Warning, disclaimer and apology for a wayward tangent that I was unable to resist! Normally, I keep my story segments and creations separate from my other fascinations and addictions… such as Outlander? For this one instance however, I was unable to resist the notion of them running across each other a bit! This is the one and only time that I will cross these paths!
First of all, in order to see or understand how any of this outlandish and far fetched fantasy might in any way shape or form have cause, reason or the remotest plausibility of intersecting, it may help to have a bit of background information on some relevant facts concerning Clan MaCleod and Dunvegan Castle during the period of the 1740’s. I will only supply the basic pertinent facts as they relate here to this story. My characters are fictional members of the Clan MacCleod much as Diana Gabaldon’s characters are fictional members of the Clan MacKenzie! While they are fictional characters, I do try to tie them to historical events when ever possible!
Before anything else, let us look at where Dunvegan Castle and Clan Macleod lands sit on the Clan map of the highlands. This is important as it will give you some idea of where the MacCleod Clans resided in relation to MacKenzie and Fraser Clans. As you can see it would not have been odd for the MacCleods to know of or have dealings with either MackKenzies or Frasers.
As far as factual information goes, during the 1740’s Clan MacCeod was headed by Norman MacCloid, who did not support the Jacobite rebellion and led troops in support of the Government forces. The chief led 500 men of the MacLeod Independent Highland Companies in support of the Government at the Battle of Inverurie on 23 December 1745, where they were defeated.
The Macleods of Raasay, a branch of the MacLeods of Lewis, fought at the Battle of Culloden as part of the Glengarry Regiment, in retribution, the MacLeods of Dunvegan, under their chief, Norman MacLeod, burned and pillaged the Island of Raasay, harassing its inhabitants for many weeks in the late summer of 1746. As a result Norman MacLeod became known as “The Wicked Man”. In 1745, MacLeod of Dunvegan was said to have been able to “bring out” 700 men.
Clan MacCleod history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_MacLeod#18th_century_and_Jacobite_risings
Norman MacLeod (The Wicked Man) : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_MacLeod_(The_Wicked_Man)
Dunvegan Castle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunvegan_Castle
So far, I have not addressed any of this as yet in my story, but eventually will get to these details! Suffice it to say, Norman MacCleod would probably not been a friend of Dougal MacKenzie. But, then again, it might have been possible as the Jacobite Rebellion created a civil war, a divide between families and one time friends. In our current story, we know little of the MacCleod Clan’s political or religious dealings at this time. As far as we know at this point, our fictional Clan members consisting of Eric North, Svein North, and young Brennie along with a housekeeper, Minn are the current residents of Dunvegan Castle. Svein and Eric have been there since it’s beginnings and Brennie has been there for a few centuries now. A clue as to the reason for them residing there and not Norman can be found in his factual history. He supported the Government cause in the Jacobite Rising, and was an absentee chief as he seldom lived at his ancestors’ traditional seat of Dunvegan Castle. If you’re thinking Clan MacKenzie was the only Clan with not so likeable or trustable Family members, you might want to read more about Norman MacCleod? He was one of those Clan leaders that members probably rued the day they put him in power? Ok, enough on him, he will show up in our story later!
Eric has appeared throughout this long sage but his personal story and his connection to Dunvegan Castle unfolds starting here: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/eleanors-journal69-eric-at-dunvegan/
It might also be of interesting note here that Dunvegan Castle has a long history and connection- which they are proud of by the way- with the Fairie realm and other such folk lore. Maybe they heard stories of that strange woman residing with the MacKenzies?!
Now that you have a bit of background history on the MacCleods and Dunvegan Castle, we can go on with our strange intersection?
During our construction of Dunvegan Castle we’ve been following Eric’s and Brennie’s memories of the past in the Castle. Brennie is reliving many of her own memories of past events with thoughts of that time when her close friend and mentor, Minn was there as housekeeper and so much more. It was during the during the 1700’s when much of the Castle was renovated from a medieval fortress to a more habitable home, thanks much to Minn’s efforts and knowledge! Brennie did not know much of what the outside world was doing, or what Eric and Svein were involved with during those times. She was just coming into her own as a new person thanks also to Minn’s sometimes overbearing but caring guidance. It was during this time that Brennie began to take part in what was happening around her, and what was happening in Scotland.
Eric and Svein were often gone on Clan business, most of which Brennie questioned little of before this time. With Minn’s arrival though, the Castle began to change and become more of a home to many Clan members. Eric and Svein were not Clan Chiefs… they left that duty to the more human members of the Clan, a fact that in this time, they were beginning to regret. The current Clan Cheiftan, Norman MacCleod, did not reside at the Castle and rarely if ever bothered to even visit there. He did send two orphaned Clan members there though. Two of his illegitimate offspring were sent to Dunvegan when their Mother died and Norman wanted them well out of his way. So, Dunvegan along with Minn and Brennie took them in, welcomed them, and raised them. The boy, Alexander was taken into training by Eric and Svein. Where ever Svein or Eric went, so went Alex! Ellen, followed Minn and Brennie around with the same adoration.
