The battle to overcome evil set in old Scottland!
| Although the surrounding lands are quite beautiful and the house itself a marvel of itself, it is the nature of people what make a place that it is or was or is to be. For all the surrounding beauty, twas pure evil that dwelt there and none else would venture to his lair. Not during the daylight for twas fraught with danger, nor atal during the night for twas fraught with death!
It was the Roshven House they named it. And it lay at the end of a long road called “The Road to the Isles” that began way beneath the highlands of Ben Nevis at Fort William. The road takes one west by a bit north on its journey along Loch Ailort. It crosses through the villages of Glenfinean, Lochailort, Arisaig, Morar, and lastly it comes to Mallaig. Across the waters lie the isles of Muck, Eigg, Rhum, and Canna and to the north when the weather be clear, one may glance upon the serrated skyline of the Cuillin Hills of the Peninsula of Skye. And where the road ends there be a promontory on which the House of Roshven stands guard ore the land which bears it much malice, leastwise the inhabitants thereof.
The house itself is built entirely of the native stone with a parapet at a corner of one end and three two story wings adjoining the main house of three stories built in the patter of a cross with dormers adorning the attic in the central portion of the house. It is further adjoined by a rock wall some six feet in height leading to the court yard. This stunning west Lochaber coast is a veritable feast to the senses. At every turn the landscape changes And each season brings its own delights. The road leads you west under mountains and around lochs. Out to sea lie the distinctive features of the four small isles of the Inner Hebrides. Eagles, Herons, songbirds, Red Stag Deer and Long Haired Cattle adorn the countryside and the shoreline teem with seals and otters and seabirds.
But the beauty is undermined by the evil that lay within the walls Roshven. They say that many of the evils wot come do so by way of the eastern European lands. Lands such as Transylvania and such that’s wot they say. But even those are only but a match for that which dwells within the walls of Roshven. It is said that a particularly evil Pirate who was the Captain of his vessel, William Kidd, called Captain Kidd who roamed the seas from 1688 til 1720 when he finally was captured and hung in the town square. And now it is his ghost wot rides the roads and reeks havoc among the townsfolk in revenge for hangin him. He inhabits the Roshven House, so no others will dare, a fine house though it be!
The wee lass had just not long ago celebrated her seventeeth birthday, and was unfortunate enough indeed to happen along the road when the Lord of Roshven twas on the prowl. The night was just beginning, the moon low and large on the horizon. He reigned in his huge black stallion all adorned in black leather, a fine strong shire beast and he looked upon the lass and said, ”Wot be your business upon the lane this night, young Lass.” He startled her so, she fair cud’not speak, gazing upon him so tall and the wearing of the long black cloak and hooded an all, black boots to his knees and a claymore she believed protruding from the cloak. He was four inches shy of seven feet and two hundred eighty pounds and enough to scare any man. “I beg your pardon sir, but I was a comin from my friends house away yonder and on me way home if you please,” she answered.
His voice was deep and fraught with a tone of no good. He laughed at her and it frightened her so she hiked her skirt and began to run across the moors. He laughed again and rode her down, drawing that claymore with but one hand and a wide sweep and the girl was separated from her head as she crashed to the ground!
He stepped down, collected the head, and put it in a sack. Then he lifted the girl easily to the saddle and rode to town. When at the first lamplight he tossed the body and blew a mighty bullhorn he carried. He waited until doors opened and then with a loud maniacal laugh rode off down the lane.
The townspeople came out and saw the body there at the lamp post and were fair enough terrified. “Oh no,” cried one of the women, “not another.” “E’s bringin the bodies right to town now.” “Who’s the gurl?” asked old Jonathan. “How are we ta tell?” asked Angus. “The poor dear, said the widow McDonald. “Best get her to Doc’s place til we ken find oot who she be.” “Sure’s twill be but a mum’ll come alookin soon.”
