I wasn’t worried about Silver’s appetite. We had seen multitudes of rabbits scurrying about on our way to the stones. A bounty should he be hungry. Conall pointed to the hill in the distance he had mentioned before. It certainly looked like a woman laid down. He took me by the hand to show me the Mother stone, the Maiden, The Male and the Crone stone. I stood in front of the mother stone and laid my hands on her. I could feel a thrumming coming from it through my fingers.
“I can feel her.”
“Aye lass she is getting ready fer ye. It will no be time though until the moon moves over Sleeping Beauties stomag.” he said moving his hands over the hill to where the woman’s stomach was.
Most of the day was spent talking with Ula, while the boys frequently rode out to circle the stones checking for any movement. As the sun began descending in the sky Sloane lit a fire away from the stones. They had made torches and stuck them in the ground around the outside so they could see anyone approaching. Silver continued his vigilance searching the grounds.
Soon the sun sunk below the horizon as the moon ascended. As it rose it lit the entire area throwing an eerie light across the stones. I could see the men riding back to where Ula and I were, silver padding beside Conall’s horse. All of a sudden screams and shouts came from every direction.
Ula grabbed my arms. “Lass it will be alright, we’ve got this.” she kissed me on the cheek before she ran off towards the sound. Conall raced his horse towards me, jumping off before the horse has stopped.
“Morgan go to the mother stone now with yer box. Stay there until the moon is in position. We will keep them away from ye.” He urged before pulling me to him with force kissing me hard. Sloane passed on his horse nodding at me heading towards where Ula had run. Conall mounted his horse shouting at me to go. I ran with the box to the inner circle of stones and stood panting and shaking before the mother stone.
Conall caught up to Sloane. Ula was standing ahead of them calling up tornados. First one then another and another. Swirling and growing quickly in speed and size. A dozen Brollachan headed for the two men. They answered them by swords swinging screaming their war cry charging at them. More came from the left and right.
Conall used his sword’s pommel to trap a challenger’s sword, slamming him forward ramming the sword edge into the opponent’s neck. As he turned he swiftly trapped another Brollachan’s sword with his hilt, following through with his left hand striking him with the blade. He turned to see Sloane blocking and striking three of the demons before taking them down in a swirl of strikes.
Conall kept turning to see Morgan in the distance before the stone and the progress of the moon. Ula sent tornado after tornado taking up dozens of the braggarts in their tempestuous twisting. Dougall fought to the north taking one after another out with his blade. The wolf working to the south adroitly and swiftly snapping the necks of the screaming demons.
Bodies littered the ground either from falling from the height of the tornadoes, to dismemberment by sword and claymore.
Conall turned once again the moon was almost in position.
“Sloane where the bloody hell are they all coming from?” Conall yelled slicing his sword through the middle of another Brollachan.
“From the ground.” Sloane yelled back taking the head clean off another.
Conall suddenly stopped. Sloane caught the look of horror and Conall’s face screaming ‘The cairn’ before he turned and ran as fast as he could towards Morgan.
“God’s blood” yelled Sloane taking down two runners with one arc sweep of his sword. Then he realized there were no more to bring down. He yelled to Ula to follow him back to the stones. Dougall and the wolf had also run out of demons and they too headed towards the stones.
I watched the moon, she was almost in position. As the moon lined up over the stomach of the sleeping woman, the mother stone began to glow. Just a little further I pleaded to the stone. I turned hearing a noise behind me. Near the largest stone that stood in the centre of the circle, a body rose from beneath an opening in the ground. Damn it was a Brollachan and he was heading my way.
Conall shot through between the stones sword raised. Fear overwhelmed me I looked from the approaching Brollachan a big man built like a tank, to Conall running full belt. As he passed the centre stone another Brollachan hiding behind the stone jumped out at him catching him off guard. Conall went down but recovered quickly and got to his feet. He sliced the attacker across the throat and ran again after the big one. They met in battle just in front of me. I pushed myself close to the stone, box still in hand. Watching the fray, terrified. The attacker slashed at Conall catching him in the shoulder. Conall paid no attention he lunged forward cutting a path with his sword across the chest. The attacker didn’t seem to register he had been cut he parried with Conall, jabbing at each other. The Brollachan although, he was a big man and he moved fast. It was apparent he was well trained with a sword.
“Lass it’s nearly time be ready.” Conall yelled not taking his eyes from his opponent. Sloane and Ula came running to the outer circle. Suddenly Conall’s travel pendant flew off and landed near my feet. I didn’t think about it and bent to pick it up. As I did the image of a woman appeared within the mother stone.
The stone glowed like it was on fire as I watched the woman with her arms out looking at me to hand her the box. I handed it to her as she slowly faded with the box in hand. I turned to see Conall receive a fist to his face that sent him flying to the ground. The Brollachan lunged forward catching my arm, he screamed “beannachadh dhiathan” before releasing me dropping to the ground himself, the pendant slipping out of my hands to lay beside him in the dirt.
