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The Angst and The Analyst VIII

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#1 Guest_MorningGlory_*

Posted 18 March 2004 - 05:29 AM


From the Journals and Papers of Dr. MorningGlory Gaeston

(Rated PG-13: Adult themes, mild language, mild violence, scantily cladness)

Chapter VIII

As usual, Anomen was right on time. Not a minute early, not a minute late. Charona announced him at my office door and offered freshly brewed tea.

“I would like a cup, please, Charona,” I said. “And, you Anomen?”

“No thank you, Glory. Nothing for me,” he smiled and seemed pleased to be here.

“Very well, Mistress,” and Charona quietly closed the door behind her as she left.

Anomen took the chair and almost wallowed into its comfort. Quite a change from the first time he had entered my office. As usual, his eyes instinctively assessed the perimeter of the office and then settled on the music box at the corner of my desk.

“A good few days since we last met?” I asked, ignoring the immediate light furrows in his brow. He was obviously intrigued with the ornate musical instrument, and his fixed stare indicated recognition of it.

“Very good few days,” he nodded, his attention remaining set. “Riona and I took advantage of the time off from the road and went to the sea shore for a brief restoration. She and I had time to discuss at length the things we covered here last session.” His eyes did not move from the music box.

Charona knocked and entered with a tray. She had thoughtfully included two cups and a small plate of fresh pastries. ‘Just in case,’ her face said, as she delivered the refreshments and then quickly left.

“Glory, wherever did you find such an exquisite music box?” he asked leaning forward to examine it closely, but did not touch it.

“It was here when I took over the rooms,” I said nonchalantly, still gauging his facial expression. It was slowly becoming more intense from curiosity.

“Do you mind?” he asked as he motioned toward it.

“Not at all. Please do.” I motioned an approval as I filled a cup.

He lifted the box with extraordinary care and examined it closely without saying a word. The lines in his face softened and a look of boyish wonder overtook him as he carefully inspected the regal box.

“Is there something of particular interest, Anomen?” I gently prompted him.

“Would you mind if I played it?” he asked sheepishly.

“Oh, please do.”

He wound the key and tripped the lever. The melody began. And as it played, his face filled with an innocent sweetness of some long-ago time. He closed his eyes and a smile spread the width of his mouth. I did not interrupt his reverie until the box stopped.

“Do you recognize the tune?” I asked.

“Oh yes, Glory. This is the same tune as I listened to when a very small child in my Mother’s arms at bedtime. She would rock me as I listened and fell asleep. She would sometimes hum along with the tinkly little sounds and sometimes make up words to go with the music. They were always different and told a story.” His face told of sweet blissful memories of the closeness of his mother. He re-examined the box.

“But in all of Faerun, I would have never guessed there would be two, identical music boxes so unique,” he said shaking his head.

“What if I told you that I have every reason to believe that is the same music box that you listened to when you were a child,” I began not knowing exactly where I was going to go with this. I smiled at him.

He looked at me in both amazement and somewhat disbelief.

“Oh, Glory, ‘tis indeed would be a miracle. My..my father claimed all her things were taken or were given away after her death. But how do you know this was hers? How can you be so certain?”

“The box was given to a trusted friend by your Mother for safe keeping just a scant few days before her death. The instruction to her friend was that he not allow Lord Cor to know he had the box or the box’s whereabouts. She had promised instruction on the disposition of the box but those instructions were never communicated prior to her death. It has been in this ‘friend’s’ possession all these years and in keeping with his initial promise to protect it from Lord Cor, he kept it secreted. Until, quite frankly, I happen to stumble upon it and he confided the story in me. I simply thought it might perhaps be something from your early childhood.”

“And…this ‘friend’ of my Mother’s –“ he began.

“Simply that, Anomen,” I interrupted him. “Just a very trusted friend whose name is not important but kept his word to her all these years.”

He nodded.

“And,” I added and smiled. “The music box has now been returned to its rightful owner.”

“It’s…it’s mine?” he asked rather wide-eyed. “I… I have nothing of my Mother’s as remembrance. Oh, Glory, how can I ever thank you!” He clasped the box close to his chest and gratitude washed across his face

“You can thank your God, Helm, as I think he had more to do with it than any mortal! I don’t believe it was anything less than serendipity bestowed by one of the Deity – whether Helm or others.” I replied. “I am just very glad it brings you joy and comfort, Anomen.”