Billy come along with a wagon and put the girl in it and drove down to Doc’s place. “Hey doc, we have another victim for ye,” said Billy. “Oh my, but tis a wee lass this time.” He said. “Do ya ken who she be lad?” Doc asked. “No, I doan’t, but the dress favor those I’ve seen worn by one of the MacFarlane gurls.” Billy answered.
“Terribul shame it is, cut down so young and by a ghost no less.” he said. Doc replied, “Tis not a Ghost you silly fool, but a man makin out to be one. He’s out for vengeance or something of the like, you mark my words now lad.” “Bring her in and put her on the table and run along wi ya.” “My goodness, I ken this gurl, I brought her inta this wourld just seventeen years ago!” “It’s Elspet MacFarlane!” “Her folks are gonna take this hard.”
The men had gathered at the pub, most every man in the town. They were clearly vexed at the body of the last wrecklessly thown inta the street by the killer.
“We,ve got ta do something about this lads,” said Mackelvey clearly upset. “This is the third body be-headed by this maniac in the last month.” We can’t let this continue!”
“Aye, said most of em in the pub.” “Does anyone have any ideas aboot why this is occurring ta us ?” asked William. There was a silence for a spell until ole Shamus decided to speak. This was truly amazing, because Shamus almost never spoke. So when he decided to speak, all were a listening.
“Do you lads ken aboot twenty yaer ago when the Pirate Captain Kid who had been raiding up and down the coast aboot here was captured in this very pub, and it was seven strong lads wot carried him to the tree center of the square and hung him forthright?” “And one of em got the idea to take e’s ED to teach others a lesson.” “Well, it’s my guess that E had a son somewhere an now he’s here livin up ta the Roshven house an E’s up ta revenge fer is ole Papa, and as it in mind ta take seven heads, one fer each of those wot took E’s papa.”
All the men just stood there not sayin a peep. They was mullin that around and figuring that meant there were ta be four more from the town afore E would stop. Who would be next? One of they or their kin? They all looked pretty somber and by one’s and two’s left to go home to their families. All but Shamus. He sat there reading the Gazette and smoking his pipe as always, as if nary a word had been spokin.
The funereal next day was a sad day indeed. The whole town turned out. They played the pipes and the vicar read from the book and prayed for the family. It was a mighty cool morn and the wind, she was a blowin something awful and a spittin rain. No one stayed long there. No one that is cept her daddy. Bain was a big man and kept to himself. He was a quiet one that one was. He was the town blacksmith and as such, he knew everone for miles around and they him. no one actually knew that much aboot him though, quiet as he was. Strong, that they knew. Efficient and trustworthy, they knew that too. But he and his family were knew here. Came to town when his daughter was born a mere seventeen years ago. If wot they was a sayin was so, then this fella had no right to take his daughter and he meant ta make him pay for his mistake!
Little did any but maybe Doc know that Bain was also a master swordmaker. He had one of his own that was a thing to behold. And he practiced with it every day. the sword was made by an eastern method of hammering many layers of steel one atop the other and forged in a fire. It was called a Damascus Blade, so named for the place the craft had emerged. It was by far the strongest method of swordmaking that existed. His sword was hand carved and ornately decorated with inlaid silver and gold. It also had a spring device that could emerge when needed called a sword breaker. An opponents sword could be caught between the blade and the device and with a firm jerk and twisting motion could snap a lesser blade rendering it useless as a weapon. When he arrived home, he went to the closet, retrieved the blade and a stone and sat comfortably by the fire and began to caress the length with the stone. It didn’t really need it as he kept a razor edge on it all the time, but it helped in some way to temporarily appease his fury. A day of reckoning was abreast!
Four now were dead and buried without their heads for they had been taken by this evil that now plagued their town. All had been taken in the shadows of the Roshven House. The bodies of the previous three were lying in the path on the way to the coast minus their heads! Not a clue left behind as to why it was done nor by whom!
