01 - Chapter 1 - Regent & Duke
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Regent & Duke



Chapter I

The Council

"It was them." Carolyn began, "Lawrence Jameson, Bishop of Dhassa and Frederick Benson, the current Duke of Corwyn."

"Are you sure?" Susan asked from her seat just left of Carolyn, "And who were the other two? Did you recognize them?"

"I have no idea who they were," She replied absently picking up her coadjutor wand and leaning back in her chair.

"More to the point, what were they doing there? And what did they say" Matt asked looking down at her from the opposite end of the table, the other coadjutor wand located on the table in front of him.

"I wish I knew, but I dared not use my powers to find out," she replied, "we still have no way of knowing if the bishop of Dhassa is Deryni. If so, he could have detected me"

"Maybe all they were doing was having a drink?" Laura chimed in from her spot to the left of Matt.

"Or perhaps it's a plot against the royal family?" Came Melissa’s response from Carolyn’s right.

"I think everyone is just being paranoid right now.” Linda glanced over her left shoulder towards Matt, then at the others seated around the table as she spoke.

"I think we are just being cautious, " Carolyn said quietly, "with all that has happen to Kelson in the last year or so."

"I agree," Laura said, "but without actually knowing what was said, we really can’t do anything, right?"

"Right," Carolyn agreed, "lets get on with other business for the moment. What is the status of the royal family right now?"

"They are due to leave for Llannedd tomorrow morning, " Linda replied, "and they should arrive there that same afternoon."

"I am assuming the entire family is going?"

"As far as I know, Yes."

"You're still going correct?"

"Yes," Linda answered with a slight irritation her voice.

"You don't sound too thrilled about that?" Matt noted dryly.

"Just what I always wanted to do be, a 'babysitter'."

A couple council members chuckled for they knew, having heard from Linda, that several of the Haldane children were not exactly model students growing up. Since all had passed the high school grades, and some barely so, Linda had been asked to stay on to tutor some of the squires and pages attached to the royal family in exile.

"Matt," Carolyn said turning her attention to him, "can you tell us anything about some of the security measures that will be in place tomorrow for their arrival?"

"You know I can't tell you anything specific," he paused, shaking his head, "except to say that Kelson has just about thought of everything, even some things I would never have thought of."

"Nothing?" she insisted. He just smiled knowingly and said nothing.

"Okay then." Changing the subject, Carolyn turned her attention to the only member of the council who had not yet spoken up. "Sianny, how is the search going for the lineage charts for the royal family?"

"Not very good actually," she said pausing, "I haven't been able to gain access to the family's records, official or personal."

"Linda, do you think you might be able to find something out?" Carolyn asked.

"I could, but I don't think my snooping around would be a good idea. I've told you how suspicious the family's advisors are. They don't exactly trust anybody, much less someone who used to teach the royal children."

"Matt how about Kelson?" Carolyn asked, "Do you think he would have access to any of those records?"

"He might, but do you really want me to go snooping around trying to find them and jeopardize my position there? I've only been with his security force for a little over a month."

"I just wish there were some way that we could prove positive that the Haldane succession is secure," Carolyn mumbled absently to herself.

"Have you guys ever considered, that the royal family, has all of that taken care of?" came a voice from the back corner of the room.

"Bart," Carolyn said, "would you please come and have a seat?"

"No, I am just fine right here."

"I really don't think Donald would mind if you sat in his chair."

"I’ve always thought you guys wanted to keep one seat vacant…for Saint Camber? Isn't that why all eight of you are not here at the same time?”

"Would you at least stand up and come to where we can all see you?" Carolyn sighed.

"Gee can I really? "He said sarcastically standing up and leaning against one of the pillars. "Its not like I don't stand all damn day anyway," he mumbled to himself. Carolyn glared at him over the rims of her glasses.

"Sorry," He said throwing up his hands, "The past day and night have been very long." Carolyn smiled and shook her head.

"Carolyn have you ever considered," Susan interjected, "my thought from a couple of months ago?"

"About the council going straight to the family and saying who we are, and that we are there to help them if they need it?"

"Well yes."

Carolyn paused a second before answering. "No, now is not the time. I think they are too much under the thumb of their advisors."

"I agree," Matt said, "It is probably best to keep our existence a secret for the time being."

"I still think," Susan said," that it would be better for all concerned if we did come out and tell them. Matter of fact, why don't we go public?"

"Because no one would believe you," Bart said. All heads turned towards him in question.

"Why would you say that? " Carolyn asked.

"I don't know if you all have noticed or not but the general populace of Carthmoor, Corwyn, Meara and occupied central Gwynedd consider the 'Deryni ' a myth and a work of fantasy."

"Because of what Katherine and Rob have written over the years?" Carolyn asked.

