Keira contemplated the stranger for a little while not knowing exactly what to do. The bleeding had stopped but he was still passed out on the floor of her chamber. The stone was cold and even unconscious the stranger was beginning to shake. He was probably going into shock. She grabbed his arms and tried to drag him near her bed but even doing her best effort, she couldn’t move him. Her head turned around to look for some space. She decided it was best to make a bed on a corner where it was easy to hide him.
She wrapped her cloak around her and went outside. Keira grabbed some more hay and brought it inside starting to spread it on the stone. Then she looked for a fur to cover him and made him a pillow with more hay. Again she tried to drag him there but there was no use.
“How am I going to do this?” She talked to herself looking down at the stranger.
When she heard a sound she jumped back yelping a bit. The man turned his head and mumbled imperceptible things. He then passed out again and Keira crouched near him. She pulled his hair away from his face and somehow she stared at his lines feeling sorry for that man’s condition. He must have been Cahil’s age or a little younger but he was definitely taller than Cahil. Her eyes raked him from feet to his face again and she decided she really needed help for she wouldn’t be able to do anything by herself. Keira left her chamber and looked for her sister for she was the only person she knew who would keep that secret.
“What do you want?” Cathleen asked a little annoyed.
“Stop crying!” Keira said as she noticed her sister was crying all alone.
“I don’t know what happened to father or Jacob.” She whimpered a little bit. “The battle has stopped for hours Keira, they should be here by now.”
Keira looked at her sister in silence. That was true but she didn’t want to think about it. “I need your help.” She said instead.
“My help?” Cathleen cleaned her eyes surprised. Keira just nodded and pulled her by her hand.
“I’ll explain later.” She said dragging her sister with her.
When they entered Keira’s chamber Cathleen gasped and took her hands to her mouth as her eyes set on the man passed out on the floor.
“What is he doing here and who is he?” She whispered.
“He’s wounded.” Keira whispered back. “He was here when I came back from the saloon.”
“He’s not one of ours Keira.” Cathleen stated.
Keira’s eyes hit the floor. “I know…” She said. “…but he passed out. He is hurt on his neck and was bleeding too much. I just stopped the bleeding.”
“What does he have around his neck?” Cathleen asked pointing.
“A piece of my tunic…the wound needs to be cleaned and treated or he is going to die.” Keira told her.
“But?” Cathleen stuttered a bit. “Where are you going to keep him? You know he will be killed as soon as they found out a Saxon is here.”
“That’s the thing…no one can know…”
“Keira!” Cathleen exclaimed.
“I couldn’t just let him die…” Keira excused herself.
“What if he kills you? Uh?”
“He couldn’t even speak!” Keira argued. “He passed out in front of my eyes.”
“Oh Keira…if father comes back it’s going to be hard to keep this from him and from Cahil…and what are they going to think about this…you saving the enemy?”
“They will not know.” Keira said decided.
“Where are you going to keep him?” Cathleen insisted.
“Here.” Keira answered decided.
Cathleen’s eyes opened eyes. “You are insane.” She said.
“They don’t come in here…”
“Oh…” Cathleen frowned. “And now you want me to keep this secret.”
“Exactly. I need your help to put him on that bed over there.”
“Keira…this is going to bring us trouble.” Cathleen said.
“It will not. As soon as he is alright, I tell him to leave.”
“Alright…” Cathleen ended up agreeing.
“Now grab his feet.” Keira ordered.
Cathleen did so and Keira grabbed him under his arms. The two girls began to drag the man but he was heavy and big and they had a hard time doing so.
“He’s huge!” Cathleen retorted when they put him back on the floor.
Keira didn’t answer, she just waited for her sister to rest a bit and then they managed to bring the blond Saxon man to the bed. When they did so, Keira covered him with the fur and adjusted the pillow she had made under his head.
“Now what?” Cathleen asked.
“Now I need herbs to clean his wound and herbs to make it heal. I learned it from Eva…remember?” Cathleen nodded. “He will be fine and then he’ll be gone to join his people.”
“I still think this is a mistake.” Cathleen said.
“Have you noticed his hair Cathleen?” Keira asked ignoring her sister’s remark. “It’s so different…”
“It’s long and blond.” Her sister answered as if it didn’t matter at all but Keira was fascinated by it.
“It’s so light…”
“Keira!” Cathleen reprimanded.
“What?” Keira curled an eyebrow. “It’s beautiful…there’s nothing wrong with what I am saying…”
As they were having this discussion women and children began to be heard out on the streets.
“What is this?” Cathleen asked.
Keira got up and ran outside. Women and children were cheering and when she turned her head to the gates of the village she saw shadows approaching. The men were coming back. Keira ran towards it and so did Cathleen. She recognized her father on the front of their army and he seemed alright.
