It looked as though they might run her through, but she heard Aonghas call out to them to hold. Two of the men grabbed her by the arms, but it took a third to immobilize her legs and keep her still for him. She scowled as he strode over, still grinning with his victory and full of himself. Several men dragged the bodies of Arawn and Neirin behind him.
“Is she hurt?” Aonghas queried, glancing down at the blood which saturated much of her sweatshirt and pants.
Glory squawked as one of the men pulled her shirt open along the tear, ripping it more and exposing her blood-spattered but whole skin. “No my lord. It must be another’s blood.”
“Excellent!” he declared with a lustful chuckle. It didn’t seem to phase him that the blood was probably from his own men. He stepped forward as if to force a kiss on her. Glory twisted away, but one of her captors grabbed her hair and forced her to face their leader.
“Don’t even think about it if you want to keep your pretty face intact,“ she hissed savagely, bearing her teeth. “I will bite you!”
Her threat did not quite inspire the kind of reaction she had hoped for. Several of the Fomorians snickered. Her hair was yanked once more and another of her captors kicked her legs out from under her so she landed on her knees in the bloody dirt. Aonghas grinned down at her as she was forced to look up, but at least he seemed less inclined to kiss her.
“Well, pretty, am I?” he reached down caressing her cheek. “You’ll get used to the kissing later then, I am sure.” That brought a roar of amusement from his men. “Bind her… and gag her,” he added as an afterthought, “and mind your fingers as you do!” His men choked with laughter again. “And bring me Gwythyr as soon as he is found. Preferably alive. If she is back from the Otherworld, then he must be here too.”
Though she could have popped her sword, at such odds it was unlikely she’d do much more than find a messy new way to die. Though the sword made her hard to kill, Glory doubted it was an impossible feat. Dismemberment would probably do the trick, and then who would save Jess or track Lori down before she did more harm?
The men were none too gentle as they bound her hands behind her back and forced a filthy gag into her mouth. She struggled to get to her feet, determined to maintain her dignity by walking wherever it was they intended to take her, but her captors had other ideas. The biggest of the men, appropriately sporting the snout of a pig, swung her up so that she was bent over his shoulder backwards with her butt in the air. His companions laughed uproariously as she kicked and squirmed. Shouting “Hup! Hup!” with each careless slide, he made several plays at dropping her down his back as if the arm locked around her knees was not a secure hold despite her struggles. When Glory finally stopped moving for fear that he really would drop her on her head, he let his huge hand settle around one of her upper thighs and gave it a squeeze, much to the continued amusement of his friends. He carried her all the way to her new prison that way before unceremoniously dropping her onto her bottom with a very piggish snort of amusement and leaving.
As Glory looked around the small building, she saw several other women, obviously valuable prisoners. The had been afforded one rushlight to illuminate what amounted to a storage shed. From the number of baskets, bags, and chests lining the walls, she guessed the building was probably a larder, chosen because it was more or less intact and small enough to guard. Arawn’s wife approached and looked about to say something when the woman’s eyes widened in horror. Glory heard the thump of a body being tossed onto the floor behind her and turned in time to see two men drag Arawn in and dump him atop the corpse of his son.
With loud wails, his wife and the other women threw themselves on the bodies. From their cruel laughter, this had been the exact reaction the Fomorians sought. Even after they had left the building, Glory could still hear the occasional chuckle over the lamentation. Then again, Glory seemed to recall some archeological evidence that the ancient Celts we headhunters, taking the skulls of their enemies as trophies. Perhaps they planned on decapitating the bodies when they had a larger audience. Regardless, as little as she liked Arawn’s people, Glory liked the crude Fomorians even less. They seemed to take on the worst stereotypical qualities of the animals with which they were joined. At least Gwythyr didn’t seem to take after either side of his family.
As the sobbing died down, she tried to get someone’s attention by clearing her throat. None of the other prisoners were tied, which meant Aonghas’ only goal in having her bound was to humiliate her. One of the women turned to look at her and Glory twisted around, holding her tied hands out behind her. Her Fomorian captors had tied the ropes as tightly as they could and the cords had cut through her skin in several places. It hurt, but not as badly as it might once have. It was mainly an irritant, but one she’d just as soon remove.
The woman sniffled as she struggled with the bloody rope, but she didn’t speak, nor did anyone else as they mourned their leader. Glory was pulling her hands free of the ropes even as she felt them finally loosen. She pulled the gag off and threw it across the room before turning around.
“Thank you,” she said, but the woman had already turned back to the bodies. She cleared her throat again, but no one seemed in the least bit interested in anything she might say. “Excuse me…” she tried again, whispering so that the guards outside would not hear her.
Arawn’s wife finally looked up at her, though she couldn’t be sure if her expression was one of misery or fury. “I, um… can I try something? I can’t promise it will work because I’m not sure it actually worked the first time I did it…if I did it.”
“My husband and son are dead, the Fomorians intend to make slaves of us all, and you sit there babbling at me like a fool,” the woman declared, her tone a mixture of fury and loathing. She was definitely Neirin’s mother. “What could you possibly do?“
“I may possibly have brought someone back from the dead… once,” Glory offered uncomfortably. She understood how the woman felt. Being no stranger to loss herself, she was willing to cut her some slack. Besides, there was really no coherent way to offer to resurrect someone.
Now all the women were looking at her, red-eyed and demoralized by their experiences, but some of them finally looking hopeful. Arawn’s wife looked as if she’d rather chew off her own arm than accept Glory’s help however. Glaring at Glory, she unsteadily climbed to her feet and stumbled over the other ladies even as they attempted to make way for her. When she finally made it to where Glory knelt, she leaned down until they were eye to eye and spoke so softly that no one else would be able to hear.
“You may try, but if you fail, I will find some way to make what is left of your life such a misery you will wish that you had died today as well.”
With a mother like her, no wonder Neirin turned out so well, Glory thought to herself as she crawled towards the bodies. Pulling Arawn into her arms, she leaned in close and tried to remember what it had felt like the first time. She had tattoos on either shoulder, mirror twins of each other. One radiating healing inwards, the other outwards. She had other tattoos that were also meant to aid healing. If she‘d known about the sword before she got the tattoos, Glory probably would not have bothered, but on the other hand, she had no way of knowing which was responsible for her healing ability… if she wasn‘t just fooling herself.
No. Doubts were not conducive to magic work, so she couldn’t doubt that she’d brought a dead woman back to life all those months ago. She looked down on Arawn’s face, peaceful in death, and focused all of her will into the idea that he would live. A surge of energy uncoiled inside her, flowing like fire through her bones, through her hands, and into the body she cradled. Arawn made a sound, half gasp, half grunt, as his chest suddenly rose.
“Addfwyn?” he rasped and blinked up at her in confusion. Glory couldn’t tell if he’d spoken a name or simply made a noise in clearing his throat. She could almost forgive his wife though, as she was knocked out of the way in the woman’s eagerness to get to her husband
to Book 4, part 2, page 11