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Chapter One

Elderslie, Scotland, 1286

A twelve-year-old boy was out fishing when he saw the men in red surcoats and chainmail walk by. His catch was full and he was packing his line and hooks when the soldiers appeared. They all carried longswords and one had a big helmet on his head that covered his face. It frightened the boy. He saw that man point at him, and he felt tiny. He turned and said with his bravest voice, which was really sounding rather frightened.

"Can Ah 'elp you, Sirs?"

The frightening men laughed. The laugh was truly frightening, all of them barking together like some many-headed dog, like ten of the hound that the boy's father kept back in the town. the man in the big helmet walked towards the boy and stared down at him, or at least the boy thought that, since he couldn't see the man's eyes behind the great helm. "Boy, give me your fish."

The boy shook his head and clutched his cloth bag filled with his catch. "Ah'm sorry, Sirs, but nay, Ah caught these fish mah self an' if you wants some, catch some yourselves! There's plenty o' fish in the river today!"

The man leaned down, his helm almost touching the boy's nose. "Give it 'ere. Do you not know that all fish taken from the river goes to the soldiers of King Edward? Now hand the bag 'ere if ye don't wish to sleep with fish tonight."

The boy had never heard of this King Edward, but if what his father had told him of Queen Margaret was true, than he wasn't ruling Scotland. "Ah shant do that." The helmeted man hissed and slapped the boy on the face. He fell to the ground, blood streaming from his cheek as tears welled in his eyes. Pain rushes into his face as he grabbed for the bag of fish, but the big man had it first. He hisses again and turned to his soldiers.

"Fresh cod tonight, boys!" The soldiers raises their fists heartily as the boy felt a hatred in him like he had never felt before. These soldiers were cruel. They were cowards. And worst of all...

They were not Scottish. They were English.

The boy could tell by their speech, and by the three lions upon their surcoats. His father had told him about the English and how they were always at the throat of Scotland. The boy tasted bile in his mouth, and suddenly felt stronger than ever before. He stood up and charged at the big man in the great helm, unarmed, but did push him over and watched him curse and spew profanity at his soldiers, one of who drew a longsword and cackled as he neared the boy. Not a boy anymore, he thought. He saw that the big man's sword had fallen out of it's scabbard, and he picked it up and held it before him just as the soldier with the longsword was in front of him. The boy wasn't sure what happened, but his next thought was that his hands had turned red and he smelled blood. He saw that the soldier was lying on the ground, and a longsword stuck in it. The boy looked at his blood-smeared hands and thought, I have killed a man. For some reason, it didn't seem too shocking, but maybe that was because the big man had gotten up and was yelling and cursing at his soldiers again. The boy picked up the fallen bag of fish and the sword impaled in the dead man-at-arms, and ran off, three other English soldiers following. However, the boy was faster than the big men in their armour, and he ran towards a bridge that crossed the river and away from Elderslie. The boy ran across the bridge just as one of the men-at-arms reached him, and he swung his longsword out instinctively, the blade slicing into the man's leg. The man screamed and hacked downwards, but the boy suddenly raises his sword and a loud smack of metal against metal hit the boy's ears as the man steppped back, with a shocked look on his face.

"Who are you?" He asked. The boy felt exhausted and turned, sweat and blood running down his face.

"My father is Alan Wallace. He named me William."

The man laughed despited the blood welling in his leg. "You're only a boy. Come meet the Lord." The man ran towards the boy, who instinctively turned to the side as he slashed, then pushes the man off the bridge and fell after him. Both of their swords went flying as two splashes were heard, one heavier than the other. One head came back up, the boy, who had learned to swim at a young age when his mother had put him in the river years ago. He was still gripping the bag of fish, and swam underneath the bridge when he heard footsteps above him.

"Where'd that bugger go, John?" said one voice.

"Dunno, but Rob's gone too. 'E probably fell into the water with that boy. Well, their loss. Don't tell the serjeant that, though." replied another.

"Aye," said the first voice.

The boy, William Wallace, swam for shore, his face and hands washed off of blood. When his father asked why he was sopping wet, he just said that he was dirty and swam in the river to wash off. William never forgot the big man in the helm whose sword he stole and lost, though. No, never would he forget that.

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