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Old 03-02-2011, 04:55 PM   #1
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A Highlander's Vengeance (Closed for Delicious Maiden & Dan FS)

Douglas McAllan, Chief of Clan McAllan, glared over the table at his assembled War Council.

His deep blue-grey eyes flashed with purpose and as he took a deep breath, he could smell the peaty odour seeping between the planks of the stout oak door of his Castle, in the heart of his clan's domain.

Douglas wished to head South to York to engage his sworn enemy, Lord Faulkner in battle and then to pillage his lands & raze Faulkner's Castle to avenge the death of his Father, by his hand.

Douglas had also heard of the Lord's Daughter, Lady Anna , who was rumoured to be a great beauty.

If he could gain her as a prize, how sweet life would be!

To bend her to his will and take her for a wife would be such a revenge!

His father would turn in his grave, but Douglas would relish and ravage her!


To his Captains he declared:
“Hear this, my friends – we will go to York and I shall take my vengeance on Faulkner, he who killed my Father, God rest his soul!"

He paused for breath, and effect, then continued. "All that was his shall become ours - riches and more besides.”

He then thrust the blade of his dagger into the table top to further demonstrate his intent.

Gregor, his most trusted lieutenant stood and asked "Douglas - what about when the English come to avenge this act? What will become of us when they
march North with thousands of soldiers and burn us out of our homes?"

Another Captain, Connor, added:
"Aye - riches are nae good to yer if ye have naewhere ta live!"

Douglas raised his hands to forestall any further questions.

"Friends, Brothers - As Clan Chief, it is my duty and right to avenge my Father. Would any of you deny me this? As McAllans we must fight, and fight we will!"

As he had put the situation into such basic terms, none of the assembled highlanders dared speak against him.

After a long pause, Douglas continued.
"So it is settled - we gather the clan warriors and march South in three days, leaving at the rising of the sun. Make merry with your families, and prepare your weapons, for we go to War!"

Later, as the sun set, Douglas looked to the South, wondering what would await him and his warriors at Faulkner's stronghold in York.....
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:01 PM   #2
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Lady Anna Faulkner


Anna’s eyes focused on the candle before her. In the main chapel she could hear the murmur of prayers being recited offered up for the safe return of Lord Faulkner. She preferred the privacy of the side chapel for her religious observances.

”My Lady ...?”

Anna would not be rushed. Dread of bringing bad luck should she rush out of the divine presence made her finish her recitation before rising sedately and turning.

”He is here...?”

The excitement was evident now in her voice.

”He approaches the walls of the City, My Lady.
He returns in great triumph. Let us make haste ... “


With unseemly speed, Anna quit the Holy Trinity Church and was escorted round the walls and up to Micklegate Bar. Eagerly she climbed the stairs to look out from the protection of the city walls to see the approaching army. News of Lord Faulkner’s victories in the North had preceded him by less than a day and yet as she saw her father sat high on his horse, leading his men back inside the security of the City walls, Anna heard the shout go up and changing windows to look back along the route leading back towards the Castle, she saw the route lined by joyful citizens.

A cheer went up as their Lord drew to a halt just before the gates. Within the fortress, necks craned to see what had stopped their Lord in his tracks. Faulkner raised his head, his eyes locking with the anxious blue orbs of his daughter. He gave a mock frown, a reaction she expected as she was under strict orders not to venture out into the town and to await his return in safety; but then his face broke into a wide beam. The warmth in his eye and the slight wave told Anna all she needed to know. Her father was home and she had witnessed with her own eyes that he was indeed safe and without obvious injury.

The cheer that went up following Faulkner’s entry through the gates and the cries of celebration that followed him on his route homewards was insignificant to Anna. Moving away from the window, she was now eager to follow and meet up with her father at the earliest opportunity. Descending the staircase, more men joined her, surrrounding her as they made their way as inconspicuously as possible using a more circuitous route to return to the safety of the fortress.

None voiced their concern, but they prayed that their Lord would indeed be in a good mood and despite his seeming good nature and acceptance of his daughter’s outing, they feared that heads might literally roll for having indulged her. The fact that they had little option but to obey Lady Anna’s wishes would be of no consequence to Faulkner. If angered, all knew that reason would not inform his actions. His daughter never saw his ruthlessness or his fiery temper. Yet it was well known throughout the County; his unpredictability made him feared even by his closest men.

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Old 03-03-2011, 05:01 PM   #3
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The Journey Begins

Douglas looked around him, as the sun rose above the horizon, setting his long, braided red hair with a fiery tinge, which made him seem even fiercer.
His clansmen had gathered at the foot of the hill upon which his Castle sits.

“My brothers – it is time for us to march South to York. We shall wreak our vengeance upon Faulkner and his men and pay them back for the death of my Father, your Clan Chief before me.”

He drew his sword and pointed Southward, as he marched to the head of his men, the long column of several hundred fell in behind him.

After a while, someone further back in the column started singing a bawdy marching song, which bought a chorus of laughter for the men around him and several joined in, Douglas among them.
He knew how important it would be to keep their spirits up; York was 220 miles away, after all.
Even at this pace, they would take 10 days to reach sight of Faulkner’s Castle, assuming there would be no skirmishes with his scouts.

Later, the men were in good spirits and as they set the camp for the night and posted guards, Douglas called all his Captains together in the great ‘Hall’ tent.

“Men, we have had a good first day – another nine and we shall be at the door of Faulkner. Rest well and look after your men. Before we part company tonight, share a drink with me.”

He poured a flagon of ale and drank from it, saluting them, before passing it around the circle of men in the tent.
Each man in turn took a draught and saluted him in return.

Then as they left, he secured the tent, and lay down on his bed of fern leaves to sleep.
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Old 03-05-2011, 05:56 AM   #4
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Lord Richard Faulkner


In the end it was not his daughter’s appearance at Micklegate Bar than angered His Lordship, but a casual remark concerning his daughter’s involvement in the running of the household, more specifically her communications with the merchants, with one young man in particular ...

Girls younger than Anna were already wed, had become mothers and of course had years of experience of running a busy household, yet Richard Faulkner had been most remiss in planning for Anna’s future; that was until the previous year when he had realised that the daughter his wife had left to him could actually prove to be an asset and after such careful planning, Richard would be damned if he would let some young upstart prevent him from finally getting some recompense for the Gods sending him a daughter rather than strapping sons.

The realisation of her worth had come quite by accident. It happened that Anna had reached her 18th year around the same time when Richard was summoned to court to deliver news of the recent uprisings reported amongst the Scots and of course to reassure the King that the stronghold of York, was indeed solid. Unused to company and ignorant of society, he had expected Anna to be more burden than benefit to him in his business, but had taken her along anyway. Unfamiliar with Royal circles, Richard had not forseen how an innocent, unjaded ingenue would be so popular at court. In turn Anna’s shyness and perhaps the lack of awareness of the importance of the gentlemen who paid her court had attracted the interest of many titles, firing her father’s ambition for Anna to marry well which meant marrying to Richard’s advantage!

Having given orders for a group of his men to meet with the identified ships when they next docked on the river and with specific orders to intercept the young man who seemed to have struck up a rapport with his daughter, the arrival of the messenger could not have been more badly timed!

Those cursed Scots had thwarted his ambitions for over a year now. Such was their rebellion and the ever existent threat that they would move South, that Richard found himself making good his assurances to the King and quashing every uprising as it occurred. The last thing Richard wanted is for Royal interference. York had been almost independent from the Crown for many years and would remain so for many years to come following the recent victory and culling of the Leader of the McAllan Clan. That was until news reached him that a band of Scots were making their way southwards. As yet all was but rumour. Who led them, their number and the nature of their intent was unknown, yet any movement south was not good news!

Angrily he dispatched men to ride North to spy on the approaching group and send reports back with greatest haste. It would be foolhardy indeed to attempt any attack on York, yet Richard would take no chances where his home, his security and his daughter were concerned. He fully intended to slaughter this new band of upstarts and then perhaps, at last, he could turn his attention to the matter of his future son-in-law and give his daughter to the man who made him the highest offer ...

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Old 03-06-2011, 03:23 AM   #5
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Crossing the Border

The following morning, after a good nights’ sleep, Douglas arose invigorated and peeled back the flap of his tent, to peer into the morning gloom.

The border-country always looked good, and this fine morning made it look particularly inviting.