Late one evening, the men were in the stables when young Alexander arrived exhausted from traveling hurriedly across the country with a message he said was of dire importance. He did not know what it was, had been given by one of the MacKenzies and told only that it was urgent that he get it to Svein and Eric.
The first debate before even opening the message was one of what the MacKenzies wanted with them? Eric was puzzled and doubtful, then suspicious… his words to Svein, “What have ye done? We’re at peace ye ken, and I would it to stay that way. I want no wars or battles now with other Clans. We have us enough trouble with Norman!”
At the mention of his Father’s name, Alex hung his head. He knew of how much trouble the man was causing, and he was tired of the battles in his head and his heart over being the man’s son.
Svein assured Eric, “Need ye not worry, I have not done a thing, cept befriend the man!”
Eric’s response was resigned. “Achhh and, I am supposing that ye think that’s a much better thing? Dinna think that I want to be in that Man’s debt more than I want to be his enemy! What have ye promised him that we canna provide?”
Svein paused before answering. “Nothing, I promised nothing that we canna provide. I merely pledged our assistance against a more personal matter that he be involved in. I promised our neutrality in that matter of his Fraser kin. We willna take any sides in what ever matters they dispute about was all I promised him.”
Eric nodded, “Well we can provide that, we have no quarrel with either of them and we need it to stay that way.”
He told Alex to take the parcel upstairs and noticed the frustration on the boy’s face. “Ye hold yer temper lad, and do as I ask. Ye’re not too old for a whipping yet even though ye think ye are!”
Some time later, the family stood around the table staring at the parcel and missive that had been delivered, not quite sure what this meant to them?
The message was indeed a rather odd and curious one?
Eric was not sure what it meant and thought for a few moments before asking Alex, “Are ye sure ye got the right parcel? And, are ye sure they said to deliver it here? Maybe ye heard them wrong or grabbed the wrong message. How much ale did ye drink and how tired were ye when ye were talkin to them?”
Alex bowed his head, mainly because he was so tired he was bout to drop off right there… and he did not want to share either just how much of the Ale he had shared at the Inn with the MacKenzie travelers! “Nay, Eric, I dinna grab the wrong message! Twas that Mutagh Fitzgibbons that shoved it in my shirt front, told me to ride like Hell to Svein and then get our arses back there soon as we could!”
Svein sighed and gave the only plausible explanation he could think of. “Well, like as not, we’re being called as to be impartial witnesses. I pledged to Dougal that I would not take sides in any of his family matters and this looks to be an important family matter? I know not much about the whole story of the lad but there is that land dispute in question between the clans, which the lad stands to inherit when he marries. Maybe it all has something to do with that?”
They discussed it for some time and could not come to any further conclusion than what Svein had suggested. There was agreement that what could it hurt to attend as requested… to not show up would cause some rift between them and Dougal that Eric did not want to encur so he went along with it though with some hesitation. He did not want to walk into some sort of trap either or become embroiled in some larger dispute of the MacKenzies. He agreed that they would go as requested, then return home immediately afterwards. The women would stay home, there was no need to endanger them and this was a man’s business anyway, Svein insisted.
Minn had her own thoughts as to Svein’s comment but wisely for once, kept them to herself. After the men left the room, she filled Brennie and young Ellen in on her latest gossip about the MacKenzies and their strange guest who was visiting and now about to become their newest family member. “I heard tell that some folks think she’s a witch? They do say she is might odd, but a fine healer even if she does drink a might much? Probably should not be asking for her aid if it gets a bit late in the day… if ye know what I ken?” She went on with her tales and then after a moment reminded the women, “Achhh, Ye know of that lad, he’s passed through here before. Ye remember that fine young lad who all the lasses swayed over, the one who wouldna go in the boats?”
Brennie and Ellen nodded, they both remembered him now! Ellen blushed and said sadly, “Well I could only wish such a lad like him could find his way here for me! Not that it would matter though, as no one would be fool enough to have me.”
Minn just hushed and tsked at her youthful but true comments. “Hush ye Ellen, ye’re far too young to be thinking such thoughts anyway, and when the time does come we’ll be sure to find you a right fine lad!”
Previous Outlander post: Marriage of Convenience https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/outlander-marriage-of-convenience-and-other-things/
Previous Dunvegan Castle post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/dunvegan-castle-great-hall-and-still-room/
Most recent progress on Dunvegan Castle:
Left side Watch tower room with access to a work room.
Off the Work room is a small space which Minn uses for her book work space
This general work room is part of the original old Castle rooms. It was used as work room space by Castle residents for many years, as it was better lit with windows and sunlight than some of the other rooms of the time.
Overview of work room with stairs down to stables and still room storage on the other side of it.