The Heart of The Bruce

The Scotsman was supposed to meet his friend, Frank in Marrakech in a little over six weeks.  Frank was travelling deep into the Berber mountains in order to meet an old wizard and learn the ways of Berber magic that could help in their fight against the Order.  What kept the Scotsman awake at night and what Frank seemed not to worry about, was that in order to get to the Barbary mountains he had to wait for his guide in Marrakech and in Marrakech, he was walking straight into danger.  Frank needed someone to watch his back and the Scotsman thought that it may be where the agents of The Order were sure to be laying in wait, he also had very personal reasons to visit Marrakech.

Like Frank, the Scotsman was a mystic and a warrior of the Myst.  He was also a direct descendant of James Douglas, the legendary Black Douglas, one of Robert the Bruce’s most trusted and fearless knights.  It was a time when The Order overtly influenced or controlled much of the known world and many lords and kings were placed upon their thrones, were controlled or owed fealty to The Order.  Kings and knights continued to fight among themselves for land at home as it had always been throughout history but above all else, they fought for the glory and power of The Order, believing fully in their mission and giving their lives to it.

The Scotsman shook his head at the irony and wondered if his legendary forbear would understand why his descendant now fought for the Myst, for the magic.  Whatever the cause, whatever the side his ancestor had fought for, The Black Douglas’ deeds of bravery were the stuff of legend and survived to this day.  It was the blood of James Douglas that ran in the veins of the Scotsman and he was proud of it indeed.  Upon the death of Robert the Bruce in 1329, Douglas followed his liege lord’s last request to take the fight directly to the Myst and rode for The Order against the hated enemy with the heart of The Bruce in a casket around his neck.  This mission took him south to Castille, where he would battle alongside Alfonso XI at the battle of Teba Castle against the canny war leader, Uthman, a Berber general fighting to defend the castle, which was home to a powerful nexus mirror and rallying point for all things magic.

In his last battle against the Berber army that defended the castle, The Black Douglas had ridden against impossible odds and realising that his death was inevitable, he had hurled his liege lords heart before him as he charged at the enemy shouting:

“Now pass thou onward as thou wert wont, and Douglas will follow thee or die.”

And die he had at the hands of Uthman.  Uthman had won the day, a small victory in the greater war between The Order and the Myst.  After the war had moved on to new fronts and with the castle and the nexus mirror secure, Uthman returned home with the heart of The Bruce and disappeared from written history but not from history completely.

It had taken many generations and much of the Scotsman’s own vast resources to trace that Berber lord.  Uthman and his descendants had settled in a small village in Morocco and then at the turn of the last century, moved to a family home in the heart of modern Marrakech and this is where the Scotsman believed the legendary heart of The Bruce now lay hidden.  Frank had his own mission and would need some cover true enough but while he was there, it was the perfect excuse to go in search of the relic that his forbear had ridden into battle with and thrown ahead of him in his final fight.

The Scotsman, picked up the heavy ball and hurled it into the field ahead of him watching his dog, Jack tear after it, the synchronicity of the moment was not lost on The Scotsman as he weighed up his decision.  Yes, Frank would need some cover, he dialled the number and gave Frank the good news.

 

Copyright Faramond Frie © 2016

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