He retreated back into the slightly warmer interior of the tent and knelt upon his bed of fern leaves, to pray.

“O Lord, open our lips, and our mouth shall proclaim your praise…..”
“…..The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil, and keep us in eternal life.
Amen.”

As he finished his morning prayers, he heard a shout and grabbed his sword, but relaxed when he saw a couple of his scouts returning to camp with the carcass of a pig, which his men would butcher for breakfast.

After their meal, his Captains gathered their men together and broke camp.

With happy hearts, they took the first steps of todays’ part of the journey South, it seemed to Douglas, that even God was on their side, this time.

Later in the day, the march became more difficult with a stiff breeze which whipped up the rain and drove it right into their faces.

Gregor strode besides Douglas and smiled as he said:
“Aye – we’re still in Scotland, Douglas, as this fine rain falls sideways. D’ye know that in England the rain falls straight doon?”
Douglas laughed as he replied “That’s true enough, my friend, but at least there, it’s warm rain.”

They both laughed and enjoyed the moment.

After a thoughtful pause Douglas added “It won’t be long until we meet some of Faulkner’s scouts. We must despatch them quickly to keep word from reaching him. Spread word amongst the men. We must make no mistakes if we are to succeed!”

At the end of their day, having just crossed into England, at last, Douglas gave the order to set up camp.

His mind wandered to the Lady Anna. He had heard how beautiful she was, but how would he know if he had found her?

She might be a clever one, trying to disguise herself as a servant or peasant.

No – a young woman of class wouldn’t know how to think like that, surely. She would be cosseted, for she would have people to do everything for her.

“I wonder if she has a young man (or woman!) to give her sexual pleasure in the absence of a lover?” Douglas wondered.

His loins tingled pleasantly at the thought….
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Old 03-06-2011, 05:00 AM   #6
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Lady Anna Faulkner

It was not for the first time, that the sight of Anna disturbed Richard, especially over the recent years as the resemblance to her mother became more and more marked. As Anna looked up from her sewing he felt that sick combination of love and hatred welling up in him as the fabric dropped to the floor and she moved to embrace him.

”Sit down, child ... “

He scolded her with unusual brusqueness recoiling from that embrace. Amazed at his manner, Anna stepped back.

”Father...?”

The soft questioning voice, the hurt and hint of tears in her eyes, they were all her mother’s. His eyes raked over his daughter’s appearance. It was as if he were being transported back in time. Her mother had just turned 18 and he a young man of 26 when they wed. His Bride, Anna-lise was a fragile beauty and he already a seasoned soldier. It had seemed a good match and indeed her docile nature and eagerness to please her husband was never in question. Indeed, the repeated miscarriages and her determination to give Richard the sons he craved had led to her own untimely death and left him with the burden of a daughter.

”You’ve been home for 3 days now and we have yet to spend an eve together ... “

Her hand was on his arm making it impossible to evade focusing on her.

” ... there ... must be something amiss....?”

She cast around for clues.

”If you’re angry with me for leaving the castle confines, then have out, punish me if you will ... “

She thought she saw a hint of a smile at that, for he had never laid a finger on her, nor hardly raised his voice.

”But, Father, do not shut me out ... “

Wordlessly Richard shrugged and set himself down.
Quickly Anna poured him a drink and brought it to him.

”I have longed so for your return ... “

She told him as she watched him take a sip.

” ... and prayed daily for your safety ...”

Richard nodded focusing on his drink, but saying nothing.
Anna stood and waited and still he barely acknowledged her.

”I am not a child!”

Her voice rose and she all but stamped her foot, her frustration demonstrated by uncharacteristic petulance. The outburst drew his attention. A grin split the sullen expression.She was her mother’s daughter, but had so much more spirit and strength. And, unlike her mother, he was sure that Anna would bare fine sons for any future husband he chose for her.

And yet for now, she was a beautiful young woman, a liability rather than an asset in battle. Sons could have fought by his side, yet a daughter ...
He had to warn her, to make her understand the need for her to follow his orders to the letter!

”There is further rebellion amongst the Scots ... “

He told her quietly.
It was the first time he had disclosed such matters with her and Anna was not sure it was a good sign.

” ... then ... you must return and ... “


He interrupted her.

”No! They bring their trouble south ... “

She drew nearer now, perching at the side of his chair.

”They would not come to England ... ”

Richard gave a mirthless laugh.

”No ... you would think not ... yet our scouts speak of Highlanders crossing the border. They are but a leaderless rabble, yet ... to dare to venture onto English soil ... “

The news was worrying, Anna knew, but it surely they would not get as far south as York? And if they did, their town was the stronghold of the North and indestructible.

”You will ride out to cut them off?”

She queried.

”If we knew their location, their numbers and their intent, aye.
The last word reached us 3 days ago. We have heard nothing since.”


He stood then, taking her hands and drawing her to her feet.

”We must assume the worst. We must make ready for an attack on York.”

Her face registered shock.

”And you ... must not leave the building, better still confine yourself to your quarters. I will have men assigned to your protection, night and day...”

Anna nodded wordlessly and in a rare moment of fatherly affection, Richard wrapped his arms around her and drew her to him.

”I cannot think that they would dare mount an attack on York, yet such an undisciplined mob ... may dare what the seasoned soldier would not ... “

He would not be more specific, but knew that he would die rather than let Anna fall into the the hands of such heathens. He squeezed her tightly, then drew away holding her at arms length as her now frightened eyes locked with his.

”Just .... promise me. That you’ll do exactly as I say from now on.”

His voice was urgent and demanded her total obedience.

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Old 03-08-2011, 03:10 PM   #7
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The First Encounter

The past few days had been uneventful, with a long day’s march and frugal meals taken at rest breaks. Camps had been set at dusk & broken the following morning, and the men still seemed to be in good spirits.

Many of the men Douglas had spoken to had voiced their concerns about venturing so far South, but had also spoken in support of their new Clan Chief, and the desire to avenge his Father.

As they journeyed onward, into some forest, Gregor fell in step beside Douglas.
“We should be sending some scouts ahead, as Faulkner will undoubtedly be doing the same.”

“Aye – I have been thinking the same. We need to know what their next move will be. If I were him, I’d have people searching for us and shadowing our every move, to report back our strength & if we have archers or cavalry.”

“You’re wise for your age, Douglas. Your Father would have been proud of you. I have been his right hand for many years, and he grew to value my counsel. I hope you will rely on me just as he did.”

Douglas clapped him on the shoulder. “I cannot yet call you ‘Old Friend’, as he did, but one day, I hope to. I know I can be rash and don’t always see the best path to take, but just as you served him I hoped you would serve me.”

Gregor extended his hand, which Douglas shook.
“It’s settled then, when we rest tonight, all the warriors shall know I have taken you as my adviser, just as my Father did”.

As Douglas turned his eyes from Gregor back to the trail, he looked up, toward a crest almost a mile away. Something had caught his eye.
“I saw it too, Douglas!” Gregor said. We are being watched, so we must now assume Faulkner will know we care coming for sure.”
“Aye – but Iain & the Spaniard, Christos, have been scouting ahead for hours. They will hopefully have seen that flash of light off the scout’s armour and will
Track him to prevent him reporting to his Captain.”

Gregor nodded and agreed. “Iain is one of the best trackers I have ever met and Christos can summon up a fury as great as any highlander in the blink of an eye.
Let us continue South until they either return, with the scout’s head, or we need to camp for tonight. If it’s the latter, we need to plan for ambushes”

About an hour afterward, as the men were making their way across a meadow, two figures burst from the treeline on the far side of it, running full pelt towards the Clansmen.

One of the men in the middle of the column pointed them out.
“That’s Iain & Christos. I dinnae think Iain could run so fast!”
At first several of the men laughed and gestured, assuming this was some sort of high-jinks, to banish the boredom of their tracking the scout.

This stopped quickly as five men on horseback then broke from the cover of the forest in obvious pursuit.

Douglas did not hesitate, in deploying his men.

“Archers to the front. As we practised at Camp….split into equal groups. Your Captain will tell you which rider to shoot at.”

As one, the archers strode to the front of the column and their captains quickly organised them, as the riders bore down upon Iain & Christos.

Each of the captains looked at Douglas for the order to fire.

“Fire at your target! Then nock and fire again, until ordered to stop!” Bellowed Douglas, enjoying the fact that a fight seemed imminent now.