He sat for a moment smiling and caressing the box gently. I really did not want to interrupt the solace brought by this memory from his youth, but it was time to be about the other business at hand.

“Anomen, do you want to tell me about your Test?” I began.

He sighed heavily as he allowed me to guide his memory to the more unpleasant recent past.

“We were on the road and it was not long after the dreams of the girl had started to subside. In the back of my mind, I knew my Test was coming soon and I was agonizing over whether I was going to pass or going to fail.” He paused. “Riona and I had numerous conversations about it.”

“The Test of the Order?” I asked.

“Yes, Glory.” He paused a long moment. “It was coming time and before I was even called to the Hall, I knew deep in my heart and soul that I would fail. One could not do as I had done and expect the Order to welcome them into their ranks with open arms.” He sighed. “Riona told me I should not agonize or worry so much. What would be, would be and all would work out as it should.”

“Anomen, what happened at your test?” I asked gently. I had read the official record, and I had read his journal, but I wanted to hear it in his own words. He smiled a very sad smile.

“I failed -- to put it precisely. And not only did I fail my Test, but they exorcized me from the Order, just as they would any demon. I was ordered to leave and never return under threat of death. And as any demon in the midst of righteousness would do, I lashed out at them in my vile and wretched anger. I railed and screamed vile obscenities at them in their sacred hall. And, I proved to them that I was no better than my father when he interrupted my squiring ceremony years before. I was my father’s son, a demon seed, and not deserving of a Knighthood in the Order of the Radiant Heart. It says ‘Radiant Heart,’ I remember telling myself – not black heart.” A thin-lipped smile of bitterness crossed his face. “Yes, I had saved my family’s honor and killed an innocent in the process, but at the price of the only dream I ever had.”

“Why was being a Knight so important to you, Anomen?” I asked. He thought long and hard before he carefully answered me.

“It meant respect and it meant I had achieved a goal after so many years of endeavor,” he replied. “I cannot remember ever dreaming of being anything else but a Knight of the Order.

“Once, my Mother brought me to the Great Hall to see the formal Knighting ceremony after a young squire had passed his Test. It was all so grand, as I remember. Everyone in attendance was dressed in all their finery and it was a very solemn, almost religious, affair. I was very small, however, and I could not see very much from our position in the back of the hall. I encouraged Mother that we should move nearer, but she was timid and afraid we might possibly intrude upon the Knight’s family and friends. I did glimpse the Knight through the crowd as he stood at the far end of the hall. He was radiant in his brilliant white garb with crimson sash with the Order’s gold emblem emblazoned upon it. At that moment he turned to face the crowd, and, strangely enough, for just a brief moment, I thought he was staring straight at me,” he paused and smiled to himself. “I felt lifted and honored just being in the presence of greatness. Even at that early age.

“The Knight stood before the Prelate and in a voice full of resolve recited his vows before his God, Helm, the God Torm, the witnesses in attendance, and his new Brethren in the Order. The Prelate then presented him with his shield and sword and bade him to go forth and do the good business of the Order. The horns then toned their welcome of his countenance into the group of the Chosen.” He paused again and smiled. “My Mother was so moved by it all, she began to softly weep and she bade us leave for home as not to be embarrassed by such a public display of emotion. I didn’t want to go and I pleaded with her that we stay just long enough that I might meet this Knight. I had never met a Knight before. My appeal just seemed to upset her all the more and we quickly left amid a few stares from those standing near us.

“As we were returning home, she told me, ‘Anomen, someday I want to see you up there receiving your sword and shield, and your own crimson sash’ and she smiled and kissed me.” He stopped, again, briefly lost in reliving the memory. He snapped to the present.

“I am just thankful she did not live to see me fail so miserably,” he added sadly. “She..she would have been devastated at my performance.”

“Anomen, do you think that being a Knight would have changed how you have approached the many quests you have set about over the past three years? Would you have done anything differently, for example, when you helped Hendak free the slaves and break up the cartel?” I asked. He sat in thought for a moment.

“No, I do not think I would have done anything any differently. Right is right.”

“Then I think it begs the question, Anomen, have your beliefs of right and wrong changed because you did not become a Knight? Do you truly live your life any differently than if you were a Knight?”

