THE ANGST AND THE ANALYST
From the Journals and Papers of Dr. MorningGlory Gaeston
(Rated PG-13: Adult themes, mild language, mild violence)
Chapter IX – Part II
Another bright beautiful day. I rolled over and snuggled next to Hendak. I started to greet him good morning, but he immediately stuck a bright green leaf in my mouth. “Forgive me, my love,” he apologized. “But the remnants of your sardine feast from last eve could compete with the strongest cloud kill spell ever cast in Faerun.” The fresh green leaf quickly abated the noxious yellow cloud in my mouth.
I arose, bathed and dressed. Yes, the dress was just a tiny bit snugger than the day before. And the usual flatness of my stomach was suddenly replaced with a slight curve.
I reviewed my schedule in my mind as I braided my hair at my dressing table. I would see young Delryn this morning. I was most anxious to talk to him and gauge his initial reactions. Depending upon how much, and how well, he was assimilating these recent and startling revelations, I would know where we needed to start on this next phase of his therapy.
As usual, he arrived at my office precisely on time.
“Come in, Anomen. Come in,” I greeted him. Charona delivered tea for us and I motioned him to sit down.
“How are you?” I asked and smiled at him. There was an air of easiness about him that was not present before. A slight hint of relief, I thought.
He returned the smile and slowly nodded his head up and down. “I must confess, Glory, that I am still reeling from my Mother’s letter and its implications,” he replied. “It.. It changes so many things, and so dramatically.”
“How do you feel about finding out Sir Ryan is your Father?” I asked.
“I am very proud that Sir Ryan is my Father, as he is the epitome of all I admire and respect,” he replied. “But I am ashamed that I am his son, as I am the epitome of what he stands against.” He gently wrung his hands as they rested in his lap.
“Anomen, let us take this one part at a time,” I intervened. “Let’s begin with Sir Ryan being your father, and then we will broach you being his son. There is a difference, as you have so aptly pointed out.” I was pleasantly surprised that the young man’s introspection has progressed to such a definitive degree. He was being far more analytical about his own situation than the huge majority of patients, and it was an excellent sign of both his willingness and commitment to resolving his issues.
“It is like a dream to me, Glory. One that I had many years ago.” He paused and then continued. “When I was a young boy at the Academy, Sir Ryan would come to visit me, to see how I was getting along. It wasn’t often, as he was away on Order business a great deal of the time. But, he was always so kind to me, and I always looked forward to spending time with him. I would save my essays and other school papers and share them with him, and he was always so interested in everything I was doing. Then when he would leave, I was sad and despondent. I would lie in my bed at nighttime and think, ‘Why couldn’t he be my Father? Why was I cursed with such a monster for a Father?’ I would go to sleep pretending to myself that Sir Ryan was my Father and that next holiday I would be going home with him, MY Father, for sweet cakes and presents like the other boys did.
“I remember asking him once if he had any children, a boy perhaps, and he smiled and said no then tousled my hair. I remember later that night as I lay in my bed, thinking that life was so unfair and why couldn’t I be his son instead of the son of Lord Cor.” He sighed. “But they were childish dreams and childish questions, and I put them away long before I left the Academy. I resigned myself to being the offspring of such human filth and steeled myself to the embarrassment and humiliation I knew it would bring me in my life.”
“How do you view this ‘dream’ now?” I further encouraged him.
“It’s..it’s as if the music box was a magic lamp and I opened it and had my greatest childhood wish instantly come true.” He waited a long moment before he continued. “It’s just I don’t know what to do with it now that I have it and it is real. My wish has been fulfilled, but what of his?”
“What do you mean, Anomen,” I probed, as I knew we were entering the other part of his self analysis.
“After somewhat of the shock subsided, I thought more deeply about how this affected him. And, as I attempted to contemplate the overall situation yesterday, I could not resolve, or understand, how he could ever want to acknowledge me as his son. In my heart I never felt I had dishonored Lord Cor with my actions at Saerk’s house that day – that I had dishonored only my beliefs and myself. In my mind, Lord Cor couldn’t be dishonored any more than he was already by his own hand. But now, as I think of Sir Ryan being my Father, I am even more deeply shamed at my crime. The taking of such pure and innocent life… And, I do not understand how he, as a Knight of Order, could so readily accept me, a murderer, as his son, and not feel shame and revulsion.” His voice wavered with emotion.
