Name: Elise McCormack
Era: 17th Century
Elsie used to live in Newtonmore at the geographical centre of Scotland, she had been the trainee village healer running the local pharmacy with her mentor, selling herbs and remedies.
All was fine until a clansman from an outlying village claimed they had sold his wife a potion that had turned her away from him and into the arms of another man from a different clan.
Accused of witchcraft, her mentor was arrested and underwent the torments of inquisition by the church.
Elise managed to escape into the hills, abandoning her hometown and heading to Edinburgh to disappear into the narrow streets and closes of Auld Reekie.
Using her knowledge of herbs and mixes she was soon employed in the kitchens of the castle preparing meals for the troops and officers under the watchful eye of Mistress McPhail the head chef.
6 months after her arrival in Edinburgh, in the middle of the night Elise was awoken by Mistress McPhail banging on her chamber door.
A troop of soldiers had returned from their deployment to the highlands and one had recognised her as “The Witch of Newtonmore” who had escaped their clutches.
Mistress McPhail who had been overseeing the officers table, overheard the troops making arrangements to pay Elise a ‘visit’ that night.
She led Elise out through the kitchens cellars and into the Grassmarket, all was quiet in the market, the windows of the houses dark and shuttered while the gallows rope hung still in the lamplight waiting for its next victim.
“We must send you somewhere the troops will never find you” said McPhail, “take this, it will lead you to safety, trust that it will keep you right no matter what strange sights you might see.”
With that the Mistress handed Elise an amulet and retraced her steps back to the castle without another word.
Elise watched her disappear into the gloom wondering what would happen next.
As she turned a torch flared into life illuminating a doorway that had been hidden in darkness, in her hand the amulet felt warm, almost comforting.
Hearing a shout of angry voices from the castle battlements she dashed to the doorway and stepped into The Last Drop Tavern.