AIMNÉISE Place of Pendants 2

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Chapter Fourteen

Down To The Dungeons We Go

This was a setup, they ken I was coming.

I could have fought or tried to fight but I would no doubt end up dead, and that couldn’t happen if I was going to find my wife. I couldn’t help her if I was dead. I had walked right into a stupid trap and me without a sword. I shook my head at my incompetence, when my da finds out he’s going to laugh at me before beating the crap out of me, I think Sloane will do the same thing.

“Aye that’s me, nice day for a stroll.” I mused at the soldier. He was an ugly bastard with a nose that was at least three times the size as it should be with a mustache that looked like it housed a family of mice. “Gods blood man what happened to ye face. Did ye have a fight with a hedgehog and lose?” I chuckled to a whisper from a soldier behind me saying that the man was sensitive about his nose. I would be too if I had a honker like that.

Raising my hands, one that had spoken pulled the travel and half pendants roughly from my neck, as well as the dagger from my waist. Another one patted me down to see if I was carrying any other weapons, which I wasn’t, not that would have helped me in this position. My sword, maybe at least I would have taken a few of them down. Yep, this was definitely a fucking set up. I was relieved that Dougall wasn’t with me, blessings to small mercies.

A soldier tied my arms behind my back and then marched me between them towards the castle. They didn’t take me through the front but continued around to the back, as normal with most castles, although this one was much smaller than Sutherland castle. The grounds looked more like a junk yard with stones and timber strewn everywhere, untidy blighters.

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted Dougall standing with a young maid near a well. He gave me the slightest of nods keeping himself and the lass hidden in the shadow of an overhanging tree.

I turned my body slightly and flicked my eyes frantically down to my chest, hoping he would realize my pendants had been taken. Although this is Dougall we are talking about, hopefully he will get the gist of my actions and not get carried away with the lass before he does something about getting me out.

Down to the dungeons we go. I’ve spent a good amount of time in blasted dungeons and there all the same. Dank, dark and fucking rat infested. I grunt as they push me hard, so I end up face planting the dirt floor before they locked the bard door.

Rat infested, they always are. The soldiers marched off leaving me alone. The cell was small, they all where, with no bed just a ratty pile of straw in one corner. I won’t be sleeping on that pile of lice infested, rat gnawed heap of shite, just fucking great.

I just hope that Dougall could get me out of here and it wouldn’t take too long. There was no mistaking now that they had been waiting for me and taking my pendants, they had to have some idea what they did, someone ken.

What had my mind in a whizz was how the Cailleach fitted into this. Her insistence that we come to save Malcolm, the way she had spoken to me and why she needed spies to give her information of the goings on throughout history had me confused. I always thought she was the one that could see everything. My stomach tossed and turned at the fact that I didn’t listen to my senses and inner feelings that something was erroneous from the onslaught.

When I get out of this dungeon and out of this damn time period and get my wife back, I am going to sort out what happened and what is wrong with Agnes. Fear crept up my spine, what if all of this is to get to Morgan? What if this set up was to stop me from getting to her?

Jumping to my feet I paced the cell, anyone who touches her will feel my wrath I will tear them into pieces. I couldn’t help the rise of anger that in my present state and place, I was so fucking useless to protect her.

I had no sense of how long I had been in this cell. There are no windows at this end of the dungeon, no idea if night had fallen. Locked in a cell with no windows could trick the mind into thinking one had been there for hours when it had only been minutes.

I don’t ken how long I paced going over every detail in my mind. Calmer, I sat down with my back against the wall just in case a rat decided that I was supper. Come on you little bastards and meet the heel of my boot.

Each time I closed my eyes I could see Morgan’s beautiful face, as if my heart couldn’t hurt anymore, damned it felt as if I had been hit with a dagger. Cursing myself for ever letting that fucking Brollachan send her away. My thoughts drifted to the moment I realised what was happening at the Callanish stones and how I had tried to reach her.

Five more steps I would have been able to grab her, pendant or not. At least we would have been together, and she wouldn’t be in a strange country with god knows what was happening to her alone. I sent out a prayer to the Gods, the Tuatha and the spirit of the Pics to keep her safe.

Sitting with my legs crossed my back to the wall meditating to find my centre, I drowned out the sounds and stench around me. Not easy, it stunk in here like the rat infested sewer it was.

“What’s he doing?” Came the mutter of a guard on the other side of the gate. His voice halting my emersion with the peaceful light.

“I seen this before.” The second guard grumbled. “Them monks do it, when they pray to their god or some such thing.”

“Pray, well he won’t be sitting there too long if a rat jumps out and bites his arse.” Both the guards chuckled. I wasn’t worried though I’d kent if a rat approached. Then I’d ram it down their throats before they could say another word.

“Is he smiling.” The first guard uttered.

“Maybe he’s talking to his gods.” The guard chuckled again before raising his voice. “Hey, you, if you’re talking to your gods, tell him to send me a bottle of his finest wine. Oh, and a couple of big breasted women, red heads if he has em, and some of them French chocolates, the ones with the red liquid in the middle.”

It sounded as if one guard had punched the other his body crashing against the metal of the door.

“What are you, a fucking five-year-old?” The guards said who had obviously punched the other.

“Just getting my order in, you didn’t need to hit me.”

“I’ll do more than hit, you boneheaded clod. If he could do what you asked would he be sitting on a fucking cell floor waiting to be eaten by rats? I work with muttonheads, God damned dimwitted clods.” The guards voice dimmed as he moved away. “I could be working in a real castle instead of working with bungling twits in this run-down poor excuse for a castle.”

A hushed voice came from the guard left standing at the bars. “Don’t forget my order, I’ll be waiting.” He said before I heard the shuffle of his feet heading away.

I could have laughed at their carry on. He’ll be waiting a long time if he expects wine, woman and chocolates. If Dougall gets his finger out of his arse and gets down here to free me, the guard will get more than he’s hoping for.

I went back to meditating and finding quiet serenity. I don’t ken how long I had been sitting cross legged on the floor before I heard the lock on the gate click. I opened my eyes to a guard putting a metal bowl on the floor sliding it towards me with his foot. It was the one who had punched the other.

The guard had an evil smirk on his face, yep seen that many times before. If I’d been standing, I could have reached him and broken his neck before he had a chance to lock the door. Sitting on the floor with crossed legs had them a little numb, nope they wouldn’t get me too far at this moment.

“Enjoy your dinner, or is it midday, it could be breakfast you just don’t know, now do you boy?” He grinned showing rotten black teeth, those that weren’t missing. He closed the grate and locked it. Someone should have introduced him to a toothbrush. Brushing my tongue over my own teeth they felt a bit on the furry side, I could do with one too.

The piled mess in the bowl looked like a dog spewed up the gruel of its stomach. The smell made my nose itch. Unfolding my legs, I shuffled a little closer. I was hungry and sure I had eaten worse. I needed to keep my strength up for when Dougall came.

Getting closer to the bowl I nearly puked myself, a dead rat covered in gravy sat in the bowl. Nope won’t be eating that, picking it up by the edge I threw it to the side hitting the bars of the next cell, the contents splashing over the floor and straw in the corner. At least I wasn’t hungry anymore.

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