Author’s Note: The characters of the Clan Lindsay in this story are purely fictional. Any resemblance to any past or living Clan Lindsay member is strictly coincidence.
Sagas of the Irish Laigin: The Ribbon Tree – Into the Battle, Chapter the Fourth
“We weep tears here in fair Laigin, not always for sorrow, not always for joy. Sometimes it is just to feel the water trickle down our faces.” Glyde, a swift dreams horse of Fae
There were two crows fluttering in the early morning light. Labriad’s screams of sorrow continued to fill the sky as nature begin to awake from the night’s darkest secret. Slumping to the forest floor he closed his eyes and with his arms wrapped around his knees, his heart breaking from the tragedy that had befallen his friends.
He could walk the earth for countless years. He could embrace the curse. He could destroy his family that sought to destroy others. But how was he to endure this….the curse that now fell on his friends? As his tears ran down his face and soaked his shirt he felt something land on his shoulder.
“Labraid,” he heard, “to the castle.”
Two black eyes stared at him.
“Grid?” he asked.
“Seth,” cawed back at him.
Feeling claws lightly gripping his other shoulder, he heard,
“Grid,” was said in a mawkish voice in his other ear.
Listening, he could hear the horses whickering for breakfast out in the woods.
“Caw! Caw!” Seth called as he went airborne.
“Caw!” Grid answered in return as he pushed off from Labriad’s shoulder and winged his way towards the picket line.
“Caw,” Labraid responded as he stood watching his friends in the early morning light as they made for the horses. “Time to storm the castle and introduce the new Earl.”
Time swirled around Labraid. His two friends had done a fine job of enchanting the castle. Years would pass, he would appear to age. At the appropriate time, he would die and a new and younger version of himself would appear at the castle door with his father’s ring and sword.
No questions were asked and life and death and shifting Weres and vampires went on.
At times his heart was so heavy in him that all he could do was weep. Innocence wrapped in perversion died at his hands. He was grateful that the curse did not take effect until after the onset of puberty. His insanity would completely consume him if he had to kill a child.
When newspapers came to be, from all over the world they were delivered to his home.
Radios were another added boon.
With the coming of the steam powered ships and aero-craft, his family migrated from time to time to The Americas.
When a strange illness would be mentioned in the news, he jotted it down and booked himself on the fastest transport and went to investigate.
With the internet age, his life got easier and more complicated. Vampire clubs abounded. Foolish human wanna bes. From time to time, one of his kin would think that was the perfect place to party, hunt and hide.
And perhaps it was…just not from him….
Angus Leland Lindsay, of the Clan Lindsay, put his family and their belongings on a ship in Leith, Scotland in, 1897. They docked in New York and then came by train to Tulsa, Oklahoma. That is all just about anyone knew about the move from Scotland. Not once had old Angus talked about his family on the old sod.
From studying a map he had purchased the land, sight unseen. When they arrived, a tent went up facing the East. Then the cabin was built and then the house.
What the family did know was that Angus had a master plan. The ranch was laid out according to the ley lines that graced his land.
In the year 2013, Elisabeth Stewart Lindsay, of the Clan Lindsay, declared herself more Scottish than the bottle of Glenlivet she was currently pouring out, of. She did not have to be born in The Highlands to hear the mist of her beloved ancestral land calling her name.
So what if she was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma? That just made her an Okie with a Scot’s attitude that knew how to ride, rope, and shoot. Heard cattle, brand, and she could neuter bulls to steers when the sky signs were right.
Her grandmother, Rebecca Stewart Lindsay, had continued to work their cattle ranch after her grandfather had died. When it was broadly hinted that perhaps she should sell, in a very loud voice she told everyone to go to hell. She was not selling her land… to anyone….and she was keeping track of all those that thought she should.
“Angus Leland Lindsay, is the original name on the deed,” her eyes would fix on the face of the son who was counting his chickens before they hatched and wondering just how much longer the old woman could live. “The family settled here back when part of the state was known as Indian Territory. Since 1897. For one hundred and sixteen years Lindsay’s have worked this land. It has not always been kind or generous. But this land, it is ours by god,” she would shout to the heavens with a drink in her hand after Sunday dinner, “and to us it will stay.”
