THE WOLF FOLK SERIES
REBUILDING A WORLD
A STORY OF AN UNCOMMON FAMILY
Charles W. Bird
Charles W. Bird
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental. This story is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced by any means without the express, written permission of the author.
From Chapter 10: The Pipers began the Funeral Dirge as Jaimes was led down the tower stairs, Sergeant McGuiness began chanting the "Highland Trail of the Dead". The entire troop was drawn up at attention, Lewis and John Commanding. As Jaime walked by, each rank of troopers saluted him and then they went to Parade Rest, waiting the command to carry the coffin. When Jaime had finished paying his last respects to his Father, Twelve of their largest troopers grasped the handles on the coffin and slow-marched to the Family Cemetery, accompanied by the Pipers sounding the Dirge of Death. Outside the Hall, the way to the burial place was lined with the American Wolf Warriors, their swords reversed in mourning the death of a Wolf Warrior. The Dainispidal Warriors awaited the casket at the burying place and received it from their American Cousins. Every Warrior knelt in prayer as the coffin was lowered into that awful hole and the Pipers piped one of their own on his journey to sit with The Lord of Wolves Above Us All. As the first shovel of dirt was dropped on the casket, John and Lewis stepped up beside their friend and kept him from falling to the ground. When it was all done, Jaime marched with his two American Friends at the head of the combined Warriors, American and Scot, as they slow marched back to Dainispidal Castle.
THE LAIRD OF DAINISPIDAL
The Laird of Dainispidal is dead and a new Laird must be chosen, but only one son of the Laird remains alive, Jaimes of Dainispidal marched his folk home from his Father's burial. His American friends, John and Lewis marched at his side, ensuring that, in his grieving, he did not fall to the ground.
The old Chamberlain, David of Loch Heevey, sounded his staff on the stone floor, proclaiming, "All who would challenge the right of Prince Jaimes of Dainispidal to mount the Great Chair of Dainispidal and rule its folk, step forward and state your claim!"
None stepped forward to challenge Prince Jaimes and he mounted the steps and stood before the Chair of his Forefathers. He turned and announced, "I, JAIMES DAVID STUART OF DAINISPIDAL CLAIM THIS THRONE AS MY RIGHT AND PRIVELIDGE. KNEEL ALL YOU WHO ARE MY FOLK AS I ANNOUNCE MY LAIRDSHIP TO THE LAIRD OF WOLVES, ABOVE US ALL!"
All his folk in the room knelt on their right knee and Jaimes prepared himself for his oath. As the room quieted, the visitors also knelt in honor of this young Prince, who had been through so much and was preparing himself for more of the same. Jaimes proceeded to remove all his clothing before proceeding with the Ceremony of Investiture.
Jaimes bowed to his folk and then proceeded with his oath, "LAIRD OF WOLVES ABOVE US ALL, I STAND BEFORE THEE AND OUR LAIRD GOD, AS I WAS THE DAY I WAS A BAIRN, WITHOUT CLOTHING TO HIDE ME FROM THEE, TO PLEDGE MY BODY AND MY SOUL TO THE PROTECTION OF MY FOLK, NEVER SHALL I FOUL ANY OF MY FOLK NOR SHALL I BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST ANOTHER. ONLY HONESTY AND TRUTH SHALL COME FROM MY MOUTH AND ONLY KINDNESS AND PROTECTION SHALL ISSUE FROM MY HANDS. I SHALL HONOR YOU, LAIRD OF WOLVES ABOVE US ALL AND ALSO OUR LAIRD GOD, FROM WHOM COME ALL BLESSINGS. I SHALL FORBID ALL HARM AND HURT TO OUR FRIENDS AND COUSINS, THE FOLK OF THE HUMAN KIND, AND I WILL NOT ALLOW OTHERS TO DO THEM ILL. IN THIS, I DO SWEAR UPON MY IMMORTAL SOUL AND THE RING I SHALL WEAR."
