smoke and blood

smoke and blood smoke and blood

Status: Finished

Genre: Historical Fiction


Status: Finished

Genre: Historical Fiction


(Not Adult!!) Lachlann searches for his daughter who has disappeared after the massacre in Glencoe


(Not Adult!!) Lachlann searches for his daughter who has disappeared after the massacre in Glencoe


Submitted: October 21, 2015

A A A | A A A


Submitted: October 21, 2015



 “It’s too quiet.”

Lachlann stopped his mount, and the other three men followed suite.

As they all listened, looking for any of the normal sounds of the forest—animals skittering about, birds calling to each other while looking for food, snaps of branches and snow crunching from a larger animal moving—Lachlann, as well as the other men had to agree with Angus, the second in command. It was definitely too quiet, for all those usual sounds were missing. Everything seemed to be eerily quiet.

With grim faces, they all started to move forward again, at a faster pace. Lachlann began to worry about what might have caused everything to go quiet. Glencoe, where the MacDonald clan was, his and his men’s home, was not far off and they should have been able to hear something from the village, such as the echo of children playing, clansmen working, horses’ hooves clacking and carts creaking from being filled with various contents; but there was nothing. Something was definitely not right.

Lachlann spurred his mount to go even faster and his men silently did so too. He wondered what could have happened since they left a few days before, leaving for Ballachulish to settle a dispute that one of their younger clansmen caused with the blacksmith’s daughter. The dispute was settled easily by promising that the two youths, in the coming spring, will be wed.

As they got nearer and nearer to their village, the smell of smoke, which was usually a subtle smell in the background, became much stronger, and with the smell of smoke came the smell of something metallic like iron, that Lachlann could not recognize at first because it was so out of place, but once he recognized it, his blood ran cold. He realized the metallic smell was blood. Smoke and blood.

???? ???? ????


“Da! I smell smoke! Smoke and blood!”

“Lass, it was just a dream. The night is quiet, every man and woman are in their beds, where you should be, Ceana.”

“Lachlann, let the lass calm down first. Come sit at the table, lass. Do you remember the dream?”

“Granda, it wasn’t a dream, I know it. It was like before, when Mum died.”

“You mean when you had a vision, lass? Did you have another?”

“Da, enough with this nonsense. It was just a bad dream.”

“You have never had a vision, lad, you would not know what it’s like. All the vision tells you is that there’s danger, just a warning.”

“You had visions, Granda?” she asked in wonder, her earlier agitation forgotten for the moment.

“Aye, lass. When I was just a lad. It is common for the young in our family to have these visions. They usually stop as you get older. Some do not have any, like your Da.”

Ceana turned in her sit to face her father, her face rigid with determination. “Da, you cannot leave tomorrow. Something is going to happen. Something bad.”

????  ???? ????


Ceana had been right, something bad had happened.

Lachlann turned to his men who were galloping behind him and told them to get their weapons ready.

After they rode past the last bend, they saw something that they were never going to forget. Every house—small or big, wooden or brick, every shop, even the Inn—all were burnt or destroyed, their ruins still smoldering, filling the air with enough smoke for the men and horses’ eyes and lungs to burn. What the men could see of the village tore at their hearts. Blood stained the snow, the streets were filled with bodies of men, women and children alike, all brought down by swords either to their front or their back while they tried, in vain, to escape their awaiting execution at the end of the steel blades.

Lachlann processed what was before him with a cold fury and a breaking heart. Releasing his claymore—which fell to the ground with a dull thud—he dismounted and briskly made his way to what was left of his home, not caring about what the other men were going to do for he had to find Ceana, and when he found her he hoped she would be alive, but with everything he just saw, how could anyone have survived?

Finally in front of his ruined home, he fought his fears and pain, and began to search the still hot rubble, searching for any burnt bodies, while hoping to find none but, instead hoping to find evidence that his daughter and father escaped and that they were not, at this moment, a part of these ruins.

