Highlander's Heart (Clan Matheson Book 2)

By: Joanne Wadsworth

Gilleoin – The Legend

In the twelfth century, a man named Gilleoin became the first and only known man to hold bear shifter blood, an ability gifted to him by The Most High One. His clan was called Matheson, and when he mated with a woman carrying faerie blood, they created a line shrouded in secrecy, a line that far into the future, now neared extinction…

Gregor Matheson

The battlefield on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, 1187.

A heavy haze covered the night-shrouded forest on the edge of Loch Eishort where fae-blooded Gregor Matheson stood in his battle attire amongst his clan’s allied MacDonald warriors. The horn sounded the alert with one long and eerie blast across the bay, the watchman’s second signal the one they’d all been waiting for. Gregor, who held the revered ‘power of thought’ skill, fisted his great two-handed claymore as the heavy line of MacDonald warriors at his back snarled. He faced them, teeth clenched. “The MacKenzie comes, both your clan’s enemy and mine. Douse your torches and maintain a tight guard.”

Dunscaith Castle stood tall and strong on a low headland farther along the curve of the bay, the very castle they all defended. Candlelight glimmered from the tower windows of the MacDonald clan’s stronghold while the heavy swell of the sea crashed into the cliff-face and sprayed the fortified stone walls.

The Chief of MacDonald stormed along the bay toward their warrior party and halted before Gregor, his fury clearly riding him hard. “I willnae allow the MacKenzie to take Dunscaith. This is MacDonald land and will remain so.” The chief clasped Gregor’s forearm in a firm warrior hold. “Your fae skill will be needed this night, my friend. Aid where you can.”

“You’ll always have my aid and that of my clan’s. My chief, Gilleoin, sent me to you for a reason, and here is where I’ll remain until this battle is done.”

“Your ability and all that you can do shall remain safe between me and my men.”

“You’ve kept my secret for many years and I’ve no doubt you’ll continue to do so.”

“Aye, I shall. Moving things with your mind alone is an incredible skill, one I greatly admire and respect.” MacDonald eyed the white-capped waves rolling into shore, one hand raised to his brow as he tried to search through the eerie mist sweeping in. The thick white fog hazed the air and clogged the brightness of the full moon high above, allowing only the merest trace of light to penetrate through onto the MacDonald’s land. “I cannae see the MacKenzie and his men yet.”

“Allow me to check.” Gregor extended his fae senses out and caught their enemy’s approach. “They’re very close. We’ll be battling hard this night.”

“And it’ll be a battle we’ll win. You take the right wing, Gregor, and I’ll take the left. Our enemy will soon learn we’ll never allow another to defeat us, or to take what is ours.” MacDonald shoved his sword arm high in the air and bellowed, “All to arms. We fight this night, to rid us of our enemy and to hold our land. Let us take these blackguards down.”

A thundering roar boomed from the MacDonald’s men and reverberated all around.

Gregor swept past the line of fiercely scowling warriors to the right. Out at sea, the MacKenzie’s double-mast galley emerged from the mist, the vessel’s large square sail a ghostly white and their enemy on board slashing their oars through the tumbling waves. At the helm, a marksman stood with his bow and sent an arrow soaring. It arched high then swished down and thunked into the ground at Gregor’s feet. He hauled it from the sand, gripped both ends and snapped it in half over one knee. “Release the arrows,” he ordered.

Arrows whizzed over his head, flew high and one after the other, sliced downward and pinged off shields shoved high over their enemy’s heads.

The massive war galley caught a cresting wave, skimmed the waters into shore and as the hull scraped the sandy sea floor, a swarm of MacKenzies bounded out and barreled through the knee-deep waves.

“We take Dunscaith!” the MacKenzie chief shouted and surged forward with his men.

A blood-curdling battle cry tore through the stillness of the night, coming from both clans as warriors crashed together in a thundering roar.

Also By Joanne Wadsworth

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