The Magic of Highland Dragons

The Magic of Highland Dragons by Kella McKinnon Read Free Book Online

Book: The Magic of Highland Dragons by Kella McKinnon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kella McKinnon
must be a reason, but she still had no idea what that reason could be.
     
    ***
     
    Bren motioned to a guardsman, who hurried to his side, eager to do the laird’s bidding. The Laird of Creagmor, Chief of the Mac Coinnach Clan was both feared and respected by all of his men. He wasn’t cruel, but he was powerful, and he was just. No one crossed him and did not suffer for it in the end. Even so, countless men willingly gave him their complete loyalty. He was the kind of man that drew others to his side without even trying. He possessed an aura of magnetism and a natural strength of character that made him a natural-born leader.
    “Find Dirc McInnes as soon as he returns from Ingarry and bring him to me in my study. Tell him there is something we must discuss. I’m quite certain he’ll be expecting my summons.”
    Bren went to the study to wait, and to think, pouring a tumbler of ale and sipping at it impatiently, then pacing between the fireplace and the tall windows of the east wall as he pondered. He couldn’t figure out for the life of him why such a small matter of his lust for a beautiful woman had his emotions running so high. Contrary to the outward impression most people had of him as a hard, cold warrior and mighty chief of his clan, Bren was a man who felt things very deeply, and at times struggled to control his hot blooded and passionate nature. But this… unease… he felt was different somehow. After all, Dirc had done many such ridiculous things in the past and it had hardly been more than a mild annoyance. This felt as if… as if his life was about to change somehow, as it hadn’t changed since his father’s death, when at seventeen years of age, he had taken the mantle of chief. He had avenged his father’s death, taking the life of the power-hungry laird who had killed him as well as claiming all of his holdings. It was an overwhelming and bloody victory that secured for him the loyalty of the Mac Coinnach clan far more than his blood right to the title of Chief.
    Finally there was a firm knock at the door, and Dirc slipped into the room without waiting for a response from within. Bren motioned for him to sit, and watched with a keen eye as he crossed the room to one of the elaborately carved wooden chairs. The man had to be at least ninety, no one knew for sure, but he looked barely fifty years of age. He had been sorcerer to his family for three generations, and now that his own father was gone nearly a decade now, and then his mother, killed not four years later, Dirc was the next closest thing he had to family, besides his brothers, of course. He watched over Bren and Drust and Eian, healed their wounds, warned them of danger, helped them to cast and keep wards and spells when necessary. And in all the years Bren had known him, Dirc had never kept a woman of any kind, not even a house maid, let alone a beautiful young lass. Aye, the old man was up to something. And friend or no, it was his place as laird to know what. There was, after all, much at stake. He decided it was best to come straight to the point. The old man could be frustratingly wily.
    “Who is she?”
    Dirc looked right at him, his dark eyes looking so much older than the rest of his face that it was a bit disconcerting at times. But he did not bother to pretend innocence. He knew exactly who Bren was asking about.
    “She is the daughter of an old friend, my laird. Her mother is dead. I came across her recently, in the forest outside of Creagmor, at the edge of the glen. She was on her way here to find me. She had journeyed far, and I took her in right away, for her own safety, of course. I had no’ yet heard the news of her mother’s death.” He turned his gaze to the window, his eyes far away now. “I had sworn an oath, many years ago, to watch over the girl. I have nay choice but to honor that oath now, nor would I wish it differently”, he said with a stubborn note in his voice.
    Bren leaned back in his chair. He knew

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