Tag Archive | dragon valley

Beyond Crag na Dun: Crag na dun Time Tour options!

 

 

Achhhhh, alright, Mrs. Graham has requested that we post this advertisement here along with additional information on her business?

 

 

 

craigh_na_dun_time tours

Mrs. Graham is of course the housekeeper for Reverend Wakefield of Inverness, but she has a number of other small business interests as well. She is the leader of the local chapter of Druidic Dancers and Callers, runs a part time business of fortune telling- for more information on personalized tea leaf readings contact her at her private residence in Inverness, and it seems that she is the owner of a small but thriving tour business that specializes in very specialized and unique travel packages. She was quite upset with our initial insistence that Crag na dun does not exist. She has went so far as to threaten us with a libel suit and states that our information could damage her business as well as her professional reputation.

Because of this pending litigation, we feel obligated to give Mrs. Graham equal space in which to defend her claims and thereby promote her business…

Mrs Graham tries to tell Frank

Mrs. Graham insists that Yes, indeed Crag na dun does exist but that it’s secret location is a crucial key to the success of her business. She compares the secrecy of location to that of secret recipes and formulas used by Chefs, food, beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturers. For some time, Mrs. Graham has run a small tour agency that specializes in a very unique type of travel package. Recently, her business has become so popular that she had to take on a number of affiliates and partners to keep up with the enormous demand for these tours.  She is happy to announce that the business has become a huge success, so much so in fact, that even with the addition of these affiliates, they are unable to fulfill some of the requests.

Crag na dun Time Tours would like to apologize for the delays and backlogs in meeting some of their customers’ inquiries and requests. If you are having difficulty contacting them, please be patient and understand that they are making every attempt to expand their business to meet your needs. They would also like to advise that at this time, due to an extremely high volume of travel requests to 1700’s Scotland, they are unable to accept any more reservations for that time period. The waiting list is already quite lengthy and the company has temporarily put a hold on any further travel to that time frame. An added advisement concerning this time frame, and the trips in general: Please read your pre-travel package and contract thoroughly before traveling. Crag na dun Time Tours does not promise or guarantee in any way that you will meet or encounter specific individuals… namely one James Malcom Mackenzie Fraser or any of his various relatives. It seems that a few customers have returned from their trips rather disgruntled and demanding their money back… Crag na dun time Tours has a no refund policy which is spelled out very clearly in the contract!

The company would like to take a moment here to inform travelers that they have refined their travel techniques over the years and successfully managed to break the 200 year time constraint that has plagued travelers for years. They are now able to send you as far back as any stone’s original building. They would like to advise however, that there is a great deal of risk the further back one goes, and they can not make any safety guarantees should you choose to go all the way back to the very beginnings.

The company does regret that it can not provide more 1700’s trips right now but is offering discounts on some other packages that might be of  just as much interest to travelers. While they can not send you to the mid or later 1700s, they do have some limited packages available for late 1600s-early 1700s…this time frame would put you in the era of the first Jacobite Risings and one other somewhat famous rebel… Rob Roy MacGregor?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Roy_MacGregor

rob-roy rob roy 2 Rob roy2 rob_roy_13

They are running a special on early 1300’s packages right now which include the time period of  some other famous Scots, Robert the Bruce and of course, William Wallace.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_the_Bruce

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wallace

Robert_The_Bruce_Crowned_King_of_Scots Robert_I_and_Isabella_of_Mar Robert the Bruce

braveheart

In addition to these packages, the company is running some special promotions in honor of their newest affiliate, Castlerigg Stone Circles near Keswick, England! The Castlerigg circle and nearby town of Keswick have a long and rich history dating back to 3000 BC. Their varied history includes pre-history Druidic times, Roman occupations, Picts, Angles and Saxon invasions, Viking conquests and early Christian monks and monasteries as well as William the Conquerer’s son, William II.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keswick,_Cumbria

lakes castlerigg cumbria

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Moragsoorm long boat Lindisfarne-ep2 vikings-linus-roache-history vikings_gallery7_4-P vikings_gallery7_2-P

Now hopefully this blatant plug for Crag na dun Time Tours will satisy Mrs. Graham and she will drop her pending litigation against us… Please take note, Mrs. Graham that we have even changed the title of the article to include a plug for your company!

 

 

 

First of all before we embark on this journey, we all need to be very clear on one important point. Crag na dun is a fictional Stone Circle created by Diana Gabaldon specifically for the Outlander series! It does not exist anywhere other than in her very creative imagination and the pages of the book. If you are planning to book a tour which includes a visit to “crag na dun”, please be advised in advance that the “crag na dun” you will be visiting will only be a representation of that place.

excerpt from Outlandish Companion regarding whether craigh na dun is a real location.

excerpt from Outlandish Companion regarding whether craigh na dun is a real location.

 

The Stones depicted in the show are Styrofoam and built as part of set design for location shooting.

craigh na dun in show3 Outlander 2014 OUT-101_20131011_EM-0630.jpg

What we are going to explore is some of the many real Stone Circles and ancient sites throughout Scotland and Britain. We will also delve into some other options for time travel… yes, there a great many of them out there! It is speculated an rumored that one could make the trip using various different methods? We’ll touch on a few of them later.  Lastly, we will look at some other time periods that one might end up in when traveling… since that is a truly massive endeavor, we will limit the travel to time frames within the vicinity of Standing Stones or circles in more ancient Britain.

 

Let’s start our journey with the places that Diana mentioned in her references to Craigh na dun.  She mentions Castlerigg, the Clava Cairns near Inverness, and Tomanhurich hill. Now, we are all aware that the mythical craigh na dun is located in the highlands of Scotland somewhere near Inverness? The first circle mentioned is not in this area, but well worth looking into.

 

Castlerigg Stone Circle

 

Castlerigg stone circle is located  in Keswick in  Cumbria  North west England. One of  around 1,300  stone  circles  in  the  British  Isles  and  Brittany, it  was constructed as a part of a  megalithic  tradition that  lasted from 300  to 900 BCE, during  the Late Neolithic and  Early Bronze Ages.

Aside from the more famous Stonehenge, Castlerigg is a site that most of us would immediately identify with when we think of Stone Circles.

You can find more information on it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castlerigg_stone_circle

 

CastleriggStoneCircle(SimonLedingham)Jul2005 Castlerigg_A_Outlier Castlerigg The_Wonders_of_the_World_in_Nature,_Art_and_Mind_Robert_Sears_1843

It is located near Keswick, Cumbria northwest England, so it would not be a plausible location for Craigh na dun. You can see it’s location on the map below, with the Keswick area starred.

Cumbria on map kenswick marked with star

castlerigg-stone-circle2 Druidical_Circle_near_Keswick_in_Cumberland

As I mentioned, while it is not a location for Craigh na dun, it is an excellent representation of a Stone Circle. You might want to keep this site in mind if you prefer to travel back in time to England rather than the highlands of Scotland! It is still well formed with many of the Stones remaining, if that has any bearing on accuracy in determining one’s destination to the past? In fact, it is said that the number of stones is constantly changing. There is a tradition that it is impossible to count the number of stones within Castlerigg; every attempt will result in a different answer. This tradition, however, may not be far from the truth. Due to erosion of the soil around the stones, caused by the large number of visitors to the monument, several smaller stones have ‘appeared’ next to some of the larger stones. Because these stones are so small, they are likely to have been packing stones used to support the larger stones when the circle was constructed and would originally have been buried. Differences in opinion as to the exact number of stones within Castlerigg are usually down to whether the observer counts these small packing stones, or not; some count 38 and others, 42. The ‘official’ number of stones, as represented on the National Trust  information board at the monument, is 40. 

If you could put this site in some context to places and events within the Outlander series, it would be of interest in that is lies in the Lakes district where Jamie Fraser resided as a groom after his release from Ardsmuir Prison. Helwater Estate is located within the Lakes district. It’s location is also in a reasonable vicinity to Northumbria and Hadrian’s Wall, where Roger Wakefield’s Father, Jerry MacKenzie disappeared during World War II while testing a plane for Frank Randall and MI5, the British Intelligence force. 

If one wanted to think about it’s other possible time travel connections to the more ancient past, it is considered much like Stonehenge, a most ancient Druidic worship site. If we look at the nearby village of Keswick and it’s history we can piece together the area’s history from those ancient and unknown druids to it’s strategic importance during Roman occupation with Hadrian’s Wall being in the western part of the county. There are Roman road passing by the present day town.  Several Christian saints preached the Gospel in the north of England in the late 6th and early 7th centuries AD; in Keswick and the surrounding area the most important figures were  St Herbert of Derwentwater and his contemporary St Kentigern.  The former, the pupil and friend of St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, lived as a hermit on an island in Derwentwater, now named after him.  Kentigern, who lived and preached in the area before moving to Wales, is traditionally held to have founded Crosthwaite Church,  which was the parish church of Keswick until the 19th century. 

Keswick’s recorded history starts in the Middle Ages. The area was conquered by the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria in the seventh century, but Northumbria was destroyed by the Vikings in the late ninth. In the early tenth century the British Kingdom of Strathclyde seized the area, and it remained part of Strathclyde until about 1050, when Siward, Earl of  Northumbria, conquered Cumbria. In 1092 William II, son of William the Conqueror, marched north and established the great baronies of Allerdale-below-Derwent, Allerdale-above-Derwent, and Greystoke, the borders of which met at Keswick.   In 1181 Jocelyn of Furness wrote of a new church at Crosthwaite, Keswick, founded by Alice de Romilly, the Lady of Allerdale, a direct descendant of William II’s original barons. In 1189, Richard I granted the rectory of Crosthwaite to the Cistercian order of Fountains Abbey.

