Ealasaid was awaked by the pressure of a hand over her mouth.
The moonlight that was streaming through her window shed some light on her attacker.
It was a young man, about twenty or so, with dark hair. She couldn't make out what color in the dim light.
"Hello, MacGregor maid," the voice said in a harsh whisper.
Ealasaid's arms were free so she pulled at her attackers hair as hard as she could. The young man howled in pain, but didn't let go.
Something heavy hit her head, and she knew no more.
When Ealasaid awoke, she felt herself sitting up and leaning against something warm. At the same time she felt herself bobbing up and down. She opened her eyes to find herself on a horse. Her hands were tied and she was sitting side-saddle with her feet tied as well.
She looked up to see that whatever she was leaning on was the chest of the man who had kidnapped her the night before. She was even further surprised to find that it was the man on the horse from the morning before.
"You . ." she said, then began to insult him in Gaelic.
"Now, that's enough of that!" he shouted, then gave her a vicious pinch on the arm in rebuke. Ealasaid winced in pain. "Didn't your father ever teach you not to curse?"
"Only when I'm in polite company, and you do not apply."
The man laughed.
Ealasaid frowned. That was supposed to be taken as an insult!
"Why have you kidnapped me?"
"Because my clan wants the castle An Ceitan and the lands that go with it."
"You are a Campbell!"
"Yes. I am Edan Campbell, and I was sent by my clan to kidnapp you, take you back to our clan, and hold you for ransom. Our price: An Ceitan."
"I'd rather die than be your ransom!"
"You might get your wish if your clan refuses to give us your land."
Ealasaid looked up into Edan's hansome face. He looked dead serious.
Ealasaid swallowed, but held up her chin in definance.
Edan took note of this and raised his eyebrow.
"The lass's got spirit," he admitted to himself. "What be your name?"
He asked, finally. After a moment of hesitation, Ealasaid looked up at Edan and with a glint of contempt in her eye, she answered.
"Well, Ealasaid, this journey can be easy, or it can be hell. That depends on if you're willin' to cooperate. And I won't tolerate your tryin' to sneak away when we stop to set up camp. If you want to arrive at the Campbell territory alive, you won't try to escape."
"You wouldn't dare lay a hand on me!" Ealasaid cried, "If you killed me, what good would I be as a ransom?"
"Your clan would want your body for a proper burial, and would give up their land just for that as well as if you were alive."
Ealasaid only glared at him and stared ahead with her chin raised once more.