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Douglas FitzJames

Douglas FitzJames

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Extrapolating from a certain thread that a certain mod is running *pokes the Hope*




The wind blew sleet against the window of his office as Captain FitzJames mused over the reports on his desk, one hand idly rubbing the old scar on his right leg which always ached when the weather was foul; when he was tired he walked with a limp. The hand that rubbed the scar was missing it's little finger, lost instead of his life when Douglas had proven that you could block a sword with your bare hand providing you got the angle right and were very, very lucky.


Time had added more scars to his skin including one that ran along his cheekbone, had peppered his black hair with salt and given him a distinctive white forelock. It hadn't slowed him much however, he still made his living by sword and pistol, and still expected that one day he would die by them. There were many, no doubt, who were surprised that he hadn't done so already.


The door to his office swung inwards admitting a draught and a tall, rangy figure who dragged his heavy cloak off his scarlet coat and stamped the sleet off his boots. "No sign of the blackguard Captain, he must have run for the hills." Broad shoulders shrugged as Sergeant Lauchlan Whitehurst moved to warm himself by the fire without bothering to ask permission.


"Whit, nae heroic chase an' capture frae ye an' yer men?" Douglas replied dryly, manner of speech unchanged over the years. "Ye didna track him through th'wilds an' bring him tae groond?"*


"Weel, we didna hae oor fearless Cap'n wi' us, did we Uncle Dougie?"** Lauchlan replied, mimicking Douglas's accent flawlessly.


"Ye kin stop that wee Lauchie; dinna tak th'piss oota yer Uncle."*** Douglas retorted easily, his voice surprisingly mild.


"It's blowing fit to freeze the balls off a bull out there and dark besides, no one could track a man in that. He didn't get what he came for, that's the important thing." The young man pointed out.


Douglas tilted his head in silent agreement as he regarded his nephew who showed promise to be a good officer one day, perhaps even with a little more sense than his Uncle, who likely would have still been out there in the blizzard.


With James MacBain dead Douglas has been the best man at Fiona's wedding to 'Wee Willy Whitehurst' as Douglas had persisted in calling Charles's brother. With Lochend to support them the couple was assured a comfortable life, even if William had proven to be a wastrel like his brother Charles and Fiona had often sought out her sister or brother in tears. Increasingly it had been her brother she had turned to; they had been close since he had re-appeared in London all those years ago.


Opening the bottom drawer of his desk Douglas withdrew a bottle of whiskey and two glasses and poured a finger of the amber liquid into each. Standing he tried not to limp as he came around the desk and offered one of the glasses to his nephew. "Here, git that inta ye, t'will warm ye better'n ony fire."#


Lauchlan accepted the glass with a tilt of his head as Douglas perched on the edge of his desk and the two men drank in companionable silence, matching cobalt-blue eyes regarding each other across the short distance.


The MacBain blood was strong, that much had been obvious to everyone. Lauchlan's hair was a dark brown not unlike his father William and he had height coming in from both sides, but the rest was pure MacBain. A rangy, lanky build, features that would have been almost pretty if they weren't so angular, long fingers, long lashes and eyes that bizarre shade of deep blue that seemed to be a characteristic of the MacBain males. No one could see Douglas and Lauchlan together and doubt they were family.


They had always been close too, ever since Lauchlan had been born his Uncle had been there for him, taking time out to play with him when his father was busy, making sure he had the adventurous youth a young boy should have. That had grown into a close friendship as Lauchlan had grown into a man, and though both lived busy lives they often shared a bit of time as they did now. Sometimes they talked, sometimes there was no need. Sometimes it was enough just to be.


Still, there were things and people a young man wanted to be out and doing, and after a few minutes Lauchlan threw back the last of the whiskey and set the glass on the mantlepiece. "Thank you Uncle Dougie, but I'd better be going. Elizabeth's expecting me." That was his latest crush, not the first and unlikely to be the last. With a smile and a wink the lanky young man dissapeared out the door to his intended assignation, and Douglas watched him go.


Lauchlan's birth had brought a certain amount of peace to the family. William had stopped blaming Fiona for failing to provide him with an heir, Fiona found a contentment in her marriage and a delight in her son, and while Douglas would never forgive his father for not marrying his mother, he had at last been able to put it behind him. It was true that some things couldn't be changed, that he would never be the Viscount of Lochend, but he could live with that in the knowledge that one day his son would.



