|Aladra: From the Streets to the Battlefield
Author: CelticWater PM
Aladra,orphaned by English soldiers is adopted by a carter and is taught how to fight. She thirsts to avenge her parents,and dreams of fighting alongside a rebel,William Wallace. As she and Carter venture a forest and meet Wallace, her dream may come trueRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure - Chapters: 6 - Words: 12,270 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 10 - Updated: 05-15-07 - Published: 12-23-06 - id: 3304488
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chatper One----Where it Begins
Disclaimer: As much as I wish I did, I do not own anything from Braveheart. If I did, Stephen the Crazy Irishman would be within my sight at all times.
My story began from when I was a wee lass of eleven—as clever as a scholar and as mischievous as an imp, Ma used to say. Like many children of the English occupation of Scotland, m'sire was slaughtered and m'mother was raped, by King 'Longshanks' of England's soldiers. Oh, and I got to view it all as I was hiding under m'cot, frightened like a cornered hare. I remember it as clear as dawn—she smell of our commoner hut, she screams of Ma, and the vivid red and orange uniforms of the hell-soldiers. Damn lovely, eh? I remember most the face of one the men who stole Ma's will.
I was quivering and sobbing silently as the last solider stood up, and Ma's lovely head lolled to the side as she fell unconscious. The men laughed and began to file out of our tiny round house. But a young soldier who raped Ma third stood still as could be, staring at her, almost as if he regretted fouling her body. My soft green eyes flickered to the right and I caught sight of Da's decapitated head, letting out a small gasp of revulsion and anguish.
At my gasp, the lone soldier spun around, drawing his sword. His gaze darted around the room and his steel eyes found mine, innocent and peering out from beneath the crude bed. Oh Lord, never have I seen such gray eyes. The man himself was quite young for a soldier, mayhap eighteen? He was not ugly, and I wondered why he needed to rape Ma, when many other girls would be bedded by him and give him no resistance (Yea, I may have been young, but Ma had told me where babies came from LONG before then).
I let out my breath and tried to shrink into the shadows, wishing myself invisible. I expected the rapist to slit my throat with that terrifying blade, but he just stared at me. He then did something more I did not expect—he knelt to get a better look at me. I gave a small whimper. As I stared into his eyes, I saw a jumble of emotions—Pity? Anger? Sadness? Regret?—and he motioned for me to come out. I shook my head viciously, and he began to talk coaxingly with that foreign English language of his, which at the time I could not understand. I continued to shake my head, and a gruff voice called something from outside. The soldier looked out the door, then back at me. He looked hesitant. He then sighed and said something to me, before striding out the door, his chain-mail boots clinking. CHINK CHINK CHINK. I have now translated what he said to be, "I will remember your face. Forgive me, girl, for what I have done."
I waited until twilight before warily climbing out from under the bed. My mother, I found, was dead. When the soldiers had raped her, she had bleed to death. My head-severed father, needless to say, was very dead. And so I, an only, orphaned child, stumbled around the roads of Scotland, scavenging for what I could for two years, until one day, I was adopted by an old carter on his way to Edinburgh. A wary, hardened child of thirteen, I at first denied his kindness, then, as we repetitively stumbled upon each other, I accepted him as my friend. I found his name was Carter. Carter the carter. Perhaps not the most creative title…
Carter had been a novice monk then (as he found that job quite boring) he went into the apprenticeship of ((surprise, surprise!)) a carter. He taught me English along with Latin when he learned, to his disbelief, that I was only fluent in my native Gaelic. Then he discovered I couldn't read or write, so he taught me literacy (aye, he expects a lot out of a peasant Scot!) The months I spent with Carter turned into years, and the old man grew into a father figure.
I remember one night as a lass of fifteen, perhaps one of the most important nights of my life, I was sleeping in the back of the cart when I jolted awake, woken by a yelped curse of pain. Frightened for Carter, I leapt out of the cart and shot towards the cause of the noise, only to find the old man clutching his fist and a blunt blade at his feet. "Carter!" I cried, shocked, and ran forward.
"Oh, Aladra," he groaned, still clutching his hand which I saw seeped blood. "Why you?"
"What do you mean, 'Why me'? What happened to you?" My eyes dropped to the blade. "IS THAT A SWORD???"
"Aladra, shh, shh!"
"YOU CAN WIELD A SWORD??"
He swore, tore off a piece of his kilt to wrap his wound. "Yes, I can, alright? Quiet down!"
"QUIET DOWN!" I howled. "YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE A CARTER! CARTER'S DON"T WEILD SWORDS!!!!"
By the time Carter calmed me down, I'd nearly fainted from shock and my voice was hoarse from my shrieking. Carter hastily explained that he never was a novice monk, but a squire to knight in his youth. He had courted his knight-master's daughter being the father's back, and when the man found out, he chased Carter from his estate, banning him from a chance at knighthood. Carter, ashamed at his actions and affair, began to look for another job while taking on the ego of a retired young monk looking for fortune. He found an apprenticeship and became Carter the carter.
I asked why he still trained in the art of swordsmanship, and he said, "Well, in case to defend myself from highwaymen, of course! You've only not seen them because Longshanks' soilder have scared them off. Of course, it's only luck that the soilders themselves haven't attacked us..."
The statement of the soilders arroused something in me, and I unwillingly looked back on the day of my orphaning. A hidden fire flared, and I immediately demanded Carter to teach me how to use a blade. This wasn't my usual behaviour, as I always treated Carter with respect, and he knew I must have a good reason. At first he was reluctuant (he did not want me to get hurt), but after a week of begging, he finally gave in.
Within the next few months, time flew as Carter and I spared with makeshift, wooden swords, and I found that my pysical condition skyrocketed, even if I was exhausted and the end of the days. Then, rumours of rebel activity against the English began to appear, to which I disgarded as what they were--rumours. Then I would hear from a man at a tavarn that he himself and seen the rebels and their leader. The man said the leader was a commoner named William Wallace, and he fought for not just his clan, but for all of Scotland.
The fact that the rumours were true struck me like lightning--I still remembered the deaths of my parents vividly. I began to stop at every tavarn in the towns Carter and I rested at, and quested for any news on Wallace. Late at night, I would imagine myself fighting alongside the man, stabbing the shortsword Carter had newly bought me into the breast of English soldiers that dared to stand in our way. I knew it was a sin to even dream of killing. I didn't care. I had left my God as soon as my parents had died. It seemed unrealistic to me that any being that I was told was so loving and kind, would make my life so miserable when I had done nothing.
My sixteenth birthday came and went, and Carter began to advise me on men and their lusts. I coldy assured him that I knew much more about men than he thought I did, and stomped off, tears beginning to run down my face at the thought of Ma. Later, I felt guilty for snapping at the only person in the world who cared about me, and ran to Carter, throwing myself into him as I sobbed. He asked what was wrong, and I told him for the first time in the three years that I knew him about that dooming night five winters previous. He immediately began to comfort my shaking self and assured me he would never let what happened to Ma happen to me. That night only brought us closer.
Then, as we were traveling through a forest on our way to Edinburgh, we met a man and his fellows who would change our lives, and the lives of anyone in the British Isles...