Here on this solemn occasion, with the family gathered, it was quiet. And that was a first for this family. No shouting. Not one unkind word or snide remark. Elisabeth had to chuckle about that.
Her Granny Woman had been a real force of nature. And a care taker of nature. Everything on the ranch was worked according to a sign.
“Our well has never run dry,” she would point to the well house. “Our creek always has water,” she would nod with her head toward the low land and the stand of trees that grew there. “No tornado has ever touched down here. Skirted all around us, and we may get some hail and wind damage, but that just keeps us humble and grateful. Grandpa Angus knew what he was doing when he bought, here.”
Granny Woman’s father-in-law, Davey Lindsay, had been educated in the ways of the land and signs, as well, from what she could determine from the stories. He was a dowser of the finest sort. Never failed to find water, lost objects, or even the right wife for a man.
Her uncles who had known him when they were children still had a genuine respect for him.
Her grandpa, Sean, could dowse as well. It was just a real shame he had not used that dowsing rod to beat the hell out of his four sons.
Elisabeth chuckled at that. There was often shouting around here by her four uncles.
She had been born out of wedlock and her father was unknown, even to her mother. Apparently OSU had beat OU at a home football game that year and a good time was had by all. So, at the end of the year, her mom had come home, gave birth, and the two of them had lived on this land in a little two bedroom bunk house since she could remember, helping with…well…everything.
When her uncles would come to the house for Sunday dinner and start drinking, they all had something to say rather loudly about how Frannie and Lizzie lived here, well…Scot free. Her uncles seemed not to mention the fact they worked the ranch every day. Cows, they did not understand federal holidays, ice storms, menstrual cramps, or the need for a day off. What the hell was nail polish? Cute shoes were getting a new sole and heel on your workin’ boots.
Cows did understand that if there was a downed fence, they were getting out and the chase was on! Just yippie-i-oooooooo on that, human! That if you moo’ed long enough a human would show up with feed and that fresh hay that was tossed down out of the hay loft on the hottest day of the year tasted better than anything green growing out in the field. Because those fields were not nearly big enough for a cow to have his proper pick and choose of what he wanted to eat.
Well, yes, there had never been a lot of extra money for extra land. Her great, great-grandfather had been somewhat flush when he had arrived here from Scotland but these days, ranching was just another name for throwing money down a rat hole. Then along came mad cow disease and yet even more testing and Vet bills would eat any extra money you had. A good year, you got to keep a cow that you had fattened for yourself. Other years, you sold everything to pay bills and taxes.
All total, in five generations, and she was the fifth, they had only accumulated five hundred acres, a two thousand square foot farm-house that had been added onto over the years and the pieces of furniture that had come by boat from Scotland and then train that was her great, great grandmother’s dowry.
Elisabeth looked around the room. This was her home and this was her family and there was always something that needed to be done. With both. Lordy, if it was not the ranch pestering you to death, it was a relative.
So, when it came time to choose a university, that was easy. Tulsa University, working for a degree in Vet Med.(Veterinary Medicine) She lived at home, studied, and helped out doing chores.
And their little ranch that once had been way the hell outside of town was now, not so much. Because of prudent and safe investments, the city of Tulsa had continued to grow and expand.
McDonald Douglas wanted to build a new facility for the new fighter jet.
Her uncles had been waiting for Granny Woman to die so that they could smile and tell McD/D that they needed to build right here, on their land.
Her uncles… she just let that thought pass on by.
Listening to Lawyer Joe’s voice, there was a great big empty place in her heart. Elisabeth thought, perhaps, a piece of her had been put in the ground, as well, when her grandmother passed over from old age and cussedness. That woman loved to swear as much as she loved her Scotch after dinner. Elisabeth was sure she was entertaining God right now with her very rich and robust four letter word vocabulary.
Standing in her grandmother’s living room, as her mother sobbed, mustering every happy thought she had of her Granny Woman, she listened to the will being read while she sipped the whiskey.