“Father is well!” Keira squealed delighted and clapping. Also she was relieved.
“I don’t see Jacob.” Cathleen said turning her head to every side trying to spot her fiancée. That reminded Keira of Cahil but she saw his horse by his father’s side. Cahil was on it but he did not seem well and in front of him there was a body. Cathleen’s hands went to her mouth to cover her scream when she recognized Jacob’s armor on the body, Keira wrapped an arm around her for support.
“Oh no…” She cried.
“I am sorry.” Egan said.
“Father?” Keira asked.
“I am alright.” Egan told her but his eyes were sad.
Then a horse stopped near her. It was Cahil. Keira looked up at him to find him sweating and his eyes were fainted blue. She recognized the same fainted gaze on the stranger’s eye and her heart skipped a beat at the acknowledgment that Cahil was wounded.
“What happened?” She asked looking at her father.
“We won.” Cahil said weakly. His voice was just a whisper.
“Don’t speak…” She told him feeling her eyes flooding with tears.
“Cahil is wounded Keira.” The king told her. “He was hurt when he tried to protect me.”
“How bad?” She asked then turning her head to look at him.
“I am fine.” He whispered but he was almost fainting on the horse.
“We don’t know yet, but it’s on his chest.” Egan explained. “You can help him.”
“Aye!” Keira nodded.
Keira wanted to comfort her sister and talk more with her father but the village was just in chaos as the warriors returned. Egan had taken her too fast to Cahil’s chamber and with other men’s help they brought him inside and put him on the bed. Keira waited outside feeling impatient but she knew they were undressing him. Finally Egan came outside.
“Cahil is going to be your husband so you’re due to take care of him. The wound is on his chest. It missed his heart but you’re the one who learned how to heal from Eva so I’ll leave that to you. You can go in now.”
“Father…” Keira called.
“I know…” He said even before she said anything. “…I am going to comfort your sister.”
“She must be devastated.” Keira said.
“Jacob was very brave and he wounded the other badly but the other still killed him.
“Did the other die too?” Keira asked.
“He disappeared so I don’t know.” The king said.
Keira nodded and went inside Cahil’s chamber. It was the first time she was alone with Cahil inside a room so she felt uneasy but Cahil was lied down on his bed almost not moving.
“Cahil…” She called sitting by his side. He opened his eyes and tried to smile at her.
Keira saw the rag on his chest soaked in blood and decided to check on it. She uncovered it and scrutinized every detail. The cut was deep but it sure hadn’t been deep enough to kill him, luckily she thought.
“You’re going to fine.” She smiled at him and ran a hand over his face. She knew there was no love but he was such a good friend to her she couldn’t but care about him.
“It hurts.” He complained.
“Try not to move or complain. I need to clean it and tomorrow morning I need to go find some herbs to put on it to heal. You need to rest.”
When she was about to get up, he held her hand. Keira looked down. “I would never abandon you.” He said with effort.
“Don’t speak alright?” She patted his hand and he let go.
Keira searched for a pot with water and a rag with which she could clean the wound. Cahil yelled when she touched it and she cringed a bit.
“I am sorry Cahil but I really need to clean it.” She told him crying.
“It hurts so much.” He complained.
“I know it does.” She said. “Here…” She offered him a little of brew for him to drink. “…this will help.” Cahil drank avidly and she went on.
When finished she wrapped the clean rag around his chest. He had fallen asleep meanwhile and she stayed there cleaning the blood of his face. Not that she didn’t know but it hit her how faithful he was, almost losing his life to protect her father and also how handsome he was. Then, suddenly her conversation with her father came to her mind. So, the man who had killed Jacob had disappeared…
“Oh…” She whispered alone. Keira put everything in place and left running. She looked for her father on his chamber and he received her.
“How is Cahil?” He asked.
“Sleeping.” She said. “I cleaned the wound and tomorrow morning I shall put some herbs on the wound to heal. He is going to be alright.”
“Your sister is finally sleeping. I left Mary with her just in case…she was devastated.”
“The man that killed Jacob father…did you see him?” Keira asked.
“Yes!” He said. “It was right in front of me…Jacob was also protecting me but he was so unfortunate…” Egan shook his head still overwhelmed.
“How was he?” Keira asked.
“How was he father?” Keira insisted.
“Why do you want to know?” Egan asked back.
“That man killed my sister’s fiancée…”
“Tall, blond as every Saxon…Jacob had wounded him on the neck…” Keira just needed to hear that to confirm her suspicions. The stranger in her room had been Jacob’s murderer.
“Have you told Cathleen the details?”
“No…it’s better if we don’t talk about it.”
“I think so too.” Keira said. “What is going to happen to her now?”
“We are going to let her mourn. I know she liked Jacob very much and then I will find her another man and as soon as Cahil is well your wedding is going to take place.”
“Aye.” She nodded.