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The Long Road – Pt 2

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Croatia, June 19th, 1681 – The Outskirts of Dubrovnik

A large ornate carriage pulled by a couple of Clydsedale horses raced out of the city boundaries, far behind them within the small villiage hamlets that surrounded the city proper, a grey mass of people carrying torches could be heard shouting in the distance.  The carriages destination was the city sea port of Split, one of the few Croatian sea ports that had large enough carrying capacity Caravels to take onboard the carriage occupants, and the occupants was Lord and Lady McAndrews of the Shetland isles, carrying with them all the belongings they could grab.  Driving the carriage was their only son.

“I told you Mary, we should have went back to the Shetlands at the first sign of trouble 50 years ago!”

Lady McAndrews looked at her husband and simply nodded.  “Yes…we should have”

Croatia, June 28th, 1681 – The Seaport Of Split

The port was the usual hive of activity.  News of the minor ousting of the McAndrews, known to the Croatians as the Morningtons, had not yet reached Split.  The arrival of the family carriage packed to the brim with all sorts of goods and containing most of the familys valuable antiques started to arouse questions witin the dockwork community, however the family was still feared, and no one dared ask any questions.  With the Caravel fully loaded they cast off.

The plan was to forgo land based travel through the top of Italy and into france then across the channel into England and simply sail across the Meditarrenean Sea, through the Gibraltar Straits and north into the Shetland Islands, and to relative saftey.

It turned out that the Caravel was too packed with various items to contain everything in one go though.  So a smaller Lateen rigged Caravel transported the Lord and Ladys son and a few of the lesser expensive family items.  Both ships casted off and headed out of the port.

Less than 20 minutes out of Split the dockside was again starting to fill up with the grey mass of annonymous bodies holding torches shouting into the dark sea.

Meditarrenean Sea, June 29th, 1681, Bound for the Straits of Gibraltar

Its had been 9 hours since they departed from Split, in the broad daylight they could see behind them about a dozen smaller Lateen Rigged Caravels giving them chase, and they were much faster.  The Lord and Ladys son ordered the captain of the Caravel to pilot the ship alongside the much more laden Caravel.  He told his parents it would be much safer for them to join him aboard the much faster Lateen rigged vessel, dump all the cargo fro the lateen rig and make a dash for the Straits.

Lord McAndrews though was a man of history and family and flatly refused to go onboard the faster rigged vessel without first at least taking some of the family portraits, the delay would cost him and Lady McAndrews their life.

While the transferring of some items to the Lateen rig was taking place, one of the faster vessels giving chase had reach firing range of the archers.  A hail of flaming arrows started to hit the deck of the slower Caravel, and being a wooden vessel carrying a lot of cargo covered in dry cloth, it went up in flames.  The last sight that Lady McAndrews and her son seen of Lord McAndrews was him simply shouting “Go! Get the hell out of here”.

Meditarrenean Sea, July 4th, 1681, The Straits of Gibraltar

They had given chase all the way to the Straits.  Once they had reached the Straits of Gibraltar the vessels that was chasing them decided to turn back, they had now ebtered Spanish territory and the Spaniards did not take too kindly to a small fleet giving chase to a civillian vessel.

It took a further two weeks before they made land at Lerwick on the Shetland Islands.  Meeting them at the dock was Lady McAndrews brother Angus…whom Lady McAndrews son simply called “Uncle” even though Angus hated being called Uncle, he said it makes him sound old…but he was old, most of the family was old, very old.

“Im sorry about yer husband Mary, he was a fine man”

“Yes Angus, he was”

The loss of her husband, the loss of the family home in Croatia and
the realisation that the news of ‘The Curse of the Morningtons’ would
spread like wildfire across much of Europe made Lady McAndrews realise
that they were now trapped in Scotland.  They couldnt dare venture onto
the mainland of Scotland or even go into England since the mainlanders
had constant contact with Europe.  Shetlanders however look after their
own.  They were safe.

Shetland Islands, October 10th, 1821, The McAndrews Estate

funeral of Lady McAndrews had just finished.  She was never the same
woman after fleeing Croatia, even after more than a century the story of
the curse of the family was still running like wildfire in southern
Europe.  For a Mornington, she died relativley young, only just under
380 years old.  The Varsecole gene which ran in the family had been
getting progressivley stronger as each generation went on.  The gene had
found its way into many Shetland Isles familys, but none more so than
the McAndrews clan of the islands. 

Old Angus looked to the last remaining member of this part of the McAndrews clan with those sad old dull blue eyes…

“Well boy, what ye gonna do now?”

“I dont know Uncle, i just dont know”

runner came up to the son of the lady and lord and asked him to sign
off for the various alcoholic beverages for the party.  He took the
quill and wrote “Lord Victor A. Mornington, Earl of Lerwick” and passed
the waiver to the runner.

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