Regent & Duke
Taking the Bull by the Horns
sighed as he glanced around nervously at the dimly lit interior of the
Swiveling his stool, Kelson caught sight of Matt's outline against the darkness, leaning against the door.
"Here is your beer, Kelson." Carolyn placed the chilled mug in front of him as he turned towards her. "So, what is it you wanted to see me about?"
" Well," he paused, and then looked at her over the rims of his glasses. "I have a couple of things I need to tell you and also a request."
" Sounds ominous," she said leaning against the bar.
"The first thing concerns my grandfather, Alexander."
"He's the former Duke of Cassan, correct?" she asked leaning in closer.
"Yes," he paused. "He abdicated in my Uncle Jared's favor some years ago. when his memory began to fail."
"He has Alzheimer's, doesn't he?"
"Yes," he sighed. "Anyway, my mother has suggested bringing him back to Cassan."
"I get the impression that presents a problem."
"In a round about way it does. I don't know how the disease has affected his powers. and he has not been around other Deryni for quite some time. I am sort of concerned."
".he might react adversely to them." Carolyn said finishing his sentence.
Kelson nodded in agreement.
" How can I help?" she asked.
"I've read that in past centuries there were healers that were able to remove Deryni powers."
"Actually, it is called 'blocking'," she said correcting him. "And you want someone to block your grandfathers powers?"
"Correct," he replied looking at her waiting for her answer.
Carolyn was quiet for several seconds as she contemplated his request.
"I am not saying one way or another," she said finally, "whether there are Deryni that have this ability or not, but I certainly will take it to the council to see what they think."
"Thank you," Kelson said smiling. "Do you know how soon you will know? I would like to do it before my mother and I leave for the states the day after tomorrow."
" We have a meeting tonight," she replied. "I can have Matt tell you what the council has decided when he returns. But you said you had a couple of things to talk to me about?"
He took a big swig of his beer before replying. "Yes I do. After the boating incident the other day, my cousin Nigel informed me that he intends to abdicate the Duchy of Carthmoor to me. He wants to marry my sister-in-law Michaela, plus I think the pressure of running a Duchy has finally gotten to him."
"Marrying her would present a logistical problem," she said. "But isn't his brother still in the succession?"
"No," Kelson replied shaking his head. "When Brion was diagnosed as being autistic, his father removed him from the succession and placed me in instead."
"You know with today's advances," she advised, "he could eventually contest his removal. But why did his father exclude your brothers?"
"I'll cross that bridge when it comes up," Kelson said. "As far as my brother's concerned, Nigel and Brion's father didn't trust them. At this point, I don't trust at least one of them myself."
"Oh? Which one? And why?" she asked curiously.
" Alroy," he replied, his face going dark. "I have no real proof he had anything to do with these attacks on our family. It's just that he seemed awfully chummy with Mary MacEwan at my uncle's funeral yesterday; I caught him smiling at her. Plus, he seemed to be cozying up to my cousin Pauline."
"That does sound a little suspicious," she replied, "but without proof."
". I can do nothing," he finished. "Which brings me to my final question. I would like the council's help in establishing a sort of, 'Deryni task force' to more or less keep an eye on my brother, and maybe even to bring Anthony von Furstan to justice. But, I don't want to place the council in jeopardy."
"Interesting idea," she said standing up straight and crossing her arms. "I take it you would want some choice as to who is on this task force?"
"Not entirely, I would just like to make a couple of suggestions."
"Anyone in particular?" she asked.
In answer, he swiveled his stool to look at Matt.
" Matt? Why?" she whispered.
Kelson smiled and whispered in reply, "he has the habit of sneaking up on people without them hearing him, plus he has martial arts training which might prove helpful."
Carolyn smiled as she looked at Matt's silhouetted figure by the door.
"Anyone else?" she asked. "And do you want to head this task force?"
"Jackson and his father, but it might be a better idea if the council chooses the head of the task force. I may not have the time to do it real soon."
" What can I tell the council about when you are taking over Carthmoor?"