During the 13th century, agricultural land around the town was acquired by Fountains and Furness Abbeys. The latter, already prosperous from the wool trade, wished to expand its sheep farming, and in 1208 bought large tracts of land from Alice de Romilly. She also negotiated with Fountains Abbey, to which she sold Derwent Island in Derwentwater, land at Watendlath, the mill at Crosthwaite and other land in Borrowdale. Keswick was at the hub of the monastic farms in the area, and Fountains based a steward in the town, where tenants paid their rents.  Furness also enjoyed profitable rights to the extraction of iron ore.

Now, knowing some of it’s history, you will be a bit better prepared should you decide to use Castlerigg as your time travel portal. If it is extremely powerful, and you are well versed and equipped in the navigation of travel, this portal could land you in the time of Druids, put you close to a Roman Outpost along Hadrian’s Wall, deliver you into the hands of Viking conquerors, or place you in close proximity to early Normans or Christian Monks… take your pick but choose wisely because all of those times could be quite dangerous for an unknown traveler.

 

The second place mentioned by Diana Gabaldon is Clava Cairns near Inverness. This the one more familiar to Outlander fans and followers. 

Clava Cairns near Inverness

The Clava cairn is a type of Bronze Age circular chamber tomb cairn, named after the group of 3 cairns at Balnuaran of Clava, to the east of Inverness in Scotland. There are about 50 cairns of this type in an area round about Inverness. They fall into two sub-types, one typically consisting of a corbelled passage grave  with a single burial chamber linked to the entrance by a short passage and covered with a cairn of stones, with the entrances oriented south west towards midwinter sunset. In the other sub-type an annular ring cairn encloses an apparently unroofed area with no formal means of access from the outside. In both sub-types a stone circle surrounds the whole tomb and a kerb often runs around the cairn. The heights of the standing stones vary in height so that the tallest fringe the entrance (oriented south west) and the shortest are directly opposite it.

Where Clava-type tombs have still contained burial remains, only one or two bodies appear to have been buried in each, and the lack of access to the second sub-type suggests that there was no intention of re-visiting the dead or communally adding future burials as had been the case with Neolithic cairn tombs.

These Stone sites around Inverness would be the most plausible locations for Craigh na dun as they are also located close to Culloden.

Culloden battlefield, a few miles to the east of Inverness attracts a huge number of visitors every each year. But only a few of those visitors realise that only a mile to the south east lies a very different link with the past, every bit as evocative as Culloden and in many ways more tangible, despite dating back to around 2000BC.

The Clava Cairns lie not much more than a cannon shot away from Culloden, and Jacobites fleeing the carnage of the battle may well have passed this way. Yet it is worth remembering that the seemingly huge distance in time back to the very different world of Culloden, some 250 years, is just one sixteenth of the distance we’d have to travel back in time to meet the builders of these cairns.

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/inverness/clavacairns/index.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clava_cairn

2_clava-mc-03_III_05_stone-III_nickb_surrounding-middle-cairn_tma_37429 Balnuaran of clava Clava Cairns clava cairns2 clava cairns3 clava cairns4 Clava20East20Cairn20nr20Inverness-Archaeology- cupandring splitx

 

The third site mentioned by Diana is Tomnahurich Hill.

Tomnahurich   Hill


Tomnahurich Hill – which  means hill  of the  yews -is a rounded tree covered hillock on the outskirts of Inverness, the hill has a wealth of traditions associated  with it, and it is famed as an abode of  the fairies. A modern cemetery now  covers the  hill.

The most enduring tradition connected with the hill is that fiddlers (or a fiddler) were lured into playing at fairy revelry, and emerged after one night beneath the hill to find that hundreds of years had passed in their own world. The story has two basic forms, in one a solitary fiddler falls asleep on the hill and wakes up in an underworld palace. He is made to play all night for the entertainment of the fairy queen, and finally awakes on the shores of the River Ness, later to discover that a hundred years have passed. The other story features two fiddlers and is outlined below:

The Fiddlers of Tomnahurich
Two travelling fiddlers were visiting Inverness looking for places where they could play, while searching for a suitable venue they met an old man in strange clothes, who asked them if they would perform for him. They agreed and followed the old man to the wooden hill of Tomnahurich, just as the sun slipped out of view over the Western horizon. There was an opening in the side of the hill through which they followed the old man into a brightly lit cavern hall, where a great feast was underway. The feast was attended by a host of people, all dressed in colourful finery, and each seeming to have an air of enchantment and beauty about them. They sat down at one of the many tables and preceded to enjoy the fine wine and the rich food served before them.

Tomnahurich HillTomnahurich Hill When it came the time for dancing they played their fiddles and the party got into full swing, each fiddler playing better than they had ever played before. Finally, in what seemed like no time at all, the feast was over and it was time for the fiddlers to leave. Their noble company thanked them, and the old man who had led them into the hillside paid them with a bag of silver and gold coins. The fiddlers left the hill in a fine mood, and walked back towards the centre of Inverness. As they neared the town they saw that everything had changed, where there was once dense woodland buildings now stood, as if they had appeared overnight. All the people they met along the way were dressed in strange looking clothes, and poked fun at the fiddlers ‘old fashioned’ clothing.

The fiddlers decided that they had been enchanted in some strange way and made the return journey to their town. When they arrived they were dismayed to find that everything they knew here had also changed; their homes were no longer occupied and they recognised no one. In despair they ran into the local church where the local priest was in the midst of delivering a sermon. As soon as the priest spoke the word of God both fiddlers crumbled to dust in front of the eyes of the horrified congregation.

The difference in time between this world and the world of the fairy races is an important folklore motif found in many tales about the otherworld. The way the unfortunate fiddlers crumbled to dust after returning to their own world is also often found in folk tales such as that of King Herla.

There are many more traditions associated with the hill, Thomas the Rhymer is said to be buried beneath it, or to live within it, ready to lead an army of men and white steeds to rally Scotland in its hour of need. In Celtic myth Fion trained his dog to lead two of every species of animal around the hill in pairs to unravel enchantment by an Irish enemy.

Directions: The hill is just off the A82, to the West of the River Ness.

http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/scotland/invernesshire/featured-sites/tomnahurich-hill.html

https://graveyardsofscotland.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/fairy-hill/

Besides Thomas the Rhymer’s supposed connection, the Brahan Seer is also connected to this Fairy hill, now cemetery. So, while there are no Stone Circles to be found here, you may still be able to travel through time at this site due it’s Fairy connections… I would be hesitant about using this one however, as the Fairy connection might even more risky than just time travel? I do suppose though if one was brave enough to try it, it might be an enlightening experience. 

305BrahanSeer

tomnahurich-graveyard-inverness-83 tomnahurich-graveyard-inverness-11 tomnahurich-graveyard-inverness-19 Tomnahurich Hill

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_the_Rhymer

Of course we can not bring up Thomas the rhymer without mention of the fairy realm!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy

Thomas the rhymer be Katherine Cameron

Thomas the rhymer be Katherine Cameron

The Eildon Hills where Thomas the rhymer supposedly met the past

The Eildon Hills where Thomas the rhymer supposedly met the past

In some legends, Guinivere is referred to as a fairy

In some legends, Guinivere is referred to as a fairy

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The next site on our journey keeps coming up in any search for Craigh na dun or Standing Stones so I am going to include here as well. If you search the internet for Craigh na dun, one of the first sites listed is a link to Megalithic Portal and Callinish4.  The link is a bit of a let down as it is just one quick picture and an answer to the query of what Craigh na dun looks like?

Callinish  Standing Stones

 

http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=1146411369

callanishiv1a

The photo posted on Megalithic Portal was impressive and led us to visit the Callinish Stones directly!

The Callinish Standing Stones are located on the Isle of Lewis and are one of several stone sites on that island. The Isle of Lewis is located in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

The Outer Hebrides (Scottish Gaelic: Na h-Eileanan Siar, IPA: [nə ˈhelanən ˈʃiəɾ]) also known as the Western Isles and the Long Island, and as Innse Gall in Gaelic is an island chain off the west coast of mainland Scotland.   The islands are geographically coextensive with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, one of the 32 unitary council areas of Scotland. They form part of the Hebrides, separated from the Scottish mainland and from the Inner Hebrides by the waters of the Minch, the Little Minch and the Sea of the Hebrides. Scottish Gaelic is the predominant spoken language, although in a few areas English speakers form a majority.

Most of the islands have a bedrock formed from ancient metamorphic rocks and the climate is mild and oceanic. The 15 inhabited islands have a total population of 27,400  and there are more than 50 substantial uninhabited islands. From Barra Head to the Butt of Lewis is roughly 210 kilometres (130 mi).

There are various important prehistoric structures, many of which pre-date the first written references to the islands by Roman and Greek authors. The Western Isles became part of the Norse kingdom of the Suðreyjar, which lasted for over 400 years until sovereignty was transferred to Scotland by the Treaty of Perth in 1266. Control of the islands was then held by clan chiefs, principal of whom were the MacLeods, MacDonalds, Mackenzies and MacNeils. The Highland Clearances of the 19th century had a devastating effect on many communities and it is only in recent years that population levels have ceased to decline. Much of the land is now under local control and commercial activity is based on tourism, crofting, fishing, and weaving.

Sea transport is crucial and a variety of ferry services operate between the islands and to mainland Scotland. Modern navigation systems now minimise the dangers but in the past the stormy seas have claimed many ships. Religion, music and sport are important aspects of local culture, and there are numerous designated conservation areas to protect the natural environment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Hebrides

hebrides-map callinish stones

map isle of lewis2 map isle of lewis lewis mapka callinish stones

The Callinish Stones are one of the most famous Stone sites in Scotland and closely comparable to Stonehenge in England.  They date back as far as 3000 BC. 

There were limited excavations in 1980-1 which provided some information on the development of the site. The first traces of human activity are indicated by a broad ditch (no longer visible above ground) which appears to have belonged to some structure or enclosure.  This may have been ritual, but could instead have been domestic.  In the centuries around 3000 BC, however, the site was turned over to agriculture which obliterated most of the earlier traces.   After this, the site was allowed to grass over for a time.