Again, he thought long and hard. “Probably not. My sense of what is right and what is wrong has not changed. I am not saddled with the pomp and circumstance, but neither do I have… validation.”

“Who is the most important person in the world to you?” I decided to slightly veer the direction.

“Riona, of course. I love her and we are to be married at some point in the near future.”

“Do you think it matters to her if you are a Knight or not?”

He did not answer immediately.

“She has told me that it matters not to her. That she loves me for me, not for any title I might have.”

“Do you, in your heart of hearts believe that is ‘validation?’ Maybe not as the rest of the world sees you, but in the matter of the one you hold most dear?”

“Ye..yes, I suppose it is. But I wanted her to be proud of me and my accomplishments.”

“Are you saying she is not proud of you?”

“No, I know she is proud of me.” He seemed perplexed at his own admission.

“Did you not consider that she is proud of who you are inside and not for the banner you wear on your chest?”

“I wanted to be her ‘Sir Anomen’. I wanted to be her knight.”

“And do you not know you already hold that place in her heart? Regardless of what the Order has dictated to the outside world, do you believe in your heart of hearts that you are Riona’s knight? Does she not believe in you? Anomen, you have accomplished many good and wonderful things since you failed your test. More than many Knights accomplish within a whole lifetime. But above all else, you are the man she loves and trusts above all else to be pure of heart, to love her, and to be at her side.”

He looked at me square on.

“Yes, I believe I am all those things and maybe more to her.”

“Then let me pose the question to you. Short of the Radiant Order’s formal ‘validation,’ and their Shield, and a cold lonely room at the Hall, what makes you any different in your heart, or deeds, from any of the Knights of the Order, except that you may have accomplished more good in a shorter amount of time?”

He actually smiled.

“I have never in my heart abandoned my vows I made to the Order. I broke them in an uncontrollable rage that they found unforgivable. And I may never be able to forgive myself for the slaughter of that young innocent. But, Riona loves me. And she loves me for all that I am, and she accepts me as I am.”

“Wouldn’t you agree that is a more important validation than that offered by total strangers?” I inquired, almost rhetorically.

He looked at me and blinked. “I… I guess it is, Glory.” It was a thoughtful revelation.

Very good, Delryn, I thought. Now we are making progress.

We proceeded to cover more of the aftermath of his Test. The recriminations, the self-doubt, and the eventual acceptance of the Order’s decision. It was the painful litany of a defeated dream.

Our time was soon up and Anomen prepared to leave.

“Anomen, would you mind returning in the morning for another session, your schedule permitting, of course.” I asked.

“No, that would be fine,” he seemed puzzled.

“And, if I may ask another favor. If I might be able to keep the music box until then?” I knew that would really puzzle him, but I had an idea that I prayed was from one of the more benevolent Gods.

“If..if you must,” he said.

There is a reason and I assure you no harm will come to it between now and the time you return,” I said. “All will be made clear tomorrow. You will just have to trust me.”

“Very well,” he nodded, still perplexed and slightly reluctant to leave it once again on my desk. “I do trust you, Glory.”

Delryn left and the moment I knew he was out of the office and safely out onto the Promenade, I called to Charona.

“Charona, would you mind running next door and getting two knock scrolls and have someone over there write a scroll for a simple magic ward that we can use on the music box?”

Charona appeared at the door.

“Did I hear you correctly, Mistress?”

“Yes, Charona, you did. I am going to return Delryn’s letter to the music box and let him ‘discover’ it on his own.” When I heard it with my own ears, even I questioned the sagacity of my snap decision. Without a question, Charona turned and left to procure the spells.

I removed the scroll from my desk drawer. This was going to take real ‘musical talent’ to accomplish this. I carefully frayed one corner of the pink ribbon and pulled a slender thread free. I prayed that whatever God had seen fit to wrap it around the tine in the first place would guide my mortal hand to duplicate the effort.

Charona returned with the scrolls.

“Charona, open up that thing for me, please,” I asked. She turned it over on my desk and proceeded to read the ‘knock.’ As before, the bottom glowed momentarily and slid open. She watched intently as I performed ‘emergency surgery,’ and re-inserted the scroll into the cavity. I then took the thread from the frayed end and, as best as I could remember, tucked it around the lower register tine. It finally appeared as it did when Sir Ryan and I first opened it.

