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10:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 8, 2115 Lallybroch, Inverness-shire, Scotland
Brian Fraser came into the kitchen of his ancestral home with the mail in his hand, whistling. It’d been a good year financially, which meant they were able to put more than they anticipated in savings. He sat down and his wife, Ellen, brought him a large mug of steaming coffee and one for herself, setting both on the table with a plate of her homemade lemon tarts. Brian passed her half the mail and they got to work. They’d opened the mail like this for years, so that they were together to share good and, sometimes, bad news. Ellen tore the corner off a letter from the Royal Bank of England and furrowed her finger under the seam, opening the letter. She started reading and when she reached the second paragraph she stiffened and whispered, “No, oh God, please not yet!” Pale and trembling, she handed the letter to her husband, “Look, mo chridhe!”
Brian took the letter from his wife and read where her shaking finger had been pointing,
“Dear Lord and Lady Broch Tuarach,
As you know, your estate’s reparation amount for the failed Scottish War of Independence was set at five hundred thousand (£500,000.00) English pounds sterling plus ten percent interest per annum (p.a.). To date, our records show that you have paid a total of two hundred fifty thousand (£250,000.00) English pounds sterling against your debt. According to the terms of the original repayment schedule assigned to Broch Tuarach Estate and signed by the late Laird Broch Tuarach, Robert Ian Alexander David Fraser, the Royal Bank of England has the right to call in the loan at any time during its term.
The entire balance of your loan on August 31, 2115 will be three hundred sixty-seven thousand pounds (£367,000.00) English sterling (which includes interest), and will be due in full no later than midnight (12:00 a.m.) August 31, 2115.
As this is a Punitive Reparation, the total was decided upon by HM’s courts. As such, this due date is non-negotiable. Should you fail to repay the amount due by August 31, 2115, the estate and its complete contents will be forfeit to HM’s Exchequer for liquidation and you will be immediately remanded to Wentworth Debtor Prison for a period of not less than twenty (20) years. As the estate is in Laird and Lady Broch Tuarach’s names and you were the persons who committed the original crimes, no other people will be permitted to take your places at Wentworth Debtor Prison (i.e., your children or other relatives).
Should the balance be paid before the minimum 20-year sentence has been served by Laird and Lady Fraser, they will be immediately released.
Sincerely yours,
Reparations Department
Royal Bank of England
London, England