A grey fog began swirling around me, I screamed Conall’s name realising that I was time shifting. The Brollachan had said the words. I could see Conall screaming “No!” at me as he slowly disappeared behind the thickening fog. A look on his face of absolute fear. My head went dizzy and once again I was caught up in the gyration. I was spinning and doing so without Conall. No I couldn’t go without him…noooooo. Fear escalated as I wrapped my arms around myself, tears falling down my face. I didn’t want to go, I couldn’t go without Conall, but I was.
Conall turned to see Morgan holding his travel pendant. He heard the words coming from the Brollachan. The same words he used to travel. He screamed “No.” to her as the pendant slipped from her fingers and she was encircled by the mist. The Mother stone dimming in glow as the moon moved towards the head of the sleeping hill woman.
He dropped to his knees as if he had been dropped from a height, his heart breaking.
Sloane and Ula hurried to his side. “Conall where is she!” Ula screamed “Where’s she gone.” Ula was close to hysterical. She had seen Morgan disappear in front of her eyes.
Sloane knew what had happened, he had heard the words too. The pendant lay in the soil in front of the mother stone. He placed a hand on Conall shoulder pulling him to his feet.
“She’s gone.” Conall choked, tears streaming down his face.
“Aye lad I saw.”
“We have to find her Sloane.” Conall demanded.
Ula was crying fitfully. Sloane wrapped her in his arms. “Where’s she gone Sloane, where is she?”
“I dinnae ken lass. It depends on what she was thinking about just before the words were spoken. What do ye think Conall, do ye ken where she might ha gone.”
Conall stood as if in a nightmare, feeling unable to move, he couldn’t speak.
Dougall came running up to them with the wolf. “Did Morgan do it, did she get the box home.” He looked around then at the desolate look on Conall face and a sobbing Ula. “Where’s Morgan?” he asked panicking at the scene before him.
“She disappeared in time.” Conall whispered. Dougall looked confused. The wolf whined sniffing frantically around the stone looking for her.
“She was holding the travel pendant, the Brollachan grabbed her and said the words, the lass disappeared.” Sloane said as he cradled his weeping wife.
Dougall stood in shock. He couldn’t believe she was gone. Then he turned to Conall.
“If you hadn’t taken tha pendant back she would still be here.”
“Now lad.” Sloane said. “It’s no anyone’s fault ye can no be blamin Conall.”
Conall marched past them beyond the stones and sat on the ground. He couldn’t believe what had happened. The wolf sat before the mother stone and howled at the moon. A sorrowful howl that tore at Conall’s heart even more. They had lost her, how was he ever going to find her, she could have gone anywhere.
He had to focus on where she could have gone. His hand went to the half pendant he still wore around his neck and held it firmly. He could feel no pulse of electricity from it knowing she was no longer in this time period.
Ula slumped down beside him and put her arm round his shoulders still crying and shaking. “We will find her Conall, we won’t stop until we do.”
“Aye that be so lad we will no stop looking fer her.” Sloane added as he sat on the other side of Conall.
“Conall what if she went home? back to the farm.” Ula hiccupped.
Dougall walked to them wrought himself with the loss of Morgan. “I’m sorry bràthair I did no mean what I said.” Tears forming at the corners of his eyes. Conall nodded to him.
“There’s a problem.” Sloane sighed. All eyes looked to him. “She did no say the words, the Brollachan did, an he’s dead.”
Realization hit them all at the same time. The destination of the traveler went to the place of whomever said the words.
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph, No!” Ula cried.
“Love do ye still have ye mobile with ye?” Sloane asked.
Ula looked at Sloane with confusion. “Yes, why?”
“It’s a long shot but if’n ye take a photo of the Brollachan that said the words, maybe we can find out who he is, an where he lived an worked. It might give us a clue as to where the lass has gone.”
Ula reached under her kirtle to the jean skirt she wore beneath and pulled her mobile from a pocket. She would not have normally brought it with her, but seeing as she was unconscious at the time, it had remained in her pocket. Very glad that it was, racing to where the Brollachan still lay Ula took his photo a dozen times. As she turned to walk back to Sloane, she twisted and took a couple more just to make sure she had every angle of the rotting Brollachan body.
Conall’s heart hurt, no he thought his entire body hurt. Morgan made him whole, without her he was only half a person loving her more than life itself. He couldn’t believe she had slipped away from him so easily, they had travelled all this way to lose her now. He stood to face his brothers and sister in law.
“Wolf to me now!” the wolf ran to his side, standing to face the others. “I want my wife back, we do not stop looking until she is found.” He shouted more to the winds.
Sloane, Dougall and Ula shouted in unison. “Aye.”
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