Highlander’s Twin Flame – Shona Thompson

The perpetual sound of rain pattering out on the road bled through the thin glass windows of the old inn and mingled with the muted sounds of the drunkards below. Allie sniffed and wiped her brow as she continued to flatten down the freshly dried sheets on the bed. The day was already darkening, despite the early hour of the afternoon, but Allie was used to it. The dark clouds were customary as they hung low, even in the Highlands. Yet down in the Lowlands, where they shared weather with the English, it was just as common. Allie slowly stood and wiped her hands on her dress as she breathed out heavily. It had been a long day, but it wasn’t over yet since they were expecting rather opulent guests. She was pleased to have at least another hour to prepare herself before they would be receiving the lady in question. Allie surveyed the room, but something was missing… the light. She let her eyes close for a moment as her tired limbs almost groaned at the thought of working anymore. All she wanted was a good night of rest with a hearty meal beforehand. The candles needed to be lit, the floor swept by the door, and Allie wanted to make sure that Duncan was in the front of the house to receive their guests. The thought of the new girl who worked in the kitchens being out at the front to welcome the lady was worrying. She could hear the wind picking up outside, and the old structure creaked and groaned. Allie shuddered and knew that the fire would need to be built up too, so that their guests would not experience any kind of discomfort during their stay.

“Ach, Duncan? Is that ye?” Allie called down the hallway as she heard the floorboards creak. She knew the place as though it was her own home; the way that certain pieces of wood make sounds when a person is walking the halls was something that she was all too familiar with. Allie narrowed her eyes when she received no response. She did not have time for games. There was too much to be done and too short an amount of time to do it. The inn was very busy because of the incoming storm; although the locals were used to it, the weary travelers weren’t. Many were English and returning south of the border. Staying at The Blinde Man’s House was the last touch of Scottish hospitality before they would set off on their journey home. “Duncan?” Allie called again, but still, there was no response. She was in two minds about going and investigating; she wasn’t the innkeeper or his wife, but she still could assert some authority over a drunkard who may have wandered too far from the tavern downstairs.

On the other hand, the room wasn’t going to clean itself, and she thought about how angry William, the innkeeper, would be if he saw that she was neglecting her duties. Her distress was answered by another howl of the wind through the thin walls. The rain seemed only to intensify as it hit the pane of glass more frequently. Allie hugged her arms tightly to her chest – the thin and washed out cotton of her dress doing nothing to protect her body from the cold. Allie got down onto her knees and moved over to the fireplace where she could tend to it with the poker. She relaxed slightly as the amber hue of heat warmed her skin and made the job slightly more bearable. After placing another couple of logs onto the fire in the way that William had once shown her, Allie got to her feet and brushed the soot from her already ruined dress. Although Allie did not mind, she thought that it would at least show her employer just how hard she worked for her money. Her mind was already jumping ahead of her, like a galloping horse running out of control, and she started to think about the next job that needed doing. “Candles, the wee candles,” Allie muttered to herself as she spotted the burnt down wax by the bed.

They were going to need replacing for the lady coming to stay. Allie was certain that she would not appreciate candles that had been half-used already. She could tell that this lady, wherever she was from, was going to cause a lot more trouble for them than the average guest. Many travelers were simply grateful for what they got, but Allie already knew that this woman was of the kind that would not settle for anything less than her impossible expectations. “Ach, this must be me room down here.” A voice spoke out of nowhere and caused Allie’s heart to leap in her chest from the fright of it. Allie gasped as she knew no female voice like that belonged to anyone from those parts. She started to panic as she realized that it must be the lady whose arrival they had been anticipating. Without turning around to see who had arrived, Allie quickly grabbed the unused spill from the table in the corner and let it hover over the fire to light it. She then had no choice but to light the candles that had already been used; the footsteps grew louder and would be upon her at any moment.

Allie shuddered once more as the cold seemed to cling to the room with an iron vice, unrelenting and seemingly unphased by the growing fire. Her hand was shaking, and she could feel the dread rising up inside of her at the thought of being scolded by William for not being ready in time. “This room here? I suppose it is the biggest we’ve…who are you?” “I-I’m sorry, My Lady. Yer room is almost ready, ye have me word.” Allie stammered her way through her words as though she was trying to walk with ease through a thick bog. She tried to calm herself and focus on lighting the small candles around the room, but her hand simply would not stop shaking. “And this is supposed to be the best room at the inn?” The woman sniffed from behind her. Allie closed her eyes and felt as though the distaste in the lady’s tone was directed straight at her. “W-well, it’s the best that we could dae at such short notice. I’m s-sorry if it’s not up to yer usual standard…” Allie did not dare to turn around after speaking, she closed her eyes and braced herself as her body tensed.

She knew that she had been far too brave in her words while defending the inn. She had forgotten about the decorum that she had been taught from a young age. “Please, let me apologize for talking to ye in such a way, my lady. I should have made sure that the room was ready for yer arrival.” Allie then busied herself by grabbing the broom that she had brought up with her after catching sight of the soot near the fireplace. “Ye sound like a yappy dog. This will have to dae for now. Leave me.” The woman snapped as she said this, her voice curt and as cold as the wind outside. “Aye, my lady.

