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Author Topic: Take Back the Night  (Read 9420 times)

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Magnus

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Take Back the Night
« on: Aug 14, 01, 09:17:11 am CDT »

Ceirdwyn was busy doing the morning cleaning. Her son James was out in the farm yard taking care of the livestock. Ceirdwyn's husband Ian was tending the village's grain fields with the other clansmen. There was talk a couple of days ago about a possible war with Clan MacAngus, the neighboring clan. The Chieftans "foster" son Sean, a child of Clan MacAngus, ran away in the middle of the night. But that was talk. More likely the Clans, MacAngus and MacCollin, would work together to find the lad.

That was before the war gong sounded. It was the call for the warriors to assemble. She knew at that instant, none of their lives would be the same. Her's inparticular would change beyond anyone's wildest imagination.
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Magnus

"Idiots are fun. No wonder every village wants one."

johnians

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« Reply #1 on: Aug 14, 01, 10:55:25 am CDT »

When she was out seeing to the cows in the barn last night she had noticed the lad Sean crossing the fields with a few of his clansmen. Knowing that the O'Donnells holdings were nearby she thought the usual cattle thieving was under way. There was always bad blood between the O'Donnells and her clan and the occasional theft of livestock was a normal way of dealing with tensions. The O'Donnels were thought to be in league with the Sassenachs below the border.
Now that the new day had dawned and the lad was missing, she knew something dire had occurred and his clanmen were tight-lipped about it.
 "Perhaps I should speak with his mother and see what she suspects." she thought.
When she went to visit her cousin Maureen, the lads foster mother she was astonished to find...
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Magnus

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take back night
« Reply #2 on: Aug 15, 01, 05:40:44 am CDT »

The little hut was bathed in blood. Maureen was laying in a heap by the door. Maureen's husband was beheaded and the head was missing. Curiously, there looked to be a lightning strike in the center of the room. The only thing that she could think of was one the Sorcerors in the area was responsible. But that was last night. Now she had to find out why they were called for war.

She got the last of her weapons and armor on and headed to the village center. She was ill prepared for what she found.
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"Idiots are fun. No wonder every village wants one."

johnians

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« Reply #3 on: Aug 15, 01, 01:44:08 pm CDT »

The men left in the village were also slain and weeping wives and sweathearts were tending to the dead. Lucklily most of the men were in the fields when the attack occurred.
She remembered what Maureen had told her after she revived her and gave her some help with her husbands' body.

It seemed that a strange hunting horn was heard before the attack. Suddenly the village had been attacked by men clad in a strange tartan. the attack was so sudden that little defense could be mounted against it. In all cases the women were spared but the children were missing.

Thankfully Cierdwyn's son and husband were not at the village when her town was attacked.
She met the returning men from the fields.
 Ian ran up to her ans asked for the news of what happened.
Tearfully Ceirdwyn told him what she knew.

Ian gathered the remaining men and they began to plan how to discover the truth of the mysterious attacks on both clans.
"It must be the O'Donnells" some said. "No the Sassenachs" , said others. Ian picked his best trackers to follow whatever trails could be found.

Near the back of one hut they found the print of a hoove shod with a crescent shape horseshoe.
That horshoe only belongs to a set made by the smith hired by the ....
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Magnus

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« Reply #4 on: Aug 15, 01, 05:31:27 pm CDT »

By the Wizard of Dunzideen Wood. He was concidered to be mad. By the way the evidence was shaping up though, he appeared to be more than a little coherent. This was an unsettling thought. Or could there be more to it than that. Could one of the rogue warlords of the area have managed to pull off something unreal? Could he have managed to subvert the will of a Wizard? Or worse yet, could he have managed to make an alliance with the wizard? That would be bad indeed if the he could've forged an alliance.
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Magnus

"Idiots are fun. No wonder every village wants one."

johnians

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take back night
« Reply #5 on: Aug 15, 01, 06:25:52 pm CDT »

Ian and Ceirdwyn considered the evidence of the horseshoe.
Some of Ians'men ran in.
"We've just found cart tracks leading from the village and going toward the mountains" their leader said.