“You can now close up the, er, patient, Charona,” I nodded all the while offering supplication to almost any God who might be listening. She intoned the incantation and the bottom briefly glowed and slid shut. Sealed. Now for the true test.
I wound the key and flipped the lever.

“Da, da, de, da, da, de, da, da, de, ‘pong’,” it tuned.

“Pong,” we both said in unison. Absolutely perfect. We were prepared for young Delryn to pick up his music box the next morning, but he was going to get more than just a music box. If he proceeded as I hoped, he would have a whole new outlook on his life. What a wonderful gift from a child’s musical fantasy.

“Charona, send a message to Sir Ryan. Tell him to be here at quarter past mid-morn tomorrow. Not a minute sooner and not a minute later. He will understand. And in case I forget, when he does arrive tomorrow, keep him in the outer office with you until I come and get him.” Now, I REALLY had Charona perplexed.

“But, Mistress, Anomen will be here for his appointment as you requested.”

“Yes, Charona, that is exactly right. Oh, and send a messenger to young Delryn and ask him to please bring Riona with him. I would sincerely like to meet her, and I am sure I will be able to use her kind assistance if the need arises.”

“Yes, Mistress.” Poor Charona. She was perplexed, she was vexed, and she was seriously questioning my sanity in her own mind.

“Well, Moirala, you wanted this all out in the open, and By the Gods, it will be. We will remove your son’s belief of a taint from his ‘father’ once and for all,” I whispered to myself. “And, wherever you are, Moirala, and if you are watching this unfold, I pray you to ask Helm and anyone else who might listen, for guidance for me.”

A fitful afternoon followed by an even more fitful evening. Hendak was most concerned with my mood. It just wasn’t me and I didn’t know exactly from where, or what, my anxiety stemmed. I assumed it was the forthcoming revelation slated for the next morning.

“My love, what is wrong? I can see you are troubled and I sense it is not something I have done, or didn’t do, but rather work? Can I but lend an ear and help?”

“Oh, if only you could, dear one,” I sighed as I pushed the food around on the plate in front of me. I had no appetite either.

“You must tell me. I cannot bear to see you like this and perhaps simply by listening I can help ease your mind.”

The stress was beginning to get to me. The thoughts of tomorrow morning nagged at my head and my stomach very most unpleasant consequences. I suddenly found myself on my feet and running for the water closet. The small portion I had eaten had not settled well and was going to quickly make an encore appearance. Not knowing what was happening, Hendak came running after me.

I hate being sick. Next to storms, it is the one thing in the world I hate the most. Well, snakes are pretty high on that list, too. But, being sick always makes me cry. And, as I explained to Hendak as he wiped my mouth with a damp cloth and picked me up to carry me upstairs, I don’t know why I cry.

Hendak lovingly undressed me and found an old sleeping gown I had tucked away in the bottom drawer. He held up the simple cotton shift woven with little bear designs.

“It’s really quite ugly, but it will make you more comfortable,” he chuckled trying to get me to laugh. My stomach hurt and my head hurt and I knew I wasn’t finished crying. Laughing was not an option on the current agenda. I was miserable all over as he coaxed me into the sack-like sleeper of giggling bears. Now, not only was I miserable, but looking unfashionably foolish as well. I felt so bad I didn’t care.

“Now, I will go downstairs and have Cook make a special tea for you. It will ease your discomfort and then I want you to tell me this story from work.” He kissed my forehead and went downstairs.

I just sat there as the tears kept coming in his absence. He returned shortly with a pot of Cook’s special brew and poured me a cup.

“Now, relax and tell me,” he said as he sat on the side of the bed and soothed my forehead with a damp cloth.

And as I sipped one cup, then two cups, I told him the entire Delryn story complete with Sir Ryan’s additions, the music box – the entire story. Intermittently there were bouts of tears.

“You have done, and are doing, all that you can do, my love. Tomorrow will indeed be the telling tale, but I am sure it will be as it should be and it will set right.” He wiped the tears from my cheeks. “The Gods do not forsake their loyal and devout followers even if mortals do. And Delryn’s actions have spoken loudly as to where his heart truly lives, and it lives with his God. Helm knows, Glory…. Helm knows.” He drew me close to him and gently rocked me to and fro until I fell asleep.