As the archers fired, the other men seemed to collectively hold their breath awaiting the first arrows to strike home.

One the riders went down, struck by several arrows in succession. The next was thrown by his horse, which was hit and bolted.

Another rider further back seemed to spur his horse on even faster, realising the danger now, and not wanting to get any closer to the Clansmen than he had to,
Gaining on the large figure of Iain, not normally noted for being fleet-of-foot.
The rider was closing the distance, fifty feet……forty feet.

The men started urging Iain onward suddenly fearing for his life.

Christos, being of a more slender build, had outpaced him easily and was a good twenty feet ahead, when he heard the shouting and saw all the highlanders gesturing and willing them forward.

He looked over his shoulder and saw that Iain had seconds to live, unless this rider was unhorsed or killed.
Christos suddenly turned and drew his sword and ran straight at Iain whose eyes widened in shock, thinking that Christos had gone mad, when he was pushed aside and with a grunt, proving the effort it took, Christos, threw his sword overhand and watched it sail through the air, unerringly toward the chest of the rider.
At the last moment, the rider realised that he no longer had the upper hand, and he too, was doomed.

As the sword struck him squarely in the chest it took him right out of the saddle, killing him instantly.

The remaining two riders, with arrows whistling all around reigned in their mounts and swiftly turned, but as they were farther away, were still viable targets for the archers, who ruthlessly shot them from their horses.

As Iain & Christos collapsed to the ground out of exhaustion and relief, the assembled army approached them.

When they could see through the long grass, Iain was on his knees, vomiting, whilst Christos was slapping him on the back.
“We showed those Pendejos, eh, amigo?”
Christos was laughing and as he stood he flung his arms into the air in salute of the Scotsmen.

Douglas and Gregor ordered the men to take a short break and post sentries, whilst they found out what had happened.

Iain by then had recovered his composure:
“We saw three of them looking over that crest, and couldn’t see any others, so we crept up on them wishing to kill them. There was a small copse about fifty feet away, which we were going to move into after we had killed them.
Just as we got close enough to attack, another three came through on horseback from the other side of the copse, and charged us.”

As Iain paused for breath, Christos took up the tale.
“We managed to kill one of the men on foot and turned to run, as we knew we couldn’t fight them off all day. The others had to find their horses, as they had wandered off, so we had a head-start, but as you saw, they were much quicker than us.”

Iain nodded in agreement and standing up, grasped Christos by the right forearm, with his right hand, in a gesture of gratitude and brotherhood.
“Christos, my life is forfeit, to you. I swear amongst all these men, that in future when we go into battle I will fight and die by your side, so that one day you may return home. If you die, I will slay the one that kills you, so help me God!”

Christos gripped Ian’s right arm in the same manner and spoke to the throng.
“I shall be your brother in battle as you are mine, let any and all enemies fear us, as we will surely be the death of them!”

As one, the men cheered, and as they made their way into the copse, Douglas decided this would be a good place to camp tonight.

“Gregor – pick some good men and order them to collect the scouts’ equipment, uniforms & horses. I have a use for them.”

Douglas sat down upon a fallen tree as he wondered what tomorrow would bring.
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:25 AM   #8
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Lady Anna Faulkner

Over the next days the Castle was a hive of activity, but Anna saw very little of her father. Her movements were indeed restricted. As she had assumed, she was not allowed to go beyond the castle walls, yet this too necessitated that she carry out her daily devotions in their small chapel, rather than the Church of her choice at Micklegate. It seemed also that she was barred from receiving visitors amongst them the young merchant Thomas Cooper from whom Anna had learned much about trade, life at sea and of course the wide range of merchandise available throughout the world. He had in fact not visited her since her father’s return home. A pity as she had wanted to introduce the two men and have Thomas tell Richard of the fine jewellery and rich fabrics that proved popular in the hope that her father would invest in a fine gown and perhaps jewellery in preparation for a return to court later than year.

Anna found the prospect of court life exciting for a visit, but she could not see it as a lifestyle for herself. In contrast to the beautiful Northern landscape and the functional buildings, London was more tamed; everything was beautiful and uniform. The green spaces there were took uniform shape and were neat and orderly. Anna had enjoyed riding and walking and dancing and any amount of social occasions, yet Anna could not help but prefer taking long walks in the countryside and riding her horse through woods and over streams; all occupations she had taken up in her early teenage years.

Yet as she grew to adulthood, Anna had realised that she could no longer be that head strong, care free girl who went rampaging around the Northern countryside. True she had considerable stamina and was a skilled horsewoman, but from the age of 16 or so her world became much more restricted: Any excursions necessitated a chaperone and later an armed escort which took some of the pleasure out of such activities.

From 16 onwards it were as if her father had decided that his daughter now needed quite another form of education and allocated an almost governess-type tutor who had instructed Anna on the appropriate skills pertaining to her sex and station in life. Although naturally graceful and athletic, it was during these years that Anna attained the “polish” of a titled Lady, yet despite that, the etiquette and unspoken rules at court had been mind-boggling.

Still, the highlight of her visit to Court had been that her father had never been far from her. His eye had always been on her, his move to her side had been swift when admirers had made her feel self-conscious with their questions or their over-exuberance with compliments. Indeed, it was the one time when Anna could remember Richard being the attentive father she had always craved. The only time she felt his pride and protection on a day-to-day basis. The only time she had not been surrounded by tutors, servants, priests and had her father to guide and instruct her rather than the strangers he employed to take care of her ...

For this reason alone, if Richard Faulkner, as he has indicated before this uprising, wished Anna to return to court, then Anna was eager to renew that close relationship, even if it meant being thrown into the exacting rules and demands of court life.
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Old 03-12-2011, 04:06 PM   #9
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The march South continues...

Once all the equipment belonging to Faulkner’s scouts had been gathered together and inspected, Douglas & Gregor pondered their next move.

“We should press on to York as fast as possible.”
Gregor advised Douglas.
“Aye – the scouts willnae be missed for long. We should rest tonight but tell the men tomorrow is the full moon. We should march at least through some of the night.” Douglas replied.
“Are ye sure – they are pushing pretty hard already. Ye dinnae want ta meet Faulkner in battle with tired troops.” Gregor pointed out. He would hate to come all this way to lose!
“Only a couple of hours after dark tomorrow – nae all the night. All men need their rest. No-one wants this more than I”!
The following day, they spotted a couple of men on horseback riding parallel to their course, but they ventured no closer to the Highlanders.

Douglas summoned his captains to him, as they marched.

“Those two riders must be shadows. We have to guess that Faulkner will by tomorrow now know our strength and position. If I were him, I would ride out to meet us from York with a larger force.”
“He may, Douglas, but he may also wait behind his walls, and let them do the hard work for him. Stout stone will stop almost anything we have. It depends on how patient he wants to be.”
Douglas looked around him and saw the resolve among his captains.
“Unless we attack somewhere other than York to draw him out?”
Gregor shook his head. One of the other captains, a younger man called ‘Norris’ said:
“It would need to be somewhere very important to him I would say. Like a Granary, or maybe a Winery?”
A few of the men smiled at this, as it was obvious Norris wasn’t very experienced as a leader, but he was showing promise.
“Dinnae mock Norris, brothers, for he shows insight. If Faulkner does value something, he will want to defend it. Now….what could it be?”

Gregor answered for them all. “Let’s consider as we march, his food & drink supplies have merit - we shall meet again when we halt, whilst the men set camp; and decide our target then. We still have three days march until York.”
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:57 AM   #10
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Wharram Percy

All around her preparations were being made. In the days to come Richard was largely absent. Anna spied him occasionally throughout the day barking orders and sending out masons to ensure the strength of the walls and towers, sending out scouts in an attempt to glean more information and ensuring that the waterways were monitored, so that traffic up and down the River Ouse was limited only to merchants whose trade could be used to boost the supply of weaponry and food stores as rapidly as possible.

And yet this did not match the pace of the approaching Scots.

News had reached York that the band of heathens were indeed heading for York and though more disciplined than they'd first thought they were too small and ill equipped to pose a real threat to York. The obvious tactic was to hold York and to quash any attempt at attack from behind the Town's fortifications. Yet that meant increasing their stock piles: An essential to enable the town to remain secure for days, weeks, even months. And it was this that Richard called Anna to assist with. It was his daughter who identified towns and villages within a safe distance from which they could gather the necessaries. Active at last, Anna collated long lists and instructed groups of men to venture out in search of goods and marked them off, allocating storage as the bounty was brought back within the walls.

