Design, Appreciation and Research

Good Monday morning folks!

My writing has been hung up a little bit because of research and the increase in one of my medications.  I’m struggling with the fatigue side effect.  I take it three times a day – breakfast, mid-afternoon and bedtime.  The bedtime increase in tiredness is fine, I sleep better.  But taking my pills at 6:30am and needing a nap by 8 is kind of unacceptable.  It makes it more difficult to focus.

Research has involved family trees.  As it turns out, the Dalrymple family seems to have died out.  Why do I need to know the family tree for these people?  John Dalrymple – the 1st Earl of Stair – is the one who signed the papers to kill off the MacDonalds of Glen Coe. (hmmm Random thought just popped into my head – illegitimate children)  So I definitely have to research Robert Campbell.  And William of Orange – I think his tree will be easiest. 

I have also been working on the detail stuff.  Like what the Pack lands look like, how big it is, how big the house is, what it looks like, what’s original and whats recent (say the last 200 years) renovations.  All this stuff is helpful.  So I have been in the midst of design.  It has to work.  It has to be doable.  If I ever publish a companion book all this stuff is going to be in it.  (That would require a LOT of help! lol)

I opened wordpress this morning to discover that I have hit the 200 Likes mark!  WOOT!  Thank you everyone!  I also have 48 blog followers, 4 following comments, 14 Twitter followers and 28 Facebook followers.    

You people rock and it’s almost time for a giveaway!  

I’m going to share Elsie’s tale with you because that is some writing I DID get done and I think it turned out really well.  And I tell you, I am going to have to start writing daily; writing something, even if it’s not HW3.  Nano is coming up and that’s a 2500 words-a-day undertaking.    Shake off the effect of the medicine and make my brain work.  

I wish it were that easy.  We’re coming up to the end of the first week of the adjustment and I hope it won’t be too much longer.  It had just better not be permanent!  

Caffeine.  I need caffeine.  Too bad I don’t/cant’ drink coffee. *laughs*

Anyway, here’s Elsie’s story (it’s a bit of a read).  Enjoy your day and keep cool!  

Oh btw, if I’m getting any of Elsie’s speech syntax wrong, please email me and let me know how to fix it –

Elsie appeared near Anna where the woman was talking to another, the one Elsie had enviously watched fight a man much larger than she and win.  The younger woman saw the ghost first and rose to her feet with her eyes narrowed.

“Who are you?  What are you doing here?”  Jane tried to make her voice intimidating and succeeded in Elsie’s estimation.

“Ye know me, Dearie.”

Jane looked past her desire to prove herself and recognized Elsie at once.  “Oh, hi.”  She smiled then winced and looked at Anna.  “I think Elsie wants to talk to you, my Alpha.  I should go.”

Anna smiled at her.  “Sit Jane, we can both hear what Elsie has to say.”

“Yes Ma’am.”  Jane sat down again as Anna shifted to face Elsie.

“Hello there.  We have some talking to do, aye?  I need to know what happened that night before I can help.”

Elsie was surprised to be pre-empted in her effort to bring their plight to Anna’s attention again.  “Aye, we do.”  She twisted the lock of hair around her fingers again.  “Me amandan of a husband wishes me to push you to allow us to find peace.”  She scowled.

“It’s alright Elsie.  I made a bargain and it’s time I kept it.  Please tell the MacIain I thank him for the time to rest.”  Anna leaned back and folded her hands in her lap.  “Please tell me why you and yours cannot rest.”

“We canna rest because we were betrayed!  We canna discover who did it.  Until we know we are trapped here.”  Elsie’s eyes were troubled.  “We are also missing members of our clan.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, we are aware of the clan members who lived and their descendents, so long as they remain in the area.  And we are not ashamed t’admit that we do on occasion visit the ones remaining in Glen Coe to check on the others.”  Elsie smiled briefly.  “But there are fifteen or so who are missing, including me own son Alasdair, the youngest of our family.”

“What would you like me to do?”  Anna was frowning over the missing people.

“We’d like you to find our betrayer that we might exact retribution and finally move on from this life!”  Elsie’s anger made her glow like a full moon on a cloudless night and she paced as she spoke.

Anna held her hands up and out, palms up.  “We can do that.  Why don’t you tell me what happened?”

Elsie rubbed the fingers of her right hand as she thought.  “There was a war between our beloved King James and Prince William of Orange.  Willy was offered the throne of England and decided he wanted to expand his holdings by taking over our country.  Well, our Jimmie would have none of that now!  We fought, the men of the Highlands and the English.  Willy won and eventually offered amnesty to those Highlanders who swore fealty.

“Jimmie dithered about responding to the Chiefs’ requests to allow us to do so and save our clans.  My Allie was late settin’ out and then when he arrived in Fort William, the governor turned him away.  He sent him to Inveraray.   Along the way Allie was stopped and held up by Drummond at Barcaldine.”  Elsie stopped and took a breath she didn’t need.  “He arrived late at Inveraray, aye, but his oath was heard by Sir Colin Campbell,” she spat the name, “due to the letter Hill sent him with.  Allie returned to my arms satisfied that we and our holdings were safe.”