It was the middle of the night and I awakened to find myself sitting upright staring off into the shadows. The scent of sweet honey flowers permeated the bedchamber and my giggling bears were soaked in perspiration. Hendak, however, was sleeping peacefully beside me.

“Hendak….Hendak…,” I gently rubbed his shoulder to awaken him.

“Hmmm…lights on low…,” he mumbled. The room lightly illuminated and he sat up.

I was covered in the same soft sheen of sweat, as he had been several tendays before.

“My love, are you alright?” he sat up and was immediately aware of the sweet honey flowers. He was also immediately concerned when he saw me.

I nodded. “Yes, I am fine… I think I am fine. Hendak, bring me the box with the amulet in it. The one Seer Marybeth gave to me from your Mother.”

Puzzled by my request, Hendak stumbled out of bed and retrieved the box from the dresser top. He handed it to me and scrambled back into bed by my side.

I carefully opened the lid to the box and looked at the amulet. It was not the same as Seer Marybeth had delivered.

“Hendak, I think you should prepare yourself,” I started as I stared at the amulet.

“Prepare myself for what, my love?” he was more than just concerned now.

“Hendak, you are going to be a Father and I am going to be a Mother.” There was no hesitation in my voice. I now knew. The necklace confirmed it.

I turned and showed him the amulet. In place of the two intricately carved runes originally on either side of the diamond, two large emeralds now rested.

“And, other than the miracle of the emeralds in the amulet, how do you know these things?” he asked, totally befuddled.

“Your Mother told me. In a dream where she spoke directly to me. She just wanted to reassure me all would be well, except that we have to move up the wedding, because these babies are going to be born in three months. The god heritage thing. Not a normal nine-month gestation period.” I couldn’t believe my own voice and what I was saying.

“Babies?” he asked hesitantly.

I nodded again. “Yes, twins,” I whispered.

As I sat there in near-shock, a wide smile spread across his face.

“I am going to be a Father? Really? You and I? Parents? Twins? In three months?” The questions were endless and I just sat there shaking my head.

This just wasn’t how I had planned it, I thought. But then, when you have a God, er, Goddess, in the family, I guess even the best of planning can go right out the window. I guess three months is better than nine. And three months is better than seven days as was Hendak’s gestation. However, I would have liked to have a nice leisurely wedding and then babies on my own timetable. Regardless of whether she had anything to do with it or not, which I didn’t know if she did or not, it was too late for those plans.

“Hendak, we have to move the wedding up to two ten-days from now,” I said.

“But will the Church –“

“Waukeen assured me the Church would be finished. She is sending Seer Marybeth to oversee the Ritual and the completion of the Church on time. The Church is the very least of our problems.” I thought of Father.

“Father Tabor,” he said slowly shaking his head. “He will NEVER understand.”

“No, he will never understand but he must be told and immediately.” I paused. “Now, I will send a messenger tomorrow telling him we are coming to dinner, but you must promise me that you will protect yourself with every magical potion, scroll, and amulet before we arrive. There is no way to tell how he is going to react, but it is a safe bet it won’t be well.”

“He would never harm the Father of his grandchildren,” he laughed in an attempt to make light of what Father might have an inclination to do.

“He might if that Father was not the Husband of his Daughter,” I said and immediately my stomach began to churn again. “Do you think your Mother could do something about this stomach thing?” I asked and bounded up and out of bed for the water closet.

“I’ll get more tea,” he volunteered, as he pulled on his trousers and slippers for a return trip to the kitchen downstairs.


‘Well, well, well, had to go and fall in love with the son of a Goddess, huh,’ I asked myself the next morning as I lay in bed. I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t want to move. I just wanted to stay there. I then instinctively rubbed my stomach. Two babies. Two. Then I felt Hendak put his hand over mine. I opened my eyes and he was staring lovingly at me.

“Two babies, Glory, my love,” he smiled and propped himself up on one elbow. “Our babies, Glory.” He was very, very happy.

The tea was miraculous. I had brought some with me from the Coronet and had Charona make a pot. ‘Good for what ails ye,’ Cook had said. It was just a few minutes before Delryn was to arrive. I turned my attention to what I wanted to accomplish this morning.

I looked up and Anomen stood in the doorway, all smiles.

“Come in, Anomen. Come in,” I greeted him. He stepped in and directly behind him stood Riona.

