Blood Moon

Diary of a Highland Massacre

Fate of the True Vampires

Book Three

EXCERPT

 

 

 

In the year 1956, John Cooper and his wife, Kerra, bought an old cottage, run down and falling into disrepair, however this was no ordinary dwelling. Due to its proximity within Glen Coe, Mr. Cooper, a retired history professor from Oxford, wished to preserve this treasured piece of Scotland’s bloody past; in essence, a rare home that still stood within the village and thus the history of Mort Ghlinne Comhann (Murder at Glencoe).

 

This is not the book for reciting the public’s documentation on the reasons for the massacre at Glencoe, but a letter and journal  pages presented here are solely for the reader’s discretion in determining direction and the reasons behind Mort Ghlinne Comhann.

 

During renovation and in fixing up the home, said journal was found in the crawlspace beneath the floor, rolled in old leather and stored safely within a cedar box.

 

Later, a journal and other pages were discovered in various locales around Scotland and at different dates during the 20th century. After time, connections were made between the documents presented in this book and the scrolls from around the world, penned by Kesi (from Book One, Sands of Time) and others. Each has been placed in chronological order and is published as such.

 

The letter and journal entries you are about to read were written in olde Scots or Gaelic and have been translated into modern [American] English for your ease of reading. Original letters and documents are safely ensconced within the antique letters archives at the Jeffersonian in Washington DC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost Letter

 

 

To Captain B. Campbell:

12 February 1692

 

Word has come to my attention regarding the news of raids and thefts on yours and your cousin’s properties, proposed by Jacobite supporters. I have also recently become aware of Alastair MacIain’s tardy response to the king’s command to partake the oath of allegiance to King William in order to pardon his clan’s part in these Jacobite uprisings, which was due the first of the year.

 

MacIain’s oath was accepted in Inverary by the sheriff, for he held a letter by Gov. Hill stating he had arrived erroneously at Fort William, but was indeed on time.

 

I am aware that you and your cousin’s company, along with several Lowlanders have taken up shelter in Glencoe to break from this terrible winter, and to assess taxes. I have conversed with The Master of Stair, Lord Advocate, John Dalrymple, and have seen the letter to your cousin, Robert, ordering his company to put all of Clan MacDonald under the age of 70 to the sword. This is not my business, but it does bring me to my reason for this letter.

 

Before you see this plan to its conclusion, I require your services, and will of course assure you are paid well. As a surgeon, I am in need of your company’s services to collect, let us say, live bodies for experiments and the further development of a cure for an ailment which afflicts my people and threatens the lives of yours.

 

During the Battle of Dunkeld, I came upon a beast of a man, quite large and strong, with a mane of red hair, his name of which I believe is Fergus MacGregor. I have since continued correspondence with many who have tracked the whereabouts of this man through several years. I have only recently learned he is known in jest as the Giant of Glencoe, and I assume you know of whom I speak.

 

Those I have hired to keep watch on the Glen have informed me of conversations overheard and that you are not well fond of Fergus, as he is a close friend to Wolfe (MacGregor) Stewart, and I need not relate to you what this means to you or the clan. That this information never be revealed, I will require you to bring me the Giant, alive. I shall also aid you in getting what you desire from the other.

 

I have sent payment to you along with this correspondence and the order that this reaches your hands and none other. For my payment, and my silence, I shall expect Fergus delivered to me in Inverary within one week from the receipt of this letter. Thus, I shall expect you carry out your orders to do away with the MacDonald clan forthwith.

 

Yours in Business and Friendship

Yin

 

 

 

 

Journal of Wolfe Amus MacDonald Stewart
 

The Year of Our Lord 1692
Glencoe, Scotland

 

The wailing wind reminds me of the wolves. Bold and fierce, yet cunning and intelligent—never attacking without due cause or provocation, yet enduring a deadly reputation not worthy of their beauty.

 

Mum once told me, “The wolves howled loudly the night o’ yer birth, which is why we named ye Wolfe.”