The stone circle was set up between 2900 and 2600 BC.   It is not clear whether the stone alignments were constructed at the same time as the circle, or later.  Some time after the erection of the stones, a small chambered tomb was inserted into the eastern part of the stone circle.   The many pottery fragments found indicate that the tomb was used for several centuries.  These pottery fragments included not only the local Hebridean pots, but numerous sherds of beaker vessels (dating to around 2000-1700 BC) and sherds of grooved ware.

Around 1500-1000 BC the complex fell out of use and was despoiled by the later Bronze Age farmers.  Fragments of pots appear to have been cast out of the chamber.  This may have been just ordinary agriculture, but it may conceivably have been ritual cleansing.  There appears to have been a later rebuilding of the tomb, but this may have been for domestic use as there is no evidence for any later ritual use of the monument.  Between 1000 BC and 500 BC the stones were covered by a thick layer of turf. It is estimated that the place was abandoned around 800 BC.  Only in 1857 was the overlying 1.5 metres of peat removed.

callinish stones2 callinish stones3 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA callinish stones6 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA stones-of-callanish-lewis1

The Callanish Stones consist of a stone circle of thirteen stones with a monolith near the middle. Five rows of standing stones connect to this circle. Two long rows of stones running almost parallel to each other from the stone circle to the north-northeast form a kind of avenue. In addition, there are shorter rows of stones to the west-southwest, south and east-northeast. The stones are all of the same rock type, namely the local Lewisian gneiss. Within the stone circle is a chambered tomb to the east of the central stone.

Centre stone

The central monolith stands 0.8 metres west of the true centre of the stone circle. The stone is 4.8 metres high, 1.5 metres wide and 0.3 metres thick.  The largest sides of the stone are almost perfectly oriented to the north and south. The monolith has the shape of a ship’s rudder and probably weighs about seven tonnes.

Stone circle

The stone circle consists of thirteen stones and has a diameter of 11.4 metres. The stone circle is not a perfect circle, but is a ring with a flattened east side (13.4 metres north-south by 12 metres east-west). The stones have an average height of three metres. The ring covers an area of 124 square metres. This is quite small compared to similar circles, including the nearby Callanish II which is 2.5 times as large.

Northern avenue

The avenue connects to the stone circle from the north-northeast. The avenue is 83.2 metres long.  The avenue has 19 stones remaining: nine stones are on the eastern side, ten on the western side.  The largest stone is 3.5 metres high and stands on the western end of the row. The two rows are not exactly parallel to each other but fan out: at the north end the rows are 6.7 metres apart, while the distance between the rows is 6 metres at the south end.  From the circle the height of the stones decreases towards the middle of the avenue; from there the height increases again. The stones of the eastern side of the avenue have only three-quarters of the height of the stones on the western side.

Stone rows

As well as the two stone rows of the avenue, there are three stone rows connecting to the circle. One comes from the east-northeast, one from the south, and one from the west-southwest. The east-northeast row today consists of five stones and is 23.2 metres long.  The southern row consists of five stones and is 27.2 metres long.  The west-southwest row consists of four stones and is 13 metres long.

None of the stone rows is aimed at the centre of the stone circle. The east-northeast row is aligned to a point 2 metres south of the centre; the south row points to 1 metre west of the centre and the west-southwest row points to 1 metre south of the centre.

Chambered tomb

 Chambered tomb

Between the central and the eastern monolith of the stone circle is a chambered tomb 6.4 metres long.  This was built later than the stone circle and is squashed in between the eastern stones and the central monolith.

There is another stone cairn just on the northeast side of the stone circle.  It has been reduced to ground-level and the outline can barely be traced.  It is not necessarily an original part of the site.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callanish_Stones

Callanish I is just one of over twenty megalithic sites on Lewis.

The stones are intricately connected to the landscape, as with many megalithic ceremonial complexes.  in the case of Callanish I, the stones share  an intimate relationship with both the range of hills known as the ‘sleeping beauty’ or the ‘old woman of the moors’. When the moon reaches it’s southern extreme each 18.6 years it is seen to rise from behind the sacred hill range and skim the horizon for four hours till it gently sets again behind the Harris hills. This range of hills are as much a part of the monuments as the stones themselves.

http://ancient-wisdom.co.uk/scotlandcallanish.htm

The Callenish Stones, their history and their location make them an excellent candidate for any type of  ancient time travel. A few things to consider about traveling through at this site… They are probably quite powerful and would most likely take you very back in history.  There is most likely a Druidic connection to them, as with many of the circles? If you are choosing this site, you should prepare for the travel by brushing up on your most ancient Gaelic languages along with your Gaelic and Celtic history. A study of ancient Norse traditions and their migration to this area would be highly advised as well. When I talk about ancient Norse, I am not referring to the Viking migration… I am referring to the Norse migrations that took place even earlier than that!

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/?s=Norse+migration+to+Scotland

 

Now, obviously with over 1300 ancient Stone site throughout the British Isles and Brittany, there is no possible way that we can touch on all of them here! I am going to present two more sites that I feel are important and worth considering as possible transport points for any time travel destinations that you might have. I am not going to touch on Stonehenge here because it is so obvious and famous that it really needs no further detailed exploration by us!  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehenge

As you can see on the maps, Stonehenge is located in southern England and if you are a well experienced and trained time traveler, you could probably use this portal to get to any time period in England that you are interested in traveling to!

stonehenge Stonehenge-Map-United-Kingdom-2la3ar5 StonehengeMap

 

If you are looking for another spot that might be connected to Outlander, I would highly suggest that you head to the isle of Orkney. There is much mystery surrounding this isle in the books. It is speculated that Geillis Duncan was involved in archaeology research there along with Rob Cameron.

Rob Cameron and the Orkneys Echo in the bone

Excerpt from Echo in the bone regarding Rob Cameron’s connection to the Orkneys

 

There are rumors that Master Raymond may have some connection to the isle as well! Diana Gabaldon has given clues to Master Raymond’s past in sharing some of her writings on her facebook page. She also commented on her interest in Orkney Isles in an interview with National Geographic.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/08/140808-outlander-scotland-orkney-islands-stonehenge-neolithic/

 

Orkney Islands

 The Orkney Islands have a long and colourful history. It is no exaggeration to say that the isles are a place where this history remains a part of everyday life.

Every corner of the islands has its ancient monuments, most of them in a remarkable state of repair.

For thousands of years, people have lived and worked in Orkney.

From the stone age Orcadians, who left a legacy of monuments that continue to inspire today, through to the Vikings, who took the islands in the ninth century and made them the centre of a powerful Earldom and part of the kingdom of Norway, and beyond.

The Orkney islands are covered with monuments that stand as constant reminders of the events and people that have gone before.

Houses and tombs dating back 5,000 years share the landscape with Bronze Age cemeteries, standing stones, 2,000 year old brochs, viking ruins, medieval churches and Renaissance palaces.

Our history is therefore not something that exists only in schoolbooks, or in the thoughts of academics.

Orkney’s history and heritage is everywhere – an intricate tapestry of events stitched into the very fabric of the islands themselves. Orcadians have a connection with this history – events that were witnessed by their ancestors many generations ago.  The past is alive and remains part of everyday life, albeit unconsciously.

http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/

Skara bra orkney Orkney island skara brae map Skara bra orkney orkney_1 Orkney standing stones

The entirety of Orkney is filled with ancient sites which deserve much mention but for right now, we will concern ourselves with Standing Stones and Stone Circles. On the main island you will find the Ring of Brodgar.

Ring_of_Brodgar,_Orkney

The Ring of Brodgar (or Brogar, or Ring o’ Brodgar) is a Neolithic henge and stone circle in Orkney, Scotland. Most henges do not contain stone circles; Brodgar is a striking exception, ranking with Avebury (and to a lesser extent Stonehenge) among the greatest of such sites.  The ring of stones stands on a small isthmus between the Lochs of Stenness and Harray. These are the northernmost examples of circle henges in Britain.  Unlike similar structures such as Avebury, there are no obvious stones inside the circle,  but since the interior of the circle has never been excavated by archaeologists, the possibility remains that wooden structures, for example, may be present. The site has resisted attempts at scientific dating and the monument’s age remains uncertain. It is generally thought to have been erected between 2500 BC and 2000 BC, and was, therefore, the last of the great Neolithic monuments built on the Ness.  A project called The Ring of Brodgar Excavation 2008 was undertaken in the summer of that year in an attempt to settle the age issue and help answer other questions about a site that remains relatively poorly understood.  The results of the excavation are still preliminary.

The stone circle is 104 metres (341 ft) in diameter, and the third largest in the British Isles.  The ring originally comprised up to 60 stones, of which only 27 remained standing at the end of the 20th century. The tallest stones stand at the south and west of the ring, including the so-called “Comet Stone” to the south-east.  The stones are set within a circular ditch up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) deep, 9 metres (30 ft) wide and 380 metres (1,250 ft) in circumference that was carved out of the solid sandstone bedrock by the ancient residents.[7] Technically, this ditch does not constitute a true henge as there is no sign of an encircling bank of earth and rock. Many archaeologists continue to refer to this structure as a henge; for example, Aubrey Burl classifies the ditch as a Class II henge; one that has two opposing entrances, in this case on the north-west and south-east.

The ditch appears to have been created in sections, possibly by workforces from different parts of Orkney. The stones may have been a later addition, maybe erected over a long period of time.

Examination of the immediate environs reveals a concentration of ancient sites, making a significant ritual landscape. Within 2 square miles (5.2 km2) there are the two circle-henges, four chambered tombs, groups of standing stones, single stones, barrows, cairns, and mounds.[9] The immediate area has also yielded a number of flint arrowheads and broken stone mace-heads that seem to date from the Bronze Age.  Although its exact purpose is not known, the proximity of the Standing Stones of Stenness and its Maeshowe tomb make the Ring of Brodgar a site of major importance. The site is a scheduled ancient monument and has been recognized as part of the “Heart of Neolithic OrkneyWorld Heritage Site in 1999.