She was exactly as I expected. His description had been extraordinarily articulate. She was dressed in an elegant silk brocade dress of brown and gold. Her dark copper hair was pulled away from her beautiful face and lightly braided in small braids on each side as it cascaded down her shoulders. She extended a delicate hand with a smile. To imagine that Bhaal could spawn such a beautiful woman was almost unfathomable.

“Glory, I am Riona. And, I have heard many wonderful things about you from Anomen, I feel as if I already know you.”

“It is indeed a pleasure, Riona, and I, too, have heard many wonderful things about you from Anomen,” and we both laughed.

I liked her immediately and I could tell the feeling was mutual.

“Please, can I pour you some tea? It is a special brew that Hendak keeps at the Coronet just for, er, special occasions.”

“Yes, please,” they both replied. I motioned for them to sit down. For this morning, I had repositioned the overstuffed chair and Charona and I had moved a companion chair beside it. Anomen graciously offered the comfy one to Riona, but she declined, preferring the smaller one beside it. I began pouring tea as they sat. Anomen reached over and picked up the music box.

“Riona,” he said with great excitement, “this is my Mother’s music box of which I told you.” He wound the key and tripped the lever.

“Da, da, de, da, da, de, da, da, de, ‘pong’,” it tuned. Anomen looked puzzled.
“It wasn’t doing that yesterday,” he said, and again it ‘ponged.’ I tried to look busy as I filled the remaining cup and set it in front of Anomen.

He gently rattled the box. Nothing apparently loose could be divined. Then, just as I suspected he would, he turned it over and very gently thumped from center to edge. A duplicate of Sir Ryan’s response. Ah, yes, I thought as I continued to occupy myself with the tea tray.

“Glory, I do believe there might be a secreted compartment here,” he said in amazement. “It does have a very suspicious, hollow sound to it.” He held it to his ear and gently shook it. “And, I believe I hear something ajar.”

“Oh, my,” I said with all the mock astonishment I could muster. “Perhaps we should see if it could be opened. We usually keep a knock scroll here for unexpected needs when they arise.” I pulled it out of my bottom desk drawer and handed it to Anomen. He turned to Riona.

“Riona, if you would, please?” he asked, almost timidly.

Riona looked thoughtfully as him as she took the scroll and began to chant the script. The bottom of the box briefly glowed and slowly slid to the side. The scroll was revealed.

‘Thank you, Helm, and whoever else helped with this,’ I said under my breath. Anomen audibly gasped.

“There..there’s something here,” Anomen said completely wide-eyed and he gently retrieved the tiny letter. In utter shock, he paused then looked at Riona and then to me.

“It’s your box, go ahead and open it,” I said reassuringly. He nervously yet carefully untied the pink ribbon and opened the scroll.

“It’s to me,” he said in a near-whisper and he quickly glanced down at the bottom signature. “It’s…it’s….from my Mother.”

“It’s to me and it’s from my Mother,” he repeated hoarsely and tears immediately sprang into his eyes.

Riona said nothing but we exchanged glances. Her eyes told me she was ready for whatever this letter held for her love.

He began to read silently to himself. He grew ashen-faced and fell back into the chair never removing his eyes from the parchment. He wiped at his eyes with the back of his hand. Riona and I sat waiting for what was to come next.

“It says…it says…that … Sir Ryan Trawl….is my,” he choked, “real Father. That Lord Cor is not my father. It explains it all……” The paper fell from his hand onto the floor. Riona picked it up and began to read.

“It…explains…why….Lord Cor….hated….me….so. And….why, and..why… she sent me to Academy. It….explains…..everything. Now…..it……all…..makes sense.” His face was flooded with emotion on top of emotion, the least of which was revelation.

“Glory, did…you…know this?” he asked feebly as he sat crumpled in the chair.

“Honestly, Anomen, yes I did, but I could not tell you for many different reasons. I only found out myself the other day. But I can assure you, I had not read the letter addressed to you. You are the first to read that one.”

“That one?” his voice was still weak. “Were there more?” Time for total truth.

“Anomen, I must confess that the secret compartment was discovered prior to you seeing the music box yesterday. When I initially opened it, it contained two letters, both scrolled with pink ribbon. One addressed to you, and one addressed to Sir Ryan. As Sir Ryan is also a patient of mine, I was bound by privilege as to what I could tell you from what I learned from him and vice versa. I hope you will forgive me my ruse, but it was the only way I could ‘deliver’ the letter to you without compromising the client privilege for either of you. As it is, I have done some considerable ‘bending’ of the rules.”

