DAY 2: ROUND 2: Suzan Tisdale's Clan MacDougall Book Run!!
ARE YOU READY TO HAVE SOME FUN!!
ARE YOU SURE I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION???
Here we go.....
The wee bairn wept as bitter winds whipped down from the hills thrashing whirlwinds of snow around the feet of those gathered to pay their last respects. They were there to say goodbye to Laiden, the bairn’s mum.
The little girl clung to Moirra; her tiny face buried in the auld woman’s wool skirts. Moirra had been her mother’s best friend until the day she died. Now, she was the only good thing the child had left in the world and the only person who remained who would protect her from her father.
The bairn tried to be brave, as Moirra had told her she needed to be, but it wasn’t easy for someone so young. When Laiden had died, Moirra had made the sign of the cross, wiped tears from her wrinkled face, and told the bairn that her mother was in a much better place. Young though she was, the bairn wondered what better place could there be than here with her daughter?
The priest spoke in strange words the little girl did not understand. The tone of his voice and the lead colored sky matched the heaviness in her heart. He didn’t seem to be reading from the book he held in his claw-like hands; he seemed instead to have memorized the words. There was no sadness or feeling to his scratchy voice. The bairn did not care for the skinny man with the dull brown eyes and wished he would go away.
“Only sons of whores would kill the auld and leave the bodies for the wolves and scavengers.” It was Wee William’s gravely voice, lined with contempt that broke through the silence.
Findley McKenna gripped the piece of bloodied plaid until his knuckles turned white. Time seemed to suspend interminably before his heart beat again. ’Twas even longer before he could draw a breath. Rage as hot as a blacksmith’s forge pounded through his veins. His eyes turned to dark slits as he surveyed the death and destruction that surrounded him.
Findley drew his lips into a thin, hard line and fought to speak over the knot that had formed in his throat. “Aye,” he muttered.
While his feelings for Maggy Boyle had been unspoken, his men had well surmised that he had more than a strong affection for the auburn-haired beauty. They had not travelled these many days just to bring supplies and an offer to foster the five young lads she called her sons. Maggy had inexplicably won Findley’s heart.
“Search again,” he ordered his men. While each man was certain a second search would yield the same results as the first, they searched without question. His men would follow him through the bowels of hell if he asked them to.
Findley tore through the blackened tents and the charred remains of Maggy’s hut. He lifted the trestle table and tossed it aside as if it weighed no more than the bloodied fabric clenched between his fingers. With unrestrained rage, he ripped through the carnage in search of her.
As a warrior, Findley had fought in too many battles to number. Never in all the times that he had come close to death, had he felt this kind of fear. It clawed and slashed at his soul, shredding it into inestimable pieces. Please, he prayed, dunna let me find her. No’ here, no’ like this.
Wee William's Woman
Winter was unrelenting. It held on to the land as fiercely as a Highland warrior grasped his sword, refusing to let loose its grip and allow spring its turn.
The cold night air bit at the men who sat silently atop their steeds. Watching, waiting, looking for any movement, any sign of life that might stir in the cottage that lay below them. Gray smoke rising slowly from the chimney before disappearing into the moonlit night was the only sign of life coming from within the cottage.
Puffs of white mist blew from the horses’ nostrils like steam from a boiling kettle. The nine were draped in heavy furs, broadswords strapped to their backs, swords at their sides, and daggers hidden in various places across their bodies. If by chance anyone was awake at this ungodly hour, the sight of these fierce men would bring a chill of fear to even the bravest man.
Each man had been handpicked by his chief for the special qualities he held, whether it was his fealty, his fierceness, or his ability to enter a place unheard and unseen. ’Twas a simple task they’d been given: sneak in under the cloak of darkness and retrieve hidden treasures so they could be returned to their rightful owner.
The first inkling that things might not go as planned came from the fact that the night was not bathed in darkness as had been hoped. A full moon shone brilliantly, casting the earth in shades of blues, whites, and grays. Had they not been delayed two days by a snowstorm of near biblical proportions, they would have arrived two nights ago when it was certain to have been pitch black.
No worries, the leader of the nine had assured his men. The inhabitants of the cottage were more likely than not fast asleep at this hour. They would proceed with their mission, moon or no.
Edinburgh, Scotland, Summer 1347
“Angus McKenna, ye stand before this tribunal today, accused of crimes against our king and the country of Scotland,” the under-sheriff read from the document he held in his thin, trembling hands. He paused, looking toward the dais where the leader of the tribunal, the Sheriff of Edinburgh, sat.
The under-sheriff was a scrawny man, with bloodshot eyes and pale skin. With dark circles under his bloodshot eyes, he looked as though he had not slept in days. He stood in direct contrast to the sheriff, who was a rotund, portly man.
After a heavy sigh and a wave of a hand from the sheriff, the under-sheriff continued. His dull eyes darted about the room, looking everywhere but at Angus McKenna.
Coward, Angus thought to himself. He does no’ have the courage to look me in the eye. Angus found the man’s demeanor amusing.
“How do you plead to these charges?” the under-sheriff asked. Angus noted the slight tremble in the man’s voice, as if he were not only afraid to ask the question, but also to hear Angus’ answer.
Angus stood tall and proud, ignoring the fact that his hands and feet were shackled. He looked the sheriff straight in the eyes when he answered.
His reply was loud and firm. He was determined to remain that way, no matter what the outcome might be. Admittedly, he had done all the things of which he was accused. There was no denying the accusations let alone the charges. He had conspired against his king, his country.
Angus did not care for the arrogant sheriff, what with his fancy ways, false airs and his unearned pride. Phillip Lindsay was a haughty fool, with a mean streak as long as a summer day in the Highlands. It was difficult for Angus to believe the man was the son of Carlich Lindsay, his longtime friend and ally.
The under-sheriff’s eye began to twitch, as he looked first at Angus and then to Phillip. He seemed to shrink, to draw himself inward as if he were afraid the floor beneath his feet would open up and swallow him whole. The tall scrawny man waited for the sheriff to say something.
Daughter-Clan-MacDougall- ebook/dp/B006JUNXXG/ref=sr_1_ 1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325080152&sr=8- 1
Wee William's Woman