Chapter Thirty Nine
The girl lifted her head and sniffed, though there were no tears in her eyes. No mistaking this was all an act. I gave Conall a look that said the same thing.
“Bridey.” I said moving closer to her. “Do you know who I am?” I had a feeling she didn’t but I needed to know for sure.
She shook her head glancing at me beneath dry hooded eyes.
“Well you had best know then. I am Morgan Evalina Danu Monroe Sutherland, the last descendant of the Tuatha da Danann.”
The girls mouth dropped open and her eyes widened. “Ye are Fae of the Daoine Sith?”
I nodded. “Yes and do you know what that means Bridey?”
“Ye have powers.” She whispered looking at her hands and then across the table plainly trying to apprehend what I just told her. “Ye are the Queen of the faeries.”
I laughed to everyone’s chuckles.
“Aye then that makes me the king of faeries.” Conall added.
“I would no be saying that outloud, Would ye like me to go get ye a pretty pink sparkly tutu.” Dougall chuckled.
“Haud ye wheesht ye keely before I punch you hard enough fer ye to see sparkly pink tutus before ye eyes.”
I tutted and shook my head. “It means that I have elemental power. Mine is earth. Now I don’t think you want to make me angry...”
“It’s not a pretty sight.” Conall blurted giving me a smile. “Well it is actually a beautiful sight.” He concluded leaning over and kissing my cheek. “And danmed sexy if I say so.”
“Conall!” I warned.
“As I was saying Bridey, you don’t want to make me angry because if I lose my temper...things happen.”
Bridey leaned forward. “No I don’t want to do that your majesty...I would never want to make you angry.” I shook my head, bloody hell what next. I didn’t want anyone calling me your majesty or thinking I was some bloody queen.
“Don’t call me that, Morgan is fine. Now tell me your story and this time the truth of it.”
“I was given instruction by Nicnevan from Aoife. Please tell me ye are stronger than her and ye can save me?” Bridey sought my eyes with her own being glassy as if she was about to cry. There was sadness there and fear and for the first time I believed what she was saying.
“Nicnevan.” Ula gasped.
“God’s blood.” Conall and Sloane said at the same time.
“Shite.” Dougall muttered dropping himself in a chair with a thud.
“Okay then.” I said sitting up and crossing my arms. “Someone start talking. I’ve heard the name but know nothing about this person.”
Of course it was aunt who was going to explain. If you needed information about myths and legends then it was aunt Ula who had all the answers.
“Some of the ancients called her Gyre Carling, meaning greedy ogress, some called her Hecate the mother of witches or faeries, and others NicNaoimhein meaning daughter of the little saint, but believe me that witch is no saint. She is evil and as bad as Aoife.
“The Feile na Marbh, the Festival of the dead was named after her. It is said that she rides at night with an elvin incubi entourage mounted on supernatural steeds. When she flies overhead dogs stop barking and chickens cease to lay. It is believed that if you have unfinished knitting by Samhain she will steal it so she can cast a clew.”
“A clew?” I asked.
“Casting a clew is ensnaring victims with the unfinished knitted pieces she steals. Bridey is that how she caught you?” Bridey nodded.
“Let me get this straight this Nicneven is a knitting thief witch of a bitch that rides on a flying horse with elves?” I ask not quite believing this.
Ula clenched her jaw and raised a brow clearly not happy with my impudent description. “Morgan if we are dealing with Nicnevan we have a major problem. Bridey why would Nicnevan send you here, what did she want you to do?”
Bridey looked nervous. “Steal the pendants and drug her maj...Morgan so she could come and collect her.”
Conall put a protective hand on my shoulder, Sloane moved around to stand behind Bridey in between Ula and I. Dougall shot up out of his seat and came to stand at my opposite shoulder. Ok the men were being protective of aunt and me. They obviously felt a threat here more so than I thought there might be.
After what I had been through in Milan ending with the lashings from Ronaldo, I would be damned if I was going to let anyone else, witch or banshee test my mettle again. There was no way I was going to be seperated from Conall, aunt Ula, Sloane or Dougall again.
“I need Silver.” I said not sure why I need him.