“Anomen. He accepts you as his son because he is your Father, first. The fact that he is a Knight of the Order is secondary to the unconditional love he has always held for you. And, as your Father, his heart does not judge you.”
“You think he doesn’t think about what I have done? He must! He knows all the explicit details of the matter,” he slightly raised his voice and shook his head.
“I did not say he doesn’t think about what you have done. What I am saying is that he, as a loving Father, does not judge you in the same ‘court’ or by the same ‘laws’ as did the Order or the outside world. There is no redemption in the Order. But as your Father, and through his unconditional love, he forgave you long ago -- regardless of what you intellectually believe you did, or what he intellectually believes you did.
“It was because of his love and heartfelt concern for you, Anomen, that he came forth and sought me out to help you. And, I suppose if the truth were known, he may have had something to do with the Church of Helm requiring you to come here, as well. I truthfully do not know and it is not pertinent at this point. But I do know that in his heart, his love and forgiveness has absolved you of anything and everything. That is why he can acknowledge you as his son.
“Do you recall a few tendays ago when we were talking of your feelings about Riona and her feelings about you, that I told you that love is a gift? That it is neither earned nor merited? The same universal truth applies in this situation as well.” I paused gauging his facial expression. “Do you understand?”
He didn’t respond immediately, but sat staring intently at Ki as he pondered what I had said.
“You’re saying he loves me unconditionally…much like how Riona loves me,” he said beginning to make the connection. His intense gaze turned directly to me.
“Yes, that is exactly what I am saying,” I nodded.
“Then how can I reconcile this idea of possessing the taint of Lord Cor’s evil heart? I have lived with it for so long, and now that I know I am not Lord Cor’s son, I realize the evil I have perpetrated is solely by my hands alone. There was never a ‘taint’. It was always me. How do I begin to live with that?” His voice was choked with the emotion of his even deeper realization.
“Anomen, think about what you saying. Up until two days ago, you were convinced that your actions were the result of you being a product of Lord Cor’s evil taint. You believed you possessed a ‘black heart’ and it was that inherent evil that ‘possessed’ you and unleashed a horrible rage that resulted in catastrophic results, the loss of innocent life. Now you find out that in reality, there is no evil taint, there is no black heart. Do you think that finding out the truth made your belief in this ‘curse’ any less real than if it were true, while you believed it? Was not the evil taint of Lord Cor your reality up until two days ago?”
He blinked and nodded slowly, but said nothing.
“What can I do, Glory? Is there a chance I can ever resolve this in my own soul?” he finally asked, pain etched in the fine lines of his forehead. “I fear I will go mad if I do not try.”
“You will not go mad, Anomen. The first thing we must do is discover the real reasons of why you did what you did, and understand them.” I paused. “The second part I cannot help you with and will be totally up to you. You must seek absolution from yourself and forgive yourself. No one else can do that for you.” I waited for a reaction.
“Forgive myself? I…I…don’t know if it is possible,” he said in a low voice and looked down at his hands in his lap.
“In forgiving yourself and letting go, it is your only hope of true freedom, Anomen,” I said. His eyes began to fill with tears.
“I…I want to be this person that Riona and my Father loves. I want to believe I am this person.”
“You already are that person, Anomen. You are that person that Riona and Sir Ryan love. That is a truth. You need only to accept that fact and make it part of your own internal belief system. But we will need to dispel the false beliefs so entrenched over the years before the true one can take hold. Are you willing to do what it takes to accomplish this?”
He thought long and hard before he spoke.
“Yes, Glory. I am honor-bound to those that love me to at least try. I owe them this much for the faith they have placed in me. For this wonderful gift of love that has been granted to me, though I am so undeserving.”
“Then you must let those that love you, help you, also. You must believe as much in them as they believe in you.”
He nodded and brushed a tear from his cheek. “I never thought that in my life I could be so blessed by Helm with such a gift.”
“Then I suppose He hasn’t given up on you after all, has He, Anomen.” It was a statement. He looked up and smiled faintly.
“I suppose you are right, Glory. Perhaps in His wisdom, He sees something in me worth saving that my human eyes are incapable of perceiving,” he nodded.
