In less than a blink of an eye, she was gone. I sprinted the rest of the way to the stone she had touched, the screaming intensified then stopped. The wind had been knocked out of me and I found myself laying on the ground looking up at the orange streaks of dawn.
I groaned and rolled to my side, shakily trying to stand.
“Mum?” I croaked, the roaring in my ears seemed to echo off the stones, drowning my attempt to call out to her.
“Mum!” I tried again. Again nothing but the screaming roar reverberating from the stones. I scrambled to my feet and took off at a run down the hill towards the car, except it wasn’t there. The car was missing, as was any visible sign of a road. Trees grew in sparse patches across the grass of the rolling hills toward the water.
“Mum?” I whispered realizing with a sickening realization, she wasn’t there.
“Christ,” I groaned dragging my hands down my face. “What to do now? Think Brian, think! Where would she have gone?”
The momentary sunshine quickly disappeared behind clouds of gray and white, a storm was brewing. My pacing turned into a single direction run to a small cobbled, dilapidated cottage situated at the base of the hill. I made it inside the shelter of the cottage just as fat raindrops solidified and turned into snow. The air held a wet chill that seemed to seep into every crevice of the room, even the heavy wool of the clothing didn’t seem to be enough to stop a violent shudder from enveloping me.
I searched the room for any source that could be used to create a fire and saw a broken stool crumpled into a corner. Sighing in relief, I scrambled to the roughly hewn fireplace and sent up a prayer in thanks that mum took the time to teach me how to start a fire without modern conveniences. ‘A necessary skill,’ she’d always remarked.
“Where have you gone, mum? We don’t even know where Jamie went, let alone if he was still alive in the time we’ve arrived.”
Staring into the fire a sudden epiphany hit me like a sledgehammer. “Lallybroch.”
I didn’t know how many days ride or walk it would be to get to Inverness, let alone Broch Tuarach, but I wasn’t going to get there freezing in a hovel. Looking through the cracks in the stone, I watched as the snow fell then melted as soon as it touched the ground. I may just have a chance of making it down to the village before nightfall. But how to pay for what I need? My pockets were empty, but I patted them down anyway, as well as the cloak. A small jingling noise came from a hidden inner pocket of the cloak.
“Mum, you think of everything,” I said to the crackling fire as a poured small battered coins from a black leather pouch and a small roll of paper fell on top them.
I understand if you decided not to follow me immediately, but if you do find yourself going back, these will be of use to you. I’m sorry I couldn’t procure you more, but if we find your father and our family, we shouldn’t need to worry overmuch about funds.
I hope you decide to find us, my darling boy.
All my love,
My eyes burned with tears that were threatening to form. Why couldn’t she have waited just a few seconds longer for me to catch up to her?
The walk to Inverness was longer than I anticipated. Dark had fallen and if at all possible, it got colder thanks to the persistent wind. I hobbled into the first establishment I saw, hoping I could find something warm, a place to sleep, and a horse to make this journey easier.
A frail-looking hand shot out and grabbed my wrist, squeezing tighter than I believed possible, “Ain’t ye a wanted man?”
I shook my head. “No, I’m not.”
“Sassenach filth!” The man spat, “Be gone from here!”
“I’m not English if that’s what you mean, I’m from Am–the colonies.”
“Yer as good as ‘em. Crooky won’t serve ye, so be gone!” He threw my arm back hard enough that I stumbled into the door frame.
“Gibbons! What are ye doin’ to my customers?” A menacing man yelled from behind a bar.
“He’s a Sassenach, an’ claims to be from the colonies.” Gibbons spat at my feet, glaring. “It’d be better if he was that bastard of a wanted man. At least then he’d be worth a pretty penny.”
“A sassenach! Is tha’ so? Do ye have coin, lad?”
“Yes,” I said with surprising confidence. “Do you know where I can find something to eat, maybe a place to rest, and procure a horse? I will not be staying long, just ‘til morning.”
“Och, aye. I can help ye wi’ all of these, but it’s no going to come lightly.”
I pulled out a few of the Stirling pieces and handed them over. “Will this due?”
The barman’s eyes widened. “Aye, lad, tha’ll do nicely. What’s yer name, I didna catch it before.”
The man’s eyebrows disappeared beneath shaggy dark hair. “Fraser ye say? O’ Lovat?”
I nodded tersely.
“Yer a ways from Beauly.”
“I’m not headed to Beauly. My family isn’t too far off from here, Broch Tuarach?”
“Ach, yer wi’ the Fraser-Murray clan then. Good folk there.” He said, slapping a tankard down before turning around to snag a bowl of something from a passing barmaid. “Drink, eat. It’s no an easy ride in this weather to Broch Tuarach.”
I coughed at the sting of the whiskey, stronger and more bitter than I was accustomed. The warm burn met my stomach as the rich taste of meat broth met my lips. I wouldn’t be shocked if I fell asleep at the bar for all to see, nor did I care. My legs ached from the walk, my fingers felt as though they were frozen into a curl, and my head pounded from the whirlwind of events from today. Tomorrow would only increase the pain and unease.
