"Fyre and Sword"
Ealasaid swept the threshold of the cottage with her small broom.
With each stroke, her temper mounted, until finally, with a frustrated growl she stopped and leaned on the top of the broom handle with her elbow. She stared out at the open country before her. The rolling green hills and the small stone walls, lying on them like long snakes, built to the shape of the land.
Concerns had been crowding her mind for some time now. What was the land most recently taken of theirs? Loch Katrine was it? Ealasaid kicked the door frame then muttered a Gaelic curse when she realized that she wasn't wearing shoes.
"Forced into hidin'-" she thought while rubbing her stockinged foot. "I can't even wear my clan's tartan. Why must the name of MacGregor be so curs'd?"
Ealasaid's father, at that moment, came trudging up the path from the fields, with a scythe resting over his shoulder. His steps had been gradually slowing ever since they were forced to flee their land.
"Hello, lass," he said with a tired smile.
"The Campbells have been trying to take Castle An Ceitan again."
"La, that's the fifth time this month!"
"I wouldn't fret about it dear, your uncle's warrior's are strong."
"Och! I know that but-"
Suddenly a man came riding up the path to their house. He pulled on the horse's reins and brought it to a halt. He was a young man, who looked about twenty, with dark brown hair. He wore a faded green doublet and black breeches. On his head sat a dark green drooping bard's hat with quail feather sticking in it.
"Latha math," he said. (Gaelic for 'Good day')
"Latha math," Ealasaid's father replied.
"Might I inquire your name, sir?" The stranger asked.
Ealasaid's father gave a nervous glance in her direction then cleared his throat.
"James Bowmaker, at your service, sir," he said with a small bow.
"Thank-you, sir. Might I also ask if you could point me in the direction of the nearest village."
Ealasaid's father nodded and pointed down the path that went by their house.
"Many thanks, sir."
After the man had left Ealasaid breathed a sigh of relief.
"For a moment," said her father, "I thought we were done for!"
"Aye, as did I," Ealasaid said as she wiped her brow, "as did I."
That night, Ealasaid was curled up on her cot reading the Bible. Her favorite book was Ruth because she thought it romantic. That night she was reading the book of Esther. When she had finished she reflected on what she had read inspired by Esther's heroism and faith.
"To come before the king like that, even though it could've meant her death!" She murmered to herself and giving out a low whistle.
Finally with a sigh, she put the Bible on the floor beside her cot. She tugged her gray woolen blanket up to her neck and laid her head on her pillow. Then she blew out her candle, completely unawares of the many pairs of eyes that had wittnessed the light go out.