Some of you have already read my tale of redemption for Anomen Delryn, but many more of you have not. I sincerely hope that you will enjoy the story as told by Dr. MorningGlory Gaeston, an ordinary person to whom unusual things happen. This is the first of several professional cases taken from her journals. We also get an insight into her own life as the story unfolds. The relevant time frame begins approximately three years after TOB.
THE ANGST AND THE ANALYST
From the Journals and Papers of Dr. MorningGlory Gaeston
Rated PG-13: Adult themes, mild language, mild violence, brief nudity)
I awoke to the sound of kettles clanking down in the kitchen of the Copper Coronet. It was becoming more difficult to roll out of bed everyday. Hendak was still having recurring nightmares involving all sorts of wild beasts – both human and otherwise. I was trying to help as much as I could but we had reached an impasse in his reconstructive therapy and I was desperately hoping for a breakthrough before resorting to more physical --and unprofessional-- methods.
I was seriously considering moving from our bed at the Copper Coronet and simply sacking out a couple of nights in my office in the Promenade. Even with the circus still in residence down the walkway, I was sure it would be more peaceful. But it would be without him and I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt at the thought.
He was not only my lover and best friend – he was still my professional charge as well. I had already broken one of the tenets of my training when I fell in love with a patient --him. Not a very wise thing to do as I was told at the hearing convened by the Professional Board of Governors and ordered before the Ethical Tribunal. Ouch. A severe reprimand and 100 hours of donated community service to Lathander’s church. But I still had my license and Hendak had been worth it.
Oh well, maybe tonight he would sleep well. I could always stop by the potion store and ask Marissa or Clemson to prepare a soothing sleep potion. But that, too, would be unethical if I attempted to secret it into his choclatl latte before bed. I could always try what my own Professional Mentor had suggested – just simply wear him out before sleep. I had to suppress a chuckle at that one when first suggested. At the time, I didn’t feel the need to explain Hendak’s physical stamina and that such a tact would more likely put ME in bed recuperating for a couple of days. Being an enslaved gladiator for so many years had provided him with a rare talent of complete, overall control of his physical person. At least that is the reason he gave. Nevertheless, in terms of his libido, his endurance bordered on the mythical, and he had severely tested my own staying power on more than one occasion.
I had my own theories, but they involved his heredity. With his pale gray eyes and near-white, blond wispy hair, it was obvious he wasn’t from any of the known ethnic human groupings in Amn, Kara-Tur, Zakhara or even north in the Cloud Peak Mountains. His fellow humanoid slaves had matured and grown older, but according to them, he had not changed at all in the years they were confined together. He didn’t know his age, but, uncannily, still remembered some of his native language and retained his strange accent. No one could identify his native tongue. He also still wore a very unusual, simple amulet that he never removed. He explained it could never be removed -- even if he, or someone else, wanted to. He couldn’t remember ever being without it. Hendak was, in short, one of a kind by Faerun standards.
My thoughts raced forward into the day. The sun had been up for a couple of hours and here I stood brushing the dust from the shingle above my office door in the Promenade. Dust still accumulated during the evening hours along the Plaza. No one had seen fit to have the far end of the promenade cleared of the debris from the unfortunate incident that had occurred nearly three years ago.
Many local merchants bitterly complained and were told that the bureaucrats were still reviewing contract bids over at the Government Offices and that the award of such contract would be forthcoming -- soon. There was definite rankling of the citizenry over the issue and it was said by more than one that it would be repaired in a Waterdeep minute if any one of the Council was inconvenienced. It was apparent nothing was going to happen any too soon.
I was just happy to have my office here in the heart of things. Location, location, location. And, had it not been for Hendak and his prescient instinct, my office, and I, would not be here.
I met Cernd at the Coronet at Hendak’s introduction. As Hendak put it “…..I will never make a copper off of him drinking only chowderberry juice, but he is most pleasant to have around and I trust him…..” Cernd and I talked many times and my admiration for this tall, dark, brooding human grew. He was first, and foremost, a gentleman – I was sure a noble of some prominent House though I did not ask and he did not offer. (The likes of which the Copper Coronet could use more of, I reminded Hendak.) But he was imbued with a dignity only great wisdom bestows. A Druid by choice, he was always silently pining for his Grove when he wasn’t within its confines. But it seemed he was always being called to the City to take care of this problem or that situation with his property here. He disliked these visits intensely, although he never complained, and I believe as time went on, he looked forward to sharing the evening meal with us as became our custom.
