Blood of the Clans Ch. 37byRoyceConnors©
Douglas Wallace sat behind his desk smiling, waiting for James MacRae to enter and bring him news the attack was ready to begin. The guard opened the door and James walked in, relieving Douglas of his smile when he saw the look on his face.
"Don't bring me news you have failed again, James." Douglas asked him, seeing the look of worry in his eyes.
"We must talk, Douglas." MacRae said, as he sat in the chair, that looked too frail to support his size and weight and groaned, as his weight was felt.
"I ha'e men, but all my captains ha'e been killed. I ha'e no one tae lead the men, except Blair and he's needed already fer a large force of men. Ye'll need tae send word tae the troops coming north tae stay where they are, till ye send word again tae march. I need captains, Douglas. I'd take a few of yer's, but there no better than what I ha'e, or I need more time tae train the men I ha'e and there not enough time tae do it right. We'll surely lose if we attack they way they are noo." James told him point blank.
"I understand, James. Word has reached me of the loss and I expected you to come sooner, actually. I have given this some thought and I have someone I can go and see for aid. I have already dispatched word to my brother's men to have them camp until I send word. We still need to keep the attack date as secretive as we can for it to work, so I'll leave the morrow for Edinburgh. I'm sure I can get help with captains for your men, so you get those men ready to fight and fight well, James. Everything depends on them giving their all for this. A failure in this is not acceptable. I won't risk losing what I have already invested in this campaign. It is my duty to the King to bring peace to these lands in his name." Douglas looked as masterful as he could to MacRae, speaking with as much manliness as he could muster.
"How soon will this take place? I can get the men ready, but I need tae ha'e them follow their commands. We're less than a month away from attack noo, and they'll need two weeks at the least, tae soldier the men intae battle. By then yer brother's men will ha'e arrived and the ship has set sail as well." James told him.
"I'll be back in less than a week's time. If all goes well, your captains will arrive shortly after, giving you more than enough time to put it all in order. I don't expect any problems on my part, as I'm calling in a favour done. The King is in Denmark with Princess Anne, so the chance of getting your captains seems very likely. How many men do you require?" Douglas thought to ask at last.
"I'll need no more than three. I can split a few men off and form another small band to protect against any surprise attacks when we land in Sunart. I ha'e feelings we'll be met wi' one, so I want tae be prepared for it. I was thinking of twenty men who would go ahead of the attack and set up a week before, tae scout the MacDonald's and what they're preparing fer. If they spot anything, they can warn us ahead of time. We can proceed as if we don't know aboot it and use their attack plans against them instead. We'll ha'e oor own counter tae theirs already." James told Douglas, feeling more in control again after the Earl's assurance he would have leaders that knew how to take and give orders, coming in time.
James and Douglas smiled at each other, both despising one another, yet admiring one another for the power they held and how they used it. Douglas went to a small side table behind his desk and poured two glasses of fine Scotch whisky, then offered one to James for a toast. They tipped their glasses to each other and Douglas offered a toast up.
"To the campaign, may we both get what we want and change the history of Scotland."
"Aye, here's tae it. May it bleed the lands dry of MacDonald blood and gi' rise tae the time of the MacRae's." James spoke, with determination and strength in every word said,
As Douglas sipped at the pungent nectar, James quickly shot the liquid down his throat in a gulp. Douglas saw him look at the empty glass and offered him another. As he was pouring, James told him to keep going when he was stopping at a quarter of a glass. When he poured it to half, James happily sighed that was enough and drank a large mouthful.
Colla returned from his quest for men to fight for him. His journey to the clans in Northern Ireland and the west of Scotland garnered him an army of three hundred plus men and six birlinns, along with four galleys. Every man was heavily armed and armoured, over a hundred with horses. The men were crammed into the birlinns, while the galleys held the horses. The heavily laden boats scraped deeply into the shore, as the men rowed hard to get them up as far as possible. Several jumped over the side and pulled on the bow lines, dragging it up further and holding it fast.
Man and horse were soon out of the boats and enjoying solid ground again. Sorley was given word of their arrival and raced out the castle and onto the arched bridge. He shouted down a hail and smiled broadly, seeing the mass of men and animals covering the shoreline. Colla heard his brother and ran as fast as he could up the steep incline of steps to where he was. They hugged happily at seeing each other and turned to look at the shore.
