The Breath Of A Brollachan
Conall thought Morgan was very much like his sister in law. She was easy to irk. He now understood what Sloane had seen in Ula. Morgan had spirit and fire. Favorable penchants than an acquiescent maiden.
“Lass have ye ever been to Scotland?” He thought he should at least make conversation. To settle the waters between them. They would be spending a fair amount of time travelling. The last thing he wanted was to have her angry with him most of the time. It would make for a very unpleasant journey.
“Tis a beautiful country, with it’s mountains an dales. The heather is so thick that ye can make a bed on it without ere touching the ground.”
“Sounds beautiful.” I said with little enthusiasm. I liked listening to his burr it was easy on the ears, and his voice was strong like rich chocolate. Chocolate, what a strange thought that was. I don’t think I had ever met anyone that I could have truly said their voice sounded like rich chocolate, but I couldn’t think of anything that was more suitable.
Conall sat sipping his tea. I took a side glance at him. His brow furrowed as though he wanted to say something.
“Lass there are things we must talk about. We need to travel soon. It is no longer safe fer ye here.”
“Where are we going?” I asked sipping a little more of the tea. I was getting used to the heat of the scotch at the back of my throat, my headache though had scaled up a few notches.
“Aye well that’s what we need to discuss. I am no sure I can do it at this time.”
“What do you mean? So, what time would be convenient for you then?” I asked with cynicism.
“I think 1735 would be our best bet.”
“I think tis better to go to a different time.” Conall said as if it was nothing more than popping down to the shops for a loaf of bread. “It’ll be easier for me to protect ye. An I ken only one person who can give ye back ye ability an she is in 1735.”
“When you said you couldn’t do it at this time. I wasn’t expecting you to be talking about the year.”
“Aye I can see that.” a slight grin crept across his face. Conall did notice though that Morgan’s face had become pale and the way she rubbed her temples told him she had a headache.
“Your joking, aren’t you? You don’t actually mean that we will travel through time back to the year 1735?”
Conall lowered his cup and looked at me with sincerity. “Aye lass that is exactly what I mean.”
This was just one more bizarre item to add to my growing list. Fae, abilities, Tuatha, Pict, now time travel. I took a deep breath before asking him who the person was that could restore my abilities. My head was really starting to pound now and my stomach felt as if was turning somersaults.
“A Cailleach, a seer woman.”
“Weren’t they burnt at the stake as witches in say 1735?”
“Nay. Well that is to say, I suppose some may have, I dinnae ken. I have nay seen a witch burnt at the stake.”
I placed my cup on the seat. Pacing to the end of the cottage and back. I felt as if I had fallen into one of Jules Verne books. As I paced, my headache intensified and my body felt odd. “Surely you just can’t slip through time whenever you feel like it.” Travelling back in time didn’t seem real, and I wasn’t sure I believed him. It was just too implausible, as if being told I was a Fae wasn’t.
“Lass I can see that ye are a wee bit distressed. I can assure ye it is safe to do so.” Conall stood placing his cup on the bench and approached. “Ye no need to be feared of it. It will no hurt.” The lass didn’t look well. He wasn’t sure if the idea of time travelling was what was causing her to appear so distressed or if there was something else going on.
I began shaking violently so much so that the contents of my cup splashed over the rim. Conall put his hands on my shoulders. I dropped the cup, which shattered when it hit the path. I could feel myself wavering. I did not feel well. My body began to spasm like I was experiencing an epileptic fit.
Conall grabbed me in what felt like a bear hug and drew me close to him. It should have made me feel better but my head swam and throbbed. I felt a cold pain streak through the core of my body. It was as if I was stabbed by an ice poker. My throat seized. I couldn’t make a sound. Pain shot up my back across to my shoulder. Then like someone clicked off the light switch I descended into darkness.
Conall had felt more than saw Morgan’s distress. He had put his hands on her shoulders to calm her. Before he grasped what was happening, her face turned ashen white, her body went into a seizure. He grabbed hold of her as she collapsed into unconsciousness into his arms. Lifting her up he hurried inside to the bed to lay her down. Running into the other room he hit the buzzer again and again. He stopped pushing after the tenth pounding, going back to her side. She didn’t look good at all. Her face was almost pure white and her breathing was so low, he could barely hear it, her skin abysmally cold.
Conall dragged his fingers through his hair, he was close to panicking. He was though relieved when Sloane and Ula rushed through the door. “I dinnae ken what happened. The lass started shaking and then collapsed.” He exclaimed with angst. The blood pounded in his ears.
“What did ye do to the lass?” Sloane bellowed, anguish spreading across his face at the sight of Morgan.
