She had hoped that running water would stop the beasts that pursued her, and so she had turned away from Cill Chuimein and the small church, and headed east, hoping to catch the creeks there. Alas, the fae creatures behind her did not even pause as they splashed through the chill water.
And now her feet grew numb beneath her on top of all her other woes.
The wolf clawing into her belly transformed once more, this time into some sort of lizard-like creature. It was much smaller, and it nearly slipped out of her bloody arms. Janet gripped it fiercely to her body, feeling the warmth of the creature press up against her bare, blood-slick breasts. For a brief instant, she was greatful.
Then the salamander in her hands began to glow with her, and even this she was at first grateful for as her wet feet pelted through the wet grass. She could smell her flesh beginning to sear and char, but still she did not let go.
Perhaps those who hear this story one day will think she it was bravery or pride that kept her from screaming in pain. The truth was that she just didn't have the breath to spare.
Ahead, she saw lights, and could almost make out the sounds of a revelry over her own panting breath. A village! A village, and still awake, celebrating the solstice!
She could not think past the pain to know the name of it. She knew she must be close to the Loch now, but beyond that....
Crushed rock bit into the soles of her feet like a thousand needles, and she fell.
She fell, and her husband fell out of her arms, transforming back into human shape as he rolled across the ground.
Thomas Learmont looked up at the startled covenfolk before him. He had felt himself pass through an Aegis, and that could only mean one thing. "Asylum!" he cried out in Latin. "By Hermes' Oath, I beg you. Asylum!"
Behind them both, horses were stopped short, and hounds let out mewling complaints. Figures in the dark, silhouettes on horseback, brief glints of metal in the firelight behind the recently-completed Aegis.
A voice out of the darkness, sounding like sweet wine on a summer's night purred out its pleasure. [color=grey]"Most unexpected, child. And bold, too. This may cause you as many problems as I would have. Still, fair is fair, and you have won your little prize. Give the wizard his clothes.
This last was said to one of her compatriots. A small bundle of cloth and armor was thrown across the gravel path.
[color=grey]"Fare thee well, young lord and lady." The horses began to turn away, and as they slipped back into the dark chill of the Inchnacardoch, her voice spoke once more. [color=grey]"Ah, I nearly forgot. I pronounce thee: wizard and wife."
As she spoke the words, rain began to fall, growing quickly heavy.....and Janet's water broke.