Chapter Thirty Seven
Chapter Thirty Seven
The Bastard Sword
When the battle ended Sloane and Dougall stood panting in the midst of dead bodies scattered over the paddock. Both covered in blood and gore, and panting madly. Sloane moved from body to body, turning them over if they lay on their faces. He was searching.
“Sloane what are ye looking fer?”
Sloane’s brow was furrowed in anger. “Joe.”
Dougall had never seen Joe so there wasn’t much he could do to help his brother, only stand as Sloane continued his search. Both stopped when they heard Ula scream. They turned simultaneously to see Joe holding a knife to Ula’s throat. They rushed over stopping but a few feet away. Joe stood with an evil smirk to his face. He had one arm around her shoulders and a dagger pressed to her neck.
“Let her go!” Sloane yelled, seething with anger that the beast had his wife. The muscles in his chest and arms rippling with tension.
“So, Sloane where is my wife then? I searched the farm and found no sight of her. What have you done with her. Tell me or I will cut the head off this one.” Joe smirked.
“Let her go. You hurt her an I’ll rip yer black heart oot yer chest!”
“I’ll ask you again. Where is my wife?” he snarled pulling Ula closer to him so that the tip of the blade cut into her neck. A drop of blood trickled down.
Sloane was incensed, his face reddening with pure rage.
A single tear rolled down her face. “Sloane, he killed my girls.”
Dougall looked to Sloane confused.
“Ye killed the chickens?” Sloane bit grinding his teeth.
Joe sniggered. “Ah the feathered one’s. Yes, I am afraid they have gone to wherever dirty feathered beasts go when they leave this life. Just as my wife’s mother did after I dealt with her.”
“Ye killed Lady Morgan’s mother?” Dougall spat noticing the shocked look on his wife’s face.
Joe laughed. “Lady bah, she is no lady. Once I have delivered my wife to Aoife, along with the pendant and dagger, and of course her blood she will join her. I will take pleasure in cutting her heart out nice and slow.”
Ula’s body tensed, her lips pressed tightly together. It was bad enough she was in a shoulder lock by this rotting carcass, but there was no way in hell was she going to let him hurt Morgan. She always thought her sister was killed in a car accident, only now to discover that Joe had killed her. Her beloved sister, and now he was talking openly about killing her niece. “Dougall, do you remember what my niece’s gift is?”
Dougall again looked confused. Obviously, she was talking about Morgan. Her gift was moving earth. He didn’t understand the connection looking to Sloane, not knowing what to say.
Sloane turned to him not taking his eyes from Ula. “Healing” he whispered. Dougall still wasn’t sure why or what. Then it hit him like a rock to the head. She wanted Sloane to take Joe out through her in the hope they could get her to Morgan to be healed in time.
God’s blood, no, Sloane couldn’t, he couldn’t. Before he had any more time to think about it Sloane threw his sword. It swept through the air and through Ula’s shoulder into Joe. Sloane raced to his wife to remove it just as quick. Ula didn’t make a sound. Sloane caught her before she went down. Laying her gently on the ground.
Dougall stood mouth open stunned at what he had just witnessed. He couldn’t believe Sloane had thrown a sword through Ula. He watched as Sloane caught his wife and laid her down before taking up one of the swords coming to stand over Joe. Joe was screaming obscenities holding his shoulder blood oozing from the wound.
“Dougall.” Sloane shouted motioning to Ula. Dougall ran falling to the ground to cradle Ula’s and push down on the wound to slow the blood flow. She was unconscious her face pale, blood seeping across her chest.
Sloane sneered still standing above Joe who was shrieking and screaming in pain. “Do ye see this sword?” he roared as he raised it above him. “Tis called the Bastard sword.” Joe looked at him with fear in his black eyes.
“You stole my wife, you’re the bastard.” Joe screamed at him.
“The lass was ne’er ye wife, ye deceived her, ye were ne’er marrit and ye beat her near ta death, ye fecking beast.” Sloane roared. “Fer what ye did to the lass an fer what ye did ta my wife and her ladies, ye bastard, ye shall die this day by this bastard sword.” With that Sloane took hold of the sword with both hands and drove it into Joe’s chest. Not stopping he pulled the sword down, still lodged in Joe so it tore a gaping hole down to his navel. Sloane turned to his wife and lifted her from Dougall.