The following morning, my head still pounded, but my body didn’t ache from the cold, yet.
“Here ye are lad.” Crook, said holding out a wrapped parcel and the reigns to a gorgeous brown mare. “Sorry I canna give ye my best stallion, but Butternut will get ye where ye need to go. She’s strong and hearty. This weather will no deter her.”
“Thank you, sir. For the hospitality and the horse.”
He let out a bark of a laugh, “Dinna thank me lad! Ye paid for the hospitality as ye say. I’m gaining a mighty better price than ye are wi’ my grub and horse.”
I shook my head and smiled back at the jovial man as I mounted the mare. “Thank you all the same.”
I turned in question.
“If ye see a Gwenalin Crook, tell her Archie sends his love. Can ye do that for me?”
“Of course,” I said puzzled, he nodded then slapped the hindquarters of Butternut and we were off.
As the days wore on, I was struck by the landscape before me. The mountains and the sky, such contrasts to each other were something from the imagination. The size and beauty could not be contained with meager words or thoughts. I felt as though I had stepped into the epics of Tolkien, White, or even Lewis. I could fully understand the magical beliefs and wariness of these people, and the stories that the land inspired.
I was so lost in thought that I missed the sound of hoofbeats and a man’s call until he was right upon me.
“Can I assist ye?” The man, who couldn’t have been much older than I, said as he stared quizzically at me.
“Oh! Yes, do you know if I’m close to the place called Lallybroch or Broch Tuarach?”
The man’s face lit up in a laugh, “Aye, but what business do ye have there?”
“I’m looking for someone and I believe she may have come here.”
“Do I ken ye? Ye look familiar,” He said not acknowledging my statement.
“No, we have never met. Brian Fraser,” I said holding out a hand. The man’s face went pale.
“Brian Fraser has been dead longer than I’ve been born. So who are ye really?”
My eyes went wide this time, of course, he wouldn’t know about me but his knowledge of my grandfather meant he must be family as well. “Are you by chance Young Jamie Murray?”
He went rigid in his saddle. “Aye, and answer me now, who are ye?”
“I’m your cousin, Brian James Lambert Beauchamp Fraser.” I said reaching out my hand, “James Fraser is my father.”
Young Jamie’s mouth fell open as he grasped my hand in a handshake. “Damned if he isn’t! That’s why I thought I knew ye! Christ, ye have the look of him. I’m surprised ye weren’t stopped by the redcoats on your journey here!”
I laughed, “I was accused of being a wanted man at a tavern in Inverness.”
Young Jamie let out a bellow. “That doesna surprise me in the least. Come on, Mam isna going to believe this.”
We rode in companionable silence to the estate, and I gasped in awe. The house, no longer dilapidated and condemned, was full of life and movement.
“Come on,” Young Jamie said, nodding toward the stables. “Ye can leave yer horse there, but I’m sure ye’ll be wanting to ride again soon. Ye said ye were looking for someone, but no one but trouble has been through these doors in a while.”
He cut me off with the shake of his head. “Ye’ll see soon enough. I canna wait to see how this unfolds.”
He leads me through the house to a study where a woman, hair dark and streaked with gray sat beside a man with a wooden leg, pouring over papers on the desk before them.
“Mam? Da?” Jamie said. They turned, eyes wide, and mouth agape, as though they were looking at a ghost.
The name Murray originated from the region of Moray in the north-east, in the 11-12th centuries Scottish monarchs began controlling their kingdom more tightly by establishing reliable knights, often Anglo-Norman families, in specific regions giving them absolute power over the local population.David I had installed the Flemish knight Freskin in Linthgowshire. After suppressing the Celtic chiefs of Moray in 1130, David I placed loyal Freskin in control of that area. The Murray families originate from here taking the name of the lands as their surname.Sir Andrewde Moray foughtwithWilliam Wallace’s rebellion of 1297.The Murrays of Tullibardine descend from Malcolm de Moray whose son, Sir John, married the daughter of the Seneschal of Strathearn bringing them the lands of Abercairney around 1320. Another marriage by the family into the old Celtic aristocracy of Perthshire by Sir William brought further lands around Tullibardine.Sir David Murray founded a Collegiate Church at Tullibardine in 1445 - this remains unaltered.James VI granted lands around Scone to David Murray making him Lord Scone in 1605 and Viscount Stormont in 1621.The Earldom of Atholl passed to John Murray of Tullibardine through female decent in 1629. In 1703 Queen Anne raised the title to Duke. The chief of the Murray Clan is the present Duke of Atholl.
Lord George Murray was Bonnie Prince Charlie’s brilliant general during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion.
Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Murray not only is the current Chief of Clan Murray but Commands the only private legal army in Europe, The AthollHighlanders. The Clan seat is the splendid Blair Castle in Perthshire.