Once the sources in the immediate vicinity had been milked dry, Richard cast his eye further afield. He had no recent word of the Scots' progress and dared not risk too many men to venture out too far. It was Anna once more who hit upon a compromise.

”What of Wharram Percy?”

She queried.

”The village has rich farm land and plentiful crops as well as live stock and a well-stocked fish pond. They have a plentiful store of grain and corn and there are bakers and carpenters and any amount of men who may be of use to us.”

Though the location was further than Richard would ideally travel to, he realised that in one journey he could complete his preparations for the battles.

”I will await news from my scouts … “

She told her, approving of the way Anna had taken to the domestic practicalities of this crisis.

” .. and if conditions seem favourable … I'll send a team of men out to complete our preparations.”

He kissed her briefly and quit the salon, thinking, not for the first time, that when all this was over, Anna would prove an admirable wife … to the highest bidder, of course …
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:20 PM   #11
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The Night before marching to Wharram Percy

Much later that Evening, once Camp had been struck, Douglas and his Captains sat around discussing the merits of various sites to attack, to divert Faulkner’s full strength from York. He was not a fool, and would not leave York lightly defended.

The scouts who had reported with the most encouraging news, had ventured to
Wharram Percy, a seemingly thriving settlement within a day’s ride of York.

There were plentiful stores of grain & corn, a large herd of various livestock, which seemed healthy, together with a pond, which when approached, seemed to be teeming with fish.

This then, would be where they would strike. There would be no mercy, at least for anyone willing & able to defend themselves.

To strike a decisive blow here would be to strike directly at York and therefore, Lord Faulkner.

The men were ordered to rest, and with sentries on guard Douglas knelt upon his mat of fern leaves, to pray before sleep, as was his custom.

As he finished his recitations and crossed himself, he heard low voices from outside his tent.

“I shall find me a wee Anglish lassie, one who is yet to be broken in, and make her mine, before I slit her throot!” said one voice.
“Ach, nae…..to really strike fear intae their hearts, ye want to find the mother, then make her watch as ye kill her husband, then defile her, then her daughter!”

Douglas could understand their thirst for vengeance, but this was going too far. He needed control of his men, and harsh discipline would be the only way.

He arose, and went outside, saw the two guards, who immediately tried to look like they had not been killing time, instead of at their posts.
When he saw them, they were senior clansmen, not youngbloods, out to prove themselves.

“You two should know better – If we defile their womenfolk, as I heard you say, what do you think they will do when they return to Scotland?”
His angry glare challenged them to defy him.

“Douglas, some of them have already done that and worse, to women & girls in other villages! We must have our revenge!”

“No! As a God-fearing man, I can’t stand by and watch you do that. If you do, I shall have to kill you myself!”

Both men looked at each other and then took a step forward.

One, called ‘Norval’ said “Perhaps if ye don’t have the thirst for this, you’re nae the right man te lead us?”
The other, ‘Dougal’ stepped forward and with hand on the pommel of his sword asked:
“What would ye do, if you had lost yer wife to the murdering Anglish scum? I dinnae think yer the man for this. Step aside, so another can lead us!”

At this point Douglas realised he had left his sword upon his bed inside the tent.
He vowed that if he lived through tonight, by the grace of God, he would never make that mistake again!

Without saying a word, he stepped forward, putting himself inside Dougal’s sword-swing and grabbed him by the throat & squeezed. As Dougal tried to draw his sword, and started to choke, Norval stepped behind Douglas & drew his blade.

“Let him go, Douglas, or I will run ye through!”

Douglas couldn’t back down now. He reached across with his free hand and drew Dougal’s dagger, which Norval couldn’t see, reversed it in the palm of his hand and looking over his shoulder, saw Norval with his sword raised, ready to strike.

“Put it down, Norval. I dinnae want tae hurt ye.”
Norval just smiled, as he gloated. “I’m the one who should warn ye, Douglas, now let him go afore I kill ye!”

By now a small crowd had gathered as this exchange carried over the night air. Breath was collectively held, as the men waited to see what would happen next.

Norval said, for emphasis: “Let him go - I will kill ye!”
As he raised his arm back to strike, Douglas rammed the unseen dagger home with all his might, running the blade between the scales of his armour and into his abdomen, before twisting it and running it up through the heart, killing him instantly.

Douglas threw the gasping Dougal backward and bent down to retrieve Norval’s dropped sword.

He stepped forward and placed the point at Dougal’s throat.

“Go Home. Tell Norval’s family what happened here. I don’t want you fighting beside me. I need men I can trust.”

“Douglas pointed at two of the men stood around.
“Take him to get his sword and a horse, then make him leave, for home. If he will not go, kill him.”

Douglas then glared at the rest of the bystanders and ordered them to bed. This matter would be discussed tomorrow.

After Breakfast when the Captains met Douglas, he told them about the incident last night and to make sure they all told their men what had really happened, to quash any rumours there may be in Camp.

“At the end of today, we shall be in sight of Wharram Percy. We shall rest overnight, then attack at first light.”
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:24 AM   #12
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Arrival at Wharram Percy

Douglas and the rest of the Highlanders marched hard all day, and sure enough, by nightfall, were in sight of Wharram Percy.

The only incident was a goatherder, about 10 miles away from the town, whose goats got a little too interested in the hiding Scotsmen. He came to investigate why his goats would follow him back to town.

Once he had discovered the invaders, they had no choice but to kill him to keep him from raising the alarm.

As the men set camp, a couple of miles from the town, scouts were despatched with orders to observe and report back - they were definitely NOT to engage the enemy.

After a few hours, all the scouts had been accoutned for and from the various angles which they had observed the town, it was obvious that something was going on, as it was a hive of activity.

Once sentries had been posted for the night, Douglas observed his nightly prayer ritual, before he settled down to sleep, peaceful in the knowledge
that he had the element of surprise, for now.


When he awoke, the rest of his men were already quietly and efficiently preparing everything they needed for the day ahead.

The farmers were already tilling the fields and shepherds were tending their flock, as well as fishermen, working along the banks for the huge fishpond.

As the sun started to rise, he sprung the attack.

As his men were in position in the hills above the town, he signalled & silently, the small band of men, dressed in the stolen scouts' clothing, approached the gates on horseback.

As they got within a couple of hundred yards of the stronghold, the two hundred or so men who had been creeping across the meadows in the dark, rose to their feet and charged, yelling at the top of their voices.

The 'Scouts' spurred their horses into action, galloping at the gates, shouting out loudly:
"Open the gates - let us in!"

As the charge gathered momentum, a smaller group moved into position on the other side of the main town building, keeping to the shadows and moving with a deadly purpose.

Their mission was to gain entry to the Governer's House and kill him.

Without leadership, the small number of troops stationed there would be ineffective at best, and hopefully, Douglas could capture them all alive and steal their uniforms in readiness for his main attack at York.

As the scouts onhorseback reached the gates, which had been opened, they rushed inside, and as the townspeopel gathered closer to make sure they were alright, they started to lay about with swords, killing many wherer they stood, as they had been caught by complete surprise.

They had achieved their objective of keeping the gates open for the highlanders to enter the main part of the town.

Within hours, most of the survivors had been rounded up and contained within the small town Church.

Their victory was total - now Douglas and his men started to enjoy the fruits of their labours.

They ate & drank to their hearts' content, and several of the men, out of sight of Douglas, at least; took their pleasure of some of the younger women of Wharram Percy.

As night fell, there was a chilling sound, the screams of a young woman, begging for mercy as she was passed from man to man amongst a big group as they all had their way with her.

The poor unfortunate girl was the daughter of the Governor, until that day, a virgin, but now tainted by the touch of several men....
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:29 PM   #13
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”But father, you cannot go!”

The plea was desperate, edged with fright at what might await her father and what might happen to her once her father had quit the seeming security of York.

”Anna! I will not sit here whilst that Heathen Rabble put our people to the sword, plunder our livestock and crops and execute those I have put in place to lead and Govern.”

His rage turned to uncharacteristic compassion as he saw his daughter blanch at his words.

” … and what would they do to you, if you fell into their hands …?”

She questioned softly.

”Hush, girl … “

His arms were about her and she clung to him.

