Ula took hold of Bridey’s wrist to take her to the bathroom so she could prepare her a bath, literally having to drag the girl behind her.
“I don’t want to stay in ye spare room, I want to stay with Morgan. She said I could.” Bridey moaned.
“I’m sorry lass but you’ll be staying here. Conall and Morgan have only just found each other and they need time alone. They don’t have a spare room and the last thing they want is a young lass like yourself invading their privacy.”
“I don’t care I don’t want to be here I want to stay in their house.”
Ula stopped suddenly yanking the girl to face her. “Of all the selfish, inconsiderate...I should put you over my knee, you ungrateful child.”
“You wouldnae dare.”
Ula leaned close to the girl invading her space still clutching her wrist. “Oh, child don’t tempt me.” Ula continued onto the bathroom, Bridey in tow.
Once there she set about filling the bathtub adding herbs she had gathered from her kitchen boxes. The herb had a few added extras that caused drowsyness and helped sleep along.
“Off with your clothes. I will get you something better to wear for bed.” Ula stood with folded arms she wasn’t going anywhere until the girl was in the bath.
“What in front of ye!” Bridey gasped.
“Yes lass, you haven’t got anything I don’t have or haven’t already seen. Now off with your clothes or I will help you.” Ula smirked at the girl. She was prepared to strip her if necessary.
Bridey huffed turning her back and removed her clothing letting it fall on the floor. Before she got in the bath she toed the clothing closer to the tub. Ula knew exactly what the girl was doing and as soon as she lowered herself into the bath, Ula gathered her clothing up and headed for the door.
“Don’t take my clothes.” Bridey yelled. Ula ignored her and left shutting the door behind her.
Laying the clothes on the bed Ula went through each item carefully. In a pocket in the cape she found what she was after, a silver ring and a smooth round orb of beryl.
Ula knew what it was as soon as she held the dark green crystal, aware that beryl was used as a communicator for both light and dark work but this was not for anything to do with light, this was so Bridey could call upon Nicnevan.
Ula checked the clothing once again to make sure she hadn’t missed anything. There was nothing else within. Folding the clothes up she popped them on a chair and retrieved a nightdress from a draw. The crystal and the ring she put in her own pocket. Just as she was about to reenter the bathroom Bridey opened the door with a towel wrapped around her.
“Ah finish your bath already. You really should have stayed in there a bit longer, to help you sleep better.”
“I was in there long enough.” She said her eyes finding her clothing on the chair and taking the nightdress Ula held out for her.
“Ok then I wish you a good night.” Ula left the room closing the door behind her.
Entering the kitchen Sloane was pouring scotch into a cup. “So?” He asked knowing his wife had done something.
Ula sat at the table and poured herself a cup of tea, even though it was only just warm now, then nodded at the bottle of scotch Sloane was holding. He poured a dram in her cup.
Pulling the crystal and ring out of her pocket sat it them on the table in front of her.
“Is that Scottish beryl?”
“Yes. I found it in Bridey’s cloak.”
“An what did the lass intend to do with it?”
“To call Nicnevan. It’s a communication crystal and said with the right words she could bring the witch here.” Sloane coughed into his cup. Ula sighed taking a sip of her own cup grateful for the burn of the whiskey.
Sloane’s brows shot up to his hairline. “Ula love do ye think she has already used it?”
She shook her head. “No she hasn’t been alone for a minute for her to do so, but we can’t let her have it. No wonder she wanted to sleep in Morgan’s house.” Ula wasn’t afraid of Nicnaven, hell she wasn’t even worried about Aoife, she had her own abilities of air but she was afraid for Morgan and Conall.
They had been through enough over the past year and now with the witch added to the mix, she had had just about enough of it. Her mind wandered to how Conall had been before he had finally gone off to find his wife. How distraught and anxious and the pain he went through not knowing where Morgan was.
“Ula.” She was brought out of her reverie with Sloane calling her name.
“Sorry Sloane what were you saying?”
