Angriz and I approached the Vaush-tauric’s home early the next morning. We were met by someone other than Soo-jau. She had a different scent and a lighter tread.
“Welcome tae Lady Soo-jau’s home,” a melodious feminine voice said.
‘Wait a moment. I recognize that accent,’ I thought. ‘The speaker is Gaelic!’
Ignorant of my inner consternation, Angriz replied, “Thank you, Keeper Dearbhaile. This silent one beside me is-”
Cutting in she said, “Carter Blake. Me mistress has told me much o’ ye.”
“You’re Gaelic,” I blurted.
“Gaeilge atá tú?” she said questioningly.
“Huh?” was my brilliant response.
“I’m sorry. I said, ‘Are ye Gaelic?’ I thought that ye might be.”
“No,” I said. “I just recognize the brogue.”
Keeper Dearbhaile giggled. “I got it from me mother. She was from Éire.”
I recognized the old name of the country I knew as Ireland.
“Der va la?” I said. “That is a lovely sounding name.”
“Thank ye. That pronunciation be excellent, Laird Blake! No one else has evair gotten it right on the firs’ go.”
“When did your mother leave Éire?”
“In 1125 AD as she called it.”
Before I could continue getting to know her, I heard Lady Soo-jau approach. I turned my sightless and wrapped eyes towards her. I felt soft hands pull the cloth from my face. There was a brief inhalation as one of the women got sight of the empty holes where my eyes had been. The two women were very close to me, so it was hard to tell which one it was. I heard and felt a sudden exhalation of air against me face, then blinding pain ripped through my skull. It was centered on my eye sockets. I clapped my hands to the newly re-injured area as I screamed in agony. I was dimly aware of falling backward to the ground. It felt as if someone had filled my empty sockets with ground glass and was grinding it into the delicate tissue. After an eternity of pain, I gratefully slipped into unconsciousness.