Highland Queen of Shadows – (Extended Epilogue)


The Isle of Shadows lay in a mist, dark clouds circling menacingly above, as Christina steered the boat into the harbor, and Lyall leaped into the water with a splash to pull it into shore. They had been fishing on the loch and having caught a dozen large fish. They had returned to shore. It was six months since their return to the Isle of Shadows, and Christina and Lyall were living in the castle with Christina’s mother, their life now happy and settled.

“Help me there, Lyall, take this,” Christina said, passing over the basket of fish, some of which were still flapping their silvery fins in the final throes of life.

“Take my hand, lass, ye shall fall if ye stand up like that,” Lyall said, laughing, as Christina tried to catch her balance.

She grabbed hold of his hand, steadying herself, as the boat rocked back and forth, a wind catching the sail and sending it drifting back out into the open water. Lyall grabbed hold of the stern, wading into the water and hauling the boat back up to shore, as Christina leaped out to help him, the two of them now soaked through and laughing.

“I didnae intend to go for a swim today,” Christina said, taking up the basket, as Lyall secured the boat to one of the mooring posts and waded out of the water onto the rocky shore.

“We shall soon dry off. Come, let us get inside, quickly. The rain is comin’ up the loch now, chasin’ us,” he said, pointing to where the dreich was drifting over the waters, the view of the mountains now obscured by the coming rain.

“I would visit Isla for a moment,” Christina said, taking up the basket and hurrying off over the rocks to where Isla’s grave lay by the shore.

She liked to visit her every day, sharing her thoughts and feelings with the woman whose death had changed her life. She plucked a sprig of heather, tucking it carefully into the rocks of the cairn which made up Isla’s grave, as Lyall came to stand next to her.

“Tis’ a sad memory to stand here, but we owe her so much,” Lyall said, putting his arm around Christina, who leaned her head upon his shoulder, sighing, as she looked down at the grave.

“I miss her every day,” she said, the familiar tears now rising in her eyes.

She owed everything to Isla, for if it had not been for her death, then Christina would never have left the Isle of Shadows to follow Lyall.

“And she is lookin’ down on ye, lass, and smilin’ at all ye have done,” Lyall said, as the two of them turned to walk toward the castle, large drops of rain now falling around them and the wind whistling down the loch.

Christina was about to reply when a sharp pain ran through her, and her legs almost gave way beneath her. She let out a cry, clutching at Lyall, the basket of fish falling to the ground, as she did so.

“Lyall… oh, I… ah,” she cried, as once again the sharp pain went through her, a cramp which shot across her stomach, as Lyall caught her in his arms.

“What is wrong, lass? I will get help,” he cried, calling out toward the castle where sentries were posted upon the battlements high above.

Soon, a dozen of the women, accompanied by Ross, had hurried out to see what was wrong, and together they carried Christina back into the castle where she was laid upon her bed, and the Lairdess was summoned to her side.

“Fetch Maria Ruaidhrí. We must have the wise woman here, tell her to bring her herbs. Perhaps Christina has a fever,” her mother said, calling for something hot to be brought for Christina to drink and the fire to be stoked up.

Christina was wrapped in blankets, and Lyall and her mother stayed anxiously at her side until Maria could be found. She was an ancient woman, well versed in herb lore, and walked with a stick, bent over and wizened, though her eyes were bright and keen. She smiled down at Christina, laying her hand gently upon her forehead and whispering something to herself as she did so.

“Is it a fever, Maria?” Lyall asked, “tis’ my fault, I took her out to fish upon the loch, and she must have gotten cold.”

But Maria shook her head and smiled.

“Tis’ nay fever, but tis’ ye who are responsible for what ails her,” the old woman said, and Lyall looked at her aghast.

“I meant nae harm, I would never hurt Christina, I love her with all my heart,” he cried, rising from his place by the bed and backing away, but now Maria laughed.

“Nay, Lyall, tis’ nay doubtin’ that ye love Christina dearly. She is with child, lad. The pain she describes is merely the bairn inside her. The bonnie wee thing must have kicked, tis’ a cramp, that is all. She must rest, and ye must see she is well taken care of,” Maria said, as Christina looked up at her in astonishment.

“I am with child?” she asked, and Maria nodded.

“Aye, ye are to be a mother, and this line is to continue,” she said, glancing at Christina’s mother, who now stooped down and put her arms around Christina, as Lyall shook his head in astonishment.

“My darlin’ lass, ye have done well, and ye must rest now,” she said, kissing Christina on the forehead, as Lyall reached out to take her by the hand.

“What wonderful news this is, Christina, and what a relief, too,” he said, sighing and shaking his head.

“We must send word to yer father,” Christina replied, still unable to take in the words Maria had spoken.

She could not imagine herself as a mother, though the thought of it brought joy to her heart. When Maria and her mother had left, Christina and Lyall were alone, and he sat next to her on the bed, the fire crackling in the hearth. He put his arm around her, kissing her upon the forehead and sighing.

“I was so worried about ye,” he whispered, and she smiled up at him.

“But tis’ all right now, sorrow has turned to joy, and we are to be mother and father,” she said, as he shook his head.

“I can only hope that I shall be a better father than my own was,” he said, and Christina could hear a note of worry in his voice as though he was anxious at the prospect of fatherhood to come.

