Chapter Thirty Seven
Conall sighed. It was my turn to be angry.
“We were sent back by the Cailleach supposedly to rescue Malcolm only to discover it was a set up.” Conall didn’t fail to mention the state he had found his brother in at the tavern.
“Ye ken it was yer fault.” Dougall said taking a bite of his toast.
I blinked at him. Blowing out an exasperated breath, I gritted out. “My...fault?”
“Aye I was worrying myself sick over ye.”
“And how is it my fault? I didn’t shuttled myself off to Milan. You were so worried that you just had to go and get blinding drunk, and what where you doing standing on the table at the tavern? Singing a lament in your drunken stupor in the hope that it would bring me back?”
“It couldn’t hurt to try.” He countered with a chuckle.
“Your a dickhead.”
“Maybe so but I saved ye.”
“Dougall.” Conall warned.
“Well it’s true braithar. It was me that stole yer pendant so we could leave, and it was me that got ye out of jail, and it was...”
Ula cut him off. “I’ve been meaning to take you to task over stealing the pendant boy.”
Dougall shrugged adding more bacon and eggs to his plate. “We got her back. Taking the pendant is no longer important.” He answered with surety.
Aunts lips lifted at the corners into a wicked smile as she lifted her hand into the air. “Oh isn’t it now?”
Dougall looked up his confidence rapidly diminishing seeing Ula raise her hand. “Ye wouldn’t dare.”
Suddenly a gust of wind appeared beneath Dougall’s chair lifting him into the air. He grabbed the sides of his seat fear creasing his forehead. “Ula put me down, tis no funny.”
Ula began twirling her hand around in a circle as if imitating a whirlpool. Dougall’s seat began to spin being held up by a pocket of air.
“God’s blood Ula put me down I’m going tae be sick.”
“Oh in that case can’t have you chucking up in Morgan’s kitchen.” The chair flew out the door, that had opened mysteriously and slammed shut after Dougall’s departure with him screaming he hadn’t finished his breakfast yet.
A few minutes later Dougall stormed in the house dragging the chair behind him. He settled the chair where it had sat and plonked himself on the seat. Without looking up he shovelled bacon and eggs in his mouth as if he was starving, to everyones laughs.
Dougall could lead an army and he was one hell of a fighter. He could charm any woman with a smile that belonged on the front cover of a male model magazine, but hell be damned if he is seperated him from food.
Conall continued telling the story of his capture and thrown in the dungeon. As if Dougall flying out of the room in a mini tornado was suddenly forgotten, he took over the story Conall was recounting. There was no mistake that he was ramping it up a bit of how he rescued his brother to the constant eye rolls from Conall.
“This was Aoife, promising Garrison things I was pretty sure she had no intention of keeping.” Ula said.
Sloane cleared his throat not having spoken much since we had started breakfast. “Aoife’s endeavours so far have been shoddy and incompetent. I think though that she will learn from them and will up the stakes in acquiring both of ye and yer pendants. She’ll no give up so easy. I cannae though understand how she thinks ye and yer pendants will give her access intae Tir na Nog, if’n that is still her agenda. Conall lad what are ye thinking?”
“We either have to be the hunter or the hunted.” Conall rubbed the two day growth of beard on his chin.
“Aye lad, ye might be right there.”
That had me thinking, was this Aoife’s agenda. I couldn’t see how it could be anything else. It was no secret that she hated the Tuatha da Danann and wanted access to their world to destroy them for her situation of being an air demoness.
“Morgan, love what has ye so deep in thought?” Conall asked pulling my chair closer to his as if it was feather light placing his arm around my shoulder.
“I know the tale of Aoife being the daughter of Bodb Derg, king of the Tuatha de Danann, and second wife of Lir, and that it was her father who turned her into a demoness, most say a black cloud of the sky never to return into a female able to walk the earth again because she turned her sister children into swans.”
“Aye tis true, I can see though that ye have a question?”
“If that’s the case then how would she convince men such as Cesare Borgia and whats his name who stuck you in a dungeon?”
“Yes Garrison. How did she convince them to do what they did?”
Dougall sat forward, dropping a piece of bacon into his mouth. “I was wondering that myself. If I was approached by a black cloud I would no be doing it any favours. A pretty lass though.” Dougall waggled his eyebrows.
Sloane snorted. “Aye ye be cockeyed after anything in a skirt.”
“I don mind a female in breeks. I aint sexist.” Dougall blustered shoving another piece of bacon in his mouth.
Ula tutted at Dougall. “It is something to think about though, how did she convince them to do her bidding. She would have had to have taken on a mortal female form and shown them she had some power to convince them that she could deliver what ever it was she promised them.”
“Exactly.” I said.
“And don’t forget.” Ula continued. “How did she managed to get the Cailleach to send you on that stupid mission or have a Brollachan send Morgan to another time. It was one thing to create those Brollachans in overtaking humans to do her dirty work but these others, her powers are increasing, and I for one would like to know how she’s doing it, and where these new powers are coming from.”
Suddenly Andrew appeared and he wasn’t alone.
Conall and Sloane both jumped from their chairs.
“Andrew why are ye here?” Conall asked narrowing his eyes at him, wanting nothing more than to punch him in the face for the ruse of the last mission.
“Oh there ye are lad, this here is Bridey.” Andrew pushed the girl forward with a hand to the small of her back. She was a small thing with bright red hair and pale blue eyes, looking extremely nervous by her shaking. “The Cailleach wants ye tae protect the lass, it seems as she’s in Aoife’s sights.” Andrew said a smile on his face.
Andrew’s smile made me somewhat weary, never having seen him do so before, I don’t think he should smile again, he looks like an evil leprechaun.
