Warning: This is the sequel to The Adventures of Ian MacDermott, so it might give away a little of the previous story. I would encourage you to read it anyway, though, and do tell me what you think.
"Serve England or you will die!"
I glared at my captor and stood there, wishing I could be rid of the chains that held me. "I will never serve your excuse for a country! And all that my death will accomplish is more glory for Scotland!"
"You are pathetic!" John Ross growled, giving me a vicious blow on the ribs with his spear shaft. He stalked around me, grinning maliciously and planning how best to make me suffer.
"You should have known from the beginning that you could never escape the crown, you worthless Scot!"
He was behind me and, as he finished speaking, he kicked the backs of my legs, making me fall to my knees. Though my hands were bound behind me, I managed to stay upright and not fall over.
Looking up at him, I asked, "Is that the way the 'mighty' English fight their battles, then? Beating on Scottish lads who are on their knees and in chains?"
"I should kill you for that!"
"Go ahead! I may die, but Scotland will live on to overcome the thievery of England."
He left his sentence unfinished, raining blows on my unprotected head and back. I am sure that he would have gone on hitting me if his spear shaft had not broken into pieces. For a moment he just stared at his useless weapon, then his face turned bright red and he flung the broken spear at my face.
"The king will hear about your treachery!" He almost shrieked, storming out of my cell.
"And what about the MacDougalls," I called to him as he left, "will they hear about it, too?"
Immediately he was crouched in front of me, his face literally inches from my own.
"What are the MacDougalls to you?" He hissed.
I managed a slight smirk on my bloodied face, "Oh, nothing in particular."
"Tell me!" He yelled, jumping to his feet.
He aimed a kick at my face, but I turned my head and deflected the blow with my shoulder. However, the kick had so much force behind it that I was knocked off-balance and fell on my side. From my position on the ground, there was no way I could block his kicks, and yet I was somehow able to keep from crying out in pain. With a final kick, John Ross stomped out of my cell. No doubt he was feeling quite good with himself, so I could not resist a last word.
"They will come," I shouted after him, "The MacDougalls always come!"
Little was I to know how much my words would haunt my captor. I lay there on the cold stone floor, suddenly without strength.
You have certainly gotten yourself into a fix, Duncan, I told myself, but you have always managed to get yourself out of them, with a little help.
My thoughts went back to the day of my capture and I closed my eyes, remembering.
It had been two days earlier, or so. My father, Tormod Black, had sent my younger sister, Mairi, and I to a border town to get some much-needed supplies. Not two hours after we had arrived, two dozen English soldiers suddenly surrounded me, commanding me to halt. I looked over at Mairi, who was at a market stall outside the circle of soldiers. She glanced up and I called to her in Gaelic, telling her to safely return home as soon as possible. She just stared wide-eyed at me and I turned my attention back to the English soldiers.
One of the soldiers stepped forward, his sword drawn, "You are under arrest in the name of the King!"
"For what crime?" I replied, knowing full well that they would make something up just to imprison another Scot.
"You are being arrested for going against the King's law! For wearing plaid, carrying a claymore and speaking that heathen language. All of which has been banned by His Majesty!"
As the lead soldier finished speaking, he motioned some of his men forward. But I was ready, no Englishman was going to take me by surprise. Since the soldiers were so close to me, I knew that I couldn't pull my claymore out in time, or even have enough room to wield it. The only other weapon I had to use against them was my dirk, a long dagger that us Highlanders use for close fighting.
Having no more time to wait, I whipped out my dirk and made short work of the first three soldiers, shouting, "Buaidh no bas!" The MacDougall battle-cry meaning, 'Victory or Death!'.
Turning to my right, I encountered two more soldiers rushing at me and quickly slew both of them. All of a sudden, something hit me from behind and I was knocked down and instantly set upon by several soldiers. My dirk was some five feet away and I knew that I couldn't possibly reach it. The soldiers ripped my scabbard and claymore from my waist and pulled my little Sgian Dhu from my cap. I struggled against the soldiers who had me pinned down and only succeeded in getting a blow on the head that momentarily stunned me. The soldiers bound my hands tightly behind me and lifted me bodily to my knees, still keeping a hard grip on me. Feeling a blade at my throat, I looked up into the eyes of the lead soldier.
"You just helped yourself into jail." He told me, "Resisting arrest will be added to your list of crimes!"
I tried to pull away from the men that held me, striving to get at that lead soldier.
"You will never rid Scotland of us true Scots!" I yelled, "We will fight back and overthrow your phony king!"
By now there was a small crowd gathering and several of the people emitted a ragged cheer. Some of the soldiers looked around nervously, half expecting some wild Scots to come out of nowhere.
"Take him away!" The lead soldier told his men, keeping a wary eye out for other 'law breakers' like myself.
They began to drag me along, but, me being the Highlander that I was, I would not be imprisoned willingly. I struggled and thrashed and tried every way possible of making it harder for them, all the while shouting, "Alba gu brath!" our nation's battle cry, which means, 'Scotland for ever!'.
I guess one of the soldiers got tired of my shouting, for I was struck once again on my head. They expected me to go limp and stop shouting, I knew that much, but they did not expect me to not be knocked out. Although I had been struck twice on my head, I was still conscious, though only barely. I was vaguely aware that we had entered a building and it seemed like the next instant I was thrown into a small, dark cell.
When I came to, I found that my hands were still bound behind me, though with chains now instead of rope. I also noticed that both my ankles had been chained to a metal ring in the floor of my cell, which gave me limited space to move, if I was so inclined. My head was a mass of pain, and I sat up trying to relieve it, but to no avail. I had resigned myself to trying to sleep when I heard the jingle of keys outside my cell.
The cell door opened and a middle aged man entered, a man that was familiar to me. He carried only what looked like a spear without the spearhead itself. I struggled to my feet and stood as solidly as my chains would allow me.
"Duncan Black," The man spoke to me in a harsh, condescending voice, "You have been arrested for going strictly against the king's laws. Laws which every good English citizen should know by now. You have also resisted arrest which has only made your situation worse and–"
"I am not English!"
He stopped speaking abruptly, shocked that I had interrupted him.
"I said 'I am not English!'" I told him and suddenly recalled his name. "And I am not going to stand here and listen to a traitor of Scotland! My family does not forgive easily, John Ross, and your name is at the top of our list of traitors. We will never forget that you gave away our clan's rights so that you could be the king's pet!"
And now I was here, covered in wounds, my entire body aching. Lying on the stone floor, I desperately hoped that Mairi had gotten back to our clan safely. When my father and uncle, not to mention my four brothers, heard what had happened, they would find some way to get me out. With those thoughts going through my mind, I drifted off to sleep.
A shadow detached itself from the wall and silently made its way to Duncan's cell door. The shadow looked around, confirming that the hallway was empty, before pulling out a skeleton key from the depths of its cloak. Inserting the key into the lock, the shadow turned it as quietly as possible and slowly opened the cell door. The figure took one last look around the hallway and entered Duncan's cell, gently pulling the door to. The figure saw Duncan immediately. He was lying on the floor, his eyes closed. Silently, the figure crossed to the middle of the cell and knelt, feeling for Duncan's pulse.
The moment that the figure's fingers touched Duncan's neck, Duncan started awake. His eyes flew open and he shrank back from his strange visitor.
"Who are you?"
The question sounded loud in the darkness.
The figure pushed back its hood, revealing the face of a young man no older than Duncan himself. Upon seeing who his visitor was, Duncan's eyes grew wide with surprise and shock.