“The wolf?” Conall asked apprehensively.
“Yes I need him. I...I don’t know why but I have a feeling he needs to be here.” I pleaded to Conall’s confused but concerned look.
“Morgan if that’s what ye need then we will bring him here.”
“Lass are ye sure?” Sloane asked. There are no wolves in this time of part of the country. I don’t think there are any left in the country at all, except in a zoo.
“Yes uncle. I don’t really know why, it is just a feeling.”
“Well then so it shall be.” Sloane said with a determined nod of his head.
“Wolf? I don’t like dogs.” Bridey whined to our surprise.
“Bridey you may not like dogs, but at the end of the day I don’t really care. Either you will get used to him or you will stay out of his way.” I should probably have been a little more understanding with her but I was resolute on what I needed, and I was tired that this whole situation with Aoife was still going on, and now we had a new witch to deal with.
“Aye then, though I’ll no leave ye.” Conall said running his hand down my hair. “Dougall would ye mind collecting the wolf and bringing him back here?”
“No Braithar, give me ye pendant and I’ll go now.” I was startled that Dougall didn’t hesitate for even a second. He either was anxious to be getting away or he trusted my intuition.
Conall took off his pendant not taking his eyes off Bridey just in case she made a play for it handing it to Dougall. Dougall slipped it over his head.
“Right I’ll be back soon then, I have a feeling where he might be.”
“ Ben More Assynt?” Conall asked him.
“Aye, that’s what I was thinking. I think he went back there waiting for his mistress.” Dougall glanced at me.
“Oh, I never thought...now I feel awful.” Thinking that poor Silver had been waiting for me all this time at the cave where the Druid had married Conall and I in the dawning.
Conall knelt next to me. “Nay lass don’t feel bad, that wolf loves ye as I do, as we all do. He would wait a life time fer ye.”
“Aye lass, and we do.” Came the voices of the others.
“Braithar I’ll leave out back.” Dougall said making his way to the back door. We all knew that he was doing that so Bridey couldn’t hear the words needed to transport. Conall nodded at him before he left closing the back door behind him.
Ula turned to Bridey. “Now lass you will be giving me what it is that you were going to put Morgan to sleep with.” Her voice brooking no argument, a hand outstretched towards the girl.
Bridey reached into her skirt and withdrew a leather pouch tied with a strip of leather handing it to Ula. She opened the pouch and sniffed then closed the pouch faster than she had undone it.
“What is it?” I was almost afraid of what her response would be.
“Bog Myrtle, Lavender, Willow Bark, Laudanum.” She swallowed loudly. “Black Henbane, and Ergot.” Her eyes were wide.
God’s blood.” Conall repeated. I was surprised that he knew that one or more of the herbs couldn’t be anything good.
“I know some of them but others I am assuming some are bad?” I asked.
“Very bad Morgan, very, very bad.”
“Are they poison, would they have killed her?” Conall asked gripping my wrist tight.
Even though aunt’s eyes softened there was a look of fear in them. “It would depend on whether the ingredients had been infused correctly. If not then yes, death from just a sip in a tea infusion, mixed incorrectly would immanently kill within minutes. Only someone with skill can aggregate the ingredients. Black henbane and ergot are only used by black witches and demons...they cause the most horrific visions a person could imagine. The hallucination would feel real in every context, a mind pain like you have never witnessed, leaving you scarred for life, and in all probability loosing your sanity during the process.”
“So fun times then.” I sighed.
“Lass look at me.” Conall demanded. “I will let nothing hurt ye, I will nay leave yer side.”
I put my hand to his face focusing on his beautiful eyes. “I know my Hercules.”
“Ach I’ve no heard that fer so long.” He chuffed.
“Uncle.” I said not taking my eyes from Conall’s.”
“Would you and Conall sit with Bridey while I have a word with aunt Ula?”
“As you say lass.”
Conall cocked his head and I took the opportunity to kiss his lips. “I just want a chat with aunt, be back in a minute, ok?”
Conall kissed me again. “Aye lass.” Trying to keep his lips pressed against mine as I pulled back, I smiled at him.
