Chapter Thirty Four
Let’s Go Home
Being held against Conall the stinging of the welts from the lash forced a groan from my throat. Conall pulled back from me looking down. He grabbed my shirt and lifted it, then his face changed to lethal and deadly.
Taking my hand, he pulled me behind him stamping to Dougall holding Ronaldo at sword point.
“Give me the sword Dougall.” He growled not taking his eyes from the man on his knees. Dougall handed the sword to him, knowing what was coming. Conall let go of my hand, I turned to be wrapped in a bear hug from Dougall.
“I have missed you Dougall.” I say as he squeezes the air out of me.
“I have missed ye too piuthar.”
“You struck my wife!” Conall growled down at Ronaldo.
“Your wife?” He laughs. “She is a witch and needs to be burned, she’s evil.” Ronaldo laughed catching my eyes and then spits on the ground at my feet. “She has put a spell on you, are you too stupido to see what she is, nothing but a dirty evil witch. Kill her before she delivers you to the devil himself.”
Conall grabbed hold of Renaldo’s shirt lifting him from the ground. “You. Struck. My. Wife.” Conall grunts each word to him, as if he was trying to calm a raging torrent inside himself.
Dougall pulled my face into his chest. I knew why he is doing this, so I won’t see my husband kill Renaldo, but I heard it when Conall’s sword plunges into his body, not once but again and again. A sound I never wanted to hear again.
Raising my eyes to Conall his breathing is heavy and rapid, he lifted the sword above his head Dougall grabbed my face again and pulled it back into his chest. I took a deep breath, I know my husband had just severed Renaldo’s head.
I had no sorrow for the man. I hated that people died, but he had led all the soldiers to believe they were Holy soldier and not a renegade band of mercenaries. He had been ready to kill me, which he would have done after cleaving the skin from my body with the lash. I had no doubt I would have been tied to a pyre and burnt to death.
I let go of Dougall moving slowly to Conall wrapping my arms around his waist, ignoring the bloodied headless body at his feet. He still had the bloodied sword in his hand but dropped it when I wrapped my arms around him, pressing my face into his chest. His arms encircled me, his heavy breathing slowly subsiding.
“I want to wake him up, so I can kill him again.” He murmured into my hair his body was shaking coming down from the adrenaline of his anger.
“I know love, it’s done now, can we go home please.” Home, home was where? The farm, Scotland, I didn’t really care it was wherever my husband was, he was my home.
“Soon baby.” He whispered.
When he calmed, he pointed to Mario still kneeling beside the fire. He hadn’t moved. “What about him?”
I turned my head to Mario giving him a small smile. “That’s Mario he helped me to escape, but then I got caught again. They beat him for it. He’s only a boy Conall, he doesn’t deserve to die.” He didn’t look happy that I called him a boy again, still he gave me slight nod of his head.
“So, who’s the girl?” I ask seeing that she was emptying water onto a cloth to wipe the blood from Mario’s face. Mario let her do it looking at her with wide eyes.
“That’s Fiora, she helped us to find you.” Dougall adds.
“Well that’s nice of her.”
Conall picked me up wedding style and strode to his horse setting me in the saddle. “We’ll no be staying here. We will ride a ways and camp and decide what tae do. I cannae use the pendant at the present.” He glanced at Mario being fussed over by Fiora.
I understood what he was saying. We couldn’t just disappear, leaving Mario and the horse in a clearing full of dead soldiers. Or disappear in front of their eyes, convincing Mario and Fiora that I was a witch.
Dougall jumped on his horse, Mario took the other with Fiora, to Dougall’s rather rejected look. I wonder what that was all about?
We rode for an hour until we found a stream with a small clearing. When we alighted Dougall asked me to ask Mario if we could talk with Fiora in private for a moment. Mario the perfect gentleman, bowed and stepped back to sit by the stream. His face still puffed from the beating he took, one eye still swollen and closed.
Fiora stood between Conall, Dougall and I.
“Fiora you know that we need to leave, this is not our time period.” Conall said to her as my own eyes widened realizing they had told her we could travel time.
“Do you want to come with us or remain here? It is up to you. We will take you back to our time if you wish.” Conall continued.
I was surprised, it is not every day that you told someone you could travel through time. They would think you a liar, a looney or in this time period a witch. The girl didn’t seem to be fazed by it, not one little bit.
“Conall you and your brother have been very kind to me and saved me from my uncle.” Then her gaze shifted towards Mario. “I think I will stay in this time, thank you for the offer though. I really wouldn’t know what to do in the future, everything I know is here.” She pointed to Mario. “He looks like he could use some help.”