It was during one of his visits to the Coronet that we discovered a mutually beneficial solution to his problem. He would allow me to use his space on the Promenade for my professional office, and in return I would make sure it was physically cared for as well as handling any governmental issues – codes, taxes, etc. Cernd had been ecstatic at Hendak’s suggestion. Well, as ecstatic as Cernd could get, I might say.
As he turned the key over to me and gently kissed my hand, I knew I was embarking on the next plane of my professional life. I looked up to thank him yet again, and barely glimpsed the edge of his long cloak as he whisked out the door into a damp rainy night to return to his beloved Grove. ‘Oh, if only I could have that dedication of purpose,’ I thought wistfully.
The next day I employed two off-duty Amn guards to help me clean out the modest set of rooms. Cernd had told me to take whatever I did not want or need and give it to the Church. However, tucked away in the bottom drawer of an old worn chest was the most beautiful music box I had ever seen. It both awed and puzzled me. Ornately carved with gold, mithril and kings’ tear inlays, it was splendidly regal. Exquisite runes were carved into exotic wood inlays surrounding the lid. It was mystical and mysterious. It neither belonged in the Church’s coffers or here in this modest setting. I decided to lock it away and at the chance of Cernd’s visit to the City, or our visit to his Grove, return it to him. I was sure he had simply forgotten it. It would be only later I would discover the true mystery of the music box and what it could do. Quite astonishingly so, I might add.
I kept what furniture I could use to make something of a professional environment all the while dreaming of someday having all tapon wood furniture with its soothing vanilla nut smell. Cernd had explained to me that when a tapon tree was felled, it didn’t cease living. A resident group of the smallest of organisms sprang into action and continued to feed the tree and feed from the tree. It was nature’s symbiotic way of balance but on a more practical level also why the wood was so aromatically pleasing.
Yes, that was two years ago. My, how time does fly by……
I took one more swipe at my “shingle” with my scarf and reminded myself it would be dusty again tomorrow. “MorningGlory Gaeston, HMD, EMD, RRD.” Hendak had joked when he made the simple but elegant sign for me. According to him, if I became certified to treat any species other than humans and elves, he would have to make the print so small as to require a special viewing glass, or I would have to get a bigger office. The other alternative was if I married him. Then, he argued, I could simply drop the “Gaeston,” seeing as how he didn’t have a second name and I wouldn’t have to have one either. Even his Government Card simply said “Hendak” as there was obviously no other entity in the city such as him. I remembered thinking, ‘Yes, Hendak, people have married for far less valid reasons in this city….’ though I never voiced it.
Dust abated, I unlocked my door and entered through the darkened portico. The room automatically illuminated by virtue of the Terton Valley ferns sensing my body heat. As Cernd had explained to me before his hasty departure, an “import” from his beautiful Grove south of Amn. Delicate and lacy with crystal-like tips that produced natural radiant light at the sheer presence of movement and radiant body heat. All I had to do was give them a pinch of magnesumm with their daily water. They also kept the winged bug population at a minimum with their lightly fragrant lemon-colored blossoms. Although I never witnessed any ingestations, I was told it happened constantly. My curiosity was not so peaked to investigate.
I draped my cloak on the hook inside the door and moved over to the outer room’s desk. I couldn’t afford a full-time assistant, but one of the former slaves at the Coronet was willing to step in two days a week in exchange for sponsorship at the Academy. It was mutually beneficial as the girl who was once a child-slave slated for warm-up fodder in the animal pit was now on her way to becoming a self-possessed young woman, totally in command of her own future. Watching her growth over the past year was satisfying and enlightening. Charona would be in today cleaning up from yesterday and scheduling appointments, doing paperwork, etc., to cover the upcoming days. Between the various Church’s insurance programs being so different in what was covered, what wasn’t, and the Government’s payment schedule, the paperwork alone was an incredible quagmire I never relished. I was thankful for Charona’s patience and intelligence in handling it all for me.
I picked up the appointment list she had prepared for me.