Lawyer Joe was just about finished with reading through all the legalese.
Then he put in the CD and up popped Granny Woman on Joe Sneed, Esquire’s, laptop.
“Elisabeth,” Granny Woman smiled. “When school is finished this spring, you are to partake of a quest. Take yourself to Scotland and find out what happened between old Angus and our family.
I want,” she stressed, “the Lindsay crest on my stone. And the Scottish Lord Lyon King of Arms has given me grief over that for several years. Grand daughter, set this to rights. Take copies of the original paper work and get to the final bottom of this.
There is a hundred thousand in an account with your name on it. Joe will be able to tell you all about it. Money for you as well, Frances. I will not have you thrown out onto the street.
For the rest of you,” her steel grey gaze looked out into the crowd, “you have given my Frannie and her baby nothing but grief. If it had not been for them helping me, ‘cause I sure enough did not see your lazy asses out here at any time helping after you went off to college, which by the way, your father and I paid for, I would have lost this place many times over.
So, here is the deal. Time for the land to go. I don’t give a rat’s ass because I have gone on to walk the halls of Heaven. But Frances gets half. Period. And all the things in the houses and barns belongs to her. Period. If anyone of you complains to her about it, asks for anything that you did not purchase and bring here, then you are out of the will. Lawyer Joe will tell you the formalities for asking for something you think you purchased and brought here. There will be paperwork. If anyone or perhaps all of you would like to contest the will, all of you are out and it all goes to her.
My no-good for nothing, lazy sons. Have a nice life,” she smiled and gave them the finger.
Looking out from the screen was a face filled with love. “Frances my darling daughter and my Lizzie. My darlings, you can not run this place by yourselves. We did not break even last year. I took what little bit I had in savings and paid the feed bills. Take the money and run. Be good to yourself. I love you.” And then the screen went blank.
The four brothers, their wives and various grandchildren sat in shocked silence.
“Here is the bill of sale,” Lawyer Joe continued on. “Miss Rebecca signed two months, ago. You have sixty days, that would give until the end of May, to clear the premises.
The rest of you are excused. Once the will goes through Probate Court and all taxes are paid, you will be receiving by registered letter your portion of the money. Miss Francis and Miss Elisabeth, I need to speak to you.”
Elisabeth was at a little bit of a loss. It was the end of May. Classes had been over for a couple of weeks. She had helped her mom move furniture off the ranch and into her new home. Well, it was not new, new. It had some character and charm. Her new address was on Swan Drive. And of course, it faced Swan Lake. They both chuckled about that.
Once it was all comfy cozy, taking her mother in hand, she had enrolled her at the Tulsa, OSU campus. Miss Frances was going to take art classes. That was good. Her mom had the gift.
They no longer saw her uncles on Sunday for dinner. Oh, if invited, they would have showed up, eaten everything, drank everything and bitched the entire time. Then left without offering to help clean up. But when Hell froze over and then thawed and froze again, they would still not be sitting down at her mother’s table.
And the rumor mill had it that they were busy.
After all was said and done, the land cleared four mil. Two mil to her mom and five hundred thousand each to her uncles.
Uncle Greg, was buying a new house. Uncle Kevin and Uncle George had purchased the biggest gas guzzling trucks made in Detroit with a matching biggest gas guzzling bass boat and a cabin on Grand Lake. Uncle Mo had cashed out the old wife for a new, young, hotness.
New young hotness was about to give birth, of course. His daughter, her cousin Jesse and her husband Wright, were going to give birth at or about the same date. And this was the uncle who had screamed the loudest about them living on the ranch and called her mother a whore.
Jusssst lovely. A fifty five year old man who was a bank teller had married a nineteen year old, who was younger than his youngest daughter. Deedee, the newest Mrs., had worked at Sonic. That is believed where they met and fell in love. “We are true love; Soul Mates, with a capital S and a capital M,” Deedee would smile as Wright relayed the gossip. Choke. Gag. Roll your eyes. Well, at least she had graduated from high school. Or, that could be wishful thinking.
