Change Of Heart

Scotland, 1208

The sound of giggles floated through the air.

The two girls sat beneath the large oak tree, shading themselves from the warm sun as they thought up another scheme against the boys. It was their absolute favorite past time and nothing would dissuade them from it.

Rachel Sinclair and Laura Buchanan were the smallest 6 year old terrors that their parents, or for that matter anyone, had ever seen. Whenever the two girls got together, no matter what, there always seemed to be some sort of trouble and they caused a lot of it. It seemed to follow them like their own shadows, where ever they went.

Today was no different. Only a few moments earlier, they were in the stalls with a basketful of colorful ribbons and small bells and flower wreaths, decorating the horses. Each horse had its mane braided with ribbons and bells, then a flower wreath placed on its head. Of course, they had only done this with the boys horses, no one else's.

Rachel looked over at Laura, smiling. "Do you suppose the boys found the horses yet?"

"I'm not sure," Laura answered. "I think they might not have yet, since we haven't gotten in to trouble yet. But I think they'll like the pretty horses." They burst in to fits of giggling. Only, they didn't hear that their fathers had come up behind them until it was too late.

Laura looked up, looking innocently at her father. "Hello, papa," she said smiling.

Cameron looked down at her. She really did look angelic, but he knew better. "Hello, brat." It was her nickname.

"What have you two been up to this time?" asked Rachel's father, Eowan.

"Whatever do you mean, papa?" she asked, twisting the hem of her dress in to a knot.

"You know exactly what I mean, scamp."

"No, I don't." She smiled sweetly at him.

Both Lairds looked at each other and let out a sigh, shaking their heads. "Come along, girls, it's time for dinner."

Laura's face brightened up. "Oh, goody! I'm starving!"

"So am I!" replied Rachel.

They walked up to the keep together, but a noise caught Cameron and Eowan's ear. It sounded like horses hooves. Lots of them. They picked up the girls and started running towards the keep. Laura was quickly becoming frightened. Her papa never ran like this unless there was a problem.

"Papa, what's wrong?" she asked.

He looked down at her, hiding his worry. "Nothing is wrong, princess. We're just going to be late for dinner is all."

She didn't believe him, but she didn't have time to tell him that. As quickly as she and Rachel were picked up, they were put down again and ushered inside.

The women came rushing over to their husbands, seeing the look on their faces. Cameron's wife, Heather, asked what all the women were thinking. "Is it the MacAuley's?"

"I don't know. Where's Marcus?" Cameron said sternly.

"I'm right here." The Laird Kincaid had just walked in the door with his wife, Annie, and their sons, Dominic and Andrew.

Eowan looked for his family. "Janet, where's Eric?"

"What do you mean husband? He said he was looking for you."

"Alright. Get all the children together and go upstairs."

A sick feeling settled in the pit of Eowan's stomach. Something was definitely wrong. He looked around at the families. Marcus and Annie Kincaid, with their sons Dominic and Andrew. Cameron and Heather Buchanan, with their daughter Laura. He and his wife, Janet with their son Nathan and daughter Rachel. Both he and Cameron were missing a son.

"Cameron, where's Sean?" Eowan asked him.

"He's probably with Eric."

The feeling of dread washed over all of them. Marcus finally spoke. "Let's get our men ready. We'll send four of them to find the boys."

The three Lairds nodded, leaving the hall to prepare the men for battle. The women took the children by the hand and headed upstairs to one of the rooms. Ever the curious one, Laura had to know what was going on. She ran up to the nearest window that had a bench and kneeled on it, looking outside. What she saw terrified her.

As far as she could see, there were men. Thousands of them. But that's not what frightened her. What scared her was the two boys, her brother and Eric, she could see running towards the keep like the devil was on their heels. The closer they came, the closer the men got, until she could hear the war cries.

Arrows flew through the air and Laura let out a blood curdling scream. Her mother came running over, snatching her away from the window and covering it with the fur, but not before she got a good look herself. She made the sign of the cross and turned her attention back to her daughter, who seemed to be in a state of shock. "Laura, what is it? What did you see?"

The girl looked up, her blank eyes looking into her mothers. "Eric....."


"Eric...he's dead."

"What?! What are you talking about?"

Laura's eyes filled with tears. "He was shot... an arrow." She started crying.

Her mother looked over at Janet, who was staring back at her, tears running down her face. "Let us pray it's not true," said Heather.

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The battle was fierce and long. All around them they could see the dead bodies of their enemies, smell the metallic stench of the blood that covered the field. Cameron was kneeling beside the smallest body on the field, the body of Eowan's son, Eric. Never, in all his life, had he seen such a cowardly act from any man as that of killing an innocent child. It was barbaric.

The sound of footsteps brought his head up and he looked over to see Eowan and Marcus coming towards him. Putting his arms under the boy, he lifted him and turned towards Eowan.

"I'm sorry."

Eowan stopped and stared disbelieving at his son in Cameron's arms. "No. He's not dead. He can't be dead." He took his son from his friend, and felt the cold stiffness of his body. He looked up towards the sky. "Why, God? Why would you do this? To such an innocent boy?" He fell to his knees, rocking back and forth, cradling his sons body in his arms as silent tears slipped down his cheeks.

When they returned to the keep, they found the women waiting for news of what had happened. Janet took one look at her husband and the lifeless body in his arms and became hysterical, sobbing. Annie and Heather had to take her upstairs as Cameron and Marcus held their own children tight to them.

As night fell upon them, the mourning period began. Janet would not leave her room and Heather and Annie took turns staying with her. For two days, Eowan watched over his sons body before the burial ceremony. By the end of the week, all was done and the two visiting families would leave.

Cameron and Marcus approached Eowan before departing, planning the next attack on the MacAuley clan in repayment for what was done.

Little did they know that this was just the beginning of their troubles..........

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This is my first story that I've posted and I hope you enjoyed reading it. Who knows? Maybe you can even give me a review and post your opinions of the story, too.

Thnx! Peski