Born to Rule

When the clans don't think a woman could be a good leader, Faye MacFirea decides to take matters into her own hands to prove that she is a suitable heir to the five clans.

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3. Chapter II

Faye looked out the window at a Nightingale jumping around on the branch of an oak tree. "It's time m'lady," said Leitis behind her. Faye turned around and looked at Leitis without saying a word, "ye look beautiful, m'lady." Faye looked carelessly down at her dress not really taking anything in. It was light gold and had a faded floral pattern.
"Why did they attack us? When father died, those men, why did they attack us?"
Leitis looked at her and hesitated before she answered, "ye
are- were his only child. Yer father didn't have any siblings, with you out of the way whoever it was would've been free to claim the place as chief."
"Power? They killed my father for power?" Said Faye,

Leitis hesitated once more, "aye." She said then.
 

 

Faye didn't remember how she had gotten here from her bedchambers, but she was suddenly standing in front of Bhaltair Bontach, listening to the faint voice of the priest speaking in Gaelic. Suddenly there was something like a shock that went through her body, "stop," said Faye, without even thinking about it. She stood there for a moment without saying anything, she could feel everyone's eyes staring expectingly at her.

"Faye, what are you doing? Ye cannot become lady without being married." Bhaltair whispered.

"Aye. I can." Said Faye, and turned to look at the guests. Her eyes rested on her mother. "I won't be getting married today. There is no law stating that I must be married to become lady, and I have no interest in marriage." Faye grabbed the sides of her skirts and lifted them up so she wouldn't step on them, and walked right out of the church. She climbed onto her horse and rode back to Leyford Fortress without looking back even once.

 

"What the devil are ye doing?" Snapped her mother, as Faye was undressing from the wedding gown.

"I am not sure, definitely not getting married," replied Faye.

"The men are leavin' for battle in a few hours, I've let ye be because ye were grieving over the death of yer father, but Faye, ye've been grieving for a year, and the clans need someone to rule them! They need someone to lead them into battle!" Her mother continued.

"Aye. And they will have." Said Faye, and stepped out from behind the screen. She was wearing a white shirt, a too large kilt that she had stolen from her father's old things, and a pair of boots. "Me."

"Ye've gone mad...," said her mother, sounding worried.

"Why? Because I don't want to be ordered around by some old man tellin' me how to run my life? Father understood that!" Faye snapped,

"What...?" Said her mother, and they looked at each other in silence for a few moments.

"Afore... afore he died, he told me that I needed to take over as lady and that I dinna need some laddie telling me what to do. He believed I could do it by myself,"  

"And how do ye plan to make them respect you if you go with them?"
"I'll pretend to be a man."
"And ye think throwin' on a kilt will be enough to convince them?" Asked her mother,

"Of course not." Said Faye, grabbed a dagger, and cut her hair so that it was no longer than to just above her shoulders. Her mother gasped in shock. "I can do this mother."

"Alright. If there's anything I learnt from being yer mother, it is that when you've set yer mind to something, war or no war. Death or no death. Married or not. No one can stop ye from doing it. Use the name Steaphan. It's what we would've named ye, had ye been a lad. Be careful Faye. And don't ye dare die." Faye looked at her mother for a moment. They hugged, and then Faye grabbed her bags, and went down to the stables where she prepared her horse and swung the bags over the back of her saddle. She climbed onto the horse and rode out to where Bhaltair should've led the men to Sheriffmuir. One by one they appeared, lining up ready to go. And then Faye began riding towards Sheriffmuir with the rest of the men.

Shortly before sunset, they stopped in an open field, not far from a village, where they made camp. One of the men was stirring a pot. Faye walked over and looked into it. It was no more than water with a few herbs and cabbage. Faye frowned but accepted a bowl, and sat down with some others who were laughing, just outside the campsite. "An' then I asked her if she liked what she saw. Aye, she was a bonny lass." Said one of the men and they all laughed again. "What's yer name?" Faye looked up to see all three staring at her. The man who had asked had dark brown hair, grey eyes and a full beard. He wasn't very tall but extremely muscular. "Steaphan," said Faye, "Steaphan MacFirea." They all laughed,

"Yer still a laddie," said another one, who also had dark brown hair but green eyes, and was shaven clean. He was taller than the other one. And looked to have a bugger appetite as well. "How old are ye, laddie? 14?" He asked and chuckled.

Faye did the same and then said, "close. I'm 17." They laughed again.

"I'm William." Said the last one. He had fiery red hair, somewhere between grey and blue eyes, and stubbles. "This is Androw," he pointed to the first man, "and Jeames," he pointed to the other one. "And this is Seathan," said William, and pointed, to what Faye at first thought was herself but she then realised he wasn't pointing at her, he was pointing past her. She turned around to look at a man who was only a few feet away and sat down next to Androw. Faye recognized him immediately. It was the man who had approached her in the stables the night her father had been killed.

"Everyone calls me Seath. My pleasure," said Seath, and stretched out his hand to Faye so she could shake it.

