Shadow Walkers Chapter 13

"Like a midget at a urinal, I was going to have to stay on my toes." ~ Lt. Frank Drebin/The Naked Gun 33 1/3:The Final Insult

When Borias pushed his plate away with the half eaten piece of pie, Faolán looked over at him curiously. "What's wrong. Dinna ye like it?"

Borias rubbed his stomach and took a drink of tea. He slowly swished it in his mouth, hoping to rid himself of the nasty taste. "Twas...interestin' to say the least, but I be full."

"Can I ask, just what ye put in it, Fal?" Caeoimhin asked, frowning at Michael who was eating his with gusto.

"Gooseberries, persimmons, rhubarb and leeks. Do ye like it? Tis my own creation," he smiled proudly, missing Borias who stuck his tongue out and scrubbed it over the sleeve of his tunic.

"Like Bri said, twas interesting," he told him, feeling his mouth begin to pucker.

"I like it fine, Fal," Michael nodded vigorously, scooping in another fork full.

"That wee hellion would eat a turd if ye put catsup on it," Borias mumbled under his breath, grimacing at his own plate. When Faolán asked him what he'd said, Borias shook his head. "I said, I need to gather up a few things, then take wee Caitlain out to the courtyard and start teachin' her how to defend herself," he answered, pushing himself up from the table.

As Borias was leaving the dining room, he heard Faolán ask Caitlain what she thought of his pie. "It has a unique flavor," she'd told him, when Borias chanced a look back over his shoulder. She sat there with a big smile on her face, and he could only hope that a sudden cold snap, didn't freeze it like that. It made him chuckle to himself. knowing she'd made Faolán happy, but even that had it's drawbacks. Now he'd want her to taste everything he created, like the chicken liver and hard boiled egg stuffing he'd made at Christmastide last year.

Then there was the recipe, he'd picked up in Norway. Lutefisk. Oh Goddess protect the fools and bairns that ate that mess, and what a mess that had been! The memory still made Borias cringe. It was codfish, he'd told them, that had been steeped for days in a solution of lye. They found out it wasn't only caustic enough to eat flesh, but dissolved forks and knives. When Michael had accidentally dropped a piece on one of his leather boots, it had started to eat a hole though it.

Next came the Pacha. Sweet Jumpin' Jasus! That one still sent shivers down his spine. It had also sent Caeoimhin, Michael and him, running away from the table as fast as their feet could carry them. Even Cu Roi and Digby had hid out, when they had seen the sheep's head Faolán had cooked up from a recipe he'd found in Iraq. It still reminded Borias of a picture of a grinning T-Rex he'd seen, only boiled and skinned with hollow eye sockets resting on a bed of leafy greens. Caeoimhin had told Borias later, that they should go bury it somewhere when Faolán wasn't looking. Then some idgit could come along in a hundred years or so and dig it up, and think it was a fossil from the Jurassic period.

Now Faolán had a brand new unsuspecting guinea pig, who to be polite, had smiled and said his pie had a unique flavor. "Famous last words," Borias snickered, going into a small supply room. He glanced up and down the wall at the array of weapons, and settled on two wooden swords. Wood was best for now, he thought. At least that way, if she did get in a lucky swing, he wouldn't wind up missing a piece or two of his anatomy in the process. His eyes slipped toward the chain maile. Mayhap that too would be a good idea just in case, he reasoned, picking up a haubergeon.

Borias slipped it on over his head, letting his arms slide in through the sleeves. Slowly he rolled his head in a circular motion, allowing the mail to settle over his broad shoulders. The familiar weight was comfortable, against his outer clothing. It came to just below the waist and the sleeves were just roomy enough to allow for mobility. It would turn anything from the strongest blade, poleaxe or halberd, to the fangs and claws of a Scáth Siúlóir's prey. So he had no doubt in his mind, that it wouldn't do the same with a wooden sword, wielded by a wee snip of a girl.

Then again stranger things were known to happen, he told himself. There was always that possibility, that one in a hundred chance, that she may take a hit from him. His eyes instinctively moved back to the maile. Nothing in here would come close to fitting her, he frowned. It was all too big and she was...He sighed, thinking of how she'd looked standing on the roof, in that white cotton nightgown, with the sun at her back.