Anna nodded as Jane leaned forward, fascinated.  “I’ve heard this tale.  You’re one of the MacIains?”

“Aye lass, I am the Chief’s wife.”

“Wow!”  Jane’s enthusiasm was boundless.  “Is it true that a Campbell rode into your home?”

“Aye.”  Elsie sighed.  “He and his men-“

Jane interrupted. “The first and second companies of the Earl of Argyll’s Regiment of Foot.  They were about a hundred and twenty strong.”  Anna laid a hand on Jane’s arm and Jane shut her mouth with a snap and a blush.

Elsie smiled gently at the young Wolf.  “’Tis alright, lass.  We know that our history has some renown.  Aye, they were one hundred and twenty men.  They accepted our hospitality for ten days before that fateful morning.”


Chapter Six


Just before dawn, February 13th, 1692, Glen Coe

Captain Robert Campbell slipped from his official billeted place in the house of Alasdair MacDonald, otherwise known as the MacIain, and set about rousing his men as quietly as possible.  He didn’t notice the younger Alasdair sneaking away.  He sent one Lieutenant Lindsay and a small company of handpicked men to the MacIain’s house.  “Make sure you slay him and his wife along with any ye may find in his house.”

The Lieutenant snapped off a salute.  “Aye Captain!”  Lindsay was a hard man and he was pleased to see that the men the Captain had chosen were ones he had worked with before.  He knew they’d do what they had been ordered and they’d enjoy it. 

The four men crept through the pre-dawn light and surrounded the Chief’s house.  They peered in the windows and saw the man and wife still slumbering in their beds.  In another room were two young women who helped keep house.  They pulled back and discussed their course of action.   They had to move fast, the MacIain was the first to go, the other houses would be invaded as soon as the Lieutenant was inside.

Lindsay decided that they’d knock on the door.  He smiled at the disheveled MacIain as he spoke.  “If ye’ll forgive the early intrusion, Laird, I’ve a message from the Captain.”

“What’s that bastard want at this hour?   Come in, come in.”  Alasdair turned and shouted for the others to wake and bring their guest some refreshment.  He’d spoken no more than two words once his back was turned and all four men shoved their way in. 

Lindsay put his gun to Alasdair’s throat.  “Listen to the screams of yer kin, all slaughtered in the name of William of Orange for failure to swear fealty.”

“But I did!  That filthy bastard Colin!  He delayed me apurpose!”

“Aye,” sneered Lindsay as Alasdair’s wife and servants were dragged into the room, “he did.  The MacDonalds must be wiped from the earth.  Now watch as we take those closest to you.”

Alasdair roared in fury and lunged towards his wife.  Lindsay shot him in the left knee with his blunderbuss pistol.  The MacIain fell to the floor amidst the screams of his women. 

“Allie!”  Elsie cried his name and tried to get to him.  She was punched in the kidney and hauled back by her hair.  She curled into the pain as best she could.

Lindsay’s men looked at him expectantly and he nodded.  The two young women were shoved face down on the table and their gowns torn from their backs.  The men holding them were soon thrusting into them with cocks hardened by adrenaline and a sadism that was honed by years at war.  The men grunted and groaned as the girls screamed and begged.  Almost with the same thought the soldiers grabbed them by the hair and yanked their heads back.

“Watch them die, violated, in pain and fear.”  Lindsay made sure Alasdair was looking.  He gripped the Chief’s head with both hands and turned his face towards them.  He barked at the third man.  “Make sure the whore wife is watching too.”

Elsie’s head was yanked up and she was made to watch.  The soldier was getting hornier by the second and he folded Elsie’s tit.  She was older, the mother of four and they were large, sagging a bit with their weight.  He didn’t care.  Elsie slapped at his hands and he pinched her nipple until she screamed.

“Do not waste your seed yet!  There’s another to be used.”  Lindsay laughed as he gave the order.  “Kill the girls.”

Blood sprayed in twin arcs as their throats were cut open simultaneously.  Silence descended suddenly as their screaming stopped and the older couple stared in shock.  Screams and shots filtered in through the walls from other houses and the streets.  It was a long moment and then Alasdair roared in pain and fury again and lunged at Lindsay.  Lindsay hit him in the temple with the butt of his gun and Alasdair collapsed.

Lindsay strolled over to Elsie and picked up her right hand.  “Those are pretty baubles.  Give them to me.”

“No!”  Defiant, Elsie glared up at the larger man.

He shrugged.  “It matters not.  I’ll have them one way or another.  We’ll share the bounty, boys!  Take her to the table and hold her down.”

The man holding Elsie began dragging her to the table.  The others leapt to help him and between the three of them they shoved Elsie face first on to the bloody table.  They tore her gown from her and looked her over. She was plump  from childbirth but firm from  the hard work she put in daily looking after her man and their people.  She was in her forties and the years showed on her.  Her people thought she was beautiful and they were right.

These men didn’t care about that.  They didn’t care what she looked like. 