“Lad put the blades in the car and lock her up, quickly lad we’ve no time. We have ta get Ula to Morgan. Now!”
Dougall grabbed the swords, ran to the car and threw them in the back. Seizing the keys from the ignition locked the doors. He raced back as Sloane stood with Ula in his arms. Standing nose to nose Dougall swung an arm around his brother, clutched the pendant and spoke the words focusing on Morgan.
Within seconds they were in bedroom of the inn. Morgan lay on the bed sleeping. Dougall placed a hand on Morgan’s shoulder urging her to wake.
I woke to someone shaking my shoulder and turned stunned to see Dougall at the bedside. Then I noticed Sloane with fear and concern on his face, holding Ula covered in blood. I jumped to my feet. The wolf moved quickly out the way.
“What happened. What’s wrong with Ula?”
“Lass ye need ta heal her and quickly lass do it now.” Sloane pleaded.
“Put her on the bed uncle.” Sloane laid Ula gently down. Her shoulder was covered in blood still oozing from a gash. I closed my eyes and focused. Feeling the heat rising from my hand I prayed silently to Mother Earth to help me in this healing. I perhaps stayed with my hand over Ula for longer than was probably necessary but I had to make sure. I opened my eyes and moved my hand away as she began to stir.
Sloane was besides her in a flash, tears streaming down his face. He stroked her hair as she opened her eyes slowly.
“I’m sorry love.” he cried
“Sloane, you did it?” she said looking at him with so much love.
“Aye lass, twas the hardest thing I’ve ere done in me life. He pressed his forehead to Ula’s. “Please love do no ask me ta e’er do that agin. I could no go through it a second time.”
Ula stroked Sloane’s cheek. “No love hopefully you won’t have to. Did you miss me then, you big oaf?” Sloane broke down and hid his face into her neck. “There, there my love am back now, no need to fret. I’m just bloody grateful Dougall was there with the pendant. I would hate to think what could have happened if…” Ula let her words stray off. What could have happened wasn’t worth thinking about.
Standing there watching them I felt I was intruding in their private moment. Then Ula caught sight of me. She jumped off the bed, leaving Sloane flopping face first to the bed behind her. Getting to her feet she literally threw herself into my arms.
“Morgan, I am so happy to see you. I’ve missed you so.” Ula cried as she hugged me hard.
Sloane had pulled himself together and wiping his eyes quickly with his arm he said, “Dougall I think we shall leave tha lasses ta talk while we go seek our bràthair. Talk some sense inta tha lad.”
Dougall nodded, and they headed to the door. Sloane gave his wife a kiss on the cheek still hugging it out with me. The wolf went with them.
I pulled from Ula’s grasp. I wasn’t sure myself how I had gotten back to the bed. The last thing I remembered was being in the cellar room with Betty. Then I remembered feeling the half pendant and knew Conall was there somewhere. It must have been him that saved me and brought me back to the room. I thought for the moment I would keep what happened to myself. I was more concerned what had happened to my aunt.
Thinking of what Sloane had said to Ula a few minutes before about not having to do it again. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why he would have done it. “Ula why did Sloane do this to you?”
“Joe had a knife to my throat” Ula said as she lifted her head so I cut see the small cut on her neck. I moved my hand quickly over it watching it heal as I did.
“Joe but how?” It was bad enough what Joe had done to me but the last thing I wanted was for him to attack Ula and Sloan. I looked pleadingly at her. “You had better tell me what happened from the beginning” I sat on the bed next to her and listened as she told me about the message they had received at the store. A coy look on her face when mentioning lending some of my weapons to Sloane and Dougall. I wasn’t worried about the weapons and urged her to continue. I sat tears filling my eyes telling me how Joe had killed my mother and her ladies. Ula had tears running down her face.
“Morgan, Sloane has come to talk with Conall.”
“Do you think it will do any good? He was so angry.” I sniffed wiping my eyes with a cloth. Ula wrapped her arms around me.
“Nonsense. Do you think it was a bed of roses when Sloane and I first got together? Trust me all will be well, Sloane will sort Conall out, one way or another.”
“But Sloane loves you, he treats you like you are the most precious gem in the world”
“Aye, but it wasn’t always like that. In the beginning, it was rough sailing. He also had a tough time coming to terms with my abilities. He was not my protector but he felt that he should have been. He could take down one, two or three men at a time. I could take out an entire town or city if I had a mind to. And he knew it.”