S-sorry again, my lady.” Allie continued to nod and look around as she kept her gaze to the floor. She did not want to look up at the woman, afraid that she would turn her to stone with her gaze, or even worse, chop her down with her cutting words. She swallowed and set the broom down as she finally had no choice but to turn and walk in the direction of the lady who stood in the doorway like a blockade. “I hope yer journey wasnae too tirin,’ my lady?” Allie muttered as she walked forward. When no reply came from the woman, Allie groaned internally as she had no choice but to look up at the lady who blocked her path of escape. Slowly, she tore her gaze from the old, wooden floor and up to meet the inquisitive blue eyes of the woman before her. Allie opened her mouth to say something, but all words evaded her. The beauty of the woman shone through her pale skin as though she was radiating a light aura about her. Her dress, so finely articulated by many hands, was one that Allie had only ever witnessed once – it had been in the form of a painting.

Jewels were encrusted onto the vibrant colored fabrics, but her eyes were the purest blue jewels that Allie had ever seen. Her attention shifted back to the dress and the way that it expanded out in many layers of opulence. The bodice of her dress was embroidered in the most beautiful, yet delicate patterns, and they continued all the way down her skirts. Allie was suddenly very aware of how her beige dress must have been considered, to this lady, a mere undergarment. However, what stood out the most, despite the beauty and expense in front of her, was the woman’s face. Underneath the scornful, yet shocked, expression, were features not too dissimilar to her own. Allie felt like she was looking into an enchanted mirror, a crude image of what her life could have been if she had been born into some form of nobility instead. Even her hair was the same color, length, and volume, and framed the lady’s face in the same way that Allie’s framed her face. The woman in front of her had her dark, brown hair styled so that half of it was pinned up in a well-crafted style. It appeared far too much work for the kind of activities that Allie carried out each day, but she admired the effort that had been put into it.

The similarities were too obvious; even the woman in front of her had noticed. “Who…who are ye?” The woman’s voice shook slightly as she put a jeweled hand to her chest. The rings on her fingers looked like they could buy the entire inn and still have money left over. “Answer me, Lass. What sorcery is this?” Allie blinked and realized that she was still yet to answer the question that the woman had asked her. She was sure that the woman was much less pleased about this revelation since she was looking at what she would consider as a lesser version of herself. “Me name is Allie.” She hesitated for a moment before attempting a small curtsey. Allie winced as she knew that the gesture must have come across as more comical than formal. “Allie Denniston.

” “And ye ken me name?” The woman’s voice boomed around the old room. “Nay, my lady.” Allie kept her gaze fixed back on the floor. “Me name is Adamina, and I am the Lady of Clan Buchan. Have ye really nae heard of me or me clan?” The Lady Adamina sounded amused as she spoke, as though she found this situation just as comical as Allie’s attempt at a curtsey. “There are many clans in this land, my lady. I cannae say that I ken them all…” “Dinnae tell me what I already ken,” Adamina snapped. “Tell me what I dinnae ken.” “My lady?” Allie frowned as she looked up to see that Adamina was smirking. “Tell me more about ye.

Since ye now ken that ye’re talking to the lady of a large clan, I wish to ken more about ye.” Allie stood up straighter and bit her lip for a moment as she thought about Adamina’s question. Her heart deflated slightly when she realized that there really wasn’t that much to tell her. “W-well, I live in a wee cottage just along the road from ‘ere.” Allie swallowed thickly and dared to look back up into the intimidating gaze of Lady Adamina. The well-dressed woman was almost hunched over her as Allie felt the urge to cower away. “I dinnae really have any family. Me parents died a very long time ago…” Allie let her head fall again slightly, although she did not see the amused look on Adamina’s face drop. The woman appeared to be enjoying this, merely a story for her to tell at a grand dinner in the months to come. Adamina coughed, but Allie wasn’t sure if she was just clearing her throat, or simply waiting for Allie to continue with her story.

“I dinnae ken what else to say, my lady. I’ve worked at this inn all me life. The innkeeper has always been good to me.” Allie winced at how dull her life sounded in comparison to the great lady in front of her. She was from another world, a class that was leagues above her own, and Allie was only reminded of that further as Adamina started to laugh. “Me apologies for laughing, lass.” Adamina shook her head. “I take pity on ye; really, I dae.” Allie did not know how to respond to this, so she pursed her lips and nodded her head rather simply. She still did not understand why Lady Adamina looked so much like her.

No explanation came to mind. “Is that all, my lady?” Allie dared to ask as she stole another glance at the familiar features of the foreign lady. “Aye, for now.” Adamina nodded curtly. “But I want to speak with ye more later on.” “Aye, my lady.” Allie turned to quickly snatch up the various tools that she had brought up with her only hours before. She jumped slightly at the sound of the wind battering against the outside walls and did not breathe properly until she was out of the room and in the safety of the hallway. Her chest rose and fell under her bodice, and she tried to control her breathing. She turned to walk back the way she had come but bumped into the rock hard chest of a man who one might mistake for a mountain upon impact.

“Oh!” she exclaimed and jumped back slightly. “Is that Lady Adamina’s room?” The man spoke in a deep and gruff voice. Allie found it difficult to pick out his features in the dark. Fear had frozen her to the spot and closed up her throat so that no sound could escape. Instead, she nodded profusely and pointed a shaking hand out to the room. “Thank ye.” The man, clad in armor, stepped around her and walked over to the room. Before Allie could protest that he should not enter the lady’s room without permission, he stepped inside and closed the door. She waited a few moments for any sound or signal that Lady Adamina might be in distress, but none came. Allie felt rather faint as she staggered down the stairs and away from the intimidating lady that looked so much like her.

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