Destiny Bullard - Kestrel Mackenzie
At night, she would sneak out of her room to listen to her father – the Himself of the family and their little ridge – tell stories about war and the Crusades.
When her father took her older brothers and cousins out to train with weapons, she would secretly follow after and watch. In order to practice what she saw, Kestrel made herself a stick-sword, and kept it under her bed. When she was twelve a fisherman drowned in the nearby loch. This caused Kestrel’s wild and curious nature to find a new focus, and when the summer came, she snuck away at night to teach herself to swim. A year later, she stumbled upon a papal coven on her way to the loch. It was lead by the village priest, Father Maccraig, and although it scared her a bit at first, the priest was kind, and explained to her what they were about, and how their work had been sanctioned by the Pope. Curious, Kestrel chose to join their number, and began to meet the coven each Saturday night. Father Maccraig and the rest of the coven taught her much about nature, and the connections that bind us all. He taught her tolerance, and that the old ways were not wrong, per se, but mistaken in what they were treating with – not gods, but God’s angles. He taught her that all religions said just about the same thing, and that pagans were not wrong, only missing a fact or two.
One night, however, when she was about 16, Kestrel was not careful enough. She had thought, growing up, that either she was stealthy enough to slip away unnoticed, or her family simply did not mind her wild ways. She was wrong. That night, one of her cousins saw her leave, and told his father, Kestrel’s uncle, Argyle, what he saw. Argyle went after, and drug her back home to face her father. There was a huge fight, and it was revealed that Kestrel’s father had made a match for her with the local lord’s youngest son, and that she would first be going to the convent at Perth to finish her education, and tame her wild nature. Kestrel was horrified. The local lord’s youngest son was old enough to be her father, and she had no desire to be some meek, tamed creature sitting within stone walls embroidering all day. But the law was laid down, and Kestrel would be going to Perth. Angry, she decided to run away, certain that she was meant for more than a life as someone’s glorified bed-warmer. If she ever married, it would be her choice, in every way. So, that next night, she packed a bag, stole one of her father’s daggers, and ran away. For two years, she made her way south, into England. Working as a server in a tavern in a coastal town, she first saw Lord Jeffery and his knights. When she served them their meal and drinks, she overheard him called Lord Jeffery, and recalled clearly that name from her father’s stories. Certain that joining his band was why she had been lead to that particular village, Kestrel asked the innkeeper to let her go. As the tavern really had enough workers without her, the man agreed. Kestrel caught Lord Jeffery and his troops just as they were leaving. She knelt before the lord, and gave him her story, begging leave to join his company, and promising to serve in any capacity. Impressed by her long journey, and sensing something within her that he could train, Lord Jeffery offered her the position of his personal squire. Kestrel jumped at the opportunity, swearing her fealty on her small blade. Then Lord Jeffery bid her follow beside him, and she did, for something inside – the same quiet voice that had told her in Glenfinnan that she was meant for something more – whispered that here, in the Knights of Gore, she had found her ‘something more’; the beginning of many grand adventures, and friendships to last a lifetime.