Author's Note – Just to get a few things out of the way, right off the bat. This story, obviously, is fiction despite the fact that I am depicting what is actual history. This means that my 14th Century Scotsmen are going to be wearing kilts a'la Braveheart despite the fact that it's patently false. I don't care. I like kilts and my Scots are going to wear them. Secondly, there are Scottish characters in this story gasp and I like to write their dialogue with the accent keyed into their speech. Please don't complain that it's too hard to read. Since it's my story it's my preference. If it bothers you too much, then don't read the story. That simple. Oh, one other thing. There are a lot of unrecognizable names in this story. They're Gaelic, and to help the reader I've added a list at the end of this author's note with some pronunciation keys. I'll update it as more names come into the story. Well without further ramblings, enjoy this story (which will be the first in what I'm guesstimating to be around 5 stories). If you like, be sure to review. I always love them.

One last thing. For some reason this thing doesn't want to show one of the words correctly. "Sith" gaelic for fairy, is supposed to have a little backward accent over the i, but this document manager changes it to soh for some reason. XD So I've changed it to be a regular i to forgo any confusion.

Name Pronunciations

Conn – KON

Ruairidh – ROO-ah-ree

Rònan – ROE-nan

Aeddon – AEY-dun

Eiddwen – ITH-wen

Maon – MOON

Barra – BAR-ra


Prologue

Strathnaver, Scotland

circa 1386

Aeddon lounged insolently in the chair before the hearth, his tiny legs stretched out before him on the thick bearskin rug and his arms clasped behind his head. In full glamour, he appeared to be nothing more than an impish child of ten years, yet the man standing just a few feet away from him gave Aeddon wide berth and cast him worried glances filled with calculated unease—as if he were a deadly viper ready to spring at any moment. The thought amused him greatly, and the wide and shameless grin that stretched his features told that fact well enough.

They were alone in the great hall of the laird's family castle, all others long since retired in this very late hour.

"What is it you want from me, sith?" the giant before him demanded, deep voice rumbling out in the otherwise silent hall. It barely contained it's undertones of both anger and even a touch of uneasy fear. No ordinary man would have ever caught them, for Conn MacKay was a man of supreme control, especially when it came to revealing his emotions to what he saw as his enemy. But then . . . Aeddon was a very far cry from anything even remotely ordinary.

Well used to such reactions from the great hulk sharing his space, Aeddon merely lifted a slim olive-colored shoulder in a noncommital shrug. His whorling violet eyes fair danced with amusement and even a touch of excitement. He couldn't wait to get things underway.

For a race of immortal beings that very rarely understood or even felt emotion unless filtered through that of mortal dreams, Aeddon was very much interested in their intricacies. He was wrapped up in the comings and goings of these mortal creatures far more than any other of his kind, something he had been long ostracized for. Yet for Aeddon, humans were a flame his moth just could not deny. After well over twenty centuries of studying them, there was just one tiny aspect of human existence that still managed to elude him. He planned now to set the wheels in motion to see that tiny oversight rectified.

"Now is that any way to treat a long lost friend?" he questioned impudently, just because he knew it would get under the MacKay's skin and get him all riled up. True to form, large tendons stood out on his thick neck as that squared jaw tensed. Powerful muscles beneath the tunic and tartan bunched and corded as those huge fists clenched. His gray eyes narrowed into pools of cold, angry silver. Aeddon laughed, a clear and musical sound, then wagged his finger at the laird and tsked.

"Temper, temper, MacKay!"

"Come on, out with it ye wee bastard!" Conn snapped, folding his arms across his chest again, feet planted, and leveled a glare that would have made any other creature cower in abject terror. Aeddon merely continued to grin. "Tell me what it is that you want this time so that I can be rid of ye," the laird continued in a low snarl. "I doona want any more gifts or fanciful tales or anything else ye might have thought up tae bedevil me."

Aeddon gave a long suffering sigh. "I just don't know what to do with you at times, MacKay." He gave the nearly growling Scot a martyred look. "Stars only know why I put up with your ungrateful behavior and never-ending insults. Why, all I've ever done was endeavor to enlighten my favorite mortal and his clan and make their lives just a smidgeon more enjoyable—,"

"Ye've done nothing but demme near drive the lot of us mad with your never-ending mischief, sith," was Conn's snapping interruption. Again, another magnanimous shrug and yet another tormented and breathy sigh that had the laird nearly grinding his teeth in frustration.

"Why have you never taken a mate, MacKay?" Aeddon suddenly questioned, changing topics so fast that at first Conn didn't comprehend what it was they were talking about. When he did, he drew back a little, expression becoming guarded.

"I am no virgin, sprite—,"

Aeddon waved away his response impatiently. "Yes, yes, but random acts of tupping aside, you've never really bonded with a female before. You aren't married, and I know you're well above the usual age that mortals do such silly things. Especially since you're the Laird of the Clan. Begetting heirs and whatnot," he added with a lazy twinkle.

If it in any way unnerved him to be discussing such topics as lovemaking and heirs with what appeared to be a ten year old child, Conn was hiding it well. Instead he leveled the sprite with a stern glare.

"Ye cannae force the heart to love, Aeddon. Wheest, keep your sith magic to yourself and dinnae meddle in something that doesnae concern ye!"

The laughing violet orbs of Aeddon's almond shaped eyes abruptly whirled into a flat obsidian black. The smile was gone from his gamin face, replaced instead by a hard and cold look that no child should ever have been capable of producing.

"You forget yourself, MacKay," he purred, his laughing voice having changed into something far deeper . . . far more menacing. There was power in that voice, ancient power that did not like to be gainsaid. "I don't take orders from a mortal."

Aeddon had to give the man credit. Most would be a blubbering mass on the floor after that, begging for their lives and for his good favor. Conn merely raised his chin a notch and the stubborn glare didn't fade from his face. Ah, how he loved this prickly mortal! He hadn't had nearly this much fun in centuries!

Again, another martyred sigh as he hopped to his feet.

"Oh very well. I can see there will be no conversing with you this night. I'll take my leave of you then."

Aeddon seemingly ignored Conn's suddenly intense, suspicious frown and strode up to the blazing fire inside the massive hearth. He turned on his heel right at the last minute, then propped his fists onto his hips.

"Can't force the heart to love, you say?" Aeddon's smile turned positively predatory. "Sounds like a challenge to me!" Conn's expression abruptly turned to one of abject horror. "We shall see, MacKay! We shall see!"

And with that he turned back around and walked right into the fire, disappearing with a faint poof.