Regent & Duke
Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
light outside the office window was slowly fading into twilight as
Kelson intently listened to Jackson give his report.
"And as of now," Jackson was saying, "we have seen no signs of the man you described."
Kelson did not answer; he just rubbed his chin and stared off in deep thought.
"How is Matt doing?" Kelson spoke, not breaking off from his stare.
In answer, Jackson flopped down a bulletproof vest on the edge of the desk bringing Kelson back to reality. Leaning over to look at the vest, Kelson noticed a small hole in the center of the chest and reached out to touch the area.
"Don't," Jackson said grabbing Kelson's hand.
As Kelson raised his eyes to meet Jackson's, Jackson produced two small plastic bags from his pocket, each containing what looked like a single bullet.
"The first one is the bullet we pulled out of Matt's vest, and the second was found in the lining of the carriage.
Jackson started to hand the bags to Kelson, but as he reached for them, he quested forth with his powers, suspicious that Jackson wasn't telling him everything.
As his hands touched the bag, his powers suddenly jolted him. There was another reason other than forensics that the bullets had been placed in the bags.
"How?" He asked stunned.
"Well, as near I can figure, there is a small capsule of Merasha encapsulated in the actual bullet. Upon impact, the capsule explodes and the bullet appears to be designed to fragment, thus sending the Merasha throughout the body"
" And how did you find all this out?"
"The one that is not detonated, I was able to x-ray, and I could see the capsule." He held up the bag with the unexploded bullet and stared at it for several seconds.
"So, it would be my guess that somebody who knows about my family's Deryni heritage had this made?"
"That would be my guess as well."
"Do you think we could?"? Kelson started to ask before he was interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Come in," he sighed.
"Your Grace," Sybil apologized as she opened the door, "I am sorry to intrude but this just arrived." She held up a VHS tape. "Also your uncle is here as well."
"Thank you Sybil," he said as Jackson took the tape from her.
"Will that be all, your Grace?"
"Yes," he said absently.
She left with Camber closing the door behind her.
Setting the bags on the desk, Kelson stood and took the tape Jackson handed to him. As he walked across the room towards a TV and VCR set, he spoke to his uncle who had just come in. "How is everyone doing?"
"Nervous and numb at the moment," Camber answered as Kelson turned on the TV and placed the tape in the VCR.
"And Javan?" Kelson asked as the tape began to play.
"He started to drink heavily, once he realized how close he came to death."
Kelson glanced quickly at his uncle then back to the screen, "I know I should be there with him, but I have to see this tape."
"What is on the tape?" Camber asked moving closer so he could see.
Jackson answered before Kelson could respond, "There was a visiting news crew from Meara, covering the ceremony live. They caught the whole assassination attempt on tape because they were also taping for some future show."
As Jackson spoke, he and Camber watched as Kelson paused the tape, freezing the image.
"Where is Matt?" Kelson said absently staring at the screen.
"I sent him home after I debriefed him."
"Good. Give him another day off, and then have him come see me. Could I talk to my uncle privately for a little while."
"Of course Your Grace."
"Also," Kelson looked at Jackson sternly," I want you to take this tape and have this particular image blown up."
Leaning closer Jackson noted the image, "Yes, Your Grace."
"First though, would you go tell the king I will be with him momentarily, by the time you return I should be done talking with my uncle."
"Yes, Your Grace," Jackson bowed slightly as he departed.
"What did you wish to tell me, Kelson?" Camber asked moving closer to him.
"Look at the screen and tell me what you see?"
Camber stared intently at the screen for several seconds before the image finally sunk in.
"That is the man who tried to kill Anna several years ago. Isn't it?"
Not taking his attention from the screen Kelson nodded his head.This time, instead of a darkened tree line outside of New Orleans, it was broad daylight. The man was short, with curly blond hair and he had a gun raised in his hand. The man had a face Kelson could never forget. And he had said something that Kelson just now recalled.
"I'm not here for some Haldane upstart," Kelson whispered remembering what he had said, "but your time will come."
"Alright everybody, calm down, let him speak," Carolyn was saying.