* "What, no heroic chase and capture from you and your men? You didn't track him through the wilds and bring him to ground?"

** "Well, we didn't have our fearless Captain with us, did we Uncle Dougie?"

*** "You can stop that, little Lauchie; don't take the piss out of your uncle."

# "Here, get that into you, it will warm you better than any fire."

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The Spring sun was warm but the breeze was still cool as it blew through the blossoms of the trees and the long grass. Wildflowers, encouraged by the return of more clement weather, had grown up and about the stones as they stood in silent monument. Cornflowers and poppies waved gently in the breeze and brushed against the granite and greenstone with their markings, some freshly chiselled, some so old as to be almost unreadable.


A few blossoms drifted down from one of the trees and came to rest at the foot of a stone who's markings were sharp but not new, made to stand out from the background of grey stone by the green moss growing in them.


Douglas Kieran FitzJames

21st November 1653 - 14th February 1677

Greater loyalty hath no man, than to lay down his life for his King


He'd been on duty, and there'd been an assassination attempt. Keen blue eyes had spotted the glint of light on the metal of a rifle-barrel and he'd reacted. The King had been barged out of the way, and Douglas had taken the shot. He'd been a hero, and he'd been a long time dead. Now moss grew on his stone and the blossoms drifted over the grave. Blue eyes slept.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lightning flashed, thunder rumbled and the power went out. Mairi cursed and fumbled for the candle in it's holder and the matches in the drawer, finally getting the taper lit. She could hear the children squealing in fright, working each other up into a state. The younger two had already climbed into the bed of her eldest, but she'd hoped that they'd all go to sleep while the storm raged. Now they would be wide awake again. The history and majesty of an ancient manor house was a grand thing on a fine summer's day when the tourists came to see the grounds, but the cold stone and ancient wiring were a trial on nights like this.


Pushing the door open the light of her candle illuminated three pale faces in the gloom. Rhiannon the youngest was crying. "There noo m'wee bairns, tis ainly an' auld storm." Mairi assured them quietly as she came to sit on the edge of the bed and Rhiannon climbed into her lap. "This auld place haes been here sin th'dawn o' time, yer safe."* She reached out to tousel Robert's hair.


"But there's baen sidhe oot ona nicht like this!"** Her youngest protested from her lap, as the storm threw driving ice against the window. The roads would be blocked beyond the abilities of the snow-plow by morning. Mairi wondered if perhaps she shouldn't tell the children the old stories, but they did love them so.


"But ye ken we're protected here deerlin'. They canna hurt ye."*** She murmured softly as she stroked her daughter's hair.


"Douglas dubh!" The eldest, Siobhan, piped up. "Tell us aboot Douglas dubh Mummy!"**** She knew the story well enough to recite it for her younger siblings, but it was always better when her mother told it.


"Alricht, but get ye aneath th'covers."***** Mairi smiled tiredly and settled herself more comfortably on the edge of the bed.


"Douglas dubh was the son of a Heelan' Laird, noo lang deed, th'man's ainly son. But he were ne'er acknowledged as such, fer his mother wasna th'Laird's wife, but a Sidhe princess that entranced an' bewitched him on Imbolc, an' returned on All Hallows E'en tae leave her bairn wi' his mortal father afore vanishin' intae th'nicht."#


"That bairn grew intae a giant o' a man, tall as Lugh an' fast as a huntin' hawk. He were a fierce warrior an' nae man cuid stand agin' him. Cities fell afore him an' his blade were swifter an' shot were truer than any man alive."##


"He were sworn tae protect th'King o' men, an' did fer many a year, but when th'King aged an' deed his line fell tae disrepute an' in-fichtin', which threatened e'en oor fair lands. That's when Douglas dubh heard his heart's call, an' returned tae th' Heelan's."###


"He wandered far intae th'north, an' that's whaur he met-"


"Aislynn MacConnaugh!" The children chimed in.