The Chamberlain approached with a tray that bore the Clan Ring and, as Jaimes slipped it on his finger, the bell in the castle tower began to toll. Twelve times, the huge bell rang before it fell silent.
Without a sound, other than rustling of their feet, each Clan Member stepped forward and kissed the ring that Jaimes wore, before walking from the chamber, leaving the American Visitors standing in quiet observance of the ceremony about to unfold.
When all but the Chamberlain and the Seneschal had left, Jaimes knelt and prayed before he donned his clothing. He then stood, still facing the Wall of Wolves and said out loud, "Great Laird of Wolves, Above Us All, guide me as I lead my folk from this place of pain and misery and carry them abroad to be with our Brothers in America. There, again, our Beloved Clan of The Dainispidal Wolves may thrive and grow in harmony with others of our kind. Intercede for me and mine folk before the LAIRD, OUR GOD that he will protect us and shield us on our journey across the Great Ocean to a new land, a new land where our bairns may grow in safety and honour. This land has grown weary of us and we must seek a new place for ourselves and our bairns."
There was absolute silence, the visitors from America were stunned and could not even move until the Tower Bell resumed its tolling. It tolled for twelve times of twelve strokes each before it again fell silent.
James leaned over to John and asked, "Can you reach King Jeremiah from here?" John replied, "Yes, My Prince, do you wish me to tell him of these events?"
James replied, "Yes and tell him to send the whole fleet of planes, we have a folk to bring home."
John was already struggling to send his mind back home, the distance was great and he reached for Lewis' hand that he might couple with him and add power to his own mind.
James watched as John sent his mind across the ocean to reach King Jeremiah, he caught Jeremiah as he was sitting down to his breakfast.
The King screeched in surprise and, as soon as he understood what John needed, he began making preparations to receive the Highland Wolves.
James watched John through the entire process, his thoughts jumbled and not a little frightened. He thought to himself, "Lord of Wolves, Above Us All, the young Wolf has the Ancients' Power of Mind Couple! What else has he been gifted?"
After Jaimes had rested, he still was not fully recovered from all that had befallen him, James sat with him and told him that King Jeremiah was sending the Wolf Fleet of planes to bring him and his people home and that a place would be made ready for them all, in comfort and safety.
Jaimes was a little frightened at what he had done and he asked, "Is it possible, Laird James, that my folk may be settled in the mountains of your land, a place of crags and trees, running streams and some small amount of good land?"
James smiled at the young Clan Leader and replied, "Yes, there are several such places in our land, but, I think the best place for you and your Folk is nearby to us and our dear friends, The Cherokee. They are of the human kind, descended from those who assisted our folk during the Great Migration, twelve thousand years ago. They are loyal to us still and will assist you in settling your new lands."
Jaimes went to his room to rest, he had been exhausted to begin with and the recent events had left him shaky and disoriented.
After leading Jaimes to his room and seeing him at rest, the Chamberlain, David of Loch Heevey, returned and knelt before James, "Lord of Warriors, I am the Leader of the Society of Keepers, we guard Laird Jaimes' most precious items. We must retrieve those items and bring the Keepers home, that they may join the exodus of Dainispidal."
James asked, "What are these items of such value?"
David replied, "Laird James, there are several items, including one that absolutely must go to America, THE GREAT CROWN OF WOLFDOM." James choked on his tea and squeaked, "The what crown?" David looked very solemn and replied, "Given unto our trust and keeping at the time of the Great Migration, was the Great Crown of our Kings. There has been none to claim it in more than ten thousand years, but we have kept our trust and the crown still exists, safe and secure"
James asked, "What else have you kept safe?"
David replied, "Laird James, the remainder of the items are all of young Jaime's inheritance from his forefathers, The Eye of Scotland, the Stone of the Seers and the Charter Stone of Danispidal."
James asked, "Where are these items kept?"
The Chamberlain replied, "They are kept at Loch Heevey, in a secret place. I am too old and frail to make the journey, I propose we send your two Junior Officers and their squads to retrieve these items. I will give them my Signet, it will identify them to the Keepers and will also open the hiding place. The Keepers must be offered the chance to go with us to America, also."