“But, Anomen, this will not be easy for you. You will be fighting to regain your soul from a set of false beliefs that have held you captive for most of your life. It is not terribly unlike the struggle that Riona underwent in regaining her soul.” I stopped and set my eyes squarely on his eyes. “This will be the most intense battle in which you have ever participated. For you, it will make the battle for the Throne of Bhaal seem like a child’s garden game. Are you willing to commit to this?”
“Yes, Glory. I have no other choice.” He sighed deeply.
“Very well. Then we will do this.” And I sighed a sigh of relief.
We continued to talk for several more minutes about his Mother’s letter and the immediate impact upon him. I encouraged him to share his feelings with Riona and to let her help him, that it was equally as good for her as it was for him. He then confessed to being a bit reticent in contacting Sir Ryan to meet and talk. I reminded him that Sir Ryan might be equally reticent and someone had to make the first move.
It was suddenly noontime and Anomen was leaving with the intention of sending a messenger to the Order to invite Sir Ryan to meet him at the Coronet to share the noontime meal. Just the two of them. I could tell he was anxious to get on with the business of Sir Ryan being his Father, whether it was publicly known or not, mattered not to him.
He had no sooner left than Seer Marybeth Fatewatch arrived.
“Seer Marybeth,” I said. “What a pleasant surprise!” It was a half-truth. I had expected her on my doorstep first thing in the morning.
“Madam Glory,” and she leaned over to kiss my cheek. “My Mistress sends Greetings, and gifts.” She stepped aside and ten couriers held various packages and bundles.
“Gifts?” I was puzzled.
“Yes, for your seamstress and her helpers,” she smiled. “For the gowns and the groom and his attendant’s special suiting. If you would be so kind to give us her address, I will send them on their way posthaste to make the delivery.” Charona was quickly jotting it down on a small piece of parchment.
“And, Madam, if you have a moment, I would like to speak to you in private.”
“But of course, Seer. Won’t you please come into my office?” We stepped in and closed the door. Seer Marybeth wasted no time.
“My Mistress will be arriving the day of the engagement party and has asked me if she might stay with you and Hendak at your Father’s house. There are really no other accommodations available to her at this time. She would be very grateful if this were not a problem.”
“My Father’s house is quite large, Seer, and I am sure the guest suite will be most to her liking. And I am sure my Father would be happy if I extended the invitation.”
“Ah, very good. Her trunks will arrive on the afternoon of the party and she will arrive unescorted precisely as the party begins. She will stay the duration of the tenday up and through the day of the union ritual. I trust your Father will approve.”
“He would be delighted and humbled to have Waukeen stay as long as she wishes,” I replied, thinking of how Father was either going to be really delighted, or really angry, to find a Goddess had taken up temporary residence in his house. It was going to be a toss-up. But how could I say no?
“By the way, Seer, how will I know your Mistress?” I asked shyly. “It is a special costume party and everyone will be in different types of dress.”
“I assure you, Madam Glory, you will know my Mistress. You will know her.” And she laughed. “I hope you will not think me rude, but I must return to the Church. I brought 300 workers with me to complete the renovations and I must see that they are being properly supervised. I also sent an extra 50 workers to your Father’s house that your personal renovations might be completed on time, as well.”
“Thank you, Seer. Your Mistress is most kind.”
“She is pleased that you approve,” and with that Seer Marybeth bid us goodbye and was out the door.
“Mistress, I know it is not my place to make any comments, but by the Gods, what is your Father going to do when he finds out that the great goddess Waukeen herself has taken up residence in HIS house?” Charona asked.
“Charona, that is a question for the greatest oracles of our time,” I replied, “because I haven’t a clue.” And we laughed.
It was very busy over the next few days. Hendak oversaw the renovations for our apartment at the great house, and I was preoccupied with our other union ritual plans. Seer Marybeth stopped in on occasion to see how things were progressing as well as offering her wonderful skills to the task of arranging for everything from flowers to the carriages. And, all this time Riona and Charona hardly left my side. It was hectic and it was incredible fun. Riona and Anomen came to dinner a few evenings later.
“My gown was delivered this afternoon,” Riona told me, somewhat wide-eyed. “It fits perfectly and it has this huge star ruby sewn into the bodice. Do you remember a star ruby in the sketch?”