“Ye will be a good father, Lyall. Of course, ye shall. Ye are nothin’ like yer father, and ye shall learn from his mistakes. We shall both have a lot to learn,” she whispered, slipping her hand into his as he turned again to kiss her.

“I shall try,” he replied, “for I know the child shall have the very best of mothers.”




Three months later, Christina was delivered of a healthy boy named Robert after that great ancestor who had gone before them. Maria delivered the child, pronouncing him to be healthy, if a little early, and there was much rejoicing on the Isle of Shadows at the arrival of this new heir.

Lyall was at Christina’s side throughout the delivery, her hand clasped in his, her mother at her other side, as servants rushed back and forth, bringing hot water and towels. As the baby was born, its screams echoed around the castle, and the bell was tolled across the loch to announce that joyous day which now had come. Christina was exhausted, and she fell asleep in the aftermath of the birth, waking when the child did, Lyall keeping vigil at her side.

“Is he all right?” she asked, opening her eyes and struggling to sit up.

“He is fine, but ye need yer rest, Christina, let Maria see to him,” Lyall said, but Christina wanted to hold the baby in her arms, and Maria smiled, passing him to her and stepping proudly back.

“Ye have done well, lass,” she said, as Christina looked down at the baby in her arms.

He was perfect, his tiny features like a picture of Lyall in miniature, for it was clear that he took after his father.

“Robert Ruaidhrí Donald, rightful heir to the Bruce clan,” she whispered, glancing up at Lyall, who smiled and nodded.

“And perhaps he shall gain his inheritance. The king has made bar upon Edward’s successors inheritin’ the Lairdship. Perhaps it will be this child who finally brings peace to all of Scotland,” Lyall said, reaching out and gently placing his hand upon the baby’s head.

“Or perhaps he will be content with the Isle of Shadows as his inheritance, for what more could he want than what is here?” she asked, and Lyall smiled.

“My only wish is for him to grow up strong and healthy, knowin’ that he is loved and that he is free to dae as he pleases,” he said, and Christina nodded.

“Then he has a father who wants only the best for him. Hold him, Lyall,” she said, offering her husband the baby, who now squirmed and wriggled in his blankets.

“I… perhaps ye…” Lyall began, but Christina shook her head.

“Nay, Lyall. Ye are his father, and he must know ye as he knows his mother,” she said, as Lyall took Robert tentatively in his arms.

“Ye are very tiny,” Lyall said, rocking the baby back and forth.

“See, he likes ye already,” Christina said, as Robert now stopped crying and settled into Lyall’s arms to sleep.

“I promise ye I shall love ye and nae make the same mistakes as my father made with me,” Lyall whispered as he sat down on the edge of the bed, smiling down at the baby and glancing at Christina.

“Ye are nothin’ like yer father, Lyall. And I know ye shall love our child as much as ye love me,” she said, smiling up at him.

Together, they had brought new life into the world, and together they had made life better for so many others. Christina was happy, knowing that Lyall was at her side, the two of them surrounded by friends and family, their clans united as one. It was not the life that Christina had imagined for herself, but one far better. A life forged out of tragedy, but which now grew better by the day. She loved Lyall with all her heart, but now too there was room for another love there, the love they shared for the child she had born, and for the children to come, for surely Robert was not to be their last.

“Ross too is expectin’ a child,” Lyall said, and Christina laughed.

“Tis’ his wife that is expectin’, but I am sure he will be just as good a father as ye will be. The two of ye can share responsibility when we wives have had enough,” she said, and Lyall laughed.

“Gladly, for I daenae think I could ever grow tired of this lad,” he said, kissing Robert gently upon the forehead as he passed him back to Christina.

“Wait until he is screamin’ at some ungodly hour,” she said, laughing, as the baby opened his eyes and looked up at her.

“I shall nae mind, so long as ye are there, too,” Lyall replied, and Christina closed her eyes, delighting in that perfect moment with Lyall at her side and Robert in her arms.

There could be no greater happiness than this, and with a smile upon her face, she fell asleep, knowing that happiness was all that lay ahead.



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  • I enjoyed the story but found it hard to believe that John could change so quickly or that Lyall would so easily give up his quest for lairdship. Also, how are you six or seven months pregnant and not know it? I also really wanted Lyall’s loyal friends to follow him and match up with the female warriors. After all, it sounded like they needed more males to keep the clan populated.

  • Enjoyed this book from start to finish. It was a great fast paced read. I could not stop reading until I finished it. Why not add the extended epilogue to the book instead of having to download it from a separate link. Please consider it.

    • I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, my dear! Thank you so much for your kind words <3. The truth is that the extended epilogue is a separate scene after the plot of the book is published. Usually, it is a way for me to either put a closure in the happy endings of my heroes or set the scene for a future story connected to the family.

  • What a wonderfully written adventure. Lyall and Christina were soul mates who grew to love each other. It was interesting to watch their feelings evolve. Nicely done.

  • Lovely story about Lyall and Christina.And the Extended Epilogue was a great edition to read at the end

  • I enjoyed the book alot. The story was good and the people in the story I just loved all of them. Cindy

  • Thoroughly enjoyed the strong women storyline it was great to read and kept me interested until the end. Loved the characters described so well that you could imagine being part of the book

  • A great and action filled read with a wonderful happy ending. Early women’s lib in a positive way. Thank you,

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