He continued, "I must ask that Young John go in charge, for he is to be the next Chief of the Keepers. I have seen into his soul and it is he who the Laird of Wolves, Above Us All has chosen. You must not inform him, he must discover his calling on his own. I will entrust my Signet to him and the Laird of Wolves, Above Us All will lead him to discovery."
James said, "Sir David of Loch Heevey, you place a heavy burden upon me, I love those two young wolves as if they were of my own essence, should anything happen to them, I would need to meet the Lord of Wolves, Above Us All, face to face."
David replied, "Have no worry, Laird of Warriors, they are already guarded by my Brothers Keeper. You and they will not see them, but, be assured they are already there. None could ever get close enough to the lads to cause them hurt. We have been doing this since the time of the Great Migration. It is our task and our calling. We answer only to the Laird of Wolves, Above Us All. A thousand years ago, we learned of your coming and I was sent here to greet you, have no fears, the lads will suffer no hurt!"
James had to sit down, his head was swimming at what David of Loch Heevey had related, David smiled when he saw James' eyes roll back, he knew the Lord of Wolves, Above Us All, was speaking directly to him.
James began to shake and shiver and he let out a scream of agony, tears were streaming down his face as he pleaded, "No, No, PLEASE not that, too!"
James would never relate what he had been told, but for the rest of his life, he would find it difficult to ever smile again, nor would he ever rest easy at night, sleep would elude him and he would walk the corridors of Wolf House in Cashiers, North Carolina searching for the peace he had lost.
After his experience, he sat for a time, trying to recover his wits as his very soul had been squeezed and shredded.
Finally, he gathered up his courage and called the two young Wolf Leaders to him. When they arrived, James bade them sit while David of Loch Heevey told them of their task.
The old man pulled off his signet and handed it to John, "This signet will identify you to my Folk and will also open the crypt, where certain items of great value and importance are stored. You will know what you must do when you see the items in the crypt. Take only your own Warriors, those who have bonded with you for life. You may ask my Brothers Keeper if they wish to accompany you on your return, for they also, are to go to America with us. Their Burden of Service is not ended, it will continue in the new land."
The moment John slipped the ring on his own finger, he heard a voice in his mind. He nearly stumbled when he identified that voice, it was that of the Lord of Wolves, Above Us All! John found himself on his knees with tears flooding from his eyes as THE LORD OF WOLVES, ABOVE US ALL, instructed him in his duties.
Lewis knew that he was to be subordinate to John and he crisply saluted his Brother Warrior and said, "Leader, we must be off if we are to return before the Wolf Air Fleet arrives in Edinburgh."
John was struggling with what he had just learned and a bit shaky, his aide, Master Sergeant McGuiness and saluted the two young officers, "My Lord Keeper, your troopers are assembled and ready to escort you to Loch Heevey, SIR!"
John sent his mind out and saw two squads drawn up at the door, they all had Scottish bonnets with white ribbons on them and their blouses held a large golden crown on the left breast, just over their hearts.
John and Lewis looked at each other, their bonnets that they had folded and tucked into their left epaulettes were gone and in their place were bonnets of white fur, with purple ribbons.
Lewis exclaimed, "John, your emblem, it is gone and there is a golden crown in its place, with a huge stone in the center!" John thought for a few moments and then replied in a solemn voice, "I am the Keeper of the Wolf Crown of our folk and the stone represents the Eye of Scotland, which I now will retrieve and carry for the rest of my life!"
Lewis immediately dropped to his left knee, "My Lord John, guide me that I may follow you all my days!" John replied, "Rise Warrior Lewis, thou art a Knight of Scotland and shall be known as the Warrior Keeper!"
He turned to the stunned Warriors who had witnessed this event and said, "Warriors, we go to retrieve the Greatest Treasure of Our Folk, know that we are surrounded by the Keepers and they shall aid us in our task. We must hurry, the Wolf Air Fleet prepares to depart on their journey to return ourselves and the Wolves of Scotland to America!"
