Here's just a tidbit from Chapter 11...

    Sitting before the fire, they chatted amicably, now completely at ease with one another. “Do you know my uncle well?” Briana asked.

     Nathaniel nodded his head as he tossed another branch onto the fire. “Known him for years, little miss. He saved me mum’s life one time, so I had no problem with this little task he asked of me, I tells yea true.”

    “Saved your mum’s life?”

    “No doubt in me mind that he did.” He lie back onto one of the pallets of furs and lay there looking into the flames. “It was a winter just like this… only much worse. Snow was ever so deep… couldn’t get through the drifts to get to help, and me mum…” He paused, and Briana could tell that whatever had happened had really left a mark on the young man. He gathered his thoughts, and then continued on.

    “My mum was on about going over and checking on the Winslows, what live over the hill from us, making sure that they was safe and all in the storm with their newborn babe, and naught would she do but go and check on them herself.”

    “She wouldn’t let you do it?”

     Nathaniel smiled and shook his head. “Maybe perhaps sometimes yea might come over and meet my mum, and then yea might understand that.”

    Briana smiled as she realized that his mum was probably the sort that had to do things herself, just to make sure that they were done right.

    “Anyways, she set out, but the winds shifted and she dint know if she was coming or going, and the storm set in hard.” He stopped for a moment, his eyes haunted as he remembered. “I knew she shoulda been back, but there wa’nt no sign of her for hours. I dinna have much choice but to try and find her myself. But just as I was about to set out, there was a knock on the door… and it was Celdric.”

     He shook his head. “I dunno how he knew to come, or that anything was amiss at all, and quite rightly, I don’t care. He said that he just had a ‘feelin’ that he was needed, and nothing could stop him from setting out over the hill and finding out what it was that he was supposed to be doing.”

    Briana scooted closer to the fire, a chill running down her back that had nothing to do with the winter weather. It was the thought of her uncle risking someone finding out about his Gift, but knowing that he had to if it meant saving someone’s life.

    “We set out, and it wasn’t far along the way that he told me that we were going the wrong way, that she was off the track and on the Baskinton trail. I told him that he had to be wrong, that she knew the way too well, had been over it a million and one times, she had. But he wouldn’t take no for an answer, and set off on his own, with me not about to let him head off on his own like that, so I followed along behind him. He set off like a beast on a scent, he did… and it was just as we hit the Baskinton trail when we seen a bump in the road as where there shouldn’t ha’ been one… and it was me mum, nearly froze.”

     There were tears in his eyes as he coughed, his voice threatening to break as he relived the torment of those moments. “I just knew she was dead, she had been out there in that for too long… but Celdric wasn’t havin’ none of that, he wa’nt. Nothing to do but take her up and run for the house… and that was what the man did, run through the snow and the storm, carrying mum till we seen the lights of the house before us.”

     “We laid her out on the floor before the fire and tried to warm her, but she was like ice to me, and I couldn’t do much but sit there, my mind gone with her and no use to him at all. He started to rub her arms, her legs, all the while talking to her, telling her that it wasn’t her time, to be getting back to her boy that needed her.” He glanced over at Briana as if wondering whether to tell her everything or not. Something seemed to reassure him, and he continued on.

    “It was then that it happened… he was rubbin away on her arms, and talking to her, when I saw it… his hands… they started glowing like a swampfae… and then it went into her, and then she was all alight with it. Like a fire, but not…” He looked into the fire. “And all of a sudden, she let out a gasp of air, then started heaving and jerking around it scared me so as to I thought it was a demon come and took her.” He laughed. “Told her that later, and she said that she was meaner than any ol’ demon, just let one of them try that on her and he would get a whippin the likes that he had never seen!”

     Briana laughed at the thought, and decided then and there that she would certainly like to meet his mum sometime.

    “And a little while later, mum is sitting there before the fire, sipping at her tea what Celdric made for her, like nothing happened, complaining that he hadn’t made the tea right.”

    “Celdric just laughed and leaned down and gave her a kiss on the forehead, wrapped his cloak about him and out the door he went.” He loaded up the fire with wood for the night. “And so if he needs a little task done like fetching his niece, why then you might see now why it is nothing to me to do something like that for him… or anything else that he might need done, either.” He glanced sharply over at Briana.

“And when I say ‘anything’, that is what I mean. If it weren’t for him, mum would be rottin’ in her grave, and we both knows it true. So when he come and told me that he had to get you there safe and sound right away, it wasn’t but a moment before I set out to get you for him.”

     He wrapped up in a fur, his hat rolled up under his head for a pillow. “G’night, Briana.”

    She slid in under the warm fur, the firelight twinkling across the snow of the camp as she lie there for a moment, thinking of what lie in store for her. Whatever it was, she certainly knew that it would be exciting!

     “G’night, Nathaniel.”

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