 

At this moment I wonder which side of the wolf am I? For surely I am not an exemplary namesake of such grand creatures.

 

I was not born to these lands, as was my birthright. Yet, why I lived the first eight years of my life in Romania was always, until recently, obscured in ambiguity. I questioned mum, and Father as well, but never received a satisfactory answer.

 

The truth, however, is now mine. And with the knowledge came a dangerous altercation that has changed me, my life, forever. I wish only that I had remained none the wiser for my naiveté. So many deaths, the vicissitude overwhelms.

 

And so, I find it necessary on this night to make sense of all that has happened over these past months. If only to place into words that which perplexes the mind.

Under a cloudless night sky, I write this beneath a blood moon that offers more than enough light to see by. I sit upon a frozen crag, yet I feel no cold as I overlook scorched lands once known as home.

 

And I remember clearly the demoralization of my soul…

 

 

The Year of Our Lord, 1691, May 22nd

 

We held our wedding beside the River Coe on the northern borders, between Aonach Eagach Ridge and the high peaks of Buachaille Etive Beag, under the watchful eyes of the Three Sisters. A sea of colorful tartan swarmed in through the pass and the Old Military Road, as every clan from neighboring villages arrived, many on foot, some horseback.

 

By mid-day, the Glen was a swarm of bodies. I am not sure if it was in congratulations, to gawk at the unlikely pair, or to come and view those of Glencoe who dared take in a Child of the Mist, one who refused to take on the name of Campbell. Yet that is exactly what we had done and I was proud to wed Isobel and give her the royal name of Stewart as her own. A name that would vindicate her all the days of her life from the ruthless persecutions of the crown. 

 

A spectacular event, Isobel a vision in her beige dress and tartan wrap, proudly herolding the Glencoe MacDonald brooch. The rare sunlight accented the red highlights in her golden hair; which was wreathed in spring flowers. So breathtaking was she with the green and purple heathered hills flourishing around her that I could scarce keep my eyes to myself. Tingles ran through my loins, throwing me into silent prayer that my excitement would not draw up my kilt and embarrass me before the entire village.

The winds blew a gale, lifting strands of hair into my face. And such pains I had taken that morning over my appearance, even using a blade to clean up my face. But worry I did not as Isobel smiled and everything promised to be perfect.

 

That was the first time I saw him, standing stiff as a dragoon would, upon the brae, sunlight grazing through straggling gray-streaked red hair tied back in an attempted appearance to be well-groomed against the Highland winds.

 

His gaze lit down upon us, and from the distance, I could see malevolence in those eyes, worn with the ravages of age, debt, and drink—and something else I was not yet sure the meaning behind. Though not on duty, he wore his uniform and himself as if were, and the royal blue of his coat shone dark as his eyes. Captain Brian Campbell, cousin to Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, a minion of King William’s Regiment of Foot.

 

His stare fixed on Mother before it moved to me, thin lips curled upwards in a shrewd grin, as if he held some grave secret or a deep-rooted antipathy reserved only for me.

I knew not the reason. What had I done to this man? The broken union between himself and mum had taken place long afore my birth.

Could he still harbor ill will towards my mother, and thus toward me for being her son?

 

I dared one more glance. Our gazes locked then, as if he were attempting to communicate with me without words. And as I stared, perplexed, a spark of recognition struck me. Aye, I had seen this man before. He and his men often rode through our villages in search of trouble where there was none.

But, nae, this was different.

 

Those eyes. There was something familiar in those eyes, the gray hair twinged with red, the set of his shoulders.

 

I had no time to ponder the familiarity of this man, however, as the events of the réiteach hailed my attention... I turned back as Isobel’s father spoke:

 

Ma tha ise deònach,

Tha mise ro-dheunach,

Agus mura bi sin mar sin,

Cha bhiseo mar seo.”

 

“If she is willing, I am very willing and if that weren’t so, then this wouldn’t be so.”

