He needed for the town to continue recognizing his authority in the matters of health and medicine if his plan for the Dalerochs was to take off and to give Robert time to deliver the port.
The evening before Hogamany in Seonaid and Fearchar’s house dragged on. He went back and checked his parchments multiple times. He fiddled with his stores, dragging out his scales to weigh dried goods and crystallized powders. He couldn’t keep his nerves from showing. He was still torn about Widow Magaidh. With luck, he would make it up to the church yard to bid her farewell before he left the isle. His thoughts ricocheted in his skull, bringing up old memories, old conversations.
Fearchar and Seonaid shared their evening meal together before she pulled out their good clothing. She had forgone her usual clientele that day to iron their garments, excited about the prospect of some festivities. Fearchar whittled away at a little bird statue, smiling at her merriment. They stayed up late into the night, Eoin toiling away at his bench while Fearchar and Seonaid reminisced about the parties with friends they had joined with seasons past.
Even with little sleep, Eoin woke to the brilliant sunrise the next morning. It sparkled on the snow and made the bitter cold bright and soul wrenching in its beauty. Smudges of pink and orange clung to the hills at the sun’s crowning. Stairs to heaven, he mused. He took a warm cup of ale from the hearth and reclined in the chair that looked out through the one window in the cottage. His day had finally come. He breathed through the rapid beat of his heart, trying to settle it. Today would be quiet for Seonaid. Most of the town were gathered with family for festivities. He downed the cup as he heard rustling in the next room. With ease he pulled the mask back down and snugged it close. He wasn’t about to be recognized. He rubbed the cup out with the fine sand they kept in a basket next the hearth and dried it out with a cloth before setting it back on the little shelf they kept their cups on. He eased back to his bench, recognizing Seonaid and Fearchar’s morning routine, knowing he had only a few more minutes to himself before they would come out.