Eoin had to fight the sudden panic that gripped him with the noise and humid warmth.
He watched, trying to calm his racing heart, as Mrs. Daleroch cheerily opened up the bottles of port he had provided them with as his gift. She poured them raucously into carved wooden cups, drops spilling across the table. Each cup had a tiny bit of scrawl work around the lip, matching the table the meal was spread upon. She pressed the cups into the hands of her family, happily chatting with each person for a minute here and there. Soon, every person had been served and Grannd Daleroch approached the fireplace to give the New Year’s greeting to his clan.
“My family!” he called. They cheered back. “I wan’na extend ta’ ye’ my gracious thanks in bein’ here at the clan’s house t’night ta’ celebrate the New Year. We ‘ave improved the flock’s numbers n’ added a new ship ta’ the fleet. My boy, fit ‘n spry once ‘gain, will be takin’ a wife this comin’ spring and God-willin’, make me a grandfather! You have all contributed ta’ this success n’ with e’ery year that passes, the more land we obtain. Soon, we will be the most powerful clan on this side a’ the isle. To the New Year, n’ ta new acquisitions!” he held his cup up, and with his whole clan, downed the rather expensive wine in one great gulp. Fearchar and Seonaid fained drinking the dark liquid, neither one eager to put Eoin’s concoction to the test.
Eoin leaned against the stair rail, knowing now it was a matter of minutes before the first victim fell. The music continued until the first drummer slumped. One of the men laughed it off, joking about old men not being able to hold their ale. Soon though others began dropping off, finding seats and laying their heads down on tables and the floor out of the way of the other frolickers, yet still, no one worried. Lady Daleroch went about the room, tucking people into blankets and lambskins. It was only when she and Grannd Daleroch were left awake that they looked to Eoin, Seonaid, and Fearchar, curious. “It looks like all our guests have left us f’r their dreams. I’m sorry that it wasn’t more,” Grannd Daleroch smiled to them apologetically.
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