You can't leave Vietnam AU like that, we need to know the resst ;)
is the day the Lord has made,” Murtagh FitzGibbons Fraser intoned from the
lectern of St. Bride Church. “Let us rejoice and be glad.”
sat up a bit straighter at the end of the front pew, twining his fingers
through Claire’s, exchanging a small smile with his godfather.
as long as anyone could remember, every Sunday morning the Fraser-Murray clan
had attended eight o’clock Mass at the church their forefathers had built at
the turn of the nineteenth century. Just a ten minute drive from the Big House,
it had originally served just the family and tenants of the Fraser estate.
Jamie, Jenny, and Murtagh were the only Frasers remaining in the area – most of
the extended family had moved to Asheville or Raleigh after World War II – but those
three stubborn Frasers had held strong.
and Jenny’s parents had been married at St. Bride’s. The three Fraser children –
including the eldest child, Willie, who had died of smallpox when Jamie was
small – had been baptized there. Murtagh – who lived in his own cottage on the
estate with his wife Suzette, who he had brought home from France after landing
on the beaches of Normandy – ran the lector program. Jenny and Ian had been
married there, and Young Jamie and Maggie in turn had been baptized there.
as Claire rose with Jamie, watching Father Kenneth kiss the Word of God, smile
out at the congregation, and begin reading from the Gospel of Luke – she saw
herself and Jamie standing before the priest at the altar. And standing off to
the side below the gorgeous stained glass window of Michael the Archangel, just
behind the baptismal font, gently holding a fussy newborn while reciting the
baptismal promises. And exchanging proud smiles with Jamie as a beautiful
red-haired girl received her First Communion. And holding Jamie’s trembling
hand as they watched a handsome red-haired boy be confirmed.
was her place. He was her place.
be to God,” she whispered. Serene.
was thinking of taking Claire up the mountain – to the old cabin. I can check
on it, and maybe bring back a bottle or two for dinner?”
chewed thoughtfully on his pancakes. “I haven’t been up there since the fall –
would be good to make sure it’s gone through the winter without any major
damage. Take note of what would need a repair, all right?”
nodded her thanks as Suzette poured another cup of steaming coffee. “What’s the
the house that was built before this one – on the highest part of the Ridge.”
Jenny wiped maple syrup off Young Jamie’s face with the corner of her
blue-and-white striped napkin. “It’s just a few rooms – we haven’t updated it
much over the years, except added a generator for electricity.”
stay there overnight sometimes when there’s a lot to do in the whisky caves,”
Jamie added, serving Claire another slice of Mrs. Crook’s excellent bacon
before nibbling on one himself. “It’s where we let the bottles age. We only
take them out once a year, to sell them to the restaurants and bars in town –
but I want to find a good one for us to enjoy tonight.”
you’ve got Jamie smiling again, Claire,” Ian said quietly from across the
table. “And Lord knows, Jenny and Murtagh and Suzette and I have been trying to
do that since he got back from ‘Nam.”
dropped her eyes to her lap, cheeks flaming. Under the table, Jamie lay a
gentle hand on her knee, squeezing softly.
then. Can you pass the strawberry jam please, my dear nephew-in-law? These
bannocks won’t eat themselves.”
air. Pine. The soft, damp smell of decaying leaves. Flashes of green as the
first grasses and flowers shot up from the forest floor.
Jamie – solid and quiet beside her, never letting go of her hand, silently
savoring the stillness.
had been about two hours since they’d left the house – Jamie toting a backpack
full of snacks from Mrs. Crook, Claire wearing Jenny’s pre-pregnancy jeans and
hiking boots. They hadn’t spoken very much on their journey – both lost in
their thoughts, both afraid to pierce the quiet with the sound of their voices.
just up over the crest of this hill,” he said softly, after a while.
can you even tell where we are? It’s just trees and more trees,” she teased.
flashed a brilliant smile. “My father started taking Jenny and Willie and I
hiking in these woods as soon as I could walk. He’d take me up to the caves and
let me play with the spare pieces of wood while he and Murtagh and my grandfather
Simon sorted the bottles. Believe it or not, there are plenty of landmarks
along the way – trees and rocks that you’ll recognize in time.”
Claire would be coming back.
hadn’t talked about it – hadn’t even broached the topic. But it was Sunday
afternoon, and Claire’s plane ticket back to Boston was for tomorrow morning.
– ever perceptive – stopped as they crested the hill.
it was – a small cabin, simply shingled and with just a few windows. It was
immediately clear why the first Frasers had chosen to build there – for the ground
in front of the cabin gently sloped into a grassy clearing.
used to be a barn here as well, but it was gone even before my grandfather was
a boy. This place – it’s always been a refuge. A – well. I knew a guy in the
Marines whose parents were German, and he told me of something called a ‘fridstool.’