”Please do not go, Father. There are any number of men who could leave York and lead a counter-attack. You're needed here … I need you here … “

He drew back and looked at the girl before him; her blue eyes swimming with unshed tears, her fair complexion still paler and the fine bone structure tightened with tension. She was a beauty, yet Richard knew she was so much stronger than the weakling of a mother who bore her.

”McAllan challenges my authority, the very authority of England … “

He stated.

”Necessity dictates that the son meet with the same fate as the father.”

He gave a mirthless laugh, but Anna did not understand.

” But … “

Her plea was cut short.

”You are safe here. You will stay in the castle. There are guards and every man would lay down his life to protect you Anna, for if any harm were to come to you, their lives would be forfeit.”

He drew away from her. His mind resolute.

”I must to Wharram Percy.”

He kissed her cheek briefly.

”Do as I instruct Anna.
York is secure against attack and the castle secured against infiltration.
Be Brave, child. I will return in 3 to 5 days. And then we will head south and find a Bridegroom to rule and protect you, huh?”


So saying he strode from the room, leaving Anna staring after him.

Her father was experienced and skilful in battle, that could not be denied and yet this recent attack, the advance of the Scots on Wharram Percy had been to Richard as a personal insult. Anna knew her father was a man of pride and principle and all she could do was pray that he would be wise and level headed as he rode to face his adversaries and not become distracted by the anger he felt towards the man McAllan and his vow to execute this trouble maker.

Although aware of the battles and the never-ending clashes between the English and the Scots, Anna found the idea that their enemies were comfortably established in Wharram Percy unnerving and though of course she knew York was safe, she could not help but wonder what might happen if her father was unsuccessful …

Last edited by DeliciousMaiden : 03-23-2011 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 03-27-2011, 07:01 PM   #14
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The attack on Wharram Percy

Douglas was aware that Lord Faulkner would be coming for him. It would be folly to stay here and wait for the larger force. The thought was tempting, but only his death would await him.

What he needed to do, was leave Wharram Percy, urgently.

He decided to take an indirect route to York, therefore avoiding Faulkner’s forces. He would send out scouts, to warn of Faulkner’s approach, and keep away from his superior numbers.

With God’s will, only a small force would remain to defend the stronghold at York, as he was sure that Faulkner would want a large force with him to make sure that any incursion would be quickly put down.

He gathered his captains and told them of his decision. They nodded in agreement with is assessment and then left to find their men and get them into some sort of order, ready to travel to York.

As he strode around the Village, watching the men busy themselves packing all the equipment away and checking their weapons and armour, he saw a woman, knelt over a body.
As he walked closer, the woman became aware that he was there and shrank back in fear. Douglas opened his arms, to show he meant her no harm, as he worked his way closer. He noticed her clothing was of a better quality than most other garments he had seen on other villagers.
As he knelt alongside the woman, he saw fresh tears had tracked down her cheeks, and she appeared to be holding a younger woman in her arms.

“What happened to her?” Douglas asked.
“She was my daughter. I was the Governor’s wife, until several men smashed the door of our house in and killed my husband right in front of us! I was taken into one room, and she in another. I could only guess what was happening by the noise, but they raped us both. She had never been with a man before. I could hear her screams and…..”
Douglas gently placed his hand upon her head. It would probably be kinder to kill her, to end her suffering, as she had had everything taken from her.
“I am sorry for your loss, Lady.” Douglas intoned solemnly.
“I am Douglas McAllan. Nothing can excuse what my men have done here and I will try to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Many of my men have lost loved ones to men of the English army. I can’t watch them all.”
As he turned to walk away, the Governor’s Wife grabbed his cloak.
“Why don’t you kill us, like the others wanted to?”
“Lady – I don’t kill because I enjoy it. I only kill when I have to. The Lord teaches that all men should treat their neighbours as they want to be treated themselves.”
“Then why do you come into England and kill my family?”
“Because your King and his nobles will not allow my people to live our lives as we wish, without fearing for our safety and whether our children will have enough food to survive. When your Lord Faulkner comes here, tell him that Douglas McAllan was here and all I want is for Scotland to be left alone, for Scotland’s sons & daughters to live as free people with God’s will, and hopefully, his blessing, as his servants, in all things.”
As she looked up to him and their eyes met, she nodded and said simply:
“I hope, Douglas McAllan, that one day, our peoples will stand side-by-side, as friends and neighbours, but alas I do not think it will happen in our lifetime.”
Douglas nodded and said “Aye Lady, and such is the pity. These wars have left wounds too deep, for us heal. It will be likely be our children’s children who may seal the lasting peace.”
Then he turned and walked away, toward his horse, as the drizzle started to fall.

A coupe of hours later, he was on his way, with all but a few of his men, heading toward Wharram Percy. Those left behind would follow soon, after they had put the town to the torch. All the survivors, would be driven out, towards neighbouring settlements, where they were sure to be taken in, as refugees.

At nightfall, he lay upon a small hill, a mile or so distant of the main stronghold at York, watching with Gregor, to spy a weak point in the defences.
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Old 03-28-2011, 05:52 PM   #15
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Lady Anna @ York Castle

The Castle seemed so still with so many men gone. It was her father who led them. Anna had known that attempting to dissuade him would be futile, but she had felt compelled to try. She knelt in the tiny chapel and prayed fervently for her father’s safety, for protection against the Scot and that the Scots might return to their own lands and give up their attack of the English.

As she finally rose stiffly to her feet, Anna could not help but glance at the altar once more and wonder at a forthcoming marriage that Richard had hinted at before taking his leave.

She did not want a man to ‘rule and protect her’. Although her father had not always been close by, she had always felt safe. She had been educated and generously provided for and in recent years her father had become more solicitous of his daughter. It was the life Anna knew and perhaps it was change she most dreaded. Her life had been sheltered and despite the recent court visit, she had not been much in company. She was aware that she was naive and lacked knowledge of society and even the issues of property and nation that had led to the turmoil of this present conflict, yet she was not unintelligent, she merely lacked experience.

Taking her leave from the chill chapel, Anna made her way to up to the solar, where the warmed spiced wine awaited her. She followed this routine daily. Morning and evening prayers, the latter followed by the warming beverage, the fire dancing in the hearth as she turned and stared sightlessly out of the window in the direction she fancied her father had ridden.

Her father had assured his daughter that she would produce many sons for her future husband, but Anna knew that her mother had not been as fortunate. Despite Richard’s orders, she had been told of how her mother had struggled to conceive and died in child birth leaving Anna with a fear of that act that she knew so little about that would lead to her conceiving and necessitate that terrible delivery, which might threaten her very life.

And so despite the fear of what was happening beyond the Castle and York walls, Anna sipped almost contentedly, surrounded by familiar people and routines and where she was her own Mistress and Mistress of her own fate, though only as long as she lived within the orders left by her father as to how she should conduct herself in his absence ...
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:03 PM   #16
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Into York Castle

As Douglas & Gregor lay watching in the dark, the faint tendrils of their breath wisping away into the cool night air, they both saw that the Castle enjoyed a drainage outlet, for the waste water.

That meant that somwhere inside, servants poured the contentsd of the chamberpots down a hole, which ran into this stream, now exiting through a hole in the Castle wall. That was their way in!

Douglas gave orders for his men to assemble just the other side of the hill overlooking York Castle.

He went around to the other side of the castle with five of his most trusted men, leaving Gregor to command the army, which would charge the walls, when they heard a blast on the highland horn, which one of the other men carried.

As the approached the outlet, wary of watching eyes from the castle battlements above, they tried to keep to the shadows, to better conceal themselves. Douglas, as the leader had to show the way, so he stepped into the shallow flow of water, and waded under the top of the hole. After about five feet, his way was blocked by an iron grate. This Faulkner was certainly no fool.

As his men joined him, they silently pulled at the grate, trying to dislodge it from the brickwork, in order to gain entry to the castle above. Alas, it would not budge.

Niall, an Irish farm worker, before moving to the Highlands, and as big a man, as you would ever want to meet, elbowed his way to the front, with a war-hammer in his massive hands.

"If I do this right, Douglas, I can knock these bricks away, so we can pull the grille over. If not, I'll make so much noise, that we'll be dead by morning!"

The men shared a quiet laugh at that, before standing back, to allow Niall to take his swing. He looped the heavy hammer through a complete circle before smashing it against the brickwork, and several fell away with a dull splash, into the water. It didn't smell that bad, really, no worse than a nursemaid's chamber.

