Extract from Cruel is the snow publish date 12/25/2017.
Back in Glencoe, Annella and her family had settled back into
a daily routine which included the occasional raiding of farms to acquire
cattle. Annella, however, did not concern
herself with such matters, the Clans were always quarreling. It was a fine day, so she decided to again
climb the Pap, and as usual, it took her about 90 minutes. However today would
be different. As she reached the slate
covered cap, she saw she was not alone; a young highlander was sitting on a
rock gazing out across the loch. He turned as Annella scrambled into view. She
recognized him immediately, even without his uniform.
“Donald, what are ya doon here?“
“Waiting for you bonnie lass, I have something to return to you.”
He picked up a long package from the ground, wrapped in
She smiled and un-wrapped it, revealing the basket hilt sword
he had picked up at Killiecrankie. Annella
studied it for a moment and then sat down. For a few minutes she said nothing, and then
she turned to him.
“I cannot accept this Donald, I know
this sword, I recognize it, its former owner was Ian McDonald, his wife
stitched the tartan lining inside the hilt.
He was killed fighting with Bonnie Dundee at Killiecrankie pass. I assume
you got it there.”
“I found it on the battlefield. I
never saw the owner, but there were several bodies nearby.” His voice trailed off as he realized it was not the ideal
gift for her.
Annella Smiled faintly, before replying.
“If I took it and returned it to his
wife she would only ask how I came by it, awkward questions that I would rather
not answer at this time. Keep the sword Donald, It was carried by a true
Scottish patriot, you may not have been on the same side, but I see in you the
same courage. So did you kill many of my
countrymen that day?”
The question was not unexpected, and seemed to be delivered
without malice, but it still made Donald uncomfortable, which of course was Annella’s
intention. Donald was not a man to lie or embellish any of his achievements.
“To be truthful lass, I have no idea,
I fired my musket got chased by highlanders, and had to make an impossible leap
for my life over a Burn.”
Annella looked at him with wide eyes.
“That was you, Donald? I might have guessed, my father told us of
the crazy redcoat who jumped over a 25 foot gap.”
She let out a little giggle.
“You are one lucky private so you are”
Donald smiled back
“Actually I’m a sergeant now, but yes,
tis lucky I am, but I had no real choice Lassie. Not if I was to see ye again.”
Annella’s smile faded and a more serious look came over her
She thought for a moment before replying
“This is a bad time for us Donald.
bonnie lad, make no mistake, but the McDonalds will nae take kindly to
a redcoat courting a McDonald.”
“The war is over Annella. Scotland
and England are united again, the King has stated he views that the Scots as
his loyal subjects. We may have differences, but I am a soldier, I care naught
fer Politics or Politicians. I am a Scot and this is my home.”
He stood up and swept his arm out over the mountains of
Glencoe that framed the sparkling waters of Loch Leven.
Annella came to him and slipped her hands over his shoulders,
looking deeply into his eyes.