A private place where you can be alone with your thoughts.”
turned to meet Jamie’s eyes. The one-o-clock sun streamed on his face, sparking
his hair like fire.
you’re OK taking me here? To your private place?”
sighed and settled his hands on her hips, turning her to face him. Licked his
lips, and burned his eyes into hers.
want to share *everything* with you, Claire. Here – in my most private place.
Where we can pretend we are the only man and woman in the world.”
surge – but this time of love. And want.
she replied to his unspoken question. “Of course. Yes.”
swallowed, and smiled, and gently led her down the hill.
Hi everyone, I am so sorry that this has been so long coming. I came to a bit of a cross-road in the story and wasn’t sure how to continue so I left it alone for a little while but now I have found the thread again. In this chapter we first jump forward and then lean backward in time and this is how it will likely continue for a couple of chapters at least and through Brianna’s perspective.
I really hope you will enjoy it and thank you all so much for your kindness and your patience.
My Introduction to My
Father and Re-Learning My Mother by Brianna Ellen Randall Fraser Mackenzie
I couldn’t say for
sure exactly when I began to feel like a Fraser. Da made me feel as welcome as
he could from the very beginning, as did all of the Murray clan, and Mama of
course, but my intrinsic willingness to be included did not kick in
I was, for want of a
better word, overwhelmed.
I’d had plenty of time
to come to terms with Jamie and the tale of his love for my mother, and her
love for him which was, to me anyway, more important. Mama’s love for Jamie
Fraser was what rocked my world and threatened to tip everything into a void of
self-doubt and bitterness.
Seeing them together
though … I understood it. I saw the way she touched his hand as she passed by
him and the way his hand lighted on her hip as they walked together. I noticed
the way her eyes sought his at the dinner table and the way he smiled at her, a
little lift of the corner of his mouth that was warm and certain. In all these
ways and more they each said ‘I love you’ perhaps a hundred times a day.
I had never heard Mama
say ‘I love you’ to Daddy. Nor had I seen her offer the words in tiny, silent
acts of adoration as she did with Jamie. I had seen her write it in birthday
cards and on Christmas gift tags though and as a kid, I had thought that was
proof enough. I had been wrong and that knowledge had made me fear that I was
wrong about the way she loved me too.
Funnily enough it was
Jamie who bridged that void too. I saw myself, my existence, through his eyes.
I saw how he adored my presence and how he marvelled at various things I did.
It was a bit much really, to go from being a beloved daughter to being an
flaunted treasure but what made it a pleasure was seeing Mama’s reaction to his
She urged me forward
and shared in his happiness in a way that I had never known her to do. Her
pride in me was so obvious that I began to worry I would simply never live up
Roger’s head popped round the study door and Bree jolted in
her seat, her fingers skittering across the page smudging half dried dotted ‘I’s
and dashes of ‘t’s.
“Ach! Sorry love!”
Roger bit his lip abashedly, noting the streaks of ink, as
he made his way in carrying a tray of coffee and gingernut biscuits.
“No problem, what is a dirty page in the face of such
Bree grinned up at him, stretching her hands above her head
and rolling her neck from side to side.
“How is the draft coming along?”
“Better. I feel like I’m finally saying what I want to say
about them. About how they were together.”
“How they still are!”
Roger grinned and Bree nodded, snorting.
“Yes, though if Da tramps mud in through the house again
Mama might kill him. You know how protective she is of the new rug.”
“Aye, but in your Da’s defence he was just trying to catch
Mandy before she could carry the wee frog too far into the house and claim it
to be a pet.”
Bree laughed and bit into one of the freshly baked biscuits
sighing in pleasure.
“Did Aunt Jenny make these?”
“Aye, the main batch was to decorate the cake for Robbie’s
birthday, these are the overspills.”
“I can’t believe my baby brother is about to turn sixteen!
And take his first voyage too!”
Bree sighed and shook her head. Roger grinned and bent to
place a kiss on the top of her hair.
“Ye should see the state of your mother, she’s cried twice
today already and your Da hasn’t even brought the trunk down from the loft yet.”
“Poor Mama. I should go and distract her with something.”
“Unless you intend to help her bind the laddie’s hands and
feet and bolt the doors and windows of his room to stop him leaving, I doubt
you’ll find her easy to distract.”
Bree smiled in a distracted fashion and closed her eyes as
Roger’s hands settled on her shoulders massaging lightly, giving herself over
to the sensation and relaxing beneath his gentle fingers.
She let the motion loll her and carry her back through the
years, across acres of memory to a time that seemed so desperately long ago and
yet also so close that she could still feel the press of her brother’s heel
against the palm of her hand, flat against their mother’s belly.
They had been sat in the kitchen, mere minutes after she had
met their father for the first time, when Claire had gasped and beamed at them
both in delight, gripping first Jamie’s hand and then Brianna’s and pressing
their palms to her middle.
Bree remembered the awed look upon her father’s face, his
eyes wide and almost disbelieving as the baby turned and stretched, pressing
fists, feet and bottom against their hands. She had felt almost like an
intruder on their moment, the moment that Jamie had never had with her, both
parents feeling the proof of their love. She had begun to move her hand away,
intending to leave them be, but Jamie had caught her fingers gently within his
“Stay, Brianna. If ye dinna mind doing so.”