Hours seemed to have passed as he searched, but it must have been only minutes for his men silently joined him in searching his home, and the destroyed village for his daughter. They were all quiet in their grief.  None of the men had kids or were married, but they all had parent and siblings, most of which had been found dead near their homes, letting the men know within seconds that they were not lucky enough to have escaped. The ones they know that had survived had not been in Glencoe when this happened.

Finding no evidence of his daughter, Lachlann went to gather his men—who had scattered about the ruined village to search more quickly—to see what, if anything, they had found.


From the stark anger in Angus’s voice, Lachlann knew it wasn’t his daughter that the man found. When Lachlann and the other men joined him, they all looked at the body that his second had found which was half buried under a collapsed wall.

The man they saw was not someone they knew, but the tartan he wore, they all knew well for it was that of the clan Campbell; the very same clan that had just arrived and asked for hospitality as the men were leaving for their business in Ballachulish.

“It was a massacre! They killed children in their beds before they burnt all the houses down! How could they? How can a man live with himself after—“

“Enough, Ewan. We cannot dwell the why and how right now. We need to find the others.”

Lachlann snapped his eyes from the dead Campbell man to narrow his gaze on his second. “What—“

“Not everyone was killed Lachlann, a lot of our clansmen are not counted among the dead. I think those that escaped took their chances and made for the hills.”

“But it’s the dead of winter! They would never last out there long! They would not have had the time to bring food or blankets! They—“

“Enough, Ewan!” both Lachlann and Angus shouted to try and be heard over the younger man’s panicked words. They shared a glanced that spoke volumes of what they were both thinking.

“Angus, take the men and the horses, search the nearby hills for any sign of them. If there were any survivors, that’s where they would go.”

As he turned to go to his own horse, Angus asked, “What are you going to do, Lachlann?”

“I’m going to find my family.”

“But Lachlann, would they not be with the rest of the survivors?”

Lachlann looked at his second—who was covered in sooth, as the other men were, as he likely was—debating whether to tell him about Ceana’s dream. Finally he said “I believe that they might have left before the killing started. They would have gone somewhere safe, somewhere I could find them.” At least, he thought to himself, I hope I can, before the cold takes them from me.

???? ???? ????


As the day progressed, the wind blew stronger, got colder and the sky became darker as the sun went down, for the days in winter were shorter and the nights were longer, colder and more dangerous for one to out in, making it less likely that that one could survive.

Lachlann pulled his black and red plaid tighter around him, trying to stay warm while he looked at his surroundings, hoping for a sign that his family had come this way at some point that day, but because of the strong winds the snow blew and buried any tracks that may have been there. Going alone may not have been the best plan, but the other men needed to find the survivors and not risk their lives on a hunch Lachlann had that his daughter’s vision would make both her and his father to leave in the dead of night and make their way, in the winter cold, to a small cabin deep in the cover of a forest near Fort Williams—in the opposite direction that Lachlann and his men had come—where travellers can stop and rest, and in the winter, find cover and keep warm. Lachlann had been there often with his father when he was younger. He was familiar with the area and hoped that his father had stopped there to hide and had not continued to Fort Williams. He hoped he would find them safe and unharmed.

He was nearing the cabin now, leading his horse by the reins—for it would be too difficult to ride through all the dense trees—still, he hasn’t seen any signs that someone had passed through there.

His hopes died as he realized that it would be near impossible for an old man with a mangled leg to leave the village without being noticed, especially if he had a young child with him.

Still, Lachlann made his way to the cabin where at least he could rest and take cover from the elements. There was also a lean-to that could fit two horses where his mount could also take cover and rest. To his amazement, when he and his horse neared the side of the cabin and his mount called out quietly, it received a return call making Lachlann stopped in his tracks, too stunned to continue because he knew what it could mean.

When his mount impatiently tugged on the reins, letting him know that it wanted to move toward the other horse, he started forward again, holding his breath as he turned the corner around the edge of the small wall. He let his breath out quickly and held back tears as he saw that the horse already there, calmly tied inside the safety of the walls, belonged to his father.

He hurriedly dismounted and tied his horse next to his father’s, running to the door, not caring about caution, throwing open the door. What he saw before him made him collapse to his knees inside the cabin. Letting his tears flow he said, “Thank God.”


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