AIMNÉISE Place of Pendants 2

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Chapter Fifty Five

Message From Aoife

Walking down the stair to the dinning room was done with carefully placed steps. My leather pants rubbing over my still sore bottom, I groaned with each step of the stairs.

Half way down I called Mary, a young maid returning from the dining room.

She bobbed a curtsey. “Yes ma’am?”

“Mary could you please acquire a cushion for my seat at the table.” I asked keeping my face a straight as possible.

Mary’s brows raised. “Ma’am…is everything…alright?”

“Yes, thankyou Mary.” I turned to give Conall a glare. “Everything is just fine.” He winked at me. I was sore from the spanking; the pleasure afterwards was just that, total divine pleasure enhanced by nips of bum pain. Now though my bottom seemed to hurt a great deal more.

“Yes Ma’am.” Mary curtseyed again and hurried off hopefully to find me the softest pillow in this blasted castle.

Walking into the room slow hoping no one had come down to dinner as yet. I was wrong everyone was seated at the damned table. Aunt was in a conversation with Haig when she glanced at me, but as she turned back to her conversation her head snapped back to me.

“Morgan?” I gave her a thin smile.

Dougall ever so not delicate. “Ye look like ye have a stick lodged up ye…”

“Dougall!” Haig yelled. Sloane sitting beside him smacked him upside the head.

Mary hurried in and put a cushion on my seat. Oh how I wish no one had been here, now everyone will know that Conall gave me a spanking. I just want to find a hole and bury myself in it, and not come out until next year.

A growl erupted from across the table, yep that would be uncle.

“Conall, what did ye do?” Sloane growled again getting up from his chair. This is not going to go down well. I turned to see Conall giving his brother an indignant look, that said mind yer own business. “I won’t ask ye again bráithar.”

Aunt grabbed Sloane’s arm, the anger and fury rolling from him was like the steam in a sauna. Ula squeezed her eyes closed and when she opened them gave me a sympathetic look. She knew what was coming. All hell was about to break lose.

Sloane spat his words, Dougall holding him back by his other arm. “Ye…spanked yer wife…an her carrying ye bairns?”

For the first time I saw panic in Conall’s eyes. It would seem he wasn’t the only one worried about Sloane’s temper. Sloane began making his way around the table with Ula and Dougall trying to drag him back. It was more of a case he was dragging them, their feet losing traction on the stone floor.

Haig stood up. “Calm yerself Sloane.” Of course, Sloane ignored him, the burning daggers in his eyes focused totally and only on Conall.

“Sloane how I chose tae chastise my wife is none of ye concern. I didnae hurt the bairns.” Sloane growled like a raging bear.

A sudden whistling sound caught my attention unsure of where it was coming from, until Sloane was thrown over the table, his face landing in plate of mashed potatoes. Ula screamed.

A spear protruding from the back of his shoulder.

“What that bloody hell.” Haig shouted. “Guards! Guards!”

Mrs MacLeish ran in from the kitchen stripping her apron off handed it to aunt who was wiping the potato from Sloane’s face.

The table was cleared fast most landing on the floor as Conall and Dougall lifted Sloane onto his stomach to lay across the table top.

Guards came rushing in stunned to see Sloane lying flat out with a spear sticking upwards from his right shoulder. Thank the blessed Goddess it wasn’t his left, it could have speared his heart, he would be dead now.

Haig’s face red with fury turned on the guards. “Find the intruder. NOW! And find the healer.” The guards ran out the room, one of them issuing orders to other guards at the doorway.

I gasped at the spear. “Da, Conall look.” Wrapped around the spear was a cloth of some kind tied with black ribbon. Everyone concerned with Sloane, no one had noticed it.

I looked up to the high window that was behind where uncle had been. There was no way the spear if thrown from the ground would have had enough force to cleave its way into uncle’s shoulder. It had to have been thrown from higher up. That didn’t make sense, there was nothing, no trees or building it could have been thrown from.

I turned to see Agina, the healer to inform me I was pregnant with twins shuffling in the room. A large tapestry bag slung over her shoulder.

Half way into the room, in a voice fit for a general she dished out orders. “Hot water, rags an be quick aboot it.”

Mrs MacLeach huffed but ran into the kitchen to get what Agina needed. She hefted her bag onto the table then using a chair climbed up to stand over uncle.

“Right, ye lot grab a leg, arm and hold him doon.” Conall and Dougall took each of Sloane’s arms pushing their weight down. Haig took one leg. Aunt and I took his other one. Silver jumped up onto the table and laid down across his thighs.

