AIMNÉISE Place of Pendants 2

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Chapter Thirteen

Scotland 1736

I was downright fuming to be stood in front of the Cailleach when my wife could be in danger. I didn’t care if Malcolm II was in trouble, surely it could have waited until after I had retrieved Morgan.

“Agnes it cannae be the Brollachans, surely giving the box back tae Tuatha stopped them from going after Morgan?” I was on my feet my fist clenching at my sides.

“Conall I ken ye are wanting tae find ye wife, but this is important, an we no ken who ha taken him. Our sources say it was Brollachan’s, so we can no ignore this. Tis why ye need tae find him, an ye will do as I say.” The Cailleach’s voice was one not to be argued with and that just made me angrier and more frustrated.

“It still could a waited, I can no see what the urgency is. Something does no add up Agnes.” I muttered to her. It didn’t add up and that was the problem, something about this felt…fishy. Over the years Agnes had many jobs for me, flitting from one century to the next, rescuing or fixing historical errors that occurred for whatever reason. My gut was telling me something was off, even Agnes’s attitude was uncommon.

“Ye will do as I tell ye Conall, ye an Dougall. Ye will go an save Malcolm an if ye do it quick like then ye can go after ye wife.” The Cailleach demanded, causing me to raise my brows.

In all the years I had known her she had never spoken to me in such a caustic manner.

I turned to Dougall sitting on the chair looking like death warmed up. I ken it was from the amount he had to drink, and although he had had a barrel full of coffee and food in his stomach, he would still be feeling the after effects.

“Dougall do ye agree that we should be doing this instead of going tae get Morgan? Does this all feel right tae ye?

Dougall shook his head, wishing he hadn’t, it was still pounding from the amount of mead he had drunk at the tavern. Unlike what his bràthair thought, he wasn’t there for a good time, even though it turned into such. He was simply trying to hide from his own disappointment at himself and sadness of losing Morgan. He still felt he was to blame.

He did though feel as Conall was that something here wasn’t right, he couldn’t exactly say what it was. He had been in this room many times but even the scent of the place was different, denser and staler if he had to put a finger on it. Her attitude though and the way she was speaking to Conall was out of character for her. If his head wasn’t so fuzzy, he would have a clearer thought about this whole situation.

Regardless he would do what Conall said and back him up no matter if he went on this mission or against the Cailleach. Although he didn’t hold out that the prospect of doing so wouldn’t result in their slow deaths, she was powerful for whatever she was, witch or God, he never did ken.

I crossed my arms understanding that Dougall was feeling much the same as I. We had two choices here, we either did what the Cailleach requested or we didn’t. I ken she was not human and never had been, but she had always been fair and caring towards me and my family until now. I didn’t much like the prospect of her using her powers against me or one of my bràthairs, or da. The question I had to ask myself was did I trust her, that would take more thought.

“Agnes we will do this but it no feels right.” That was all I was going to say on the matter. I would deal with this at another time. She gave me a nod and then spoke about the mission.

Malcolm II had disappeared a day out from Morphet Castle after having secret negotiations with Edward III. The only date Agnes could give us was around September 1366. Her informants told her they suspected that it was Brollachans, but no one had seen them. This trip amped up my speculation that we were standing on the wrong end of the seesaw.

I will begrudgingly go and save this damned Malcolm with the hope that I could pull off the quickest retrieval in history. Once it was done though and we had found Morgan I was going to come back here and have it out with Agnes, and if she didn’t like it then I would quit. She could find some other lackeys to do her missions, and if it meant giving back the travel pendant then so be it.

Morgan and I would decide which time to live in and the rest be damned to hell. It didn’t matter where we lived as long as we were together. Fuck I would live in a barn as long as I had her by my side.

When Agnes had finished talking, we found ourselves once more outside staring at the tiny doorway. She had whisked us out before we could respond to her.

“Well that was bloody rude.” Dougall muttered. “She didn’t even give us a drink of whiskey, and she always gives us a dram when we come to see her, damn fecking rude.”

“Ne’er mind about ye bloody whisky, something dosna feel right about all of this, and Agnes…something was off about her too.”

“There’s never been anything right about her, but aye I agree my gut tells me something is wrong.”

“Let’s get this job finished then go find my wife.”

I was about to grab Dougall’s shirt to whisk us to 1366 when he suggested we stop at an inn first, because he was starving. Of course, he was.

Dougall had empty legs when it came to food, however I was hungry myself not having had the pies at Morgan’s store before transporting to the Glasgow Art Gallery. I wondered now what had happened to those pies.

Looking in the direction of Altnaharra, where I had taken Morgan after our meeting with the Cailleach.

“I can see by ye look that ye don’t want to go to Altnaharra. How about we go to the Bags and Pipes, ye did no take Morgan there did ye?”

“Nay.” I needed to block the thoughts out of my mind of our last visit here and get on with this damned job.

Grabbing a hold of Dougall’s shirt we travelled to the Bags and Pipes inn, landing behind the stables.

The trip to the inn was quick just long enough to eat and drink then we both whizzed through time to 1366 not far from Morphet Castle.

It was agreed that Dougal would make his way around the back of the castle and find a young maid, to see if he could get some information, with as he put it the Dougall sweet talk. I had no intention of sweet talking anyone, I was a married man not that I had ever been a sweet talker, except when it came to Morgan, and even that had its difficulties.

Maids were often happy to disclose information if they were being chatted up by a good-looking man, and I knew that Dougall was really good at chatting any female. I rolled my eyes skyward remembering Mertyl the Amazon woman, at the inn where we had stayed on our way to the Callanish stones. She had initially taken a disliking to Dougall, going as far as wanting him to sleep with the pigs. It was a different story the next morning catching Dougall walking out of her room, a stupid smile on his face. Yep that boy could charm the evil out of a demon, as long as it was a female.

I heard a branch snap behind me and then cursed for not picking up my sword from Sloane’s and Ula’s, where I had left the blasted thing. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t brought my sword, the only thing I had on me was a dagger at my waist. This is what Ula always went on at me about, when I rushed, I became complacent and took risks that would get a normal person killed.

If I hadn’t left in such a temper, I would have had my brain in good working order and not the confused addled mess I was in. I wouldn’t have forgotten my fucking sword.

Before I could move guards came from all directions surrounding me. Some with swords and others with spears all pointed in my direction. Conall you are a complete dick.

One of them stepped forward. “Are ye Conall Sutherland?” God’s blood this was a fucking trap.

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