"Colla, ye've done well, so ye ha'e. I could'ne ha'e asked fer better. I see the Donahue's ha'e come, so ha'e the O'Bannion's. Just the two alone would be enough tae fight wi', but ye've brought the Donnely's, the...,who's that there beside the Donnely's?" Sorley asked him, not recognizing the men.
"They're the Kennedy's. Father sent fer them. He said they owe him fer the lands and cattle he provided fer them last year. They came and asked fer his help and like Father, ga'e them the lands along the coast of the Firth of the Clyde and o'er a hundred head of cow, goat and sheep. So we ha'e their sworn loyalty fer those lands noo." Coll explained.
"Aye, that's Da's way. Make an ally and no an enemy."
"Aye, I don'ne see anything wrong wi' that, do ye?" Colla replied, knowing Sorley felt the same.
"No, it's good tae ha'e more allies than enemies, I don'ne ha'e tae keep looking o'er my shoulder all the time, I know someone has my back fer me." Sorley joked out his reason for liking it.
"Aye, true enough." Colla laughed and then in a quick seriousness, "Let's hope we can ha'e the MacDonald's backs. If what we know is only half the story, then the rest of it does'ne read well at all. I ha'e clans watching the channel day and night for any movement of English ships of any size. Some ha'e members going inland tae look fer signs of troop movement. They'll try tae slow them down, but they're too small in numbers tae do any harm attacking them." Colla told his brother of all his efforts in aiding their kin.
They both knew what was at stake in all of this and the ramifications that would spread outward if they lost. The entire stability of every clan was in jeopardy, The relative peace and trade would stop, wars and takeovers would spread from region to region, allies would become enemies, enemies coming together in a new common goal, This was a battle for the western Highlands and nothing less.
"Ye've done everything I could think of doing, Colla. Well done, my brother." Sorley said, while putting his arm over his brother's shoulder.
Sorley and Colla went into the castle and had the kitchen staff prepare food for the men and then the stable hands to tend to the horses. Looking out the window towards the coast of Scotland, the two brothers wondered what fate lay ahead and who would be across the channel from them in the months to come. Their once certain future became an instant pawn of indecision in a game of chess, only this game had no rules on how to play. Winning was the only point of it and how it was done, was left up to the minds of those in control to what they did to achieve it. The toll was tallied quietly in each of their minds, as they looked at the army of men below.
The sun was brightly shining over the grounds of Dunvegan, as the staff groomed the grounds to perfection, leaving nothing in sight to offend the eye. Garreth walked with his mother, looking at everything and seeing nothing they would want done differently. They smiled and laughed, something Garreth was happy to see his mother do. His visits to her castle were usually somber in tone and he knew she was still grieving for his father. As much as he admired her for her love for him, he was saddened at her loss of happiness in life and worried for her.
"It looks grand, Ma. Da would ha'e loved tae see this. I remember hoo he loved a celebration. It did'ne take much fer him tae throw one, did it?" he asked her, reminiscing of a joyous past, calling her how he did when he was a boy.
"No, it did'ne. When ye were just a bairn, before Peadair was born, he had a celebration fer three days because he wrestled a bull by the horns and bested it. Tae this day, I ha'e no idea why he was in that field in the first place. He told me he was sailing tae Rum, so it made no sense. But he came home wi' a horn from it, so he did, so what was I tae believe?" Julia said smiling and frowning a bit in confusion at what she said.
Garreth reddened immediately as soon as he heard it. He'd heard tales of his father's exploits with women, other than his mother and he knew who his father was with that night. He had crept in through the bedroom window of a married woman and made love to her, while her husband was down in the hall. He crept out again and was running across the field, when he confronted a bull. The bull came at him and he took it by the horns and wrestled it to the ground and gored it with his dirk several times, then slit its throat. He sliced off one of the horns and took it with him. Hearing his mother tell her side of things, made it clear the tales were true. He shrugged his shoulders when she turned to him and feigned ignorance of it, but she took notice of how he avoided looking into her eyes. They came to the area where they would be joined and Garreth turned to his mother.
