AIMNÉISE Place of Pendants 2

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Chapter Fifty One

Cairn Attack

“Well before I take ye to the top of the cairn I want tae make sure it’s safe up there.” Conall said before disappearing.

Through the trees we watched him appear on the long cairn and stepping around to test its strength. If it wasn’t strong enough he could transport himself out of there before he fell through.

Within minutes he was back. “She’s as sturdy as Hadrian’s wall. Just don’t move around too much and keep yer feet in once place, it’s pretty uneven up there.”

Aunt narrowed her eyes at him. “It’s not as if we will be tap dancing up there.”

Before my husband could give her one of his sarcastic retorts, I grabbed both his and aunt’s hand. “Ok let’s go, oh and uncle could you keep an eye out for Silver, I have no idea where he has got to?”

“Aye lass.”

Conall transported aunt and I to the top of the long cairn. He steadied us until we fund our footing on the uneven blocks of stone, grateful the blocks were a decent size to hold my feet, then he disappeared just as quickly. It was a lot higher up here than it looked from the trees. A lot higher. It wasn’t the greatest place to be standing having to balance on the rocks that made the shell of the cairn. What was a slight breeze down below was a gust up here.

Aunt and I still held hands more to keep each other steady precariously balancing and waited until the men were in position. Being close to the bend of the roof we could see Brollachans below, oh hell there were a lot of them, more than I thought there would be. Aunt squeezed my hand.

“We can do this Morgan, you and I.” Yes, we could. I squeezed her hand back. We would do this together.

We could just make out the men at the tree line pulling their swords out of their scabbards. Not a small as ants, we were not that high, more like mice. I silently giggled to myself, Conall would not appreciate being compared to a mouse.

As they got into position leaving a wide spacing between them, Silver came hurtling from the trees to stand a few feet in front of Conall. Thank goodness, he was back to help. Ok, that was the four of them to lord knows how many of the stinky creatures were out here.

The familiar question rose again in the back of my mind, how could so many people be taken over by Brollachans. How many people have died? How many families had been left without brothers, husbands, lovers or sons?

There had been some women turned, but mostly they were men, and thankfully none had ever been children. I shuddered, I don’t think I could have hurt them regardless of what they were. It had been bad enough wolves had been turned at the farm.

“Are you ok Morgan?”

“I can’t help thinking about how many people have been turned into Brollachans and died. About their families?”

“Yes, I know I’ve thought about that ever since they invaded the farm.” She squeezed my hand, her eyes telling me she felt the same. “It doesn’t make it any easier just remember they aren’t people any more…”

I cut her off pointing at the men. Conall was shouting and waving his arm in the air to let us know they were ready and catching the attention of the monsters.

We raised our hands to prepare to end these things.

“Hold tight Morgan, watch Sloane.” Aunt murmured. Sloane?

Conall had dropped his arm, it was uncle now that held his arm up in the air with his fingers splayed. “When Sloane drops his hand that’s his signal. We’ll do this together. Raise a thin wall of dirt, no more than ten feet across, don’t move it though, I will use the air to take them out.” Ten feet? I blinked at her. I had never thought about a precise measurement; did I even know how to do that?

I trusted aunt Ula, she had more experience with abilities than I had. This was risky with our men and the wolf out front. I also knew there was no way inhell she would let them get hurt.

Brollachans were racing towards them, some with swords raised, others with pikes, daggers and what looked like clubs. There were so many of them.

Silver had his haunches in the air ready to strike.

“Wait for it.” Aunt said in a low voice. I bit into my bottom lip nerves getting the better of me. “Watch Sloane’s fingers.” Trying to work out how long a ten foot line would be from up here was not an easy feet.

Sure enough uncle dropped one finger, then another, giving us warning of when to start the attack. As his last finger dropped the three of them roared SUTHERLAND! and started running towards the mass.

“Now Morgan raise the dirt.”

I raised my hands higher calling up a wall of dirt right in the middle of the running demons. The wall rose higher and higher until the blanket of it stood above where aunt and I stood on the hazardous surface of the cairn.

I couldn’t tell you if it was ten feet long, I did though keep it as small as possible. How aunt was going to be able to see what she was doing, had my stomach in knots. I kept my hands in the air controlling the wall, not moving it, just letting it hover.

The wall of dirt began to swirl and spin taking with the mass of dirt and rocks bodies of the Brollachans. The giant twister moved to the left and then to the right. How the hell she knew how to do this without our men getting caught up was a miracle.

I dropped my hands, she now had control of the earth within the eddy of her air stream. I turned to see her face contorted with full concentration. The twister suddenly surged to the left again, we now had a view of what was happening on the ground. Our men were right in the middle of the fray, Silver jumping and attacking with his jaws.

Conall had managed to work himself to the far right, Dougall to the left with uncle taking up the middle. I hadn’t realised they had taken off their shirts, wearing only their kilts. To watch them fighting sent a shiver down my spine, they were magnificent, slashing and parrying with their swords.