Elisabeth looked around the new house and smiled. It was a Tudor style and the antiques looked smoking hot in here! The last picture had been hung up and her great great grandma’s oak step back cupboard looked right at home in the kitchen.
Lovingly she ran her hands over the family motto that was carved into the back. Endure forte. (Suffer bravely)
Into every piece of furniture that had come with the original family from Scotland, there had been a swan carved somewhere into it.
“Things here are settled. Now it is time to put Granny Woman to rights. Time to take my ass to Scotland.
Step right on up,” she grinned and twirled, “and take your best shot! I am coming home!”
The next week Elisabeth spent looking over the paper work that had come across the ocean with old Angus.
Old Angus had kept a journal, of sorts. Mostly he jotted down what he observed around him. There had still been buffalo wallows on the land when the family had arrived. He also sketched out maps.
And noted on the map he had drawn of England/Scotland was that he had been to Stratford Upon Avon and signed his initials on the window in the house where Shakespeare was born. There was a line that went North that connected Stratford Upon Avon with the family crest East of Edinburgh and it went through lots of towns, cities, and places in between.
Tapping the crest with her white-gloved hand she said, “I wonder if that is where that ass-hole the Duke of Lindsay lives?” she muttered to herself. “Well, for some reason, Angus noted this on his map. Maybe I’ll start with Billy Shakespeare and work my way North with lots of stops if things look interesting.”
Carefully, she began going back through Angus’ journal. She was beginning to wonder if perhaps old Angus had been asked to leave the family castle because many thought he was a witch, or wizard, or whatever the hell you called a male with the gift back in the day.
Stepping out of Heathrow, Elisabeth decided she liked the grey skies and drizzle. “Damn, it is June here and you need a little bit of a sweater. Or at least one of the Irish walking hats. I am so buying one of those. Just as soon as I get to the hotel at Piccadilly Circus, I am finding a Marks and Spencer and anyplace else that looks interesting. Maybe I’ll save Harrod’s for tomorrow. Get acclimated and take the lay of the land. Find me an out-of-the-way place that serves the locals and fish and chips and mushy peas.”
Later that afternoon, with her red hair and freckles and grey eyes, now decked out in a Scottish mill Lindsay tartan jacket, Elisabeth looked at home as she strolled though London and stopped to get her bearings on which theatre she would be attending, tonight.
Two days later, she was taking the tour of Shakespeare’s birth place. Elisabeth walked through the home of one of the greatest literary minds, ever, and took a photo of the initials A. L. L. that had been scratched into a window.
“That’s interesting, now just what did Angus use to scratch his initials with? The docent said it was noted that several used a diamond ring or diamond stick pin to write on the windows. Would old Angus have had a diamond? And if so, what happened to it?”
Leaning in she said to the glass, “Speak to me, tell me about old Angus!”
Standing back, she took another photo. “So, old glass here does not speak, either. Figures,” she smiled and winked at the initials.
“Oh, the stories I am sure you could tell, starting with Billy and ending with my old Angus. Oh well, another day, perhaps,” she tipped her hat to the window and then started for the outside with the other tourists. The house was closing for the day and she needed a train back to London.
The rain had stopped. She did not care. “Rain is good,” she grinned as she hailed a taxi to take her to the station.
On the bottom floor were the low murmur of voices of the women locking up and then the house became quiet and settled.
The small, exquisite panes in the windows reflected a million different lights through the initials and names carved on them.
A tiny voice said, “Did she say she wanted a story? And yet she did not stay. I do so hope she comes back. We have many stories to tell. Why, we could even tell her about Angus.”
The lights stopped pulsing and the glass once more became clear.
“Trains, nice way to travel,” she sat back and enjoyed her “tea” in the dining car. “Let’s take a look at what I shot today,” as she put her fork down and went through the photos on her camera.
“That’s interesting,” she said as she zoomed in close on the initials. “Yes, you can see the nice even flow when a diamond was used. Just what the hell had old Angus used to write with?”
Zooming in on his initials, she said, “That can not be right…” looking out the window she concentrated on the scenery and then back at her camera for a fresh look. “Those grooves on A.L.L. almost looks like some type of claw that made that….”