“No, it must have been ‘added’ later,” I said. “Riona, it is yours to keep. Just consider it a gift from my future Goddess-in-law.” And, we giggled.
It was an enjoyable and relaxing meal together. Hendak thanked Anomen profusely for the potion, and then asked if he could whip something up that would rid me of my smelly sardine and pudding addiction. That provoked sidesplitting laughter all around the table, but Anomen seriously promised to see what he could come up with. The conversation turned serious as I heard the recounting of the freeing of the slaves as told by Riona and Anomen. Hendak had never told me how dangerous it had been and some of the obstacles they had faced. He mostly sat and blushed when his heroic deeds were heralded by the two. The evening was over far too soon, however, and we finally said goodnight.
“They are wonderful people,” Hendak said as we curled up together to sleep. “If it were not for them, I doubt I would be here now. I am proud to call them our friends. And I am proud they are going to be in our blessed union ritual.”
“Me, too,” I sighed. I could never remember a time of being more happy, more content.
“And I am thankful they kept you from the little fishes tonight,” he chuckled softly and pulled me tightly to him. “It is the first time all week I have been able to get close to you without holding my breath.” And he kissed me. “For this, I am very, very thankful.”
Before I even knew it, it was moving day. Donia and I had sorted through things, packed things up and Hendak has secured a wagon with driver to cart our belongings up to my Father’s house.
It was also the day before the party. I had already arranged with Father for Hendak’s ‘Mother’ to stay at the house as Seer Marybeth had requested. He was most pleased and very curious about his upcoming houseguest.
“Father, I have not met her, either, so this will be a first for me, as well,” I told him, as he barraged me with yet another round of questions and suppositions.
“But do you know what she likes? Should I secure some special aperitif, or brandy, or wine? Special silk salts for her bath? Am I forgetting anything? It has been a very long time since a woman was in my house. Er, except for you, of course, my darling Daughter.”
“Father, I am sure what you have will be fine,” I reassured him. “Anyway, you will get the opportunity to get to know her during the party, as I expect you to be her formal escort, seeing that she will not know anyone and you are the host.” I reminded him of his duty.
“You are right, Daughter, as usual. I suppose I have the father-of-the-bride pre-union jitters. I suppose that is a normal condition for one such as me,” he laughed nervously. “I just want every thing to be perfect. Absolutely perfect for you.”
“It will be, Father, I am sure. All will be just fine,” and I kissed his cheek. “You are fretting far, far too much.”
“Perhaps I could use a last-minute haircut,” he said thoughtfully, totally ignoring my comment. “And maybe I should review my costume. I do hope that the Baron Vicenette is not offended that I am dressing as his great grandfather’s archrival, the Count du Corvel. Bloody, bloody enemies they were….” Father shook his head as he began musing to himself about the trivial.
The day of the engagement soiree finally arrived. We were moved and settled in, and both Hendak and I were very pleased with our new ‘abode.’
“I like it,” he said nodding his head in approval with our spacious four-room suite, complete with a large bath and dressing room as well as an adjacent nursery and nanny’s quarters. Large bay windows opened north from the parlor and the bed chamber for a spectacular view of the north side of the city. The spires of Waukeen’s abbey gleamed in the distance from the reflection of the setting sun. The thick sweet smell of the gardenias wafted from Father’s prized garden below.
“Yes, this will do very well for us and the babies, and it will be very good for your Father, too,” he added as we stood arm in arm looking out the open windows.
“Hendak…” I really did not want to break his reverie. “We must ready ourselves for the party. It is less than an hour until guests begin to arrive and we must prepare ourselves to descend the staircase and greet them as is tradition. And, your Mother, Hendak. Your Mother will be here.”
He turned to me and nodded, “Yes, my love. I will finally meet my Mother. Face to face.” The look upon his own face spoke volumes.
“Are you nervous?” I asked and stroked his cheek with my hand.
“Maybe a little anxious,” he confessed. “Our reality here is not like the dream plane where she visits me now. Although it is very real, it is not the same ‘real’ as here, the material plane. I…I want to see her with these eyes, to touch her with these hands. I need to know she exists here for me, just as she does there.”
“I understand, my love,” I nodded and tiptoed to kiss him gently. “Do not worry, my darling. She will love you even more here – if that is at all possible.” I tried to reassure him.
