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The McAndrews



     Ballicastle was built soon after Heathfield. The McAndrews and Barrett families, well respected within their own circles, had become friends and eventually allies. Those were the wonderful years, parties and balls held respectively as music and laughter filled their days. Chadrick senior had taken the lovely Mary McDonald for his bride and it seemed they were rarely parted as she was with child more often than not.

Years later Andrew Barrett had taken a Sylvan Elf princess for his wife, a petite and beautiful sprite by the name of Atessa Moonspell, at least that was how her name translated. Chadrick seemed to produce sons, first his namesake then two years later along came Seamus, then Liam, Joseph, Edward, Jon, Brian, Michael, Patrick and finally Collin. They had been blessed with 10 strong lads full of life and personality.

     Andrew and Atessa had lovely twin daughters - Lahoneee and Amberlette and eventually Autumn. The couples use to joke about a hopeful marriage between their own sealing the bond between the families even more. But neither would prearrange a marriage for they believed in love and Fate taking one where they belonged if they were to be ever happy. These were the days of bliss and contentment.

     Then it changed, one beautiful morning belied the horror that would follow. Andrew and Atessa had been ambushed and killed on a trip to visit her people. Unknown to the McAndrews. The twin girls had been whisked off by wizard Thalan, an old friend of the couple. He had gotten there too late to help them but he was able to rescue the girls letting all think they too had been killed.

     He couldn't find the infant Autumn and it was assumed she had met her demise with her parents. The girls were young and raised without knowledge of their heritage for their own protection for the time Rath ruled. Rath had declared himself king and had taken over Heathfield in what would become know as the "dark days". He was quick to march on Ballicastle before the news could reach them and retaliate.

     The Shawnesey's were amongst these troops, forced to fight under Rath or see their own families killed. Heathfield's army was strong and hit them hard unprepared. Mary escaped with Edward, Jon, Brian, Michael, Patrick and Collin to a safe place while her husband and four eldest - Chad, Seamus, Liam and Joe fought alongside their father. They had been near crippled with the unexpected hit from an ally but they were fierce warriors and the war lasted a good 15 years.

     Sylvan Elves sided with the McAndrews, revenge for the death of one of their princesses who had been loved dearly by her people. Rath knew it was hard enough fighting the McAndrews but the Elves were a whole other matter as they were gradually turning the tables.

     It was in one of his furies that Rath started smashing things in the old office of Andrew's that he hit something against the wall that opened a hidden door and he found the scroll that had been written by Thalan before he had taken over and he learned of the twins. Somehow Thalan had gotten into the castle and safely placed the scroll there for safekeeping within Heathfield itself of its rightful owners and royalty.

     It also proved the twins at least still lived. Rath was livid, near maiming one of his own guards in release of his anger. Then it came to him, if he forced one of the girls who would be of age by now into marriage, it would stop the Elves from helping the McAndrews and he would turn the tables back on them. Amberlette was missing as it was but Lahoneee they found.

     In the meantime a great battle was being fought on the battlefield between their lands and the final confrontation was between Rhett Shawnesey senior and Chadrick McAndrews senior. They had to fight and found themselves holding back at the same time for Chadrick knew that Rhett and his son had purposely allowed escapes of his family and always made sure they were never really hurt as they did the same. Both knew they were forced into this and neither really fighting the real enemy.

     They were warriors and there was a code and so they fought. There were many fighting around and somehow in there one of Rath's men rammed into Rhett at a precise moment sending his sword into a death blow instead of an altered one into Chadrick. The same man sending his own sword into Rhett. He was the one known as Rath's right hand, the black knight. Rhett was nearby and held his dying father in his arms as the Elves rushed in and the fighting stopped for now as the black knights men retreated leaving the son with his father hoping they would kill him too now.

     Rhett didn't care as the young fierce warrior buried his head in his fathers chest saying any last words and making a promise his father asked of him. King Chadrick's body was quickly taken as all failed to heal him but he lived long enough to see Mary and his sons as they gathered around his death bed. His son Chad made a solemn oath to help his mother and watch over his brother as he would be king now.

     Mary kneeled by her husband staying the stinging tears to show him a brave face, of which loveliness Chad took as his last sight on this Earth as he moved onto the next, her hand held in his. Mary died with her husband in heart in that moment, their love had been so strong and they were so one with each other but she knew she had to be strong and while she lived would see to their sons and bring them up in a way he would be proud of her.

     Rath had managed to kidnap Lahoneee and tried to force her into marriage, but the one whom at the time claimed her love, altered his plans and it was Argyle MacNeil who claimed the death of the Dark Knight then Rath himself in a successful rescue of Honeee in a fierce battle within Heathfield.

     All was set to right and Heathfield was once more in the hands of one who belonged there. The wars ceased immediately as those of the Sylvan Elf rejoiced along with those of Ballicastle. Ballicastle did lay in ruins as they started to rebuild. Mary was never the same after Chadrick, Sr.'s death and it was her sons that only gave her a reason to continue. It was after a few years that as Ballicastle started to get back on its feet that its people cried out for revenge of Chadrick Sr., they wanted the head of Rhett Shawnesey's son, Rhett also, who had fought along with his father as some kind of justice. Chadrick went to the lands of Heathfield once again but it didn't sit right with him.

     Instead he was woven into an intrigue set into motion by Aaeron Barrett, brother of Andrew, and near got him wed off to Lahoneee instead. Actually he had at that time wished this, but it was soon obvious that Honeee's heart belonged to another. He had confronted Rhett and knew it would be wrong to bring his head back as some kind of appeasement to his people so instead a battle was fought as a token of honor and neither ever told who had won it. One outcome was a great respect for the other as a warrior and more.

     After Chad realized that his destiny was not to have Honeee as his wife he did come before her, laying his sword at her feet, in not only respect for her but Rhett and all that Heathfield was once more. He pledged both his loyalty and that of Ballicastle reverted back to what should have been, again. The sword was accepted and Ballicastle was given the funds Aaeron tried to bribe Chad with, to him so that its reconstruction was speeded up. Ballicastle and Heathfield's history was so entwined it was natural for them to become sister castles once more, and so Ballicastle's history continues.....

*written by Lahoneee*

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