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Craig Macleod | "The Blessing Way"

Posted on 241709.06 @ 15:56 by Lieutenant Craig MacLeod

Mission: Ballynamony

When he'd left the garrison, Craig had been numb to the elements surrounding him. He knew what he needed to do, where he needed to go, and how to do what it was that he'd set out to. What he didn't know what how to guarantee a miracle and to be sure that life would remain within the tiny spark of a woman huddled up within Anaxar's arms. Closing his eyes against a gust of bitter wind, the doctor tightened his coat around himself and shoved off harder with purpose. The road wasn't his to take, but instead of a foot path through the woods on the edge of town. It wasn't much and in the snow it was barely recognizable. No one had traversed it since fall, and no one would have reason until spring at the very earliest. Spring when the water of the harbor would once again be unimpeded by ice and they'd have a chance to hunt for clams and oysters and muscles. His mouth watered upon realization that he hadn't exactly taken time for lunch or dinner and breakfast had been a half a bannock. Focus. He needed to focus. Food could be found later, life needed to be preserved now. His ungloved hand touched the familiar rough bark of an old oak as he passed it, using it as a marker to find his way. In his haste he'd forgotten those quintessential pieces of outerwear and his fingers, he was certain, were angry and red from the biting cold. He couldn't shove them in his pockets, his arms were too needed for balance as he walked the treacherous and precarious path to where he knew the reeds Anaxar had requested grew. The river would begin to spill into the marsh just beneath the rise of the next hill, and the descent would be tricky given the grade and rocks and the ice. He'd make it though, he'd have to.

"Damn it a'!" Craig swore, landing on his posterior just as soon as he reached the river bank, a patch of ice having given way beneath his weight. It was cold. Too cold for this trip, but damn it all it had to be done. It was silent there, aside from his puffing, irritated breaths and the creaking of ice in the marsh as it shifted with the harbor's tides. There was nothing he could do set for a moment, resting his head back against the rock he'd slipped on as he worked to gather his thoughts and catch his breath, all too well aware of the ache in his hips and the familiar rush of cold adrenaline coursing through his circulatory system. Just why it was that he was going above and beyond for strangers, for people from other worlds, didn't make sense to him! None of it did, if he really and truly thought about it.

The stars did. Radiating out above him, shining bright and wondrous as he watched the last day begin to fade into oblivion and yield to their desires, the stars reminded him of why. Because he was drawn to them. The people. The stars. The secrets they held and the knowledge they possessed. He was drawn because of the selflessness and the love. He'd always believed in things like love and marriage and magic a rightful union possessed. Those unions were common in the Highlands, but not here in this horrible new world filled with the stuffiness of the English even though the colonists refused to believe they were anything like the oppressors they railed so hard against. Idiots. The lot of them. He'd come only for a chance at making a life and name for himself as something other than just another Highlander. The Jacobite uprising had been a failure, Scotland as a whole lost to the crown. No more were tartans worn. No more did lairds have the power they once had. Clans had all been lost, aside from what was hidden behind closed doors, but Culloden moor had been the end of so much... So much. His father, however, was stuck in the past and that was not a place for Craig to dwell. After all, he hadn't been alive for Culloden, born a couple years later. What difference did such things make? Dunvegan would always be Dunvegan, but this was his chance at something more.

And he hated it.

Closing his eyes, Craig sucked up his wounded pride and climbed back to his feet. Each step was murder to his now frigid joints, but he made good of it as he finally reached the water and the plants growing tall its brackish delight. Luck was on his side, at least, a handful of reeds were ready and easy to snap free. "Ye'll grow more come Spring, but thank ye fer yer hospitality." He muttered quickly to the plant and beast a hasty retreat, or at least as hasty as he possibly could, back up the bank and through the thick woods. This time, though, he drug a fallen bough of pine behind him, sweeping away the evidence of his travels. No one needed to know the lengths he'd gone or to believe there were spies running in and out of the town. No more pressure needed to be put on those held captive. Si'a wouldn't survive being separated from Anaxar and Anaxar would surely lose what was left of his resolve. No. He had to hurry, but he had to be careful. The night was coming, work was to be done, and life... It had to go on.


Craig MacLeod


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