Shadow Walkers - Chapter #4

A stiff apology is a second insult. The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt. ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

Borias sat moaning and rubbing the middle of his forehead in the small surgery, while Caeoimhin made notes in the elf's file. "Oh me nose. Tis killin' me."

"Did anyone ever tell ye, ye whine like that wee Marcia Brady on the telly, ye hellion?" Caeoimhin chuckled softly. "The good news is, ye will live. The bad news is, yer nose be broken. Ye have some bruising around it and yer eyes as well."

"Hell, I could have told ye that, Maister Johns Hopkins," he complained. "Tis a damned cryin' shame is what it be. Eight hundred and thirty-two years auld and I have never had a broken nose. Never! And now I get it broke, not once mind ye, but twice in the same damned day, by the same wee hellion. It be a damned conspiracy, is what it be. Then, then she threatens to rob me of my manhood!"

"And dinna ferget, she threatened to stick it in yer ear," he snickered under his breath.

Borias grunted in aggravation. "I dinna need anything else stuck in my damned head, thank ye kindly. It already feels like it be full of shite."

"That's a'cause yer nasal passages are blocked up right now. You could try to blow yer nose, but I dinna recommend it. Twuid hurt like hell if you did. A'sides, be happy tis not still bleedin'."

"Hell, there be no blood left in it. The damned snot that keeps drippin' out like a fookin' fountain, washed it all away," he sneered back, raising his arm to dab at his nose, with the sleeve of his tunic. "Owwww! Damn me! The wee hellcat done kilt me! What the hell was she about anyway? Runnin' out there in her night-rail with a sword in her hands! Now I ask ye, what the hell kind of sense did that make?"

"I told ye to go easy on her, that she was frightened enough, but did ye listen? Noooo. Ye did not." Caeoimhin made a final notation in the file and set it aside, before he leaned back in his chair. His eyes lit with mirth. "You wanted her to be brave and she was. She saw Cu knock ye down and it scairt her. Then she grabbed Faolán's sword and went out to save ye."

Borias' frown turned into a painful grimace. "What the hell? Save me from what? That overgrown lap dog?"

"She thought he was eating ye alive, Bri. The Goddess knows, ye hollered that fact out loud enough to wake yer ancestors," he chortled. "Ye should have seen her coming down the stairs. She was a fierce wee thing to behold, with Faolán's sword in her hand."

"Well, that fierce wee thing as ye call her, broke my damned nose," he groaned back, gingerly touching the end of it, before he groaned again.

"I would have to, if I were a wee frightened lassie and ye had called me an idgit. And in front of all of us to boot," he frowned. "Dammit Bri, do ye not know how to treat a lassie? Is that it? What else did ye tell her I wonder? That she had a homely mug? Or mayhap a skinny arse?" When Borias didn't answer, Caeoimhin shook his head.

"Hell, I thought ye had more sense than that, Bri. No wonder she broke yer damned nose. She should have put her foot up yer arse, and shoved it up into yer belly someplace for ye, good and proper like. Twuid have served ye right, ye know."

"She had no business out there. What if it would have been night? That thing's still alive and it's still out there huntin' somewhere. No doubt huntin' her, a'cause she saw that damned piece of the crest. Everybody else is dead, dammit. What if Cu had been that thing?"

"She was scared, aye," Caeoimhin answered giving him a level look. "But I saw the determination in her eyes, when she went out to find you. I saw it in her eyes when she found ye too. Even untrained as she is, make no mistake, Bri, wee Caitlain would have died tryin' to save ye. We all saw it."

That notion didn't sit well with him at all. It left an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. "She dinna even belong out there. I dinna ask the wee gomeral to save me! I be a man grown. I can take care of meself dammit."

"Aye and ye looked it too," Faolán chuckled, coming into the room. "Arms and legs a'wavin' in the air and yellin' that the Hellhound was eatin' ye alive. Poor old Cu be lucky he dinna get a bellyache."

He stopped and looked at Borias, then did a double take. "Damn. Ye look like a racoon with them black eyes," he grinned. Borias growled, but it didn't phase Faolán one bit when he turned to Caeoimhin. "So what's the verdict? Will the master of congeniality live to bellow another day?"

"Mayhap if he doesna call her an idgit again, Fal, but that be debatable at this point in time. Otherwise, twuid be a fair guess to look fer his heid on the nearest pike, along with his wee best friend and it's two bonny wee companions."

Laughing at Caeoimhin's description, Faolán turned a chair around and straddled it. "Bri, Mick and I were talkin'. We were thinking that mayhap, we could teach her to use a sword and a cross bow, mayhap even a pair of daggers."

Borias' eyes met the younger elf's disparagingly. "Are ye out of yer damned minds? The hellion would stick the damned sword in yer arses, right a'fore she lopped off yer damned heids. She be here so we can try to keep her alive, not so she can kill us in the process! The wee deamon be a menace is what she be."

Caeoimhin rolled his eyes. "Ye said the same thing about Mick when he was small."

"Aye and I still have the scar on me arse too!"

"Ye should no have been walking about in the dark that night. He was scairt enough and ye knew it."

"Dammit the hell, Cam! I dinna know ye and this other pup had given the wee deamon a dagger. I bled like a stuck pig."

