When we first met Kelson (in Kurtz's debut novel, Deryni Rising), he was fourteen and about to ascend to the throne of Gwynedd, the medieval realm that never was, where a small minority of the populace, the Deryni, have magical abilities.Many novels later, King Kelson--in whom the Deryni blood flows strong--has come fully into his power and it is time to marry and begin the serious business of begetting heirs. Aficionados of The Deryni Chronicles will know that marriage and Kelson don't mix: his first betrothed was murdered on their wedding day and his second was tricked into marrying another.
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December 18, 2002
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Excerpt from King Kelson's Bride by Katherine Kurtz
"Mark me well, my brother, for I tell you truly that Kelson of Gwynedd means to wed. He must, now that he has agreed to allow the return of Liam-Lajos to Torenth. The way of kings is that of expediency. And it is expedient for the King of Gwynedd to provide his kingdom with an heir before his rival can do the same."
The speaker was Count Teymuraz, acting regent of Arjenol and a younger brother of its duke, Mahael, who was seated across from him. The latter was one of the regents of Torenth, and both men were kin by marriage to the woman who had summoned them to this meeting at domed Torenth ' ly, country seat of Torenth's kings.
The Princess Morag Furst ' na, widowed sister of the late King Wencit of Torenth, was standing in the opening of a long, brass-trellised window that looked westward across rolling fields, lush and verdant in the brightness of a sultry June afternoon. Co-regent with Mahael, she was also the mother of the previous king, of the said Liam-Lajos, who was the present king, and of Prince Ronal Rurik, the ten-year-old heir presumptive.
"If you are telling me that Liam-Lajos soon must wed, I think it premature," she said quietly, hooking the be-ringed fingers of one hand through the brass grillwork.
"Premature " said Teymuraz. "He is fourteen, two months into his majority. And the precarious nature of his situation does put a certain urgency on the matter."
She turned to look at him. The dappled sunlight filtering through the pierced brass set aglow the gauzy folds of veil and trailing sleeve and touched with fire the bands of gold embellishing the royal purple, shimmering around her like the magical Deryni auras all of them could conjure forth at will.
"Do you think I am not aware of that " she asked. "Yes, he is fourteen. And we have no idea what manner of man he has become, in these four years held hostage at the court of Gwynedd. Best determine first whether he is fit to be king, before we speak of the getting of heirs."
"Harsh words, from the one who bore him," Mahael replied. A faint smile curled within the close-clipped black beard. "And yet, for the sake of the kingdom, we must all of us acknowledge that it could prove necessary to pass over Liam-Lajos in favor of one better suited to rule."
As she glanced at him sharply, Teymuraz gave an amused snort.
"Since my brother has been responsible for the training of the young king's brother, who is the present heir, I can only think he alludes to four more years of his own regency, if it were necessary for Liam-Lajos to give way to Ronal Rurik. We are all of us aware that Mahael harbors no ambition of his own regarding the throne."
Mahael feigned languid interest in a massive seal ring that he wore on his left forefinger, dark eyes heavy-lidded as his thumb absently caressed the design cut into the murky bloodstone.