The stench of the fires still smoldering clung to Ian’s nostrils. There were bodies scattered, each telling its tale of the violence that had occurred while he was away fighting for the prince of
and for peace. Peace that seemed to be just out of reach. Had he known what he would come home to, the death and destruction of the people he loved, and the land he cherished, he would never have left. He would have stayed and defeated this enemy; whoever they, the merciless cowards that killed innocent women and children, were. As he walked further into the mass of dead lying in the blood soaked grass, he stopped abruptly. The scene before him had caused his legs to freeze as his heart beat wildly out of control. His mind and then his voice yelled a gut wrenching “NO!” at the sight of beautiful red hair now matted with blood. Even in death, even in the carnage surrounding her, she was still beautiful. He fell to his knees and pulled Isabelle, his betrothed into his arms. Scotland
“Wrought the bastards who could slaughter the innocent.” Donald, Ian’s second in command bellowed angrily. Ian effortlessly scooped up the lifeless form of his beautiful Isabelle and held her close to his chest. His men watched as Ian carried the love of his life into the ruin that had once been his keep. A keep that now resembled more a pile of misplaced stones.
He gently placed Isabelle on a hard wood table that sat near the hearth that would burn no more. His men watched in silence as he wiped in vain at the blood left on Isabelle’s temple. He brushed the hair from her face with a gentleness usually hidden. He folded her arms across her breast and carefully opened her clutched fingers. From one hand something fell. Ian recovered the dropped pendant; a silver pendant which held the image of a fist grasping the hilt of a sword. The name “Hawthorne” inscribed above it. Ian held it so tightly, the cold metal dug into the flesh of his palm.
Minutes passed, but to Ian’s loyal followers, it felt more like days. Finally he stood. The man that had been seen leaning over his future wife, caressing her almost reverently looked nothing like the man who stood before them now. Hands fisted at his sides, the look in Ian’s eyes alone could down any worthy adversary, and within their icy depth, the message was clear…..Revenge!!
The old crone sitting in the near distance heard the cry born out of love and hate. She opened the bundle that lay near her and removing herbs and secrets known only to her, tossed them into the fire before her. The fire spurted flames of blues and reds and colors one could not quite put a name to. Her mouth whispered words only she could hear as her hands painted signs into the air. It had begun…..justice.