The two young officers led their troops out the door, John slightly leading, as they raced through the mountains of Dainespidal to Loch Heevey.
Every once in a while, John caught a fleeting glimpse of a Warrior, he knew they had to be one of the Keepers, he tried waving at them, but they ignored him. They appeared to be spread out, ahead and to the sides of their group.
It was a full day's trip at a steady lope, they arrived at an ancient Keep on the shore of the Loch just as it was getting dark.
John pounded on the door and held his signet upright for all to see. A huge Warrior responded to his knock and looked at his ring, the Warrior dropped to his knee and said, "Welcome Lord of Keepers, thou art expected."
John and Lewis entered the old Keep and found the Great Hall filled with Warriors.
The Warrior who had answered their knock, pounded his sword in the wooden floor and said in a loud voice, "The Lord Keeper has arrived, it is time, my brothers, to do that which we have sworn to do, we must retrieve the treasures we have guarded and deliver them to their rightful holders."
John said, "My Brothers Keeper, we go to the Land of America and thou art invited to accompany us, we will have need of thy services in the New Land, thou hast served long and well, will you accept a new service?"
All the Warriors Keeper stood and replied as one, "Aye, My Lord Keeper, we will serve!"
John turned to Lewis and said, "Brother, will you remain here to answer their questions, for they have many? I will go and retrieve the items we have come for."
He grinned a bit and whispered, "I will show them to you after I have retrieved them."
Lewis also grinned and replied, "Thanks Bro, I WAS feeling a bit left out." Lewis entered the great hall and began answering the Warriors' questions about America and what their new home would be like.
The huge Warrior, who had met them earlier at the door, was the Keep's Seneschal. He led John and ten Warriors from the Keep, outside, where John's own Warriors joined them.
John's Warriors had, among themselves, decided they would bond themselves to John's service for the remainder of their lives.
They knelt before John and their spokesman, Patrick Gordon, said, "Lord John, we wish to enter your personal service, we hereby bond ourselves to you, now and forever. THIS WE SWEAR BEFORE THE LORD OF WOLVES, ABOVE US ALL."
John replied, "Warrior Patrick, I accept thy plea of service and I appoint thee Captain of the Keeper's Guards."
He then said to the kneeling Warriors, "Thou art accepted as my guardians, thy eyes must always be open and thy mouths shut, what goes on here and in the future must never be revealed."
The Warriors all intoned, "THIS WE SWEAR SO HELP US GOD, WE WILL NEVER REVEAL THY DEEDS NOR THAT WHICH YOU KEEP AS LORD KEEPER."
The Keep's Warriors and his own followed John along a path that had been made known to him, it took them to a large standing stone.
John pressed the face of his signet ring into the hole that was in the face of the rock. There was a groaning sound as a door, which had not been opened in the last twelve thousand years, shuddered and dragged as it opened to reveal the contents inside.
The Crown of the Wolf King was in a cloth bag that appeared to be undamaged, despite its great age.
The Eye of Scotland was mounted in a crystal case and it sent out a beam of light that touched John on his forehead and lingered for a few moments before the whole stone turned a rose color that lit up the entire area.
John knew that he had been accepted as The Keeper!
The last item in the cavity was an ornate sword, as he reached for it, the Keeper Warrior who had accompanied them held his hand and said, "That is The Sword of Truth, my Lord. If you are not worthy, it will kill you, otherwise, you will be the most mighty Warrior in all the world!"
John had already seen himself holding the sword in his mind, he thought, "Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound."
He grasped the sword and the whole area lit up, John's mind cleared and he knew he possessed all Ten of the Powers of the Ancients!
Unknown to him, all the bells in all the keeps in Scotland began ringing, nonstop for an hour!
David of Loch Heevey was resting back at Dainispidal Keep, he smiled when he heard the bells announce the new Keeper and knew his own burden was over. He thought to himself, "Now I may die and be at peace."
He suddenly heard in his mind, "No Way, Jose! You are gonna live long and enjoy life!"
David asked, "No way, Jose?"