Sloane began to rouse awake groaning and on fathoming he was being held down tried to shift beneath the holds.

“Lad ye need tae keep still, the healer is going to remove tha spear.” Haig said to him more of an order than a request.

Ula let go of her husband’s leg and rushed around the table to lift his face. “You listen to me you big eejit, you are going to keep still. You hear me Sloane?” He growled at her but nodded his head laying it back down on the table.

I turned a glared look at Conall. I bet aunt won’t get a spanking for calling her husband an eejit. Conall looked away far too quickly, yeah he knows what I am thinking all right.

Agina looked at each of our faces, not turning to the next until she got a nod, to make sure we had a tight grip. She stepped up onto Sloane’s back, she was so small and slim standing with one bare foot on his shoulder next to where the spear was embedded and another below his shoulder blade.

Mrs MacLeish stood by with a bowl of water and a rag at the ready. By the looks of the old woman atop of uncles back I have no idea how she has the strength to pull the spear out. No one else seemed to be bothered by it.

Agina placed her hands around the spear one above the other. “Right now, lad take a deep breath in and hold it, an no move a muscle or I will spike ye a second time with this here spear, ye’ll look like a salt pot.” I would laugh but it wasn’t the time or the place for it. This tiny old woman giving orders to the tall and might warrior, Sloane.

Sloane’s back raised with the intake of his breath and then stilled. Agina gripped the spear her knuckles turning white, then she yanked it upwards out of his back to a low groan from uncle.

Mrs MacLeish was quick pushing a rag over the hole the spear left catching the blood before it could drip down his side.

Agina sat on uncles back as if lounging on a sofa. “Peggy get me herbs lass.”

I spun around wondering who Peggy was.

“Yes ma.” Mrs MacLeish answered.

“Well I didn’t know that. Mrs MacLeish was Agina’s daughter, you think someone could have told me that.

We all stood around the table watching Agina’s nimble fingers wash and pack the hole with a concoction of moist herbs. Conall and Dougall helped to raise him so he could be wrapped up tight.

Uncle slid off the table and slumped into a chair. “Shite, I feel like I have been rammed by a rhino.”

We all turned when Haig made a gasping sound, to discover he had removed the tied cloth from the spear. His face turning white with whatever he was reading.

“Da?” Conall asked approaching him.

When Haig looked up it was to centre his eyes directly on me. Ok, this is not good. Conall took the cloth from his father’s hands, his eyes widening too, before snapping them to me. This is really not good.

“Don keep us in suspense.” Dougall grumbled.

Without Haig or Conall moving from my face Conall read what was on the cloth.

Morgan, Morgan what do you think I have here. Oh, that would be your twin, such a handsome young man.

You are to meet me alone at the Ring of Brodgar on Samhain with the pendants. If you fail to be there, I will dissect his body and scatter his pieces throughout Scotland. If you come, I will let him go free. You for him. Don’t let me down or you’ll find yourself an only child, again.

Aoife

My eyes widened the same as everyone else’s, my mouth dropped open. “I…I don’t have a twin.” I murmured. Turning to aunt her head dropped down more interested in the floor than looking at me. “Ula?”

When she looked up tears rolled down her cheeks. She knew. I have a twin and she knew. My mother never said a word. Why, why would they keep this from me? I shook my head. “No, no, no.”

The room was spinning, black spots swimming across my eyes. My breath coming fast and shallow. I couldn’t look at anyone, I didn’t want to look at them.

I ran from the room down the hall and out the front open doors, passing guards shocked none bothering to stop me. Why would they I was married to Conall, the son of the Laird.

I needed to run, to hide. I have a twin and not one person said a damned fucking word. This is how I had to find out and now Aoife has him. I ran to the stable, unlocking the door to a dappled grey mare. Not even bothering to put a saddle or harness on her I jumped on her back and galloped out of there.

I couldn’t see who was around other than guards from the tears still streaming, stinging my eyes. Not hearing anyone either to the pounding of blood in my ears, I’d even forgotten about my stinging bottom. The mare was fast and moved like lightening jumping the outer barrier with ease.

It was only when we arrived at the edge of the trees she began to slow down, breathing heavily from the hard run, my own panting breathing in unison. Slowing her further until she was walking, I jumped off her back and sat beneath a low branch to let her cool and munch on grass. Bringing my knees up to rest my head on which was pounding, I wrapped my arms around my legs.