Lindsay snapped his fingers.  “Lundie, hold her down.  You two, help me get the old man into a chair and tied up.  We need to rouse him for this.” 

A short time later Alasdair was choking and coughing.  He glared at Lindsay.  “Do what you will but you’ll never kill the MacDonald spirit.  We will endure!  We will live on.  And you will pay whether it’s a year from now or a century.”  A clap of thunder accompanied his words, making them all jump.

“Say what you will, Allie,” Lindsay sneered the pet name, “you will all die this day.”  He turned back to his men.  “Lundie, you’re second, McNeil you’re third and MacDonnell you’re last.”  He approached Elsie, lifting his kilt as he moved.  “Hold her tight now, but not so tight she can’t struggle.  I like it when they struggle.”

The three men raped Elsie while Alasdair shouted his outrage and promises of retribution.  While MacDonnell was pounding away at her, eyes closed in bliss, fingers digging into her ample hips, Lindsay wandered around to the other side of the table. 

“Such pretty jewels.  I think we’ll have them now.”

“Ye’ll not!”  Elsie curled her fingers back into a fist. 

“Oh I will.”  He pulled his dirk from the sheath on his belt and laid it on the table.  “Open yer hand or I’ll cut your fingers off.”

Elsie, still with the faint hope of living opened her hand but not without a whimper.  In the next moment she fought hard as Lindsay picked up the dagger again.  “Ye said ye’d take the rings!” 

“Oh aye, and I will.  Along with your fingers.  Disobedience will not be tolerated.”  He held her hand tight against the table and set about sawing off each beringed finger.  Blood flowed and Elsie screamed and cried.  Alasdair bellowed curses and promises of pain.  Lindsay looked at him.  “Lundie, your pistol.”  He paused long enough in his cutting and shot Alasdair between the eyes.  “Do shut up.”  Then he laughed at himself and finished cutting off Elsie’s fingers. 

A moment later she too was dead.



Chapter Seven


Glasgow, Present Day

Elsie rubbed her right hand compulsively.  “After that I don’t remember anything for several days.  When I awoke, I guess you could say, our village was burned to the ground.  Eventually we accounted for everyone but my youngest son and about two dozen people.  In all these centuries we’ve not been able to find those few.  We canna search beyond our village and the nearby hills, though not more than a couple kilometers.”  She slumped into a chair.

“Oh Elsie!”  Anna was aghast.  Jane sat in silence as Anna pushed her astral self forward to hug Elsie.

The ghost clung tightly.  “I’ve nae allowed meself to grieve much past that first decade but I donna miss them any less.”

“Of course not.”  Anna looked up as Jane growled.  She moved back to her body and looked at the young Wolf.  “What is it?”

“It’s wrong!  Those men should never have touched those women like that.”  Jane jumped up and prowled around the room.  She’d never told them how she found them, beyond feeling a pull.  She had never told them her past.  They weren’t even sure if Jane was her name. 

“Of course not, Jane, but that’s the way of war.”

Jane snarled as she turned on Anna.  “That’s what they always say isn’t it?  What if we women raped the men?  What if we used our guns and shoved them up their asses without so much courtesy as a little spit?”

“Jane…”  Anna spoke softly as Jane’s agitation began to get the better of her.

The quiet authority in Anna’s voice stopped Jane cold and her anger drained from her.  She still wasn’t used to the way this pack ran things.  It wasn’t with random threats, hits or shouting.  They didn’t kill pack members for stupid reasons.  They did it with talking, with procedures and rituals.  They had traditions they valued and still followed.  When Jane’s other Alpha was killed she felt the pull of this pack in Glasgow and followed it.  The other pack hadn’t been home.  It had been a prison. 

Jane sat down slowly and took several deep breaths.  “I’m sorry, my Alpha, I lost my head.”  She lifted her eyes to the ghost who watched her sympathetically.   “You have my apologies too, Elsie.  There are… things in my past I am striving to forget.”

Elsie smiled softly.  “One should not forget the past, young one.  Learn from it.  Use it to make yourself a better, stronger person.  The past shapes us, it makes us who we are but it is the choices we make that help that.  You do not have to be bitter, angry and hateful to everyone.  You can take the things you’ve been through and use them to help you be confident, strong and a true leader.  You can use those things and be compassionate and caring of your fellow pack members or you can take them and let them mold you into the kind of monster that made you so angry.”

Jane nodded slowly and sat back in her chair to think about it while Anna and Elsie talked.

“What is it you need, exactly, Elsie?”

Elsie sighed and thought for a while.  Then she spoke carefully.  “We want to be at rest.  That means we need to know what happened to our missing kin and we need to know why and who betrayed us.  Allie thinks he needs revenge still but the anger is long past.  We simply need answers.”  She lifted anguished eyes to Anna.  “We canna leave Glen Coe to search for the answers ourselves and there’s been nae a single person who could see us like you can.”  She gestured at Jane.  “We’re not sure why the rest of your Wolves can see us; we think it’s their connection to you.  But no one has.”  She paused.  “Well, nae a one that would listen.”


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