 

Isobel and I spoke our vows with precision, and as I stated the final words, “... gus an dèan Dia leis a’ bhàs ar dealachadh,” a sudden chill crept up my spine. “Till God shall separate us by death.”

 

As the skirl of the pipes announced us husband and wife, the feast and ceilidh followed.

 

I must admit I overindulged myself on the many delicacies that lay across the table; hens flourished, cooked in various manners, gifts from family and neighboring clans, mutton, scones, bannocks, meats, cheeses, and too much whisky and port wine.

 

I was not sure I could dance as the wedding party stepped into place for the foursome reel. But I did and finally collapsed with the rest afore a bonnie fire.

 

Isobel sat across from me, beyond the blaze, and every now and again her soft laughter chimed like a songbird and reached my ears. I smiled, keeping my eyes on the men ranting and laughing around me, but my thoughts were with Isobel.

 

 “The problem wi’ this world today,” I stated to Ian, the large dark-haired clansman who had been one of few with me the day we found Isobel near the Devil’s Staircase, “is that nae enough people speak their minds true.”

 

“Och, aye,” said Ian, his laughter rolling through the mountains. “And what’s goin’ on in yer wee mind the night, eh Wolfie, tae speak such a profound statement?”

A young cousin who had come over from Glen Shira, Robert Roy MacGregor, was seated beside Ian.

 

He cackled. “I’ll teel ye what’s goin’ on in his wee mind is all up under that kilt!”

 

I scrunched my eyes at Rob. "Haud yer wheesht!" And that only made them laugh more fiercely.

 

As they hooted, it was all too simple to ignore their chides as my gaze swept past the red and orange roar of the flames and halted on Isobel, her profile delicately lit by the flickering fire on her fair skin. She laughed and conversed with the woman beside her. Perhaps Rob was correct. My thoughts were driven up under my kilt at that moment, but also in my heart.

 

The celebrations would keep on until the wee hours, until most had slumbered off after having succumbed to the effects of too much drink and dancing.

 

I rose and went to Isobel, ignoring the chiding of the men behind me, and took her delicate hand. I’d waited long enough.

 

Despite the abundance of spirits I’d consumed I was fast awake as I swept Isobel off to our wedding chamber. Several clansmen followed, needing to be sure the union did indeed transpire. I shut the door in their faces, but not afore casting them a glare of condemnation.

 

Excitement strung up in my gut; not only was I wed to the most beautiful lass in the Glen, but the night I’d dreamt of my entire adult life was upon me.

 

I breathed in the scent of Isobel’s hair as I slowly tugged at the ties that fastened her bodice. No words were spoken, the exchange between us heated by desire.

 

So still she stood, no notice nor objection of the cold room as I lifted the shift over her head, dropped it to flutter at her feet, unveiling the pale and unblemished flesh, covered by naught but the golden locks that waved over slender shoulders. Pert breasts augmented by rock hard nipples I wished to taste more than any food or drink.

 

I wasted no time on my own attire; kick off the boots, a quick flick of the brooch and belt buckle and the wool of my féileadh-mór fell in a crumpled heap to dusty wood slats. With no ceremony, my shirt landed atop the pile.

 

I lifted my wife and placed her upon the bed, climbing under the coverlet beside her, our bodies providing more than enough warmth to tame the bite from the room.

Isobel responded to my first caresses by brushing my lips with a soft kiss. My eyes closed, my senses open and aware of the flowery scent of her hair, lingering still from the wreath that had long since escaped in the wind. Tingles raced up my spine as her tender hand slipped beneath the coverlet and took a soft hold on my much aroused manhood.

 

Oh, the need, the desire for her burned through me like a raging pyre. I could scarce contain myself. I needed to drink of her love, taste of her essence, consume every part of her. I rolled myself over until my strong, hard body engulfed her soft, weaker one. Our lips locked with the promise of eternal bliss and I was lost.