“What did she say?” Dougall asked.
“She wants to stay here.”
“I thought she might, well ye ken what they say, say la vie.” A grin shot across Dougall’s face as he pulled out a pouch from inside his cloak. “Well if she is staying then she could use these.” Ok I was lost here and give both Conall and Dougall a muddled look.
“I’ll explain later, love.” Conall said pulling me into his side. Twinging at the sting of the lash marks, there was however no way I was moving away from my husband’s side. He took the pouch from Dougall and handed it to the girls surprised face.
“Fiora, there is enough in here to buy your own tavern if you wish, or at least start a new life for yourself.” Tears whelmed in her eyes. Would you be alright if we left you with that young man, there, or we can take you into town?”
Fiora shook her head. “No, I am safe enough with him, he seems like…a good man.”
“Aye then. Morgan would ye like tae say goodbye to yon lad before we leave?” Conall let me go and I walked and sat down by the stream next to Mario.
“Mario, we have to leave, but, Fiora wishes to stay here.”
He turned to look at me. “She does?”
“Yes, she says you are a good man.”
“She does?” He repeated his own cheeks reddening snapping his eyes to take a quick look at Fiora. It would seem in such a very short time that they had become enamored with each other. Perhaps Fiora has seen enough brutality or endured it. Mario certainly had and the girl wanted to help this young man.
I was in a way relieved that he we would not be leaving him alone, and he looked like he could do with a friend at the present.
He dipped his head down. “You would look after her then?” I said dropping my head, so I could see his eyes, well the one that wasn’t swollen shut.
“Yes, I can look after her, she will be safe with me.” I knew she would, a gut feeling perhaps. In the short time I had gotten to know this young man, I felt that he was honest and had a good heart.
“I’m sure she will be. Mario what will you do, aren’t you still a soldier?” I didn’t say Holy soldier, because he wasn’t but he was still a solder none the less and had been so since he was a child.
He clasps his hands together nervously, and for the first time I see determination in him. “There is a war coming and well, I think I have had enough of soldiering. I believed as all the others did that what we did was on the orders of his Holy Father. It has taken me some time to accept what you have told me. I think a…renegade soldier, without knowing is not an honorable life.” I couldn’t agree with him more and happy that he had come to this conclusion. “I could take Fiora and continue to Bergamo. It would be safer there for her than here, she also has family living there.”
“You know Mario, that is a good idea, a very good idea. I wish you well for the future. Thank you for helping me Mario...and I am so sorry you were hurt on my account.” I said getting to my feet, with Mario doing the same. “May I give you a hug?”
Mario’s face turned blood red, he shuffled his feet, staring at the ground. “Yes, that would be alright.”
I give him a quick hug noticing Conall shake his head, he was not a happy man to see his wife hugging another, I quietly chuckled to myself, how I loved that man.
Walking back to Conall’s side he pulled me in close keeping a hand around my shoulder.
“Do ye have to hug everyone.”
Dougall laughs. “Ah, me bràthair is jealous.”
“Haud ye wheesht ye keely.” Conall snapped at him.
Turning to glance at Fiora and Mario talking, both with their hands behind their backs in shyness, they made such a cute couple. I hope they continue to get on well and find a life together.
“Well you picked up a stray it seems.”
Conall’s eyes grew wide. “She was no mine, she was Dougall’s.” I held back a smile, biting the inside of my cheek. “I guess not anymore, hey Dougall?”
Dougall chuckled. “Nay lass, she’s no mine.” No she wasn’t, she’s Mario’s now.
Conall let go of me and reached into his saddlebag pulling something out.
My own eyes grew wide. “Abbey.” I yelled.
“Aye lass and ye clothes.”
I knew he must have gotten them from Rosa and Germaine, so grateful he did, and got to meet them, they had been so good to me. I will miss them, and Leonardo and Solai. I sighed knowing that I would never see them again.
“Lass I have something else fer ye.” He pulled out my half pendant from his pocket fastening it around my neck.
“I never thought I would see this again, how on Earth did you find it?” Once it was fastened, I felt an electrical charge surge through my chest, and by the look on Conall, he felt it too. He leaned down and kissed me, causing another flash to surge through me.
He pulled back just enough to whisper in my ear. “I’ll tell ye all about it later.” Tugging me back to him he kissed me again, pulling my body hard to his.
“Fer the lord’s sake you two, get a room.” Still with our lips locked we both smacked Dougall upside the head.
“Shite, now I’m getting double hits.