So got a text message this morning from “da mudder” who informs me that brother #5 is in hospital, undergoing surgery for an elbow injury. He was playing a game of rugby and got tackled and damaged some bone in his arm. It is fractured and partly detaching from where it should be. So he’ll probably be sport-free until after Christmas. That’ll really annoy him. Specially considering that it was only a Sligo game, and he’d finally been picked for the Connacht team, not to mention his playing for the school
My brothers, the accident-prone.
Anyways, more of the fic under the cut iffin your interested.
Both stared at the handle that now emerged from her dress between the guardian’s breasts. Then their eyes met, and her’s were no longer wild as Aidan remembered, instead they seemed hurt, puzzled. They remained motionless, his hands still wrapped around the knife’s hilts, the tiniest trickle of blood began to seep out of her wound, soaking into the pale fabric.
The guardian gave the briefest of coughs, and a drop of blood made it past her lips, darkening them before slowly flowing down her white skin and dropping from her chin onto Aidan’s hand. “Why?” she asked softly.
Aidan couldn’t answer, he stepped away, as his hands left the knife the guardian swayed slightly, and having lost her support fell to the ground. For the space of a breath she lay crumpled at his feet, then as Aidan stared she disappeared. The only remaining trace was the knife he had stabbed her with. It lay gleaming on the stone floor, not a single drop of blood marred its surface.
After staring at the knife glittering on the floor Aidan shook himself, he was not going to let this bother him. The guardian had no right to life, she- it was an abomination. “A beast of hell, spawn of demons and evil. Nothing good can come from such a monster.” Somehow it had seemed reasonable when the priest in his white cloak had spoken with him. Now he could think of all the good that had come from the guardian, even his very life. Were it not for her he would have died a long time ago.
The lord of Tiercyl reached down and picked up the knife, carefully he placed it in the drawer and locked it away safely. Recriminations ran through his head, thoughts that he tried to ignore.
He wrenched open the door and stalked out into the hallway, almost knocking down one of the servants who was busy cleaning.
“Get my rooms cleaned.” He snapped at her, not even waiting to see her quick courtsey. Seeing another he ordered a horse to be made ready, “the new hunter” he called as the boy ran to do his bidding.
Aidan waited in the entrance hall, pacing backwards and forwards, impatience marking his appearance. Part of him knew the reason for his sudden black mood, but he didn’t want to think about what had just happened in the room. It was as though he hadn’t been thinking properly for the past week. What difference did it make to him if the priest thought the guardian was a device of evil? She had never done anything but protect the land, protect his people as he was sworn to do.
He snatched the crop out of the servant’s hands, and mounted the hunter. “Where are the hounds?” He asked.
“The bloody dogs! Do you expect me to give tongue by myself.”
“There was no.. I will see to it.”
Aidan scowled, more at himself than anything else. He hadn’t asked for the hounds after all, only for the horse. Still taking a hunter out, obviously he would be hunting. They hardly expected him to use his own nose to find the game.
He pulled on the reins, turning the horse’s head, forcing the prancing animal to circle. The gelding jerked his head, eager to be off, full of energy. His hooves danced across the courtyard and Aidan was content to let him move. It gave him something to do, avoiding the people who had arrived for the market.
He tapped lightly with his heel, and was pleased by the animalâ€™s immediate response. The brown horse was somewhat nondescript in appearance, but anyone who was a judge of horseflesh could see the depth of chest, the easy and smooth leg action. Stamina, speed and a willing heart, those were the qualities Aidan looked for in a horse. He still had to test just how willing this one’s heart was, see how brave the gelding was when confronted with jumps and ditches in the forest.
The animal circled again, pulling at the reins. Irritated now Aidan pulled sharply on the reins, and the horse snorted, backing up and lashing out with his off hind leg. The action was merely a way of showing his displeasure, not a malicous act from the horse; the result was violence nonetheless.
Aidan twisted in the saddle, he had felt the horse connect with something. Cursing he jumped from the saddle, a girl lay sprawled face down in the dirt, mud beginning to soak into her skirt. As he turned her over, gently, the crowd began to gather around him.
“Any of you know who she is?”
Most remained silent at the question, but one came forward.
“Milord,” he took his cap off his head. “She is the healer’s granddaughter. Rahna I think is her name.”
“The healer? The old healer? Didn’t sheâ€¦?”
“Pass on my lord, she did, a year ago now. The girl was learning from her, has taken her place this past year.”
Aidan looked down at the young woman in his arms. He brushed the hair away from her face, revealing a large bruise on her forehead. He didn’t think that was from the horse, more likely she had been kicked and knocked her head as she fell. She stirred slightly, not waking but the movement gave him hope that she wasnâ€™t badly injured.
“I’ll take her up to the keep,” Aidan decided. Maybe one good act could save him.