The Freemen and the Stone

Status: 1st Draft

The Freemen and the Stone

Status: 1st Draft

The Freemen and the Stone

Book by: R. M. Keegan

Details

Genre: Fantasy

Content Summary


This is the third book in the Crystal Scepter series. It finishes the story of Evaughnlynn and sets up another series of three books involving a young boy. It is very rough, having been written
during a series of illnesses from which I have finally, I think, emerged. Please feel free to tear it apart. R.M.

 

 

Content Summary


This is the third book in the Crystal Scepter series. It finishes the story of Evaughnlynn and sets up another series of three books involving a young boy. It is very rough, having been written
during a series of illnesses from which I have finally, I think, emerged. Please feel free to tear it apart. R.M.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 08, 2018

In-Line Reviews: 3

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 08, 2018

In-Line Reviews: 3

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Chapter Twelve

 

Captain Tamir took Evaughnlynn and her cousins to a mansion a few streets away from the Elect’s palace.  A carriage drive led through open wrought iron gates to a large turning circle with a fountain in the center.  The servant who answered the door was dressed all in black, but not formal livery.

As they stood waiting in the large foyer for the estate caretaker, Roselyn said, “We’ll need somebody to record who we treat and where we put them.  We’ll also need someone to insure we have the supplies we need on hand.”

“But not you,” Evaughnlynn replied quickly.  “I’ll need your help in treating the sick.”

“Perhaps some of the servants will stay,” Beowyn said.  “After all, they live here.”  He turned to Captain Tamir.  “Do you think the servants will stay and help us?”

“I doubt it.  People fear this plague.”

“I’ll stay.”

Evaughnlynn turned to the servant girl standing by the small door at the back of the foyer.  Although she looked no more than twelve, Evaughnlynn had felt the girl’s presence from the moment they arrived.  The girl stood, arms held tightly to the sides of her black uniform jumper.

“That’s brave of you,” Evaughnlynn said.  “But, you must ask your parents.”

“My father’s the caretaker and my mother’s the housekeeper.”

Just then a short, thin man about forty came into the foyer and said, “I am Nadab, the caretaker.  May I help you?”

 “I’m Captain Tamir.  The Elect has sent me to commandeer this house as quarters for plague victims.  Of course your employers will receive compensation for the loss of use and any damages that occur during the emergency.”

The chanting of a chorus of men and a faint ringing of bells sounded outside.  Tamir waved at the open front door.  “That will be the high priest coming to bless the house and ask God’s help and protection for the two dru who will be caring for the sick.  Assemble the servants so they can witness the blessing of the house, as is proper, and so I can ask for volunteers to help care for the sick.”

“Volunteers to care for plague victims?  Are you mad?”

Tamir waved toward the servant girl.  “She volunteered.”

The caretaker glanced over then jerked back slightly.  “Neima, get back to work.”  He turned to the captain.  “She’s a child.  She’s not free to volunteer, or to do anything else without my permission.”

“Assemble the servants, as I requested.  I want them all out front when the high priest arrives.”  He turned to Roselyn for a moment, then back to the caretaker.  “And that includes Neima.”

The chanting grew louder.  Roselyn walked to the door and looked out.  “Where are they?”

“They’re still a block away,” Evaughnlynn answered.  “The high priest did what the Elect asked.  He brought all his priests and acolytes.”

Beowyn asked, “You can see them?”

“In a way.  I can feel the power they gathered through their prayers on the way here.  It’s very different from the power I can call, and yet—I can tell it’s of the Light.”

“We must meet them at the street, Your Highness.”  Captain Tamir waved toward the front gates.  “That way the people will see you and your cousin and know you are the ones he has come to bless.”

They walked out into the drive and stopped just outside the gates.  “I see him,” Roselyn said.  “He’s wearing a tall conical hat and a robe of white embroidered with gold and silver.”

Captain Tamir stepped next to Roselyn.  “The silver threads are embroidered runes in the language of the Freemen and are the names of the tribes who united under Doron.  The gold runes make up the names of God.”

Roselyn glanced at him.  “The names of God?”

“God has many names, just as he has many attributes.  The ones on the vestments are those used in the rituals when the High Priest prays in the temple on holy days.”

Beowyn pointed.  “What’s that box the men in red robes are carrying?”

“It’s a golden box.  It represents the golden box that Doron’s bones were placed in after he died.  God spoke to Doron and dwelled within him while he lived.  So, when the High priest came into the temple to pray on holy days, God was there within the bones of Doron and would hear and answer his prayers.”

The high priest, Rachamim, arrived at the open gates of the mansion and stopped.  A priest handed him a golden incense burner hanging from a `chain, which he swung toward the house three times as he chanted in the Freemen language.

Captain Tamir whispered to Roselyn, “He is praying that God will come and dwell within the house as He dwells within the hearts of righteous men.”

Beowyn leaned closer to hear and the captain continued slightly louder, “Now he’s asking that God dwell within the hearts of those who live here so that they will keep His will in all things and that the sick who come here will be cured.”

Evaughnlynn looked back to see the caretaker and the other servants of the house standing on the front steps.  The high priest walked slowly up to Evaughnlynn, swinging the incense burner forward and back so that the smoke drifted over her and her cousins.  He continued past them and up the driveway, spreading the richly scented smoke over the servants on the steps.  The servants gave way, leaving an open path to the open front doors.  The High Priest walked up the steps and into the house.  The rest of the priests stopped on the steps but continued to chant.

After a minute the high priest came out of the house and started down the steps.  He stopped and turned to the servants.  After a few seconds he walked over to where Neima stood between her parents and placed his hands on her head.  He spoke a few words to her and then lifted his hands out to encompass all the servants and spoke again.