Ian made plans to follow the tracks. Ceirdwyn grabbed her weapons. "Where are you going? said Ian.
I'm going with you to find the killers of my cousins husband and the men from our village and try to locate the missing children" she said.
"That's just fine and who will stay with the remaining villagers and make sure they remain safe?" replied Ian
Ceirdwyn paused a few minutes and replied" Can't some of your men do that?"

Ian glared back (thinking to protect his wife)."no, that wont do" "These are savages who have attacked two clans in a night. It is not safe for you and besides our son needs you."
Ceirdwyn gave in only at the mention of their son.
Ian and the men armed themselves and left to follow the tracks.
Some hours later an out-of-breath Sean ran into the village.
Finding Ceirdwyn  he shouted " where are the men?"
"Oh Sean we were looking for you and then the villages were attacked and your foster father was killed. Ian and the men have gone to the mountains to track down the killers."

"But that's what I came to warn you about." said Sean
"I spotted the O'Donnells and a Sassenach officer in the next glen yesterday and I followed them. By the loch there was a mounted force and a strange old man. You must come
and see. There is no one stronger in the village to help me follow them.
Ceirdwyn certainly agreed with him and armed herself again and set off with Sean.
As they neared the loch they saw...
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Magnus

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take back night
« Reply #6 on: Aug 20, 01, 10:37:41 pm CDT »

A couple of ruts in the road. What was interesting was that they appeared to be fresh. As they walked along careful not to disturb the peace of the area, they could hear men talking. Ceirdwyn was unable to make out what was being said, though she was certain that they weren't from her village. Just then a flock of birds took flight, startled. Ceirdwyn began looking to see what had caused the commotion. She turned her back on Sean. That was all he needed to knock her out! The last words that Ceirdwyn heard was Sean saying, "You stupid cow!"
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"Idiots are fun. No wonder every village wants one."

johnians

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« Reply #7 on: Aug 21, 01, 08:47:06 am CDT »

When Ceirdwyn awoke she found herself in a wooden cage mounted on a cart. She was weaponless.
Around the campfire were a group of men in tartans, and she saw Sean talking to their leader.

The ouisghybough was flowing freely and she heard threats against her life.
Sean spoke up and reminded the others of her value as a hostage until their plans were all fulfilled. Just what they were Ceirdwyn didn't hear.

Suddenly she heard a low whisper from behind her.
The voice told her to keep still and listen.
"I will aid you brave one," it said
 "but for now you must remain  as you are until morning".
"When I come again you will have the weapons to help you
defeat the plans of these rogues and villains."
Ceirdwyn turned to see her helper but the voice and speaker were gone.
She thought she saw a glimmer of light in the distant trees but that too disappeared.

Having nothing to do until morning Ceirdwyn decided to
rest and conserve her strength.

When she awoke she found Sean staring at her.
He said, "...
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Magnus

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take back night
« Reply #8 on: Aug 22, 01, 09:57:37 am CDT »

"Well now. The village cow has awakened. I was beginin ta wonder if ya was goin to sleep all day."

"What the hell are you doing?" requested Ceirdwyn. Just then, she felt something cold and sharp in her hands. It felt like a small blade of some sort.
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"Idiots are fun. No wonder every village wants one."

johnians

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« Reply #9 on: Aug 22, 01, 12:34:53 pm CDT »

Sean called out to the men to get mounted and had one of them hitched up some oxen to the cart.
Ceirdwyn moved slowly so as not to attract Seans' further attention. Grasping the sharpened edge of the weapon beneath her she began to move it against the ropes tying her hands,  The cart started to move following Sean and the riders.
Ceirdwyn continued to wield the sharpened weapon until finally the ropes loosened.
 Drawing her feet under her, she then used the weapon to cut through the ropes on her legs. Looking ahead and seeing no one looking at her she drew forth the blade.
It was a small bodice dagger with a rams head design on the
handle.  The mysterious voice must have returned while she slept and hid the blade beneath her.
 Now she looked at her cage. Ropes also bound the opening.
The cart was headed toward the mountains.
Large boulders were on both side of the road. Ceirdwyn came up with a plan. She sawed through the ropes on the cage.
As the road grew higher and bumpier they neared a very large boulder. Only one horse or cart could pass at a time.
As her cart started to go around the boulder she quickly opened the cage door and leaped out, rolling quickly behind the boulder. The side of the mountain was closee to the boulder and she ran around the boulder to the side of the mountain. There was a large bush. She headed for it.
Suddenly the bush moved. Behind it was an opening in the mountain wall. it was just smaller than the bush so it was usually hidden. A wrinkled hand reached out and motioned for her to come forward into the opening.
Having little choice Ceirdwyn followed the hand and the bush moved back into place behind her.
"Dont be afraid," said a familiar voice.
"Come inside further in case Sean's men have started to search for you."
"Let me introduce myself, I'm .....
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Magnus

