burst out laughing.

“What’s sae amusing?” Dhugal asked with mock indignation. “’Tis from the same stock as my own!”

“Aye,” Kelson guffawed. “Would that be the stock that produced the spotted pony you had when we were children?” “Och, just because he threw ye a half dozen times! That beast had the devil in him!” Kelson declared, knowing that Dhugal had chosen this horse for just that reminder. Still laughing, he held out his hand for the pony to smell his scent. “Let me see if this one has a better nature.”

Securing the reins, Kelson swung up into the low saddle. The pony pranced and snorted violently, obviously having inherited the same temper that had landed Kelson on his backside nine years ago, but his riding skills were much more expert now. The spirited beast stilled at Kelson’s sure, insistent control. Dhugal mounted himself, motioning Kelson to join him as he rode to the head of his men.

“MacArdry!” he called easily over the band of forty or so. “My brother an’ your clansman Kelson is come tae join us. Will ye welcome him?” The borderers cheered, pumping their fists in the air. “MacArdry men!” Dhugal yelled. “We ride!”

They whooped, and Kelson’s mount reared at the noise and sudden excitement. He slapped the beast hard on the neck, reaching out with his mind to control the animal better through Deryni means, squashing any equine thoughts of rebellion. It did give him a rather showy exit as the pony leapt after Dhugal, racing out Transha’s gate.

Conor looked nervously at the horizon. Occasionally he thought he caught a hint of motion, and when he had mentioned it to his father, Geoffrey just scoffed. There it was again, though, and they were about to enter a steep gully that would hinder visibility.

“My lord father, could we not at least send a man or two ahead off the road as a scout?” he asked Geoffrey. “It would prove that you are correct, and I am only jumping at shadows.”

“I need no proof, and neither should you,” Geoffrey returned, angered. “I will not have a coward for a son. You will drop this insolence at once!”

“Aye, father. I apologize, I meant no insolence.”

Snorting, Geoffrey turned his hard-set face back to the road. Conor looked around him in dread as the land started sloping up on either side of them, and he wished to God with all his might that he had also inherited the Deryni powers that were gifted to his sister. Then perhaps he would be able to see if there was real danger ahead.


~ Previous ~                                        ~ Next ~     

    ~ Story Index ~


Story also located at the Author's website - Brenwell Manor


This story may not be copied or used in any way from this site without permission.

  Sunday Chats, Filks, The Carthmoor Clarion, The Mearan Sunday Herald,  Essays on the Deryni Stories of the XI Kingdoms Deryni Archives - The Zine, Deryni Links Administravia, Author's Biographies, Author Index, Character Index, Story by Era Index, Codex Index, Site Policies  

Hall of Seasons