"Yes. I think just about everyone considers that fiction."

"We know the truth though," Susan said.

“The eight of you, plus David and I," Bart said, "That is not a lot. Even though I am not a member of the council, I agree with Carolyn on this. It is far too soon to go to the royal family and/or go public."

"All right," Susan said throwing up her hands," I give up. But you realize, at some point in the near future we will have to," she said turning her attention to Carolyn.

"Yes I do, just not now."

"Does any one else have anything?" Matt asked," I have to report for duty really early in the morning and I would like to get some sleep."

"I do," Bart responded.

"Well?" Matt murmured laying his head on the table.

"Other than being a healer, and not a very good one at that, what the hell am I doing here? I’m not even a member of the council."

"You, my young friend," Laura interjected before Carolyn could answer, "possess an ability that hasn't been seen in several centuries."

"So you keep telling me."

"Besides," Carolyn said, "you and Melissa are the only ones who have any real contact with our other Haldane, Nigel, Duke of Carthmoor."

"So he comes into the restaurant where I work, big deal."

"Why did he come to your restaurant in particular?"

"Got me? Maybe to eat?"

"Let me put it another way. How did he appear? Mad, sad, anything like that?"

A puzzled look crossed his face. "Now that you mention it, the first couple of times he came in he appeared all right, but when he left he did not look happy for some reason.”

"Was he meeting someone?" Susan asked.

"I think so, I was too busy bussing tables at the time to notice. I thought I saw him talking with the owner of the place and the same Duke of Corwyn that Carolyn mentioned."

"Melissa, do you have any idea why he would be meeting these people?" Carolyn asked, "You have been painting his portrait lately."

"He hadn't said anything, "she answered, "but he did seem out sorts of late, not very talkative. I assumed it was because he was having a tough time with his parliament concerning the joint oil lease with Llannedd."

Carolyn grimaced. "I don't like the sound of this."

"Do you think someone is putting pressure on him to stall on the deal?" Matt asked."

“It is beginning to sound like it, "Carolyn said. "That oil lease to the Americans would certainly help out both economies right now. And with some convincing of both governments, it might eventually help fund a re-taking of Gwynedd from the communists.

"The council nodded their heads in agreement.

"Anything else?" Matt asked looking around to his fellow council members.

"Just a couple more small items, Matt," Carolyn said.

"Great," Matt said laying his head on the marble table again.

"First, Bart, Laura, and Melissa, see if you can find out anything on your various fronts about what is going on with Nigel. "

"And Bart?"


"I want you to think about joining the Lancer Corps," Carolyn said, "I know you are not too thrilled about joining any service again, but if you were to work with Laura you might become more comfortable with your powers."

"I'll think about it," He answered.

"Linda and Matt," she said turning her attention to them, "keep your eyes and ears on the royal family when they're in Llannedd, okay?"

"Do you want me to tell David to do the same?" Linda asked.

"Yes. And I'll try to contact Donald and advise him to do that also. I don't know if you all know this or not, but our esteemed man from down under is going to be on television."

"As what?" Susan asked, "The Robin Leach of the Eleven Kingdoms?"

"Maybe, one of the local TV stations in Meara has asked him to do some reporting about Princess Alexandra's investiture as crown princess of Llannedd."

"Because of her being the first Haldane in some sixty some years to be close to a throne?” Susan asked.

"Yes, well I think since we have just about covered about everything," Matt interrupted, "I do need to can get some sleep."

"Not quite yet Matt," Carolyn shot back, " I need to talk to you before you leave about when we can schedule our next meeting."

"Why?" Matt asked.

"We’ll discuss it in a minute, everybody else you are free to go. I will contact all of you for our next meeting."

Carolyn waited for everyone to file out of the council chambers to the transfer portal outside.

"Okay, what?" Matt asked the other coadjutor.

"Well," Carolyn paused, "I wanted to tell you what I couldn't tell the others."

"And that is?"

"I have been in contact with Kelson since his return to Llannedd."

"What!? But didn't you tell all of us not to tell the family who we are."

"I haven't told him exactly who I am. Just that I am someone who is there to help his family out if need be."

"Why tell me? And why tell Kelson for that matter? He is only fifth in line for the throne."

" I told you because you are close to Kelson. And I told him because he is about to be put in a position that could help get the throne for his family."

"I'm not that close to Kelson."

"Not yet. Just keep your eyes open in the event that he could use some help."

"Am I supposed to be looking for anything specific?"

"No, but for the time being, don't take off your Saint Camber medal. When the time is right, I want you to go to Kelson and show him your medal."

"He'll know who I really am?”

"No not really, just that you are there to help him."

"Are you going to contact him now?” Matt asked standing up.



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