Blood of the Clans Ch. 05byRoyceConnors©
The cold, damp winds of November fifteenth, were blowing against the hard curtain walls of Tioram. A roaring fire was bearing off the chill, when Isabella MacDonald cried out and gave a final push, bringing a baby daughter into the fold of the MacDonald Clan. Arabella breathed her first and started letting out her relief at being born, her new lungs tested to their capacity. Once cleaned and swaddled, Isabella took her new daughter, holding her to her breast and at once calmed and bonded with her. Isabella gently played with the faint wisps of light, red hairs on her head, what would soon be a thick mane of ginger curls in years to come.
Arabella grew up in the fashion most young girls of the clan did, playing games and helping with chores around the castle. Many a day was spent hiding throughout the many rooms and buildings within the thick stone walls that defined her safety, her cousins and friends all joining in to play Hide and Go Seek. She remembered how simple and care-free her life was then, seeing her friends married and gone now, only slips of paper keeping them together.
Her first real adventure that she could remember, was with her father, John, standing at the prow of their birlinn, holding onto the figurehead of a winged horse. She loved feeling the wind and salty, sea spray misting her face, as they sailed to Dunvegan to meet the MacLeod's for the first time. She enjoyed being on the sea and riding out the waves, as they made their way along the coast of Skye, with its towering bluffs and craggy rocks. She felt safe and free with him, knowing she could reach out and explore the world, with her father watching out for her, keeping her from harm. She missed that feeling terribly in her heart, knowing it to always be a cherished memory of him.
Coming into the bay and seeing the playful grey seals swimming alongside, had her feeling the castle was enchanted. She watched as they came close and reached her hand out to touch them. Her father pulled her back and reminded her that they were wild and might think to eat her hand, as much as to let her touch them. From then on, she kept her hands inside and just peered over the side at them, watching them leap and dive, playfully enjoying being with them. She loved the place immediately and wanted to be in the castle and see what it was like. She remembered how impressive Dunvegan was, compared to Tioram, how her clan had spent money on more castles, while the MacLeod's had improved more upon the main one. Even now, she pictured its majestic Fairy Tower and grand facade in her mind and wished for Tioram to have some of its splendour.
Garreth was a boy of seven, when Arabella was introduced to him. She remembered standing beside her father, holding onto his kilt for security, while Garreth stood beside his father, picking at his tunic, which was getting too small for him. She found herself smiling at his discomfort, and wanting to make friends. A couple of smiles and a day of play, had them both looking forward to each time they would visit each others clan. In time, Grayson and Peadair joined in their fun and the four were as close as family. Many times she and Grayson spent a week at Dunvegan, while on others, Garreth and Peadair would come and stay with them.
Grayson eventually became Garreth's best friend over time, but Arabella held a place in her heart and shared a life-long friendship with him. He became her heart's desire at one point, her thirteenth birthday being the occasion, when Garreth placed a kiss on her cheek and wished her well on her day. Ever since then, he was her inspiration, when her thoughts turned to love. He became the spark of her lust the following summer, when she followed Grayson and Garreth, as they were hiking along River Shiel. She used her cunning to stay undetected and watched as they stopped to go for a swim. Arabella could feel her heart race wildly, as Garreth stripped off his tunic and then his kilt, granting her, her first look at a man's pride. She studied it to no end, admiring the movement as Garreth walked. Even now the memory caused a stirring in her.
Before her fourteenth birthday, she found herself hundreds of miles away in France, gaining her education as a Chieftain's daughter, to become a Lady. The convent was one that would play a part in her life later, bringing another young lady from there into the bonds of her clan, one she had come to know well. By the time she left, the Sisters of Cathedrale de St. Pierre were relieved to see her go back. Arabella had presented them with a high-spirited highland lass, that tested them at every turn. Twice during her stay, she was threatened with expulsion. Once for her temper, when she took it out on an English girl for her demeaning attitude towards the Scottish people, which the sisters gave her a week of silence and again, for when she was caught touching herself in an inappropriate manner while bathing.
Mother Superior informed her with great loathing at what she had sinfully done and laid a painfully, sharp switch across her ass cheeks. Arabella never did it again while she was bathing, but she remembered the wonderful sensations it gave, as she did it secretly in bed. It was a bitter-sweet moment when she received news of a marriage proposal from her mother. A young man named Logan MacLean, had made his interests known to her parents and they accepted on her behalf. From what her mother had told her, he sounded wonderful and her heart raced, wanting to meet him. It saddened her heart that she had to leave the convent and her new friend, Therese de Mornay behind. Tears were falling in abundance, as the two parted and watched each other disappear in the distance, as Arabella stood on the aft deck, waving farewell to her.