Sloane took a step towards Andrew. “Now why would the Cailleach see fit fer ye tae bring the lass here. Surely the Cailleach is powerful enough that she can protect the wee lass herself?”
Conall crossed his arms in front of his chest. “Aye, Andrew tis strange, is it not?”
The girl slumped within her cloak, her eyes flashing beneath lashes between our three men. She looked abslutely terrified, her shaking intensifying.
Ula had noticed too, she jumped up smacking Sloane and Conall’s arms, stepping in front of them. “Mind your manners.” She snapped at the two of them. “Come lass we can protect you.” She turned back to her husband. “Sloane Sutherland you will not be a boar, get your butt back on the chair. You too Conall before I twist your ears off.” They sat with a huff and Conall gave me an eye roll as if to say ‘typical Ula, bossy as always’.
Watching the play in front of me and not missing the grin Dougall was directing at the girl.
“Dougall.” I warned to the raise of his brow. He gave me a ‘what?’ expression.
Flashing my eyes back to the girl, she was wearing a thin cloak and what looked to be a maids outfit. So not from royalty or a well to do family, maybe a farmers daughter? Why would the Cailleach send her to us for protection? Something didn’t sit right as I continued to observe Andrew and the girl now with Ula’s arm around her shoulder.
“Lady Ula, nice tae see ye agin, and ye Lady Morgan. Well if ye do not mind I’ve a busy day so I’ll leave ye tae it.” Andrew said before disappearing, the girl looking visibly uncomfortable and stressed.
Ula took Bridey by the arm and led her to a chair at the table. “Sit now Bridey, your safe here, these pair...” she gave Conall and Sloane an irate look. “Will behave themselves. Would you like to tell us what happened.” Sloane pulled his wife into his lap as we had no other chairs in the small room, which was now crowded with six bodies.
Bridey’s eyes scanned the room in awe, obviously never being in a different century, and it was quite obvious that she was from around 1735 or thereabouts. Everything must look strange to her, her mouth constantly made the O shape at each thing she looked at.
“Bridey.” Ula said bringing the girls attention back to her. “Would you like a cup of tea, dear?”
The girl shook her head. “Nay, but thank ye.”
When her eyes flicked to Dougall’s grinning face, she quickly dropped her gaze to her hands wringing in her lap.
“Dougall, cut it out.” Ula snapped at him only to receive an eyebrow waggle from him, until Conall leaned forward and smacked him upside the head.
I shook my head, this was Dougall, he thought himself as Casanova. Ula tried again to get Bridey to talk but all she would say is that she didn’t know what was happening other than being attacked by several men who were killed by some other men calling them Brollachan’s. The next thing she knew was Andrew grabbing her arm and appearing here.
Ula gave me a furrowed look, none of it made any sense to me as well. Why would Brollachans attack the girl. Since I had given the box back to the Mother spirit there shouldn’t have been any more Brollachans in 1735 or in this time period.
We did finally get from her that she was indeed from 1735 and worked in a manor in the low lands of Scotland. Her name Bridey McLaren, no relation to the Sutherlands and not even living in the same lands. Conall and Sloane argued for sometime whether they should just visit the Cailleach to find out what was going on, but Conall was adamant at not leaving me, no matter what, and he wasn’t happy to go see her with what had happened on his last mission, not yet anyway.
It took some time to explain to the girl what year she was in and at one point I truly thought she was going to pass out. Still something about her didn’t feel right, I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
“I think aunt perhaps we should get dinner started so Bridey can eat then sleep before she collapses in the chair.” Ula nodded in agreement.
We had just had breakfast, although it was closer to midday, if aunt and I made one of her famous country casserole then it would take several hours to cook.
Sloane tapped Conall on the shoulder. “Conall, I think we will take our leave and let the lasses get on with it. Will ye join me for a dram?”
“Aye, a will.”
We would have to go up to the the big house to make cook as the small hay house was not big enough or had a stove to deal with this many people.
As they got up Dougall continued to sit in the chair watching Bridey until Conall snagged him by the shirt and dragged him off out the door.
By the time we made our way up to the house the boys had locked themselves in the solar, as Conal liked to call the small room that held Sloane’s bar.
“Morgan perhaps you and Bridey could peel the vegetables.”
“Sure not a problem aunt. Bridey would you care to help me?” It didn’t pass my notice the wide eyed look of fear cross the girls face. For fucks sake these are only vegetables not an army of demons.
She looked visibly nervous. “Erm...well I will try but ye will have to show me what to do.” She has to be joking, surely not.
Ula’s eyes narrowed. Now this is really strange as most girls knew how to cook or at least peal bloody vegetables if they were from the eighteen century, only the rich couldn’t cook for themselves. They didn’t need to with servants to do it for them.
“Bridey did you not cook at home?”
The girl swallowed and clenched her hands as I had seen her do several times now. “Well, I didnae work in yon kitchens, I made beds an such.”
Okay now I was more than a little dubious, even young girls in her time period were taught to cook as soon as they were old enough to hold a pot or a knife, regardless if they were housemaids or laundresses.
Aunt grabed the girls hands and surveyed them as one if she were a doctor looking through a microscope. “These hands have never seen a day’s worth of labour in your life child.” Bridey dropped her head but said not a word. Ula huffed returning to working at the stove, turning to give me several frowns.
Having Bridey help with the vegetables just left me so exasperated I ended up just doing it myself, the girl was all thumbs, not able to hold a knife, slicing her fingers not once or twice but four times.
Ula grimaced when Bridey kept jumping back in fear of the stove to stir a pan. Several hours, fifty eye rolls and a million huffs and puffs dinner was made.