All he heard in response was the giggle of a teen, he knew then that John had accepted the burden and had been gifted with the Powers of the Ancients as well as the Charter Stone and The Stone of Seers he had secreted away until they reached America.
THE RETURN TO AMERICA
The return to Dainispidal Keep was slower and easier, John was kept in the middle of the formation of Warriors and Keepers, the Unseen Ones ranged out ahead of them to insure their Lord's safety and that of the treasures that he, alone, carried.
The Sword of Truth swung easily at his hip, it was almost as if the sword was alive, it never touched earth nor stone and its pommel was always within immediate reach of John's hand!
The Eye of Scotland was hung around John's neck on a silver chain that could not be unclasped as long as John was alive. John was sure the stone was alive, it spoke to him and commented on the terrain ahead, animals in the area and that there were no enemies nearby.
As they entered Dainispidal Keep, the villagers saw what John carried, they all gasped and went to their knees. "THE GREAT WOLF KEEPER HAS RETURNED. HE BEARS THE SWORD OF TRUTH AND THE EYE OF SCOTLAND HAS ACCEPTED HIM!"
David had briefed James of what would take place and both James and Jaimes of Dainispidal knelt before John and paid him homage. Jaimes proclaimed, "I, JAIMES, LAIRD OF DAINISPIDAL, SWEAR UPON MY SOUL THAT I AND ALL MY FOLK SHALL STAND BARRIER FOR LORD JOHN OF THE KEEPERS. NO HURT NOR FIEND SHALL ACCOST HIM SO LONG AS THERE IS BREATH IN MY BODY AND BLOOD IN MY SOUL"
It had been a long and hard trip to and from Loch Heevey, John let out a giggle of relief and asked, "Has anyone got a peanut butter sandwich?"
Those that knew what a peanut butter sandwich was could not help themselves, they roared in laughter, which was what John wanted, after all, he WAS still a teenager!
The folk of Dainispidal and the Warrior Keepers had bundled all their belonging they wished to keep, and stood ready to trek to Edinburgh to meet the Wolf Air Fleet.
Six Warriors bore the Great Tower Bell of Danispidal on a litter, that it might go with them to the new lands.
With the women and the bairns, it took them three days to reach the city. James had sent Warriors ahead to give the pilots a head count.
The Eye told John there were bandits nearby and he sent his Warriors out to fend them off. They made a cairn of their heads!
On the third day, the sun broke through the clouds and it was a glorious day. As they approached the airport, the Red Wolf was sitting there, along with sixteen other planes belonging to the Wolf Folk. Even the Golden Wolf had been sent from the Maya Clan!
John saw the Royal Standard flying at the door to the Red Wolf and knew King Jeremiah had come to welcome them. He marched up to the accommodation ladder and knelt.
Jeremiah had an idea of what the young wolf wanted, so he came down the ladder and said, "Rise Lord John, Prince of the Keepers."
John stood, he had grown very tall since Jeremiah had last seen him, John towered over his King. He withdrew the Wolf Crown from its silken bag and gently placed it on King Jeremiah's head. As soon as it touched the King's head, every bell in the city began to ring!
As Jeremiah looked up, all the Wolf Folk and most of the humans in the area had knelt to pay homage to the King of the Wolf Folk, an event not seen since before the dawn of history!
Tears were pouring from the eyes of all the Wolf Folk, they had, at last, their King back among them! They could not know that back in Cashiers, all the bells began to toll at that exact same moment also!
Jeremiah felt he should say something, so he stood on the steps of the accommodation ladder and said, "Wolves, Warriors and our friends of the Human Kind, I thank you for your respect and accolade. Our kind have ever been thy friends and that will never change. Before God and The Lord of Wolves, Above Us All, I swear eternal friendship to you Humans, if ever thy need is great, thee need only to call upon us and we shall come to thy aid. Our world is growing too small for there to be a Human Folk Place and a Wolf Folk Place, we shall live among you as you live among us and we will help and succor each other and make our world a place of enduring friendship and mutual prosperity. This I swear upon my immortal soul, may I be struck down by The Lord of Wolves, Above Us All, should I fail in this duty to both our folk!"
