Cameron Lachlan, Chieftain of his clan, ruler of Castle Lachlan and the growing village of Lachlanborough sighed wearily and closed the ledger he had been perusing. Household goods and funds were diminishing more rapidly now that he had taken in an additional hundred or more folks into the castle from neighboring villages.
It was not uncommon for rival Chieftains to wage wars against one another in order to claim territories and holdings, but Cameron had doubts that local rivalry was to blame for villages being burned, innocent women and children being murdered, and members of area clansmen dying brutal deaths at alarming rates.
He believed it to be the work of the Sassenach who were hell bent on claiming all the territories for the English Crown. It would be a cold day in hell before he would allow his birthright to fall under the hands of the Sassenach. With every fiber of his being, he would fight to keep what was his.
“Bloody hell man, quit borrowin’ trouble today when it’s bound to find ye tomorrow.” He murmured to himself.
He readied himself for bed, and then crawled under the warm bed clothes. Sleep claimed him almost immediately.
Cameron’s eyes popped open, awareness flooding through him, even ad he fought against his sleepiness, as he appeared around the dark. His warrior instincts snapped into focus as he peered down the length of his body to the foot of his bed, and let out a curse.
The figure of a Highlander stood framed in the shadows of his chamber. He wore the traditional colors of the Lachlan clan, and bore a striking resemblance to that of his ancestor, Angus Lachlan. It could not be him though, because his great-great-grandfather had been dead for nearly two hundred years.
Cameron’s hand slid under his pillow and wrapped around the handle of his dirk as he demanded, “Who are ye? What aire ye doin’ in my chambers?”
“I am Angus Lachlan, of the Clan Lachlan. I have come to tell ye the tale of ye ancestry.”
Cameron blinked. Had he heard right? Did the Highlander just tell him that he was Angus Lachlan? “Aire ye daft man? No bloody hell aire ye me ancestor! What game do ye play at?”
The Highlander scowled at him. “Aye is who aye claim to be laddie, ye can be sure and certain of that! Now aire ye willin’ to listen to me tale ‘er no?”
Cameron gazed steadily at the figure for a long moment or two before giving his response. “Aye, I will.”
“Listen closely lad as I won’t be repeatin’ meself.” Angus told him. “We were all great warriors who were once blood brothers. Dark forces used sorcery against us to destroy our physical bonds in the earthy realm, believing it would end our quest for righteousness. Never again were we blood brothers, instead we were reborn as strangers destined to reunite with one another time and again.”
Cameron found himself oddly fascinated by the tale the Highlander was telling him. He thought of Little Hawk, Baen, young Ian, wise Jackson, Logan, and Evan. Each one of his men was unique and he held a special bond with them. When young Ian had joined them, Cameron felt as if everything was as it should be, that together they were more than when they were apart.
Angus cleared his throat, as if sensing Cameron’s thoughts were somewhere else. Cameron focused his attention back on the Highlander.
After another moment’s silence, Angus continued, “Each of our lives is distinct from one another until we acquire our predestined awareness and hone our inherent skills, when these preordained elements of our existence are in place; correlated memories of our past begin to rouse within us.”
His words rang true to Cameron. It gave a name and reason to what he, himself, believed to be true of him and his men. Together they could accomplish anything they had fought against enemy clans with higher numbers and came out the victors. Often they had commanded positive outcomes to situations where the odds were stacked against them. He turned his attention back on the Highlander who he now believed to be his ancestor Angus Lachlan, as crazy a thought as that might be.
“Ye and yer men are destined to continue with our Legacy. Ye Cameron are the leader of yer clansmen, and it is ye who must now lead them against the forces of darkness that abound in this realm.”
It was a heady task Angus bequeaths him with and Cameron felt both honored and burdened by it at the same time. “Aye will do me best to make ye proud, Lachlan.”
Angus reached into his sporran and retrieved a cloth wrapped item from within it. He opened the cloth to reveal a leather bound book. “This book holds the record of our legacy within it from the beginning of our lineage until now. I give it to you now for safekeeping so that ye may continue it for the generations of seven to come.”
The Highlander moved around the bed and held the book out to Cameron. He reached out a hesitant hand to take the book from Angus expecting to feel nothing there, but instead his hand bumped against something solid. He grasped the book firmly in his hand and examined it carefully. He turned it from side to side and then undid the string from around the hook and opened it. Yellowed pages, lined with written word in a handful of various scripts filled a good portion of it, but there were empty ones as well from the middle to the end of it.