Borias felt his groin tighten. "Dammit to hell! Git yer mind on the task at hand, ye hellion," he berated himself. "Those kind of damned feelin's will no keep her alive. Ye had one woman and look what happened. Did ye no learn any damned thin' a'tall?" he ground out, snatching up the practice swords. "If ye had no loved her, she would still be here with ye."

"Talkin' to yerself again?" Caeoimhin asked casually, when Borias turned to find him standing in the doorway. "Ye know, they say if ye get answers, ye be nuts."

Borias grunted and walked past him. "Tis a wonder I am no fookin' nuts as ye call it already. If it is no one thin' around here, it be somethin' else all together." He stopped and turned around, looking Caeoimhin in the eye. "And I will tell ye somethin' else too. If it were no fer Lochlainn, I would no have us all this damned fix. Ye just wait till I see His Nibs. I be goin' to punch him upside his mule heid, right a'fore I stomp a dry mudhole in his arse fer him."

"Fer us or for her?" he asked, when Borias growled at him and stormed off. It made Caeoimhin smile at his friend's retreating form. "And they say chivalry be deid."

Borias passed Faolán in the hall. "Mick said to tell ye, him and wee Cuddles be out in the courtyard in a bit. He said, he had somethin' to give her first." Borias misstepped. "Who?"

"Cuddles," he smiled back innocently, when Caeoimhin stopped along side of him. "We decided to call her that. Mick and I figured it fit her like a glove. She has that look about her, that makes a man want to, ye know? Cuddle her I mean."

Borias' felt his teeth grind together. "Cuddles? What the hell next? Angel Eyes? Sweet Face? Buttercup? Mhuirnín?" he mumbled, heading toward the kitchen and the door that led outside.

"Cam, do ye have the feelin' he be cranky, a'cause he dinna think to use them names himself?" Faolán laughed.

Smiling back, Caeoimhin clapped him on the shoulder. "What I think is, the hellion has his work cut out for him. All we have to do, is nudge him in the right direction, Pup."

"Do ye really think he may call her Mhuirnín, Cam?"

"If he doesna call her Sweetheart, there be somethin' seriously wrong with the hellion somewhere."

They found Borias out in the courtyard pacing back and forth like a caged animal.

"Problem, Bri?"

He gave Faolán a scathing look that caused the younger elf to grin. "This be all Lochlainn's damned fault, ye know," he complained, taking a practice swing with the wooden sword. "All of it. That hellion. She thinks I set her up and twas him. And ye all be no better!"

"Us? Just what did we do now, yer Lordship?" Caeoimhin asked with a bored yawn, as he made himself comfortable on a stone bench.

"Ye dinna help matters when ye said, mayhap twuid no be a bad idea to bring her here fer a bit. And that hellion over there, leanin' against the wall with his unique pie. Unique pie me arse."

"I thought ye liked me pie, ye auld fart," Faolán reminded him. "Ye said twas interestin'."

"Only to Robert Ripley," he grunted. "I can see the headlines now. Believe It Or No. Some Wee Hellion In Ireland Mixed Gooseberries, Persimmons, Rhubarb And...And LEEKS All Together And Made A Pie...With A Unique Flavor."

Borias grimaced and looked up at the sky. "As if the gooseberries, persimmons and rhubarb were no bad enough, the hellion had to throw leeks into the damned mix, Goddess. Now I will probably git the damned shites. Then here comes the wee Picklehead and he braids her hair on the right side. Tis a conspiracy of grand proportions if ye ask me! And if that was no bad enough, the wee hellcat broke my fookin' nose...Twice!"

"He keeps shouting to the heavens like that and I may try for a third time."

Borias' head ducked down into his shoulders and his teeth ground together, when he heard her behind him. He chanced a look in Caeoimhin's direction and found him with his head down, rubbing his forehead. He didn't need to see Caeoimhin's face to know he was laughing.

