Brianna looked out from the deck of the ship into the dock of the colonial town she had arrived in. Coming to the 18th century was an eye-opening experience, she had crossed the stones in Scotland and had bartered for a place on a run-down shipping vessel to try and find her parents at Fraser's Ridge.
Unfortunately, the voyage had been hard and they had been blown off course several times. So although she had made it to North Carolina she did not know the town or the way to Fraser's Ridge.
Leaving the ship and wandering into the settlement she began looking for a place to stay. The town was dirty and the one tavern that agreed to rent a room to a single woman was not ideal. Brianna had barely set her bags down only to be joined by an unwelcome visitor. A man it seemed the establishment was more of a brothel than anything and Brianna had nearly become an unwilling employee.
She had left quick smart hitting the man in the face and running back out to the street.
Now Brianna was close to tears as she stood in a small lane off the main road. The wind was whipping up and she shivered. She couldn't stay out on the Street that would be nearly as bad as the brothel. She hadn't realised the realities of being an unmarried woman in this century and what it meant.
She crouched low against the wall trying to protect herself from the wind when a shadow formed above her. She raised her head to see an older man with long sliver hair standing above her. Unlike the other men leering at her in the taverns or the people turning their noses up on the street this man looked at her with concern.
'Ye alright lass?" He asked.
Brianna shook her head. "Ah no ...um.. my lodgings for the night fell through." She blushed not knowing why she felt comfortable telling this stranger.
The man made a grunting noise in the back of his throat as he responded. "Aye.. I saw you leave Madame Tu's... it not a good place for a lass like urself."
Brianna shivered as the wind whipped through her hair and her shawl. The man look thoughtful for a moment before he took Brianna's hand and rose her to her feet.
" you will stay with me tonight"
Brianna knew she should argue but somehow couldn't bring herself to do it. The pair walked until they reached a small shop. Inside was a blacksmith forge and through a door a small apartment. Upon being lead to a small room Brianna was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.
The next morning Brianna woke to the smell of food, a bowl of porridge sat on the table and the man from last night sat across from it with a bowl of his own.
Brianna hesitated in the doorway before the man spoke.
Brianna took a seat and took in the warm meal after what felt like a lifetime at sea.
"What brings ya here lass" the man asked.
" well my name is Brianna and I'm looking for family".
"Names Murtagh" the man grunted.
"You can stay here a few days not safe for a lass on her own here".
Brianna considered him for a moment. "So what you just tak r in wayward lasses for fun do you?"
Murtagh looked affronted for a moment before his expression softened slightly. "No lass, ye remind me of my sister and some family I lost."
Brianna was quiet after that.
Brianna had been staying with murtaugh about a week when she came in the blacksmith shop hear him humming as he worked the forge.
Picking up the familiar tune she began to sing. "Boogie Woogie bugle boy..."
Suddenly the forge stopped with a clang and murtaugh whirled around to face her. All the colour had drained from his face.
"Where did ye learn that song he breathed."
Brianna felt shocked for a moment than realizing that Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy wouldn't become popular until. WWII if it even existed in this century.
Not knowing what to say and looking at Murtagh's equally shocked expression she answered truthfully.
Murtagh looked ready to drop but kept his eyes glued on Brianna.
" your mother’s name, is it, Claire?"
Brianna nodded and Murtagh began to cry.
The whole story spilled from there. How Brianna had come through the stones. Murtagh said he knew about the time-travel and how she had come back to find Claire and Jamie. Murtaugh nearly fainted at learning Jamie was alive and that he and Claire were together.
Unfortunately, Murtagh had not heard of Fraser's Ridge and Brianna’s research did not tell them where it was other than within North Carolina. With no other plans, Murtagh continued to work in the shop and Brianna stayed with him in the hope they would hear about Jamie.
Murtagh still had some Scottish contacts but so far nothing had come to light. In the meantime, Brianna had come to see murtagh as an uncle and many of their evenings consisted of swapping stories.
It was another month before they heard anything. A young Scottish man had come in looking for a bit for his horse and Murtagh who had been late to see Brianna had only stayed for double the usual fee.
It was only when an older shouting Scotsman came through the door that Murtagh paused.
“ Oi blacksmith What the devil's the meaning of charging a lad 21 shillings for a bit?””Blacksmith! I'm speaking to ye.”
Murtaugh turned around slowly.
”Murtagh?” Jamie whispered.”
"Thank the Lord., Jamie.” Murtagh cried “I never thought I'd lay eyes on ye again. How? W-what brought ye here?”
”I came in search of settlers. I have land three days north.” Jamie began to explain ”This is Jenny's son, Ian.””Ian, this is Murtagh. My godfather.””Fine lad. Drives a hard bargain.
”Uncle Jamie told me all about yer adventures together.
"I have so much to tell you " Jamie said between tears.
"An I want to hear every word" Murtagh replied equally choked up.
Young Ian was babbling in the background but Murtaugh had stopped dead.
Jamie was looking at him puzzled and before either of them could speak Brianna entered the shop".
"Uncle Murtagh, you alright you said we were to meet but....." Brianna trailed off who's this. She looked up to see the guests in the shop.
Murtaugh pulled her to his side and looked at all the puzzled faces around him.
"Lass this is Jamie I found him" Briannas eyed filled with tears as Murtagh continued.
"Jamie this is Brianna, your lass".
Jamie looked so shocked you could've knocked him over with a feather.
He stepped forward unsure and whispered her name like a prayer "Brianna". They fell into each other's arms sobbing.