Captain Tamir immediately looked up to the sky and spoke under his breath in the Freeman language.

The high priest came down the steps and went out the gate waving the incensory burner over the people gathered along the street watching as the priests and acolytes followed in procession chanting in the Freeman language.

Beowyn said, “Well, that was impressive.”

Meanwhile, the servants were gathered around Neima and talking excitedly.

Evaughnlynn asked the captain, “What did he say to Neima?”

Tears glistened in the captain’s eyes and his jaw was clenched.  A strong blue aura surrounded him.  “He said,” the captain managed, “she was a righteous girl, beautiful in the sight of God.  Then he told the other servants that her faith would protect all who aided her in caring for the sick.”  He smiled.“I think you just got your volunteers.”

Beowyn looked from the captain to Neima, then at the procession just turning the corner.  “How did he know she volunteered?”

“All things are visible to God,” the captain replied.

 Beowyn looked at Evaughnlynn.

She smiled.“I told you there was power with them.  It’s not the power of a stone, but it’s power all the same.”

The sound of cartwheels on the cobblestone street carried to where they stood and Evaughnlynn looked out the gate.  Several wagons driven by men-at-arms came around the corner and headed for the gate.

“That’ll be the first load of beds,” Captain Tamir said.  “The sick children will be right behind them.”

****

Evaughnlynn drank the potion she and Roselyn had prepared, then lay down on the bed in the corner of the room.  Holding the image of the door across the room sharply in her mind, she closed her eyes and relaxed.  Suddenly, she was standing in front of it.

She knew her body lay on the bed behind her and fought the urge to turn and look at herself as she had when she first changed into a bird.

“Remember,” Roselyn whispered as she handed Evaughnlynn the jar of elderberry tea they had brewed, “don’t turn around.”

She smiled at Roselyn’s unnecessary concern as she went out the door, closing it behind her.  Then she walked to the  room where the three most seriously ill children lay on cots the soldiers had set up.

“Remember,” Sorcha whispered in her mind, “what you are facing is not really life, like the cells I told you about which can reproduce on their own.  This enemy invades cells and takes them over so that the cell reproduces them.  The easiest part of the body for them to invade are the lungs, which have no protective skin, so look for infection there first.”

“I will, Sorcha.”

“Once you’ve found the infection, we need to identify it and then we need to see someone who lived, so we can identify the cells in their blood which defeated the infection.  We can use those to treat the sick.”

The door to the room was open and she heard crying as she approached.  All three of the children lay unconscious, but a woman sat holding her child’s hand and crying softly.  From the discolored aura around all of them, including the woman, she knew they were all infected with the plague.  The children were soaked in sweat and struggling to breathe.  None of them had blisters yet.

Evaughnlynn approached the mother holding her little daughter's hand.  She placed her hand on the girl’s forehead, blocking the child’s pain and bringing her to consciousness.  Then she had her drink a cup of the tea.  The girl slid back into unconsciousness.  Evaughnlynn placed her hand on the child’s chest and moved her mind into the lungs.  Sorcha was right, the child inhaled the disease.  Her lungs are infected.  She sensed the blood cells attacking the infection, but they were too few to stop the overwhelming attack.  They had not recognized the invader in time, just as Sorcha had predicted.  No wonder the children died so quickly. 

Evaughnlynn released energy into the child, giving her strength to fight the invader.  At the same time, she concentrated on the invaded cells, willing them to stop reproducing and for the invader to withdraw.  She remained in the child’s body long enough to be sure the invader had obeyed, then stepped away.  “Your child will live.”

“Are you the wizard they said was coming?”

Evaughnlynn said, “I’m a dru.  I carry a dru stone.  My cousin and I have come because we have knowledge your dru don’t.”  She waved at the other two children.  “I must treat the others now, but then I must treat you.  The disease has taken root in you as well.”

When each child had drunk a cup of elderberry tea and Evaughnlynn had treated them and the woman, she said, “Give them some of the tea when they wake, it’ll strengthen them.”  She set the tea carafe on the table and left.  She looked both ways to insure the hall was empty, then returned to her body.

The moment Evaughnlynn opened her eyes, Roselyn asked, “Can we fight it?”

“Yes.”  She sat up.  “But first Sorcha must show Mauve what we fight, so she can help and protect you.”

“Mauve already knows,” Sorcha replied.  “She was with us in the room.”

Roselyn’s eyes went wide and her mouth fell open.

Sorcha added, “Mauve is showing her what we did and preparing her body to fight off the disease.”

Roselyn’s mouth clamped shut and she looked around.  “That was the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to me.  I saw the inside of their bodies.  The insides of their bodies!”  She sat on the bed next to Evaughnlynn.  “It was incredible.”

Evaughnlynn smiled.

Roselyn smiled back.  “Maybe I should do that to Beowyn and see if there really is a brain inside that thick skull of his.”

“You cannot treat all the sick with magic,” Sorcha interrupted.  “It will soon exhaust both of you.  Reserve direct intervention to the most severe cases and start producing antibodies to treat the less serious ones.  Also, you need to isolate the virus and produce a weakened form which we can introduce into people so they can become immune to it.”

Roselyn asked, “What’s a virus?”

“That’s what we’re fighting,” Evaughnlynn said, not surprised that Sorcha was talking to both of them again.  “Remember the strange looking stuff that was killing the cells?”

“Oh,” Roselyn replied.  “How do we get weakened virus?”

Evaughnlynn patted her on the arm.  “We grow the virus in the solution I told you about.  Then we kill it and dip a sharp piece of metal in the solution and stick it in people’s arms.  After a week or so they’ll be immune to the disease.”


© Copyright 2019 R. M. Keegan. All rights reserved.

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