 

I drew her close. I knew from hearsay that I needed to be gentle, for being a man, I must brag, a bit over-endowed, I could easily harm her. But as I pushed past the resistance of her virginity and felt her heat engulf me, a shadow within my soul sprung to vivid life. All thoughts of gentle ease succumbed to a burning desire to possess I had never previously experienced.

 

Deeper and deeper I drew into her, the demand to have all of her overwhelming me, drawing me higher and higher until I wanted, needed to make her part of me. The pounding ache in my body and the urgency within rendered me unaware of her screams that I was driving too hard.

 

Please, just let her be part of me. Let me drink of her completely until I am no longer thirsty.

 

Better than any drunken excursion—for that is what I was, drunk with need. I was imperceptible to the small hands that shoved and raked at my chest as, with one last thrust, I released a lifetime of waiting.

 

My head and heart ached with the sound of her cries and the love I felt for her wrested me suddenly from the fire afore we both could be burnt. I drew back, peered down into Isobel’s tender face.

 

“I am so sorry, my sweet bonnie Isobel,” I whispered before kissing the tears from her cheeks.

 

As her body relaxed beneath me I pulled her close again and simply held her, concentrating on the feel of her heart pounding against mine, lest the fear within me take hold and I break down and weep as well.

 

What beast dwelled within that I did not know existed? Where had it come from and how could I control it?

The questions raged through my mind as Isobel’s breathing slowed to that of a sweet slumber. Her soft complexion glowed ever so soft in the luminescence of a slowly dying fire.

 

Gently, as not to wake her, I kissed her hair, rose and wrapped the full of my tartan around my naked body, set a log on the fire and stole silently from the room.

 

By this time, the house had emptied of drunken Scots, all having staggered off to their beds, either with relatives or on their own. I poured myself a dram of whisky and sat alone by the fire. As I stared into the raging flames, my mind wandered back to the 15th year of my birth—and the day Isobel came into my life.

 

 

12 March 1686

 

A dreary gray mist settled over the Glen, the distant peaks of the Three Sisters Mountains concealed beneath a deep fog that obscured the landscape. However, the weather never kept us young lads from a bonnie game of shot-put in the field. The chill air felt faint against my flesh, though I was donned only in my felidh-beag, boots and a linen sark.

 

My shoulder ached from tossing more than my weight in large stones, yet still I was in the game. I lifted quite a bonnie rock, and ignoring the pull in my shoulder, I drew my arm back. Before I could toss, however, a far-off eerie cry startled me. The boulder landed with a hard thud in the weeds, barely missing my toes.

 

“Mhac Na Galla!” I cursed, leaping out of its way.

 

The distant cry sounded once more.

 

“Wha’ is that?” I asked, rubbing my shoulder and stretching my arm to abolish the spasms.

 

“I dinna ken,” said Ian, who stepped up beside me, listening.

 

“A wolf?” asked Fergus.

 

Colin weighed in. “An adventure!”

 

The game forgotten, the lot of us raced towards the mountains. Our game became not one of tossing rocks but a match of speed.

 

Sprinting across field and brae, I pulled out ahead of my mates, tossing a shrewd grin to Ian as I passed him. Colin was direct behind, and Fergus far last. As a large fellow, he might have been quite the champion at shot-put, but running was my skill.

 

Eventually, however, we all caught up to one another, for the vastness of mountain range made it difficult to discern exactly where the sound originated. One moment, we were sure the wailing hailed at the Pap, from the west, but the echo returned to us from the south.

 

“I shall take the Devil’s Staircase,” I said. “Fergus, ye’re a bonnie climber. Look around Aogach Eagach.” My large friend nodded, panting, ginger hair dripping with sweat from his run.

 

“Ian—south to Buachaille Etive Beag!”

 

“I ken ye want me tae go west then?” asked Colin. I nodded.

 

Another scream, more pronounced and desperate than the last, rebound from mountain to mountain.

 

“That’s nae animal,” said Ian, his voice raising in alarm. “That’s a lass!”

 

No longer was our adventure a game, but a quest to aid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2019 by Christine Church 

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