“I…I…understand, Glory,” he nodded slowly, still in a state of shock, although his color was slowly returning. “And..Sir Ryan?”

“Again, I cannot divulge anything discussed between Sir Ryan and myself, but I am sure he will be more than willing to speak with you directly about any questions you have. I do think that I can safely say that he loves you very much and always has. But it will mean much more to you hearing it in his own voice,” I smiled, got up and walked over and opened the office door. “He just happened to stop by for tea.”

“Sir Ryan, would you care to join us in a cup of tea?” I called.

“I would be delighted,” he smiled and elegantly approached the door.

Unsure of exactly what he should do, Anomen stood immediately at attention.

“Dear boy,” Sir Ryan said, “no need to stand at attention. I am your Father, not your Captain!” and he laughed nervously. And then Anomen laughed and began to weep at the same time. Riona said nothing but flashed a broad smile as the scene she was witnessing. And then my stomach started to churn. I barely excused myself from the poignant scene as I immediately ran for the water closet adjacent to the outer office. Riona immediately followed me, leaving the two men in a tearful, long over-due embrace.

“Oh, Glory, are you alright?” She was very concerned. I nodded as I continued to retch into the bowl and the tears came. She grabbed a small towel and dipped it in the water basin. “Oh, my, dear girl,” she said. “Morning sickness? It is simply wretched, from what I have been told.”

“How..how did you know?” I asked, my head spinning almost in sync with my churning stomach.

“The tea. It’s an herbal blend, especially good for all types of stomach ailments. The morning sickness was just a guess. However, the tea doesn’t work on everyone, according to Jaheira. A druidess who traveled with us for many years,” she explained nodding.

“Twins,” I said as something of an explanation. She nodded in sympathy. “In three months….”

“In three months. How is that possible? You don’t even have a bulge!”

“Trust me. They will arrive in three months.”

“When did you find out?” she looked even more puzzled and confused.

“Last night,” and I found my face over the bowl again.

“Do I dare ask how you found out?” she asked.

So in between the bout of tears and a more retching, I told Riona the whole story. I figured if anyone would believe me, she would.

“Okay, I guess we need to get you and Hendak married before your Father loses what little wits he has and does something he and everyone else will regret,” she sighed.

“The wedding will be in two ten-days and Waukeen has assured me all at the Church will be prepared. And she is going to be here for the engagement party and through the seven days up to and including the wedding,“ I added hastily as I felt the next round of retching begin to rise. I wiped at the perspiration on my forehead with the damp towel.

“Riona, I don’t have any close female friends, would you consider standing at my union ritual with me as my —“ the next round hit before I could finish asking.

“I would be most honored, Glory, most honored. Here, let me go see if Anomen has a healing something-or-other that can help. There must be something he can do. I will be right back,” and with that she left me to secure help.

Such an ignoble position I felt myself in – those damnable wizards, my Father included, can cast a spell for moving through the planes with ease, but they can’t come up with anything for morning sickness?

Riona appeared almost as suddenly as she had left.

“Here, drink this. Don’t worry. It’s safe.” I downed the potion and immediately felt better. My stomach stopped and my head cleared.

“What was that?” I asked in utter amazement.

“Uh, just a little something Father and Son cooked up at a moment’s notice,” she said nodding and continued to clean my face with the wet cloth. She then pulled her comb from a small pouch and tidied my hair.

“There! Good as new, little mother-to-be!” and she smiled that radiant smile again.

“Riona, thank you. Thank you ever so much,” I began.

“No, Glory, it is I who should be thanking you. You are going to be responsible for giving Anomen back to me, whole and cured. I could never ask for more than that in this lifetime.” Then she smiled, “Except someday, I would like to have one of those myself.” And she gently patted my stomach. We both giggled and left to return to my office.

I walked in and the two gentlemen had composed themselves. I seated myself at my desk.

“Now,” I began, “the next step will be addressing –“

“Glory, are you feeling better?” Anomen couldn’t contain himself.

“Oh, yes, Glory, are you quite alright? Do we need to fetch you home or send for Hendak?” Sir Ryan chimed in. I immediately got a sense of where Anomen’s natural ‘enthusiasm’ came from.