The Orkney Isles are connected to the Norse migration and are mentioned in more ancient texts by the Romans as well.

Nordic rites

 Invaders from Scandinavia reached Orkney by the 9th century, bringing a complex theology that they imposed on the preexisting Orcadian monuments; at least according to local legend. For example, the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness were allegedly known as the Temple of the Sun and Moon respectively.  Young people supposedly made their vows and prayed to Wōden at these “temples” and at the so-called “Odin Stone” that lay between the stone circles until it was destroyed by a farmer in 1814.  Others view these fanciful names with scepticism; Sigurd Towrie suggests that “they were simply erroneous terms applied by the antiquarians of the 18th or 19th centuries – romantic additions, in the same vein as the infamous “Druid’s Circle” and “Sacrificial Altar”.”  At the very least, several of the stones at Brodgar contain runic carvings that were left by Nordic peoples.  These include the name “Bjorn” and a small cross as well as an anvil.
One other important site to mention in regards to the Orkney Isles is Skara Brae. While it is not a Stone circle, it is one of the most ancient sites on the isle and probably one of the most intriguing and fascinating sites for any historian!
Orkney island skara brae mapSkara bra orkney
skara brae5 skara brae4 skara brae3 Skara bra orkney
The history and research of Skara Brae are so interesting and there are so many unknown facts surrounding that even I would love to travel through time to see it’s past!
Further excavations followed and, between 1928 and 1930, the dwellings we see today were released from their protective cocoons. At the time, the village was thought to be an Iron Age settlement, dating from around 500BC — but this was no Pictish village.

Radiocarbon dating in the early 1970s confirmed that the settlement dated from the late Neolithic — inhabited for around 600 years, between 3200BC and 2200BC.

There is no way that I can cover all of the history and research going on at Skara Brae here but it is so important that you really should check it out!

You may have noticed that all of these sites have connections to a far more distant past than Claire or other travelers in Outlander were able to go to… other than possibly, Master Raymond or Comte St. Germain. References were made in the Novella, The Space Between, of both of them having traveled further into the past- though just how far, we are not sure of as yet? Or, it could be a case of them traveling back and forth between more ancient pasts and futures. The standard ability within Outlander was cited as about 200 years, though it was thought that perhaps the use of stones, fire or other such tools might take one further? There was also a thought that one could travel easier if they had a particular person set in mind when making the trip. That could be confusing and not so reliable though either. Roger Wakefield had the thought of his son, Jemmy- Jeremiah MacKenzie when he set out on one of his travels… he inadvertently ended up in the far long past where his Father, Jeremiah MacKenzie was!

I believe that we need to consider the thought that it would be possible to travel all the way back to any time that the specific Stone site was already there. Most of the sites are truly ancient so that includes a vast amount of time to choose from. In planning one’s trip back to the past, it is important to be well versed in the various stones and or other tools that might refine one’s destination time. I would not advise a casual trip yet at this time as most of us do not know enough about those tools so it would be difficult at best to precisely determine when we would land?  The majority of us also do not have the time travel genetic trait that those in Outlander are endowed with, so travel through the Stones might not be our best option at this point.

In the beginning of this journey, I did mention that we would touch on a few other options that might be available as far as time travel. Let’s discuss one of those theories now, since it does involve ancient sites in Scotland and it also makes reference to some of the Standing Stones and circles.  for this exploration, you will need to set aside your Outlander frame of reference and belief system because we are going to look at from a completely different focus. While this exploration of time travel approaches it from a different perspective, the results are still the same in that you land back into a long ago past.

This journey involves another of ancient sites in Scotland- one that perhaps does not get quite so much famed attention as others- but should! We are going to visit Dunadd Castle and Earthworks. Dunadd, (Scottish Gaelic Dún Add, ‘fort on the [River] Add’), is an Iron Age and later hillfort near Kilmartin in Argyll and Bute, Scotland and believed to be the capital of the ancient kingdom of Dál Riata.

Originally occupied in the Iron Age, the site later became a seat of the kings of Dál Riata. It is known for its unique stone carvings below the upper enclosure, including a footprint and basin thought to have formed part of Dál Riata’s coronation ritual. On the same flat outcrop of rock is an incised boar in Pictish style, and an inscription in the ogham script. The inscription is read as referring to a Finn Manach and is dated to the late 8th century or after.

Dunadd is mentioned twice in early sources. In 683 the Annals of Ulster record: ‘The siege of Dún At and the siege of Dún Duirn‘ without further comment on the outcome or participants. In the same chronicle the entry for 736 states:  ‘Aengus son of Fergus, king of the  Picts,  laid waste the territory of Dál Riata and seized Dún At and burned Creic and bound in chains two sons of Selbach, i.e. Donngal and Feradach.

The site was occupied after 736, at least into the 9th century. It is mentioned twice in later sources, suggesting that it retained some importance. In 1436, it is recorded that “Alan son of John Riabhach MacLachlan of Dunadd” was made seneschal of the lands of Glassary; the chief place of residence of the MacLachlans of Dunadd lay below the fort. In June 1506, commissioners appointed by James IV, including the earl and bishop of Argyll, met at Dunadd to collect rents and resolve feuds.

The site is an Ancient Monument, under the care of Historic Scotland, and is open to the public.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunadd

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/kilmartin/dunadd/index.html

argyl 1024px-Dunadd-Hillfort-DescriptiveAndMap 1024px-Dunadd-Hillfort-CarvedPathway 800px-Scotland_Dunadd

The area of Kilmartin and Dunnad are rich in Celtic history and have connections with the Norse migration, the Picts early residence in the area, the migration from Ireland/Erin to Scotland, as well as Druidic history. If one wanted to learn more about how all of those events interconnected and shaped the future of Scotland, one would certainly want to explore the history of this area!

We are able to do this with the assistance of another time traveler who made the trip back to Dunnad’s highpoint shortly before it’s destruction and takeover by the Picts.  Maggie Griggs makes the trip back in time in Veil of Time  by Claire R. McDougall.

Veil of Time

A compelling tale of two Scotlands-one modern, one ancient-and the woman who parts the veil between them.

The medication that treats Maggie’s seizures leaves her in a haze, but it can’t dull her grief at losing her daughter to the same condition. With her marriage dissolved and her son away at school, Maggie retreats to a cottage below the ruins of Dunadd, once the royal seat of Scotland. But is it fantasy or reality when she awakens in a bustling village within the massive walls of eighth-century Dunadd? In a time and place so strange yet somehow familiar, Maggie is drawn to the striking, somber Fergus, brother of the king and father of Illa, who bears a keen resemblance to Maggie’s late daughter. With each dreamlike journey to the past, Maggie grows closer to Fergus and embraces the possibility of staying in this Dunadd. But with present-day demands calling her back, can Maggie leave behind the Scottish prince who dubs her mo chridhe, my heart?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18144050-veil-of-time

Now, while the area of Dunnad and Kilmartin are filled with ancient Stone circles and Standing Stones, Maggie did not make use of them for her trip through time. They were an integral part or mechanism for her travel though as she had not experienced the time travel previously to her visit to Dunadd as an adult.  Also, the Druidess priestess and others she met in the past seemed to feel that the Stones were responsible for her travel as well as for any number of other events. Maggie was suffering from a number of traumatic events in life and decided to spend some time by herself in an isolated cottage at the base of the Dunnad hill fort.  She is working on her doctoral thesis- on the history of Witchcraft in Scotland and trying to finish it before facing a life altering and possible mind altering major operation to cure her of her epileptic seizures. It seems that the combination of the seizures and what ever mystical properties might be at this area are initially the trigger to send her back through time to the year 735 when Dunnad was at the height of it’s importance in history.

Maggie’s account of her travel through time- whether in her mind, or in actual travel- is an excellent in depth account of  early history that includes Druids, Picts, Norse, Scots, Irish and also the early Christian Monks as they all fought to maintain their long histories and gain control of this area. It provides a well thought out and highly detailed description of  the epileptic seizures and their affects on one’s brain. The book also brings up the controversial thoughts on the idea of time itself and whether it would even be possible to travel through time. It leaves one with thoughts of whether she had actually traveled or whether she was experiencing it all in her mind and fabricating it. She came back from each trip though knowing far too many little known facts about the history of the area to have simply imagined it all as she first thought.  One possible explanation- in my mind- is that in some ways it felt as though she was experiencing a form of past life regression or dreams. While many would argue that the past life regression theory would not constitute time travel, my personal thought is that it is indeed a form of time travel, in the most personal of ways.  Many people scoff at the notion of reincarnation or past lives, but as far as this discussion goes… it is no more impossible, improbable or implausible than the entire notion of time travel!  As far as this form of travel goes, it would be limited to those times and places which we have already experienced at some point and there would be no opportunities to truly change the outcome of that history? Unless of course, we went as Maggie did, and retained some of our present time consciousness.