"Aye, Aislynn MacConnaugh, yer ain' many times great gran'mother. Her father were deed an' her lands beset by brigands, but none cuid stand afore Douglas dubh. He freed her lands fer her an' she tuik him fer her husband, askin' him tae allus protect her, their bairns an' their lands. Douglas dubh loved Aislynn, an' so he swore, though she didna realise whit she haed speired o' him."^


"They haed many bairns, each o' which grewd up big an' strong like their da, an' he kept his promise, roamin' o'er their estate an' keepin' it safe. Every e'en' he wuid gie out tae th'bluff - the one ye kin see oot yer winda - an' luik o'er their lands. He haed keener een than any mortal an' cuid see all th'way tae their borders frae there. An' ne'er once did any rogue cross 'em."^^


"But Douglas dubh were o' sidhe blood while his wife were mortal, an' all mortal thin's must one dae dee." This was the sad part of the story. "He held his wife as she lay deein', an' when she haed breathed her last breath he went oot tae stand on th'bluff as th'sun were settin', as he allus did. An' that were th'last time awbody saw him."^^^


"But he isna gane. Aislynn is lang deed but his promise tae her still haulds him, an' he still walks oor lands an' protects us, an' he's protectin' ye tonicht." Mairi told her children. "So ye snuggle doon an' gie tae sleep, ye ken yer safe an' th'storm'll be o'er in the mornin'."~


There was a chorus of sleepy agreement, the ritual of the story having worked it's magic, and Rhiannon climbed off her lap and was tucked into bed along with the other two. Mairi gave each child a kiss before she stepped out and closed the door, content that her children would sleep despite the storm. But there was a part of the ritual that even she didn't know about.


Once they heard their mother's steps move away down the hall the children were up from under the covers and pushed in behind the heavy curtains so that they could stand at the window, even though there was nothing to see but darkness and swirling ice. They had to wait for a flash of lightning. The storm was most obliging however, and before long a great bolt lit up the grounds of the manor as though for a split second it was daylight, outlining the bluff in stark sillouhette.


"Kin ye see him? Kin ye see him?"~~ Robert and Rhiannon choruses, jumping up and down at their sister's side. Siobhan had the keenest eyes of the three, the colour of cornflowers and sharp as an eagle's, and they had been focused on the bluff, where in that split second of sharp light the swirling snow had seemed to outline a tall, hazy form in the wildness of the night.


"Aye." She breathed. "I kin see him."~~~


No man is truly dead while his name is yet spoken...



* "There now my little babies, it's only an old storm. This old place has been here since the dawn of time, you're safe."

** "But there's evil fey out on a night like this!"

*** "But you know we're protected here darling. They can't hurt you."

**** "Black Douglas! Tell us about Black Douglas Mummy!"

***** "Alright, but get beneath the covers."

# "Black Douglas was the son of a Highland Lord, now long dead, the man's only son. But he was never acknowledged as such, for his mother wasn't the Lord's wife, but a faerie princess that entrances and bewitched him on Imbolc, and returned on All Hallows Eve to leave her baby with his mortal father before vanishing into the night."

## "That baby grew into a giant of a man, tall as light and fast as a hunting hawk. He was a fierce warrior and no man could stand against him. Cities fell before him and his blade was swifter and shot was truer than any man alive."

### "He was sworn to protect the King of men, and did for many a year, but when the King aged and died his line fell into disrepute and in-fighting, which threatened even our fair lands. That's when Black Douglas heard his heart's call, and returned to the Highlands."

^ "He wandered far into the north, where he met Aislynn MacConnaugh, your own many times great-grandmother. Her father was dead and her lands beset by brigands, but none could stand before Black Douglas. He freed her lands for her and took him as her husband, asking him to always protect her, their children and

their lands. Black Douglas loved Aislynn and so he swore, though she didn't realise what she had asked of him."

^^ "They had many children, each of which grew up big and strong like their father, and he kept his promise, roaming over the estate and keeping it safe. Every evening he would go out to the bluff - the one you can see out your window - and look over their lands. He had keener eyes than any mortal and could see all the way to their borders from there. And never once did any rogue cross them."

^^^ "But Black Douglas was of fey blood while his wife was mortal, and all mortal things must one day die. He held his wife she lay dying, and when she had breathed her last breath he went to stand on the bluff as the sun was setting, as he always did. And that was the last time anybody saw him."

~ "But he isn't gone. Aislynn is long dead but his promise to her still holds him, and he still walks our lands and protects us, and he's protecting you tonight. So you snuggle down and get some sleep, you know you're safe and the storm will be over in the morning."

~~ "Can you see him? Can you see him?"

~~~ "Yes, I can see him."

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