“Sure … I mean … If you want me to…”
“Aye, I do.”
“We both do.”
Her Mama had reached out and cupped her cheek so lightly
that Bree had to look to make sure she was not imagining the touch. Her mother’s
other hand had settled over Jamie’s, resting against her belly, connecting the
four of them physically in a pose that was as symbolic of family as any that
had ever been known.
Over the weeks that had followed, she and Jamie came to know
each other. It made her smile still to think of the first awkward attempts at
working side by side, hesitant and overly polite, neither wanting to spoil the
sweet bubble of domesticity that had formed around them.
She had been eager to show her knowledge of guns, horses,
and woodwork whilst he had been very happy to listen, encourage, and advise
where necessary, but always with a studious respect of the newness of their
It had been a loose rock that had finally bridged the
formality. She had been stepping out of the creek, barefoot from laying nets
for trout, when the stone she stood on rolled out beneath her, turning her
The joint had swollen instantly, Jamie’s quick thinking to
remove her boot had stopped it needing to be cut off later as within minutes it
was three times its usual size.
Jamie had carefully taken her foot into his lap and ever so
gently turned it this way and that, biting his own lip at Brianna’s pained
“I dinna think it is broken but we should get ye back to the
Jamie was still hunkered down on his haunches before her,
his brows knotted in sympathy and Bree slapped the ground in frustration,
“Yeah, you’re probably right. It really hurts.”
She had felt foolishly embarrassed, as if she was fussing
about a little bump.
“Aye, no doubt. Let me get the bags and I’ll carry ye.”
“Oh! No, Da, really. I can walk.”
She had blushed furiously and struggled to stand, only
succeeding in putting a fraction of her weight on the foot before crying out in
pain and staggering into his waiting arms.
“Nonsense. Ye can barely stand.”
Jamie had smiled, steadying her and retrieving her boot from
“Bide here a moment, Bree. Can ye balance? Good.”
Bree had done as he said, wobbly slightly, most of her
weight on the uninjured foot as she watched him gather the spare nets and
poles, moving with that particular grace and elegance that she longed to
capture in lines of charcoal and paint but had not yet built the courage to ask.
“Right, wrap ye arm around my neck, mo chridhe.”
“Da, are ye sure you can … I mean … I’m nearly the same size
Jamie had snorted at that and held his hand out before her
face, long fingers spread wide and cocked an eyebrow in friendly challenge.
Bree had placed her own hand against his and laughed at the size difference.
Yes, she was big, but the startlingly obvious truth was that he was
“I think I’ll manage, eh? Now, take a hold of me.”
Bree had done as he asked and besides a small grunt of
effort as he had boosted her into his arms, her Da had shown no other visible
signs of strain.
She had been amazed
at the ease with which he carried her, she had known he was strong but even
after nearly two miles his breathing wasn’t laboured and his stride was wide
and even, careful not to jostle her and she felt safer in his arms than she had ever expected to feel.
Bree had found herself wondering what it might have been like to have been raised by this man, to have been lifted with familiar ease and sheltered by him from her first breath. With her wondering came a sense of absolute certainty that had she grown up with him, Jamie Fraser would have held her and carried her, supported her and tended to her injuries when they occurred with the same natural affection that he displayed now. She would never have had to feel vulnerable or ashamed.
Normally any such thought caused a stab of guilt over the Daddy she had lost but now, she merely felt a gentle pull of hope for the future, hope that she would come to know her father well enough that the need for imagining would cease and be replaced with more certainties like this one.
They arrived at Lallybroch within half an hour and as they
made their way toward the front door, a low, rising scream reached their ears.
Before either of them could react, Jenny’s face appeared at the window and she yelled
Part Two, Chapter Seven; In the Days Between - Part Three
This chapter explores Julia’s life in the future. Julia (aka
has been separated from Claire in their journey thru
the stones and arrives in 2007. A nurse at the hospital she is rushed
to quickly takes responsibility for her, accepting her as her own child.
Part Three finds us about seven after Julia arrives in the
July 1st, 2014; Between the Campbell-Murray residence and Logan International Airport, Boston Massachusetts Julia, almost nine years old.
“Can I sit by the window?” I begged, bouncing in my seat. Max groaned beside me and I elbowed him. He poked me in the side, but I knew he didn’t really care who sat where.
Mom looked at me in the rear-view mirror and smiled, “It doesn’t matter to me, you and Max figure it out.”
We were finally leaving for Scotland!
Granny had left a couple weeks ago and we’d meet her there. The last time we went back to Scotland was right after mom and Luke got married, which was two whole years ago. I missed my cousins and aunts and uncles who lived there and could hardly wait to see them all.
