Chapter Twenty Five
Chapter Twenty Five
Using my sgian dubh I began peeling them for a cookpot hanging over the fire. I would need water and there didn’t seem to be any about. I hummed and ahhed whether I should go find a bucket and walk to the sound of running water, we had heard when we arrived. Then decided to wait for Conall to get back first. I took the peelings back out to the garden, if I was going to take then I was going to give back. By the time I returned to cut the last of my veggies up Conall had arrived with two fish and a bucket of water.
“Oh, good you have water.”
Looking a little surprised he asked, “Are ye going to cook lass?”
“Yes Conall. I can cook you know.” I said in my sternest voice. The way he had said it sounded like he thought I couldn’t cook, perhaps he thinks I am just a bumbling useless female.
Conall lifted his hands in submission. I huffed turning back to the table to cut up the last pieces of the vegetables, as he moved the chair back to give me more room. I could see him from the corner of my eye watching me with an amused look, arms crossed in front of his chest. No doubt thinking this was a worthy show.
As I cut down on a carrot it suddenly flew off the table, headed towards Conall catching him in the side of the face. I stood with my back against the table, hands to my mouth trying to hold back a giggle. The shocked look on his face only made me laugh more.
“Lass did ye no just attack me with a carrot?”
I could hold back no long and burst into giggles trying to apologise. “I’m…so…sorry.” I cried between chuckles.
“Aye I can see that ye are.” He said bending down picked the attacking piece of carrot up, dusting it off and popping it into his mouth.
I tried to stem my laughter as tear rolled down my face. “That’s…for the…cooking pot.” I stammered still giggling.
“No anymore.” he said with an impish grin. “Would ye like me to go ootside while ye cut tha rest of yer vegetables up? I’m no in the mind to be attacked agin.”
I couldn’t answer him in case I burst into another round of giggles and turned back to the table to cut the rest up, careful to hang onto them should they fly across the room again. I stopped cutting when I heard the sound of a horse coming near.
Conall jumped up, hand ready on his sword should we be attacked by more Brollachans. “Ah tis alright is just me bràthair” Conall said with a resounding sigh before heading out the door. I was halfway across the room to grab Abbey from where I lay her on the bed. I went back to the table.
Conall went outside and returned coming through the door with a young man I hadn’t seen before.
“Lass this ere me bràthair Dougall.” he said stepping aside to allow the other man in the door.
Dougall was as tall but leaner than Conall with the same dark hair and blue eyes. He looked to be about sixteen or so. Two dimples on his cheeks were deep with a wide grin as he stepped forward and bowed to me.
“Hi Dougall. Nice to meet you. Will you be staying for dinner?” I asked as I took the vegetables to the cooking pot.
“Aye as I was saying to my bràthair here, da sent me ta help ye in yer journey.” Conall was not looking too impressed with the arrival of his brother, or possibly that his father had sent him.
“Aye and I told ye I dinnae need any help. How did ye find us anyway?” Conall knew that Dougall was renowned for his tracking abilities as young as he was.
“Ack brother ye left a track a green Sassenach could find. I have a question though, how did ye get three men under a boulder?”
“Oh, that was me.” I smiled back wiping my hands down my front.
Dougall looked astonished. “That was ye lass?” he asked looking at Conall for a further explanation.
“I’ll tell ye all about it while we brush tha horses down.” Conall grabbed Dougall’s shoulder and turned him to the door. Dougall stopped half way out and turned to me. “My da said ye’re a right bonny lass milady, an he was right,” Conall pulled him through the door muttering God’s blood, as he did so.
Conall filled Dougall in about Andrew’s visit and what was expected of him. Dougall was insistent on going along. He attempted to talk him out of it, but Dougall was not taking no for an answer. His excuse was that he wanted the opportunity to meet the Bruce himself.
“Bràthair have ye e’re been to Rathin Island before? I have so ye will need me, I wi no miss out on meetin’ tha Bruce.”
Dougall had been to Rathlin Island a year before and felt that he would be an asset on this mission. While they brushed the horses down Dougall gave Conall details about the layout of the island. Although Conall had not actually said he could go, Dougall took it for granted he did.