“I know, but I need to feel it here. I need to know it here,” he explained, and for a brief moment his eyes lightly misted over. A very rare occurrence, my demigod on the verge of a tear.
I dressed in my own costume of the distinctive embroidered silks of a lady of the elven royal court of Suldanesselar. The style nicely accommodated my slight paunch and was most comfortable. I struggled with my braids to give them some semblance of the traditional braids complete with baby pearls and gold threads laced throughout. I rouged my cheeks and my lips and dusted my face with sheer powder. It was time.
Hendak looked devilishly handsome in simple pale gray formal attire with highly polished black boots. He wore a simple black mask as he met me at the top of the stairs. We waited for our introduction.
“And, pray tell, Hendak, just what are you costumed as?” In all the bustle of moving and other preparations, I had neglected to ask him about his costume beforehand. “You look perfectly the part of a charming rogue.” I smiled.
“A rogue of sorts, my Lady. In particular, a thief. A skilled thief who has purloined your heart and I shall never return it.” He chortled under his breath at his own cleverness. A rogue and a thief imbued with perpetual dire charm, I thought as he tightly clasped my hand in his.
The small orchestra struck a chord and the hall of people turned their attention to the staircase. A bold voice sounded above the whispering crowd, “Mistress MorningGlory and Master Hendak.” The music began and a hearty ovation was offered up by the legions of costumed partygoers. We descended the staircase and were greeted by a rush of well-wishers. Glasses were stuffed into our hands and the party was officially started.
Only moments later did Sir Ryan, Anomen, and Riona find us. Sir Ryan was expertly outfitted in a genie’s turban and billowing pants with upturned slippers. It was a great departure from the Order’s regal ceremonial uniforms. Anomen was sporting the comfortable gear of a woodsman, and Riona was dressed as an acolyte of the Church of Lathander.
“Well, is she here yet?” they said in quiet unison, their eyes anxiously perusing the crowd.
“No, but we expect her any moment,” Hendak said. The words no more than left his lips then the large double doors to the hall opened. As if on cue, the crowd turned to see who had arrived.
She stood majestically in the center of the doorway. Capturing their attention, an eerie hush swept through the room as Hendak and I moved quickly toward her. Murmurings began to race through the crowd as conversations that were so suddenly interrupted, just as suddenly turned to the mysterious elegant woman waiting to be greeted.
She was dressed in a long flowing gown of spun silver and liquid gold beads and her long exquisite hair was intricately braided with pearls, sapphires, and rubies. Over her face she wore a partially opaque, gauzy golden veil.
Hendak grasped her and hugged her. “Oh, Mother, I am so happy you are finally here,” he said, his voice wavering with emotion. For a moment, I saw a tear in his eye.
“As am I, my darling Son,” she replied in a beautiful, liquid voice, and returned his hug in kind. She finally stepped back and looked at him. “You are just as handsome here as there,” she sighed and brushed the tear from the corner of his eye. She then turned her attention to me.
“And, my new Daughter. I finally meet you.” She reached to embrace me as well. “Thank you, my new Daughter Glory, for making my son very happy. I could not have wished for more,” she whispered.
“It is my pleasure, Mother Waukeen,” I replied and returned her hug. Hendak then introduced her to Riona, Anomen, and Sir Ryan, who had joined us.
We were interrupted by Father.
“Hmmm….,” he cleared his throat.
“Yes, Father, I would like to present Hendak’s mother – “ Waukeen interrupted me.
“Yes, I am Waulinda. It is such a pleasure to be here,” and she extended her delicate hand for Father to kiss in greeting. He gently took her hand.
“It is such a pleasure, Madam, to have you here with us. And, I am Tabor. Tabor Gaeston.” He very elegantly bowed and kissed her hand. “I am MorningGlory’s Father and I welcome you to my humble home. I do hope that your stay during the festivities will be most comfortable and enjoyable.”
I had never seen my Father so charming before. Sir Ryan stood nearby me and began snickering to himself.
“And, Waulinda, as I am certain you are quite parched from your long journey, may I offer my Lady a glass of the most wonderful sparkling wine from my private cellar?”
“That would be delightful, indeed, Tabor. Thank you,” she cooed.
“If you children will excuse us, I will escort Waulinda to the bar and then introduce her to some of our guests.” Father then slightly bowed and offered his arm in escort. Waukeen slipped her hand around his upper arm, and he began to slowly squire her across the room.
