09 - Chapter 9 - 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  9  


Duncan had received Ailín’s summons, and was traversing the hall toward the stair to the Laird’ and Lady’s chambers when he encountered Dhugal and Kelson racing to the same destination. A quick exchange of thought took place, and he joined them as they rushed for Ailín’s chamber. Dhugal could hear the voices screaming from the moment he set foot on the stair. One was intimately familiar to him, the other deeper and tinged with violence. It was that edge that made him run even faster up the steps, and he prayed that his father’s presence as a bishop and man of God would keep Geoffrey in line until he and Ailín could be separated. At least Ailín was still screaming. That was a good sign. Yet, the increasing anxiety in Ailín’s voice fed the fear and rage growing within him, pulsing with each footfall.

Only a handful of steps left-four, three, two, one, and he reached out to yank the door open. The sight fulfilled his fears, opening the pit gnawing at his gut. Ailín and Conor were clustered together, the babe between them, and Geoffrey’s hand was swinging toward them. “You will stop this immediately!” Dhugal yelled, but it was too late. Kilshane’s arm was already in motion, descending on his children. Ailín reeled back, losing her tentative hold on Caulay. Conor tried so hard to stand his ground, to clutch the child back, but he was too weak from his previous injury and the lost blood. He staggered into the wall, smacking his head on solid stone, and went slack on impact.

Everything seemed to slow down, time decelerating so he could absorb every sickening detail. Conor, trying to break his fall and simultaneously reach out in desperate rescue. Ailín, lifting herself off the ground, blood spilling from a cut in her forehead, a disbelieving, dazed look in her eye. Geoffrey, shrinking back as he saw three powerful men in the doorway, all bearing the face of furious vengeance, one bordering on unholy. And his son, flying sideways through the air.

The son he had rejoiced at when Mairona had determined that Ailín was with child.

The son he had touched while he was still in his mother’s womb.

The son who had come to recognize and welcome his presence.

The son who had only been born a short week ago, snuggling so peacefully in Ailín’s exhausted but happy arms as Dhugal came to meet him, jubilant that his son lived and his dear wife was safe.

His dear wife who only now saw the horror.

“CAULAY!!!!!” she screamed, struggling onto all fours to stop the impossible. No one could move fast enough. Not Conor, not Dhugal, not Ailín, and the infant smashed into the neighboring wall, then slid to the floor with a sickening thud!

“Father!!!!” Dhugal yelled, sending his request in a violent burst of thought. Duncan dove to the infant’s side, already calling on his Healing power as Dhugal and Kelson both turned on Geoffrey.

“Damn you, I should have taken care of you in Rhemuth!” Dhugal screamed, leaping for Kilshane. One arm bent up to press against Geoffrey’s throat as Dhugal tackled him, bringing him crashing to the floor. Splayed on top, Dhugal used the physical contact to mercilessly invade Geoffrey’s mind, brutally forcing control. Kelson had sunk into his fighting stance, ready to assist if necessary, but the struggle was brief, for despite Geoffrey’s greater size, his human defenses were no match for a crazed Deryni bent on blood. Paralyzed by Dhugal’s total restraint, Geoffrey’s eyes gibbered and cowered as Dhugal sat up to draw a dagger from his belt.

“Go back to the hell that spawned you, and trouble this world no more!”

The panic in Geoffrey’s eyes was very satisfying as Dhugal drew the blade across his neck. Calmly, he wiped the knife on Geoffrey’s tunic, oblivious to the blood pooling and staining his knees where they straddled Ailín’s father.


~ 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