Of an evening later, Bain was preparing his ride as he had been doing every evening now with hopes that he might have an encounter with this beast wot has been doin the killins. Then it was that the other men who were from the families of those others taken by the Black horseman decided that they too owed a blood debt to a wayward killer.
They came dressed for battle. Leather armor they had gotten who knows where, and each had themselves a sword and a dagger. Naught of them were fightin men as they were simple farmers and one, John Darlin was a fishing man. He had a knowledge of blades but from a practical sense, not that of a soldier. Brave enough they each were. They offered their help to Bain MacFarlane and wished to accompany him on his ride. “Aye ye may come wi me, but since I am the only true swordsman amongst us, tis I that will have a go at im when furst we meet.” said Bain. The other three agreed.
So down the path they went, and there were rumors about that a farsounding voice on the wind could be heard most nights and the thunder of hooves upon the road. But when looks out, there is nothing. So night after night they kept their vigilance until the night when the moon shone bright.
The four men were all vigilant and determined to bring Justice to the village of Mallaig. Ian Keith lost his eldest son and was the first. Then it was Shawn Carlyle who lost his nephew, and Edward Bruce who lost his wife just a week ago. They were all strung upon the road no more that a hundred meters apart. Shawn heard the hooves bearing down on him but saw nothing until almost right in front of him there was the Black Rider already swinging his Sword. The others heard the maniacal laugh and turned their horses back down the road. In the mere seconds that had passed, the Black Rider had vanished and left behind the headless body of Shawn. His sword lay beside him in the road. They tied his body to his horse and then ground staked him while they went hunting for the killer. They found nothing and so they returned to town to bury yet another citizen of their fair town.
The next night there was a terrific storm wot came in off the sea bringing with it the cold, thunder and terrible lightenings! The wind was blowing the rain sideways and when it struck one in the face, felt like tiny daggers assaulting the face. Bruce said they should maybe go have a look at the Roshven House as it had been empty so many years now and might be the likely place for a Devil to set up his wares! None of them were too eager to go there but at least this night anyway, they could search in side away from the storm.
They approached the House more like a castle than a house except there were no outer walls, nor drawbridges, nor moats. The lane was overhung by the spreading of mighty oaks and tall junipers walled them in shutting out what light there had been before the storm. The wind was blocked and they remained relatively dry while riding through this living tunnel to the House wot lay ahead.
Suddenly they came into the courtyard before the main doors of the house. A low wall lay along one side where the hill fell away down toward the waves below. As there were no inhabitants in the years before, they did not attempt to knock at the door but strove for entrance alone. There was no lock and the door gave way to allow their passage. All inside was completely dark except for the occasional flashes of lightening that lit the interior for a split second. “You,… murderer!” called Bain. “We ave come to do battle wi ye!” From somewhere deep within the walls was a deep groan followed by a throaty laugh! “Then come meet your doom!” answered the deep voice from a distance.
“Keep your eyes open and your sword at hand lads.” There be danger afoot.” said Bain. “Aye, unnecessary but sound advice” answered Ian Keith who was even now clutching his Celtic sword tightly in his determined hand. Edward Bruce carried an English broadsword but Bain, he carried that marvelous Claymore! “Will ye meet us then in the center room?” called out Bain. Only silence and the dark was the answer. And as Edward turned a flash of lightening showed the beast before him but before he could call out, the sixth victim was claimed and the head taken! The only sound the other two heard was the falling of the headless body of their friend.
“Where are you?” screamed Bain! “Come and fight me as a real man would do!” From across the room a voice, low and menacing asked,
“Why should I have mercy on you dogs?” “Did you have mercy upon my father when you took him and hung him and then took is ed? No trial, no questions asked, just assumed is guilt and killed and mutilated im!” “So ere am I to see to is revenge and pay dearly you will, seven heads, one for each wot took im out that night! And I will display them proudly as a lesson to all who take justice into their own hands without givin one a fair chance to defend himself. Aye a Pirate he may have been, but never once did he, Captain Kid raid along your coast, so’s ye had no right to be a takin im the way you did!”