"Ma, I wish wi' all my heart fer ye tae join Therese and I in Hand Fasting. Lady Anne MacDonnell is joining Grayson and Heather and it would honour Therese and I if ye performed the ceremony fer us." Garreth asked her, holding her hand in his.
"Och Garreth, aye. It's my honour tae do this fer ye, my son. I ha'e tae think noo on one I know and hoo it goes. I hav'ne thought on it in ages. Oh Garreth, I can'ne wait tae meet Therese. Everyone who's met her says she's a perfect lady. I could'ne be happier fer ye, son." Julia told him.
"Aye, she is. Ye'll love her like a daughter. From what she's told me, she was raised by her aunt and step-father, after her father was murdered when she was six. Her mother died giving birth to her, so she never knew her. Less than two years past, her step-parents were murdered by a man posing as a relative. He was trying to take the estate and lands by means of forged papers and planned on murdering her. She seen him hanged fer his crimes and was made a Lady by the King of France at the same time. That was just months ago and so much more has happened, I wouldn't know where to begin." Garreth blurted out, not really thinking of what he was saying.
"Oh Garreth, the poor child. She's been through so much pain and sorrow. And there's more that she's gone through as well?" Julia's concern clearly showing for Therese.
"Aye, Ye've no idea hoo much has happened. It'll take a week at least tae tell ye everything that's happened tae her and me as well. I very nearly died not more than two weeks past. I was hit wi' an arrow in my leg and lost so much blood, God was starting tae call fer me. Bella took care of me, Ma. She brought me back from death's door and made me well again." he told her, seeing the shock crossing her face.
"Oh Garreth, I know it's because ye did'ne ha'e the Luck of Dunvegan tae protect ye. Ye know yer guarded under its blessing. Its powers are magical, blessed by the fairy queen yer ancestor Malcolm saved. Swear ye'll ne'er take it off again, once Therese gi's it back tae ye." Julia pled.
"Aye, I will, I swear it, Ma." Garreth said as truthfully as he could, before smiling at her happily.
Julia couldn't help but smile as well and hugged her son closely to her. Garreth enjoyed that maternal bond he had with his mother and hugged her tightly in return. The two were oblivious to the dozens of workers around them, busily preparing things for the events in less than a week's time, who never looked at them directly, but smiled happily all the same, knowing what was happening.
Stuart stopped the story there and excused himself, making a hurried exit. It didn't take much for everyone to know why and Tavish chuckled and stood up.
"Do ye want tae wait till Stuart gets back, or shall I tell of Bella and Braedon a bit more?" The guests were ready for more of the telling and it was unanimous among them.
"It's not some more of that smut is it?" Mary piped out, sounding strict, and then smiled, "Now if ye ha'e something wi' Garreth and Therese, then I'm all ears." to which laughter and hoots came from the other women in agreement.
Tavish howled out as well and then slyly told them he did have a few tales of their exploits, but Stuart knew more. If they were so ready for some hot, steamy sex, he was ready to tell them of Bella's penchant for make up sex with Braedon. One thing he was glad he had never done, was write down what happened between the sheets in the Bed of Life. Knowing so many intimate secrets of his ancestors and those of Stuart, made him wonder what really went on that was never written about.
"If it's a sordid tale ye's want, Bella was just as bad aboot writing down things that happened. Seems like make-up sex has been going on fer awhile, just as long as men realizing we weren't always right aboot things." Tavish admitted.
The women clapped and praised Tavish, while the men sneered and booed him in jest.
"So, ye want tae know what happened?" he prodded.
Yeses and ayes and two thumbs up came from the women, as they whooped and hollered for more steamy sex.
Tavish snuck in a quiet word to Argus " I think they've had enough drink and after this, those poor men will ha'e tae do their best tonight." leaving both of them laughing harder and then hushing themselves.
"Okay, here ye's go, hot from the pages of Arabella Grace MacDonald's diary." Tavish told them and took a deep breath.