The sail back to her homeland was longer than she would have liked, desperate to get back to her family and friends and a certain young man, who by way of correspondence, had let her know that he would be waiting for her return. As the small ship docked in Mallaig, the closest port to Tioram, Arabella stood on the deck, holding onto the rail, while strong, late-spring breezes gusted about her. She scanned the dock for signs of her family, as she had her luggage collected and brought to the pier.
Her eyes caught sight of their birlinn, tied to the dock far down the pier from her, so she scoured the faces of the many who were there and spotted her father and mother, along with her brother Grayson, now a tall, broad-shouldered young man of sixteen. His flaming mane of matching ginger that equalled hers, stood out amid the heads of browns and blacks that massed together.
Her heart stopped beating, as she caught her breath. Walking behind her parents with Grayson, dressed in his best highland garb, was her fiancee, Logan MacLean. Of all the descriptions she had been given, he was far more handsome and took her heart with his good looks. It took all of her newly-learned Ladyship qualities to remain reserved, as she came down the gang-way and greeted him for the first time. She bowed ever-so politely and accepted his taking of her hand and kissing it, but the twinkling in her eyes held the truth of her demeanour. She was caught in the spell of Love and it held her fast. It was hard to tear her eyes away from his blonde hair and grey eyes, before she greeted her parents warmly and hugged her mother especially tighter, enjoying the feeling of physically being with her again. The sense of being safe and secure once more with her father returned to her, as he held her close to him.
The short trip back to Tioram and her home-coming celebrations, had her whispering frantic questions to her mother on what she should do and what her mother knew of Logan, hoping she had learned more than what the letters had given her. Isabella smiled
and in hushed tones assured her she would be very happy with him. Arabella sat beside her and looked at Logan standing next to her father at the prow, talking and laughing, as the waves crashed on the bow and sent sprays of salty mist in their faces and imagined herself there with him, his arm around her, holding her to him.
Throughout the celebration, Arabella was entertained and treated to gifts, but her focus of happiness remained on Logan. She could see he was becoming well-liked by Grayson and Garreth, sharing a great deal of laughter and storytelling, but Arabella couldn't help but wonder, if any of the whispered tales were about her. It never failed to make her heart jump though, each time she caught Logan looking at her and then smiling that certain way that she found endearing to her more and more.
Her engagement was one of the greatest times in her life, that she could remember, travelling to the Isle of Mull, to Duart Castle and meeting his parents, Laird Stirling MacLean and his mother, Lady Sarah MacLean. They had her welcomed as one of their own and given her own rooms. Many trips to and fro, had Arabella and Logan sharing many moments together. One moment that would always remain intensely significant to her, was the day Logan took her riding in the glens around Tioram. They knew in their hearts, that theirs was a relationship of great joy. One that far surpassed the traditional duties of being a Laird's wife.
As they lay amid the fragrant heather, Logan softly kissed her with passion, the touch of his lips to hers ignited the fire in her loins immediately, fanning the erotic sensations she d felt only a year ago. Her urgency to continue, came with her hands grasping into his long, dark hair, tangling her fingers into it and pulling him to her. No religious rites or traditions existed, as she felt herself giving herself to him, allowing her passion to go unchecked and unbridled.
The wonder of feeling her body become bared to him, left her unashamed and wanting him to know her intimately, completely. In haste, Logan's tunic and kilt were shed without subtly, baring himself and his rising manhood to her. Arabella was fascinated with the appendage and knelt before him, as she took it tentatively in her hands, feeling its pulsing girth and stiffening length, then looked up into his eyes. What she found she enjoyed more, was seeing the pleasure she gave to Logan, as she touched it, the ecstasy showing on his face.
In that moment, she wanted him happier than he'd ever been. She wanted to please him in ways he had never known, but ones she would show him, the ones her lust-filled heart wanted him to know. For all her life, she would remember the sound of Logan's cries escaping from his lips, as she pleasured him. Watching him quiver and shake, knowing her touch was what was doing it. She wanted to give him more and kissed the swollen, purpled head she held in her hand. Her kisses continued, until she finally took it in her mouth and laved her loving attention to Logan, through his maddened erect state. She choked at first, as his seed filled her mouth when he released, but she accepted it, as if he was filling her loins, taking it all and hearing the low, grunting moans of fulfilled satisfaction, as he groaned out her name, his fingers showing their desire by clenching handfuls of her ginger tresses.
