Sywardus, started playing July 03, 2008 (the year 1456 in RK time). He resides in Lanark, Glasgow county, Kingdom of Scotland. He is unclanned and betrothed to Callikoneko. In January 1458, Callikoneko broke her engagement to Sywardus and broke his heart in the process. She is seeking to find herself somewhere in The Glen, and her journey can be found under "Memories and Wanderings".
- Level 2
- Field: none, due to the exorbitant taxes imposed by politicians seeking fame and fortune.
- Profession: Weaver
- Current Titles: Lanark Chief Mentor - retired April 1458;
My name is Sywardus Alen Lockridge; my immediate family is of the Alen's of County Donegal along the western coast of Eire. We have kin in the Lochridge clan of the northern regions of the Kingdom of Scotland and that is where my story begins...
My grandfather, Ragnall mac Domhnall Alen, in a quest to seek his kinfolk and a what he called a "better way of life", decided in the early spring of 1455 that the family would leave County Donegal and find our way to Inverary up the Loch Fyne to the Gàidhealtachd. Being that of a fishing and farming family, boats were easy to acquire and just after Eastertide my family began our journey.
Following a nor’easterly course, we rounded a point off Ballyhillin and encountered days of terrible storms. Twelve members of our family braved a tossing sea. My uncle (mother’s brother) was lost during one of these storms, leaving a wife and young son. After the tragedy, grandfather ordered my father, Cillian, to sail closer to the coast of the northern lands. We made it to Rathlin Island in the early autumn of 1455. Eleven brave souls gave thanks to the Almighty upon landing on this small, sparse land.
With enough resources to hopefully winter over on the island, grandfather, father, and my uncle Guaire made plans to camp and resume our travel in the spring. Guaire felt that the Irish Sea would be calmer travel and we could make solid repairs to our craft before the trip.
My four younger sisters and a brother, my mother’s sister and her son, and my mother, Niamh, all hunkered down for the passing of the winter solstice. We celebrated the story of Daidí na Nollag, a story of a man wearing a huge animal skin coat bearing tidings of prosperity and good cheer. My father even allowed my younger sisters to sip the mead that had been carefully concealed from my mother. She frowned at my father’s cheer considering her mourning for the brother that she had lost. My father quietly assured her that better days awaited us upon arrival in the Gàidhealtachd, near Inverary. Mother, using a language I did not know, softly sang these words: Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus Ex Maria virgine: Gaudete! Tempus adest gratiae, Hoc quod optabamus Carmina laetitiae Devote redamus. Ezechielis porta Clausa pertransitur Unde Lux est orta Salus invenitur. Ergo nostra contio Psallat iam in lustro, Benedicat Domino Salus Regi nostro.
Winter was harsh enough for all of us. Our quarters were constructed of driftwood, rocks, and sod. The small scrub bushes were plentiful for fire and warmth. It rained days upon days. My sisters made playtime quite fun – why is it that young maids are so silly when confined? My younger brother, Piaras, 10 years the younger, and just achieving what we considered manly status, often would confront my father and grandfather over the reasons for this quest.
My grandfather is of the Lochridge Clan of the Gàidhealtachd. He wanted to seek the fellowship his kinfolk after years of harsh life in County Donegal. This singlemindness and vision of what he called “mountains” and “freedom” intigued my father and my mother’s brother. In our family, that vision drove all of our actions.
Spring finally came, not soon enough for me and my brother. We were itching to get started. We wanted to meet cousins and – girls, even scottish ones. Grandfather told us many tales of wild lasses who could sing and hold your gaze for hours. They were hard working women as well, all strong, fertile, and loyal to their mates. Ah, we were ripe with anticipation.
As we set out this past spring, mother seemed unnerved. Father remained stoic in his promise and commitment to grandfather. The first day on the water was just fine. Calm sea, sunny skies. Everyone had a task. The girls learned how to fish and clean the catch. We had brought enough smoked small game to last the anticipated 4 day crossing to a point off Kilbrannon Sound. The Irish Sea had other plans.
Miles before we approached a small island off Argyll and Bute, a storm came up. We sailed through as best we could. The mast was torn from its fittings. One after another, people were thrown out of the boat – fear gripping the survivors as the hours passed. Somehow the storm lasted for what seemed like days. My brother and I were tossed into the water. I struggled to reach him and we clung together. The wind and waves whipped us and flicked us like stones skipping across a pond. Suddenly we hit ground. Exhausted, we laid on the rocky shore, too dazed to move. We both passed out…
When I woke up, my dear brother lay near me on the rocks with two broken legs. I pulled him up out of the tide and made him comfortable. We both passed out again. I don’t know how long I was unconscious, but waking again I noticed he was indeed a goner, unless we could get help. Searching the horizon and the land where we laid, it didn’t seem like help would be coming. My family was nowhere to be found. My greatest fear being they were lost at sea. My heart was broken at the thought, but my will to live was strong.
A man was walking along the rock strewn beach and discovered our broken and bent bodies laying in the rushes. He spoke a different language, but I could make out the inglis that I knew and was taught. He made sure we were alive, gave us some water from a skin he was carrying and took off at a rapid pace. Was he coming back? My brother was in agony, I punched him – hard – to knock him out cold – what else could I do?
That man came back with a blanket and a couple of others, their language a blur. My brother came too, and they tended to him as best they could. We were offered and drank some wine and carried to a small village.
Unfortunately my brother did not last long. There was nothing they could do to help him repair his shattered legs. He died after six days of agony. The people of that village kept him “painless” with strong drink and herbal teas. I was nursed back to health only to find the people of this village had other plans for me.
A young man is supposed to work they said. A young man should be grateful for the care and restoration to health they said. Hummph, I said. I will work for a wage, or food, or passage to Inverary to find my kinfolk. Maybe, I thought, some of my family survived the wreckage and were still alive. I had to keep moving…
After discovering that my brother and I had washed ashore on an island – this one being Arran, I quickly made plans to escape from what was becoming a slavers colony. The man who had “saved” me was a merchant and had business across the Firth of Clyde in a town called Ayr. I was supposed to help load a boat with finished merchandise and return to the village of Sliddery – but I stowed away!
Arriving in the port of Ayr, I splashed over the side of the boat. All hands were yelling. The master of the boat was angry and sent two men after me. The short swim to shore and a quick dash through town found me in the countryside –hmm, very similar to County Donegal, I thought.
I found sanctuary in a small hut a few miles inland and made plans to travel to Inverary. Turns out that this hut was in the middle of a noble’s land, and a good farm at that. I made do with what I could scrabble – finding young vegetable gardens, and trapping small game. After a few days of rest, I started to move. I ran across a man and his daughter who had a wagon. I offered to help him, mostly because the daughter was more than interesting to gaze upon. Her name is Jeanie. We heard stories of bandits and cutthroats roaming the area of East Ayrshire, so we stayed off the main roads and traveled across the fields and hills.
The old man began to feel that I had designs on his daughter, well maybe I did at that, but my quest to help them be safe and keep moving through this dangerous area, kept me away from trouble. We arrived in Lanark on July 3 and the rest is yet to be written…
Ah, Jeanie has visited or stalked me a few times. She and her father are on the outskirts of town – maybe they will move on, maybe not, only time will tell.