Taste of a Highland Lass – (Extended Epilogue)


Extended Epilogue

Small hands gripped the wooden sword, taking it from Gawain before suddenly swinging at him. Gawain was quick enough to evade the first attack on his knees, but was not as lucky as another attack came from behind him, a wooden sword smacking the back of his legs, causing him to hiss in pain as he stepped out of the range of the two boys.

“Ha! I got a hit in!” His second son, Ian jubilated. Throwing down his sword as he ran over to his scowling father. “I hit ye, so I win. That was the rule!”

“Nae! The rules are nae fair, and this sword is nae good enough. ‘Tis too small. Give me a proper sword, and ye will see if I’ll nae get a hit in.” Gawain only shook his head at his oldest. Fingal was aggressive almost every day of his life. There was no way Gawain was going to hand over a sword to the angry child.

“Fingal, ye need to practice before ye can use a real sword or else ye will end up cutting yerself in half before ye even nick yer opponent. And I already showed ye how to grip the sword. Yer stance was off as well. If both are nae accurate, ye cannae get a good hit on yer opponent.”

In response to his father’s lecture, Fingal tossed the wooden sword at Gawain’s feet. “I do nae even want a sword! I want some other weapon.”

“Well, what if I gave ye a short sword or a dagger?” Gawain produced two other wooden weapons from the ground behind him, but Fingal scoffed at them.

“I want a bow and arrow.” Gawain nodded, impressed that the boy was willing to try out different weapons before turning to his younger brother, who shrugged.

“I want a sword. Bow and arrows are useless when ye’re in close combat battle, which most raids and wars will contain. Arrows are only fer defense.”


“Ye just do nae want to use it because the only thing ye ken how to use is that stupid sword,” Fingal accused, and Gawain immediately stepped back, knowing a fight was about to break out. The last time he intervened in a fight between his boys, he not only sprained a finger, but Fingal almost bit off his hand.

“At least ken how to use a sword. Ye keep switching weapons because ye don’t ken how to use anything properly!”

Gawain backed away from his children to go stand next to his own brother. “I never will understand why they always fight over little things.”

“Well, squabbles are normal between siblings and how is yer hand, by the way?” Gawain turned his hand over to see the healing skin that had taken the shape of a bite mark on his palm. “Healing quite well, I see. They remind me so much of ye when we were younger. ‘Tis like Davinia managed to create two other versions of ye, ‘tis amusing at times.” Caillen laughed as Gawain looked back at his sons.

They had an interesting relationship. Fingal was born only a year after his marriage to Davinia, and Ian came along three years later. Gawain would not exactly call them polar opposites as both boys had loud and brash personalities. Fingal only took it to the next level.

An angry child who stomped about the keep with a scowl on his face, almost daring someone to talk to him and surprisingly, even if Davinia would never admit it, he was her favorite. His brother, on the other hand, was friendlier but only to a certain limit. It was not uncommon to see both boys squabbling, arguing, or full-on fighting about something. Gawain was sure they hated each other at some point until Caillen’s last child was unfortunate enough to play a cruel joke on Ian in the presence of Fingal. It was not a situation either Gawain or Caillen wanted to remember.

A loud cry caught the attention of Gawain. Fingal had managed to wrestle his brother to the ground and had his head pinned on the floor with his knee. Gawain sprang into action just as fast as Caillen did. While Gawain snatched up his more abrasive son, Caillen helped the other off the ground. Ian tore himself from Caillen, grabbing a handful of sand as he did, but before he could fling it at his brother, who was still struggling in the hold of his father, Gawain turned around, using his body to shield the sand attack from Fingal.

“Oi, what is the matter with both of ye!” Caillen grabbed Ian by the scruff of his shirt as Gawain turned around, Fingal still wildly kicking at the air.

“He said I was weak!” Fingal kicked up sand at his brother, and Ian did the same to retaliate.

“Well, ye’re! Ye cannae even hold a sword properly, and ye’re older than me,” Ian shot back.

“Oi, do nae say such things to yer brother.” Caillen dragged Ian back as he made to kick up sand once more.

“He insulted me first!” Ian accused, and Fingal scoffed, looking away from his brother.

“Listen to me, the both of ye. I’m starting to get tired of yer fights. If ye keep fighting like this all the time, how will ye be able to work together when ye grow up?” Gawain shook Fingal almost harshly when the boy scoffed again.

“Aye, yer father is right. Ye two have a certain part to play in making sure the clan continues to thrive long after we have gone. Our duties will fall onto ye, and if ye’re to work with another person to get proper results, ye’ve to ken how to work together, trust each other and certainly nae try to take each other’s eye out.”

Gawain let go of his son’s arm, and Caillen let go of Ian, both on alert in case either boy decided to pounce on the other.

“Lads! I’m back.” Gawain looked in the direction of the entrance where Davinia stood with Emer by her side, a basket of what Gawain knew were treats in her hand. Almost immediately, both boys took off, scampering toward their mother or, to be specific, toward the basket. Davinia was faster, and she raised the basket high, earning whines from her sons.

Gawain caught up to his sons, pressing a kiss to his wife’s hair as Emer left to meet her husband. “What did the healer say?” He had been frightened when she claimed she felt faint the night before during supper and sent her to the healer with Hansel as her guard. She did look much better than she did in the morning before she left.

“Ah, nothing much.” Davinia finally lowered the basket allowing the boys to take their fill of the sweet treats. “Do nae eat too much now.”

“Aye, ma,” they chorused, mouths full, and Gawain shook his head at them

“I do nae ken how they will be when they grow a wee older. They are practically monsters at this point. I do nae ken how ye deal with them.” Davinia chuckled as she took his hand in hers.

“Patience, dear. Ye are just as hot-tempered as they are.”

“If it is ye, I cannae argue with that. But really, tell me what the healer said.” She hummed to herself as she leaned her head against his shoulder and she watched her sons resume their training, this time with their uncle as their instructor.

“I think our boys will grow into marvelous gems.” She mused, causing Gawain to turn to the boys as well. Sure, his sons were rough around the edges, they were still good at heart.

“Even if they only have one responsible parent. I’ve nae idea what I’m doing half of the time.”

“I suggest ye learn quickly, and ye can impress the third one.”

“The third one, aye.” Gawain fell silent as he turned back to his wife when the realization of what she had said hit him. “The third one?!”

“Aye! The healer said I’m with child again.” Davinia grinned as her husband swept her off her feet.

“We are having another child? Are ye teasing me?” He asked, looking around until he caught the eyes of his brother. “Caillen, I’m going to have another child!”

“Good fer ye, Gawain. That is precious news, but Davinia, can ye nae spit out another version of yer husband. ‘Tis starting to get painful.” Caillen winced when Ian’s wooden sword hit the back of his legs for the second time, more of a smack than a strike. “And I mean really painful.”

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