As the others rushed forward to grab the exposed iron edges, and began to pull, more bricks fell away, until the grille toppled into the water. As Douglas again led the way, the crept into the dark recesses of the castle's cellars.

Linton, another man Douglas had known for years took a smouldering coal from a pouch at his hip and sat it in a rag, and blew on it until it glowed red, then the rag caught light, with a brief flare. He carefully dropped the coal back into the lined pouch and wrapped the burning rag, whiuch had been dipped in pitch over the end of a long stick, to make a torch, so they could better see their way. Douglas also carried one and lit his from Linton's.

As they crept forward, trying to find a door to lead them out & up into the tower, trying not to splash too loudly as they walked, it was slow going.

A voice could be heard in the distance, but it sounded like domestic staff talking, rather than guards. If necessary, he would kill domestic staff, but his quarrel was not with them, but Faulkner.

After waiting quietly with bated breath, the voices moved away and the small band of men moved forward again.

They eventually came to a door, when they heard a whisper from behind them.
"Look up, on the hook!" said the voice. As Douglas spun round, his dagger drawn, he spied a lone figure in the cell opposite. They must be in the dungeon.


"Who are you?" Douglas demanded.

"My name is Warwick...I worked for Lord Faulkner, but I overheard something a couple of weeks ago, which I should not have heard, as his Lordship had me thrown in here, with barely a word since. Who are you, Scotsman?"

"I am Douglas McAllan, & I come to avenge my Father, at Faulkner's hand!" Douglas shot Warwick a glare with his piercing eyes.

Warwick pointed with his free hand, as the other was chained to the wall.
"Look up, on the hook! Get the keys and you can free me, and access the Castle!"
"How do I know you won't just shout a warning to gain favour with Lord Faulkner and turn us in?" Douglas asked, testing Warwick's loyalties.
"Because I no longer have any love for the man. I have done nothing wrong, but happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Lord Faulkner is planning to kill a couple of the other Lords and claim their lands & titles for his own. That is why I have been imprisoned here."

Linton grabbed the keys and threw them to Douglas who unlocked Warwick's cell door, before entering and releasing him from the cuff holding him captive to the wall.
"Thank You Douglas McAllan. Perhaps I can repay your kindness. I know some of the layout of this place. Where do you wish to go?"
"Lord Faulkner's chambers. I would kill him when he feels most secure."
"You will have a long wait. I hear from the guards he has left the castle to go North to meet someone."

Douglas then changed tack.
"I understand Lady Anna resides here. I would remove her from her Father's sanctuary, so he may understand the pain I go through!"
Warwick smiled. " I know where she is; although I have never been inside, she spends much of her time in the Solar, almost the highest point in the Castle, in the Central Tower. Follow me!"

Warwick was as good as his word. After unlocking the cellar door, He led them around some of the guards congregation points and through coridoors and up a flight of flagged stone steps.

He motioned for them to be quiet and looked around the corner. There was a single guard, looking away from them, seemingly almost asleep, leaning against the wall.
As Warwick put a finger to his lips again, he motioned for Douglas to come and look.
Douglas did so, and smiled, and bade them all the quiet.
He crept forward and with his dagger drawn, thrust it neatly between the ribs of the man, who, lacking side armour in his jerkin, gasped slightly and slid to the floor, with Douglas guiding him , to deaden the sound he made.
The others had been watching and crept forward.

Warwick again led them forward and up another flight of steps.
Suddenly, a shout went up.
"Alarm....Alarm! Intruder in the Castle!"
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:47 AM   #17
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Anna sipped the spiced wine, a shiver running through her body.
Perhaps she had been too much at prayer that evening?
Perhaps her anxiety for her father?
Or perhaps a premonition of the Scott's attack?

”My Lady … “

An armoured man she identified as a regular in her protective entourage burst into the solar.

”My Lady … the Scots are outside our walls.”

Anna sprung to her feet, panic filling her, then an anxiety as to whether her father was in pursuit, unaware of the Scot's advance, or worse …

”Their numbers are no match for our defenses, My Lady … “

The man reassured her.

”I come but to request that you remain secure within your quarters.
There is no chance of the walls being penetrated, much less an attack on the castle, but such were your father's orders.”


Anna nodded relieved.

”And I will obey them … but do take what men you need to use in York's defence. As you say.
I am safe and secure here … deploy the men according to need … “


The man nodded and took his leave. Beyond the room Anna heard the footfalls of boots moving rapidly up and down the stairwell and then silence. Moving the the fire, she watching the flames and warming herself, all to aware of the conflict playing itself out but a short distance away. True there were any number of fortifications and men between herself and their attackers, yet despite these facts, the proximity of the enemy was unsettling.

"Alarm....Alarm! Intruder in the Castle!"

The shout went up somewhere beyond the solar walls.
A solitary intruder would be sure to meet his fate, Anna reassured herself.
And if there were indeed any risk to her person, Anna knew that she would be notified immediately …

Lady Anna
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:18 PM   #18
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Advance on the Solar

Warwick led Douglas and the others through the Castle and up into the Keep, to the Solar, where he had heard Lady Anna spent much of her time. They had to duck into
alcoves and shadows several times to avoid guards and other soldiers running through the various coridoors. At one junction, a guard opened a door and ran smack into Niall, who grabbed his face in one huge hand and just flung him down the stairs next to him, Douglas winced at the sound of cruching bone, as the unfortuante guard bounced to the
bottom.

Close to the Solar, the guards were more numerous, and as Linton stepped into the Hallway, from the stairs, only his quick reflexes saved him from a savage sword
swing which struck sparks from the stonework in the wall. As he ducked under the sword, he reversed his own and thrust it deep into the chest of the young soldier,
who let out a soundless cry and crumpled to the floor. Another soldier was right behind him and thrust with his sword, catching Linton in the leg, just to the side of his bronze greave, causing Linton to cry out and fall backwards into Gregor. As they both spilled to the floor, the soldier stepped forward with death in his eyes.

Douglas stepped over them with sword drawn, and glared at the soldier, who slashed at him. As Douglas leaned back and then stepped into the soldier's vicinity, he
grabbed the man's belt and slammed him back into the wall, hard enough to dislodge his helmet, which slipped down over his eyes.

Douglas took advantage of his temporary blindness to slash at his leg, as he wore no leg armour, and as he cried out and knelt on the other knee, frantically trying
to pull up his helmet to see.The last thing he saw was the tip of Douglas' blade as it stabbed him in the face, between nose and mouth, killing him almost
instantly.

Warwick looked shocked at the Scots' ability to kill & maim, but he had promised to lead them to the Solar, so he pressed on.
Another three guards stood firm in front of a stout door, with iron banding across it, with thick rivets holding everything together.


"That's the Solar." Warwick announced.
"Stay out of sight, man. We will deal with this."
As the soldiers stand firm, it is obvious that they are gurading something precious. It is also obvious that the are the best fighters in the Castle, by the way they stand, and that not one comment is made by any of them.
As the Scots close to do battle, Douglas lets out a blood-curdling battle-cry and as one, the Scots charge. The youngest English soldier is still in his twenties,
and a seasoned fighter as evidenced by the scar across his cheek. He parries Douglas' blow easily and counter-thrusts, only just missing Douglas' face. The Scots have the advantage in numbers, but there is only so much room to fight in a Castle passage!
As the extra weapon comes to bear, the oldest soldier finds he faces two adversaries and although he puts up a valiant effort, it is not long before he succumbs to a savage swing, which severs one arm at the elbow. As he screams, the younger soldier shouts "Father!" and leaps forward, trying to defend the now dying
man.
His valour is not matched by his wisdom, as each fighter now faces two men. Niall uses his superior strength to overpower the younger soldier and as the soldier recoils from a parry, with his arm still ringing from the blow, Niall lifts his arm up and brings it crashing down upon the young man's helmeted head. As his eyes glaze over and he falls to the floor, the remaining soldier backs right into the door and waves his axe frantically, tryng to keep all four men at bay.

Linton feints and draws him into a parry which leave him open to a crushing blow from Niall's hammer, which catches the man full in the face, killing him instantly.