Only discovering that I was pregnant with twins today and being informed that I had a twin myself, was just too inexplicably bizarre. Aunt Ula knew, my mother knew, of course she did, but never a word about him, nothing. I wracked my brain as to why they would keep this information from me. Did I not deserve to know?

I trust Ula and Sloane, but this wasn’t as if we are talking about a lost doll. I let a sob out, I had a twin, a brother…all this time,

I gasped, did Conall know…oh god, he wouldn’t keep that from me, surely. What if he did, how could I ever trust him again, look him in the eye again. This was all too much. If Aoife is right and she has my twin, how could I let him die at her hands. But if I surrender what about my babies?

Could or would I sacrifice their lives for someone I don’t know and have never met. All so that the evil demon can gain entry into Tir na Nog only to destroy them for what happening in her past. No, there is no way I will sacrifice my children, not to her.

A wet nose pushed between my face and arm. Silver. I should have known he would follow me.

“Hey boy.” I murmured not lifting my head.

“Morgan.” Came a quiet familiar voice, Conall. “Baby…I didn’t ken, I’m so sorry.” He didn’t know after all. I’m relieved in a sense but not willing to move just yet. “Please baby…I’m sorry I… hurt you.” Ah he’s talking about the spanking. Umph.

Taking some deep breaths, I lifted my head to see Conall standing a foot away looking down beaten not really knowing what to do. I released an unintended ragged intake of breath, he held his arms open for me.

I rushed to my feet and fled into his waiting arms.

“I’m sorry Morgan. We will face this together…always together.” He lifted my chin with a finger to look into his beautiful blue eyes. “I love you baby, now and always.” Another unintended hitch of breath hit as his lips lowered to mind, gentle, compassionate, soft.

Before the kiss can turn into something else horses rode up. Conall let go of my mouth and we both turn to see Sloane jumping off his horse. Jesus the man has just been speared and he is riding a horse.

Jumping down he strode to stand in front of us I don’t’ think I have even seen him so contrite, his shoulders slumped, his eyes searching my face for what…forgiveness.

“Lass…I, we are so sorry.” Sloane runs his fingers through his hair leaving it sticking out in different directions. “We need tae talk.”

“Yes we do.” I utter.

Sloane looks to Conall. “Braithar, there’s just one other thing.”

Conall raises his brow. I think he has had as much as I have for one day. “Aye.”

“The Cailleach just sent a messenger. She wants Morgan to come straight away.” No, I can’t cope with any more today. My face much have shown as much. “I’m sorry lass but the messenger was insistent. Oh, and ye have tae bring the wolf with ye.” His eyes swoop back to Conall. “She only wants the lass and the wolf.”

I turn back to Conall sinking my face into his chest taking as big a lungful of his scent as possible. His arms tighten around me.

“Ye’ll no be going by yerself, I don care what Agnes wants, we do this together.” He whispered resting his chin on the top of my head.

“Together.” I mutter, the day couldn’t be anymore stranger. Why does the Cailleach need to see me and Silver? Just the thought brings the wolf to my back pressing the warmth of his fur body against me as if to let me know without saying, he is with me also.

I turned to my uncle. “Sloane, before I go anywhere you and aunt have a lot of explaining to do.”

Sloane shuffled his feet slowing raising his eyes to mine. “Aye lass we do.”

So not only was I pregnant with twins, had a twin brother that supposedly was being held by Aoife, who will let him free if I give myself up to her. Aunt and Sloane knew I had a twin and said nothing. Now the Cailleach wants to see me and Silver urgently. I felt before that I was a mouse on a never ending turn wheel. Now I feel like a lioness at the gate, ready to bit the head off anyone who thought to hurt my family.

I straightened my shoulders, took a deep breath. “Right let’s get the explanations done, then Silver and I are going to see the Cailleach and find out what her problem is, before I deal with demon, Aoife.”

Walking to the horses Conall pulled me to his side. “That’s what I love about you.” He smiled.

“Oh, and what is that?” I asked not sure what he was getting at but hoping there was more than one thing he loved about me.

“Your fucking beautiful fire.”

The End

Author’s Note

While most of the historical details and backgrounds in Aimnéise are based on published historical sources, and are accurate as far as possible, some minor events, people and places have been modified as required by the demands of the story.

While herbal preparations in this book are historical, none should be taken as being effective without professional advice. Many herbs can be toxic and ineffective with imprecise use and should only be administered by an experienced practitioner.

Place Of Pedants Series

Book One – Miasmic

Book Two – Aimnéise

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