“That may be all well and good, but you have taken the innocents, and my daughter one of those.” said Bain. “Aye, an me father was innocent here too anyway.” “His raids were on the coasts of America, not in the Isles.” “Maybe so, said Bain, but my daughter and my family just moved here a bit ago and that business was long ago, we had no part in it, and so I will make you pay for your misbegotten deed!” “Makes me of no nevermind, her head will do, and yours too as that goes.”
And at that they engaged in battle, Robert Kid was his name and he was well trained with his Claymore! Slash, block, thrust he drove Bain back, and then Ian joined the battle but Robert was driving both men with his great strength and determination, not to mention his skill. The battle raged on. A slice here, a cut there, all three were now not unscathed by the battle.
Ian and Bain began to get the upper hand, they hand the lighter weapon and could use their speed together to gain an advantage. That was the case until at once, Ian gazed upon his sword still held in the lifeless hand that lay upon the floor. He was out of the fight, leaving Bain to attempt the mighty and the macabre! Bain was a strong man and well trained, but he was not the match for the foe he now faced. Bain intensified his attack, he thrust at thigh of his opponent who merely spun away slicing for Bain’s head as he did and missing slightly as Bain ducked beneath the slash. Then Bain tried a move learned as a youngster, he tucked into a forward roll and brought up his sword as he came out of it thrusting upward to the belly but the claymore was there to ward off the attempt. Robert came down with a mighty blow that would have cut Bain in half lengthwise had not Bain stumbled slightly, throwing his body out of line with the blow!
They stood facing each other now, swords at the ready, catching their breath. Bain played the next moves over in his mind. He was going to try a move with the sword breaker. If he could get Robert to slash down at him, he might get the breaker to catch the blow and with a quick twist, either break the blade or rest it from his grasp. Bain thrust low in a feint and withdrew quickly which brought exactly the response he had wished for. Down came the blade, and Bain deftly caught the blade with the breaker!
He gave a mighty twist and sword was rested from the hand, and he pitched it across the room! He drew back his sword to deliver the final blow that would bring this vengeance to a conclusion!
The thrust would not come! He was paralyzed by the ten inch dagger that now impaled him all the way to his spine! His eyes were amazed and wide as he peered down at the handle protruding from his abdomen and his knees buckled!
Robert slowly walked over to his Claymore and picked it up. He walked over to Bain just crumpled to his knees with his sword stretched out before him, useless now even in its beauty!
“Beautiful sword”, said Robert. “I shall claim it as my trophy from my best adversary, and I shall display it proudly beneath your bleached skull setting on a parapet in the Great Room.” he sneered. “Goodbye my friend.” He raised the claymore and laughed loudly as he began to swing but suddenly stopped!
Protruding from the center of his chest was a foot and a half of bloody steel! He slowly turned to see Ian, with his severed hand in a bandage of cloth all bloody, but the hilt of his sword in the other! “Today you shall join your father in the pit of Hell,” said Ian. And Robert Kid, son of Captain Kid lay upon the floor of Roshven House with eyes open and still!
Bain called to him, “Ian, thank ye me friend, an bless ya.” “My wee lass will rest now, please find the rest of her and place it in her grave and me next to her.”
Ian made his way home a told the tale, and the Doctor fixed his arm best he could. Men from the town went then to retrieve the bodies of their fallen hero’s from the house. When they arrived, there were the bodies, just as Ian had said. They gather them up and put them in a wagon outside. When they went into the Great room to fetch Bain and Robert, they stared in fear! For there lay Bain’s body without a head! And there was no Robert anywhere that they could see!
Then the men heard a deep throaty laugh coming from somewhere deep within the house! They drug poor Bain out as fast as they could and the whipped the horses of the wagon into a terrified run down the lane.
None of the townsfolk were further accosted in the years to come. The debt had been paid! And none would ever go near the evil wot inhabited Roshven House ever again!