Heavy day. By the Gods, I needed a good night’s sleep! Maybe I could convince myself before day’s end that slipping Hendak a mild sleeping potion was only “bending” a part of my Practitioners Oath – not “breaking” it. I entered my office and was greeted by Ki.
Ki was my wonderful Kirani bird. Not just an ornament, Ki was a gift from my father, Tabor, upon my graduation from the Academy. Kirani birds were raised by a very secular group of Monks on the Isle of Kiran, not far from the old Spellhold. In their quest to offer something of value to the world, they had sought to lighten the scribe’s duties with this wonderful bird and, for the most part, accomplished this. The birds were bred for the purpose of total memory retention and recitation of all vocal sounds made during any event witnessed. The Monks had wisely inbred exquisite eyesight so that nuance and body language could be recorded as well. The Kirani’s vocal cords could amazingly duplicate any language, any tone, of any species. It was also rumored that the birds could enchant their Masters to have perfect recollection of an event. Ki had yet to show that particular talent but he was a master at seeing muscles clinch, faint beads of sweat, a subtle change in breathing, and other minute physical reactions. He saw it all; he recorded it all.
“Good Morning…Glory,” said Ki.
“Birds don’t make jokes,” I said. “Not even bad ones… How are you Ki?”
“Ooh..,” said Ki tenderly, “Another near-sleepless night, Mistress?”
“Does it show?”
“Yes, Mistress, but only to me, I am sure. I shall be extra attentive today during sessions that you may relax a bit until we can transcribe later.” I had never thought a bird could be thoughtful, but right now and with his buttery voice, Ki was being thoughtful, soothing, and near sleep-inducing.
“Thank you, Ki, but you are always extra attentive to our sessions and for that, my dear feathered friend, I am most grateful.” Ki shifted his talons on his open perch and cooed a beautiful symphonic melody in multi-part harmony. “You must explain to me, someday, how you can do that, Ki.”
“Not right now, however, Ki. We have a very busy day ahead.”
I heard the outer door open and heard Charona’s footfall.
“Good morning, Mistress,” she called cheerfully. “I have a cup of latte for you – compliments of your wonderful Hendak, and a special treat for Ki.”
Charona walked into the inner office and set the huge stein of wafting steam on my desk. It did smell good. The morning was crisp and I had not time for a sip of anything before leaving home. Hendak, of course, knew that. He was always thinking of me it seemed…
Charona stepped over to Ki and offered him a special rice cake, complete with cloudberry jam on top.
“I hope that is just a touch of jam for him, Charona. You know sweets makes him hyper. You’ll be cleaning up feathers before the day’s through if we’re not careful!” Ki had a bad reaction to sweets once before and had lost many feathers. In his anxiety he had quite literally plucked himself. He had looked quite pathetic sitting fairly naked on his perch. He had cried appropriately enough in an operatic baritone. “Oh, Mistress, my beautiful coat of green and azure blue – what have I done!!” They grew back, of course, but this time there were lavender splashes and purple tips on some of the longer, graceful tail feathers. He was truly magnificent and more beautiful than before.
I again turned my attention to the day’s schedule. Yes, three regular patients and one new patient. Yes, very interesting, indeed. The new patient….
“Charona, did we receive any additional information from the Church of Helm on Anomen Delryn?”
“No, madam, but it is expected shortly. They promised me it would be delivered by church messenger prior to your appointment this morning.”
He was not expected until mid-morning; still I needed the additional profiling. I would need even extra time to sift through the Church’s theological yada-yada to glean the actual circumstances. Their theological assertions aside, this seemed quite serious. Maybe I could help him – maybe I couldn’t. But if the Church of Helm was referring him, it was indeed serious by anyone’s standards.
The morning was progressing nicely. One patient down, one to go, then Delryn. Lady Margaret was doing much better communicating with her son and daughter. Yes, I would have to note that she was far more relaxed than our last session. Ki would be able to determine if it was potion-induced. There were still many places on the streets where flasks changed hands in shadows for a few gold coins. You could secure almost anything these days – for the right price.
Charona stuck her head through the doorway.
“Madam, Lord Leslie sent word he is indisposed and would like to reschedule for later in the week.”
