The border spanning between England and Scotland was a treacherous land where boundaries were blurred, loyalty was subjective and survival was forefront. In attempt to allay the chaos, the borderlands were fractured into six marches with each one assigned a warden. Peace was precarious, especially with the unclaimed Debatable Lands which was owned by neither England nor Scotland and housed the worst of the dreaded border reivers.
It was one of these clans of border reivers, the Grahams, who exacted the fiercest of attacks on Werrick. Before the protective curtain wall was erected, the castle sat atop of hill of lush green grass, seemingly impenetrable and yet fatally vulnerable. After heavy rains and frigid temperatures left food scarce, the Grahams attacked Werrick Castle in an act of desperation. The defenses crumbled and the reivers stormed the castle, their enormous victory quickly escalating to wild blood lust.
People were slain, stores were taken, homes burned. Through it all the Earl of Werrick fought valiantly to defend his wife and their four golden haired little girls. His efforts, however, were in vain and a dark-haired Graham reiver managed to break through the small stronghold established within the castle’s chapel. Unconscious and bleeding, Lord Werrick could do nothing to save his family and so it was Lady Werrick who stepped forward to protect their daughters. The price of such protection was steep and nearly left her dead.
But Lady Werrick did survive. At least in body. For as each day that her belly swelled with an unwanted child, her spirit dimmed that much more. Her comely face, once bright with laughter and joy, had ceased to smile.
On the night of a violent storm came a violent birth. Amid screams and maddening pain, a life was given and a life taken. Lady Werrick survived long enough to deliver a dark-haired little girl into the world before the remainder of her spirit faded forever. Despite the child’s origin, despite the partial relation to the earl’s daughters, they all loved the babe with her wide, solemn blue eyes, for she was the last gift they would ever receive from their beloved Lady Werrick.
With the loss of his love, the earl fell into deep melancholy. Marin, the eldest daughter at only ten, resumed care for her sisters as well as running the household, seeing to things as her mother had once done. It was said the earl should never have had his family in so treacherous a land. It was also said that the love between Lord and Lady Werrick was such that it made them inseparable.
In the chasm of sadness, the earl made plans for his daughters to leave Werrick. But amid their own consuming sorrow, they refused. Having lost a mother, they would not now lose a father as well. The Earl of Werrick, ever soft in his love for his girls, gave into their pleas under one condition: if only warriors and reivers survived these hostile lands, then his young daughters would be raised to act like ladies, but to fight like men.
And so begins the Borderland Ladies.
Character profiles coming soon. Join my newsletter to get first look!
Want exclusive insider details?
Catch previews of the character profiles before they go live on my website and read exclusive stories on characters that will be shared only in my newsletter. Make sure you’ve signed up here