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« Reply #10 on: Aug 22, 01, 12:50:32 pm CDT »

"Ah am Collin MacAngus. Ya may know me better as the Wizard of Dunzideen Wood. Ah was banished from the clan in ya grandfather's time. Ah am, shall we say, a little lacking in ma mind. If ya know what Ah mean?" Ceirdwyn knew exactly what he meant. She like the rest of her clan had heard the stories of a man tried, convicted, and banished for the practice of black magic. To this day, the only evidence that there was anything amiss was that he attracted the eye of the Cheiftan's grandmother. He had been on his own for so long, he may have forgotten how to deal with guests.
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"Idiots are fun. No wonder every village wants one."

Kelda

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take back night
« Reply #11 on: Aug 24, 01, 12:41:13 am CDT »

Not knowing, at the moment, what else to say, Ceirdwyn introduced herself. "I am Ceirdwyn of Clan MacCollin, but it appears you already have knowledge of this, sir. Did I hear you correctly... did you say your name was MacAngus?" "Aye," replied the shriveled old man, "Ah am of Clan MacAngus." Ceirdwyn became lost in thought, for a few moments, then turned back to the old man. Deciding to indulge in some pleasantries, before broaching her idea, Ceirdwyn smiled and said; "I am unsure as to how you prefer I address you, sir." The old man just stared at Ceirdwyn, for an uncomfortably long time, as he mindlessly pulled at his long beard. "As you may imagine, Ah have not had the pleasure of anyone's company, in many seasons. I think I would prefer you address me as Collin, m'lady."

Collin reached to the side and pulled out a small bundle, seemingly out of thin air. He untied the bundle and produced two more bundles that Ceirdwyn could swear were larger than the first. On unwrapping those bundles, Collin produced what appeared to be the finest freshly baked bread she had seen in a long time and a large wheel of cheese. Again reaching off to the side, Collin produced a flask of wine and two finely engraved goblets. "We are going to be here a while, m'lady, so, we as well make ourselves comfortable." Ceirdwyn suddenly realized she was ravenously hungry and, as well, that the old man, certainly, had not forgotten how to deal with guests.

Ceirdwyn and Collin carried on their conversation amicably, as they ate their feast. When Ceirdwyn's appetite had been sated, she stared at Collin as he poured more wine. He appeared to be younger than she first thought and there was a, previously unnoticed, intelligence behind his gray eyes. As he put the flask aside, Collin stated, "Ah am not as feeble-minded as you may have heard, nor as Ah, most often, let on. Ah know you have more on your mind than the polite conversation we have been engaging in."

Ceirdwyn was no longer sure of how to approach her idea. This was, definately, not the man she had heard stories of. Was he really a wizard? Did he possess the magick she needed to implement her plan?

Feeling suddenly exhausted, but knowing time was of the essence, Ceirdwyn laid out her plan...
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johnians

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« Reply #12 on: Aug 24, 01, 01:25:35 pm CDT »

"My husband and the men of my village were tracking a cart and a horse with a crescent mark on his horseshoe." She said.
"My son James is back in the village. I need to know if anyone returned. Can I get word to him? If the men have returned we'll need their help in setting up a surprize of our own for Sean and his cohorts."

Collin thought and suddenly said" I have a contact in your village. My pet crow often visits and carries messages. It was the only way I could keep in contact with my clan. If I send a message we can maybe find out the answers you seek"

Soon after the crow was dispatched with a message.
Meanwhile Collin and Ceirdwyn found the hidden supply of weapons that Collin had accumulated over the years.

Both of them went over the map Collin had drawn in the caves' dirt. Near McAlpin's point was a narrow track from which an ambush could be laid.