“Yes, Charona, that is fine, but tell him I am charging him triple for missing his appointment.” Yes, Lord Leslie needed that extra push --and if it came from his purse in order to get him out of his house and into public, then so be it. He would show up later in the week feeling several coins lighter but mentally much better. Actually, I was thankful for the extra time to review the information just delivered by one of Helm’s finest.
The messenger had delivered two large pouches bearing the Church of Helm insignia and a smaller pouch with the Order of the Radiant Heart emblem gold stamped on the flap. All had been magically sealed to insure confidentiality against prying eyes. I retrieved my wardstone and waved across the flaps. The pouches opened to reveal several small, neatly packed parchment scrolls. There was a great amount of information to be absorbed in a short time.
“Ki, how much time until Delryn?” Ki was also a wonderful timekeeper.
“87 minutes, Mistress, until the appointed hour,” he replied in his best Lord Phade voice. Lord Phade was a classical actor currently performing to sold-out audiences in the restored theater in the Bridge District. He was also a patient. Issues of identity would best describe him. Ki had been fascinated with the beauty of his hypnotic voice, and sensing the effect on me, emulated it whenever he could.
“Thank you, Ki…or, should I say ‘Lord Phade’?” I smiled not necessarily wanting Ki to see me.
“You are most welcome, Mistress,” he replied, continuing the vocal ruse.
I thought it best to start at the beginning. Yes, even birth records were included. Born Anomen Delryn, son to Lady Moriala and Lord Cor Delryn. Three birthings to couple: firstborn, male, stillborn; Anomen, second-born, two years later; Moira, a daughter born 5 years after that. Yes, a tiny glowing footprint still remained on Anomen’s birthing document and the wizard who had magically imprinted the Birthing Record appeared below in his own mark of attestation. I instinctively ran my fingers lightly against the impression of the tiny foot. The sensation was that of actually touching Anomen’s tiny foot at the time of his birth. Soft and warm the physical feelings tugged at my maternal longings. Yes, someday and maybe not too far in the distant future I would have my own son or daughter’s footprint indelibly imprinted upon a birthing record. My father would do it, he was a Wizard of Record and he would be most proud.
Anomen -- entered into Private Academy of Helm at age of 10. The notations of the registrar’s office indicated his Mother had initiated the enrollment. That’s odd, I thought. To be so young and brought to the Clerics Academy by his Mother -- and without his Father’s consent, as the registrar had specifically notated --seemed most unusual. There were no entries that would indicate he was a discipline problem, either. If anything at all, he was of studious behavior and never required more than a minor scolding from time to time. And, from the Church’s records, the family was not even enrolled as followers of Helm -- although at his Mother’s untimely death, when Anomen was but 13, the Church and a host of Helm Clerics officiated with great ceremony.
I pushed on through the parchments. Distinguished academics, especially in literature, poetry and the other artful classics. Minimal musical ability, however. There was one notation from one Priest that caught my eye, regarding his classes in public speaking. The Priest had tactfully written “…. that with the quality of young Anomen’s voice, he might be better suited adding his mere physical presence to the dais as the Cause would be better-served if he kept his silence….” I had to remind myself I was reading notations about a 12-year-old boy and this seemed a bit harsh for that age.
I quickly scanned the other school records. He had a natural talent for weaponry and strategic defense. Blessed with agility and speed, his instructors noted he was an intelligent fighter with an excellent sense of anticipation of his adversary’s next move. ‘Good talents to have, my friend,’ I thought. ‘Especially in this day and age.’
I found that at age 17, he had distinguished himself as one of the youngest ordained clerics in the service of Helm. The balance of the Helm profile information in the pack merely identified different military assignments in Faerun and a few distinguishing heroics. But Helm expected heroics as a natural course of duty, so recognition was not always forthcoming. ‘Maybe this small boy would have faired better at the Clerics Academy of the Morninglord,’ I thought to myself. But, I was offering opinion, not insight, and reminded myself that was a no-no.
I opened the pouch from the Order. More small, tightly wound scrolls. When in the service of Helm, he had caught the eye of one of the ranking Knights of the Order who subsequently offered sponsorship to Anomen for admittance to the Order as a Squire. Yes, here it was, the formal Invitation tendered by the sponsoring Knight. Then the formal Letter of Acceptance from Delryn. It was the first step on the long path to Knighthood. He was one of the youngest ever to be included in the Order’s Roster of Squires. According to his service scrolls he then continued to distinguish himself with exemplary service – even saving two Knights’ lives at his own peril. He was awarded the Order’s highest honor for a Squire. It was, overall, a pristine record of outstanding achievement.