I cut up the gutted and descaled fish, adding it to the cooking pot with herbs. Finding a small salt box, although there was barely a pinch of salt left, adding that as well. After I cleaned the table I checked the quiver to see how many bolts I had left. There was only six. I would have to take time to make some more. Six was not enough should we be attacked again. It would seem that no matter where we went the Brollachan always knew our location. I needed to find a solution, and fast. Maybe with Dougall here, and with three heads we could come up with some ideas, I only hoped.
When the fish stew was ready I called Conall from the doorway. Searching the saddle bags, I found some dry bannocks and cheese. Luckily the cupboard held wooden bowls and spoons. Conall noticed me looking at the only two chairs in the room. He went back outside to bring one in from near the door. Filling the bowls with the fish stew I hoped it was at least tasty. I wasn’t a great cook but I could at least put something edible together.
Mother had not been a great cook either, remembering us in the kitchen working on recipes together, then laughing as many turned out burnt or simply sad looking.
“Tis a fine pottage ye have made.” Dougall smiled getting stuck into the stew, to my relief, as soon as he seated himself.
“Just make sure ye leave tha room when tha lass is cutting vegetables.” Conall said to Dougall raised eyebrows. “Ye might be attacked by a carrot.”
“Aye and why tis so?”
I slanted my eyes at Conall although a smile plagued my face, thinking of Conall’s reaction when he was hit by the flying vegetable.
Conall gave me a side look, his face one of mirth. “Tha lass takes her anger oot on the vegetables an ye are likely to be attacked in the process.”
Dougall broke out in a fit of laughter. “So the mighty Dragon Blade ha been brought to his knees by a wee lass an a carrot.”
I looked up surprised to hear the term Dragon Blade. Not hearing this before. “Dragon Blade?”
“Aye Conall here is known as the Dragon Blade in the highlands.” Dougall said.
Conall really didn’t want to discuss the name. It had been given to him when he was younger by his brothers. “It’s just a name.” he retorted giving Dougall a searing look.
Now this was strange. Why would Conall be so angry with Dougall for calling him the Dragon Blade. I let the matter rest. For the moment.
Changing the subject that seemed to cause some distress to Conall. I asked, “Dougall if you don’t mind me asking how old are you? That’s if I am not being too rude.”
“Nay I am eight and ten summers. And if’n I be no so rude can I ask ye yer age as well?”
“I am twenty-six.” I said taking another mouthful of the stew, it didn’t taste too bad considering. “And Conall what is your age?”
“I be six and twenty too.” He was surprised that he and Morgan were of the same age. He had thought that she was younger.
“Oh really, we are the same age? When is your birthday?”
Conall put his spoon down having finished his stew.
“Noooo, that is my birthdate! We were born on the same day, what are the odds of that?” Conall looked stunned as he and Dougall looked at each then back at me.
“Do you know what time you were born. I don’t actually know what time I was born, but my mother told me that the moment of my birth both the sun and the moon shared the sky together. Don’t you think that is just magical?” I prattled.
“Gods blood.” Conall exclaimed. I looked at him to see his eyes wide and a look on his face of alarm.
“Bràthair did ma no say that when ye were born tha sun and moon where both in tha sky? I remember she tellin’ ye many times.”
I sat staring from one to the other a stunned look on my face, my spoon held in midair. Conall got up from the table his face still one of shock as he left the room and went outside, Dougall close on his heels. I was dumbfounded myself. Conall and I were born at the same time. This was beyond bizarre. I thought him being born on the same day crazy, but at the same hour. I considered back to the pendant in my box, and the same one that Conall had in his saddle bag. Is this what the two pendants meant by two souls?
Conall raked his fingers through his hair as he paced outside the hut. He didn’t know whether he felt set up or in some kind of weird nightmare. How could he and Morgan be born at the exact same time, on the same day. What are the chances that the one person he was born to protect was...what he didn’t really know. He was confused.
“Conall do ye ken it strange that ye and the lass share the same?” Dougall asked keeping pace with his brother.
Dougall continued. “Do ye think tis fated like.” Conall stopped and looked at his brother. “Tis maybe that ye have more in common wi tha lass than being her protector. Mind though after seeing legs o’ men under yon boulder, an hearing the lass attacked ye wit carrot. I’ve ta wonder who the protector is.” Dougall laughed.