What ever your personal thoughts on all of it are, I would still recommend that you make the journey with Maggie back to the pre-history days of Dunnad. The historical information within the book is well documented and researched, and it provides us with a highly detailed picture of the place. As to her work on her thesis in the present day, I was just as fascinated with that research as with the history of Dunnad!

site record for dunadd fort

standing stone sites near Dunnad

standing stone sites near Dunnad

Kilmartin pre-history tour

Kilmartin pre-history tour

Kilmartin ancient grave slabs

Kilmartin ancient grave slabs

ancient footprint at Dunnad

ancient footprint at Dunnad

Standing Stone at Dunnad

Standing Stone at Dunnad

carved rocks at Dunnad hill fort

carved rocks at Dunnad hill fort

dunadd-fort4 Dunadd_Seat_of_Dalriatic_Kings_by_younghappy

dunadd fort water well dunadd boar carving

Dunnad artifacts

Dunnad artifacts

Dunnad artifacts

Dunnad artifacts

Dunnad artifacts

Dunnad artifacts

artifacts from dunadd excavations 1024px-Dunadd_Fort_Pictish_type_boar_carving

 

stone with cup and ring marks near by Dunnad

stone with cup and ring marks near by Dunnad

 

Now you have some idea of  places  that you could feasibly travel through the Stones on the British Isles, if using the Stones is your preferred method of travel. Maggie Oliver provided us with another possibility for travel options… I am of the opinion that you would not necessarily need to be afflicted with Epilepsy to experience this method? Possibly, you just need to go deep into your mind dig through what’s there hiding and then place yourself in some area that calls to you for the subconscious reason that you should answer that call? It would be a matter of placing yourself at the right place and then letting your mind focus on where and when it wants to go.  There are so many numerous other options mentioned out there that it would be impossible to list them all! Some options require being involved in a traumatic event that places your current life in danger, thereby reeling you into some past, “safer” life… though from everything I have read, that “safer” past is always debatable and highly questionable! Other methods of travel depend on natural phenomenon or disasters as a trigger mechanism, once again rather dangerous and with little means of control over when you leave, and no control over where and when your destination is! There are theoretical methods which involve the use of machines for transport… if you happen to find one of these, please let the rest of us know! And, of course, some methods involve spells, magic and the help of fairies… again, if you find those, please let us know so we can sign up!  So, it would seem that as far as plausibility goes, the Stones or the mind travel connections might actually be your safest chance!

 

Once you have made your decision to go, you need to think about your destination… both the when and the where would be highly advisable! As I’ve mentioned before, Various time periods around any given site could land you in vastly different circumstances. You should do as much research as possible  into the history of what ever site you choose.  This way, if your timing is not quite as accurate as you expected, you will at least have some idea what you are facing in the area.  This guide is specific to the British Isles, so you should prepare yourself by knowing as much as possible about the history of the British Isles- from the earliest pre-history of when the Stones were presumably created, through the various time periods significant to a Stone site’s general area. You could theoretically encounter anything from early stone age, to Druids, Picts, early Norse inhabitants, Roman conquerors,  Angles and Saxons in conquest, later Viking conquests, on to  Norman invasions, any number of upheavals and unrest as later rules sought control over the Isle… It is a vast array of historical events that you could mistakenly arrive in and you should be somewhat prepared!

My observations have led me to the thought that it always the unprepared ones who have the most difficulty and at times cause the most calamity or chaos… One other thought to remember? Do not go with assumptions or ideas that you are going to change the course of history! That idea seldom works has the most potential for harm to yourself or your future… you do plan to eventually return to the future, don’t you? Well, then again, maybe not… maybe this is going to a permanent move for you. If it is going to be permanent though, that does not mean that you should have no regard for the future of everyone else!

 

This concludes our guide to Stone Sites and travel options. For those of you still debating on an era to travel to, I will be providing an additional information session on some early time periods that you might be interested in viewing. In our next upcoming guide to the early history, we will be exploring the Norse migration into England…. No, not the earliest Norse migration into outlying Scottish Islands, but the later migration of the Vkings. There is a difference, and we will focus on the Viking experience! The best way to experience it is to immerse yourself in it from their point of view!

http://www.history.com/shows/vikings

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Behind the Scenes: Update on Dunvegan Castle progess!

The current story line involving Eric and Reina required both indoor and outdoor scenes for filming. Rather than attempt to build a whole set for those scenes, I chose to incorporate them into the Dunvegan Castle build! The indoor set of Reina’s death was done in the lower level of the Castle. It was designed to portray the ancient cottage room in the Fairie village where Eric’s family sought sanctuary. It worked fine for that, and now that those scenes are complete, it will be a part of the old Castle rooms. It will represent what the oldest parts of the Castle would have looked like as a sleeping and private chamber for the first Clan leaders who lived there. In addition to this room, there will eventually be an old kitchen and work room as well as an old entry room.

Screenshot-13 Screenshot-12

 

These areas are based on information and one picture from the real Castle that I used for inspiration!

inside dunvegan16

 

In my adaption of the Castle for story purposes, I am trying to incorporate some real aspects of the Castle into it. During the present day,  Eric, Brennie and Svein are working on renovating the Castle and grounds, and having it open to the public for historical tours. Those tours would include these older sections and some background on what the Castle would have looked like before it became a Castle!

 

The outdoor scenes were filmed along the river bank below the Castle. That area now includes a memorial to Reina, which we will see in an upcoming episode!

Screenshot-11 Screenshot-9 Screenshot-8 Screenshot-7 Screenshot-3

 

A preview of the upcoming episode where Eric says his final farewell to loved ones.

Eric's final farewell to loved ones

previous episode: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/eleanors-journal-78-reinas-reason-a-cry-from-beyond/

next episode of Dunvegan Castle progress;  https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/behind-the-scenes-finally-some-progress-on-dunvegan-castle/

 

 

Eleanor’s Journal 76: Bonds of trust and friendship forged

previous post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/eleanors-journal-75-a-warriors-training/

Bonds of trust and friendship forged

The dragon sword

             Eric found that the only way to survive this new life he had chosen was to close off his mind from everything else save what he needed to learn. It was not easy in the beginning and he would often have to force his thoughts away from his family and that place he had called home once. Artorius would grimly remind him of what was most important by drawing blood with his sword. The wounds were not deadly but the pain would immediately bring his mind to the present. Artorius was cold and brutal in his lessons with Eric. He would bring him to ground with blade to his throat and calmly comment,

            “Ahhh I did not save your life only to have you waste it because you are foolish! Just because you have Vampyre blood now does not mean you can not die again in battle. Would you prefer to lie out on some field in bright sunlight, your blood draining out from you and your skin frying through to the bone? Remember please, if you lose your head, you lose your life. Do not think you are invincible just because of your blood. There are still a great many painful ways for you to die.”

Sword lessons

              Eric was not foolish, nor was he stupid… Over confident at times, yes, but he was learning to control that as well. He learned to be a Roman soldier because he needed to survive, it was as simple as that. He had no loyalty to the Romans, and he slowly discovered that Artorius had little of that either. Artorius’ loyalties were owed to some other power that went far beyond that of Rome or the Vampyres. Artorius followed Rome because some other source set his path for him. Now, in these unsettled times, this other allegiance was setting his course. Eric knew of this only because of missives and messengers who would arrive in silence and disappear as quickly as they had come. He had watched just as silently and knew that there was something else going on that had little to do with the Romans.

             Finally, one night he summoned his courage to broach the subject with Artorius. They were in Artorius’ sword room, where most evenings were spent. It was a constant process, keeping the weapons clean and ready for use, as well as the gear for the horses. Artorius was teaching Eric the necessities of these chores… which naturally involved Eric doing much of the work while Artorius supervised. His attention to detail was exacting and he never failed to point out the slightest nick or dullness on a sword. Eric was just as much of a perfectionist in these things as Artorius and was by now as well skilled as his teacher, but he most often would remain silent and allow the man to go on with his instructions even though he knew full well what needed to be done. It was during these times that Artorius would let his guard down, allow his cold blooded warrior demeanor to slip away, and they would talk as friends. Friends, that was what they were becoming.

              It was a deep seated friendship based not on blood, not on necessity, or community. It came from the realization that they respected each other, they shared common interests and values, for all of their differences, they like each other and they trusted each other. It was for this reason that Eric felt he needed to know more, he needed to know what was going on. He felt is was a matter of trust between them, that Artorius should be willing to trust him with what ever this secret was. It bothered him greatly that Artorius had not trusted him enough to share this with him.

Screenshot-9

              Eric put the last sword down and stared again as he always seemed to, at the sword on the wall. His attention was always grabbed by the sight of that sword and the red dragon shields surrounding it. It was not a sword that was ever used, but hung there more as a symbol, a seal of something for Artorius. Often, he would enter the room to find Artorius staring at it in thought, or in some reverence… speaking quietly to it as though he were offering prayers of some sort. Eric though that whatever Artorius’ secret was, it had to with this sword. So, on that night when he turned his eye from the sword and found Artorius still staring at it in that way, he found his voice and asked his friend about it. “What is this Sword and shield to you? What does it mean?” He asked the questions softly, not really expecting any answer. On a few other occasions, he had asked casually and received no answer save, “Someday, I will tell you.”

Screenshot-5

              This night, he asked more seriously with a manner of needing an answer. Artorius turned to him and did answer him this time.  “The time has come my friend for you to know, I think. Go find us some of that stronger wine and I will tell you of this Sword and what it means for both of us.”

              Eric quickly returned with a jug of the strong blood wine that he had begun to acquire such a taste for. As they shared the wine, Artorius shared the story of the Sword and of the secrets it held.  “It has nothing to do with the Romans.” He nodded his head, “Well, I should reword that, it has all to do with the Romans, and their leaving of this Isle.” He turned to look again at the Sword and paused for a moment to take a drink of the wine. “The Sword and the Shield are that of the one who will lead us after the Romans depart. It is of the one who will help us to be rid of the Romans in this place.” Artorius turned from the Sword to Eric and spoke softly and calmly. “As I have told you before, the leaving of the Romans will not be peaceful. In order for this entire Isle and it’s people not to be laid to total ruin and devastation, it will require a strong and just Warrior who can band the people together to fight as one to defeat the Romans.”

             Eric nodded, yes he had mentioned of this before but what did it all mean? He asked Artorius now of what was happening, what was going on behind the backs of the Romans?  Artorius smiled and nodded at Eric. “Yes, I know that you are wondering, you are suspicious of what is going on, yes? I only waited to tell you of all until I was sure of everything, and until I could be sure of your family’s safety before it all takes place.”

            Eric showed his surprise and his concern at the mention of his family. He had tried not to think of them, the young women who were in such danger and may not even have survived their captures.   Now, Artorius held out a hand to him, gripped it tightly and went on to reassure him of their safety. “Rest easy on that count for now, friend. I have found them all and they will soon be safely returned to the sanctuary of the Fairies.”