As the men lean against the wall, gathering their breath and resolve, Douglas says quietly, to the door, in his best English accent:
"It's over, milady....the intruders are dead."
From the other side of the door, a cultured woman's voice is heard.
"Who is that? Where's Trevor?"
"I am Allan, milady. I served with your Father last year in Scotland...Trevor has fallen, I'm afraid."
After a few seconds the men heard several bolts being drawn back and a beautiful young blonde woman stood before them.
"Who are you?" She demanded.
Niall leant in close and said, barely above a whisper "Your worst nightmare, darlin."
As she recoiled, Douglas stepped into the Solar, and looked about, admiring the opulence.
As Lady Anna retreated, she bumped into the table, still holding some cheese and two apples on a plate.
She grabbed the paring knife and held it out in front of her.....
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:33 AM   #19
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Lady Anna

Even though Anna was sure that any intruder would soon meet their fate, Anna found herself stood by the fire straining to hear the activities within the castle beyond. She fought with her natural curiosity and rather than go and search out what was happening beyond remained in the guarded and locked solar as her father had ordered.

It was the war cry from just beyond the door that made her whirl around in horror. She had never heard such a sound and it seemed to come from just outside the room. She crossed the solar rapidly, an ear pressed to the door, recoiling rapidly as she heard the clash of metal upon metal.

What could possibly have happened to lead to men fighting just beyond her place of safety? Anxiously Anna's eyes ran around the room. The place was ornate and secure, yet with the door barred and exit impossible, the room was as a prison without a place to flee to.

She moved across to the window then, opening it up to calculate if there were any way she could use this as a way of escape. She stared helplessly at the long drop and smooth walls. There was no possibility of getting either foot or hand hold. Effectively all Anna could do was await the outcome of those unknown conflicts beyond her room.

"It's over, milady....the intruders are dead."

The voice came through the thick wood. Anna crossed the room pressing her ear to the panelling to enable her to assess which of her guards had in fact survived the skirmish.

"Who is that? Where's Trevor?"

She questionned, hardly daring relief to flood through her.

"I am Allan, milady. I served with your Father last year in Scotland...Trevor has fallen, I'm afraid."

Anna flinched. Trevor had been loyal and determined.
So much death, so much conflict. Surely it could not be necessary?

Slowly she drew back the bolts, standing back as she eased open the door unwilling to see the bodies of the men beyond. Anna froze as she saw an unfamilar man standing before her, knowing she should have attempted to move that heavy door back in place, but finding it all too late.

"Who are you?"

She stood tall and brave as she demanded the man to identify himself.

"Your worst nightmare, darlin."

The leer, the familiarity, the words all served to send a bolt of fear through her. Despite her intentions Anna stepped back from the door watching helplessly as they looked around the room, taking in it's comfort.
She had moved back as far as the table in an attempt to keep her eyes warily on the man who had spoken to her, though her attention was drawn by another man who had entered the room ahead of the others and seemed very much in control of the whole situation.

Behind her she felt the plate edge and moved her fingers to curl over the sharp knife, holding it concealed behind her as the two men exchanged a comment. In truth she knew she had little chance of defending herself as she was outnumbered with now hope of help coming at any time soon, but perhaps she could bluff her way out of this situation?

Trapped against the table, Anna watched as the leader took a step towards her and drew the knife from behind her back, holding it out in front of her to prevent his advance.

”Don't come any closer!”

Despite her intentions Anna's voice was more plea than order.
She took a steadying breath and continued with a soft, yet firmer voice.

”You have no right to enter my quarters … if you must, take what material goods may aid your cause and go.”

She risked a glance towards the still open door.

”You would do well to move quickly.
Every moment wasted here makes your deaths more likely.”


This at least she was confident of.
Her father had ensured that she would always be safe and despite her fear at seeing these enemies face-to-face, she could not imagine that they would escape with their lives!
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Old 04-18-2011, 12:50 PM   #20
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Douglas & Anna in the Solar

Douglas stepped forward, removing his helmet, so that he was directly in front of Lady Anna.

“Put the knife down, Milady. You’ll only hurt yourself.” He said in barely accented English.
“We are wearing armour and carry swords much longer than the knife you carelessly wave around. If we had wanted you dead, you would be already, but do not test my patience!”

She glared angrily at the three men before her and then a look of understanding settled upon her delicate features.

“You are Douglas MacAllan.” She declared, as her hand wavered in front of her.

“I am. Now let’s leave. Co-operate and I’ll see you’re not harmed. Misbeahave and I’ll demonstrate just how ungentlemanly I can be!” Douglas growled, snatching the knife from her small hand and throwing it, so it stuck in the door opposite, with a thud, quivering slightly, as was her hand, he noticed.

He half-dragged her out of the room and over the dead bodies of her bodyguards, who had so valiantly tried to defend her. With his three companions, Linton, Niall & Warwick leading the way, they descended from the Solar into the main tower and still downwards into the Castle proper.

Warwick had to step back at one point, as a couple of soldiers running to somewhere else in the Castle, barreled straight into the small party. Although Linton now carried a wound in his shoulder, just below the join with his neck, the soldier who had dealt the blow, had died for his troubles, as Niall had cleaved him almost in two with a powerful swing of a stolen broad headed axe.

They managed to make their way to the Castle wall, with no further incidents, and as Linton whistled a low tone, a couple of soldiers ran from some nearby trees with some horses.

As the group mounted up, Douglas watched Lady Anna settle into her saddle and couldn’t help but admire her figure, although hidden by the dress she wore, she was attractive!

“I could tie your hands, milady, but I know your Father has gone to fight me at Wharram Percy, and you couldn’t escape in any case, as several men will be assigned to watch you. I’d rather not have to restrain you. What say you?”

Lady Anna just shook her head in reply. Judging by the expression on her face, she really couldn’t believe she had been snatched from within the Castle!

As the sounds of fighting died into the background the small party started their journey Northward…
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:35 AM   #21
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Lady Anna

Anna’s warning seemed to make little impact. Instead the largest of the group stepped forward, his manner self-possessed and unhurried, despite the fact he stood at the heart of the castle.

“Put the knife down, Milady. You’ll only hurt yourself.”

His tone was patronising and instantly hit a nerve despite Anna’s fear.

“We are wearing armour and carry swords much longer than the knife you carelessly wave around. If we had wanted you dead, you would be already, but do not test my patience!”

The logic of his explanation angered her as did the renewed realisation of how helpless she was. She did not miss the unconcealed threat he issued, yet she met his eyes, curious as to what manner of man would behave in such a way or would threaten a Lady in her own rooms.

“You are Douglas MacAllan.”

The name left her lips even as she identified the man who stood before her. Her mind raced remembering that her father had killed his and that the son was a hot head with no sense of proportion and bent upon revenge...

“I am. Now let’s leave. Co-operate and I’ll see you’re not harmed. Misbeahave and I’ll demonstrate just how ungentlemanly I can be!”

She had no time to react as the knife was snatched from her hand, the deft action leaving it embedded in the door opposite. Fear rose in her. They meant to take her!?! And expected her just to accompany them out through the castle. Perhaps it was that she had remained still for too long, but before she knew it, MacAllan had taken hold of her and was propelling her across the room and out through her own doorway. The strength and bulk of the man made any protest futile, yet it was the bloody site of her guards’ bodies which rendered Anna helpless; her head spinning as she fought nausea and lightheadedness as she was carried all too quickly through the rooms until incredibly she somehow stood outside of the fortress surrounded by still more Scottish Invaders.

All too aware of the many eyes upon her, Anna drew her full skirts about her and had no choice but to mount the horse that had been brought for her. In time she would escape, or her father would over take the heathen band and rescue her, but for the time being, she had no choice but to at least appear compliant.

“I could tie your hands, milady, but I know your Father has gone to fight me at Wharram Percy, and you couldn’t escape in any case, as several men will be assigned to watch you. I’d rather not have to restrain you. What say you?”

She tried not to react to his words, lowering her gaze as she took hold of the reins in an attempt to hide her shock at the fact that he knew exactly what her father’s movements had been. She glanced around at the men watching her. He had guessed that she would obviously contemplate escape and vowed that she would indeed do so ... at the appropriate time ... yet there was no point in antagonising him or making it necessary for him to carry out the threat of restraint.

Wordlessly Anna shook her head, turning to look back at the walls aware of the sounds of fighting beyond. If only she could waste precious time. Surely someone would come, would prevent this abduction!