Toward evening the crow returned with good news.
The message was short but gave both of them hope.
It read ".....
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Magnus

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« Reply #13 on: Aug 29, 01, 04:35:10 am CDT »

"James safe. Men returned without trouble. Sean found."
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johnians

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« Reply #14 on: Aug 29, 01, 02:45:55 pm CDT »

At daybreak, Ceirdwyn found her son and members of the two clans gathered in one of the tunnels. Collin had lead them together. After arming themselves,they headed for the spot where the clans had last seen Sean. A shepherds track led further up the mountain. She spotted her husband hiding behind the rock known as Balderaics Craig. Slowly moving the clans she cautioned them to silence as she went to stand near her husband.
He pointed ahead to her and she looked in the direction he indicated.
A Bonfire glowed. There was the cart she had been prisoner in. Someone else was now kept inside it.
Tartaned figures sat and stood by the fire. They seemed to be waiting for something.
Suddenly a light flared from a nearby meadow.  It came from torches held by riders. As the riders approached, she could see uniforms and helmets.
A flag was carried by one of the riders. It was the flag of...
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Magnus

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« Reply #15 on: Sep 01, 01, 09:09:45 pm CDT »

The flag was of the Sassenachs. As they were approaching the encampment, they were challenged by one of the tartaned figures. "The queen wears britches" said the man. "She does not" came the reply from the leader. The men were allowed to pass. They dismounted and gathered around the fire. Even though it was summer the nights still get chilly and it was still to early in the morning for the nights chill to be burned off. The leader and two "officers" went into one of the few tents that were set up.
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johnians

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« Reply #16 on: Sep 04, 01, 09:54:19 am CDT »

Ceirdwyn motioned to Collin and James. Speaking in a whisper she told them to get as close to the tent without alerting any still sleeping sentries. After a time they both returned. Again in low voices Collin and James gave their report. "They have a map of our lands spread out.
The Sassenachs and their tools the O'Donnells seem to be plotting to split up our lands. They want to bring in sheep to graze and run us all off. There was mention of a gold hoard also found somewhere. They don't seem to know it's location but they are hoping the hostages will get them the information."
"That must be", said Ceirdwyn, "the lost treasure of Rory, the sixth clan chief." "Tis said to be guarded by the ghost of the great chief himself. His cairn was never found."

Collins'eyes gleamed as he told the news from their foray to the enemy's tent.
Ceirdwyn asked him. " What do you know of this treasure?"
Collin replied ".....
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Magnus

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« Reply #17 on: Sep 05, 01, 11:28:37 am CDT »

"Only what the legends say" he replied with a wink to his wife.

"Well we ain't going to let those bastards take our home are we?" queried Ceirdwyn
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« Reply #18 on: Sep 05, 01, 02:50:42 pm CDT »

Ceirdwyn also wondered why Collin the Wizard of Dunzideen had winked. Then she noticed one of the figures with her husband Ian was looking fondly at the wizard. Why it was Shauneen one of the women of her village under the hood.
"So that's who the crow went to with the message." she thought.
"We must get that map and search for the treasure before
 Sean and the Sassenachs torture any more of our families.
"Collin , Check out the histories of the clans for mention of the lost treasure." She said.

 Ian started to plan the ambush which would help rescue the children that were stolen and the victim in the cage. Men were left to continue to spy on the enemy camp.

Ceirdwyn was restless. So much to do and not enough time.
She wanted to run in and rescue the person in their cage but knew that the alarm would bring enemy enforcements. Perhaps she could give them the same assistance she had.
A small dagger would help them escape in time.

She decided to act on this plan.

It was really starting to get light but there was still some shadow and she approached the cart.
When she looked in the cart she was surprised to see who was tied up. It was ...
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Magnus

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« Reply #19 on: Sep 09, 01, 10:04:21 am CDT »

It was Maureen. Just then Maureen turned and looked at her. Maureen started to say something but Ceirdwyn motioned for her to stay silent. Then she quietly mouthed that she wouldn't have to wait long before she was freed. Secretly Ceirdwyn wondered how Maureen could have been captured. All the village was supposed to be safe. Supposed was the operative word, for while she and the other warriors of the village were waiting to strike, a traitor was already informing the Sassenachs of what was happening.
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"Idiots are fun. No wonder every village wants one."
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