“Gentlemen, I assure you that I am very well, indeed, thanks to your improvised concoction.”

“Riona told us, Glory, about the babies,” Anomen almost blushed.

“Yes, Anomen, there are twins, and in case she did not tell you, they will be arriving in three months.”

“Three months!!!” the men chorused.

“And since you will both be encountering the truth of the matter almost momentarily, allow me to be the one to tell you, first hand. Then when I have done that, we shall return to the business at hand.” I knew they meant well, but their concern for the obvious needed to be addressed. I proceeded to tell them the complete story of Hendak, his parentage, Waukeen -- the whole mix of it. They both sat open-mouthed while Riona could not contain herself anymore. She started to laugh. Then I started to laugh. We were both in near hysterics and about exactly what we didn’t quite know.

“And, Anomen, since I can choose who stands with Hendak, I now choose you. What say ye?” I said after I had regained my composure. I was just anxious to get the whole business of the union ritual over and done with.

“I accept with great honor,” he smiled and nodded his head.

“Do not think me ungrateful, but now that we have all of my problems solved, may we continue with the issues facing you, and you?” Content that all was well with me, the men nodded in unison. “Now, if I might ask you, Sir Ryan, and you, Riona, to just give me a few minutes with Anomen in private.” They graciously excused themselves to the outer office.

“How do you feel, Anomen? Are you angry?” I asked.

“Oh, no, Glory. I am not sure how I feel, but angry is not among those feelings.” He paused. “I am strangely happy. I don’t quite know why, but strangely happy. And…and… strangely relieved. The…the shock of it, Glory.” He held his mother’s letter in his hand. “My Mother explained it all, Glory. And she asked me to forgive her and to seek peace with Sir Ryan, that we could honor her in death. She..she was afraid I would hate both of them for deceiving me.”

“You understand, don’t you Anomen?”

He nodded slowly. “Yes, I understand, but it will take time for me to absorb all of this.”

“It won’t be done overnight, Anomen. But I can assure you it will get much better now that the truth has been revealed.” I summoned Sir Ryan and Riona from the outer office.

We worked out a schedule for both joint and private sessions over the next month. Not much time to do a whole lot of work. It would be necessary to either refer my other patients or postpone them until then. Sir Ryan and Anomen’s relationship integration needed primary focus and it was up to me to help them eliminate any stumbling blocks to that end. It would be challenging, but I sensed a strong ally in Riona and I trusted her instincts implicitly.

When we were finished, it was near noon.

“And not to worry, Glory. I will concoct a supply of the potions so that you can eat without concern of having dire consequences. I will have them sent over momentarily.”
Riona and Anomen had to leave shortly thereafter, but Riona was coming the next afternoon that we might put our heads together and strategize the hasty facilitation of the union ritual. Sir Ryan stayed behind.

“Sir Ryan, are you happy with this?” I asked him.

“More than I can ever tell you, Glory. I know we have a long road to travel and it will not be like a father and son who had the long-term benefit of each other, but I feel we can be much more than what I have ever known in my life. And, I pray much more that what young Anomen has ever had in his life.” His face was filled with hope.

“Did you read his letter?” I asked him.

“No, I did not ask and he did not offer. I did offer to let him read mine, but he said he felt it was a sacred last word from a woman who loved me very much and he did not want to violate that.”

“Sounds familiar, doesn’t it,” I mused recalling his reaction to my offer of him reading Anomen’s letter. He smiled and then laughed at his recollection.

“Oh, by the way, Madam Glory, I must commend you on your, er, subterfuge with re-secreting Anomen’s letter. A very good move to allow him to discover it on his own. How did you know?”

“A little luck, Sir Ryan. I felt his reaction would be similar to yours. Maybe not as mature, but my guess was you two are not only genetically linked, but you are linked in spirit and mind as well by virtue of your teachings of Helm and years with the Order.”

“Ah, my dear, I guess that is why you sit in that seat and I sit in this one,” he sighed. He rose to leave.

“My darling Glory, if I could only tell you what you have done for me this day,” and he raised my hand for a farewell kiss. “Twins, eh. Your Father will be most proud.”

With the mention of my Father, my stomach started to churn again. I would have to face him later today and I just didn’t know how I was going to tell him so that he would believe me. I did have all afternoon to think about it, however.


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