"Okay Matt, go ahead."
"All I can tell you is that it happened so quickly," A slightly disoriented Matt began, "as soon as I saw him, the man pulled out his gun and pointed at me."
"First order of business, get rid of the protectors," Melissa mumbled.
"That was my first thought after I came to my senses. That shot knocked me for a loop, not to mention knocking me on my butt."
"That's not all of it, is it?" Laura asked.
"No," Matt glanced briefly at Carolyn, paused for a few seconds, and then continued, "as I lay there, I slowly came back to reality and I started to feel around for where the bullet had hit. I also wanted to make sure I wasn't actually dead when I ascertained something very familiar."
"And that was?" Susan asked.
"I sensed Merasha in the bullet hole of my vest."
"What?" someone exclaimed.
"We've seen Merasha, in wine, on needles, and now this," Sianny said glancing at her guest Rebecca.
"How is Prince Javan?" Susan interjected.
"I've been told he is fine, although a little frazzled."
"I would be too if someone tried to assassinate me," Melissa commented.
"So do we know who is behind it yet?" Laura asked.
"Not as of yet," came the reply.
"We are going on the belief that Kelson will find out soon." Carolyn said.
"Unless Matt is actually present when Kelson finds out? "Melissa asked, "How will we find out such things?"
Carolyn glanced at Matt, who just shrugged his shoulders.
"We might as well tell them," he said.
"Tell us what? " Melissa asked.
"That I have been in contact with, Kelson for the last several months via e-mail."
"You have got to be kidding me," Laura snapped.
"But didn't you say??" Susan started to ask.
"I know what I said. But I thought it would be better not having every one of us chasing after the Haldane royal family telling them who we were. So I instructed Matt to tell Kelson that he was part of a secret group to help the Haldanes get the crown back when the right time presented itself."
"You didn't give names did you?" Melissa asked turning her attention to Matt.
"No, I didn't even mention the group by name," Matt said.
"What did you say then? "
"Exactly what Carolyn said," Matt responded pulling out his Saint Camber medal, "and now, all we have to do is show him our Saint Camber medal to identify ourselves as a member of that group."
"I am a little perturbed that you left us out of this," Melissa began, "but I understand it. How did Kelson take it?"
"Pretty well actually, he just asks that we try to keep him informed on certain things. But he does understood why he can't be told everything."
"It appears that Prince Kelson has a good head on his shoulders," Susan put in.
"I haven't had a chance to tell you everything yet," Matt added.
"Oh?" Carolyn asked.
"I didn't get a chance to tell you before the meeting, " Matt said turning his attention first to Carolyn then to the rest of the council, " but Malcolm had an affair many years ago."
"How long ago?" Sianny whispered.
"Well, from what I could hear, it was after his daughter Sidana was born. So I would guess about eighteen years."
"Uh oh," Sianny said glancing at Rebecca.
"We may have a slight problem," Rebecca responded, looking down the table a Carolyn.
"What sort of problem?"
"First, I must ask Matt a question," Rebecca said turning towards him. "Did you happen to get the name of his mistress?"
"We are in trouble," she replied.
"How?" Matt asked looking first at Carolyn then back at the council's other agents.
"A couple of years ago," Rebecca began, "Sianny asked me to help her find all the possible contenders to the throne."
"That led you to the Duke of Claiborne's family?" Carolyn asked stunned, taking in all of this new information.
"Yes, apparently Ewan's children have a distant claim to the throne through his wife." Rebecca paused before continuing. "Anyway, about eighteen years ago Mary MacEwan had a son."
"Oh brother," Matt sighed.
"This throws another log on the fire," Carolyn whispered. "What is his name?"
"I don't know off the top of my head," Rebecca answered, "but I can have it to you via Sianny by your next meeting."
"Before we go any farther," Matt put in, "do we tell Kelson this?"
"Carolyn, before you answer that," Melissa interjected, "are we going to limit our contact to just Kelson, or are we going to start contacting the rest of the Haldane royal family?"