“Haud ye wheesht Dougall.” Conall snapped at his brother, continuing his pacing. Conall had already thought about how it was more Morgan protecting him than the other way around. However, he also remembered how Morgan’s face had lit up with laughs and giggles at the carrot incident. A sight he wished never to forget. Morgan suddenly appeared with a flask of whiskey.
“I thought you might like a drink.” I said sheepishly hoping that Conall had settled down. He seemed agitated or a little angry when he left the hut. It was possibly that the new revelation of our births was for him a little daunting. I was finding it daunting myself. I never expected this.
When I was in school a classmate was fanatical about numerology, so much so that she had gone to the trouble of working out everyone in the class’s supposed future. She said that I was destined for great things and lots of travel. Well lots of travel I was doing, though I never expected I would be flitting through time, having abilities and a wolf and a warrior as my protectors, it was enough to make a girls head swim.
Conall seemed to be more relaxed even smiling at me as I handed him the flask. “Are you alright Conall?” I asked watching his face.
“Aye lass I am, thank ye for the whisky.” he took the lid off, taking a swig then handed it to Dougall.
“By the way I will be coming with ye in the morning to Rathlin Island ta save tha Bruce.” Dougall grinned taking a gulp of the scotch.
“Right then.” I said as I made my way back to the hut. The light was fading and only by the glow of the fire in the hearth was there any light at all. I sat on the bed and cleaned Abbey. Dougall popped his head through the door a little later to say goodnight. He was going to bunk down with the horses. I had fussed over if there was enough room in this small hut for both he and Conall to be sleeping.
Conall came in shortly shutting the door and dropping the bar across it. He unsheathed his claymore, sword and dirks propping them on the floor beside the door. I watched him beneath hooded eyes, his face composed not giving away anything.
I absentmindedly cleaned Abbey with a rag as I continued to watch him. Well watching the muscles rippling on his chest and arms beneath his shirt. His hair brushing his face. He is just so damned beautiful, well men are supposed be handsome, no he was definitely beautiful, even if he was frustrating as hell at times. He sat on a chair to remove his belt, he must have sensed I was observing him.
“Did yer bow survive the attack lass?”
“She’s not damaged, still in one piece thank goodness.”
“Aye.” he said as he removed his boots. Removing his plaid laid it down on the floor in front of the door. He saw me look at the plaid then back at him. I didn’t say anything though, I was feeling tired. If he was going to sleep on the floor then so be it. I was too tired for a round of sardonic perhaps comical jests between the two of us that had become a common routine. He stood for a moment as if waiting for me to say something. When I didn’t he laid himself down and tucked his hands under his head.
I assumed that his thoughts on both of us being born at the same moment was playing on his mind. He must be as confused as I was. I also wondered at the name of Dragon Blade. There were no dragons in Scotland, and to my knowledge there had never been so. Perhaps it was just an adage in this time, in this Scotland.
There was no linen on the bed just two blankets so I only took off my boots and belts. Laying on the bed fully clothed. In the morning, we would go to save the Bruce, and now Dougall was coming with us. Although I felt safe with Conall I was glad he was coming.
The fire kept the hut warm. I laid on my side watching Conall still with his hands behind his head. His face glowing with the light from the fire. I wondered what it was about him that made my stomach flutter, most of the time. Then there were his moods, I had never come across anyone that could change temperament as fast as lightning. One minute he could be happy and smiling, the next all serious and stern. I wondered again about the kisses, which brought a smile to my face, he though, gone from romantic to Mr I’m-on-a-mission.
Recollecting the softness of his lips I shut my eyes as his voice almost a whisper crossed the room.
“Mmmmm.” I answered
“Do…ye no find it…strange that we ay born at tha same time?”
“Strange yes.” I drowsily answered
“Do ye think we may be connected in some way, from birth that is ta say?”
“Hmmm, maybe. I could be your sister.” I said yawning
“Would you be disappointed if I was?” although tired I was curious at what reaction that would incite from him.
“Aye, I would be mightily disappointed. I can no see ye as me sista.”
“Oh, and why might that be?” I asked in a mocking tone. Conall huffed and turn on his side facing the door. I had said that I was too tired to jest this night but couldn’t help the last remark. Reminiscing again about the kisses. It had not been a brotherly kiss by anyone’s standards.
“Goodnight, brother.” I said turning my back to him with an inner giggle. I was sure I heard, albeit quietly his famous words Gods blood.