“Aye must take me leave now. Guard the book and ye Legacy with ye life. Share me visit with ye clansmen as soon as ye aire able, so that ye aire all of one mind on what yer joint destiny is.”
With these final words, the Highlander disappeared from his chambers. Cameron sank back into his pillows, his mind full of the visit from his ancestor, and how his life had been irrevocably changed by Angus’s words. He fell asleep wondering how he was going to tell Baen, Gavin, and the others about his visitor and their shared destiny.
Morning came all too soon for Cameron. His eyes flashed open and he was instantly awake when he recalled the dream he had of his visit from the Highlander. It had seemed so real to him, but how could it be? His ancestor was long dead and the words he spoke of a shared legacy with his clansmen was just plain foolishness, was it?
He had all but decided that he had indeed had a dream when he saw the Legend book. It was lying on top of the mattress where he had laid it after Angus had given it to him. He reached over and picked it up, finding it to be real and weighty in his hand, and he knew without a doubt that everything he had experienced the night before was real.
Cameron opened the book to the first page and began to read. He lost all sense of time as he read the fascinating words written on the pages, describing the adventures of the groups of sevens who had come before him. They were brave, honorable, proud men devoted to combating evil, regardless of the risk to themselves.
By the time he had finished reading several hours had passed, and he was filled with a renewed sense of purpose. He needed to round up the others and tell them about what he had learned.
This task proved harder to accomplish than usual he found. Little Hawk had ridden out with a group of men to hunt and would not return for a couple of days. He learned that there had been some trouble in one of the neighboring settlements and Baen had taken some men, including Ian, over to offer their assistance. Evan was gone as well. As Castle Lachlan’s procurer, he often had to travel great distances to obtain the many goods needed for the house hold that was not available in Lachlan borough. He did find Logan at home, Jackson with him, but they did not have time to talk to him. Several children had come down with a serious malady that held both men’s attention; Logan as the Healer in the village, and Jackson as his assistant, and Spiritual Advisor.
Cameron chafed at the delay, but realized there was nothing he could do until his kinsmen were able to give him the attention he needed to make his revelation. He spent the next couple of days overseeing the running of the Castle, tending to other business matters, and rereading the Legend book. Finally, the day came when he was able to gather them all together at last.
Over pints of ale, the seven men sat around their favorite roughhewn table in the local tavern and recounted their experiences of the past few days to Cameron. Then all eyes turned to their leader and waited for him to share his own escapades while they were busy or away.
“What aye am ‘bout to tell ye will likely cause ye to think aye’ve gone daft, but regardless aye ask ye to keep silent ‘til aye’ve said me peace.” Cameron said.
He waited until he had received nods of agreement from alls ix men before he continued, “Last night I received a visitor in my chambers…”
“Bloody damn time.” Baen exclaimed boisterously, a wide grin on his face.
Smiles and chuckles broke out from the other men until they caught sight of the glittering glare Cameron shot at Baen. The table fell silent once again and Cameron began speaking again. “It was me kinsmen, Angus Lachlan. He told me a take about seven brothers who shared a destiny.”
Cameron waited for his revelation to sink into Little Hawk, baen, Ian, Evan, Logan, and Jackson, before he finished with his tale. A weighty silence settled over the table once Cameron finished speaking. He studied each of his kinsmen in turn, waiting while they pondered for themselves what he had revealed to them.
Jackson stroked his beard; Logan looked pensive. Evan fiddled with his pint of ale, while Baen leaned back in his chair and gazed up at the straw ceiling. Ian’s eyes were a bit wide as his mind turned over the information that Cameron had given him, but Little Hawk’s were steady and true as he met his across the table.
“Ye speak the truth, Cameron. Aye know this to be fact as Aye felt somethin’ invisible bindin’ us all together the moment young Ian joined us.” Little Hawk said softly.
“Aye, I feel it too,” Jackson acknowledged.
One by one the other men voiced their own affirmations that they were aware of the sinewy tie that bound them together, making them stronger as a clan, than they were apart. Each had always believed that there was something more than blood oaths binding them together, and now they knew it to be true. They had lived before and would live again after each had passed from this earthly realm.