My little sister had never been there before, this was her first trip. I wasn’t really sure how she’d do on the long plane ride. It seemed like all she did was eat, sleep, and cry. Oh, and poop. So many dirty diapers. I hoped mom packed enough.
I slipped an earbud in and turned up my iPod. Max looked at the screen, rolling his eyes. “How many times are you going to listen to that?”
“A bajillion!” I declared, sticking out my tongue at him for good measure.
He tipped his head back and began to sing along at the top of his lungs, “Let it goooooooo, let it go! Can’t hold it back any moooooooore!”
“Moooom!” I complained as I shoved Max, making him bump into Fiona’s car seat which made her cry.
“Hey!” Luke called out from the driver seat. “Dull roar back there, you’re making the natives restless.”
This made mom laugh, he could always make mom laugh.
Something caught the corner of my eye and I turned to look out my window. The last thing I saw before the world went dark was a large, blue pickup truck headed straight for us.
Everything hurt. It hurt to move, it hurt to breathe, it hurt to think. So I didn’t. I hovered in empty space, just below consciousness and just above death until a familiar voice broke into my silence.
“Julia? Sweetie, can you hear me?”
It was Luke.
I tried to open my eyes, but they wouldn’t cooperate. I tried to reach for him, but something was holding my arms in place. I fought the feeling of weightlessness and struggled to the surface of reality. Moans of metal, feet scuffling, and a high pitched ring flooded my ears.
“Oh, God,” his voice cracked and I felt his hand brush against my cheek, “It’s ok. You’re ok. Try not to move, sweetie. Just lay still, alright?”
A deafening crunching sound echoed around me as whatever was holding me down shifted. It was easier to breathe now, yet it felt like ten thousand knives where jabbing me in the side every time I did. I tried to turn my face into Luke’s hand, to open my eyes and see him, but I couldn’t.
Why couldn’t I move? What was going on?
Tears burned at the back of my eyes and I heard a strange sound leave my mouth.
Had I made that noise?
I started to float again, even though I fought desperately to stay where I was. The pain was too much. Everything was too loud, the pull too strong.
“Julia!” the sound of Luke’s voice was distant, far out of reach. “Damn it, darling, stay with me!”
September, 2015; Boston, Massachusetts. Julia, ten years old.
I sat cross legged on the ground in front of mom’s grave and fiddled with the laces of my shoes as I spoke to her, “I have a competition today.”
I’d begged Auntie Tif to stop here before she dropped me off at the dance studio. I had five minutes or we’d be late.
“My Sword Dance is getting really good. Granny said my Highland Fling at the meet last month was the best I’d ever done. I didn’t think so, but maybe you couldn’t see my mistakes from the audience… or she was just being Granny.”
Mom had gotten me started in Highland Dancing when we moved to Boston, sort of a way to keep Scotland with us in America. I liked it a lot and was now in the highest skill level for my age group. Granny hadn’t missed a single competition. She was my biggest fan.
“Oh, and we ordered a new aboyne for next season. The one I’ve got is getting really small. Granny found one that’s similar to the Murray clan tartan. Could you see Luke’s smile when we showed it to him? He’s really excited.”
A cloud of uneasiness swirled around me as I thought of my stepfather. I didn’t call him dad, but he was the only father I had ever known. We got along really well and I loved him to pieces.
“Something’s going on with Luke’s new job with the Navy and no one will tell me what it is. Max says he doesn’t know, but he does. Luke’s been going to D.C. a lot for it and is there more than he is here. I miss him.”
I heard the door of the minivan open and close and I knew my time was up.
“Tha gaol agam ort, Mommy,” I whispered.
October 30th, 2017; Boston, Massachusetts Julia, aged twelve.
“You’re still taking me trick or treating tomorrow, right?” I asked Max as I ran to keep up with his long strides.
He looked down at me in annoyance, “Why don’t you go with Granny and Fiona?”
“Because they’re soooo slow,” I complained. “Besides, who wants to be seen trick or treating with their grandmother and baby sister?”
“You think I want to be seen with you?” He teased.
I glared at him, “Of course you do, I’ve got the best costume in the neighborhood.”
My Wonder Woman costume was a work of art.
“I suppose I should be grateful you’re not making me go as Steve Trevor,” he rolled his eyes.
“That would be gross, you’re my brother.” I pulled a face. “You’re more of a Steve Rogers than Steve Trevor, anyway.”
He laughed as we turned the corner. Beacon Hill Academy was in sight now and we picked up our pace.
Suddenly, a strong hand clamped around my mouth and pulled me off the sidewalk. I heard Max shout for help as I tried to get out of my attacker’s grasp. Biting him hard, I kicked backwards and lunged forwards at the same time.
It worked. I broke free momentarily before another set of arms picked me up off the ground and tossed me thru the open sliding door of a van. I screamed for all I was worth now that my mouth was uncovered.
“Julia!” Max shouted. The first man punched him hard in the stomach before climbing into the van and slamming the door shut.