Yet it was not to be. Douglas McAllan was too wise, no matter what her father’s judgement of the man had been. She could only pray that the English would realise that this Scot was a real threat and make no half-hearted attempt at freeing her. Though numb with shock and terror at what fate might await her at the hands of these heathens, Lady Anna sat upright and proud, maintaining her silence as she was made to journey northwards in the midst of an escort ironically reminiscent of that her father had assigned to ensureher safely around the country yet now the man around her were hostile and set upon abducting her.
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:09 PM   #22
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Escape from York

As Lady Anna settled into the saddle of her mount, she looked serene, and defiant at the same time.
Douglas was impressed. A woman of lesser breeding would have been crying and begging for mercy, but she obviously realised she was being abducted and powerless to do anything about it.

After a couple of hours riding, he dropped back from the head of the column of horses and rode alongside her.
She had wordlessly promised not to cause him any problems, and so far, she had kept her promise.

As he regarded Lady Anna, she turned to face him, with an expression upon her face which stirred something deep within him, more than just desire, it was respect, he realised, with shock.

Could this young woman, the daughter of his sworn enemy, he reminded himself, really be a suitable wife?

Oh Yes, she was attractive, but she was English, and the daughter of a Lord. She would not wish to stoop to his depth, upon the social ladder, even though he was a Lord of sorts, among his own people.

He smiled, then, at the irony of his brief fantasy

Whatever she may say, Douglas reasoned that he could at least remain respectful when he dealt with her. If their roles were reversed, he would hope for the same courtesy.

He stated, „You will come to realise that I am no uneducated idiot, who wages war & destruction for the lack of anything else to do. I only seek to avenge the loss of my beloved Father, who knew no better, but he recognised that for the cycle to be broken, I need schooling and a focus to achieve good in my life. Once this war is over, I hope to marry well, raise cattle & crops and a family, God willing.”

His rant over. they rode on for a while in silence, as the bright blue began to fade from the sky.
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Old 04-23-2011, 03:22 AM   #23
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Lady Anna Faulkner

Anna knew she had little choice but to ride along with her captors. She knew little of the geography of the land and had no idea as to whether they were still in England or if indeed they had crossed the boarder into Scotland. Not for the first time, she wished that she had paid more attention to her father’s rantings of the Scottish Invasions, but then how could she ever predict that she would have been stolen away from the very place designed to keep her in safety.

She glanced across as McAllan reigned his horse in beside hers. It was a long time since she had ridden and whilst it was an activity she had loved and had missed, the impromptu journey coupled with the inappropriateness sof her attire made her weary, yet she would not let the Scott see this and so merely glanced aside to him in silent acknowledgement of his presence and then fixed her gaze ahead once more.

”You will come to realise that I am no uneducated idiot, who wages war & destruction for the lack of anything else to do.”

She turned her head back to the man at her side.

” I only seek to avenge the loss of my beloved Father, who knew no better, but he recognised that for the cycle to be broken, I need schooling and a focus to achieve good in my life.
Once this war is over, I hope to marry well, raise cattle & crops and a family, God willing.”


Anna remained silent digesting his words. In the short time she had been amongst them, Anna had seen how the others obeyed McAllan and how it was in fact he who made the decisions and prevented them from being the ‘rabble’ her father had dismissed them as. They too wanted the conflict to be over and he too had a father he had lost. She could only pray that her own father was still alive and safe and that he would not underestimate his enemies when he discovered that she had been taken.

”And you take out your revenge on a defenseless woman?”

It was she who spoke now.

“Is this truly the way of the Scots? Despite what I have heard of your race, I would have thought you’d have more .. honour .. than that ... “

She watched his reaction carefully.

”As an educated man, you cannot fail but realise that removing me from my father’s protection, compromises my position as a Lady? You speak of your plans after the war.
But what of my future? Is ruining my name the revenge you speak of ...?”


Despite her intention to remain impassive, she could not help but show her fear at what he might have in store for her, justified in some way by his thirst for vengeance.

”I am one woman amongst ... many men ... “

She continued, her eyes moving from man to man, all too aware that she was under constant scrutiny; a scrutiny beyond that of ensuring that their prisoner did not escape. Though this made her increasingly nervous, she was unable to decipher the intent behind that intensity, but assumed it stemmed from hostility towards her ...

” ... and you are but one educated man amongst men ... men who hate my father and therefore his daughter ... “

She stated wondering if indeed one man were able to keep control of a band of angry men?

” My father spoke of you McAllen... I know that your father died at his hand... I can understand grief and even then need for vengeance ... but what do you intend by my abduction?
If I could right the wrongs done to you, I would. But my father takes advice from no man, much less his daughter ... ”

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Old 04-25-2011, 04:01 AM   #24
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Lady Anna’s words stung Douglas.

He had though he had planned his excursion to England to account for most eventualities. What he hadn’t reckoned on was that his hostage would be a beautiful and intelligent woman. He had though her from afar to be a spoilt brat, a girl to be ‘put in her place’.

Her mention of honour stung him as he thought of himself as a warrior, not merely the leader of a disorganised rabble.

Her stating that:
”As an educated man, you cannot fail but realise that removing me from my father’s protection, compromises my position as a Lady? You speak of your plans after the war.
But what of my future? Is ruining my name the revenge you speak of ...?”
This had hit him hard.
He realised he had no wish to ruin her in any way, despite his earlier feelings toward her Father, and through him, her.
It did however, intensify his wanting of her.

“God help me!” He exclaimed, then realised with horror he had spoken the words rather than just thinking them.

He wasn’t sure if she heard, but in any case he wanted to clarify something.
“I find myself in a somewhat different position to the one I expected. However, my men have strict orders not to lay a hand on you. I will personally defend you to the last of my blood, if anyone should try to dishonour or harm you.”

He felt the heat rising in his cheeks then, and continued:
“I was so focussed on vengeance for my Father I never thought that there could possibly be peace between us and the ‘Anglish’.” His accent seeming stronger as he spoke that word.
“D’Ye think your Father would have listened to a petition for peace? After all he led men who came into our lands and started to kill our people and his men raped and pillaged and razed villages. What were we supposed to do? Turn the other cheek?”

He lifted a gauntleted hand and wiped away a solitary tear, aware that if any of his men saw this simple act and overheard the conversation, then he was in an unfortunate position indeed…

He could only hope that when she saw his homeland she would find it truly God’s Country and not want to leave, in defiance of her Father, but that was a hope beyond hope, surely?
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Old 04-25-2011, 04:28 AM   #25
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Lady Anna Faulkner

Anna’s father was indeed a stubborn man and had little time to hear what his daughter had to say to him. This man McAllen it seemed was different!

“I find myself in a somewhat different position to the one I expected. However, my men have strict orders not to lay a hand on you. I will personally defend you to the last of my blood, if anyone should try to dishonour or harm you.”

Anna’s eyes widened in surprise, but she gave a slight smile and nodded her thanks.

“I was so focussed on vengeance for my Father I never thought that there could possibly be peace between us and the ‘Anglish’. D’Ye think your Father would have listened to a petition for peace? After all he led men who came into our lands and started to kill our people and his men raped and pillaged and razed villages. What were we supposed to do? Turn the other cheek?”

Emma listened to the confession of his thirst for revenge, but details of her father's actions and his questions disturbed her.

”As a leader in a war, I’d imagine it’s impossible to ‘turn the other cheek’ ... especially with a murdered father ....”

She reasoned aloud, unconsciously sympathising with him for his loss.

”As to listening to a petition for peace ... “

She considered her answer. Should she give him false hope? Surely she would be justified in doing so. Yet somehow she could not bring herself to lie.

”My father is not a man of peace, McAllen."

Her eyes held his as something almost akin to understanding passed between them.

" Even to me he can be ... hard .... difficult ..."

She looked away surveying the armoured men who surrounded her, any of whom she felt would gladly act out their hatred of the English and their deeds upon her.

"Scots are a threat to him, to the very security of England, to his position ... “

She too feared the man around her, but they were a product of the conflict. Anna had been taught to hate and despise the Scots but had never quite understood the issues or why the two races could not live side-by-side peaceably.

”In war men act as they feel honour bound to do ... “

She sighed wearily, thinking of the dead bodies of her guards and no doubt the countless men lost in battle.

” ... with innocent victims on both sides ... “

She concluded with a wan smile in McAllen's direction, thinking of those drawn into the conflict; the Scots, the people of Wharram Percy and herself ...

No matter what the intentions of the man riding by her side, Anna could only pray that things would not turn out much the worse for the two of them ...

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