That moment of sharing themselves, led to many explorations at Tioram and Duart, to be with one another and share the new found delights of loving one another orally and physically in completeness. It was to set the standard of what they wanted their lives to be like together. To live in complete joy and happiness and share each other's love openly.
But that would never come to last long. She had only been married to Logan for two years, enjoying her title as Lady MacLean, when Grayson sailed to Isle of Mull, to tell her their mother had died. She left Duart castle and her new life to pay respects and tribute to
the beautiful woman who brought her into this world. Through all of her own grief, she cared for her father and brother, filling in the void as best she could, that her mother's passing had made.
Arabella was barely over the grief of losing her, when six months later, fighting broke out between the MacLean's and the Duke of Argyll. She was told to stay at Tioram, until the conflict was over, Logan wanting her safe. Her father and brother, along with two hundred clansmen, joined with the MacLean's in the fray, but lost the castle and Seat of Power to the Duke. In the course of the battle, she not only lost her father, who was her last bastion of family in her life, but her husband as well. Logan and his parents were killed, ending the title she held and the connection she had with them. The love of her life was gone, along with her lust for life and the joys it held. Her life had been shattered beyond hope of repair, never again to hold the joys she had just known.
With no time to truly grieve and without much celebration, she became the Chieftess of Tioram, while Grayson held sway on Skye, at Castle Camus. She ruled well and her clan prospered under her, taking in several, small clans under their banner. Their numbers grew to over five hundred around Tioram and two hundred around Camus in less than five years. They acquired four more birlinns, bringing the total to eight and increased the arable land for farming crops, as well as raising more livestock.
Only once in her reign as Chieftess, did she have to defend the castle against attack. A dozen men tried entering the castle in the dead of night, in hopes of taking horses and anything of value. The alarm went up, when they were spotted by a sentry, trying to enter the keep. In moments, men were running about with swords brandished, looking for the intruders. Taking her father's sword, Arabella was down the stairs from her chambers and out into the courtyard, where she came face to face with two of them.
Showing no hesitation in fear, Arabella struck out with a blow to the first one, catching him unprepared and cutting his left arm off. As he stood in shock, she swung again higher and in as swift a motion, his head tilted dramatically to the side, before tumbling from his shoulders. The blood-spurting cavity fountained momentarily, before the body collapsed in a heap. Stunned by her attack, the other intruder held his sword in readiness to defend himself, as he watched Arabella prepare to attack him. Now noticing he was the only one left out of the twelve, he dropped his sword in surrender, as Clansmen massed about him. He knew he wouldn't be granted mercy, surrounded by MacDonald's out for blood. He knelt and bowed his head to Arabella, holding her sword high, in wait to his end, as he wished a swift death. With no sign of pity or grace, only the stony look of Clan justice set in her eyes, she raised the blood-stained blade high above her head.
In a swift, arcing move, the head separated and rolled away, coming to rest beside the other one, still with the look of shock in its lifeless eyes. From that day forward, men whispered the fear of crossing her.
Arabella wished a happier life for herself, but knew in heart, life would never be what she had known, what now seemed like a lifetime ago. She set about ruling her clan, sailing to others and encouraging trade and commerce with them. Her name became legend among the stories told about her, some true, some just fanciful wishing. Many a man tried to win her hand and heart, but none could compare to what Logan had given her and she would settle for nothing less.
Only one man had settled in a place in her heart since then, but her heart wouldn't allow her to pursue him. She feared the thought of loving him and losing him, once again feeling her heart ripped from her bosom. Braedon Stewart was as fine a man as she knew, raising three sons and leading his clan well, after his wife Glynnis, died during the birth of their last child. She shared in his grief at losing her and knew his loneliness well. They had
an affection for each other and she enjoyed his company greatly, whenever they met, his feelings for her were clearly displayed in his eyes.
As she stood looking at the same view she had looked at almost all her twenty-three years, she saw how life had changed so much, but some things always remained the same. The changes she faced now were the most dire she had to consider. Hundreds of lives were to be put at risk by her command, her decisions making the difference between them living or dying.
She turned back to Lady Anne lying in the bed, the look of her pain and sorrow at her loss setting in deeply, as the consequences of it became her reality. Arabella knew in her heart that winning Eilean Donan back from the MacRae's, was worth the cost of those lives that would be lost.
Once again, her heart knew pain. Once again, reminding her how hard her life can be.
Tavish could see the sadness for Arabella growing on the looks of the women's faces. They could see that she'd been through more than any of them dared to ever have happen to them. Knowing her story, he wondered how their opinion would change, as more of her life was exposed to them. He sipped the golden liquid and pondered that thought, as he gently swirled the liquid around in the glass.
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