Three Brollachans were sneaking up behind Conall while he parried with two in front of him. ‘Oh no you don’t’. I raised a mound of dirt to the side of the them and swept them away. Conall’s head jerked behind him as he finished with the two, spin back to look up and me lifting before running to take down another.

Dispatching a few more with mounds of dirt and rocks I hadn’t realised the twister had disappeared, and aunt was moving several eddies here and there to pick up stragglers on the left.

There were only about a dozen Brollachans left fighting with the men and being taken down by the wolf. Aunt suddenly caught my arm.

“Let Dougall, Conall and Sloane take the rest of them out.” She smiled at me exhaustion showing the tireness of her eyes and the slump of her shoulders. The intensity of concentration she needed had to have been immeasurable.

Aunt and I stood on the top of the cairn like spectators at the pantheon watching gladiators of the past taking down their opponents. Holding hands, pride washing our faces at our brilliant warriors.

Dougall looked like he was playing with children as he laughed and jumped out of the way of strikes from a sword that barely missed him. He turned his back, bent and lifted his kilt to brown eye his opponent.

“I am so going to tan his hide.” Aunt said trying to sound serious. “That’s the last thing I wanted to see, Dougall’s arse flapping in the wind.”

As Dougall dispatched his opponent, aunt flipped her wrist and sent a small pocket of air to knock Dougall on his backside. He jumped up with sword still in hand and jammed his fist on his hips giving aunt a contemptuous look. He couldn’t hold for long as another Brollachan darted towards him sword swinging above its head screaming as he was being chased and not attacking.

Before Dougall could get to his adversary Silver streaked through the air wrapping his jaws around its neck, taking it to ground. Dougall stood with his mouth open, totally disgusted that the wolf had intervened, throwing his hands in the air he turned his back and stomped towards Sloane.

Conall suddenly appeared behind us scaring me half to death. I wobbled my feet losing placement on the rocky surface, only to be grabbed by the arms of my husband and hauled to his chest.

“Careful love”

“You could have given me warning.” The swooshing of air around me told me that he was transporting us back to the ground.

Sloane bolted to aunt to grab her in a bear hug and kiss the breath right out of her. Conall did the same to me as Dougall approached.

“Piuthar that wolf of yours.” He blustered.

I turned to him. “Dougall I may be your piuthar, in law but that doesn’t mean I want to see your arse waving at me so I could see what you had for breakfast.”

Both Conall’s and Dougall’s faces turned a bright shade of red, for very different reasons. Dougall looked embarrassed, Conall well, it wasn’t hard to tell he was incensed.

Dougall took a step back, then another his eyes firmly fixed on the rising ire of Conall. Sloane standing behind him gave Dougall a smack upside the head.

“Did I no tell ye ne’er do that again?” Sloane snapped at him. It would seem that Dougall had a habit of bearing his arse to his opponent. “Ye are going tae get ye self killed ye keely, and don think I will no be telling da of it. Did he no warn ye as well.”

Dougall looked contrite. “I’m sorry Morgan, and ye too Ula.”

I needed to change the subject I think we had covered Dougall’s arse quite enough. “Do you think there are any more of them in the cairns?”

Conall shouted for the wolf who came bounding up to us and nuzzled against my hand.

I killed many today.

Yes, Silver you and the men did well, thank you.

I think Conall wants you to check the cairns out see if there are any more hiding in there. By the way why did you take out Dougall’s opponent?

I want to bite his bum, but too late so I take his man.

They’re not men they are Brollachans.

They don’t taste good.

I suppose not.

Silver turned and ran to the long cairn first as it was closer.

Conall turned me to face him, looking more relaxed now. “Did ye tell the wolf check out the cairns?”

“Yes, he will check both out, just in case.”

I found a female, no bad tasters

I turned towards the long cairn still wrapped in Conall’s arms.

“Is the wolf talking to ye?”

Pressing a finger to Conall’s lips I asked Silver, go check the round cairn I will let them know. “There are no Brollachans in the long cairn but there is a girl.”

“Stay here, Ula and I will go.” Sloane said as he took his wife’s hand and led her to the long cairn.

I hadn’t comprehended how low the entrance was. Aunt was on all fours shuffling in, Sloane however had to belly crawl through the space. I ’m glad they went, the thought of wiggling through such a tight space possibly filled with bones wasn’t my idea of comfortability.

Looking towards the round cairn Silvers voice echoed in my head.

Two bad eaters, now dead, female, not dead not moving.

“Conall, Silver is in the round cairn he has killed two Brollachans, but there is another female in there, she’s alive. Silvers says she’s not moving though.

“Aye, Dougall yer with me. Lass ye will stay here do not move a step until we get back.” Conall said as he grabbed Dougall’s shirt and disappeared, before I could answer him. A second woman I wonder who she is. It couldn’t be Aoife so who was it?

Conall’s tone was not a request but a command. A matter to be discussed when he does get back.

I didn’t see them reappear in front of the cairn, they must have done so inside. I stood where I was waiting for either uncle and aunt to come out of the cairn or Conall and Dougall even Silver had remained in the round cairn.

A sharp pain struck across the back of my head and then blackness descended over me.

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