            When Eric stepped in to insist on seeing them, Artorius was firm in his denial of that. No, it would not be safe to bring the women here, nor would it be safe or wise for that matter now, for Eric to venture north to see them. Eric was needed here for the battles to come and must set his mind to rest that the young women were safe.

             Artorius did  begin to share the fates of the women with Eric though, and shook his head at their stories. “I can assure you that the women of your family appear to be just as strong willed and determined to survive as you have been.”   Four young women of Eric’s Clan had been seen by those Romans who attacked the place as high ranking and possibly suitable for some greater trade value in their capture. Eric held his breath as Artorius went on with the details. Artorius looked at Eric with some concern and curiousity as he asked of him,

             “ Before I go on with their fates, I must know something.  You had two sisters and a cousin…Yet, there were four of them which we found. Perhaps you will tell me more of just who this fourth one is that they deemed her of such high value to take her as well? It caused my men some amount of great difficulty in finding her once they realized that there was yet another who was being held. They would not have known even to search, except for the fact that the other women told them of her and threatened them with grave bodily harm unless they continued the search for this other young woman. It would seem that the women of your clan can be as fearsome and violent as the men!”  Artorius eyed Eric with serious speculation as he waited for an answer.

           The shaken look on Eric’s face was enough of answer for the man but he listened without comment or show of emotion while Eric’s voice shook as well. “She was not suppose to be there! I thought she was safe with her family but when I went back to them, she was not there. I thought she must be among those who had perished.” Tears came into his eyes as he recalled the mass destruction he had found on his return. Svein had made some attempt to clear it, but many of the bodies were so mangled with abuse before and after death, they were unrecognizable. Those bodies had been buried together in one mass grave. All who had lost relatives, had missing ones that they had not seen carried off by the Romans, assumed and even prayed that the missing were in that grave rather than with the Romans. Eric shuddered and took a deep breath before going on. “I could not find her anywhere, no one had seen her carried away, so I assumed like everyone else that she was in that grave.” He paused for a moment, tried to stop his shaking and looked at Artorius with some shred of desperate hope in his eyes.

          

Photo of Fairie pools in Scotland

Photo of Fairie pools in Scotland

            “ Reina, Reina is my wife… she was with child when I left for the fighting. I left her with her family, with the Fairies.” His voice broke as he went on. “I told her to stay put with them in the forest, that she would be most comfortable and safest there with her own family than on the coast with my family. I knew that those women of my family would have enough to worry about in caring for Gisella, Svein’s wife, who was about to give birth at any time.” Eric swore to himself as he thought back to that time, to his young wife, who had no love of the sea. The smell of the ocean had affected her badly in her pregancy and he had wanted her within the comfort of the forest glen while he was gone. “Cursed stubborn girl she is…why did she not stay put!” He shook his head in frustration and fear, as Artorius had spoke not a word… His voice rose “What of my wife, is she well? What has happened to her?”

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             Artorius ran fingers through his thick dark hair and clenched his eyes shut. He took a breath and silently cursed the Gods that forced him to share this news. “I wish that I could share good news with you on this, other than the fact that she is yet alive. She is alive, but barely… and the child is lost.” He held on to Eric’s shoulders as the man fell into a wave of trembling and shock. He knew that his words would have little comfort but felt he needed to say them anyway. “Had my men know sooner about her, they might possibly have been able to go in search of her first. I do not think that it would have mattered much though. From what they described, she was ill already before being taken. That was the reason for her being with your family. Her family brought her to your Mother for healing, not being aware that your Mother was already ill as well. She was already desperately sick when they took her on their boat that day, and shortly thereafter lost the babe. The men who captured her wanted nothing to do with a sick woman and sold her away as quickly as they could. Fortunately, those who bought her did so out of concern for her life rather than need or want of a sick slave woman. She was placed with a healer who eventually nursed her to enough of a state to find of where she came from. My men were about to go out in search of her when word was sent of her fate by the healer. You should thank the healers of that group, the Druids for saving her life.” He stood close to Eric, frowned at some though and then spoke slowly. “I think now that maybe you should return there as quickly as possible.”

             Artorius paused and his own voice wavered. “She is still gravely ill and I can not promise that she will even be alive when you get there. But, I understand now that you must go to her, even if it is only to say Goodbye to her.” Eric did not speak, he stood stone still trying to will his mind to accept what Artorius was telling him, trying to regain his senses. Artorius walked towards the door. “I will see everything ready, we will ride out immediately.” He looked back at his friend who stood still in his cold shock. “I would not send you out on this journey on your own. I will ride with you, my friend and will share your grief as my own.”

Eleanor’s Journal72: Eric’s memories, a time before Vampyres and a life of contradictions

Distant Memories

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        Eric became lost in his thoughts and the memories of his life played through his mind. He could look around this Castle and see bits of his past wherever he glanced. It was filled with artifacts that reached all the way back to the very beginnings of his life and that of his people, most of whom were so long dead that their names were not just forgotten but ceased to exist anywhere but in his memories, and a few remaining souls such as Svein. Some of them had been of vampyre bloodlines, and even they had gone to their peace, where ever that may be. Others were of Fairie and Witchly blood, and many were humans. They were all mixed together in the connection they held to each other, the bonds they had formed over centuries of fighting for survival, struggling to do more than just exist. All of those distant memories, they were his family, his clan.

        When he looked back on his history, he could put certain parts of it into perspective and be at peace with a choice if need be, not to be Vampyre. It was not that he did not value or respect this part of his bloodline or lineage, because he did hold great pride in it. But, when it came down to it and he weighed all of his allegiances and loyalties on the balance, He felt his allegiance to this land and all of those who made up his clan, those who fought so desperately to survive and defend this place and this ancient culture. It was not about being a Vampyre, it was about being a just and honourable man, about being a Scotsman, about being a member of this Clan. Being a Vampyre was secondary to that other feeling. Now, it was beginning to feel as though being a Vampyre was an ever long chronic ailment or condition which he had to contend with. He knew that others would curse him and accuse him of betraying his bloodlines but he did not see it that way. Yes, he had lived as a Vampyre for these many centuries, but there was always that one important factor that so many overlooked when considering the Vampyre bloodlines…

Adrian DeWare and his wife, Melusina

Adrian DeWare and his wife, Melusina

        There were two ways of having the Vampyre bloodlines. A fact that most people, including Vampyres seemed to forget now days because of the rarity of the one way, was that Vampyres were and could still be of true and pure Vampyre bloodlines. Yes, it was exceedingly rare anymore to find those few true bloodlines intact and producing heirs, but they did still exist. One of them was Adrian DeWare, though he had married a witch so their bloodline was no longer pure Vampyre, but they were proof that natural born Vampyres did still survive and could continue to survive. The other, far more common way of being Vampyre was, of course being turned or transformed through the blood sharing process. It was more or less like being adopted by the Vampyre Clan and had been going on for so long that it became accepted as a natural order and well accepted way of increasing and continuing their bloodlines when their population had reached a critical low point so many eons ago.

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        It was thought by most researchers that some of the genetic anomalies and defects within the vampyre blood, along with their difficulties in reproducing naturally were a direct result of those times when there were so few of them that they had increasingly intermarried within their immediate families thereby increasing the genetic defects. It happened in many species and races and the only way to enhance the chances of survival were to broaden the gene pools by mating outside one’s close bloodlines. This was one reason that there strict and well enforced societal rules on Vampyres not mating with those they created by transformation. Those who one transformed carried the same blood and were considered immediate family. When Eric had turned Brennie, he had made sure she understood this completely, though he knew that while she understood it, she did not necessarily accept it.

John Depply with Eleanor DeGuille

John Depply with Eleanor DeGuille

Melly DeWare, daughter of Adrian and Melusina DeWare

Melly DeWare, daughter of Adrian and Melusina DeWare

         Eric thought about these differences in the Vamyre culture often. It was one reason that he could be at some ease with giving up this life. He was not a true and pure Vampyre. Had he been born of Vampyre blood, he would not even think of this changing as a choice. Indeed, as much of the research was proving, it was not a choice for a true and pure born Vampyre. The only ones for whom the process was in any successful were those of mixed blood or those who had been transformed. The latest research had determined that even after being long transformed, traces of one’s original DNA and genetic markers were still buried within the cell structure. The same held true for a mixed blood Vampyre such as John Deppley and his sister, Melly- who was suffering from some of those long dormant and ancient genetic mutations and might never be able to function within any normal society. Her greatest hope at the moment was in the experimental change but her parents were reluctant to use her as they said, for a guinea pig in these experiments.

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         Eric shook his head and sighed sadly in some frustrated anger over that. No, they would not subject her to the experimental treatment, but they would allow her to be locked away like some caged animal… where was the purpose in that. He thought about that, and thought about his old friend Adrian with whom he had parted ways with some many centuries ago due to their differences of opinion on such things and thier inability to overcome each of their own stubborn insistance on being right in their beliefs.

         The thoughts of Adrian took him back, all of the way back to his earliest years of coming to this isle, to even before this Castle existed as much more than earthen shelter at the edge of the sea. A time even before Arthur and his legend had been created and set forth for people to follow.

         Eric let his mind wander back to that first, earliest memory he had of his childhood. He could still feel the ocean churning around him, smell the salt sea air. He could still look up from the bottom of that long boat where he huddled under the weight of furs to keep him warm and dry and see his Father’s laughing face peering down at him, teasing him that it was not so good for a future Lord of the Seas to suffer from such bouts of sea ailment. It was his first long voyage upon the open seas and he had suffered miserably from it much to the dismay of his entire family. His Mother had admonished her husband to stop with his teasing and let him alone. She had knelt next to him, rubbed his back and forced him to sip some vile brew which she said would settle the rolling of his belly. He had been so shamed by his reactions to the sea that he huddled even deeper under the furs so as not to be seen or heard wretching his guts out. Even worse, he remembered of that time, was that he who was suppose to be such a fine strong and well grown boy of six years old… had wet himself in his misery. He curled deeper and prayed that his leggings would dry by the time he must leave the protection of those furs!