“I have some wonderful sparkling wine from the very heart of the foothills of the Cloud Mountains that I think you might like, my Lady…. And, pray tell, who might you be impersonating this evening?”
“Why, the Goddess Waukeen,” she laughed as they walked. “Who else?”
Sir Ryan could contain himself no more. He began to laugh when they were out of earshot and we all turned to him.
“I must apologize,” he said still laughing. “But I have seen your Father in this manner only a few times in his life. I feel I must warn you both – I think he is quite smitten with your ‘Mother,’ Hendak. And Goddess or no Goddess, I think I would beware if I was her.”
Hendak and I looked at each other.
“Well, should we do something?” I asked.
“Even if we could, what would you suggest?” Hendak said.
“I don’t know. It’s your Mother who is the Goddess. My Father is just a peon mortal!”
“Maybe we should just let nature take it’s course,” he offered.
“That’s what they said at the beginning of the Time of Troubles,” I groaned.
“I have an idea,” said Riona. “We will all just sort of ‘keep an eye’ on the situation. After all, they are mature adults. Maybe we are simply over-reacting.”
“Riona, we’re talking about my Father here,” I said. “Think about it. The man exudes dire charm, he doesn’t need a scroll. And she is a Goddess.”
“Glory is right, Riona. Maybe since I am Standing Man at the Union Ritual, I should attend to my duties early and look after the father of the bride. I will go keep them company and keep the situation under surveillance, so to speak,” said Sir Ryan. “I can at least keep him from possible making a fool out of himself publicly.” And off he went.
We shouldn’t have worried. The rest of the evening went smoothly. Sir Ryan kept an unobtrusive eye on Father and Waukeen, while we all ate, drank, and danced, and had a wonderful time.
It was over far too quickly and the guests were leaving. Sir Ryan, Anomen, and Riona were the last to leave and Hendak and I saw them to the door.
“Thank you, again, Sir Ryan for taking care of Father,” I said.
“It was no trouble. It is not every day I have the opportunity to engage a Goddess in conversation,” he smiled and kissed my check. “Your Father did not consume too much in spirits, made no social blunders, so it was not bad at all.” I was relieved to hear that.
We said our goodnights and Drusay closed and locked the door behind them. Waukeen had already bid us goodnight and retired, and Father had said he was going to the lounge for one last snifter of brandy before he, too, called it a night. The party was a smashing success.
We trudged up the stairs and past the guest quarters on our way down the hall to our new apartment. I had started feeling the ‘pregnancy’ thing over the past two days and my back hurt and my feet ached. Blissful sleep, I thought as I climbed into our new bed and snuggled next to Hendak. Except. Oh, I just had to have one more of those little raspberry cakes. I fought the urge, but the more I tried to put the gooey little treats from my mind, the more I had to, had to, just had to have one more.
“Hendak, I’m going down to the kitchen for a minute. I’ll be right back.”
“Hmmm,” he grunted in recognition although I seriously doubted he even heard me. I climbed out of bed and slipped on my robe and slippers and made way for the door to the hallway.
I was about 5 meters from the door to Waukeen’s guest apartment when the door opened unexpectedly. It took a moment for my senses to register.
“FATHER!” I gasped.
“DAUGHTER!” he gasped.
My Father stood in the hallway with only his dressing robe and a pair of slippers on. He turned positively crimson.
“Father, what are you doing here?” Well, it didn’t take a genius to figure this one out. “Father, do you have any idea whose bed you just climbed out of? And I will assume you did from the guilt written all over your face?!!” I asked.
“Glory, well..well..yes, er, it’s true,” he stammered. “But Glory, it was the most exciting, exquisite, er, er, intimate moments I have had since your Mother! I… I know I shouldn’t be telling you this.. but, by the Gods, it was absolutely divine.”
“I should say it was ‘divine.’ Father, Hendak’s mother is the Goddess Waukeen. Father you just got out of bed with the Goddess Waukeen!” He immediately became pale and started to teeter back and forth.
“Well, I guess that would explain –“ he began and then simply tipped over. He landed with a thud on the hall carpet. He was out cold.
“HENDAK!” I screamed.
TO BE CONTINUED……
The Angst and The Analyst IX (Part II)
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