After the kiss that reunited them, Arabella and Braedon were driven to reunite physically as well. Making their way to her chambers, it was unspoken, but clearly understood that they weren't to be disturbed. Arabella wasted no time once the door was closed. She came to Braedon and started to undress him. She placed everything carefully at first, but she was becoming more impatient once he was only in his tunic. Braedon stopped her and spun her around, facing away from him. Quickly he worked at the laces holding Arabella inside. Once he reached the bottom, Arabella crossed her arms over her chest, taking the shoulder straps and lowered the dress. When it lay at her feet, she slowly turned and exposed herself to Braedon. His breath hitched audibly and she sighed inwardly in happiness she could make him do that.
Her milky, white skin was layered faintly in freckles around her throat and upper breasts, but she was porcelain everywhere else. Braedon openly eyed her intently and Arabella gave him every opportunity to see what he wanted. As she looked lovingly into his eyes, she slowly lowered herself to her knees and asked him to take his tunic off. No sooner did he expose his pride to her and her hands were on his hips, and her lips made contact with his hardening flesh. Braedon's groan's assured her she had him at her will and before the tunic had reached the floor, her soft hands were stroking the girth to maximum size, as her mouth slowly engulfed him. Braedon cried out softly, as his hands grasped handfuls of her hair. Arabella slowly rocked her head back and forth, taking him from root to tip each time. She felt him starting to buckle under the intense feelings and she laughed, as she pushed him back onto the bed. Quickly she got up and jumped on him, straddling his waist.
With a devious look in her eyes, she grasped the turgid flesh and tickled herself with it. Braedon felt her slick juices coating him and shuddered at the sensation. Watching him closely the whole time, she positioned it at her entrance and began to lower herself on to him. His eyes closed and a groan of immense pleasure escaped from his lips. Arabella rode him, taking him in deeply and felt a surge of intense pleasure herself. Her little, pearl button rubbed against him as she hit bottom and she rubbed it slowly, finding a greater thrill than she had known. In seconds, her hand was down there and rubbing the area briskly. Braedon lay spellbound, as he watched her quickly bring herself to orgasm. Unable to fathom what had taken place, he waited till Arabella's convulsions stopped before he moved. She caught her breath and then smiled broadly at him.
"My God, Braedon, do ye see what ye do tae me? I'm soaking myself all over ye. Ye bring the Devil's lust outta me, so ye do." then bent forward and kissed him passionately.
Braedon didn't need to know what had happened, but he did know it meant something pleasurable. With his own desires unmet, he pulled Arabella over, onto her back and knelt between her legs. For the first time in his life, he watched himself enter a woman completely and almost succumbed to the sensation right then and there. He kept control and was soon enjoying the incredible joys of her loving. In his heart he was in love and his head agreed wholeheartedly.
As his climax approached, he kissed her hard, drawing in his breath through his nose and holding it, as his orgasm blasted itself from him and spattered the walls inside her. Arabella clutched at him and held him to her, driving him in as deep as he could go. She grunted at his mass filling her, then the heat spreading out inside her. In her heart, she wished to God that she was going to bear his child. She held him to her, as he caught his breath again. He rose up on his hands and looked incredulously at her.
Bella, I look forward to many nights in our chambers together." then bent and kissed her softly on the lips.
He kept kissing down over her chin and then her throat. Arabella held his hair and closed her eyes, as she enjoyed where this was going. Braedon kissed his way down between her voluptuous breasts and stopped. He held them in his hands and jiggled them back and forth.
"These are beauties, Bella." Braedon marvelled.
"They are, aren't they. I rather like the looks of them on me." she laughed. "Do ye know how tae please me with them?" she asked coyly.
"No, I just thought they were for bairns tae feed on." he replied honestly.
"True, they are for that, but there's a long time between bairns suckling, isn't there?" she rebutted, seeing a glimmer of thought going on. "They must be good for something else as well then, don't ye think?"
Braedon looked at the breasts in his hands and wondered what he could possibly do to provide pleasure to her.
"What can I do tae them, Bella?" he asked. "Well the first thing ye can do is gi' them a wee kiss and let them know ye like them." she laughed. "Once ye've done that, slowly run yer tongue around my teat, making it good and wet. When it is, gently suckle on it, just like a bairn does and gi' it a soft squeeze as well. I'll tell ye when tae switch tae the other." she instructed him and Braedon eagerly complied and started kissing every speck of skin on both her breasts. He enjoyed hearing her little sighs, as he hit a particular area she liked.