The unleashed power of a full Deryni lashes out at Charissa, guided by the despair of a mother who must try to protect her child at all costs. But Charissa has been expecting just such a move. And Jehana's power is untrained, without control. Charissa tries to kill, but Morgan and Duncan are able to deflect the killing force. Result: Jehana is imprisoned inside a Deryni force-field-one which can be broken only by Charissa's will, or her death.
Charissa regains her composure and taunts Kelson. Will he come down and meet her in honorable combat, or must she strike out now and slay him where he stands, without a fight? Kelson must now make a reply.
Kelson's mind reels. He is half-Deryni! Can he use this advantage to gain the power he desperately needs? As he absently rubs the Ring of Fire and searches for some clue, his eyes light on the inlaid marble floor of the transept where Charissa stands. The signs of myriads of saints appear there, and somewhere-yes! There, to the left, is the sign of St. Camber, he who was long ago called Defensor Hominum, the Defender of Man. Can this be the Defender's Sign of the verse?
This is the supreme bluff. For in order to survive, Kelson must now proceed as though he already has Brion's power, trusting that he will receive it when he steps on the seal. Outwardly calm, Kelson takes up Charissa's challenge and walks toward her. Duncan and the wounded Morgan, watching from the steps, realize the gamble Kelson is taking. But as the boy stops on the seal, they can see no reaction. Charissa begins the spell which Kelson must complete. And as Kelson raises his arms to answer, the air crackles around him in response. The power transfer is at last complete!
The duel begins, a series of spells and counter-spells, as each searches for the other's weakness. Morgan, his strength rapidly failing, attempts to rediscover the Deryni healing power he used on Derry the night before. Kelson has been holding his own to this point. But now Charissa conjures up a creature of the darkness on which Kelson's magic seems to have no effect. As he attempts spell after spell, the creature continues to advance across the floor, mawing and shrieking its defiance as it comes.
In a last effort, Kelson murmurs a spell and points in the direction of the monster. At that moment, sunlight shines through a high stained-gla.s.s window, throwing a pool of color on the floor just in front of Kelson. The beast ignores it-and dissolves in a curl of smoke, writhing and screaming in rage.
It is the breakthrough Kelson has been watching for. He now challenges Charissa to the ultimate contest, the binding spell which, once made, cannot be broken by either until one of them is dead. Charissa accepts. Kelson defeats the Shadowed One.
With Charissa's death, Jehana is released from her spell. She watches with awe and a growing pride as Kelson mounts the steps to the altar. Morgan, now healed, rises to meet him, and Duncan brings forward the Crown of Gwynedd. As all kneel, three Archbishops elevate the Crown and recite the formula of Coronation.
But to Deryni eyes within the Cathedral, it is as though a fourth figure supports the Crown-a tall, blond man garbed in the shining golden rainment of the ancient Deryni lords. And the words he speaks are rather different from those of the Archbishops. Here at last, in Kelson of Haldane, is a King for human and Deryni- the first in three hundred years!
Kelson is crowned, the Deryni-seen apparition vanishes, and Morgan comes forward to kneel in homage to the newly-crowned King. Other lords follow suit. As the procession from the Cathedral forms, the sun shines once more through the stained gla.s.s, casting a pool of multi-colored sunlight at Kelson's feet. The spectators are hushed in fearful antic.i.p.ation, for there was death before in the colored sunlight. But Kelson, with a faint smile, steps calmly into the light.
There is no death there now. The pool of sunlight merely turns Kelson's gems to fire, blazes on his Crown like a hundred sunrises.
And then, amid jubilant cheering, he and his loyal friends exit so that Kelson may show himself to his people.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
Katherine Kurtz was born in Coral Gables, Florida, during a hurricane and has led a whirlwind existence ever since. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Miami, Florida, and a Master of Arts degree in English history from UCLA. She studied medicine before deciding that she would rather write, and is an Ericksonian-trained hypnotist. Her scholarly background also includes extensive research in religious history, magical systems, and other esoteric subjects.
Katherine Kurtz' literary works include the well known Deryni and Camber Trilogies of fantasy fiction, an occult thriller set in WWII England, and a number of Deryni-related short stories. The first two books of her third Deryni trilogy were published in 1984 and 1985, with the third book due in 1986. At least three more trilogies are planned in the Deryni universe, and several additional mainstream thrillers are also currently in development.
Miss Kurtz lives in southern California with her husband and son, an orange cat called The Marmalade Bear, and a Bentley motorcar named Basil-British, of course. They hope soon to move to a castle in Ireland.
MAY 2 0 1992.
There have been many events in the past 230 years of the half-magical race of the Deryni that were too short to turn into novels. Katherine Kurtz has been writing these when not occupied with longer works, and they are now collected here. Some have appeared in books and other sources now hard to locate. More than half of the fiction is new-including a major story of how Denis Arilan became the first Deryni priest in 200 years.
Katherine Kurtz has provided an introduction and individual headings for each story to indicate her feelings and intents in writing each tale. Additionally, there is the complete first story she ever wrote-the first version of her Deryni vision, and how it all came about.
For all the myriad lovers of the Deryni, this should be a must book-both for pleasure and as a reference!
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