“How did you-”
“Work it out?” Ula interrupted.
“Yes. You still have your abilities, and uncle I guess, is still a warrior, well a farmer warrior.”
Ula laughed. “Aye, he is. We came to an understanding you might say. As you and Conall will. It is about respecting each other and working together. You have joined with him have you not?”
I blushed. “Yes.”
“And the first time you joined, did you feel the surge of power, as if you were both struck with a lightning bolt?” she asked giving me a questioning look and a raise of her eyebrows.
“What? How did you know?”
“Morgan my love, it happens to all descendants of the Tuatha de Danann when they join with their heart mates.”
“Really?” I was stunned by her disclosure. “Don’t you mean soul mates?
“No love I mean heart mate.”
Does it happen if you join with one who is not your heart mate?” I asked with curiosity.
“No love only your heart mate. I knew Conall was your mate from the moment you both sat in my kitchen together.” she said smiling at me.
“Oh, and how may I ask how did you know that?”
“Let’s just call it vibration of a sorts. Dougall told us about the tattoo, and what you had to go through. He also told us that Conall also bears the blue mark of Spirit, as you now have.”
“Yes. The Druid said our souls are joined.”
“As your hearts are too now. You and Conall could not be separated even if you wanted to be. He, as you, will know when each of you are near. Can you not feel him close by? Ula quizzed.
Ula laughed getting to her feet. “I don’t know about you love but I am starving, I can’t go downstairs dressed as I am. I’m afraid that skirts this short are not what you would consider acceptable attire in this century.”
“hmmm, hang on a tic” I went to the door opened it enough to stick my head out and shouted for Maggie. She came swiftly for one so well bodied.
“Yes milady what can I do fer ye?” Maggie asked.
“Maggie is there any chance that you might happen to have a couple of dresses anywhere, ours…er seem to have a problem.” I beseeched her smiling ruefully.
“Yes milady I’m sure I can find ye something.”
“Oh thank you so much, you are awfully kind.”
“No worries milady ye leave it ta me, shall be back as quick as a gnat around honey.” Maggie smiled as she waddled quickly off down the hall.
“Well done.” Ula laughed.
“She’s not too bad, quite nice really. Although she doesn’t like Dougall too much. She told him to go bathe with the pigs out the back.” with that Ula broke into a fit of laughter so once again tears whelmed in her eyes.
“Oh dear.” she said when her laughing fit settled. “I can only imagine how Dougall would have reacted to that. Bathe with the pigs, shite I would even pay to see it.”
A knock came at the door. Maggie had returned and passed two kirtles through the half-opened door. I thanked her profusely. We had no chemise or bodice. The kirtles laced at the front. At least they were respectable in this time period. Ula’s fitted well but was a little long. She would have to hold the front up as she walked to save tripping over it. Mine was a touch tight making my bust a little more exposed than I was used to. The length was fine. I shook my hair out and combed it with my fingers. Leaving it out would hopefully cover my exposure.
Ula laughed. “I’m afraid that there’s naught to be done about my hair. No worries if anyone asked I’ll just say it is a new fashion in Paris. These people will pretty much believe anything, as long as it doesn’t cost them anything, come on then we’ll go down, hopefully they will have something edible.”
We made our way downstairs and sat at a table as Maggie came over to say all they had to eat were bannocks and cheese. Winking she said that perhaps she could source some dried meat for us. She came back quickly and laid the items on the table curtsying as she left us to it. Ula got stuck in to a bannock and dried meat.
I told her of our meeting with the Cailleach and what she said. Every now and again Ula’s eyes would widen at the things I was saying to her, continuing to eat. I ate but a small piece of cheese, not feeling very hungry.
At the sound of the main door opening I turned to see Sloane and Dougall heading towards us. Sloane took his wife’s arm lifting her from the table.
“Ula love come now we need ta sleep. We be takin Dougall’s room, he will sleep in the stables.” Ula didn’t object but kissed me quickly on the cheek before they went upstairs. Dougall kissed me on the cheek then grabbed two bannocks and the rest of the cheese, giving me one of his grins before disappearing out the door leaving me sitting at the table by myself. Ok then, I was confused at everyone’s hurried departure.