The roar of applause was deafening and went on for many minutes.
James took the opportunity to display his troops; they marched across the airfield, performing movements that amazed the onlookers in their precision and color. Towards the end, he stopped the troops and called out, "You children, boys and girls, wolves and human folk, join us as we march across the runway, choose a Warrior to be your guide, that he may show you how a Wolf Trooper Marches!"
Several hundred children, mostly boys, came racing across the tarmac to join the Wolf Warriors, they had a great time learning how to keep cadence and march without getting their feet tangled up.
John felt some children trying to sneak onboard the Red Wolf, they were all hurt boys and girls, who had nothing and had been told they were nothing. He contacted Jeremiah's mind and told him about the children and that he would care for them.
John climbed into the cabin as the children were trying to hide, he said, "Boys, girls, there is no need to secret yourselves, you are all welcome here. None may hurt you here nor can they assault you in any manner, while under our care. I am Prince John, the Warrior Keeper of the Wolf Folk, come and join me in the back of the plane, there is food and drink for you."
As John walked to the rear of the plane, children reached out to hold his hand, most were crying and sobbing in relief, no longer would they have to do things, awful things, in order to eat or have shelter.
Jeremiah came back into the plane and observed what John was doing, he quietly walked towards the rear of the plane and announced, "Boys and Girls, I am Jeremiah, King of the Wolf Folk. I welcome you all, those who wish to come to America with us, you are welcome to find a seat and claim it for your own. If you wish to remain here in this country, then I will make a gift to you as you leave the Red Wolf."
A small girl raised her hand and asked, "How can an airplane be a Red Wolf?" Jeremiah smiled and asked, "What is your name?" She shyly replied, "Janice."
Jeremiah giggled and told her, "Just as your name is Janice, the name of this airplane is Red Wolf." He pointed out the window and said, "See that one over there, that one is my son's plane, The Golden Wolf and that one over there is called The White Wolf."
A boy asked, "Are they all wolves?"
Jeremiah laughed, "Yes, they are all wolves, just as we are all wolves."
The boy laughed and replied, "Naww that ain't be true!"
Jeremiah said, "Sure it is, watch." He called forth his own wolf and let him shimmer across his face for a few seconds.
The boy shouted, "Cor, it be true fact!"
A girl asked him, "Kin girls be wuffs, too?"
Jeremiah grinned and replied, "Sure, how do you think we get little wuffs?"
She looked very serious at Jeremiah and asked, "You got any puppy wuffs at your home?"
Jeremiah laughed and said, "No I don't got any puppy wuffs in my home, but my secretary has a brand new pup in her home, he was born just before we came here, it is her first grandchild!"
Several children wanted to know if they could play with the puppy wuffs, their fear and hurt banished for a while.
As the Wolf Folk began to board the planes for their return flight, they gladly made room for the children who had joined them, they didn't even bother notifying the authorities that the children were there, they had scanned their minds and they were not in any mood to give the parents or their care givers a second chance!
They ended up with twenty-two children passengers and all of them found a comforting lap to curl up in before the planes had reached take-off point on the runway!
John was stretched out in the seat beside Jeremiah, he was exhausted, both mentally and physically, he had never dreamed he would become an adult, a leader and a companion to their King, all in a few short days.
Little did he know he would be met in Cashiers by boys both Human and Wolf Folk, all wanting to become Knights Keeper! The order would grow and become an important force in the affairs of the Kingdom. They would become the diplomats and the negotiators that would keep the peace between the Wolf Folk and the Human Kind far into the future, as both races came upon their maturity. It was a maturity that both he and Lewis saw plainly.
As the Wolf Folk and the Human Kind develop their relationship, the bumps, nobs and pitfalls that crop up in any dynamic relationship between two folk, will be leavened and smoothed by The Keepers. The last war between the Humans and the Wolf Folk was already long in the past, now, both races were on the road to form a solid relationship that would benefit them both.