"Ye great ox, ye bled two wee drops!" Caeoimhin snorted in laughter. "Two damned wee drops, Bri. Poor Mick cried like a wee babe a'cause ye hollered so much. He thought he had gone and kilt ye."

Borias had the good grace to look chastised. It had been the first time he'd ever made anyone cry and Mick had been a small child at the time. "Damn, ye will bring that up till the day I die, will ye no?" he groaned, standing up. "Am I done bein' roasted over the damned coals yet? I have things to do."

"No and sit down. I'm going to make ye a tea with some feverfew for yer headache, and dinna tell me ye dinna have one. I have eyes. I seen ye rubbing yer forehead."

Sighing, he sat back down on the cot. "Twill go away in a couple hours," he mumbled, letting his head hang down. "Hell, I've had worse. Canna remember when just now, but I have had."

"Yer right, but this could have been worse yet, Bri," Faolán told him and winked at Caeoimhin. "Cam could be performing an arsendectomy on ye right now."

"Or tryin' to sew me fookin' nose or me nads back on," he mumbled under his breath.

Caeoimhin moved to the apothecary cabinet and took out a small glass bottle. He carefully measured out a small amount of powdered feverfew into a brown mug, then went to the hearth and picked up the copper kettle. "Aye and I might still have to, but it could be a bit hard to get yer head out of yer arse, with yer foot stuck in yer mouth to do it," he answered, after pouring the water into the mug.

"I suppose ye want me to do what...apologize to that wee hellion? For breakin' me nose? Is that it? Well, twill be a damned cold day in Hell a'fore that happens, I can tell ye that much right now," he informed the both of them. "A'sides, I dinna hear ye wantin' her to apologize for breakin' my nose in the first place."

"Me thinks thou dost protest too much, Shakespeare," Faolán snickered, when Caeoimhin handed Borias the mug, telling him to drink it all down. "Then again, mayhap Cam, Mick or I should speak with her. Ye have to admit, she is a wee comely lassie and we do have more experience than ye do, especially when it comes to the fairer sex. Who knows, mayhap Mick or I could find favor in those pretty lavender eyes of her's and get lucky. And ye have to remember what she said too. We look like we fell off the cover of one of them bodice busters all the lassies read nowadays," he grinned waggling his eyebrows.

Borias cussed when he choked on the tea and it came out his nose in a painful gush, making Faolán laugh as he stood up. "I'll give her yer apologies fer not speaking with her. I'll just tell her, ye be incapacitated and canna get yer great foot out of yer mouth. I imagine she will understand, a'cause after all, accordin' to ye, she be an idgit, aye?"

Before Borias could say anything in retaliation, Faolán was already gone from the room. He frowned up at Caeoimhin, who handed him a towel. "What? Are ye no goin' to get yer two cents worth in? Ye might as well do it now and get done with it."

"I was just thinking for argument's sake that is, that it could have been worse, Peter Pan," Caeoimhin answered, turning his back on Borias to put the feverfew back in the chest. "He could have asked ye, if ye were going to marry Wendy and give him and Mick a mother."

"Nuada's teeth!" he growled shoving himself up and stalking to the door. "Them hellions dinna need a mither! They need a damned zoo keeper and so does she!"

"Then I suppose, I can go on and tell them she's fair game, aye?" Caeoimhin asked innocently, before Borias stormed out with another growl and slammed the door behind him.

Caeoimhin sat back down, smiling to himself. Sometimes Borias was so easy. It was only a matter of time now, before he spoke to Caitlain about teaching her to use a sword. All he had to do was swallow his pride and the real fireworks could begin. Oh yes, there would be fireworks aplenty when it came to those two.

It wasn't that they wanted to see Borias hurt, but he could be a little more than overbearing at times, Caeoimhin reasoned. Getting knocked down a wee peg or two, kept everything on an even keel among them. Nor had it only ever happened to Borias. Each one of them had ate a little crow at one time or another. It kept them alive and it kept them together. In the long run, that was all that mattered, if they walked away to live another day. It was one of the reasons why they'd out lived other Scáth Siúlóirs for six hundred and ten years.

It hadn't been easy in those early days, when there had just been Borias and himself. They'd wound up hurt more times than Caeoimhin cared to count. Sometimes more dead than alive, he knew and it was why Caeoimhin had taken up the healing arts. He was their healer. He stitched their wounds and set their broken bones. He doled out everything from feverfew for headaches, comfrey for broken bones, daftodi for wounds, burns, and sprains, and horehound for coughs, snake bites, and stomach ailments.

Glancing at Borias' file, Caeoimhin pinched the bridge of his nose. He had used all of those on Borias at one time or another, those and more. Just because an elf got hurt didn't mean he healed magically, as some story books said. That was a crock if ever there was one and he knew it. It was the product of a very over active imagination.

Elves and faerie both healed, but sometimes it took a little longer than it should. Like in humans, infections could take awhile to heal. He glanced up at the ceiling, thinking of Caitlain alone up in her room. "So can wounded hearts," he murmured out loud, remembering the look on her face when Borias had called her an idiot.

There were no herbs or potions for that type of ailment. Her arm and the stitches he could heal, but it would take sincere words to heal the pain he'd saw in her eyes. The kind of words that only Borias could speak.

Scáth Siúlóirs...Shadow Walkers

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