         Luckily the Gods had been with him that day. His Mother’s nasty brew had worked some magic on his ailing stomach, and bless her memory, he still drank the disgusting concoction to this day to get through time on the sea. His leggings had dried, though he still smelled of piss… he loudly blamed the furs and insisted in his small but prideful voice that the tanners had done a piss poor job on that batch of reeking furs! His Father had chuckled loudly and swung him in the air, perched him on a shoulder and shared the glorius view of the ocean with it’s never ending vastness until where it touched the sky and they seemed to run together as one with barely the thinnest line separating them.

         They had sailed for weeks in that boat on a voyage to some distant place that his Father had chosen to start a new life for them all. Out of the longest, darkest and coldest of climates to a place where his Father said there was land for all and magic in the very soil of the place. Young Eric had found his sea legs as his Father put it and if he ever surmised that it was only because of the daily dose of tea his wife forced down the boy, he never mentioned it. He was a proud sea going warrior king and Eric was his oldest son, the one who should be his heir to the land and the seas he claimed.

         Eric had to laugh at the irony and the contradiction of his life even at that early age. Born to a family of fierce Nordic sea going warriors and adventurers, he loved the sea as much as any of them but suffered from sea sickness! He still remembered the first time he had taken Judith out sailing. Before their trip he had filled a thermos with that foul tea. She had gagged at the stench of it and he thought she was going to throw up right there in front of him. She grabbed the thermos and shrieked, “What in God’s name is this stuff? Is it some secret fish lure or something?”

         He didn’t say anything in response, just screwed the lid on tight and packed it with their lunch. She balked at that and threw it out of the basket. “What ever that is, it is not riding with my food!” She gave him a disgusted look and added, “I don’t care what it’s for, it’s certainly not compatible with food!”

        Eric had shrugged and stuck it in his back pack saying it needed to be in close proximity once they got on the boat. She just gave him one of her annoyed looks and waved her hands at him, “Fine, just keep it away from me…” Then she had a sudden thought, “Wait, is there something wrong with the engines on this boat, is that stuff something you use to clean the engines. Because I am warning you, I am not getting in a boat with any old motor that needs constant maintenance.” She went on muttering about her Dad’s habit of taking them out on the lake then spending half the time out there trying to keep the motor running.

         By then, he wasn’t sure if the whole boat trip was such a great idea after all and he snapped at Judith, “What the Blazes are you going on about, it’s a brand new boat with excellent engines. Why the Bloody Hell would I pour this down the engines? No wonder your Dad’s motors died if that’s what he did to them.”

         Ohhh it had turned out to be just one of thier usual disjointed arguements and they both gave up on trying to understand each other for the time it took to get to the boat and start their trip. As soon as they left land, Eric had quickly reached for the thermos and downed the entire contents. Judith stared at him in shock. “What on earth is that? Some sort of Vampyre booze?”

         Eric groaned as the contents hit his stomach and finally admitted, “No, I wished to Gods it was. It happens to be my Mother’s remedy for as she once put it, the worst sight of sea ails that she ever witnessed.”

         Judith had looked at him in puzzlement and then commented, “Well, if that’s the case, why in the world did you suggest this trip?” She glowered at him and continued, “Why didn’t you just come right out and admit it to me in the first place instead of picking an arguement and hoping I might decide to back out of this at the last minute!” Now she was really annoyed and wouldn’t give him a chance to explain. “Of all the stupid, idiotic things you’ve done, this has to rank right up there in the top!”

         He finally raised a hand to her lips. “Are you finished yet? Yes, you are. Now, if you will let me get a word or two in before you go on and completely ruing the evening for both of us… I’ll have you know that I love the water, it just does not love me back in return. Hmmm it often reminds me of you.” He reached over to silence her with a kiss, at which she retreated, wrinkling her nose and waving a hand between them.

         She sighed and her response was, “Ummm no, I don’t think so… Do you have any idea how bad your breath smells? I don’t want to imagine what you taste like, probably even worse than after you’ve drank that Gods awful Blood Ale that Brennie’s so proud of brewing!” She laughed and started digging in her bag for something. Suddenly she pulled out a small bottle of mouth wash. “Before you get any closer, Please… please use this. Then maybe we can regroup and enjoy our evening.”

previous post

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/eleanors-journal71-erics-thoughts/

Behind the Scenes: Progress inside Dunvegan

If you’ve read the most recent story updates, you might notice that there has been some progress made on the interior of the Castle! The renovation process is slow due to the ongoing story and the fact that Eric, Brennie and Svein are a bit pre-occupied with other serious matters right now!

 

The areas that got renovated are ones that were required for filming! As I mentioned previously, this Castle is set in the present time so we can add some modern amenities to it while trying to keep the overall old world feel of the Castle. One such amenity is the up to date and modern gym space that Svein spends a great deal of time in. This space is located in the lower level of the Castle in back of the stable space. The hall in between the spaces retains the old world feel as it might have appeared in the past while the gym space has been completely updated to include a spa room and steam room/sauna. The men insisted that the gym did not need any fancy décor or clutter in it to distract them from their workouts. Brennie went along with that on condition that the spa room be more relaxing and appealing to all of their senses.

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Hall between stable and gym space view of hall Svein going to the gym

 

Gym

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Spa room and suana

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Upstairs on the main level, a small bit of work was done.

Brennie’s current office space is located in one of the front entrance towers. It is located off from the dining area and the Piper’s Gallery.

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Eric is sitting in the solar/ sunroom off from the Great Hall. It is in the process of being decorated so is rather bare as yet. You can see one of the hidden doors in the first picture.  These door are a representation of priest holes or escape routes which were a part of many castles through the centuries. There would usually be a hidden passage way and small space for a Priest, or anyone else who might need it, to be hidden and protected should the need arise.  This particular one can also be accessed from the Chapel, includes a small hiding space and has an outside exit.

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I will provide photos of that exit in the next update!

These rooms were used for filming in the previous episodes:

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/eleanors-journal-present-begins-to-meet-past/

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/eleanors-journal71-erics-thoughts/

 

 

Eleanor’s Journal71: Eric’s thoughts

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       Brennie had given up on trying to find out what they were hiding for the time being. She knew that eventually she would discover their secret and she was sure that it most likely involved something they thought that she as a female, should not be a party to. Sometimes, they were far too noble and over protective when it came to how they treated her. It often annoyed the crap out of her. Their ancient chivalry and their extremes in guarding her virtue and her reputation as the highly prized female of their family had worn thin about three centuries ago as far as she was concerned. She thought to herself, was it any wonder that she had never found a mate… Any man who looked at her with that sort of interest was as Svein put it to one such fool hearty male some time ago, “Yer either vera vera brave or yer just plain stupid, I believe yer stupid if ye think I’ll be lettin the likes of you near my Brennie!” Well, Mr. Stupid had quickly made his exit from her life, obviously showing he was not the brave sort. After that last experience, she had taken great care not to introduce any casual dates to her surrogate relatives. It was safer that way, and unfortunately she had never found one quite brave enough or interested enough to willingly volunteer to venture into that particular realm.

       So, now thanks to these men, she would most likely be the world’s oldest spinster Vampyre! She didn’t know whether to be eternally grateful to them for saving her from all of the frustrations of a life time mate or curse them both to Hades for it. Most of the time she silently thanked them.

       Right now, she needed to refocuse her thoughts on finding a way into the heavily guarded Dragon Valley. As she spent the night sorting through a maze of maps, red tapes and other assorted warnings, she wished that some of those ridiculous myths regarding Vampyres were true. It would certainly be so much easier if they could just turn into bats and fly right into the compound. Who on earth had come up with these myths and stereotypes anyway, she grumbled to herself as she filled out countless forms and documents to verify their identities, their references and their need to be in that restricted area. There was no way they could just use some sort of mysterious vampyre powers and sneak into the place undetected. It’s defense and protection system was after all designed by Vampyres, Witches and Fairies. Realistically, the only sort who might actually be able to gain access would probably be some undetectable, unassuming threat as a human.

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        While she struggled with the mess of paperwork, the men made their own preparations. Svein’s choice of preparation involved brute force if need be. He was not above using what ever was at his disposal and he was of the mind that it might just come down to an all out battle of some sort. In fact, he was fondly hoping it would. It had been some time since he’d had a good brawl, a fight on even terms of those equal in strength and wits to him and he was looking forward to such an outcome. He had a few scores to settle with some and he hoped they would show up to join in a fight. Svein knew that the Council would never go so far as to allow a true death battle but they would on occasion, sanction a physical match of wills in the name of honor or vengeance. So, no matter what the outcome, he would have his battle time and he intended to be well prepared for it.

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        Eric, on the other hand, spent his time in deep soul searching and cleansing thought. He knew that he had to control his emotions in this situation else he might destroy the whole blasted place in a rage of unknown proportions. Should he let go of the fear and the rage within, he could possibly cause so much more damage and chaos than there already was in that place. He knew that he had to go into this with a completely focused mind, a clear conscience and a true heart.

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        As he spent time with his thoughts and his memories, he realized one thing for certain. His heart was true, it was true to Judith and he knew that he would do what ever it took on his part to see her safe and to see her world safe. He came to understand and accept something else that had been weighing greatly on him for some time. It had to do with a conversation he and Judith had once about the differences in their lives, their souls. Judith’s reasoning and belief was that in some ways they were not so different. They both lived many lives, endured many heartaches and painful lessons. The key difference was in the death. As she had put it, humans lived many lives and experienced the deaths, the wiping away of the memories in order to begin again. Vampyres lived all of those same lives but did not get that reprieve to have the painful memories erased, they must live on with them always somewhere in their mind until that one last final death from which they never returned. She reasoned that there was no need for them to come back… they had that eternity to learn their lessons in the darkness of the world and when their time came, they would walk into the light to appreciate it even more so than others who took the light for granted.