Then came the most current records dated almost three years ago. Progress reports outlining the completion of the requirements for Knighthood with no less than perfect marks, the personal recommendations of no less than three of the Order’s most revered Knights. Then a formal copy of the Order’s gilt-edged Test of Passage.
The Judgment had come in the great Hall with the Prelate presiding. But wait – REJECTED??? The Judgment had been rendered and signed. I double-checked the name. Yes, it was Anomen Delryn and yes, the gold edged singular piece of parchment rolled around small tapon wood spools bore the bright red ink of rejection. And last, but not least, a Notification of Expulsion signed by the Prelate as well as the three Knights who had only weeks before signed Anomen’s letters of recommendation. By the Gods! What had happened???
These official documents did not intimate any details. It was in the addendum folder containing the written Decision and Judgment Decree by the Prelate himself that I found the disturbing details of Anomen’s outright expulsion. The catastrophic events leading to their decision were outlined in cold and factual order within the Decree. I read in near disbelief.
I slowly put the folder down. This did not follow logic. This behavior did not make sense. I turned to stare out the window my mind racing – what did I miss?
Carefully I retraced my mental steps and reviewed my cursory notes. What was missing in all this information? Here was a young man of most noble birth, yet all his formal transcripts showed no family interjection/influence whatsoever. Save for his Mother’s “dropping him off” at the Church of Helm in the beginning, there was nothing. Yes, young nobles being carted off to private academy was not uncommon, but there were visitations, there were holidays for these boys. Not so with the young Delryn, according to the Academy’s records. No visitations recorded and he stayed at the Academy during breaks. He saw his Mother only one more time prior to her death. The records notated she had made a visitation to him three weeks before she succumbed to a “diminished state” as her Statement of Demise had shown. There was no mention if he attended the memorial rites.
I began to replace the scrolls into their respective packs when I suddenly stumbled across the most revealing bit of information of the morning. In the Order’s ornate pouch was a single sheet of parchment tucked ever so neatly against the backside. It appeared that someone had perhaps included it in error, as it was not part of the official record and did not bear the Order's Great Seal. It was a hastily hand-scribbled, note-to-file penned by Sir Ryan Trawl and was dated five years prior to the Order’s Judgment.
I was immediately drawn to the name “Lord Cor” in the text. According to the note, Lord Cor burst into the Order during a solemn, formal ceremony while under the influence of heavy drink. He had hurled insults, engaged in other scurrilous behavior, and before the Guards could subdue him, caused quite a commotion including some damage to the Hall. Sir Ryan’s verbose account bore no similarities to the stilted style of the Recordkeepers. And, as I read Sir Ryan’s telling of the particulars in graphic detail, I found myself shaking my head. My instincts told me I had just witnessed a perfect portrait of the infamous Lord Cor in all his splendor.
And I don’t know why I did it, but I shoved the good Sir Trawl’s note into my top drawer. Impulsive, but something told me to keep this. It wasn’t like I was attempting to filch an official record, I told myself. This was only a note and I was sure no one at the Order would miss it. By the Gods, it was five years old and I knew I could make better use of it than they could. Yes, I convinced myself. I resealed the locks with my wardstone and set the pouches aside. I leaned back in my chair.
“We will see…,” I told myself aloud.
“We will see what, Mistress?” responded Ki.
“Be very vigilant, Ki, when our next ‘guest’ arrives. I want particular attention to the eyes. The devout Priests and Clerics of the great god Helm are very disciplined in body and mind, but their eyes tell us what we want and need to know about their spirit. Ki, especially when we eventually speak about the murders.” I tapped my writing quill against my desk in silent reflection of what was to come.
“Yes, Mistress. Ki will be ever so vigilant and keep a very detailed record of the eyes of Anomen Delryn. I will record all.” Ki breathed a mournful sigh. “17 minutes, Mistress.”
Kirani were not prophetic, but I had heard him sigh before and it didn’t bode well. He then continued softly with his multi-harmony symphony as I sipped at the cold dregs left in my stein.
To Be Continued….
The Angst and The Analyst I
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