My name is Mairi Robieson. I was born February 8th, in the year of our Lord 1603, the 25th year of the reign of King James the VI, and the year of the joining of the crown. I was born near Elgin, in the highlands. My mother, Ślu Robieson, never said who my father was, but there was always money for us and a roof over our heads. She died when I was three, and my grandmother, Aeghnais Robieson, took me in with her. From her, I learned the skill of herbwife and healer, and developed a good reputation in my community. When I was 16, a local lad, Brus MacBeth, persuaded me to marry him. My grandmother had died earlier in the year as well as our local laird, and I had no longer had a home, so I said yes. He was a Catholic, and tried to force me to convert, but I had promised my grannie to stay true. We spent four years together and he grew increasingly cruel as I continued to refuse to change my faith, and as I continued to lose each child that I carried. Finally, after he raised his hand to me once too often, I treated him for a stomach ailment. Unfortunately, he did not survive the treatment.
I moved into Elgin, leaving my small town for the big city. I found a small shop in the shadow of the Cathedral and to supported myself with my skill as an herbwife. I developed a loyal clientele, and had one regular visitor. He was a sailor, and would often stop by in the evenings to share with me a bit of supper and tales of his travels. Dàn MacKilligan and I were handfasted in October and shared my small rooms. We were married for five years when he signed on for a voyage to the New World, his second voyage to those lands. Word came back to me later that the ship had gone down in a storm off that heartless coastline, and he was lost to me. I decided that I would never again marry. There was no issue from this marriage, either, as much as we both wanted bairns.
My cousin, Mairi Farquarson, had invited to come live with her when she heard the news. She was also an herbwife, having been taught by her mother, my mother's sister. She had two young boys and was lonely for family as her husband had taken her to Deeside shortly after the wedding. Following the premature death of her husband, who died after being trapped under a stone wall, we fled Deeside with her boys and joined Colonel Gaffney's Regiment where I brought my skills as a trained herbwife, an ability to spin and weave, my skills at distilling liqueurs, and my talents to organize.
I sorely missed the mountains around my home, the open spaces, and the ocean. My memories of my mother were misty and distant, but I clearly remembered the walks thru the hills with my grannie as she pointed out the plants so necessary to our trade, and drilled me in all their uses. She taught me to test unfamiliar plants for their values, and which ones helped in small doses, and killed in large. She taught me which herbs helped a woman to start her flow, and when it was dangerous to do so. She taught me which ones prevented a bairn from starting. I also remember the suspicion that fell on me after the death of my first husband, and how I was shunned by those that I had helped. I cherish the memories of my Dàn, and cry at the thought of him still. Of the long trip to Deeside, I have no memory, except for being met by my cousin at the end of it.
Since arriving in the Regiment, I have treated many an ill soldier, and bound many a wound obtained without benefit of war. I have collected young orphans, and with the help of a few friends, have given them a place to live and taught them skills with which to earn an honest living and keep them from the heartless streets. Since I may still have a husband living, I have vowed not to marry again, and must provide for my "family" alone.
With the regiment, I have a place to live and food on my plate. I have been able to make a living for my orphans and myself and to help my cousin with her boys. I will have a chance to see the world, and visit the lands my beloved spoke of.
I join the company bard and his wife, Tierlock and Tamaye Kennedy, when possible to listen to the songs of home, and sing the homesickness away. They have become fast friends, along with the tavern keeper and his sister, Joseph and Elwyn Gunn. I also lose myself in the dancing, led by the mistress of the tinker shop, a women with a fascinating history, Brianna Morgan. And spinning and gossiping with Rilla makes the days go by much faster and more pleasantly. But my main responsibility is healing, of the body and the soul, and in a company readying for war, that is a busy life. I long for my beloved, and hope that somewhere, someone is treating him with the skill and love I provide my family in Clann, and the love and support they provide me.
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