We made out way to the bedroom upstairs. Once the door was closed aunt took my hand and sat on the bed with me. “Morgan?”
“First it was the Brollachans raised by Aoife, then me swept off to Milan, now it’s Necnaven.” Putting my palms to my forehead I felt overwhelmed.
Aunt pulled my hands down. “Now you listen to me child, no matter what is thrown at you we stand together and together we will get through this.” I nodded. “What we have to work out first is what to do with Bridey. I believe some of what she said but I think she’s hiding more and I for one don’t trust her.”
She lifted my chin with her finger raising my eyes to hers. “I don’t think you do either.” I shook my head.
“What has me confused is, Aoife is, was a Fae, a Tuatha, and Nicnevan is a witch, so why would they be working together, it doesn’t make sense. Why would Aoife need Nicnevan, and why send the girl to do their dirty work?”
Ula rubbed the back of her neck. “I was wondering that myself. Aoife has never worked with anyone she is a loner. No one would work with her anyway, she can’t be trusted, as for Nicnevan she has her own people, elves and sprites.
“I can’t work out for the life of me what the connection is and why all of a sudden Nicnevan has taken an interest in you and the pendants. Aoife wants access to Tir na Nog for the sole purpose of wanting to destroy them. Nicnevan though, has me stumped.”
“The girl was adamant about sleeping in the cottage on our sofa, that in itself is strange enough, though now knowing what she was sent here for I suppose makes sense. How the hell she thought I would drink a tea though is beyond me, yours is bad enough.”
“Yes and that is why I think there is more to her story. She handed the pouch over to me to easily.”
“What do you think she is hiding?”
Aunt shook her head. “I don’t know but I intend to find out. Right then lets get back down stairs and I will deal with our little messenger, eh? As for Nicnaven we have to be sagacious and cunning as a fox in the woods with that one.”
“What are you going to do?” She was giving me a devious smile, cooking something up in that brain of hers.
“Never you mind, you need to spend time with your husband, you leave Bridey to me.” She patted me on the hand then gave me one of her full on bear hugs.
“Can’t...breathe...aunt.” I gasped to her chuckle.
“Come on you have a bed to get to and I have a little snoop and find work to get on with.” Taking my hand she lead me back down the stairs.
When we entered the dining room Conall and Sloane were sat next to each other across the table from Bridey with their arms folded in front of them like a damned pair of goalers. Bridey sat with her hands on her lap and her eyes glued to the table.
“Conall love, take your wife to her bed. Bridey will be sleeping in the spare room tonight.”
Bridey jumped up out of her seat pointing a finger at me. “But ye said I could sleep in yer house.”
“Nope not happening Bridey you will sleep here in the guest room, but before you do I will prepare a bath for you with some of my herbs to help you have a peaceful nights sleep.” Aunt Ula motioned with her hand for Conall and I to go, to a rising smile on my husbands lips.
Sloane’s lips raised at the corners in a sly smile giving me a wink. He knew his wife was up to something, and although he had no idea what it was he would back her one hundred percent.
Conall didn’t wait to be told twice he grabbed my arm and hauled me out of the kitchen, through the mud room and into the yard, quick step. Half way down to the house he hoisted me into his arms.
“You do realise I can walk.” I laughed wrapping my arms around his neck.
“Aye, lass but do ye realise I like carrying ye in my arms.”
Leaning up I kissed his cheek. “So very chivalrous of you, my very own Hercules.”
“That’s twice ye have called me that.”
“So do you like it?”
“Aye it makes me feel as strong as a God.”
“You are as strong as a God.” In my mindhe was a god, my god.
“Well this God is going to make ye scream like a banshee when I get ye to our bed.” I was so glad I healed quickly. If I was a human I would still be sore from last night. I had healed already, and he knew it.
“Promises, promises.” I laughed to him throwing me over his shoulder and swatting me hard on the butt.
I yelped. “I bet Hercules never battered his women like you.”
Conall chuckled. “Oh, he did far worse I can assure ye.”
Why did I think he knew who Hercules was and what he did to his women. “You will have to tell me more about this Hercules and what he did.”
“No tonight my wee banshee, tonight is just about us and how loud I can make ye scream.”