       Some of her reasoning made sense. He had seen a few elder Vampyres at their end, embracing that sudden glow of light surrounding them, reaching out to it with some sort of intense joy on their faces. He had seen others, however, cringe in fear and agony at the touch of the light burning their souls. He put that to her and her response had been, “It’s no different. Some fight death right to the end, refuse to accept it, fear what’s to come, are not a peace with their fate and do not have a clear conscience or heart. Maybe they have not learned their lessons and see a glimpse of what’s in store for them on that other side, that next class room… Perhaps they do not want to face their  judgement and their next lesson. Makes no difference whether they be humans, witches, fairies or vampyres.”

       Whether that be the case or not, Eric knew in his heart that he did not want to say Good Bye to Judith this time. He knew he had spent moments in time with her in her past lives on different levels and had even watched her die more than once. He did not want to do it again, not this time when he had finally understood that she was his destiny, his soul match. He could not do it this time, say good bye and then wander through life until she reappeared and they must start all over again. No, if he must say good bye this time, then he would willingly go with her and take the chance that she was right in her belief… that they would go together into that light. So, now the time would come for a decision and he would leave it up to her, should he find her safe and sound. It would be her choice…. he would never ask of her to become Vampyre. She must choose it on her own, but if she could not do it, then he would seek out that uncertain and sometimes fatal reversal that was being researched. One way or another, no matter what, he vowed, this constant agony of Good Bye would be done with for him. He could not take it any longer, and a certain part of his soul profoundly prayed that she would choose not to become vampyre because he was so weary of this eternal life.

previous post

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/eleanors-journal-present-begins-to-meet-past/

Eleanor’s Journal70: Present begins to meet past

The present begins to meet the past

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With Eric’s decision made, Brennie went about making arrangements for their trip to Dragon Valley. Over the centuries, Brennie had become quite adept as an organizer and planner. It was Brennie who generally kept things running smoothly for all of them now days. Even with her own hectic music career, she somehow managed to keep track of all of their varied schedules, their whereabouts and their personal matters as well. It was no easy task and they often wondered how she accomplished it. She had just laughed at the men and teased them that perhaps they would do well to take a few more computer classes. In truth, while the advent of the computer and internet did help out, it was more a matter of how Brennie’s mind had been trained in her earliest years. She had been trained in those more ancient times to memorize everything. In her early years as a Bard in training, she had learned to commit facts, stories, and music to memory in order to pass them down in that oral tradition. Now, after centuries of practice and the enhanced abilities of her vampyre blood, her mind worked much like a computer. Not that she always appreciated this ability… there were often times when she dearly wished for a delete key. Of course, she admitted and acknowledged that most of her fellow vampyres wished the same things after living so many life times. Even after all of this time, she still had trouble accepting some of the aspects of this vampyre life. Other than her music, she lived a much solitary life with few real friends and no romantic notions or interests. She considered Eric and Svein her family, and her one true friend was the one they were off to search for. She had met Judith a few years earlier and for some reason, they had been drawn to each other. Judith was a human, but a human with an open heart, and an ever curious and open mind. On some level, they thought much the same. Judith was a kindred spirit.

Judith Self

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The only time that Brennie’s and Judith’s friendship had ever slightly wavered was when Judith met Eric. Brennie had been with Eric for centuries and though she had come to the acceptance of him as family, there were still those lingering feelings of something more. She knew full well that it would never be for them, but could not help the occasional snaps of jealousy when he would be involved with some one- even casually. He had understood that and usually took great care not to flaunt his relationships in her face. His affairs had always been short lived and not of much consequence… until Judith. The attraction between them had been immediate and intense. It was as Eric described, a meeting of souls. When he had put it that way, Brennie knew that there was much more between these two than just a casual affair on both their parts. She had been heart broken for a time over it. Her hurt had been more due to having to finally admit to herself that fact that she already knew rationally. She had always held a faint shred of silent whispered, wishful thinking that perhaps one day something would change in their circumstances and Eric would look upon her again as he once had all those centuries ago.

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For a while, she had kept her distance from both of them, pretended to be too busy to see either, pretended not to care. She threw herself into her work, into a public party lifestyle- which had never been her way before. Eric knew what was going on, but did not confront her with it, rather left her to work it out on her own.

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Svein, for all of his gruffness and old world ways had seen her hurt and went out of his way to comfort her. He looked on her as a daughter and could not bear to see her hurting. Svein had been the one to take her aside and lecture her, as any Father might have done in the past ages. His words had been stern but his feelings shown through as he harshly reminded her of their ancient ways and of those things she should know by now. “Ya knew from the start that he was not for you, Lass. All of your pining through the years will naught change that. It only hurts you and him more when ye do it.” He reprimanded her on her behaviors of that time. “So, ye think that ignoring such a fine friend as Judith has been to ye is going to change anything? Or ye think that getting blind, stupid drunk with the likes of those scum who hang on to your coat tails just for the money and their name in a rag paper is goin to make it better, make ye forget? Well, ya know Damn well it’s not. All it’s doin is makin ye feel worse and bringin down yer fine name!”

     

     Svein had sat and hugged her close as he admonished her and then whispered to her, “Yer a fine girl, Brennie, yer just not the one for him. Someday, ye will find your own soul mate.” He whiped a tear from her face and added, “But, in order to find him, ye have to quit yer pining over one ye can naught have and quit hiding yerself away. Ye did it once before, it dinna work then and it will naught work now. Go on then have yer cry and get it all out, then go to yer friends and wish them well on their journey through this life.” As she had struggled to agree with him, he added softly, “They be needin all the well wishes they can get cause it will naught be an easy journey for them.”

      After that she had went to Judith to apologize and to explain her difficulties in accepting the relationship. Judith had her own apologies to make. She admitted that Eric had told her of his past with Brennie and she felt her own pangs of resentment and jealousy. Judith explained to Brennie that she felt guilty for feeling such resentment and insecurity over the relationship that Brennie and Eric had shared for so long. They spent a long night together with a few bottles of wine working through this odd sort of triangle between themselves. Judith shared some her deepest thoughts on the situation with Brennie. She was scared to death of this relationship, these feelings she had for Eric and she wondered if it could truly work, if it was really as he insisted, a destiny of souls. Although she was human and didn’t seem to have any traces of ancient blood or abilities, Judith did have one slight gift. She had strange dreams, some were of distant and vague pasts, some occasionally were of premonitions or like deja vue…

      Judith shared with Brennie her dreams of some pasts where Eric had been in her life in some way. Those dreams had come even before she knew Eric. She had experienced them from her early childhood and often wondered who that strange man was that always showed up in her dreams. When Eric had come into the public eye, she thought that she was just transferring her dream images on to him out of some pathetic sort of fan crush. Now, of course she was not so sure. She was bewildered and little frightened of admitting to herself that this was truly real. Judith was a believer in reincarnation, of souls meeting and uniting over and over again. While she firmly believed in it as a concept and a theory, it was another thing entirely to experience it first hand. It was much like the whole reality of the ancient bloodlines such as witches, fairies and vampyres. When faced with the actual facts and the reality of them, it shook people’s beliefs to their very cores. With the reappearance of these ancient ones and the coming acceptance of them, the world was changing quickly and it was often difficult to adjust to those changes on a global level, or on a highly personal level. Judith was experiencing all of this and while she was excited about it, it also left her uneasy and fearful of another unknown future.

      When Judith shared all of this with her friend, Brennie understood well what she was talking about. The world was changing quickly and she was not sure she was ready for it either. They had resolved to somehow stick together through all of it and their friendship had deepened because of it.

       Now, Judith was quite possibly in grave danger and Brennie was determined to go to any lengths to find her. Brennie, like Svein, had not so sure or positive about this assignment which Judith had volunteered for. For the most important reason of it being in Dragon Valley at Haunts Castle… that should have been reason enough. That place was unstable as it was. It had always been a strange place of unnatural and strange shifts in the atmosphere. Some said it had to do with electrical and magnetic fields running through it. She knew that had something to do with the oddities of the area. But, she also knew that there were other factors there as well. There were places there that the mists and fogs acted like blankets or curtains through time and space. The Fairies had made much use of them so many centuries ago to cloak themselves into an entirely separate world. When people spoke of the Fairies disappearing and going to ground, they were right in some way. Until quite recently, the Fairies had chosen to remain hidden behind those veils in certain areas where they could be controlled. In fact, until just the most recent months, much of Dragon Valley had remained within those veils. Parts of the Valley such as Haunts Castle would seem to appear and disappear randomly from the fogs that surrounded the Valley. It was getting more and more unstable and no one was completely sure what was causing it.

Haunts Castle1

      It was now also shrouded in secracy by the Higher Council. They had deemed it off limits to anyone not directly involved in the ongoing research of the area. There were rumors of other Castles and such now appearing where there had been none before. Many speculated that it all had something to do with the Global warming and Climate Changes going on. The changes were affecting numerous places. Changes in sea levels and ongoing droughts were causing a great many ancient discoveries to appear. Brennie knew that Eric knew far more about what was going on in Dragon Valley than he would share with her. When she tried to press him for answers, he always avoided it and said it did not involve them and he would like to keep it that way. She could not read his thoughts on it, he kept them well locked away from her prying much to her annoyance and frustration. Even Svein seemed to know more than he would share. At one point she had went so far as to cloak herself and stand in the hall to eavesdrop on conversation between the two men. To her disgust, it hadn’t worked well and they sensed her quickly. She had heard a short bit of the discussion though. Svein was angry and accusing Eric of dragging them all back into a battle that was none of their concern. They were done with those dealings of the Council and should be well glad of it. Eric had replied that they could not just walk away that easily. They were still part of it and must answer to them when called upon to do so. It was then that they had sensed her presance and quickly shut off their thoughts from her.

Eric and friends at Dunvegan1

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