The man who had grabbed me, I’d dubbed him Jasper, pulled the duct tape off my mouth and warned, “You start all that again and this goes right back on, you hear me?”
I had tried to escape out of the paneled van in every I could think of, earning me a special seat belt of tightly knotted rope. When getting out of this proved to be fruitless, I took a page out of little sister’s play book and started talking nonstop at the top of my lungs. Everything that passed thru my head went out my mouth… and I mean everything.
I insulted them, I mimicked them, I narrated their every move like a sports announcer. When that got boring, I asked questions about anything I could think of. Horace, the other guy, would answer sometimes until the lady driving the van yelled at him to shut up.
The duct tape came out when I started calling her Cruella.
Tears sprang to my eyes involuntarily as a layer of my skin got ripped off with the tape. Blinking fast, I answered, “That depends.”
Jasper looked at me warily, “On what?”
“On if you’re planning to feed me anytime soon,” my stomach growled, adding it’s two cents.
It was well after dinner time and we’d been driving south all day. They’d let me out at a disgusting gas station in New Jersey to use the bathroom when I threatened to go right where I was. I now knew this was a really good bargaining tool with them.
There was food in my backpack, but as my phone was also in there, and they hadn’t discovered I had one yet, I was not willing to unzip it in their presence. Cruella had accompanied me to the bathroom, of course, so I couldn’t send out a distress text. I had felt it vibrate several times in the last eight hours and desperately hoped they could track me even if I didn’t answer it.
Jasper moved to the back of the van from the front passenger seat, commenting menacingly, “You have to answer a few questions first.”
A fist closed around my stomach and I wasn’t sure I was hungry anymore, but I nodded.
“Where is your mother?” He began.
I stared at him blankly, then looked to Horace. My mother?
“Mount Hope Cemetery,” I answered simply, wondering why on earth they would need to kidnap me to figure that out. “Or heaven, depending on how you look at it.”
Horace visibly started in surprise and Jasper’s mouth hung open. “She’s dead?” they asked in unison.
I thought that only happened in movies.
“She’s talking about Campbell, you idiots. Ask her about Fraser,” Cruella screeched from the driver’s seat.
Understanding dawned on Jasper and he nodded, “Yeah, not her. Where’s your other mother?”
“My what?” This was getting ridiculous.
The van swerved as Cruella glared at me thru the rearview mirror. “Claire Fraser. Your birth mother. Where is she?”
My birth parents had abandoned me when I was two and had never contacted me since. The authorities had tried to locate them, but couldn’t figure out who they were, let alone where they were… and that was ten years ago.
“How would I know?” I replied incredulously.
Horace leaned forward and pinched me hard in the thigh, insisting, “Tell us!”
“I have no idea where she is.” I kicked him hard in the shins, “I didn’t even know her name until you just said it!”
“I don’t think she knows, boss.” Jasper muttered over his shoulder.
I could see Cruella shrug and the van lurched again. How we hadn’t crashed yet was beyond me.
“Well, what about the dad? They oughta be together, right?” Horace nudged Jasper, who nodded eagerly.
“Yeah, where’s your dad?”
Looking for me.
“If you’re talking about my birth father, I know as much about him as I do my birth mother.” I glared at them, “My real dad is out looking for me and probably has the entire Navy after you by now. He’s a cop, you know.”
Horace turned slightly pale at this. “I’m not going to jail for some fairy tale, love story nonsense, boss!”
Fairy tale, love story nonsense.
What had she said my birth mother’s name was? Claire, right? As in Queen Claire from Granny’s story?
You have got to be kidding me. I’ve been abducted over a children’s bedtime story. Do they really think I’m some long lost princess?
“No one is going to jail!” Cruella barked, “Crawford didn’t think she knew anything anyway.”
Crawford. He must be the one orchestrating this. These three didn’t have the combined IQ of a goldfish.
“Then why kidnap me if I don’t know anything?” I asked, a heavy feeling forming in the pit of my stomach.
Jasper smiled, his face contorting into a look of sinister delight. “You’re his ticket thru the stones.”
BLAR CHÙIL LODAIR
In memory and honor of those who fought and died this day, 1746, Culloden Moor. The all Clans, #Fraser #MacKenzie #MacTavish #Cameron #Murray #Graham #MacDonald #MacGregors …/… #BlarChùilLodair
Etymology of Sly Cooper Names I: Cooper Gang + Ancestors
I like etymology a lot and I haven’t seen a post like this so I thought I’d make a full list of the origins of Sly Cooper names at least for what can have etymology. Anything that can’t I’ll try to trace to something. Note: this just where the names come from and not necessarily why Sucker Punch named these characters what they are.
Also this is just my interpretation, I could be 100% wrong after all so if you disagree I’d be interested to hear your interpretation but also chill if you don’t like what I have interpreted.
I’ll also include last names when I can.
Also there are spoilers for some of these names that spoil some of the games so fair warning!
