November the fifth is remembered in England for the Gunpowder Plot.
My family’s duplicitous part in this historic event is well recorded.
I choose to mark the day with a lessor known day of treason:
The sound was that of, perhaps, distant thunder.
Rolling ceaseless thunder.
Those gathered there to pick mushrooms which thrived on the ancient battleground, as one, averted their attention to the curious.
A continuous rumble.
The vibrations emanating from the ground made the knees tremble.
All now looking to the vague source, a feeling of dread began to envelope the simple folk of this land of heather and the winds of the past.
The sound of a horn pierced the air, attacking the ears, causing an involuntary tilting of the head.
The ground shook, the roar could drown a voice. If one were spoken.
Metallic clatter joined the cacophony. It were as if chains were rattling.
Fixation, fear, terror.
The last of the mist that hung in the dip in the fields where lovers lay in the summer appeared to retreat as the horses revealed themselves.
At full charge they were a grand sight to behold. The swords glinting in the light from the autumn sun defiantly rising.
The people of the village, men , women, children, scattered.
Charging, slicing, cutting. the monstrous attack rolled in. Unstoppable.
Scattering, crouching, running, standing. They all fell to the swords and sabres of the English fiends.
The deafening calamity of it all masked the sounds of death and dying.
She lay face down where she had fallen.
As his steed came at full pelt to her, she rolled. As she rose her dagger entered the stallion’s chest. It crumpled to the ground mortally wounded. He leapt from the saddle as he had oft practised.
She ran as best she could. He sliced her from behind tearing open her clothes and marking her back with a diagonal red line. A wound.
As she stumbled sideways his sword sliced open her cheek. The erratic movement, the uneven ground, the hand of God, all conspired to miss-direct the blade. Her head remained part of her.
Lying on the wet grass where she had walked with her father as a girl she could make out a figure standing above her.
The seething anger within allowed him to perform the coup de grace as he held his weapon aloft.
He didn’t know. He had, earlier, killed enough for this day.
Blood covering her face she began to faint. She could make out his eyes as he picked her up. The cold and murderous eyes of a maniac.
As she went limp in his arms she would never know a tear had joined the ominous flow of life from her once beautiful visage.
Still carrying the sword which had scarred her so, Earl Sywwow, the slaughterer of innocents, the plague of the highlands, Satan’s Captain made his way toward the burning village.
Three score years they were together. Four children she bore in the home he built for her overlooking the glen of their first meeting.
He remained a much feared man but, they say, no-one loved one another more than they.