Carolyn thought for a second. "First, I think Kelson should be told about his possible bastard brother," she began, "secondly, I think we should limit our contact to just Kelson for now. "
"I agree, "Matt said, "at this point, he seems to be the only one actually using his powers, and he his already been receptive to the idea of help from us."
"Does anyone have anything else?" Laura asked, "I have an early mission in the morning and I would like to get some rest."
"A couple more things, " Carolyn said, "first, the information about the MacEwan bastard should stay here, except for telling Kelson. Agreed?"
The council nodded their assent.
"Secondly, we need to contact our members and agents who are not here about revealing themselves by way of their Saint Cambers medal if at some point they do come in contact with Kelson. I will contact Donald via e-mail tonight. Matt, can you inform Linda?"
"I'll try," he replied. "Do we tell Donald and Linda about the affair thing? "Matt asked.
"No," Carolyn answered," we will wait to tell them about that at our next meeting.
"Are you going to contact, Helen?" Melissa asked," since she will be in contact with Kelson next week when they convene parliament?"
"Thank you Melissa, I almost forgot the speaker of Llannedd's parliament. And on that note I think we should adjourn. Good luck everyone."
"We are going to need it," Matt whispered.
As Kelson entered his daughter's room he saw her safely sitting amidst his family.
Seeing her father enter, Alexandra cheerfully wave at him and returned to reading a book to her aunts and uncles. Returning her wave, he made his way towards his father and father-in-law who were talking by themselves.
He caught Javan's eye as he moved toward them. Javan smiled weakly, raised his cup of coffee and returned to listen to his niece.
"How's Javan doing?" Kelson asked his father as he reached the two men.
"I think he's still somewhat in shock," his father replied, "we had to force him to stop drinking awhile ago and gave him some of your strong coffee."
"Good," Kelson said smiling.
"Anymore on the investigation?" the king asked.
"Not at present Sire, I will probably know more tomorrow."
"I forgot to ask you," the king said snapping fingers, "do you want to cancel all of the festivities for the week? "
"No, I don't think we need to punish the people of Llannedd for what happened today. Other than beefing up security around my family, I think things should proceed as planned."
"I was hoping you would say that," the king said," do you still want to do that walk about tomorrow and the interview?"
"I don't see why not," Kelson replied, "It will give us a chance to show the people that the princess is alright."
"Are you planning on having any of the family go along?" Kelson's father asked.
"No," he answered, "I think it would be best if they stayed put for at least a couple of days."
As an afterthought Kelson glanced around the room, "where are the bishop of Dhassa and Lady MacEwan?"
"I sent them back home with The Prime Minister and the Archbishop. I saw no reason for having them stay."
Entering her guestroom, Mary MacEwan locked the door behind her and turned on the lamp beside her bed. "I see that everything went well," she said to the room.
"Yes it did," came a female voice from a darkened corner, "I still think you should have let me eliminate Javan Haldane."
"No, now is not the time," she replied, "I just wanted give them something else to think about to keep their attention away from me. Then I can make my move. Did you have any problems getting away?"
"No, not since I know how to do this." the voice said as a brunette about Mary's height came into view.
The woman stopped a few feet from Mary and a mist began to form over her. Mary watched as the woman shaped change back to his original form, a short man with curly blond hair and blue eyes.
"Someday Anthony, your father is going to have to teach me to do that."
"I will certainly tell him," Anthony von Furstan replied, "Do you have the amount agreed upon?"
"Yes, of course," she replied going to a dresser drawer and retrieving a thick envelope.
"Its all there," she said handing it him, "count it if you wish?"
"I trust you."
**I wouldn't,** she thought.
" I had best be going then," he said shape changing back, "and call me when you do decide to finally eliminate the Haldanes."
"I certainly will, Dianne," Mary said using his assumed identity's name, "have a safe trip home."
"I will, My Lady," a female voice intoned as the door closed.
And as the lock again slid softly into place behind her visitor, Mary sat on the bed. Reaching over to the nightstand she withdrew a small picture from it.
"Well Charles, before long, Lawrence and the Haldanes won't know what hit them."