"I will have to get back to you on the that," he responded, "the way things are going, it may be real soon."
From his hiding place in a nearby alley, Anthony von Furstan watched as Kelson Haldane exited the Rampant Lion alone, and made his way back to the palace.
I wonder what he is up to, Tony thought as his form began to mist over to that of his female alter ego.
" Well, what do you all think?" Carolyn asked after she had given the details to the council members and agents present.
" I for one am a bit unnerved by all of it," Melissa said. "Kelson is about to spread himself pretty thin; being the Regent of Llannedd and the Duke of Carthmoor, plus trying to keep tabs on his brother and capture Anthony Von Furstan."
"Has he considered that he may have made himself a target by accepting Nigel's proposal?" Melissa asked, turning everyone's attention towards Carolyn.
A familiar female voice came from the darkness, just out of range of the candles on the council table, "hence the establishing of a Deryni task force. He would have eyes and ears on the situation without being directly involved, leaving him open to deal with his becoming Duke of Carthmoor."
"You sound almost supportive?" Sianny asked with a slight smile.
"Since Kelson considers me a screeching no brained twit," Alison MacEwan said as she stepped into the light, "it is a part I have played a little bit too well. That being said, I have had a chance to observe him resolve the potentially dangerous situations that have come his way."
"Is anyone against the idea of establishing a Deryni task force?" Carolyn asked the council.
After seeing that there were none opposed, she asked, "Besides Matt, who Kelson specifically has asked to have involved in this, who else do we want on this task force? And for that matter, who do we want to head it?"
"Other than Jackson and his father Duncan," Laura put in from her seat near Matt, "who are excellent choices by the way, I think Alison, Pauline, Jessie, Kiri, and Sedina should be ours."
"Why them in particular?" Kendall asked curiously from his post behind Donald.
"Alison could keep a watchful eye on her Aunt," Laura answered as the four women stepped into the light. "Pauline and Jessie can keep tabs on Alroy, and with Kiri and Sedina in occupied Gwynedd, they can keep Pat informed on what is going on, plus keep us informed as to how the communists react to the coming changes. As far as who heads it, I have no idea."
"I do," Carolyn said with a sly smile.
"Who?" Melissa asked.
"Chris?" Carolyn asked turning to the barely visible figure in the darkness.
"Why me?" Chris asked.
Carolyn smiled as he moved out of the darkness. "For one," she said, "you are an inspector in charge at the New Yard at Nyford, and you have the investigative materials available that the task force may need at some point. And everyone here," she gestured to the nominees for the task force, "can contact you easily without causing suspicion."
" I second that nomination," Matt said. "And I am almost afraid to ask, Chris, since you heard Kelson wants me specifically on this, do you think I will need to go under cover?"
"Yes, I do," Chris, sighed, "perhaps at Mikos Von Furstan's restaurant. Bart is there already, and as he has minimal training, you can provide assistance and training if Anthony Von Furstan should make an appearance."
"That being the case," Matt said reluctantly, "if I am to go under cover," he paused, "it may be necessary for me to resign my seat on the council. I could be out of contact with the council for quite sometime."
"Unfortunately, Matt," Carolyn sighed as all eyes turned her direction, "I agree. We need to keep the council intact if this task force does not work. But we can address that at our next meeting."
"I can have a plan drawn up by then of how we can take Matt undercover." Chris said. "I think it might involve a shape change."
"Good," Carolyn said. "Before we adjourn, we have one last thing."
" Blocking Kelson's grandfather?" Laura asked. "As Bart is working at the restaurant, it would be noticed if he had to suddenly leave. That leaves only one person, Jessie."
All eyes turned towards her.
"Since I know Kelson's grandfather already," she said after a few seconds of silence, "I'll do it. He may even recognize me after all those years being his chamberlain in Cassan. Am I going with Kelson alone?"
"No," Carolyn answered. "I'll come along as well. Matt," she said turning her attention to him, "tell His Grace we will meet him at the Rampant Lion about 8 pm tomorrow night. If no one has anything else, we are adjourned."