“I didnae do anything, she just collapsed. We were sitting outside talking.”
Ula ran to Morgan’s side and put a hand to her head and then checked her breathing. This was not good, not good at all. “Sloane go to the house and get my bag and hurry.” Sloane ran as if the hounds of hell were biting at his ankles.
“Ula what be the matter with the lass?” Conall paced back and forth.
“I don’t know Conall.” Ula was worried, Morgan looked near death being so pale and cold.
Sloane hurried back into the room clutching Ula’s tapestry bag. Ula charged Conall to put the kettle on. She pulled a jar from her bag of mixed herbs and roots. She needed to steep these and quickly. When the kettle had boiled she poured the water into a bowl. Emptying the mixture of herbs into a muslin patch she tied it with string. Then sat the muslin bag in the hot water.
When the herbs had steeped enough and cooled a little. Ula poured some of the liquid into a cup. “Conall sit her up for me”
Conall sat on the bed and lifted Morgan onto his lap holding her head up. Ula poured a little of the contents into Morgan’s mouth, just a little at a time. Then she placed the cup on the bedside table.
Ula said. “Conall you can lay her down now. I will give her more of the tea in ten minutes.” She collected extra blankets from the cupboard laying them on the bed. Morgan began shaking again.
Conall pressed his lips shaking his head. “Nay I will hold her, she is freezing, her skin is so cold.”
Ula had an idea what it might be. “There is an infection somewhere in her body. But usually with infections the body heats, it doesn’t get cold like this. There is only one infection that causes a freezing of the body like this.”
Conall said. “Ula what is it?” He was still holding Morgan on his lap with his arms wrapped around her.
“If she has an internal rupture, and has taken in the breath of a Brollachan.” This just affirmed Ula’s suspicions that Joe was indeed a Brollachan.
“Can ye fix her Ula? Her fingers are turning blue.”
Ula was aware that Conall was clearly distressed at how quickly Morgan had deteriorated. She had never seen her brother in law so distraught. Even though it was his mission to protect her, she thought that he had grown in the short time a strong attachment to Morgan. “We have to warm her up. Sloane go up to the house and grab the extra blankets in the cupboard.” Sloane was about to leave when Conall shouted.
“Nay it willnae be enough, there is only one way to heat her body fast.” Conall knew that no matter how many blankets they piled on the lass, they would not be enough. There was only one way to get heat into her quickly.
Ula shrieked with alarm. “I hope you are not thinking what I think you are thinking. No! you cannot Conall…its…it’s not right.”
Sloane shook his head he knew what Conall was saying. He also understood it was the fastest way to get heat into the lass.
“Sloane?” Ula looked at her husband. He dipped his shaking head.
“Ula you canna do it, you couldna give her enough heat, and ye can nay get a doctor. I can give her heat faster.”
“Conall she heals quick and with the herbs she may be fine soon.” Ula implored. Although she knew it was a long shot with this type of infection.
“An if she dosnae, an I could have saved her?” Conall had no time for arguing, he needed to on with the job of heating the lass’s body up.
There was nothing for it. Ula resigned to the fact that it would be the only way to heat Morgan’s body quickly. Morgan could very well heal herself but the risk was too great. She had seen others die from the same. With no idea as to the extent of the damage or infection, Ula had not seen anyone decline so quickly. Brollachan infections in a Fae could spread with much more deathly consequences than of humans.
“All right then.” she sighed “Conall give her more of the tea in ten minutes and every half an hour after. And by god if you do anything to the lass I will kill you myself. Do you hear me Conall Sutherland!”
“Aye I hear ye, now leave or she’ll nay last to the end of yer blethering.”
As soon as Ula and Sloane left the room Conall stripped the pyjamas from Morgan, and laid her under the covers so her back was to him. He took of his kilt laying it on the bed. Getting in he gathered her into his arms, pulling her tightly to him. He laid there for some time before holding her up for a little more of the tea. He resumed his hold under the covers rubbing her legs and arms trying to get heat into them.
Conall felt responsible for Morgan’s condition, even though Ula had blamed the beast, and his foul breath. He should not have let her sit outside, knowing she was cold. He mayhap should not have slept outside her door. But wasn’t that his mission, to ensure her safety? Morgan felt fragile and soft against the mass of his body. Her hair smelled of wildflowers and heather. He shook his head to rid himself of ill-disciplined thoughts, and continued to rub any part of her skin that felt icy.
During the next few hours Conall went through the same process. Lifting her up, holding her head to take the tea. Her body was a little warmer but he was committed to ensuring that Morgan stayed in the land of living. He was still holding her when the first rays of dawn’s light streamed in the window.