Slowly, Borias turned around and was struck dumb when he saw her standing there next to Michael. She was dressed in a smaller version of the mail shirt he wore. It wasn't the mail shirt that caught his eye or the hint of fire in her eyes as much, as the way it laid over the swell of her small breasts.

"Buttcheeks?" she cooed softly, moving toward him.


Caitlain whacked him on top of his head with a wooden sword Michael had given her, causing him to give a startled yelp. "Damn me!" he bellowed, rubbing the tender spot. "What the hell was that fer, Woman?"

"Because your eyes stick out so far I could knock 'em off with a stick, Buttcheeks. Now you pop them black eyes right back in that homely mug of yours, Junior, because Betty and Wilma here are mine!"

Damn if she didn't look like she'd hit him again, standing there pointing that wooden weapon at him, he thought to himself.

"You're supposed to be vigilant when you're holding a sword in yours hands, and facing an opponent. Not standing there like a knot on a log and checking out their boobs," she informed him.

"Yer...boobs Madame, as ye call them two, wee shriveled up peas, were the last thin' I would look at. If...if I could find the wee thin's to begin with. Hell Woman, I saw ye standin' there in the maile and thought ye be a man," he snorted at her, hearing a collective groan from his three companions.

"Yeah? Wow, ain't that a funny thing? Here I thought you had a little bitty compass hid under your kilt. Cause that teeny weenie needle of yours, started pointing at me like a homing beacon."

Behind him he heard Caeoimhin chuckle. "Touche."

"Talk about gettin' nailed in the ghuilles, Bri. She done got ye good," Faolán laughed, getting in his two cents worth.

He bit back a retort when his eyes casually slipped down to the cast on her arm, then back up at her eyes. "Think ye be tough do ye, Lassie?" he challenged, knowing he had her at a disadvantage. "Well now, why not show me what ye have and we will go from there."

Behind him Caeoimhin sighed and rolled his eyes. He leaned back and crossed his legs getting comfortable. There would be time enough to fill ice bags when Borias was done teaching, he smiled to himself. Especially if what he suspected was true he thought, when he watched her take her stance opposite of Borias.

She was small, but she matched him blow for blow with the wooden sword. Even though she kept part of the hilt pushed inside the cast with her fingers wrapped around the rest of it, she used her right arm to maneuver the weapon.

"What the hell??!! Borias snapped at her, when she got in a particularly lucky shot at him, cracking him across the backside when he got frustrated, and charged at her, only to have her dance out of the way. "Where did ye learn that, ye wee hellion?" he demanded, turning just in time to fend off another blow of the wooden sword.

"I didn't say I couldn't use a sword. I just wanted you to show me how to defend myself, when I ran into that damned vampire," she answered, blocking one of his blows.

"As for where I learned, my friends taught me some moves. I also took a couple of short classes when we all went to a renfaire one weekend. Besides it's good exercise, ye auld fart, except maybe in your case. Do you always huff and puff like that, Methuselah? You really should exercise something beside your ego, and that flapping jaw bone of yours. Not only that, you should watch your diet. You are what you eat you know."

"Aye, like gooseberries, persimmons, rhubarb and leeks," Caeoimhin called out helpfully, when Caitlain swung and whacked Borias on the side of his unprotected leg with a resounding smack.

"Owwwwww! Shut up, ye hellion!"

"Dinna loose yer temper, Bri," he grimaced, when Caitlain slipped around him and smacked him in the backside again.

"You're lucky this ain't a real sword, otherwise you'd loose one of them buttcheeks, Methuselah."

Borias' temper boiled over and before she could move, he reached out grabbing her by the arm, and jerked her toward him so hard, Caitlain bumped into him. He gave her a shake as if to prove a point, then let go of her arm long enough, to grab her by the front of the chain mail shirt she wore.

"You want to defend yerself against that abomination? Fine!" he hissed. "Find it in the day time and pound a damned stake through it's fookin' heart. After ye do that cut off the bastard's head, then cut out the heart and burn the whole damned carcass!" He shook her again looking her in the eyes. "A'cause if ye dinna, and it gits to ye first, someone will come along and find ye, and trust me, ye will no like it when they do it to ye."

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