Imagine Jamie/Claire telling Jenny and Ian why Claire *really* disappeared for 20 years
In canon Jamie and Claire eventually tell Jenny, Ian, and the rest of the Murray clan about Claire’s unique abilities in An Echo in the Bone. Rather than imagine exactly how that explanation unfolded, I’ve come up with something set in Voyager soon after Claire’s return. Enjoy. - Lenny
Ian was quiet as they headed up the street in the direction of the print shop, the initial shock of seeing Claire again putting him in a contemplative mood. Jamie knew it had been a mistake to bring up his idea of having young Ian to live with him.
“I’m sorry about the lad,” Jamie reiterated. “I’ve had my hands a bit full the last day what wi’ Claire.”
“Aye well, yer hands are like to get fuller soon when it comes to Claire,” Ian snapped. “Or did ye already tell her about Laoghaire?”
Jamie went red in the face and looked away, fear and anger swelling within him. He fought to push them away with memories of her body fitted tight against his as they slept. It had been the first satisfying night’s rest he’d had in ages, despite spending very little of the night asleep instead holding her in his arms—present instead of always reaching for her. The knowledge that that one night might be all he had with her was both more than he’d hoped to have and not enough, sharpening the fear even as it quelled the anger.
“What I dinna understand is how ye could have married Laoghaire when there was a chance Claire had lived? I ken ye thought she was dead—and perhaps ye had good reason to think so—but ye never thought to look for her?” Ian asked, puzzling his way through Jamie’s actions.
“And when was I supposed to look for her exactly?” Jamie countered. “Lord knows I had enough time on my hands in that cave, but I was a wee bit short of resources. Might have had more in prison but they kept me busier out on the moor cutting peat. And then there was Helwater where I couldna go by my own name, but oh, searching high and low for my wife should ha’ been easy there did I only think to do so.” Jamie’s thick and resentful sarcasm cut deep. He hadn’t realized Ian stopped several steps back and had to retrace his steps, an apology ready on his lips.
But Ian apologized first. “I’m sorry, Jamie. I ken how ye feel about Claire. If ye’d any hope of her being alive, ye’d have done everything in yer power to find her again.”
Jamie nodded but the guilt of lying to his best friend was gnawing at his gut. “And ye’re right too, about Laoghaire. I… I just dinna ken how to tell her about that. I’m afraid… I’m afraid it will prove too much for her and I’ll lose her again. I… canna live through that again.”
Ian patted his friend on the shoulder sympathetically. “And she was in France the whole time?” he wondered, his disbelief—and doubt—evident.
Jamie swallowed. “She wasna in France,” he said quietly, then laughed. “Though, ye willna believe the truth were I to tell ye.”
On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite army was defeated by Hanoverian forces in the Battle of Culloden.
The defeat marked the end of the last Stewart attempt to regain, by
force, the throne forfeited by James VII. Bonnie Prince Charlie refused
the advice of his most able general, Lord George Murray, over the
positioning of the Jacobite forces, letting himself be persuaded into
placing his troops on an open moor, which gave all advantages to the
Hanoverians. Charles compounded this error
by choosing this moment to take personal charge of his force for the
first time. In less than an hour the government force, outnumbering the
Jacobites two to one and with a vast advantage in artillery, defeated
them for the first and last Again with posts like this a wee bit
sensitivity is required, let’s keep our emotions in check and think
about the dead who lie buried beneath Drumossie Moor, for the English
who fought on both sides, for the Irish Brigade and their fellow
countrymen a squadron of Irish cavalry fighting alongside the French
army at the battle alongside the regiment of Royal Scots (Royal
Ecossais) raised the previous year to support the Stuart claim, for the
Ulstermen and some Hessians from Germany and Austrians. For the
Scottish Lowlanders and for the Clans Boyd,Cameron, Chilsom, Davidson, Drummond, Farquharson, Fraser, Hay, Livingstone, MacBean, MacColl, for the Macdonalds of Glencoe, of GlenGarry, of
Keppoch and Clan Ranald, the MacDuff, MacFie and MacGillibray Clans, The
MacGregor, MacInnes, MacKinnon, MacKintosh, MacIntyre, Maclver,
MacLachlan, MacLaren, MacLean, MacLea, The MacNeil who came from
Barra,Clan MacNaughten, Clan MacPherson and Menzie, Morrison, Oglivy,
Oliphant, Robertson and for Stewart of Appin. Along with the clans
listed on the side of Bonnie Prince Charlie was the regiment of Atholl
Highlanders made up of Clan Murray and the following clansmen of Clan
Ferguson, Stewartof Atholl, men from Clan Elphinstone, Forbes, Keith,
Mac Kenzie,MacLeod of MacLeod, also my own Caln Macleod of Lewis,
MacTavish, MacMillan, Maxwell, Ramsey and Clan Wemyss. Friday at
midnight I will be thinking of the men who died that day and for the
misery that swept across Scotland in the years that followed during the
Clearances and I will be thinking of my friends who are on Culloden
Field at that time, and those at the service on the Saturday.