“Do ye want me to take the lass and drop her off somewhere in the past where she can’t cause any more problems?” It would certainly be an alernative than having the girl here with what she had intended to do, but Ula knew it wasn’t that right thing to do. No she would need to get to the bottom of it. The best way of doing that was to keep the girl close and hope she could find out more information in the morning.
“No love, for now we keep her close so I can keep an eye on her.”
“Well ye need to hide that there crystal so she no can call that witch here.” Sloane said not happy with not being able to dispose of the lass. He did though trust his wife. “Finish ye tea lass and let me take ye to bed.” He waggled his eyebrows to Ula’s laugh.
“You are a devil Sloane.”
“Only for ye, wife.” He leaned across the table and kissed her cheek.
Sloane finished his drink and washed the cup out in he sink. “I’ll go up, hide that.” He pointed at the crystal. “I’ll see ye upstairs.”
“I’ll be up soon, love.” Ula said finishing her cup off before washing it and emptying the teapot out for the morning.
She thought about where was the best place to hide the crystal and ring so no one would know where it was except her. She finally decided to hide it at the bottom of her lavender box, making sure to cover it with plenty of lavender before placing the box back on the shelf with the rest of her boxed herbs. She wiped the table down before turning the lights off and taking herself to bed.
What she didn’t see was Bridey watching her from the doorway before she scooted back upstairs before she was seen.
Ula made her way up the stairs and quietly opened the door to the room Bridey was sleeping in to make sure the she devil was still there. Bridey was in bed with her back to the door. Ula closed the door gentily and headed off to her own room.
Ula awoke at dawn just as the first rays of sun crept through the window. It was normal for her to rise at this time, she had gotten used to it when she had her chickens. She didn’t have them anymore thanks to the Brollachans that had slain all of them when they had swarmed the farm looking for Morgan.
She couldn’t bring herself to replace them, didn’t think she would ever be ready to take any more on. She missed her Mrs Crombie. Wiping the memory of them from her mind hence she start to blubber over their loss again, gathered the items she needed to make breakfast.
Sloane came into the kitchen while she was cooking bacon. He wrapped his arms around his wife and kissed her on the neck.
“Morning my love.” He said in between kissing her neck then making his way up to her ear.
“Sloane, get away with you or you’ll get oil bites.” She laughed as he nipped her neck.
“I would rather bite you.” He chuckled to Ula jabbing him in the ribs with her elbow. “Ye taste like wild heather in the mountains.”
He laughed but released her and began to set the table. “Did ye hide the crystal?”
“Yes love I hid it well. Would you go and wake Morgan and Conall and let them know breakfast is just about ready.
“Aye, will ye be alright?” He asked to a raise of Ula’s brow, he chuckled at her expression.
Bridey came into the kitchen as Ula placed the teapot on the table. “Oh you are up. You don’t have to wear your cape in the house and if you prefer some clean clothes I can get some for you, sorry I should have thought about that last night.”
Bridey mouth was set into a hard line as she glowered at Ula. “I don need any other clothes.”
Ula knew by the look on the girls face that she knew she had removed the crystal and ring from her cloak, the girl wasn’t saying so, she had no intention of mentioning it either. “Well sit yourself down then, breakfast is ready.”
Sloane came in the back door giving the girl a hardened expression before turning to his wife. “Morgan and Conall will be here shortly.” He sat at the table ignoring Bridey piling bacon and eggs onto his plate.
Bridey continued to stand staring at Ula setting cups on the table then letting her gaze shift to Sloan keeping her face rigidly set.
Sloane was aware of glare he was receiving but chose to ignore it, and besides he was starving, he wasn’t even going to wait for Conall and Morgan.
“So ye are both thieves as well?” Bridey blurted out to both Ula’s and Sloanes surprise.
“What ever do you mean Bridey?” Ula asked wanting the girl to say what had been taken so she could have it out with her. She wasn’t though going to give her the crystal and ring back. What she didn’t expect was the venom the girl used to speak to her.
“Ye stole something from me last night, Ye tricked me into having your keely bath, so ye could steal from me and I want it back, now.” Bridey demanded slamming a fist to the table.
Sloane knew what was coming and held a smile back by stuffing a piece of toast in his mouth, then coughed nearly choking on it.