"Seath, this is Steaphan. He's 17." Said Jeames and they roared with laughter again. Except for Seath. Faye kept quiet for most of the time, while the other four were talking and laughing, and after a while, they began singing. " Will ye gang tae the hielands, Leezie Lindsay? Will ye gang tae the hielands wi' me? Will ye gang tae the hielands, Leezie Lindsay, my bride an' my darling tae be?" Faye recognized the song immediately. Leezie Lindsay. Her father used to sing her to sleep with it. He had never been a very good singer, but Faye treasured those memories. She suddenly became very aware of her surroundings, as the horses began to neigh. The others kept singing, she saw that, like her, they were also grabbing their weapons. Faye let her eyes glide across the opening. She heard a noise. Normally she would've had them keep singing, but she shushed them so that for a moment the only thing they could hear was the fire and the noise of the others from afar. There it was again. A high pitched scream. Faye stood up, pulled her sword out and followed the screams. Through the grass, she could see a man. The screams became louder and louder. As she came closer she saw that he was bending over a woman. For second Faye stood there and remembered the first time she had ever seen anything like this. It had been with her father. He had grabbed the man, shouted at him in Gaelic and the shoved him away. Faye snapped out of it, and carefully and quietly approached the man and woman. As she came closer she saw the woman kicking and screaming trying to push the man away. Faye grabbed his shoulder and held her blade to his throat. She yanked him away from the woman and kept him afar, but still held her blade just underneath his chin. Faye stretched her hand free hand out to the woman, helped her up and quickly threw a glance over her shoulder. Seath was nearly right behind her, Androw, William and Jeames were a few feet behind him. Faye gentle pushed the woman into Seath's arms who passed her along to William. "Take her back to the campsite and give her something to eat." Said Seath behind her.

Faye walked up to the man so that they were only a few centimetres apart and said, "yer on MacFirea land. An' we don't tolerate such things, so I suggest ye pay the sassenachs a little visit where they clearly dinna mind this kind of behaviour. If I ever see you here again...," Faye whispered the last part so quietly in his ear, she could barely hear it herself. She slid the sword back into the sheath. Spun around, turned back around, punched the man so hard she knocked him out of consciousness. Then she turned back around where nearly all her men were standing and looking at her. She then began shouting in a stone cold voice and without hesitation, "my name is General Steaphan MacFirea. I am here as a representation of clan MacFirea and lady MacFirea. Like I told this man if I ever catch any of you doing anything like this.... I'll have yer heads."

 

 

When Faye returned the woman was sitting by the fire where they had been sitting before, a blanket wrapped around her, a bowl of soup in hands. William sat next to her looking slightly worried. She was pale as snow. She wasn't very tall.  She had long, curly beeline honey coloured hair, a kind-looking round face, soft, light blue eyes, full lips, and perfectly arched eyebrows. Faye bent down in front of her. "It's alright now. Yer safe, and no one's gonna touch ye as long as I'm here."
"Thank you," she croaked,

"What's yer name lass?" Faye asked.

"Ailis. Ailis Farpaiach. I-I'm a healer," she replied,

"A healer?" Said Faye, and the woman nodded. "Alright, c'mon. Ye need some rest." Said Faye and led her back to her tent where she let her have her bed. Faye grabbed three blankets. She lay the first one out on the grass, next to the tent, folded the second one into a bundle and used it to rest her head on and wrapped herself in the last one. It took her a while to fall asleep, so in the meanwhile, she just lay there listening to the conversations as men were passing by until she fell asleep.

She woke up again in the middle of the night and heard someone talking, "I'm telling you Willie, the general is a woman." Faye couldn't hear the rest of their conversation, so after a while she fell back asleep.

 

 

When Faye woke up, the sun had already gone up. She sat up and wiped her eyes, and went to get a bowl of porridge which she brought to Ailis, who began eating immediately. Faye sat there, studying her for a little while. "Ye said ye were a healer, aye?" Said Faye,

"Aye," said Ailis,

"We could really use one of 'em, we havna got any." Said Faye, "would ye be ours?"

Ailis looked up from her breakfast, hesitating before she answered. "Aye." She then said and began eating again. Faye stood up and got a bowl for herself as well. She sat by some of the others, without joining in on their conversations or even listening to them.

Faye heard Androw saying, "I'm not sayin' it was right what he did to her, ye dimwit, I'm just sayin' it's understandable. She's a very bonny lass."

"Aye. Ye ken who else is a bonny lass?" Asked Jeamas,

"Who?"

"Faye MacFirea." Replied Jeamas,

"Aye, yer right. I havna seen a lass as bòidheach as her in a long time. But that girl... she's got a mind of her own. 'Twould drive me mad."

Faye scoffed. "I- she's not a girl. She's a woman and yer lady." Said Faye. Everyone looked at her, but no one said anything.

When she had finished she wandered out into the forest to find a lake in which she could bathe. She undressed and stepped into the icy water.

"They told me you'd gone out here-," began Ailis behind her, but stopped immediately. Faye wasn't sure wether it was because of the scars on her back or because she had spun around in reflex. "Ye're...," She didn't finish her sentences she just ran away.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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